Del.icio.us is a hip, cutting-edge bookmark-handling service. It lets you share bookmarks with other people in a number of ways that are much more powerful than they appear at first. It's elegant and easy to use.
A trip with DynCorps is the proverbial "E-ticket" ride. We mount up in 3 heavily armored Suburbans with all the passengers in one SUV, known as the "limo". The other two trucks are filled with PSDs, carrying AK-47s, M-4s, SAWs, grenades, and handguns. On our way out of the IZ, we rendezvous with two armored Humvees equipped with turret mounted 50-cal machine guns. And before we hit the streets of Baghdad, you hear the thump, thump, thump of our helicopter air support. Two small civilian-style black helicopters fly low over head, scouting our route and watching our flanks from above. At times, they'll swoop low enough to kick up rotor wash and you'll hear pebbles pinging off the SUVs.
Even before we leave the Green Zone, we're doing extreme defensive driving. As we approach other cars, the lead vehicles will force the cars to the right while the limo swerves to the left. Rather than stop, or even slow, for intersections, we just hit our sirens and, again, the lead vehicles will set a screen while we charge through. Once we clear the military checkpoints, everything is fair game. Apparently, it's a lot easier to clear a path through traffic when you're facing it head-on. Thus, we seem to prefer the north-bound lanes for trips to southern Baghdad.
Our lead Humvee's job is to clear a path for us which he does by waving an assault rifle at anyone that gets too close. If that doesn't get their attention, his favorite weapon seems to be half-liter water bottles. He tosses these like a Nolan Ryan fastball at the windshield of cars that don't pull to the side of the road quickly enough in his estimation. He actually has a little rack of water bottles mounted inside the turret.
The remaining vehicles in the convoy fly along over 60mph, often swerving to, I assume, prevent someone from accurately targeting us. We're rarely more than a couple meters from the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of us and it always gives you a jolt to look out the rear window at the front grill of the chase car. Occasionally, you'll hear the thump, thump, thump of the helicopters as they skim over the top of you. One of the more exciting things to see is one of these helos swoop in ahead of you and block traffic by settling into a hover 6 feet off the highway.
That excerpt was pretty mind-blowing, and I clicked through to Chris Serjak's blog, and read the entire entry and there were a few more paragraphs than Robb had quoted, and it was really interesting. I saved it in del.icio.us, and came back the next day. And saw this:
Note: Our security office has recommended that I delete this post.
That day I switched to Furl. Furl keeps a copy of the pages that I save, in a cache on Furl's servers, and even if they're deleted on the original server they stay on Furl's server. I wish I'd switched earlier. I fully support Chris' (or anyone's) right to publish or not publish information on their own site, but I wanted to reread his writing -- I was pissed. Mostly at myself, for not saving his entry.
Incidentally, the following was on Chris Serjak's blog recently:
Telling the Truth
Those of you who read my previous post titled "Nothing Happening" about our PSD convoys before I deleted it will remember the following excerpt:
[Our PSD's] favorite weapon seems to be half-liter water bottles. He tosses these like a Nolan Ryan fastball at the windshield of cars that don't pull to the side of the road quickly enough in his estimation. He actually has a little rack of water bottles mounted inside the turret [of his Humvee].
This particular comment seemed to get the most attention of the entire post. Thus, I found it ironic when it was reported recently that a rumour was making the rounds among Iraqis in Baghdad that, "US soldiers have been witnessed throwing glass bottles at civilian Iraqi vehicles."
Pretty easy to see where the rumor started.
Not to take credit away from you, Chris, but the rumor might also have gotten started by one of the dozens or hundreds of Iraqi drivers who got beaned with water bottles. Just saying.