The Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) – "a massive organization employing thousands of private contractors ... based in a northern Virginia office complex" – has received at least $6.7 billion in funding since 2003, according to the Boston Globe. Last February, the President requested an additional $6.4 billion for the project.
Where is that money going?
According to its website, the JIEDDO's mission is "to eliminate IEDs as weapons of strategic influence."
So the problem with IEDs isn't that they kill or injure our troops. It's that they influence public opinion. They are weapons of propaganda.
"It can be mitigated, minimized, made into a nuisance," said Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs (ret.), the JIEDDO director, taking a page from John Kerry's anti-terrorism playbook.
How do we defeat "weapons of strategic influence"? Not by outfitting our troops with armor. Not by improving our intelligence and infiltration of insurgency groups. No.
We defeat them by funding sources of counter-propaganda: pro-war think tanks, pundits, and bloggers.
Those who claim that the "101st Fighting Keyboarders" aren't really fighting this war are dead wrong. They are putting themselves on the line every day to defuse IEDs – our enemy's weapon of choice.
It's certainly not page-one newsworthy that U.S. casualties from IEDs have sharply increased. Troop casualties are irrelevant. The real story is how the American public is affected by IED attacks.
Yes, the war over public opinion is going badly. But did you hear how Joe Lieberman bought a pair of sunglasses in a bustling Baghdad market? Now that's page-one news.