Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Iraq Developments

First, I added my first links today. They are going to be permanently offered to the left of the main body of text as you can currently see. However, for today, I want to bring special attention to these websites:

The Fred Thompson Blog Network

America for Fred Thompson

Florida for Fred Thompson

I am sure that you can easily deduce what the subject matter is for each of these sites. Please note that I do actually frequent and enjoy these sites. Their association to my blog isn’t only for publicity value (which, of course, is a contributing factor to exchanging links) but to, more importantly, spread their wisdom and entertainment to everyone that follows here. Surely, if you enjoy what is offered at Educated Soldier, you will find these related websites equally enthralling.

Moving on…

A story was related to me a few days ago that absolutely needs to be passed on. I wish I had the entire American populace by the ears for this one, but I will have to hope that my limited audience presses this encouraging news forward.

I recently “spoke” with an old Army buddy via internet messaging. Certain details of his story will be omitted for the sake of operational security. However, I don’t feel that the missing details will curtail the moral of the story.

My buddy’s light infantry battalion (to which I was formally assigned) is back in Iraq. They are stationed at the same exact location as they were during a previous tour (which I participated in). They are now, like they were in the past, living in Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

Let me tell you what I remember about Ramadi: While I was there, there was a rumor that a prominent news source had named it the most dangerous city in the world. Journalists rarely traveled to our location. In fact, there were a couple of Coalition military camps deemed relatively safe within the city but our little piece of earth for the year was not so positively looked upon. We faced death and destruction daily. While we made progress in cleaning up our operational portion of the city, it remained a pretty stark place. One of the main lines of transportation in the city was a haven for violence. This road was so viciously and often rocked that we, as the United States Army, did everything possible to avoid it.

That was 2005.

My Army buddy messaged me to inform me about his current situation in the country. I was surprised to hear that the same unit would be sent to the same location. While it seemed like a logical maneuver because of the unit’s local experience, it seemed to me to be a decision that would surely trouble war-weary soldiers of this unit. But this isn’t the case…

My buddy reports that the city is an absolute testament to the successful completion of American goals within Iraq. No longer do Americans (at least this battalion that I have knowledge) need to patrol endlessly, as the city is policing itself. No longer are former associates being killed and injured. This year’s tour has a different dilemma presented for soldiers: boredom.

And that dangerous road mentioned above? My buddy reports that it is accessible and safe for all.

What an encouraging story. What interests me is that this story is entering the mainstream media. Reporters have spoken of local militias and organizations protecting their own civil interests in Anbar Province. However, the stories are tough to come by. They have not been ignored but they also have not been showcased as they should. What can’t success sell newspapers…Or drive hits to a website?

Let’s hope that success in Ramadi is an example of positive developments to come and not a singular exception.