Friday, June 09, 2006

A short note on Zarqawi's undamaged face 

Apparently, al-Zarqawi was briefly alive after the airstrike. This has led to all sorts of speculation about whether somebody might have, er, finished the job. Perhaps, but some of that speculation is a bit silly. On CNN moments ago there was a fair amount of chatter about Zarqawi's supposedly pristine face -- how could that be?, various people wondered, if he were killed by an airstrike. We have been promised an autopsy, so we will probably find out.

Speculation alert

The same question came up early in the Iraq war. Surgeons wondered why soldiers with body army and no serious penetrating injuries were dying from roadside bombs. The answer turned out to be that the overpressure from the explosion caused a shockwave through the victim's blood vessels. Sometimes the pressure was so great that the waves rolled right up into the brain and caused a hemorrhage. If you bleed in your brain, your chances of dying quickly go up dramatically.

If Zarqawi was barely alive right after the attack, in fact had no obvious external injuries, and died shortly thereafter, it may very well have been that he was bleeding inside his brain as a result of the explosion's concussion. If he died in just the way so many American soldiers have, his death is that much more poetic. In any case, we will know soon enough.


By Blogger Sol, at Fri Jun 09, 01:53:00 PM:

The question I have is not, "How did he die even though his face looks fine?" but, "How can your face look that unfazed after two 500-pound bombs are dropped on the dwelling you're in?"  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Jun 09, 01:59:00 PM:

I'm wondering if he was in the dwelling at the moment of impact. He might have been outsight, or in some protected corner. Or maybe his body is covered with contusions and penetrating injuries -- we've only seen his face.  

By Blogger Lanky_Bastard, at Fri Jun 09, 02:20:00 PM:

I'm not overly concerned with how he died. Blown-up? Fine. Shot? That's ok too. I'm glad he's not terrorizing people anymore.

I do think it's important to be candid about the whole story, if only because this is a high profile one and it would be embarrassing if we screw it up. I thought it was pretty wierd that he photographed so well given the condition of the house (sorry, my tinfoil hat told me to write this). But at the end of the day a bad guy is dead, and we've acheived a long-term goal. That's nothing but good news.

Kaj, those are some pretty nasty fantasies you have. Ever hear the one about how about they used to hang people from posts in ackward positions until their muscles fatigued and they suffocated under their own body weight? Think that's a good idea Viking?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 03:25:00 PM:

Captured alive, he was an intelligence treasure trove. I would think standing orders were to get alive if at all possible.


By Blogger chuck, at Fri Jun 09, 03:52:00 PM:

Surgeons wondered why soldiers with body army and no serious penetrating injuries were dying from roadside bombs.

I doubt it. The wondering, that is. This effect has been known at least since the time my dad joined the army back in 1941, and the knowledge probably goes further back than that. You don't have to be hit by a bomb or the resulting shrapnel to be killed by it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 04:45:00 PM:

The explosives used in current bombs produces a high order detonation which can propagate at greater than 20,000 feet per second. This produces an overpressure wave of astounding proportions and can leave a human body little more than a bag of jellied organs and blood vessels held together by your skin. I believe that is what happened. Had he been caught directly in the path of the blast, his body would have been almost totally destroyed.....and of course he would have been cleaned up for the post mortem photo...how else would the military insure we knew it was him.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 04:57:00 PM:

I heard that the last thing he said was, "Bush lied, there was no yellow cake."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 04:58:00 PM:

Holding little regard for 'man made' gods of any ilk. Knowing if a 'Creator' of all this is actually out there. Our affairs are of little concern due to the perspective of relative importance. After all, if you made all the Galaxies in the Universe, how impressive are a few billion surface dwelling parasitic life forms, on a planet orbiting a minor star, in an unremarkable area of the Milky Way? A life form who's chief purpose is to replicate itself so it may continue to engage in tribal warfare spanning thousands of years.

Regardless of this, I have been given cause to pray. To pray to any power able to listen. To pray with all my heart, all my spirit, to pray the last think this Jordanian thug saw was the smiling face of an American Serviceman looking down at him.

I pray in that instant, this beheader of innocents had the clarity of understanding to know 'We The People' had found him and dispatched him with well earned vengeance.

I pray the last minutes of his pitiful existance were filled with this awareness and superme agony. Agony afforded those stupid enough to call thunder and lightning down upon themselves. Agony serverd up in the form of two five hundred pound bombs.  

