Once the helicopter lifted away, he ran back to his vehicle, ready to treat anyone else. He was thinking about the marine he had already treated.
“If I had gone with him,” he said, and glanced to where the helicopter had flown away, over the line of date palms at the end of a field. His voice softened. “But I’m not with him,” he said.
He turned, faced a reporter and spoke loudly again. “In situations and times like this, I am bound to start yelling and shouting furiously,” he said. “Don’t think I am losing my mind.”
He held his bloody hands before his face, to examine them. They were shaking. He made fists so tight his veins bulged. His forearms started to bounce.
“His name was Lance Cpl. Colin Smith,” he said. “He said a prayer today right before we came out, too.”
The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February, and tracks a further worsening this month despite a concerted American push to tamp down the violence in Baghdad.
In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy’s fighting strength and the control of territory.
The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows Iraq as moving sharply away from “peace,” an ideal on the far left side of the chart, to a point much closer to the right side of the spectrum, a red zone marked “chaos.” As depicted in the command’s chart, the needle has been moving steadily toward the far right of the chart.
Among the scenes being viewed daily by thousands of users of the sites are sniper attacks in which Americans are felled by snipers as a camera records the action and of armored Humvees or other military vehicles being hit by roadside bombs.
In some videos, the troops do not appear to have been seriously injured; in one, titled “Sniper Hit” and posted on YouTube by a user named 69souljah, a serviceman is knocked down by a shot but then gets up to seek cover. Other videos, however, show soldiers bleeding on the ground, vehicles exploding and troops being loaded onto medical evacuation helicopters.
At a time when the Bush administration has restricted photographs of the coffins of military personnel returning to the United States and the Pentagon keeps close tabs on videotapes of combat operations taken by the news media, the videos give average Americans a level of access to combat scenes rarely available before, if ever.
Their availability has also produced some backlash. In recent weeks, YouTube has removed dozens of the videos from its archives and suspended the accounts of some users who have posted them, a reaction, it said, to complaints from other users.
As they rushed the house, Navy corpsman Alonso Rogero was hit in the stomach and Lance Cpl. Ryan Sunnerville in the leg. Grainy, shaky film of the incident shows Sunnerville hopping on one leg, still firing his M-16. Marines and insurgents exchanged gunfire from no more than 20 feet. From inside the building, the insurgents also threw grenades.
The insurgents had hoped to spring what is called a Chechen ambush, named after the rebels who have fought Russian troops for years. The tactic is particularly successful when tanks cannot be used.
The strategy, Marines determined later, had been to wound Marines attempting to enter the building. When other Marines came to help them, an insurgent sniper down an alleyway would pick off corpsmen, radio operators and officers. And when enough Marines or vehicles were gathered, insurgents would fire rocket-propelled grenades.
Adlesperger fired at the insurgent machine-gun position as he ran toward Rogero and Sunnerville. He helped the two up the outside stairway to the roof. As insurgents tried to storm the stairway, Adlesperger killed them before they could reach the roof. Shrapnel ripped into his face.
According to the filmmakers, however, there is nothing soft and helpless about the way the Musharraf administration handles Pakistani reporters. The documentary points the finger at the government for the murder in Hayatullah Khan, a Pakistani journalist who worked with PBS and whose reporting on a 2005 missile attack on a Qaeda operative embarrassed the Musharraf government. (The Pakistan army said that American forces had nothing to do with the attack; Mr. Khan published pictures of missile fragments covered with United States military markings.) Soon after, Mr. Khan disappeared, and last June his corpse was found, riddled with bullets and hands bound with government-issue handcuffs, in North Waziristan, a tribal region on the Afghan border.
Editor & Publisher:
He estimated that there are probably 50 murders and 20 to 30 kidnappings in Baghdad every day, and said that it had gotten to the point where it was no longer just Sunni-Shiite clashes or insurgent mayhem. “Nobody trusts anybody anymore,” he said. “There’s no law, and the worst people with guns are in charge.”
