About Saddam's 550 Ton Yellowcake Stockpile . . .

that seems to have been missed by all of the MSM's eagle-eyed reporters: from the New York Sun:

Here's a story you may have missed over the long holiday weekend: 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium worth tens of millions of dollars were shipped out of Iraq to Canada. The material was transported in 37 military flights in 3,500 secure barrels, according to the Associated Press.

There hasn't been much of a fuss about this material because it had been discovered already by United Nations inspectors after the first Gulf War. But it took a second American war in Iraq to move the material out of the Middle East. For all the talk about America's failure to discover Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, this is a big deal.

This is not the Niger yellowcake of Wilsonian legend, apparently. It is, however, 550 tons of processed, refined and concentrated nectar of uranium that was steps from weapons-grade, depending on the refinement process used.* Enough to make 142 atomic bombs. Yellowcake that was in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein's control before he was deposed. And that isn't there now because of the Iraq war.

Attempts to trivialize this are welcome, as always.

EDIT: Whoops, my mistake for saying the MSM seemingly missed this - here's the NYT's take on the story in response to the original AP reportage. Nothing new, but have fun with it.
___________________________________
*Saddam's concerted efforts to develop the gas centrifuge technology needed for the next and final HEU refinement step have been fully documented by exportcontrol.org. Details of Iraq's development of HEU technology prior to the first Gulf war can be found here.
--

Despair is a bench; I'm just warming it.


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"steps from weapons-grade"

(#102347)

Oh, that's a good one. Steps. Sounds like "up to 50% off". Right.

What matters is what steps, how many steps, how visible would those steps be, what infrastucture would be required, and so on.

What also matters is the fact that nothing was actually happening with this. It was untouched the whole time, and known about.

Is it trivial? No, it's not trivial. Does a non-trivial fact justfy a full-blown invasion, hundreds of thousands of deaths, billions in stolen funds, a trillion dollars spent, more influence for Iran, torture, destruction of our credibility, and so on?

North Korea ring a bell? Did we invade?

Of course not. Countries present challenges all the time around the world. If your entire set of options is limited to either trivialize these challenges or to mount an invasion, you've got a piss-poor foreign policy toolset. The whole point of an intelligent foreign policy is to maximize benefit at minimum cost and risk.

Bush's invasion was the act of a criminally negligent imbecile because it has achieved precisely the opposite. You are dreaming if you think that a stockpile of yellowcake identified 16 years ago changes that.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Search carefully and you still won't find

(#102375)

any statement saying that the movement of this ore out of the Mideast justifies the Iraq war. So your principal argument is against a straw man. One example:

Bush's invasion was the act of a criminally negligent imbecile because it has achieved precisely the opposite. You are dreaming if you think that a stockpile of yellowcake identified 16 years ago changes that.

You are dreaming if you think I said that. I challenge you to find where I've said words to that or similar effect, or even implied it from a reasonable person's perspective.

Your problem with "steps from weapons-grade language" doesn't make sense either. The diary is not about the chemical processes required to make fissile material from yellowcake, nor did I say or imply that yellowcake is a WMD. There are only two reasons why anyone would accumulate this volume of yellowcake: to make reactor fuel, or to make a nuclear weapon. There are countries that have that capability, including Iraq's nextdoor neighbor. the Canadians are not going to make bombs from the uranium in the yellowcake. I used pretty simple words and concepts in the diary because I like them. Straining to make the diary into something it's not so you can air your arguments against what you wish it said seems like a waste of time.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Yellowcake fruitcake

(#102208)

This is not a big deal, and it is nutball to pretend otherwise.

The yellowcake in question was identified as part of the post Gulf War I inspection regime, sequestered by the inspectors, and remained sequestered thereafter. After Gulf War II, it was physically seized still in its storage containers since 1992; i.e., Saddam did not disturb it after 1998 when the inspectors were thrown out.

Its presence in Iraq was KNOWN by everyone, and yet I note that Bush and crew never referred to it in order to justify the WMD claim for Gulf War II. Its presence does truly footnote the stupidity of the claim concerning alleged efforts to get more yellowcake from Niger. Why would they be doing that since they could simply break the seals on the yellowcake already stored in the country?

Yellowcake is not useful for a weapon. It is partially processed uranium ore. You cannot put yellowcake into a reactor and get anything useful as the concentration of uranium is too low. Modern yellowcake typically contains 70 to 90 percent triuranium octoxide (U3O8). Uranium used for unenriched fuel rods has to be further refined into uranium dioxide (UO2) or other refined uranium products.

That end product is still not "enriched" in the slightest. Enrichment refers to isotope separation to get a higher concentration of U235, which naturally occurs at a rate of around 1% -- the balance is U238 which cannot be made into a bomb no matter how hard you try. Enrichment for fuel purposes typically raises that figure to 5%. Enrichment for bomb purposes probably requires a 90+% enrichment.

Isotope separation is exceedingly difficult and is the primary reason why nuclear bombs are not readily built. Uranium ore is very prevalent, but the trick is refining it so as to extract the tiny portion of U235 which is useful for bombmaking.

And to repeat, even when WMD hysteria was at a fever pitch, the Bush liars did not see fit to even mention this yellowcake. That shows you how big a risk it presented.

Absolutely nothing in your post is new except the namecalling.

(#102210)

It's usually a good idea to read comments to a diary before posting your own so you don't show how far behind the curve you are. Read below for a response to every point you raise, definitions of yellowcake more detailed than yours, links to the isotope separation processes Iraq was capable of, the issues w/r/t what the IAEA had under seal, and so forth. the Niger point is mentioned in the diary and raised many times as well.

After getting up to speed, you can take your turn at arguing that the stuff (1) didn't exist, (2) was safer in the hands of Saddam Hussein than the Canadians, (3) it was dispersed through the desert sands, (4) the IAEA shipped it to Canada, etc.

Interesting that you cite Bush's actions as proof that this tonnage of uranium ore didn't present a risk to anyone. Can't say I buy your logic, though.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Nice non-response to the substance

(#102252)

Yes, portions were written above, which I read. So what.

I looked at the links concerning isotope processes (EMIS), and was already aware of the issue. This is technology considered so inadequate that it was largely under the radar of anti-proliferation efforts in the 80s and 90s (it was the original method used at Oak Ridge in the Manhattan Project (Calutrons), until centrifuges and cascades were implemented). What was interesting after the end of Gulf War I was to see how much effort the Iraqis had put into this method since it could be pursued without sparking anti-proliferation oversight -- technology considered so primitve that no one was controlling the mechanisms for such devices.

Per the Iraq Survey Group final report, no effort was made in Iraq post 1991 to restart EMIS.

Other than the initial aborted effort in the Manhattan Project, I do not think anyone has successfully made bombs using this method. It is grossly inefficient.

Uranium ore is widespread in the crust, and processing it to make yellowcake is no big deal. Yes, I am glad that the yellowcake has been taken out of Iraq, but no one in 1992 when it was put under seal thought it important enough to get it out of Iraq then.

And yes, citing Bush is relevant here because if the presence of yellowcake represented any kind of danger, then we would have heard about it in 2002-2003.

Try to keep your commentary fact based.

I liked your last pointer the best.

(#102280)

You now:

Try to keep your commentary fact-based.

You above:

Yellowcake fruitcake: This is not a big deal, and it is nutball to pretend otherwise.

Fact-based?

I can't tell if you agree or disagree w/r/t the cites to exportcontrol.org, which contain extensive information of Iraq's centrifuge prograams as well as its EMIS capabilities. Including the trivia that the Iraqis called them "Baghdadtrons" instead of calutrons.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Calutrons

(#102545)

They were called Calutrons because the idea originated at the Lawrence Livermore Labs of the University of California (see Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb). Funny that some wag in Iraq riffed off the idea to call them Baghdadtrons. There is no particular scientific name for these things -- they operate on the same principle as mass spectrometers.

What is there to agree/disagree with regarding the pre-1991 effort by Iraq on its nuclear program? I believe the consensus is that they were making serious progress even though crippled with ancient EMIS technology and a few centrifuges for isolating the needed U235. One of the reasons they flew under the radar on this was the use of outmoded EMIS technology -- the non-proliferation controls were not set up to detect traffic in materials for that activity. Pretty sneaky. Gulf War I shut it down, and it was never resumed.

This is your diary in which you puffed the alleged significance of the yellowcake with misleading references to is alleged utility in making atom bombs, and how the story was allegedly ignored and would be trivialized further. The justification for that posture was not fact based, as noted in detail above by many commentators. I supplied some of the facts as well as repeated those from others, and added my opinion on the merits of your claims based on those facts. Funny how you mistake my opinion as "fact."

