Have walked Nativity Square wearing a flak jacket and a mobile phone during the siege of ’02, have ridden in a HUMVEE without armored doors on the Philadelphi route in Gaza during Hamas/Islamic Jihad attack, have darted along the alternate route at the Jordan River wire, through the minefields, at sunset, to avoid the IDF patrols and the fleeing Al Aqsa gunmen from another attack on the West Bank, have entered Hebron several times in an unarmored vehicle with only a pistol armed guide and my mobile phone and blackberry to walk the Casbah and puzzle, have stood on Masada at noontime on the second day of the Iraq operation, expecting Iraqi incoming from H3 – all this is true, all this was reckless and vainglorious and inexcusable. If anything negative had happened, not only would I have expected condemnation from my sponsors, not only would I have deserved the fury of my family (who did not accede to risking the family unit before Dad departed to be Mr. War Correspondent), but also there would not have been one cent of life insurance cent available because of the clear violation of the war zone warnings. Will I do similar again? Likely. There is the paradox when you look at the reports of the Woodruff incident. What he and his cameraman did, standing up in a lead Iraqi column vehicle, was bottomlessly risky and, in the event of death, a truly stupid way to die. Reporting in a war zone requires common sense and proportional thinking. At the same time, there is something cunningly compelling, plain joyful, when you are carrying a microphone or camera in the face of the random enemy and unbeatable odds. It may be a stealthy muse – one mordant, ruthless, iron-minded stealthy muse, distant cousin to the Reaper – and it may be that you are not going to listen to reason.
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