An Explosive Issue

What does this missing explosives (search) story mean?

Does it mean the president was derelict in his duty by not instructing General Tommy Franks (search) to be sure to have his guys stop — wherever they were — and secure the site of any Iraqi arms depot?

No. After all, we already know that U.S. war planners made a mistake thinking all Iraqis would be glad to have been freed and wouldn't try to get the explosives to settle a few scores. We know that already — they've killed over 1,000 of our people proving the point. And you've seen them beheading people in case we missed the point.

Does it mean the military screwed up not collecting and safeguarding all these explosives?

No. We heard Friday that in fact our ordnance people did round it up and secure it before they blew it up. Did they miss some? They might have. With a million tons of this stuff in the country, does it seem that a few hundred tons could go missing? I would think odds say yes.

What else does this controversy mean? I think it means the Kerry campaign is desperately worried about Bush's standing with the American people on the issue of terror and national security. If people think Bush would do the better job, then Kerry had to undermine it.

So here came the obliging New York Times, ready to put the worst possible spin on a more or less ordinary story of missing Iraqi explosives. Kerry ripped the headlines from the front page and ran with it:

It's the president's fault soldiers moved on to Baghdad.

It's the president's fault that Iraqis evidently stole some explosives.

It's the president's fault those explosives might have been used against American soldiers.

All in all, it's the president's fault.

But, is that what you think? Do overlooked weapons mean the president has not done a good job, or do they mean the challenger is flailing in the last days... willing to try anything?

I vote for the latter.

That's My Word.

Watch John Gibson weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on "The Big Story" and send your comments to: