The provincial Government Center in Ramadi is defended by the Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment.
The city of Ramadi, epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency, has already been reduced to such ruins that constantly under-fire American forces are planning to bulldoze three blocks in the center of the city and create a mini Green Zone in an attempt to gain the upper hand on the insurgents.
RAMADI, Iraq, July 4 ? The Government Center in the middle of this devastated town resembles a fortress on the wild edge of some frontier: it is sandbagged, barricaded, full of men ready to shoot, surrounded by rubble and enemies eager to get inside.
The American marines here live eight to a room, rarely shower for lack of running water and defecate in bags that are taken outside and burned.
The threat of snipers is ever present; the marines start running the moment they step outside. Daytime temperatures hover around 120 degrees; most foot patrols have been canceled because of the risk of heatstroke.