Reflections from the Woodruff Team in Baghdad

ByJosh Landis

BAGHDAD BUREAU, Jan. 29, 2006 — -- The walls around our compound in Baghdad completely disappeared when we heard our team had been hit. It would have taken far less to erase the fragile feeling of safety that exists in Iraq even at the best of times.

The attack took place about 15 miles north of us and the distance was unbearable. If it had been safe enough to go there, we would have gone in a second.

What we could do was get to the combat support hospital inside Baghdad's Green Zone, where they were taken immediately after the attack, to touch them and tell them that they would be OK as they were carried to a helicopter that would transport them to the Air Force hospital in Balad, where surgeons were waiting to treat them.

We could call our contacts in the U.S. military to make sure they were getting the best care available.

We could pray for them and their families.

Seven of us had spent almost 24 hours a day together traveling through Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. We reported on the Palestinian elections until the last possible minute -- making a mad dash for Baghdad in time to experience a slice of peaceful Iraqi life at a neighborhood ice cream parlor and in time for Bob to embed with the U.S. Army on Saturday morning.

He didn't want to cover the State of the Union address without spending time with American troops in the field to see what they are going through. My colleagues Doug Vogt, Vinnie Malhotra and Magnus Macedo wouldn't have let him do it without them.

We know that Bob and Doug are strong, that they knew the danger of what they were doing and believed it was worth the risks to report the story. We believe it still, as they recover from an attack that could have killed them … and as they return to their wives and children, who they love so dearly.

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