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Left of Boom - The struggle to defeat roadside bombs
September 30, 2007 2:08 AM   Subscribe

Left of Boom - The struggle to defeat roadside bombs. [washpo - flash & flash video]
posted by srboisvert (22 comments total)

 
At the end of the video he predicts that roadside IEDs wil be used in other conflicts to come because of their efficacy against a superior military force.
posted by jouke at 3:22 AM on September 30, 2007


Apparently I'm not technologically advanced enough because "Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content." But: Do IEDs work, yes. Do land mines work, yes. Can you eradicate, defeat or get rid of effective weapons, No. Vale Princess Diana.
posted by tellurian at 5:15 AM on September 30, 2007


At the end of the video he predicts that roadside IEDs wil be used in other conflicts...

And in the US itself, which may be why US authorities seemingly overreact to false alarms. Unlike most US folk, the security authorities are expecting this shit to really start happening in Baltimore and Fresno.

A gasoline tanker here, a school bus there. How many messy explosions would it take to close or jam all the streets and highways in the country, close all the schools, make millions call in sick, etc.? And if the explosions kept up? Martial law?
posted by pracowity at 5:47 AM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pracowity that's almost hard to imagine it is so f* up
posted by Rancid Badger at 7:04 AM on September 30, 2007


eleven seconds, worth the the click:

IED up close
posted by milestogo at 7:27 AM on September 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


eleven seconds, worth the the click:

IED up close


Holy shit indeed.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:36 AM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


The accompanying article is very good, as well.
posted by bshort at 7:58 AM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pracowity that's almost hard to imagine it is so f* up
It is? I find it far more realistic than the ever-hyped "suitcase nuke" or "dirty bomb" that the babbling-heads love to scare us with.
Cheap, easily transported IEDs make far more sense, from a logistical and "terrorize the general populace" point-of-view.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:07 AM on September 30, 2007


"Since that first fatal detonation of what is now known as an improvised explosive device, more than 81,000 IED attacks have occurred in Iraq, including 25,000 so far this year, according to U.S. military sources."

That is some serious fucking logistics. So if a really big IED is 100 pounds remember the 377 tons of primo high explosives that went missing from the Al Qaqaa bunkers after the invasion.

Washington Post (10/29/04): "This week's assertions by Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign about the few hundred tons said to have vanished from Iraq's Qaqaa facility have struck some defense experts as exaggerated."
posted by well_balanced at 8:39 AM on September 30, 2007


Also from that story (Roadside bomb attacks in Iraq top 81,000):
Since that first fatal detonation of what is now known as an improvised explosive device, more than 81,000 IED attacks have occurred in Iraq, including 25,000 so far this year, according to U.S. military sources. The war has indeed metastasized into something "completely different," a conflict in which the roadside bomb in its many variants — including "suicide-vehicle-borne" — has become the signature weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan, as iconic as the machine gun in World War I or the "smart bomb" in the Persian Gulf War of 1991.

IEDs have caused nearly two-thirds of the 3,100 American combat deaths in Iraq, and an even higher proportion of battle wounds. This year alone, through mid-July, they have also resulted in an estimated 11,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and more than 600 deaths among Iraqi security forces.

To the extent that the United States is not winning militarily in Iraq, the roadside bomb, which has killed or wounded more than 21,000 Americans, is both a proximate cause and a metaphor for the miscalculation and improvisation that have characterized the war.
Coming to a theater near you.
posted by pracowity at 8:48 AM on September 30, 2007


Booby traps are a tactic that will always work, have always worked. Cost effective, indefensible, what's the problem?....all's fair. Ah, warfare!

...wow as far as ied's in the USA ? "oof" that would be a spectacle.
We seem due for a random pyschotic episode from someone.
Remember these knuckleheads...

It wouldn't take much to send the USA into a tizzy.
posted by greenskpr at 9:42 AM on September 30, 2007


Sorry...I'm new. That was supposed to be a video of the DC Snipers Muhammad and Malvo. I'll get better.
posted by greenskpr at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2007


If we had a rational government, detecting IEDs being brought across the border would already be being done.

