Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Looting in Iraq

This New York Times article (registration required - see BugMeNot for help) describes certain incidents of looting that took place in the month after Saddam's fall as 'systemic' and 'organized.' Bryan Preston is dumbfounded.
How many "looters" have access to armies of men to operate and carry heavy equipment, not to mention flatbed trucks and cranes to move it all? And what kind of "looter" operates in a war zone, shortly after the fall of a regime--or at least shortly after that regime's retreat into insurgency mode? The "looting" peaked in April and May of 2003--just after Saddam's disappearance but before the Coalition had much of a grasp on Iraq as an entity.
He links to this from Christopher Hitchens:
But obviously, what we are reading about is a carefully planned military operation. The participants were not panicked or greedy civilians helping themselves—which is the customary definition of a "looter," especially in wartime. They were mechanized and mobile and under orders, and acting in a concerted fashion. Thus, if the story is factually correct—which we have no reason at all to doubt—then Saddam's Iraq was a fairly highly-evolved WMD state, with a contingency plan for further concealment and distribution of the weaponry in case of attack or discovery.
James Joyner makes this observation about 'misreporting' by the New York Times:
Apparently, there were simultaneously no WMD programs, which proves Bush was a liar, and the plants housing said program were systematically looted, which proves Bush is an incompetent boob who really didn't care about WMD after all.

It's truly a wonder such a man was re-elected.
The real wonder how the New York Times continues to get things so wrong so often.

Bill C: The best line in the Hitchens article was the description of the use of cranes and other heavy equipment was considered 'organized looting'.


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