The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Friday, October 29, 2004
Al Qaqaa: a bum rap for Bush?
Kerry's October Surprise? A powerful aroma of something not quite right wafting from the story  - as the piece by Jack Shafer, for one, rather suggests. The timing, for instance .
One thing is flat amazing (at least as it appears in the reports): why the guys from the 101st Airborne, some of whom were caught on the camera of KSTP St Paul uncovering some of the goodies in that Aladdin's Cave, left the place unguarded, and the explosives in place.
I'm not familiar with the military situation at the time; I can quite believe that there was simply not the manpower to leave behind to secure the site.
In which case, why not blow up the explosives? Wouldn't that be standard procedure?
The suggestion that a unit coming across enemy ordnance would require a directive from the White House - or the Pentagon - before it could protect itself and the rest of friendly forces in this way is surely laughable.
David Kay was amazed, for one:
quite frankly, to me the most frightening thing is not only is the seal broken and the lock broken, but the soldiers left after opening it up. You have to provide security.
Bush deserves blame for mounting an illegal invasion of Iraq; for ignoring military advice on the size of the invasion force; for dumping the plans for governing post-invasion Iraq; and much else besides.
And let us not forget that many of the Democrats now calling for Bush's head aided and abetted him in his Iraq adventure despite the clear indications in the public domain at the time that his case for war was false or dubious.
But - I can't see for the life of me how the US military's failure to blow up the Al Qaqaa munitions is down to Bush.
In the same spirit - questioning, not quarterbacking - I note with interest a piece co-written by Tom Ricks under hed Munitions Issue Dwarfs the Big Picture. Capitol habitué Anthony Cordesman of CSIS, expresses the opinion that
"There is something truly absurd about focusing on 377 tons of rather ordinary explosives, regardless of what actually happened at al Qaqaa. The munitions at al Qaqaa were at most around 0.06 percent of the total.
The suggestion is the that Kerry shock horror is mere hackery. The guy is trying to get elected, after all - no one supposes he actually believes all the stuff he trots out, do they?
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