Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The stars are out

The small joys sometimes bring the greatest pleasure.

It is late. Or early. When one has had no sleep it is the former. 0317 or thereabouts. We lost good people on this one. A 24 year old and a 26 year old both already veterans of numerous clandestine battles in godforsaken places all over the Earth. No one's too blame. These things happen. Considering the circumstances our losses are light. But I feel each one.

Iran has a full blown nuclear program underway. However, thanks to the sacrifices of these two men it will be at least another year before they actually possess a bomb and if the paper pushers in DC can muster the cajones they may never get one.

We came under heavy fire. They were waiting for us. They clearly now know how to mislead satellite imagery and sensors. We were outnumbered by a ratio of 7:1. We evened the numbers in short order but lost those men in the first exchange. We now have proof of their program in photographs and data to present to the IAEC when the need arises. Technically, though, we were never here. The data was acquired through "sources". More importantly it will determine our future agenda in regards to Iran.

If Iran had nuclear weapons they would surely use them to blackmail the rest of the Arab world, starting with Israel and strong-arming the Iraqi people into cloning their fundamentalist pit and ending up blackmailing the Saudis into playing the Mullahs game.

But all the politics seem small and faraway right now. I sit in the darkness. I can smell my own sweat and salt from the sweat stings my eyes, but I am just too exhausted to care. My laptop screen glows in the darkness-like a beacon of technology in a region that reeks of ass-backwards-ness and barbarism. I use a SOTA IR filter on the screen so the light doesn't act as a beacon for snipers. The area is secure, but secure is a flexible word.

The stars are out and starlight reflects from the sand. Light that has traveled countless trillions of miles to reach this little pit and reflect off some sand in an Iranian desert. Yet even such a small joy as starlight on sand brings that sense of perspective so needed. When Tech's 12 & 13 return from recon we'll be taking off again, leaving something for the Mullahs to remember us by.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Hold your fire.

The night offers little protection these days. The cold wind kicks up sand across the bleached wastes and pelts exposed skin around the night vision goggles.

The next generation body armor is light weight and for that I am very grateful. My team has deployed in Iran. We are an undisclosed distance from the small border town of Mehran. We are in pursuit of the most active and deadly terrorist cell. A year or two ago we would have said these guys were Al Qaeda, but they're not. They're far better than Al Qaeda.

More organized.
Better armed.
Better financed.

We suspect they have support from the Iranian government. They are a tool to keep the newly minted Iraqi government off balance and fearful. Mehran is two hours from Baghdad and since March, Iranian "tourists" have been encouraged by Iran to visit Muslim holy sites in Iraq by passing through this town.

We know that many of these Iranian tourists carry large quantities of C4 and other military grade explosives to waiting agents in and around Baghdad. They like their trips to end with a real bang. It's a deadly problem and we're being employed to find a solution.

We have 4 satellites covering the region and providing us with realtime data.

"Four sentries posted that I can make out."