Totally Fucked Up, Part II

The NY Times reports that 380 tons of high explosives have gone missing in Iraq:

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.

As always, we get a big dose of incompetence thrown into the mix:

The White House said President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was informed within the past month that the explosives were missing. It is unclear whether President Bush was informed. American officials have never publicly announced the disappearance, but beginning last week they answered questions about it posed by The New York Times and the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

Even though the IAEA specifically warned about this particular cache:

The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats said in interviews last week. Administration officials say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded, beyond the fact that the occupation force was overwhelmed by the amount of munitions they found throughout the country.

Incredible. Long-time readers of the blog may remember this entry, which cited a WaPo article about looting of "nuclear sites" in Iraq immediately after the invasion in 2003. From the earlier article:

Seven nuclear facilities in Iraq have been damaged or effectively destroyed by the looting that began in the first days of April, when U.S. ground forces thrust into Baghdad, according to U.S. investigators and others with detailed knowledge of their work.

The article goes on to list 5 of the 7 facilities, then notes:

The identities of two other sites, also said to have been looted, could not be learned.

I wonder if Al Qaqaa was one of those 2 unnamed sites.

We have major incompetence here, and it is at many levels. It appears that some mid-high level US commanders need to be relieved of their posts, because not safeguarding weapons depots is simply incomprehensible. At the administrative level, one has to wonder why a) no one "knows" anything in the administration, and b) why incompetent field commanders are allowed to remain in their positions.

The war in Iraq is not only endangering the lives of Iraqis and US soldiers, but people outside of Iraq as well. The invasion was bad enough in and of itself, but such incompetence is guaranteed to expand the war beyond Iraq's borders.

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