From Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk (one of my favorite writers):
Tyler Durden: Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?
Narrator: No. I did not know that. Is that true?
Tyler Durden: That's right; one can make all kinds of explosives using simple household items...
Tyler Durden: If one were so inclined.
Well, in Iraq, the insurgents are so inclined. And with all the munitions scattered across Iraq, RPGs and artillery shells are practically household items. And they continue to make IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices/ roadside bombs) from just about everything.
What does this mean? It means the enemy threat is evolving. As I saw in Iraq when I was there, the insurgents are smart. And are clearly getting smarter.
There were about 700 IED attacks against Americans in the month of May. That is the highest number since the war started in 2003. Insurgents are also learning how to make those IEDs more deadly. They have demonstrated a much higher level of sophistication, using shape charges, infrared laser detonators (which by-pass US jammers), and more complex firing devices.
More from an excellent NY Times piece yesterday by David S. Cloud.
The insurgents are making bigger IEDs. And they are making better IEDs.
They have also gotten much better at creating car bombs. Hardly a threat two years ago, they are now plentiful, reaching a record high number of 70 in April. In the military, we refer to them as VBIEDs (Vehicle Borne IEDs).
The insurgents have pulled off some significant coordinated attacks. Yesterday there were two coordinated blasts in Baghdad that killed 15 and wounded 28. Wednesday, four car bombs detonated within just minutes of each other.
The insurgents are getting better at attacking US and Iraqi forces. And they are made of much more than merely “dead enders.” I know. My men and I were on the ground in Iraq for almost a year. We were attacked by them. We detained them. We killed them. And we saw a definite increase in the overall complexity of the attacks waged by them. And that increase in the sophistication of enemy tactics has only continued since we left.
Mr.Cheney, would you like some ketchup to help you eat your words? My boys in uniform in Iraq are painting a very different picture. I’ll take their word over yours every time.
Since you won’t listen to the guys on the ground, maybe you’ll listen to someone else who knows a bit about combat:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”