October 25, 2004
Bush should've gone into Iraq earlier!
So, lemme get this straight: the 300 tons of explosive that went missing in Iraq went missing before a single one of our soldiers was on the ground? And, the NY Times runs this story 8 days before the election without ever mentioning that fact? Gosh, that kind of makes all the people that commented today about how it's all Bush's fault look kind of stupid, no? Or, just like lackey followers? I can't tell.
Update: Could this get any better? CBS is involved in the misinformation!
Posted by Karol at October 25, 2004 10:27 PM
"[T]hree weeks into the war"?
That leaves whether we could have done something about the looting more ambiguous than you are allowing, no?
Uh, no. They were NEVER found. Therefore, they were never there for our soldiers (or George W. Bush personally) to protect.
Yeah, we're just lackey followers. Not fair and balanced bloggers like you, who linked to a National Review post referring to the account of some NBC reporter embeded with the 101st, and not to, say, this Associated Press story, which includes this tidbit:
"At the Pentagon, an official who monitors developments in Iraq said US-led coalition troops had searched Al-Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since 1991, were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces, the official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity."
Or mention the fact that while official Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita's response ("We do not know when -- if those weapons did exist at that facility -- they were last seen, and under whose control they were last in.") may have muddied the waters, it is hardly convincing evidence that the NYT (and the unnamed Pentagon official, and the IAEA, etc. etc.) got it wrong. In fact, it is downright troubling that the Pentagon's official response is that "hey, don't blame us, we have no idea what's going on."
Bottom line, there is nothing in that silly little post you linked to that contradicts anything in the NYTimes article, and plenty in the NYTimes article that raises more serious questions about the Bush administration's planning for and execution of the Iraq invasion.
If we invaded because we though Iraq had WMDs that could be used against us by terrorists, why the hell wasn't securing those weapons we actually knew about a top priority? And if the answer is, there were so many sites and so little time, well, heck, maybe we should have sent more troops. Or waited until we had some help.
Just one lackey follower's opinion.
Well, first of all George Bush did not make the war plan. Don Rumsfeld did not make the war plan. The actual professionals of the military made the war plan. So, if we are criticizing the war plan, we are calling the military "incompetent," not George Bush. Secondly, Karol is absolutely right. The New York Times has campaigned vigorously for John Kerry right down to the wording of its headlines on jobs reports. It is embarassing. Now, they have been caught.
Rick, they were never found. What did you want our military to do, I just can't understand. Yes, we knew they were there but when we got to the area in which they were supposed to be, THEY WERE NOT THERE. I realize Bush should've put on the 'W' costume and parachuted in Baghdad himself but even that would not make weapons appear that WERE NOT THERE.
A NBC reporter saw that explosives were gone and has video tape to prove it.
Those explosives were in Syria long before we entered Iraq.
So Rick, you are saying we should have invaded Syria before we invaded Iraq. That is the only way we would have ever seen those explosives.
Also we have recovered or destroyed 800,000 tons of explosives in Iraq. If Larry DiRita did not have instant information on 380 tons, we should forgive him.
NBC proves that Karolís post was brilliant and Spot On.
On the other hand that fact that you believe a silly little story in the silly little paper called the New York Times, shows that you are a silly little left-wing lackey follower.
The AP story that Rick linked to puts this reporters judgment into question. It doesn't refute it, but it does support the NY Times account. Furthermore, the NY Times account already quoted someone who said that they did not see the IAEA seal on anything in al Qaqaa. For all we know, the reporter may have conflated this fact with a direct inventory lack of RMX munitions in his memory. Add to that the fact that the reporter's unit didn't make it to the compound until three weeks into the invasion, as Rick noted. Could we have taken out the compound in an airstrike during those three weeks? Maybe, but we didn't. Could we have had high-altitude recon monitoring it during those three weeks? Maybe, but we didn't. But the point is: we really don't know what to make of the reporter's account, and although it adds to the dialogue, it doesn't even warrant a correction by the NY Times.
And would you get off the whole "the President isn't culpable" thing? What do you see the president as culpable for?
Is he culpable for going to war under false pretenses? No, that was bad intelligence.
