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post #41 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 07:35 PM
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RE: RE Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Cou

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 6:28 PM

The Iraq war was completely justified, appropriate, honorable, necessary, prudent, wise, and a dang good thing, too.
I understand -- regardless of the facts which were still emerging. Why is it imprudent one time and not another? Remember -- "carpe datum"...

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post #42 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 07:36 PM
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

..."necessary, prudent and honorable"...you're a funny funny man.
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post #43 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 07:41 PM
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RE: RE Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Cou

Quote:
GermanStar - 10/27/2004 9:35 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 6:28 PM

The Iraq war was completely justified, appropriate, honorable, necessary, prudent, wise, and a dang good thing, too.
I understand -- regardless of the facts which were still emerging. Why is it imprudent one time and not another? Remember -- "carpe datum"...
How many Iraqi attacks on neighbors, murders overseas, poison gas attacks, political rape and murder, amputations, acid vat torture and mass-murder graveyards would it take to convince you that Saddam had to go?

the difference between the two events is mind-numbingly huge but you assume that they have a logical and moral equivalence?

Wow!

B
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post #44 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 07:48 PM
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

No, I assume that a rational thought process doesn't vary from circumstance to circumstance. I suppose a scientist wouldn't grasp that...

"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon
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post #45 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 9:23 PM

Quote:
kvining - 10/27/2004 8:58 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 7:39 PM

News report I just heard said that elements of the 3rd Infantry Division went through the area before the 101st--the outfit quoted in the NY Times article. 3rd ID got in a 2-day firfight with Iraqi forces. After the defeat of the Iraqi forces the 3rd searched the compound (woundn't want to leave any bad guys or bad materiale in the rear, would we?). They did not report any tagged IAEA materiale nor any explosive caches.

To go back to an earlier post of mine, I believe the volume of explosives would have been huge, requiring a large convoy of trucks, several dozen large trucks, in order to move the explosives. During the time in which some folks believe they went missing, the US Armed Forces were targeting large movements of vehicles. I wonder if a couple of dozen trucks would have escaped their notice.

So, we are left with several layers of incompetence, all military.

The 3rd ID soldiers were too stupid or unobservant to see 300 tons of explosives while they searched for dangerous things after a protracted battle.

The 101st Airborne was too unobservant to notice IAEA tagged bunkers.

The USAF, Army, and Marine air forces missed the movement of a convoy of heavy trucks.

The Special Forces of the coalition, busy killing the shit out of concentrations of irregular Iraqi forces didn't notice a convoy.

And, all because the present administration may or may not have called attention to that facility, one of thousands of similar facilities across that the country housing about a half-million tons of munitions.

Now lets see, 300/500,000 = 3/5,000 or less that 1% error rate, assuming it was an error.

Here's another possibility.

Maybe Saddam move that $hit between when the inspectors were last there and when the 3rd ID arrived.

Which explanation seems simpler? assuming that our military is thrice incompetent or that Saddam continued with his shifting of assets as he had done for the rpevious 12 years?
But this was not just some ammo dump we are talking about here, which is why this is not just some military screw up. I just heard on CNN that this place was the size of Manhattan. It was the subject of spy satellite observations. It was monitored, reported on and inspected by the UN for a decade, because those type of explosives are key components of nuclear weapons. The UN specifically relayed concerns about the site directly to the adminisration prior to the invasion, and constantly complained about the lack of guarding the facility since the invasion. The UN even went so far as to demand UN inspectors be allowed back in to secure the facility, a demand that came to an end when the Iraqi Defense Ministry, not the US Army, notified them the stuff was gone.

And how did the adminstration treat this? The troops that passed through never had orders to secure the place. The occupation forces ignored looting at this facility just like it did everything else that was being looted in Iraq, while it put its resources behind securing oil facilities. This brings up a very,very, obvious question. If this war was about protecting this country, why was securing oil facilities a higher priority than securing a facility as I just described, a place the UN considered one of the most dangerous weapon sites on the planet?
You overstate everything, Kirk.

Would you suggest that the Whitehouse should pick targets for the military on the ground? Can you remember the name of the president and the name of the war in which that was most recently tried?

The American members of the UN Inspection team requested of Al Baradei that the explosives be destroyed, he refused saying (at the time) that they were not nukular components of sufficient importance to warrant destruction.

There was a gap of several weeks between when the last UN inspectors visited the site and when the war started. During that time there is uncorroborated (I hate this) anonymous reports that imagery indicated significant truck traffic in that site. As the WMD search has made abundantly obvious to everybody, satellite imagery is anything but perfectly reliable, so I don't put much faith in that report, even if honestly portrayed.

When the 3rd ID moved in they saw neither UN locks nor explosives caches, and they looked. Nor did the imbedded reporters.

