Brian Murphy of the Associated Press reports that a huge uranium stockpile has been secretly removed from Iraq and shipped to Montreal, where it has now safely arrived.
The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans.
The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions.
What's now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad — using teams that include Iraqi experts recently trained in the Chernobyl fallout zone in Ukraine.
"Everyone is very happy to have this safely out of Iraq," said a senior U.S. official who outlined the nearly three-month operation to The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
These minor inconvenient facts keep cropping up and contradicting old line about what a mistake it was to invade Iraq. We will undoubtedly continue to hear the liberal nonsense that it was all a mistake because there were no nuclear weapon stockpiles in Iraq when our troops got there. But with 550 metric tons of yellowcake on hand and A.Q. Khan waiting in the wings to sell him the technology, Saddam Hussein didn't need to develop his own nuclear weapons program. He would have been able to buy it once the UN sanctions were lifted.