Saturday, August 19, 2006
Double Dose of News
My legs are still sore from 20 laps around the track (5 miles) in support of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life last night. I actually did run (jog) half of those laps, although not consecutively. It was a good event, well attended, and everyone was in a great mood. And I got a cool T-shirt (although technically I can't wear it until I come home). Thanks to those readers who contributed. Our battalion had 44 team members and raised over $2000. Base-wide, I think the figure is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Stars and Stripes deliveryman must have caught up on his backlog, since we got both Wednesday' s and Thursday's papers today and are only two days behind. I'd bet a scoop of Baskin Robbins that there will be no paper tomorrow, though. I saved one of today's to read just in case. Speaking of news, if you're only getting your coverage of the war from the big networks or syndicated articles in the paper, you're probably missing a lot of what's going on over here. No doubt you heard about some troops being extended and sent to Baghdad. But you probably haven't been reading that the mission they're supporting, Operation Together Forward, which began July 9, is bringing positive results. So far Iraqi and Coalition forces have killed 97 and detained 501 terrorists associated with death squads and seized more than 59 weapons and munitions caches in the process. Phase II of the operation, conducting clearing operations in Baghdad, started August 8 and has resulted in several successes. Just in the last week, Iraqi forces have captured terrorists, death squad leaders, and a terrorist facilitator who helps finance operations and IED attacks. Especially good news for all of us involved in the Counter-IED fight, it was heartening to read that Iraqi forces captured an IED Cell leader. If you noticed a common thread in all these stories, it's the fact that it's the Iraqi Security Forces taking the lead in many of these, carrying out most operational missions, while Coalition forces provide security cordons and quick-reaction forces. The war is far from over, but their forces are growing and police force recruitment has had one of its most successful drives. There are plenty of success stories for U.S. forces as well. Our morale is very high... we can see our success over here much more clearly than you're getting back home through the media's filter of sensationalism.