Saturday, September 02, 2006


I wish I could say it was divine inspiration,
but no, I was inspired by the all too familiar,
yet unspoken agenda of the mainstream media, in
this case TIME Magazine, once again demonstrating
a total disregard and lack of respect for our brave
servicemen and women in harms way.

Specifically, it was how TIME magazine had gone out
of its way to ensure how a triumphant story about
the troops would never be seen by the people who
most deserve to see it: The American public.

It came from Army Col. McMaster whose 3rd ACR unit
had destroyed the insurgents' hold of the important
Iraqi city of Tal Afar last September. This
resoundingly successful operation generated these
effusive words of praise from the Tal Afar mayor in
a public speech, where he said, "To the lion hearts
who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists
who were beheading men, women and children in the (American soldiers) are not only
courageous men and women, but are avenging angels
sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of

TIME magazine had its own embedded reporter and
photographer at Tal Afar, who filed a long, glowing
story and nearly 100 photographs about this
military success. But when the issue came out, all
the guts had been ripped out of the reporter's story
and not one of the photographs submitted had been
used. When the reporter questioned why his story was
eviscerated, TIME editors responded, "We decided that
the story and pictures were "too heroic."


I suppose this is how the antiwar proponents spit in
the faces of the troops today. So much more politically
correct than spitting in their faces in person.


From a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Iraq.

On each patrol we take through the city, we
take as many toys as will fit in our pockets
and hand them out as we can. The kids take
the toys and run to show them off as if they
were worth a million bucks.

On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle
stopped in the middle of the street. This is
not normal and is very unsafe, so the following
vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The
lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in
the road and said she just would not budge.
The command vehicle told the lead to simply
go around her.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her
sitting there and in her arms she was clutching
a little bear that we had handed her a few
patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection
to the girl, I radioed that we were going to
stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got
out to make sure she was OK. The little girl
looked scared and concerned, but there was a
warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down
to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to
a mine in the road.

Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine
convoy assumed a defensive posture around the
site. The mine was destroyed in place.

It was the heart of an American that sent that
toy. It was the heart of an American that gave
that toy to that little girl. It was the heart
of a tiny Iraqi girl that protected that convoy
from that mine. It was a heart of acceptance,
of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through
the inconveniences of conflict that saved that
convoy from hitting that mine.

She may have no affiliation at all with the
United States, but she knows what it is to be
brave. And if we can continue to support her
and her new government, she will know what it
is to be free.


T.F. Boggs


I have heard lots of talk about the morale of
the troops in the news lately. The anti-war crowd
often sites the troops as being unwilling and unable
to fight and win the war in Iraq. Senators like
Kerry, Kennedy, Murtha, and Biden think soldiers
just can’t do the job they were tasked to do. They
think soldiers just don’t have it in them to do what
the president has asked them to do.

The funny thing about their thoughts is that no
soldier cares what they say because they realize
those senators don’t have a clue what they are
talking about. If only those senators shut up for
a minute and actually talked to the military
leadership here in Iraq they would realize how wrong
they actually are, assuming they are capable of
listening to the truth.

As I see it the general morale of the troops is good.
We are out here to do a job and have fun doing it. We
don’t sit down and discuss the implications of what
we are doing and how it might affect the world or our
future. That is for non-military types to hash out all
they want. Soldiers have a job to do, if we do that
job right we stay alive and go home at the end of our
year. We don’t care about what the hell people like
Kerry and Biden say. That is until it starts affecting
how Americans view us and how the MSM portrays us to
the world.

Not to say that all soldiers support Bush or vote
Republican cause they certainly don’t. The thing about
99 percent of the soldiers here though, is that they
see a side of the war that Americans don’t. We see the
differences taking place everyday for the Iraqis. We see
the cities being rebuilt, kids going to school, the new
Iraqi army being trained, modern technology coming to the
everyday Iraqi, and the list goes on and on. These
differences allow soldiers of all political affiliations
to put aside their differences and work together to make
real tangible change in this country. If only democrat
senators could put aside their ambitions for their own
future and think about the future of the 25 million people
in Iraq, as well as the Middle East in general, just as
the soldiers do, then real progress could be made.

If I could cut off all news to Iraq I would so that I
don’t have to sit in the chow hall and listen to Anderson
Cooper or Chris Matthews open their mouths and show the
world how ignorant they are. I would love to see troops do
their job without having to worry how people back home
will view them. I would love to have the MSM leave their
hotels and actually come here and talk to us and find out
how we feel. I would love to talk to Kerry, Murtha, Biden,
and Kennedy and tell them how wrong they are about everything.

I would love to go before the Senate and tell them all to
strap on a pair and do the right thing and quit worrying
about what people will think of them and whether they will
have a job in a few years. If only senators cared more about
doing the right thing then what people think of them we would
be in a much better situation.

I don’t want to sit around and let Iraq become another
propaganda war like Vietnam. Iraq is nothing like Vietnam and
never will be unless we as Americans let it become that way,
which is exactly what the Axis of Evil senators want to happen
so they can finally be right about something.

Oh how I wish I could personally meet those senators. I would
tell them exactly how it is and exactly what the soldiers
think of them. I have a feeling those conversations would
contain a lot of four letter words.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


By Ralph Kinney Bennett
23 Mar 2006

Hardened by the bitter experience of ambushes,
roadside bombs and snipers, Marines on patrol
in Iraq notice things.

They have to.

When they move through a village they size up
groups congregated at corners or storefront doors.
They scan faces. Are they welcomed? Feared? Ignored?
They make mental notes and tuck away images that
might be helpful on the next patrol.

