Thursday, July 07, 2005

The finest on-the-ground Iraq reporting available

If you want to stay in touch with what our troops are experiencing in Iraq, Soldier Michael Yon's daily combat blog reads like the modern version of "Band of Brothers."

Here's an excerpt about the aftermath of an IED (improvised explosive device):

"Whenever we gather up at the scene of an IED, I expect every moment to be when the car bomb will drive into us. Time for the secondary IEDs to explode. Now come the machine guns. Any second now, those mortars should be coming in. RPGs. Nothing happens.

They set the plan and we mount up, and I pull my seat belt on, then take it off again. We drive across the dirt median--this is where the land mine will explode --nothing happens. I put the seat belt back on. We leave the road--this is where the real ambush kicks off . . . I unsnap the seat belt . . . the enemy probably let themselves be seen knowing we would come 'round to attack them. Nothing happens.

We ride off and partially envelope the suspect area--there are probably bombs under and around us --nothing happens. We move to different locations--mortars should be dropping any second. Nothing happens....

We keep pushing back further into farmland, and sure enough, the 3rd ID guys flush a suspicious car that starts evading. We drive down treacherous canal roads where one slip on the wheel and we'd slide down to the same watery end that has met many a soldier in Iraq, but luckily, the man at the wheel of my Humvee, SGT Mahoney, is a very good driver. But I start un-strapping combat gear in case there is a swimming drama around the next curve. Seat belt on or seat belt off? I snap and unsnap it without looking.

The 3rd ID guys are talking on the headset that the suspect car got away, but they see a group of kids up ahead. Keep scanning out the window. They stop at a little house and give some treats to the kids, then head back to the road to Baghdad.

Next day, CSM Mellinger told me that seven people had been found shot to death in a car just near the IED, and he said, "Sometimes you get the chicken, sometimes you get the feathers."