I’ll Write Nice And Slow

Maha – of “Mahablog”, a famously gutless leftyblog and a leader in the “namecalling = facts and research” school of leftyblogging – wants to dismiss the whole “we found yellowcake uranium in Iraq” story:

The critical point is that Saddam Hussein couldn’t do anything with this uranium because he lacked the equipment and technology to enrich it. So it had been sitting around for years in drums sealed by the IAEA. No nuclear program.


Of course, the presence or absence of “equipment and technology” was a key bone of contention between about 2001 and the invastion, but…

…oh, why bother.

Justin Levine at Patterico has the essential response:

If Mahablog has a legitimate point, then why did Joe Wilson go to such great lengths to try and cast doubt on the very existence of the yellowcake Niger story? Why didn’t he just say, “It is possible that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake from Niger. But even though I can neither confirm nor deny this accusation, it is ultimately irrelevant since yellowcake is harmless and is not proof of anything significant regarding an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.”?

That is not the argument that Joe Wilson the liar made. There is a reason for this – reason’s that people like Mahablog would rather not address. So I’ll be happy to stay on his ‘Idiot’s Hall of Fame’, let people read both posts, and decide for themselves.

Look – it’s pretty clear, five years on, that Hussein didn’t have any functioning WMDs when the tanks crossed the border.  We know that he had WMDs, because he gassed the Kurds in the eighties.  We know he wanted WMDs, because he was buying equipment to build them.  We know he had uranium that, combined with that equipment he was seeking (and, for whatever reason, didn’t deny having), could have been made into one kind of bomb or another.

If it were a criminal case, it’d be like finding a once-convicted, paroled Meth producer with 50,000 tabs of Sudafed.  All he needs is a stock pot, some tubing, and a few other chemicals…

Oh, Maha’s counterattack?

Here’s the Idiot’s Hall of Fame:

American Thinker
Don Surber
Gateway Pundit
Pirate’s Cove
Neptunus Lex
Patterico’s Pontifications
Sweetness and Light

The accumulated IQ of the above bloggers adds up to about 47.


Oh, the two grafs I pulled were the closest “Maha” gets to sentience.

But please, “Maha” – can I be an “idiot” too? 

(And note to Ms. O’Brien; she can’t ban my comments when they’re on my blog)

7 thoughts on “I’ll Write Nice And Slow

  1. She is pretty weak in the “scorn and derision” department.

    Maybe she should attend clown school?

  2. “All he needs is a stock pot, some tubing, and a few other chemicals…”

    From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:

    “Warhead design and engineering development are short-term activities compared with designing, constructing, equipping, and standing up operations in the facilities needed to actually build RRWs [reliable replacement warheads]… The new buildings needed are orders of magnitude more complicated than the warheads and there is considerable managerial risk involved in acquiring them. Construction of the most recent large-scale U.S. pit production-related facility, [for nuclear warheads] Building 371 at Rocky Flats in Colorado began in 1973 and was completed in 1981 at a cost of $225 million ($524 million in today’s dollars). It operated for only one month before the Energy Department realized that the technology on which it was based would not work. The repair cost $400 million and took eight years. Energy called it a ‘fiasco.'”

  3. Mitch said:

    “We know he had uranium that, combined with that equipment he was seeking (and, for whatever reason, didn’t deny having), could have been made into one kind of bomb or another.”

    and charlieq said:

    “From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists…to actually build RRWs [reliable replacement warheads]…”

    OK, so charlieq believes RRWs could not have been on the menu.
    Are RRWs the only kind of bombs that could be made with uranium?
    Or perhaps they are on the only kind of bombs, that could be made with uranium, that we would have to worry about?


  4. charlieq, one minor detail: if you look at the breakdown of the actual costs, much of the costs of the building deal with environmental regulations, permits, etc. Further, the costs are typical government “prevailing wage” contracts done by contractors requiring clearance and the willingness to deal with DoE red tape. For a more, ahem, uncompromising agent most of those things aren’t an issue. If a dictator in a third world couldn’t cut the costs by a third I’d be shocked. Not that I’d want to work there.

    It’s not that atomic devices are terribly hard to design as compared to what the DoD would consider a RRW. Look at what they had when they did Little Boy, which is about as crude as an atomic weapon can get — I can’t think of a BS in Physics who couldn’t do Little Boy or Fat Man if they paid even a modicum of attention in class. It’s when you go for higher yields with lower components or much small size that things get complicated. If you’re willing to go crude in the design, use a shipping container to deliver the device, and have the actual material just about anyone could do this with plausible deniability.

    And this leaves out the whole issue of “dirty bombs” that are weapons of terror since there is something “nuclear” involved. Bah, I remember when they changed the name from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (usually called NMR back in the day) to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) because folks in hospitals were freaking out about something “Nuclear.”

  5. Yes, although I still don’t think you can make the case that the effort and investment for any nuclear program’s infrastructure is inconsequential, including the Manhattan project. If Iraq had a real nuclear program, there’d be more evidence of it than some drums that had been sealed for 20 years.

  6. “Yes, although I still don’t think you can make the case that the effort and investment for any nuclear program’s infrastructure is inconsequential, including the Manhattan project.”

    The first person to do almost any project invests the most. In terms of the Manhattan project, the amount was incredible since it was on the bleeding edge of science and past the edge of engineering at the time. These days, not so much. The Feds have published enough to make the investment not too much more than a major industrial project. Of course, they tried to put the genie back in the bottle later, but that’s not worked out so well. For a crude weapon the investment would be quite a bit less than was spent on the Manhattan Project even in dollars not converted for inflation.

    It’s funny, Iraq had designs to have enough of a nuclear program to frighten their neighbors, and it worked — all too well for Sadam in a changed environment in the US after 9/11 where a proven supporter of terrorism who was quite willing to develop and use WMD.

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