?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
It's about keeping us safe? - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
It's about keeping us safe?
People have been dismissed as "hopeless idealists" and sometimes even "conspiracy theorists" for pointing out the the Oil Ministry was secured by US forces upon entering Baghdad while Iraq's National Library was left unattended. Protecting Iraq's cultural history from looting so severe that it has been compared to the sacking of the Library of Alexandria was not "mission critical," we were told. The role of US forces in Iraq was to remove an immediate threat to our safety and to the safety of the world, we were told.

Imagine my complete lack of surprise when I woke to this story:

VIENNA (Reuters) - Nearly 380 tons of explosives are missing from a site near Baghdad that was part of Saddam Hussein's dismantled atom bomb program but was never secured by the U.S. military, the United Nations said Monday.

The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, will immediately report the matter to the U.N. Security Council, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The missing explosives could potentially be used to detonate a nuclear weapon or in conventional weapons, the agency said.

"ElBaradei has decided to inform the Security Council today," spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

The New York Times, which broke the story Monday, said U.S. weapons experts feared the explosives could be used in bombing attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces, which have come under increasing fire ahead of Iraq's elections due in January.

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been barred from most of Iraq since the war and has watched from afar as its former nuclear sites have been systematically stripped by looters.

Fleming said ElBaradei informed Washington of the seriousness of the matter on Oct. 15 after learning about the disappearance of the explosives on Oct. 10.

One substance found in large quantities at the Al Qaqaa facility was the explosive HMX, which Fleming said had "a potential use in a nuclear explosive device as a detonator."

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.

Fleming said HMX also had civilian and conventional military applications. In the months prior to the second Gulf war, the IAEA was certain that none of the dual-use materials were being used in a nuclear weapons program.

Diplomats at the IAEA have warned that materials useable in nuclear weapons could easily be shipped out of Iraq and sold to countries like Iran or terrorist groups believed to be interested in acquiring nuclear weapons.

U.S. FAILED TO SECURE KNOWN NUCLEAR SITE

The New York Times report cited White House and Pentagon officials -- as well as at least one Iraqi minister -- as acknowledging that the explosives vanished from the site shortly after the U.S.-led invasion amid widespread looting.

The minister of science and technology, Rashad M. Omar, confirmed the explosives were missing in an interview with The Times and CBS Television in Baghdad.

A Western diplomat close to the IAEA, who declined to be named, said it was difficult to understand why the U.S. military had failed to secure the facility despite knowing how sensitive the site was.

"This was a very well known site. If you could have picked a few sites that you would have to secure then ... Al Qaqaa would certainly be one of the main ones," the diplomat said.

U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was informed about the missing explosives only within the last month, the Times said, adding that it was unclear whether President Bush was aware.

U.S. administration officials said Sunday the Iraq Survey Group, the Central Intelligence Agency task force that searched for unconventional weapons, had been ordered to investigate the disappearance, the newspaper said.

Vienna diplomats said the IAEA had cautioned the United States about the danger of the explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told U.S. officials about the need to keep the them secured. (Louis Charbonneau/Washington Post)

380 tons of explosives. Imagine that for a moment. Then, take a moment to think about 380 tons of high-grade [edited] explosives left unsecured in a location known by the US government long enough for ALL OF IT to be taken away.

Anyone else want to take the position that this deployment has not been a mismanaged clusterfuck?

No, didn't think so.
13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
canonfire From: canonfire Date: October 25th, 2004 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)

How dead we are.

380 tons.

One daisy cutter (MOAB) bomb = 12,600 lbs/6.25 tons

komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 07:44 am (UTC) (Link)

To point out the obvious

Which is worse?

a) John Kerry voting against a couple of bad bills that had riders to supply additional body armor to troops deployed in Iraq.

b) George W. Bush rushing to deploy troops who had not been properly equiped and then permitting 380 TONS of enriched explosives to go missing in the area of deployment.
canonfire From: canonfire Date: October 25th, 2004 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: To point out the obvious

and Clinton was impeached.

If Bush is elected, we're in serious trouble.

No one remembers the Texas Rangers baseball team.

komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)

I know!

Oh, I remember the Rangers. In fact, the Boston Phoenix ran an article about that whole affair when Dubya was still a lowly state governor with aspirations to the presidency.
From: uruz Date: October 25th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
To play Devil's Advocate, I have a few thoughts:

1) There's those who say that Hussein never restarted his nuclear program, like the CIA, but he had interest. Who's telling the truth?

