The Warrior Thunder Foundation, Inc., (WTFI), a federally recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is organized exclusively to raise public awareness and charitable donations for the needs of veterans, particularly injured service men and women and their families.
Simply stated, we are a group of Veterans, friends and patriotic Americans who came together because we believe the debt we owe our warriors and their families must continue to be re-paid as they have sacrificed so much for us. We are all volunteers from Massachusetts. Our Board of Directors consist of members who have over 26 years of military service; over 70 years of government service on Massachusetts military installations supporting the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard; and over 75 years of local community/military volunteer service. We will continue to give back.
We started with the simple idea from one of our Directors to conduct a charity motorcycle ride to support our wounded warriors. From there, the idea was well on its way to becoming a charitable, non-profit foundation that would in the short term support some national programs, and in the long term support local disabled Veterans, wounded service men and women, and their families through multiple events each year.
With 323 incidents per month worldwide in 2010 and 89 incidents per month excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, the IED is a clearly established weapon of choice for those who use terror and violence to achieve their objectives. Historically, these incidents have occurred in a variety of situations including conflict and post-conflict nvironments (Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine); illegal drug operations (Mexico, Columbia, Peru); insurgencies (Chechnya, Russia, Nigeria, Northern Ireland); election-related violence (Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast); religious crises (India, Pakistan, Nigeria); ethnic conflicts (Nigeria, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Serbia); and other terrorism events (United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France). As a final example, the perpetrator of the July 2011 attack in Oslo, Norway described the IED as a “marketing tool” for his extremist views.
In 2008 and 2009[ii], global IED incidents were documented at 291 and 308 per month respectively. In 2006 during a six month period Landmine Action[iii] found 1,836 incidents of explosive devices in populated areas across 38 different countries. Sixty percent (1,105 or 184 per month) involved “bombs” or “car-bombs”—predominantly IEDs. These combined data indicate that IED use is likely proliferating.
The 2008 and 2009 incidents involved an estimated 13,771 killed (84% civilians) and 44,506 wounded (88% civilians). There were 196 killed and 28 wounded among those who deployed the IEDs. In cases where these incidents occurred in populated areas some 90% of reported casualties were civilians. Cumulatively just for Nigeria, Thailand, and India there were over 1,621 killed or injured in 2009 and 2010. In these three countries incidents rose 44% in 2010 as compared to 2009.
In Mexico, drug-related proliferation of illegal small arms and associated violence—known as precursors to IED use—foreshadowed the vehicle-borne IED incident in Cuidad Juarez on 15 July 2010. From no reported attacks in 2009, there were six additional IED incidents[vi] through January 2011.
These trends underscore the seriousness of the IED problem. Innocent civilians, most often women and children, bear the brunt of the suffering. Those in affected areas live in fear of additional attacks that disrupt everything from daily routines, to health care to elections. When displacement, destruction, and loss of personal assets are added to this mix[v] sustainable livelihoods are severely degraded. With no central, universally trusted repository that tracks IED incidents, the actual impacts are likely greater than depicted.
The IED is a significant global threat to stability, sustainable development, human rights, and humanitarian operations. Even so, they are inevitably framed as an exclusively military problem. It is our position that a purely military response will never halt the proliferation of IEDs; eliminate civilian casualties; or address the root causes of IED production networks.