A book, no matter how well written, often fails to “paint an accurate picture” regarding the reality of modern day combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If a photo is “worth a thousand words” then this page speaks volumes about the war in Iraq.

The videos are from multiple sources. Some are readily available on the internet….and some are not. They are not for the squeamish.

But they do reflect the brutality of armed conflict, and display a more realistic picture of what America’s sons and daughters face even today in Afghanistan. 
I feel it necessary to include some of them here because it paints a vivid backdrop for the events described in America’s Covert Warriors.

Some are repugnant. But we cannot judge individual actions which occurred in the seething cauldron of Baghdad from the safety of our living room.

That is Monday morning quarter backing in its worst form. I do not condone some of the material here. Far from it, but I also understand why it happened.

And when we understand the background over which events played out, we can develop a better system for implementing an improved military/contractor force for future conflicts.
Otherwise too many have perished for nothing and that, at least for me, is not acceptable.
To that end, this was the Iraq I lived in during my timover there.

!You must have a Windows Media Player Program to be able to View the Videos.
Please find the Video Clips below. Each Video has a short Explanation.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Reviewsvideo
HOME | AUTHOR | THE BOOK | BLOGS | VIDEO
HOW TO PURCHASE | CONTACTS
Video 1 "A Driving Tour through Baghdad"

Very few Americans have any idea what Baghdad was like on a quiet day when everything in sight wasn’t exploding. So here is a dashboard mounted camera of a 6 minute ride through town. Starting in a fortified area and moving onto the commercial districts, this film accurately depicts “routine” Baghdad in the budding days of the insurgency.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 2 "Airstrike"

For anyone who has been there, this video is a dead giveaway. What I mean is the complete absence of life in the streets. Normally the alleys and roads are teeming with activity as the Iraqis go about their daily routine. After a while you can read it like a book. When, as if by magic wand, the streets empty and it gets very quiet, one’s first thought is “this can’t be good”. It means firefights are pending. Or in this case, a firefight soon to be over as American airpower closes the issue. The cheering is normal in combat. So is the rather brisk language.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 3 "Ansar al Sunnah Sniper video"

I save this video, which is viscerally repugnant, for all of those who arbitrarily smear the entire PSD industry, the Military, or the Iraq war.  Though the US and PMC made huge mistakes that cost thousands of lives, we still in the end were not the bad guys, whatever your thoughts regarding the Private Security Industry or the Iraq war as a whole. We did not put insurgents in orange jump suits and behead them on the internet.
This video, though grainy, is horrible and viewer discretion is advised. It comes from a captured stock of Al-Queda propaganda videos, stressing “Jihad” or “Holy War” against the Americans. In short, they filmed Americans who were shot by insurgent snipers. Sometimes, in today’s media centric world, we forget that the young men and women (both of the military and the PMCs) are for the most part trying very hard to do the right thing. They are not imperialists, nor war mongers, but rather simple citizens doing something they believe in. Dying is war is a shitty, miserable end to life. Filming it for propaganda purposes is depraved. To that end, I support the war against Al Queda, and the faster we eliminate them from the face of the earth the safer we will all be. To understand why, simply observe the videos. One of the Americans shot was baited by children. I have no mercy for those who use children to set up the killing of others. End of story.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 4 " Checkpoint VBIED Attack"

There is not much to say here. This was the reality of Iraq on a daily basis for years. Death came anytime from anywhere. At least they died totally unknowing.

View this Video Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 5"Contractor Assassination"

This video clearly portrays the risks of moving through Iraq, after the insurgency began, as an unarmed contractor. Unusually for this early in the war, the event was filmed. Later the filming, as evidenced elsewhere here, would grow more sophisticated. For the Army and the PMC’s the killers portrayed here were akin to what we faced every day. A civilian irregular, armed with an AK-47 and perhaps a spare magazine, able to disappear instantly after the murder was complete. It made for a very frustrating experience, not unlike chasing ghosts.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 6 "Convoy Ambush"

This video was filmed by the insurgents and later displayed for propaganda purposes. It also underscores (thankfully) the deplorable marksmanship displayed by the opposition. As I have stated on numerous occasions, many of us are alive because the opposition couldn’t shoot straight. Notice, during the initiation of the ambush, all the glowing tracer fire, fired by the insurgents, all of which is flying way over the heads of the American troops. The video also shows what it is like on the receiving end, which is never pleasant.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 7 "Culvert IED Attack"

This video is a classic study in insurgent tactics. Culverts were always a preferred venue as it was easy to pack explosives into  them. (Chapter two of the book goes into the overlooked part of the war in some detail) Later on the Americans would weld steel bars over the entrances. This video requires little more explanation other than this is what the Armed Forces and PSC’ s had to confront every day.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 8 "Gunfight on Route Irish"

This video is a classic and should be used as a training film for future conflicts. Route Irish is the infamous road connecting the airport to the Green Zone. I was to be ambushed via IED there about 18 months after this video was shot. In a typical guerilla fashion, the insurgents open fire from the overpass. This was a favorite tactic, as evidenced by the film. Listen to the high volume of fire on automatic, synonymous with poor accuracy. The teams perform correctly and power through the kill zone, regrouping on the other side. This was classic Baghdad from 2004-2006.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 9 "Infantry Combat Fallujah"

This is not technically a Private Contractor type video. But it does portray the chaos, confusion, and carnage of close quarter fighting. It was taken during the first battle of Fallujah, and documents the role of the Marines as they cleared the city, street by street. It was not much different for the Army in Ramadi or Baghdad, and more than one contracting team found themselves in the wrong part of town.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 10 " Insurgent versus Tank"

