Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What missing munitions?

Christopher Hitchens: This NYT munitions story is crap, because those sites weren't looted, but rather, part of a "carefully planned military operation!"

My second question is: What's all this about "looting"? The word is used throughout the long report, but here's what it's used to describe. "In four weeks from mid-April to mid-May of 2003 … teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site. … 'The first wave came for the machines,' Dr Araji said. 'The second wave, cables and cranes.' " Perhaps hedging the bet, the Times authors at this point refer to "organized looting."

But obviously, what we are reading about is a carefully planned military operation. The participants were not panicked or greedy civilians helping themselves—which is the customary definition of a "looter," especially in wartime. They were mechanized and mobile and under orders, and acting in a concerted fashion. Thus, if the story is factually correct—which we have no reason at all to doubt—then Saddam's Iraq was a fairly highly-evolved WMD state, with a contingency plan for further concealment and distribution of the weaponry in case of attack or discovery.

Ah, "carefully planned military operation." An operation, that say, secures the weapons sites that the President said we were going to war over?

Well, yes:

Supporters of the overdue disarmament and liberation of Iraq, all the same, can't be complacent about this story. It seems flabbergasting that any of these sites were unsecured after the occupation, let alone for so long. Did the CIA yet again lack "human intelligence" as well as every other kind? The Bush administration staked the reputation of the United States on the matter. It won't do to say that "mistakes were made."

Not that this subverts the rest of his thesis.

Also, I'm leaving out a longer discussion of Hitch's goofy WMD rant, you really have to read it for yourself to believe (Essentially: the NYT and other lefties said there were no WMD, but now the NYT said there might have been. But it doesn't matter anyway, because moving them would have left them mostly useless. So it's OK). And, surprise of surprises, The Corner links approvingly ("A must-read!" sayeth Jonah) to the story, but for some reason, doesn't quote the above line.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 2:34 PM

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