They notice particular houses or buildings, walls
or clumps of trees, irrigation ditches, junked cars.

They notice things.

Their lives depend on it

The men of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine
Regiment, are no different. Their personal radars
were scanning, scanning as they patrolled the
dusty little town of Al Hasa back in January.
That's when they noticed something at a particular
house. That's why they showed up at that house
last week.

They roared up in a couple of amphibious assault

But they didn't kick down the door.

They knocked.

The family inside was surprised, but they weren't
frightened. Greetings were exchanged. The small
group of Marines seemed to be holding back smiles
and anxious to get to the point.

While on that patrol back in January they had
noticed this large Iraqi family and particularly
the cute little girl propped awkwardly in a big
old rusty adult wheelchair. So, well... a bunch
of the guys got together back at Camp Smitty and...

The Marines unloaded a shiny new pediatric
wheelchair from one of their vehicles and rolled
it into the house.

The little girl had suffered a severe spinal
injury in a car accident two years ago. The old
wheelchair was the best the family could do for her.

Until the Marines came.

The family's faces lit up with the smiles. The
incredulous father picked up his daughter and
immediately placed her in the new wheelchair. He
shook the Marines' hands, saying "Thank you,"
"Thank you," again and again.

The Marines didn't stay long. There were smiles
and a few tears and then they jumped back into
their assault vehicles and headed back to Camp Smitty.

But this is not a rare event in Iraq. There have
been thousands of such selfless little acts of
humanity on the part of our military in Iraq and

I felt great pride when I heard about this little
visit to an Iraqi house. There's something about
these Marines, these infidels, these Americans.

Something special. And good. And right.

A lot of us forget or ignore such acts.

But one Iraqi family won't.

Ralph Kinney Bennett is a TCS contributing editor.



T.F. Boggs
Monday, May 08, 2006

The past week I have been surrounded by 18-50 year
old Sunni Iraqis and have lived to tell about it.
In this racially profiling type of world that we
live in these men are terrorists hell bent on the
destruction of the Western world, but in my new
world I have a different view of these guys. Who
are these Iraqis you may be asking? My new best

Part of my day is spent controlling the flow
of traffic in and out of the base and the rest
of it is spent hanging out with the Iraqi
soldiers learning Arabic, drinking tea, and
smoking hookahs. I joke around with the IA
(Iraqi Army) saying that we should call it
school instead of work since we spend the
majority of our day learning from each other.

I have met numerous local civilians in my area
who are more concerned with getting rid of the
terrorists in their neighborhoods then they are
with their own safety. Each time they give us
information to the whereabouts and activities
of terrorists in our area they risk not only
their lives but also the lives of their family.
I work in an area where the IA are locally born
and raised and the civilians do what they can
to help the Americans root out the bad guys,
and all of this in a Sunni town.

I know a lot of people would caution me not to
put my complete trust in my new friends, but I
would say that they would have to come to Iraq
and see these guys for themselves. I have only
been around the soldiers for a week and already
I have wrestled with them in a guard shack, been
beaten in an arm wrestling contest, shared food
off the same plate, and smoked out of the same
pipe with them. I joke around with them in Arabic
and call them my brothers and they always reply
in English with a resounding “Yes, very good.”

They are just as eager to bring me anything that
I might need as I am to do the same for them. One
soldier even invited me to dinner with his family
and I look forward to going as soon as I am able
to. They have the same gripes and complaints that
American soldiers do: they are underpaid, under-
appreciated, and definitely know how to do things
better then their commanders do. They complain
about their food, clothes, and rules they have
to follow. All soldiers are the same apparently.

Overall I enjoy spending my time learning about
the Iraqi soldiers’ culture and lives. I enjoy
their acceptance of my soldiers and I and am
thankful that I am able to see them with my own
eyes as people with cares and needs. They aren’t
crazed terrorists like the media would have you
believe. They want to make the most of the
opportunity that they have right now. They realize
that now is the time for them to decide their own
fate and they are acting accordingly by showing
bravery and courage in the face of certain danger.

They are our allies and although they don’t agree
with us on everything they do agree with us on one
key point; freedom is the best answer and if Iraq
is ever going to be truly free then they have to
get rid of the terrorists in their towns and make
a stand while they still can. Their future is in
their own hands and from what I have seen so far
I would say that their future looks bright.

T. F. Boggs


These Americans do NOT support the troops.

By Anthony Ippoliti
USMC Infantry (letter to The Ridgefield Press)

Almost every week, I open The (Ridgefield) Press
and find an article or letter to the editors
denouncing the coalition effort in Iraq.
Invariably, the individuals behind these anti-war
letters and rallies mask their political agendas
by asserting that they support the troops but not
the war.

They read off the names of the dead and claim to
show support for our troops while urging lawmakers
to bring them home. They believe that the U.S.-led
coalition should never have entered Iraq. What they
are really doing is using our lives and the issue
of our safety and well-being as a means to achieve
a political end.

This is essentially a slap in the face to those in
the service.

I have never once received a letter from an
individual who claims to support the troops, not
the war. Not a single Marine I know has received
anything that could be considered remotely
supportive from any of these people or the groups
they represent. We have received phone cards,
hygiene supplies, food, etc. from members of
state and local government, radio stations,
schools, private individuals and organizations,
but never once from any group claiming to support
the troops, but not the war.

How can they support us if they are essentially
saying that our blood and sacrifices have all
been given in vain? How can they support us if
they say that our comrades and brothers who have
been wounded or killed in action have done so for
a hopeless and morally questionable cause?
They can't.