This video must have been taken fairly early in the war, as this type of stupidity was gone by 2007 or so. This was classic behavior of most of what we faced in the early days. Notice the attire, lacking uniform. A civilian with a rifle, firing unaimed shots in the general direction of the Americans. The situation was resolved quickly with a main tank round. Incidents like this occurred far more often than the public realizes, especially in the early days. Many of us, myself included, are alive today not because of exceptional skills on our part but rather due to appalling levels of musketry on the part of the insurgents. They were highly courageous but unbelievably stupid at the same time.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 11 "Northern Iraq, 2005"

In the last year, American hackles were raised when a non US firm won a major Private Security Contract from the American government. This video helps explain why, and underlines many of the recommendations contained in the book. Notice the uniformity of the individuals, none of whom sport dreadlocks, nose rings, or the other impedimenta of many American contracting firms. An obvious effort to win hearts and minds, and notice the well constructed shooting facility for ongoing training. Did this firm have their ups and downs in Iraq? Yes. We all did. And many American firms have improved dramatically from the horrible early days of the war. But the truth is that this is what we all should have been like from day one, in terms of uniformity and interaction with the local populace. 

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 12 "Rear Gunner"

The human being who made this video should be hung. It underscores the lack of professionalism and the totally mercenary attitude displayed by the hack kneed amateurs who inundated the ranks of the quiet professionals who represented this industry prior to 2003. It also perfectly demonstrates the needs for disciplinary controls over adolescent kids with guns, regardless of their age. The goons in this video broke every imaginable law and you are witnessing the deaths of harmless civilians. The contractors who butchered them did it because they knew they could get away with it. This video is grotesque testimonial on how NOT to do business. And then to turn it into a macabre music video defines the boundaries of common sense.

View this Video (Click on any U(nderlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 13 " Sucide VBIED that Failed"

This video is a superb account of how well the Army performed when given the opportunity and requires some explanation.
A VBIED suicide driver opted to take out an M-1 Abrams tank. Moving at speed, he rammed the rear end of the 60 ton tank and would have, in all probability, killed everyone. Fortunately for the tank crew, the explosive failed to detonate, leaving a very live insurgent inside a smashed car.
Moving with both speed and professionalism, the area immediately around the car was evacuated and a cordon set up. This is evident in the still photos taken early in the video. A robot is brought in by Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and equipped with camera, clatters up to the car while the operator sits behind cover a hundred meters away. As a viewer, note the huge quantity of explosives in the back seat. Usually the insurgent used artillery shells though this appears to also have a high concentration of plastic explosives. The driver, as can be seen, is not having a good day. He makes no offer to surrender and nobody is in the mood to be overly generous to a suicide bomber.
The next portion of the video, as viewed from the helicopter above, shows the robot placing a specially shaped charge beneath the vehicle. It is designed to dismember the ordnance without blowing it up, based on what I have been told. (IF any EOD guys read this, please feel free to write in and explain the details for us) The charge detonates and the resultant debris is thrown into the surrounding area.
The biggest surprise transpires when the bomber, amazingly still alive, begins to crawl out the vehicle. At this point he is promptly dispatched by a couple of well aimed shots by American troops on station.
The final scene shows the recovered explosive detonated in a controlled blast in an open field. As can be seen, the quantity of ordnance was considerable, and would most certainly have killed the tank and its crew. No tears from me over the fate of the bomber. Overall, a very professional video extolling the virtues of the American fighting man in Baghdad.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 14 "Typical Roadside Firefight"

This video, more than any other, clearly displays the confusion of vehicular borne soldiers reacting to an attack on the convoy. This ambush occurred around sundown, and puts the young infantryman in a quandary. The immediate desire is to dismount and advance, but their purpose as convoy security is to safely get the convoy through. Thus the halt is brief, the helicopter goes in for reconnaissance/attack, and the troops prepare to move on. What is not noted is the mental stress both the military and PMCs went through every day when they were essentially ducks in the shooting gallery. Having been one of them, I will vouch  that it wasn’t fun.  Very, very rarely did convoy security teams ever get to see who was shooting at them, which made their job especially debilitating.

View this Video (Click on any U(nderlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 15 "VBIED Detonation"

Imagine being on your morning commute to the office, when, some 100 meters away a car simply blows up. That pretty much sums it up as portrayed in this short clip, which has a VBIED detonating a short distance away from Army troops. Notice the dog. Stray dogs were EVERYWHERE in Iraq, and that dog running in front of the debris is an icon for many of my experiences there.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 16 " VBIED Green Zone"

This was the Green Zone in December of 2004. In other words this was the SAFE part of town. Another VBIED. Notice the barriers in place as the vehicles make their escape. The noise you can hear in the background is debris hitting the ground from the explosion.

View this Video (Click on any U(nderlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)

Video 17 " VBIED October 2005, Baghdad"

Of all the weapons the insurgents deployed against us, it was the VBIEDs which caused the most mental anguish. One just never knew where or when it could happen, which means a detonation could occur anywhere, anytime. So every day became a crap shoot with your life as the ante. Not every suicide driver was a volunteer. Insurgents would hijack a family and threaten to kill the kids and wife if father didn’t volunteer to “become a martyr”. It was a hideous, ugly part of the war. I once saw, in traffic, a medium aged male driving. He was crying, and as he pulled away, I observed he was handcuffed to the steering wheel. As evidenced elsewhere in these videos, suicide bombers who lived got short shrift from the security forces. Notice the enormous destructive power of the VBIED. On a busy day, you could get upwards of a dozen all of over Baghdad. We all HATED VBIEDs.

View this Video (Click on any Underlined Link to View the Video. It may take a few moments to start.)







Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Relaited websites:
www.bodyguardschool.com | www.cassglobalsecurity.com | www.captainswars.com
America's Covert Warriors 2010