Is he culpable for tabling the Clarke-Clinton terrorism plan until after 9/11? No, all indications said that other things were more pressing.
Is he culpable for Abu Gharib? No, that was just soldiers acting out.
Is he culpable for the economy? No, the market crash and 9/11 was out of his control. or No president is responsible for the economy(, except the one who preceded this one).
Is he culpable for the rise in health insurance costs? No, that's just lawyers and malpractice issues.
Is he culpable for losing, and failing to search for, 380 tons of one of the best and most transportable conventional high-explosives? No, that was just his military staff's fault
Is he culpable for reading a book to some kids for 7 minutes while the events of 9/11 continued to unfold? No, he was protecting those kids from panic, and we can't judge him anyway, because nobody has been in his shoes
Is he culpable for convincing 50% of Americans and 80% of the world that he's an arrogant and stubborn leader? No, that's their fault for not seeing his wisdom.
C'mon Karol (or any of you)... tell me what sorts of mistakes the office of the President is responsible for? (besides "bad appointments")
I love that Karol is actually YELLING at me that THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ!!!!!
Seriously, Karol, you can say it in all caps, bold, with italics and underline if you want, but that doesn't make it true. Here's what I know:
1) One pentagon official has said, quite clearly, that "US-led coalition troops had searched Al-Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since 1991, were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces.
2) Another pentagon official (the official spokesman) responded to the outcry after this story broke by saying they don't know whether the weapons were there or not.
3) An embedded reporter with NBC says that on April 10, 2003, the weapons were gone. (The invasion began with ground forces on March 19, 2003).
4) You say the weapons "went missing before a single one of our soldiers was on the ground."
Sorry, but I don't see how 4 follows from the first 3. The only thing that makes sense based on the information given is that the weapons were there when we invaded, but moved before April 10.
If the weapons were gone before the invasion, the first pentagon official is lying. If the weapons were still there on April 10, the NBC news guy is lying. All three accounts are consistent with my hypothesis.
Jake: I'm not familiar with the videotape you are referring to. Is there a link?
Also, how do you know the weapons are in Syria? Or did you just make that up?
That's what you just wrote isn't even true. Even Scott McClellen has only admitted to the destruction of about 250,000 salvaged munitions , and claims that there are 150,000-350,000 more that are planned. Notably, he doesn't offer a unit for either... But even if he meant "tons", that doesn't add up to 800,000.
Where the hell do you get your information from? And do you even know how much "stuff" is involved in 800,000 tons? These 380 tons (760,000 pounds) would have required at least 40 double-trailer trucks to carry along on pristine roads. So for your theory to hold, we must have found, moved, and destroyed 80,000 double-tractor trailers worth of explosives across the pristine hills of Iraq. Hoping, along the way, that none of it was accidentally impacted.
I think you're up for a correction or a citation there bud, because as it stands, you're on the verge of making a fool of yourself.
Your absurd hypothesis assumes that the moment an invasion happens, the moment troops hit the ground, every single important strategic site in the entire nation of Iraq was accessible and should have been guarded. It is completely impossible. It defies common sense. I think we might actually be producing a whole generation of people who know how to use Google but simply have no logic.
The AP story opens up to a discussion about flu shots in the debate. And Turkish press? What the hell is that? Rick, why don't you just call me racist and call it a day? It worked well in the other comment section. I mean, throw around the word 'raghead' and then I won't want to talk to your boring ass and you won't have to link to the Turkish freaking Press. Then, you can go have one of your obsessive discussions about me over at your unread blog. Why even bother with all this? Why don't you just cut to the chase?
To the contrary, Dorian, my hypothesis assumes only that in the three weeks it took us to conquer Baghdad, someone was able to move 380 tons of explosive from one place to another.
The fact that we have to add "if true" when discussing a NY Times story is a bit saddening and illustrative of the perils of getting carried away when trying to make an argument.
Ugarte does have a point though (your interpretation of the reporter's story is at odds with quote from National Review that he was reporting "only three weeks into the war"). Your response, "They were NEVER found. Therefore, they were never there for our soldiers (or George W. Bush personally) to protect" is unfounded. It fails to take into account the possibility that they were present in the three weeks between the beginning of the invasion and the time the particular troops with which the reporter was embedded got there. That they did not get there does not prove that they could not get there.
