Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Cobalt Goes Missing in Iraq

If that headline doesn't grab you and send a shiver down your spine, you must be dead.

Read the full text in the NYT.

The lead graph:
A seeming lapse in surveillance by American forces has led to the looting of dangerously radioactive capsules from Saddam Hussein's main battlefield testing site in the desert outside Baghdad and the identification of at least one 30-year-old Iraqi villager, and possibly a village boy, as suffering from radiation sickness.
And the question everyone would like an answer to:
Under investigation is how American surveillance of the area, now under the control of the 82nd Airborne Division, failed to spot villagers entering the testing site with heavy vehicles to dismantle three of the poles, or towers, for scrap, leaving heavy tire tracks in the desert.
Possible answer:
Looting of military depots has been a persistent problem since the fall of Mr. Hussein, prompting suggestions that the 130,000 American troops in Iraq may be too stretched.
[UPDATE] I forgot to add that the Cobalt was all found but that several people in the local villages are thought to have radiation poisoning.

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