Mosul dam close to collapse

Daniel Pipes argues in Saddam’s Damn Dam, the the US has taken the responsibility to shore up the damn.

Despite these efforts, the dam’s condition continues to deteriorate, raising the prospect of its complete collapse. Were this to happen with a reservoir full of water, predicts Engineering News-Record, “as much as 12.5 billion cubic meters of water pooled behind the 3.2-km-long earth-filled impoundment [would go] thundering down the Tigris River Valley toward Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. The wave behind the 110-meter-high crest would take about two hours to reach the city of 1.7 million.” In addition, parts of Baghdad (population 7 million) would come under 5 meters of water.

THE ARMY Corps estimates the flood would kill a half-million people immediately, while the aftershocks, such as power outage and drought, would kill many more. (Not coincidentally, Iraq was the site of Noah’s Ark.) It would likely be the largest human-induced single loss of life in history.

The Americans would be blamed of course.

Mosul’s dam replicates a myriad of lesser problems in Iraqi life that have landed in the lap of Americans (and, to a much lesser extent, their coalition partners), such as provisioning fuel and electricity, working schools and hospitals, a fair political and legal system, and an environment secure from terrorism.

[..] A change of course is needed, and quickly. The Bush administration needs to hand back responsibility for Iraq’s ills, including and especially the Mosul Dam. More broadly, it should abandon the deeply flawed and upside-down approach of “war as social work,” whereby US military efforts are judged primarily by the benefits they bring to the defeated enemy, rather than to Americans.

November 8, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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