EMBEDDED . . . Chi Trib's James Janega showed up for work again in Fallujah, hanging out with GIs including Sgt. Marc Veen, 24, of Chicago, watching him at his rooftop post plugging an enemy sniper. "He would have gotten one of my buddies," Veen told him.
He was with them as they rested or slept. One marked a grenade he meant to launch later. "This is 4 my buddy," he inscribed. His buddy had been killed the previous day. "It hurts," said the sergeant, from Norristown, Pa., who'd been at it for three days. "I can't really think about it because I have to look out for my guys."
"Grief he pushed off," wrote Janega. "Rage he kept."
The dead buddy's wife (now widow) "lives across the street from my wife," the Pa. sergeant said softly. "I'm all about fighting."
Later the chaplain, preaching in a ruined kitchen, quoted St. Paul: "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." He spoke "with his right hand raised and eyes clenched shut, ignoring muffled blasts from the street."
"We pray to the heavenly father for our wives, our children, our parents. . . " he said. "Give us victory, victory, victory."
A few weeks ago, in Chicago, Janega was reporting on what Judge Anne Burke told Loyola U. audiences about clergy abuse and bishops. I noticed a change in the electronic version, with the notation that a mistake had been corrected and thought, that's 21st-century journalism: mistakes can be corrected.
I emailed Janega to that effect, and he got back, full of apology for making the mistake in the first place. He surprised me with that. Reporters err; it was correcting the error that had struck me. The guy is conscientious, as is clear from this battlefield reportage.