I see the Iraqi people every day. The protesters
do not. I speak with the Iraqi people every day.
The protesters do not. I don’t sit behind a desk
and do paperwork or resupply efforts in the
military. I am an Infantry Marine and I walk the
sewage-filled streets of this city every single day.

In Fallujah, the people watch Al Jazeerah.
However, they also watch CNN. A lot of them fear
that the United States will soon cut and run. The
people of Iraq see when our country is divided.
When they see rallies to Bring The Troops Home,
they see that as a sign that we will end our
efforts prematurely.

Furthermore, they know that the insurgents will
not end their efforts early. That leads them to
the conclusion that when we leave, the insurgents
will still be there. Therefore, if they help us,
their lives and the lives of their loved ones will
be in great jeopardy the minute we leave if we
don’t finish the job. Much that they see on
American television leads them to believe that we
intend to abandon our efforts before the new Iraqi
government is capable of defending itself and its

The actions of these aforementioned organizations
and the heavy media coverage their rallies often
generate serves as fuel for the insurgency.
Insurgents believe they can drive us out through
the idea of death by a thousand cuts. The longer
they persist in their efforts, the more the American
public becomes disenchanted with the coalition effort.

The insurgents aren't fighting simply to drive
America out of Iraq. They are fighting to destroy
any semblance of the Iraqi government so that they
can impose their will on its people.

Publicly protesting our efforts in Iraq fuels the
insurgency. Doing it under the pretext of supporting
our troops is disgraceful. Using deployed service
members as a mask to serve your purely political
purpose is downright shameful. If your desire is to
protest the war, then protest the war, but don't use
me or any reference to our troops as a tool to bolster
your purpose.


30 March 2006

Live from Iraq: it’s the Memo of the Month.
Didn’t you hear? The country is in the midst
of a calamitous downward spiral into Civil War.
But Al Jazeera said so. Or was that CNN? Is there
really even a difference anymore?

Journalists in theater must come to acknowledge
that they are participants in this conflict whether
they choose to believe so or not.

The lack of security is the story, they say. Frankly,
I'd be feeling pretty insecure too if I were so lousy
at my job. Do these Green Zone FOBgoblins ever emerge
from their Baghdad belfries long or often enough to
properly collate the Big Picture they lay such
exclusive claim to? Or are they merely hunkering down
and ordering in, passively relying on the local Iraqi
stringers who are bylining around the block to feed
them information and in the process dispensing
freelancing blows to the other half of the truth
that rarely bleeds but certainly never leads.

Okay, so perhaps not all of them are glory seeking
war whores or care bearers of bad tidings who pretend
to fret over the fate of average Iraqis while all but
ensuring their quality of life will never improve.

Make no mistake -- Al Qaeda’s PR machine stands head
and shoulders above our own precisely because they
are so adept at using our own satellite feed bloodlust
against us; our BOOM mikes recording every second of it
in Dolby Surround. Terrorists target journalists because
it is a sure-fire page one headline with a ripple effect
guaranteed to reverberate throughout every newsroom in America.

Back at the Gotham City (NY) Times, the race to the
bottom to release the home team play book continues
unimpeded by guilt and unburdened by conscience.
Apparently, it wasn’t enough to merely undermine the war
effort at every opportunity and underplay the elections
at every turn.

Compounding their treachery, the NYTimes shamelessly
highlighted the results of a "secret" Pentagon investigation
identifying the vulnerable spots in individual body armor
worn by every soldier and Marine currently under fire.
[Note to the Gray Lady’s foreign correspondents: Your body
armor likely exhibits the very same weak points].

The casualty predictions made for the taking of Baghdad
were breathlessly predicted by every last retired general
and armchair admiral on record as being in the tens of
thousands. Three years later, to still have endured less
than were lost in the span of an hour in lower Manhattan
is anything if not encouraging. Yet the news coverage
countdown to catastrophe continues unabated, the
ME-ME-MEdia quagmired in misery.

Maybe the real security issue the hired media jackals
for jihad should be fretting over is their own job security.
Because an increasing number of us are mad as hell, and
we’re not gonna take it anymore. The most profitable route
between two viewpoints is the straight line, not the slanted
one. Clearly you can fool some of the people all of the
time, but you're not fooling those of us in uniform with
that looped stock footage backdrop of chaos and carnage
circa 2004 while your talking heads talk out of their rears
about unremitting violence circa 2006. A good many of us
are on our second and third tours -- we were there, okay?

Monday, August 21, 2006


By Ben Connable
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military
officers think we will succeed if we are allowed
to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic
divergence between American public opinion and the
upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the
fighting? The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq
is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the
only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw.

Open optimism, whether or not it is warranted, is a
necessary trait in senior officers and officials. But
it is not a simple thing to ignore genuine optimism
from mid-grade, junior and noncommissioned officers
who have spent much of the past three years in Iraq.

We know the streets, the people and the insurgents
far better than any armchair academic or talking head.
We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that
we may well fail in the long run. We also know that
if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave
behind a stable and unified country that might help to
anchor a better future for the Middle East.

It is difficult for most Americans to rationalize this
optimism in the face of the horrific images and depressing
stories that have come to symbolize the war in Iraq. But
experienced military officers know that the horror stories,
however dramatic, do not represent the broader conditions
there or the chances for future success. For every vividly
portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands
of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For
every depressing story of unrest and instability there is
an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of
Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously

Although the presence of U.S. forces certainly inflames
sentiment and provides the insurgents with targets, the
anti-coalition insurgency is mostly a symptom of the
underlying conditions in Iraq. It may seem paradoxical,
but only our presence can buffer the violence enough to
allow for eventual stability.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops would almost
certainly lead to a violent and destabilizing civil war.
The Iraqi military is not ready to assume control and
would not miraculously achieve competence in our absence.
As we left, the insurgency would turn into internecine
violence, and Iraq would collapse into a true failed
state. The fires of the Iraqi civil war would spread,
and terrorists would find a new safe haven from which
to launch attacks against our homeland.

Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East
should know that the Arab street would not thank us
for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would
fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that
the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen
in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive
the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill
from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic
extremists. American troops might be home in the short
run, but the experienced professionals know that in
the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments,
more desperate battles and more death.

Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot
at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue
our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will
return to the dialogue on Iraq.

We can fail only if the false imagery of quagmire takes
hold and our national political will is broken. In that
event, both the Iraqi people and the American troops
will pay a long-term price for our shortsighted delusion.

The writer is a major in the Marine Corps.


By T,F. Boggs
Apr 9, 2006

My name is Tim Boggs and I am a sergeant in the Army.
I’m serving on my second deployment to Iraq. When I
reflect on my experiences in my first deployment, one
particular story sticks out above the rest.

I was stationed in southern Iraq near the port of
Umm Qasr. We purified water, supplied fuel, and did
what we could to help improve the quality of life for
soldiers there. During the summer the temperature was
excruciatingly hot, sometimes reaching upward of 140

After I had been there a few weeks, I noticed that several
Iraqi families had moved into tents right next to ours. It
wasn’t long before some of the people in my unit began to
interact with the families. We soon found out why they
were living by us. One of the families had helped the
military and was living there in fear of reprisals from
anti-American forces. Another family, a mother and her
three small children, were living there to escape their
abusive husband and father. Several of the soldiers
including myself became particularly fond of the kids
in this family. We would give them snacks and make sure
they had enough food and water.

The longer they stayed at our base the more they became a
staple in our lives. The oldest kid learned English rapidly,
albeit English taught by a bunch of soldiers. He could
brighten up anyone’s day with his smile and often reminded
us why exactly we were halfway across the world, fighting
in a foreign land, to free an entire nation from an evil
tyrant and also to help the Iraqi people lead a better life.

Their mother appreciated that we played with her kids and
watched them for her from time to time. We spent a lot of
time with the family and began to teach the mother English.
We treated them exactly like we would our own family and
cared deeply about them.

After several months of living in a tent, we were able
to move the family into one of the buildings on our small
camp. The powers that be at the base found a bed for them
and some small amenities, like a television and toiletries.
The rest of the stuff they needed was supplied by the
friends and family back home of one woman in my unit.

All in all, we spent a good ten months with the family.
We were sad to leave them but grateful for the experience
of not only helping them out but also having the opportunity
to form a relationship that crossed over cultural boundaries.
We could see the good changes that we knew we were bringing
to these people who greatly needed and appreciated our help.
I will be forever thankful for the experience and I hope
that one day the kids will grow up to appreciate American
soldiers and all that they did for their country. I honestly
feel like the kids in Iraq will be our greatest asset in
years to come.

Many of our greatest efforts have gone toward helping them
live a better life, whether it is rebuilding their schools,
giving them toys and candy, getting them proper medical
attention, or simply playing games with them. My hope for
Iraq lies in the next generation. Through the efforts of
some amazing soldiers, I believe a seed has been planted
that will one day bloom into a mass of young children
raised on knowing the kindness and gentleness of American
soldiers. When that time comes I believe we will finally
enjoy the fruits of our labor in the Middle East.


MEDIA - Censorship by the Press
T.F. Boggs

As G. K. Chesterton said almost 100 years ago,
“We do not need a censorship of the press. We
have a censorship by the press."

This new millennium has been fraught with
misrepresentations by the press. Talk to any
soldier and you will hear the same. How many
countless milblogs and soldiers have told you
the truth is not being reported by the MSM?
How has the current administration’s support
for war been hampered by faulty reporting and
blatant disregard for the truth? Why has the
media been allowed to run roughshod upon the
great Americans who sacrifice so much for our

Those who make sport out of cutting innocent
people’s heads off are wrong. Those who use
real torture (not like the games that took
place in Abu Gharib) and mutilate bodies, by
doing such things as sticking people’s genitals
in their mouths, are wrong. Those who murder
Iraqis simply because they cook our food or cut
our hair are wrong. Those who use their religion
as a reason to try and take over the world are
wrong. Nothing gray about any of those statements,
only black and white.

The media perpetuates ignorance among the American
population by only reporting bad news, because they
are ignorant of the subject matter they report on.
How many ex-veterans are working in the MSM right
now? Take away Oliver North and who are you left
with? I wonder why the major news organizations
don’t hire more military correspondents?

I am not against showing death and destruction on
TV but at the same time there should also be
stories about growth and reconstruction. A nation
is being rebuilt in Iraq and people are getting
on with their lives but you would never know that
from what you read in American newspapers or watch
on American TV.

If the MSM were truly objective we would hear from
people all over the spectrum concerning the important
issues of the day.

The news would sound something like “It was a typical
day in Iraq today. In Ramadi there were several
clashes between soldiers and terrorists leaving 20
terrorists dead and one soldier severely wounded.
Mosul continues to get safer and safer each day and
is gaining a lot of support from surrounding villages.
Overall Iraq looked very much like a country dealing
with rebuilding itself from the ground up. However,
anyone who has been in Iraq from day one knows that
despite occasional setbacks Iraq has improved leaps
and bounds from the days of Saddam. The people of
Iraq realize that life is tough now but they are
thankful they will never have to live under the
oppressive rule of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein.”