Are people feeling ripe for a flameout or what?!

(#102199)

Watch out conservatives!

First I'm going to Canada, then I'm gonna yellowcake every single one o yer buttcheeks together!!

Oh, is ya, eh?

(#102247)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

~At times like these I am reminded of the immortal words of Socrates when he said...."I drank what?"

I've got help from some of the experienced locals

(#102251)

You pledged long ago to keep my fambly out of this.

(#102286)

I'm disappointed that a minor disagreement over a mere kiloton of pseudo-refined unobtanium would make you go back on your promise.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

So let's recap

(#102150)

We knew it was there and it was there legally.

What's the story again?

This place is my vacation.

Legally?

(#102158)

Awesome.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Yep

(#102159)

I agree

This place is my vacation.

Didn't you watch Minority Report?

(#102157)

It's about violently attacking people who might have even a 1% chance of thinking about attacking us one day. Same reason we should go after any country that doesn't like us and has deposits of lead. In case they decide to make bullets and shoot at us.

After that, we'd better start sizing up our so-called allies. You never know down the road who might turn on you.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Canada

(#102160)

After all, they've got all that Yellowcake. Multiply that comment by 142.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

You want the Us to attack Canada??

(#102211)

There was an old, old site post to that effect, having to do with the country looking like a series of lo-rise parking structures, our invading soldiers giving out t-shirts to the grateful populace, and so forth, but the details escape me. Anyway, I'll let Micky Love defend his homeland.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

We're Back to Theology

(#102152)

It proves whatever you want it to prove.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

Says

(#102163)

...the Bishop of Hollywood!

;-)

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Tomsyl

(#102136)

Someone spoofed your account.

At least that's what I'm hoping happened here.

If you check into this, you’ll quickly find that the uranium a) was not weapons grade and b) was well known to the UN and IAEA and was being stored legally by Saddam’s government. It was legally in Iraq according to international law.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

You're kidding me, right?

(#102193)

I link to the Sun, AP and Yahoo News, and you respond with cite-less Crooks and Liars cant and some left-foil site I've never even heard of? Get some real links instead of wasting time on silly "someone spoofed your account, dude" stuff and we'll talk.

Where in the diary did I call yellowcake weapons-grade uranium? Maybe you did in fact read a spoofed diary.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

"If you check into this..."

(#102206)

I suggest you do, if only to save further embarrassment.

The Google is always a good start, then there's Wikepedia (the real one NOT conservapedia).

'one step from weapons-grade' - not even close. Due to sanctions and intrusive inspections the IAEA were able to give Saddam a clean bill of health regarding the nuclear element of his supposed WMD. That was immediately prior to the launch of the Messinpotamia but went largely unnoticed or was ignored amidst the administrations false propaganda about smoking guns and mushroom clouds. It wouldn't surprise me to learn this diary had its origin in a smoked mushroom or two.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

How about some link instead of wind?

(#102215)

Your link sucked, and you dodged my question. Spend the time finding a credible link instead of lefty echo-chamber claptrap and on lame insults and maybe we'll get somewhere.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Ok, my link sucked

(#102272)

Was the lefty quoted in the link pretty accurate in his analysis of the AP story and its impact on wingnutia? Or are there significant factual errors you would dispute?

Edit the diary to take out the triumphalism and inaccuracies and the piling on they have engendered will likely stop. Because we all want the old Tomsyl back, not this faux Redstate version.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Well, if it's someone's triumph, it's not mine.

(#102277)

I had nothing to do with it; all I've done is commented (correctly , at least so far) how hard it would be for some to acknowledge this as a positive development. Maybe people are pissed at the tone of the Sun article. But like I said, this one wasn't in the MSM, so I had to find it somewhere, didn't I?

Your first para left me breathless. Who cares about the impact of the AP story on wingvilles of either persuasion? You posted it (in fact, quoted it) to support two factual assertions you made, neither of which are in the AP story. And an opinion piece on C&L doesn't support any fact without it's own link to a source, for obvious reasons. When the link given is to an even more biased source of opinion, my suspicion is usually that the statement doesn't have any support. But you offered the cite; all I did was pee on it.

Piling on? What piling on? I may look like the proverbial one-legged man in an a$$-kicking contest, but I'm actually cool as a cucumber.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

We link, they decide.

(#102282)

My link: Open left via Crooks and Liars

If you check into this, you’ll quickly find that the uranium a) was not weapons grade and b) was well known to the UN and IAEA and was being stored legally by Saddam’s government. It was legally in Iraq according to international law.

I wondered if the right wing echo chamber would use this as “proof” that the WMD claims were true after all. I got even better than I hoped, as not only do they use it that way, but they reveal how dishonest they are by the way they have done this.

Top recommended post at Redstate:

Yellowcake uranium found in Iraq, Saddam’s legacy, Bush was right!

Your links: New York Sun & RealClearPolitics via Yahoo News

"This is a big deal," the New York Sun said in an editorial Monday. "Iraq, sitting on vast oil reserves, has no peaceful need for nuclear power. Saddam Hussein had already invaded Kuwait, launched missiles into Israeli cities, and harbored a terrorist group, the PKK, hostile to America's NATO ally, Turkey. To leave this nuclear material sitting around the Middle East in the hands of Saddam and the same corrupt United Nations that failed to stop the genocide in Darfur and was guilty of the oil-for-food scandal would have been too big a risk."

But it wasn't a big enough deal to make it beyond the newsbriefs section of most of those few newspapers which chose to report it. Evidence Saddam possessed enough material to build more than a hundred nuclear bombs undermines the media meme that he had no WMD, so it's not a story many journalists wish to revisit, new evidence or no.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Look again at the NY Sun quote in my diary.

(#102287)

You are missing a major difference between my citation and yours: I've cited the exact portion of Crooks and Liars that you quoted in your post, and which you rely on for factual statements. You, OTOH, quoted a part of the Sun article that was not referenced anywhere in my diary, had nothing to do with it's subject, and is not part of any point I was making. C'mon, S - you see the difference here.

And you don't seriously claim that C&L and the other lefty site have remotely the same level of credibility as even a second-rate rag like the Sun, do you? Based on quoting a part of the Sun article I didn't even refer to or offer as an argument or opinion?

Also note that the C&L cite you're relying on starts with "if you check into this, you'll quickly find that . . ." Did you?

BTW, you ignored the AP cite I also provided.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

AP cite ?

(#102316)

Ignored?

The only cite in your diary is to the editorial in the New York Sun (hint - opinion piece) which doesn't even reference the AP story. The Yahoo News/RealClearPolitics link you provide (hint - headed, Opinion - Good News in Iraq) also contains no reference to the AP story, but does quote extensively from the New York Sun editorial. In comparison, the piece I link to actually begins with a reference and a further link to the AP original while the cite itself is entirely factual (and easily verifiable) and hasn't been challenged by you or anyone else commenting on this diary, save for its paternity ie. shoot the messenger style.

Further, when you link to an opinion piece (Yahoo News/RealClearPolitics) in order to support a factual contention, don't act all hurt and surprised when someone cites from the same opinion piece in order to impeach its credibility.

"if you check into this, you'll quickly find that . . ." Did you?

Didn't need to as I already knew the information was correct, and I confess I just used the 1st link that popped up from a quick Google search. Granted, I could perhaps have provided a link from a more reputable source. But nonetheless the factual information would have been the same, it being factual and easily verifiable as such and all.

And if it makes you feel any better, then yes I agree the removal of the yellowcake to Canada is good news. Just doesn't match the Breaking News!, WMD Found!, Bush is Vindicated! billing you packaged it in is all. A diary based on the more sober analysis of the NYT's story linked in your diary update, or perhaps more appropriately to the original AP story itself would have been just fine.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Now you're just making stuff up.

(#102335)

Just doesn't match the Breaking News!, WMD Found!, Bush is Vindicated! billing you packaged it in is all.

You said that; I didn't, not anywhere in the diary. Making stuff up and then arguing against it isn't an effective way to make your point.

Despite all the verbiage, you still haven't produced a cite to support the facts you claim your C&L link establishes. If it's so obvious and easy, why not just do it, instead of giving long expositions about why you can't, shouldn't or won't? Saying that something is "factual and easily verifiable" doesn't substitute for actual, factual verification.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Lets not beat about the bushes any longer.

(#102359)

Are you really asking me for a link proving the yellowcake under discussion was actually material declared by Iraq and held legally under IAEA seal? Is this even seriously under dispute? cos I gotta know exactly what basement level of understand about the supposed nuclear WMD activities of Saddam's Iraq immediately prior to operation Messinpotamia you may be operating from.

