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Game of Thrones : This is how Dany's forces infiltrate Meereen. The tunnels are hallway sized, with thigh-deep water. The Legend of Dick and Dom has a sewer under the Big Bad 's castle large enough for the good guys to escape through. They do come out the other side covered in, well, what you would expect. Oddly, this has the opposite of Nobody Poops ; there are very few people in the castle, but lots of sewage in the sewer. The New Avengers : "Gnaws". Yes, the title is a pun. New Tricks : Justified in "London Underground". The sewer they end up investigating is actually the Fleet River, which has been paved over an turned into a sewer: the lore associated with the Fleet being central to the case they are investigating.

An episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids is devoted to this, when they go into a sewer to look for a ping-pong ball. Being a show about science and facts, they remark that you always need the proper equipment and that it can be dangerous to go into a sewer. It was actually pretty spacious in there; almost hallway like. Pushing Daisies has the most cheerful and attractive looking sewers ever seen.

At least one character lives in them. On Reaper , Sam, Ben and Sock once had to search the sewers for an escaped soul made of green nuclear-waste goo. The sewers were fairly dank and smelly, but they were easily big enough for three people to walk through. Supernatural : In " Skin ", Sam and Dean pursue their quarry into a sewer large enough for them to stand upright, occasionally walk abreast, and a spacious lair for the shapeshifter.

Large rusty pipes and large amounts of moisture complete the expected look of an ancient underground despite the episode being set in St. Louis, MO. Averted in the later episode " No Exit " in which the sewers are extremely small and dark with the Winchesters barely able to make it through. Mulder visits an absurdly spacious sewer in Newark, N. One plot on the soap opera The Young and the Restless had Sharon believing she had murdered a man in self-defense it later turned out she had been framed , and her ex-con friend Larry offered to help her dispose of the body.

After weeks of seemingly being haunted by the dead man's ghost, Sharon felt she had to see the body again to be sure he was dead. Larry took Sharon and Nikki to where he left it It was shown as being a massive underground tunnel, with room enough for all three of them to walk through it.

Tabletop Games. Paranoia once had an section simply named "Sewerworld! In the pictures that depicted the Troubleshooters exploring, the tunnels were shown as being quite large, approximately 10 yards wide and 10 feet high. The sewers are 20 feet wide and 15 feet high. Module A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity. The sewers under the city of Highport are 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. Module FR1 Waterdeep and the North. The sewers of Waterdeep can be as large as 20 feet across and high enough for humans to walk through them.

Module Avengers in Lankhmar. The sewers of the city of Lankhmar are so tall that characters can walk upright in them with plenty of headroom overhead approximately 8 feet high. They're also about 20 feet wide. The city of Palanthas has sewer tunnels up to 30 feet high. Warhammer is even worse: there are skaven, mutants, and chaos cults. The only solace is that all the shit is on surface. That's right, the sewers are so massive they require law enforcement. It's specifically noted that the sewers under the city of Nuln were made by master Dwarf artisans, and the system includes cathedral ceilings in some of the central tunnels.

Not surprising since they're based on the ones in Paris, but in 7th Sea , the sewer system in the city of Charouse in Montaigne is quite spacious and filled with surprises, including possibly a Stargate. The Paris underground is complicated by the presence of a network of catacombs under the city.

In Shadowrun , the sewers under Denver happen to not only be rather spacious, but also open up to a maze of former subway tunnels and other cloaca, sites which attract communities of ghouls, rogue spirits, coyotes, and the occasional aspiring thaumaturgist. This is actually rather common in Sixth World sprawls. Seattle features the Ork Underground, built on the old Seattle Catacombs, the bus tunnels, old basements, and lots and lots of sewer tunnels.

Justified in the new Manhattan setting, where the city built right over the remains of an earthquake and just sealed off the old subway system in favor of suspended monorails. In SLA Industries , the planet of Mort boasts a generously spacious sewer system, one vast enough to hide hordes of serial killer gangs and other monsters.

Warhammer 40, : The next-to-lowest levels of the Underhive of the Hive Cities resemble this trope. According to Necromunda the very lowest level AKA "the Sump" , is a literal sea of various human and chemical wastes, patrolled by diamond-eyed spiders the size of battle tanks. Justified since it's stated many times that these mega-cities grow by new generations building on the ruins of the old ones.

So those deep levels are actually remains of streets and buildings that have become enclosed on all sides, and therefore seem like tunnel systems. The lower decks of the Imperium's miles-long starships are about a fifty-fifty mix of Absurdly Spacious Sewer and Eternal Engine.

Vampire: The Masquerade has sewers spacious enough so clans of vampires can live in them, along with libraries. So not only are they spacious, but dry. Given that said vampires have covertly directed human affairs for thousands of years, one might think this trope justified there since one of the vampire clans prefers living in them.

Chaosium 's Thieves World boxed set said that Sanctuary's sewers were large enough for armed troops to pass through them. In the Downbelow beneath Star City the sewer tunnels are up to 4 meters high and wide. The sewers of New York are described as being up to 30 feet 10 yards across. A necessity on Rocket Age 's Mars, not to simply remove sewage, but mainly to provide somewhere to sweep the sheer amount of sand that blows into the streets. The one city that didn't have working sewers required gigantic radium-powered fans to keep the streets clear. Pathfinder : The city of Korvosa has an extensive sewer system home to criminals and thugs, the city's poor and homeless, Giant Spiders , giant rats , bands of goblins , Sewer Gators , and garbage-eating monsters known as otyughs — these last are usually kept in closed-off pits to dispose of the city's garbage, but often escape their pits into the wider sewers and occasionally burst through the surface and into the streets of the city proper.

Gamma World adventure "Evansburgh" in Polyhedron magazine The title town has sewers are two meters high by three meters wide. The Player Characters must explore them while searching for kidnapped children. In Guys and Dolls , the New York sewers have enough room for a full dance number! The sewers in Urinetown are large enough to hold the rebel "base". And one song with a full dance section. As Urinetown is essentially a Troperiffic pastiche of musical theater, this is hardly surprising. Video Games. A lot of video games have this kind of level.

For a more comprehensive list, look here. Armored Core is a fairly egregious example: the sewers aren't just human sized, they are in fact mech sized. Combine this with the fact that the mechs in Armored Core are shown to be at least two stories tall, and that these sewers are spacious in relation to the ACs themselves , and these are some very spacious sewers.

Assassin's Creed : Altair's Chronicles features repeated trips through sewers with moving platforms and water that gushes out of pipes at repeated intervals for no apparent reason. In true Batman fashion, Batman: Arkham Asylum reveals a massive complex of catacombs and sewer lines hidden in the deep caves of Arkham Island, one such system housing Killer Croc. Sure explains why Arkham is such a Cardboard Prison. Betrayal at Krondor , where the sewers under Krondor were so large that they had 2 whole floors, and several different gangs all living and operating out of them.

In Beyond Oasis , the sewer-like area underneath the Castle. This is explained as being the storage place for an ancient power, which Silver Armlet sends you down to get. Or at least the bonus areas, which are accessed by flushing yourself down a toilet. The tutorial level of zOMG features this with a lampshade hanging in the in-game manual. Surprisingly, the game never goes for the obvious YouTube Poop joke.

City of Heroes : Paragon City has a huge sewer system choked with all kinds of villains mutated cultist gangs, decidedly amoral surgeons and their scientifically animated zombies , just for starters Even generic missions have an instanced sewer map for this trope. The Rogue Isles, in City of Villains , have their fair share as well. Averted in the Praetorian Underground from the Going Rogue expansion — this insanely spacious tunnel system complete with faction bases and offering an alternate way of getting from zone to zone fast is not a sewer, but an abandoned subway network.

