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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tommy Franks on the missing Iraq explosives

I haven't blogged about the missing explosives in Iraq because I don't have any particular expertise on the topic and because others have done a fine job of sorting through the wildly varying press accounts.  But here's something on topic from someone who does have some expertise — Gen. Tommy Franks, at a Bush campaign rally today in Westlake, Ohio:

George W. Bush is a leader who knew that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world and to the United States of America, and removed him from power. (Applause.) George W. Bush is a leader who knows that our troops, as of right now, have cleared 10,000 ammunition and weapons sites in Iraq. He knows that they have destroyed 240,000 tons of munitions in Iraq. He knows that they have under control — (applause) — he knows that they have under control another 162,000 tons of munitions in Iraq. We're talking about George W. Bush who knows, who understands that we do not yet have all the facts about 380 tons of munitions in Iraq. And he is a President who will look at you and say, we don't yet have the facts, but we will get the facts. George W. Bush. (Applause.)

In George W. Bush, you're talking about a leader who does not step out every day of his life and make more wild accusations. You're talking about a leader who actually cares about our troops, about their families, and about our veterans. You're talking about a leader who actually respects all those who serve our country with dignity and with honor. You're talking about George W. Bush. (Applause.)

Sen. Kerry has the luxury of not actually being the President and therefore not having to worry about his wild speculations and accusations directly affecting international affairs in the way that comments from a sitting President might.  However, he is responsible for the effect his comments and advertisements and spin may have on military morale — and voters can and should take that into account next Tuesday.

Here's Sen. Kerry responding to questioning tonight on the topic from Tom Brokaw (elipses in original):

Brokaw: This week you've been very critical of the president because of the missing explosives in Iraq.The fact is, senator, we still don't know what happened to those explosives. How many for sure that were there. Who might have gotten away with them? Is it unfair to the president, just as you believe he's been unfair to you, to blame him for that?

Kerry: No. It's not unfair. Because what we do know, from the commanders on the ground, is that they went there, as they marched to Baghdad. We even read stories today that they broke locks off of the doors, took photographs of materials in there. There were materials. And they left.

Brokaw: The flip side of that is that if you had been president, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Because you...

Kerry: Not necessarily at all.

Brokaw: But you have said you wouldn't go to war against him...

Kerry: That's not true. Because under the inspection process, Saddam Hussein was required to destroy those kinds of materials and weapons.

Brokaw: But he wasn't destroying them...

Kerry: But that's what you have inspectors for. And that's why I voted for the threat of force. Because he only does things when you have a legitimate threat of force. It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone. Because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war. But if we did, I'll tell you this, Tom. We'd have gone to war with allies in a way that the American people weren't carrying the burden. And the entire world would have understood why we were doing it.

Brokaw had the poise not to snicker and say "Yeah, right."  He lacked the integrity, though, to ask, "So how many more years of violating the U.N. resolutions, how many more resolutions without effect would you have required, and name one country that would have joined us with boots on the ground after another two years and ten more resolutions?"  In the meantime, I'm still waiting for Sen. Kerry (or any of my targeted lefty bloggers) to respond to my post entitled "How would Saddam 'not necessarily be in power' if Kerry'd been President?"  Not even my Kerry-supporting readers had the temerity to posit a plausible scenario in which a President Kerry would have accomplished an Iraqi regime change during the last four years.

The whole Brokaw interview is pretty interesting (don't miss Sen. Kerry defending his comment about the Veep's daughter by gratutously invading the familial privacy of another one of his former opponents), but I especially liked this snarly bit on a different topic than the missing munitions (boldface added):

Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.

Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.

"My record is not public": another exaggeration.  We know your Senate record, Senator.  We know your public statements.  We just don't know your secrets, due to the effectiveness of your stonewalling — and boy, do you have a lot of them.  (About which, more later — maybe tomorrow.)

Bravo to Brokaw for having the stones to ask Kerry about his IQ.  But jeers for missing the world's biggest opportunity, at the best time in history, to ask Kerry:  "Why won't you sign Standard Form 180, Senator?"

