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May 05, 2003

CSI:Baghdad Enough of a force


Enough of a force to win the war, but not enough to keep the peace? I don't mind a little looting, I don't really mind a lot of looting. In a state where everything was owned by an oppressive government, it's understandable that people are going to take some of their own back. But in the aftermath of a war where one of the stated reasons was to keep Weapons of Mass Destruction from proliferating in the Middle East, shouldn't we have been concentrating on keeping the ingredients needed for making WMDs from proliferating in the Middle East?

It's certainly going to be a kick in the teeth if we discover that the real reason we can't find any weapons of mass destruction is because they were all looted after we toppled Saddam.

Forget the golden heads and silver harps, the real treasures of Iraq, the cash on the barrelhead no questions asked treasures, are the chemicals, germs and radiological materials. Certain parties are willing to pay big money for that stuff, and you can bet that if someone thought to pre-loot the National Museum, then someone else thought to pre-loot the WMDS. How much is a lead lined vial of plutonium worth? Surely more than all the stolen treasures from the museum put together. Of course, all of the stolen treasures is a much smaller number than it used to be, isn't it?

The fact that the initial stories on the looting of the National Museum were so wrong is something of a comfort here, though presumably not to the portions of the commentariat who gleefully used them as a club to cudgel the administration, as if the disappearance of some elderly gold trumped the overthrow of a government that committed mass murder upon its own citizenry. It's a comfort because, just like the museum, we don't know a lot about the inventory at the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility. Once we locate the inventory listing, and there will be one, there's nothing like a one party oppressive government when it comes to generating paperwork, and start crosschecking it against actual contents, the fear of massive amounts of radioactive material spreading across the region will be mostly unfounded.

Mostly, not all. If the one remaining unchecked item on the list is "plutonium, 16 two ounce vials in lead lined box"*, I don't expect we'll hear about it. I think we should, but given the administration's penchant for secrecy, I don't think we will. It's also not like them to hand the Democrats a stick to beat them with.

The problem is that this question should have never come up. The Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility, and every other known or suspected WMD site in Iraq should have been as pristine and untouched as the day it was occupied by our forces. Not doing so not only leads to this insanely dangerous looting, but to the inevitable charges that we have either tampered with the evidence, or let it be destroyed by accident.

Every WMD site in Iraq is a crime scene, and like all crime scene should have been left inviolate until the detectives arrived. If it takes a while because we had to assemble a group of detectives that we trusted, well, then it is closely guarded for as long as it takes.

If we're going to be the world's policeman, the first thing we need to to is to quit letting people into the crime scene. Of course, letting people trample the crime scene is ok if you're not concerned about getting good evidence to begin with. Many people have been accusing this administration of that particular failing for months, proving them right just makes the next step in the war on terrorism that much more difficult.

*note, I have no idea how plutonium is stored. It could be tied up in the toes of worn out socks and left in old Lucky Charms boxes for all I know. What I'm saying is "It's late, and I don't wish to spend an hour searching the web to determine the correct method of packaging plutonium." I'll wait for one of you to tell me, preferably in your best pedantic tone, that any fool knows plutonium is actually stored in old Frankenberries boxes.

Posted by Bigwig at May 5, 2003 12:20 AM | TrackBack
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I would like to know if CSI: Baghdad is like the other series like CSI: MIAMI or CSI: NY.

Posted by: Daniel at January 29, 2005 10:30 AM
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