Monday, September 03, 2007

Back in Iraq

Bill Ardolino is back in Iraq:

And getting assigned to bake in a tent with broken air-conditioning when you haven't slept in 24 hours is unwelcome news, but it pales in comparison to facing regular summer black-outs as an Iraqi living in Baghdad.

But the embed travel process had its inevitable highlight in the short Blackhawk ride from Baghdad International Airport to the Green Zone. This time, it was at night. A slight change in the engine's whine and your stomach's protest are the only warnings as the keyed up aircraft floats effortlessly into the air. Hot summer air buffets your face from the open window. The helicopter hugs the ground, skimming a couple hundred feet above neatly aligned palm groves with sharp fronds and an industrial sector of the city, until the pilot ups speed and altitude as part of the anti-pattern pattern designed to discourage ground fire. A twin aircraft takes position 45 degrees to the left-rear, a moving blankness in the inky blue, half-moon-lit night. A mini black-out rolls over a few city blocks below, the lights snapping out and flickering back to life a few seconds later. Sharp banks alternate views of ground and sky, until the ride ends with the Blackhawk touching down like an insect on a leaf. God, I love that part.

And like before, his lively writing makes Iraq more of a three-dimensional experience for us back home.



Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

Like you say, Ardolino captures the moment quite well, enabling the reader to feel as if he or she is in his place.

Obviously, he must be minion of McChimpy Halliburton!

9:04 PM  

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