Monday, March 15, 2004

Daisy Cutters

The name Daisy Cutters conjures up images of flowers falling from the sky. Far from it, They are the most powerful conventional bombs in the US arsenal.

They weigh 15,000 pounds each and, according to the Federation of American Scientist when detonated 'produces an overpressure of 1000 psi (pounds per square inch) near ground zero, tapering off as distance increases.'

15,000 pounds. That is exactly 6,803 kilogrammes of solid mass.

An average Indian male, I found, weighs approximately 60 kilogrammes. An average WWF wrestler tips the scale at 110 kilogrammes and the all-time great Sumo wrestler Konishiki was two short of 300 kilogrammes when he retired.

A casual web search reveals that the DTC bus that I take every day to office weighs about 6,000 kilogrammes.

I weigh 75 kgs. A daisy cutter is 800 odd kgs heavier than the bus I take every day. Imagine a bus like that being dropped on a mass of men. The sheer weight is bound kill many. The resulting explosion of a cutter, says the FAS, is not expected to leave any trace of life within a radius of one kilometre.

While daisy cutters are the mother of all bombs, the US forces in Iraq also used missiles, laser guided bunker busters and unguided bombs. Much of it in civilian areas, ostensibly, hiding military installations.

Exact figures are not available, but the responsibility for the deaths of at least 100 Iraqis to a more credible 35,000 can be pinned on to the United States and United Kingdom. More precisely at the doors of Mr George W Bush, president of the US, and his chief lackey Mr Tony Blair, prime minister of Britain.

By American military admission itself more than half of the 30,000-strong Republican Guards, which incidentally was 250,000-strong at the beginning of Gulf War I, were wiped out in the Daisy Cutter attacks.

Unofficial and unconfirmed estimates peg the casualty figures at close to 200,000.

While exact figures again do the disappearing act for the amount of bombs and explosives used in this edition of the Gulf war, the proud statement of USAF General Merrill 'Tony' McPeak made at the end of the first edition ought to provide an indication.

'Probably the first time in history that a field army has been defeated by air power. Some 88,500 tonnes of bombs have been dropped in over 109,000 sorties flown by a total of 2,800 fixed-wing aircraft... of the actual bombing missions, about 20,000 sorties were flown against a select list of 300 strategic targets in Iraq and Kuwait; about 5,000 were flown against SCUD missile launchers, and some 30,000 to 50,000 against Iraqi forces in southern Iraq and Kuwait. In all, more than 3,000 bombs (including sea-launched cruise missiles) were dropped on metropolitan Baghdad. The total number of bombs dropped by allied forces in the war comes to about 250,000.'

That is 88,500,000 kilogrammes of bombs dropped on hapless Iraqis. Or approximately the weight of 14,750 DTC buses.

Even after gifting Bush Jr and Blair the luxury of deducting more than a couple of zeros from the above figures, it still doesn't distract one from the massive pogrom both masterminded in Iraq. And I am not even touching Afghanistan, lest overzealous defenders of the New World Order call me Osama bin Laden's Ayman al Zawahari.

Nor am I moved by explanations of how evil and dictatorial Saddam Hussein or Mullah Omar was. Dictatorial they were, and evil too, but then why does the globocop in Bush turn a blind eye to Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, king of Saudi Arabia or our friendly neighbourhood Pervez Musharraf?

I am also not going into explanations that have been wrung dry on why the US is so interested in West Asia or the tattered imperialist doctrine.

All explanations aside, reasonable logic still says if you kill someone you should end up behind bars.

Except, it seems, for the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which has set new standards in bucking the trend.

How else can one explain Bush and Blair getting nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Committee accepting it? The Committee, of course, can hide behind the technicality that anyone can nominate anyone else for the Prize and their acceptance does not mean endorsement of the duo's activities. But it is also true that the Committee has the power to reject nominations.

Imagine the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. Now imagine George W Bush and Tony Blair. Essentially what the wise men of the committee, who have accepted the nominations, are saying goes something like this: 'All factors being equal, both sets of people are the same and deserve the best in the world.'

Forget if weapons of mass destruction have turned out to be thin air, intelligence reports have been proved to be weapons of mass deception and guerilla attacks are on the upswing. The deadly duo, say the Nobelwallahs, have contributed to world peace. Duh?!

Media reports I have read till now indicate that the chances of the two finally making it to the podium are slim. Thank god for small mercies.

It still escapes me though how the duo even made it to the list in the first place. But then surprises, especially the nasty ones, pop up when you expect them the least.

And just to even out the surprises, may I suggest the names of Idi Amin and Pol Pot for lifetime achievement awards?