That said, if this 3 week window is all there is, it's difficult for me to get outraged about a three week window. Lots of things are going on in a war, and priorities have to be set. I still question Bush's handling of the war, but I don't think a 3 week window is evidence of mishandling in the way that the story of a failure to protect a weapons' site in a multiple year would be.
The AP's Pentagon official seems to believe that there was in fact explosive there after the invasion began. What Rick's hypothesis actually presumes is that in the three weeks between the start of the invasion and the arrival of the reporter's division, some other unit may have identified the explosives at al Qaqaa. The Pentagon's official line is ambiguous, which certainly doesn't help to back up the reporter's story. Given that the Pentagon knew that this cache should be at al Qaqaa, and that the 101st searched al Qaqaa and conclusively determined that the explosives weren't there (as the reporter intimates), you'd think they could have staved off a big flank of the NYT story by saying: "Nope, it wasn't there when we got there."
But they didn't. They said they didn't know.
Regardless, the meat of the story is that nobody bothered to track this stuff down or tell anybody that it was missing after the fact. That's a big fuck-up, Dorian, and has nothing to do with magically securing all of Iraq simultaneously.
Alceste, when the reporter and the regiment got there, they were gone. To me, it doesn't matter if they were removed in the 3 weeks or before then. They were just not there for our soldiers to protect. Therefore, how can they be held responsible for their absence?
To me, it doesn't matter if they were removed in the 3 weeks or before then. They were just not there for our soldiers to protect. Therefore, how can they be held responsible for their absence?
The answer to that question depends on whether the weapons were in fact located and then left unsecured, as the unnamed pentagon official states they were.
Karol, why are you ignoring the rest of the story? One report says that the Pentagon did verify their presence before the reporter's unit passed through. And what do we have from the reporter so far?
Was his unit the first one to al Qaqaa? Dunno!
Was his unit the first one in that region? Dunno!
Did his unit conduct a full inventory? Dunno!
Does he remember everything accurately? Dunno!
Does his story impact the "after-the-fact" blundering? Nope!
But screw it. Some reporter says that some division moved through al Qaqaa sometime and that reporter doesn't remember finding any RMX. Therefore, the RMX was gone before our troops or our recon services even got near al Qaqaa, and there was no point in trying to look for them. QED.
WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (AFP) - A Pentagon spokesman said Monday it was unclear whether 380 tons of high explosives reported missing from a weapons facility in Iraq disappeared before or after it fell under control of US forces.
Vienna, Oct 25 (AP) - [...] At the Pentagon, an official who monitors developments in Iraq said US-led coalition troops had searched Al-Qaqaa in the immediate aftermath of the March 2003 invasion and confirmed that the explosives, which had been under IAEA seal since 1991, were intact. Thereafter the site was not secured by U.S. forces, the official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
Karol and Jake ... is there a URL for the video from MSNBC? I'm a bit skeptical since I'm not sure I would recognize 380 tons of high explosive if I saw it and I'm inclined to listen to the Pentagon and IAEA rather than take the word of a reporter who also likely has little experience recognizing DMX from RMX from whatever.
The other question that is yet to be answered (or even asked on this forum) is, if the explosives were not there when the troops inspected the site, why was the IAEA not notified at the time? Certainly, if they expected to find the explosives and did not, the IAEA would need to be notified. Why did that not happen at that time (when the reporter supposedly discovered the missing explosives) and why is the Iraqi government saying this now?
It seems that Paul Bremer would be able to settle this except he has not commented from what I've read. The timing of the report says more about this administration waiting a year to make the notification rather than a plot to discredit the Bush administration (they do a pretty good job discrediting themselves)
The argument is that the weapons were at the site on the first day of the invasion, the troops could have protected the weapons had they been present at the site, the troops failed to arrive at the site for 3 weeks for unjustifiable reasons, and the weapons were removed during those three weeks. Frankly, it's a reach, and it's not an argument I am willing to make.
The NBC story does not foreclose the possibility of this scenario though (and I think your description of the story is itself inaccurate). But to repeat, I don't think the 3 week window is worth using as evidence of mismanagement and likely renders the factual premise of the earlier arguments (with respect to those particular facts) untenable.
