With The Troops: Dispatches From The Front

Simon Robinson dodges shells with the 1st Marine Division as it barrels its way toward Basra, while Michael Ware describes the scene as a suicide bomber kills a colleague in northern Iraq

BASRA SIMON ROBINSON

"Multiple Iraqis in the quarry with weapons," said the voice over the radio, "and they're not surrendering." It's Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., Day One of "shock and awe." For hours I have traveled north across the desert with the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Packed tightly into an amphibious assault vehicle--Marines call it an Amtrak--we head toward our destination, just outside the strategic city of Basra in southern Iraq. The mission will be to cut off troops of the Iraqi army's 51st Division. But first we found ourselves in an old...

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