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A New Milblogger Writes of his Experiences

This Milblogger has an account of some good things that he was involved in while serving in Iraq. Here's a portion:

I had the opportunity this week to be a part of several good things. It all began almost a month ago. A local sheik came to the Army unit in charge of the sector he lived in, announced his desire to fight the insurgents, and asked for help in doing so. He was received with some healthy skepticism- many people in this part of the world will say whatever they think you want to hear in order to profit from you. To demonstrate his commitment, he organized his militia and began to attempt to quell some of the violence in the sector. Within days, indirect fire attacks against US bases from his area dropped to nearly zero over the next three weeks, from a former rate of multiple attacks per day. IED attacks and other insurgent activity was also down. By all appearances, this sheik was a legitimately good guy, stepping forward and doing his best to bring peace to Ramadi. Those appearances were confirmed three days ago when the local insurgents mounted an all out campaign to kill or humiliate the sheik, his family, and as many of his fighters as they could find.

I recommend that you stop by and read it since you probably won't see goods news like this in most of the MSM news outlets.


Comments (30)

A great story -- and a perf... (Below threshold)
Lee:

A great story -- and a perfect example of what the U.S. can accomplish if you first set out to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and get them on our side. How can we be on their side, if they aren't on our side? It's a simple fact that conservatives (in their simple-mindedness) are quick to overlook...but then, we all know the Republican administration has never had the best interests of the Iraqi people in mind. As Kim illustrates daily, this war is all about political power, and how Republicans can have it and maintain it. The MSM news outlets are now just another target in their sights.

What is the level of protec... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

What is the level of protection for this brave man...I fear he will be gunned...but of course because the Iraqi Army is splintered and the central govt has been gelded..he is on his own...as for the old MSM..the question should be asked Why wouldn't GE which owns NBC not want this covered? ..after all a chunk of their profits comes from defense contracts..(our tax $$)

This is an example Bush should use...don't count on it..

Lee and dontgo, you never s... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Lee and dontgo, you never seem to pass up a perfectly good opportunity to shut the hell up.

Why does everything have to be twisted back to a condescending insult about Bush and the Republicans? This story had nothing to do with ChimpyMcBushHitler. Everything you have to say you've said a dozen times before -- this week. And it's only Tuesday.

Just what is it that you think you're adding to the conversation around here, anyway?

Why don't you guys rejoin your own country and put
some of your hate away? Grow the hell up or go away.

Maybe the third paragraph -... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Maybe the third paragraph -

The sheik got the help he had asked for before he began his pro-government activities. Coalition operations are still ongoing, so I'll leave it to the news to reveal the details (if they deign to do so). Suffice it to say that we grabbed some very bad men, found some bombs and some arms caches, and generally repaid the favor he did us. The military has failed both allies of chance and longstanding friends in conflicts past. This time, I was proud to see we did the right thing.
Looks like we're doing the right things - not like (as he said) we'll ever hear about this on CNN.

By the way, Lee, do you really think something like this is the EXCEPTION? (Obviously it must be, right, otherwise we would see it in the MSM?) I think you've got your premises and preconceptions very badly twisted.

I always marvel how any opp... (Below threshold)
Kristen McFarland:

I always marvel how any opportunity to present the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military and our current president as stupid, ignorant and otherwise inane on the one hand and then as the most evil genius possible (i.e. Hitler) accomplishes exactly nothing. It says a damned sight more about these pessimistic, negative arbiters of whining, complaining, carping and criticizing than it does about the very object of their distain. Grow up and I am sure to look like an adult, you certainly don't sound like one. That goes for the comments of #1 & 2. I am so sick of listening to this garbage coming from people who wouldn't be capable of touching G.W.s feet, if they were standing on the highest mountain in the Himalayas.

Lee...yawn..I skip right ov... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Lee...yawn..I skip right over all of yours and other bleating liberals dum ass comments now. They are so far off the mark they are not worth responding to. You misdirect with crap like that to take the focus off of the story.

