War Porn

War Porn

whenever possible, you should avoid kill zones

such as streets, alleys, and parks

 

Driving the edge of Sadr City through bumper-to-bumper afternoon jam, I heard Lieutenant Krauss behind me yell, “Weapon on the left.”

“What, where?” the BC shouted.

“Pistol. Pistol left side. Blue shirt. Pistol left.”

Captain Yarrow grabbed the hand mike and I looked left, taking the scene in a glance. First it was a mass of bodies on a corner then I picked out two people arguing, a blue shirt, a pistol. Captain Yarrow said something into the mike and Lieutenant Krauss shouted, “He’s aiming! He’s aiming!”

Then two loud bangs behind my head. Brass dinged off my Kevlar and fell burning down the back of my shirt.

In my periphery, movement: Iraqis scattered and dove to the ground.

“There he goes!” shouted Krauss and fired two more times. I scrunched my head into my shoulders like a turtle, closing the gap between my helmet and armor. His empty shells plinked off me.

More shooting, ours, into the crowd. Across the street I saw a woman in black jerk up and swing to the ground.

“Cease fire, cease fire!” Captain Yarrow shouted. “Keep driving! Keep driving!”

 

Our windows wide, we sucked down exhaust, refinery smoke, propane, and the reek of sun-baked sewage. Crowds and traffic, buildings looming, cars and stucco, and we come up out of the mess onto the expressway, flow at a dead stop. Honking cars clogged the lanes, bumpers scraping fenders, brown faces glaring. Up ahead we could see American soldiers blocking the road, gun trucks and air guards, some big Army goatfuck.

“IED?”

“Didn’t hear anything.”

“Maybe it hasn’t gone off.”

“Could be a checkpoint.”

“I think it’s an IED.”

Ahead on the left, Iraqis cut through a gap in the guardrail where a tank had rolled through. We moved slowly forward, filling the space opened by the fleeing cars.

“If it was a checkpoint, we’d be moving.”

An Iraqi car started backing toward us, angling for the gap, and I laid on the horn. The driver stuck his head out of his window and pointed where he wanted to go. I flipped him off and goosed forward, ramming his rear. His hands flew up in anger.

“Good job, Wilson.”

“You want me to go for that gap, sir?”

“No, we’ll wait it out.”

Twenty-five minutes later, broiling between the sun and the engine, I asked him again about the gap and he said yes. We edged over, nudging Iraqi cars out of the way with the brush guard, then swung around and took off back the way we came.

Captain Yarrow scanned the thick red and blue lines on his street map of Baghdad. He gave me directions across the 3ID bridge and into the Green Zone, but we got lost and wound up driving down a quiet, tree-lined boulevard along the Ti...


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