- A nightmarish US super weapon reportedly was employed
by American ground forces during chaotic street fighting in Baghdad. The
secret tank-mounted weapon was witnessed in all its frightening power by
Majid al-Ghazali, a seasoned Iraqi infantryman who described the device
and its gruesome effects as unlike anything he had ever encountered in
his lengthy military service. The disturbing revelation is yet another
piece of cinematic evidence brought back from postwar Iraq by intrepid
filmmaker Patrick Dillon.
- In the film, al-Ghazali, whose english is less than fluent,
describes the weapon as reminiscent of a flame thrower, only immensely
more powerful. It is unclear what principle the weapon is based on. Searching
for a description, al-Ghazali said it appeared to be shooting concentrated
lightning bolts rather than just ordinary flames. Drawing on his many years
as a professional engineer, al-Ghazali speculates that radiation of some
kind probably figures into the weapon's hideous capabilities. Like all
men in Saddam's Iraq, al-Ghazali was compelled to serve in the Iraqi equivalent
of the Army National Guard and fought in three wars over the past thirty-odd
years. Via email, he told me he has seen virtually every type of conventional
weapon employed in battle, and is well acquainted with their effects on
people and machines, but nothing in his extensive combat experience prepared
him for the shock of what he saw in Baghdad on April 12th.
- On that date, al-Ghazali and his family sheltered in
their house as a fierce street battle erupted in his neighborhood. In the
midst of the fighting, he noticed that the Americans had called up an oddly
configured tank. Then to his amazement the tank suddenly let loose a blinding
stream of what seemed like fire and lightning, engulfing a large passenger
bus and three automobiles. Within seconds the bus had become semi-molten,
sagging "like a wet rag" as he put it. He said the bus rapidly
melted under this withering blast, shrinking until it was a twisted blob
about the dimensions of a VW bug. As if that were not bizarre enough, al-Ghazali
explicitly describes seeing numerous human bodies shriveled to the size
of newborn babies. By the time local street fighting ended that day, he
estimates between 500 and 600 soldiers and civilians had been cooked alive
as a result of the mysterious tank-mounted device.
- In a city littered everywhere with burned-out civilian
and military vehicles, US forces were abnormally scrupulous about immediately
detailing bulldozers and shovel crews to the job of burying the grim wreckage.
Nevertheless, telltale remnants remained as Dillon found when al-Ghazali
later took him to the site. Dillon said they easily uncovered large puddles
of resolidified metal and mounds of weird fibrous material that, al-Ghazali
explained, were all that remained of the vehicles' tires. Dillon, who accumulated
plenty of battlefield experience as a medic in Viet-Nam, and has since
covered a number of wars from Somalia to Kosovo, told me that he has witnessed
every kind of conventional ordnance that can be used on humans and vehicles.
" I've seen a freaking smorgasbord of destruction in my life,"
he said, "flame-throwers, napalm, white phosphorous, thermite, you
name it. I know of nothing short of an H-bomb that conceivably might cause
a bus to instantly liquefy or that can flash broil a human body down to
the size of an infant. God pity humanity if that thing is a preview of
what's in store for the 21st century."
- For Majid al-Ghazali, images of the terrifying weapon
and its victims haunt his every day. In addition to his work as an engineer,
he is also a highly accomplished classical violinist, occupying the first
chair in the Baghdad Symphony. He is widely acknowledged as one of the
preeminent violinists in the Middle East. Besides his family, one of his
greatest joys is teaching at Baghdad's premier music conservatory. Unfortunately,
the conservatory was utterly destroyed. Yet somehow, despite the war's
horrors and its seemingly endless privations, he manages to maintain a
remarkably hopeful outlook. He recently informed me that the Baghdad Symphony
continues to exist and has been invited to perform in the United States
- Copyright ©2003 - Bill Dash
- See also associated article by Bill Dash...
