Rumsfeld on looting in Iraq: 'Stuff happens' 4/12/03

October 25th, 2004  

Topic: Rumsfeld on looting in Iraq: 'Stuff happens' 4/12/03

Rumsfeld on looting in Iraq: 'Stuff happens'

He also asserted the looting was not as bad as some television and newspaper reports have indicated and said there was no major crisis in Baghdad, the capital city, which lacks a central governing authority. The looting, he suggested, was "part of the price" for what the United States and Britain have called the liberation of Iraq.


After categorically dismissing the looting as "Stuff Happens"

Today our troops are in MORE danger because of it:

IAEA: Tons of Iraq explosives missing

VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- Some 380 tons of explosives, powerful enough to be used to detonate nuclear warheads, are missing from a former Iraqi military facility that was supposed to be under American control, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says.

Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN the Iraqi interim government reported several days ago that the explosives were missing from the Al Qaqaa complex, south of Baghdad.

The explosives -- considered powerful enough to demolish buildings or detonate nuclear warheads -- were under IAEA control until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. IAEA workers left the country before the fighting began.

"Our immediate concern is that if the explosives did fall into the wrong hands they could be used to commit terrorist acts and some of the bombings that we've seen," Fleming said.

She described Al Qaqaa as "massive," and said it is one of the most well-known storage sites. Besides the 380 tons, there were large caches of artillery there.

Fleming said the IAEA does not know whether some of the explosives may already have been used.

A senior administration official told CNN that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was notified about the missing stash about a month ago. Iraq Survey Group inspectors are investigating, the official said.

The discovery was not made public sooner because standard intelligence practice is not to let the enemy know such information, the official said.

There are hundreds of tons of other weapons and munitions missing around the country, and it is impossible for the United States to track down all of them, the official said.

Even so, he conceded, Monday's story is not a good one for the White House, just over a week from election day.

A European diplomat told The New York Times that Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, is "extremely concerned" about the potentially "devastating consequences" of the vanished stockpile.

"The immediate danger" of the lost stockpiles is its potential use by insurgents to make small, but powerful, explosive devices, an expert told the Times. The expert said the explosives could be transported easily across the Middle East.

According to the Times, the stockpiles missing from Al Qaqaa are the strongest and fastest in common use by militaries around the globe.

The Iraqi letter to IAEA identified the vanished explosives as containing 194.7 metric tons of HMX, or "high melting point explosive," 141.2 metric tons of RDX, or "rapid detonation explosive," among other designations, and 5.8 metric tons of PETN, or "pentaerythritol tetranitrate."

Fleming said the IAEA, whose mission is to keep track of everything with potential nuclear weapons applications, had been monitoring about 100 sites in Iraq, but there were only a few of special concern, including Al Qaqaa.

"The concern is that other sites that have items that are potentially dangerous have gone missing," Fleming added.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign decried the missing explosives.

In a statement, Kerry senior adviser Joe Lockhart said, "the Bush administration must answer for what may be the most grave and catastrophic mistake in a tragic series of blunders in Iraq.

"How did they fail to secure nearly 380 tons of known, deadly explosives despite clear warnings from the International Atomic Energy Agency to do so? And why was this information unearthed by reporters -- and was it covered up by our national security officials?"

"These explosives can be used to blow up airplanes, level buildings, attack our troops and detonate nuclear weapons. The Bush administration knew where this stockpile was, but took no action to secure the site."

Lockhart criticized Bush for his "stunning incompetence."


This is a terrible miscalculation!
October 26th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country
I agree, those are some serious mistakes

The blame should lie more with the military heads in the Pentagon than Bush. They are suppose to advise the President on military matters. If they do not tell Bush about the threat of looting or the stockpiles, how is the President suppose to deal with that problem? Each Chief of Staff has well over 30 years of military experience. These guys are experts in military matters. Even though Kerry was in the military, we only served as a LT in vietnam. I doubt that he would have been able to see those problems.

oh yeah, I have never liked Rummy. If Bush wins, he needs to go anyway.
October 26th, 2004  
Airborne Eagle
It now appears those explosives were gone prior to the war.

And the media knew it.

And they let you believe otherwise.

Carry on.



The NYTIMES urgently reported on Monday how the Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives are now missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

Jumping on the TIMES exclusive, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry blasted the Bush administration for its failure to "guard those stockpiles."

"This is one of the great blunders of Iraq, one of the great blunders of this administration," Kerry said.

In an election week rush:

**ABCNEWS Mentioned The Iraq Explosives Depot At Least 4 Times
**CBSNEWS Mentioned The Iraq Explosives Depot At Least 7 Times
**MSNBC Mentioned The Iraq Explosives Depot At Least 37 Times
**CNN Mentioned The Iraq Explosives Depot At Least 50 Times

But tonight, NBCNEWS reported, once: The 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives were already missing back in April 10, 2003 -- when U.S. troops arrived at the installation south of Baghdad!

An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.

According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived.

It is not clear why the NYTIMES failed to report the cache had been missing for 18 months -- and was reportedly missing before troops even arrived.

The TIMES left the impression the weapons site had been looted since Iraq has been under US control.

"The U.S. Army was at the sight one day after the liberation and the weapons were already gone," a top Republican blasted from Washington late Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors last saw the explosives in January 2003 when they took an inventory and placed fresh seals on the bunkers.

Dem vp hopeful John Edwards blasted Bush for not securing the explosives: "It is reckless and irresponsible to fail to protect and safeguard one of the largest weapons sites in the country. And by either ignoring these mistakes or being clueless about them, George Bush has failed. He has failed as our commander in chief; he has failed as president."

A senior Bush official e-mailed DRUDGE late Monday: "Let me get this straight, are Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards now saying we did not go into Iraq soon enough? We should have invaded and liberated Iraq sooner?"

Top Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart fired back: "In a shameless attempt to cover up its failure to secure 380 tons of highly explosive material in Iraq, the White House is desperately flailing in an effort to escape blame. Instead of distorting John Kerry’s words, the Bush campaign is now falsely and deliberately twisting the reports of journalists. It is the latest pathetic excuse from an administration that never admits a mistake, no matter how disastrous."
October 26th, 2004  
I think the Bush Admin are grasping here. I'm sure we'll find out exactly what the truth is soon enough.

But, it's also being reported that the 3rd Infantry were the first to discover these munnitions, but were on their way to Baghdad and were unable to secure them at that time.

We'll just have to stay tuned to learn more.

We've sure seen a lot of bad calls from this Administration. Another 4 years won't do anybody any good.
Except maybe the oil tycoons and big corporations.
October 27th, 2004  
Airborne Eagle
In March, the inspectors verified the presence.

Troops did not arrive until April.

In May, inspectors verified the disappearance.

So, we're to conclude looters made off with 40+ truckloads at a time when there was no insurgancy? I think the more plausible explanation is the Iraqi military moved the stuff so it wouldn't get bombed to kingdom come.

Of course, I don't know that to be a fact. However, the statue of Saddam didn't fall until May, right? So the major combat operations and, more exactly, the Iraqi military were in existance. Command and control presumably existed. So, isn't it more likey an organized military moved the explosives used for nuclear detonations and not an insurgancy in its infancy?
October 28th, 2004  
Here's some interesting info on the subject: