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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

...And the New York Times Blows it Again! 
What is it with these people?

The Times today runs an article based on an interview with the man who at the time commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st division. He says his unit arrived on April 10th but did not search the site, because he didn't realize it was particularly sensitive. (Actually, he was probably more focused on destroying leftover Republican Guard formations. You know...finding the enemy and killing him where he was. Why on earth would anyone want us to be forming rings around shit and playing DEFENSE at that particular time?

So the NY Times is taking the US to task for failing to search Al Qaqa'a.

Unfortunately, they failed to mention that the area was already searched.

The 3rd ID had been there a week before, and searched it at the time.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/04/iraq/main547667.shtml


The site is enormous and U.S. troops are still investigating it for potential weapons of mass destruction, the official said.

"Initial reports are that the material is probably just explosives, but we're still going through the place," the official said.

Peabody said troops found thousands of boxes, each of which contained three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.

He also said they discovered atropine, used to counter the effects of nerve agents.

The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site. U.N. inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as Feb. 18.

The facility is part of a larger complex known as the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant al Qa Qaa.



So apparently, the 3rd ID knew it was sensitive, even if the 2nd Brigade of the 101st did not. Which would make sense, because the 3rd ID would have been the ones to recieve the mission to seize it anyway. The 101st would have known that the area would have already been 'cleared' by the 3rd ID. And may even have conducted a relief in place from 3rd ID rear elements at the site who needed to push forward - I don't know. It would have made a handy logistics staging area, even if empty.

The Times interviewed the wrong unit, and failed to uncover that Al Qaqa'a had been previously searched even before the 101st arrived on the scene.

Funny how all the newspaper errors break the same way. Good job, guys!

Now, I'd like to see the NY Times analysis piece on how Saddam managed to move a monstrous truck convoy and enough troops and forklifts to move all the explosives between April 3rd 2003 and the collapse of his C and C which was--ohhh, sometime before that, actually-- without the convoy running into a US checkpoint, and without the looting effort being picked up by US helicopters?

Just how did that happen?

It boggles the mind.

The only theory that explains all the evidence is that Saddam cleared out the site between February 18th and April 3rd. He would have had plenty of time. He had the motive. He had the means. It would have been simple to do so.

Occam's Razor is looking very dull indeed at the Times.


(Hat tip: Powerline).

Splash, out

Jason

UPDATE: 2slick is confirming on Michael Totten's blogments that there WAS a relief in place conducted between the 3rd ID and the 101st at Al Qaqa'a. Which confirms that the 3rd ID did not leave the site until after the 10th, when the 101st was there.

The 3rd ID had already searched the site. They were on the site. There is no way that Saddam could have gathered 50-180 trucks (at what staging area?), then sent them from an Iraqi military installation to Al Qaqa'a, entered Al Qaqa'a, and loaded up 380 tons of explosives, WITH THE 3rd ID SITTING ON THE SITE. No way. It did not happen.

And it could not have happened after the 101st left, because A.) Air traffic would have picked up a 50 truck operation to loot the site, and B.) The 3rd ID had already searched the site and did not find a huge dump.

This story is a fraud.






Comments:
Other stories indicate that the 3rd left after a few days. But more damning is claims by an Iraqi in the defense ministry who says that this site (and other sites) was looted after the fall of Baghdad, due to lack of security. Given the number of tons of munitions in the country, I don't have difficulty believing that hundreds could disappear after the fall of Baghdad.

And the reports from the 3rd indicate that they weren't concerned with the thing the IAEA was -- the HE materials. So they might well have missed those.

Occam's razor does suggest both that the materials could of been cleared by April 3rd, and that inadequate effort was put into securing dangerous materials throughout Iraq. The latter is the administration's failing.
 
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