Tuesday, January 06, 2004

EOD or Mortars?

This afternoon there were about 3 loud explosions that rattled the windows. For the most part, we're used to it being Air force EOD. Which are highly trained and are the ones that mostly deal with defusing IEDs and all that kinds of stuff. They also have really good equipment, like robots and all. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Usually we don't worry about loud explosions because 90% of the time it's EOD blowing up a weapons cache or something. However, this time was especially odd. One after another, these really loud explosions kept coming. Over the radio it was said that it was EOD. We had some snipers come in our tower and check the outer perimeter. Of course they saw nothing. Anyway, after they got up there. About 20 minutes later, another explosion happened. I was not at the top of the tower, so I could not see what was going on. Later, while they were still up at the top observing I went to the top to check it out. They said the last explosion happened 300 meters out from our tower outside the perimeter. Apparently, they said they saw the dust cloud that was created. However, they said over the radio that it was just EOD. The guys who watched swear it wasn't EOD, especially since there were patrols going on in that area. From what I understand, there is supposed to be no patrols in an area where EOD is about blow something. So, was it EOD or mortars? My guess it was mortars, but other guys think it was EOD.

I've received some good questions in an e-mail from a guy. I thought it would be important to answer. I will try to answer to the best of my ability. In comparison to the Vietnam war, the Vietcong were a well trained and well backed force. They had millions to fight for them. This "guerilla" operation in Iraq, they are not well trained and not really backed up by anyone. We ended up killing way more Vietcong then they were able to kill of us and that was when our military had alot of conscripts, now our military is all volunteer, highly trained and very professional. So, in the grand scheme of things, the insurgency should have no chance at all right? Well, that's not really true. In Vietnam, at any given moment, we had 500,000+ troops there. In Iraq, we have only 140,000. We really only have enough to guard what is really important, the military compounds and all the other high value areas. The Vietcong would actually engage and close with our forces in Vietnam. These people don't fight like that. Their idea of fighting is driving around in a pickup trucks, driving till they're in range of a target. Then, they jump out and setup a mortar and launch a few mortars real quickly. After that, they quickly put it back in the vehicle and take off. Each time they try to engage us in a balls out fire fight, they lose every time. So, instead of virtually committing suicide by trying that, they do hit and run operations.

One thing that really gets on my nerves is people still talk about the "war in Iraq". It's not a war anymore, that ended in May. I'm not saying these soldier's lives are worthless, but we maybe lose a Soldier every other day. More people die in America from shoots than soldiers do here. Not only that, an average of 20 or so soldiers died everyday in Vietnam. There is no comparison, and it's just as dumb to say that as it is to say that in Vietnam the loses were small at first and then got worse later on. Just because it got worse in Vietnam, doesn't mean it's going to get worse in Iraq. The insurgency isn't hitting American targets like it used to anyway. The Coalition is capturing many many many Fedayeen, Al-qaeda, Ansar Al Islam and any other terrorist groups seeking to ruin anything good happening in Iraq. Some might say the Fedayeen is a military organization, not a terrorist group. Then, obviously they don't know that the Fedayeen are trained in the art of terrorism. During the war, Iraqis told me the Fedayeen mostly instructed it's people to kill Iraqis surrendering to the Coalition rather than really fight the Coalition. A story an Iraqi told me once, was this guy he knew came from Jordan to fight the Americans. So, we met up with Fedayeen. However, he left them because they were telling him to hurt and kill Iraqis instead of really fight the Americans. I'm sure alot of you reading can remember that time paramilitary forces mortared them people in Basra trying to run to the British troops?

The Iraqi police have and are doing a great job at finding these terrorist cells. Alot of the time, we share information with IPs. We work with them alot also. Overall, I think it will be up to them to stop the insurgency. A good argument is they know the culture really well and because they've lived here all their lives. They should be able to spot people up to no good much easier the Coalition troops. It's really encouraging to see them driving around. I think IPs have it rougher than any of the Coalition. Constantly, they are being targeted by suicide bombers. Yet, most of them continue to do their noble work for Iraq. IPs are regarded to the Iraqis much like how we regarded our fire fighters after September 11. I think the Iraqis are very capable of achieving a very successful democracy. Do I think we should hand it over to them now? No. I believe in another year they should be able to fend for themselves for the most part. It would be a big injustice for the Iraqis for us to just abandon them now. I really really really wish we could leave. Now, we have an obligation to the Iraqis. It would also be an injustice to the many soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the Iraqi's freedom and then for us to just run when casualties start to mount.