Friday, August 17, 2007

Iraq insurgents continue to think a step ahead of the American military

The latest twist? House bombs.

The 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division calls itself the "Send Me" brigade, and on Saturday, its soldiers were quick to send themselves to find the man who shot Pfc. William L. Edwards, a wide-eyed 23-year-old from Houston. They quickly identified the house where they believed the assailant was hiding and moved in, just as the sniper knew they would.

Inside the house, one soldier stepped on a pressure plate, detonating an estimated 30 pounds of explosives hidden under a stairwell. In an instant, four troops were killed; four others were injured. Edwards died later in the hospital. The sniper escaped.

The attack in Arab Jabour, southeast of Baghdad, was particularly savage, predicated on knowledge of the soldiers' sense of duty to a fallen comrade. Military commanders say the number of similar incidents — those in which soldiers are lured into a house rigged to explode — has risen dramatically across Iraq in recent months.

Especially for Marines, who are fanatic to the point of myth-making about refusing to leave a fallen comrade behind, these house bombs have to be like baited traps. The story notes this is all part of a pattern of emerging complexity in attacks, such as combining roadway IEDs with post-explosion ambushes, usually involving more insurgents at one site than previously was the case.

As for our top military PR? It’s a “spin” issue more than something to seriously address right now:
Officials attribute the increasingly sophisticated attacks to desperation on the insurgents' part after troops became too successful at finding roadside bombs and other explosives.

“It’s a clear sign that they could not get to us by other means, and that's a good sign,” said Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, a spokesman for the American operation in northern Iraq, describing the pattern of house bombs in that area. “Obviously we're countering the improvised explosive devices, and force on force, they know that they can't fight us.”

This lying toady refuses to, or has orders to refuse to, credit insurgents for ever-rising tactical and technological ingenuity, even though he describes another example of such ingenuity in his very next breath:
But ambushes and rigged houses can cause many more casualties than smaller improvised explosive devices, which rarely kill more than one or two people at a time. Increasingly, Donnelly said, insurgents are creating a “daisy chain” of house bombs, in which an initial explosion can trigger blasts up and down a block.

Donnelly claims that the bombs leave tell-tale signs. Right.

If that really were the case all the time, why would the bombs be being used more and more? And, if it is starting to become true, the insurgency is probably already moving on to its next set of tactics.

In fact, Donnelly admits that, while keeping his BushCo happy face painted on.
Donnelly said that as U.S. troops become more skilled in identifying house bombs, al-Qaeda in Iraq will probably develop even more advanced techniques for attacking soldiers. But the American military’s counterinsurgency abilities, assisted by increased cooperation from Iraqi citizens, would prevail, he said.

Sure. Black is white, and the Red Queen loves Alice to death.

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly and Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus.