FALLUJAH, IRAQ – Captain Steve Eastin threw open the door to the Iraqi Police captain’s office and cancelled a joint American-Iraqi officer’s meeting before it could even begin. “Someone just shot at my Marines,” he said. “We can’t do this right now.”
I following him into the hall.
“What happened?” I said.
“Someone just shot at my guys at the flour mill,” he said. “A bullet struck a wall four feet over a Marine’s head. We have to go in there and extract them.”
“They don’t extract themselves?” I said.
“They’re on foot,” he said, “and we’re going in vehicles. They don’t extract themselves on foot.”
And I was getting comfortable and even bored in post-insurgent Fallujah. Complacency kills, and Fallujah isn’t completely free of insurgents just yet.
“Can I go with the extraction team?” I said.
“They’ve already left in Humvees,” he said.
But he did send a patrol to the flour mill less an hour later, and I went with them.