In fact, i would like to invite everyone else to ignore their comments also and just praise the men and women in the military for the fine job they are doing.

I don't see a link. ... (Below threshold)

I don't see a link.

bobdog: Well said, t... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

bobdog: Well said, thanks.

V'bond-good idea-from now o... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

V'bond-good idea-from now on everyone just ignore them period-let them lie among themselves.

G... (Below threshold)
Kole:

G

Blind loyalty in bad leader... (Below threshold)
kole:

Blind loyalty in bad leadership is not patriotic! Quit ignoring all the bad for the sake of your political leanings and quit begging for more war!

I've found ignoring problem... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

I've found ignoring problems don't make them magically disappear. Instead, usually the problem gets worse the longer it takes you to decide to deal with it.

So - we waited 20, 30 years to start to even think about dealing with fundamentist Islam in a manner that actually works, instead of stalling off dealing with it with pretty words and diplomacy.

Yet somehow, it's bad leadership to actually deal with the problem instead of dropping our pants, lubing up and bending over as we have in the past. Okay, I understand why some might think so.

I don't want to see war - nobody sane does. But from a realistic standpoint what we've accomplished to date (before the diplomats started their realpolitik dancing again and buggered things up) has been absurdly cheap in both lives AND money. We've gotten off cheap, because the enemy didn't figure on a strong response to 9/11. Mess around for a few years, send strongly worded resolutions to the UN, a few cruise missiles, that's what they expected.

We've got three choices - fight the war with more resources, try to fight on the cheap, or withdraw... which will be an essential win for fundi Islam and will encourage more attempts to replay 9/11. Maybe a nuke truck-bomb in Paris? Or timed to go off in the Chunnel? They don't have to hit the US to disrupt the worldwide economy.

So it really boils down to - do you want a relatively cheap war NOW, or will it take losing a city and a worldwide recession/depression followed by a very expensive struggle (with little chance of success) with a whole lot more dead?

Because this isn't something we can appease ourselves out of. It's kind of funny how the 'convert or die' aspect of fundi Islam gets overlooked. There's no third way, unless you want dhimmi status - basically second-class citizenship... or functional slavery.

No, war's not a good option, and nobody wants it. But sometimes the alternatives sucks worse.

Why don't you guys rejoi... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Why don't you guys rejoin your own country and put
some of your hate away?

It's you who need to "rejoin your own country".

The public's discontent with the war has grown even since last month's congressional elections, when voters tossed out Republican majorities in favor of Democrats critical of Bush's leadership in Iraq. Bush's approval rating now stands at 36 percent, down four points from before the elections and the second-worst of his presidency. The poll found the lowest-ever approval for his handling of Iraq, 28 percent.

Overall, 52 percent now say, the United States is losing the war, up from 34 percent last year. Three in 10 say the United States is making significant progress in restoring civil order; nearly half thought so in June. And 41 percent say Iraq is now in a civil war, up from 34 percent in August. Forty-five percent describe the situation as close to a civil war.

Although the public remains leery of immediate withdrawal, it has lost faith that the Bush administration has a clear solution for Iraq. Twenty-five percent think it does, down 13 points since September. Even Republicans are no longer convinced, with 49 percent saying the president has a clear plan, down 22 points since September.

Present company excepted, of course.

So it really boils down ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

So it really boils down to - do you want a relatively cheap war NOW,

A war we can win, perhaps. But Bush has never had a plan for winning. All that's going on is more Americans are getting killed. The violence is getting worse, not better (that's the Pentagon's assessment, not the media's). The Iraqi government is getting weaker, not stronger. Iran's influence is getting stronger, not weaker.

If Bush had come out on day 1 with a definition of "winning" and plan for getting there... or even if he came out with one on day 1000... he might have gotten the public on board. But all he gave us was a nebulous goal of "victory", defined only by a fantasy of Iraq suddenly turning into a docile ally.

And the longer it goes on, the more people realize it. Read the last paragraph excerpt in my previous post. People here keep talking about America "winning". If Bush doesn't know how to win, why stay and fight?

