Talking Points Memo provides a good summary of the Al Qa Qaa story: "Iraq's Al Qa Qaa bunker and weapons complex had roughly 350 tons of high explosives under IAEA seal. After the war, for whatever reason, the complex was either not guarded at all or inadequately guarded. And all those explosives (primarily RDX and HMX) were carted away. What we're talking about here isn't just a bunch of dynamite. This encyclopedia entry says RDX 'is considered the most powerful and brisant of the military high explosives.' And not 350 pounds, 350 tons."
The Sydney Morning Herald passes on reports that the weapons removal took about a year and "was carried out by experts with heavy machinery and demolition equipment." After the invasion, the weapons were no longer watched by the IAEA. To remove the weapons dozens of sites (large numbers of buildings, etc.) were dismantled!
Rook's Rant rants, "Now, you'll forgive me, but our ports are inadequately guarded as well. And since 350 tons of RDX and HMX just waltzed out of Iraq, I can easly imagine some of this explosive material waltzing into our country. Tell me again how invading Iraq makes us safer? On top of this, there is also the fact of our administration knowing this material was gone, and did not report it to the IAEA! And they further ordered the Iraqi 'government' to not report the missing explosives as well. Gee, can you spell 'cover up?'"
Ratboy's Anvil properly asks, "The question is how could any invading force NOT secure such a huge and dangerous stockpile of explosives? Does it not prove beyond doubt the degree of incompetency with which the Bush adminstration has prosecuted this war?" Mouse Musings provides a timeline for this story.
Steve Gilliard, in a "letter to a security mom", has the following to say about the story: "The President is not fighting an effective war on terror. He has left America more dangerous than how he found it. From ignoring the warnings of an attack before 9/11, to the war in Iraq, President Bush has let your family down and placed them in more danger. Not only from terrorism at home, but in fighting his war in Iraq, a war which has not made one American safer. I know you're busy, but instead of giving you a bunch of links, google the topics here, get your own information and make up your own mind. You will be surprised at what you aren't seeing on the nightly news and on cable."
This incident has of course added fuel to Kerry's criticism of Bush's incompetence in Iraq. It's almost laughable now to think of Bush and Powell, advising us with all seriousness that the U.S. had to invade Iraq since the weakwilled U.N. would never be able to prevent the spread of Iraqi weapons.
Tacitus, in a recent post, disputes the quantity of weapons. Spontaneous Arising, Lazy Left, Redwood Dragon, Thudfactor, Greg's Opinion, At Ease, Hullabaloo, the LA Times, and Relevanta have some related posts on those sneaky militants who bulldoze in the night.