Wednesday, October 27, 2004

So, who is really to blame?

While this is just a trumped up story in an attempt to sway the moronic as yet undecided voters the missing Iraq explosives story is about 380 tons of an estimated 1 million tons of explosives currently estimated to exist in Iraq. That's 0.03% of the estimated total! The New York Sun today has a story that puts the blame mostly on the UN's atomic watchdog (the IAEA) who failed to act on a warning in 1995 by inspectors about the explosives in question.. Apparently the Iraqi's successfully argued with the watchdogs and all other failed diplomatic groups that they need these explosives for construction and mining...uh huh!


Ockhamsrazor said...

What about this?

On October 27, Bush accused Kerry of "denigrating the actions of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts." But in defending the president, Giuliani, Kristol, and Ingraham engaged in precisely the kind of finger-pointing at the troops of which Bush falsely accused Kerry.

From the October 28 edition of NBC's Today:

GIULIANI: The president was cautious. The president was prudent. The president did what a commander in chief should do. And no matter how much you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?

From the October 28 edition of FOX News Channel's FOX News Live:

KRISTOL: The Bush campaign was actually slow to respond, I think, but finally yesterday pointed out that Kerry was launching very serious charges against the president of the United States, based on a thinly sourced New York Times article, charges that really impugn the competence of the U.S. military. [President] George [W.] Bush didn't decide, you know, "skip that dump" [the Al Qaqaa military installation, where the missing explosives were supposedly housed]. That was 101st [Airborne Division] or the 3rd ID [Infantry Division], "skip that arms dump." That's not a decision made by the president, that's made on the ground. Even if there were some weapons there, this is what happens in war. You know you have to make tough decisions, leave some stuff to take care of later.

From the October 27 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes:

STEVE MURPHY (FORMER MANAGER OF REP. DICK GEPHARDT'S (D-MO) PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN): Laura, Laura, John Kerry did not question the troops. John Kerry questioned the leadership of --

INGRAHAM: Oh, really? Who was looking for those weapons, Steve?

MURPHY: He questioned the leadership of George [W.] Bush. George Bush did not send enough soldiers.


INGRAHAM: Was George Bush on the ground there? The military commanders were on the ground there, Steve.

MURPHY: He [Bush] didn't send enough soldiers to Iraq. He didn't secure the borders.

INGRAHAM: That's not how the soldiers see it, Steve.

MURPHY: He didn't secure the weapons.

INGRAHAM: Why don't you talk to the soldiers for a change?

In fact, the troops who stopped at the Al Qaqaa facility on their way to Baghdad on April 10, 2003, did not have orders to search it; nor were they even informed that the site was sensitive. According to an October 27 New York Times article, Col. Joseph Anderson, the commander of those troops -- the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division -- "said he did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa, was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring." The Associated Press reported on October 28, "The first team with orders to search the facility for dangerous weapons arrived on May 8 to inspect the Latifiyah Phosgene Facility, which was part of the al-Qaqaa complex, Pentagon officials said. Another team inspected a missile and rocket facility also located at al-Qaqaa on May 11."

Ockhamsrazor said...

Or this?

Grasping for defense of Bush, conservatives erroneously claim missing explosives prove Iraq had WMD
Following The New York Times' revelation that 380 tons of high explosives are missing (possibly as a result of looting) from the Al Qaqaa military installation in Iraq, conservatives attempted to spin the news as a vindication of President George W. Bush's prewar assertions that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In fact, the explosives in question -- HMX and RDX -- do not qualify as WMD.

Conservatives aggressively pushed the WMD angle following the publication of an October 25 New York Times article titled "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq":

• Robert D. Novak, syndicated columnist and co-host of CNN's Crossfire: "[L]et me try to put this in perspective. You're talking about 380 tons. So far, we have secured and destroyed 243,000 tons of weapons and explosives in Iraq. In addition, there's another 163,000 tons of weapons and explosives that have been secured and awaiting destruction. And, by the way, I thought there weren't any weapons in Iraq?" [CNN, Crossfire, 10/25]

• Peggy Noonan, columnist and former Reagan speechwriter: "The first thought I had was, whoa! I thought there were no weapons of mass destruction. This sounds like a weapon of mass destruction to me. ... The sort of stuff that Saddam had could be used to do terrible things. ... It is also true that these explosives might have been used in the advancement of the creation of a nuclear program for Iraq down the road, in the past and down the road." [CNN, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 10/25]

• Mara Liasson, National Public Radio national political correspondent and FOX News Channel contributor; and Brit Hume, FOX News Channel managing editor and chief Washington correspondent:

HUME: [I]sn't there something interesting here? One of the things that critics now are pointing out is how damaging and dangerous this stuff was. Able to blow up airplanes, for example.

LIASSON: Sounds like weapons of mass destruction.

HUME: Doesn't it, though? I mean are we now in a situation where the critics have attacked the administration for failure to find weapons of mass destruction, because they weren't there, is now saying that they failed to find weapons of mass destruction that were there? [FOX News Channel, Special Report with Brit Hume, 10/26]

• Neil Cavuto, FOX News Channel host: "[W]hy suddenly this newfound concern for explosives at all? One of our primary reasons for going into Iraq when all established media argued there were no such explosives in Iraq. Let me ask you something. Is it remotely possible, just a teeny tiny bit possible that some of the 350 tons of these high explosives were even higher than that? I don't know, maybe the mass destruction kind." [FOX News Channel, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 10/26]

Under the definition used by the Iraq Survey Group, the Central Intelligence Agency-led task force charged with hunting for weapons in postwar Iraq, HMX and RDX do not qualify as WMD. The Iraq Survey Group's final report (long pdf), commonly known as the Duelfer Report, includes a "Scope Note" which explains: "For the purposes of this report, the term Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) refers to the definition established by the United Nations Security Council in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991)." Security Council Resolution 687, in turn, defines WMD in terms of three separate international treaties: the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. None of these treaties appears to forbid high explosives.

Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) publicly reported Iraq's possession of HMX before the war. If such a claim were remotely credible, it's reasonable to assume that the Bush administration would have used such explosives to make the case that Iraqi WMD posed an "urgent threat."

Reuters reported on October 25 that the IAEA allowed Iraq to keep some of the explosives before the war because they have legitimate military and civilian uses:

Prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the HMX had been sealed and tagged with the IAEA emblem while being stored at Al Qaqaa. Iraq was permitted to keep some of its explosives for mining purposes after the IAEA completed its dismantling of Saddam's covert nuclear weapons program after the 1991 Gulf war. [IAEA spokeswoman Melissa] Fleming said HMX also had civilian and conventional military applications.

The October 25 Times article quoted a "senior Bush administration official" insisting the explosives were not weapons of mass destruction: "This is a high explosives risk, but not necessarily a proliferation risk," the official told the Times.