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Missing Munitions in Iraq May Have Been a Miscalculation

Published October 29, 2004 in WAR IN IRAQ
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of the Department of Defense
The ability to count has never been as important as adding up the total tons of missing munitions.
It's all about the tonnage when it comes to the Iraq war debates. The latest hot topic has been the miscalculations on how many tons of munitions have actually gone missing. Both sides of the case show new video to validate their point. What is going on here?

144 Tons of Munitions Really 3 Tons?

Supposedly there are ~377 tons of munitions that have gone missing from the bunkers in Iraq. This has been under huge debate and has led to accusations that the soldiers, or the president, did not do their job. So, we are starting out with ~377 tons of munitions that people cannot explain where they went. It would require at least 38 large trucks to do the job of hauling this amount. So, do we have proof of such trucks? Yes... and no.

The White House released satellite video showing that there were such large trucks at these bunkers before the invasion of Iraq by the US Military. The same trucks could have removed a good portion of the munitions up and out to Syria. Remember, during the beginning of air sorties, Syria was pretty open for crossing by terrorists and weapons alike from Iraq. I have looked at these satellite shots and say it is plausible, but I only see what looks to be a few trucks. So sure, the Iraqi's [?] did maybe grab some munitions to pass out amongst themselves or who knows what else. But, unless this satellite shows even more trucks, unlikely that all were taken this way.

Proof of this is other satellite images that show a couple big trucks outside the munitions compounds after the US invasion of Iraq. The problem, or should I say issue, they are looking into now is that there are only a few highways that lead to these munititions dumps and the United States Military supposedly had all of them bottle-necked during this period. So, how did these trucks get through the military with munitions cargo?

To make matters even more interesting, the report [IAEA] stating that there were 144 tons of munitions, now states that there may be an error in reporting. Instead of 144 tons of munitions, there may have only been three [3] tons of munitions accounted by this report in specified dumps. Again, how does this happen? That would mean that instead of having a total of 377 tons of munitions missing, there would instead be a total of 233 tons. This is a big deal when it comes to protection of our troops and the hunt of finding all munitions. Think about how many people it would take to spread out one ton of munitions, let alone in the hundreds.

3rd Infantry Army Unit Speaks Out

Before I get to this, those of you who saw the interview between O'Reilly and the soldier out on the field could see the frustration these soldiers are having. This guy looked so frustrated he was choking on words. His complaint was that nobody [presidential nominee, civilian, house member] should say that the soldiers out in Iraq are making mistakes and not doing their job.

He claimed that they had taken hold of the munitions dumps early in the invasion campaign, even if it was not up to standards. Which brings to a hard point.

Who can you blame for something such as this? I was watching a discussion on television yesterday and they were discussing the same type of question. Can you blame the president for mistakes made by the military during a time of war? It is a war and there is a lot going on. Is the President supposed to know every single mission, operation, or slight move by the military; all while running the county? Not likely. Then again, can you blame the troops? Saying that the military is screwing up is disheartening as they are still doing their jobs the best they can while putting their lives on the line. The military, who thought they would receive huge support considering they over-threw a government of tyranny and swept through an entire country with the loss of life less than one percent of a large American city [<1000], now receives its own shock and awe when their own supporters cannot understand that entrenched ideologies [and people that benefited greatly from Saddam], are doing all they can to scratch the US military. And that is all the enemy has to do to us for America to lose, scratch us. If the enemy, through casualties and terrorist tactics, can cause doubt in American news and voters, it knows the popular masses will make the move to turn a scratch into an open wound. America is powerful, and yet it can be so easily defeated. Where we can wipe out over 100,000 of Saddam's troops, supporters, and terrorists located in Iraq, remove Saddam, implement a successful 'weapons for food' program, have our own casualty number be <1500 [including coalition forces], and then try to say we lost and we really screwed up! Doesn't that just sound strange?

Remember, it is easy to sit from the sidelines and criticize calls made by the coach and the real players. If you think you can do better, join the military or run for office.

Back to the 3rd Infantry Unit

The unit recently reported that on April 2003, soon after Saddam's regime fell, the 3rd Infantry Unit had gone in and burned 250 tons of munitions and other material from Al-Qaqaa.

This number was also never taken into account on the missing munitions. They are now trying to confirm whether or not this 250 tons of burned munitions was actually part of the speculated 377 missing tons. So, 144 tons may be down to 3 tons with the addition of 250 tons burned. This means that a total of 394 tons may have been omitted 'accidentally' or miscalculated. If this were true, there would be relatively little munitions missing at all.

Stay tuned for updates. This will not be the last time I say this: What is going on here?

This picture released by the Pentagon Oct. 28, 2004 shows trucks parked outside one of the bunkers of the Al Qa Qaa Explosive Storage Complex on March 17, 2003.
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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image property of the Department of Defense

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