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Monday, October 25, 2004

Remember back in April 2003, just after American tanks rolled into Baghdad, how up in arms all of us crazy liberals were about the chaotic looting erupting throughout Iraq? Our biggest concern then was that irreplaceable archaeological treasures were being stolen. Don Rumsfeld responded back then with a shrug and said, "democracy's messy." Ahhhh, the good 'ol days. Turns out, the art museums weren't the only things left unprotected:

"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."
Oops. The New York Times was the first to break the story this morning and provided a little perspective as to how much explosive material we're talking about here: "The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material." Folks, we're talking about 760,000 pounds of this stuff now unaccounted for. If only these munitions had been stored in one of Iraq's oil ministries, then maybe they would've been protected.

UPDATE, 10/27:
The GOP spin machine has been in hyperdrive since the missing Al Qaqaa weapons story broke. At first, even though they've known about it for months, the Bushies feigned 'shock and awe' and promised to "get to the bottom of this." They then began offering up a litany of deflections and blame. They blamed the Iraqis, the UN, the liberal media and finally, John Kerry. Bush said today, "A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief." And what about a commander in chief who jumps to war without knowing all the facts?

No matter what spin the Republicans try to put on this, this incident reeks of mismanagement. If the commanders of this invasion were so certain that Iraq had WMD, why didn't they make every effort to secure the borders? You'd think that the administration's top priority would've been to prevent WMD and weapons like the ones at Al Qaqaa from being carted off to Syria, Iran or god knows where - isn't that what we went to war to prevent in the first place? They knew about this massive weapons cache before the invasion, so why not do everything possible to secure it? They should've been monitoring this constantly to prevent the worse from happening: losing track of them altogether.

In response to all this, John Kerry had the following words for President Bush: "Your administration was warned, you were put on notice but you didn't put these explosives on priority lists, you didn't think it was important. You didn't give the troops the instructions they need, you didn't guard the ammunition dumps and now our troops are at greater risk." Bush responded: "The senator is denigrating the action of our troops and commanders in the field." No sir, actually, Kerry's comments are denigrating your leadership, not the troops.

Frankly, all this spin smells like a bunch of Qaqaa to me.

UPDATE, 10/28:
Hey Bush, you wanna know what denigrating the troops sounds like?
"No matter how you try and blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops who were there. Did they search carefully enough, didn't they search carefully enough?" - Rudy Giuliani, stumping for Bush on the Today Show, October 28, 2004
Now that's what I call denigrating the troops, way to go Rudy!

Think the Bush administration is doing a good job of keeping us safe?
Iraq War fuels recruits for al Qaeda
Iraq War Stimulated World Terrorism
Misunderestimating Terrorism

FYI: Joshua Marshall over at Talking Points has been all over the
Al Qaqaa story.

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