It seems we were a bit hasty in criticizing the administration’s handling of a huge weapons cache in Iraq. Matt Drudge reports that NBC News has defused what appears to have been a hoped-for October Surprise by certain media outlets and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
That the 380 tons of high explosives is missing from the depot at Al-Qaqaa, south of Baghdad, is not in question. What NBC revealed last night, however, was that the explosives were already missing when American troops arrived at the depot April 10, 2003, one day after the liberation of Iraq.
The New York Times ran with the story yesterday, without the qualification that the explosives had been stolen before our troops arrived, and it was quickly seized on by Democrats as one more reason to vote against George W. Bush next Tuesday.
Drudge reports that CBS News was approached first with the story, and “executive producer Jeff Fager hoped to break the story during a high-impact election eve broadcast of 60 MINS on October 31.”
The timing of the IAEA’s warning is highly suspect–as is CBS News’ decision to report it less than 36 hours before polls opened–since the agency knew about the missing explosives 18 months ago. If anything, one could argue that this offers more proof that the international community was irresponsible at best in keeping Saddam contained, and that we were right to invade–and should have invaded sooner.