Chapter 3

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"We're not seeing civil war igniting in Iraq. We do not see 72 mosques damaged. We do not see death in the streets. We're seeing a confident, capable Iraqi Government using their capable Iraqi security force to calm the storm that was inflamed by a horrendous, horrific terrorist attack yesterday. I don't think we do the Iraqi people any good, or really that we are fair to them, in continually raising the phantom that they might fall into civil war."

Stephen Preckler - Speaking to AP News regarding the late September 2007 Baghdad bombings.

September 28, 2007

Deployment date: 332

"That is a deep fucking hole," one of the scouts chimed in.

"That is what they said about your mother," was the lone response.

It is wild how quickly things have changed, so for posterity sake, let me bring you up to speed before we talk about deep mother tunnel holes.

The past few days have been bad for our American and Iraqi relations. Our original return to Badush prison was immediately halted before it even started. We received information that Baghdad suffered a major coordinated attack. The Iraqi civilian death toll was in the several hundred morgues were stacking bodies on the sidewalk because there was no room left inside the buildings or parking lots. Hospitals were reporting running out of the most basic supplies despite several resupply missions from both the United Nations and the United States.

The entire country was on a communication blackout, meaning no military personnel could call home to their families. Two CH-47 helicopters, the big banana looking ones, both carrying over 30 soldiers and Marines, were caught in an ambush and were shot down. We were told this was the worst loss of life in a single day yet, but when we watch the news, nothing was being mentioned of it.

We assume it is because they are struggling to locate and inform over 60 families that they would be adding folded flags to their fireplace mantels.

To further complicate matters, seven different vehicle board improvised explosive devices, VBIDS, as we referred to them, detonated throughout Mosul the next day. Terrorist leaders directly implicated US Forces as an "occupying menace that had to be cleansed." A sizeable religious faction was angling for the return of Saddam to power in some attempt to "right the terrible wrong," that was our occupation.

Plenty of blame was thrown around for the responsibility of the detonation at Badush prison. The commander for the 3rd brigade of the local Iraqi Army unit was not keen on being blamed. He claimed he lost the entire platoon that was operating the overwatch position that failed to prevent the explosion. Immediately after, the Iraqi Police unit that manned the prison saw a half of its force lay down its arms and melt back into the general population.

In response, both the Iraqi Army and Police demanded that our platoon leave Badush prison. Plans of joint US and Iraqi expansion of the security at the prison were canceled. They went as far as locking down the main entrance until assurances are made that the US forces platoon would leave.

As far as we knew, our exit plan hinged on transferring the power and responsibility of security over to the local forces, who were not deemed to be ready at all. We had utterly wiped out any vestige of local control just a few years ago. We then scratched our heads as to how they could not just restart everything when the situation continued to devolve.

Rumors were swirling that the terrorist club was planning on yet another mass break out at the prison. The squadrons intelligence shop, the S2, had multiple reports from local sources that there were another twenty VBIED's being moved into the area. Additionally, reports of the Iranians flying in helicopter loads of explosives and weapons across the border were met with empty responses because there were not enough of us to do anything. We had to focus our priorities, whatever those were, and the plan seemed to be to continue to focus on the prison.

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