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How To Loot 380 Tons Of Explosives

One of Ed Morrissey's readers, retired Army Captain Ian Dodgson, did some logistics calculations as to how easy (or hard) it would be to "loot" the HMX and RDX that was supposedly made off with by ordinary Iraqi citizens at Al-Qaqaa.

What would it take? You can read the whole thing at Captain's Quarters, but here's the summary:

Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the "right" explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP.
It's like your mom used to say, "well it didn't just get up and walk away..."


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How To Loot 380 Tons Of Explosives:

» Passionate America linked with UN loses Explosives in Iraq.

» Perpetual Notions linked with The Case of the Mysteriously Appearing Propaganda

» The Antiprotester Journal linked with Elect a Leftist Traitor. Elect Kerry

» Synthstuff - music, photography and more... linked with The explosives that were not there

Comments (31)

Well, it was there in the m... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Well, it was there in the middle of March and then it was gone sometime in mid-late April (if I am following things right) so somebody did something with it.

Also just yesterday Paul wa... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

Also just yesterday Paul was talking about it only taking 4 trucks. Now it is a 100 men, two weeks?

If it was such a big worry.... (Below threshold)

If it was such a big worry...why was it left there in the first place? With all the bribes and such that we are finding out with the O.F.F.,how do we know that the amount of explosives that was reportedly put there was the actual amount there...maybe they kept a little and cooked the books a bit? With all that stuff just sitting in his backyard,why wouldn't Saddam think he could get away with making some wmd's that just lacked the explosives? Personally I still think Quadaffi(sp?) gave up all Saddam's wmd's..no real loss for him and he got his sanctions lifted.

The estimate assumes that i... (Below threshold)

The estimate assumes that it was carried out and loaded by individuals carrying it by hand. Is Iraq so backward that they don't have forklift trucks?

Only idiot Liberals would a... (Below threshold)

Only idiot Liberals would allege that weapons and explosives of that magnitude would be stolen under the noses of our military. In their fanaticism against Bush, they are ridiculing our soldiers and marines in Iraq -- same as they did in Nam.

Also just yesterday Paul... (Below threshold)

Also just yesterday Paul was talking about it only taking 4 trucks. Now it is a 100 men, two weeks?

Bill, the two are not mutually exclusive. If Saddam (or the military) wanted it moved and had large equipment, it would have been easy. Looters would have had a harder time.

I mentioned this fact yesterday either in my post or in the comments, forget which.

The point you are missing (ignorning, spinning, hoping no one else will see) is that 380 tons of stuff just does not get looted. Some "official" person did this.

And that right there is the... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

And that right there is the first time I have seen anybody give an explanation other than looters.

Before the invasion the UN had an eye on this locations, are we to believe that sometime in the run up to the war (when US and coalition forces were watching almost all of Iraq from the sky) an "offical" person went in with a large number of people and over an extended amount of time removed hundreds of tons of explosives?

If Sadaam move it the UN and the coalition dropped the ball, because we were watching him.

If looters moved it, the military failed to guard the site properly.

Either way it is bad news when 380 tons of explosives goes missing and 18 months later we are just hearing about it - - and not from the administration.

Bill400,000 tons o... (Below threshold)


400,000 tons of explosives were known in Iraq. When we got there we were stunned how much more Saddam had than we knew about.

And you are trying to paint this as a coverup because the Whitehouse did not go postal over 380 tons?

Your desperation is showing.


I am not painting it as any... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

I am not painting it as anything. 380 tons are missing. That is it. The desperation seems to be coming from the need to post numerous times about why 380 tons of explosive missing isn't a big deal.

AND BTW if this bunker was ... (Below threshold)

AND BTW if this bunker was so important, you are making the case that invading Iraq was the right thing to do.

See, when you have no core values and you live for the spin you vanish in a puff of logic.

Sadly for you I can read...... (Below threshold)

Sadly for you I can read....

