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The apology thread

Damn. Before I even found the time to comment on the missing explosive cache, the entire story has been turned upside down.

On the bright side, I guess I won't have to issue any apologies or retractions. Some of my colleagues weren't so lucky, however. Here's a sampling.

KOS: The fact that the site was not protected is in itself criminally negligent.

ATRIOS: God, can these bastards take responsibility for anything?

OLIVER WILLIS: The willful incompetence is worthy of a high crime.

BRILLIANT AT BREAKFAST: The Bush/Cheney neocon death cult allowed 380 tons of explosives to disappear into the chaos that is occupied Iraq.

JOHN KERRY: This is one of the greatest blunders of this administration. And the incredible incompetence of this President and this administration have put our troops at risk and our country at greater risk than we ought to be.

Gosh, I wonder when the apologies and retractions will start rolling in??

UPDATE: Jill didn't like my Drudge link (see comments below), so I'll provide this one from CNN. Hey, I realize it's not, you know, Josh Marshall, but I guess it'll have to do. ;-)


Sorry, Barry to intrude on your blog, but if you're going to be kind enough to drive traffic in my direction, the least I can do is provide the egoboo of blog feedback. So Drudge is your unimpeachable source, eh? Sorry, you'll have to do better than that. Josh Marshall reprints an interview on MSNBC this AM with someone who was with NBC at the time:

...and the Associated Press reports,

"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."

Matt Drudge vs the ubiquitous "anonymous source". You decide.

And who is this Josh Marshall anyway?

I wouldn't expect you to know, "C".

At any rate, it's not that it's Josh Marshall, it's that it's from MSNBC this morning. Kerry's site has a transcript, but I can't find the link just yet. I'll keep looking for it and post it when I find it. Meanwhile, I return you to the daily worship service at the First Church of the Cult of the Codpiece.

Heh heh. "Codpiece." :-)

Jim Miklaszewski, reporting on MSNBC today:

"Following up on that story from last night, military officials tell NBC News that on April 10, 2003, when the Second Brigade of the 101st Airborne entered the Al QaQaa weapons facility south of Baghdad, that those troops were actually on their way to Baghdad, that they were not actively involved in the search for any weapons, including the high explosives, H.M.X. and R.D.X. The troops did observe stock piles of conventional weapons but no H.M.X. or R.D.X. and because the Al Qaqaa facility is so huge, it's not clear that those troops from the 101st were actually anywhere near the bunkers that reportedly contained the H.M.X. and R.D.X. Three months earlier, during an inspection of the Al Qaqaa compound, the International Atomic Energy Agency secured and sealed 350 metric tons of H.M.X. and R.D.X. Then in March shortly before the war began, the I.A.E.A. conducted another inspection and found that the H.M.X. stockpile was still intact and still under seal. But inspectors were unable to inspect the R.D.X. stockpile and could not verify that the R.D.X. was still at the compound. Pentagon officials say elements of the 101st airborne did conduct a thorough search of several facilities around the Al QaQaa compound for several weeks during the month of April in search of W.M.D. They found no W.M.D. And Pentagon officials say it's not clear at that time whether those other elements of the 101st actually searched the Al QaQaa compound. Now, Pentagon officials say U.S. troops and members of the Iraq Survey Group did arrive at the Al QaQaa compound on May 27. And when they did, they found no H.M.X. or R.D.X. or any other weapons under seal at the time. Now, the Iraqi government is officially said that the high explosives were stolen by looters. Pentagon officials claim it's possible -- they're not sure, they say, but it's possible that Saddam Hussein himself ordered that these high explosives be removed and hidden before the war. What is clear is that the 350 metric tons of high explosives are still missing, and that the U.S. or Iraqi governments or international inspectors for that matter cannot say with any certainty where they are today."

Here's your link:


I know it's not the Washington Times, or Newsmax, or Mr. Truth Himself, Matt Drudge, but it'll have to do.

It seems that the latest is that American troops were there in April 2003, but they didn't take note of what was there and they didn't stay to secure the location. So it does seem that this was a known cache of tons of explosives that was not secured after Americans had gained control in that area and right now no one knows for sure when the explosives were taken. Given that reality, none of the statements you cite are in need of a retraction. The fact that American troops didn't secure the location (or have enough troops to secure the location) is evidence of very poor planning and/or execution.

I crossed the line of departure into Iraq on April 23 and the entire country was one big weapons dump. My platoon would stack and detonate a pile of explosives that size about once a week, and we were still going strong a year later.

380 tons is a drop in the bucket, and it did not help that the dissolving Iraqi army threw the doors of every armory wide open to every weapon dealer and black marketeer in the neighborhood.

In the Baqubah area there was an army outpost about every 7 miles, and most of them stripped clean by the time we got there.

Could we have stayed and guarded each one? Sure. But mobile armored warfare depends on movement, if we had stayed or posted a guard on each pile of munitions we found we would not have gotten 100 miles into Iraq.

Did we underestimate the amount of stuff that we would find? Yep. Lesson learned. An honest assesment of what it will take to consolidate an area after it as been overrun is an on the spot job. Anyone who says they can plan for every eventuality on the ground is either lying or a fool.

Sorry, boogered up my name on that last post. I'm Scout34.

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