Sunday, October 05, 2003


Part of 1st AD turf is designated Zone 18 by the military, the most target-rich sector in Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Bill Rabena, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, Giessen, Germany.

“That’s not open to deliberation. That’s fact,” he said.

But the longer he’s here, and the more sources he develops, the more reliable information from people closer to the problem he’ll get, Rabena said. What’s clear is that American soldiers don’t have the language skills or the invisibility to blend in, to gather crucial intelligence themselves, said Baker. Only natives can do that.

Operating out of Odai Hussein’s former romantic getaway in Baghdad’s Al-Adhamiya district, one way Rabena separates worthless tips and leads from the gold nuggets is by using a former Iraqi army brigadier general “who fell out with Saddam back in 1991,” he says. “He’ll look at something and say, ‘This is worthless, but this is interesting.’”

So where do you find former generals to vet your intelligence? Rabena smiles and says, “Ah, networking. You can’t stand back and expect it to happen. You have to embrace people … go out and ask them if you can help them with something.”

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