Iraq - September 2007

tv story about D company, 1-8 Cav, based i Rustamiya, Baghdad
broadcasted Sep 13th, Swedish TV8
quicktime format

streaming speed: 100kBps

streaming speed: 300kBs

comments? please send me an email: mail(emailsymbol)


Strained troops in Iraq September 2007 manuscript

Sergeant Christopher Anderson (in humwee)
-Most of where we go we get small arms, like rpgs, ak and sniper fire but hopefull we won't see any of that today. Like, if a guy is shooting a rpg at you out of a crowd, you wanna let the rpg hit you and kill your people or you wanna get that rpg gunner? Well I'm sorry if there are other people in the way but it happens. If they see a guy with a rpg, they should not stand around him.

The D-company of the 8th Cavalry regiment is on a "confidence building" mission in Baladiat, eastern Baghdad. They knock on doors and ask to come inside and visit family homes. The Iraqi interpreter keeps his face covered out of fear of beeing recognized. The soldiers quickly glances around to see if there are weapons or if the house is used by insurgents, but not in this case. The family are Shia muslims, that can be seen from the religious painting on the wall.

Sergeant Christopher Anderson (in family living-room)
-Have they slowed down or are they still launching rockets or mortars from here?

They ask the family about the situation in the area and if they have noticed insurgents operating from here but the father of the family doesn't know. They recently moved into this house.

This area lacks all kinds of basic services. Poor quality drinking water, almost non-existent sewage and a huge poverty. Many here are said to co-operate with the insurgency just to be able to survive. The area is almost totally controlled by the Shiite Mahdi militia and combined with criminal gangs, make this a humanitarian tragedy and lawless land.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Anderson (in humwee)
-This is the line to the gas station right here. Every day it's about this long or longer. Sometimes we do a mission where we have to overwatch a gas station because you got a lot of people cutting the lines. Like the jam members, the mahdi militia, they just cut the lines and steal gas. They have their false fuel sales.

Since the troop surge started in February this year, USA now keeps more than 160 000 troops in Iraq. This has provided more patrols out in the streets which has increased confidence for and cooperation with the us forces among the Iraqis. Violence here has decreased and in that sense the surge has been somewhat succesful.

Man in street (arabic)
-In my area (this area) there are no bombs or anyone doing "bad activities" nothing happened
(cell phone rings and is switched off))

Leaflets are handed out, asking for support from the people to be vigilant and to co-operate with the security forces and there is also a number to a tip-phone. But increased patrolling also means enhanced risk to be attacked by bombs or shot at. All soldiers here are aware of the possibility to die.

Capten David Freeman
-All the soldiers feel the same way, they stay focused on the mission and do their job and the fear kind of stays in the back of your head

Private Bartholomew Misiaszek
-I'm alive and everyday that we go out and come back and nobody's hurt, that's a good day.

During the patrol a shot is fired. The soldiers take cover behind a jeep but don't know if it was an attack and the patrol continues. Trying to win hearts and minds of the people is frustrating when the soldiers know that they can be shot at anytime, an extremely stressful situation.

Private Bartholomew Misiaszek
(sighs) -For the most, the biggest population of the people it seems they just wanna live their lives they just wanna go be happy with whatever they choose to do it's the very small population that doesn't.. that tries to kill us and .. you know .. it's really sometimes very hard to put yourself past ... you really hate them 'cause they are trying to hurt you, they are trying to hurt your friends and you really wanna get it done with and get it over with and go home.

But most soldiers are here for the second or third time, something their contract forces them to.

Liutenant William Decker
-Consider going a second time? Well, if I'm told to go I will go, it's my job.
-Will you apply for it?
-As right now.. I wouldn't volunteer but I am reenlisting so I probably would come back a second time.

Private Joshua Ake
-I've made a lot of friends here, a lot of close friends more like a family

The company headquarter functions more as a police station with register over criminals and insurgents. Through the tip-off number many calls from the Iraqis go directly to the us military which results in more beeing arrested. The prison tent at the base is often occupied.

