October 26th, 2004


Deep QaQaa

I guess I was a little surprised about the way the story about missing explosives blew up yesterday, but after Kerry slagging Bush, and Lou Dobbs practically having a brown trouser event about it while talking to Peggy Noonan last night, I guess it really is a big deal.

The best analysis -- at least for this knee jerk liberal -- is in Josh Marshall's. Josh can go post-crazy on a story, as he did yesterday, but in this case it's worth checking out because he provides a near-real time account of the White House trying to spin the story. He points out what is NOT being covered in the media -- that the Bush administration's attempts to minimize, spin and obfuscate the issue contradicts itself and doesn't come close to making coherent sense.

The latest -- being reported on NBC and CNN -- is that an NBC camera crew embedded with the 101st Airborne visited this site and saw no explosives right after the war. This doesn't really change anything -- the 101st Airborne aren't weapons inspectors, and the NBC crew aren't either. They visited a huge site with hundreds of buildings in the middle of an ongoing war, and there could have been a herd of elephants there and they might have missed.

But -- as is usually the case -- this report gives cover to the President and muddies the waters, without really changing the facts of the matter at all. This story is weak at best, and is directly contradicted by other Department of Defense statements. And EVEN if the explosives were NOT there when the 101st Airborne got there, it doesn't explain why the US pressured the Iraqi Provisional government not to tell the IAEA about this issue months ago, or why Condileeza Rice was told this May about this problem, but the president didn't hear about it until 10 days ago.

Bottom line: the whole thing stinks to high heaven.