Thursday, April 14, 2005

Checkpoint dangers

Fick has written a book, "One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer," about what he learned in Iraq. The book will be published this fall. He told Pelley he learned the hard way that standard checkpoint tactics don’t work.

"The hand and arm signals are hard to see, they’re hard to interpret. The warning shots are difficult to see, almost impossible to see in daylight," says Fick. "Almost impossible to hear in a speeding car at a long distance. Usually, the last resort for us was attempting to fire into the engine block."

"Attempting?" asks Pelley.

"Almost impossible to do. A lot of that is Hollywood fantasy," says Fick. "I had a platoon that included many Marine snipers who are some of the best marksmen in the world. And they couldn't do it consistently."

Fick told 60 Minutes Wednesday that after struggling with the Pentagon’s checkpoint procedures, he improvised; he stole an Iraqi stop sign.

"And at every checkpoint we set up after that, we put the stop sign down the road near the wire, and it was hugely successful," says Fick. "[It] worked very well."

  CBS News article

Oh, gee. Why didn't I think of that?

Are Americans so foggy that no one could improvise stop signs written in Arabic at checkpoints? So freaking stupid that that wouldn't have been the first thing they put up at checkpoints? Or maybe even after the first time somebody failed to understand they were to stop?

Bullshit to all this story about how checkpoints are so dangerous that American soldiers can be forgiven for being jumpy and overcautious about shooting into approaching civilian vehicles.

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