We don’t need uninformed beauties with their hair
blowing in the wind telling us what has been scripted
for them to say by others. We don’t need editors
ripping the guts out of any good story up for print
because it doesn’t fit their agenda. It is not that
the media always seeks to suppress the truth, they
are just often times unqualified to give it to you.

T. F. Boggs is a a 24-year-old sargeant
in the Army Reserves, voluntarily on his second
deployment to Iraq, in Mosul.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Marine known as "Lion" makes a difference
in Iraq.

June 14, 2006
By Lance Cpl. Brian J. Holloran
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

AL ASAD, Iraq (June 14, 2006)---Town Council
meetings are held twice a week between local
Iraqi leaders and Marines from the area, as
well as the USMC CAG (Civil Affairs Group).

One of the reasons the mood during these
meetings are so light is because of Gunnery
Sgt. Erik E. Duane (Gunny), detachment chief,
Detachment 1, 3rd Civil Affairs Group,
Regimental Combat Team 7, I Marine Expeditionary
Force. He is a CAG (Civil Affairs Group) Marine
with a very unique friendship with the local Iraqis.

Because of Duane's willingness to help the Iraqis
and his effective projects, the Iraqis have given
him a nickname and bestowed other honors upon him.

"Gunny is the lion," said Shu'aib. "We call him that
because he is a great friend and does everything he
can for us. People throughout the town thank me for
what I have done, and I tell them, 'Don't thank me,
thank the Marines. They are the ones who make us able
to do this.' Gunny is my brother. When I die I hope
he will mourn for me."

"The relationship Gunny has with the Iraqis is
exceptional," said Cpl. Jesus O. Luna, civil affairs
noncommissioned officer, Detachment 1, “the locals
look to Duane as a champion and liberator.”

When it comes to making Iraq a little better, Duane
and his CAG Marines are not only ready to do the job,
but they enjoy it as well."This job is very rewarding,"
said Duane. "I have one of the few jobs that produce
results that we can see and touch. We assist in gaining
the trust and confidence of the local Iraqis. The best
part about the job is when the local Iraqis start to
take pride in their communities and when they do things
to better their conditions on their own."

"The Iraqis love him," said Sweet, a native of Meridan,
Miss. "They tend to call him Sheik Gunny or Captain Gunny
since he has improved their life so much already. They go
to him with every little problem they have, hoping he will
be able to fix it."

"Gunny has helped improve our lives greatly," said Shu'aib
Barzan Hamreen Al Aubaidy, Iraqi policeman and manager of
waste disposal for Baghdadi. "He has started projects to
pick up our trash and to help give us clean water. He even
helped deliver us bottled water when there was an attack
on the water treatment plant."

According to Duane, a native of Westminster, Calif., there
are a lot of projects planned for the near future for the
local Iraqi residents.

"We have water and sewage treatment projects planned, as
well as numerous repairs to the local schools and residences,"
said Duane. "We are also working closely with the local
leaders to establish a strong governance in this area."

Duane has been made a member of the Aubaidy tribe and is
now considered the brother and family member of many of
the local residents.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


T.F. Boggs
Saturday, January 07, 2006

I remember right before I was deployed in 2003
watching the news about six soldiers who were
lost in the desert during the initial push
through Iraq. This was two days before I left
the states for Iraq myself.

When I first arrived my unit went to a base
in Kuwait, where, the first morning at breakfast,
I sat across from a few tired looking soldiers.
Somehow small talk ensued and I came to find out
these were the very soldiers that had just been
lost alone in the desert for six days and were
the center of the news back home. As I told the
soldiers that I had just come from the states
where I watched their saga unfold on the nightly
news they were astounded. They looked at me with
wide eyes and laughed.

When I returned home at the end of my first
deployment I remember being disgusted at how the
war was portrayed in the media. Over time I began
to question myself and my own experiences in Iraq.
Had things really happened the way I thought they
did, or did they happen the way the media portrayed
them on the nightly news and in the papers? I began
to feel kind of scared about the possibility of
having to go back for another tour in Iraq.

Now that I am working and “out and about” I realize
that all my fears and apprehensions were mostly
unfounded. News “reality” is a far cry from actual
reality. On the news there is blood and guts, fire
and destruction, and crying and anger. In Iraq there
is normal life with sporadic bombings and unrest.

I can kind of compare it to the attention that is
paid to Israel and the Palestinians by the MSM.
Israel is about a third the size of Ohio yet there
are more reports coming out of there every day to
fill an entire newscast. The same is true with Iraq.
If the MSM weren’t able to report the body count
everyday I don’t know what they would cover. The two
things you can count on being in the news everyday is
the weather and the most recent body count of dead soldiers.

Maybe it is just the light that soldiers tend to make
of war time events but the things that are covered on
the news, (IED’s, car bombs, small arms fire and the
likes) are common occurrences here and are paid no more
attention to then what movie we want to watch when get
back to base. It is funny to go through an event that
makes headlines back home but barely warrants a second
thought here. Maybe if newscasters and journalists actually
had some type of experience with what they report on then
they wouldn’t be so quick to blow out of proportion common
everyday occurrences.


A letter from an American Soldier
Ray Reynolds, SFC Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion

As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks
of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to
all of you who did not believe the media.

They have done a very poor job of covering
everything that has happened. I am sorry that
I have not been able to visit all of you during
my two week leave back home. And just so you
can rest at night knowing something is happening
in Iraq that is noteworthy, I thought I would
pass this on to you.

This is the list of things that has happened in
Iraq recently:

-Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking
water for the first time ever in Iraq.

