Perhaps I’m just weird but I don’t find this story particularly distressing:
Some 350 tons of high explosives (RDX and HMX) which were under IAEA seal while Saddam was in power, were looted during the early days of the US occupation. Like so much else, it was just left unguarded.
Not only are these super-high-yield explosives probably being used in many, if not most, of the various suicide and car bombings in Iraq, but these particular explosives are ones used in the triggering process for nuclear weapons.
In other words, it’s bad stuff.
What also emerges in the Nelson Report is that the Defense Department has been trying to keep this secret for some time. The DOD even went so far as to order the Iraqis not to inform the IAEA that the materials had gone missing. Informing the IAEA, of course, would lead to it becoming public knowledge in the United States.
Okay, okay, it’s bad that they covered it up. But it’s not that surprising. Anyway, it’s been known, at least off-the-record, for a number of months that hundreds of tons of ammunitions were just left in dumps, and not destroyed because of a lack of demolition experts. Stupid? Yes. Incompetent? Yes. But the fact is, it doesn’t really matter now. Those ammunitions can’t be destroyed now that they’re in insurgents’ hands, so it’s useless and counterproductive to argue about this. However, it appears that insurgents in Sadr City and Fallujah are finally coming under control:
Iraq’s plans to hold elections in January gained traction on Saturday after a Shi’ite militia agreed to disarm in Baghdad and delegates from rebel-held Falluja said the Sunni Muslim city wanted to vote in the polls.
The Mehdi Army militia led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr agreed to hand over weapons to Iraqi police from Monday under a deal that could defuse the Baghdad flashpoint of Sadr City.
Falluja delegates said the city wanted to take part in the elections and could accept the return of Iraqi security forces.
“A delegation from Falluja is now discussing the entry of Iraqi National Guards to the city with the defense ministry,” chief Falluja negotiator Khaled al-Jumaili told Reuters.
Via Chrenkoff, in turn via Andrew Sullivan (wow, I’ve been linking to him a lot today). I’m not naive enough to be taken in by most “good news from Iraq” claims, but Chrenkoff’s post comes mostly from very credible sources, and is quite convincing. Sure, there’s a fair amount of “what about the schools?” rhetoric, but a lot of it’s very convincing. Even if you’re adamantly against the war, it’s worth a read.