By Blogger Dayer, at Fri Jun 09, 05:08:00 PM:

Can reporters get any dumber? They accuse the general of "photoshopping" the image which doesnt suprise me because they have done it over and over with their own images (devil eye'd condi rice image being perhas the most recent). When they arent sphotoshopping they are cropping images a'la Cindy Sheehan and her "huge" arrest-in's at the white house. I watched a special on Attacks on civilian in Israel and the hospital ER doctor said people would come in without a scratch and just die on the tables from blast over-pressure damage. Prior to our invasion of Iwo Jima we bombed the island so massively with 16 inch shells their were dead japanese all over the place - again without a mark on them. When one half of your body is suddenly exposed to a 1,000 psi pressure wave moving through the air at close range it shreds you but farther out it basically concusses your body with such speed and force its like you got hit with a steel flyswatter the size of a barn door traveling thousands of miles an hour. This doesnt occur very often on the upper west side but photoshopping evidently is the sport of kings in that neighborhood.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 05:10:00 PM:

If he happened to have his back to the force of the blast, his face WOULD be relatively undamaged.. but his entire body would be a bit pulped by hydrostatic shock... organ failure, internal bleeding, stroke or hemhorrage, or all...

but who cares? He's dead and the world, particularly the world of the ordinary Iraqi trying to earn a living and survive until he can vote in safety and freedom, is a better place.  

By Blogger Dayer, at Fri Jun 09, 05:15:00 PM:

Above my post was written "...to pray the last think this Jordanian thug saw was the smiling face of an American Serviceman looking down at him." Please bear in mind that what most people saw for the last time was this animal olding a knife to their throat. If he was looking up at an american it was from a gurney used to transport the injured. He wasnt lying in the rubble with a boot to his throat, he was about to be transported to recieve medical attention. His view was from atop an American gurney enroute to merciful care he never afforded anyone. You would think his horror would be in seeing the American face, I would rather think his last thoughts were bewilderment casued by the realization he was about to recieve care from his enemy. THATS WHY the media is hot to know if we gave to him like he gave to his victims, but we arent butchers and thugs, Haditha doesnt define our service men, Zarqawi on a gurney does.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 05:24:00 PM:

Great...we know it was a matter of time before those left wingers & the MSM started circulating conspiracy theories. Wow, unbelieveable!
The fact of the matter is that this rat /infected rodent went to Allah to find out that there's no river of honey, nor 21 stupid virgins waiting for him!

And yes, the MSM's "freedom fighter" a misnomer often used by Cindy She"hen", is DEAD...
God bless the US Forces and the makers of the ordinance cleaning up the rat holes

D Co 237th
12 Bravo  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 05:59:00 PM:

His last words were either "hell, it's hot in here" or "Osama sucks".

The media speculation is hilarious and shows the low level of thinking that is their stock in trade. If the U.S. military killed hom why would they announce that he was alive when found.

Terry Gain  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jun 09, 06:19:00 PM:

In Viet Nam, areas such as triple canopy jungle covering sections of the Ho Chi Mihn Trail containing troop concentrations, or areas with known underground tunnel systems, were often carpet bombed using 500 lb. bombs.

Frequently, NVA or VC troops too close to the blast, but otherwise uninjured by the debris or shrapnel, would survive long enough to come wandering out in the open, dazed and traumatized, and would die of the concussion and internal injuries within a few seconds or minutes at most.

Reports of this incident indicate that the Special forces unit that had surrounded the house had been spotted and that there was small arms fire being taken from inside the house.

The immediate military reaction by those within would have been to protect or hide Al Zarqawi. So he may have been entering a tunnel or simple shelter, or was possibly otherwise quickly placed under or within some form of protective cover.

But two 500 lb. bombs detonating within a few seconds of one another in such a tight area would have guaranteed no possibility of survival of anyone beyond a few minutes.  

By Blogger Mike O, at Fri Jun 09, 06:42:00 PM:

I realize that the American military put the big hurt on him (that kind of overpressure while not wearing body armor probably ruptured internal organs) but I hope some of the Iraqi police got a few final licks in as well. His outfit has murdered a BUNCH of their coworkers.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Jun 09, 07:59:00 PM:

Hey guys, check this out.


