"Here's the ultimate fighting machine," observed Major General Rick Lynch, chief spokesman for coalition forces in Iraq, as he showed outtakes from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's latest propaganda video. The outtakes--which were captured in a recent raid by U.S. forces--show the terrorist leader unable to clear a simple jam in his machine-gun. Zarqawi calls in one of his associates to clear the jam, but in the process, the second terrorist grabs the weapon's hot barrel, burning himself in the process.
Such incompetence underscores why the insurgents in Iraq rely so heavily on roadside bombs to attack U.S. forces. A friend of mine--a retired Special Forces NCO with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan--says poor weapons skills are not uncommon among terrorists. Regarding their marksmanship, my friend is equally derisive, saying that most insurgents use the "spray and pray" method. Looks cool on videotape, but it's not an effective way to hit a target.
Regarding Zarqawi, the best news about these recent videos is that he may have provided new clues about his whereabouts. Here's hoping that we corner Zarqawi soon--and he dies with a jammed machine gun in his hands.
More thoughts on Zarqawi the "weapons expert" at Confederate Yankee.
My understanding, though, is that the insurgents are extremely knowledgeable about the building, use, and disguise of explosives. Is it possible that explosive knowledge is easier to disseminate and acquire clandestinely (is that a word?) rather than having an out in the open 'training camp' or shooting range for small arms that is vulnerable to US/Coalition sensors and fires?
Your points are well-taken--and correct. While you can do some weapons training in a classroom (and other "dry fire") situations, there's really no substitute for getting on a range and firing live rounds.
I'm told that we have occasionally detected insurgent weapons training activity, often in areas with some overhead cover, such as palm groves. Unfortunately for them, UAVs and othe sensors can detect this activity. In one case, insurgent target practice in a grove was interrupted by a U.S. artillery barrage. As the terrorists plugged away at their targets, they never noticed the Predator overhead.
Hopefully the folks at NGA and the CIA are comparing the terrain in the video to known/similar landmasses and terrain types.
Notice now that Bin Laden and Zawahiri speak in front of a sheets? The rock formations in the videos are vital clues...our technology is that good.
Just imagine: the location is pinpointed using NGA terrain maps and then using persistent spaced based radar/surveillance to follow their vehicles. The day is coming.
Wonder if Zarqawi understood just what a bonehead move this was when filming his video?
The important part of the blooper reel is not the funny stuff, but that it proves to the world we had the unedited version in our possession.
The insurgents main power is in the media field, and if we are getting a hold on unedited raw film, then we must be breathing down their production staff's necks.
p.s. I am sure after Bin Laden's location was found out due to geology of where he was standing in a videotape that all the top-level bad guys know to be careful...or at least release the video well after they leave the area.
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