While Crash Bandicoot 2 had cramped sewers with spacious portions, Crash Team Racing takes the cake with pipes at least ten storeys tall that are raced in. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure , borrowing heavily from Crash 2 , also has a few levels of this type. One sewer junction has a bioweapons laboratory built into it. The prequel, Human Revolution , continues this trend, to the point where hobos, street gangs and conspirators, make routine use of the sewers of Detroit and Hengsha. While the lack of reaction to the harsh environment might be explainable by Adam being augmented, the fact that this is supposed to be the distant future of major metropolises still makes it patently absurd.

The very first dungeon in Dark Chronicle is the sewers of the hero's hometown.

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While it is an easy level to blow through in less than an hour, it's notorious for being THE most frustrating area in the game to play the golfing minigame Spheda, due to the small gutters along the walls that like to trap your "ball". Though perhaps cramped by video game standards, Diablo II has several underground areas that are far roomier than might be reasonably expected. Act 2 under the desert town and Act 3 beneath the jungle cities are two prominent sewer examples justified in both; deserts get huge flash floods at times that can sweep away the sand a town is built on, and rainforest get rain all the time and need the sewers.

And although not technically a sewer, the chapel basement of the original Diablo is absurdly larger than the building itself. Distorted Travesty dares to place its giant sewer Inside a train! Dishonored has you traversing through a few of these. All of them are incredibly filthy, with rats and corpses littered about, and are big enough to walk and swim through.

Dwarf Fortress features one under each and every city despite its medieval fantasy setting. However, parts of it are usually completely filled with water and do not have a sidewalk. The EarthBound one notably averts the "not walking through sewage thing" and for some reason, even has little ladders leading into the muck. The Elder Scrolls series has several Justified examples: In Morrowind , the sewers of Vivec are quite spacious with walkways on the sides and a deep waterway in the middle.

Justified, since Vivec is a City of Canals , the sewers double as flood controls and the extra space is needed. In the Tribunal expansion, the sewers of Mournhold are even more spacious. Justified once again, as the sewers are actually part of the original destroyed city which the current city was build over. Justified in Oblivion. The Imperial City has insanely massive sewers, but it is explained in the in-game literature that the whole infrastructure is an abandoned Ayleid city, so the sewers apparently have just lost their former purpose.

In Skyrim , the Thieves Guild operate out of a spacious sewer in Riften known as "The Ratways", though parts of it appear to have been originally built as underground warehouses and basements, which would justify some of it. While Eternal Sonata is notable for having a sewer in which there is thriving plant-life. The plant life actually made sense in context since the sewers were also absurdly well-lit for no apparent reason. Eye of the Beholder takes place, technically, in the sewers of Waterdeep. Though after the first levels, the sewer-ish feel is replaced by dwarven tunnels, drow mazes, thri-kreen hives and an underground palace.

In the post-apocalypse Fallout universe entire societies grow and thrive in the sewers because they are one of the few structures left that have all their walls and lots of space to move around in. It is in fact a lot safer than living on the surface as the only gang there is weak and there are little to no animals attacking.

A recurring trope in the Final Fantasy series First appeared in Final Fantasy II as the Bafsk Sewers, which housed the hangar where the Dreadnought , one of the largest airships in the series, was being built. Talk about absurdly spacious While never stated to be a sewer, Final Fantasy X 's Via Purifico certainly resembles one, a watery, labyrinthine and supposedly inescapable dungeon underneath Bevelle.

Final Fantasy XII 's Garamsythe Waterway is a labyrinthine series of tunnels that are at least thirty-feet tall and much wider. Some rooms are large enough to fit basketball courts, and these naturally, are the sites of boss battles. This is, however, heavily implied to be an actual waterway , designed for the purpose of bringing water into the desert city of Rabanastre. Sewer areas in Glider PRO are just as tall as other kinds of rooms. Subverted in Half-Life 2. Despite taking place 20 Minutes into the Future , much of the sewer system is horribly cramped and dangerous and extremely difficult to maneuver through.

The Haven City sewers are large enough that in Jak X they can use them as race tracks. Horrible, unpredictable, very difficult race tracks. Jet Set Radio Future features a positively palatial sewer system including vertical shafts several stories tall. Knights of the Old Republic has one of these when you're searching for Zaalbar, the resident wookie. It's large enough to hide a Rancor in! In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater , Snake escapes Groznyj Grad the first time, after being captured, by tricking the guard into opening his cell, sneaking to a manhole in the base, and running through a sewer leading to an Inevitable Waterfall where he is confronted by Ocelot and the Ocelot Unit.

Level 3 of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place in a huge, spacious sewer in downtown Guadalajara, Mexico — that sewer could be the actual San Juan de Dios river, which in real life is encased within a huge sewer under the Independencia Avenue. The Last Story has the party exploring several unexpectedly large underground environments, one of which is the sewers under Lazulis Island, which are apparently large enough to shelter the entire population plus leave plenty of dank monster filled corridors for our heroes to explore. The Last Remnant has at least one example of this in the Nagapur Aqueducts, it is so spacious that Giants live down there.

The Marketplace in Monsters, Inc. Postal 2 has a hidden one. It leads to a hidden Taliban base containing nukes. Shadows of the Empire has a level where you have to infiltrate the Big Bad 's palace through the sewers. There are some sections that are easily bigger than a football field. Radiata Stories has Jack, the player character, traverse the sewers underneath his guild in a couple of missions, which also double as The Maze. Like Earthbound , the game averts the whole "not actually stepping in sewage" deal, to Jack's horror.

Jack : Gross, it's in my shoes! In the Narbonic Director's Commentary, Shaennon Garrity openly admits that the design of Helen's sewer-based underground lab comes entirely from the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. In Girl Genius , the sewers of Sturmhalten are not only large enough to walk around in, they're large enough to support a deeply alarming ecosystem. Sturmhalten is home to at least two Sparks, with it being implied that they're just the most recent crop. Once this is realized, the ecosystem — and the sewer system itself — starts to make sense. And besides that, the latest ruler of Sturmhalten had an alliance of convenience with the Geisterdamen — he was hiding them in a level under the main sewers.

If there wasn't enough room for them to trek through and haul their Lady's equipment around with them, he would've redesigned things so that there would be. Although the comments from the two guides rather implies that the sewers have always been that way. Also, Sturmhalten is an old European town, and nothing in the series to date suggests that any of the European towns have modernized their sewer systems, although considering that said modernization would probably come at the hands of a Spark That's not unique.

But deys not all as extensive as under Mechanicsburg. Or else Europa would collapse after a hard rain. Paris has a sewer system that's more like an underground country — albeit a small one, given that the palaces of two particular warring factions are only two hundred meters apart. Just because someplace is spacious doesn't mean it can't be crowded. The sewers beneath Brassmoon City in Goblins have sculptures The sewer outlets are absurdly small compared the size of the tunnels inside, but the goblins do in fact complain about the smell and pass on eating the foodstuffs that were in their bags when they trudged through the sewage.

The sewage even smells like flowers, and the various gross things living down there are all very friendly and polite. The Dimension of Lame is just that sort of place. Aversion: The Council team must navigate a proper storm drain that nominally catches rainwater from a nullah in the first story arc of Elf Blood. The sewers of Rio in Vinigortonio are large enough to sail a boat down. Lampshaded by the characters Jose Carlos: I had no idea sewers were so large!! Vinicius: You'd be surprised at how much they hide from us.

Web Original. Averted hard in Aventures where they had to leave a castle by the sewer. They had to walk in line, barely had the place to move, and fighting a single spider, which would have been normally easy, proved extremely hard. Spoony has expressed a hatred of sewer levels in videogames. He was especially disgusted by the game that's all sewer levels. A sanitary sewer like this appears on the island used for version two of Survival of the Fittest , spanning the entire island underground , but from the vague descriptions it's implied that people can only just barely move across the walkways on the sides, and that otherwise it's fairly cramped.

