Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Yesterday I said

"Did we not secure it because it was already cleared out? Or did we not secure and it was not cleared out and we should have?"

Partly in response to Andrew's questions.

Today Drudge tells me that, "An NBCNEWS crew embedded with troops moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq. According to NBCNEWS, the HMX and RDX explosives were already missing when the American troops arrived."


I think the questions of when it when missing are secondary to the reasons why Saddam had the material and why wasn't it removed before we attacked by the UN.


The real questions to me are:

Why did Saddam have some of the best explosive materials in the world?

Andrew makes an attempt at answering my question here.

"The UN had no responsibility to get rid of those explosives as long as Saddam was in power. They were afforded to him for industrial and mining purposes, and the US was party to that decision."

I thought the point of sanctions were to stop economic activity. Secondly, the explosives were in military bunkers, which would be a strange place to store dual use explosives, but then again Iraq is a strange place. Thirdly, while Saddam might have been using them for legitimate purposes they could have used much less effective compounds for mining purposes, they did not need the best stuff to blow a hole in the side of a mountain.

While the international community, though the UN, might have decided that it was ok for Saddam to have this material, I think it is obvious that this was the wrong decision.

Why did the UN not remove them from Iraq when they knew we were going to attack?

The UN knew we were going to attack and they left explosive material just lying around on the ground, practically like manna from heaven. This is one question that I have not heard asked, referred to, or even brought up in any way.

I am asking it now.

Lets say you we in charge of an area and this area was going to be attacked by your "friend". This area also happens to have materials which you know the location and amount of. Do you just tell you friends where the explosive material is or or do you work with you friends and remove the materials to make their job and your job easier in the future?

In a global society, world security is everyone's responsibility and everyone should do their part. The UN did not take an active role is helping the US (surprise), and the US, UN (this stuff probably killed one of their main envoys), and the world are paying the price for the UN's inaction.


When did the explosive material disappear?

This is still under dispute, and we will probably never really know. There are several versions of the story out there. I tend to think that the stuff was gone when we arrived which would mean that either Saddam passed it out, hid it, was stolen by individuals whose motives could be questioned and then these individuals gave the materials to terror groups, or it was stolen by terror groups already in Iraq. The timeline is muddled, and the bush haters will say whatever it takes to make it seem like the material disappeared under the American's watch, even if it means casting doubt on American soldiers. Which they of course will never ask themselves, why it was left there in the first place?

I still do not know when the materail was stolen, but given what it would have taken to move the material, i do not see how that convoy was missed.

Who has it?

I think this answer is obvious.

Summary

I think that since the IAEA knew where the explosives were, that it was their responsibility to remove them from the country to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Since the UN failed in their responsibility (what a surprise), it was the US's responsibility to fix the problem. The US also failed in this area of responsibility. So we have both the UN and the US screwing up, in that order. The US can't do everything alone, we need the help of our allies and that really seems to be the main theme that is missing in this story.

cube

8 comments:

Dave Justus said...

Actually the U.N. didn't have either the responsibility or the ability to remove these explosives.

Basically, because they could be used as a componant for making Nuclear weapons they were placed under seal so the U.N. could keep track of them and Iraq could prove that they were not using them for Nuclear development. They still belonged to the Iraqi government.

I assume that if Iraq had a legitimate use for them, they could petition the U.N. to have some of them removed from being under the seal for the specific purpose they had in mind. For example, we need 10 pounds for this mining op. Here is where and how we will use them. I don't know whether this happened or not, but I would imagine that at least in theory it could have happened.

Even for the items that were clearly banned, not just placed under seal because of dual use possibilies the U.N. could not unilaterally remove or destroy the items. They would have to obtain cooperation from the Iraqi government. Before the war this happened with some of Iraq's long rang missiles, although not all of them as we saw during the war.

Even if the U.N. had wanted to destroy or remove these explosives it is doubtful that Iraq would have let them. Even if Iraq had, the weapon's inspectors could not have removed them, they lacked the logistical capabilities although I suppose they could have overseen their destruction. Legally though (if that term can really be used, International Law being what it is), Iraq was not required to destroy this explosive and not banned from possessing it.

Cubicle said...

Frist you say.

"Actually the U.N. didn't have either the responsibility or the ability to remove these explosives."

then you say this...
"they were placed under seal so the U.N. could keep track of them and Iraq could prove that they were not using them for Nuclear development. "

how was the UN supposed to keep track of material when they left.

To fufill their responsbility of keeping track of the materials, they would have to remove them.

weather or not they have the actual authority is another question, but it is clear that they had the materail under control and then just left it lying around, which is shirking their responsiblity to keep track of the material.

"Legally though (if that term can really be used, International Law being what it is), Iraq was not required to destroy this explosive and not banned from possessing it."

that was the frist mistake, the second mistake was the UN not fufilling their responsiblity to keep track of the material (either by staying in Iraq or removing the material before the war), and the thrid mistake was American no securing the site well enough after the UN left.