When the 101st moved in they saw nothing, either, though their mission did not include searching for weaponry--they were headed for battle. Nor did the imbedded reporters see anything.

I'm NOT saying that the explosives were not stolen. I'm just saying there's ample opportunity for reasonable doubt as to what happened.

I think its at least highly imprudent to jump to conclusions when all the facts are still emerging. We do want to be fair and balanced, don't we?

B
You mischaracterize everything, Botsnst.

The reports, provided by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, are that this place was looted for months.

Neither of these military units was detailed to inspect these facilities. If anything, they got a cursory look - as I stated, the place is the size of Manhattan. Why was the place not secured? If the object was WMDs, shouldn't a facility like this have been at the very top of the list of places to be secured? If we conquered the place, why did we then just walk out and leave it wide open to be looted for months? Why does this seem to dovetail with reports of the time, that very few troops were actively involved in looking for WMDs when we first arrived? That seems to suggest to me that the adminstration had no real focus on WMDs. Why was that?





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post #46 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 08:06 PM
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My favorite theory.

The Russians did it!

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/a4bc50c6-2870-11d9-9308-00000e2511c8.html
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post #47 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 08:21 PM
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

Quote:
kvining - 10/27/2004 9:59 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 9:23 PM

Quote:
kvining - 10/27/2004 8:58 PM

Quote:
Botnst - 10/27/2004 7:39 PM

News report I just heard said that elements of the 3rd Infantry Division went through the area before the 101st--the outfit quoted in the NY Times article. 3rd ID got in a 2-day firfight with Iraqi forces. After the defeat of the Iraqi forces the 3rd searched the compound (woundn't want to leave any bad guys or bad materiale in the rear, would we?). They did not report any tagged IAEA materiale nor any explosive caches.

To go back to an earlier post of mine, I believe the volume of explosives would have been huge, requiring a large convoy of trucks, several dozen large trucks, in order to move the explosives. During the time in which some folks believe they went missing, the US Armed Forces were targeting large movements of vehicles. I wonder if a couple of dozen trucks would have escaped their notice.

So, we are left with several layers of incompetence, all military.

The 3rd ID soldiers were too stupid or unobservant to see 300 tons of explosives while they searched for dangerous things after a protracted battle.

The 101st Airborne was too unobservant to notice IAEA tagged bunkers.

The USAF, Army, and Marine air forces missed the movement of a convoy of heavy trucks.

The Special Forces of the coalition, busy killing the shit out of concentrations of irregular Iraqi forces didn't notice a convoy.

And, all because the present administration may or may not have called attention to that facility, one of thousands of similar facilities across that the country housing about a half-million tons of munitions.

Now lets see, 300/500,000 = 3/5,000 or less that 1% error rate, assuming it was an error.

Here's another possibility.

Maybe Saddam move that $hit between when the inspectors were last there and when the 3rd ID arrived.

Which explanation seems simpler? assuming that our military is thrice incompetent or that Saddam continued with his shifting of assets as he had done for the rpevious 12 years?
But this was not just some ammo dump we are talking about here, which is why this is not just some military screw up. I just heard on CNN that this place was the size of Manhattan. It was the subject of spy satellite observations. It was monitored, reported on and inspected by the UN for a decade, because those type of explosives are key components of nuclear weapons. The UN specifically relayed concerns about the site directly to the adminisration prior to the invasion, and constantly complained about the lack of guarding the facility since the invasion. The UN even went so far as to demand UN inspectors be allowed back in to secure the facility, a demand that came to an end when the Iraqi Defense Ministry, not the US Army, notified them the stuff was gone.

And how did the adminstration treat this? The troops that passed through never had orders to secure the place. The occupation forces ignored looting at this facility just like it did everything else that was being looted in Iraq, while it put its resources behind securing oil facilities. This brings up a very,very, obvious question. If this war was about protecting this country, why was securing oil facilities a higher priority than securing a facility as I just described, a place the UN considered one of the most dangerous weapon sites on the planet?
You overstate everything, Kirk.

Would you suggest that the Whitehouse should pick targets for the military on the ground? Can you remember the name of the president and the name of the war in which that was most recently tried?

The American members of the UN Inspection team requested of Al Baradei that the explosives be destroyed, he refused saying (at the time) that they were not nukular components of sufficient importance to warrant destruction.

There was a gap of several weeks between when the last UN inspectors visited the site and when the war started. During that time there is uncorroborated (I hate this) anonymous reports that imagery indicated significant truck traffic in that site. As the WMD search has made abundantly obvious to everybody, satellite imagery is anything but perfectly reliable, so I don't put much faith in that report, even if honestly portrayed.

