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October 26, 2004



How about this: The IAEA lost the stuff and waited to blame us for it. They knew we were coming when we finished our little UN resolution dance.

I think that if the looters took the HMX, then they must have taken all the WMD, too. If it wasn't there when we looked for it, Bush must have lost that too.

Seriously, how the public believe these weapons were definitely there, but the WMD was not. Ludicrous.


If I grant you that no one can prove when the stuff disappeared (between the UN inspection and whatever second date you choose to believe), will you grant me that we still should have detailed _somebody_ to secure such a large munitions dump?

Even if it was a "mid level priority", wouldn't a few more troops on the ground have give us some boots to secure places like this?

Eric Anondson

Even if it was a "mid level priority", wouldn't a few more troops on the ground have give us some boots to secure places like this?

Potentially. This assumes that Tommy Franks would have not had other issues which would called for more troops during the fog of war that rated higher that securing this major munitions dump.

If the US held off invading with the 3rd ID from the south, waiting for the 4th ID to arrive in full force, it would have given Saddam even more time to move more conventional munitons into hiding preparing for an insurgency. What would the insurgency be like today if we waiting longer to build up more troop strength for the southern front? This is where second guessing enters disturbing territory while the war is still ongoing.

This is why I am still pissed off with Turkey's behavior in the run-up to the re-starting of the war... *shrug*


Bah, I've not even been following this non-story...

Lefties scream about 350 tons of explosives possibly getting into terrorists hands while ignoring the fact that they don't care whether the 250,000 tons of stuff that has been recovered by US troops could have been given to terrorists by Saddam if there was no invasion.
Regardless, explosives in the hands of terrorists means more dead americans, troops or civillians for them to hand wring over while cursing the path Bush has taken us down. Before the left start trying to excuse themselves of such action, let us remember how they were all watching the dead US soldier clock, waiting for it to tick into 4 digits so they could make 'note' of the fact that 1,000 US troops had been killed.

This isn't about terrorists getting their hands on explosives, hell the guy the left are voting for is planning on giving nuclear fuel to Iran to please his special interest supporters.
It's just another non-story that backs up their preconceived notion that Bush is doing a bad job.

/rant aginst moonbats


Senator Kerry, would you consider this stuff to be WMD? Hmm, I thought you might say that. But your running-mate says different: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/008316.php


Tex, I think this does fit with the "too few troops" theme. My guess is that we were on Plan A - quick victory, quick handover, handshakes and good-bye.

That said, the numbers for munitions in Iraq are staggering - somewhere I read there were 600,000 tons, of which we have accounted for/destroyed about 200,000. This is not a battle we will win by waiting for the other side to run out of ammo.

And the Kerry Spot had this:

I was serving as a [identifying information removed by the Kerry Spot] staff member during the time in question. The Commander on the site had complete real time intelligence on what to expect and possibly find at the Al-QaQaa depot. The ordinance in question was not found when teams were sent in to inspect and secure the area. When this information was relayed, Operational plans were adjusted and the unit moved forward. Had the ordinance in question been discovered, a security team would have been left in place.

Which may be true.

I think that my honest opinion is, we just don't know enough about the specifics of this. As to whether the overall war effort was miscalculated, that is a different discussion.

And Kerry's comment that this was a gross strategic blunder is over the top. But good politics, I guess.


Let's not forget that the IAEA verified only the HMX in March, not the RDX. For some reason the inspectors were unable to verify the RDX during that visit, so the last time that stockpile has been seen was January. I don't know the relative sizes of the two stockpiles but it would be interesting to know.


UH, The explosives were their in March and confirmed by the first batallion that mozied on through there. The Iraqi government claims they were looted. TM, there really aint much you can do about reality hating the Bush administration. I'm waiting for you contortion onthe Bush-hating WSJ publishing an article saying Bush let Zacari (sp) go? I need a good laugh.

Cecil Turner

"Had the ordinance in question been discovered, a security team would have been left in place."

I'm skeptical. It's just HE, and not terribly useful HE at that. Besides, unless it's a spell checker glitch, professionals rarely misspell "ordnance."

"Let's not forget that the IAEA verified only the HMX in March. . ."

I can't find anything definitive on that. There are reports of a visit, and an NBC report said they checked the seals, but I saw nothing from the IAEA or any other that said they specifically checked the HMX storage site.

"I don't know the relative sizes of the two stockpiles but it would be interesting to know."

CNN said 194.7 metric tons of HMX, 141.2 metric tons of RDX, and 5.8 metric tons of PETN.


So if the lefties have concluded that 380 tons of high explosives could disappear without a trace with 150,000 well armed and kick-in-the-door American soldiers in Iraq, could 380 tons of biological agents be hidden from a couple of dozen meek UN inspectors in Iraq from 1992 to 2003?

