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The Tell by Matthew Hertenstein

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1

PRIMITIVE PREDICTIONS

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”

NIELS BOHR

On December 23, 2004, twenty-nine-year-old Sergeant Henry A. Watt of the US Marine Corps woke to a beautiful sunny day at Base Camp Al-Assad, an Iraqi airbase controlled by the US armed forces. He would go to bed that night a different man.

Watt had served in Iraq for about seven months, leading numerous convoys across the dry Iraqi desert into and out of enemy territory. It was a dangerous job, but Watt and his fellow marines understood the vital function they served.

On this day, Watt’s battalion had been assigned to lead a convoy to Al-Qa’im, a town near the Syrian border, to deliver medicine, weapons, and fuel to troops stationed there. Watt rode ...

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