Behold the Saddamizers, 4,700-pound bunker-busting bombs visited on Baghdad and environs, brought to you by some of the same wild and crazy guys responsible for the Brobdingnagian MOAB. The Mother of All Bombs may be mostly for show, but the bunker-buster’s all action.
Puissant phallus of American power, the Saddamizer was rush-developed during Gulf War I for use against Hussein’s underground bunker with the idea of killing him. Originally fabricated from eight-inch artillery tubes—the better to penetrate into the bottom quarters of the tyrant’s command structure—”bunker-busters” took the stage again in bombing campaigns over Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.
Information is scarce on what they accomplish.
“[The Saddamizer] contributed to bringing Iraq to its knees when deployed early in 1991,” boasts the air force’s Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, which also touts the weapon’s deployment in a record-setting 28 days. “Adversaries could no longer hide in hardened buried bunkers.”
While an entertaining brag, it is not true. Two Saddamizers were dropped on Hussein command bunkers in 1991, structures known by U.S. Central Command to be unoccupied. But what the hey!
In the form of a slightly different model, guided by Global Positioning System and dropped by a B-2, Saddamizers have been implicated in attacks on Baghdad’s subterranean infrastructure, its communications tower, and also your garden-variety deserted palace.
Rattled journalists have reported enormous explosions in the city, possibly attributable to them, 2,000-pound munitions, or—well, who cares when there’s so many big bombs to choose from being flung around?
Fear of the Saddamizer leads to the building of more massive revetments—call it a bunker/ bunker-buster arms race.
A German architect claiming to have designed one of the burgomaster of Baghdad’s coal rooms insisted it could withstand a Hiroshima-sized blast . . . an unprovable claim of which the Fuhrer would have been proud. And a Yugoslav army officer/engineer touted his “impenetrable” Saddam redoubts—with walls anywhere from four to 16 feet thick. Saddamizers are said to be capable of crunching through 20 feet of concrete or 100 feet of earth, whichever comes first.
So who wins? The makers of the Saddamizer. If one can’t do the job, more are always on the way. And the bunker engineers, who pour more concrete. Brothers in arms!
Saddam, paradoxically, not wishing to be Saddamized, is probably not in any underground lair the air force knows of. After all, what’s the point of a glorified air-raid shelter if it just dispenses with the need for having someone else dig a trench and throw your body in it when the shooting’s over?
But there’s no denying the public relations windfall derived worldwide from pictures of Saddamizer dust clouds over Baghdad and detonations that shake cable news cameras like short, sharp earthquakes.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 8, 2003