I also find it interesting ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I also find it interesting that there are only two comparisons of Bush with Hitler in this thread... and both from righties.

Well said jlawson.... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Well said jlawson.

"Quit ignoring all the b... (Below threshold)

"Quit ignoring all the bad..." Nice. coming from a guy who thinks "BushSucks" is a good name for a blog. I don't even have to bother reading it. Quit ignoring all the good, Kole. The bad can't be ignored. It's splashed across every rag in the world everyday, it's heard on every radio station everyday, it's seen coming from the mouths of every talking head everyday and it's drowning out any good. This story is not the only one just like it. And mainstream news ignores these stories nearly everytime they occur - just like you.

And Brian: bobdog's comment, "rejoin your own country" had nothing to do with being part of some consensus shown in polls. Larger numbers of people believing in one thing doesn't make it right. You're part of a minority here. It doesn't stop you from sharing your own opinion though, does it? I believe in certain things and I don't need polls to convince myself or anyone else.

That's the thing about some of the lefties here. You expect to be offended. You expect to disagree. Afterall we're "right-wing nuts"! So everything you read here is through that prism. Words take on different meanings then; you interpret them differently than they're intended. I see it everyday here.

Brian -Why stay an... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Brian -

Why stay and fight? Because, as I pointed out, having to do the whole job over again starting from scratch (We leave, fundi Islam takes a REAL hold, Iran & Syria carve up Iraq, Iran gets nukes, spreads them around, and we have to do a D-Day style invasion of that region against a nuke/WMD-armed resistance) would suck a whole hell of a lot worse.

Diplomacy isn't going to work to avert this conflict. It will, however, delay the inevitable, and it will up the body count to levels where folks will be going "Damn, why didn't someone do something sooner?"

I may well be wrong here, but keeping the conflict going NOW allows us to keep a handle on the major players and watch the up-and-coming jihadis, and make the occasional strategic strike against the charismatic leadership like Zarqawi. It also serves, as has been pointed out, as a 'flypaper' type scheme, keeping their people and resources focused on battling the infidel in Iraq, not elsewhere in the ME or Europe. (As if France doesn't have enough trouble already.)

As far as Bush not having a plan to win - perhaps if he hadn't been hamstrung and second-guessed by any and everyone in Washington who thought they could get a political advantage out of very publically throwing a wrench in the works, if the Dems had decided to put the partisanship aside and made it clear that we were in this to win instead of playing for time until THEY could get into office, with the unspoken promise that they'd scrap the whole WoT thing - the situation would look a lot different.

But that didn't happen. And now we're stuck with a choice - either continue or back out and do it again later... only this time they WILL be ready and emboldened by their 'victory'.

Hell, I don't like it myself - but I realized shortly after 9/11 that we were in a LONG war, possibly longer than the Cold War, against an enemy that can't be dissuaded, appeased or bought off. Diplomacy's a sign of weakness to them, a delay granted them by Allah to enable them to further prepare for the jihad. Killing them in wholesale lots isn't what I want to see either - but I'd rather see a limited conflict than a full-scale war. And it won't be over soon - we'll have the fundi Islamists with us for a long time and they'll be looking to strike the infidel any way they can.

Realistically, I don't expect to see an end to it in my lifetime - not unless we pull out all the stops and use weapons that I'd much rather see left alone. And if it gets to a point where THOSE are used, we'll all have lost.

So it boils down, like I said, to whether we want to do it on the cheap now, or pay a hell of a lot more later. We won't be able to avoid the bill, one way or the other - and I'd like it to be as low as possible.

As we're heading down the h... (Below threshold)
epador:

As we're heading down the highway, JL has a clear vision. And great ability to clear grime and grease sprayed on the windshield by the occasional troll in a pothole. Keep on Truckin'.

"rejoin your own country... (Below threshold)
Brian:

"rejoin your own country" had nothing to do with being part of some consensus shown in polls.

How about an election? Wasn't that the mantra all over Wizbang? That the only poll that mattered was the one on Nov. 7?

