That “Highway of Death” canard

| May 8, 2016


Someone sent us a link last night to this article about the “Highway of Death” along the roadway from Kuwait City back to Iraq.

Twenty five years ago, one of the most brutal massacres in war history occurred in Iraq, along Highway 80, about 32 km west of Kuwait city. On the night of February 26–27, 1991, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians were retreating to Baghdad, after a ceasefire was announced, when President George Bush ordered his forces to slaughter the retreating Iraqi army. Fighter planes of the coalition forces swooped down upon the unarmed convoy and disabled the vehicles in the front, and at the rear, so that they couldn’t escape. Then wave after wave of aircraft pounded the trapped vehicles for hours on end. After the carnage was over, some 2,000 mangled Iraqi vehicles, and charred and dismembered bodies of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers lay for miles along what came to be known as the “Highway of Death”. Several hundred more littered along another road, Highway 8, that leads to Basra. The scenes of devastation on these two roads became some of the most recognizable images of the Gulf War.

Grisly, huh? Well, except that it didn’t happen like that. I just happened to end our portion of that war on the Highway the following day – the first US troops on the scene. There was a lot of Destruction on the road, but not much Death. There weren’t “tens of thousands” of Iraqi soldiers strewn along with the vehicles. certainly there were a couple of dead, but not thousands, not even a hundred. It was pretty much like the pictures that accompanied the article at the link. Lots of scrap metal, but no bodies – my platoon found one dead body in our sector.

The article continues on about how Saddam Hussein had announced to the world that he was withdrawing from Kuwait, that the war was pretty much over, but we bombed the poor Iraqis anyway, in violation of the Geneva Convention.

First, I’d like to know what portion of the Geneva Conventions says that you can’t attack armed enemy forces that are on the field of battle. Notice the tanks in the picture above. You can’t get more armed than having a tank.

Secondly, when the cease-fire came, we turned left and ceased combat operations, there were still Iraqis firing at us – bullets were pinging off my turret. A few days after the cease-fire began, the 24th Infantry Division was attacked by a Republican Guards division, which the 24th destroyed within a few hours – but it proves that not all of the Iraqis were ready to give up the war.

A few weeks after the cease fire, my unit moved into Iraq for Operation Provide Comfort – to protect Shi’ite Iraqis from Hussein’s Ba’athists who were using what little equipment they had left against those minorities. They weren’t using the thousands of vehicles that were destroyed on the Highway that day. We spent two months deep inside Iraq, confident that much of the Iraqi Army had been destroyed while we were on our humanitarian mission.

The Left loves to make the US out to be some barbaric hegemonic power that kills needlessly, but that “Highway of Death” thing isn’t the hill they should want to plant their flag on. It was completely justified and much more humane than they’d like it to be. The Air Force destroyed a lot of equipment that day and took very few lives along that road.

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I do remember when that tangled mess appeared on the news. There was one – count it – one body and the photographer got just wunnaful closeups of it, because of course, the US was slaughtering them by the thousands.

It was the same bullshit that came out of Vietnam, and I am tired of it.

If the scavengers who unjustifiably title themselves journalists want to know what really happens in warfare, they should shut up and sign on the dotted line like the rest of the volunteers. Otherwise, they make vultures and hyenas look civilized.


The same crap also started back in 2003 when OIF got going.

Imagine our surprise upon coming back to CONUS after being forward deployed in Iraq with I MEF to repeatedly hear the false, yet authoritative-sounding media reports that we had been killing “tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis” through the “wanton” and “reckless” application of U.S. firepower during the invasion of Iraq.

It was all just a bunch of inflammatory, irresponsible media bullshit, and we couldn’t (still can’t) understand why the media kept repeating those false stories.

Same shit; different day.

