Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A cross section of the media today

There are a number of articles out there selling the successes of the surge. There are also those who point out that there are thorns on the roses.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post writes stories that I find barely credible, seemingly everything here is wonderful.

Others write articles that seem to reflect more of what I see and hear from southern Iraq, which is more about the thorns than the roses.

Weighing the 'Surge'
The U.S. War in Iraq Hinges on the Counterinsurgency Strategy Of Gen. Petraeus. The Results Have Been Tenuous.
By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 4, 2007; Page A01


That one fits some of what I see and hear. The one word about the market count that I would use is frankly, "spin." And this is a showcase market. What should one assume about markets that aren't "showcase ready"?

Another one that fits with what I see and hear:

Troop buildup fails to reconcile Iraq: Baghdad's neighborhoods continue to split along sectarian lines, violence shifts elsewhere and infighting stalls political progress.
By Tina Susman,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 4, 2007

I feel like we'll be holding the various factions at arms length indefinitely.

Many Trainees Are Complicit With 'Enemy Targets'
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 4, 2007; A10

This one covers a topic I was not willing to go into depth with in an interview with Matt LaPlante of the Salt Lake Tribune. I know a bit more than I'll go into on this topic here, and the report is not at all inaccurate about some of the problems of militia influence or even political subterfuge working against U.S. troops. Matt asked me about my feelings of training police knowing that there was a good probability that some of them would turn their guns on my brothers in arms working with them, the National Police Training Teams (this article addresses the military equivalent training teams- they essentially work alongside these units). The catch-22 is if you don't train them, they'll never be ready to stand on their own, and they'll never provide any support to you during operations. Either way there is a risk. Given that our assigned job is to train them, we accept the risk, and do our best to protect ourselves at the same time.

And lastly, taking care of the troops- nothing but the best equipment will do for us. Eventually. I do have a very nice M4, with an Aimpoint close combat optic and a Surefire light attached to it, anyway. Which was nice when I convoyed down here in our contractor's Riva.

Pentagon balked at pleas from officers in field for safer vehicles
Iraqi troops got MRAPs; Americans waited
By Peter Eisler, Blake Morrison and Tom Vanden Brook

Despite the frustrations, I still find myself enjoying the varied experiences I'm having here. I get to do things I never would have done (without the call-up), get to know and work with people I never would have worked with (again because of the deployment), and have been pretty safe for the most part (location, location, location, and a contracting group that does a number of force protection measures very well). Can't complain, given that I know many here are suffering substantially more than I am- really the only hard part for me is being away from family.

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