According to Filkins, the New York Times is burning through money “like jet fuel” simply to securely maintain its operations in the country. In addition to the 70 local reporters and translators, the Times employs 45 full-time Kalashnikov-toting security guards to patrol its two blast-wall-enclosed houses — and oversee belt-fed machine-guns on the roofs of the buildings. The paper also has three armored cars, and pays a hefty premium each month to insure the five Times reporters working there.
Wounded and locked in a harrowing gunfight deep in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains, Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson laid down covering fire so a teammate could escape — an act of heroism for which Axelson was yesterday posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest medal.
Fighting nearby, Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz was also mortally wounded but stood his ground in a barrage of fire from 30 to 40 Taliban militiamen who surrounded his four-man SEAL reconnaissance team on June 28, 2005. For his “undaunted courage,” as described by the military, Dietz, 25, of Littleton, Colo., also posthumously received the Navy Cross yesterday in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
Lucian Read, from Digital Journalist:
The battalion and company limped out of Fallujah heroes–a fistful of Bronze Stars, a Navy Cross. That Navy Cross was one of only eight since the war began. If the First Sergeant who earned it had died they probably would have given him The Medal. I took the photo that helped to bring him the recognition. In the image, two young Marines carry a grim older Marine from a house, his arms around their shoulders, lap and legs covered in blood, pistol still at the ready as he nearly bleeds to death. He saved Nicoll’s life when he took the blast from the grenade. Then he gave up his tourniquet as he bled from 50 places. Books have been, are being written about it. The picture is now on posters wherever two or three Marines gather together, an example for generations of Marines to come.
To the Marines, I am that guy who took that picture. A year and a half later, my pictures of these same Marines run under the words “shame, massacre, bloodbath.”
From CJR Daily:
What seemed to matter more than dead soldiers was the speculation about how the death toll would influence the president or his party’s political fortunes. Here’s how the AP story began: “The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that 2,500 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war since it began more than three years ago, marking a grim milestone even as President Bush hopes a recent spate of good news will reverse the war’s widespread unpopularity at home. The latest death was announced as Congress was launching into a symbolic election-year debate over the war, with Republicans rallying against calls by some Democrats to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.”
As Tony Snow blithely told reporters yesterday, ”It’s a number.”
From The New York Times:
In 2000 Mr. Junger went with Mr. Scott Anderson to Bosnia, where they accidentally almost captured one of the world’s most-wanted war criminals. “The idea was to head to the Croatian coast, drink beer and look at girls,” recalled Mr. Junger. “Instead we detoured into some hell hole on the border of Montenegro when we heard that Radovan Karadzic had been spotted there.”
Serb satraps mistook them for an American intelligence hit team and offered up Karadzic in exchange for bribes including visas to the United States. “We said, O.K., let’s see where this goes,” Mr. Junger said. “It was a stupid, dangerous game to be playing,” one that quickly put them in the sights of real C.I.A. officers, who were not amused.
From the New York Times:
“If the Americans leave, we are finished,” said Hassan al-Azawi, whose brother was taken from the pet shop.
He thought for a moment more.
“We may be finished already.”
From the New York Times:
I recently met a Sunni man who used to be virulently anti-American. He showed me postmortem pictures of his younger brother, who had been kidnapped by death squads and had holes drilled in his face.
“Even the Americans wouldn’t do this,” he said.
With the benefit of more time, two recent photo books have tried to show the war from new angles. They take fundamentally different approaches: one from the viewpoint of the American solider, the other from the viewpoint of the Iraqi citizens.
From UC Berkeley News:
Jackie Spinner, Washington Post staff writer and author of “Tell Them I Didn’t Cry,” an account of a year spent in Baghdad starting in May 2004, disagreed that reporters in Iraq are prevented from telling both sides. “I think we’re getting 90 percent of the story,” she said. When disbelieving guffaws rang out from the audience, she retorted, “Excuse me, have you been there?”
From the New York Times:
The war was barely a week old when Gen. Tommy R. Franks threatened to fire the Army’s field commander.