Powered by TypePad

« Here Comes Reality | Main | WTF Is It Now? »

October 27, 2004



Too bad for Senator Perfect that this isn't the fashionable 1970's when political hacks like him could use phony information to discredit our troops. No matter how Kerry tries to spin this criticism of Bush, he is libeling his own country's military, men and women he thinks he is entitled to lead. Haven't we seen this pattern before, oh right in 1971 after he so dutifully used false charges from the Winter Soldier meetings.


I don't know why you guys continue to give shortshrift to the statements of the actual Iraqi government that we have fought so very hard to install.

Mohammed al-Sharaa, "who heads the science ministry's site monitoring department" is today saying it was impossible they were moved before the fall, and he asked US troops to secure the site.

Of course, I have no idea what's true re the explosives. But it's a little willfully blind to say that the Times is just making it up when you have Iraqi officials pushing the story.

If and Why are the Iraqis lying is much more interesting than this media bias focus.


The Iraqi's are adamant that it was after the fall .

[Thanks for the link. Sorry for the extensive deletions. If a wave of civility washes over you, come on back. TM]


Okay, let's be clear about a few things. I've read the reports by these Iraqi officials, who all say that it was impossible for the weapons to disappear after the fall, and they all cite the IAEA inspections. Well, the last official inventory of the Al Qaqaa weapons site was conducted on January 9th. On February 14th, ElBaradei said the IAEA waas continuing "to investigate the RELOCATION and CONSUMPTION of the high explosive HMX" by Iraqi forces. And standard Iraqi troop practice was to move the HMX out of buildings so they wouldn't be tempting targets. So it's not clear at all when these weapons got moved, and the basic point, that Kerry is criticizing without knowing all the facts, remains clear.

Please see my blog: http://quante.blogspot.com for more info on this.

Just Passing Through

Jor, you are a f'n idiot -- plain and simple. If you cannot understand the simple fact that "the buck" stopping at Bush's desk has to do with strategic issues and the competence of the people reporting directly to him and not tactical field issues and the competence of battalion commanders, you should not vote. You have no right to participate in the selection of the commander in chief if you are so abysmally ignorant of what the job entails.

You want Kerry to assume the level of responsibility you assign to Bush? Fine. Don't vote him into the presidency. Urge him to somehow re-enlist in the military at a low enough level to be responsible for tactical decisions.

Lurking Observer

Having, like Jared, the comments of the Iraqis, I'm curious:

According to them, one reason they know taht the explosives could not possibly, under any circumstances, have been removed during Saddam's watch was...because they had worked for Saddam?

And because, "I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of."

Excellent! Then perhaps these same folks could detail exactly what happened to the other WMD-related materials that the Duelfer report and others have indicated disappeared?

And, along these lines, we could perhaps check their veracity in the past, such as whether they similarly claimed that Saddam had had no WMD programs, just before Saddam's sons-in-law defected and told us that, why yes, they DID have bio and chemical weapons programs?

Just as someone who intends to vote for Kerry need not believe everything Kerry says (ditto for Bush), supporting Allawi hardly means having to believe everything Allawi, much less his underlings, say? Or do past Clinton supporters still believe that US troops will leave Kosovo within a year?


Interesting that the Allawi-is-a-Bush-puppet meme has suddenly done a vigorous about-face. I question the timing of this change of heart.


Jor, that sort of language and attitude is better suited to the Daily Kos.

Sorry, the comments here will look a bit cryptic after I do some deleting.

Brian Saunders

If 370-380 tons of the stuff was looted after the Americans crossed through the area then what are the details for how it was transported? I'm unclear about the logistics. Several of the reports say that the quantity in question would fill 40 trucks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but looters aren't likely to have a fleet of trucks. Has anyone claimed to be a witness to the looting? I'd be willing to start with something as simple as photographs of a guy loading stuff into the back of a pick-up truck and driving away.

My primary problem with the story is that there seems to be an assumption that it would have been practically impossible for anyone to have removed the stuff prior to April 3. Yet, we are to assume that looters were able to quickly take all of it away after April 3 without anyone noticing.

I'm not saying it didn't happen but I'm struggling to picture the details. What was the method of transport? Where is the stuff now? How many people were involved in the looting? Was it an organized group who knew what they were stealing or a series of independent operators? Has the stuff been used? If not, why not? Why go to the trouble of looting 40 truckloads of explosives if you're just going to use it for decorating the garage?

Maybe these things will be revealed after the election.

Just Passing Through

Sorry if I had anything to do with any problem with Jor. (I don't know since I am just now looking at the thread after my last comment). I did do a 'right back atcha' with the language, and maybe shouldn't have.


The original NYT story noted satellite photos showed the site had been heavy bombed and two of the large bunkers had experience massive explosions. Why has it been dismissed the "missing" munitions were not consumed in the explosions?

what are the details for how it was transported?

Think ninjas. Twenty thousand or so of them. Or ten thousand, making two trips.



You seem very upset that the administration could display such incompetence, to which I have to ask, "Where the hell have you been in the last foyr years?" Really, it's okay. Just come over to the good side. Work yourself up to it, if necessary. You have a few days left.

Cecil Turner


I think you'd have a better case if someone could establish the explosive in question was present after 4/4/03. Though I'd still need to be convinced the President should micromanage down to the hundredth of a percentage point of Iraqi weapons stocks.