Sorry I should of said 3,000,000 tons.
I said recovered or destroyed. Recovered means under guard.
Remember folks that Iraq covers 85,504,343 square acres. You are asking for perfect knowledge and control of every square foot. Plus you are saying that Kerry who doesnít know how many SUVs he owns is going to do a better job.
Andrew, why are you dying to believe our military did something wrong? Because the NY Times says so? Eight days before the election? C'mon.
Karol, honestly, it is you who is stretching to find meaning that isn't there. Why? Because the NYTimes story casts more doubt on Bush motives for and/or execution of the Iraq invasion? Eight days before the election?
Andrew and Rick--
But what both of you are ignoring in your stingingly brilliant critiques of the war in Iraq is the simple fact that there is no such thing as a "mistake" in wartime. There is no such thing as a "plan" that encompasses every possible scenario. It has never happened. It didnt happen in the Civil War. It didnt happen in WWI. It didnt happen in WW2. In fact, in WW2, the British army almost lost thousands upon thousands of men when they were stranded on the beach at Dunkirk with the Nazis approaching. Did Churchill go out and "apologize" and "admit mistakes"? No. Because it would be stupid. Did anybody ask him to? No. Because in those days, we knew that war is risky. That's why it is called "war" and not "immediate victory". It is assumed we will have setbacks. For one thing, we do not know whether the explosives were there when the site was liberated. It looks as if they were not. If that is the case, it is a mute point because the story was not true. If they were, ok. It would have been nice if we had been able to guard them. But we weren't. That is war.
I've said several times that the point isn't made moot even if the stockpile was gone before we got there. These were weapons that the IAEA was actively tracking. Twice yearly, whomever was in control of Iraq was supposed to report the status of these weapons to the IAEA. For some strange reason, the administration opted not to do so. The reasoning? They forgot about them until a month ago. Bri-fucking-illiant.
I think Rick, I, and most of the world would like to see someone in this administration held accountable for any of the notable mistakes that have been made.
Personally, I don't care if it's Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, a Chief of Staff, or just a General. I really don't, although I can't say the same for anyone else.
But we see the writing on the wall, and everytime more evidence is produced we jump on it, hoping to convince people that "see? see? this is what we're talking about! it doesn't have to be this way!" We advocate for change because we don't want these mistakes to continue, and because we identify an unfortunate trend in this administration.
Is it unfounded? Maybe, but we're not alone, not by a long shot. And so long as this is a world run by image (thank you democracy), the fact that so many of us here in the States and all around the world feel this way is a bad thing for America. One day, we may actually need some strong allies, and when that day comes I don't want it to fall through because everybody resents Bush. If he'd overhaul his staff, and hold someone somewhere accountable it'd go a long way to repairing our countries shatterd image.
It's not about news, it's not about truth, it's about image. And the image of this presidency is bad and getting worse every time these stories come out. You can blame the media if you want, but that's not going to make enough of a difference. You need to get with the program and call for change if you ever want America to respectfully lead the world again.
I re-read the NY Times piece and figured out what did not make sense to me earlier. The date given in the NBC report is Apr. 10, 2003. But the NY Times article makes the following claim:
a senior official from Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology wrote that the stockpile disappeared after early April 2003 because of "the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security."
It's not a failure of the NY Times to mention a fact - the stories appear to be directly at odds. This official is purportedly from the very agency responsible for the site's safekeeping - I am not sure who is really the most trustworthy source - is it possible the NBC reporter did not have full access to site? I have no idea. I think the actual facts are yet to be disclosed fully, and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Caveat: To foreclose the likelihood of being called a flip-flopper, I'd just like to point out that previous comments were based on the assumption NBC story is fully accurate.
Alceste, I had missed that. You're right, the stories now appear to contradict each other, and I agree that the facts have yet to be played out.
However, what remains troubling, and what I don't think can be explained away by facts, is that a year and a half later, the Pentagon seems unable to just clear this up. Why are these questions being raised by the NY Times now, and not by the Pentagon in April of last year? (Because if the Pentagon had asked these questions already, don't you think they would have put a clear and simple end to this?
