October 29, 2004

Video Shows G.I.'s at Weapon Cache

A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The tape, broadcast on Wednesday night by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of Iraq.

The question of whether the material was removed by Mr. Hussein's forces in the days before the invasion, or looted later because it was unguarded, has become a heated dispute on the campaign trail, with Senator John Kerry accusing President Bush of incompetence, and Mr. Bush saying it is unclear when the material disappeared and rejecting what he calls Mr. Kerry's "wild charges."

...The ABC crew said the video was taken on April 18. The timing is critical to the debate in the presidential campaign. By the Pentagon's own account, units of the 101st Airborne Division were near Al Qaqaa for what Mr. DiRita said was "two to three weeks," starting April 10.

Then they headed north to Baghdad, and the site was apparently left unguarded. By the time special weapons teams returned to Al Qaqaa in May, the explosives were apparently gone.

So that's pretty much that -- what do you boys in the spin room have to say about it now?

The Pentagon also notes that it has destroyed 400,000 tons of munitions from thousands of sites across Iraq, and that the explosives at Al Qaqaa only account for "one-tenth of 1 percent" of that amount.

Great. Remember when the San Jose Mercury pointed a finger at the CIA for bringing huge amounts of cocaine into East L.A. as part of the gigantic drug deal that has come to be known as "Iran-Contra?" That it spawned the crack epidemic?

And after repeated denials and denunciations of the journalist, their defense was: "Hey, it's not our fault. We only brought in Five Tons of cocaine, and lots more than that came in during that time.


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