Anorak News | Americans In Iraq: The Soldiers’ Story

Americans In Iraq: The Soldiers’ Story

by | 23rd, May 2007

23search-3-600.jpgTHE patrol of about 20 American and 50 Iraqi soldiers set out before dawn.

A photographer for the New York Times, Michael Kember, noticed that an Iraqi soldier’s mobile phone kept ringing, but he thought nothing of it.

The patrol’s mission was to track three US soldiers who were abducted during an ambush last week.

As the soldiers set out along a dirt path, one pointed out the dangers to the photographer. He said they kept off the road because of the threat of improvized explosive devices, or IEDs, and they were constantly on guard against ambush or snipers.

Some way along the path they reached an abandoned house. The photographer stepped inside. Moments later there was a massive explosion.

When the photographer looked out he saw a crater 5ft wide and 3ft deep.

The New York Times reporter Damien Cave described the moment: “The ground exploded under an ashen sky at dawn. Dust, dirt, blood and military equipment filled the air, clearing after several seconds to reveal a frenzied scene of horror.”

One soldier, Sergeant Justin D. Wisniewski, 22, was dead, three were wounded, one seriously.

The photographer started work, documenting the dazed and the injured. The medic asked him to put down his camera so he could help remove the clothes of a seriously injured soldier to be treated.

Meanwhile, a soldier who was temporarily blinded and deafened, ponted to the left side of his head and asked. “Is my ear still there?”

The Times reporter noted that:

“Immediately after the explosion, the soldiers swore and kicked whatever they could find. One said he wanted vengeance.

“But ‘I love you, man’ was far more common. Huge, strong men hugged, tears streaming down their faces. When it was not clear whether the seriously wounded soldier on the ground would make it, ‘I love you’ was said repeatedly, blurted out as if it was something they wished they had told Sergeant Wisniewski.

“When one of the wounded soldiers insisted that the mushy stuff had gone too far, there was friendly resistance. ‘What, I can’t love someone now?’ a soldier said.

“‘I love you,’ he said. ‘I can say ‘I love you’ if I want to.'”

The wounded and their dead comrade were lifted onto a chopper. The Iraqi with the ringing mobile phone, who had probably been an informer, was taken away. And the patrol continued, this time in single file, with each solder walking in the footsteps of the man in front.

Sometimes the New York Times gives an insight into war that no other newspaper seems capable. This is one of those times. For the full story, go here. (For photographs with an audio commentary by Michael Kember, click on “A Deadly Search For Missing Soldiers” in the multimedia section to the left of the page.)

Posted: 23rd, May 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (4) | TrackBack | Permalink