Tunnel bombs are not a bad-guy epiphany, but a natural manifestation of the battlefield. Yet as many tactics are eventually exported in attacks on the West; should we be looking underground for the next massive attack? Yes.

Another historical replay, labeled “new” by people who only reference history in a ‘today’ context has been underway throughout Iraq and Syria. As militants and terrorist alike look for new ways to break through hardened defensive fortifications and obstacle belts – they’ve opted for the road less traveled, underground.

The onset is not some breakthrough in guerrilla warfare. In fact, the concept is as old as siege warfare, when the Sappers of yesteryear, in Roman and Medieval times, would tunnel underneath castle and fortification walls to denote a charge, or remove the supporting earth to force a breach and/or destabilize the walls for an effective artillery or catapult fire breakthrough. In more modern times, tunnel warfare, along with the deployment of hill mines that ripped the soil and lives from the stagnant lines of World War One. In Vietnam, tunnel warfare was rampant and manifested into a uniquely vicious form of killing. Throughout the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars; deep buried improvised explosive devices were favored amongst insurgents who sought to challenge heavily armored allied vehicles.

The tunnel bomb is not something new, and is clearly not outdated. Yet the reemergence of tunnel bomb tactics on today’s international battlefields across the Middle East should raise concern and merit a plan of deterrence from intelligence and security agencies.

The threat is real,

Reflecting upon the roots of tactics employed by terrorists on targets in the West – as well as the attacks that were deterred, we find the tried and true from over there, showing up here. Beyond the headline-grabbing knife and gunman attacks are the bombers, and a fact that’s often brushed over is the various explosive devices in the possession of these terrorist whom were killed in the act, or deterred before they were able to detonate their devices.

Western security services are typically not inept when it comes to counter-explosive identification and mitigation. If anything we’re overly paranoid about bomb threats and run extensive overkill procedures on even the slightly suspected device. These are dangerous times to be an unattended backpack . . . I’ve often wondered if leaving your backpack, that had your incomplete homework in; was destroyed in a controlled detonation by the local bomb squad, could be a reasonable cause to turn in a late university assignment.

Nevertheless, our vigilance is only skin deep. The security theater folks of the TSA keep us waiting around to remind us that our government is keeping us safe. State-of-the-art systems surveillance systems monitor everyone on the streets, and online. Increased patrols, kitted-out police, tactical vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, perimeter detection devices, and so on, and so on – we’re perceptibility safe within the visible line of sight of the man.

Digging deeper,

Yet in this goldfish attention span state-of-the-world, along with the most peculiar ‘not my problem’ culture that we live in; out of sight – out of mind is the perfect realm for creating chaos. Just as the drug addled homeless veterans I encountered a few months ago, where indulgence and deprivation ran unchecked in abandoned factories and under interstates bridges.