- False advertising is afoot. I write these words from Indonesia, soaking wet, having just returned from photographing rice paddies in a pouring rain, wearing a Florida Gators shirt. That means there is a green alligator on my chest. While supporting my team, my shirt perpetuates the myth that alligators are green, when in fact they are black when wet, gray when dry.The mantra that “there is no political progress in Iraq” is rapidly becoming the “surge” equivalent of a green alligator: when enough people repeat something that sounds plausible, but also happens to be false, it becomes accepted as fact.
- Yesterday, Multinational Forces Iraq announced the start of two major operations--Phantom Strike and Lightening Hammer. Operation Phantom Strike “consists of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist elements,” while Operation Lightening Hammer is directed at al Qaeda in Iraq and allied insurgent groups that escaped Baqubah and are organizing north of the city in the Diyala River Valley. These operations are the continuation of the Baghdad Security Plan and Phantom Thunder, the operations in Baghdad and the Belts that established a security presence in areas from which Iraqi and Coalition forces were absent throughout 2006.
Capt. David Powell, Bo Company commander of., was about to begin a scheduled security patrol when the boy’s father approached the gate of his combat outpost on foot. Using an interpreter, Powell quickly assessed the situation and sent the patrol to assist with the recovery of the child.
- AL MANSOUR (Baghdad) — U.S. forces have launched a new offensive north of Baghdad in an attempt to crush insurgents who have recently fled Baqouba. A major bridge was attacked on the outskirts of the city (several killed). And some roundup raids, which I cannot get into, may be stepping off in the city center as we speak.
- American soldiers and Marines are different — particularly in their approaches to tactical operations — but similar in more ways than not. One common thread I've found among them here in Iraq is that they all want to go home, but they don't want to leave . . . if that makes sense.
They've all pretty much stopped paying attention to the stateside news about Iraq, because to them it is so deliberately misleading and too often wrong. They snicker at the one-sided drivel they so often see in the papers, are taken aback by reporters' ignorance of operational security, roll their eyes at the rantings of politicians, and wholly respect the words of their commanding officers; not because those officers are in command, but because those officers are experiencing the same dynamics and realities that they — the rank-and-file soldiers and Marines — are experiencing and know to be true.