When the 3rd ID moved in they saw neither UN locks nor explosives caches, and they looked. Nor did the imbedded reporters.

When the 101st moved in they saw nothing, either, though their mission did not include searching for weaponry--they were headed for battle. Nor did the imbedded reporters see anything.

I'm NOT saying that the explosives were not stolen. I'm just saying there's ample opportunity for reasonable doubt as to what happened.

I think its at least highly imprudent to jump to conclusions when all the facts are still emerging. We do want to be fair and balanced, don't we?

B
You mischaracterize everything, Botsnst.

The reports, provided by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, are that this place was looted for months.

Neither of these military units was detailed to inspect these facilities. If anything, they got a cursory look - as I stated, the place is the size of Manhattan. Why was the place not secured? If the object was WMDs, shouldn't a facility like this have been at the very top of the list of places to be secured? If we conquered the place, why did we then just walk out and leave it wide open to be looted for months? Why does this seem to dovetail with reports of the time, that very few troops were actively involved in looking for WMDs when we first arrived? That seems to suggest to me that the adminstration had no real focus on WMDs. Why was that?
Neither was detailed to inspect because they were the front line of a war--you know, where people kill each other. When you're in the military you have a mission and you stick with your mission. All of the units were told to be on the lookout for WMD. They were shown what to look for including UN emblems. All of them had test kits for NBC warfare that are assigned to special groups within units. The kits are so sensitive that they give lots of false positives--better safe than sorry, right? Very few units were tasked to do any WMD search.

WMD was secondary to front line warfare except when WMD might be deployed as a weapon--you may recall that was of great concern to everybody. Recall the dire warnings of

Also, they look for things dangerous to their units. That is very important for foot soldiers. they don't like surprises especially if the go boom and especially if the surprise comes from the rear.

So when they say they didn't look for WMD, that is right insofar as it wasn't part of their mission, per se. However, it is extremely doubtful that nearly 400 tons of high explosives woudl escape their attention.

I'm not saying it couldn't happen. But it would be passing strange.
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post #48 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

Let me try one more time. If the site was considered one of the most dangerous weapons depots on earth, why was it left unguarded for months, especially given that it was part of a WMD infrastructure?
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post #49 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-27-2004, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci


Reporter's Notebook: Embedded at Al-Qaqaa
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
foxnews.com


Revelations that more than 380 tons of conventional explosives have disappeared in Iraq have raised questions about what Army unit went to the Al-Qaqaa military facility south of Baghdad. The answer — the 101st Airborne's strike brigade.

I was the only embedded reporter with the 2nd Brigade of the 101st as it moved north toward Baghdad last year.

As the 101st pushed North after fighting its way through Karbala and Najaf, the brigade was ordered to wait for new operational orders in Al-Qaqaa on April 10, 2003.

It was a huge walled compound with one section of the wall running for what looked like a mile or more.

And it was sealed — sealed in the sense that when we arrived, no one was inside. There were dozens of abandoned Iraqi tanks on outside the compound but no looters and no people inside.

We walked around dozens of concrete bunkers that were still closed. Many still had padlocks on the doors and in another section we saw dozens and dozens of rockets, most of them damaged from U.S. air strikes.

Some of the bunkers also had taken bomb strikes and had gaping holes. I saw no tags left by the International Atomic Energy Agency (search) used to seal the explosives, but we were never told what to look for and they could have been there.


The 101st did some cursory checks for weapons of mass destruction. Soldiers found signs of WMD so they left most of the bunkers sealed and said they'd be checked later.

It was not the 101st's mission to seal the base or stay with the bunkers, said Col. Joseph Anderson, the commander of the 101st 2nd Brigade. In fact, I was in the battle planning meetings of the 101st and no one mentioned possible high-grade explosives that had been stored there.

While Anderson often told me it was his mission to secure WMD if they were found, his prime mission was regime change — making sure that Saddam Hussein and his followers were driven from power. That's why the 101st didn't secure this facility of several others the soldiers found as they fought their way north to Baghdad.

Was that a mistake in battle planning? It's a debate for politicians and historians but commanders on the ground believed that once Saddam and his top lieutenants were captured or killed, all details of hidden weapons would become known anyway. Obviously this compound is one mystery that hasn't been resolved and it's more than just ammunition for a political debate — the explosives could be used against American or coalition soldiers or the wobbly interim Iraqi government.

We slept overnight there. After about 24 hours, the brigade got new orders to push on to Baghdad.

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post #50 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-28-2004, 05:42 AM
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RE: Issue of missing massive cache of Iraq plastic high explosives brought before UN Security Counci

As KV posts the evidence mounts....but not in his favor. [:o]

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20041028-122637-6257r.htm


Search Showed No Explosives at Iraqi Base Before War's End

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

WASHINGTON — U.S. forces searched several times last year the Iraqi military base from which 380 tons of explosives vanished — including one check a week before Saddam Hussein was driven out of power. But the military saw no signs of a huge quantity of munitions, Pentagon officials told FOX News.