The Other Whitey

Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch wrote about a British protestor who appeared in Baghdad in 2003 wearing a pink t-shirt with “human shield” printed on it, who waited until his Abrams was parked, the engine shut down, and the crew dismounted before running in front of the tank and posing for her “Tian Nan Men Square” picture. Her friend with the camera even managed to get Popaditch and his crew in the background, making it obvious even in the photo that her little scene was bullshit. She evidently spewed some anti-American crap at the tankers, so Popaditch said something to the effect of, “Nice little fake photo op you set up here. If you’re so righteous in your conviction, why don’t you try running in front of a tank that’s actually moving?”

B Woodman

Too bad that Brit protestor didn’t have enough courage of her convictions to risk becoming another “St Pancake”.
I’d pay good PPV money to watch that.


Until the media is taken to task and court for the BS they produce they will just keep the old manure factory going. There fiction also works because the gullible and standing there like turkeys with their mouths open ready to eat up what is shoveled in.


For better or for worse, never wish that the government could take people “to court” for producing (what it considers to be) BS.


Yep,we had just finished the repair to the Dailai River bridge on the main MSR into Baghdad and some BBC reporters were trying to get us to say negative shit and wanted to catch us being assholes to the locals because we were searching some of them but only the solider aged guys that looked like they where hiding shit as they were fleeing Baghdad and they did have shit on them like pistols and knifes and a couple cars had AK’s we took them. Anyway they were trying to film us doing bad shit and it never happen fuck them.


In 2006 we had a crew from CNN’s “This Week at War” program with us for 2 days. After the first day we dropped them off at the Green Zone and right after we dropped them off we had to respond to a KIA. They spent the entire 2nd day trying to get one of us to say that the body armor of the KIA had failed.


They tried the same thing with the armored vehicles shit also. They didn’t know that we had a policy for different types of armor depending on AOR up North you had to have everything up armored and Cat 6 or higher down south because of threat it was not as strict with the TTP’s as they were not hitting us down there and we needed to get all the up armored shit to north first and then down south but they twisted that shit up with the younger troops help feeding them BS.

We need to remember the troops help with the misinformation also. We all had imbeds in 2003 when we crossed the LOD and the imbeds we had always went to the younger troops for misinformation to help find truths to their stories.


Reminds me of a story told by Martin Caiden in his history Flying Forts!. A reporter was feverishly writing down every word of a gunner who told him that latest mission included “the worst flak I’ve ever seen.” The reporter found out later that it was not only the worst, but the first flak the airman had ever seen…

B Woodman

TOo bad you couldn’t / didn’t break all their cameras and drop kick every one of them off the bridge and into the river.


I wanted to,but my LT kept me away from them ass holes. We still had some imbeds, but these ass holes were just running free around Baghdad and we took some fire and believe me we didn’t let them come take cover with us,fuck them..


What I don’t understand about all of that is how it got so twisted by the media, because in the beginning, while C-Span was broadcasting 24-hours a day, it was quite plain that the twisted reports were just flat lies.

When aerial footage of the so-called ‘Highway’ was shown, there wasn’t a corpse to be seen anywhere. I wish I had videotaped it, because everything these lying basterds say is hogwash.

Frankly, I think the only way that will change is if we are attacked again, but not with hijackings and plane crashes. I mean something more like Pearl Harbor, and I do not want that to happen.

Doc Savage

Wow… about historical revisionism….


The scumbags that play at this shit should be dragged out into the street and roflstomped into bloody mud-puddles.


I noticed how the majority of the comments refuted the author’s nonsense, in spades.

CB Senior

Remind me of what The Great Kahn did to an entire City when they beheaded his Envoys.

Hue City when the Commmies rolled in?

Nazi’s in Poland?

Japs in Nanking?

Worst ever killing. Not even close.

The Other Whitey

Although we could maybe take some pointers from ol’ Genghis, specifically this line:

“Had you not been so sinful, God would not have inflicted a punishment like me upon you!”


Marianas Turkey Shoot

Truk Island

Two nukes dropped on Japan to end the war.

AW1 Tim

Actually, the Nukes caused fewer casualties than the fire raids on Tokyo and other Japanese cities.

