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We're Gonna Wash Those Terrorists Outta Our Hair!
Oops, the only problem is all the non-terrorists in the path of destruction, too. It's in Iraq, and it's the largest dam in the country, and it's in serious danger of imminent collapse, says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Amit R. Paley writes for The Washington Post:

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. "The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability," in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.

At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.

"In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the Army Corps concluded in September 2006, according to the report to be released Tuesday. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."

The effort to prevent a failure of the dam has been complicated by behind-the-scenes wrangling between Iraqi and U.S. officials over the severity of the problem and how much money should be allocated to fix it. The Army Corps has recommended building a second dam downstream as a fail-safe measure, but Iraqi officials have rejected the proposal, arguing that it is unnecessary and too expensive.

The debate has taken place largely out of public view because both Iraqi and U.S. Embassy officials have refused to discuss the details of safety studies -- commissioned by the U.S. government for at least $6 million -- so as not to frighten Iraqi citizens.

And you wonder where your tax dollars are going! Bottomless hole, as usual! But, the good news is, they're pouring grout into the hole...like mad!

Sitting in a picturesque valley 45 miles along the Tigris River north of Mosul, the earthen dam has one fundamental problem: It was built on top of gypsum, which dissolves when it comes into contact with water.

Almost immediately after the dam was completed in the early 1980s, engineers began injecting the dam with grout, a liquefied mixture of cement and other additives. More than 50,000 tons of material have been pumped into the dam since then in a continual effort to prevent the structure, which can hold up to 3 trillion gallons of water, from collapsing.

Posted by aalkon at November 12, 2007 9:17 AM

Comments

It sounds to me like it is time to drain the thing.

Kind of like the whole country.

Posted by: doombuggy at November 12, 2007 5:00 AM

I'm tellin' you guys, that book 'Wild Fire' by Nelson DeMille touches on this very subject, and more besides. Even though it's a fictional story about what could happen, a lot of it is based on research of actual government, um, policies and organizations that the general public isn't given a lot of info about. o_O

Posted by: Flynne at November 12, 2007 5:40 AM

It isn’t much different than building a city 12 feet below sea level surrounded by walls that are set into mud. Yet we did that. Then everyone sat around until the inevitable happened. I predict the same thing will happen in Iraq.

Posted by: rusty wilson at November 12, 2007 7:11 AM

rusty, rusty, you don't understand. It is because we did not give them enough money, you know, a billion dollars a mile just doesn't cut it anymore.

And we did not care enough.

Same with Iraq. It was/is a wealthy country, but they went with Baath socialism, so you get the usual corruption, lack of quality control, and suppression of personal initiative. But at least they don't have to worry about personal responsibility.

Posted by: doombuggy at November 12, 2007 7:37 AM

Damn!

Posted by: Roger at November 12, 2007 9:38 AM

Posted by: Crid at November 12, 2007 9:55 AM

Okay, now, make sure to get your head on straight about this - don't be bipolar about where "the money is going".

Money is wasted when it doesn't do the job it was assigned, like, "dollars --> dam construction". It's a seperate function to determine whether the money should go to fixing American bridges and/or our own dams.

So be careful. Make sure that you notice who gets paid. If it's Americans over there doing the work, then the only real argument is whether they should be doing the same thing in the US. Money that goes to Iraq, then comes back to the US in wages is not lost.

Posted by: Radwaste at November 12, 2007 2:53 PM

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