"Either way it is bad news when 380 tons of explosives goes missing and 18 months later we are just hearing about it - - and not from the administration."


I am not painting it as anything.

Come on Bill at least make this challenging or I get bored.

Bill, we _did_ hear about i... (Below threshold)

Bill, we _did_ hear about it right around April 2003. That's part of why this is so insane.

Oh, and it's the difference between 4x extra-weight tractor trailers and a pile of pickups. Even if they aren't 'hiding' to loot, it takes more pickups. Far more.

What is this with "the US is watching, so you can't do _anything_"? We aren't gods. Get serious. Tractor trailers in Iraq outnumber the average 'available' US Satellites by _at_least_ 2 orders of magnitude. I wouldn't be shocked if it was 5 orders of magnitude. (that's 5 vs. 100,000 or so - guestimates) That's a heck of a lot of surveillance to add to the list of things to watch. While trying to find the real Saddam, and 101 other mission critical things.

After they've failed supervision of every single country they've _ever_ been asked to monitor, taking the IAEA story at face value is... bizarre. (North Korea, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, I'm not sure if they were asked to monitor India, South Africa came clean on their own...)

Al, Bill (and others) are r... (Below threshold)

Al, Bill (and others) are reduced to making what I now call the "parking defense." Let me explain.

A friend of mine went to the casino and won $10,000 on a progressive slot machine. He was telling me the story and he got to the point where he said "So the wheels came up 7-7-7 and I won ten thousand dollars."

When his wife chimed in... "Well, you paid 4 dollars to park."

How am I making the case fo... (Below threshold)
Bill K:

How am I making the case for us to invade Iraq? The case to invade Iraq was based on WMD's (Nuclear or Chemical) not explosives.

OOOOH so they are "super de... (Below threshold)

OOOOH so they are "super deadly we outta be scared as hell of them" weapons when you think you can blame Bush for losing them....

BUT "Just garden variety weapons" when it is mentioned that we should have taken them from Saddam.

Spin Spin Spin

Bill, this is either-or.</p... (Below threshold)

Bill, this is either-or.

The equipment that the IAEA _certified_ as present in 1998 was _weaponized_ "32 high-explosive shock wave based nuclear triggers".

Now they aren't there.

From looking at the IAEA site, (which has detailed lists of where each team was on a daily basis.) I CAN NOT see where they certified that this equipment was present in Nov 2002-March 2003. I see two different visits to the 23,000 acre site, one by chemists interested in the chemical plant, and one looking at rocket propellant. But I don't see any citation of 'Found the nuclear triggers we were expecting.' Because the cited reason for the visit is something else entirely.



This one's amusing - _another_ 32 tons of missing HMX. Or perhaps the same. Who knows.

This is one thing where 'dual-use' is completely asinine. What, you use it as an espresso maker? Nutcracker? Grape-peeler?

Bill K, this story was firs... (Below threshold)

Bill K, this story was first reported in 2003. In fact, Dana Lewis, then with NBC and now with Fox, was there with the troops and reported on Al-Qaaqa explosives site. This was simply the left-wing morons and the Kerry people with their comrades in the MSM trying to pull a fast one. I have a feeling these tons and tons of explosives were moved out of Iraq prior to the invasion -- and perhaps they are located in an area in which the WMD were relocated. Hey, we can all play the conjecture game -- it's just Libs report conjecture as accurate news.

Rich makes a good point -- ... (Below threshold)

Rich makes a good point -- the UN is the basis for this report. Who in their right mind believe anything that corrupt institution's people say?

How is it that this 380 ton... (Below threshold)
Remy Logan:

How is it that this 380 tons of explosives aren't considered WMD. After all, as every Liberal will tell you, you only need a pound of this stuff to take down an airliner. There is enough explosives floating around to take out every airplane, train, and bus. And this is only 1/100th of what Sadaam Hussein had.

Is it just me, or are the Democrats being hypocrits on this issue?