-Over 400,000 kids have up to date immunizations.

-Over 1500 schools have been renovated and ridded
of the weapons that were stored there so education
can occur.

-The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can
be off loaded from ships faster.

-School attendance is up 80% from levels before
the war.

-The country had it's first 2 billion barrel
export of oil in August.

-The country now receives 2 times the electrical
power it did before the war.

-100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed
compared to 35% before the war.

-Elections are taking place in every major city
and city councils are in place.

-Sewer and water lines are installed in every
major city.

-Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.

-Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are
securing the country.

-Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the
streets side by side with US soldiers.

-Over 400,000 people have telephones for the
first time ever.

-Students are taught field sanitation and hand
washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.

-An interim constitution has been signed.

-Girls are allowed to attend school for the first
time ever in Iraq.

-Text books that don't mention Saddam are in the
schools for the first time in 30 years.

Don't believe for one second that these people do
not want us there. I have met many many people from
Iraq who do want us there and in a bad way. They say
they will never see the freedoms we talk about but
they hope their children will.

We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge
anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So
if you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to
give him my address and send him to Denison, Iowa.


settle score with Sadam.

It would be difficult to find a more diverse
group -- a former bodybuilder, a budding seminarian,
an engaging fast-talker, an aging scholar -- but
interpreters for the US military in Habbaniyah
are united by a shared sense of mission and a
chance to even scores.

The generous salary doesn't hurt either, but it
takes more than money to make these Iraqis leave
home for months on end, don the uniform of the US
Marines and go on patrol with them in the insurgency-
plagued western province of Al-Anbar.

Each of them has a tale to tell of the past, about
life under the old regime, that gives clues to their
decision to take on one of the most dangerous jobs in
a dangerous country.

"It is an honor to wear the Marine's uniform -- the
devil's dogs as the Germans called them, said the fast-
talking 22-year-old, who's taken the pseudonym "Jaguar".
All the interpreters have taken nicknames to protect their
identities. These men work with the Marines assigned to
train up the local Iraqi army units and accompany their
instructors on patrol.

Since the beginning of the conflict, interpreters have
been targets for insurgents. In Anbar, unlike elsewhere
in the country, interpreters wear US uniforms to help
them blend in and carry weapons to protect themselves.

"My uncle tried to kill Saddam, so Saddam killed my uncle.
He killed my father; he sent my mother to jail," said
Jaguar. "I thank God and George Bush for giving us freedom
and stopping Saddam Hussein."

At 66, grey-haired, bespectacled and well-spoken Jaf,
a distinguished professor, with a degree in English and
Kurdish literature, suffered in his own way under the old

"I was a teacher in high school, but I was fired because
I refused to be a member of the Baath Party and join the
popular army and then later I was put in jail and tortured
because of my political activities for Kurdish culture,"
he explained calmly. Jaf favors his right ear ever since
he went deaf in his left one due to maltreatment during
his detention.

"The Americans freed us from the dictatorship of Saddam
Hussein, so I like to work with them."

It is not only revenge against the Sunni and Baathist
overlords who once ran this country that motivates these
men -- but it is also a sense of patriotism.

"We are like a bridge between the Iraqis and the
Americans," says Farid, 36, who used to make four
dollars a month as a teacher under the old regime.
"I like to work with the military and I serve my
country in this way."

Ronny, a former body builder, was in the Iraqi army
for two and a half years, until he decided to put his
English skills to use and make twice as much money.

The work is risky, and every interpreter can recite the
names of friends killed on patrol or doing their job.
"Risk is everywhere, but I am more safe here in the camp
than in my house in Baghdad, and God is safeguarding me,"
said Peter, a 32-year-old Christian, who says his pale
skin and Western looks often put him in danger when he's
on leave. Though he has a degree in engineering, Peter
turned to religion and studied at the college of theology,
going to church four days a week.

"I cried and prayed to God to save me from Saddam Hussein
and his regime," he recalled. "After the war, I was so
excited and happy -- like a salvation time."

Thibauld Malterre
Sun Jun 18

Friday, August 11, 2006


Media and Iraq in general
and Fallujah, specifically.

5th CAG's Experiences in Iraq!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We've hosted several media correspondents (print
and TV) out here at the CMOC ... LA Times, NY Times,
Fox News, CNN, Knight-Ridder, AP, UPI, even GRD (German)
TV. I have, to a man/woman, gotten along well on a
personal level with every single correspondent that's
come through here.

However, almost invariably, the "good parts" of the
story get covered up and obscured by the bad news, or
the "facts" are reported in a manner which makes things
appear to be worse than they actually are. For example,
one recent visiting correspondent, in reporting on
reconstruction progress in Fallujah, wrote words to the
effect that "only 60% of the homes in the southern part
of Fallujah have power or water."

Now, reading that, you'd think that we just plumb were
not doing our jobs here, wouldn't ya? Well, the reporter
was technically correct. We do still have some work to do
in the southern part of the city. However, the real story
is that, prior to our arrival, ZERO PERCENT of homes in
the southern part of Fallujah had power or water. Yes, on
our watch, contractors solicited by us and paid for by us
have gone in and put power to poles and water to pipes
where previously there was none!

Your intrepid correspondent chose to report it this way,
despite the fact that he had been shown a brief which
graphically displayed before-and-after status, and he
had been told what I just wrote here. I reckon it just
"reads better" that 40% of Fallujans in the south don't
have power or water, despite our efforts and ongoing plan
to get it there, hm?

