"LTC Kurilla didn't want to leave the bombs buried in the road, so he pulled the Strykers further back, and tried to use the terrorist's radio control to detonate them. He dropped down inside the hatch and asked the terrorist how to use the transmitter. In the most shocking admission of guilt imaginable, the terrorist walked the Commander through the steps," writes Michael Yon on the scene with the Deuce Four in Mosul. (Michael Yon Photo)
"Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy," writes Michael Yon -- "an independent, informed observer chronicling the monumentally important events in the efforts to stabilize Iraq," as he describes himself -- in his latest you-are-there dispatch from the front in Mosul, Iraq, in the environs of "what might be the most dangerous traffic circle in the universe":
They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.
The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down.
No wonder the blogosphere -- not to mention the soldiers he chronicles -- loves this Renaissance man who's doing his part for the free and the brave by keeping the away-from-homefires burning. The battlefield springs to heart-thumping life under his cyberpen, and he always leaves us begging for more. Framing the blood, sweat and tears of his blow-by-blow accounts, Michael Yon's wise and witty asides will knock your socks off, especially if you're used to relying on the timid and agenda-driven MSM for any idea of what's really going on over there:
The most serious terrorists do not fear prison here. Captain Jeff VanAntwerp, who commands Alpha Company, recently told me that Iraqis joke among themselves that they would pay 5,000 Dinar per night to stay at Abu Ghraib prison. It's air conditioned, the showers are good, the food is good, and the water is good. The mother [of a "detainee" captured during the latest battle] seemed to know this and it curled in contempt behind her smile.
Re the psychological battle for hearts and minds back home:
I walked back through the dark and did the radio interview by cell phone. During such interviews, I get the impression that people at home are losing faith in the effort, though we are winning. But at home they cannot see it, and when I said goodbye that time, I sat in the dark.
That night, there was an important memorial for Nils Thompson, the soldier who had been killed by a sniper. Soldiers had labored for days, and into the nights, to make a fitting ceremony for young Nils Thompson. Top officers, a General among them, came to the ceremony. Though he'd just turned 19, Thompson already had earned respect from officers and men in the unit. Many quiet tears marked the true pain of the loss. A few soldiers wondered, Do people at home even care?
You'll be rewarded with useful perspective and some first-rate storytelling if you read the whole thing, and you'll probably find yourself clicking on the PayPal button there, as we did.