. . . Monday October 25, 2004

We Are Safer (give or take 380 tons)

This just in from the NY Times:

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives – used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons – are missing from one of Iraq’s most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man’s land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

…The explosives could also be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, which was why international nuclear inspectors had kept a watch on the material, and even sealed and locked some of it. The other components of an atom bomb – the design and the radioactive fuel – are more difficult to obtain.

Now let’s say you are among those who believe that the world is an unequivocally safer place since we invaded Iraq.

That’s what you believe. Here’s what you now know.

You know that you were lied to repeatedly when it came to this invasion. Forget the fact that we based our invasion on WMDs and that those WMDs were never found and the program was at a dead-end under sanctions and inspections.

You were told that the key danger that Saddam presented to the world was that he possessed dangerous weapons which could fall into the hands of terrorist groups. That’s how you were scared into your grudging support of this war. (Don’t feel ashamed. It’s a damn good reason to be scared. Maybe the best reason in today’s world. Everyone knows that. Keep that fact in mind.)

Based on this rationale for war, you would be right to assume that in addition to regime change, our two most basic and critical objectives would be to:

1. Secure all of the weapons in the country.

2. Seal the border to prevent terrorists from pouring into Iraq.

1+2 = Keep the weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

There is no way, based on what we were sold (before, during and even after the invasion) that there could be any issues more pressing than these.

That’s why our post flightsuit behavior is so hard to explain.

We never had nearly enough troops and we disbanded Saddam’s military. There was no possible way, based on this strategy, that we could even think of sealing the border. Absolutely no way. Period.

And we clearly did not secure major caches of weapons. In fact, we didn’t even secure the site referenced above after we learned it was being looted.

Now maybe someone out there is better at word problems than me. But here’s what I think this all adds up to. Keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists was not our primary goal in invading Iraq. And there is absolutely no evidence left that we are safer as a result of that invasion.

Following this formula, is it really any surprise that we didn’t hear about this little detail of the missing weapons earlier?

Come on folks. How is this possibly ok?

Concentration is important!