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A marines perspective

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From a Marine Corps Major in Baghdad:


"A thought from Iraq - "Doom & Gloom about Iraq's future....I don't see it

from where I'm sitting."


[For those of you who haven't gotten my "Thoughts" before, I'm a Major in

the USMC on the Multi-National Corps staff in Baghdad. The analysts and

pundits who don't see what I see on a daily basis, in my opinion, have very

little credibility to talk about the situation - especially if they have yet

to set foot in Iraq. Everything Americans believe about Iraq is simply

perception filtered through one's latent prejudices until you are

face-to-face with reality. If you haven't seen, or don't remember, the John

Wayne movie, The Green Berets , you should watch it this weekend. Pay

special attention to the character of the reporter, Mr. Beckwith (the

Journalist in the movie) . His characters experience is directly related to

the situation here. You'll have a different perspective on Iraq after the

movie is over.]


The US media is abuzz today with the news of an intelligence report that is

very negative about the prospects for Iraq's future. CNN's website says,

"[The] National Intelligence Estimate was sent to the White House in July

with a classified warning predicting the best case for Iraq was 'tenuous

stability' and the worst case was civil war." That report, along with the

car bombings and kidnappings in Baghdad in the past couple days are being

portrayed in the media as more proof of absolute chaos and the intransigence

of the insurgency.


>From where I sit, at the Operational Headquarters in Baghdad, that just

isn't the case. Let's lay out some background, first about the "National

Intelligence Estimate." The most glaring issue with its relevance is the

fact that it was delivered to the White House in July . That means that the

information that was used to derive the intelligence was gathered in the

Spring - in the immediate aftermath of the April battle for Fallujah, and

other events.  The report doesn't cover what has happened in July or August,

let alone September.  


The naysayers will point to the recent battles in Najaf and draw parallels

between that and what happened in Fallujah in April. They aren't even close.

The bad guys did us a HUGE favor by gathering together in one place and

trying to make a stand. It allowed us to focus on them and defeat them. Make

no mistake, Al Sadr's troops were thoroughly smashed. The estimated enemy

killed in action is huge. Before the battles, the residents of the city were

afraid to walk the streets. Al Sadr's enforcers would seize people and bring

them to his Islamic court where sentence was passed for religious or other

violations. Long before the battles people were looking for their lost loved

ones who had been taken to "court" and never seen again. Now Najafians can

and do walk their streets in safety. Commerce has returned and the city is

being rebuilt. Iraqi security forces and US troops are welcomed and smiled

upon. That city was liberated again.  It was not like Fallujah - the bad

guys lost and are in hiding or dead.


You may not have even heard about the city of Samarra. Two weeks ago, that

Sunni Triangle city was a "No-go" area for US troops. But guess what? The

locals got sick of living in fear from the insurgents and foreign fighters

that were there and let them know they weren't welcome. They stopped hosting

them in their houses and the mayor of the town brokered a deal with the US

commander to return Iraqi government sovereignty to the city without a

fight. The people saw what was on the horizon and decided they didn't want

their city looking like Fallujah in April or Najaf in August.


Boom, boom, just like that two major "hot spots" cool down in rapid

succession. Does that mean that those towns are completely pacified? No.

What it does mean is that we are learning how to do this the right way. The

US commander in Samarra saw an opportunity and took it - probably the

biggest victory of his military career and nary a shot was fired in anger.

Things will still happen in those cities, and you can be sure that the bad

guys really want to take them back. Those achievements, more than anything

else in my opinion, account for the surge in violence in recent days -

especially the violence directed at Iraqis by the insurgents. Both in Najaf

and Samarra ordinary people stepped out and took sides with the Iraqi

government against the insurgents, and the bad guys are hopping mad. They

are trying to instill fear once again. The worst thing we could do now is

pull back and let that scum back into people's homes and lives.


So, you may hear analysts and prognosticators on CNN, ABC and the like in

the next few days talking about how bleak the situation is here in Iraq, but

from where I sit, it's looking significantly better now than when I got

here. The momentum is moving in our favor, and all Americans need to know

that, so please, please, pass this on to those who care and will pass it on

to others. It is very demoralizing for us here in uniform to read & hear

such negativity in our press. It is fodder for our enemies to use against us

and against the vast majority of Iraqis who want their new government to

succeed. It causes the American public to start thinking about the

acceptability of "cutting our losses" and pulling out, which would be

devastating for Iraq for generations to come, and Muslim militants would

claim a huge victory, causing us to have to continue to fight them elsewhere

(remember, in war "Away" games are always preferable to "Home" games).

Reports like that also cause Iraqis begin to fear that we will pull out

before we finish the job, and thus less willing to openly support their

interim government and US/Coalition activities. We are realizing significant

progress here - not propaganda progress, but real strides are being made.

It's terrible to see our national morale, and support for what we're doing

here, jeopardized by sensationalized stories hyped by media giants whose #1

priority is advertising income followed closely by their political agenda;

getting the story straight falls much further down on their priority scale,

as Dan Rather and CBS News have so aptly demonstrated in the last week.


Thanks for listening. Feedback is always welcome, though I can't promise an

immediate response...."


I am not sure if the Major wants his e-mail address out there, so until I

hear from him, I am holding it back.

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If the press can't find any bad news, then they'll spin it till it is. Thats the way it's always been, and always will be. Bad news sells papers, unfortunately.

Keep us up to date, porkchop.

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bek214.gifI salute the author of this message



I don't really care about all the debate over why we are there or who lied to get us there or WTF ever


The fact is we ARE there and we need to finish the job or face the consequences 10 fold

because that IS what would happen if we pull out


Fuck Bush, Fuck Kerry and all that political horseshit


Right is Right and we the American people need to wake up and realize this for what it is and what it COULD become


fing37.gifif you don't like it

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