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.