Monday, October 25, 2004

Why Do Things Go Boom?

Why do things go boom, boys and girls? It seems darn near everything in Iraq goes boom these days. Cars go boom. Improvised Explosive Devices go boom. Oil pipelines go boom. Buildings go boom. Even sometimes people go boom. Now why is that.

Oh that's right, explosives.

Explosives make things go boom. Now, imagine you are a terrorist who wants to make something go boom. You need explosives to do this, so you just drive down to Crazy Omar's Demolition Supply and buy a bit of this stuff, right? Well, maybe not. It seems people keep a watch on these sort of things. At least until the US Army invades the country:
Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told CNN the interim Iraqi government reported several days ago that the explosives were missing from the Al Qaqaa complex, south of Baghdad.

The explosives -- considered powerful enough to demolish buildings or detonate nuclear warheads -- were under IAEA control until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. IAEA workers left the country before the fighting began.
What, a little war breaks out and the IAEA runs away? Wimps. What are they afraid of. It was only explosives under their control. High grade weapons explosives. Explosives powerful enough to demolish a building or detonate a nuclear warhead. Only 380 tons of the stuff. Only 760,000 pounds of the stuff capable of triggering a nuclear bomb.

760,000 pounds. I wonder how many booms that could make. Well, about that... From the NY Times:
The bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material, and larger amounts were apparently used in the bombing of a housing complex in November 2003 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the blasts in a Moscow apartment complex in September 1999 that killed nearly 300 people.

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 that sounds bad. One pound of this stuff makes a whole jumbo jet go boom, and there seems to be 760,000 pounds of it missing. That's a lot of boom. Boy, I sure hope the US isn't responsible for this one:
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush wants to determine what went wrong.

McClellan, on Air Force One, stressed that the missing explosives were not nuclear materials, and said the storage site was the responsibility of the interim Iraqi government, not the United States, as of June 28, when the United States turned over the nation's administration to the Iraqis.
There you go, boys and girls: The correct use of the "Bart Simpson" defense: We didn't to it. It was those kooky Iraqis learning how to govern their own country. Uh, about that:
Earlier this month, in a letter to the I.A.E.A. in Vienna, a senior official from Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology wrote that the stockpile disappeared after early April 2003 because of "the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security."

In an interview with The Times and "60 Minutes" in Baghdad, the minister of science and technology, Rashad M. Omar, confirmed the facts described in the letter. "Yes, they are missing," Dr. Omar said. "We don't know what happened." The I.A.E.A. says it also does not know, and has reported that machine tools that can be used for either nuclear or non-nuclear purposes have also been looted.

[...]

Officials in Washington said they had no answers to that question. One senior official noted that the Qaqaa complex where the explosives were stored was listed as a "medium priority" site on the Central Intelligence Agency's list of more than 500 sites that needed to be searched and secured during the invasion. "Should we have gone there? Definitely," said one senior administration official.

In the chaos that followed the invasion, however, many of those sites, even some considered a higher priority, were never secured.
We should have went there? It's only high grade explosives and the tools to make bombs or nuclear weapons. It's only 760,000 pounds of this stuff. And now it's all missing. Who needs Crazy Omar's when you can just go pick the stuff up for free at a self-serve ammunitions facility! More boom for your terrorist buck that way.

No wonder everything has been going boom in Iraq lately. With over 760,000 pounds of free explosives, Crazy Omar is now probably another unemployed Iraqi looking for something to do with his free time and free explosives. More time and more free explosives to kill and injure US troops. More time and free explosives to kill innocent civilians. More time and more explosives to make all sorts of things go boom.

Let us not forget this is just the latest in a long list of incompetent acts. We have only eight days left until election day for the American people to lower the boom on this incompetent administration.