Monday, October 18, 2004

No! There. Are. No. WMD. In Iraq! Isn't That Clear Enough For You?! And No, Of Course There Are No Hidden Ammo Dumps in Afghani—Wait a Minute…

Let's make this perfectly clear, okay? Listen carefully, now: If within the space of eight weeks or so (that was the amount of time it took after the fall of Baghdad for the media to start calling Bush and Blair "liars"), American troops did not find WMD in a country of 170,000 square miles of desert, mountains, valleys, canyons, caves, cities, and other natural and not-so-natural features, it can only mean one thing:

That the weapons of mass destruction do not exist and never did; that Saddam Hussein didn't have any WMD and never meant to have any; that the psychopath should have been trusted when he said as much; that the Bush administration, the CIA, and the NSC can only have been aware of that; that therefore they were treacherous and duplicitous (no, not Saddam's thugs — the Americans!); and that Dubya is nothing but a fraud who lied to his people and to the world.

No American serviceman discovered any hidden weapons (of mass destruction or other) and therefore such stocks don't exist. (Just like when you play hide and seek, if you don't discover the friend who's hiding, it turns out that the only plausible conclusion is that he doesn't really exist and that he never did exist.) At least intelligent people like the Toronto Sun's Peter Worthington understand that (emphasis mine):

Canadian soldiers attached to the Afghan National Army (ANA) [have] "discovered" a huge Soviet ammunition dump a few kilometres from Camp Julien with the potential of obliterating the camp, as well as most of Kabul.

That may sound like hyperbole, but I was with the Canadians who discovered the cache — soldiers … who are training and working with the ANA …

In the dusty foothills, 10 minutes drive from Camp Julien (population 2,000), 82 buried bunkers, each 20-metres long, housed thousands of Soviet FROG missiles (one step down from Scud missiles), and every variety of rocket and mortar shells.

Some of the FROG missiles were still in their original cases. Some heaped in the open. Some stacked to the roof in the unlocked, open bunkers. Much of the ordnance had warheads removed to collect the explosive for homemade bombs — or for blasting at a nearby quarry.

"Unbelievable!" was Maj. Brian Hynes' reaction when he saw them. "We (troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) have been here some two years, and no one knew this was at our back door. Unbelievable."

Major Hynes, step back into your ranks and keep quiet! You are out of order! The weaponry was not discovered within a couple of weeks of the victory over the Taliban, so they do not exist and they never have existed! It's that simple.

But wait! There's more…

In truth, the Soviet bunkers were well-known in an area supposedly under control of the Afghan Militia Force (AMF) — not to be confused with the ANA. The AMF is paid by various warlords and so their loyalty is to them.

"These bunkers have been known for two years but no one bothered to check them," said Maj. Hynes.

"To me, that's incompetence."

"To me it's criminal," said Sgt. Power, who works with the major in training the ANA.

I've never seen anything like it. The feeling is that AMF soldiers were selling access to the dump or permitting friends to enter it.

Littered with burned out Soviet military vehicles, the whole area is a junk pile strewn with every sort of live ammunition, fuses, unexploded shells, rockets, etc., all supposedly under the authority of Belgian troops (at the moment), who ignored it.

In the midst of examining the bunkers and taking photos, a Swedish UN guy, a French major and a German colonel arrived to make a fuss and order the Canadians to leave. The French major insisted his government had a deal with the Afghan government for the area, and ISAF had no business being there.

This cut little ice with Maj. Hynes … The French major was clearly bluffing, hadn't checked the bunkers and got a classic Canadian roasting from Maj. Hynes — who was supported by a German general who was also appalled at the laxity.

"Now we've stirred up the hornet's nest," grinned Maj. Hynes. "Good. Now we may get some action."

"I feel foolish that for eight days we've been watching our front, when at our back all this was going on and nobody cared," said Sgt. [Mike] Mazerolle [who made the discovery].

(Thanks to Gregory Schreiber, eh?)