March 14, 2006


Missile deal stirs fear, anger: A secret operation to destroy some shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles has tarnished many reputations and yielded few clear answers (TYLER BRIDGES, 3/14/06, MiamiHerald)

It was a straightforward operation, U.S. officials insist.

Bolivia's top military leaders asked for U.S. help last year in destroying about 28 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that were dangerously obsolete, they say, and Washington agreed. [...]

''This is the typical example in Bolivia of a muddy layer of graft, corruption, secret dealings [and] inefficiency . . . combined into one package,'' said Lupe Andrade, a former La Paz mayor who has followed the controversy closely because she knows many of the players. Nonetheless, she added, ``The Americans have been innocent victims.''

Abdel Padilla, a journalist who covered the story for the newsweekly Pulso, disagrees.

''I think the United States . . . feared that Evo would be elected president and thought that . . . it would be more difficult to win approval to destroy them under him,'' Padilla said.

The socialist Morales, who has close ties with Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, regularly attacked the Bush administration during the presidential campaign -- promising he would be Washington's ''worst nightmare'' if elected. Morales has toned down his remarks since assuming office, however, saying he wants good relations with the United States.

Amid the confusion, the only thing clear is that the U.S. government has increasingly been trying to secure control of shoulder-fired missiles throughout the world since al Qaeda terrorists fired one at an Israeli commercial airliner in Kenya in 2002. The weapon, about eight feet long, can fit in a golf bag when disassembled and be hidden in a trunk, making it ideal for terrorists.

The United States has helped with the destruction of more than 13,000 of the shoulder-fired missiles since 2003 in countries including Nicaragua, Bosnia, Liberia and Cambodia. Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolaños has said about 1,000 missiles in his country were destroyed last year.

They can be as angry as they want...once they're disarmed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 14, 2006 10:52 AM

I'm waiting for the Lefty trolls to argue that "we provided these missiles, therefore we are solely responsible for their use and abuse and furthermore, we shouldn't be doing anything to take them away from the wrong hands. Why? Because, well, because that might hurt the feelings of people like these Bolivians, and that would make them hate us even more."

I know, it's a straw man Druids could ignite and cavort around for hours, but isn't that the way they think?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 14, 2006 11:34 AM


"Bolivia purchased the HN-5 missiles from China in 1997"

However that won't stop the lefties.

Posted by: h-man at March 14, 2006 12:03 PM

That's the gun-control mentality for you: trying to hold the people who made and sold a weapon responsible for its criminal misuse.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 14, 2006 12:28 PM