Book launch: "Red Zone Baghdad: My War in Iraq."
Author Colonel Marcus Fielding (Australian Army)
The Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, Australia
Monday 8 October 2012
Australian Army Colonel Marcus Fielding is a hidden gem-- an engaging public speaker who remarkably has never been utilised by the Defence Department's public relations or for that matter never invited to comment on military matters by Australia's media. You have to ask why?
His new book, Red Zone Baghdad: My War in Iraq, details his 10 months tour of duty 2008-09) as an "action officer" within various Coalition headquarters in Iraq and his trips outside into the "red zone" that is outside the headquarters environment.
One of the Colonel's observation was the reliance on gadgetry by both sides: the United States led Coalition's remote controlled Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones and the enemy, radical Sunni Islamic terrorist franchise Al Qaeda's remote detonated bombs known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
He posed the question in the use of the UAVs: "Interesting way to fight war...good, bad or wrong?"
"Despite the technology it boils down to human beings [fighting and winning wars]."
He condemned Al Qaeda's use of IEDs and the targeting of Iraqi civilians, especially non Sunni Muslims belonging to the majority Shia Muslim population.
(Right photo): Colonel Fielding points to a photo slide showing the aftermath of an Al Qaeda bomb outside a Shia Muslim mosque, Iraq.
"In Iraq you can reach out and touch them...Al Qaeda trying to kick start civil war [between Sunnis and Shias], he said.
"Arabs [in Iraq] have a vibrant democracy...they have so many political parties," Colonel Fielding asserted.
The "unusual face of terrorism" - Colonel Fielding explains to the audience of a female terrorist imprisoned for organising a team of female suicide bombers in Iraq. "There is evil in the world...and it has an unusual face..."
Remarkably, Colonel Fielding's book is only the second major military themed Australian book on the Iraq War (2003-10), the other being by self-styled "Fighting General" Major General Jim Molan, who missed out on combat action as a conscript during the Vietnam War period but earned his battle spurs in Iraq, and in particular during the Battle for Fallujah in 2004.
Story and photos by Sasha Uzunov, except book front cover.