February 12, 2007

None So Blind

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."


Some of the deep thoughts of HuffPuffer Cenk Uygur, regarding the Iran weapons presentation released over the weekend:

Then the officials made the highly dubious claim that 170 US troops have been killed by these so-called Iranian weapons. Really? They CSI'ed the scene of all the troop deaths and found forensic evidence linking these weapons to exactly 170 deaths. I call bulls**t [edited].

During the demonstration they talked at length about these cylindrical pipes that shoot molten hot balls of copper through the armor of US vehicles. In all of the gruesome stories of our men and women dying in Iraq, I have never heard of this weapon before or any deaths being attributed to it. wrote about them being used by insurgents in Iraq on Aug 3, 2005. Other news organizations have written dozens of articles about them as well.

Perhaps Uygur has never heard of these weapons, but they're hardly new:

Explosively formed projectiles (EFP) have been used to defeat armored vehicles for more than 30 years.

What does the UK Telegraph have to say about EFPs? Quite a bit in this June 25, 2006 article alone:

The first picture of an Iraqi insurgent mine, believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 17 British soldiers, has been obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.

The device, which has been used by insurgents throughout Iraq since May last year, fires an armour-piercing "explosively formed projectile" or EFP, also known as a shaped charge, directly into an armoured vehicle, inflicting death or terrible injuries on troops inside.

The weapon can penetrate the armour of British and American tanks and armoured personnel carriers and completely destroy armoured Land Rovers, which are used by the majority of British troops on operations in Iraq.

The device, described as an "off-route mine", was seized by British troops in Iraq earlier this year and brought back to Britain where it underwent detailed examination by scientists at Fort Halstead, the Government's forensic explosive laboratory in Kent.

The Ministry of Defence has attempted to play down the effectiveness of the weapons, suggesting that they are "crude" or "improvised" explosive devices which have killed British troops more out of luck than judgement.

However, this newspaper understands that Government scientists have established that the mines are precision-made weapons which have been turned on a lathe by craftsmen trained in the manufacture of munitions.

But where could the insurgency be getting such weapons?

British military sources believe the devices have been developed in Iran and smuggled across the border into Iraq where they are supplied to Iranian-backed anti-coalition insurgents.

The weapon first emerged on the Iraqi battlefield in May last year and since then it has been used more than 20 times to kill 17 British servicemen. The last two soldiers to be killed by the device were Lieut Tom Mildinhall, 27, and L/Cpl Paul Farrelly, 28, both members of the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards, who were killed on May 28 in a district north-west of Basra.

The devices, which are impossible to detect, can be easily camouflaged and triggered using infra-red technology, remote control or by a command wire.

Earlier this year, The Sunday Telegraph revealed how a multi-charged roadside bomb, developed by Hizbollah in Lebanon, was also being used against British and American soldiers by Iraqi insurgents.

Essentially, Cenk Uygur's argument appears to be that since he hasn't heard of such things, that they don't exist. I imagine that by that lofty standard, much of the world doesn't exist for him.

But he isn't done yet:

Guess who's supposed be bringing in the EFPs? Why Iran, of course. Really? Can these brilliant, anonymous defense analysts tell us who fire these EFPs and for what purpose?

They gave a lot of generic blame to the Mahdi Army because that is who we are going to attack next in Iraq. But are they saying the Mahdi Army is now engaging in combat against US troops? Because that would be news to everybody. Right now, it is believed that they are fighting - and often times brutally killing - Sunnis. But I haven't read anything about the Mahdi Army attacking coalition forces. Can this explosive new charge be proven in anyway? Have there been any of their fighters captured in the battlefield?

So many charges, so little evidence.

That the Madhi Army has engaged U.S troops is only new to you, Cenk. The rest of the educated world calls it "history."

The eight-day Battle of Najaf in August of 2004 featured 2,000 U.S Marines and 1,800 Iraqi Army soldiers against roughly 2,000 members of Muqtada al Sadr's Madhi Army. 159 militiamen and 261 were captured in this one battle alone.

Perhaps Cenk might be able to understand this information in a format more he might find more approachable. I'm sorry, but they don't have it yet on Playstation.

Najaf, was, of course, just one of many battles coalition forces fought against the Madhi Army between 2004 and October of 2006, and smaller scale, skirmish-level fights against the Shia milita have never ceased.

It's funny how much of the world you can miss when you are determined not to see it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at February 12, 2007 03:20 PM

The "EFP" was used in WWII (see panzerfaust and bazooka).
The oilfield has been using these "shaped charges" for oilwell perforating since the early sixties.

Posted by: Bobn at February 12, 2007 04:54 PM

As a general statement, liberals have no clue about weaponry.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at February 12, 2007 04:58 PM

I don't have your background, or that of some of your commenters, but I see things like the one pictured above and I keep remembering the crude, but effective nasties that British intelligence developed and shipped all over Europe in WWII...kept simple and crude so Papa Francois or Daddy Lech could turn out copies in whatever crude machine shops the various resistance movements shooting at Germans could come up with. Stands to reason our Iranian friends would work in a similar manner in Iraq.

Posted by: El Jefe Maximo at February 12, 2007 05:33 PM

Interestingly enough, "Future Weapons" had a very similar-looking device a couple of weeks ago. A short plastic tube with a conical copper plate; stuff the tube with plastic explosives and detonate it. Their demo had a 1" steel plate 20' from the device and it punched a fist-sized hole in the plate.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at February 12, 2007 08:55 PM

You know what's curious is that Sunnis have been conducting most of the attacks on our troops, yet the Iranians are Shia. The Saudis have warned that they will arm the Sunnis if we leave them out to dry.

Posted by: Lex Steele at February 12, 2007 10:53 PM