:: 11.04.2004 ::
Troops stationed at Al Qaqaa say they witnessed looting, were powerless to stop it
About a dozen U.S. troops were guarding the sprawling facility in the weeks after the April 2003 fall of Baghdad when Iraqi looters raided the site, the [LA Times] quoted a group of unidentified soldiers as saying. U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen witnessed the looting and some soldiers sent messages to commanders in Baghdad requesting help, but received no reply, they said. [In other words, the few troops that were there tried to do what the IAEA had recommended, but were not provided with the necessary support to do so - Deb]
How did this happen? A commander gets several calls from soldiers at al Qaqaa saying that the 12 of them can't keep hundreds of Iraqis from stealing explosives from the compound they are supposed to be guarding. The commander does nothing at all. And the Pentagon, predictably, tries to deny there was any looting at all. Again, from MSNBC.
Soldiers who belong to two different units described how Iraqis snatched explosives from unsecured bunkers and drove off with them in pickup trucks. [Obviously a convoy was NOT needed to loot the compound, contrary to what the Pentagon has claimed - Deb]
The soldiers who spoke to the Times asked to remain unidentified, saying they feared retaliation from the Pentagon.
The soldiers said they could not confirm that looters took the particularly powerful explosives known as HMX and RDX. One soldier, however, said U.S. forces saw looters load trucks with bags marked "hexamine," which is a key ingredient for HMX.
One senior noncommissioned officer said troops "were running from one side of the compound to the other side, trying to kick people out" and that at least 100 vehicles were at the site waiting for the military to leave so that they could loot the munitions.
[all emphasis added]
:: Deb 1:00 PM :: permalink ::
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