An article in Sunday’s New York Times takes you to a Graveyard of Goofy Weapons south of Baghdad. Among them, the remnants of Saddam’s Project Babylon, which, if completed, would have been the world’s biggest spud gun:
the barrel alone would have been 512 feet long and weighed 1,665 tons. As the pieces lying around in the lot in Iskandariya illustrated, the barrel was wide enough to fire projectiles “the size of industrial garbage cans,” as Mr. Lowther put it.
Estimates on the cost of two planned superguns and a smaller prototype called Baby Babylon range from $25 million to several hundred million dollars. If the big guns had operated as designed, they could have shot a 300‐pound projectile 600 miles, or lifted a much larger payload into orbit if it was outfitted with a small rocket engine.
Doubtless there’s some true believer out there in the right‐wing blogosphere trumpeting this story, hailing it as confirmation that Saddam was the Arab Hugo Drax, coming ever closer to having the means to kill us all. What if he had loaded up an industrial garbage can with some of those degraded mustard gas shells, floated the whole works off our southern coastline and aimed it right at Disneyworld?
Well, it’s never too late to be retroactively terrorized, but most of us are probably with Lt. Col. James A. Howard, quoted in the article after visiting the site: “I think a gun this big would be kind of dumb.”