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June 21, 2003

Shoe finally drops
Posted by Teresa at 06:23 PM *

In a move that wouldn’t surprise a blind maimed midget living at the bottom of an abandoned mine in Outer Mongolia, Dubya has now laid the blame for our COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE TO FIND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ on … Iraqi looters!

You heard it: Iraqi looters. The WMDs were there, realio trulio, but in the chaos attendant upon our invasion, RANDOM BUNCHES OF IRAQI CIVILIANS came and took them all away! And NOBODY CAN TELL US WHERE THEY WENT, no matter how much we OFFER TO BRIBE THEM!

“We are determined to discover the true extent of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, no matter how long it takes,” Bush added with a straight face.

Elsewhere this week, according to Reuters, “Bush dismissed questions over his reasons for going to war as the work of ‘historical revisionists’.” Various critics have objected to this interpretation, only partly on the grounds that Bush doesn’t know those words.

Comments on Shoe finally drops:
#1 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2003, 07:36 PM:

Well, it was vitally important beforehand that they 'have' those WMDs, because the namby-pamby UN had this "thing" about them, and maybe the coalition of the willing would have been down to England, Spain, and Slobbovia otherwise.

But now it's fait accompli, and what are you going to do? Take back the invasion? Hah. To repeat myself:

"The weapons of mass destruction are in the nation next door."
"There is no nation next door."
"Then we'll build one!"

#2 ::: S. M. Breen ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2003, 09:38 PM:

I just cannot wait for the freeperati to descend on this and say "Oh, well that's allright the. Problem solved, Mission Accomplished, on to Iran!"

God DAMN but I feel safer already! Thank you, Mr. Bush!

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2003, 10:29 PM:

Good thing the looters got 'em. It would have been terrible if terrorists had gotten their hands on the WMD. No looter would ever sell biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons to terrorists for cash on the barrelhead, no questions asked. Looters have standards, y'see.

(Meanwhile, I'm told that top Iraqi officials are being quietly offered $200,000 apiece to tell our guys where the WMDs are, and the answers that are coming back are to the effect of "Gee, I'd like to help, and I sure could use the money, but as far as I know there aren't any....")

#4 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2003, 10:45 PM:

Don't worry. At those prices, I'm sure someone will be willing to make something up.

#5 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2003, 10:49 PM:

The WMD are buried under the Sphinx. Doesn't everyone know that "George W. Bush" uses "Graham Hancock" as a pseudonym?!!

#6 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 02:08 AM:

I think it's time we all pitched in to help look. Everyone, check under your beds. Use a broom, and wear gloves. Whatever you find, remember that you are not a Qualified Weapons of Mass Destruction(tm) Inspector, so handle it carefully when boxing it up to send to Washington.

Your country needs you.

#7 ::: Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 04:36 AM:

"A telephone? An office chair and a telephone? That is all that you were able to loot from the Ministry Complex? Hassan, down the street -- he brought back a cannister of Sarin and two -- two -- kilograms of enriched Uranium for his mother! Where did your father and I go wrong with you?"

#8 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 08:26 AM:

And an excess of trees (and farting cows) is behind all that global warming and climate change.

That's it! Farting camels stole the WMD! Thus are revisionist history and global warming linked....

#9 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 10:01 AM:

For $200K, they can have the stuff in the back of my fridge and call it WMDs.

#10 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 11:08 AM:

Given the price, maybe some clever Iraqi will go on the internet, find instructions for a dirty bomb that could be made using, say, ingredients looted from one of the nuclear sites, make a dirty bomb, and then sell it to the US military for $200,000.

The reward could also be seen as a US subsidy for enterpreurs to make WMDs.

#11 ::: Jame Scholl ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 11:50 AM:

Yes, random civilians managed to cart off all the nuclear and biological weapons, along with the facilities used to manufacture them. So they're apparently quite strong and organized civilians. Incredibly stealthy and close-mouthed civilians, who didn't leave any witnesses to these amazing feats and don't need money to buy, say, food.

#12 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 12:48 PM:

At last we've discovered the sinister purpose of that woman carting off the kitchen sink--it was to become part of her home anthrax lab!