Dave Justus said...

You could argue I guess that Saddam Hussein's regime should have been banned from possessing all weapons after the 1991 Gulf War. This is obviously not what happened and would be something he would never accept. Many have said we should have finished the job then, I am not entirely unsympathetic to this point of view, but regardless that is not what happened. Water under the bridge.

Obviously the U.N. would be unable to keep a watch on these explosives during our invasion. Any U.N. personnel would have been in danger, perhaps even taken hostage. We told them to get out because we were planning to invade, they wisely agreed to do this.

Obviously we could not monitor this site (other than remotely) until AFTER we had invaded and taken custody of the site. This also includes capturing this site, making sure their are no enemy forces in the area of the site, and securing a logistical supply line for any who are going to man this site. Certainly by the time all this was done, the stuff was gone. Perhaps it was gone before the first bombs fell in Iraq, perhaps it was gone later.

Cubicle said...

"Obviously the U.N. would be unable to keep a watch on these explosives during our invasion."

That is ture, but they could have removed the explovises, blown up the explovies, or even bought the explovies. Instead the UN just left the shit there, unmonitored by anyone. They took the pussy, passive, and wholy unresponsible way out of the situation.


"Obviously we could not monitor this site (other than remotely) until AFTER we had invaded and taken custody of the site."

And even then if we got there, we might have over looked stuff because our men are not weapons inspectros (not that the IAEA's inspectors were that great to begin with)

Andrew said...

Dave,

That's the best argument I've seen you make. Simple, straightforward, and informative. Nice. Surpising POV, too. :)

cube,

The US invaded Iraq illegally, as far as the UN was concerned. That certainly didn't put them in the position of "helping their allies", because in this conflict, they took no alliances. Although the US holds higher status, the state of Iraq (Hussein's or not) is just as much an ally of the UN as any other member.

So when the US informed the UN that they were invading, the UN took necessary precautions for the safety of its staff and did nothing more. Were they to do any more, they would be overstepping their bounds as a neutral party in this engagement.

There are regulations that dictate what the UN can and cannot do. The US has a strong voice in determining these regulations, so complaining about them is no use. In this case, the UN was following the regulations as determined by its constituent members, leaving the US no room to complain. Which, of course, is why the administration isn't running with your argument itself.

Cubicle said...

"The US invaded Iraq illegally, as far as the UN was concerned. "

have you read resolution 1441?

If you have not, you should, because that is what you just brought up. Here is the link.
http://www.un.int/usa/sres-iraq.htm

The matter of it being an leagal or illeagal invasion is in dispute. I frimly belive that it was a leagal invasion, and we can aruge that all day long. That argument does have bearing on this discussion, but will remain unresolved, so i will not continute it further.

"So when the US informed the UN that they were invading, the UN took necessary precautions for the safety of its staff and did nothing more"

If i remember correctly, one of their envoys was killed , I am now assuming by the weapons or type of weapons that went missing did that killing.

What if the weapons they were gaurding ended up killing one of their own? It would appear to me that they did not take all long term "necessary precautions for the safety of its staff".

"There are regulations that dictate what the UN can and cannot do. The US has a strong voice in determining these regulations, so complaining about them is no use. "

I have a strong voice in what my state does, but i do not control it. IS complaining about it no use? What about at my job? I don't control what the bosses do, should i not complain about it? What about at my apartment complex? i don't control what they do, should i complain about it?

Because the US has a strong voice i should attempt to complain about areas that the UN has failed in.

Saddam getting the explosives in the frist place is one of they things i am suggesting was a bad idea. Another idea i am suggestings is a bad idea, is just leaving the explosives unguarded.

Of couse i am placing blame also, which no one is disputing that it is the UN's fault that Saddam had the explovies, and no one is disputing that the UN had the responsbilty to gaurd they explovise materail.


"In this case, the UN was following the regulations as determined by its constituent members, leaving the US no room to complain."

Maybe everyone else is wrong, and it is about time the US started complaining. Secondly, they US did a little more than just complain, we actually just attacked and ened any arguemnt right there.

American soilders are now dying in Iraq, because Saddam was allowed to have major explovise material, then that explovise materail was left ungaurded, and then america was not able to be secured in time.

It seems to me that the UN's own rules, regualtions, and member irrsponsiblity are the one of the reasons explosives are killing Iraqies and americans alike.

The other reanson is failure of America to secure the explovives. I am just pointing out that if the UN would have done its job (secure the explovise materail) we would not even be talking about the materail)

Maybe some one should complain about that, but you know then again what is the use, right?

Anonymous said...

You may have a better point than I originally thought Cube. Charles Duelfer asked the U.N. to destroy these explosive back in 1995.

Cubicle said...

intresting.

i should really do more research before i step on the limb and try to be a partisan hack, it would make my hacking actually worth while.

of course the UN did not destory it, because they were not allowed to (for what ever reason), which in itself is part of the problem.

Can the new york sun be trusted? I tend not to trust any newpaper with SUN in its name.