Friday, October 29, 2004

It All Goes Boom, Right?

With today's testimony from US army major Austin Pearson, who told of how his unit had destroyed over 200 tons Iraqi munitions, including tons of stuff from al-Qaqaa, we were treated to another great example of intentional confusion of the issues by using lots of acronyms that the general public doesn't understand.

You see, to the average Joe, it all goes boom. TNT, RDX, HMX, PDQ... it's all stuff that is used to blow stuff up. Major Pearson talked of how his unit blew up lots of the stuff from al Qaqaa. So what's the big deal?

The big deal is that Pentagon spokesman, Larry DiRita, during this press conference tried to claim that the Pentagon doesn't distinguish between RDX and HMX. To the average guy, this makes perfect sense. RDX, HMX? What the hell, they all end in "X" and they both go boom.

But here's the problem with that: RDX (Cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) is plastic explosive with it's roots in 1890's Germany that forms the base for several common military explosives. HMX (High Molecular weight rdX), on the other hand, is the military's most powerful non-nuclear explosive, and is the stuff that can be used to detonate a nuclear bomb.

They both go boom, but HMX is capable of so much more.

According to Wikipedia, RDX burns rather than explodes, and requires a detonator to explode. It is so stable that you can shoot it with small arms fire and not set it off. HMX, also referred to as "High Melting Explosive" explodes so violently at high temperatures it can be used in rocket fuel. Boy, no difference there!?

So the idea that RDX and HMX are somehow of the same level of importance and not classified differently by the Pentagon is pure unadulterated deception. The IAEA didn't place seals on RDX as it had no use in the production or construction of nuclear weapons. HMX does, and as such was monitored by U.N. inspectors, cataloged, mapped, and sealed in the bunkers in which it was stored.

And now the really powerful stuff - HMX - the stuff that can set off a nuclear bomb, is missing. And all the Bush administration can do is try to pass the buck and obfuscate reality. A reality that places in the hands of terrorists the military's most powerful non-nuclear explosive. All because the US didn't have enough troops on the ground to guard the al Qaqaa facility even though they knew this this stuff was there.

Do you feel safer yet?