I am glad the comment are back.
Andrew, we have broken no rules. The Geneva Convention only applies to nation states. We are not fighting one. We are fighting a loose rabble of terrorists. Did they think of the Genenva Convention when they executed 50 Iraqi Security Trainees over the weekend. 37 men were put on their hands and knees and shot in the back of the head. This is who we are fighting. Radical Islamic Fundamentalist.
You have a point about Americans being held at Gitmo. They are afforded differnt rights under our Constitution. They should be brought here and tried for treason, and if they took up arms against us, put to death.
I can not speak for Karol but for me, I get so upset when the left is so apologetic for these terrorists. So we do not give them a lawyer. Why are lawyers the end all be all savoior of libery for liberals. The Prisoners at Gitmo are fed, housed, and allowed to pray to their God. Each one took up arms against this country. When terrorist take prisoners they cut their fucking heads off. Why are you not shouting from the rooftops, when children are shot in the back in Russia by Islamic terrorists. You seem more upset about prisoners at Gitmo and Abu Graib than you do about the crimes they commited.
Abu Graib was tragic and the soldiers should and have been punished for it. But instead of saying Good, The soldiers are being punished for what they did, the left makes claims that the President and Rumsfield are the ones to blame and they masterminded the whole thing. They are cleaning up the problems not looking for a scapegoat. It is like sying President Clinton was responsible for the hotdogging fighter pilots in Itlay that killed those skiers on that cable car. It just doesn't wash.
A thoughtful critique on the war is justified. But I don't hear that from the Left. It is all inuendo and the President did this or the President caused that, or HALIBURTON!
Maybe Von Bek can chime in with a history lesson on Wendall Wilkie, the 1940 Republican Challenger to FDR. Wilkie lost but supported FDR's draft proposals and his policies on WWII. I believe Bush would do the same if God forbid Kerry wins. I can say the same if Bush looses. I challenge each of you who is voting for Kerry to name one good thing The President has done in his first 4 years. I know you hate him, but just try.
Oops "I can say the same if Bush looses" Should say "I can't say the same if Bush looses"
Ah man am I that much of a carricature ? But yeah, Michael is correct and Willkie probably would have backed FDR in 1944 had he not died.
Did you read the internal memo authorizing abuse of skiers, Michael C? Because there is plenty of documentary traffic about interrogation techniques and it goes pretty damn far up the chain of command. It is a facile comparison.
As far as I can tell, the Geneva Convention doesn't strictly apply, since the terrorists aren't signatories. Alas, that misses the point. They are designed to establish guidelines for humane behavior towards captives. Ignoring them may be legally sound, but morally obtuse. What evil people do to their POWs is not the standard by which a moral society judges its own actions, even if our soldiers are the ones captured.
Liberals appear to complain more about prisoner abuse than about the acts of the terrorists because the terrorists are so self-evidently horrible that the country hardly needs reminding of how bad they are. Human rights, on the other hand, are not so readily protected by people on all sides. We don't expect to convince al-Qaeda to be 'better' people, but we expect it of our own government.
You seem to be convinced that everyone is a caricature. You seem to read "what a lefitst would say" or some such into everybody's writings, and then you go and throw people on the left or right. That's useless and naive.
You want to know some things I liked Bush (trying) to accomplish? Faith-based initiatives and school vouchers. Suddenly, I don't seem like such a "leftist".
It just so happens that I also think Bush's foreign policy management, whatever its intentions or accomplishments, has cost our country's reputation. And I think that our reputation is more important than any threat currently poised against us. A good reputation is vital, economically, for getting good deals on what you want, and militarily, for getting support when you deem it necessary. I don't think there's any arguing that Bush has cost this country its reputation, at least for now. Will a successful democracy in Iraq repair it? Eventually, if we even pull it off. Would a actually pinning the blame on a high-profile individual repair it? To some extent, and that's all I'm agitating for.
In fact, I've said many times that I personally don't think things will be all that bad if Bush gets a second term--provided that he either swaps a popular figure into the State Department when Powell leaves, or replaces somebody else. I barely even care about who he swaps in, but doing so would help the world feel like it has purged an antagonist. And believe it or not, that's important.
