Weapons: Booby Trap Central



November 15, 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.

The booby 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.

Long term, 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.