The sewers of The Town are also infamously large, spacious and full of random monsters including rat shaped robots and Xenomorphs. In the story "Boston Brawl" in the Whateley Universe , the Boston sewers are big enough to get lost in. Phase gets stuck in the pitch dark, knee-deep in.. Then she gets attacked by hundreds of The Necromancer's zombies. In the pitch dark. In "Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again", Merry spends a lot of time in the city sewer to try and keep out of sight - and then ends up going deep enough that she finds a man-made cavern with a very powerful computer hidden inside.

Or possibly a subversion thereof, since Palm was deliberately going for humanity-unfriendly AI. These have appeared in several Global Guardians stories, but they are always storm drains and flood-control tunnels, old abandoned subway lines, and other tunnels people were meant to access rather than sanitary lines. Partially subverted in Catacombs of New York. The sewers there are approximately the size that the real sewers of New York are, until you get to the buried underground Indian settlement. In Mother of Learning , many town sewers are made out of sealed-off parts of The Dungeon, an enormous underground maze of tunnels.

The Scavengers of Next Breed of Thief have their base in such a sewer system. In Curveball , Farraday City 's sewers were apparently built specifically for people to travel through — complete with secret rooms for the travelers to hole up in. Later on, we find out that the water that flows through them during a storm forms a magic rune the size of the entire city.

The Lower Sewers of Overlord Ascendant are spacious and expansive, filled with monsters. Of course, they were made that way deliberately. Western Animation. Avatar: The Last Airbender : When the gang needs a way to sneak into the newly-occupied Omashu, Aang shows them a secret way through the sewers, which is large enough to hold nearly the entire population of the city.

More realistic than most, given it's full of sticky smelly goop that Aang and Katara are able to bend away from them, but that Sokka gets covered in - and gets a little too closely acquainted with some of its denizens as a result. Several villains in Batman: The Animated Series based themselves in the sewers, requiring Batman to go there in search of them, like the Sewer King and his legion of children, and Killer Croc.

The Penguin also briefly had a hideout in one, likely referencing Batman Returns. Likewise, Batman Beyond ventured into a downright cavernous sewer system in at least one episode. The sewers in Batman: Gotham Knight are just effin' enormous, one area seems to be several stories tall. Stock Animation in Code Lyoko often has the heroes skateboarding through some very spacious sewers. Then again, the series is French Since the water is flowing directly into the river, it is more of a storm drain tunnel than a sewer. Danny Phantom had one episode where the sewer system was big enough to support one ghost boy, his currently possessed love interest, and thousands and thousands of big ass vines gunning towards him.

Has some incredibly clean water, too. Detentionaire has a few, under the school, Green Apple Splat factory, and Brandy's condo. Some parts of them are a little more high tech than most sewers, though. Huey, Dewey and Louie pursue it through the storm sewer system. The drain ends up going into the Duckburg reservoir and directly into the city water supply. In season 9's "Gone Flushin'" Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda, all in fish form have to escape the sewers, which would be realistically big if you were the size of a goldfish.

Notably averted in The Shawshank Redemption parody, where Peter barely squeezes through a half mile of dirty sewage escaping. One character Roddy McStew notes they're called "crud vapors" in his native Scotland. In The Fruitties episode "Voyage to Paris", Roly and a couple of other Fruitties traverse an unrealistically large sewer, where they encounter Monkus the Mad Scientist monkey. Futurama really played with this one in a few episodes. New New York's sewers are home to a community of mutants, who mention off-hand that they have a sub-sewer system home to a community of sub-mutants, according to sub-urban legend.

Reality Ensues , however, when the Planet Express crew gets lost down there and Fry says that the only way out is through In an episode of Hey Arnold! He descends into the sewer to retrieve it only to find it has been taken by the "Sewer King," a man who lives in the sewer and claims sovereignty over it. Jimmy Two-Shoes : The sewers of Miseryville are apparently big enough to house a secret lab for the resident Mad Scientist.

This seems to be the deal with the sewers of Mellowbrook on Kick Buttowski as Kick manages to operate them quite well, even with Kendall riding with him on his skateboard. They also appear to host crocodiles or alligators. Kim Possible has done the sewer gig more than once, even twenty years into a dystopian future. In their defense, they actually had to walk through some of the sewer fluid.

Arlen sewers in King of the Hill episode "Serpunt" is big enough to walk on when Dale and Hank hunt down the escaped snake. In Milo Murphy's Law , Milo's familiarity with his town's sewer system, where he frequently ends up on his way to school, often comes in handy for himself and his friends. Bogus : The hideout of the weasel mobsters in the first act of the episode " Bogus Private Eye " is a sewer large enough to conceal all of the smuggled goods that they've been stealing from available sources.

In the first act of another episode, Bogus, Brattus, Ratty, and Mole end up in another sewer, with Ratty and Mole meeting up with a group of biker rats after Ratty accidentally takes out their previous leader, while Bogus and Brattus are rowing down another area of the sewer, before they get eaten by an alligator. During the song " Subterranean Crocodile Apprehension Expedition ", the usual gang along with Irving and the Fireside Girls, all of them riding a total of 4 jet-skis; try to chase Candace and a crocodile, both in an airboat; doing a race on the sewer rivers that include several tunnels, water curves, crossings and sidewalks wider than a truck.

It even has a ladder up to the subway stations and the subway railway itself. Mainframe in ReBoot was shown to have sewers in one episode. Why digital lifeforms require them is a mystery. They're for when someone calls flush ; The Simpsons episode " Two Bad Neighbors " has walkable sewers running perpendicular to the street when Bart and Homer attempt to sneak into Bush's house.

In Sonic Underground , the only way to get very deep into Dr. Robotnik's empire was in Garrison to walk in when searching for Mr. Hankey in " Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls " Obviously, the presence of a magical talking piece of crap means the "no poop" rule is averted. Even ignoring Mr. Hankey, the show is one of very few works to acknowledge the disgusting nature of sewers in general.

In one gag, Cartman sneezes on Kyle, who complains that sneezing on others is gross and unsanitary. Cartman responds, "oh, sorry, you wouldn't want to get exposed to germs while you're knee-deep in human feces. Later, Spider-Man traps the Rhino in a steam-tunnel created from ruptured sewer pipes. Quarters are tighter, but the hulking Rhino can still maneuver relatively freely.

Half the Sinister Six pursue a fleeing Spidey through these sewers as well. SpongeBob SquarePants has the episode "Sewers of Bikini Bottom" where SpongeBob and Squidward are forced to enter the sewers through the toilet to retrieve the safe for the Krabby Patty formula after it gets flushed down the toilet. They also use them as an escape route when the Empire ambushes said meeting. There's no water thanks to Imperial rationing, but they still smell terrible. In season 4, the sewers reappear, and turn out to connect Lothal City with other municipalities like Jhothal.

The planet's rebels use them as passageways during the increased Imperial occupation. The sewer in the Talespin episode, "Bringing Down Babyface" is just barely big enough for Baloo to fly his plane, the Sea Duck through. He said that there was no military installation or activity in the immediate area, or any obvious military targets such as a bridge, telecommunications tower or anti-aircraft artillery.

The warehouses were steel-framed, zinc-covered buildings, the main storage area for Diwaniyya's food. The Sudanese saw the warehouses three days after they were bombed. He said that two of the buildings had sustained direct hits, collapsing the walls and half of the roofs; bomb craters some 15 meters 50 feet in diameter were inside each of the buildings, suggesting that the structures may have been hit with 2,pound bombs.

