Friday, June 29, 2007

Thoughts on the foiled London Plot

First off, thank God that the car bombing plot in London failed. And now some thoughts...

There has been some mention of the fact the the cars were filled not only with explosive materials, but also with nails. This is an important point that has not been thoroughly discussed.

Traditional bombs use shockwaves that violently shatter objects and bodies around the blast site. Though traditional bombs are certainly lethal, their effects are felt mainly within the bomb's blast radius, which tend to be quite a limited in area.

The terrorists who planned the car bombings in London, however, were intending not only to kill, but maim as many people as possible. When you introduce nails (or any metal scraps) into a traditional bomb, the effects are felt far outside of the blast radius.

Look at, for example, the M67 hand grenade. The M67 has been in service in the U.S. military since after the Vietnam War to cripple enemy forces it encounters on the battlefield. It is encased in a metal shell that fragments upon explosion. It's effectiveness is not just it's blast radius, which measures approximately 45 feet, but shrapnel that embeds itself into objects and people up to 700 feet away from the blast.

London, however, is no battlefield. The terrorists intended to set off their lethal weapon outside of a nightclub, where scores, if not hundreds, of civilians would be injured or killed. The effects of the nails within the car bomb would have been similar to injuries caused by suicide bombers in Israel. The following is an x-ray of a victim of one such attack where terrorists complimented their explosive vest with nails and other metal objects (as shown on WorldNetDaily):
Even if a victim does not die, he will potentially have the scars of such an attack either visibly or lodged within him forever. Hezbollah (the Lebanese-based Shi'a terrorist organization), during its 2006 war with Israel, packed thousands of ball-bearings within its rockets to cause similar effects.

So once again, thank God this plot failed. But the choice of weapon gives an insight into the depravity of its would-be perpetrators.