As I read news accounts of the British helicopter that went down in Basra earlier today (apparently shot down by a rocket) I got to thinking. Why would anyone want to shoot down a British helicopter in Basra? There are, of course, many answers to a question like that but one answer came to mind that I had not considered before.
Perhaps some of the killing in Iraq, perhaps more than some, is simply for the thrill of it . . . for sport.
I remember as a young teen when my brother and I went out into the woods with a small .22 rifle to shoot at tin cans or whatever else we could shoot at. We eventually got tired of shooting at cans and started shooting at chipmunks. At one point we actually hit one and followed a trail of blood to its hole. With considerable remorse we emptied the rifle of whatever bullets were left and went home. I have never fired a gun since.
Why did we shoot the chipmunk? Was it threatening us? Were we angry at it for being in our neck of the woods? No. Of course not. We shot the chipmunk because we could. We had the rifle and, what the heck, the chipmunk wasn't going to shoot back at us!
I wonder if much of what we are seeing in Iraq is something like that. Why shoot down a British helicopter? Why not! Here's a missile. What's it good for? Well, shooting down things. So, why not use it and see what will happen!
The odds of actually hitting something with these rockets are not much better that those old WW II movies where desparate soldiers try to shoot down Japanese attack planes with rifles and machine guns. Maybe you'll get lucky!
The same with IEDs. There may not necessarily be a great deal of politics of religion in many of these attacks, either. Bad guys who may, in fact, be motivated by politics or religion can always recruit bored kids and train them to do very bad things just for the thrill.