kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor --
with the cry of grave national emergency.
Always there has been some terrible evil at home
or some monstrous foreign power that was going
to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind
it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded.
Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem
never to have happened,
seem never to have been quite real
Terrorism is the best political weapon
for nothing drives people harder
than a fear of sudden death
A thing is not necessarily true
because a man dies for it
--The Portrait of Mr. W. H., Oscar Wilde
USA Today ran the requisite scare photo (later picked up by Military- and Navy Times) of a human skill with a 3-inch-long, threaded steel bolt lodged near the cerebrum, headlined: "Afghan Insurgents Jamming More Objects in Bombs". D'Oh.
"Insurgents are creating more destructive roadside bombs this year by packing them with nails, screws, bolts, metal coils, ball bearings and other materials, according to doctors treating wounded U.S. and coalition troops here.
"The number of casualties suffering multiple wounds from these objects has increased from about a dozen in March to around 100 each month this summer, according to Navy Capt. Michael Mullins, spokesman for the NATO hospital operated by the U.S. Navy outside Kandahar."
Truama specialist U.S. Air Force Maj. Randy Snoots, says the bombs "are getting bigger and bigger and more full of stuff." Of course, they're not quite as big as the stuff in the U.S. inventory, which includes 5,000 pound bunker busters, 155/8" artillery, cruise missiles (that have been employed against individual targets) and Predator missiles, to name a few.
Is this supposed to shock me? We were using IED's before IED's were cool. We were trained to use rocks if we couldn't get steel or scrap iron. While it is beyond regrettable that our soldiers are getting killed by these devices, they are not some space-age innovation, nor is packing them with even more stuff.
Bombs are emotional since they are viewed as indiscriminate and arbitrary. The soldiers who become targets have no ability to protect themselves, and this is fear-producing. While one may not know the exact place and time, it is a go that traveling up and down highways in hostile territory will eventually result in your finding and IED in a way you would have preferred to avoid.
Bombs in the hands of skilled bombers have military value and are a type of force multiplier. U.S. Special Forces soldiers are taught advanced bomb enhancement techniques that have included adding a White Phosphorous grenade to the front of a Claymore to enhance its lethality. In the Vietnam War, SF A-Camps employed 40-pound cratering charges as giant Claymores simply by putting rolls of new barbed or concertina wire in front of the explosive for an extra large fragmentary effect, adding to the blast effect. These were all IED's.
The North Vietnamese Army hung Chinese Claymores, artillery/mortar duds in trees to enhance lethality; the Irish Republican Army added nails to their explosive devices; the Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto used a bomb with metal fragments called the "Matzoh Ball", etc.
So what is newsworthy about the fact that the "insurgents" in Afghanistan are using "bigger and more full of stuff" historical devices to fight the U.S./NATO incursion? The real question is: How have the soldiers killed and wounded by these nail bombs decreased the threat of terrorism to Americans in the continental U.S.?
Further, if this is an insurgency, why are Americans being targeted? Is this insurgency against Americans, or against the Karzai government? Are the two separate entities? By definition, the insurgency must be against the Karzai government, and it is dubious that U.S. involvement is addressing the key issue which is the al-Qaeda threat against the Ole Homeland. U.S. goals have become so muddled and convoluted that the entire theatre of operations has become a theatre of the absurd. Nail bombs will not build a nation, nor will U.S. involvement in an Afghan insurgency.
Further, if this is an insurgency, why are Americans being targeted? Is this insurgency against Americans, or against the Karzai government? Are the two separate entities? By definition, the insurgency must be against the Karzai government, and it is dubious that U.S. involvement is addressing the key issue which is the al-Qaeda threat against the Ole Homeland.
U.S. goals have become so muddled and convoluted that the entire theatre of operations has become a theatre of the absurd. Nail bombs will not build a nation, nor will U.S. involvement in an Afghan insurgency.