Same question: How about 380 tons of chemical weapons or 380 tons of nuclear weapons?

That popping sound is a lefty mind exploding in contradictions.

Cecil Turner

"Tex, I think this does fit with the "too few troops" theme. My guess is that we were on Plan A - quick victory, quick handover, handshakes and good-bye."

That theme has become conventional wisdom, but I don't think it's entirely fair. Before the war, the argument was:

Neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, by name. But both men were clearly irritated at the general's suggestion that a postwar Iraq might require many more forces than the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort.
Well, the "tens of thousands of allied forces" didn't appear, and we ended up at 140,000 US troops. Is it "too few"? Would the insurgency have laid down their arms if we added another 50,000? At best, I'd say that's "not proven." Political will seems to be the limiting factor, and we don't seem to be losing many battles.


Now an Al-Qaqaa spokeswoman says that there was no search. Take a look at this.

Jenjis Kahn

"But for the rest of us, this reporting opens our minds to the vaguest of possibilities - Saddam actually had a plan to fight an insurgency, and dispersed ammo throughout Iraq. Eye-opening stuff."

Yes, indeed they did have a plan. Get your hands on the April 29, 2004, NY Times, "Hussein's Agents Are Behind Attacks in Iraq, Pentagon Finds" by Thom Shanker. Or just have one of your commenters post bits of it...Er, like me:

WASHINGTON, April 28 — A Pentagon intelligence report has concluded that many bombings against Americans and their allies in Iraq, and the more sophisticated of the guerrilla attacks in Falluja, are organized and often carried out by members of Saddam Hussein's secret service, who planned for the insurgency even before the fall of Baghdad.

The report states that Iraqi officers of the "Special Operations and Antiterrorism Branch," known within Mr. Hussein's government as M-14, are responsible for planning roadway improvised explosive devices and some of the larger car bombs that have killed Iraqis, Americans and other foreigners. The attacks have sown chaos and fear across Iraq...

"The report does not imply that every guerrilla taking up arms against the Americans is under the command of the M-14, nor that every Iraqi who dances atop a charred Humvee is inspired by a former Iraqi intelligence agent. But the assessment helps explain how only a few thousand insurgents, with professional leadership from small numbers of Mr. Hussein's intelligence services and seasoned military officer corps, could prove to be such a challenge to the American occupation. "They carefully laid plans to occupy the occupiers," said one United States government official who has read the report. "They were prepared to try and hijack the country. The goal was to complicate the stabilization mission, and democratization."

The report, completed March 26, was commissioned to answer a simple but provocative question: in Iraq, who is the adversary?

As the American-led forces approached Baghdad last spring, the M-14 put into place "The Challenge Project," in which Mr. Hussein's intelligence officers scattered to lead a guerrilla insurgency and plan bombings and other attacks, the report states. The M-14 officers, according to the report, were sent "to key cities to assist local authorities in defending those cities and to carry out attacks...

"The document says that "cells of former M-14 personnel are organizing and conducting a terrorist I.E.D. campaign against coalition forces throughout Iraq. The explosives section of M-14 prepared for the invasion by constructing hundreds of suicide vests and belts for use by Saddam Fedayeen against coalition forces." The fedayeen are former government paramilitary forces that attacked American forces on the initial offensive toward Baghdad, and are said to be among the insurgents still fighting today.

The report says that under Mr. Hussein, M-14 was responsible for "hijackings, assassinations and explosives," and that its officers are responsible for "the majority of attacks" today. In one detailed section, it describes how M-14 organized "Tiger Groups" of 15 to 20 volunteers trained in explosives and small-arms who would organize and carry out bombings, including suicide attacks..."

Where does the line for revisionist historians start? I want to take a crack at the WE screwed up the post-war conflict meme...and not say M-14, Zarqawi et al., and a cool $500 million of Baathist rent-killer funds.

Cecil Turner

Weird headline. It was a 101st spokesman, not an "Al QaQaa" one. But I think the bottom line is believable:

"Orders were not given from higher to search or to secure the facility or to search for HE type munitions, as they (high-explosive weapons) were everywhere in Iraq," he wrote.


oh don't worry everybody...Tony Snow on Fox said it was a bogus story..you do believe him right?

Geek, Esq.

The real damning issue is that the White House never bothered to account for this facility. Ever. Seriously.

That's what they say--that they learned these explosives disappeared two weeks ago.

No attempt to inspect the facility for these materials was made until May 27. However, by the WH's version of events, even then information never made it to the NSA.

The stuff may have been gone by then, but with the Keystone Cops in the WH botching the job, we'll never know when they disappeared.

N.B.: There is evidence that the RDV was there as of April 4, 2003.

Geek, Esq.




Update at Captain's Quarters.

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