He saw large quantities of sugar, rice, flour and milk in the rubble. Civilians were not killed or injured during this bombing, he said, but local food prices subsequently rose, presumably due to shortages. Iraq reported on February 19 that a flour mill had been attacked in what it described as the heaviest allied bombing raids to date. Two Pakistani workers who lived in Najaf in southern Iraq and regularly traveled on Fridays to nearby Hilla, told Middle East Watch that they saw a food warehouse in Hilla that had been completely destroyed. They saw rice and other foodstuffs inside the collapsed structure, but they did not know the date it was bombed.

On the outskirts of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, a large zinc-roofed government food- storage warehouse, the General Establishment for Food, was bombed on or about February 6, according to a year-old Yemeni student who had lived in Basra for 18 months while studying at the Academy of Marine Sciences. He lived about four kilometers from the warehouse and visited it two days after it was bombed.

He said the building had been completely burned; he saw charred food, cardboard food boxes and fork lifts inside the structure, which was surrounded by a fence. He said that Basra was usually bombed between 8 pm and 4 am and that the destruction was widespread. Rice and bread were scarce, food was rationed and there was little water in the city; he left for Baghdad on February 9. Report of Attack on Dairy Products Plant A Sudanese truck driver, 28, who had lived in Iraq for over two and a half years, told MEW that a new dairy factory, 64 some 30 kilometers north of Basra, had been bombed about two weeks after thewar began.

A poultry-raising farm with three medium-sized sheds was meters to a kilometer away. The Sudanese was driving past the building at about 9 am and saw fire and smoke pouring from the structure. However, he said he did not hear any explosions or see any dead or injured civilians near the site. All that remained of the building were the beams, which were still standing; delivery trucks parked nearby had not been damaged. The Sudanese was familiar with the plant through other Sudanese who worked there as drivers. Iraqi army camps with anti-aircraft artillery emplacements, located about a kilometer away, were the nearest unambiguous military target known to be in the vicinity.

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Reports of Attacks on Water-Treatment Facilities During a visit to Basra in May, journalist Ed Vulliamy reported that water-treatment plants in Iraq's second-largest city had been bombed, and that the allies targeted both the transformers and the turbines of these facilities. Agricultural Sector Facilities: Reports of Attacks and Effects Despite Iraq's dependence on both imported wheat and rice for 82 percent of total consumption, these and other grains, such as barley and corn, were also planted and harvested locally.

Wheat is planted from November to mid-December and harvested from May to mid-June. For the winter wheat planting, farmers were asked to submit their applications for seeds to local Agriculture Ministry offices beginning in mid-September. The Congressional Research Service CRS reported that flour milling facilities and grain storage warehouses were destroyed during the air war, and predicted that the grain harvest would suffer from the effects of the war:. Even if the wheat yield is substantially increased, Iraq will have trouble harvesting and delivering it Moreover, if Iraq does manage to harvest the crop, the country could face problems in milling and storing it because of the incidental bombings of flour milling facilities and grain storage warehouses.

United Nations representatives who visited Iraq in March reached a similar conclusion:. The team warned that if the grain harvest fails or falls short, "widespread starvation conditions become a real possibility. Iraq's agricultural sector relied on imported vegetable seeds. During the March visit, the U. The U. The team inspected the center and said that the bombing had destroyed all stocks of vaccines at the complex.

By March , Iraq was judged to be in urgent need of imported seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, veterinary drugs, and agricultural machinery, equipment and spare parts. One physician who participated in the Arab American Medical Association delegation to Iraq in May recorded in her notes that there was "a shortage of essential food items throughout Iraq.

Legal Standards and Unanswered Questions Civilian objects may not be attacked. Allied attacks on food- and agriculture-related facilities in Iraq raise serious questions about whether the destruction of these objects was a legitimate military objective under the rules of war or whether the objects were entitled to special protection deriving from the customary law principle that starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited, a principle which the United States accepts see Chapter One.

In the first instance, since these appear to have been civilian facilities, they were improper targets for attack. In addition, Article 54 of Protocol I states that attacks on such objects are prohibited if the purpose of the attacks is to deny the "sustenance value" of these objects "to the civilian population The only exception to the rule set forth in Article 54 is if the objects are used "as sustenance solely for the members of [an adverse Party's] armed forces" or " in direct support of military action.

Before the war, U. Security Council sanctions dramatically reduced the supply of imported food staples in Iraq and led to government-imposed rationing. There is a heavy burden on the allied military forces in respect to the bombing of food warehouses and other food- and agriculture-related facilities under these circumstances. In each case, the allies should demonstrate that these objects served exclusively the Iraqi military or, alternatively, that they directly supported military action.

If this is claimed, what was the information supporting such conclusions, and what steps were taken, as required, to ensure the accuracy of the information? Moreover, even if true, the allies would need to demonstrate that the destruction of these facilities could not be expected to leave the civilian population with "such inadequate food What information supported any conclusions reached?

If allied planners knowingly targeted civilian food production, processing and supply facilities with the specific purpose of denying their use to the civilian population, such an attack would violate the specific protections accorded to such objects by customary law. Particularly in light of the humanitarian principles underlying this rule, Middle East Watch believes that the allied military forces should explain their attacks on these objects.

Regarding reports of attacks on water-treatment facilities, the questions that must be answered by the allied forces are the following:. If so, what informationwas available to allied planners that such facilities were serving a military purpose and that their destruction would yield a definite military advantage? More to the point, what information was available that these facilities were used either solely by the Iraqi armed forces or directly in support of Iraqi military action?

What alternative sources of potable drinking water were believed to be available to Iraqi civilians at the time? The targeting and destruction of Iraq's electricity-generating plants, including four of the country's five hydro-electric facilities, was little-discussed and never questioned during the war.

To Middle East Watch's knowledge, Pentagon and Bush Administration officials never publicly offered a justification during the war for attacking and crippling most of Iraq's electrical power system -- destruction which continues to have devastating consequences for the civilian population. After the war, in its July report, the Pentagon states that attacks on "electricity production facilities that power military and military-related industrial systems" were related to the goal of isolating and incapacitating the Iraqi regime.

It was recognized at the outset that this campaign would cause some unavoidable hardships for the Iraqi populace. It was impossible, for example, to destroy the electrical power supply for Iraqi command and control facilities or chemical weapons factories, yet leave untouched thatportion of the electricity supplied to the general populace. Still, the report asserts that the bombing campaign was intended to "leave most of the basic economic infrastructure of the country intact" 82 and does not reveal beyond the above brief statement any weighing of the military advantage of these attacks against the cost to the Iraqi civilian population of the near-total crippling of the country's electrical power system.

As a modern, electricity-dependent country, Iraq was reliant on electrical power for essential services such as water purification and distribution, sewage removal and treatment, the operation of hospitals and medical laboratories, and agricultural production. Iraq's electricity consumption had quadrupled between and , and rural electrification projects brought electricity to 7, villages throughout the country during this year period. The report of a U. Power output and refineries' production is negligible".

A Harvard University group that visited Iraq for nine days in April and May found that electricity was supplied at only 23 percent of the pre-war level, up from a mere 3 percent to 4 percent immediately after the war. One member of a delegation from the Arab American Medical Association who traveled to Iraq in May reported to Middle East Watch that while "electricity runs in most of the major cities for approximately hours a day," the situation remained "dismal" in the provinces. The group traveled to southern Iraq on May 11 and found that in Karbala, electricity had been restored for only several hours daily; in Najaf, electricity also had not been restored and Saddam Hospital was operating with a generator that provided electricity for two hours in the morning and one hour in the evening, due to severe shortages of kerosene for the generator.

Hydro-electric generating plants were attacked by the allies. Investigators from Harvard University reported that four of the country's five dams were attacked; two in the first days of the war and two others in early February, with the level of damage at each facility ranging from 75 to percent. Looking up at the dam from the south, he saw a three- to four-foot wide hole on the left part of the dam's main wall. Located beneath this section of the wall are the electricity-supplying generators.

