Monday, June 30, 2008

Woke up, it was a Monday morning

Nothing but a few things from the weekend papers.

David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intellegencer.

Did you know the Soviets launched Sputnik the same day that the first episode of Leave it to Beaver aired? Oct. 4, 1957.

God Bless the Sunday AJC:

Students who fail the CRCTs still get promoted to the next grade... and in some counties at rates topping 90 percent.

Nearly $1 out of every $5 on Georgia banks' loan books bankrolled homebuilders and real estate developers
— by far the highest proportion in the state in at least 30 years, according to federal regulators' data.

And a story about war:
Gator just hit an IED," he says about one of the 1-30 platoons in Sadr City. "The Bradley's on fire."

The room falls silent.

Turner is thinking what everyone else is: On Easter Sunday, four men in a sister battalion burned to death in their Bradley. This can't be happening to our own guys.

He steps into the tactical operations room at one end of the command center and stares at grainy images of Sadr City beamed back from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Heat shows up black in the camera's night-vision mode. The entire Bradley is shades of black, the troop compartment the darkest.

As a newly minted chaplain, Turner had pleaded for an assignment with a combat unit that would be at the tip of the spear. He had expected to see chilling scenes such as this, but even after 10 months at war, he is upended emotionally.

Nothing braces a man, not even a chaplain with unfailing faith, to watch comrades suffer.

Turner struggles to find the right words. The stunned officers try breaking the awkward silence with nervous chatter about sports.

But they cannot escape the frightening scenario in Sadr City.

"I can't believe he's not dead yet," says a second lieutenant about anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "We're not supposed to be in this fight."

U.S. commanders in Iraq blame al-Sadr's radical Mahdi Army for rising violence in Shiite areas.

Turner sits down with the officers, his head in his hands.

"I'm sick," he says. "I want to go home and take all these guys with me. Sadr City —- that place can burn for all I care right now. There are 2.5 million bad guys there."

Even a chaplain who counsels soldiers on managing anger cannot hold in his own fury, his urge for justice.

The officers wait. Details trickle in. Then, relief. The soldiers in the Bradley are alive. All nine escaped through the roof hatch.

They have been evacuated to hospitals in serious condition: burns, smoke inhalation, shrapnel, traumatic brain injuries. Doctors are unsure whether they will survive the night.

1 comment:

Keich said...

Meanwhile, troop deaths are at their lowest level in four years, according to NPR.