Friday, January 13, 2006

Sometimes You Get the Bear...

A pretty good article on a group of Marines hunting terrorist in Iraq as reported in the Journal (registration required).

RAMADI, Iraq -- On Christmas Day, Cpl. Alberto Reyes began to wonder if something had gone wrong with his ambush.

He and his Marines had arrived under cover of darkness Christmas Eve and selected a good position: The second story of an empty house with a clear view of a route insurgents were likely to travel if they wanted to plant bombs near a provincial government center. But no insurgents came their way. Instead, as the day wore on, Cpl. Reyes noticed that Iraqi civilians passing by on the street below consistently slowed to take a look at the front of the building.

Finally, the next day, the Marines called it quits. As they left the house, they found a handwritten note on a piece of cardboard taped to the front door. "Attention," said the Arabic-language note, which the Marines have kept. "There's an ambush with American snipers inside the building."

Score one for the insurgents in a tit-for-tat guerrilla war in which Iraqi fighters try to ambush U.S. troops with powerful hidden bombs, and U.S. troops try to ambush the ambushers. "I was stunned," says Cpl. Reyes, a 22-year-old squad leader in Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment.