Six American helicopters now down in three weeks in Iraq. Twenty-seven Ameircans dead, falling from the sky. The latest, yesterday, a big twin-rotor Marine "Sea Knight" transport helicopter crashing in a field northwest of Baghdad, in billowing flames and smoke.
In a war of many fronts and factors, with a largely street-level security surge now gearing up in Baghdad, helicopters are just one front. But if you're an American soldier or civilian trying to get around in Iraq, or get close air support, they've been critical.
Now, with bombs on the roads and fire in the sky, it's a tough picture. From Somalia to Afghanistan, Americans have learned to pay attention when choppers go down.
This Hour On Point: Blackhawk, and more, down in Iraq.
Louise Roug, Baghdad correspondent for the Los Angeles Times
Kalev Sepp, Retired Army Special Forces Colonel.
Professor of Defense Analysis at the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School. He was a member of the Iraq Study Group and an adviser to General George Casey, the top US commander in Iraq
Robert Work, Vice President, Strategic Studies, The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He had a 27-year career in the Marine Corps.
James Dobbins, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND National Security Research Division. He was the Bush administration's first Special Envoy for Afghanistan.
This program aired on February 8, 2007.