They really are like simple, but nasty, children.
Long, long ago, in those heady days just after the invasion of Iraq but before it all went sour — a very narrow period, to be sure — some Marines stumbled upon the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program, at a site near Tuwaitha that had been bombed into rubble by Israel back in 1981. A whole lot of yellowcake uranium was stored there, all of which had been inspected and re-inspected by the IAEA many times over the years.
In fact, the IAEA had inspected the site several times before the Iraq War began in March 2003. The last inspection was on February 11, 2003. United Nations weapons inspectors had visited the facility in December, 2002. The yellowcake was all inventoried and stored in drums with IAEA seals. I wrote a lot about this back in 2003.
The critical point is that Saddam Hussein couldn’t do anything with this uranium because he lacked the equipment and technology to enrich it. So it had been sitting around for years in drums sealed by the IAEA. No nuclear program.
When the Marines found this cache of uranium in April, 2003, they were completely caught off guard. If anyone in the Bush Administration knew it was there, they didn’t bother to inform the military. So for a while the uranium became the vindication for the invasion, until finally someone admitted that, um, yeah, we knew it was there, and it was all still under IAEA seal as it had been for several years. No vindication.
The amusing part of all this is that every single time some part of that yellowcake uranium gets back into the news, the wingnuts get all excited about the “new” discovery and start celebrating that the invasion of Iraq is vindicated. This seems to happen every 18 months or so.
Well, folks, they’re at it again. There’s an Associated Press story (that I’m not linking to because it’s the Associated Press) that says the last of the yellowcake was removed from the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex. And they seem to think this is some brand new discovery.
Here’s the Idiot’s Hall of Fame:
The accumulated IQ of the above bloggers adds up to about 47.
Of course Yellow Cake is harmless in itself but then itâ€™s only a few steps away from becoming uranium.
Yellowcake IS uranium and is radioactive, but you can’t make weapons with it. It is not “only a few steps” from being weapons grade. It takes considerable refinement and considerable time, and it’s clear that Saddam Hussein lacked the means to refine it and wasn’t trying.
This story of course blows the Bush Lied/People Died story out of the water and puts to rest any question whether Saddam was seeking to build a nuclear program. In fact we know that Saddam did in fact have a WMD program.
Yellowcake uranium that had been stored in sealed drums for several years with no attempt to do anything with it does not constitute a “WMD program.”
Update: One more for the Idiot’s list:
This may push the collective IQ number above 50. It’s so hard to tell.
The debate isnâ€™t about if Saddam was on the verge of obtaining nukes or not. Rather, it is about the fact that Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are liars – something that most of the press refuses to acknowledge. Notably, Mahablog doesnâ€™t mention the Joe Wilson controversy at all.
Please. The yellowcake in Tuwaitha is completely unrelated to Joe Wilson. The Tuwaitha yellowcake was [partly] the remnants of material from the defunct Osiraq reactor that Israel bombed in 1981 [the rest was purchased before the Gulf War]. The Tuwaitha yellowcake had been sitting in those drums, with the IAEA seals, at least since the end of the Gulf War. The IAEA had exhaustively inventoried it and monitored it from the beginning of the 1990s until inspections stopped in 1998, and when they went back in 2003 they found nothing whatsoever had changed — nothing had been added, nothing had been taken away. The same barrels were still there, with the same seals.
Wilson’s trip to Niger in 2002 was to investigate an alleged sale of uranium in the late 1990s. The alleged Niger uranium had nothing whatsoever to do with the Tuwaitha uranium.
In fact, one of my arguments all along about the 16 words and the alleged Niger yellowcake was that it made no sense for Saddam Hussein to purchase more yellowcake when he was already sitting on a huge pile of yellowcake that he didn’t have the technology to enrich.
Patterico just went into negative IQ points. The accumulated IQ drops to 38.