August 04, 2003


Spot the BBC spin:

US forces in Iraq have discovered dozens of Iraqi fighter aircraft buried in the desert, US officials have said.

A Pentagon official told the Associated Press news agency that several MiG-25s and Su-25 attack planes were found hidden at al-Taqqadum air base west of Baghdad.

The planes were unearthed by teams hunting for alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, Iím sure thatís what they were hunting for. "Found any alleged weapons?" "No, allegedly." "Then keep allegedly looking."

Posted by Tim Blair at August 4, 2003 03:56 AM

This is all part of Saddam Hussein's cunning plan. While the inspectors were out of Iraq he literally turned the country upside down.

It's not just the airforce down there, but the entire population too. All those folk up top are just Chalabi's goons, US corporate execs and their cannon fodder.

That also explains why most of those execs are from Texas - but they're not drilling for oil, they're drilling for Iraqi's.

(There, I've just provided another excuse for the occupation. It's about as convincing as any I read here, so far.

Posted by: Analogue Voter at August 4, 2003 at 05:46 AM

I can't believe it took them 4 months to find something as big as this (SU-25) :

Length 47 ft, 6 in (14.6 m)
Span 50 ft, 10 in (15.6 m)
Weight 17,600kg (loaded)

And the Mig-25 is even bigger:

Length: 22.3 m / 72.2 ft
Wingspan: 13.9 m / 45.8 ft
Take-Off Weight: 36.2 t / 79,800 lbs

Imagine how long it will take them to find somethings small ... like chemical warheads!

Posted by: Bruce at August 4, 2003 at 05:57 AM

Use of word "alleged" = BBC bias? Nice try, no cigar.

Posted by: Trust at August 4, 2003 at 10:19 AM

Trust, the "alleged" is biased because the sentence would have made slightly more sense if it had been, "The planes were unearthed by teams hunting for weapons of mass destruction."

The team are, after all, hunting for WMDs, not hunting for alleged WMDs... which was Tim's point. Even if WMDs do not exist, people can still validly (if fruitlessly) hunt for them.

Posted by: Andrew D. at August 4, 2003 at 12:39 PM

I wonder how long it took to bury the planes?

Did they think they'd be able to use the planes once the sand got into every part? I'd think it would take quite a while to get the engines clean.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 4, 2003 at 01:40 PM

Shouldn't that read: nice try, no alleged cigar?

Posted by: Madhu at August 4, 2003 at 01:50 PM

Saudi car thieves have been burying plastic- wrapped Mercedes and Rolls Royces in the sand for years. They leave them there till the heat is off, then dig them up and transport them to Egypt.

But back to the real issue.

You know, the massive, massive stockpiles of WMD that Rummie and Powell had located with pinpoint accuracy just before the war started?

Posted by: Block at August 4, 2003 at 04:13 PM

"You know, the massive, massive stockpiles of WMD that Rummie and Powell had located with pinpoint accuracy just before the war started?"

You mean like the Iraqi Air Force? I'm pretty sure everyone knew where the planes were before the war too.

They buried them. While no one was looking. Maybe at night. Then they shot the laborers. And buried them in the sand ... who would notice a few extra graves among the 100's of thousands of others. Mass grave after mass grave ...

I suspect the WMD will be found to be camouflaged to look like a mass grave ... the UN ignored them for 10 years after the 1st gulf war. In fact, they are still ignoring them. Mass murder is a prerogative of the UN 'club'.

Posted by: Bruce at August 4, 2003 at 04:57 PM

If aircraft this big could be hidden for so long, inspite of all the satellite and air recce that Iraq has been subjected to over the last few years, then I think it's fair to say that the WMD issue is a long way from being settled. Iraqi soil could be hiding anything... Jimmy Hoffa jokes, anyone?

Posted by: wilbur at August 4, 2003 at 09:53 PM

Talk about spin!

If you're not looking for sand-filled MIG's,(so worthless that the U.S forces are currently standing by as Iraqis strip the planes for salvage) you don't bother digging them up and showing them to the press until questions about missing WMD arise.

"Oh, look! We just found a septic tank in Chemical Ali's yard. If that could remain hidden for so long, the WMD (that undoubtedly exist) will probably never be found!"

Posted by: Block at August 5, 2003 at 10:00 AM

I hate sand in my MIG.

Posted by: pooh at August 5, 2003 at 12:08 PM

Try landing a jet on an aircraft carrier with socks stuffed down your shorts.

Much more awkward than sand in you MIG!

Dub'ya's a hero!

Posted by: Block at August 5, 2003 at 01:35 PM

"...with socks stuffed down your shorts."

Block, you haven't got a clue. I spent 8 years as an aircrewman in the Naval Air Reserves. When the straps are properly tightened, you get a bulge, and it doesn't matter how big or small your "package" is. That's because the bulge isn't your "package." It's bunched up flight suit. Proper procedure requires tight straps riding into the crease between your leg and groin. To get that, you tighten the straps, tug, pull, and adjust, then tighten some more. You do that several times until you can't get the straps any tighter. This is done, because one of your worst life experiences will be getting your scrotum trapped under the strap, when the parachute opens. By the time all the tugging, pulling, and adjustment are done, you have a significant flight suit bulge. As a qualified fighter pilot, President Bush was well acquainted with the procedure.

Posted by: CGeib at August 5, 2003 at 03:09 PM


Oh, for Koresh's sake...

I'm not even touching your brilliant disassembly of my highly controversial "suck stuffing" conspiracy theory.

You must be the life of every party, dude.

Posted by: Block at August 5, 2003 at 03:29 PM

Actually, both Block and CGeib have their facts wrong.

Block seems to think that George W. Bush actually landed a plane on an aircraft carrier, when in fact he was only cargo.

And CGeib is under the impression that Bush is a qualified pilot, when in fact he hasn't flown a jet since 1972. In that year his flight priviliges were revoked, which probably had something to do with him going AWOL somewhere between Texas and Alabama for the next two years. His flight priviliges were never re-instated.

Tell me, CGeib, what would the Navy have done to you if you just didn't bother turning up for duty for two years, like the current President of the U.S.A?

Posted by: Margo at August 5, 2003 at 07:58 PM

Well, as Margo demonstrates her ignorance of Naval aviation... Bush was sitting in the co-pilot's seat. He flew the aircraft in transit, but did not land it. Carrier landings are too difficult for the uninitiated. It requires special training, even for otherwise fully qualified pilots. Every seat in the S-3 is an ejection seat. It doesn't matter where you sit, or what your role is, you have to be strapped up. You don't have to be a qualified pilot to know the procedures. I was never a military pilot. I was enlisted aircrew, but the procedures are the same for all.

Bush temporarily lost his flight priviledges becasue he missed a flight physical while helping on an election campaign in Arkansas. If I had missed two years, I would have been court martialed, as would Bush. He wasn't court martialed, because he was never AWOL. He had permission to do what he was doing, and his commander knew where he was. He fullfilled his time service obligations, as well.

Block: Bite me.

Posted by: CGeib at August 6, 2003 at 03:41 AM