Postcards from Tradocia


For the last day or so I’ve been preoccupied with the photgraphs of a Humvee destroyed in a recent IED strike. The pictures came in a report sent through the secure-internet email at my site from the team responsible for analyzing the employment and effects of IEDs.

Photos of destroyed Hummers are hardly unusual; indeed, one might say that destroyed vehicles are one of the seminal images of this war. But this vehicle was destroyed in a very particular manner, a manner that neatly exploits its weaknesses (without going into details) – not just a giant bomb that destroys the entire truck, but a more targeted strike designed to kill the occupants most efficiently.

I don’t know exactly why these particular images affected me so; part of it is because the men who died in that truck, like me, are (were) very close to going home. Part of it, too, is that one can see clearly how no one could survive the blast, yet there’s plenty of vehicle left to be able to imagine sitting in the seat one’s self.

Also, the images illustrate clearly that sometimes no amount of armor will save you; the Humvee depicted is a factory-uparmored M1114, and yet it was pierced just as surely as any canvas-doored runner truck. The enemy is smart, and adaptable; tools can help win the fight but cannot win by themselves – they must be wielded by men and women equally adaptable, tough, and determined. Armor or not, some good soldiers will die; but without the moral fiber to win, the fight is surely lost.


  1. Mrs. Melobi

    I sometimes forget that you’re in a war zone. Even though I wear your dog tags around my neck, I try to forget. I think of you simply sitting around writing or watching movies in a dusty room as if you’re involved in some strange academic study–like the starvation study that our college did years ago. And you won’t be pulled out until you display enough signs of stress. I’m ashamed to say that sometimes I hear of a soldier’s death and my first thought is not for the family or fellow soldiers; instead I wonder if your communications are back up yet so I can IM you.

  2. TOM-The Other Mac

    A logical analysis of the vehicle and men: for man knows not his time to meet our Maker, be it a combat zone or back in the USA.

  3. Bryce and Lola

    mrs.melobi i ctied when you wrote you wear alex’s dogtags around your neck—but i’m also comforted. love, g and g

  4. Sean

    Good post, glad you’re doing alright, if you’re ever on the west coast (San Diego) drop me a line, beer on me and I’ll introduce you to the other local milbloggers.

  5. Jeremiah

    Just be careful. Casualties are very low so far, even still. The US has a whole lot of stops it can pull out. We’re handling those people with kid gloves. After all, there is the whole World War II option.

    You may be interested in my blog on insurgency warfare and the war in Iraq, the WOT and other things. I’ve got a rather long article on there about platter charges and the new types of IED.

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