Read the conclusion here if you still harbor any doubt the IAEA essentially announced Saddam's Iraq to be clear of any proscribed WMD(nuclear) activities in early March 2003.

Just doesn't match the Breaking News!, WMD Found!, Bush is Vindicated! billing you packaged it in is all.

You said that; I didn't, not anywhere in the diary. Making stuff up and then arguing against it isn't an effective way to make your point.

The link you provided to support your contention that Iraq's yellowcake was but one step from enough weapons grade material to make 142 atomic bombs, contained all that and more.

Live by the link, die by the link.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

I'm surprised you are taking it this far

(#102382)

because you normally are pretty fair and reasonable IMO. Too much so not to realize the key differences between my MSM links and yours to liberal blogs.

You've been pressed three times for a cite to a factual source for the assertions you quoted from Crooks & Liars; now your argument has degraded to "how can you be so dumb as to not know this?"

Why are you still arguing as if I said Iraq had WMD capabilities in 2003 when I've never remotely said that?

Your "live by the link etc" statement is completely nonsensical in this context. I provided a link in which a physicist said 142 bombs could be made from 550 tons of yellowcake. If you dispute that number, fine. But arguing that by providing a link for that number, I somehow incorporated everything on any subject that was in that link into my diary is just silly. All it shows is your inability to back down when confronted with proof that you are arguing against points not raised in or suggested by my diary. No law against OT arguments; what's bogus, though, is to claim that I made those points when I so obviously did not.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Surprised, so am I

(#102395)

MSM links?

I will just close by pointing out that the RealClearPolitics opinion piece reproduced on Yahoo News which you linked to support your claim, is the exact same kind of partisan venue you are complaining about me linking to. Except that my link goes to a brief, factual summary which I think I can safely conclude isn't in dispute by anyone but you and the wilder reaches of wingnutia. While you link to a cite that is but one sentence of a substantial partisan opinion piece containing a whole smorgasbord of winger nuttiness on the issue. And the New York Sun opinion piece is hardly any better or less partisan, Just Sayin'.

There, I'm done with this stupid diversion.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

That's a fair point,

(#102348)

but it's still disingenuous for you to post a clearly inflammatory diary which did imply precisely what was inferred -- and then decry that people were inflamed and should have restrained themselves to not making any conclusions based on the words posted.

I guess my request is -- given that we weren't supposed to respond to the insult and that we weren't supposed to come to any conclusions based on what was said, would you be so kind as to let us know next time when commentary on your diaries isn't wanted?

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

OK, as long as you let me know when commentary

(#102376)

to your and others' commentary isn't wanted. Same thing, isn't it?

And what "insult"? Saying that some people would attempt to trivialize this? That was a guess, not an insult, and it turned out to be pretty accurate.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Hmm

(#102123)

The key sentence here seems to be...

There hasn't been much of a fuss about this material because it had been discovered already by United Nations inspectors after the first Gulf War.

So we already knew about this. Does the fact that it's now in Canada, I dunno, justify the war? Or prove anything?

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

Who said it did?

(#102232)

Projecting again. It's a form of stereotyping.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Q: Who said it did? A: The New York Sun

(#102283)

and others.

A simple thesis: Saddam had no nuclear weapons program in 2002.

tomsyl, are you willing to be candid enough to provide us with cogent and articulate [Agree] or [Disagree]

Or shall you continue to lay smoke (using yellow cake dust) and evade the question?

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

As far as I know, he didn't.

(#102288)

But people keep telling me how little I know, so it's anyone's guess whether I'm right on this. For example, I don't even know what a "cogent and articulate agree" is. Did you mean "degree", as in HS and so forth? And where did I evade that question? I'm disappointed in myself for not noticing I was doing it.

OK, now what'd I win? A chance to return to what's in my diary? Or are you arguing that because Saddam didn't have the ability to make bombs in '02, we should have left the yellowcake mouldering in the desert for another six years?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Well, that was worth $1 trillion.

(#102115)

And a million dead people.

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

Spoken like an accountant,

(#102145)

By your metric, nothing in Iraq is worth crap unless it has a value of a trillion dollars. (Your "million dead" has been so widely debunked that it's not worth addressing.)

Please look down the debit side of your ledger and read off the value of one nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists. Also, could you multiply that by 142 and give me the result? Thanks.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Saddam had no nuclear weapons program

(#102284)

Therefore your comment is nonsense. Sorry, dude.

But maybe you should go to Safeway and buy a nice Betty Crocker cake mix. Yellow, of course.

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

Where did I say that he did?

(#102289)

Silly sarcasticisms are always worth trying, but you're repeating yourself. Unless you think the stuff was just fine sitting out there in the desert. Do you?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

One nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists?

(#102379)

Who typed those words?

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

What does that have to do with Saddam Hussein?

(#102384)

Ever heard of Iran? Pakistan? Syria?

Bill, it sounds like you have all of these arguments that are just waiting for a place to happen. If the simple diary I wrote said all of the things you and others keep insisting it said, it would be ten thousand words long instead of a hundred and forty-two.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Sorry.

(#102241)

Was I supposed to trivialize something? Like a million dead people?

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

You already did.

(#102281)

-

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

No.

(#102340)

I'm not the one who pretends they don't exist, for whatever reason.

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

Who does?

(#102385)

If this is going to be version 153 of what I truly meant, but did not say, in my diary, you'll have to show your work.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

tomsyl

(#102154)

What are you talking about?

Others have already posted that this was several steps from weapons grade, so why do you bring up the strawman of 142 nukes?

And it's not spoken like an accountant, it's spoken like a homo economicus. A rational being. If I spend $1 trillion then I hope to get something worth $1 trillion. And no, nukes are not part of the equation here, this stuff wasn't even useful as a dirty bomb.

Finally, and not to revisit that story once again, but the idea that the number of dead has been widely discredited is completely wrong. It's only in conservative blogs that it's been discredited. Among the practitioners there's no such discrediting. Let's leave that particular storyline for Redstate.

This place is my vacation.

Hey, blame Yahoo or the physicist it quoted, not me.

(#102181)

I already gave you the link above, but here it is again.

According to Norman Dombey, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Sussex in England, the yellowcake shipped from Iraq was enough to make 142 nuclear bombs.

How is the nuclear weapon potential of the Iraq yellowcake a straw man? Have you read any of the links I provided about the status of Iraq's refinement program? And just as an aside, what do you think Iran might have paid for that 550 tons?

The battle over the Lancet study and the projections of various anti-war groups has been fought at length here, and I have no interest in rehashing it. I have never seen a credible study, link or story supporting your or PM's figures. But that is your argument, not mine. I'm sticking with the apparently outre conclusion that removal of 550 tons of yellowcake from Iraq is of positive significance, and trying my best to ignore "look over there - giant bumblebees!!" arguments.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Tomsyl

(#102218)

I don't get what you are trying to say here.

If your only point is that it's great that we got the yellowcake out of Iraq I agree. As I think does everyone else here. We can argue about the ineptitude in handling all of this but that's another story.

Now if your point is that this somehow validates the war in iraq then I don't follow your argument at all. This was not hidden by Saddam or 'discovered' by us, it was not weapons grade and gives us no new information on Saddam's nuclear plans. I realize the idiots at Redstate somehow think this is something new but it actually isn't.

Finally, on the Lancet study, that was a credible figure. The people that criticized that study here simply did not understand what they were talking about. Something I saw in a lot of conservative websites on this topic.

This place is my vacation.

Thanks!!

(#102224)

Your second para says what I meant to say, and thought I said. I haven't remotely attempted to validate the war; I think that's just projection by a lot of liberals here who want to argue the point. I don't, and I'm not going to argue it; that's one reason why I pointed out in the diary that this yellowcake has nothing to do with the Niger issue, just so there was no confusion about it supposedly supporting that fiasco.

That's really all. I am way simpler than even the liberals here apparently think.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

The response might have had

(#102237)

The response might have had something to do with this:


"It is, however, 550 tons of enriched uranium that was one step from weapons-grade,* enough to make 142 atomic bombs. Yellowcake that was in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein's control before he was deposed. And that isn't there now because of the Iraq war.

Attempts to trivialize this are welcome, as always.
___________________________________
*Saddam's concerted efforts to develop the gas centrifuge technology needed for the next and final HEU refinement step have been fully documented by exportcontrol.org. Details of Iraq's development of HEU technology prior to the first Gulf war can be found here."

Especially the part in bold. But also the other parts about bombs and centrifuges and the eagle eyes of the MSM.

