Friday, December 08, 2006

Silly String Stupidity

That's right. This one is stupid. Not because the Marines/Soldiers figured out a tool to find tripwires but due to the fact that everyone assumes the insurgents and terrorists live under a rock.
Last month TIME wrote about soldiers and Marines in Iraq requesting an unusual life-saving item in their care packages sent from home: Silly String. It seems that the neon plastic party streamers sprayed into an open doorway before a building search or across a darkened room can help detect nearly invisible trip wires attached to bombs and boobytraps. The old methods to detect trip wires — sweeping the space with a metal grappling hook or getting close enough for a visual inspection — just aren't as safe, Marines discovered.

Marcelle Shriver, an office manager and Army mom from Stratford, N.J., first advertised for Silly String donations in her church bulletin after her son called from Ramadi and mentioned how the Marine unit he was working with had passed on their tip to his combat engineers new to Iraq.

Since our item on this latest display of military ingenuity first ran, it's been picked up by everyone from Fox & Friends to Jon Stewart's Daily Show. And Shriver has been inundated with donations and cash for shipping. She's even had a private pilot volunteer his services to fly the stuff to Kuwait where it will be taken by truck to Iraq in January. (Because aerosol cans are considered hazardous materials, they're extremely expensive or impossible to ship by commercial or freight air carriers.)

Great, does anyone even think anymore about consequences of reporting this type of activity? One thing that the terrorists have going for them is that they tend to have a good grasp of information technology and use it. Having read the news on this, now they have a new tool to use against the troops. All they have to do is hand a tripwire somewhere in the building that is near a primary entrance and they have just assured themselves an simplified escape. Troops come in spray the silly string and find a tripwire and don't go in. Now explosive disposal will have to respond to many more false alarms and the troops won't have a clue if it's the real thing or not.

Strike up another loss brought to you by the MSM.

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