They were already training the troops to look inside animal carcasses for the handmade bombs, Bush understood. Also, the Pentagon's Army Lt. Col. Alan Hartfield, training officer for their Joint IED Defeat Task Force, was 'hard at work' teaching trainers a "holistic approach" to stopping roadside attacks, because, as Hartfield and other leaders had said, new technology is no "silver bullet."
"We're harnessing every available resource, the ingenuity of our best scientists and engineers, and the determination of our military to defeat this threat _ and we're not going to rest until this danger to our troops has been removed," Bush said as he addressed the nation.
But, it would turn out to be more of the same old, same old. Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who would be one of the briefers at the White House IED meeting, said there are no new technological breakthroughs to report to the president at this time.
Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, commander of 1st U.S. Army, had staged a similar IED summit with observers and trainers from his command, for two days, discussing ways to stop IEDs. Even though the president says the increased use of the bombs meant we were winning . . . he had an idea that he felt topped all of the others.
Christine Devries, spokeswoman for Meigs' group, said much progress has been made already. Nonetheless, Devries said detailed information about the casualty rate per IED explosion is considered too sensitive to release publicly because it could give the insurgents in Iraq new insights into their effectiveness. Hard to tell from the twenty-three hundred recorded U.S. casualties and the 17,000 injuries, I guess.
Bush's attitude is still "bring it on". If they happen to kill our soldiers or if they don't kill - whatever - the bombings tell him that victory is at hand. Bush's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, said U.S. forces are finding more IEDs before they explode, but he wouldn't say how many.
"That means a lot of the work that's being done and a lot of the resources that you have allocated are having positive effects," Pace said. "But we have a lot of work to do in this regard." It took $1.2 billion in the 2005 budget for Pace's "positive effects" on IEDs, skyrocketing to $3.3 billion in the current budget, including $1.9 billion in an emergency war funding request.
Bush seemed to have a moment of doubt as he spoke to the nation in his radio address:
"Amid the daily news of car bombs and kidnappings and brutal killings," he said, "I can understand why many of our fellow citizens are now wondering if the entire mission was worth it." Bush then told those listening that the old man they pulled from his hidey-hole was worth the deaths and the sacrifices of our soldiers. "Saddam was an enemy of America, who shot at our airplanes . . ."
Did he say weapons of mass destruction again? Yeah, he did. (Sigh.)
I guess that means more soldiers will have to die from other "improvised explosive devices used by terrorists" before we can "defeat" them some more.