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Sunday, June 18, 2006
LIFE AS AN EMBED IN IRAQ
We need more War reporters like Michael Fumento. Twice he’s been an embed in Iraq, and he knows how the War is being covered – or not. The Iraq war is covered mostly by reporters who hole up in Baghdad hotels and send out Iraqi stringers to collect what the reporters deem news, as an article in the April 6, 2006, New York Review of Books described in great detail. The reporters convert these accounts into prose and put them on the wire. Except for that all-powerful "Baghdad" dateline, they might just as well be writing from Podunk.
This explains why most of the media believe that Baghdad is where Iraq begins and ends. So naturally, they think Baghdad is the most dangerous part of the country. Wrong. "The sheer scale of violence in Ramadi is astounding..."
So Michael requested to go to Rimadi, where even small mistakes…can lead to pain and death, where the enemy holes up in the sacred minarets and fires upon the troops.
An added "attraction" is the snipers who occasionally pop off a round into the camp from the minarets. They know of Americans' unwillingness to attack "religious" buildings, even when they're clearly being used for military activity. When I asked Col. Clark why Iraqi army or police couldn't be used to make sure nobody entered the mosques with weapons, he was quick to say, "We never hesitate" to fire back when fired upon. "However," he added, "our fight requires strict cultural and religious sensitivity in order to be successful and legitimize the Iraqi government and army." If, he said, "the Iraqi army and Iraqi police established check points and conducted security screens at mosques it would undoubtedly be viewed negatively by the Iraqi people whose trust is vital to our success."
Michael has written a long article, yet a fast read, about his adventures in Camp Corregidor in eastern Ramadi. As you read it, think of all the military fathers who are separated from their families while stationed elsewhere and be thankful, for these men (and women) volunteered.
The New Band of Brothers
With the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Ramadi.
by Michael Fumento
Ten days before I arrived, during the night of April 9, 1st Battalion suffered its worst casualties of the deployment in a mini-"Black Hawk Down" situation. An IED flipped a Humvee, killing the driver from D Company. An M-1 Abrams tank went to retrieve it. For good reason, Corregidor has a large complement of tanks and other armored vehicles. Unfortunately, another IED made a lucky strike on the tank, cutting the fuel line and setting it ablaze. The men inside scrambled to safety, but now things got really messy.
You can't just abandon an Abrams, because it has unique equipment and armor. If the bad guys get hold of a single vital piece they could use it to determine ways of defeating these otherwise almost invincible behemoths. Further, they could sell the information to anybody with a vested interest in blowing up M-1s. You also can't just call in an airstrike on a tank, as is routinely done with downed aircraft. That's fine for destroying secret electronics, but blasting a tank just spreads out the parts.
To make things even more dicey, the Abrams carries a powerful 120mm main gun and three machine guns. The rounds for these weapons were "cooking off" in the fire, flying in all directions. They would continue to do so for the rest of the night, making retrieval too dangerous.
So the troops set up a perimeter and waited. As with the real downing of the Black Hawks in Somalia, the burning tank attracted bad guys from throughout the city. They kept pouring into the area to kill the infidels. But with their night-vision equipment and laser pointers, Americans own the night. The enemy came in droves and they died in droves. "The insurgents were so desperate to gain momentum against us that they were literally running into the streets to plant IEDs right in front of us or throwing them over walls," says Claburn. "It was purely amazing." By the time the rounds had stopped flying and the tank was recovered, 30 jihadists were confirmed dead. Disaster had been averted. But the price in blood was high.
8 Check out all of Michael's photos he took this year in Iraq!
May God bless all fathers on this Father's Day.