That's the thing about some of the lefties here. You expect to be offended. You expect to disagree. Afterall we're "right-wing nuts"!

Well, that's the thing about some of the righties here. You think you're being disagreed with because you're "right-wing nuts". It's inconceivable to you that someone can have a legitimate opposing view and disagree with you solely on the merits of the issue.

it will up the body coun... (Below threshold)
Brian:

it will up the body count to levels where folks will be going "Damn, why didn't someone do something sooner?"

They're already saying that.

keeping the conflict going NOW allows us to keep a handle on the major players and watch the up-and-coming jihadis, and make the occasional strategic strike against the charismatic leadership like Zarqawi.

These people didn't exist until we entered Iraq.

It also serves, as has been pointed out, as a 'flypaper' type scheme, keeping their people and resources focused on battling the infidel in Iraq, not elsewhere in the ME or Europe.

This is another one of Bush's lofty rah-rah claims with no substance. Also as has been pointed out, Al-Qaeda represents less than five percent of Iraqi fighters, and Iraqis overwhelmingly reject Al-Qaeda. The people we're fighting in Iraq are no more than Iraqis who want us out. It's delusional to think that Bin Laden is trying to find ways to attack Europe and the US, but darn it! He just can't find anyone to do it because they're all mysteriously draw to Iraq!

As far as Bush not having a plan to win - perhaps if he hadn't been hamstrung

By who, exactly? Bush runs the military. He chose the troop deployment plan, ignoring the advice of his generals. He chose the guy who ran things. He chose the guy who dismantled the Iraqi army. He chose the guy who dismantled the Iraqi health care system. He picked the first lying puppet Iraqi leader, and then the ineffectual corrupt one. Congress passed every $100 billion "emergency funding" bill requested of it. Congress implemented every Constitution-decaying measure requested of it. Congress provided no oversight, and let Bush do what he wanted. Congress even tried to eliminate the one lonely watchdog position.

Bush has been neither "hamstrung" nor foiled in anything he wanted to do. This is his baby, right or wrong. No one else's.

So it boils down, like I said, to whether we want to do it on the cheap now, or pay a hell of a lot more later. We won't be able to avoid the bill, one way or the other - and I'd like it to be as low as possible.

If Bush showed any progress at all in this goal, he might have had more people buy into his plan. Hell, I myself likely would have supported a "Saddam is evil and murders his own people" battle cry, if it was presented as the primary and consistent reason, and we showed an inkling of interest in other similar areas (like Darfur). But Bush lost me from the start with his WMD flip-flopping, and lost the American people with his failure to show results.

These people didn't exis... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

These people didn't exist until we entered Iraq.

Right. And the USS Cole attack was just some wild-eyed folks out for a bangin' good time.

Sorry, Brian. What you're sellin' I ain't buyin'.

A war cannot be won by empl... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

A war cannot be won by employing search-and-destroy tactics (in-out, wham-bam, thank you, ma'am!) without lines of operation being established. The only line employed is the perimeter of the green zone. Now imagine expanding outwards from there while maintaining security in the rear and whoever's in front MOVES and KEEPS MOVING creating a veritable thundering herd of sundry muslims, aka refugees before our advance. Now pause to consolidate gains, then continue. Repeat as neccessary. Just like all successful armies (until the UN war in Korea). Until the political class and their politicized generals recognize that search-and-destroy doesn't equal command-and-conquer, they deserve every bit of approbrium they're subjected to.

Sorry, Brian. What you'r... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Sorry, Brian. What you're sellin' I ain't buyin'.

Well, it's clear that you ain't even shoppin', so that ain't surprisin'.

I shop quite a bit, Brian -... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

I shop quite a bit, Brian - but the thing is, I don't automatically assume because it's Anti-Bush that it's the right fit. There's a lot of semi-rational actors in the world, and they're not controlling what they do in order to please anyone but themselves.