Brooks and B Rational was asking about what goes into a 300 comment diary. He should bookmark this one.

In any case, I think we all agree with what you say you said. Better that the stuff is in Canada than in Iraq. But agreeing is not as much fun.

I deeply resent the insinuation of would-be impartiality

(#102245)

running through your post. IOW, of course I put in the line about trivialization to rile up the one or two people I thought would respond to the diary.

But whatcha got against the footnote? I just figured out how to do that line thingy and was kind of proud of the effect. Envious?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

I usually use a bunch of dashes.

(#102246)

Thirteen or fourteen of 'em.

OK, no prob

(#102234)

But where would we be if we did not have these long discussions based on simple misunderstandings?

:)

This place is my vacation.

Hey, nothing simple about some of these. %^>

(#102242)

Someone in particular is about to serve me with a defamation complaint, so it's again time to don my Inspector Clouseau disguise and outfox the sheriff.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

These drums of uranium were under IAEA seal

(#102114)

at the time they were discovered by advancing 3ID troops, who didn't know what they were looking for at the time. When the Americans came through Tuwaitha, they left the nearest thing to WMDs unguarded. The results were ghastly: the Iraqis simply dumped the yellowcake on the ground and used the drums as water tanks. Then the nearby people started dying of uranium poisoning.

Has it taken this long to remove this yellowcake? The only news here is the legacy of the colossal screwup called the Iraq War. Here, if you are a fan of the WMD argument against Saddam, was the evidence. But alas, once the Americans arrived, the once-secure nuclear materials were looted, not by terrorists intent on building bombs to destroy us, but by poor ignorant Iraqis who took the storage barrels home to die hideous deaths.

Thanks George. I sure do feel safer now. Leaving all that yellowcake out there in the sun for six years and more, gosh, that's wisdom and prudence for our times.

All 550 tons? That is, 3,500 barrels?

(#102161)

Or are you using a grove of date palms to prove there's a forest out there somewhere?

Your WaPo link doesn't support your conclusion. The barrels referred to were "low-lever nuclear waste" according to an IAEA source. Yellowcake is not nuclear waste. Elsewhere the article refers to laboratory equipment, spent rods, radioactive cesium and thorium, and other radioisotopes. Yellowcake is not a radioisotope, and doesn't contain cesium or thorium. The WaPo article contains this summary:

n all, seven sites associated with Iraq's nuclear program have been visited by the Pentagon's "special nuclear programs" teams since the war ended last month. None was found to be intact, though it remains unclear what materials -- if any -- had been removed.

Nowhere in the article is there any reference to Iraqis reusing drums that had been filled with yellowcake, so you'll have to provide a credible link for that claim before it's worth discussion.

Who said anything about George (either the man or the magazine)? Not me.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Speaking of awesome

(#102122)

the once-secure nuclear materials were looted

Anyone who believes an IAEA seal is some sort of magic shield that makes anything "secure" really ought not be lecturing anyone expect perhaps on the Easter Bunny, 'ol Saint Nick and the Tooth Fairy.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

But The Issue in 2003

(#102132)

Was whether or not Hussein was complying with the terms by which Part I of this mess ended. And the fact that their location was known and they had IAEA seals on them indicate that they were not part of a stockpile that was being hidden from UN weapons inspectors.

Well

(#102131)
HankP's picture

it sure acted secure until after the US invasion, so I'm not sure what your point is. While the seal doesn't guarantee anything, it did serve it's purpose until we invaded and left it unguarded.

I blame it all on the Internet

Yes

(#102149)

Let's all pretend that under Saddam's thumb and "sealed" -- by an arm of the only organization in the world that makes government look competent in comparison -- is "secure".

Ahhh good times. Good times.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

IAEA 1 - Bush Administration 0

(#102153)

If you're keeping score.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Did the IAEA ship the stuff out of Iraq?

(#102182)

Funny, I missed that. I had the distinct impression tha tit was the US and the Iraqi government that sent the stuff to the Canadians.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

5 and a half years?

(#102209)

Thank God that AQ, the insurgents or criminal gangs had no use for it. Not that they could have done much with it even if they knew what it was, except perhaps make mud pies out of it.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

You know what annoys the bejesus out of me about this?

(#102191)

It's the cavalier attitude everyone takes about the problem of nuclear proliferation. The Americans should have made a beeline for those IAEA sites and gotten that material immediately.

The WMD fiasco would have been attenuated greatly if all of Iraq's nuclear materiel had been retrieved immediately. Let's not even go into the massive stupidity of the al-Qaqaa facility where the nuclear implosion explosives were stored, nobody will ever know what happened to all that stuff.

Y'know, if you're gonna have a war over WMDs, and let's put aside the whole issue of Was Saddam Dangerous for the nonce: he was dangerous -- then why not get the dangerous stuff first? Why didn't we set up huge burn pits and berms to detonate all the explosives Saddam had? Why has it taken all this time to get that stuff into responsible hands? Iraq was stuffed to the gills with the machinery of war, why couldn't we keep this stuff out of the hands of the insurgency? That's just insanity. Bremer and his crew of nogoodniks should all be beaten to death: every last bit of that stolen explosive and mines and artillery shells and suchlike was used on our troops. And we're sposta praise and thank the powers that be, four thousand dead soldiers and Marines later.

You can say what you want to about the Liberals Trivializing this Debate. It's a crock. There's no good news here.

What blase attitude are you talking about?

(#102198)

The entire diary is about the significance of 550 tons of yellowcake being shipped out of Iraq and to Canada, where it'll be used in powerplants. Doesn't that qualify as anti-proliferation? and how can you possibly argue that the removal of that enormous volume of uranium from the MidEast is not good news, regardless of your political tilt?

I didn't even mention He Who Cannot Be Named's name, let alone saying we're suppsed to thank him or his admin for anything. You're projecting, Blaise; arguing with yourself.

Liberals are in fact trivializing what are statements of fact about the diary subject, not debating points. Actually, they're saying things like "what a crock".

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Well, In Fairness

(#102204)

They're not just saying 'what a crock'. They are suggesting that the diary is riddled with a series of factual inaccuracies regarding yellowcake, enriched Uranium, etc. That's not trivial. And you've yet to address a single one of the complaints.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

!. Read diary. 2. Read comments. 3. Make comment.

(#102212)

or alternatively, 4. Make a point, rather than claiming others have. your comment shows you haven't been following the discussion.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

May I respond with my own points list:

(#102216)

1. Do your homework. I do mine. When I say barrels of uranium dust were looted, you can count on it to be a fact. Don't demand a link to say so. It's your obligation to prove barrels weren't looted when I say they were.

2. Stop putting words in people's mouths. We Liberals have always been screaming about nuclear waste. Uranium poisoning is a serious problem.

3. Answer the questions you were asked. Stop cherry picking. You've been asked several times to answer why this process took so long and you've been avoiding the question. Now unless you've answered it while I'm writing this reply, answer this goddamn question. If we had that stuff in hand in 2003, dropped the ball on it, let it get looted, had to buy some of it back for three dollars a barrel, messed around and FINALLY got it out of Iraq, this isn't grounds for rejoicing. It's proof positive these bastards in the Administration pay more attention to handing out no-bid contracts and getting moremoremore money for this war without dealing with the very reason they went to war in the first place. It's an everlasting disgrace, that's what this is, Tomsyl.

Sorry, no special rules

(#102264)

On your point no. 1, if you've done your homework as you say, a cite to a reliable source should fall readily to hand. I try to provide links when I can, and certainly when someone asks. Things you say aren't automatically facts, and you have your burden-shifting argument backward.

Your point 2 makes no sense to me. The diary is not about nuclear waste. Heavy metal poisoning is well known; no one's said it's not serious.

I answered your point 3 elsewhere, but maybe that was while you were writing the above. Do you honestly think I know why this process took so long? Of course I don't. And no one's asking you to rejoice, praise Bush, or stand on your head and spit wooden nickels. Admitting that this is better late than never wouldn't kill you, though.

I've done my own share of sounding off about the contractor situation in Iraq, and would go farther than you because I think criminal conduct has occurred. But my thoughts on that subject don't relate to this diary.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

That's right, no special rules, Tomsyl

(#102295)

You were handed your hat. I presumed you'd take me seriously. Well, now you have your linkie-winkie and have had your little charade about Your WaPo link doesn't support your conclusion. The barrels referred to were "low-lever nuclear waste" according to an IAEA source. pulled down and stomped on like a bug. Where was your source? I had to point out Tuwaitha had many different sorts of nuclear materiel, including the yellowcake barrels we had to buy back. That disgraceful part of the story wasn't brought out in your encomium to this long-overdue transfer of nuclear materials, and when your argument is demolished, you get all huffy and personal. I had thought better of you. Now I know better.

btw Blaise

(#102422)

Don't mean to be singling you out.

