What Does a Car Bomb Look Like?

It's hard to believe that back in 2004 and right after the horrors of Abu Ghraib were exposed, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had restricted the use of cell phones, digital cameras, camcorders, computers and had restricted soldiers from having any access the internet, especially if the destination was YouTube and MySpace (which are nowadays blocked by the Pentagon).

Yet even though the Pentagon tries to stifle soldiers access to the internet, many still find ways to get the word out back home to family and friends and onto the pages of blogs or YouTube.

I have scoured YouTube looking for soldier-produced video clips. Some of them are harrowing and not appropriate for this blog. Others, like this car bomb clip, are almost in the category of surreal.

For one, this clip is like hundreds of others I've seen so far: A soldier filming a drive down a road or highway for like what seems like an eternity and then, boom!, it literally happens. Second, I loved the description on the video clip's page: "just got emailed this." Third, at the time of this writing, less than 20,000 people have seen this clip. It's not too shabby for a clip that was "just emailed", but it's telling that it's not looking to "shock and awe" people with any production quality and thus it remains in YouTube a rather obscure find.

There is nothing gory about the clip—that's why I spent almost 100 hours looking at clip after clip. Notice the ambient noise of the clip, including the music in the background. Most of the "home made" videos I have seen are over-produced with either hard rock or gangsta rap blaring over the footage. In this one, though, you can barely make out which heavy metal band the soldiers are listening while driving down a road in Iraq.

Then the unthinkable happens a few cars up.

It wasn't just the suddenness of the catastrophe. It's the calm that really got to me, all the while debris keeps hitting their truck.


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