In addition, according to Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of all US forces in the Middle East, IEDs have become the enemys perfect weapon they are cheap, effective, and anonymous. (Knickerbocker, 2007, p.1) As a result, incidents involving IEDs have surged dramatically and now pose a real threat to the community. Despite government efforts to curtail IED activity, insurgents are still able to find ways to build and detonate their IED made bombs.
IED bombings have been on the headlines in the past but currently, it can be seen almost constantly. The number of IED incidents keeps on steadily escalating and therefore resulting to thousands and thousands of casualties. This problem not only plagues war ravaged countries but also countries in peace who are caught in between. First seen in the World Trade Center attack in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, IED use have increased as proven by the Madrid and London transit bombings in 2004 and 2005. Another case was the war in Iraq. According to Atkinson (2007):
In Iraq, from the former number of 50 IED bombing incidents per day, the number of bombings has now reached an astonishing number of 100 per day. Since that first fatal detonation of what is now known as an improvised explosive device, more than 81,000 IED attacks have occurred, according to U.S. military sources. (p. A1)
A total of 3,837 US soldiers also have died and 27,753 were wounded from the Iraq bombings. (Casualty Counts, 2007) Figures include every casualty who died ever since the war in Iraq started. Majority were killed through IED bombings. It should be noted however that the figures only consist of US soldiers and still not include non-military casualties and the members of non-coalition countries. From these, it could be said that there is indeed a real threat in the form of IED bombings. This definitely calls for action on the part of the US government.
The government has been slow in its response to the IED bombing incidents thats what some lawmakers and journalists say. Even Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary admits to this in his departments statement National efforts lack strategic guidance, are sometimes insufficiently coordinated, and lack essential resources.(Hsu and Sheridan, 2007, p. A01)
Nonetheless, years after being accused of its slow response, the US government has now allocated a $196.4 billion fund for the Global War on Terror. (2008 Funding Request, 2007) The governments approach has been a holistic one. They appropriated designated amounts for armor, training, and weapons to counter IEDs.
The Homeland Security also made its moves to help in the governments mission to lessen IED incidents. They set up an Office for Bombing prevention which was tasked to take charge of working with both internal and external agencies to tackle possible IED threats.
A system named TRIPwire was also established to share information regarding IEDs such as latest tactics, techniques and procedures over a network by bomb squad technicians, intelligence analysts, and state and local law enforcement. (Chertoff, 2007) In addition, continuous research is being done as well to develop tools to counter IED blasts. The Homeland Security also has undertaken increased security measures in key areas like the airport and chemical sites and facilities. All these are part of intensifying the departments efforts to curtail the surge of bombing incidents.
The US government has spent a considerable amount of money trying to counter IED insurgencies but despite this, the latter can still find ways to counter these efforts. Several long term issues have been raised. First, bombs become more complex in their make up as time goes by. IED bombings started with a simple made bomb that eventually evolved. Currently, the US military have discovered that a new type of bomb has already been in use starting the summer of 2006. Infrared bombs are now at large and they are even harder to track since they run on different signals as those detecting tools the military has. (Magnuson, 2006).
Hence, countering the former low-technology bombs requires continuous development of high-technology solutions. This entails millions and millions of dollars to be spent on prevention as opposed to a few dollars an IED builder uses to make his weapon. Second, as the US spends on developing long terms plans on combating insurgencies, the terrorists are also likewise building on their long term plans. Extremist groups are now banking on education as a means of furthering their goals.
They are using their $50 million funds to send their thousands of new recruits to get a university degree on radio engineering or information technology as opposed to using the funds to amass more weapons. (Magnuson, 2006) To date, the insurgent groups have already released a video mocking the attempts of the US government to stop them. The video, released by a group who named themselves as The Islamic State of Iraq was entitled The Fall and Decline of US Technology. (Osman & Martinez, 2007)
The IED war indeed has turned into something ugly. IED use surged during the year of 2004 to 2005 and even up to now, there are still ongoing cases regarding this problem. The US government tries to counter this but still, insurgents are still able to survive. Hence, the government should try to intensify its efforts and develop more plans to curb this rising problem.
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