Monday, October 25, 2004

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Help me out here. Say you're a Republican (yes I know it's offensive, but we're just pretending) and say a Democratic president had just let terrorists steal several hundred tons of explosives of such high quality they can be used to detonate a nuclear bomb. You'd be chomping at the bit, crying impeachment from the highest tower? Right? Wrong. By simply changing the party of the President we get this incredible response to the story from Redstate.org.
So 380 tons of fairly decent explosives -- mind you, not nukes, not even on a daisy-cutter scale, and suitable for everything from construction to manufacturing nukes -- went missing some time between January of 2003 and the present. In a worst-case scenario, thousands of terrorists will have access to high-yield explosives without having the Iranians donate them free of charge.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but what's the big deal?
Other than that you're an idiot? But the blog goes on:
The story is fairly explicit that:
A senior Bush administration official said that during the initial race to Baghdad, American forces "went through the bunkers, but saw no materials bearing the I.A.E.A. [International Atomic Energy Agency] seal." It is unclear whether troops ever returned. [...] I.A.E.A. experts say they assume that just before the invasion the Iraqis followed their standard practice of moving crucial explosives out of buildings, so they would not be tempting targets. If so, the experts say, the Iraqi must have broken seals from the arms agency on bunker doors and moved most of the HMX to nearby fields, where it would have been lightly camouflaged - and ripe for looting.

Again, in a worst-case scenario, the armed forces raced past the bunker, didn't see any explosives, kept racing, then didn't secure the place because the CPA didn't assign it a high-enough priority. An error, to be sure. Potentially a deadly one. Proof of malfeasance or utter incompetence? No.

Proof of too few troops on the ground? Maybe. As Adam Yoshida argues, that's not a cure-all per se, but I'm willing to entertain that argument. Indeed, I'm willing to accept that argument, if it means that the Democrat Party (and their non-partisan friends at the Times) have suddenly become full-on neo-realists. That should make foreign policy discussions much easier for the next decade or so.

Of course, they're not. And if left to their own devices, they would have put precisely no troops on the ground, or, in the alternative, would have Desert Oned it. Let us not use kid gloves here: This is isolationism and anti-Bushism masquerading as hard-nosed realism.

And what, precisely, are the ramifications of this? Well, more explosives for the bad guys, regardless of whether the explosives were on the loose before, during, or after the invasion. But, as someone who deals with the construction industry a good bit, I kinda have to point out that if you're determined, it's not all that hard to come up with some pretty impressive explosives without too much hassle.

But concede, if you will, that this adds arsenal to our enemies for free. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that they aren't getting this sort of thing free of charge from Iran (ATTENTION NEOCONS: THAT IS YOUR NEXT TARGET). If we kill the bad guys in sufficient numbers that they cannot use the explosives -- if, like Osama, they are so much scattered DNA beneath some rubble -- you'll find their operational capacity takes a dive. And the ones we don't kill, maim, or capture will have larger and larger disincentives to use any sort of explosive, no matter how many Times exclusives are run on them. And frankly, I'm not convinced (nor, based on polls, are most Americans convinced) that Kerry will do this thing. I know Bush will.

Bottom line: It is not a good thing that the bad people have more explosives (or maybe they already had them?). Doesn't change any part of the equation for November 2.
This is such utter bullshit I am actually stunned. Forget for a moment the part about invading Iran next, it is precisely this "kill 'em all and let God sort them out" mentality that got us into this mess in the first place. John Kerry was absolutely right when he said strength without intelligence is as bad as weakness.

Ask anyone in the Arab world who isn't on our payroll and they will tell you that anti-American anger is at an all time high. Every time we drop a bomb on a house full of women and children in Falluja we add to that anger and the growing insurgency inside Iraq. So what exactly is Redstate proposing? That we kill them all? And who do we become in the process?

No. We're better than that. We have to be. Because if we're not, we're no better than the ignorance and blind hared we fight against.

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