Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Columnist reports that yellowcake was recovered from Iraq

Carter Andress has a major column this morning on p A19 of The Washington Times, “Yellowcake from Saddam”, link here. Mr. Andress is an owner of a company called American-Iraqi Solutions and author of “Contractor Combatants: Tales of an Imbedded Capitalist,” from Thomas Nelson publishers.

Andress reports that several months ago the U.S. Armed Forces recovered over 550 metric tons of “yellowcake” (ammonium or sodium diuranate – a good compound to mention in AP chemistry classes). Andress argues that, with centrifuge and other equipment on the black market in places like Pakistan, Libya and Iran, terrorists could have manufactured up to 140 nuclear devices. We have all read recently about the exploits of A. Q. Khan. Such devices would not necessarily have been used by Saddam Hussein himself; they could have found their way into the hands of Al Qaeda or Palestinian-related groups. Conservative columnists have, in recent months, upped the discussion of the risks of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands, the use of dirty bombs or even the detonation of nuclear weapons for EMP effects.

Is this some kind of vindication of President Bush’s invasion of Iraq? Why hasn’t the administration said more about this? The Left has always said, “no WMD’s were found.” That no longer seems so. But the same diligence is necessary in securing all potentially loose nuclear material around the world, in the former Soviet Union, and in various other locations, including Africa.

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