Dirty Deeds Done Cheap

By Peter Mercer

The setting is northern Iraq, 2004 a lawless region of rock, sand, scrub, and warring factions; so dangerous the regular coalition armies were reluctant to put their soldiers in harm's way up there. Enter the civilian contractors private armies in all but name, with state of the art funding, equipment, and training, packing immense firepower and staffed by veterans of the world's elite forces. Working in small groups alongside the U.S. Army, men from all corners of the globe volunteered to risk their lives day after day fighting someone else's war and all for a few bucks and a suntan. One of these mercenaries was Peter Mercer. An ex-Royal Marine and former member of the navy's elite SBS, Peter's been to some pretty hot places before but even he didn't know what to expect. A warm welcome was extended when within minutes of his arrival into northern Iraq he came under intense mortar and small-arms fire. That was just the start of 9 months of high-tempo missions putting him literally right on the firing line. Scouting for roadside bombs; safeguarding the Iraqi elections; taking down hit-and-run insurgent forces—the frenetic life of the mercenary changed from one week to the next, but the constants remained—dirt, danger, excitement, and the ever-present gallows humor in the face of huge casualty rates. But the story does not end with tales of intense fire-fights and silent night patrols. It goes much deeper. Sent on suicidal runs designed to draw out the enemy insurgents, Peter's team were going into places even the U.S. Army didn't care to send its troops. They were expendable men, charged with making the hard yards on behalf of the most sophisticated army in the world. And when the orders started coming right from the CIA itself, things really started to heat up. Sprinkling his story with incredibly candid anecdotes encompassing the adrenaline of battle, and reflecting on the humor and absurdity of life on the frontline, Peter Mercer takes us on an unforgettable journey through the dangerous backstreets of 21st-century Iraq, and reveals that the realities of the ongoing War on Terror are not all that they seem.