Skip to comments.Rummy the Genius Forgot About Nukes
Posted on 05/07/2003 4:26:59 PM PDT by TheRedSoxWinThePennant
Rummy the Genius Forgot About Nukes
by Joe Conason
The genius of Donald Rumsfeld and his deputies in the Defense Department is currently among the mainstream medias favorite themes. According to the conventional viewpoint, their military strategy in Iraq was practically flawless, their political instincts are masterful, and their philosophical grounding is deep. (Some of them have even read Leo Strauss.) Theyre just undeniably brilliant.
To Americans who read and worry about the most recent developments in Iraq, this ceaseless chorus of praise for the Pentagon hierarchy can only be reassuring. Because otherwise, the facts on the ground might hint that Mr. Rumsfeld and company are not very bright and dangerously incompetent.
At the podium, of course, the Defense Secretary is unrivaled in his alternating moods of clever banter and flashing irritation. No one will ever forget his witty riposte to questions about the pillaging of Baghdads precious antiquities, when he demanded to know how many times we would have to watch that videotape of the same vase being carried away by a fleet-footed looter. Why would anyone think that the Pentagon should have planned to prevent the destruction and theft that followed Saddams fall? This administration had other prioritiesmost urgently at the Ministry of Oil, which was immediately surrounded by American armor.
Yet troubling news keeps filtering in from Iraq that might raise doubts about Mr. Rumsfeld and the other "grown-ups" in command of the coalition forces.
According to The Washington Post, a newspaper that fervently supported the war, the Pentagon utterly failed to secure Iraqs nuclear facilities at Kut and al Tuwaitha. The result has been wholesale looting, with unknown losses of such potentially dangerous radioactive materials as cesium, cobalt and partially enriched uranium. So far, Special Forces detachments have found at least two nuclear caches that were "plundered extensively enough that authorities could not rule out the possibility that deadly materials had been stolen."
Now Mr. Rumsfeld might regard this as yet another stupid question, but wasnt the purpose of this invasion to secure and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction? The biological and chemical weapons that the Defense Secretary and the President warned us were in Saddam Husseins possession have not been found so far. Teams of soldiers and technicians are scouring the countryside in vain, turning up barrels of pesticides and empty tractor-trailers. Looters have recently been seen running in and out of the Iraqi nuclear facilities, and they represent a deadly serious problem. Although the radioactive materials at those sites were useless to construct an atomic bomb, they would be more than adequate for a so-called dirty bomb. In theory, such a primitive weapon could be detonated in a major American city, spreading deadly isotopes over dozens of blocks.
It isnt difficult to imagine enterprising Iraqi thieves peddling a container of cesium or uranium to the highest bidder from Al Qaeda or Hezbollah.
The threat of terrorists wielding dirty bombs is supposedly on the minds of our top government officials. The Justice Department is currently detaining a U.S. citizen named Jose Padilla because he allegedly contemplated such an assault, although the government has presented no evidence that he got beyond the daydreaming stage.
So the Bush administration has held Mr. Padilla in circumstances of dubious constitutionality. It concocted phony stories about Saddams imminent nuclear bomb. It is straining to find weapons of mass destruction that probably no longer exist. It finds the time, the money and the mental energy to stage a photo-op landing for the President aboard an aircraft carrier. But nobody in Washington thought of guarding the Iraqi nuclear materials that might truly pose a threat to usuntil after the sites had been breached.
If we didnt already know that our leaders are geniuses, we might start to wonder whether theyre idiots. The other unthinkable possibility is that the people telling us our leaders are geniuses may be idiots, tooand that we are idiots for believing them.
Before anyone assumes that the U.S. government is unable to plan for important contingencies, however, lets look on the brighter side. Certain kinds of logistical maneuvers are well within the capacity of the officials now running Iraq, who display considerable foresight and initiative when matters of true importance are at stake.
For example, the Associated Press reports that when the U.S. sponsored a political meeting in Baghdad two weeks ago, the U.S. Air Force flew in a skilled chef from the Kuwait Hilton to feed them steak au poivre, lamb stew, Black Forest cake, meringues and cream puffs. The operation went off very well, and almost nobody worried that the chef happened to be French.
You may reach Joe Conason via email at:
|This administration had other prioritiesmost urgently at the Ministry of Oil, which was immediately surrounded by American armor.
That turns out to be an error of fact. No such thing occurred.
Dirty bombs are an annoyance, not the nukes that need worrying about. Nukes with a kiloton or more yield are worth worrying about.
gee joe; klinton lost the "nuke football" three times, while gettin' a "lewinsky"; he was not only too stupid; he was too lazy...even in sex; the only thing he gave was "evidence..."
is this it? even his tie is crooked...
Truth matters little to Conason and the socialist/marxists of the left.
No it was securing ammunition dumps. I stopped right there.
That guy gives me the creeps.
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