"The overall percentage of U.S. military fatalities caused by roadside bombs had dipped from more than 60 percent late last year to 35 percent in February. It then rose again to 70.9 percent in May, according to research by the independent Web site casualties.org. Gains in defeating the bombs have not resulted in fewer deaths because the number of bombs — and the lethality of some types — have increased, military officials said.
Insurgents are also staging carefully planned, complex ambushes and retaliatory attacks as they target U.S. troops, the officials said. While few in number, these include direct assaults on U.S. military outposts, ambushes in which American troops have been captured, and complex attacks that use multiple weapons to strike more than one U.S. target. For example, attackers will bomb a patrol and then target ground forces or aircraft that come to its aid.
"We are starting to see more sophistication and training in their attacks," said a senior military official in Baghdad. While the vast majority of attacks are still relatively simple and involve a single type of weapon, "clearly the trend is going in the wrong direction," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
In an attack Monday in Diyala, for example, an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter carrying two U.S. soldiers took heavy enemy fire during combat and crashed in farmland southwest of the town of Abu Saydah, about 40 miles north of Baghdad in a region where the Sunni extremist group AQ in Iraq is trying to establish a new stronghold.
The U.S. military scrambled Bradley Fighting Vehicles at Forward Operating Base Normandy, 19 miles from the crash, for an urgent rescue. But as the Quick Reaction Force rumbled through the rural terrain just a mile and a half from the crash site, a huge roadside bomb hit a Bradley, killing four soldiers and wounding another four, one mortally. Suddenly, the rescue mission itself was in peril, and helicopters rushed to evacuate the injured. WAPO
As Clausewitz observed, war itself is the best teacher. This war has gone on so long that even those who were zealous but unskilled have "been to school" on American forces for so long that they have learned to so all the things mentioned in this article. When this is combined with the cadres provided by the former Iraqi armed forces, there emerges a "heady" brew endlessly capable of learning, adapting and improvising.
The Post story about the action fought by US SF and the Iraqi police recounts the relative incapacity of the police vis a vis the insurgents. If it had not been for American leadership in this engagement, the insurgents would probably have "bagged" the lot.
An interesting note in this story is the factoid that although the gadgetry developed by Meigs’ IED Defeat Task Force is effective, the number of casualties is still rising because the insurgents are building and installing ever more IEDS, many of which are truly huge. So far the US has spent something over 3 billion dollars on the IED problem. pl