Baghdad: The Urban Sanctuary in Desert Storm?

Thursday, February 27th, 2003

According to Baghdad: The Urban Sanctuary in Desert Storm?, published by the Federation of American Scientists, Baghdad was not carpet-bombed in the Gulf War. In fact, it was hardly bombed at all:

  • In 43 days of war, a mere 330 weapons (244 laser-guided bombs and 86 Tomahawk cruise missiles) were delivered on Baghdad targets (a mere three percent of the total of all smart weapons expended) (see tables 1 and 2).3
  • Ordnance impacting in Baghdad totaled 287 tons (not even one tenth of one percent of the total in the air war).4 Contrast this with Linebacker II, during which aircraft dropped 15,000 tons on Hanoi in 11 days, 50 times the bomb tonnage on Baghdad.
  • There were 18 days and nights when there were no Baghdad strikes at all. In eight additional days and nights, five or fewer weapons fell. There were only 14 nights when more than two individual targets were attacked within the city.
  • Three of Baghdad’s 42 targets — Iraqi air force headquarters, Muthenna airfield, and Ba’ath party headquarters — absorbed 20 percent of the effort.5
  • The most intense “leadership” attack in Baghdad occurred on the last day of the war, when 21 bombs were delivered against the empty Ba’ath party headquarters.
  • Only once, on 7 February, was a suspected presidential target hit with more than two bombs during an attack.

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