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Letters from Baghdad

by Major Scott Stanger, special to Kalamalama


October 14, 2004
You may have seen the news reports of two suicide bombs going off in the Green Zone. It was just one suicide bomb and one bomb that was planted. By our standards they were small bombs. The problem was that the bombs went off in a dense area where there are usually crowds, so everyone killed was a civilian. This is terrorism at its best. Of course we were there when it happened and as usual, the news got it wrong. My personal favorites are the reports that we are an occupation Army. On June 28, 2004, Iraq became a sovereign nation. Since then the Iraqis have taken over more of the security mission of the Green Zone. Two bombs go off. We are now back in charge of the Green Zone security wall at the request of the Iraqi government. Even when the Iraqis controlled the wall, we still controlled internal security of the Green Zone. That is why the bad guys hit a soft target like the cafe and the bazaar. They could not get to any important governmental or military targets.They targeted some Iraqi police and us, but they missed and made a huge hole, but their targeting was way off. It was a suicide bomb. We are getting good at spotting car bombs because where we are, we get a lot of them. One more terrorist killed himself and missed.




November 3, 2004
Well, the old military saying: “know your enemy” proved true again a few days ago. The enemy here, for what ever reason, likes to sleep. You can predict the bad guy’s attacks by watching the clock. They usually try to hit us in the early morning...just before they have to go to work, and late evening...just before they go to bed. We got a tip from an informant that a terrorist wanted to kidnap one of our soldiers and put him on TV right before the election. We also learned where the terrorist lived but when we went to his house, the locals who lived near him told us that he was never we made a plan to keep him out all night. We had one of our informants call the guy and tell him that our informant would kidnap one of our solders and sell him to this terrorist. The terrorist stated that he would pay $25,000 for the soldier. We told him where to meet our informant so that they could exchange our soldier for the money. Well, as you could assume, we never had any intention of losing one of our guys. We made up a story for our informant to call the terrorist and tell him that an American patrol was at the dropsite and that they had to move the site. This was around 1:00 AM, so it was already way past most of the local thug’s bedtime. The informant gave the terrorist another spot and then raced to get there first and called the terrorist again. The informant stated that there were some Iraqi police at the site. Well , we did this three more times with more excuses why we could not use the sites. Each time the terrorist believed us until it was about 6:00 AM. By this time our informant told the bad guy he was tired and that they should wait until later to make the exchange. The terrorist was tired, as we had assumed, and he went home. We then simply when to his house, because we knew he would finally be there, and we kick in his door and captured him. When we got the guy, he was so tired that we had a hard time keeping him awake during the questioning, so we locked him up: after he got some sleep he spilled the beans. It was hard not to laugh at him, he was such an idiot. This was, by far, the easiest raid we had ever done. The terrorist had information that turned out to be a big help to a lot of other U.S. forces later on.
November 25, 2004
We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner and got to watch part of a movie, and then we got hit hard with rockets. A unit next to us had four killed and 17 wounded during the attack. One of our guys died today. He was the guy who got shot by a sniper. He lived for about five days, but he died of his wounds.We are going to do another memorial service. We are getting good at doing them. It has been a hard Thanksgiving.
Scott Stanger is currently stationed in Baghdad.
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