Public Statements Information released by the U. Air Force after the war indicates that electrical power facilities in Baghdad and northern Iraq were targets identified for attack on the first day of the war. The electricity-generating system in occupied Kuwait, in contrast, was spared the broad attacks executed by the allies in Iraq, despite the apparent use of electricity there to support Iraq's military efforts. In fact, despite reports of some damaged electrical-generating facilities, electricity generally wasavailable in Kuwait throughout Operation Desert Storm until 3 am Kuwait time on February 24, the opening hours of the ground war.

Schwarzkopf reported at a briefing on January 30 that in less than two weeks of bombardment that allies had rendered 25 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities "completely inoperative" and an additional 50 percent "degraded. Schwarzkopf stated that civilian needs were a consideration in limiting the scope of the destruction:.

I think I should point out right here that we never had any intention of destroying all of Iraqi electrical power. Because of our interest in making sure that civilians did not suffer unduly, we felt we had to leave some of the electrical power in effect, and we've done that. When asked if the balance of Iraq's power stations would be attacked, Gen. Schwarzkopf replied: "That's a decision that lies in the hands of the President of the United States. But, contrary to Gen. Schwarzkopf's words, civilians did suffer unduly as electrical power to most of the country was severed during the early allied attacks.

Middle East Watch interviewed former residents of Iraq who described the lack of electricity throughout Iraq, from north to south, soon after the war began:. The family stayed with the relatives of Iraqi neighbors in a small house in Dawaya. But, the woman reported, the villagers had no electricity because of the bombing and carried water from the river to their homes, boiling it before drinking it.

Theysaid they helped bring water to civilians in the village from a water-purification plant they had built six months previously for their own use. He also saw people collecting water from puddles in the roads, and others drawing water from the river running through the city. Effects of Allied Attacks on the Electrical System The immediate and longer-term consequences of denying almost the entire civilian population of an energy-dependent country an essential service such as electricity are grave indeed and should have been readily anticipated by the U.

Almost a half-century ago, the consequences for civilian health of bomb damage of water, sewer and refuse disposal facilities in Germany and Japan during World War II was documented in meticulous detail in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Secretary of War on November 3, Among its numerous conclusions, the Survey found that there was a "reliable and striking" correlation between the disruption of public utilities and the willingness of the German population to accept unconditional surrender.

In any event, the dread of diseaseand the hardships imposed by the lack of sanitary facilities were bound to have a demoralizing effect upon the civilian population. Similar effects have been documented following the allied bombardment of Iraq. The United Nations reported that with the destruction of electricity-generating facilities and oil refining and storage plants, "all electrically operated installations have ceased to function.

The destruction of the electrical power generating plants rendered water treatment plants inoperable, except if diesel generators were available. The water was first treated at seven plants operated by electricity, then each plant would pump water into a 6, kilometer system of pipes.

The team noted that conditions in Baghdad were similar to those in other areas of the country, but that the worst conditions were in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. The impediments to water treatment created by the destruction of the electrical system were compounded by the destruction of the factories that had produced the chemicals used to purify water, including chlorine. The lack of fuel and spare parts for the generators caused the pipes to back up, flooding houses with raw sewage; sewage also overflowed at the pumping stations in large pools.

An Indian civil engineer who had been working in Basra on the construction of a new sewage treatment facility told Middle East Watch that the city's sewage system was not functioning because of the lack of electricity. He explained that sewage pipes in Basra are located 1. The engineer, who was evacuated from Basra on February 4, said that sewage was seeping out of houses and accumulating in the streets. An ICRC team of medical and sanitation specialists visited the southern cities of Nasiriyah, Basra, Amarah, Karbala and Najaf beginning on March 21, as part of an assessment of humanitarian needs in Iraqi cities.

The ICRC reported that the most urgent problem was inadequate and unsafe water supplies. Iraq's agricultural sector, which was highly mechanized and relied on pumped-water irrigation, felt the impact of the lack of electricity and fuel. The attacks also disabled irrigation, as well as harvesting and food distribution systems. Food, grain and seed warehouses and flour mills were reportedly bombed by allied forces, creating additional disruptions.

And, without electricity, food requiring refrigeration could no longer be stored. Two physicians from Doctors Without Borders, a private voluntary organization based in France, visited Iraq for six days in March and reported that the "lack of energy is paralyzing the whole health care system. They found the facilities operating at 5 to 10 percent of capacity, treating only emergency case; vaccines had deteriorated from lack of refrigeration, medication and other supplies were scant, and medical laboratories could not function. The ICRC also identified the need to provide support and medical supplies for hospital and dispensaries in southern Iraq as another priority.

A delegation of 15 physicians representing the Arab American Medical Association and International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War Germany traveled to Iraq for six days in May and found similar conditions in the hospitals they visited in nine cities throughout the country. The director of al-Qadisiyya Hospital in Baghdad, a bed facility serving the low-income Saddam City suburb, reported that at the time of the group's visit an average of 20 children were dying a day fromsevere gastroenteritis.

At al-Husseini Hospital in Karbala, in southern Iraq, the group saw many children with severe malnutrition; doctors at the hospital reported that the number of gastroenteritis cases "increased by three to four times the numbers usually encountered in the summer. The group found that the the effects of the war, exacerbated by shortages attributable to the U.

Interviewed physicians in the various hospitals conveyed a clear impression of a significantly increased morbidity for their patients, both in terms of severity of illness and length of stay in the hospital. Further, there was a clear negative impact of malnutrition on the morbidity of children with gastroenteritis. Investigators from Harvard University visited hospitals and other health facilities in major cities throughout Iraq from April 28 to May 6. Based on their research, the group projected that a minimum of , children under the age of five would die in the coming year -- from gastroenteritis, cholera, typhoid and malnutrition -- as a result of thedelayed effects of the Gulf crisis and war.

These projections are conservative. In all probability, the actual number of deaths of children under five will be much higher. While children under five were the focus of this study, a large increase in deaths among the rest of the population is also likely. The immediate cause of death in most cases will be water-borne infectious disease in combination with severe malnutrition The incidence of water-borne diseases increased suddenly and strikingly during the early months of as a result of the destruction of electrical generating plants in the Gulf War and the consequent failure of water purification and sewage treatment systems.

The Harvard team found that the public-health crisis was exacerbated by the lack of public utilities and medical supplies at health facilities around the country:. Hospitals and community health centers also lack reliable clean water, sewage disposal, and electrical power. There is not enough electricity for operating theaters, diagnostic facilities, sterile procedures, and laboratory equipment. Staff at every health facility visited reported severe shortages of anesthestic agents, antibiotics, intravenous fluids, infant formula, needles, syringes, and bandages. Existing stores of heat-sensitive vaccines and medicines have been depleted by the loss of electrical power for refrigeration.

Legal Standards and Unanswered Questions In less than two weeks of bombardment, 25 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating capacity was destroyed by the allies and an additional 50 percent "degraded. Schwarzkopf's comment at that time that "we never had any intention of destroying all of Iraqi electrical power" so that "civilians did not suffer unduly" --the bombing of the electrical system continued. But Dominique Dufour, the head of a team of 90 specialists sent to Iraq by the ICRC, said in June: "I am absolutely sure that no Pentagon planner calculated the impact bombing the electrical system would have on pure drinking water supplies for weeks to come, and the snowball effect of this on public health.

By the time the air war was over, Iraq was left with less than five percent of its pre-war electrical-generating capacity. This resulted in severe deprivation of clean water and sewage removal for the civilian population and paralyzed the country's entire health care system, exceeding the deprivations experienced by German civilians as a result of allied bombing during World War II. Middle East Watch recognizes that the injunction against starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare does not prohibit incidental distress to civilians as a result of attacks against legitimate military targets.

