I spent three hours last night trying to think of an acceptable excuse from the Bush administration about this, and I came up with nothing. Try to come up with an excuse for this and tell me how you do:
The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives – used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons – are missing from one of Iraq’s most sensitive former military installations.
The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man’s land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.
You didn’t misread that. That is 380 tons. Let’s put this in persepctive. THis wasn’t just a big mound of c-4 sitting in the middle of the desert. For each pound of explosive, you can probably at least double the weight when you factor in crating. The logistics alone of carting off this amount of explosives is so daunting as to make it inexcusable.
Put it this way. This is akin to over the past two years, someone systematically dismantled every house on your block and carried it away, and when the NY Times asked you what happened, your response is: “Gee, I am not sure what happened.”
PS- I don’t care if we are looking into this and the explosives may be with appropriate authorities. Every niht that I was in the field as a soldier, my platoon sergeant and butterbar conducted a sensitive items check, and each person made sure that he has his weapon, protective mask, an/pvs-7’s, and other items. Every night. Business stopped if one boresight device or one set of night vision goggles was missing. In peacetime, if someone lost a weapon, the base closed.
We can’t check nightly on 380 frigging tons of explosives? Jeebus.
*** Update ***
I got the vapors because I actually believed the assholes at the NY Times. I don’t believe the Times story anymore, so read the rest of this post with that in mind.
*** Update #2 ***
Commenters have left some links that lead me to believe my initial reaction was correct.
I will have to check on this later, but my reaction now is that I was right the first go around. Regardless of what happened, not being able to provide a coherent response RIGHT NOW to the question “Where are the 380 tons of explosives?” seems to me to be inexcusable.