It sounds cozy – almost storybook. “In harm’s way.” This phrase presents what is happening to and with American troops as a static reality. Harm was there waiting for the troops to arrive and they got in the way of this thing that was coiled ready to meet the unsuspecting soldiers.
The implication is that “harm’s way” is disconnected from any provocative action. It’s presented as a prickly natural phenomenon – a bee sting, an ice patch, poison ivy – harm’s way.