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October 30, 2007

Holy Crap
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

If this story weren't so serious it would probably merit some kind of snarky remark about exporting American democracy Katrina style.

The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager.

Also, I'm not a fan of suppressing journalism for the purpose of security.  After all, pointing out problems like this in the public domain makes sure that they get fixed.  But this story does make me a little uncomfortable in terms of pointing out a glaring vulnerability.  I hope this dam has some serious security around it.  If it doesn't.  It should.


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Ah, what symbolism. Holding back three trillion gallons of water with a dam which "could collapse any day" because it was built on gypsum, the stuff of drywall, which dissolves in water. Isn't it symbolic of a US foreign policy which perhaps has brought the US the danger of a great flood but definitely an "inevitable quagmire".

From a military writer: "With the passage of time, politicians imbued military action to destroy Islamist terrorism with a meaning it never had, equating the unnecessary and destructive American military occupation of Muslim-Arab Iraq with America’s special mission to spread freedom throughout the world. Worse, Iraq’s forced democratization unleashed reactionary forces Americans did not anticipate. These forces strengthened Iranian regional power and influence, precipitating a dangerous anti-American backlash abroad and creating economic vulnerability at home. We cannot easily reverse the outcome in Iraq, but we can avoid repeating the pattern of behavior that made the Iraqi quagmire inevitable."--Colonel Douglas Macregor (Ret.), Armed Forces Journal

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