The Really Troubling News

Is that this seems to have been (yet another) coordinated deception from the Dan Rather corner of the media. As it turns out, those explosives had ALREADY gone missing when US military arrived at the sight in April, 2003. Somehow CBS and the NY Times got the brilliant notion that they would repackage that information into ‘troubling’ current news.

Shocking and false as it is, in other circumstances I would think this kind of deceit was a little amusing. As it stands the confirmed inaccuracy has not stopped JK and JE and their earnest followers from furrowing their brows and acting very concerned about this oh-so-troubling bit of non-news.

And Sinclair Broadcasting can’t run a documentary because it is politicized and partisan? Nothing is more politicized and partisan than the way the broadcast mainstream news sources choose to edit, artfully misrepresent, and distort (click on link).



  1. Hi Stuart,

    I’m having troule finding any evidence that the report is just a media “deception.” For instance, even over at the horrible partisan Fox News website, the best they can do is ask if the explosives may or may not have been missing. The quote comes from the website says only:

    “Senior Defense officials told FOX they’re not sure whether looters made off with the explosives or whether Saddam moved them before the war began.”

    In other words, not even the Defense Department is sure. Hardly worthy of dismissing yet another potential administration blunder as a media distortion.

    Indeed, the Fox News story rightly notes that “the disappearance raised questions about why the United States didn’t do more to secure the Al-Qaqaa facility 30 miles south of Baghdad and failed to allow full international inspections to resume after the March 2003 invasion.”

    According to the Times, we know at in early March inspectors went to the site, “but didn’t view the explosives because the seals were not broken.” The Fox News story tells us that by early May, “coalition forces were present in the vicinity of the site both during and after major combat operations . . . and searched the facility but found none of the explosives material in question.”

    Thus, this was all part of the post-war looting or, at worst, took place in the brief period of actual fighting, sometime between April and early May– about 40 days.

    However, if these explosives were of such great importance for the making of nuclear weapons, one would think that the military would take great pains to secure the site, or at least track its activity with sattelites (according to the Times article, “the missing explosives could fill a fleet of almost 40 trucks,” as “one large truck can carry about 10 tons”).

    It’s good to be skeptical of things that you read. Blindly accepting a news story without digging further can certainly lead to an ill-informed view. So it’s good that you’re bringing up some questions about the report.

    Stuart, what do you think about the post-war efforts of this administration? I recall that in an earlier comment you suggested that you felt they weren’t good. Do you still think that? If so, how do you feel about Bush saying that they’ve made no mistakes in Iraq? If not, (or if I am mistaken in your initial stance) why?


  2. Lancer’s right Stu, how can you moan about “liberal media bias” and then use CNN and a NBC report as support.

    As an observer I think this whole bias thing is bollocks. On the whole, American media balances itself out. But at least Dan Rather apologises; Sinclair know no such honour.


  3. Hi Lance–

    Yes, I have real problems with the way the Bush administration managed the post-war environment. And I do have issues with the President’s refusal to concede that errors were made–especially given that I don’t think there is any shame in admitting mistakes, assuming the mistakes were made in good faith.

    I think that your read on the situation at Al-Qaqaa and the quotations you cited, misses that the articles you are quoting from were written before it became entirely clear everyone already knew the explosives were missing–NBC reported it 18 months ago. Several news groups made the understandable mistake of assuming that CBS and the NYT were actually reporting “news”, i.e. previousy unreported information. It was not.

    Key fact: the US military couldn’t have done anything to secure the site or prevent the explosives from being stolen. They were already gone when the 101st came there for the very first time. There is simply no way to make the charge that this suggests a failure in planning or security stick.

    But it does raise interesting questions that will work against the CBS/NYT political agenda.
    FACT: The Al-Qaqaa site was listed, by both the UN and the US, as one place that might have WMD.
    FACT: The explosives in question were missing BEFORE US forces ever got to the scene, they had no chance to secure it.
    FACT: We are talking about close to 400 tons of explosives here–thieves and looters don’t just walk off with 400 tons. There was some sort of industrial machinery at play here, suggesting someone with state resources.

    PROPOSITION: It seems clear that someone with authority, almost certainly connected to to SH’s regime, ordered and/or executed the removal of these materials. Is it possible that these 400 tons of materials–evidently removed by the regime before the US got into Bagdhad–might have included some of the WMD that world intel unanimously agreed WAS in Saddam’s possession? Who knows. But it is certainly plausible.


  4. Ronan, that’s a joke. The liberal bias of the media isn’t even contentious–there is polling data going back to the 1960’s proving that consistently above 80% of journalists are registered Democrats and self-identified liberals. You think that bias doesn’t filter into the work they do?

    And the fact that CNN goes and reports something that they absolutely have to report (once information starts surfacing about NBC reporting it back in April of 03) hardly absolves them of charges of bias.

    Let me say it again–I loathe party politics. My great ambition is to launch a third party at the non-partisan technocratic center. I think Tom Delay is a snake. I hate Ann Coulter. But evidence of media bias is stamped everywhere over the last several months.

    Let takes this recent case–
    MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS totaled more than 140 mentions of the “missing explosives” story in less than a 24-hour news cycle. Since it became clear that (ahem, clearing of throats) this was a repackaged old story, and they had, in fact, been misleading their audiences, there has been a total of THREE corrections. No more. No apologies.

    Or take Sandy Berger stealing government documents–if a Republican official does this its Watergate II. Sandy Berger does it, Bill Clinton laughs about, there’s a little half-hearted tutting in the Times and the Post, and the story goes away. Berger’s act was criminal, flat-out criminal. If he it had been James Baker who had attempted it, or if the part ID was reversed, there would be an investigation.

    I could go on, and I will–there will be more on this. It is everywhere. If you read in political science books–standard university texts–no one even disputes that journalists are predominantly liberals. They only question whether or not the bias filters through.


  5. Hey Stuart–

    RE “My great ambition is to launch a third party at the non-partisan technocratic center”

    Let me know when you form it. I’ll happily sign up! (Actually, now that I’ve written these words, it seems a bit more interesting. How DOES one go about forming such things?)


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