Nitrate-based explosives have distinctive chemical signatures. There are chemical sniffers that are more or less unerring at detecting them. We could have outfit every border stop and port with these units -- the cost would have been a few percent of the cost of the Iraq war.

The point is that the powers that be have made little real attempt to secure our airports and no attempt to secure our ports. The reason is simply that the government has every incentive to make sure that terrorist attacks continue to happen.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:56 AM on September 30, 2007


We could have outfit every border stop and port with these units -- the cost would have been a few percent of the cost of the Iraq war.

Uh... dude, everything you need to make a nitrate bomb can be had at your local farm supply store. Then all you need is a garage door opener, cell phone, baby monitor, pager, RC car, etc. to detonate it.

Basically, you will never be able to prevent people from building these. You can only prevent people from wanting to build these.
posted by phrontist at 10:16 AM on September 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I second Phrontist, the stuff to make a bomb can be found in your house and a da can make one. When I visit the local AFB they have sniffers and dogs at the gates They also inspect things like the Ding Dong Ice Cream truck.
posted by Rancid Badger at 10:53 AM on September 30, 2007


Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper was able to defeat the US Navy in the largest war game ever with guerilla tactics.


"Van Riper had at his disposal a computer-generated flotilla of small boats and planes, many of them civilian, which he kept buzzing around the virtual Persian Gulf in circles as the game was about to get under way. As the US fleet entered the Gulf, Van Riper gave a signal - not in a radio transmission that might have been intercepted, but in a coded message broadcast from the minarets of mosques at the call to prayer. The seemingly harmless pleasure craft and propeller planes suddenly turned deadly, ramming into Blue boats and airfields along the Gulf in scores of al-Qaida-style suicide attacks. Meanwhile, Chinese Silkworm-type cruise missiles fired from some of the small boats sank the US fleet's only aircraft carrier and two marine helicopter carriers. The tactics were reminiscent of the al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole in Yemen two years ago, but the Blue fleet did not seem prepared. Sixteen ships were sunk altogether, along with thousands of marines. If it had really happened, it would have been the worst naval disaster since Pearl Harbor."

posted by Freen at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2007


The US-Mexico border alone is almost 2,000 miles long. I wonder how many people sneaked into the US today? How many unknowns walked across the northern or southern border, or landed in a boat on one of the coasts, or crawled through a drug tunnel under a border fence, and just vanished?
posted by pracowity at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2007


Our guys are dying like chumps. You see Ken Burns "War?" First episode. An air strike is ordered on a ball bearing plant in Schweinfort (sp?) in the heart of Germany. They send out a hundred planes. Daylight. No air cover. 60 planes get shot down. A hundred men die. Few weeks later, the same number are sent out on the same mission. None of the variables has changed. 60 planes get shot down. A hundred men die. (The ball bearing factory is back in operation in a few weeks.) Who the hell ordered that second mission?

Who the hell orders our guys in Iraq to go out over and over and get blown up by IEDs? Once the danger of IEDs, and their successful use by the enemy in Afghanistan was noted, higher ups should have suspended all missions in the middle east until an effective counter-tactic or counter-strategy was developed. If no counter-strategy can be found, the troops should be withdrawn and the mission scrubbed.

You don't just send your guys out over and over again into the same meat grinder.
posted by Faze at 3:54 PM on September 30, 2007


You don't just send your guys out over and over again into the same meat grinder.

Actually, in war you do. It's been that way for quite a while and it is not going to change.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on September 30, 2007


Ken Burns "The War" : started to watch it, some of the new images are fantastic, but it is very "American only" so far (episode 1).. Does it expand a little more later? (Not a complaint, American documentary after all)
posted by lundman at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2007



Ken Burns "The War" : started to watch it, some of the new images are fantastic, but it is very "American only" so far (episode 1)


That would be because it's a documentary ABOUT American involvement in WWII by an American historian showing on American PBS.
posted by tkchrist at 9:28 PM on September 30, 2007


Burns is focusing primarily on a small group of Americans telling their stories from the time. I've watched the first five episodes of so far and they've all been excellent. It's also very hard to watch. Highly recommended.
posted by homunculus at 10:20 PM on September 30, 2007


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