Friday, October 29, 2004


War Blog
By FrontPage October 29, 2004
We frequently hear leftists compare our military situation in Iraq to that of Vietnam, but John Kerry is unique among lefitsts, I believe, in comparing Iraq to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. He did so today in Toledo, Ohio (not in Florida). The essence of the comparison was that, whereas John Kennedy took responsibility (sort of) for the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Bush refuses to "look America in the eye and say to America 'I take responsibility, it is my fault."'
In reality, of course, President Bush has taken responsibility for the war in Iraq. If he hasn't accepted "fault," it may be because, unlike in Cuba, we overthrew the tyrant at issue in one of the most successful operations in military history. And, as Captain Ed points out, even with the difficulties we have faced as we have rebuilt the country and moved Iraq towards democracy, we haven't lost as many men in the nineteen months since our invasion as were killed or captured in a single week at the Bay of Pigs. Iraq will be holding free elections in less than three months. Cuba's have yet to be scheduled.
We have noted before how John Kerry seems to regard Sept. 12, 2001 as a shining moment in American history because much of the world was united in feeling sorry for us. He has now found another high point -- the day that his hero, JFK, took some responsibility for his ignominious failure to keep his promise to support the Cuban ex-pats he sent into battle against Castro. And Kerry apparently remains quite proud of that magic day when he himself took responsibility, before a Senate Committe, for the crimes of the "army of Genghis Khan." One shudders to imagine what great new moments await our country if Kerry becomes president. Quite possibly a Kennedy-style betrayal of the Iraqis, for starters.
Meanwhile, Val Prieto, who has family members who served in Brigade 2506 during the Bay of Pigs invasion, is not amused. He writes: "Like the men of Brigade 2506, the Iraqis are fighting for their freedom. They depend on the strength of not just the US forces serving alongside them, but of the strength and conviction of the one man leading them. John Forbes Kerry is not fit walk amongst these men, much less lead them." Thursday, October 28, 2004
Jim Geraghty reporting:
Just heard from a source close to the campaign, tuned in to the conversations at the highest levels.
According to the Bushies, the last few days have seen a huge burst of momentum in their numbers.
They think Bush is ahead by a few points nationally. They expect the next round of tracking polls to show a bit of a bump.
The internal polls show a significant lead in Florida (outside margin of error) and Arkansas is out of play, with a Bill Clinton visit or without. As for most of the other big ones - Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, internal polls show all too close to call.
Michigan is seriously looking like a pickup - Bush and Cheney could be there four times in the last four days.
An exit poll of those who have already voted show Bush ahead by 15 points! [UPDATE: This is ahead 15 points overall, nationwide, not just in Michigan. Obviously, those who have already voted are only a small, small segment of the electorate at large, so one should not read too much into this number. But it is interesting.]
Undecided voters appear to be breaking Bush’s way - some days he has a slight lead, other days it’s right around 50-50. (Note this would be considerably better than the 1/3 calculated that Bush needs here.
Finally, the ammo dump story appears to have left the Kerry campaign deep in al-Qaqaa.
Tommy Franks is going to enter this story and rip Kerry and the New York Times a new one. The Kerry folks are acting like they realized they have botched this story, and want to shift back to domestic topics. Lockhart, Bill Richardson on Imus — when asked about al-QaQaa, they dodge the question and quickly try to bring up other issues.
The campaign is going to avoid the Russian angle and go with the straightforward, “As the facts mount in this story, American people have a choice between believing Kerry-NYTimes-CBS or believing Bush and the Troops.”
