By Captain Eric H. May
Special Military Correspondent
Nov 7, 2007
Capt. Eric H. May
"Mosul Dam is in good condition and it is not in danger. ... The reports of any possible collapse for the dam are inaccurate and are untrue." — Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh
The Tigris and Euphrates are the two great rivers that make up Mesopotamia, the heartland of Iraq. As a matter of fact, "Meso-potamia" is no-nonsense Greek for "between the rivers." The Tigris flows out of Turkey across Iraq from northwest to southeast, emptying into the Persian Gulf. Along the way it connects the nation's three largest cities of Mosul in the north, Baghdad in the center and Basra in the south.
In 1984 Saddam Hussein built Saddam Dam, renamed since the occupation, as Iraq's largest. He was following in the footsteps of Egypt's Nasser, who had overseen the mammoth construction of the Aswar Dam decades before. With a reservoir of 3 trillion gallons, Mosul Dam sends a stream of hydroelectricity downriver 45 miles to Mosul's 2 million residents.
In the spring of 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom military intelligence officers worried that Saddam would order Mosul Dam demolished to send a water weapon of mass destruction against US mechanized forces then traveling up the river valley toward Baghdad. There were also fears that the dam, built on a dubious gypsum foundation, was in imminent danger of collapse. On April 24, a couple of weeks after the Battle of Baghdad, Lt. Col. Mark Holt, the deputy commander and "dam wizard" of the 130th Engineer Battalion, inspected the facility and pronounced it fit for operations. On May 5, Engineering News Record published a reassuringly titled "Iraqi Dam Has Experts On Edge Until Inspection Eases Fears."
"A catastrophic failure of Mosul Dam would result in flooding along the Tigris River all the way to Baghdad." -- General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker
It's hard to understand why the imminent collapse of Mosul Dam suddenly became front-page news to an amazed world on Oct. 30, with horrific predictions of half a million dead. I'm inclined to think that the bad news was a matter of the Bush League sending a not-so-subtle trick-or-treat message to present and potential enemies in northern Iraq: "We now control the Mosul Dam WMD that we once feared Saddam would use, and we can use it ourselves."
First things first: let's not pretend that the Bush League is above it. Our "embedded" media has attained the lowest standards of presstitution ever since 9/11. Since then it has covered up for a Whitewash House and a cheerleader in chief who told them before he took office that he referred dictatorship. Egged on by big brother broadcasters from CNN/CIA, FOX/FBI and NBC/NSA, we shamelessly went to war for oil and Israel, some of us conned into believing that we were protecting ourselves and helping Iraqis. To date we have killed a million Iraqis and dislocated 4 million more. A conquering Roman general once asked a conquered Briton king how it felt to at last have peace. The occupied told the occupier: "You make a desert, and you call it peace."
The Bush League has always been lucky when it comes to catastrophes. 9/11 was the necessary catalyst to get the New American Century going in the first place. An earthquake staggered unfriendly Iran a few months after we occupied Iraq, and another just like it befell the unfriendly borderland between Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2005. More recently arson in California gave the American people something to think about, other than the pending invasion of northern Iraq by Turkey. Come to think of it, the pending destruction of northern Iraqi city Mosul was announced just a week after the government of Turkey announced that it was about to invade northern Iraq.
"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." -- US Rep. Richard Baker (R, LA)
When I think of Mosul Dam breaking, I can't help but think of the New Orleans levies breaking in 2005. Katrina didn't kill thousands in the Big Easy, after all, the levee failure did. It was a miracle for the Republican Party, no doubt about that, since it exiled the black core of the Democratic Party from Louisiana and turned a blue state into a red one. Many black residents swore -- in fact swore before Congress -- that the levies had been demolished by explosives. Neither our politicos nor our presstitutes paid much attention, though. The official story was that it was an act of God, and that was the end of the story.
If the same angry God decides to demolish Mosul Dam, we can count on our new King George making the best of the bad news. The water WMD would, after all, knock the east side off of the pesky Sunni Triangle. It would be a bit of divine genocide right out of the Old Testament. Upstream from the Sunni Triangle, three quarters of Mosul is Sunni, but the surrounding land belongs to more amenable Kurds. It's our friends the Kurds who would gain in the long run, and they would be better residents of Mosul. There are other possibilities too. A Mosul Dam demolition could be a well-deserved hell on earth for any Turkish forces that might have the chutzpah to invade the country we have already invaded, while shamelessly using our own rationale of fighting terrorists and safeguarding oil resources -- for the Iraqi people, of course.
It may seem a bit megalomaniacal of me to play God -- as I have done in this analysis -- with half a million lives at a time, but I can assure you that leaders throughout history have done so in actual fact. I can think of one megalomaniac in our own times who believes God approves of his dictatorship at home and imperial war abroad. He has the treasonous collaboration of a lickspittle legislature, a Judas judiciary and a meretricious media. With all those evil enablers, God knows he is capable of anything.
Captain May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His political and military analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle and Military Intelligence Magazine.
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