- Iraqi Commander Swears He Saw US
- From Fred Gunn
- Hi Jeff,
- Found this article from Cox News published on Thursday,
August 15, 2002 and knew I had to send you this link:
- It was truly terrifying reading the article on your newsite
about Patrick Dillon's far reaching journalism into the war in Iraq. There's
a true hero in my mind. The weapons described by Majid al-Ghazali would
seem to me to fit into the electromagnetic pulse weapons category. And
then, these weapons are mentioned in a New York Post article the day before
the Cox News article appeared, and President Bush speaks of using these
pulse weapons as a means to "disable Saddam (Hussein)'s entire command
and control structure."
- Super surge protectors are being designed that would
possibly block the pulse of the weapon. I put the two together in my mind's
eye and I saw the opening scene from the Terminator movie.
- It had better be a brave new world, with governments
beginning to wield these sorts of weapons into our battlefields now. Who
knows where next.
- The Cox News article goes on to say China, Great Britain
and France are also experimenting with these arsenals. No mention of Russia,
- Peace please,
- Fred Gunn
- San Diego
- Super-Secret Microwave Weapons May Be Used In Iraq
- By George Edmonson
- Cox News Service
- August 15, 2002
- WASHINGTON -- An army may still travel on its stomach,
but a vital point of attack these days is the brain -- the electronic brain.
- With modern warfare so dependent on computers and communications
devices, a weapon that renders them useless could be invaluable. And after
decades of research, U.S. scientists and engineers may be close to fielding
an effective technology known as high-powered microwave weapons.
- At least, that is the latest buzz. Recent articles have
speculated microwave weapons could be deployed if the United States invades
Iraq. But some experts -- including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld --
say considerable work remains.
- "It's been this elegant promise for decades that
never quite seems to happen," said John Alexander, author of "Future
War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First Century Warfare" and a retired
Army colonel who directed non-lethal weapons development at Los Alamos
National Laboratory. "The check's always in the mail."
- The concept behind high-powered microwave weapons is
simple. A burst of electromagnetic energy is created and directed at an
enemy's electronics. The force burns them out much like a lightning strike
can destroy home appliances.
- Challenges, though, lie in a number of areas, according
to several experts.
- For example, delivering the weapons would likely be done
by cruise missiles or unmanned aerial vehicles to help get close to the
target. That requires making the weapons not only high powered, but also
rugged and relatively small, which Air Force Col. Eileen Walling labeled
"extremely challenging and technically difficult" in a paper
she wrote in 2000 on the weapons.
- Alexander explained another problem: unpredictability,
even when everything goes right.
- "Electrical components are really rather tricky,"
he said. "You can put the same amount of energy into 10 identical
targets and you can destroy two of them, upset five of them and, in three
of them, nothing happens."
- High-powered microwave weapons are one component of a
broader category known as directed energy weapons that includes lasers.
- "When people are talking about high-powered microwave
weapons, they're not talking about a single device like the stealth bomber,"
said John Pike, director of globalsecurity.org, a Washington-area policy
organization seeking to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. "Rather,
they're talking about a physical principle and an effect which can be generated
a number of different ways for a number of different purposes."
- Most of the Defense Department's work on high-powered
microwave weapons takes place at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque,
- "We are looking at different sources and devices
that can produce that microwave energy and propel it," said Rich Garcia,
a spokesman for the project where nearly all of the work is classified.
- Researchers also are exploring ways to block incoming
high-powered microwave weapons. That will require something of a super
surge protector, experts point out, because the blasts are so intense and
brief they can escape detection.
- The former Soviet Union once was deeply involved in exploring
high-powered microwave weapons, but it is now thought Russia is no longer
pursuing them. Other nations believed to be conducting research are China,
Great Britain and France.
- Earlier this month, the widely respected magazine Aviation
Week & Space Technology printed an article stating that "an attack
on Iraq is expected to see the first use of high-power microwave weapons..."
- The New York Post, citing unnamed U.S. military officials,
reported yesterday that a preliminary Iraq battle plan "outlined for
President Bush last week calls for the most extensive use of electronic
and psychological warfare in history -- including secret new electromagnetic
pulse weapons to disable Saddam (Hussein)'s entire command and control