Ask Dr. Science

What you will need for this project:

1 small vat (a kitchen sink will do nicely)
1 large vat (try one of Saddam's gold-handled bathtubs)
1 centrifuge (a salad spinner or sealed habitrail wheel have been found to work)
1 sealed vessel with multiple tubes to "weaponize" the anthrax (the amazing and versatile hookah!)
1 pinch of anthrax (available at the aptly named "Ministry of Culture" or from the proverbial diseased camel)

#13 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 04:08 PM:

I think the WMD are in my other pants.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 06:27 PM:

The WMDs can't have been looted if nobody's informing. Looting isn't a private, solitary activity. Looters can see each other, and some of them are bound to recognize each other. Many will be amateur criminals, and thus likely to talk to friends and family about who and what they saw. If a reward of that size isn't getting any takers, it's because no one has anything to sell.

Do you ever find yourself resenting the embarrassment of knowing that the whole world sees through this nonsense?

I like the idea that the $200,000 is an attempt to subsidize forged WMDs. It's like Walt Willis' story about the only guys he ever knew of who made money off poteen. They weren't selling the stuff; they'd just noticed that the price of government surplus stills was lower than the bounty the government paid for reporting the location of illicit stills. They'd buy one, set it up in an inconspicuous location, report it, and collect the reward. Walt said they ran through several iterations of this before the government caught on.

#15 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 07:12 PM:

A great-uncle of mine was a major contractor at Oak Ridge. Is anyone in the market for a Lego gaseous diffusion plant?

#16 ::: Tuxedo Slack ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 09:30 PM:

Our hostess asks:

Do you ever find yourself resenting the embarrassment of knowing that the whole world sees through this nonsense?

No, but only because I've heard they have great faith that the American people are not fooled.

#17 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 11:23 PM:

>A great-uncle of mine was a major contractor at Oak Ridge. Is anyone in the market for a Lego gaseous diffusion plant?

Actually, some years ago Oak Ridge managed to sell a sizeable chunk of a uranium enrichment line, still in workable condition, as surplus. The dealer who bought it was able to get specifications and manuals for most of it, one piece at a time. He ended up selling it back to DOE (for a considerable profit; shades of the poteen stills!) but not before receiving a number of inquiries from mysterious gentlemen with foreign accents.

I still remember the incident with annoyance, because the first thing DOE did when it came to light was shut down all sales of DOE surplus. That included Lawrence Livermore Lab's weekly public surplus sales, which I'd been very fond of attending, even if I never got anything as interesting as a G-D plant.

#18 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2003, 11:59 PM:

So how does Boeing Surplus - Kent - compare with other surplus sales? Be the epitome of military/industrial complex to source WMD there.

#19 ::: Anthony VanWagner ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 03:25 AM:

"In Vienna, Austria, diplomats said U.N. atomic experts have tracked down tons of uranium feared stolen from Iraq's largest nuclear research facility, much of it apparently found on or near the site.

The Tuwaitha nuclear facility, 30 miles north of Baghdad, was thought to contain hundreds of tons of natural uranium and nearly two tons of low-enriched uranium, which could be further processed for arms use. Tuwaitha was left unguarded after Iraqi troops fled the area on the eve of the war.

U.S. troops didn't secure the area until April 7. In the meantime, looters from surrounding villages stripped it of uranium storage barrels they later used to hold drinking water. " - from the UK Guardian

#20 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 03:51 AM:

NEW SCIENTIST reported some weeks ago that the locals are suffering the effects of the "adaptive reuse" of the storage barrels. I cannot guarantee the precision of these stories, but it seems highly unlikely that there will be no ill effects.

They also determine that attempts to determine whether the use of depleted uranium penetrators has had any effect -- on civilians or combat personnel -- have been stonewalled by the, uh, victorious allies.

#21 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 03:51 AM:

In fact, you wouldn't even need to build actual WMD's. Take the 200K, and rig up a site like one of those semi-truck labs. Damn, those looters got them again! If only we'd gotten there sooner...

