Josh goes further:
As we noted earlier, there's a relatively brief window of time we're talking about when this stuff could have been carted away -- specifically, from March 8th (when the IAEA last checked it) until April 4th when the first US troops appear to have arrived on the scene.
Certainly there would have been time enough to move the stuff. That's almost a month. But this would be a massive and quite visible undertaking. As the Times noted yesterday, moving this material would have taken a fleet of about forty big trucks each moving about ten tons of explosives. And this was at a time -- the week before and then during the war -- when Iraq's skies were positively crawling with American aerial and satellite reconnaissance.
Considering that al Qaqaa was a major munitions installation where the US also suspected there might be WMD, it's difficult to believe that we wouldn't have noticed a convoy of forty huge trucks carting stuff away....
If we had seen something like that happening, it's hard to figure we wouldn't have bombed the convoy, since the US had complete air superiority through the entire campaign. And if the thought that WMD might be on those trucks had prevented such an attack, certainly there would have been running surveillance of where the stuff was going and where it ended up.
My point here is not to say that this could not have occurred. What I am trying to show is that Pentagon appointees like Di Rita don't seem to have any clear idea what happened to this stuff. And in an attempt to push back the story, they're cooking up various theories, most with very short half-lives, that just don't seem credible to a lot of folks who follow these issues.
If you look at the multiple contradictions in the different stories administration officials told reporters over the course of Monday, it's hard not to get the sense that they're caught without a good explanation and they're just making this stuff up as they go along.
But wait, Josh, I have another point: given 1.) they knew the stuff was there, and 2.) they knew it "disappeared" at some point, how come the administration didn't get this out sooner? Were they hoping nobody would notice? Were they hoping that you could publicly belittle folks associated with the international bodies charged with inspecting the stuff and they wouldn't at some point make this public?
I mean, how stupid could these people be??? Everybody knows you always break the bad news yourself, so you have control over the story, and it looks like you're being forthright and honest. Of course, that's not exactly the Bush junta's style- being honest.