The thing you need to do, in my opinion, is dump the 'Bush is teh eEvil SOB' filters and take a look at reality. Bush will be out of office in two years - and the enemies of what freedoms you and I hold dear will still be out there and still be our enemies no matter what political party gets into office. They were planning actions long before he got into office, and they'll be screwing around long after he's out. They look to the long term - not two or four or six years down the road to the next election cycle.

That's what I just don't understand, and perhaps you can explain it to me. The folks we're fighting look at what the West has to offer - freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of pretty much anything you want - from how you worship to who you go to bed with - and they want to either control it or destroy it utterly. They don't want freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to look at a babe in a bikini or whatever, and they're willing to kill whoever they have to in order to take that freedom away.

And there's folks who look at trying to stop that as being evil. You go over to DU and browse around, and Bush isn't only the Anti-Christ (comparatively) but he'd collapse the Earth into a black hole in order to make Halliburton two cents profit. Is that sensible? Is that rational? Is that 'reality based'... in some sort of alternate reality that DOES have teh eEvil Bush running things... while wearing a goatee?

Yet there's little to no condemnation of the head-hackers and the IED planters and the suicide bombers who target groups of women and children. Why is that?

Aren't they worth stopping? Do you believe that if Bush weren't the President (and Kerry was, for example) that magically all would be sweetness and light, that somehow Gore or Kerry have some handle on this that escapes Bush? What, realistically, would they have done differently to create a better outcome?

I'm wondering just why you and others like you don't realize that they don't CARE who's the President - that it's the very fact that you and I exist and don't believe and worship as they do that they find intolerable and deserving of eradication.

I'm wondering why you believe that this battle can be fought without casualties, without setbacks. That there's such a thing as a perfect war where nothing bad ever happens to OUR side, but our enemies give up because of ... what - the rightness of our cause? Our terrible scowls across the diplomatic table? And that any effort of ours which falls short of that template (IE Abu Grabass) renders everything we do irrevocably tainted and totally bad?

We obviously don't see things eye to eye, but I'm serious here - why should I think you've got a better handle on foreign affairs than the President does, that you're better informed on what's going on, that you've got a better idea than what he has as far as how the war should be fought and won? Yes, you obviously disagree, but why do you think your ideas are better?

I never claimed, nor have I... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I never claimed, nor have I read of anyone claiming, that the Dems would neatly sew things up. But you claim that Bush's course is the correct one, when there is no evidence of that. Even if all you say is true, the fact is that we're not doing anything to win. We're just sitting there, getting our soldiers killed, and setting up a pro-Iranian government whose sphere of influence has never extended beyond the Green Zone. What is Bush's plan to change that? American deaths are accelerating, not decelerating. What is Bush's plan to change that? The Iraqi government is a joke. All we do is tout purple fingers, with no actual impact on the country, except deteriorating relationships among the players. What is Bush's plan to change that? This is where "the course" got us.

why should I think you've got a better handle on foreign affairs than the President does

Me personally? You shouldn't. But I can see. I can read. I can think. And what I see and read and think is that things are getting worse, with no enunciated plan for things to get better. We're just supposed to sit tight and believe that it will magically happen. Someone's punching you in the face over and over, and you'd prefer to sit there and take it because someone told you that a) eventually, maybe, if you act tough enough, they'll unilaterally decide to stop, and b) if you try to extricate yourself from that situation, that will embolden them. What evidence do you have for believing these statements?

Here's just one example of your illogic:

And the USS Cole attack was just some wild-eyed folks out for a bangin' good time.

Iraq didn't attack the Cole. The guy who did is watching CNN and drinking Snapple.

but the thing is, I don'... (Below threshold)
Brian:

but the thing is, I don't automatically assume because it's Anti-Bush that it's the right fit.

Perhaps not. However...

Do you believe that if Bush weren't the President (and Kerry was, for example) that magically all would be sweetness and light, that somehow Gore or Kerry have some handle on this that escapes Bush? What, realistically, would they have done differently to create a better outcome?

You obviously believe that because it's Anti-Bush that it's the wrong fit.