Otherwise, though, I think our current situation, domestically and internationally, dictates its own future. The next four years of the presidency are largely on auto-pilot, as the tones been set and everybody (believe it or not) really shares the same goals. We all want to get out of Iraq on the best terms possible, we all want to repair our international relations, we all want to keep Iran, NK, Pakistan and such under control, and we all want the economy to recover. Given any reasonable staff of appointees, I think a monkey could lead our country for the next four years.
So quit reading some partisan "He just hates Bush for no reason!" in my posts. I'm not a member of whatever the hell you think "the left" is, although I have strong opinions on certain issues.
I'm sure you disagree on some of the specifics, but that's not at issue. Lots of people disagree with me, and we happily engage in productive discussion. The issue is that you've felt compelled to wrap all Bush's oppositition up as "the Left", and then denigrate it. Not only does it not all come from "the Left", there have in fact been plenty of thoughtful critiques of the occupation from "the Left", "the Right", and the "the Unaffiliated".
But my own critique is one that doesn't even need to be all that "thoughtful", because its about America's image and has more to do with world opinion than "facts on the ground". As long as its demonstrated that the international opinion of America and Americans has deteriorated in the last three years, my critique stands, no matter what happens in Iraq or Afghanistan or here. (And yes, I expect you don't agree that image is a priority. But let's save that discussion for elsewhere.)
I wish I could give you some DNC web page so you can soak this into your "what a leftist thinks" mentality, but I can't. It isn't a talking point, and actually requires careful reading of individual posts rather than skimming while muttering "ha ha, stupid liberal". Until you can manage to do that, I suggest you stick to watching the reductive "Left vs. Right" of cable news.
And thank you ugarte. Dead on.
After cutting through all the rhetoric, what I've taken from this whole comment thread, which I've just read over a few times:
1. Before the war, the IAEA was tracking "dual use" weapons (HMX and RDX) located at al Qaqaa.
2. Before the war, the IAEA warned the U.S. that dual use weapons at al Qaqaa should be a priority to be secured.
3. Those dual use weapons are not at al Qaqaa now.
4. The Pentagon had made contradictory statements as to whether the weapons were, or were not, at al Qaqaa upon the first U.S. inspection post-invasion and as to whether they ever were under U.S. control.
5. An NBC reporter was with the 101st Airborne at al Qaqaa on April 10, 2003, and reported that the 101st "never found the nearly 380 tons of HMX and RDX which is now missing."
6. The NYT reported yesterday that "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.'"
7. Such a statement is consistent with IAEA theory 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." It *could* also explain why the 101st did not find the HMX and RDX, if they were looking for the IAEA seals.
8. Even though the whole justification for this war was securing WMDs, the Pentagon may have satisfied itself with a cursory inspection of al Qaqaa by the 101st and concluded that the dual use weapons earmarked by the IAEA weren't there. Of course, we don't know if that's true, because the Pentagon itself isn't sure if that's what happened.
9. The Pentagon and the Bush Administration have had a year and a half to determine what happened to these dual use weapons, the type which were the justification for the war -- whether the weapons were removed pre-invasion, whether they were camouflaged as the IAEA believes was standard Iraqi practice, whether they were destroyed, whatever -- but apparently decided that the absence of these weapons didn't warrant any further investigation. Or forgot about them. It took a letter from current Iraqi officials to the IAEA for the matter to even be brought to the fore.
Now, apologists for the Bush administration have told us that this is all ok, because:
1. "George Bush did not make the war plan. Don Rumsfeld did not make the war plan. The actual professionals of the military made the war plan." What this ignores, of course, is that the military is part of the executive branch, under the Department of Defense, headed by... Rumsfeld and Bush. Is it wrong for Rumsfeld and Bush to be held responsible for this blunder if they won't hold some of the "professionals of the military" responsible?
2. "when we got to the area in which they were supposed to be, THEY WERE NOT THERE." If this is true (still unclear), it ignores the fact that the Administration did not try to figure out where they had gone, even though pre-invasion it claimed it was extremely concerned about WMDs in Iraq. Remember, these were "dual use" weapons.