More casualties,too, in the raids on Hamburg & Dresden.

The leftists try to fool you by moving the goal posts regarding casualties. They lump all those who died within a few years in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the casualty totals, but refuse to do the same with the totals from Dresden, Hamburg,and even Berlin.

The leftists have an agenda, and they will never allow history or any other fact, to get in the way of their storylines.


I agree. Lump all the conventional bombing done on the Axis Powers makes Nagasaki and Hiroshima pale in comparison.

The Other Whitey

But we used nukes, and that makes us eeeeeevil.


Hambug was worse. Lots of Willie Pete used, or so I heard.

The Other Whitey

And Dresden. But then again, they started it. The same could be said of the japs. Besides, I challenge anybody to visit Auschwitz or Dachau and then tell me how much sympathy they have for the Germans on the receiving end of the strategic bombing campaign.


If you go to the link at the story in the beginning of this post, The Highway of Death” – – read the comment exchange between “anonymous” and the article’s author Kaushik Patowary.

Almost sounds like a “thisainthell” administrator. 😉


Kaushik cites his sources as Wikipedia. Instant fail.


Wiki isn’t too bad, as long as the subject isn’t controversial.

For example, while I doubt the article on gun control is reliable, I’ve found the history of firearms & ammunition to be quite accurate.

HMCS(FMF) ret.

The media in action… truth is a concept that the media has had problems with for years. Remember the NYT printing stories from Walter Duranty, who was so in love with Uncle Joe Stalin’s Soviet Union in the 30’s? Not a word mentioned about famine or the gulags, but they just loved what he was doing.


As the Cold War wound down, more than one defector from the old Soviet intelligence apparatus revealed that the KGB had been a central factor in the Vietnam antiwar movement in the United States and Europe. They had provided funding, leadership and training for all those “brilliant” college students to undermine the American war effort even while the Russians were providing funding, leadership and training for our enemies on the ground in Southeast Asia.

They had us going and coming and our equally gullible, if not actually bought-and-paid-for traitorous, media sucked down the Communist Kool Aid in reporting both the antiwar movement and the war. American troops were fighting the Russians on two fronts and our government was totally ineffective in protecting us on the home front.

The Left has always run circles around conservatives and government when it comes to controlling the message.


The outrage is that America won and kicked ass. You know damn well the anti American protestors wanted the opposite so they could be right. Fucking scumbag hippies.


I remember that the left was screaming that it was going to be another Vietnam before the first boots touched sand in Saudi Arabia. It was the same as the left calling the surge in Iraq a failure before it had even started.

MSG Eric

They said the same thing about Iraq and Afghanistan. Especially Afghanistan.

Which really pissed me off because they were saying it in 03-04 before I’d even gotten to get to either sandbox. The bastards.


They invaded, they ran, they were killed. That’s the good story ending to this in a few words.


I remember hearing the media talk about “4th largest army in the world, battle-hardened after 8 years of war with Iran” for the 6 months we were waiting to go into Kuwait.
AFTER we handed the Iraqis their collective asses it suddenly turned into an “ill-equipped poorly motivated conscript army.”
Which we had supposedly equipped during the Iran-Iraq war. Funny but all I saw in Kuwait was Soviet and Chinese equipment. No American or NATO vehicles.
So basically what I’m saying is the major media is a bunch of lying asshats

Dave Hardin

Senator Sam Nunn, I remember his tales of tens of thousands of American “boys” will come home in body bags.


Most predictions were that VII Corps would be wiped out. Press was really on top of their game with that, too.


The build up to Desert Storm was the only time in my career that anyone actually paid attention to NBC training and anything I had to say. I’m still glad that none of training had to be put to use.

None the less, it was nice to be King for a few months….


Believe me, *I* paid attention!


54ACTUAL, you made me laugh. You should have had the MOS in Vietnam like I did. On reporting in to my battalion, I was assigned to a rifle company as a fire team leader. Months later when we were about to have a command maintenance inspection and the BN XO realized no one had any idea where the battalion’s CBR equipment was, I got my slot. Lucky me.

