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July 07, 2004

Comments

Holly S

In the Metro section of our local newspaper under "The Region in Brief" was an article entitled "U.S. won't divulge Iraq uranium whereabouts". This is crazy. In the same article, they say that it is probably at Oak Ridge where the DOE has just stored 55,000 pounds of the same material from Libya - you know, that country that was persuaded to give up WMD. What gives?

Cpl. Menno

I remember reading awhile back [not sure if it's mentioned in the articles you linked to since I didn't read them in their entirety] that this material was known to be in Iraq and that the IAEA actually allowed them to keep this nuclear material for future use towards a "peaceful" nuclear program. I'm not 100% certain on this, but I think it would be worth looking into. That's why I believe the administration hasn't been pushing this latest development since it doesn't necessarily back up their WMD claims [though it could, depending on your perspective].

Though to be honest, I'm glad they accounted for this material and are getting it out of there, whether it helps the president's argument or not. While I don't know Hussein personally, it's pretty much with 100% certainty that this guy had no intention of just having a "peaceful" nuclear program. The IAEA's decision to allow him to keep it might have made sense in a pre-9/11 world, but not in a post-9/11 world.

joe blow

If it was a big story, it would be because previously secure nuclear materials suddenly became insecure as the result of the failure to provide enough troops to secure Iraq after toppling its government.

A 5/30 story on CNN website:

According to the IAEA, Location C had about 1.8 tons of low-enriched uranium, as well as 500 tons of natural and depleted uranium. The material was under IAEA seal and has been inspected regularly since 1991, the agency said.
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/30/sprj.irq.wmd/


See also:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2003-06-01-iraq-nuclear_x.htm

Cpl. Menno

- "If it was a big story, it would be because previously secure nuclear materials suddenly became insecure as the result of the failure to provide enough troops to secure Iraq after toppling its government." -


I don't see how you've come to that conclusion. The material had been removed over a year after the war began and, from what I read, it's all been accounted for. So I don't necessarily think security or a lack of boots on the ground had anything to do with this decision. I personally believe the United States just wanted to remove the material -- as a precautionary measure -- prior to the transfer of sovereignty, should the Iraqi government collapse sometime in the future. So I think they're using the potential terrorism threat as an excuse [though a somewhat valid one] for removing it, instead of just stating to the new Iraqi government "we're taking away this material because we don't trust you". No reason for Iraq to have this nuclear material anymore.

As I reiterated in my previous comment, I'm glad they got this stuff out of there. I trust the IAEA as much as I trust the CIA...meaning not much at all. The IAEA is letting Iran walk all over them, so having this material in Iraq prior to the fall of Hussein was hardly reassuring.

Cpl. Menno

Scratch that last comment; I just noticed the MSNBC article above after reading the post a second time. Sorry about that.

dauber

I don't know that this necessarily does prove anything about a nuclear program although it sure is suggestive. But it does prove something about a risk of a dirty bomb. AND, as you imply, my larger pt is that bad news gets big play (nuclear site left unguarded; material out of control) while solutions to the same problems (roughly the same amount now accounted for and safely removed) is largely ignored.

Kevin Murphy

The DOD responded to the press reports at the time saying that while our soldiers didn't secure the entire Tuwaitha site, they did secure site C where the nuclear material was stored as soon as they could. All the looting at site C occured after the war started March 21 (when the guards stopped guarding) but before US troops arrived April 7. I blogged the DOD response here. Given the presses" rel="nofollow">

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