I'm not trying to imply that all media are bad or
purposely mis-represent the facts, but just remember to
keep an open mind when you're reading anything: this blog,
mainstream media, DoD press releases. People are naturally
biased one way or the other, and it follows that our passion
about issues seeps into whatever we write or produce, even
though we may try to keep it "fair and balanced" -- to
borrow a phrase.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Why we are different than Saddam:
By: GS12 Michael M xxxx

I am not on active duty as a Navy SEAL this year.
For the last 6 months, I have been one of the
government contractors you may have heard about
in the news operating in Iraq.

There are a few thugs standing in the wings around
here trying to vie for power because that's all
they know. It doesn't matter what variation on Islam
they are spouting...they are nothing more than mob
bosses and the Iraqi people, in general are tired of
it. Add some out-of-country terrorists to the mix and
an American liberal media in an election year and
these thugs think they are going to win.

The Iraqi people as a whole...LOVE US! You read it us. Terrorists may hate us and radicals
in different ethnic groups within Iraq may hate each
other...but in general, the common Iraqi people, Shias,
Sunis, Kurds, Chaldeans, Turkomen, all have one thing
in common...For one instant in time, they have hope for
their future and the future of their children...and that
hope is centered around one group of
guessed it...Americans...the good old USA.

And there are dozens of coalition forces who help us...
young military people from most of the free countries
in the world are here...and willing to lay down their
lives because America has led the way in spreading the
good news of freedom and democracy to the oldest land
on Earth. And we are all helping to train Iraqis to
protect themselves with sound moral and ethical procedures...

And we know that teaching adults is important...

But educating children is the key...So there is a lot
of money going to rebuilding schools in Iraq and getting
rural children to attend for the first time in history.

Many of you have asked about what our response to the
recent atrocity should or will be. Here is my take on it...

Of all the areas to commit random acts of violence and
inhumanity to Americans in, Fallujah was the wrong place
for one simple reason. It is now controlled by the United
States Marine Corps which is just large enough and just
nimble enough and certainly motivated enough to slog it
out door to door until every last criminal (caught on tape
last week) is apprehended along with his "Imam" mob boss.

As for the rest of us...

We will continue to apply "violence of action" when our
lives are threatened or to save the life of another or
when impeded in carrying out a critical mission. And our
ROEs (Rules Of Engagement) may change depending on the
threat level we face. However we are moral and civilized
and will never degenerate to the kind of barbarism that
was seen in Fallujah.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard
denied claims that Iraq is a disaster:

"I think we impose unreasonable standards,"
Mr Howard told ABC radio. "I don't believe
the verdict on Iraq is by any means in,
and I don't accept that it's been a disaster."
He also pointed out that historical perspective
is important in regards to Iraq. For instance,
it took Australia years to embrace democracy.

In the Kurdish north, a Sufi festival is
larger this year because safety has increased:

The gathering has grown since last year, when
several hundred showed up—a sign that adherents
are less afraid of Islamic militants who have
harassed Sufis in the past because they consider
their practices heretical. "The growth has been
continual since the acts of violence have eased,"
Sheik Qader Kakhama al-Kasnazani, the spiritual
leader of the Kasnazaniyah Sufi order, said.

Poland’s defense minister reports that we have
extended their commitment there this year, noting
that we see our role there as a success—The Polish
Army has handed over security for our area of
responsibility to the 8th Iraqi Division.

The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming!

In Baghdad, Gunter Voelker has opened a German
restaurant. He seems to have an optimistic view
of the place: He even says the German foreign
ministry's warnings for German citizens to stay
out of Iraq were "grossly exaggerated." Voelker,
who served in the Balkans and Afghanistan, calls
parts of Berlin more dangerous than Iraq.

Iraq’s parliament is expected to pass a new foreign
investment law in the next two months that will
allow the country to boost oil exports two million
barels a day:

The Arab League will be reopening an office in Iraq
for the first time since the invasion.

With the help of the World Bank and USAID, Iraq
is creating a new Social Safety Net:

At the latest meeting of the Iraqi Strategic Review
Board (ISRB), approval was given to proceed with
a World Bank Social Protection Project to allocate
funds for further improvements to the country's
Social Safety Net and pension reform programs.

Near Kirkuk, a sewing shop opened its doors
with the help of USAID:

Salah, an employee of the sewing shop, has had
a disability since birth and has had to depend
entirely upon his family for support. "I applied
for hundreds of jobs," he explained, "but no one
would hire me until now." With his new income,
Salah’s family now depends upon him. The shop
employs 35 widows and disabled people, and provides
training programs in tailoring and dress making.

Turkey’s Minister of State said that his country
will reopen trade with Iraq for the first time
since the invasion.

The Army Corp of Engineers helped with renovations
to an all-girl school near Camp Taji. Local leaders
expressed their thanks for the help they received:
The school is especially crucial to the community
because it offers more than an initial start in the
educational careers of the students. “The school is
very important, because it is the only school that
serves the people in the area,” said Rushed, “and it
is a primary and intermediate school. We teach first
grade to ninth grade. I’m very happy for the project,
because it helps the students. The public is thankful
for the help of the Coalition Forces, who were a part
of this project.”

The economy in the Kurdish north is growing as
expatriates return from abroad to work in Iraq:

"Twenty years ago, people went to Europe, to the
United States, overseas," [Sher Mohammed] said at his
"Freedom Castle" mansion overlooking a small hill where
he once lived for months at a time in a cramped, dirty
cave, fighting Saddam Hussein's army and its chemical
weapons. "Now, in the three years since Saddam Hussein
fell, they are coming back and bringing their money."

