9:55 AM, Jan 22, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
There's an excellent article in Salon today on the IED problem in Iraq. With the aid of a source at the Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Task Force, Robert Bryce does an excellent job of capturing the scope of the problem--from the history of the devices, to the Pentagon's inept attempts at finding a technological solution, and finally to Iran's role in providing the insurgency with more lethal IEDs.
In May of last year, I was contacted by an officer serving in a counter-IED role with Multi-National Force-Iraq. He painted a similar picture of a military command that had thrown billions of dollars at the problem with little to show for it. My source emphasized the need for a tactical, rather than technological, solution, but his point was the same--were it not for the Pentagon's inability to counter the IED, U.S. casualties in Iraq would be far more tolerable, and the insurgents would be without any real means of attacking U.S. forces.
Below is a chart from Bryce's piece illustrating the devastating impact the IED has had on American forces. Bryce's source recommends the use of aerial surveillance to target insurgents setting the devices. The military is also sending more mine resistant vehicles and going after the Iranian networks that arm the insurgents.