Searching For A Soldier

Don't miss the gripping, moving account of U.S. soldiers searching for kidnapped comrades in the hell-hole of the Sunni triangle in the NYT today. The insurgents have drawn the troops off the roads into the bush, only to booby-trap the hinterland with IEDs, one of which blew one of their comrades up. He had no Humvee to protect him - because he was looking for his comrade on foot. It's war-reporting of the highest caliber, and it contains a quote that rings with the truth and tragedy of the Iraq trap:

In a house close to where helicopters would later deliver bottles of water in black body bags, they rested once again. Sgt. Stephen Byers, 31, of Detroit said that Friday night was the first time he had a chance to call his wife and kids since the search started.

He said that he was too tired to say very much, but that his wife was clearly worried. He had begun to wonder himself if the search was becoming more dangerous. "The more we chase them around," he said, "the more they know where we're at." But, he said, in a war without front lines and goals that are hard to achieve, the search offered the comfort of certainty, of a clear and noble goal.

"If we find them, we accomplish something specific," Sergeant Byers said. "It's not like trying to bring peace to the area then finding out later that you didn't."