Up close with the guys in deepest, darkest Baghdad. Good read...however, it contains some strong (though, I'm certain, accurate) language.
"How'd you end up with us, is this an embed?" the ridiculously young looking soldier asked me as we crouched on the roof of a power transformer station, surveying downtown Baghdad...
The roof is hot. Baghdad's high temperature on Wednesday is 118 degrees and the men of squad two, second platoon of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1-9 Regiment have already lost three men to the heat and it's only about half past noon.
When told that I had just happened to hook up with their unit after being caught in the middle of a running gun battle in central Baghdad, one of the men laughs.
"Well...you just hooked up with the most dangerous squad in Baghdad," he says without looking up from his weapon, which is now trained on a small group of men several blocks away who are certainly not ING. Just what might be ordinary bravado from a young soldier echoes across the cement rooftop, his squad-mate clarifies.
"No really we are," he says. "Out of the 11 of us, only two haven't won the Purple Heart in the last four months. It sucks to be us."