Just wanted to put folk generally on notice that the standards are going to be a little more rigorous in the short term.

Your comments are more aggrssive than they should be, IMO, but also w/in the standards around here the past week or so.

That's why i didn't issue a warning and I probably could've found some other comments to make an example of, but yours were handy.

This is a PR violation

(#102374)

I had thought better of you. Now I know better.

Blaise your comment is a personal attack. We're running a tighter ship around here right now. Pls adjust accordingly.

Why did it take so long, Tomsyl?

(#102203)

Just answer that question, and I can get beyond these Cavalier Attitude statements I made. It's proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the US military did not round up that stuff and keep an eye on it. I thought leaving the yellowcake in Iraq was a dumb idea way back before this war, and I kept telling people who were against this war, "but hey, guys, there's all that crap left over from the Osirak reactor, he's got tons of yellowcake, if only for that reason, we ought to go in there and finally settle up with Saddam's intransigent lyin' sacks of merde." Of course, everyone on that side of the aisle was mad at me for pointing out Saddam really was a problem and maybe there might be some justification for going in there for a while.

But what happened, Tomsyl? Here you are, in the month of July, in the year of our Lord 2008, trying to make the case for the significance of finally acting on this. Excuse me, I've been mad about this since 2003, and I'm in a foul mood when you say we Liberals are trivializing it. It's like some teenage boy coming home drunk with a dent in the fender of the family car. Give me a break. This is just nonsense. Four thousand lives later, hell, more now, and we finally get around to the root of the problem. A whole town is coated in uranium dust, it's going to be causing cancers for centuries to come, and you accuse us of trivializing this?

How the eff should I know?

(#102220)

I don't run the place, or this country. I just know what I read, and I've read the fact that there is now 550 tons less yellowcake in Iraq than there was a year or so ago in enough places that I consider it proven to be true. And buy any objective measure that stuff is a lot safer now that it's in Canada. I'm not asking you to thank anyone, to bless George Bush, to hosanna to the heavens or anything else; nor was I particularly asking for your diatribe about how you've been waring people about this for years (unless you're saying that given the passage of time, we should just have left that stuff out there in the Iraq desert). You're pissed at the wrong person on the wrong subject.

Simple questions: Is 550 tons of yellowcake a lot? and is it safer in Canada or Iraq? That's really all the diary is about.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

That's right, you don't run the country.

(#102228)

You read, and think you understand. Let someone come along who says "there's another side to all this" and you scream like a singed chimpanzee. I have my own Objective Measures here, ones you don't have in mind.

Uranium dust is hugely toxic. Forget the nuclear bombs and all that. We're talking just plain old toxicity. You wave "550 tons" around as if I'm sposta be impressed. I'm not. I would have been impressed if that stuff had been sent to Canada in 2003. But it's 2008. So I'm not impressed. I'm deeply angered. I thought this stuff had long since been dealt with, turns out it's just now that we're getting around to it.

We finally agree on something.

(#102238)

Actually, two things: I don't run Iraq, and uranium is toxic in certain forms. (I'm not getting into a DU debate here, so don't expect replies if you start one.) And you disagree that it is a good thing that the yellowcake has been shipped to Canada, apparently.

I'm impressed by 550 tons of yellowcake; you're not. Again, we disagree. That wasn't that hard, was it? No need for pistols at dawn, drawn rapiers, fencing school scars or any of that stuff. IMO.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

I'm still yellowcakin yer patooter together tho

(#102239)

Promises, promises

(#102266)

"Uh, Daddy, what's a patooter?"

"I don't know, honeykins - why do you ask?"

"Well, Daddy, this strange man on the Internet said he wanted to see if he could stick mine together."

"Why, who the-! Effin' %#%&glefirb! What's his email?? Pity the poor fool etc."

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

wait, now you're letting your son make your blog submissions

(#102269)

in addition to letting him cast your vote?

No, that was me talking to his grandfather.

(#102276)

Sorry, thought that was obvious.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Same goes double

(#102125)

for anyone who believes invading & disbanding the government is a good way to keep stuff from falling into the wrong hands.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Canada?

(#102127)

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Or Rotterdam, or the kidneys and livers

(#102138)

of Iraqis living near Tuwaitha, or ???

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/16/sprj.nilaw.iraq.radiation/
http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2006/tuwaitha.html

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Curious

(#102156)

There were these early reports of looting, yet the IAEA claims to have known exactly how much material was at the facility. So, they should know exactly how much was looted. However, they never seem to publish this exact information.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Well, the WaPo article cited above by BP has something on this

(#102173)

issue:

In all, seven sites associated with Iraq's nuclear program have been visited by the Pentagon's "special nuclear programs" teams since the war ended last month. None was found to be intact, though it remains unclear what materials -- if any -- had been removed.

Of course, that was before those madcap Canadians got hold of the stuff, so now its fate is anyone's guess.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

What's curious to me is the yellowcake open house

(#102162)

that took place in April 2003, where anybody with a pickup and a brother could have loaded it up & taken it just about anywhere. It's not like there were geiger stations at the border.

And we knew the Tawaitha cache was there. What about the WMDs we supposedly *didn't* know about?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Did it?

(#102164)

Take place that is? Because if it did, the IAEA would know exactly how much was looted.

So, what is the exact figure?

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Well, several tons were removed

(#102171)

from their containment barrels by villagers from nearby Ishtar, according to news reports.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Yes

(#102175)

I know that was reported early on. However, I've never seen any confirmation from the IAEA with an exact figure of what was taken, and only vague reports of "some" and "several tons".

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

From the IAEA:

(#102217)

A summary of recently begun decontamination efforts and background on the site.

And a PDF of their findings from June 2003, which was when the Coalition allowed them to do an analysis of the site. Short version: approximately 200 barrels upended and carried away and 10 kg or so of radioactive stuff unaccounted for and assumed "dispersed." "Many" of the missing containers were eventually recovered.

So

(#102326)

"Several tons" turns out to be a guesstimate by the IAEA of only 10kg.

10kg out of 550,000kg, or only 0.00182%. I wonder what the standard error rate would be if IAEA "inspected" the exact same amount of material several times. A 0.00182% margin would probably be considered quite good.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Yes but 100% of 550,000kg

(#102334)

spent several weeks in 2003 being about as secure as a bicycle parked in front of the mall.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

No, 100% of 550,000kg

(#102341)

Spent a decade being about as secure as yellowcake in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Secure as a bicycle parked in front of the mall would be a major upgrade. A failure to even grudgingly acknowledge that, doesn't serve anyone well.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Well, exactly (first part).

(#102355)

Moving or tampering with the stuff would've been an act of war and invitation to reprisals, further sanctions, etc. Saddam may have chafed against his UNSC restraints and played fast and loose as he could with the rules, but at the end of the day he was caught in a trap. The material was too valuable to risk "losing" it, while openly flouting the UNSC would've got him in serious casus belli kind of trouble. So it sat there untouched for 10 years.

Then we invaded and several tons of it up & vanished. It's nice that we recovered "most" of the material, except for trace residue that'll spend the next 500 years making locals die of leukemia.

But it makes the idea that invading made anybody safer into an obscene joke.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Funny

(#102360)

Still having it was an 'act of war', and that would be his eleventyseventh 'act of war' which are always conveniently ignored by too many.

However, why do you keep saying several tons? And if 99.99818% isn't your definition of 'most', I wouldn't advise using Reuters quotes.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

It was in IAEA custody.

(#102366)

I assume moving it out of the country was more dangerous than simply leaving it in place, stored and sealed near the Osirak facility. Saddam attempting to take it would have been a violation of UNSC & an act of war.

And I don't understand why we need to quibble about the exact amounts. *All* of it was unsecured for a long enough period of time to have been smuggled offsite.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Oh my

(#102401)

Now we're back to where I started in this thread, the absurd idea that it was "safe" in Saddam's hands because it had the magic seal of the IAEA.

Only this time you've undermined your case, by showing that the stupid IAEA seal couldn't even stop a couple of looters, let alone stop Saddam from doing whatever he wanted with it. What we're quibbling about is that *All* of it was unsecured for over a decade. It was never "secure" or "safe".

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

We're right back where we started, except

(#102409)

now we know that Saddam couldn't touch the stuff without providing the US with a real casus belli, and invading without securing this particular site was a far, far better way of getting yellowcake into the hands of terrists.

Right back where we started.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'm sorry, what?

