SAN DIEGO — War correspondent Robert Young Pelton approached Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary company Blackwater, with a bold proposal in late 2004. Pelton, a veteran who’s covered more than a dozen conflicts, wanted to ride along for a month with the toughest for-profit soldiers in Prince’s outfit, in what was then the most dangerous place in the world: Route Irish, the 12-mile stretch of highway connecting Baghdad’s airport to the Green Zone, the fortified neighborhood surrounding the U.S. embassy.
Archived posts with tag ‘Iraq’
Underwire: Go Inside a Mercenary Company in Iraq in Unflinching Comic Blackwater Chronicles
Foreign Policy: What We Leave Behind
by DAVID AXE U.S. Marines lowered the American flag at Baghdad airport today, bringing the Iraq war to an official end. The conflict, which claimed 4,484 American lives and those of at least 100,000 Iraqis, may have ended with an understated ceremony — but the process of leaving Mesopotamia was anything but quiet. The U.S. [...]
From A to B: A Graf a Day
A paragraph or two a day from my forthcoming book FROM A TO B: HOW LOGISTICS FUELS AMERICAN POWER AND PROSPERITY.
In an interview with the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tries out a new excuse for his ill-conceived 2003 invasion of Iraq. In short, blame Turkey. Said Rumsfeld.
Cartoon Movement: Waiting Room
Syria is home to the world’s largest urban refugee population; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have poured in since the 2003 invasion. Barred from joining the Syrian workforce, they attempt to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and find a new place to call home.
I’m chilling at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, awaiting a flight to Logar province. Outside, F-15Es roar down the runway on their way to provide close air support to ground troops. The noise reminds me of a story I read in the latest Combat Aircraft, about a U.S. Air Force F-15 jock who had an unusual encounter during the 1991 Gulf War. To quote author Steve Davies.
Military bureaucrats needlessly blocked U.S. troops in Iraq from getting laser weapons — tools that could’ve kept civilians from getting killed. That, in a nutshell, is what the Pentagon’s Inspector General concluded after an investigation of the Marine Corps’ botched attempts to send the nonlethal lasers to the warzone.
It was already late on Christmas Day, 2005, in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, when my friend Luqman Khadir, an ethnic Kurd and non-practicing Muslim, passed along a surprising invitation. A fellow Kurd, one of Iraq’s increasingly rare Christians, had asked Luqman whether I’d like to spend a few hours celebrating the holidays with him and his family.
On the morning of January 27, 2005, I stood in a local government building in Baqubah, north-central Iraq, my camera at the ready, waiting for a U.S. Army-led amnesty event to kick off. The Army had asked local residents to bring in any weapons, no questions asked. Some very nervous Iraqi officials smoked cigarettes on a row of folding chairs. David Pratt, an experienced war correspondent for the Sunday Herald newspaper, commented on the potential risk in the Americans advertising their presence in one of the bloodiest cities in all of Iraq.