Simple, cheap and lethal roadside bombs have become the defining weapon of the Iraq war, confounding the Pentagon and taking a devastating toll on US troops, the Washington Post reports in a history and analysis of our tk Iraq. The devices, which account for nearly two-thirds of US combat deaths, are nearly impossible to wipe out because they're easily made from consumer electronics and delivered by shadowy social and financial networks.
War planners gave little thought to the IED as a serious weapon, the Post says, but since 1983, more than 81,000 attacks have killed or wounded 21,000 Americans. The US has spent nearly $10 billion on countermeasures, from troop armor to electronic jammers to hunting dogs, but the IED remains "the single most effective weapon against our deployed forces," the Pentagon says. (Read more IED stories.)