This source close to the campaign didn’t say it, but I wonder if the Bush administration wants to deal with Russia in its own manner, and not have whatever diplomatic confrontations are going on behind the scenes complicated by a furious American electorate blaming Russia for hiding Iraq’s weapons and explosives. Thursday, October 28, 2004
CIA, FBI AUTHENTICATE NEW AL QAEDA TERROR TAPE; ABCNEWS EXECUTIVES CONSIDER POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF AIRINGThe CIA and FBI late Wednesday authenticated a disturbing new al Qaeda videotape which warns the next terror attack will dwarf 9/11. "The streets will run with blood," and "America will mourn in silence" because they will be unable to count the number of the dead, a man claims on the video.Further claims on the video: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend. The network has withheld airing it, initially citing concerns over its authenticity.One senior federal official alleged ABCNEWS is now holding back from broadcasting any portion of the video out of fear it will be seen as a political move by the network during election week.One ABC source, who demanded anonymity, said Thursday morning, the network was struggling to find a correct journalistic "balance.""This is not something you just throw out there while people are voting," the ABC source explained. A second ABC source told DRUDGE Thursday morning: "ABCNEWS has shared this tape with both the CIA and the FBI as part of our reporting process. ABC News is committed to accurate, credible and complete journalism and is applying the same scrutiny to this tape that we apply to all raw information. ABCNEWS continues to report this story aggressively." MORE: The terrorist's face is concealed by a headdress, and he speaks in an American accent, making it difficult to identify the individual. The tape appears to be from al-Qaeda's media liaison organization. It has a banner crediting the Sahab Production Committee. The speaker refers to Bin Ladin and Zawahiri as "our leaders" and praises the 11 September attacks. Intelligence officials believe: Videotape message likely produced in late summer '04 due to references to current events such as the 9/11 Commission.Individual is college educated, either American born or raised in the U.S.The U.S. is actively seeking to identify the individual. Adam Gadhan - aka Adam Pearlman of Southern California - remains the chief candidate but another still unknown individual may be possible.Pearlman was highlighted by the FBI in May as an individual most likely to be involved in or have knowledge of the next al Qaeda attacks. US intelligence officials say the danger is that if this individual is an American citizen, he will be immersed in the culture and customs and have the ability to travel in America freely and unnoticed. Developing... Thursday, October 28, 2004
ABC News reported late last night that the amount of high-tech explosives at Al Qaqaa has been wildly exaggerated by Iraqi officials, the New York Times, and CBS. Rather than the 380 tons of explosives which cannot be located, new documents put the amount stashed at Al Qaqaa at around 3 tons instead (via Instapundit):
The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing — presumably stolen due to a lack of security — was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.
But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over 3 tons of RDX was stored at the facility — a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.
The IAEA documents could mean that 138 tons of explosives were removed from the facility long before the start of the United States launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in March 2003.
This is the type of research that one would have expected from a news organization that considers itself professional -- doing research before reporting on something in order to avoid decontextualizing it, or getting critical facts incorrect. In short, one would expect the geniuses at the Gray Lady to understand the difference between 3 tons and 380 tons, and to get the numbers right before publication.
ABC also reports that the IAEA "seal" hardly guaranteed security on these dangerous weapons at Al Qaqaa:
The documents show IAEA inspectors looked at nine bunkers containing more than 194 tons of HMX at the facility. Although these bunkers were still under IAEA seal, the inspectors said the seals may be potentially ineffective because they had ventilation slats on the sides. These slats could be easily removed to remove the materials inside the bunkers without breaking the seals, the inspectors noted.
Let me get this straight. The IAEA has screamed that the materials it inspected remained secure under its control until the Americans came bumbling into Iraq. However, their secure environment included holes in the walls covered by easily-removable slats -- and now they wonder how the materials could have possibly disappeared? Who are these people at the IAEA, the Keystone Kops? The most frightening aspect of this story isn't that the terrorists may have had the HMX in their hands for years now. It's that people like Mohammed ElBaradei and his staff have been entrusted with securing nuclear weapons and materials.
If anything, the attempted hit piece on President Bush by the NY Times has turned out to be quite the public service. Thanks to the extraordinarily incompetent misfire by the NYT and CBS, we now see the overwhelming bias of two major news organizations, the desperation and gullibility of John Kerry, and the incredible failure of the UN to provide any kind of security in an age of Islamist terror and state sponsorship.
Our local ABC affiliate ran a videotape purporting to show the existence of HMX, RDX, and PETN at the Al Qaqaa storage facility, and the New York Times ran a new story heralding this videotape as the confirmation it desperately needs to rescue its credibility:
A videotape made by a television crew with American troops when they opened bunkers at a sprawling Iraqi munitions complex south of Baghdad shows a huge supply of explosives still there nine days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, apparently including some sealed earlier by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The tape, broadcast on Wednesday night by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, appeared to confirm a warning given earlier this month to the agency by Iraqi officials, who said that hundreds of tons of high-grade explosives, powerful enough to bring down buildings or detonate nuclear weapons, had vanished from the site after the invasion of Iraq.
