Ann Althouse, guest blogging at Instapundit comments on UN culpability in the Al QaaQa explosives story:
"The New York Sun reports that the US asked the IAEA to destroy the looted explosives in 1995
Nine years ago, U.N. weapons inspectors urgently called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to demolish powerful plastic explosives in a facility that Iraq's interim government said this month was looted due to poor security.
The chief American weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, told The New York Sun yesterday that in 1995, when he was a member of the U.N. inspections team in Iraq, he urged the United Nations' atomic watchdog to remove tons of explosives that have since been declared missing. Mr. Duelfer said he was rebuffed at the time by the Vienna-based agency because its officials were not convinced the presence of the HMX, RDX, and PETN explosives was directly related to Saddam Hussein's programs to amass weapons of mass destruction.
Instead of accepting recommendations to destroy the stocks, Mr. Duelfer said, the atomic-energy agency opted to continue to monitor them.
By e-mail, Mr. Duelfer wrote the Sun, "The policy was if acquired for the WMD program and used for it, it should be subject for destruction. The HMX was just that. Nevertheless the IAEA decided to let Iraq keep the stuff, like they needed more explosives."
The latest updates on efforts by the NY Times and CBS to pull an "October Surprise" on the Bush Campaign can be found at Belmont Club, Captain's Quarters, and Roger Simon.
You know, people like John Kerry want it both ways. They want to say that Saddam was NOT a threat in spite of the fact that he had accumulated enough weapons to arm a small planet (including, I still believe, WMDs); yet it is President Bush's fault that in the 10+ years of "inspections" and "disarmament" supervised by the UN, Saddam managed to increase his dangerousness and continue to accumulate all sorts of weapons. How efficient and effective of the UN! They surely represent the hallfmark of incompetence, greed, and fraud. The missing explosives are probably in the same location as the WMD.
Meanwhile, John Kerry places the blame on President Bush and demands an explanation, which in my opinion shows two things: 1) John Kerry is an opportunistic jerk who will say anything to get elected; and 2) The United Nations has even more explaining to do. On top of the monumental "oil for food" scandal, we now find out that it was UN officials who were derelict in their duty, not President Bush; not the U.S. military.
The final word comes from Wretchard and is worth emphasizing:
"Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom], much of the really "criminal" neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again."
UPDATE: (via Hugh Hewitt) : The Pentagon has satellite photos of truck activity at Al QaaQa prior to the Iraq War.