In the weeks after Baghdad fell in April 2003, looters systematically dismantled and removed tons of machinery from Saddam Hussein's most important weapons installations, including some with high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear arms, a senior Iraqi official said this week in the government's first extensive comments on the looting.Cranes and lorries?? We're standing in our socks and getting groped in the airport, and people are driving cranes and lorries into weapons installations?
The Iraqi official, Sami al-Araji, the deputy minister of industry, said it appeared that a highly organized operation had pinpointed specific plants in search of valuable equipment, some of which could be used for both military and civilian applications, and carted the machinery away.
Dr. Araji said his account was based largely on observations by government employees and officials who either worked at the sites or lived near them.
"They came in with the cranes and the lorries, and they depleted the whole sites," Dr. Araji said. "They knew what they were doing; they knew what they want. This was sophisticated looting."
The threat posed by these types of facilities was cited by the Bush administration as a reason for invading Iraq, but the installations were left largely unguarded by allied forces in the chaotic months after the invasion. [Emphasis mine again.]
Sometimes I can't figure out if these guys are clueless - so entrenched in their own world view, that they can't accurately assess the real world around them - or if it's all part of their diabolic plan. I usually go with The Satan Factor, but items like this make me wonder.