(2004-10-25) -- When Iraqi military interrogators informed the imprisoned Saddam Hussein that 377 tons of explosives had disappeared from a huge weapons storage facility, the former Iraqi president expressed concern that the extremely powerful chemical agents might "fall into the wrong hands."
His remarks bolstered claims by Democrat presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry that President George Bush had made a "great blunder" by failing to secure the weapons cache at Al Qaqaa.
"When Al Qaqaa was under Saddam Hussein's control, inventory management was efficient and reliable, and Americans could sleep at night," said Mr. Kerry, who is also a U.S. Senator. "But once these weapons of nearly mass destruction (WNMD) came under the care of George W. Bush, they vanished. And who knows what kind of crazed, America-hating killers have them now?"
The missing materials include HMX (high melting point explosive) and RDX (rapid detonation explosive). Less than a pound of such substances brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
However, chemical experts agree that HMX and RDX posed no threat to anyone as long as they were controlled by the legitimately-elected former president of the Republic of Iraq.
The Pentagon is reportedly negotiating a deal with Mr. Hussein to allow him to oversee Iraq's remaining weapons depots as a kind of prison work-release program while he awaits trial.