#22 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 06:35 AM:

John: As for harmful effects from DU use... Well, they did some research on Swedish peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavias, and found they had more uranium in their bodies when they went than when they came home. (From memory, so I'm not sure about exact methods, but I do remember the somewhat unexpected conclusion.) So that's one thing I wouldn't worry too much about. Plenty of others, yes, but not DU.

#23 ::: Nancy ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 09:01 AM:

I still have, er, souvenirs from Oak Ridge from my stepfather's time there as a developmental chemist/nuclear physicist during the war. Not anything of true WMD status, but they do give off nice particles (it's irradiated lead). Combined with some of the crud we found in the bottom of our hall closet, I bet we could build something that glows nicely. I'll split the reward with someone -- I need all the help I can get with my home rennovations.

#24 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 10:25 AM:

>So how does Boeing Surplus - Kent - compare with other surplus sales?

Ah, Boeing surplus. The Mother Lode of drill bits. Also end mills, cutoff tools, and various other chunks of sharp-edged hardened steel.

Other than that, not too exciting most of the time. Zillions of surplus Dell computers (oddly, half of which are faster than the ones still on the desks of the engineers I work with). But they do occasionally come up with something interesting. The 12" collimator (essentially a 12" Cassegrain reflecting telescope) would have been nice to take home, if I'd been able to lift it.

Be the epitome of military/industrial complex to source WMD there.

Well, you could certainly get some useful accessories for your WMD program, but so far I haven't seen anything directly usable. There were a few ALCM's (Air Launched Cruise Missiles) sitting out in a corridor for a while*, but I don't think they ever made it to Surplus.

*Inert ones. I think.

#25 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 11:46 AM:

The $200K scenario (and Walt Willis's poteen scam) resemble what appears to be a big part of the slave trade in northeastern Africa. Critics of antislavery efforts allege that a large part of the slave-trading economy consists of anti-slavery activists buying and freeing newly captured slaves. In effect, the claim goes, the slave market in the region exists so that the activists may free slaves.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 10:56 PM:

Myself, I think Barney took them.

#27 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2003, 11:59 PM:

So the wreckage left behind is Barney rubble?

#28 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2003, 08:41 AM:

"I love you,
You love me,
We love WMD..."

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2003, 09:07 AM:

I bomb you,
You gas me,
We have WMD,
Anthrax! VX! Barney's on the floor!
No more purple dinosaur.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2003, 09:07 AM:

I bomb you,
You gas me,
We have WMD,
Anthrax! VX! Barney's on the floor!
No more purple dinosaur.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2003, 11:26 AM:

Groans and ouches, Jordin.

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2003, 07:59 PM:

In the latest developments, parts of a centrifuge that could be used to process uranium to make a nuclear weapon were found buried under a rose bush in Baghdad yesterday, where they had been for the last twelve years.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday the parts found in Baghdad are not 'evidence of a smoking gun' proving Iraq had a current weapons of mass destruction program."

According to US Govt. spokespersons, Iraq was three years away from producing a nuke.

Let's consider that. The USA was three years away from testing a nuke as of 16 July 1942. The Battle of Midway had ended little over a week earlier, and the US had been in WWII for a little over seven months.

So... any industrialized nation with a level of tech equivalent to the US in summer of 1942 can probably be said to be "within three years" of making a nuke.

Perhaps less -- since the main nuclear secret, that nukes are possible, is well known.

#33 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2003, 10:26 PM:

That can't be the scary weapon they were talking about when they said they could hit England in 45 minutes. Three years is ...carry the one... longer than 45 minutes, and burying something in the ground for 12 years doesn't really seem like the most effective way to utilize it against your foes, either.

Now, maybe if the administration had said, "We have to go in there because they've got something buried in the garden which, if dug up, washed out, fixed, and combined with a lot of other stuff they don't have, could threaten England in three years..."

What, not snazzy enough?

#34 ::: Rich ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2003, 12:53 PM:

I want to see a Dysfunctional Family Circus with this caption:

"Who took all the Weapons of Mass Destruction?"
"Ida Know! Ida Know! Ida Know!"

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