(#102343)

A bike in front of the mall is stolen in an hour. How many years was the yellowcake unused? The analogy is not just bizarre, it's . . . well, it's basically just bizarre.

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

550 metric tons

(#102331)

divided by 3,500 barrels, times the 200 barrels upended and carried away equals approx. 31.4 metric tons of yellowcake. 31.4 metric tons that could potentially have been squirreled away from under the nose of the Bush administration and ended up Lord knows where, had the people looting the place valued the contents more than the plastic barrels themselves.

Heckuva job George. And why is it the negative implications of this sort of thing still have to be spelled out for conservatives?

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

Apparently

(#102337)

The only people who need things spelled out are those with fairy tale notions of government efficiency and military efficacy, and since no conservative believes in either fairy tale notion, your comment makes no sense.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Ha

(#102361)

Conservatism never fails. It is only failed. Whatever gets you thro the day I suppose.

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias

You're completely right.

(#102344)

There was no way that we could reasonably expect the government or military to pull off the incredibly difficult task of changing Iraq into a reasonably free and democratic country.

No, wait, that would require some form of intellectual consistency. "The government can't do anything right" is the modern version of "States' Rights;" it's an argument that has some sense to it which is somehow only applicable when explaining away conservative failures or arguing against potentially (or actually) successful liberal programs.

It's impossible to debate if people simply hold beliefs that have no grounding in reality.

Very little was "taken."

(#102214)

Most of it was dumped out on the grounds of the facility, residual amounts were carted off in the form of sludge in the bottom of barrels and other containers, trace amounts of dust, etc.

The point here is that it could have been taken just about anywhere. Because nobody was watching it. Which defeats the entire frickin purpose of having a war to prevent the stuff falling into the wrong hands. With a secondary point being, what if there *were* other undocumented stockpiles?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

What news reports?

(#102174)

BlaiseP has said this as well, but when I did a search I couldn't find anything definitive, or anything saying the barrels contained yellowcake. So maybe you have a link you're referencing?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

What's the deal here? Tuwaitha was the processing facility

(#102179)

for the Osirak reactor bombed by the Israelis. The barrels of yellowcake emptied out for the barrel itself are a matter of public record.

I asked you for a link about three posts ago - thanks.

(#102187)

Now, back to the 550 tons . . . unless you think this eclipses that issue?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

I'm not here to educate you, Tomysl.

(#102205)

The issue is eclipsed by thousands and thousands of people in a Baghdad suburb being coated in uranium dust back in 2003. Why didn't someone act on this immediately? Bush could have brought those barrels back, and said "Here's the WMDs you were asking for, horribly poisonous uranium dust best put into responsible hands"

Yes the Tuwaitha uranium poisoning cases eclipse this 550 tons story. American negligence led to that sorry state of affairs. We didn't act on it in a timely fashion, and now tends of thousands of people are exposed to uranium dust.

Good, because you are not.

(#102207)

Certainly not with your previous post, which contained a number of fact misstatements and confusion ww/r/t the yellowcake versus radioactive wastes.

You are repeatedly changing the subject to one you want to discuss, and seem unable to simply acknowledge that it is a Good Thing that the yellowcake is in Canada instead of Iraq. As to your radioactive poisoning story, we're not playing trumps, and it's a change of the subject from the issue of the diary.

I don't give a flying fig who you are or aren't grateful to, or mad about, regarding the yellowcake to Canada story. That's up to you, and whatever you elect to read into my diary.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

(cruelly) don't dream of condescending to me Tomsyl

(#102223)

It's your obligation to answer the questions you were asked. Tuwaitha was a whole complex, it was the support structure for Osirak, but if you'd done your homework, a process seemingly beyond you, you'd know this.

You are coming perilously close to accusing me of lying. You owe me an inventory of the misstatements and confusion. I am getting heartily sick of your caviling at obvious, blatant facts, well known to everyone.

You keep the slang and ad-hom out of this debate, sir. If you want to get down to that level, instead of answering the questions you've been asked, I'll point out your rhetoric is flabby. This is not a Good Thing. It's half-o-this and none-o-that and we're sposta be ever so glad because someone finally acting responsibly. Of the poor people who will die needlessly and painfully of uranium poisoning, you have nothing to say. The poor and destitute, who only wanted a barrel to safely store drinking water, these are clearly not a problem worth considering. But that's pretty much par for the course, you live in your dreamworld of high-minded ideals while most of the world lacks clean drinking water or a container to put it in. All those poor dumb Iraqis saw was a nice barrel, and you couldn't give a damn about the flip side of the story. We shipped that uranium out to Canada in secured barrels, when they were in perfectly good ones to begin with. That part of the story is beyond your telling and I find it despicable.

This also is too personal

(#102387)

you live in your dreamworld of high-minded ideals while most of the world lacks clean drinking water...

Again, pls. adjust accordingly.

It could be a long fall from that high horse.

(#102233)

Get real. I'm not accusing you of anything but changing the subject, and acting like I somehow was in control of either the ground forces in Iraq or the Bush Administration.

Your misstatements and confusion about the 550 tons of yellowcake are detailed in my comment no. 102161, to which you never responded.

I wrote this diary on the transshipment of 550 tons of yellowcake from Iraq to Canada. Period. You decided to raise issues relating to contamination of drinking water, pilfering of contaminated material, and radiation poisoning, then to launch into a windy diatribe about my callousness for not taking up your cause, though it's not remotely the subject of this diary.

So please spare me all of your straw man "you couldn't give a damn about this"-es and "high-minded ideals while the world lacks drinking water" thats, thoses and over theres. If you want to tell the uranium poisoning story (which you already have in multiple comments) or talk about your own prescience on the subject, be my guest. You can do it here (wait-you have!) or in your own diary on the subject. Ordering me to do it is a non-starter, as is assuming that your opinion about what is "despicable" is significant to me.

Oh, and you forgot to give the Director a "harumph".

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

You keep a civil tongue in your head, sir

(#102250)

And I'll do the same. There's no high horse from which I am capable of falling, but he who resorts to ad-hom in debate with me might as well have left blood in the water. It's a sure sign of a losing argument: he who leaves off facts and starts in on me will find a very tough customer.

You've been very uncivil and engaged in plenty of ad hom

(#102268)

so please don't pretend otherwise - just look at your own intemperate comments, name-calling and condescension (or was that condensation?) towards me running from the time I resisted changing the diary topic to one you wanted to argue about. Then consider which of us has called the other callous, immoral, uncaring, etc., You seem to feel quite free to post your own value judgments about someone's character based on what they choose to discuss, and whether that suits you. Finally, look particularly at the degradation of the tone of our conversation, who started that, and who is acting righteously indignant right here, right now.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

**ref's whistle** If we're not careful, a hockey game's

(#102225)

going to break out around here.

You guys are free to get mad, and free to tell everyone how & why you're mad, but replies must be about the comment, not the commenter. And no profanity. Let's all just chill, please.

I WILL HAVE NO MORE CASTING ASPERSIONS!

**monocle boinks out**

I WILL HAVE NO MORE CASTING ASPERSIONS!

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I'm not going to be called a liar.

(#102231)

End of story. I'm not backing down.

If anyone had called you a liar,

(#102253)

catchy or I would have become quite put out with that person, with a lot of harumphing and now look you here my good manning. If it were tomsyl, we'd all toy uncomfortably with our stovepipe hats before retiring to the moderators' lounge for sherry and cigars.

Tomsyl accused you of changing the subject and drawing conclusions from his diary he (claims he) didn't intend. Can't we all just get along?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

See post 102161.

(#102240)

Saying you got the facts wrong is not the same as calling you a liar. That is obvious to anyone.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

anyone else startin to regret not havin the elections

(#102229)

before Hank's vacation?

How about

(#102230)
HankP's picture

I just pick three names at random?

I blame it all on the Internet

Eileen, Marshall, + Dempsey work for me.

(#102236)

Or were you restricting your selections to posters at this site?

No Way, Man

(#102235)
M Scott Eiland's picture

I've worked long and hard to make sure that no one sane wants to make me a moderator again--I'm not blowing all that with a bad die roll. ]:-)

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's awesome

(#102120)

The NY Sun, I mean.

It takes chutzpah to turn this event into an anti-UN, anti-MSM, pro-Iraq war argument.

C'mon liberals, why isn't our fringe confusing the public re: McCain's war record already?

Didn't he like personally lose the Vietnam war for the US by coughing up state secrets for a lousy pack of menthols??? Where's the chutzpah?!

I heard

(#102121)

Weekly World News had a scoop a few months ago that was so totally passed over by the Biased Em Ess Emm Libtards. Rock on, Tomsyl!

