Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


Jack's Blog & Media Appearances

The Road to Iraq is a Long One.

The road to Iraq is a long one, both physically and emotionally. First, there is the physical distance. From Minneapolis to Baghdad is more than 6400 miles. While this is relatively simple compared to how difficult it once was, it is still no walk in the park.

From Minneapolis, I'll fly to Chicago. From Chicago, I'll fly to London. From London, I'll fly into Kuwait City. And from there into Iraq, it will get, well . . . interesting.

The last time, I took a C-130 flight into Baghdad. As the plane corkscrewed its way down onto the tarmac in order to avoid enemy fire, I thought to myself that there must be an easier way. This time, I may end up embedding with a U.S. military unit and convoy up into the country.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. As for flying, it is quicker. In fact, it is a remarkably short flight. Only about 350 miles. It is interesting to follow the story of how so many soldiers have moved in and out of country. Safety is also another benefit. This also highlights the security concerns that any face that move into this very dangerous war zone.

On the other hand, the major benefit of speed is also its major negative. You see, because you move so quickly, you miss a lot of the stories to be had. Because you are in a small metal tube, you see very little. So, you always have to balance speed versus the stories that you miss.

This brings me to my second point. While it may be 6000+ miles to my destination, I assure you that mentally and emotionally, it is worlds apart. When I chase stories in the states, when I interview guests in studio, the only danger I face is potentially a parched throat. Oh what a tragedy that is, right? When I write an editorial, my biggest fear is . . . a brain cramp! Whatever.

On the other hand, you move into a war zone and everything changes. The physical dangers are real. And the fear is there too. I'm willing to admit it. From my perspective, if you are not a little afraid, you're either an idiot or you are lying to yourself. The real question is how you deal with it. Because acknowledging the risk is much different that denying its existence.

At the same time, covering stories in theaters like these bring the rewards of stories that you could never get in any other way. And sometimes, the humanity that comes out of some of these places, is something not to be missed. Also, seeing the sacrifices that many make and bringing these stories home is a privilege. To see something happen in front of you and then bringing your listener, reader, viewer into that street with you. It is something!

Of course, while all of this is going on, you potentially risk it all, literally. And as you do it, it occasionally flashes in your mind specific things you'd miss. Your wife. Your children. But that takes me back to the acknowledged risk issue.

So, as time gets closer before I step onto the plane and take the physical journey, I will slowly start the psychological and emotional one that inevitably come from doing what I do.