Wednesday, July 02, 2003

A few morsels on Iraq:

  1. How many troops will be needed to keep Iraq sufficiently pacified so its assets can be stripped by the friends of Dick Cheney? Army chief of staff General Eric Shinseki suggested 'several hundred thousand', drawing an immediate rebuttal from Wolfowitz, and costing the General his job. The problem is determining which other conflict where an occupying army has to subdue an unhappy population does Iraq most resemble. The analysis proceeds on the basis of the ratio of required soldiers per 1,000 people in the population to be pacified. If, as is appearing increasingly likely, Iraq is most similar to Northern Ireland in the period 1969 to 1994, the ratio will be around 20 per 1,000. That would be 480,000 troops. This is the total authorized strength of the American army. The British will soon be gone, and it appears that the leaders of no other country in the world are insane enough to commit more than nominal help. The minimum period of the occupation appears to be five years, with ten years or even longer (as long as there is oil to steal) more likely. It's getting chilly in here - do you detect a draft?

  2. The sabotage of the oil pipelines is starting to form a pattern. While much of the resistance to the occupation appears to be a spontaneous reaction to the insensitivity and brutality of the American and British troops, the destruction of the oil infrastructure has been so efficient, with attacks at just the right places to completely shut down the whole system, that it appears that there is a central plan of attack. In the short term, the sabotage benefits the American oil companies, who can simply add the cost of repairs onto their lucrative 'cost plus' repair contracts. In the longer term, the attacks threaten the whole structure of the Cheney-Rumsfeld plan, which is to suck the oil revenues of Iraq dry. With no working pipelines or refineries, the plan falls apart. To protect the neo-con plan, more troops will be required.

  3. Hank Brandli is a Florida meteorologist who likes to study satellite images. He is an expert on military meteorology (with some interesting ideas on 9-11). He studied an Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program image of southern Iraq taken on May 25, and compared it with an image of the same area from May 3. The later image showed a "blazing corridor of light running the length of Kuwait, south to north, all the way to the Iraqi border." Mr. Brandli said:

    "Maybe I'm full of s---. Maybe all they're doing is building a highway to put in McDonald's and sell hamburgers. But why go that way? I think we're in bed with Kuwait. I think we're pumping oil out of Iraq to pay for this war."


    "You look for patterns. Patterns tell you things. With night photos, you can distinguish natural gas burnoff, which looks globular, from city lights. And suddenly, over just a few weeks, we've got this straight line of lights leading all the way to those beautiful wells in southeastern Iraq. If you're building pipelines, you've got to have power, you've got to have light - trucks and personnel and food and all sorts of support. If I had to bet, I'd say it looks like we're running Iraqi oil through Kuwait. It would make sense, because Kuwait's got its infrastructure intact."

    The smuggling that Saddam used to get around the sanctions was done using trucks. Is it possible that the Pentagon is conspiring with some Kuwaitis to smuggle Iraqi hydrocarbons out of Iraq by truck, with the proceeds kept off the books and thus not subject to any claim by the Iraqis?