A timeline provided by the Defense Department is significant because officials from the new Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency (search) two weeks ago that the explosives were stolen sometime after coalition forces took control of Baghdad.

The IAEA reported the disappearance to the U.N. Security Council (search) on Monday, the same day the New York Times ran a front-page story on the topic. The story started a firestorm of debate that has consumed the presidential race in its closing days, forced the Pentagon to account for its actions and raised questions of media bias.

The explosives were being kept at the Al-Qaqaa (search) installation south of Baghdad. The munitions included HMX and RDX, key components in plastic explosives, which insurgents in Iraq have used in bomb attacks. The IAEA was monitoring the munitions because HMX is a "dual use" substance powerful enough to ignite the fissile material in an atomic bomb and set off a nuclear chain reaction.

On April 3, 2003, elements of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division (search) made it to Al-Qaqaa, where they were engaged by Iraqi forces from inside the facility, Defense officials told FOX News.

The 3rd Infantry soldiers stayed long enough to battle the Iraqis and to give the facility a brief inspection before heading out to continue on their prime objective — reaching the Iraqi capital.

A day or so after Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, troops from the 101st Airborne Division's (search) 2nd Brigade arrived at Al-Qaqaa.

One officer with the 101st said looters had already gone through the facility.

The soldiers "secured the area they were in and looked in a limited amount of bunkers to ensure chemical weapons were not present in their area," Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, deputy public affairs officer for the unit, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Bombs were found but not chemical weapons in that immediate area.

"Orders were not given from higher to search or to secure the facility or to search for HE type munitions, as they [high-explosive weapons] were everywhere in Iraq," he wrote.

On May 8, 2003, a team from the 75th Exploitation Task Force (search) arrived at Al-Qaqaa to search it. The task force followed up with additional searches on May 11 and May 27.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, which was in charge of directing the search operation for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, did not find any evidence of the explosives.

The Pentagon investigation is continuing, and there is some thought that trucks operated by Saddam's regime may have been in the vicinity of the facility in late March.

The explosives at Al-Qaqaa had been housed in storage bunkers at the facility. U.N. nuclear inspectors placed fresh seals over the bunker doors in January 2003. The inspectors visited Al-Qaqaa for the last time on March 15, 2003, and reported that the seals were not broken; therefore, the weapons were still there at the time. The team then pulled out of the country in advance of the invasion.

Reporters Offer First-Hand Accounts

Reporters who were embedded with the U.S. military at the time also have offered first-hand accounts of what they saw at Al-Qaqaa.

FOX News' Dana Lewis was with the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division when it stopped at the site on April 10 for 24 hours before continuing on to Baghdad.

"It was sealed in the sense that when we arrived, no one was inside," Lewis said, adding that there were dozens of abandoned Iraqi tanks outside the facility.

"Inside, we walked around dozens of concrete bunkers, which were still sealed. Many still had padlocks on the doors and in another part of this giant walled compound, we saw dozens and dozens of rockets, most of them damaged from air strikes."

Lewis noted that he did not see any IAEA tags during his brief time at Al-Qaqaa.

Associated Press correspondent Chris Tomlinson, who was embedded with the 3rd Infantry but didn't go to Al-Qaqaa, described the search of Iraqi military facilities south of Baghdad as brief, cursory missions to seek out hostile troops, not to inventory or secure weapons.

The enormous size of the bases, the rapid pace of the advance on Baghdad and a limited number of troops made it impossible for U.S. commanders to allocate any soldiers to guard any of the facilities after making a check, Tomlinson said.

NBC correspondent Lai Ling Jew, who was with the 101st, told MSNBC that "there wasn't a search" of Al-Qaqaa.

"The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad," she said. "As far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away."

Wellman, the 101st Airborne spokesman, said he does not know if any troops were left at the facility once combat troops from the 2nd Brigade left.

The IAEA had pulled out of Iraq in 1998, and by the time it returned in 2002, it confirmed that 35 tons of HMX that had been placed under IAEA seal were missing.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei (search) told the United Nations in February 2003 that Iraq had declared that "HMX previously under IAEA seal had been transferred for use in the production of industrial explosives, primarily to cement plants as a booster for explosives used in quarrying."

"However, given the nature of the use of high explosives, it may well be that the IAEA will be unable to reach a final conclusion on the end use of this material," ElBaradei warned at the time.

He did not specifically mention Al-Qaqaa in his February 2003 briefing to the United Nations, and the agency has not said whether it separately informed the United States.



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