Sunday, December 10, 2006

OUT WITH THE TROOPS... I must, once again, offer my apologies to everyone back home that I have not been able to write more often or more extensively. But I'm not really sorry because the reason for my sparse posting is that I have been spending most of my time out with the troops, collecting the stories of the young heroes here in Iraq (and a few older heroes too!) As with many other amenities, internet access is limited and slow when you can get it in our remote areas. A few observations...

At a meeting I attended recently, a regimental commander wondered outloud, "Why don't we read more about the great things our Marines are doing? And why don't we hear more about the absolutely evil things that the insurgents are doing to the people of Iraq?" In order to be part of the solution, let me offer a few notes on both points.

First the insurgents. Nearly everywhere I go, I hear about "M & I." This stands for murder and intimidation. This is the systematic campaign conducted by insurgents designed to undermine or prevent any progress in Iraq. People are threatened with death and/or torture if they cooperate in any way with the coalition or with Iraqi authorities trying to make things better. Whether its signing up to be a policeman, opening a school, or agreeing to construct something to better the lives of people in your community; in certain areas anyone who does anything positive is threatened with having their head cut off. Make no mistake, the people we are fighting here are EVIL. What is amazing is that Iraqis are stepping forward to do all the things I described above despite the risks. I wonder how many of us back in America would go to work in the morning if we thought it might endanger ourselves or our families.

The good news: Due to the courage of many Iraqis and the tireless efforts of US troops, good things are happening. Policemen are being trained and patrolling neighborhoods, Iraqi Army units are taking over whole areas of battlespace, municipal projects are underway. A tremendous battalion commander who I interview recently put it this way; "It's like a parent who is eager to have his children grow up tall and strong who runs home to measure his kids every night. It's not very satisfying... but it doesn't mean that they are not growing." Progress is being made, but the key word with every person I talk to is "patience."

Take heart. Good things ARE happening here despite the best (worst) efforts of the insurgents.


At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We do hear some good news from Iraq. It comes from milibloggers and letters from our military in Iraq, and that news is greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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