Skip to comments.Looted Al QaQaa 'explosives' are in fact urinary antiseptic
Posted on 11/04/2004 6:49:55 PM PST by Right Wing Professor
The Los Angeles Times this morning ran an article on the alleged looting of the Al QaQaa explosives. Pivotal to the article, whcih relied on unidentified GI alleged witnesses to the looting, was this:
One soldier said U.S. forces watched the looters' trucks loaded with bags marked "hexamine" a key ingredient for HMX being driven away from the facility. Unsure what hexamine was, the troops later did an Internet search and learned of its explosive power.
"We found out this was stuff you don't smoke around," the soldier said.
The trouble is, it's completely bogus. Hexamine isn't an explosive, and has no 'explosive power'. It's a urinary antiseptic. It is used in the synthesis of RDX and HMX - but without a chemical plant and a number of other chemical ingredients, some dangerous and hard to obtain, you can't make RDX or HMX from it. All the explosive properties of RDX and HMX come from the fuming nitric acid which is another ingredient in the manufacture. I doubt you could even get hexamine to burn decently, let alone explode. I wouldn't be at all surprised that Saddam was manufacturing RDX and HMX, and that's why he had sacks of hexamine, but no terrorist is going to be able to do anything with hexamine (except, maybe, treat his gonorrhea).
I'm befuddled how the LA Times could have used a second-hand google search as a source for the most element on the story. I contacted them, and their 'reader representative' gave me an implausible story of how they'd checked their chemical information with the Encyclopedia Britannica, but promised to tell their editors. I'm not holding my breath waiting for a correction.
In case I need to establish my credentials on this, just google 'hexamethylenetetramine harbison' and look at the first hit. Hexamethylenetetramine is the correct chemical name of hexamine. I've done quite a bit of published research with the stuff.
Things that make you go Hmmm!
Awesome. Hope this is carried further. Good job. :)
I missed the urinary antiseptic explanation.
This story can also be found at
Must be Libs...
Now THERE's some hard digging reporters, only the most informed reporter would know that Encyclopedia Britannica is where you need to go for detailed information on the chemical makeup of explosives, lol....
Wait a minute. I remember something called a 'Hexi-stove' for heating rations when I was in the service. Same stuff?
(Google Google Google...)
Yup. Sure is...
Hexamine is a urinary antiseptic. It's not an explosive. The sacks of chemicals they allegedly looted could cure their, em, burning feeling when they pee, but they sure ain't making any improvised explosive devices from them.
I love FR, man...!
Sign in the restroom:
"Please don't eat the large, white mint."
Or, as we call 'em: pisser mints.
I looked it up, and it is the same stuff. Well I'll be darned. It does burn, slowly.
Great Job! (Just curious...are you appropriately clad in pajamas?)
Dear God. I can't even pronounce half the words in your extract. Whatever the hell you're talking about, rock on, Doc!
I have this image in my mind of a bunch of guys sitting around a stack of this stuff with real puzzled looks on their faces. "But the NYT says it's an explosive!?!"
That's cool- I can take a bunch of cheap urinal cakes next time I go backpacking. :-)
they seemed rather LARGE for after dinner mints.
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