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Explosives Vanish Into Thin Air

The New York Times leads with a story about 380 tons of explosives missing in Iraq. Given the initial wildly inaccurate reports about looting, some level of suspicion should be given to these initial reports. If the material has gone missing, of course that's bad news.

It's not until page 3 of the report that the circumstances of the disappearance are discussed.

A senior Bush administration official said that during the initial race to Baghdad, American forces "went through the bunkers, but saw no materials bearing the I.A.E.A. seal." It is unclear whether troops ever returned.

By late 2003, diplomats said, arms agency experts had obtained commercial satellite photos of Al Qaqaa showing that two of roughly 10 bunkers that contained HMX appeared to have been leveled by titanic blasts, apparently during the war. They presumed some of the HMX had exploded, but that is unclear.

Other HMX bunkers were untouched. Some were damaged but not devastated. I.A.E.A. experts say they assume that just before the invasion the Iraqis followed their standard practice of moving crucial explosives out of buildings, so they would not be tempting targets. If so, the experts say, the Iraqi must have broken seals from the arms agency on bunker doors and moved most of the HMX to nearby fields, where it would have been lightly camouflaged - and ripe for looting.

The possibility that the material was shipped out of the country before or after the war to either Syria or Iran is not examined.

Final thought - Terrorist organizations weren't exactly having a hard time getting a hold of C-4 to make explosive devices before this incident, but finding stocks of it out in the open desert was probably a bonanza for someone.

Interesting: The ingredients in HMX and RDX look like cheese, caviar, Pepperridge Farm cheddar goldfish, and Dippin' Dots.

Update: Tom Maguire explores the possibilities that there is more to the story than the Times ins reporting. You can add this May 25, 2004 report on a pipeline of shipments to Syria that the Pentagon is investigating to the list of things that make you wonder if this is not new news, but a rehash of existing news made to sound most ominous by... 60 Minutes.


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Comments (14)

I can only speak on my beha... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I can only speak on my behalf, but, at this point, I don't pay attention to any "information" I read "reported by" the NYTimes. I only pay attention to HOW it's reported.

The NYTimes is just a degenerated DNC rag. What once was a source of information is now a source of emotional partisanship. Unreliable. I get the impression that they chose what to "report" on inorder to lend incredulity to issues. Otherwise, I give up.

I heard on FOX News earlier this morning that an entire neighborhood in FL woke up to find that they'd been delivered individual homes' copies of the NYTimes. No one was/is a subscriber. But the headline blares more "anti Bush" rhetoric, so it's not too difficult to see why those copies were distrubited where.

Honestly, can a "news" source ever stoop so low? Do they have no shame left? It's such partisan hacking that I am even embarrassed on their behalf.

Wait. No, I'm not.

This is OLD, RECYCLED news.... (Below threshold)
Gary:

This is OLD, RECYCLED news.

The NYT ignores known facts... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

The NYT ignores known facts when they disregard this article, I bet they ran one just like it themselves.

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040525-121749-1468r.htm

380 tons is 13 truckloads, if the bothered abiding by American standards for trucking, which we all know they didn't. More half-truths from a liberal bird cage liner.

I agree with Gary. I remem... (Below threshold)
Phil:

I agree with Gary. I remember this from several months ago. This is a reload by the NYT for the election.

bullwinkle.... exactly my p... (Below threshold)
Gary:

bullwinkle.... exactly my point. OLD, RECYCLED news. And the WMDs probably went the same route prior to the invasion and are located somewhere in the Bekaa Valley.

The NYT/DNC will, of course, go into a double spin-cycle before GWB hangs them out to dry.

The only thing that is bein... (Below threshold)
NeilS:

The only thing that is being recycled are the explosives which are being used to kill our troops. I can't believe how you guys are ignoring all of the foul ups that have occurred in Iraq. If you support the war, as I do, then you should be screaming mad that we aren't trying to win it. For God's sake, these high explosives were stolen on our watch. Why? Because inspite of warnings from the Army Chief of Staff, pleas from Bremer, McCain, Hagel and Lugar, the Defense department and I fear the President wanted to do this job on the cheap. Now it will cost many lives and billions of dollars more simply because we didn't do the job right in the first place.

Let me see... I'm sure thos... (Below threshold)
Gary:

Let me see... I'm sure those explosives (if they are in fact still in country... which they probably are not), just on their own, jumped up and killed our troops. Seems we need some human, terrorist intervention to make that happen. Terrorists have had no problem getting these explosives for some time and everyone knows the entire country is awash in small arms. So... that suggests that terrorists, not explosives/arms, are killing people.

