Friday, October 27, 2006

Missing Soldier

US forces are searching for a soldier of Iraqi descent who has been kidnaped in Baghdad. The New York Times said the soldier was working as a translator. Apparently the soldier went to visit Iraqi relatives and got snatched. CNN reports that the soldier was not authorized to leave for the visit.

It looks like the guy sneaked off, probably figuring he could pass as a local. Soldiers are not allowed to go off base alone. Our unit had a minimum requirement of three vehicles and at least nine soldiers, three of whom had to man the automatic weapons mounted on the vehicles. We did have one kid sneak off a tiny FOB in Kirkuk, but the Iraqi police caught him. He had been looking for a bar and stood out, even in his civvies.

I agree with the policy in many areas, but in some areas soldiers could safely mingle with Iraqis. We were also forbidden from buying anything off the Iraqi economy. I think had we been able to more freely mingle, and to spend money, it would have improved relations between us and the locals. A risk, but sometimes an acceptable one for the benefit of improving relations and possibly getting information.

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