Good job. Wading through three paragraphs of invective for one substantive point is tiresome. Weeding is good.


Thought your readers might enjoy my comments about Al Qaqaa, the New York Times, and what REALLY happened after the invasion, plus more. It addresses a lot of things talked about here. Read it at http://quante.blogspot.com


Good job by Jared at his post. And about this title - "New York Times and CBS: “All the News that Fits, We Print" - I'm green.

Nor worries, Just Passing, and thanks, Cecil.

Patrick R. Sullivan

I seem to remember Colin Powell showing satellite photos to a congressional hearing that indicated Saddam was moving things around in tractor-trailer rigs. Also, General Michael DeLong mentioned both men and material going into Syria and Iran just before the invasion began:



Interesting, Jared. I can't wait to see how this pans out.


Now it appears that the first group at the site did not hunt for weapons.

This story is becoming absurdly complex. Oy vey.

The Kid

Oooooo! We know where the buck stops, but what about the ruble and the dinar?

Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms
Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
A small portion of Iraq's 650,000 tons to 1 million tons of conventional arms that were found after the war were looted after the U.S.-led invasion, Mr. Shaw said. Russia was Iraq's largest foreign supplier of weaponry, he said.
However, the most important and useful arms and explosives appear to have been separated and moved out as part of carefully designed program. "The organized effort was done in advance of the conflict," Mr. Shaw said.
Nyet, no! Vlad, say it ain’t so!

Somehow I knew it was them stinkin’, rat-bastard commies were involved, with the Frogs in second place.


The Washington Times? Why not read something off of a bathroom wall?

The Kid

Brian -
The urinal in front of the New York Times was occupied.

Er, did you notice the sourcing? Names, titles - it can be checked. Unlike the Gray Lady...


I think Bill Gertz is taken seriously.

As to 10,000 ninjas making two trips, we see this:

Officials Say Chances of Enemy Ordnance Move Nearly Nil By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2004 – The chances that enemy forces moved 377 tons of heavy ordnance out of the Al Qaqaa arms facility after U.S. forces arrived in the area are nearly impossible, said Army Col. David Perkins, who commanded the American troops who took the area during major combat operations in Iraq in 2003.

Perkins commanded 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. A unit under his command, the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry, entered the depot on April 3, 2003, and defeated the enemy forces there in a two-day battle.

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency had tagged the explosives at the site and departed before hostilities started. On May 27, 2003, experts with the 75th Exploitation Task Force confirmed the IAEA-sealed explosives were missing.

Perkins, now assigned to the Joint Staff, said it is "highly improbable" that the enemy was able to take the explosives out any time after U.S. forces arrived in the area. It would require "that the enemy sneaks a convoy of 10-ton trucks in and loads them up in the dark of night and infiltrates them in your convoy and moves out," he said. "That's kind of a stretch too far."

When his battalion arrived at Al Qaqaa April 3, it engaged several hundred enemy soldiers and the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam in the area. The unit killed or captured all who were there, with the battle lasting through April 5.

"This site was open," Perkins said. "(Enemy) forces were moving in and out. We didn't know what was there."

At the same time, Perkins said, the soldiers of the unit did an initial assessment of the depot. "The concern was what's the capability of the munitions, rather than how much was there," he said

His soldiers concentrated on looking for weapons of mass destruction, especially chemical weapons. They found suspicious white powder and reported that through the chain of command. A chemical unit arrived, tested the powder and determined it was safe. The soldiers did not find the IAEA- sealed explosives.

Iraq was one of the most heavily armed countries on Earth. Perkins said it is important to remember that in its push to Baghdad, the brigade passed many depots containing thousands upon thousands of tons of arms and armaments. The brigade had no indication that the Al Qaqaa depot was anything special. "It was just another cache of weapons like the dozens we had passed," Perkins said.

The unit left the area April 5. "The mission was to quickly defeat the enemy and cause the collapse of the regime," Perkins said. "So what we did then was continue to push down the east side of the Euphrates because there was a whole brigade of the Medina division facing them."

After the 3rd Infantry Division left the area, the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, took up residence through April 11.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force visited the facility May 7, May 11 and May 27. They found no IAEA material during any of these visits.

The depot is located at the intersection of two major roads. Both are major convoy routes for American supplies going into Iraq, and they were jammed with U.S. vehicles at all times. There is no evidence, Pentagon officials said, that there was any large-scale movement of explosives – or anything else for that matter – from the facility.


Interesting how common sense can pan out.


That guy is featured in the article I cited above. He said that there was no search by the first unit to arrive.

Well anyway, here a top Iraqi science official, Mohammed al-Sharaa, says that there was no way the weapons could have been removed before the fall of Saddam.


Re the Iraqis who worked for Saddam at the facility and now say all was well until the US arrived - we don't even begin to grasp the political motivations and personal pressures to which they may be subject.

If, for example, they watched while members of Saddam's Intelligence Service took this stuff, and they think those guys are still operating, might they redirect the story?


"If, for example, they watched while members of Saddam's Intelligence Service took this stuff, and they think those guys are still operating, might they redirect the story?"



Give it a little more thought, Brian. Just a wee bit.

The comments to this entry are closed.