Remarkable! (emphasis added by Sister T)
“This morning, we learned more disturbing news about the disappearance of 380 tons of powerful explosives in Iraq. We already know these weapons could produce bombs that can demolish entire buildings… blow up airplanes… destroy tanks… and kill our troops. Terrorists used explosives like this to take down Pan Am 103 and al Qaeda used it to attack the USS Cole. The missing explosives could very likely be in the hands of terrorists and insurgents – who are attacking our forces nearly 90 times a day in Iraq.”
From 10/7/04: (snips denote a break I inserted in the article)
Democratic Sen. John Kerry said Thursday that a new report finding Iraq had no stockpiles of banned weapons “provided definitive evidence as to why George Bush should not be re-elected president of the United States.” *snip*
Kerry rejected the argument, saying that the evidence of weapons of mass destruction that the administration presented to Congress was why he and other lawmakers voted to give Mr. Bush the authority to go to war.
“My fellow Americans, you don’t make up or find reasons to go to war after the fact,” Kerry said. “Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States and the vice president of the United States may well be the last two people on the planet who won’t face the truth about Iraq.” *snip*
Kerry said the evidence of weapons of mass destruction was overblown and designed to “purposefully used to shift the focus from al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, to Iraq and Saddam Hussein.”
Hmmm. Hasn’t the President argued repeatedly that one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq was so that weapons such as the ones that apparently went missing prior to the invasion (my view, anyway) – the one’s that John Kerry states “…could produce bombs that can demolish entire buildings… blow up airplanes… destroy tanks… and kill our troops. Terrorists used explosives like this to take down Pan Am 103 and al Qaeda used it to attack the USS Cole”? Yes, in fact. The President has made that very argument. No one needs a link to recall the countless times he has done so.
This is the kind of material that Bush worried would get into the hands of the terrorists. This is the kind of material that John Kerry once upon a time didn’t consider a grave enough threat to go to war (“wrong war, wrong place, wrong time” – let’s not forget that quote).
Sometime between the last time the IAEA last checked this site (mid March) and very early April, when the 3rd ID arrived on the scene, these weapons were very likely moved. The Boston Globe reports today that Col. David Perkins, who commanded the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, stated that it was ”very highly improbable” that someone could have trucked out so much material once U.S. forces arrived in the area. Here’s more from that story:
Perkins and others in the military acknowledged that some looting at the site had taken place. But he said a large-scale operation to remove the explosives using trucks almost certainly would have been detected.
Perkins, now a staff officer at the Pentagon, was made available to reporters by Defense Department spokesmen. Perkins’ account comes in the middle of a furious exchange of accusations between the campaigns of President Bush and Sen. John Kerry over what happened to the missing explosives.
Larry Di Rita, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, said what ultimately happened to the explosives is unknown. The department is investigating. But Perkins’ description seemed to point toward the possibility that the explosives were removed before the U.S.-led invasion to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, rather than during the chaos afterward.
Despite the drumbeat of “administration incompetence” by the usual suspects, the above scenario appears to be the most likely one. The only “imcompetence” appears to be on the part of the people who reported this story in its various forms, and of course the Kerry campaign, which is running with these distortions without knowing what the full facts really are. One more thing to remember: perhaps we’d have been in Iraq a bit sooner and snagged these weapons if we wouldn’t have participated in the foot dragging/pandering going on in the UN that people like John Kerry demanded we do prior to the war.
The President’s response to the Kerry attacks on this story:
“After repeatedly calling Iraq the â€˜wrong war,’ and a â€˜diversion,’ Senator Kerry this week seemed shocked to learn that Iraq was a dangerous place, full of dangerous weapons. The Senator used to know that, even though he seems to have forgotten it over the course of the campaign, but after all that’s why we’re there. Iraq was a dangerous place run by a dangerous tyrant who had a lot of weapons. We have seized or destroyed more than 400,000 tons of munitions, including explosives, and more than — thousands of different sites, and we’re continuing to round up more weapons everyday.
“I want to remind the American people, if Senator Kerry had his way, we would still be taking our ‘global test.’ Saddam Hussein would still be in power. He would control all those weapons and explosives and could have shared them with our terrorist enemies.