Monday, October 25, 2004

The missing high explosives

Sorry, but I am not impressed with this story yet. It is convoluted, at times borders on hysterical and smacks of an article rushed to print in an effort to publish bad news about Bush.

While the NYT tries to center the story around everyone worrying about the HMX, RDX and PETN except Bush, it conveniently catalogues only the fears and concerns while not noting the casual attitudes. It would do well if they had actually cited a report - there is a January 27, 2003 report but nothing at IAEA regarding for a January 9 one. The almost as dangerous RDX is missing too, but that material was not sufficiently dangerous to be included in the report with the HMX on January 27. Same for the even smaller quantity of PETN.

In addition, the IAEA was so worried about the material that they had to write internal memos in May 2003! Is there any correspondence that left the building? Any public alarms bells such as this story between May 2003 and as can be best discerned from the NYT's report, an unsolicited notice from the Iraq Ministry of missing material? Now, all of a sudden, the NYT's is worried about materials used in developing nuclear weapons? Color me bored, particularly at the falsetto shock of everyone that Bush may not have been told and Rice hasn't solved this issue in the 14 days since Iraq sent the notice to the IAEA.

No perspective is given, either. For instance, the amount of explosives are rather insignificant. There were almost 600,000 tons of munitions in Iraq, of which from reports I have seen anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 tons have been destroyed or secured. There are claims these can be valuable and deadly as IED's but I haven't seen any report of them being used or that there has been a switch from artillery shells as the munition of choice.

The Command Post comments here and, as I worked on this, Kerry Spot, here, lead me to believe this story is not all that it says it is (Bush Bad) and may be more of what it appears to be (NYT Campaigning for Kerry.)

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