JLawson - 1Brian - 0... (Below threshold)

JLawson - 1
Brian - 0

Just keeping score ;-)

Please, don't start with the "Iraq didn't attack us" thing again. Everyone's willing to believe that the Saudis, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Pakistanis, etc. are all supporters of terrorism which presents a danger to all the world - but Saddam? No threat there.

"It's inconceivable to you that someone can have a legitimate opposing view and disagree with you solely on the merits of the issue." It's not at all inconceivable. That one disagrees does not connote inconceivability. The key word is "legitimate". In that case, it's merely disagreement. I can conceive of many things.

As far as what I was refering to, you have to understand first what was being said before you can respond legitimately. It's what I meant about viewing statements through a prism. You responed to his statement as if it were merely a majority opinion issue. The majority in Bologna, Italy espouse communism. Is that a good argument in itself?

I'll leave you to figure out what bobdog was saying and to rebut it legitimately. Think outside the box. I promise I won't find it inconceivable, but I'm likely to disagree.

Brian -Re Anti-Bus... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Brian -

Re Anti-Bush - I'm looking at things that are proposed by Murtha and others and don't believe they've got a chance in hell of working. If that makes me Pro-Bush, then so be it. I tend to think of myself as being somewhat pragmatic when it comes to military history and military operations - if something doesn't produce the desired effect, or hasn't in the past, then it's a stupid thing to pin your hopes on it and hope THIS time they'll work. Destroying an enemy ALWAYS works - when the destruction is complete. We're trying to do it WITHOUT completely destroying a country, and that's something which hasn't been tried before. I don't expect miracles, anyone who's studied military history to any extent knows that there's a hell of a lot that goes wrong all the time, and I don't expect they'll get it right instantly - but what I've seen as far as recommendations go makes me think there's no real desire to WIN behind them, just to lose gracefully, pull back, and call it good.

But that rather flies in the face of previous military history - if you break off from a fight, a battle, a war then the enemy will not go "Damn, we sure missed a bullet on that! We'd better cut the shit and settle down!" They will, instead, see that as a sign of victory AND be encouraged by it. Getting the people who are currently supplying and provoking the 'insurgents' to come in to help 'pacify' Iraq strike me as being very much part of the following:

Taking the advice of bank robbers on vault construction
Asking hackers for advice on reducing exploits in IE
Asking the fox to guard the henhouse.
Asking a wolf to guard a sheep
Asking a crack addict to guard a chunk of crack
Asking a coyote to guard a roadrunner (meep-meep!) (Um, possibly not that one)
Asking a kid to guard a piece of candy

Feel free to add to that list if you like - but I can imagine Iran and Syria would just LOVE to help out in Iraq. So, I find the recommendation rather amazing in its stupidity. The enemy would see that as a BIG victory - but I'll admit that sometimes a 'victory' can come back to bite you later.

Viet Nam was a BIG victory for communism... but it was a phyrric one by my estimation. After that, it was a matter of time before the economics behind communism imploded the whole thing. Communsim relied on expansion for resources (rather like a dot-com company) and when there wasn't anything grabbable (or the venture capital ran out) the system fell apart.

However, there's little to no economic restrictions on fundamentalist Islam, at least at present. We get an alternate energy source that's as energy dense as oil, and the money scenario will change - but until then we're stuck with paying people who are providing (whether tacitly or overtly) money to folks who want to tear us down.

There's little to no SOCIAL constraints either - the lure of fighting the infidel is a strong one for young men. Add in a culture that REALLY glorifies violence, mix in the promise of a few dozen virgins and you'll have a ready supply of dumb-ass self-guided explosives carriers ready to go bang for Allah. In addition, there is no peace movement inside Islam and there's pretty much jack shit when it comes to criticism of the tactics used by the insurgents in the war. They flout the Geneva Accords continually - and nobody says a word.

So I'll repeat one of my questions to you.

What, realistically, would they (Kerry/Gore) have done differently to create a better outcome?


Terrorists - 1Bush -... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Terrorists - 1
Bush - 0




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