Well, at least that's the lead in the Times' story. Fifteen paragraphs into the story, the Times finally tells its readers that it cannot even confirm that the video was shot at Al Qaqaa:
The Minneapolis television crew was with an Army unit that was camped near Al Qaqaa, members of the crew said. The reporter and cameraman said that although they were not told specifically that they were being taken to Al Qaqaa by the military, their videotape matches pictures of the site taken by United Nations weapons inspectors, according to weapons experts.
The boxes on the videotape carried markings that say "Al Qaqaa", but take another look at the boxes as shown in the videotape capture here. What do you see? An American soldier prying the crate open. Why would an American soldier pry the box open? Perhaps to check to see what's inside? I don't know what color the sky is in the New York Times' world, but that looks like a search to me.
In fact, that's what the Times' caption states:
A videotape from April 18, 2003, shows a soldier prying open a box in a bunker in Al Qaqaa.
Take a good look at the box itself. How many pounds do you suppose that crate could hold -- maybe 50 pounds, tops? Same with the barrels in this second photograph. At that rate, you'd need 40 crates of this stuff for a single ton of material, and more than 15,000 crates for 380 tons. More likely, these crates contained the vials that the 3ID reported finding at Al Qaqaa, and not the massive amounts of HMX and RDX previously reported by the IAEA to have been stored there.
But the collapse does not end there. The Kerry Spot notices something else about the crates that indicate some other material was contained in them. They're labeled as Explosive 1.1 D 1, a classification that includes HMX, RDX, and PETN -- but only when diluted by 15% water, a condition that clearly does not exist with the crated materials:
So - this orange 1.1 D is the label we would look for on HMX, RDX, or PETN. But did those explosives in these containers have 15 or 25 percent water or other dilution liquid in them? Or did they look pretty dry in that desert?
And as we look at the rest of that chart, we see that a lot of other explosives that fall in the 1.1 D category.
Specifically there are 79 other substances and types of explosive material and supporting equipment that would get the 1.1 D label, including gunpowder, flexible detonating cord, photo-flash bombs, mines, nitroglycerin, rocket warheads, grenades, fuzes, torpedoes and charges. And few of them require any liquid dilution.
Is what’s on this news report video HMX, RDX, or PETN? Possibly, if the material inside is some sort of diluting liquid that we didn’t see on the tape, or if the Iraqis were storing these high-grade explosives in an unsafe manner. Or it could be one of the 79 other substances. Or some containers could have the big three, and some could have others.
But that's not all, either. The ABC report that originally started this meme contains this curious statement:
On the April 2003 visit, our crews witnessed soldiers using bolt cutters to get into bunkers. Inside, they found many containers marked "explosives." At least one set of crates carried the name "Al-Qaqaa State Establishment."
Military personnel told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the area visited was secured by an outside perimeter. Our crew said the area felt more like no-mans-land.
Bottom line? The materials shown in the video could have been any of 80 different materials, with the three from the IAEA actually being among the least likely to have been stored in this manner. The reporters say that the military told them at the time that the area had been secured at an outer perimeter, a sensible approach for a military on a lightning-quick advance. And the Times cannot even verify that the video was taken at the ASP in question.
Another example of brilliant reporting by the Gray Lady ...
According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the U.S. invasion:
John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."
You get two guesses where the Russians shipped the goods. According to Mr. Shaw:
Most of Saddam's most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to Syria and Lebanon, and possibly to Iran, he said.
Mr. Gertz further reports that the Iraqis didn't just abandon the site after these shipments. The Al-Qaqaa facility was defended by Fedayeen Saddam, Special Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units until the US forces defeated them on or about 3 April.
The Russians weren't just acting as UPS drivers, either.
A second defense official said documents on the Russian support to Iraq reveal that Saddam's government paid the Kremlin for the special forces to provide security for Iraq's Russian arms and to conduct counterintelligence activities designed to prevent U.S. and Western intelligence services from learning about the arms pipeline through Syria.
The Russian arms-removal program was initiated after Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian intelligence chief, could not persuade Saddam to give in to U.S. and Western demands, this official said.
The Russians didn't just spirit away some weapons haphazardly.
Documents reviewed by the official included itineraries of military units involved in the truck shipments to Syria. The materials outlined in the documents included missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said.
Mr. Gertz concludes:
Defense officials said the Russians can provide information on what happened to the Iraqi weapons and explosives that were transported out of the country. Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.
Right. Sure they will explain. I'll just wait here and report back . . . .
