If Kronicaly Bad Speling and excessive use of italiks bothers you, prepare to be bothered.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Landmines have killed thousands of Iraqis

Not just any landmines, American landmines. How you ask? By sitting harmlessly in their arsenals gathering dust.

It has become increasingly clear that suicide bombing is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people. Thousands have been killed and more maimed, and it is acknowledged that foriegn jihadis constitute the vast bulk of these attacks. Most come from Saudi Arabia or Syria, meaning they must have crossed the border at some point.

Sealing even the Syrian border alone is a massive undertaking. It is hundreds of miles long along inhospital terrain. At best we have been able to patrol the border and squeeze off some of the choke points. We have had more luck at attacking the infastructure of safe houses and the ratlines leading to the heart of Iraq, but even that has done little to slow the flow of bombers.

What we need to do is make a real effort to seal the border in a serious way. Short of charging our entire Iraq force with the job, there is no way to do that without a force multiplier. That is where land mines come in. Mines have gotten a really bad rap in recent years, and had become the celeb cause de jure for a while. In some sense this was deserved, typical landmines dont have an expiration date and tend to blow people up years after a conflict ends.

American mines are different, they are built to shut themselves off after a certain length of time. Landmines have persisted throughout modern history for a very simple reason, they work. Extremely well. Creating a no-mans land in a swath of the border, clearly marked with signs and barbed wire is our best hope of closing down the jihadi-railroad. Just the sight of a minefield is enough to turn back most of the enemy, and those stupid enough to try to push through wont be a problem for long.

The cost cannot be ignored, of course. Without a doubt, some innocents will wander foolishly past the barbed wire, past the multitide of warning signs, and blow themselves up. That is unfortunate. But consider the cost jihadis bring to innocents now. Is it not wise to trade a handful of lives to landmines in exchange for thousands killed by foriegn bombers? Not a nice choice, but in war they rarely are.

I dont think this is likely to happen, whatever safe guards are emplaced. Landmines have gained too bad of a rap lately, and no matter how many lives they can save the row their deployment would cause would make Guantanamo look like a minor disagreement of opinion. Aside from SUVs, landmines probably have the mantle of the most evil objects on the planet.

It's too bad. They could save a lot of lives. Which means their nondeployment is costing a lot of lives.


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