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The Great News From Iraq

Marine LtCol Mark Smith - Elections In Iraq and the Media

Here is the latest update from Marine LtCol Mark Smith, Commander of the 2/24th Battalion (Chicago, Illinois) - the Mad Ghosts! - about the elections in Iraq.  LtCol Smith is a US Marine Corps Reserve Officer, and, when not leading Marines in Iraq, is an Indiana State Trooper.

As you are all probably already aware, the polls have closed in Iraq. Due to the historic significance of this day and YOUR loved ones role in it, and while I have just a few minutes, I must communicate a few things to you.

First, the fight is not over!  Much work remains to be done, and the Mad Ghost Marines and Sailors of TF 2/24 will slacken not one inch in our cause.

Second, I violated my own rule.  I'm sorry, I could not resist.  I just had to know how the media was portraying this day.  I turned on the dust covered TV in my "office" at the FOB and caught the initial lead in to a network broadcast from their main anchor.  It took all of about 30 seconds before I had hit maniacal rage stage, known around here as "oh crap, they tripped Mayhem 6's switch again."  Moral of the story, in Cliff's Notes version, is this: after describing both the violence and the turnout, this anchorman said that the best way to handle the coverage of what has actually occurred is "to do it the same way we do in the states, and wait until all the facts are in," or words to that effect.

Well...knock me over with a feather, slap my face and call me a stupid hillbilly!  "do it the same way we do it in the states."  Did I hear that right?  You have got to be kidding me!  This was not an election in the only country that has known true representative democracy for 229 years.  This was not an election in a country that has overcome the human indignity of slavery, survived a civil war, slowly and, to our shame, took hundreds of years to bring the vote to women and minorities, has fought through TWO World Wars, all in the name of evolving and perfecting the human condition. THIS WAS AN ELECTION IN THE HEART OF THE ARAB WORLD, AND BY AN ELECTORATE THAT HAS NOT ONLY SUSTAINED DECADES OF REPRESSION, BRUTALITY AND TERROR, BUT VOTED UNDER THE THREAT OF DEATH, AND THE ACTUALITY OF VIOLENCE!

No, I quite disagree.  The only FACT of interest in this election is that ANYONE showed up to vote.  And they did, and to my initial understanding, they did in droves.  That, I get from the web; but what I know, is that tens of thousands VOTED in our zone.  And, they did, multiple times while the enemy was firing mortars at the polls.  YOU HEARD ME, WHILE THE ENEMY WAS FIRING MORTARS AT THE POLLS!  We did have some Iraqi's injured.

On each and every occasion, YOUR Mad Ghosts returned fire and pursued the enemy.  I take no displeasure in telling you that while some of those enemy awoke this morning with the intent of slaughtering innocent men, women and children, the destiny of their day was that IT WAS TO BE THEIR LAST!

And, what did the Iraqi citizens do, they waved at YOUR Marines, they smiled at YOUR Marines, they kept the hands of their children gripped tightly and held them close, AND THEY KEPT RIGHT ON VOTING!!!!!  There are many things to not understand about the Iraqi people from an American perspective. There are some that can easily lead one to hate.  But there is so much more to respect and admire.  TODAY, in the Mayhem AO, the enemy has earned even more of our disdain, but the people, well the people, they have earned our undying RESPECT and ADMIRATION!  For today, in the Mayhem AO, and under the watchful, compassionate and professional cover of YOUR Marine, they demonstrated courage to a degree that would, and rightfully should, shame lesser people!

Unfortunately, due to our election set, I cannot shake the hand and manly hug each and every Marine of this Battalion, who today have humbled me beyond belief, and therefore, with the wizardry of some of my computer Devil Dogs, we produced a Power Point to be shared electronically.  As the most magnificent KVN in the USMC, it is sent to you as well.  There should be nothing but unstoppable pride in your soul for the performance of YOUR Marine.

God Bless 2/24, God Bless the wonderful families of 2/24, God Bless the USMC, God Bless America, and God Bless Iraq!

The way this is set to run is this: open it for a slide show presentation, and once you click, it should play the music automatically and the slides should rotate on their own every 30 seconds.  Put together by my wizard Devil Dogs in about 5 minutes, after I gave them the slides.  Just one more thing on the "inexhaustible list of things mastered by the Marines of 2/24."

[Blackfive note: I received the text version of the presentation as some attachments are blocked by military email domains]

It may take a couple of seconds to start after you open it as a slide show and click on it, be patient.

LtCol Mark A. Smith, MAYHEM 6
CO, Task Force 2/24
"Mayhem from the Heartland"
or as the terrorists call us
"The Mad Ghosts"
Mahmudiyah, IZ
2nd Bn, 24th Marines, H&S Co, Bn Cmdr
Unit 43495
FPO-AP 96426-3495

Election Day
30 Jan 05: Comments

Mayhem 6

Election Day 30 Jan 05

Today was a remarkable day. Thousands of Iraqi citizens in our zone braved mortars, rockets and threats of death to cast ballots as free men and women. They did this in no small measure because of the magnificent, relentless and sleepless work of the Marines of 2/24 over the last four months.

Election Day 30 Jan 05

What occurred today cannot be underestimated. You have dealt terror and hate a devastating blow by showing a light of illumination to the entire world, that being, that chains of oppression and fear can be cast off, and cast off by the power of an idea, an emotion, a desire: FREEDOM.

Election Day 30 Jan 05

The fight is not over! But the outcome is assured. The destruction of our enemy will be at hand, and the safety and security of your loved ones, your Nation shall be guaranteed! Be proud this day. Be proud of this day, and all those that preceded it and shall follow it. For we shall continue our fight, but for this day, we shall remember this:

Election Day 30 Jan 05

While so many want us to choose to cower, while so many want us to cut and run, while so many want us to choose the path of the weak man, we have not. We have chose to stand and fight! We have chose to never back down. We have chose to endure any challenge, to suffer any hardship that our children and our childrens children only know peace!

Election Day 30 Jan 05

This day, you are truly among the few. Let it never be forgotten! And, that our ten fallen heroes be smiling on us from Heaven is all the reward we ask.

God Bless the Magnificent Marines of 2/24. You truly are the Few, the Proud, the Marines.