Monday, March 07, 2005

If you go slow, they notice you: Much ado about the "Italian Job" in Iraq recently. The U.S. story has been that Sgrena's driver was moving too fast approaching a checkpoint, and so brutal force was used to neutralize the potential threat.

The Italian position, when stripped of the emotional rhetoric, is that no one saw a checkpoint, and when in Iraq you better be moving fast, especially on the highway to the Baghdad airport.

Which then makes for a good article on what these "checkpoints" are really like. Of particular interest is that the U.S. checkpoint will usually come after an Iraqi security force "checkpoint". Main difference? The Iraqis sit idly by, smoking as they wave you through - not bothering to warn you that a few hundred yards up ahead, there's another checkpoint; this one manned by armed-to-the-teeth soldiers who actually will do their job. So, you speed up to get from A to B as fast as you can, only to see a cadre of Marines, tanks and large guns pointed your way, shouting in a language the driver may or may not understand. Now, couple that with the adrenaline and fear that must have been coursing through Sgrena's car post-escape, and you can only wonder how anyone made it out of that car alive.

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