Posted by Beldar at 11:28 PM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Tommy Franks on the missing Iraq explosives and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» Explosivesgate Roundup: Day IV from The Truth Laid Bear

Tracked on Oct 29, 2004 6:16:27 AM

» Kerry with Brokaw from Carnivorous Conservative

Tracked on Oct 29, 2004 7:56:27 AM


(1) Kalle (kafir forever) made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 12:05:03 AM | Permalink

When Kerry says: "... he only does things when you have a legitimate threat of force. ..."

Does Kerry mean that Saddam Hussein would not react to threats of force unless they are "legitimized" by the United Nations? why did Saddam get out of that hole -- was he somehow under UN-legitimized threat? and why is Kerry using the present tense? does he believe that Saddam is free at this moment?

Further, what does this sentence mean: "It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone."

Didn't Kerry himself state that Saddam would "not necessarily" be in power now if events had unfolded as Kerry preferred?

"He might be gone." Don't these statements in logic imply that Saddam would "not necessarily be gone" -- i.e. "might [not] be gone"? It looks like Kerry has a very tenuous grasp of the art of reasoning.

(2) Palooka made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 12:49:58 AM | Permalink

Beldar, I am suprised that someone as sharp as you didn't get the relevance of Kerry's blunder. You see, his records are supposed to have been made public, right? How many times has the Kerry camp said, "look at the website, all the records are on there." Now he's saying his record isn't public? Maybe it's just me, but Kerry seems to have slipped the truth--the important stuff is NOT public. What has been screened and deemed benign has been released, but as the Wash Post has reported, nearly 100 pages of his military record is being withhold from public view. What's ironic, though, is I think his test scores were on the website, though they were not reported in percentiles or anything like that. The person who analyzed it had to do some research to figure out percentiles, and from that he estimated IQ.

I nice follow up from Brokaw, though slightly off topic, would have been something like, "Well, Senator, if your record is not public, then how can you refute any of the many accusations about your military record? And speaking of records, why haven't you released your college transcripts and your SAT/LSAT scores?"

(3) SemiPundit made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 12:53:13 AM | Permalink

Does the military customarily release the results of such testing for public dissemination? It is reassuring to know that they have not lost all of the records.

(4) TmjUtah made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 1:36:25 AM | Permalink

It's late. Somebody is hammering TradeSports. John Kerry is less appealing today than he was yesterday...

And I've come to the conclusion that the answers to the questions "Why did it take a review board to generate John F. Kerry's Navy discharge papers?" and "Why is John Kerry's Silver Star cite dated a decade or so after the fact?" are probably going to be answered in the next seventytwo hours or so.

My personal opinion is that he got disked big time for consorting with the enemy in Paris and Ted Kennedy fixed it for him as a favor.

An officer can be stripped of rank AND awards by a court.

We'll see, I guess.

(5) perfectsense made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 5:15:28 AM | Permalink

The sophisticated and nuanced John Kerry got a little touchy about his intelligence scores.

Kerry should have been asked why he voted against the $87 billion that would have provided the men and equipment to guard these munitions he is so concerned about.

(6) SteveoBrien made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 7:08:39 AM | Permalink

Sadly the facts as reported in today['s NYT, based largely on photos/film from an ABC affiliate, match up rather well with the views of assorted experts and, to avoid repeating the article, those in the know. The photos were taken after the fall of Bahdad. The munitions were still later. They were taken at a time when we, the U.S., under the leadership of our President, should have protected that site. We didn't.

Smoking gun. End of story. :-(

All the major networks are almost reading the NYT verbatum in their radio broadcasts this AM (satellite of some of them).

In the event it's not been seen:


I have been following this closely. This ends discussion (althogh is has some content which is messy, but not related.).

(7) TmjUtah made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 8:18:31 AM | Permalink

Steve -

My CBS affiliate is reading the NY Times, too.

It doesn't mean that there's much fact there.

Try this on for size.

(8) albee made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 8:35:33 AM | Permalink

Wapo says 100 pages are missing. The Post does a fair job on reporting and piss poor job on finding out why. The Post's Woodward investigation staff should be digging in and finding out what the 100 pages contain and why they have not been published.

The Post's editorial staff should be putting pressure on Kerry to release the missing pages. Of particular interest is Kerry's delayed honorable discharge granted during the feckless Carter Administration.

Unfortunately for the country, the Post's investigative reporters do not contest Democrat candidates or the Democrat party. During the Clintoon debacle, Woodward was on a sabbatical writing a book on the conservative movement.

