Reading a Warzone

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 10, 2007 12:24 PM

There will be plenty of puffery in D.C. today about the troop surge and Iraq. Most of it will be much less useful and interesting than what bloggers in Iraq, outside the Green Zone, are writing.

Click on these and read away.

Bill Ardolino on putting out fires in Fallujah, both literal and figurative. That there's a play on words, if I'm not mistaken.

Ardolino also interviews a Fallujan civil servant who's very smart and very candid. His thoughts on Americans, local tribes, who wants Fallujah to succeed, beating insurgents, and the likelihood of landing an American wife.

Michael Yon has hit the ground in Baghdad. He plans to be on the ground in Iraq most of '07. The description of his trip into a warzone is fascinating (the pictures are great, as usual). Emphasis mine:

As we began the descent, I asked the pilot if it would be okay to stay in the cockpit during landing. He said it would be fine, but also said the crew was going to wear body armor although I could make my own choice. I stepped down from the cockpit and returned with body armor and helmet. Behind the wide-open cockpit were passengers armed with assault weapons, pistols and knives. The pilots were letting me sit in the cockpit during landing but they were wearing body armor. The rules are very different here.

Also, read on to learn about the senior enlisted soldier in Iraq, who sounds like a mixture of your grandpa and Batman:

CSM Mellinger has more access to Iraq and the entire theatre than most leaders have. Access that includes every guard tower, secret chamber and ditch, and anywhere else US or Coalition forces might be in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, or even out on ships in the Gulf. For this reason, I spent about six months back in 2005 trying to get a ride with CSM Mellinger.

This is now my third trip with CSM Mellinger, and he has gained a kind of iconic status among young soldiers, because he pops up in every remote and dangerous corner, from mailrooms to maintenance bays, hospitals to police stations, to combat missions and memorials.

Roggio, who just got back from Iraq, reports on an Iraqi Army offensive in Baghdad.