Uh, actually, the new Iraqi government teamed up with the IAEA to spill the beans. The New York Times didn't do anthing more strenuous than read it's mail. Nice try though! The Left usually gets blamed for trying to make everything look like a conspiracy.
The piece then reviews, accurately, what the dispute is all about.
But then it then engages in a bit of selective quotation:
Here's the rest of the story as reproduced by Talking Points Memo.
Just a pit stop.
This morning (Oct 26) MSNBC interviewed one of the producers from their news crew that visited al Qaqaa as embeds with the 101st Airborne, Second brigade on April 10th, 2003.
This is the 'search' that the White House and CNN are hanging their hats on (empahsis added)...
Lai Ling Jew: When we went into the area, we were actually leaving Karbala and we were initially heading to Baghdad with the 101st Airborne, Second Brigade. The situation in Baghdad, the Third Infantry Division had taken over Baghdad and so they were trying to carve up the area that the 101st Airborne Division would be in charge of. Um, as a result, they had trouble figuring out who was going to take up what piece of Baghdad. They sent us over to this area in Iskanderia. We didn't know it as the Qaqaa facility at that point but when they did bring us over there we stayed there for quite a while. Almost, we stayed overnight, almost 24 hours. And we walked around, we saw the bunkers that had been bombed, and that exposed all of the ordinances that just lied dormant on the desert.
AR: Was there a search at all underway or was, did a search ensue for explosives once you got there during that 24-hour period?
LLJ: No. There wasn't a search. The mission that the brigade had was to get to Baghdad. That was more of a pit stop there for us. And, you know, the searching, I mean certainly some of the soldiers head off on their own, looked through the bunkers just to look at the vast amount of ordnance lying around. But as far as we could tell, there was no move to secure the weapons, nothing to keep looters away. But there was – at that point the roads were shut off. So it would have been very difficult, I believe, for the looters to get there.
AR: And there was no talk of securing the area after you left. There was no discussion of that?
LLJ: Not for the 101st Airborne, Second Brigade. They were -- once they were in Baghdad, it was all about Baghdad, you know, and then they ended up moving north to Mosul. Once we left the area, that was the last that the brigade had anything to do with the area.
Kerry and Edwards say that Bush didn't do enough to prevent the disappearance of the explosives, which could be used against Americans here at home. But the very existence of such explosives -- whether defined as weapons of mass destruction or not -- was the reason Bush led the nation into Iraq in the first place.
Why did we invade Iraq? Specifically, so dangerous weapons would not be used against us here at home -- either by Saddam Hussein's forces or by his terrorist friends. Did we miss some of these weapons? Of course. But we got a lot more than we would have gotten if we had not gone into Iraq in the first place.
If we had followed Kerry's strategy, Iraq today would have far more than 380 tons of explosives to use against us.
The problem with using this line of reasoning is that the IAEA inspected the al Qaqaa site 30 times from 30 Nov 2002 until 15 March 2003. Meaning the US Government knew all about it and 1. I don't remember a single speech about these explosives 2. The IAEA had plenty of chances to destroy them and 3. Yet, these dangerous materials which were components of the greatly-feared Weapons of Mass Desctruction were not secured upon US conquest of the country.
As the Chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charlie Duelfer pointed out, the US didn't have enough troops to both seize Baghdad and secure weapons sites.
Were the WMD-like materials a threat to the US as they were stored in 2002? Doesn't look that way to me as the Iraqis are quite clear that the explosives didn't dissappear until after the US invasion of Iraq and again, the fault is with the lack of troops.
Other Iraqis have since spoken up about this:
"The officials that were inside this facility (Al-Qaqaa) beforehand confirm that not even a shred of paper left it before the fall and I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of."
And finally, we have a bit of what sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking:
I was a bit angry that Bush hasn't responded. However, I am starting to think he's just letting it work itself out in his favor.
I want to remind the American people, if Senator Kerry had his way, we would still be taking our global test.
THE PRESIDENT: Saddam Hussein would still be in power.
THE PRESIDENT: He would control all those weapons and explosives and could have shared them with our terrorist enemies.
THE PRESIDENT: Now the Senator is making wild charges about missing explosives, when his top foreign policy advisor admits "we don't know the facts." End quote. Think about that. The Senator is denigrating the actions of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts. Unfortunately, that's part of the pattern of saying anything it takes to get elected. Like when he charged that our military failed to get Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora, even though our top military commander, General Tommy Franks, said, "The Senator's understanding of events does not square with reality," and intelligence reports place bin Laden in any of several different countries at the time.
Very hard not to start getting overconfident about this. These guys obviously don't have it together.