Saturday, June 23, 2007

Water Balloons Over Baghdad

"To the confusion of our enemies!" - famous toast by Frank Sinatra

My genius isn't readily acknowledged, but that's because you have to be super-egotistical to not recognize it. I only bring it up because, aside from its utter obviousness, I've figured out how to win the war in Iraq - or, at least, beat back the insurgents into a soggy mess. Some may object to the wastefulness of what I suggest, but surely an actual "waste" of natural resources is better than a perceived waste of lives.

Oh yeah - my plan has to do with water, mostly. Water cannons, water balloons, water bombs, water water water. Eau. Mayim. Agua. Wasser. Water.

See, here's the thing: These terrorists - be they Al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Sadrites, Sunni, Shia, Wahhabi, Iranian - that we're fighting think that by achieving death and taking a few Yankees with them they're gaining access to Paradise. We're not doing a very good job of disabusing them of this notion; when they go seeking death, they know that the United States military is just around the corner and more than happy to deal it out to them.

It might come as a surprise to our enemies, then, when one day a pack of these insurgents face not machine guns or tank cannons, but water cannons. These devices have a long and storied history in dealing with rioters; at one time or another, I'm sure we've all seen those semi-humorous, semi-sad pictures of less-than-peaceful protesters getting knocked down by bursts of highly-pressurized water aimed at them by police or army units.

I'm sure my facetious tone has been taken, by some, to mean that I'm not in the least serious about this. However, even with my egotistical outburst at the beginning of this piece (it was fun for me), I'm deadly serious. Of course there are logistical hurdles to overcome, but it only makes sense to me that if we're trying to flush these people out of their hiding places or from Iraq as a whole, we might as well try and do so literally.

Did I lose you yet? I hope not.


Anyone who's been surprised by a water balloon thrown at them out of the blue should be able to remember the momentary shock of the event - Where did that come from? Who threw that? Of course, were we to take such a course in Iraq on a grand scale, our foes would know the perpetrators. And, over time, they might become disappointed.

Why disappointed? We're the Great Satan, decadent infidel Americans. In their eyes, we're supposed to be killing Muslims, not leaving them alive and soaked. It's one of their justifications for trying to kill us. If there's one thing they think Americans can be counted on to do these days, it's kill Muslims. They point at the bodies, aim their machine guns in the air and pull the triggers as a funeral procession makes its way down a street, and scream out "Death to America! Death to the enemies of Islam!"

Yeah, water can kill. In fact, there are sewage and fresh water problems in Iraq killing ordinary Iraqi citizens daily. A blast from a water cannon can knock a man from a building to his death as surely as a bullet can. People drown in lakes, rivers, oceans, and swimming pools every year.

But - stay with me here - imagine the literal shock and awe when instead of explosive bomblets falling from a cluster bomb, terrorists see the splashy aftermath of hundreds of green-colored water grenades falling instead.

Imagine if, instead of dropping a one-ton bomb on a location in Iraq (or Afghanistan), a warplane dropped - at certain intervals, spread out over a specific target zone - a ton of water, an artificial, concentrated rainstorm. Think of a C-130 making passes over a forest fire, dropping fire-retardant on the blaze, and you'll get an idea of what I'm suggesting.

Not only that, but a specialized Humvee or two could take point on a patrol, with a water cannon spraying all over, setting off improvised explosive devices (IEDs), knocking them back or disarming them - even if unseen - just as a minesweeper scours a battlefield to set off those mines without losing any lives in the process. Either that, or helicopter gunships could accompany and precede patrols with a few sweeps of a small water-bomblet-spraying device and accomplish the same feat.


In the past, on this or another blog, I've stated emphatically that we needed to be fighting this mess in Iraq like the war that it is - using more air power, really trying to win instead of just holding out. This doesn't represent a sea change from that, inasmuch as I'm saying we really need to keep on fighting - while adding sea water to our arsenal.

Do not misconstrue this proposal of mine as indicating the existence of a delusion on my part that we should put aside traditional weapons in favor of fire trucks and thus we will achieve total victory. Who, or what, after all, will protect those operating the water cannons? These people are trying and will continue to try to kill our men and women in uniform over there, because the truth is, we haven't given our enemies anything to expect but death.

It's a well-known agreement between warring troops and nations - we try to kill you, you try to kill us. These insurgents ask themselves "Hmm, where can I go meet Allah and get my 72 virgins?" and the answer...well, the answer they decide upon puts our boys and girls in danger.

Instead, picture this: a sopping wet terrorist, standing in the open, gun on the ground and hands upraised, screaming over and over again in Arabic:

"In the name of Allah...what the fuck just happened?!"


You must understand that I realize that using watery weapons or soak-'em-out tactics probably won't make a lot of these terrorists abandon their guns or IEDs right away...or ever.

But, over time, maybe it will leave them significantly dumbfounded.

Maybe it will so utterly confuse their perceptions of our motives, causing them to question the jihadist propaganda they've always taken for granted as the gospel (Quranic) truth about us. Maybe such tactics will make enough of them think twice about staging an attack - they'll know that if they come at our troops, they may be knocked down (and disarmed) by a water cannon, then captured and imprisoned, instead of killed - that they decide on another course.

It's entirely possible. If your dog is barking continually in the backyard, and yelling at him to shut up doesn't work, go out there and take your water hose in hand. As Fido barks, turn the water all the way on, place your thumb over the end of the hose - any fun-loving child should be able to show you what I'm talking about - point the hose at Fido and spray the mutt in the face. Soak him all over. See what happens.

Have you ever seen a spitting-mad, hissing, tail-raised feline with claws extended go embarrassingly, pathetically limp when a bucket of water gets thrown on it? I have.

See where I'm going?

And don't forget - water worked as a weapon in The Wizard of Oz.


America's Islamist foes in Iraq and Afghanistan regularly expect death from us, and we haven't been disappointing them in this expectation.

So, when in the future they move against our units with death on the brain and we surprisingly respond by hitting them forcefully, strategically and, I daresay, creatively with a substance essential to life as we know it, imagine how such a thing may just eventually throw them for enough of a loop to turn the "tide" of events in these theaters of war once and for all in our favor.

These terrorists want blood; I say give 'em Evian instead.

To the confusion of our enemies!

We're gonna need a bigger Super-Soaker.

You can pat me on the back now.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Why not just use chlorinated tap water - save the Evian for the civilized folks!