UPDATE: I had forgotten about this. Hat tip: The Corner.
ADDITIONAL REMARKS: This story makes the whole missing/partially non-existent explosive story and the Kerry instant talking points (take shoddy reporting and add water) look rather silly. While waiting for the Russians to 'fess up, I'll also be waiting for the MSM to turn its attention to this bombshell. Maybe I should order a pizza . . . might be awhile . . . like 3 November. Thursday, October 28, 2004
Well, what a treat it is to be in northern Ohio. (Applause.) Indeed, it's an honor to be standing here today with you. You know, I'm not a politician, but I know what a Commander-in-Chief looks like, and there's only one on this ballot -- that's George Bush. (Applause.) You know, I would guess by the enthusiasm that I see represented here today that victory is headed our way in just about five days. (Applause.) If you think about character, if you think about courage, if you think about consistency, if you think about honesty, you think about George W. Bush. (Applause.) If you talk about a leader who knows something about the global war on terrorism, it would be George W. Bush, and he knows it's global. (Applause.) You're talking about a leader who knows that terrorism has been more than a nuisance for more than two decades. (Applause.) You're talking about a leader who does not want to roll back terrorism to the times of Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in the mid-1990s, East Africa in 1998, the USS Cole in the year 2000, and doesn't want to roll it back to 9/11/01. Terrorism is not a nuisance. (Applause.) 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.) The past three years have been hard years for America. The past three years have been a tough time for our country. I've looked into the eyes of our President, my Commander-in-Chief, and I have seen that character, that courage, that consistency that I just described. It's the courage that it takes to win a war, not tie one. And we have to win the war against terrorism in this country. (Applause.) Now, I'll tell you, I don't know Senator Kerry's plan for victory. I don't know what it is. I don't know what it is, but I do know -- but I do know that his criticism of military conduct of our global war on terrorism denigrates, disrespects our troops. (Applause.) And, ladies and gentlemen, I also know that he cannot lead troops to victory in a war when he has made it perfectly clear that he does not support the cause. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be a close election, and every vote counts. Those who wear the uniform of service of the United States of America deserve a Commander-in-Chief, and it's my honor to introduce one -- President George W. Bush. (Applause.) Thursday, October 28, 2004
Davids Medienkritik reports an encouraging sign of anti-idiotarianism in Germany, as their largest newspaper endorses Bush.
Perhaps the largest October surprise in Germany is the BILD newspaper’s endorsement of President George W. Bush. BILD, which has the widest circulation of any newspaper in Europe, lists the following 10 reasons why Bush should be re-elected:
Update: The list we had up earlier was an abbreviated summary of the 10 reasons. We have now translated BILD’s list of reasons in their entirety. Here they are:
1. Bush has clear priorities. He sees the inhuman Islamic fundamentalism and the murderous mullahs as the largest danger for the Western world.
2. Bush has learned the lessons of history. Military strength, not pleasant talk, is the only thing that helps against violent fanatics. And with Bush — unlike with Kerry — there is no doubt about this.
3. Under Bush, the US, as a superpower, will continue to bear the financial, military and casualty burden in the fight against terrorism in a “holy war” which Islamic fanatics unilaterally declared. [It’s ultimately about the cash-flow, Damen und Herren. —ed.]
4. Along with fighting terror and the terrorists, a re-elected Bush will do everything he can to prevent nuclear proliferation. That is especially true with regard to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.
5. Bush has learned that America can defeat every country in war, but needs allies in peace. Thus, his second term will be characterized by cooperation with international partners. But he will not depend on how Syria or Libya vote at the UN.
6. Bush knows that Europe and Germany don’t have the military at their disposal to become involved in any further foreign military engagements. Therefore he won’t ask them for help. Kerry will do exactly that — and will further burden already damaged German-American relations.
7. Under Bush, America will remain a reliable partner for Israel in its fight for survival. That must especially be in our German interest.
8. Republicans have always been stronger supporters of free trade than Democrats. That is also true of Bush when compared to Kerry. And that is good for Germany as an export nation.
9. Every new American administration makes mistakes. Bush has already made his. Kerry, on the other hand, has of yet held no (executive) position in the government. He would be worse prepared than most Presidents preceding him.
10. With Bush, we know what to expect. With Kerry, nobody knows what he stands for and where he wants to lead America — and the world. Thursday, October 28, 2004
To finish reading this weekend's War Blog, click here.

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