Thursday, March 08, 2007

Our Helicopters Are Still Falling...

I've been meaning to following up on this earlier post about the newfound ability of Iraqi Insurgents to shoot down America's helicopters, the government's attempted coverup of the incidents, and the exposure and admittance of the facts by the military, for three weeks now.

A few weeks ago, I read a NYTimes Article about this very topic, which had a few interesting things to say:

Some aspects of the recent crashes indicate that insurgents have become smarter about anticipating American flight patterns and finding ways to use old weapons to down helicopters, according to military and witness reports. The aircraft, many of which are equipped with sophisticated antimissile technology, still can be vulnerable to more conventional weapons fired from the ground. [...]

American officials emphasize that a new sense of coordinated aggressiveness on the part of insurgents toward attacking aircraft, or even luck, may be playing as large a role in the high pace of crashes as improved skill and tactics among insurgents. [...]

Historically, improved tactics in shooting down helicopters have proved to be important factors in conflicts in which guerrillas have achieved victories against major powers, including battles in Somalia, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
Oh, well, that's a positive predictor reflecting our chances for victory in Iraq, isn't it?

I also discovered this helpful Wikipedia Article which details every single coalition (i.e. American) aircraft lost in this war. If one includes the two Blackwater Mercenary (oh, sorry, Private Military Contractor) choppers shot down in January & February, that brings the number of downed choppers to 9 in the first nine weeks of 2007 alone. There were only 13 in all of 2006, 12 in 2005, 26 in 2004, and 30 in 2003.

Something tells me we're heading for a 2003-type number this year. Maybe even double 2003's numbers if this rate of loss keeps up. As for what the new "secret method" that the Insurgency is quite clearly using, it's only a secret to the American people since evidently the Press is obviously cooperating with the Military to keep news of this "secret attack style" out of the papers... why, is uncertain, because it's super-clear that the "insurgents" (which, incidentally, if Americans, would be called "freedome fighters" or "the resistance") have discovered that if you shoot out the tail rotor of a helicopter it crashes. Yeah, that's something the papers desperately need to hide... otherwise printing that secret information might give the insurgents more ideas!

Errhm... too bad Roy Schieder taught us all what it was in BLUE THUNDER back when I was 14.