The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 November 2004

Insert Steelers reference here

Just how big is Fallujah? Matt Deatherage looked it up:

According to Wikipedia, Fallujah had a pre-war population of 350,000.

That's the size of Pittsburgh. The one in Pennsylvania, not the one in Kansas (that one's "Pittsburg" anyway.)

So when you hear the 101st Fighting Keyboarders foaming at the mouth to "raze Fallujah to the ground," or braying that anyone smart would have left the city by now, substitute "Pittsburgh" in your mind and you'll see the scope of the problem.

Oh, I don't know; a lot of smart people have left Pittsburgh.

But underestimating the magnitude of a task is nothing new for the Bush administration either; while they have the long view down cold, counting the number of steps between Point A and Point B is not their strong suit.

Posted at 8:08 AM to Dyssynergy

I don't see what the size of the city has to do with anything. Does Mr. Deatherage not know that we are more than capable of "raz[ing] to the ground" a city even larger than Pittsburgh in a very short time? Obviously we have chosen not to do so, and I rather doubt it was because the administration was under the impression that Fallujah was a quaint, tiny village. It's misdirection anyway, since I don't think that anyone thought it was a quaint, tiny village (heck, from all the news reports you'd think the city was of a size and importance rivalling Paris). But hey, all's fair in the war against the Dread Army of Chickenhawks™.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 9:56 PM on 12 November 2004

We had enough trouble pacifying quaint, tiny villages in southeast Asia, but that was a different Administration at work.

As a practical (if impractical) matter, it would be no insurmountable difficulty punching a hole the size of Pennsylvania into the Fertile Crescent, but I don't think anyone is considering that as an option. I do believe the President thought that knocking out the "insurgents" would be an easier task than it was, but he does seem to learn quickly enough.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:19 AM on 13 November 2004

350K is a lot of people, but 2.4M is quite a bit more -- and 2.4M is what the "metropolitan statistical area" of Pittsburgh contains, according to the 2000 Census Data.

So is Deatherage using the city limits definition, in terms of relative geographical size? Or is he referencing an area that encompasses the entire Pittsburgh MSA?


Posted by: David at 11:46 AM on 13 November 2004

Well, he did specify 350,000 people, which would suggest the city of Pittsburgh (about 55 square miles) by itself. Fallujah covers around 96 square kilometers, or 37 square miles, so it's a little more densely populated than Steel City.

Possibly a better comparison might have been Buffalo (290,000 population, 40 square miles).

Posted by: CGHill at 12:13 PM on 13 November 2004