Tunnels underground in Iraq?

I heard somebody on the radio say that some people think there are vast tunnels under Iraq and this is where the Saddam army is hiding. They think that if they just shed their uniforms and blended into the general population, there would be piles of uniforms, but there aren’t, so the army is waiting in huge underground areas and will come out later on. Is this true? Or a better question, do we have certain devices that can be pointed at the ground and see if there is anything underground, such as tunnels?

Try Google with “Iraq tunnels”

You might be amazed how much information is out there, and has been out there for a while.

:smiley:

Actually, the day that the 3d Division entered Baghdad in force (either one or two days after their first tank “drive through”), there were, indeed, reports and photos of many military uniforms being found scattered (not piled) along the roads entering the city.

It is not as if the Iraqi soldiers were going to line up and drop their uniforms in a big pile in some solemn ceremony: they cast off the blouses where they stood and ran.

Shedding uniforms are mentioned in this story from ABC, and this story from Fox, and in the lead paragraph from this Australian report.

Well, they were finding lots of discarded uniforms, so that argument seems a bit weak. And I think they found and destroyed pretty much all the tanks they expected to find. Still, anything is possible, so as an academic exercise…

Just how many men are we talking? Because if you’re talking, say, two or three divisions totalling, say, 60,000 men (a WAG of what you’d need to restore the regime if we took all our marbles and went home), then even assuming that they had enormous stores of food and water (so no need for supply convoys), you’d still need power, ventilation and waste disposal. So unless the tunnels were directly under an urban area, you’d probably have a large thermal signature. If it was suspected that such tunnels existed, then they could be detected using ground-imaging radar and even seismic detection techniques (e.g. set off an explosion and look at the how the vibrations propagate).

There’s also be ventilator shafts, roads, and probably satellite imagery (over a period of years) of the streams of vehicles needed to excavate, and provision these tunnels.
How big a tunnel are we talking? Let’s assume that you’re planning on keeping your troops hidden for, say, six months. You can’t really stack them like cord wood and expect to have them remain an efficient force, so you’d need a large area. An amazing number of people can fit into small areas (urban populations of 200K+/sq mile are not unheard of), but that’s a three-dimensional space with skyscrapers. So let’s WAG a couple of square miles. That’s a tunnel complex 1000 feet wide and 10 miles long (or 100 feet wide and 100 miles long). The tailings from a project that size would definitely show up in satellite photos.

If the tunnels were under an urban area, then the secret would be hard to keep – the risk of someone talking would be unacceptably high. (Think anyone could have kept the Big Dig in Boston a secret?) And if it’s out in the desert, it would be even harder to hide from space imagery. (Apparently Baghdad does have a “subway” system that was converted into tunnels or bunkers, but that’s well-known enough to be on the Internet, so it would be a dumb place to hide.)

The alternative is lots of smaller tunnels. Easier to hide, individually, but hard to hide in aggregate.
So I dunno. It would be a cunning thing to do – hide your army and then strike a surprise blow when everyone’s back is turned, but the logistics are horrendous, and the chances of being detected and caught in an indefensible position are very high.

Well, they were finding lots of discarded uniforms, so that argument seems a bit weak. And I think they found and destroyed pretty much all the tanks they expected to find. Still, anything is possible, so as an academic exercise…

Just how many men are we talking? Because if you’re talking, say, two or three divisions totalling, say, 60,000 men (a WAG of what you’d need to restore the regime if we took all our marbles and went home), then even assuming that they had enormous stores of food and water (so no need for supply convoys), you’d still need power, ventilation and waste disposal. So unless the tunnels were directly under an urban area, you’d probably have a large thermal signature. If it was suspected that such tunnels existed, then they could be detected using ground-imaging radar and even seismic detection techniques (e.g. set off an explosion and look at the how the vibrations propagate).

There’s also be ventilator shafts, roads, and probably satellite imagery (over a period of years) of the streams of vehicles needed to excavate, and provision these tunnels.
How big a tunnel are we talking? Let’s assume that you’re planning on keeping your troops hidden for, say, six months. You can’t really stack them like cord wood and expect to have them remain an efficient force, so you’d need a large area. An amazing number of people can fit into small areas (urban populations of 200K+/sq mile are not unheard of), but that’s a three-dimensional space with skyscrapers. So let’s WAG a couple of square miles. That’s a tunnel complex 1000 feet wide and 10 miles long (or 100 feet wide and 100 miles long). The tailings from a project that size would definitely show up in satellite photos.

If the tunnels were under an urban area, then the secret would be hard to keep – the risk of someone talking would be unacceptably high. (Think anyone could have kept the Big Dig in Boston a secret?) And if it’s out in the desert, it would be even harder to hide from space imagery. (Apparently Baghdad does have a “subway” system that was converted into tunnels or bunkers, but that’s well-known enough to be on the Internet, so it would be a dumb place to hide.)

The alternative is lots of smaller tunnels. Easier to hide, individually, but hard to hide in aggregate.
So I dunno. It would be a cunning thing to do – hide your army and then strike a surprise blow when everyone’s back is turned, but the logistics are horrendous, and the chances of being detected and caught in an indefensible position are very high.

There are lots of tunnels in Iraq, but they were built for Saddam and his cronies, so they could move around in secrecy. The U.S. military reported finding a tunnel at Baghdad International Airport that led 12km all the way to one of Saddam’s palaces.

But being able to indefinitely house tens of thousands of people… That’s a whole 'nuther thing. I don’t believe you could possibly hide something on that scale.

There are tunnels under Berkeley. I don’t know who’s hiding down there, though. The SLA, perhaps? Not the hippies. They’re all in New Mexico.
Truth is, an ex-republican guard might be waiting on you at the local 7-11 by now.
Peace,
mangfeorge

The U.S. is going to ave to check those tunels by eyes and ears.

Rumsfeld has stated that the tunnels can hide WMD, & in this war they were used to hide by an Iraqi Col. in order to call in artillery fire. The Coalition forces are very aware that Iraqis could be under there, in the “enormous miles and miles of tunnels” - Don Rumsfeld – many many Iraqi’s could be there-- even Saddam. Until they have been explored there is no telling: *“I don’t know how inspectors on the surface of the Earth can even know what’s going on in the underground facilities.” *Don Rumsfeld

http://www.insidebaltimore.com/news/world/iraqi-tunnels0409.shtml