Yet, it is difficult to reconcile the devastation of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities with the humanitarian concerns underlying this legal injunction. Insofar as the civilian population is concerned, it makes little or no difference whether a drinking water facility is attacked and destroyed, or is made inoperable by the destruction of the electrical plan supplying it power. In either case, civilians suffer the same effects -- they are denied the use of a public utility indispensable for their survival.

This destruction is all the more problematic given the allied air forces' supremacy and control of the skies, which enabled them to attack with virtual impunity any production or communication facility supporting Iraq's military effort. The apparent justification for attacking almost the entire electrical system in Iraq was that the system functioned as an integrated grid, meaning that power could be shifted countrywide, including to military functions such as command-and-control centers and weapons-manufacturing facilities.

But these key military targets were attacked in the opening days of the war. The direct attacks by the allies on these military targets should have obviated the need simultaneously to destroy the fixed power sources thought to have formerly supplied them. If these and other purely military targets could be attacked at will, then arguably the principle of humanity would make the wholesale destruction of Iraq's electrical-generating capability superfluous to the accomplishment of legitimate military purposes. There is also reason to question whether the attacks on the electrical system ever affected Iraq's key military command-and-control facilities.

During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Iraq's power stations were "a special target of the Iranian air force from the outset of the war, and severe shortages of electricity became common. Long after electricity was no longer available in Baghdad, the location of the Iraqi military's functioning command-and-control facilities continued to elude the allies.

As early as January 23, Gen. Colin Powell acknowledged that the Iraqi military was "very good" at command-and-control systems:. They have redundant systems, resilient systems, they have work-arounds, they have alternatives, and they are still able to command their forces The Pentagon's July report provided additional information about the redundancy and dispersal of Iraq's military communications system:. This multilayered system included many built-in backups. If one layer were disrupted, other layers would theoretically take up the slack. In addition to a "civil" telephone system which carried more than half of the military's telecommunications, there was a microwave system, and a high-capacity fiber-optics network.

Much of this system was buried or dispersed. During the war, it was reported that the Pentagon had apparent knowledge that Iraq's military communications system relied on special underground cables or radio transmissions using sophisticated "spread spectrum" technology, making jamming and interception difficult. Powell's admission that Iraq's military command used redundant systems and alternative generators to supply power to these sophisticated command-and-control systems, coupled with the Pentagon's release of additional information after the war, gives less significance that would ordinarily be the case to the military advantages for destroying virtually the entire electrical system when weighed against the predictably severe consequences for Iraq's civilian population.

Air Force acknowledges that a legitimate military target may not be attacked if its destruction is expected to cause excessive injury or damage to civilians and civilian objects:. Attacks are not prohibited against military objectives even though incidental injury or damage to civilians will occur, but such incidental injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects must not be excessive when compared to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

Careful balancing of interests is required between the potential military advantage and the degree of incidental injury or damage in order to preclude situations raising issues of indiscriminate attacks violating general civilian protections. The term "concrete and direct military advantage" -- the measure of what should be weighed against civilian cost -- sets a high standard, higher than the term "definite military advantage" used to define a military objective. Middle East Watch believes the allies should explain, under the rule of proportionality and the principle of humanity, the continuing attacks on and near-destruction of Iraq's electric power system, particularly as attacks on the system grew increasingly redundant in light of the allies' targeting of indisputable military targets such as fixed command-and-control centers and weapons manufacturing and research facilities, in view of the crippling impact the destruction of the electricalpower system immediately had and continues to have on the health of Iraqi civilians.

The allies also should offer a public explanation for certain attacks on hydroelectric facilities in Iraq. According to the Harvard University team that visited Iraq after the war, two hydro-electric facilities -- Saddam Dam and Haditha Dam --were attacked in the first days of the air war. But two other installations -- Samarra Dam a small facility with only a 60 megawatt output and Dokhan Dam -- were not attacked until early February.

MEW believes that the allies should justify the attacks against the Samarra and Dokhan Dams in the circumstances that prevailed in early February, when 75 percent of Iraq's electrical-generating facilities had been degraded or destroyed. In particular, Middle East Watch calls on the allies to outline the concrete and direct military advantages expected from the destruction of these facilities, and how these advantages were deemed to outweigh the obvious cost to the civilian population.

The burden on the allies to disclose additional information about the destruction of Iraq's electrical system is heightened by subsequent public statements from U. Air Force officers involved in planning the air war which indicate that the purpose of destroying the electrical system was to harm civilians and thus encourage them to overthrow Saddam Hussein. As we noted in the Introduction to Part II of this report, Air Force officers in June indicated that the targeting of Iraq's infrastructure was related to an effort "to accelerate the effect of the sanctions.

John A. Warden III, the deputy director of strategy, doctrine and plans for the Air Force, acknowledged that the crippling of Iraq'selectricity-generating system "gives us long-term leverage. Saddam Hussein cannot restore his own electricity. He needs help. If there are political objectives that the U.

Another Air Force planner admitted that the attacks also were designed to put pressure on the Iraqi people to oust Saddam Hussein:. Big picture, we wanted to let people know, "Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity. Insofar as Iraq's electrical-generating facilities were targeted not because the electricity directly supported the military effort but for the purpose of harming the civilian population as part of a strategy for using this civilian suffering to further military or political goals, the attacks were in clear violation of the most basic principles of the laws of war designed to exempt the civilian population from military attack.

Among the unanswered questions in regard to the allies' destruction of the electrical system are the following:. Schwarzkopf stated on January 30 that the U. Who made the calculations about the level of destruction that was warranted, given the stated concern that Iraqi civilians not suffer unduly? On what basis were such calculations made? Who was charged with investigating the potential secondary effects on the civilian population of various levels of deprivation of the supply of electricity? Who reviewed such investigations? Who determined the threshold of civilian suffering that was considered appropriate?

What indicators of suffering were used to calculate the harm caused by relative levels of deprivation? Was President Bush involved in this decisionmaking process, as Gen. Schwarzkopf implied he would be? What effective contribution to Iraqi military action were the remaining electricity-generating plants making at this time? Given the reported successful destruction by the allies at this stage of the war of Iraqi military production facilities -- coupled with the allies' total control of the skies over Iraq -- what concrete and direct military advantage was expected from the continued crippling of the country's remaining electrical-generating system?

Middle East Watch obtained eyewitness testimony about apparently indiscriminate attacks on civilian vehicles on highways in Iraq. With the exception of one attack on a bus traveling from Kuwait to Iraq, in which 31 civilians were killed, these accounts described incidents that took place on the Baghdad-Amman international highway in western Iraq, the area from which missiles were being launched into Israel.

Civilian vehicles on other highways in Iraq also were destroyed in allied attacks. In a visit to southern Iraq in May, a journalist saw the bombed-out wreckage of 29 Soviet fighter-bombers on either side of the six-lane highway that runs from Basra northwest to Nassariya: "They apparently had been parked there, far from any airfield, and protected by nothing except a few berms. Middle East Watch also interviewed three eyewitnesses to cluster-bomb attacks; in one case, a cluster bomb exploded three to sixmeters from the car in which a Jordanian doctor was traveling.

Buster Glosson was asked at a briefing in Riyadh on January 30 if cluster bombs were being dropped on the Baghdad-Amman highway, the major evacuation route for foreign-worker residents of Iraq fleeing the war to the safety of Jordan. He replied: "Yes, we use the cluster munition to cover a wider area when the military situation dictates that. Glosson did not reply to the second part of the reporter's question: "How do you reconcile that with your efforts to minimize civilian casualties along this In a letter to U.

Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney dated February 1, Middle East Watch raised concerns about reports of the bombing of civilian cars and commercial transport vehicles on the Baghdad-Amman desert highway. MEW asked if cluster-bombs and delayed-action bombs were being used to attack major highways in Iraq, and urged that the U. The Pentagon's reply to Middle East Watch's letter did not include an answer to this or other questions raised.

Public Statements The civilian vehicles in western Iraq -- as well as Bedouin tents located there see next section of this chapter -- came under fire during what the U. Air Force termed "the great Scud chase" for Iraqi fixed and mobile missile launchers. Allied efforts to find and eliminate Iraq's surface-to-surface ballistic missile sites and equipment became a major focus of the air war.

Martin Brandtner, the Joint Chiefs of Staff deputy for operations, said on January 26 that the allies were "undertaking every conceivable course we can" to detect and destroy themissile launchers, particularly the mobile launchers. What surprised us was that we put about three times the effort that we thought we would on this job. Decoy Scud missile launchers, some incorporating heat producers to simulate active generators, complicated the Coalition effort to eradicate the Iraqi ballistic missile threat.

Finding and destroying Iraq's mobile Scud launchers proved a difficult and vexing problem, diverting resources from other aspects of the air campaign and prolonging the threat to Israeli, Saudi and other civil and military targets throughout the region. The missile launchers were developed from Saab Scania tractors. The mobile missile units were organized in convoys of five or six vehicles using "one set of command and support vehicles, including equipment to test the missilesand a crane to place them on the truck launchers.

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After launching, the detection possibilities were not any easier. According to The Post :. Once the Scuds are fired, the trucks move after the launcher cools. During launch preparations, the trucks and launchers emit few telltale electronic signals. It is often difficult to intercept launch orders, because they can be issued by telephone, rather than radio.

The Pentagon notes that the task of destroying the mobile launchers was difficult because the missile units would "emerge from hiding places, fire, and hide again. Fs in the west and As in the east were placed on constant airborne alert during daylight hours, with FEs, Fs and A-6Es on constant airborne alert at night. However, once a suspected Scud site was found through intelligence or following a launch, aircraft would proceed to the target area to search for and destroy the launch complex.

The allies offered various public and background explanations for the reports of attacks on civilian vehicles on the highway. At night, civilian fuel tankers could be mistaken for the vehicles that carried fuel for the missiles, according to a senior U. Buster Glosson, who stated on January 30 that only military targets along the highway had been attacked.

He added, however, that the Iraqis hid missiles "in culverts and other things along the highway When we see those type of vehicles go into those facilities, we bomb them. We make every attempt to minimize any possibility of civilian casualties. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.

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Mc Peak said: "Mobile SCUD-launchers operated at night, drove into [launch locations] and launched, so we had to do a lot of road [reconnaissance], even with the As. An old, slow aircraft was used to go out and run up and down the road and try to find these mobile launchers.

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Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the U. Joint Chiefs of Staff, also stated that many of the attacks took place at night, suggesting that darkness could mar pilots' vision.

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In its July report, the Pentagon does not acknowledge that civilian buses and cars were attacked on highways -- only Jordanian oil tankers are mentioned:. Some oil trucks were mistaken for Scud launchers and other military vehicles during night attacks; others were struck collaterally during daytime attacks on nearbymilitary targets. The destruction, which occurred despite extraordinary Coalition efforts to avoid collateral damage to civilian targets, was largely attributable to Jordan's failure to ensure adherence to [United Nations Security Council] sanctions and to warn its nationals of the combat zone's peril.

The Pentagon also states that measures taken to minimize civilian casualties and damage affected the allies' ability to target military objects on the roads in western Iraq:. Coalition forces took additional measures to avoid collateral damage to civilian vehicles and incidental injury to noncombatants. As a result, the ability to target Iraqi military vehicles and convoys, including mobile Scud missile launchers and support equipment, was affected. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, Middle East Watch requested information and assurances about the precautions taken by the allied air forces to avoid injury and damage to civilians and civilian objects on the Baghdad-Amman highway.

Among the questions raised in the letter were the following:. Middle East Watch also requested the Defense Department to make available specific information about the nature and extent of the aerial bombardment of the Baghdad-Amman highway, and asked whether reports were available about civilian objects damaged in the raids. Kelly replied to Middle East Watch in a letter dated February He stated that the U. Kelly expressed confidence that civilian targets were not being intentionally attacked on the Baghdad-Amman highway:.

I am absolutely certain. Coalition forces are doing everything within their capabilities to distinguish between military targets and innocent civilians, and to attack only the military targets. But Gen. Kelly declined to provide Middle East Watch with specific information about the bombing of civilian vehicles on the highway: "At this point we do not have sufficient factual detail in our possession to either confirm or rebut the alleged attacks by coalition forces.

The only official border crossing point to leave Iraq for Jordan is along the highway at Trebil, Iraq. From Trebil, the highway continues to the official Jordanian entry point at Ruwayshid, about 80 km west of Trebil. After the air war started, the highway continued to serve as the primary evacuation route from Iraq. Secretary General that 14 civilians had been killed on the Baghdad-Amman international highway from January 29 through February 5, and an additional 26 injured.

British journalist Patrick Cockburn, who traveled the Baghdad-Amman highway in February, told MEW that he counted 28 vehicles damaged by bombing on the road and that "at least" half of them were civilian. Middle East Watch interviewed evacuees and truckers for Jordanian companies who saw or were traveling in cars and buses that were attacked by allied aircraft on the highway. According to the witnesses, it was unlikely that the occupants of the vehicles survived these direct hits. The students had left Basra on February 7 because their university was closed when the war started. They traveled in two buses with Sudanese and Iraqis to Baghdad, and then continued on to Jordan with a group of 53 people -- Yemenis, Sudanese, Egyptians and an Ethiopian -- in two "Super" Mercedes buses.

Each bus held about 28 passengers. The buses, pained light green with the company name on the side, were carrying only civilians. Luggage was piled on the roofs of the vehicles. As reports spread of the danger from the bombing on the highway, drivers and passengers began to develop their own theories about the safest way to travel. This group and the drivers had decided to drive only during the day and to avoid traveling convoy-style, so as not to be mistaken for Iraqi military vehicles.

The students saw a white sedan attacked at about am that day, on or about February 8. They noticed a family in the car when it passed their bus. The sedan rode low from the suitcases piled on top. A few minutes later, when the white sedan was about meters in front of them, they saw four planes, flying low and very fast, swoop down. One struck the sedan with a rocket, a direct hit. The other planes also fired rockets but they did not see where the rockets landed; as soon as this happened, the driver stopped the bus and the passengers ran into the desert, ducking for cover.

The planes were small black planes -- "so close we could have thrown a stone at them. There were other civilian cars on the road in front and in back of them when the attack occurred, but no military vehicles and no military emplacements were in sight. The only installation or structure they saw was a gas station that had been blown up. About an hour after the first attack, they saw, at a distance, two or three planes flying very low. The planes dove down in the same manner as before and hit a red Brazilian Volkswagen with a family inside and luggage on top.

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The bus driver did not stop to look at the remainsof either car out of fear, but the students said it appeared highly unlikely that there were any survivors. Three times during the trip from Baghdad to the Jordanian border, between Rutba and Trebil, the passengers had to jump out of the buses and run into the desert because of air strikes nearby. The students saw and heard several rocketing attacks; every time they heard planes, they heard rockets falling afterwards. They did not know where all the rockets hit: sometimes it was on the highway, sometimes not.

They saw black smoke rising from areas on and off the road. In this stretch of the highway, the students said they saw many vehicles that had been destroyed. They told MEW that they were convinced that if the planes had wanted to target their bus "we would all be dead. They said that each of the public carriers waited until it was filled before departing. The first bus reached the border crossing at Trebil that night. A second bus stayed the night in Rutba. The third bus was bombed on the road before reaching Rutba and reportedly there were no survivors.

