Mosul now more dangerous than two years ago, soldier says
As the war in Iraq largely slips from the front of Americans’ minds, a new report from Mosul demonstrates the daily hardships and constant threat of attack still faced by US troops trying to pacify the country.
NBC’s Richard Engel is in the middle of an interview with one member of the Army’s 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment when their combat outpost in Mosul comes under attack. Engel and the soldier he is interviewing — both outfitted in helmets and body armor — flinch as the first bullets fly toward the makeshift base.
“It’s clear the war here is as intense as ever,” Engel says, narrating his piece.
He asks the soldier if the attacks are a “constant problem.”
“Yes,” the soldier says grimly.
A 10-man team of insurgents attacked the base, and the US troops fan across the city searching for them. They come up empty-handed as visibly frightened residents of the city nonetheless offer no cooperation to the Army.
As al Qaeda insurgents have been driven out of Anbar provence, they have apparently regrouped and found a foothold in Mosul, a crumbling, depressed citiy in northern Iraq. The city also apparently has provided a cache of new recruits for the insurgency.
Over the several days Engel spends in Mosul, the soldiers face several attacks from insurgents, using guns and improvised explosive devices to target the US troops before they slip back into the general population.
Sgt. Robert Johnson, on his third tour in Iraq, “says Mosul is more dangerous now, than when he was here two years ago,” according to Engel.
“After this, I don’t want to come over here no more,” Johnson says. After tours lasting nine, 16 and 15 months, “my body is getting weary.”
This video is from MSNBC.com, broadcast February 6, 2008.