Tuesday, October 26, 2004

An "Explosive" Scoop Turns out to be a Dud

As we enter the last full week before the election, the elite media are desperate to serve up as many anti-Bush hit pieces as possible. The New York Times got the ball rolling with a lengthy article Monday morning on a stockpile of missing explosives in Iraq:

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

The article clearly implies that the Bush Administration through gross incompetence left this stockpile unsecured and allowed its contents to be looted. Naturally, the Kerry campaign immediately seized on this story.

Unfortunately for the Times, NBC News reported the following in its Monday night newscast:

"NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)"

In other words, the explosives in question were already gone when our troops arrived on the scene, only one day after the fall of Baghdad. So much for this expose.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops - not so fast. That's been discredited, by none other than the unit commander.

....disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell.

***But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the site and had merely stopped there overnight.***

The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second 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.

Colonel Anderson, who is now the chief of staff for the division and who spoke by telephone from Fort Campbell, Ky., said his troops had been driving north toward Baghdad and had paused at Al Qaqaa to make plans for their next push.

"We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave that very same day. The plan was not to go in there and start searching. It looked like all the other ammunition supply points we had seen already."

What had been, for the colonel and his troops, an unremarkable moment during the sweep to Baghdad took on new significance this week, after The New York Times, working with the CBS News program "60 Minutes," reported that the explosives at Al Qaqaa, mainly HMX and RDX, had disappeared since the invasion.

Earlier this month, officials of the interim Iraqi government informed the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that the explosives disappeared sometime after the fall of Mr. Hussein on April 9, 2003. Al Qaqaa, which has been unguarded since the American invasion, was looted in the spring of 2003, and looters were seen there as recently as Sunday.

President Bush's aides told reporters that because the soldiers had found no trace of the missing explosives on April 10, they could have been removed before the invasion. They based their assertions on a report broadcast by NBC News on Monday night that showed video images of the 101st arriving at Al Qaqaa.

By yesterday afternoon Mr. Bush's aides had moderated their view, saying it was a "mystery" when the explosives disappeared and that Mr. Bush did not want to comment on the matter until the facts were known.

So, in other words, the explosives did disappear after we invaded Iraq, and it is the Bush administration's screw up - one of many.

7:16 PM  

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