Friday, October 29, 2004
Talk about hitting the trifecta: in the course of the last few days, Kerry has picked up unlikely endorsements from The Economist, the Financial Times, and now supply-side wackonomist Jude Wanniski. Admittedly, the Wanniski endorsement is unlikely to influence more than a handful of voters, but the reasoning behind it certainly caught our attention:
At the outset, I said I decided this week that Mr. Bush had made the world a more dangerous place with his unilateral decisions, I had to add in the news that came from the IAEA about the disappearance of 380 tons of weapons from a cache 30 miles from Baghdad. Senator Kerry has sharply criticized President Bush for not securing this arms depot from looters. Vice President Cheney responded by pointing out that since the war ended, 400,000 tons of weapons have been destroyed. Cheney misses the point, and in a way so has Mr. Kerry, by saying the missing explosives no doubt have been used to kill American troops with roadside bombs. The reason the IAEA got involved in the 380 tons and not the other 400,000 is that the small cache contained explosives capable of setting off nuclear weapons. It is a far more serious problem than Kerry realizes.(Thanks to Zemblan patriot M.D. for the link.)
When President Bush 18 months ago indicated he no longer trusted the IAEA inspection regime and would have our forces disarm Saddam, the IAEA inspectors left Iraq and have not returned since. As soon as the war formally ended last year, the IAEA asked U.S. permission to return to secure those sites that contained dual-use materials that could be used for WMD purposes. The Al Qaqaa site near Baghdad was one of them, containing HMX and RDX explosives of the type a terrorist would have to have in order to set off a nuke in an attack. As Gordon Prather explained to me when he learned of the missing explosives: If a terrorist group were to get their hands on 100 pounds of highly enriched uranium, it would be relatively easy for them to make a nuke of Hiroshima power. They could, say, load it into a truck and cart it into Washington on Inauguration Day. But without HMX or RDX, they could not detonate the nuke, and it would be impossible for terrorists to make the explosives suitable for the triggering device on their own. The process is more complex than making the nuke.
What Prather fears is that Iraqi scientists had already cast some of the HMX into the lenses needed in such a device, lenses the IAEA had under its control and seal, and that these are now loose in the region. “Can you imagine, the IAEA had nuclear materials in Iraq under seal dating back to the 1970s and none of the seals were broken even during the Gulf War. It was our responsibility to secure those sites as soon as we went in and instead looters have carted them off. Amazing.”
By this time, with one revelation after another of the mismanagement of foreign policy and national security under President Bush, I’d hoped he would find a way to signal the electorate that things would be different in a second term; that would require a change in personnel at the top. It would have meant Dick Cheney’s replacement with a GOP internationalist. It would also have meant a clean sweep of the neo-cons who cooked up the war – and who misled a President who did not have the experience to be able to figure out he had been manipulated into realizing their imperial fantasies. Sadly, there is no indication a second term would be any different than a first, as all the speculation we read on personnel still has Cheney in the driver’s seat with Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld readily at hand.
Because Mr. Bush has told us repeatedly about how he is strengthened by his faith in God, with that faith sustaining him through his tough decisions, it goes without saying that it he is re-elected he will be filled with the spirit of vindication. There not only would be no changes in the team’s view of how the world must be dealt with. There would also be less restraint in George W. Bush's willingness to shape the world to his divinely inspired vision.