Russians Helped Saddam Move Explosives

Tomorrow’s Washington Times features an article by Bill Gertz in which John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, says that Russian troops “almost certainly” helped Saddam’s men clean the Al Qaqaa site out before the Iraq War started.
We’ll have more on this tomorrow. One way or another, it appears clear that the 380 tons of explosives that are now “missing” were moved by Saddam prior to the start of the war. I suppose the point is too obvious to be worth making, but 380 tons is a lot of material–approximately 38 semi-truck loads. Yet it has, apparently, completely disappeared, probably because it was shipped to Syria before the war started. Do you suppose that, whereever the 380 tons are now, there might be a little extra room for some vials of anthrax, sarin, nerve gas, etc.?
DEACON adds: If Shaw’s version, as reported by the Washington Times, holds up and (as importantly) gets heard, the consequences for Kerry could be serious. The Senator will have (a) jumped to a conclusion that wasn’t supported by the facts, (b) assumed the incompetence of our troops, (c) confirmed President Bush’s position that Iraq had weapons worth worrying about, and (d) unleashed evidence that, as Rocket Man notes, suggests that chemical and biological weapons could easily have been moved out of Iraq just before we invaded. One question that arises, though, is why, if the Defense Department has evidence that the Russians helped clean out Al Qaqaa, we haven’t heard about this before. The answer, apparently is that Shaw recently obtained the information about the Russian arms-dispersal program from two European intelligence services. According to these sources, the Russians were in Iraq mainly to destroy evidence of their weapons collaboration with Saddam’s regime.
One more twist. The week started with the Washington Times putting out what was supposed to be a blockbuster story — the fact that Kerry lied during his debate with Bush about the nature and extent of his meetings with U.N. Security Council members. Through no fault of the paper, the story has had little impact. Instead, it was the New York Times’ Al Qaqaa stink bomb that has dominated the news. But now, perhaps, the Washington Times is going to have the last word and (again, if it is heard), the last laugh.

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