Sunday, December 11, 2005

Alone in my thoughts

Wednesday Dec 7 2005
18:06 local Baghdad Time

“ Flying Alone “

It is like sitting in the belly of the beast, just Jonah must of felt like in the belly of the whale. There is nothing comfortable or relaxing about the inside of a C130 Transporter Plane. It is a rattling noisy machine with four large propellers that have somehow managed to find the optimum pitch with which to vibrate the entire frame of the plane.

You sit in webbing like hammocks that stretch down the two sides and another two back to back in the centre. If you need to go to the toilet there are two pipes and funnels down the back by the ramp and in extreme times there is what is called the “Honey Pot” but since it cannot be emptied or flushed anywhere there a consensus that if possible hang on, because we all do not want to share the aroma of a bucket of the preverbial.

You sit alone in your thoughts as conversation is impossible over the noise and you are wearing earplugs, these are not fashion accessories but a reality. So for the hour and half it takes to fly from Kuwait to Al Asad Airbase North West of Baghdad you are totally isolated in your own world.

I use this time to reflect and plan, and not to think too much of what is to come in the next fortnight. Being scared of hypothetical scenarios is silly at times like this you need your wits and intuition, You mentally rehearse in your mind how to handle the day to day operations of gathering and transmitting News from the war zone.

We are scheduled to arrive in Al Asad and then hopefully later tonight get a chopper flight into Ramadi, the capital of the largest province in Iraq Al Anbar. There is a lot of insurgency and from all accounts it does not look good. Last week ten US Marines were killed whilst out on a foot patrol in the city and many others were injured when a IED bomb went off, Improvised Explosive Device.

This will be my third trip into Ramadi with Ollie North and Producer Greg Johnson, we have seen plenty off action and have filmed everything from full running street battles to exploding cars, on the first trip I was actually inside a armored humvee when it was hit by a roadside bomb. I can only hope that, that will be the last time I have to experience that sort of mayhem. It happens so fast that you do not realize what has happened only to think back later and count your lucky stars.

The main reason for this trip is to cover the Elections here on the 15th , somehow I think that it is going to be a adrenaline charged week leading up to the Polls.

Democracy is coming to Iraq at a high cost in every regard. Everybody wants to go home, the question we ask is what home do you want to create for the children of Iraq. We land in twenty minutes time to put the body armor on.

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