"I also described two particularly disturbing incidents -- one I had witnessed and the other I had heard about. On April 16, 2003, a mob attacked and looted the Iraqi equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control, taking live HIV and black fever virus among other potentially lethal materials. US troops were stationed across the street but did not intervene because they didn't know the building was important.
"There was nothing secret about the Disease Center or the Tuwaitha warehouses. Inspectors had repeatedly visited the center looking for evidence of a biological weapons program. The Tuwaitha warehouses included materials from Iraq's nuclear program, which had been dismantled after the 1991 Gulf War. The United Nations had sealed the materials, and they remained untouched until the US troops arrived."
And while Wolfowitz and other fervent war hawks behind Bush believed that Baghdad would be but one stop on the road to transforming the greater Middle East -- including removing the dangerous mullahs of Tehran -- Galbraith shows how their arrogance and negligence in Iraq may have in fact strengthened America's number-two enemy in the so-called Axis of Evil:
"Some of the looting continued for many months -- possibly into 2004. Using heavy machinery, organized gangs took apart, according to [an] IAEA [report this month], 'entire buildings that housed high-precision equipment.' This equipment could be anywhere. But one good bet is Iran, which has had allies and agents in Iraq since shortly after the US-led forces arrived.
"This was a preventable disaster. Iraq's nuclear weapons-related materials were stored in only a few locations, and these were known before the war began. As even L. Paul Bremer III, the US administrator in Iraq, now admits, the United States had far too few troops to secure the country following the fall of Saddam Hussein. But even with the troops we had, the United States could have protected the known nuclear sites. It appears that troops did not receive relevant intelligence about Iraq's WMD facilities, nor was there any plan to secure them. Even after my briefing, the Pentagon leaders did nothing to safeguard Iraq's nuclear sites."
Galbraith is careful to point out that he supported the Bush administration's decision to overthrow Saddam, and that he himself, "at Wolfowitz's request," helped advance the case for war. But, he concludes, "without having planned or provided enough troops, we would be a lot safer if we hadn't gone to war."
Full link to the original Boston Globe piece here.
So. Iran now has access to Saddam's chemical and biological supplies, thanks to Bush. No wonder they want him re-elected. One would think he's running for Antichrist...
(my apologies if I didn't follow the Kos rules here - my first diary)