I got several emails about the types of scopes available for Grim to use on his M-14. A number of people wrote that Grim's scope wouldn't have been a Leupold scope, but an Unertl. Personally, I don't know one from another, and probably couldn't find my foot with a scope. I simply took my description from a photo I found on Wikipedia of "an Army marksman in Fallujah, Iraq, using an M14 with a Leupold LR/T 10×40 mm M3 scope". Now, I know perfectly well that not everything on Wikipedia is accurate, but that's where I got it.
Iraq is one of the made-up countries created after World War I when the British and French decided to draw lines on a map in order to carve up the Ottoman Empire. The locals weren't consulted. As a result it has a Kurdish north, a Sunni center and west, and a Shiite south and east. Even before we went in and kicked over the marbles the place was none too happy at the best of times.
This is Grim's second trip to the Sandbox and both tours have been in Anbar Province. Anbar Province is the Sunni heartland of the country, and in the 2003-2007 timeframe of Grim's service was arguably the most dangerous place on the planet. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is real, even if the 4th of the 4th isn't, and did two lengthy tours in Anbar during this period, the first along the edges of the 'Sunni Triangle' and the second in the 'Triangle of Death.' Many (but not all) of the battles Grim is involved in were real battles, or were taken from accounts of soldiers in the 2BCT. This all occurred before the 'Anbar Awakening', in which the locals finally got around to kicking the foreign jihadis out and decided enough was enough. (Of course then we gave everything to the new Shiite central government, who totally fucked things up. That's a whole different book, and somebody else can write that.) In any case, if you think that things couldn't have been as bad as I am writing, you're wrong. It was usually much, much worse.