Monday, October 25, 2004

More missing "nuke-stuff"

Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq By JAMES GLANZ, WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
nytimes (registration required)

This story is about more missing stuff that could be used to make nuclear weapons. In this case it is an ultra-high-explosive known as HMX, stored at a huge ammo-dump in Iraq. HMX is used in both conventional and nuclear weapons, in nuclear weapons it helps ignite nuclear reactions.

The presence of the explosive in Iraq was well known, and had been under IAEA seal before the invasion. The IAEA warned the U.S.A. to guard that material, but the military did not. This is one of the dual-use materials which GW Bush had cited as justification for the invasion, and therefore it is strange-seeming that it was not carefully guarded.

Instead:

Earlier this month, in a letter to the I.A.E.A. in Vienna, 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."

Of course, this just makes one wonder why the IAEA waited until last month to say anything.

In any case, this is to my eye yet another failing of the administrations war effort. At the time of the invasion there was rampant looting - such as the dissappearance of historical artifacts from the Iraqi museums documenting the history in the area we view as the cradle of modern civilization. But we now know it wasn't just art museums that were looted, but military storage areas (e.g. the yellowcake Iraq did have was looted since the war). And just what did the invaders rush to protect first? It was the oil ministry.

By invading the country we took responsibility for that country. We failed miserably.