I'd like to think I'm reasonably intelligent, but no matter how I slice it, I still see this as a terrible blunder. Either the weapons were there and we left them unsecured, or the weapons weren't there and we decided they weren't worth the time to track down. The second conclusion might be tenable as a policy matter, but for the fact that the war was premised on securing WMDs and the weapons in question were "dual use" and previously tracked by the IAEA.
380 tons of military-grade explosive, when one pound can take down a jet and when the stuff can be used to trigger a nuclear explosion, is a big deal, especially when we're told where to look for it. It's not like these were 100,000 Kalishnakov rifles are 50,000 RPGs.
Am I missing something here?
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Bush and/or the military is incompetent (even assuming the stuff was still there when the war began) one needs to know how many explosive sites we did successfully control, and how many tons of explosives we seized and/or destroyed. If there were hundreds of such locations, with tens of thousands of tons of the stuff, then the fact that one was lost is hardly indicative of incompetence. Since all of the people, Kerry included, who are screaming about this have no clue how much this 380 tons represents relative to what was out there, they should just shut up.
Good job summing things up asphnxma.
Ugarte, Re-read my post. Clinton was not blamed for the skiing incident as he shouldn't. But in the case of Abu Graib (watch out I am pinning a lable here)many supporters of John Kerry and the Democratic party (is that better Andrew, I am working on it) placed the blame on the administration. I believe that was wrong. As for the Geneva Convention I believe even though we are not bound to it in this case, we uphold the tenents of it. Prisoners at Gitmo are being treated humanely. Show me evidence otherwise. I do have an a problem with the American being held there as mentioned previously. That is a legitimate gripe I have with the administration.
Andrew I think you misrepresent me. I know each commentor here has their own thoughts and ideas. I lump people together because they are saying the same thing just using different words. Some reiterate what I say or in most cases they say it better. It is what makes this a great debate. If you can only harp on my generalizations you are focusing on the wrong thing or you are trying to divert from it.
asphnxma, over 400,000 tons of explosives and munitions have been destroyed or soon will be by the coalition forces. I don't think we brought them with us so we must have found them somewhere. Saying the administration is shortsided for not trying to figure out where they are is naive.
I KNOW that Clinton wasn't blamed for the skiing tragedy. I was making the point that the qualitative differences between that incident and Abu Ghraib mean that the Administration can be held partly responsible for Abu Ghraib.
I'm not sure what to make of your faith in our country to uphold the tenets of the Geneva Convention with respect to the POWs in Gitmo and elsewhere when every Justice department brief argues that we don't need to do so. No matter how 'nice' we actually are to our prisoners, we do ourselves no favors by letting everyone know that we don't think that we have to be that nice.
Philip Carter has a great article at Slate today describing how the Bushies could have upheld the Geneva Convention and fulfilled all of their intelligence and security objectives. Too bad they chose another, less civil, path.
Sorry Michael. I don't feel that what I'm saying is the same thing as other people but with different words. Many other people, as you've rightly noted, care very much about pinning accountability for this or that wrongdoing. Personally, I don't care. I care about the general public sentiment, which has nothing to do with individual stories and is largely immune to "but really! it wasn't Bush's fault!" or "the media is biased" defenses, even if those defenses hold true.
But I also try to discuss specific incidents with a skeptical eye towards the government. You can expect me to do the same thing in 04-08, no matter who wins the election. I think other's share my skepticism, and it may take us more evidence than you before we're convinced of the government's motives and actions. I would like to think that's because we're following the longstanding American tradition of fearing government abuse, and not because we're being partisan. Just because I'm making arguments from this side now, and just because I'm not so easily swayed as you, does not mean that I'm just rehashing arguments of other people or that I'm being partisan. It just means I don't trust the concentration of power in the executive branch, a concentration that happens to have been strengthed by this administration.
