The Long Road Home by Martha Raddatz


Audiobook.  The eruption of Sadr City in 2004 occurred within days of the arrival of a new brigade that expected to be on a peacekeeping mission.  The transfer of power had not officially occurred, and some key officers hardly knew the geography of the city when thousands of militia, clearly with the help of the citizens of Sadr City, ambushed a convoy that was on a shit-removal detail in the city.  Martha Raddatz, a long-time military reporter, masterfully tells this horrifying story.  She introduces many characters, not only the soldiers, but their families in Ft. Hood as well. 

The platoon of about 20 men was pinned down in an alley for about two hours while several convoys attempted to reach them.  The streets were suddenly empty of normal traffic and filled with obstacles — refrigerators, concrete blocks, all kinds of detritus.  Snipers lined the streets, armed with grenades, guns, and rocket launchers.  Some Humvees were unarmored and some trucks, called LMTVs, were filled with soldiers who were completely exposed.   Much of the equipment was not appropriate for the war that greeted the soldiers and too many lives were lost because of the inability to quickly change their tactics. 

The intensely personal nature of the revelations of those who fought is a tribute to these men’s willingness to tell about their experience and Martha Raddatz’s ability to make that happen.  Her respect and love for these people is evident.  Cindy Sheehan’s son was among the 8 who died in the first night of fighting there.

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