Sunday, November 24, 2013

The IED Warehouse

We have a hurt locker warehouse:

Just outside the nation's capital, amid suburban trappings like yogurt shops and yoga studios, chain sports bars and fast food franchises, sits a nondescript building few could guess contains the legacy of two wars terrorists fought with hidden bombs.

It's the FBI's repository of pain.

Inside the brightly-lit and highly secure warehouse that evokes "Raiders of The Lost Ark", the Bureau has neatly stockpiled a "bomb library" of 100,000 remnants of improvised explosive devices, called IEDs, recovered by the U.S. military from battlegrounds mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They've been collected to examine as evidence and intelligence on IED makers, and also to study in order to design technology to defeat them and keep G.I.s alive.

Of our more than six-and-a-half thousand killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 3,100 were from IEDs.

As odd as it is to think of it this way, this is a statistic of our enemies' weakness. Insurgencies win by moving up the escalation ladder to ultimately forming units that rival the government forces in size, training, and equipment.

Our enemies couldn't even hold the line at using direct fire in small unit actions prior to moving up that ladder. Instead, they went down the ladder to a form of warfare that didn't risk their own people to our fire and which simply killed civilians to alienate more people from the jihadi cause--eventually prompting our Sunni Saddam-supporting enemies to switch sides to fight at our side against the jihadis!

And while our enemies still had a surge of IED (including suicide bombers) killing ahead of them, the pattern held. We suppressed most of the violence and could look forward to the day when the Iraqis would defeat them with some modest US presence after 2011. Of course, we never provided that help. Still, the terrorists are not moving up the escalation ladder, either. Just more pointless killing seems to keep the jihadis happy.

But I risk digressing too much. Anyway, we are studying what these murderers built.

I'm not sure what enemies we might face who would use the same weapon to the same degree. But it is better to study them just in case. You never know.

And we have bits from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, too. So this is useful "data" to study regardless of what goes on in Iraq and Afghanistan.