Vietnam Veteran Michael Payne observed troop morale as
high after returning from Iraq. In addition, Payne said
the Iraqis he met were glad the U.S. was there: "I
found out what I already knew. I observed children and
people over there because the media is saying the Iraqi
people do not want us there," Payne said. "But the over-
whelming majority was more than friendly from their
hearts for the United States' soldiers being there.

Iraqi security forces continue to take the lead as
they demonstrate their capabilities through operations
and training:

Seven Iraqi Army brigades have already taken the lead
in their areas and four additional battalions are
preparing to assume the lead in their areas of
operation in the next two months. There are now 90,000
trained Iraqi police patrolling throughout the country.
The goal is to have 135,000 by the end of this year.

Tips from Iraqis continue to be important in the fight
against anti-Iraqi forces. This shows the resolve of
Iraqis to defeat those terrorizing them:

"We believe that the people of Iraq ... have grown
tired of the insurgency, have grown tired of these
casualties and indeed are going stop this cycle of
violence," said Maj. Gen. Lynch. Recent tips from
local Iraqis demonstrated their commitment to end
the insurgency and attacks from terrorists. Tip lines
have been set up in local and provincial Joint
Coordination Centers throughout northern Iraq to
enable citizens to inform authorities when they spot
weapons caches or see other terrorist activity. Tips
have led to dozens of terrorists detained, weapons
caches seized and plots disrupted.

Frontline Breakthroughs (
May 01, 2006, 6:25 a.m.
“More good news from Iraq.”
By Bill Crawford

Marine Corps Community for USMC Veterans
Copyright 2001-2006 All Rights Reserved.


5th CAG's Experiences in Iraq!
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Location:Fallujah, Al Anbar, Iraq

Thoughts and pictures from a Marine engaged
in the reconstruction of Fallujah. I'm assigned
to the 5th Civil Affairs Group, currently
stationed in downtown Fallujah, Iraq.

This was a recent day in which the chaplain came
out to the CMOC to hand out toys and school supplies
donated by the great citizens of the United States.

The children, seeing the boxes being brought out,
began to rush over ... I was afraid they might mob
poor "Chaps," so I asked them to get in a line
(ladies first, of course!). The line would also ensure
that big kids and little kids got equal shares.

Of course, the moment I walk away to attend to some
other business, the kids make a mad dash for "Chaps,"
nearly bowling him over! It was kind of comical to see,
but all in good fun. One of the young boys couldn't
make his way through the mayhem, so our great
interpreter Ansam picked him up and waded in to the
fray to ensure he was not left out.

When I showed them my digital camera, a cute little
boy was enthralled with seeing himself on the small
digital screen. Chris and his team had gone up to
deliver school supplies (again, donated by generous
Americans) to a little school in Saqlawiyah (a small
town north of Fallujah). The boy's mother, a teacher
at the school, was nearby watching. Chris had this
to say: "I told her I had four sons, and I loved her
little boy. Just as an American mother would speak in
casual conversation she said, 'He's too rotten. You
can have him!' "



Marines work to improve living conditions,
infrastructure in Iraq’s Haditha Triad region.
HADITHA, Iraq (May 14, 2006)

Maj. Chris K. Mace loves to hand out cash. The
38-year-old leads a handful of Marines who spend
their days rebuilding schools, hospitals and giving
monetary reimbursement to Iraqis whose property has
been damaged during three years worth of combat

“We have made a lot of progress, but there is still
a lot more to be made,” said Mace, a Pottstown, Pa.,
native who leads one of 17 civil affairs teams
operating throughout Al Anbar Province. “We are going
to make as big an impact on the community as we can.”

Detachment One of the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 3rd
Civil Affairs Group, which is comprised of more than 30
Marines, works throughout Al Anbar Province with local
government officials, sheikhs, mayors and other key
leaders to identify and jumpstart various reconstruction
and quality of life projects designed to rebuild damaged
infrastructure in the region.

“As security and stability increase, the willingness of
the local populace to cooperate with us will as well,”
said Mace. Six months ago, insurgents would have intimidated
and threatened any potential local contractors with death or
kidnapping for cooperating with Coalition Forces, said Mace.

But as security in the region continues to improve, so does
the potential for progress for the Marines to freely work
with local engineers and contractors to complete reconstruction
and infrastructure projects, which also help fuel the local
economy by providing jobs to local workers.
That, in turn, helps “honest and hardworking men” support
their families, said Mace.

Most recently, Mace and his Marines went to several schools
in the region and repaired doors and windows which were
damaged by insurgents, said Mace.

A principal at one of the local elementary schools said the
students were in dire need of basic school supplies such as
paper, markers and pencils. The Marines delivered with
hundreds of pencils, markers, backpacks embroidered with
cartoon characters, erasers and paper notebooks.

Staff Sgt. Omar Palaciosreal, a 32-year-old from San
Bernardino, Calif., and a civil affairs team chief, says
small projects such as delivering school and medical supplies
can have just as much of an impact on local infrastructure as
larger reconstruction projects.

“That school had nothing but a chalkboard in it and the
teachers had to give lessons with only that commodity,” said
Palaciosreal. “It was a sad sight and I believe we made it better.”

“Many of the local people realize the Marines are good people
and are concerned with their wellbeing,” said an Iraqi interpreter
assigned to work with Mace and his team of Marines. “The Marines
have begun to build good rapport with the residents and this opens
the door for us to communicate with them.”

According to Mace, these cleanups not only provide paying jobs to
locals, but also prevent health risks that stem from bacteria
generated from excessive garbage and stagnant water, which children
are exposed to when they play in neighborhoods with such conditions.

“You earn a lot of credibility when you show residents you care
about their well-being and their children,” said Palaciosreal.