Saturday, February 17, 2007

IEDs are not rocket science

Anyone can make a $30 bomb. I was just saying that we're spending billions on high tech equipment to support the occupation while we're being bedeviled by guerrillas with budget bombs and here comes Andrew Cockburn to make my point. He reveals a previously unreported raid last November discovered a shop in Baghdad making explosively formed penetrators, the so-called new generation IED. This of course has been ignored by the President as he pushes the dubious claim that the Iranian govenment is supplying them to Iraqi insurgents.
The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. "Twenty bucks," he answered after a brief calculation. "Thirty at most."

Anybody know how much the bombs we're dropping cost? I'm guessing it's a bit more than thirty bucks a pop. And these infernal devices are hardly new. Hezbollah has been using them for some time in Lebanon but their history goes back much further.
EFPs have a venerable history. The IRA used them with lethal effect against British troops in Northern Ireland, as did French resistance fighters against the Germans in World War II. It is only a question of time before someone shows the Taliban how to make them, and then NATO forces in Afghanistan will begin the same ordeal.
Pre-invasion, Rumsfeld discounted their importance. After all, he had a $168 billion dollar, state of the art defense array of computers, sensors and robots that was going to render our troops invulnerable. When that failed against the $30 bombs, the Pentagon put together a $3.3 billion dollar anti-IED task force - to no apparent effect. Meanwhile, whichever faction is setting off the IEDs has spent under $100,000 to kill thousands of our soldiers.

All this high tech equipment and military think tanking has been very good for crony contractors who pocketed hundreds of billions of our tax dollars to create futuristic "state of the art" defense systems. Unforunately for our soldiers, it's likely that somewhere in Baghdad, even as you read this, someone is punching out archaic thirty dollar bombs that will be taking our soldier's lives and destroying a $150,000 Humvee this week.
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