Explosivesgate Roundup

Jim Geraghty has an interesting e-mail from a serviceman who claims to have been on site at the time:
You are correct in your bottom line conclusion. Here is a second follow up.
I was serving as a [identifying information removed by the Kerry Spot] staff member during the time in question. The Commander on the site had complete real time intelligence on what to expect and possibly find at the Al-QaQaa depot. The ordinance in question was not found when teams were sent in to inspect and secure the area. When this information was relayed, Operational plans were adjusted and the unit moved forward. Had the ordinance in question been discovered, a security team would have been left in place.

Roger Simon lays it out in simple terms for us all to understand:
Let’s review. As Belmont Club notes, Watson, there are three possibilities. 1. The RDX was gone before the war started. 2. It disappeared in the early days between the arrival of the Third Infantry and 101st Airborne. 3. It disappeared later. Now since it would have taken some forty highly-visible trucks to decamp with these supposed 380 tons of explosives and since Saddam and his Baathist cronies had at least six months to do what they wanted with this stuff during the prolonged Security Council bla-bla-bla and since no such explosives have apparently been used to attack US troops during the entire insurgency, even a twelve-year old boy making his first shave with Occam’s original razor would undoubtedly pick ONE – THIS HAPPENED BEFORE THE WAR STARTED.
JustOneMinute runs down the politics of the IAEA, and Mr. El Baradei:
Perhaps the Times could find space for a few more sentences:
It was reported at the end of September that the US would oppose Dr. ElBaradei’s bid for a third term. Dr. ElBaradei’s letter requesting an update on the status of the Al QaQaa explosives was sent to the President of the Security Council on October 1.

Captain Ed is all over the story:
– He ‘does the math‘ and shows just how hard it would be to loot 380 tons of explosives:
Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the “right” explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP.
– He shows that CBS news and Fox News reported that the Al Qaqaa facility was clearly searched and under scrutiny by the U.S. military in April 2003 — but no 380 tons of explosives were found:
…it appears that the [Third Infantry Division] performed much more than a cursory search and came up with laboratory samples of the HMX and/or RDX, but not the massive amounts the IAEA claimed was stored at Al Qaqaa. Fox reported that the Army had plenty of suspicion about that site and thought it likely that the Iraqis had either manufactured or stored WMD there.
– And he demolishes the NYT’s latest attempt at salvaging the story by interviewing a U.S. commander, who unfortunately for the NYT, is the wrong commander.
(Give it a rest, Ed; leave some story for the rest of us!)
James Glassman at TCS points out the obvious contradiction in the liberal outrage on the explosives story:
But far more important, Kerry’s complaints about Bush only enforce Bush’s reason for invading Iraq. Think about it.
Kerry and Edwards say that Bush didn’t do enough to prevent the disappearance of the explosives, which could be used against Americans here at home. But the very existence of such explosives — whether defined as weapons of mass destruction or not — was the reason Bush led the nation into Iraq in the first place.

Belmont Club goes further into the reports of the Third Infantry Division’s inspection of the site:
The contemporaneous CBS report, written before anyone knew al Qa Qaa would be a big deal, establishes two important things. The first is that 3ID knew it was looking through an IAEA inspection site. The second was that the site had shown unmistakable signs of tampering before the arrival of US troops. ..”
Dean Esmay weighs in, wonders what the next fake story attacking Bush will be, and refers us to
John Cole, who provides additional perspectives on the quantities involved, with pictures!