2008: Although U.S. combat casualties
are way down in Iraq (2-3 dead and wounded a day, for a force of 140,000
troops), the enemy still tries to come up with new, and unanticipated, ways to
kill. One of the more nerve wracking weapons the terrorists are now using is
booby traps inside abandoned homes. These nasty little devices, which are
basically explosives hooked to trip wires or pressure devices (step on a floor
tile to set it off), and are used to terrorize local civilians, as well as kill
U.S. and Iraqi troops. In northern Iraq, around Mosul, the terrorists have
driven civilians from entire villages and neighborhoods, and kept them out by
rigging some of the structures with these booby traps. Military engineers (or
civilians trained to the task), can clear out the bombs. But this is a very
dangerous undertaking. And the terrorists are constantly sneaking in at night
and setting more traps.
So far this
year, several dozen U.S. troops have been killed or wounded by these booby
traps. Casualties among civilians have been much higher, as kids or thieves
will poke around, either unaware of, or in spite of, the danger.
traps are usually built by former employees of Saddam, who trained thousands of
loyal Sunni Arabs in the arcane skills of booby trap making. Saddam has used
such skills against Kurdish and Shia rebels, as well as against Iranians during
the 1980s war. All you need are explosives, detonators and factory, or home
made, pressure or tension devices to construct the bombs. There are many
documents on the Internet showing how it's done, and the many places where you
can place the bombs.
the only solution is to kill or capture the terrorists (or drive them out of the
area), and then slowly clear the bombs out of the buildings. Booby traps in
civilian dwellings and businesses is a losers game for the terrorists, but they
are on the way out one way or another.