Sergeant Andrew Schlessinger
-There has been quite a bit of increased trust between the community and us wich has led to a quadrupeling of our number of sources in sector.

These men have sat here for 12 hours in the heat, with arms tied.

US military doctor
-I am looking for some tattooes..

Bodily marks are unvoluntarily registred and put into a computerized system. The investigation of suspected insurgent activities by the prisoners is done by the US military, not by the Iraqi police. The Iraqi police is, so far, considered only capable to handle purely criminal cases.

Sergeant Andrew Schlessinger
-We have had reports that many of them are cooperating with the insurgency however we haven't been able to proove that at our level right now and there is a general fear that the governmental forces, like under the Saddam regime, aren't executing their responsibilities to standard.

Liutenant William Decker
-There is five guys that we are releasing that were found innocent and we are releasing them and there should be three more that we are releasing tomorrow.

(picture shows detained beeing released from a Bradley fighting vehickle)

The released are given claim cards for later monetary compensation for the time arrested.

(mission leader at start of new patrol)
-Ok, let's go ahead and go amber and load it up. The Colonel is going to be here in nine minutes.

The day after, the troops feel more relaxed. One of the largest militia groups in the area just proclaimed to cease all attacks against the US forces.

Capten David Freeman
-So far we have seen a pretty significant drop in activities over the last couple of days so that's good news and I think that's one of the reasons we see more people in the streets today.

At a security meeting with Sheiks, local tribal leaders, at an Iraqi police station, the American officers explain how they work and ask for cooperation. They also meet Iraqi police and army and a representative of the Mahdi army, the militia group whose leader Muqtada al Sadr promised to stop attacking US forces.

man representing the Mahdi militia (Jeish al Mehdi)
-All speculated about what Muqtada decided, but what he said was that Jeish al Mehdi-activities should cease.

iraqi policeman
-Some people follow what Muqtada said, but there are others who don't obey.

At the Iraqi police station there are US military as advisors to the Iraqi police and army. The US troops man the guards.

Sergeant Matthew Florida
-We make sure the Iraqis do their job, train them with their TTP:s - Tactics, Technics and Procedures (police work)

So called "Joint Security Stations" now make up the backbone in strengthening the Iraqi security forces.
At the base the soldiers live in trailers, airconditioned in the heat and with sandbags in front of the windows as protection for shelling. Two soldiers share one room. Keeping it tidy is not a high priority.

Sergeant Mark Jeter
-We don't pretty much care a shit. What they gonna do, fire us? good good... do it, fire me... send me home

Metal melted down in the sand and totally burnt out fighting vehickles. The insurgency use more and more advanced and deadlier bombs that easily penetrates the heavier armor US military now uses. This increases the stress the American soldiers are facing.

Sergeant Mark Jeter
-It doesn't matter how much of the right things you are doing, how much time you take in your vehickle to get it up and running or how much time you take to make sure everything checks right on it. To get the army you need, it's not enough it's not built for this shit..

Troop reductions are necessary just for the sheer fact that most soldiers are becoming more and more burnt-out by the situation and after having spent several years in a deteriorating Iraq. And the opinion back home in the USA against keeping troops in Iraq grows stronger. That influences the soldiers here.

Private Bartholomew Misiaszek
-I like what the American people are doing where they are really supportive of us and what we do and the sacrifices that we make but they wanna bring us home too, I'm really proud of that that they're not attacking the soldiers because we are just doing our job.

Private Aaron Call
-I would hope for a resolve very soon, I would hope that we would be able to come to a conclusion and get the Iraqi government stable and help them get on their feet so that we could go home and so that everyone could just relax a little bit...

Even though he applied for re-enlistment which most probably means another year in Iraq, private Misiaszek would prefer a quick withdrawal.

Private Bartholomew Misiaszek
-Yes, I would be very happy to be home...If the job was left undone, the job was left undone..


tillbaka hem    to homepage

Axiom Film&TV     tel   +  46   13   103890
mobile   phone   +  46   708   103890     sat   phone   +  88  216   212   40810
email:     mail(emailsymbol)