In terms of this specifc topic, there's a great deal of information that neither side has, as Jay pointed out. We don't know when the supplies disappeared. According to the recent interviews with the NBC reporters, we can't even be sure that they were gone as of 4/10/03 (they just kind of eyed up the area on their way to Baghdad; they didn't conduct a thorough search or inventory). We still don't know the relative importance of this cache. Even though you've pointed out that 800,000 tons of explosives have been found, and 400,000 are in the process of being destroyed, we don't know how those explosives compare to RMX/HMX. Those figures could include the inert metal casings of ordinances and bullets, or low-yield or unstable explosiives like TNT. Then again, they could be so powerful that they overshadow the RMX/HMX specifically. Again, we don't really know. At this point, we can neither really dismiss or run with the charge very effectively. But since I tend toward skepticism, I'm still looking for answers that clearly demonstrate good judgment by the government.
As for Gitmo, this is one of those things that the administration deserved criticism for (past tense). They originally didn't open Gitmo for review, so there was no way we could know whether the captives inside were being treated humanely, or even who all the captives were. The administration has had run-ins with everybody from the Supreme Court to the Red Cross over this, and eventually eased off on their secrecy. I appreciate that, although I'd like to think other adminstrations wouldn't have tried to overstep their bounds as this one did. But It is only through our kind of willful skepticism, and our staunch belief in the necessity of checks & balances and review processes that we can make sure that when the government abuses the system, we catch them.
The more you investigations you dismiss simply because you believe Bush is better than Kerry, or because you think the media is reporting unfairly, the more opportunity you give for the government to abuse its rather large powers.
You can be very watchful and suspicious of the administration and strongly support it anyway. There's no contradiction involved in that, although this election cycle is so partisan you may be hard pressed to realize that.
UPDATE: NBC NEWS HAS ISSUED A BIG OLE 'MY BAD'...
Andrew I like your sentiments but I am not of the kool-aid drinking sort. by nature conservatives are individuals first. Ever try to get Conservatives geared up for protest. Not going to happen. You are pinning on me the same argument you accuse me of.
The Geneva Convention was used as an argument against the administration to open Gitmo. In turn the administration rightfully pointed it did not apply. Could they have nuanced it better? yes. But to me actions speak louder than words.
It is one thing to be suspicious of your government it is a whole different thing to accuse it of complete mal-feasance. Yes the administration bowed down to pressure from others to open up Gitmo. Good I have no problem with that. The problem I have is the hysterical claims of abuse coming from the left about Gitmo. And once everything opened up and The Red Cross was let in. What did they find? Nothing. Did anyone recant their accusations. I did not here any.
Where is Karol's "my bad"? How about her "I'm sorry I was such a lackey follower"?
Karol does not need to apologise, You need to aplogise by insinuating she is racist. You should also aplogise for your "raghead" statements. If you want an apology for the lackey comment because your feelings were hurt ask Jake. I think namecalling takes away from all this and it discredits the namecaller.
There are 400,000 tons that have been destroyed or will be. We have discovered over 10,000 arms caches. If the story is completely true that we failed to secure the site and the 380 tons were there when we arrived, I understand why you are upset by this needle in a haystack. You got the administration. Out of the entire country of hundreds of thousands of conventional weapons Saddam had we missed 380 tons. Wow. Fire Bush because he could not execute the war perfectly but John Kerry would have and will if he wins.
Michael, I did not intend to insinuate that Karol is a racist, and for that I do apologize. I intended to insinuate that she has no respect for human life, after she responded to a sincere and well-intentioned comment about the Geneva convention with "kill all the terrorists, kill them all, and kill them quick." The "ragheads" comment specifically was designed to underscore Karol's seeming unwillingness to distinguish between "terrorists" and those the Geneva convention is intended to protect.
However, it was Karol who used the term "lackey followers" (and has called me, personally, plenty of other names), and it is Karol who continues to be dishonest with her readers, while pretending to be otherwise. The irony here is that the post that started all this was a post in which Karol, attacking the New York Times for failing in their journalistic duty by conspiring with the Kerry campaign to print "a pack of lies" in the lead-up to the election, herself completely misrepresented a vague news story that was soon discredited, and refused to back down when she was called on it (and not just by me).
I don't care if Karol calls me names, or whether she apologizes or admits she was wrong. But I do wish that someone as young, intelligent, and committed as she is weren't so willing to trade integrity for party loyalty. Not because I care about Karol personally (I don't even know her), but because she clearly represents the future of the Republican party.
Better have a look at this it might be hard to spin.