November 9, 2005

Boots Off The Ground


How much of an impression is the U.S. military really making on the situation in Iraq?

According to an innocuous story this week inside the L.A. Times (Troops Have a Nervous Ride to Nighttime Raid – link), hidden bombs in Iraq have become so abundant and powerful, the military not only avoids the use of Humvees, but has started to forsake appears to be looking for a safer alternative to Bradley fighting vehicles and M-1 tanks, as well.  In fact, it seems that many American troops have largely given up on ground travel all together, relying instead on helicopters to ferry them to and from raids.

Times Staff Writer Louise Roug, traveling with a 700 person California national guard unit that has lost 11 soldiers and suffered more than 100 casualties since mid-September, was told of a peculiar quirk resulting from the new transportation.  The helicopters kick up so much dust that when soldiers take off their goggles, they look like raccoons.


The fact that ever more sophisticated explosives and land mines (still often innocently referred to as “road side bombs”) have severely impeded U.S. operations does not seem apparent from the  typical combat photos we see in the MSM.  At the same time, the recent collection of newswire images at YahooNews suggests otherwise.  A new popular shot is the one in which soldiers wait around for helicopters like riders killing time at the bus stop.

(revised 10/10/05. 12:51 am PST)

(image 1 & 2: Jorge Silva/Reuters. October 23, 2005. Tikrit, Iraq. Via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
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