Thursday, December 16, 2004

Insurgents in Iraq Using Roadside Bombs More Effectively, U.S. General Says

Insurgents in Iraq Using Roadside Bombs More Effectively, U.S. General Says:
“Iraqi insurgents are using roadside bombs with increasing effectiveness to disrupt American military operations in Iraq, the deputy commander of American forces in the Middle East said Wednesday.

The officer, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith of the Air Force, also said that one of the most important militant leaders driven out of Falluja was now probably operating in Baghdad. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, General Smith said the Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still orchestrating attacks against American and Iraqi forces and communicating with confederates, despite having lost many of his top lieutenants and his base of operations during the offensive in Falluja last month.

"He no doubt maintains communications with key elements of his leadership and is able to continue some level of command and control over the disparate operations," General Smith said. "It is just far more difficult to do now, because they can't do it, generally speaking, via electronic means. They do it by meeting in cars and driving around and giving guidance and doing all that stuff. So it is difficult for them." ”

American and Iraqi troops find and disarm about half of the roadside bombs before they explode, he said, but countermeasures like driving fast through a vulnerable area or using electronic jamming devices to combat the remote-controlled bombs do not always work.

"The enemy is very smart," he said. He said the strength of an insurgency lay in its ability to change rapidly. "Something didn't work today, they can change the way they do business tonight," he said.

Nonetheless, General Smith said the military continued to dismantle Mr. Zarqawi's leadership team. "And we continue to do that, and every time we do it, we get a little closer to him," he said.

General Smith, who shuttles between the Central Command's headquarters in Tampa, Fla., and its forward command post in Qatar, said he was in Washington for a briefing from a Pentagon team established to help develop technological solutions to the roadside bomb threat.

The real question is when are we going to hold Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle responsible for arming the insurgency and then ignoring the needs of our troops. Perhaps they're ‘fungible’ like Rumsfeld said.
con·cept: Insurgents in Iraq Using Roadside Bombs More Effectively, U.S. General Says