Seems I've heard this argument before from liberals in our own country... oh yes.. of course... gun control!!!

This needs updating. The be... (Below threshold)
Ron:

This needs updating. The best likelihood so far is 1. they were long gone before we got there and 2. the IAEA is doing this to embarrass the Bush Admin.

Is it possible that these e... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Is it possible that these explosives were shipped out of Iraq along with WMDs before the invasion took place? Remember the Gulf War? Saddam had his air force fly their planes in Iran in order to save them from US destruction. Shoot! They had more than enough time to ship out explosives, WMD, etc. while we were dancing with the UN and the French. Oh, wait... we did rush to war according to that military genius John Kerry

should read: into Iran... (Below threshold)
Jim:

should read: into Iran

Well, the most interesting ... (Below threshold)
andre3000:

Well, the most interesting fact that wasn't mentioned (you know, the dog that didn't bark?) is the fact that none of these explosives have been used in any attacks on US troops. That might have solved the "mystery" of where the explosives went. Most likely they are under lock and key in Syria.

The typical attack is with either mortars, RPGs or other conventional bombs rigged as IEDs, not HMX or whatever the hell they're calling this stuff. Considering the country was absolutely swimming in those conventional arms located at hundreds of sites, some of which are absolutely huge, it is unreasonable to argue that every bit of them could ever have been secured by US forces.

Should they have done a better job? Probably, but I don't recall Senatron Kerry ever delivering a policy speech demanding a more comprehensive job of guarding and destroying old Iraqi munitions.

And again, this stinks of the Donny George Iraqi Museum story. Millions of artifacts just carted off in a few hours of looting. Yeah, right.

Not sure what we're expecti... (Below threshold)
Clay Jarr:

Not sure what we're expecting from a rag that hasn't endorsed a Republican presidential candidate since Eisenhower.

Wow. That means they missed Reagan - twice.

Regardless of when the weap... (Below threshold)
bruce:

Regardless of when the weapons were removed, Republicans should not be playing defense, but should be using this story to blast Kerry. But sadly the Republicans seem to have completely missed the real point of the story. Truth is nothing could be more supportive of what the President has done than Kerry's hyperbole on this issue.

Kerry Says wrong war because Iraq's weapons didn't threaten U.S.
He also says loss of 400 tons (1% of total) represents a grave risk to the United States.

His 2 statements cannot both be correct. At least one of these is a lie. (actually they could both be false; they just can't both be true).

Which is it?
Are these 1% of weapons a grave threat to us, as Kerry has been saying all week, in which case Kerry is, BY HIS OWN WORDS, wrong in his opposition to the war based on his claim that Saddams weapons were not a threat.
Or is Kerry correct on his anti war position that Saddam had no weapons which threatened us, in which case he is, BY HIS OWN WORDS, wrong when he says he's outraged by the threat these weapons represent.

Incompetence is Kerry's saying Bush gravely threatened our country by not securing 1% of weapons, when Kerry's own policy would have left 400 times that amount in the hands of terrorists.

It's one thing when Kerry spins so much he can't tell when he's calling himself a liar and an incompetent policy maker. But for the Republicans to fail to raise this in speeched and commercials is a real shame.

Regardless of when the weap... (Below threshold)
bruce:

Regardless of when the weapons were removed, Republicans should not be playing defense, but should be using this story to blast Kerry. But sadly the Republicans seem to have completely missed the real point of the story. Truth is nothing could be more supportive of what the President has done than Kerry's hyperbole on this issue.

Kerry Says wrong war because Iraq's weapons didn't threaten U.S.
He also says loss of 400 tons (1% of total) represents a grave risk to the United States.

His 2 statements cannot both be correct. At least one of these is a lie. (actually they could both be false; they just can't both be true).

Which is it?
Are these 1% of weapons a grave threat to us, as Kerry has been saying all week, in which case Kerry is, BY HIS OWN WORDS, wrong in his opposition to the war based on his claim that Saddams weapons were not a threat.
Or is Kerry correct on his anti war position that Saddam had no weapons which threatened us, in which case he is, BY HIS OWN WORDS, wrong when he says he's outraged by the threat these weapons represent.

Incompetence is Kerry's saying Bush gravely threatened our country by losing control of 1% of weapons, when Kerry's own policy would have left 400 times that amount out of our control.

It's one thing when Kerry spins so much he can't tell when he's calling himself a liar and an incompetent policy maker. But for the Republicans to fail to raise this in speeches and commercials is pitiful.




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