The Post newspaper is neither honest or ethical. It is an entity for advancing the Grahams one world agenda.

(9) MD made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 9:45:59 AM | Permalink

Steve, that ABC affiliate -- from Minneapolis -- cannot even confirm the video is from QaQaa. The affiliate says it is checking its travel (GPS) records on that question.

Secondly, the video does not identify the explosives inside the bunker. The explosive is merely tagged "Explosive 1.1 D 1," a classification that includes over 70 different types of explosives, including gunpowder and TNT. No one has ventured to confirm that the barrels contain HMX, and for good reason; no one knows. The ABC affiliate in Minneapolis certainly doesn't know.

Third, the video shows what purports to be an IAEA seal. The Saddam regime had duplicate seals that it used after it broke seals. Also, the bunkers had ventilation vents that allowed removal of contents without breaking seals (assuming this is QaQaa).

Fourth, the video shows a single bunker, with maybe 8-10 tons of explosives (if they are in fact explosives). In toto, the NY Times is alleging over 750,000 pounds of this stuff was there in April, after arrival of US troops. Where's the other 380 tons?

Fifth, the DoD has released satellite photos that show, before the war began, the transport of materials out of that facility. Of course, we can't tell from a satellite photo what the regime removed, but it was working at that facility to remove something.

Sixth, WaPo quotes Anthony Cordesman today on its front page that concern over the "missing explosives" at QaQaa is, to use Cordesman's word, "absurd." WaPo is effectively saying to its readers: "This story is a dead letter."

And, finally, if this stuff is so dangerous, why did the IAEA permit Saddam's regime to retain the stuff? Under the cease-fire agreement, and the ensuing Security Council resolution on disarmament, Saddam's regime was required to destroy all WMD and components and facilities connected therewith. Yet, Al Baradai and friends permit the storage of what we are now told are "explosives used to detonate nuclear weapons."

The IAEA had already identified missing RDX at QaQaa in Jan 2003, and did NOTHING about it. It could confirm only 3 tons of RDX at QaQaa in Jan 2003, when there should have been over 30 tons. What did the IAEA do? Exactly nothing.

These are the people that John Kerry implicitly trusts and to whom he would commit our security.

(10) TmjUtah made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 11:39:35 AM | Permalink

Nice press conference on CSPAN. The ordie major who emptied and destroyed the explosives at Al Qaqaa. No U.N. seals. Drudge will have the details later.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in Kerry's Gulfstream right now.

I hear champagne corks in Chapaqua. Imagine that.

(11) MD made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 12:34:40 PM | Permalink

A couple of days ago, the MSM was reporting, to great fanfare, an interview with an officer of the 101st, to the effect that his unit merely passed throught the area of QaQaa and did not search the site or any bunkers on the site.

Two days later we have an ABC affiliate filming inside some bunker with, Guess Who? The 101st Airborne Division.

(12) Whigfarmer made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 1:36:54 PM | Permalink

It's not surprising that Brokaw didn't ask Kerry why he won't sign the 180, the lefty media doesn't want to sink Kerry's swift boat with the revelation that JF'nK was dishonorably discharged for collaborating with the Vietcong.

(13) Carrick L Talmadge made the following comment | Oct 29, 2004 11:10:39 PM | Permalink

Captain Ed has a nice discussion on the destruction of the explosives. I had always considered this to be a distinct possibility. With 800,000,000 pounds of explosives destroyed so far, I figured it would take a little while to locate the person who destroyed that particular 1/1000 of the total.

Regarding Kerry and his IQ (or lack there of as I have been convinced for some time), here is the study on Kerry's IQ. And here is the record of Kerry's which is in question.

(14) M. Simon made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 4:02:15 AM | Permalink

Uh. Anybody remember WMD?

The explosives are important not as explosives but components of a nuclear bomb.

Note the IAEA incompetence of letting much of this stuff go unguarded. Plus sealing a door to a room with alternate exits - vents.

(15) Chuck made the following comment | Nov 1, 2004 7:52:41 AM | Permalink

Regarding Kerry's comment to Tom Brokaw that his (Kerry's) records are not public. The Swift Boat Vets have made it very clear that Kerry has not signed the Standard Form 180 that would release all of his military records. According to the National Archives, over 100 documents relevant to Kerry's "short" military career have not been released by the senator. I wonder why!

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