But once again, after the inspection, which CBR passed with flying colors, by the way, admittedly with a lot of subterfuge, I became an assistant staff NCO in S-2 and S-3 and never again even thought about CBR until I reported in to the 82d at Bragg.


Did they at least let you have all of the CS grenades? 🙂

I realized early on that 1) NBC in garrison wasn’t a full time job and 2) understandably it wasn’t always the top priority, so to keep from getting slammed with shit duties, I’d grab every decent Additional Duty job I could when reporting to a new unit. Kept me out trouble (sometimes)…

MSG Eric

Yeah, in Iraq in 05 I got stuck with NBC duties because the NBC NCO redeployed. Damnit.

I had to answer silly questions like “do you have any fox vehicles?”

If I had a fox vehicle in Iraq, I’d be sitting in it all day because its air conditioned, for real. Among other things. lol


when I arrived at KKMC in February 91, the first thing I saw coming off the back of the C-130 was 16,000 aluminum coffins still loaded on 463L pallets. That and the real NBC gear we were packing were sobering indicators that someone believed we were gonna have to fight in a dirty environment.


The real ‘giveaway’ in this is that the photo used in the linked article does not show one single corpse. It is pure fiction.

There is no reason to revive this, or start some sort of debate over it, when there are plenty of people who were there and can shut the debate down quickly. It isn’t even lack of research. It is completely biased toward a lie.

Prior Service

While I agree with the gist of your comment, when I rolled into Baghdad in 2003, I did see US-built M109 SP artillery and US-built M2 .50 caliber MGs. (Right in the same compound as a bunch of Soviet-built junk.)


That’s very possible. Iraq had nearly a century before they became our enemies. When the Iraqi government banned personal weapon ownership for Baghdad citizens in 2008, we confisated dozens of British rifles that dated back to WW1 (broke my heart to destroy them). That doesn’t mean the Brits were arming Saddam.


I was there as well. This story is just nonsense.

The Iraqi army was conducting a tactical withdrawal with the intent of protecting Baghdad and preserving combat power so they could get back to their day jobs of suppressing Shia and Kurds.

It was a tactical move, not a surrender. Those troops could have individually surrendered, but they didn’t (true, they probably did’t have much time to think about it, but such is war. You don’t have to warn your enemy, their job is to stay alert)

The cease fire didn’t come until a full 24 hours after this incident. The US and coalition showed a great deal of restraint. We had utterly defeated the Iraqi Army and could have simply dismantled the regime, but we held ourselves to what was agreed upon in the UN resolutions.

The author forgets to mention (or probably didn’t do enough research to learn) that the Iraqi Army had already used ruses like advancing towards coalition forces with their turrets traversed to the rear (a sign of surrender or cease fire) only to traverse their turrets and attack at the last minute.

We made a lot of mistakes and there were plenty of bad decisions in Iraq, but this wasn’t one of them. Attacking an enemy army under arms in time of war is not a war crime.


The Iraqi military leaders should have been the ones condemned by the media, for their ineptitude in allowing so many troops and equipment to be caught in such a foreseeable trap. I remember my first reaction to those images of that highway was that the much-vaunted Iraqi Army had to be laughably incompetent, something I had long suspected when reading all the media hype during the lengthy buildup.

To this day, that image still comes to mind when I read any media blather about any Middle Eastern military forces’ prowess, such as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, or whatever they’re called. That attitude includes the Turks whose reputation I suspect has been living far too long on events from the Korean War which may have been media hype as well, propaganda from our side. If their army was as fierce as the media claims, Turkey would have destroyed the Kurdish independence movement long ago.


You have to remember that the bulk of the media think that parades full of goose-stepping ‘eyes right’ soldiers carrying fake guns in a parade is an indication of a well-trained military. You and I both know it isn’t.