Repost - ( Since you moved ... (Below threshold)

Repost - ( Since you moved )...

- Bill K...Most of the time you and I see eye to eye on things, mainly because you evidence a high level of intelligence and common sense, separating any personal issues you may have with your politics and blogmenting with good reasoning, articulation, and impeccable fact checking. Every now and then you slide into the rhetorical slipstream of the moonies....

- This is just exactly what it seems. A last minute pot shot at the Bush Admin, carping on every infinitesimal detail that can possible be dug up. The obligatory "October surprise"....

- I echo what one of the Bush RNC people emailed to Drudge...."What the hell does this mean.....Is Kerry now saying we didn't go into Iraq soon enough???"....

- The IAEA is pissed off because the Bush people didn't give them more years of negotiation while Iraqi women and children died, deprived of the OFF funds Saddam was busily siphoning off in concert with France, Germany, Russian and who knows what other countries. Bush's preemption made them look bad and this is payback...

- At least you begrudgingly admit to the duplicitous plans of CBS... Plans that were no doubt thwarted in some part by your own very excellent efforts in exposing their fraudulent partisan bias during MemoGate...

- While all this non-issue nit-picking is going on the OFF scandal gets deeper and deeper, and "HanoiGate" lays in the public domain going unreported by our upright journalistically challenged friends in the MSM....

- One more hit that has legs and Kerry bites it....

There is no evidence as to ... (Below threshold)

There is no evidence as to what was at the Holy City of El-Ca-Ca (or El-Qaaqa, whichever is your preference) or where the contents of El-Qaaqa went. So in short this is a non-story. Not that that ever stopped the MSM from reporting non-stories. I liken it to the negative inference. For instance, the NY Times frontpage headline: FBI REFUSES TO INVESTIGATE CHUCK SCHUMER. Okay, so the FBI believes there's nothing to investigate regarding Senator Schumer, but readers are left wondering, "Well why aren't they investigating Schumer? Is Schumer hiding something? Are the FBI agents refusing to do their duty? The media should pressure the FBI to investigate Schumer."

You get my drift. I can write an entire article on why the FBI refuses to investigate Bill K. And it would be true, but it wouldn't be honest. It places Bill K's integrity in doubt without a drop of evidence. The DNC regulars like Lanny Davis, Paul Begala, etc. are experts in this use of their media comrades.

Jim,I think that c... (Below threshold)
Bill K:


I think that can be said for people on the right as well. I think it can be said about a lot of people that have an agenda in general.

I honestly don't mind if people disagree with my opinion on things, but the response of, "you're just spinning" reaks more of playground taunt than civil discourse. In this instance, for one, you don't have to toe the party line to believe what is being published by, oh, everybody. Unless every single journalist in America is full of malice, this should be taken as a serious matter; regardless if you believe the material was looted or moved by Sadaam, Al-Qaeda, or on Bin Laden's back.

- Bill - Ok....lets say tha... (Below threshold)

- Bill - Ok....lets say that some how the materials got moved while the Iraqi initial fighting was ongoing....So what....All kinds of tactical things happen in a war...The very fact that the Islamists fight in asymmetrical faction dictates this kind of operational approach....and sometimes they will be successful...Again so what....For Kerry to try to reach to make this some kind of personal failing on the part of the President is just plain ludicrous...

- 380 tons out of what we now believe may have been over a million tons initially just isn't that big a deal when viewed in the light of all the other things the troops had to accomplish, particularly at the very beginning of the war.....

- Kerry's camp rushing into the game with the Ad is going to come back to bite him...Even today he keeps it up....Somebody in the DNC is giving him very bad advice....Had advanced warning on this hit piece... and is showing the signs of last minute desperation......

- Lastly look at the source of the information....In view of everything going on right now at the UN that all by itself, considering the timing and the rather nebulous evidence ( something I think is intended to make it harder to refute ), should be enough to at least raise your antenna's and cause you to take a wait and see position...Unlike Madman McAauliffe and company.....