Liberal humor.

(#102143)

Don't give up that day job, man.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Look

(#102178)

I too, am safe and sound here on my little piece of "I've got mine."

But I'm not going to spend my life rifling through the backwaters, pointing and shouting "Look, look! I was RIGHT!" for the next 50 years.

Whatever.

Translation please.

(#102183)

In case it was too subtle, I'm riffing on your tendency to post "Conservative humor" when you see something you think is lame.

What was I right on? Or was that another joke?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Again,

(#102200)

whatever.

All I can say is, good thing there actually really weren't any dangerous WMDs in Iraq left over after six years of inept occupation by the US. Someone with evil intent would surely have found it by now and done something bad with it.

In the meantime, I'm sure this shocking story will create some pleasurable frission in the recently very frission-deprived rightosphere.

Yellowcake is not a WMD.

(#102221)

No one said it was.

OTOH, "atomic frission" was pretty good.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Did you say yellowcake?

(#102112)

Does anyone even care anymore?

The proper balance between defense and welfare are the tectonic plates that lie beneath our political discourse.

I do. You should, too

(#102117)

unless you like the idea of 550 tons of the stuff floating around the MidEast. Isn't even its absence from Iraq enough to derail the "everything about Iraq sucks" chorus?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Dude

(#102133)
HankP's picture

it wasn't floating around until after our invasion.

I blame it all on the Internet

Are you really arguing that it was safer in Saddam's hands

(#102140)

than in Canadian power plants? Whew.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Canadian? No.

(#102186)
HankP's picture

but the history of the last 16 years clearly shows that it was safer when in Saddam's hands that the US Army's. Just going by the record here, no assumptions necessary.

I blame it all on the Internet

Maybe we should give it to Iran for safekeeping.

(#102189)

Equally logical. And give me a cite if you have one regarding supposed US Army negligence w/r/t the 3500 barrels of yellowcake.

I don't think anyone here would literally curl up and die after admitting that the removal of this material from Iraq to Canada is very positive, but lots of people seem to have a real problem getting their mouths around those words.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

The Army was negligent. There's no argument there.

(#102201)

The Army didn't guard the IAEA facilities. Tuwaitha was looted. Fact. No big deal, who cares if a bunch of Iraqis get uranium poisoning. The Army had to buy it all back at 3 dollars a barrel. Now the whole area is a toxic hell.

But hey, let's all sing and dance, the stuff has finally been dealt with! All glory, laud and honor to our fearless Prezdunce, who finally saw fit to tell the world we finally acted on the Duelfer Report. Go Team Bush! Wow. Great going! I feel so much safer, and thank God only those Iraqi people are going to have to deal with that uranium in their water. Of course, they'll also be dealing with the depleted uranium we shot at Saddam's tanks, the Iraqis are cutting them up for scrap metal and a geiger counter sings like a bandsaw every time you go near one of those wrecks. See, DU rounds really do have honest to pete uranium in 'em and when they go pyrophoric, (fancy word for what happens to depleted uranium when it hits something at high speed, basically becomes a welding torch with a temperature of the surface of the sun, cuts through any amount of armor in a split second) and that DU plasma does settle down in the metal.

And we only shot a few tons of that stuff at Saddam, no big deal.

Here you go

(#102194)
HankP's picture

LINK. And notice that we turned to the IAEA to clean up our mess.

The rejection of this diary is because:

1. You state that yellowcake is enriched Uranium, which it is not

2. You state that it is one step from weapons grade, which is untrue

3. You imply that Saddam Hussein was capable of making 142 atomic bombs from it, which is untrue

4. You deny that the IAEA did a better job of monitoring it than the US did after the invasion, which is untrue

and in addition, you get deeper and deeper into trouble with various statements in your comments that are untrue. In fact, other than the quote from the wire service I'm not sure if anything you have written here is true.

Any more questions?

I blame it all on the Internet

Actually, I do have a question: where do you find this stuff?

(#102274)

Your link is five years old, and accounts for only 1.8 metric tons of yellowcake. What about the other 548 tons?

On your no. 1, I told catchy awhile ago I'd change "enriched" to "processed", "concentrated" or something like that but my bad for not being quicker. You'll like it more now, though - I promise. And I do not consider the difference between LEU and processed, concentrated uranium significant in the context of this discussion.

On point 2, how many steps are there in the EMIS process? And is there a difference between a step and a stage?

Point 3 is as complete of a red herring as I've seen since ice-fishing last winter. The words in the diary are clear, and say nothing at all about Hussein's ability to refine the yellowcake into that many bombs. (I actually was thinking about the Iranians at the time, but know mentioning them would result in many tangential arguments.) The estimate is from a physicist at the University of Sussex; pretend that it's off by a factor of ten and it still doesn't help your argument.

Where did I say what you claim in your point 4?

I noticed one theme running throughout this and your other comments: you completely avoid the issue of whether sending the 550 tons (just love saying that) of yellowcake from Iraq to Canada is good, bad or insignificant.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Google, just like everyone else

(#102285)
HankP's picture

the terms "uranium ore" and "yellowcake" get thrown around and confused a lot, yellowcake strictly speaking is 75% or more uranium oxide and ore is anything less than that. Since we're talking about the same location and the same total amount, my guess is that the BBC or (more likely) the AP lumped it all together. Remember that even pure uranium ore is about .7% U235, the only isotope useful for reactors and bombs. And yes, there is a big difference between ore or yellowcake and LEU.

Enrichment using centrifuges is very complex and requires a tremendous amount of physical, electrical, chemical and materials engineering expertise, not only in design but in operation. This link (pdf) gives a lot of detailed information, but as I said before it requires thousands of centrifuges operating virtually flawlessly to generate enough for one bomb per year. I have never heard of anything being discovered in Iraq that was anywhere near sophisticated enough to do this. Iran has been working at centrifuges (which they are allowed under the NNPA) but since the efficiency of the process decreases as the purity of the U235 increases, it's unlikely that they can generate any HEU at this time.

The problem here is that saying Uranium is like saying "Boogeyman!" - scary to the ignorant, but not really meaningful once you understand the issues involved in enriching it, let alone engineering a workable bomb.

BTW, my diary on uranium enrichment at Tacitus apparently got lost when he wiped the site, it was my first diary there and I don't have a copy.

I blame it all on the Internet

You didn't answer my questions.

(#102290)

Or if you did, you were too subtle for the likes of me. You seem to have gone from definitively telling me I was full of hot soup to surmising that the AP may have turned the BBC's 2003 "about 1.8 metric tons of "yellow cake" and 500 tons of unrefined uranium" into 550 tons of yellowcake five years later. Anything certainly is possible with those clowns, but why bust my chops over it?

Your estimate of the likelihood that Iran has a sufficient number of high-speed gas centrifuges to cascade them and produce enough U235 to make a warhead is hotly contested. Example: five years ago intel from Iranian expatriates, satellite intel and other sources indicated that Iran was building underground facilities capable of housing centrifuges with a combined capacity of a quarter million separative work units per year, and that those facilities could be online by 2005. We could have a spirited discussion on the subject, but it relates to this diary only peripherally.

I really would like answers to the questions I asked above, though, because they involve the same topics that you used to justify trashing the diary.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Not When the Entire Country is Singing It

(#102124)

With a few exceptions, of course. Very few.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

So you don't consider this significant?

(#102142)

Just trying to get a straight answer.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

No, I Don't

(#102146)

Spartacvs's take above pretty much sums it up. It's also, for some reason, the one comment you didn't respond to. But just to be clear. No. This isn't news on a slow news day.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

It's still unproven

(#102126)

that Saddam wasn't developing psyonics, or collaborating with Pazuzu.

Liberal humor.

(#102141)

Keep that day job, man.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Nothing remotely funny

(#102168)

'bout psyonics or Pazuzu, man. Nothing.

On the other hand, this diary is chuckle-icsious!

I agree completely with your first point.

(#102279)

-

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Ahem

(#102222)
M Scott Eiland's picture

"Psionics."*

*--just applying Brother Harley's Rules of Snark--spelling counts!

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

pls. edit

(#102111)

yellowcake is not 'enriched' uranium. It's not potent enough to make even a dirty bomb. It's several 'steps', however you individuate steps, away from being 'weapons-grade'.

I might engage w. your analysis that removing this substance was a good, WMD-related, reason for deposing Saddam, but let's get some facts straight first.

My analysis is not remotely what you say.

(#102137)

The facts are stated straightly, or whatchamacallit. Nowhere did I say that this was a good, WMD-related reason for deposing Saddam; I don't recall it ever being given as a reason by the Bush Administration. It is, however, a direct result and benefit of the Iraq war.