The peshmerga are better trained than the Iranian military, in my opinion. I think the first thing the Iranians would do is throw down and run.

And if Turkey IS so very up to snuff, how come they can’t rout out the Kurds?

Perry Gaskill

I miss Baghdad Bob. He took bullshit artistry to a whole other level:

“Not one (BOOM!) enemy aircraft (BOOM!) will violate (BOOM!) Iraqi airspace (BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!)…”

The Other Whitey

“No Americans will ever set foot in Baghdad!”

As an Abrams crosses the street behind him…


Oh, my dog! I’d forgotten that one.


PH2, hadn’t realized you’re dislectic…


Oh, I’m not. Occasionally, I just make stuff up for effect.

A Proud Infidel®™

Ex-PH2, I thought you were a Founding Member of DAM – Mothers Against Dyslexia.

HMCS(FMF) ret.

Don’t forget the Tomahawk’s flying at treetop level headed towards their targets!!!


Not so sure they were incompetent as much as guilty of fighting their last war. Plus, we were really, really good. Watching it unfold from the ground starting in August of 1990 it became pretty apparent that Saddam was expecting the war to be like the Iran-Iraq war and had no concept of how the coalition would fight, especially U.S. Forces. He made major mistakes at the strategic, operational, and tactical level of war. At the operational level, The Iraqis were arrayed in two major defensive belts, with the regular army along the Kuwait/Saudi border, and the Republican Guard on the Kuwait/Iraq border. He didn’t extend the defenses much to the west, and he clearly expected us to attack straight up the middle into his defense. Schwarzkopf reinforced this by a number of feints and by delaying the move of XVIII Airborne Corps to the west until right before the ground war, at which time it was too late for Sadam to react. After about December it was pretty obvious what Desert Storm was going to look like, especially to us in an Air Assault division. We knew we could fly right over his defensive belt and threaten Baghdad within 24 hours. At the tactical level the Iraqis were clearly expecting a linear attrition battle like they had against Iran. Their defensive belts were designed to stop waves of infantry and didn’t allow for them to maneuver. They deployed their tanks more as mobile pillboxes. So, the Iraqi army was at a major positional disadvantage when the ground war started. On top of that, we were simply better and faster. Our tank and mech units literally destroyed units 3 times their size in hours. H.R. McMasters’ Cav troop destroyed the better part of a regiment in about 20 minutes. Jonn’s outfit also tore through the enemy. By the way, Powell was not the guy that decided to stop the war. He was the Chaiman at the time, and his major role was to advocate clear objectives and overwhelming force. The president and SecDef (Cheney) made that decision based on advice… Read more »

The Drill SGT

The ceasefire was effective on the 28th. The Highway of death attacks happened the night of the 26th. Armed Main Battle tanks are fair game regardless.


I saw a couple dozen bodies where I was at. Some of our guys participated in the burial detail. I believe many of them were allowed to escape. We wanted to destroy their equipment, IMO.


Hey highpockets, if you’ll just buy sufficient brew there should be ample ammunition to fire on both targets.

Have you ever read my poem on the topic of Fonda’s grave? Just go here and click on “Forever Green.”

Dave Hardin

Outstanding, I also loved the “Semper I”

Bill M

Good stuff!

Green Thumb

“The Left loves to make the US out to be some barbaric hegemonic power that kills needlessly”

Until they need us or our family(s) to go and solver the problem.



[…] The Quinton Report: “Little Obama” Ice Cream For Sale In Russia This Ain’t Hell: That “Highway Of Death” Canard Weasel Zippers: Bernie Sanders Calls For Dems To Launch Liberal Version of Fox News – ABC, […]


Holy shit! THE Joseph Galloway reads this blog?

Sir, one of my mother’s good friends (John Higman) died in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley at LZ X-ray.

I want you to know that your book ‘We Were Soldiers and Young Once’ is one of my favorite military history books of all time…maybe because of the personal connection through my Mom, but mostly the writing was very well done.

Thank you Sir!