Iraq: “It’s Been Four Years Now; How Often Can You Press Your Luck?”

By Brian 

Here’s a long excerpt from the AP’s story about Iraq correspondents describing Richard Engel‘s years covering the war:

  His most recent close call was a month ago. He was riding with a military unit past a field strewn with garbage and, often, dead bodies. The driver swerved defensively just as a bomb was detonated. Engel’s only injuries were a headache and sore back.

One of the near carjackings scared him the most. In Baghdad traffic, cars suddenly pulled in front of and behind his. Engel’s driver instantly recognized what was happening, turned and jumped a concrete median. He tore away at 80 mph, dodging oncoming cars.

“Sometimes, what’s most frightening is the down time, when you think, ‘It’s been four years now; how often can you press your luck?'” he said. “At some stage if I keep doing this, and I plan on keeping doing this, I’ll have to be fairly cautious and fairly lucky to walk away from this without getting hurt or worse.”

Every trip out of the office for an interview requires a checklist of considerations, including escape routes. “You want to move in, do what you need to do and get out before anyone knows you were there,” he said.

If you try to avoid every dangerous situation, “you might as well not be there,” Engel said, while conceding the lifestyle has a certain addictive quality.

Here’s the full story…