Friday, February 23, 2007

Check this out from Michael Yon : Online Magazine

Mystery Weapon #2: Experts Only

The jury is . . . out.

“What in the world is this?” That sentence was translated into “Mystery Weapon Found in Iraq.” The “mystery weapon” characterization packed pizzazz, but the words were not mine. Had the “mystery weapon” been found somewhere other than Mosul, Iraq alongside 27 surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank mines, RPGs, blasting caps and tons of other munitions, the weapon likely would have been dismissed.

If loaded words were not ricocheting around the world about Iranian weapons being found in Iraq, the “mystery weapon” depicted in a photograph taken back in 2005 would likely garner attention more commensurate with its size and lethality, or lack thereof.

I wrote about the night it was captured and destroyed as part of an enormous weapons and explosives cache in “The Devil’s Foyer.” Amid all the rockets and prefabbed IEDs—some bombs were cast into concrete to resemble road curbs—discovered in the underground lair, the “mystery weapon” warranted a single photo, which I never bothered to publish until just some days ago.

Yet in order to understand why soldiers and I did not dismiss the gadget offhand as a toy, it’s helpful to understand a bit of my background. I’ve known toy guns since the days I was small enough wear feathers and ride our German Shepherd as a horse. I had real firearms before reaching puberty. I could grab a gun and walk out the back door and go shooting and hunting anytime, without asking. My friends and I made our own cannons and rockets, rocket launchers, fireworks and real bombs. Later, while in Special Forces, I was a weapons and explosives specialist.

These hands have held thousands of weapons. Yet that night, I was unsure whether “Mystery Weapon #1″ was a toy. Might have been a spud-gun, maybe a grenade launcher; definitely appeared homemade. But “homemade” does not equal “toy” and shouldn’t denote “harmless.”

Many of our soldiers are killed by devastating homemade weapons. On January 15th of this year we lost five people to a gigantic homemade weapon, a bomb, in Mosul, ironically near to where the “Mystery Weapon #1″ had been unearthed 18 months earlier. read more

An EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) expert took the ball, and very gently and carefully, slowly walked away. He was unsure what the ball was.

Later, I asked many people what this was, but nobody to my knowledge was ever able to say definitively what it was or where it came from. Nobody was able to give it a name, origin, and probable year of birth

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