Interestingly, the NYTimes ... (Below threshold)
John Anderson:

Interestingly, the NYTimes (and CBS, which had intended to do the story Oct 31! October surprise!)
knew very well there was a good chance they were wrong. In the article itself, a bit more than
half-way in -
'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."'

NZBear also noted this.

It may have been a very cursory inspection (April 10? One day after Saddam's statue was taken
down on TV?), but to know troops (and an NBC reporter) went through at least some of it and
not try to find out
is more than irresponsible, it is tantamount to a direct lie. Three
sentences of a four-online-page article is not sufficient for a copout.

Note - Josh Marshall says the Pentagon says nothing like a search (except a quick look for
enemy personnel) was done until May 27. No IAEA-sealed explosives were found. Again, though,
neither the Times or, apparently, CBS actually asked anyone. Notice the IAEA seems to
have sat on this for 17 months, until just before the election, out of consideration for us. Just
coincidence that the US has been making noises for longer than that about removing the head of
the agency.

Hunter,I think you... (Below threshold)
Bill K:


I think you make decent points. But, as the right said it was okay to attack Kerry on Vietnam because he made it the central issue, Kerry has the right to attack Bush on Iraq - - his central issue.

There are obviously honest mistakes and enemy victories that can't always be pinned on the commander and chief... to think otherwise is naive. That being said, you live by the sword you die by the sword. Bush is refusing to admit any mistakes, stubbornly disallowing foreign governments that initially balked at the war to help out, and claiming success while the area is boiling over with tragedy. Though this instance might not be his fault, it is his initiative and for that he must take credit.

Bill - I don't think anyone... (Below threshold)

Bill - I don't think anyone questions Kerry's right to attack Bush on Iraq, as that's most of what he's been doing lately. If Kerry attacks on Iraq he has to answer for his own positions on Iraq. I must say I was disappointed he didn't do the interview with Bob Woodward, since he had an opportunity to actually explain on a point by point basis what he would do differently.

Monday morning quarterbacking is always easier than Sunday afternoon.. Just because he attacks doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't pick apart his motives...

- I can absolutely concur w... (Below threshold)

- I can absolutely concur with that....It just seems you'd want issue's more definitive than the types we've seen coming from the left in this campaign....

- For those in the political arena that think going negative is a panancea I saw something interesting today on FOX....It seems that a carefully controlled group of undecided's claim that after the whole Moore flap, including viewing his film, 67% said it made them move over to Bush.....Apparently negative, to be effective, requires the same elements as comedy....Timing and content.....

Kevin,You are abso... (Below threshold)
Bill K:


You are absolutely right that Kerry's own position on Iraq should open to criticism. It has to be. The problem that I have with Bush and places like Fox News right now (I just saw Hannity going nuts about this) is that they aren't really defending the missing of the explosives, or attacking Kerry's Iraq policy, they are only attacking Kerry for blaming Bush for this.

Only 7 more days...

<a href="http://www.iaea.or... (Below threshold)


This is a better link.
The IAEA was discussing missing HMX (-some- missing HMX) in January 2003.

Seems like a complete list of inspections - I haven't found the one "Checked Al Qaqaa to see if HMX is stored where we put it" starting at April and going backwards through to January. Several visits to Al Qaqaa - to inspect missiles, inspect the facilities at chemical plants, and to destroy missiles. None mention 'nuclear triggers' or anything remotely similar as a reason for the visit.

AP: Lt. Gen Boykin says spe... (Below threshold)

AP: Lt. Gen Boykin says special weapons team inspected site March 27th and found nothing...


Stones Cry Out

"AP: Lt. Gen Boykin says sp... (Below threshold)

"AP: Lt. Gen Boykin says special weapons team inspected site March 27th and found nothing..."

I'm an idiot. Ignore previous comment. The article I link to says May 27, not March 27. Sorry.






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