Some drivers arriving at Trebil told the Sudanese in the first two buses that the third bus was destroyed and all of the passengers, some 30 to 35 Sudanese, were killed. MEW separately interviewed another group of Sudanese workers who arrived in Jordan on two different buses a few days later, on February 18 and They saw a destroyed Costa Nissan bus at km between Rutba and Ramadi: the bus, they were told, had carried 30 Sudanese passengers.

They heard that all the passengers were killedexcept one, who reportedly returned to Baghdad under severe mental stress. Samir A. Qawasmi, an ophthalmic surgeon, was part of a medical team of 13 doctors and nurses sent to Baghdad by the Arab Medical Committee for Emergencies. The team departed from Jordan in late January to provide emergency medical services in hospitals in Baghdad.

After working around-the-clock treating civilian bombing casualties for four or five days, four members of the exhausted team set out for Jordan at 11pm on the night of January They traveled in two cars: a white Mercedes sedan with a Red Crescent on the hood and a four-wheel-drive gray vehicle with a Red Crescent on the front. Qawasmi told MEW that after driving through the night without incident, they pulled to the side of the road at a parking area at about am for dawn prayers. They were about km from Baghdad and had not yet reached Rutba. They prayed in the desert cold and then got back in their vehicles.

At that moment, Dr. Qawasmi said he heard "a huge noise, with lightning," and they were tossed around inside the cars. They were totally startled, he said, because they did not hear or see planes. The windows of the car were closed because it was cold. Qawasmi, who was in the driver's seat of the white Mercedes sedan, was injured with lacerations on his face, nose, cheek, and hands.

Tossed against the side of the car, he was still suffering pain in his left shoulder when he was interviewed by MEW. The driver of the other car suffered similar injuries but the two passengers were not physically injured. The bomb hit the side of the road, about three to six feet from the car, creating a crater about a half-meter deep and one and a half meters wide. It divided into two parts, apparently a cluster bomb. There were many small bombs inside the canister and other bomblets scattered outside. They left as quickly as they could, before any of the small bombs exploded.

The badly damaged Mercedes was towed behind the four-wheel-drive vehicle which had a broken windshield and windows and damage to its left side. They passed many burned cars, and passenger vans of the type used by Kuwaiti families. About a half-hour later, before reaching Rutba, Dr. Qawasmi through the rear view mirror saw a foot refrigerator truck with a foot rig hit by a rocket, and turned around to get a better look. They heard the explosion but did not stop. They later learned that the driver of the truck had been killed. Pakistani construction workers, evacuated by their company from Najaf in southern Iraq on three buses on February 15, told MEW of a strafing incident involving one of their buses.

The last of the three buses was strafed 10 km west of Rutba on February 15 at about pm. There were 36 Pakistani workers in the white bus, which had luggage piled on the top. According to several workers interviewed by MEW, there were four attacks on the bus at two- to three-minute intervals. They heard machine-gun fire and were quite sure that rockets or bombs had not been used. Bullets were fired close to the bus, but it was not hit.

One Pakistani thought that there was one plane; another said he saw four planes. A third said he did not see a plane because he ducked down to avoid danger, but he heard bursts of machine-gun fire. A fourth said he saw four planes that were the color of smoke. The bullets hit the road near them, he said. The bus did not stop. It was the only vehicle on the road; there were trucks in the distance, they said. There was "only desert" aroundthem -- "no military trucks, no buildings, no gas station, no tents, nothing. Later in the air war, bus drivers seemed to believe that traveling the Baghdad-Amman highway at night afforded more protection.

A young Egyptian furniture finisher told Middle East Watch that he left Baghdad on the evening of February 19 with a cousin and some friends. They were in a bus with 50 Egyptians and three Sudanese. The two buses drove together, his bus in front. It was night, and both buses had their headlights on. A few kilometers outside of Ramadi, a plane fired bullets at the bus, hitting to the right and left side. The driver kept going, but turned off the headlights. No one was hurt and the bus was not damaged. An Egyptian couple interviewed by MEW told of strafing of their bus, a white Coaster which left Baghdad on February 23 with luggage piled on top.

There were 28 Egyptians on the bus: 22 adults and six babies. Theirs was the only bus, indeed the only vehicle, on the road. The journey was very difficult because the planes were shooting at the bus while it traveled the road: "It sounded like bombs were falling almost over our heads," the husband said. The strafing occurred after the bus left Rutba, between 7 and 10 pm. The bus stopped several times; the driver was travelling without lights for greater safety. The family said they were very afraid.

The father told MEW how he dashed out of the bus several times carrying his daughter. The bus was not hit, and they arrived safely in Trebil at about 11 pm. Similar stories of strafed civilian vehicles appeared in the press. The New York Times reported that a Jordanian Red Crescent official hadseen a Jordanian family whose two infants were killed in a strafing attack. A bus driver for 10 years, he had made several round trips in his Mercedes model luxury passenger bus from Jordan to Kuwait to pick up Palestinians, Jordanians and others evacuating Kuwait.

Orange in color, with a six-inch blue stripe around the side and Jordanian plates, the vehicle had capacity for 51 passengers but was carrying 61 because some of them were children. There was baggage underneath and on the roof of the bus. Two cars drove in front of the bus: a white Chevrolet and a dark blue Chevrolet. The passengers in the white car were newlyweds, and a family was riding in the blue car. The driver said he did not hear any aircraft. He was confident that the bus was identifiable as civilian because of its size, color and the baggage piled on top. He said that he passed another bus parked on the side of the road.

Some meters beyond the parked bus, he heard a rocketexplode behind his bus, hitting it with shrapnel. He slammed on the brakes, quickly opened the two doors, and he and the passengers began to run off the bus. The rear of the bus was in flames. Before all of the passengers could get off, about two minutes after the first rocket, a second rocket struck, piercing the roof of the bus. The whole bus was engulfed in fire: 27 men, women and children were incinerated. As he ran out of the bus, the driver helped drag an acquaintance from the bus, holding her on one arm and her young daughter on the other.

While the passengers were running away from the bus into the desert, a third rocket struck at the place where some of them had gathered about meters off the road. It left a crater five meters in diameter and three meters deep. This rocket hit about two to three minutes after the second rocket. Because of the confusion, the driver did not know if any passengers in this location were injured or killed. When they were outside the bus, the woman he had helped was hit with shrapnel.

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Cut almost in two, she died immediately. Her daughter, injured with shrapnel in her heel, clung to the driver, crying, "Please, I don't want to die! After the third rocket, Naji heard other explosions. He told MEW that he heard about six rockets in all during that short period of time but only saw where the first three had landed. The area was covered with smoke and debris. He believed a plane strafed them with machine-gun fire.

He was hit with a bullet at about this time; he was numb and did not feel anything. He did not see any planes, but he heard their roar. Two pieces of shrapnel were lodged in his right side, which were removed at Sabah Hospital in Kuwait. He also sustained a bullet wound on his right thigh; the doctors told him it was a bullet after it was removed.

The driver took the survivors to Sabah Hospital in Kuwait, using a car that was being driven by someone behind the bus but belonged to a family which had been riding in the bus because they thought it was safer. At the hospital, he met the man and woman who were riding in the blue Chevrolet. They said that their two daughters were killed in theattack but the rest of the family survived.

They did not have much time to talk or exchange more information, the driver said. The next day, he returned with the Palestinian Red Crescent to assess the damage. They counted 25 charred bodies on the seats of the bus; another two bodies were partially burned. The bus had a large hole in the roof from the rocket and the interior of the vehicle had been badly burned.