Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Inside The Surge In Iraq!

Inside the Surge

Photojournalist Sean Smith from the Guardian spent two months embedded with U.S. troops in Baghdad, offering harrowing insight into the daily dangers soldiers and Marines are facing every day in Iraq

Smith captured a deadly attack on a Bradley armored vehicle, seen here.

In this photo, six American soldiers and an Iraqi translator are burning to death inside the armored vehicle. Cpl. Joshua Lake from Apache Company told Sean Smith, "It's a joke. We will have spent 14 months in contact, basically fighting all 14 months…first week in Baghdad we lost two guys in our battalion, and it hasn't stopped since."

The Bradley armored vehicle was blown up by an IED, and after the hit live ammunition in the Bradley began to go off, cementing the disaster.

By the time the 4th platoon reached the Bradley, it was too late to rescue their trapped colleagues.

Moments after arriving, the soldiers of the 4th platoon raid a nearby house, searching for the attackers. Several men are detained and left to be interrogated.

Cpl. Lake told Smith, "We got grenades going off, we've got an IED blowing up your vehicle…and then you are expected to go back in those four to six hours and relax! Your body never gets to come down, you're always on that heightened sense of alertness. You don't have the rest."

A few days later U.S. soldiers are back in the neighborhood looking for weapons and insurgents. They spotted a suspicious car circling the block, and the driver did not respond when told to stop. The soldiers opened fire and pulled the driver's body from the car.

They dragged the body to the nearest front yard and tried to revive the driver, unsuccessfully. A neighbor said that she thought he was a taxi driver coming to pick her up, and that he was

circling the block while looking for her house.

The man, who may have been a taxi driver, was killed because he failed to stop his car. According to Sean Smith, "Their [U.S. soldiers] first priority is to defend themselves. The frustration is not, 'Look how difficult this is.' The frustration is 'Look how difficult this is and what exactly for?"

This is the aftermath of an explosion in a munitions dump, an all too common scene in Iraq. U.S. soldiers were summoned to investigate a blast at an insurgent bomb factory. The man on the ground is an Iraqi soldier. After his injury, an American soldier helped tend to his wounds.

Spc. Gabriel Vassell told Smith, "…We have people up there in Congress with the brain of a 2-year-old who don't know what they are doing, they don't experience it. I challenge the president or anyone who has us for 15 months to ride alongside me. I'll do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides alomg with me every day. I'll do 15 more months. They don't even have to pay me extra."

This Iraqi soldier has taken the brunt of the explosion, but neighbors -- both children and adults -- are hurt as well.

The American soldiers set up an emergency first aid operation to try and help the wounded.

This Iraqi soldier has shrapnel wounds in his face and his body. An American soldier cleans his wounds.

The challenge extended by Spc. Michael Vassell of Apache Company to Congress and the president, to come experience the lives they live on duty in Iraq every day, echoes many Americans beliefs about the troop surge, and the war in Iraq. Every day, the abnormal -- screaming, explosions, carnage -- becomes more and more normal for the soldiers and Iraqi citizens.


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Anonymous said...

I cant begin to imaging what is like to be on a place like that, watching friends die. The photos provide a pretty good idea of what is like to be on a war.

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