Bush continues to try to spin his way out of it, but the Al Qaqaa story is sticking. As reported here yesterday, an embedded news crew from a Minneapolis TV station captured video of the munitions dump nine days after the fall of Baghdad. Now The NY Times reports that weapons inspectors have confirmed that the footage was shot at Al Qaqaa, and shows the high explosives in question.
“The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al Qaqaa,” said David A. Kay, a former American official who led the recent hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the vast site. “The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn’t use seals on anything. So I’m absolutely sure that’s an I.A.E.A. seal.”
One weapons expert said the videotape and some of the agency’s photographs of the HMX stockpiles “were such good matches it looked like they were taken by the same camera on the same day.”
Independent experts said several other factors – the geography; the number of bunkers; the seals on some of the bunker doors; the boxes, crates and barrels similar to those seen by weapon inspectors – confirm that the videotape was taken at Al Qaqaa.
Yesterday the right-wing media echo chamber went into overdrive, suggesting the explosives might have been moved before the US invasion. Today, the party line is that the munitions represented less than one percent of Iraq’s stockpile.
But of course, that’s not the point. Bush says he went into Iraq to make America safer, but by failing to put enough troops on the ground to win the peace, he has allowed dangerous weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists and insurgents.
Bush’s incompetence has cost American lives. And tragically, may continue to cost American lives for years to come.