Monday, March 03, 2003

How many dead Iraqi’s – II

The author of this article (via Shanti), Fred A Kaplan, goes on to state that two of the widely circulated reports make erroneous assumptions when they attempt to calculate the number of people who will die in the upcoming war. In fact he terms it as GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

His chief argument is that America this time is out to oust Saddam and not take out the critical installations such as power, water, railways, other transportation systems, bridges etc. The reason: because USA is genuinely interested in rebuilding Iraq and hence it makes no sense to take them out.

Let me see, what is the cost of the war? Guesstimates put it anywhere between $100b to $200b. What is the cost of putting up power plants, railways stations, water treatment plants, few bridges etc? At most: $10b. Less than 10% of what the war would cost. And if you don’t take out these vital installations in the beginning, its going to cost of war that much further. Read about any (and I mean any) war strategy, the first thing the attacking nation will do is to take out the vital installations. This is to restrict the movement of the enemy, weaken their rations and make them overall incapacitated.

Down below is a satellite photo of Baghdad. Notice how densely populated it is. The river plays a big role in the daily life of the city’s residents. Any contamination (either by Saddam or USA) can literally destroy the city. Saddam’s official residence and command centers are 4,5,6 located at the right side of the photo where the river turns south. All other round dots are the vital installations, which Fred says will not be touched by USA.

Satellite Images of Central Baghdad
Replacing images with just link - to speed up blog loading time.

Now that you have seen the aerial view of the city, here is another link that analyses the destructive capacity of a “daisy cutter” bomb. They had dropped 11 of these in the first Gulf war. You calculate what will be the effect of using such a bomb on a place like Baghdad. Even if they don’t drop it this time round, a search on Google will reveal that a simple 1,000lb bomb cruise missile will spread shrapnel up to 500 ft upon impact and America has already announced that intends to launch a couple of thousand of them during the first few days of war.

All this is GIGO in your eyes, isn’t it Mr Kaplan?



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