THE BLOG

Boots on the Ground: Obsolete

02/19/2015 09:11 am ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

It's been a few years since I've written about IEDs, but it's about time to mention them again. IEDs are to 21st century battles what barbed wire and trenches were to the armies in the first World War. They're even more dangerous because they destroy tanks and other armored vehicles at little risk to those who plant them on and around battlegrounds.

The last general I talked to about IEDs was in charge of clearing them from the roads of Afghanistan to better enable us to win the war there. He resigned after a year, perhaps in frustration, or just because he realized that even the newly designed armored vehicles -- MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected), that have, quoting Wikipedia, " "V"-shaped hulls [designed to] deflect explosive forces from land mines or IEDs..." couldn't do the job. The generals who followed him have had no better luck -- MRAPs continued to be destroyed, soldiers in them or on foot continued to die or suffer grievous wounds. Our veterans' hospitals are filled with those soldiers, the boots on the ground, that tried to win the war in Afghanistan.

Now the Army and the Marines are bringing their forces back from Afghanistan they are trying to get their MRAPs out too. As recently as last month it was announced that the DOD would be giving 308 of them across the border to Uzbekistan, thereby saving the $250,000-$300,000 it would cost to fly each one of them back to the United States.

We do know that ISIS had planted IEDs throughout Syria and northern Iraq. They continue to inflict casualties on Kurds and Arabs. So far as I know, no American troops in that area have been injured by them but Kurds and Arabs continue to die when they put their boots on the ground.

Unless the United States is prepared to expect severe casualties to hundreds maybe thousands of our forces, we must keep boots off the ground.

Our air forces are doing a reasonably effective job with so far no casualties to us, we must keep it that way.