Nor did I say that yellowcake can be used directly to make any kind of bomb. I linked to a source which says that 142 bombs could be made from 550 tons of yellowcake, then pointed out that further refinement was necessary to make weapons-grade uranium.

Various sources refer to yellowcake as LEU, or lightly enriched uranium; however, I've changed the diary to call it "refined, concentrated uranium." IMO that change is insignificant in the context of the issue of 550 tons of yellowcake, particularly since it is uncontested that Iraq had developed the technology to convert yellowcake into weapons-grade uranium, whether by refining, processing, enrichment, or whatever you want to call it.

While I referred in the diary to the cascaded high-speed centrifuge process that Iraq had developed, the links I provided also contain details of Iraq's advanced development of an electromagnetic isotope separator process; though I don't know the details, I believe that the EMIS process is one step. The cascade gas centrifuge process converting LEU to uranium hexaflouride in gaseous form, which obviously requires another stage or step to obtain U238 in solid form. There is no question that that was the clear aim of the Iraqi's 1990s enrichment programs, all as described in great detail in the exportcontrol.org links I provided. Are you suggesting that Saddam's accumulation of an enormous volume of LEU was for peacetime purposes? I don't think even Scott Ritter has claimed that, at least not back in the days before his disgrace.

Regardless of their technical basis, I think these issues are quibbles in the context of what was involved here. And I don't remember any of these questions regarding the significance or potential potency of yellowcake surfacing while Joe Wilson has his fifteen minutes of fame w/r/t Niger.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

maybe you hit the wrong button.

(#102227)

I've changed the diary to call it "refined, concentrated uranium."

I'm still seeing: (1) 550 tons of enriched uranium and (2) one step from weapons-grade.

(2) is also straightforwardly untrue. As I said before there are many steps between yellowcake and weapons-grade enriched uranium.

I apologize if I misrepresented your analysis upthread + excuse me for not engaging with some of the other questions in your comment.

I just thought (1) + (2) deserved to be sorted through first.

Sorry, I overreacted

(#102291)

It's not that I mind playing Whack-a-Mole target to every passserby; it's that Harley was so, well, courteous in his comments that it really creeped me out. Like a chipmunk walking over my grave or something.

That guy who keeps tapping his foot impatiently and asking after a stuck patooty apparently understood me though, cause he wants to meet me after school to discuss it. Says he's a Senator (had a big gold key fob with a donkey eating a dollar sign to prove it, plus a chauffeur named Kato - not the OJ guy), and says he has a little folded paper envelope of his own yellowcake to show me as proof. I'm bringing a Geiger counter, and will report back via a diary update.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Looks better + thanks for the NYT edit as well.

(#102318)

That meets my standards and I'm voting this diary up b/c I think it's a useful vetting of a story I've seen with some internet legs on it.

Btw, I accept your pt. that it's a side benefit of the Iraq war that this ended up in Canada vs. remained in Iraq.

The diary still reads to me as if this yellowcake -- which was being monitored ny the IAEA succesfully for a decade + takes quite a lot of tech. to enrich into weapons-grade material -- was more dangerous than it was.

But that's sumthin I'z willin to discuss.

Well, yellowcake's not in itself dangerous unless you eat it

(#102389)

in contaminated food or drink water contaminated with it, or breath the dust itself. I assume it has all of the characteristics of other heavy metals like lead or mercury(retention in fatty tissues, liver dysfunction, neurological problems and so forth), compounded by its natural radioactivity. But obviously that's not the point. You only buy the stuff if you want to make reactor fuel or weapons; it has no other value. So we can call that danger a potential one if you like. However you rank the level of danger of a huge volume of stuff that can be used by the wrong country to make a bomb, that risk doesn't exist now. Unless the Canadians turn on us, of course, but that would be the subject of another diary.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Yup

(#102134)
HankP's picture

Yellocake is processed Uranium ore, not enriched in any way.

I blame it all on the Internet

Since you're using wikipedia on this,

(#102139)

take a look at its definition of uranium enrichment, scroll down to the heading "lightly enriched uranium", and describe what you see in the picture there, please.

Do you really think this is more significant than the issue raised in the diary?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Laughable

(#102170)
HankP's picture

you'll notice the picture is labeled "Yellowcake" which is described in the "Uranium" article as processed ore but is found nowhere on the "Enriched Uranium" page except as a picture. I imagine that's the "before" picture in a "before and after" comparison. That's because "enriched" refers to isotope separation, and yellowcake has had no isotope separation.

There's also an image at the bottom of the page labeled "Powered by MediaWiki", does that mean MediaWiki is a form of enriched Uranium too?

I blame it all on the Internet

Is this really the essence of your response to the diary?

(#102185)

Reread it and you'll see "concentrated" and "refined" in place of "enriched" to satisfy a much better statement of your position by catchy. BFD. You can call it whatever you want except "late for dinner."

Unless you're actually disputing Iraq's ability to convert the stuff to weapons grade, your argument is trivial. And if you are disputing that, you'll have to come up with something a lot better than a wikipedia link.

Edit: Whoops, almost forgot - here's another pretty pitcher for the wiki lovers among us. Live by the wiki, die etc. Whee.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Lord Knows I May Be Wrong

(#102196)

But it seems to me that you may not know as much about this issue, and about converting to weapons grade specifically, as you may need to continue the conversation successfully. It certainly reads that way. Or maybe I just find Hank more persuasive generally.

“Two clichés make us laugh but a hundred clichés move us, because we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion." - Umberto Eco

Yes, I'm disputing Iraq's ability

(#102192)
HankP's picture

to convert it to weapons grade, HEU. I'll have to dig up an old diary of mine from Tacitus that went through the physics of actually producing HEU, in short it requires thousands of centrifuges running for years on end with little to no errors in order to produce enough U235 for one bomb. Since we found no centrifuge arrays or HEU when we invaded, the burden is on you to prove that Iraq could produce HEU. John Bolton quote in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

I blame it all on the Internet

So you disagree with the analysis in the exportcontrol link

(#102271)

and with the physicist quoted regarding the number of bombs that could be made out of this volume of yellowcake. Or are you saying Bolton wrote the exportcontrol.org articles? I didn't see any sign of that. OK, fine, but "I'm right, they're wrong" doesn't convince me.

BTW, I'll say again that the EMIS process does not require centrifuges.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Too many conditionals

(#102275)
Jay C's picture

Maybe Hank's disagreement (and mine) might have less to do with the numbers of putative a-bombs which Saddam's stockpile of yellowcake might have been used to made if he had had the necessary industrial infrastructure, and had been allowed to do so unmolested - and with the fact that with so many conditionals*, the constant mention of "142 nuclear bombs" in your various posts is, in effect, meaningless scare-babble, and irrelevant. Except, of course, to stimulate a lot of blog-commentary!

*Yellowcake (which Saddam hadn't had in years)
* enrichment technology (which he didn't have either)
* bomb fabrication technology (see above)
* non-molestation? see "Osirak".

Actually, the 142 bombs is like the 550 tons

(#102278)

contrarian that I am, the more people bitch about it, the more it seems to come up in my posts. If it was scare-babble (good one, that), it wasn't mine. Cripes, I doubt even France has that many, but all it really takes is one or two, right?

Like I said elsewhere, a much bigger concern than what Saddam might have done with this stuff relates to Iraq's next-door neighbors, who could have trucked the stuff to wherever their multi-thousand centrifuge enrichment facilities are located ehese days. I knew if I mentioned Iran a whole nother level of tangentitude would develop (and Sy the Sourceless would have been championed). Maybe I should start a new diary on that . . .

EDIT: Whoops, looks like this one's on me for not being clear, and maybe for jumping the gun based on what I thought you meant when I first read your post. Teh cites I provided to exportcontrol relate to well-documented (i.e., some of the people involved are still in jail) espionage by the Baathist regime in the '80's and '90's to obtain and develop U235 refinement technology in Iraq. Those cites do not say that the ability to refine even a single bomb's worth of the stuff was necessarily achieved back then, and I don't know of credible sources that can prove Iraq had that capability when the war started. As I said elsewhere, my simple point is that the Canadians have this stuff now instead of potentially anyone with enough guns to take it and the trucks to ship it to Iran, Pakistan, Turkey or wherever.

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems scary and weird. It'll happen to you.—Abraham Simpson

Click on the yellow cake link

(#102176)

for another couple of interesting links at the the bottom of the resulting page.

Yellowcake forgery

Plame affair

"Something I think most liberals don't understand is exactly how stupid many conservative leaders are." - Matt Yglesias