Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The FBI said on Wednesday the bomb that ripped through U.N. headquarters here was made from 1,000 pounds of old munitions including one single 500 pound bomb, all of the materials from Saddam Hussein's prewar arsenal that required no "great degree of sophistication" to build....

"We believe it (the bomb) was made from existing military ordnance. ... I cannot say that it required any great degree of sophistication or expertise to create," Fuentes told The Associated Press....

--AP story today

What a great war plan we had: Race to Baghdad for a quick win, and don't worry about having adequate personnel to secure (or even find) weapons caches as cities were taken, or immediately after the capital fell.

There are plenty of stories from April about unsecured weapons caches, though most of the stories focus on Iraqis either arming themselves with looted guns or possibly exposing themselves to radioactive material. But here's a story (datelined Mosul) about Marines who didn't have the tools to prevent looting:

"When we arrived in Mosul April 11th, [the Iraqi] Fifth Corps' ammunition supply point was wide open for anyone who wanted weapons and ammunition," said the Force Recon platoon commander, Capt. Andrew Christian, 33, of Neenah, Wisc. "With no one to guard those large weapons caches and most of their locks having been cut, broken or smashed, crates of rocket-propelled grenades (RPG), mortar rounds, shoulder-fired missiles, explosives, assorted ammunition and small arms were rapidly disappearing," he said.

With security in post-war Iraq a key requirement for large-scale reconstruction efforts, preventing these kinds of weapons and ammunition from ending up in the hands of terrorist groups or supporters of the former regime is of prime concern. For this reason, the Marines and U.S. Special Forces here have strived to stop the looting of hundreds of stockpiles of ammunition and weapons and to retake these items from looters as they come across them during their numerous patrols throughout the city....

"I wish that we could have done a little bit more here," said Sgt. Travis Haley, 27, a Force Recon operator from Dunnellon, FL. "We brought a smaller slice of the MEU than we usually do, so we were without our Cobras [AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters] and many of our ground vehicles. We had a lot of potential to do great things, such as securing the armories and bunkers, but simply not the personnel and close air support to meet our capabilities."

With the arrival of the 101st Airborne Division from Baghdad and their mechanized vehicles and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, I would expect that the ammunition supply point would be secured within the next 24 hours said Christian. "The 101st have been doing numerous 'gun runs' with the Apaches and their vehicles are now all over the area, so those illegal activities that we saw early on should cease," he said.

--Marine Corps News, April 24, 2003

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