Monday, October 25, 2004

T.N.T. Done Dirt Cheap

Today's New York Times features a front page article entitled "Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq," reported and written by James Glanz, William J. Broad and David E. Sanger (no link...because I think it's wrong that websites like The Times and The Washington Post make you register to view their stories...I just provide the titles so you can search for it yourself). That's 380 tons of not-exactly-fun that are missing (although it's possible that Bush might be looking under his desk right now like he did for the missing W.M.D.s).

I'd like to draw attention to two links.

The first one is an article written by Robert Fisk from Baghdad on April 17, 2003 entitled "For the people on the streets, this is not liberation but a new colonial oppression." Perhaps it's not insurgents who jacked the explosives:

Because there is also something dangerous – and deeply disturbing – about the crowds setting light to the buildings of Baghdad, including the great libraries and state archives. For they are not looters. The looters come first. The arsonists turn up later, often in blue-and-white buses. I followed one after its passengers had set the Ministry of Trade on fire and it sped out of town.

The official US line on all this is that the looting is revenge – an explanation that is growing very thin – and that the fires are started by "remnants of Saddam's regime", the same "criminal elements", no doubt, who feature in the marines' curfew orders. But people in Baghdad don't believe Saddam's former supporters are starting these fires. And neither do I.

The looters make money from their rampages but the arsonists have to be paid. The passengers in those buses are clearly being directed to their targets. If Saddam had pre-paid them, they wouldn't start the fires. The moment he disappeared, they would have pocketed the money and forgotten the whole project.

So who are they, this army of arsonists? I recognised one the other day, a middle-aged, unshaven man in a red T-shirt, and the second time he saw me he pointed a Kalashnikov at me. What was he frightened of? Who was he working for? In whose interest is it to destroy the entire physical infrastructure of the state, with its cultural heritage? Why didn't the Americans stop this?

The second article is by Cyndi from Mousemusings (a fellow Progressive Blog Alliance member), who has compiled a Timeline of Looting & Incompetence:

"Here is a rough timeline of nuclear facilities, notably April 12, 2003 below when the discovery of looting first occured. It stands to reason that once the discovery was made, that the IAEA would have been consulted and other places of concern to them would have been secured, or, of course, should have been. That 377 tons of explosives are missing from an unsecured military facility absolutely blows my mind! Incompetence is a nice word for it.

Recall the first presidential debate when John Kerry said, ""When you guard the oil ministry, but you don't guard the nuclear facilities, the message to a lot of people is maybe, "Wow, maybe they're interested in our oil."

I'd personally go a bit further and say, "Wow, maybe they aren't even looking for nuclear capabilities, or weapons of any type."" Check out the link to read the rest.


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