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Big Blast: Why?

Of course, the day's worst news is that 14 marines have been killed by a single roadside bomb. That means, in the last ten days, 39 American service members have died in Iraq -- more than in the entire month of March.The attack, also near Haditha, is one of the worst since the American invasion. Usually, such strikes only hurt or kill a few people at a time -- if they wound anyone at all. Taking out 14 people in a single stroke is just about unheard of.It either means the attackers had the devil's odds, timing their blast perfectly. Or, more likely, there was something very different about the explosive used in this strike.While I was in Iraq, I saw several examples of "explosively formed projectiles" -- concave cylinders that shoot out jets of molten metal when they're detonated. Armies have been using them for years as anti-tank weapons. But lately, Iraqi bomb-makers have been fashioning home-made, crude versions of their own. And these improvied explosive devices, or IEDs, have wreaked havoc, sawing through armor and limbs with a terrifying ferrocity. Perhaps that's what happened in Haditha today. I sure hope it was just awful luck.THERE'S MORE: John Robb, decoding a Defense News article I sent his way, unravels the business processes behind the "IED Marketplace."

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