Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Surreal Life

Hyped up on No-Doz and survival instincts, the soldiers thrust toward rebel strongholds with four days of relentless combat showing on their faces. They lost their sense of time and place. They did not know 22 of their colleagues had died or about 170 were wounded in other parts of the city. They did not know what day it was.

They were not certain what they were accomplishing.

"I'm not sure about stabilizing Iraq," said Spec. John Bandy, 23, of Little Rock, Ark., sucking on a cigarette as bullets ricocheted nearby. "I'm not sure it will be better when we're gone, but it's gotten to the point of retribution for all the things that have happened. The beheadings, the bombings and everything."
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"It's hard to maneuver against [the insurgents] because we have so many guys and vehicles, and there's just a few of them, who can drop their weapons and run," Emery said. "Every time we do a mass invasion, it seems like most of them are gone."

The soldiers shared laughs during the more surreal moments, such as when a psychological-operations truck rolled through the city blaring the theme song to the movie "Team America: World Police." In the film, Rambo-like puppets hunt terrorists and blow up the Eiffel Tower in the process. There is no need to thank us, the puppets tell outraged Parisians.

Later that night, 500-pound bombs fell on Fallujah.

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