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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Colin Powell told the UN security council that the aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were of too high quality to be rocket casings, since rockets just blow up anyway. At the time that seemed an absurd thing for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff during the war in which the US used more than a few million dollar cruise missiles to say (and I'm not even mentioning the $ 300 claw hammers.

Now on page 13 of the excellent 15 page article on the tubes by DAVID BARSTOW, WILLIAM J. BROAD and JEFF GERTH in The Washington Post. I find just how absurd that claim was.

"According to the committee, the passages on the tubes, which adopted much of the C.I.A. analysis, were misleading and riddled with factual errors. The estimate, for example, included a chart intended to show that the dimensions of the tubes closely matched a Zippe centrifuge. Yet the chart omitted the dimensions of Iraq's 81-millimeter rocket, which precisely matched the tubes.

The estimate cited Iraq's alleged willingness to pay top dollar for the tubes, up to $17.50 each, as evidence they were for secret centrifuges. But Defense Department rocket engineers told Senate investigators that 7075-T6 aluminum is "the material of choice for low-cost rocket systems.""

$ 17.50 ! and that, according to a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is so much that they couldn't possibly be rocket casings. $ 17.50

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