While most newstations are eagerly reporting the hell out of the Anna Nicole Smith story (Yes, the judge is crazy. Yes, no one knows who the real father is. Yes Anna Nicole Smith is still, in fact, dead.) or the fact that Britney Spears has entered the hallowed “Mike Tyson Zone” of craziness (thanks Bill Simmons), it seems that the inurgency in Iraq (yes, you may remember it as the country where our troops are fighting) have used anti-aircraft missiles for the first time since the summer of 2006.
Back on Feb. 7 a US Marine helicopter was struck down and all seven Marines on board died. Though the original story was buried beneath the hoopla surrounding what should have been considered less important news stories, according to the Washington Post (via MSNBC) an investigation into the military tragedy found that the helicopter was blown up from Sunnis using “sophisticated SA-14 or SA-16 shoulder-fired missile.”
It appeared that the missile used was not the Vietnam-era SA-7, which insurgents and militias are known to have, but more likely an SA-14 or SA-16. Those pose a bigger threat because they have greater range, size and ability to overcome aircraft defensive systems. The helicopter’s defensive system did not appear to deploy properly, the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James T. Conway, testified before the Senate last week. The Russian-manufactured SA-14 or SA-16 probably would have been brought into the country from abroad relatively recently.
The latest in a string of attacks against US aircraft has shown the enemy to be more patient, better armed, more prepared and also willing to change their strategy on the ground.? I’m not going to argue that an escalation in US troops is the answer but since no one in the Democratic Party has put forth an alternative plan and with the announcement this morning that Britain is withdrawing a portion of their troops from Basra it’s time for the Democrats or Republicans to grow a backbone and come up with a new strategy for our troops both in Iraq and at home.? Sending more troops to Iraq will only put more troops live’s at risk.? It’s not an answer to the quagmire Iraq has become.