Recent headlines have focused in on the failed Iranian bombing cell in Bangkok, and while there are lessons learned there for US First responders, the real lessons from Thailand are not to be found there, but hundreds of miles south in places you have probably never heard of: Yala, Pattani, and Natariwat. In these three southern provinces the Thai police, military, and civil assistance volunteer members face a barrage of IEDs that at times dwarf Iraq and Afghanistan both in intensity and complexity. Even more startling since this was an IED campaign that didn’t start in a vacuum of power after a conflict. It was home grown from the bottom up in a peaceful and stable paradigm.
Imagine if the domestic disturbances in the US during the 60s and 70s occurred with todays technology and you have what Southern Thailand looks like, and it is eye opening to say the least. Northern Ireland was 20 years ago, the Intifadas in Israel were 10, but Thailand is today, and tomorrow may well be the US. It is to this that we must study and learn from what the Thais are going through.
As my plane takes off from Seattle on the 16th trip to Thailand since 2007 (back when I was an EOD Company commander fresh from Iraq), I read another article on the Bangkok Valentines day plot in the paper. Filled with information that is not relevant to first responders. The articles will nevertheless be copied and spoken of to US responders in a dangerous repeat of information that misses the real lessons learned on how to take this and other examples, and apply them to real measures that can be taken in the US to prepare to protect against the growing hazard of IEDs.
For the next few weeks this blog will be focused on some of these incidents. Keep in mind that much of the information can not be put out in a public forum, but what can will be, and will be given a focus that hopefully puts it in the perspective that a US first responder can learn from the blood, sweat, and tears of fellow first responders half a world away, who are daily facing a terrible menace in their duty to protect their jurisdictions and families. Lessons that US first responders so vitally need.