By Blogger Tony Harrison, at Fri Jun 09, 09:24:00 PM:

Those surgeons should have asked Thomas Friedman, for he discovered, while sitting in a Jerusalem cafe years ago, that the "neck was the weak part of the body," for the suicide-bomber's head goes shooting straight up with the blast. Ole Pecksniff Tom realized another truth that eventual day, pressure effects folks differently.  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Fri Jun 09, 10:23:00 PM:

Please note that any pressure applied to the vascular structures of the body gets directly transmitted to the contents of the cranium. Transiently increased intracranial pressure from a blast is of such high amplitude that blood vessels burst and thousands of intracranial hemorrhages ensue. Any weak spots in the cerebral vasculature, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations, likely give way and would cause death more quickly.

As it is, my speculative cause of death for this piece of shit is likely widespread microhemorrhages of the brain, with subsequent swelling of the brain which forced the brainstem to herniate out of the foramen magnum at the bottom of the skull. Basically, his brain got extruded through the skull like Play-Doh through the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop.

This causes respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this kind of massive trauma to the head renders one pretty unconscious and unaware of what kind of personnel are loading you into a gurney. Which is too bad; he died a death altogether too good for him.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 10, 12:24:00 AM:

One obvious truth that has slipped through the cracks ..

al-Zarqawi was taken alive

and then the coward died.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 10, 12:55:00 AM:


By Blogger Hucbald, at Sat Jun 10, 03:21:00 AM:

I'm sorry, but I just want you ALL to know that it's OK. It's OK to NOT F***ING CARE about the ex-terrorist known as the Z-man and how he died. Just celebrate the joyous fact that he's double-indemnity dead. Breathe it in deeply and savor it. It's OK. No leftoid p***y-s**t PC guilt trips. M-Kay?  

By Blogger Nancy Reyes, at Sat Jun 10, 03:39:00 AM:

No, you are wrong.
People buried under rubble who have head injuries usually have greater injuries to the torso (the head is a lot harder to crush than the abdomen or ribcage).
I suspect he had internal bleeding and was bleeding out.
I've had people taken out of cars, say they were okay, and then die...the pressure on their organs prevents the bleeding. Take off the rubble, and the spigot opens up and they die of blood loss.
And if they were under rubble for awhile and your limbs were crushed, removing the rubble not only allows the toxins (e.g. lactic acid) into the circulation, but also results in blood flowing out the damged vessels.
Usually we start an IV as soon as possible BEFORE we take people out if possible, so their pressure doesn't bottom out after they are extricated...  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat Jun 10, 10:02:00 AM:

K Pablo said it so much better than I did!  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Sat Jun 10, 12:00:00 PM:

Boinkie, I won't come straight out and say you are wrong because both of us are limited by a lack of access to physical exam and an autopsy. But the whole point of our pathophysiologic debate is that outwardly, Zarqawi appeared to have no traumatic injuries. He didn't appear to be crushed outwardly. That is a big flaw in your theory that he was buried under rubble and the rubble tamponaded his bleeding. That and the fact that most of the crush injuries I'm betting you saw in your career were not immediately preceded by a nearby 500 lb. HE gravity bomb detonation.

In any case, I don't think Zarqawi knew he was facing Americans anymore than Trevor Berbick knew he was facing Mike Tyson when the former tried to get up on his jelly legs at the end of that second round.

I don't care. The bastard's dead.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 10, 03:10:00 PM:

Enough with the speculation and conspiracy theories. Autopsy is today and I'm sure the results will be public. You can only get so much info from a tight headshot anyway. For all we know, his head might have been the only thing attached to his torso.  

By Blogger azlibertarian, at Sat Jun 10, 04:16:00 PM:

Who really cares if he survived the bombing or the mechanics of how he died?

Wrap his body in a pigskin and send him to his Final Judgement.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 10, 08:38:00 PM:

I like the idea of a contest as to what his last words were. I enter these:

"This is ok but I'd rather be in Ramadi."

It's reported that Monty Python said: "He's not dead. He's just sleeping."


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 10, 11:12:00 PM:

The blast of two bombs at 500lbs of high explosive probably kicked the air out of his lungs and he died gasping for breath wondering what the hell had happened.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 13, 12:46:00 PM:


You are right - there should be a contest, or at least a "Top 100" list of his "final words."

Taking your lead, but bringing it home just a little more (and also a bit closer to the actual W.C. Fields quote,) how about this?

"On the hole, I'd rather be in Ramadi."  

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