ABC News says an affiliate, KSTP, of St. Paul, Minn., took film of Al Qaqaa on April 18 that shows barrels of HMX.
This raises questions, to be sure.
First, as ABC says, “It remains unclear how much HMX was at the facility.”
Was it anything close to 380 tons? Was there RDX as well — as the Times alleged –or was that already gone? Remember, that ABC said yesterday that it had obtained an IAEA memo saying that of the 141 tons of RDX said to have been stored at al Qaqaa as of July 2002, only 3 tons remained by January 2003.
If there were still several hundred tons of explosives at the facility, how could that have been removed without U.S. military authorities being aware of it? We’re figuring roughly ten tons to a truck, I believe. And who could have organized that? The “insurgency” was not organized at that point.
On the other hand, if only a relatively small amount that was taken, well that’s a lapse but it doesn’t means much in the scheme of things. We now know what we wouldn’t have known had there not been an invasion: that Saddam Hussein had weapons, ammunitions and explosives caches all over the country. (We won’t discuss the mass graves also found since the liberation; that’s a separate issue — though not one that deserves to be ignored as it has been..)
Also worth noting: None of this was known to Senator Kerry when he began to attack President Bush on this issue. His basis of information, one must assume, was a single story in The New York Times. If he had other sources of information, what were they?
President Bush, by contrast, based his actions on the information he received from the CIA and other agencies of the Intelligence Community, and on the guidance he received from the Pentagon and from the military commanders in the field.
Earlier this week, Kerry’s senior foreign policy advisor, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, said candidly that no one knows what happened or didn’t at Al Qaqaa. Is it really OK for Senator Kerry to say, in effect: “I don’t know what happened, but I know who to blame”?
And would anyone really expect a President of the United States – any President of the United States — to so micro-manage a war that he’d personally supervise the seizure and examination of every ammo dump in Iraq?
Also: The bigger issue – which Andy McCarthy first raised – remains. Saddam was prohibited from having these materials. Back in 1996, the IAEA was told to destroy these materials – but did not. IAEA “seals” hardly prevented Saddam from getting access to these explosives whenever he wanted to – and, again according to ABC – tons of RDX were missing long before the US arrived in Iraq.
The ABC story is here.