Monday, October 25, 2004

We're Safer with Saddam Hussein Gone

You've heard it said many times "The world is safer with Saddam Hussein behind bars." Here's an excerpt from a Bush speech:
We are safer -- we are safer and the world is better off because Saddam is sitting in a prison cell. ... And when you put your troops in harm's way, you better have the best -- the best equipment, the best support, and the best possible pay.

Well, today's New York Times has some very bad news. We're in much, much greater danger.

You see, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been inspecting things in Iraq, for a long time. They had a pretty good handle on exactly what Iraq did and did not have. One of the things Iraq did have were substances known as RDX and HMX. They're some pretty nasty explosives, often used for mining and building demolition, they can also be used as triggers for nuclear weapons. The IAEA had sealed the cache of this material in a facility called Al Qaqaa.

They thought, before we invaded, that it would be good to make sure that the facility was going to be guarded, so bad guys couldn't get to the material, so they warned the administration. From the NYT article:
The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats said in interviews last week. Administration officials say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded...

These explosives are not WMDs, but they're much more powerful than regular dynamite, relatively easy and safe to transport, and easy to turn into "improvised explosive devices" also called IEDs.

When you hear about one of our troops running over an IED, guess what's in it? That's right - exactly the kind of explosive material Bush failed to secure.
In May, an internal I.A.E.A. memorandum warned that terrorists might be helping "themselves to the greatest explosives bonanza in history."


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 administration's response to the IAEA warnings?

But the Bush administration would not allow the agency back into the country to verify the status of the stockpile. In May 2004, Iraqi officials say in interviews, they warned L. Paul Bremer III, the American head of the occupation authority, that Al Qaqaa had probably been looted. It is unclear if that warning was passed anywhere. Efforts to reach Mr. Bremer by telephone were unsuccessful.

But by the spring of 2004, the Americans were preoccupied with the transfer of authority to Iraq, and the insurgency was gaining strength. "It's not an excuse," said one senior administration official. "But a lot of things went by the boards."

No one knows where this particular stuff went, but it's a good bet that a few ounces here and there are finding their way into the IEDs killing and maiming our soldiers.

So how big a problem is it to have this much explosive in the hands of terrorists? Well, some folks did some calculations. With the amount that's missing from this ONE facility, you could bring down 760,000 passenger jets, or 1,200 skyscrapers, or create 1 car bomb a day for 200 years.

In the excerpt above, Bush said we needed to have the best protection, the best support, and the best pay for our troops. He didn't provide those things, but worse than that, he sent our troops to fight his pet war against a weak, harmless country only to face a new enemy he armed through his own failure. His incompetence has betrayed the men and women who are being maimed by insurgents armed with explosives he couldn't bother to safeguard.

With friends like George, who needs enemies?


Blogger Rik said...

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3:02 AM  

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