Hey - what's happening in Iraq these days, now that the constitutional democracy seems to be taking hold (more or less)?
The Army is now searching for IEDs. Don't feel bad if you don't know what an IED is. I had to look it up. They aren't WMDs. They are "Improvised Explosive Devices." "Sometimes we have a bad day and they find us," quipped Sgt. Roland Galvan of Holcomb, Miss. It would seem that the insurgents are using remotely detonated bombs to inflict death and injury without actually having to engage their enemy in a more traditional "firefight" with small arms and lots of potential for losses on both sides.
It puts me in mind of the beginning of the film "Brazil." The Head of Information Retrieval, Mr. Helpmann, is seen on television decrying the latest wave of terrorist bombings: "Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seem to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can't stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game..." The scene continues:
T.V. Interviewer: How do you account for the fact that the bombing campaign has been going on for thirteen years?
Mr. Helpmann: Beginners' luck.
Back in Iraq, the hunt for IEDs helps the military learn about what has become a relatively cheap and risk-free way to inflict casualties on a more powerful foe. Death and dismemberment for the cost-conscious insurgent on a budget.
Isn't anyone getting this? This is not news. This is what the Colonial Army did to the British two hundred thirty years ago. This is what the Boers did to the British in the late 19th century. This is what the Vietnamese have done to anybody foolish enough to try and engage them in a land war. It's guerilla warfare. Che Guevara wrote a book about it - from chapter 1:
1. Popular forces can win a war against the army.
2. It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection can create them.
3. In underdeveloped America the countryside is the basic area for armed fighting.
And that's the news. Now back to our scheduled program of dance music.