October 27, 2004

Al Qaqaa Is Symptomatic Of Wider Failures

Matthew Barganier, a former Marine officer who was embeeded in Iraq, hits the nail on the head:
"'However disturbing this story, what the New York Times and CBS News have overlooked so far is that the missing munitions at Al Qaqaa are only the tip of the iceberg and in all likelihood represent a mere fraction of the illicit explosive material currently circulating in Iraq. Having personally toured weapons caches comparable in scale to Al Qaqaa and seen similar ordnance in the process of being converted into roadside bombs at an insurgent hideout, I believe that the theft and redistribution of conventional explosives and weapons represent the largest long-term threat to American troops in Iraq. Strangely enough, it is likely that dealing with this conventional weapons threat, rather than eradicating the mythical unconventional WMD threat, will be the U.S. legacy in Iraq.'"
Indeed, the story of Al Qaqaa is only symptomatic of the broader failures of Bush's mis-guided Iraq adventure. These include:

1. Failure to seriously plan ahead, heeding the advice of those who should know,

2. Failure to provide enough soldiers to do the job properly, and

3. Misguided priorities the soldiers were given ("Secure the oil fields and the Ministry Of Oil!").

As Josh Marshall points out (is this election becoming Bush versus Marshall?), Paul Bremer himself said he didn't have enough soldiers to do the job properly, and he is now keeping very quiet (claiming his publisher won't let him talk - how pathetic).

And who was responsible, primarily, for the decision to use very limited numbers of troops in the attack? That's right, Donald Rumseld, who is now trying to pretend that this whole Al Qaqaa thing is just a big exaggeration, and the 380 tons will no doubt turn up somewhere soon, just like the museume treasures that were looted after the war.

Just hope they don't turn up in YOUR town!

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