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Saturday, October 16, 2004
Disappearing Nuclear Stuff
I have been somewhat distanced from the blogosphere the last week. I have noticed this growing swell of "look at this" coming from the blogosphere (AS) regarding the vanishing nuclear stuff in Iraq.

Here is a link to an article on Yahoo News, that states rather vaguely that a lot of nuclear materials and facilities that were in Iraq before the war are gone now. What I have yet to see from ANY source is a hypothesis as to who could have done it.

Of course there will be the thought that terrorists or other unscrupulous people have taken the material. The single problem with this is that to quote the anonymous diplomat:

"We're talking about dozens of sites being dismantled," a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. "Large numbers of buildings taken down, warehouses were emptied and removed. This would require heavy machinery, demolition equipment. This is not something that you'd do overnight."

That bit about the heavy machinery and the demolition equipment really bugs me. Now the comment was from an anonymous diplomat who may or may not have a clue about what is needed to remove buildings and such. It seems unlikely to me that terrorists would stick around long enough to remove a building if they are just looking for some nasty stuff to put in a bomb. So that eliminates them in my mind. I can think of four possible other culprits:

(1) Saddam remove the buildings and material himself BEFORE the war AFTER kicking out the inspectors.

(2) Some Iraqi construction contractor looking to make a quick buck from some bad people did it.

(3) A foreign entity with the ability to infiltrate Iraq due to porous borders did it (finger pointing at Syria and/or Iran).

(4) The US did it and doesn't really care what the IAEA thinks.

I think we can analyze the first one and say that is it possible but unlikely. I would have thought that the Bush Administration would have promptly pointed it out (since I am sure we had satellites looking at those places during the conflict) way back before and during the war to bolster support at home and abroad. Since that didn't happen I am willing to exonerate Saddam.

The second one sounds like a James Bond movie plot, and since I think the pillaged sites are scattered all over Iraq this one seems unlikely. That a single contractor could do this, and it would have to be only one or two because too many involved would result in someone spilling the beans, seems highly improbable to me. However, I'll leave this option open because a bunch of people may have had the same bad idea.

The third option has a higher degree of probability than the two previous options. I will again point to the satellite and military recon of the borders that has to be occurring to limit the likelihood of this occurring. I say this to state that we might know of it happening but not be able or willing to stop it. I again assume that the Administration would trumpet such evidence from the highest mountain if it existed to weaken the postion of Europe and the Mid-Eastern war opponents. However it might be in reserve as justification for attacking Syria or Iran in the future.

That leaves the fourth option. The US has heavy machinery and demolition equipment; at least I hope our highly modern military does. The US would have the access and security abilities to do these kinds of actions after toppling Saddam. So I am going to say that I hope we did it and are just keeping quiet. This would seem logical because I am sure that it is a growing newsbit becayse the IAEA needs to have something to distract the world from their failures to deal with Iran. The US has for a number of years taken the nuclear waste material from former Soviet states to remove the possibilities of very negative events happening with them in the future. It only seems logical that the US would have done this in Iraq.

Now you may say the US has yet to claim responsibility for the removal as evidence against my fourth option. However I’ll counter that and close this post with a single question.

Has anyone asked if we took the nuclear material and buildings?

UPDATE: I found this article from the Guardian on the issue of the nuclear material from 10-13-04. Here is the money quote:

"In June, just before the US handed authority in Iraq to the interim government, the US forces secretly flew almost two tonnes of uranium and associated equipment from Iraq to the US, causing a diplomatic row with the IAEA, which is mandated to monitor and verify the nuclear complexes and stockpiles."

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