Yesterday and this morning, I was all set to independently move on and enter Baghdad unilaterally, as the Army would like to call it. It's been so hard to be so close and yet not have anything to show for it. Today, I finally made up my mind to endure this embedding situation until I feel that I'm done with this place. It's not wise for me to sail in these stormy waters now.
Yesterday, a female Italian journalist was abducted in daylight about 300 meters from the hotel in which I was planning to stay. A reporter friend, who had suggested the place, has placed himself in lockdown. Every time something like this happens, the reporters here try to figure out the pattern and keep a low bunkered down profile. The location where this reporter was taken is probably a very safe area, according to everyone here. It’s so hard to guess today’s Baghdad. So, since I feel that I'm against the wall with only the embedding option, I've been trying to work things out and move on from this base.
As for me and this situation….I am amazed at the level of incompetence of some people. Unfortunately for me, a few of such people were in charge of my embed process at Camp Liberty. I can go on with the details of how stupid some of these people are. These same people are authorized by our government to carry M16s. But the military is like any other corporation - with more than its share of such people.
I have resigned myself to the fact that for now and for the remainder of this trip, I will go against everything in me as a journalist and an independent person and stay with the embedding process. I would not recommend embedding with any units unless they are seeing action, such as the Marines during the Fallujah offensive. I could write a book on how and why not to embed. It's just not natural for a journalist to do so.
I'm hoping that the Marines will be more involved with everything that the National Guard folks are. Perhaps it will be more fruitful.
Ramin Talaie – Camp Liberty – Baghdad, Iraq