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How long will it be before the first Iraq-caliber IED is employed in the United States?

William Lind doesn't set a timetable in this Counterpunch article, but he's almost positive it'll happen. I suggested as much during a recent public appearance where fall-out from the war in Iraq was discussed, though both Lind and I were looking at different sets of perpetrators and victims. In the case of the former it was criminals vs. the cops, for me it was terrorists vs. you and me. I don't know that anyone was thinking that we might have to watch Muslim-on-Muslim violence play out in our own home towns, as this story in Detroit indicates.

Late Saturday night, 12 Muslim businesses and mosques were vandalized, with 11 of the 12 belonging to members of the Detroit Shi'a population. None of the targeted buildings were owned by Irai-American Christians or members of the Lebanese community. It is suspected that the atacks were in retaliation to the celebrations seen in the streets at the news of Saddam Hussein's execution. While so far there have been no Shi'a reprisal attacks on Sunni businesses and mosques, it is a realistic fear among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The potential for more deadly attacks certainly exists if such tension escalates.

At a practical/functional level, IEDs in America are a reality. The raw materials for basic models are readily available in bulk and that high-end designs can be produced with tools that any well stocked Sears can provide. Disused artillery shells are fairly rare in this country, but there is no shortage of small arms ammunition, blackpowder or any number of other formulas that could suffice as a suitable charge.

As far as placement goes anyone tracking developments in Iraq knows that vehicles are the target of choice and this is probably the car-friendly nation. Drive home tonight and glance over at the side of the road for all the seemingly innocent items that could be used to hide a shaped charge. Targeting specific businesses or homes is obviously a very real possibility and most homes don't have a "green zone" to protect them from explosive violence.

If domestic sectarian violence is the forum for use then deployment should be fairly narrowly focused in certain neighborhoods of cities with a large Muslim population, but attacks against Muslims would only be the start. The earliest attacks would undoubtedly result in a massive surge of law enforcement (certainly local but assuredly federal – with a Guard presence to boot) and the focus of such weapons would not be restricted to Muslims for long.

3 Comments

This may become a reality in some cities, but I think Lind over estimates how much of this kind of activity the American public will put up with. It may fly in Detroit but not long in Dallas.

They've found IEDs in Texas border towns, but so far none have ever been used. Are these connected to the Islamist threat? I don't know for sure.

That a given city/populace may be unwilling to put up with IEDs in the domestic arena is one thing; that it is likely to happen period is another. Dallas is not Paris, but I would venture to guess that even in the DFW area there are places where The Man fears to tread. Counterinsurgency requires a heavy, hard and protracted response, which makes the employment of IEDs anywhere in this country – regardless of the perpetrators or targets - an event of dramatic proportion.