The Danish Peace Academy

Documentation


Strategic Attack of National

Electrical Systems

THOMAS E. GRIFFITH, JR.

Major, USAF

THESIS PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF

THE SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES,

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA, FOR COMPLETION OF

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS, ACADEMIC YEAR 1992–93.

Air University Press

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

October 1994







Chapter 4

Electrical Power Targeting in the Past






Desert Storm

Because most of the information from Operation Desert Storm is still classified,

it is difficult to make definitive judgments about the impact of attacks

on electrical power, but once again electric power was a high priority target.

The primary purpose in bombing was not to stop production, but rather to

induce strategic paralysis on the leadership in Baghdad.52 The focus of these

attacks was on the military, with the loss of power intended to affect military

facilities such as radar sites and communication facilities.53 In addition to the

military effects, there was also the hope that because electricity touched all

aspects of Iraqi society it might have a psychological impact as well.54

Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq had a very modern, concentrated electrical

power system. The majority of power came from 19 generating stations which

had a capacity of 9,500 megawatts. One unusual feature of the system was

the large amount of reserve capacity available; in 1990 the peak load only

accounted for slightly more than 50 percent of the available capacity.55






There is little doubt, on the other hand, of the impact of the loss of power in

Iraq on the civilian population. The civilian effects from the loss of power

were quite severe, including the loss of power to hospitals, the breakdown of

water purification systems, and damage to sewage systems, which then contaminated

the water supply. One report attributed 70,000 deaths to this

indirect collateral damage caused by a lack of electricity.60






60. The figure of 70,000 is used by William K. [sic] Arkin of Greenpeace International who, by all

accounts, has presented the most unbiased, though critical, review of the strategic bombing in

Iraq, see “Tactical Bombing of Iraqi Forces Outstripped Value of Strategic Hits, Analyst Contends,”

Aviation Week & Space Technology 136, no. 4 (27 January 1992), 62–63. Beth Osborne

Daponte of the US Census Bureau estimated that 100,000 Iraqis died from disease after the

war, see Beth Osborne Daponte, “Iraqi Casualties from the Gulf War and Its Aftermath,”

Defense & Arms Control Studies Program (Cambridge, Mass.: Center for International Studies,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992). Some estimates are given as high as 170,000

casualties. …





Kilde:

http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress/SAAS_Theses/Griffith/griffith.pdf

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