Man Without Qualities

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Is Baghdad Stalingrad or Hue? II

This analysis on the Den Beste site makes a lot more sense to me than most of what the mainstream media is running. However, I would take the "Assassination" scenario that Den Beste suggests - or, rather, a variant of it - as much more than a long shot. Once Baghdad and Hussein are isolated and encircled, a really big American strike - one including missiles, men and other "assets" could, I think, be successfully launched at any location of Saddam Hussein. Such a strike would not be a repeat of the attempt on Hussein's life solely by missiles and bombs launched at the beginning of the War.

Even if the bunkers are strong enough to withstand surface attack by most conventional missiles or bombs, my guess is, once the US knows Hussein's location, that (if necessary) some tunneling machine could burrow close enough to his location (undisturbed by "urban warfare" on the surface) - and a really nice, big explosive set off pretty close to him - big enough and close enough to compromise any concrete shielding or the like. Modern oil drillers, for example, are capable of horizontal drilling for great distances. And the US military probably has better ideas than building Hussein a special purpose subway. My point here is that once a target is immobilized and encircled by a huge military force, just hiding out can't last very long. Further, it seems highly likely to me that the US military knows the exact locations of all bunkers actually built by Western construction companies - simply because the companies likely have records in Europe and people in Europe willing to share the information over the 20 years since construction.

With such a big strike he could be killed or completely cut off and sealed off - out of communication with his forces and beyond rescue. If he is completely cut off, his being able to physically last for months or even years thereafter would not seem to distinguish his survival meaningfully from his death as far as the progress of the War is concerned.

His bunkers are big and deep and well-provisioned. But once he is immobilized those bunkers are all but well-appointed coffins, good for serving his living needs for a few days or weeks before they get to serve for eternity.

Or at least that's what it seems to one non-expert.

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