Monday, March 29, 2004

Saddam City

There is a very run-down part of town in Baghdad which the military calls Saddam City. At the moment, many locals now refer to it as Sadr, named after a very popular Muqtada al-Sadr in that area. The military still refers to it as Saddam City though, the name just kind of stuck. It is where the most resistance can be find in Baghdad. In fact, the military pulled out of that area awhile ago because of the attacks. It is considered to be even alittle more dangerous than Fallujah, but Fallujah is a big city, and Saddam City is a neighborhood. I had to be on a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to quickly respond to a small American convoy that was attacked there. The convoy was made up of 2 Bradleys, one at each end of the small column and a few Hmmwv's. It came under attack from RPGs and the attackers quicker ran into the side streets and got away. It was VERY frustrating because the NCO (Non-commissioned Officer) didn't have a handle on the situation or seem to know what he was even doing. Plus, the Bradley's hadn't even attempted to strike back at the attackers. In the Infantry, we believe you need to be tough and firm and willing to use force or the enemy will use that as a weakness and attack you. That is why they attack in neighborhoods, to exploit it for that very reason. It was also very frustrating to see all the Iraqis just walking around like nothing had happened at all. Guys were still selling goods in their carts right by the roads, they totally seemed oblivious. One of the hit Hmmwvs didn't look anything like a vehicle, just a hunk of burning and smoking rubble. I can never forget the pieces of brain matter that was on the ground and people were unintentionally stepping on. It was very frustrating for me and my friends. We wanted to go after those responsible. They didn't even kill any military personal, they were Civil Affairs. Luckily only 1 died, the loses are always small. We fight a group that claims to be brave and fighting for Iraqis, and yet, in alot of their own ambushes they set up against military convoys they kill more of their own and seem to think of it as acceptable. However, if we get into a fire fight and some Iraqi bystander dumb enough to watch gets wounded, we are murders. Their logic just doesn't seem right most of the time. Alot of people you talk to who are not Iraqi and have been to Iraq talk about how frustrating their people's logic is.

Yesterday I had a bad dream about being back in Iraq. I dreamt I was in a big open field with mountains in the background. Me and my buddies were behind a bunch of small dirt mounds and somewhat dug in. While the Iraqis were dug in their own small mounds and trenches. Both sides in a line and about 200 meters apart. I was assigned to an m240 Bravo machine gun. We got into a fierce fire fight. The Iraqis kept bringing in more and more reinforcements. As a bunch of them came in a group, I quickly mowed down a bunch of them with the weapon before they hit the ground and took cover. We were losing alot of our own guys. However, it seemed like we were winning. Until, I looked and say Iraqis drag up 120mm and 81mm mortars to their front position. They started firing rounds through the tubes and started killing ALOT of us. For reasons I wont say, this is really strange because it is not in American military docterine to put mortars at the front in a fire fight. A few guys shouted mortars and pointed towards the mortars, and themselves got blown up. Until me and few guys sprayed in that direction and finally killed them. Once that happened, they all started to retreat. I noticed this and quickly shouted "they're retreating!" and for no reason at all a high ranking sergeant yelled at me "it's not called retreating it's called breaking contact!" A much of them gathered up in a group while running away, I took quick advantage of this and shot and killed many of them until they loaded up into their trucks and drove off. Right then, I woke up from that. Aside from that, during a ceremony where the rest of our Company finally came back from Iraq. They had the division band there and all. They were practicing until one of the drummers with the really big drum, I don't know what it's called. He beat it, and it sounded just like an explosion from an RPG, the way it echoed inside the building. I and a few others jumped and thought for a second we were under attack. Funny how none of the explosions that happened around us when I was in Iraq never really bothered me, I could even ignore them. I even slept through the Al-Rasheed hotel attack incident that happened about a mile away and shook the place. I didn't think it would really have any effect on me.