2) Those explosives could've been part of the process to enrich uranium. IIRC, (and I could be entirely wrong on this) they detonate explosives around the unranium to "compress" it and create something hyperdense, so it's radioactive. Or something.
hfx_ben From: hfx_ben Date: October 25th, 2004 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It's high quality HE, to be used in that program, but it's not radioactive ... it's just really really really good HE.
*sigh*

I wonder who profited by selling it to Hussein? (Just as likely Germany or France as England or USA, truth be told ... it's a filthy business. That's why Alfred Nobel invested his TNT profits into the prize that bears his name.)
komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It's no secret that the reason the US knew so much about Hussein's capabilities is because a good portion of those capabilities were due to materials we supplied to him.

But recall, nothing that happened prior to 1992 is relevant to this discussion.
gnodal From: gnodal Date: October 26th, 2004 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
"... nothing that happened prior to 1992 is relevant to this discussion."
Such an important point, that people really do think that way ... amazing how some people in positions of real power and decision-making authority actually do frame the arguments that way. (It's a neat trick, and they're keenly aware of the fact that they're doing it.)

Ummmm ... I'm assuming that you were being ironic / sarcastic with this.
komos From: komos Date: October 27th, 2004 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Ummmm ... I'm assuming that you were being ironic / sarcastic with this.

Indeed I am. I'm rather displeased over the cultivated ignorance this administration has relied upon to move its agenda forward.

In all honesty, I think everything that's happening is in part the legacy of European imperialism, and in part the direct result of our meddling in the region throughout the Cold War. It's a complex issue, and those of us who attempt to explain it shouldn't be silenced just because we begin to talk about events that occurred outside of the short attention span that seems to be typical of the American public.
komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)

From the article

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.

Fleming said HMX also had civilian and conventional military applications. In the months prior to the second Gulf war, the IAEA was certain that none of the dual-use materials were being used in a nuclear weapons program.


The site was monitored by the IAEA until the US booted the organization in preparation for our occupation liberation of the country. As to Hussein's "having interest," yes, he did. "Having interest in" and having components closely monitored by an international oversight agency is a far cry from being the "imminent global threat" he was sold to us as.

Incidentally, nuclear programs are a far more complex issue than what this administration would have you believe. Yes, desire for weapons have been a factor, but research has also been driven by badly outdated electric infrastructures that have been insufficient to meet needs since the 1970s.

But we're not supposed to know that because it kind of detracts from the clear and present danger posed by Islamo-fascists bent on destruction of all civilization.
komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 10:42 am (UTC) (Link)
One more thought... if this stockpile really was part of the much vaunted danger of Hussein's nuclear weapons program, then why wasn't securing the site a priority? And regardless of your stance on whether the war was necessary, how can you possibly argue that the administration is making the world safer?

380 Tons. TONS.
hfx_ben From: hfx_ben Date: October 25th, 2004 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)

No surprise here

Then:
"US commander complained low supplies threatened combat readiness in Iraq
(WASHINGTON (AFP) Oct 18, 2004)
''The commander of US forces in Iraq complained to the US Army's brass in December that spare parts for tanks and other gear were in such low supply that it was threatening his forces ability to sustain combat operations, the army confirmed Monday.
An army spokesman said the army was aware of the supply problems and was working to correct them at the time of Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez's December 4 letter to top Army leaders.
The Washington Post, which first reported on the letter, said Sanchez wrote that army units in Iraq were "struggling just to maintain ... relatively low readiness rates" of key combat systems such as M1A1 Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, anti-mortar radars and Black Hawk helicopters.'' [emph added - hfx_ben]

Now:
"Iraq Equipment at Heart of Controversy - "Faced With Maintenance Controversy, U.S. Military Says It Does Its Best to Keep Equipment in Good Order" (AP Oct 18, 2004)
"Blowing sand. Blistering heat. Shrapnel-spewing roadside bombs. The U.S. Army says it does its best to keep its hard-pressed vehicles and helicopters running despite these conditions, but soldiers say Iraq sometimes trumps their best efforts.
Now maintenance is at the heart of the controversy over an Army Reserve unit that refused to carry fuel along one of Iraq's most dangerous stretches of road. "
Remember: in the briefing shortly before the attack, military commanders were shown a presentation that ended with the slide: "Security and stabilization - To Be Provided"
komos From: komos Date: October 25th, 2004 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: No surprise here

And lets not forget a no-bid government contractor that was gouging the military on fuel costs and supplied MREs that contained sand and human blood to our troops.

If this were a Democratic president, he would have faced impeachment by now.

If this were ancient Rome, those responsible would have been slowly bled to death and then fed to stray dogs.
13 comments or Leave a comment