Matty & me in the Grauniad?
508th PIR Provides Security for Dey Yak Shura

How to Lose (or Win) a War

Below is a message (2 days old) from a Soldier in Iraq training Iraqi forces in Baghdad.  Just keep in mind two things (1) more violence - increased violence - is sure to come as we increase our presence and squeeze the enemy out of his safe havens, and (2) when we create a safer area like western al Anbar, Al Qaeda will want to strike there to prove that it is not safe.   So, when George Soros sends/pays people to come here and marginalize what the troops are saying about the war, remember what this good Soldier has said:

...I do apologize for my lack of emails lately.  It has been difficult for me to sit down and rationally discuss the situation here in Baghdad without losing my professional bearing as I begin to think about the absolute and utter nonsense that is pouring out of our Congressional leaders.  My Mother always told me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.  Oh well.

I was absolutely disgusted by the comments made by Sen Reid (D).  When I read his comments in the Stars and Stripes newspaper, I was enraged.  How can someone with his position and power openly undermine the war efforts and what I am doing.  For many in the states, it may be a simple little issue of him saying we have already lost.  Unfortunately, the insurgency took this as a HUGE propaganda victory.  Simply look at the latest news reports from Al-Qaida's number 2, al-Zawahri.  To think Al-Qaida wasn't ecstatic to hear this kind of rubbish coming out of our Congress is absolutely absurd.

As I hear continuing news reports about how support for this war is continuing to slide, I am amazed at what our country has become.  I look back through history at everything that we as Americans have been able to accomplish.  The hardship and difficulties were great but through individual and collective sacrifice we were able to pull through together and face the world as a stronger nation.  Sure, I have had to make some sacrifices about being over here.  My family has had to adjust to me being gone.  More importantly though, what has America sacrificed?  The only ones who have TRULY sacrificed are my brothers and sisters in arms who have been killed or wounded and their families that live with that pain everyday. For the rest of America what has been given up?  I saw in the news that the stock market is at record levels.  The Wachovia Championship golf tournament is in full swing, with Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan getting great press during the ProAm.  I guess the NBA finals are rolling right along.  Spider Man 3 just opened with a record day.  I think you are beginning to see my point.  There are so many Americans that move about their daily lives not knowing or CARING about what is going on around them. They just want to stop all of the bad news stories that they hear.  They don't want to hear anything else about Iraq.  I mean come on, it has been going on for 4 years now, can't we find a new story?  Americans have expanded their waist line, increased their individual debt and have plugged into cyberspace.  Completely losing focus of what is going to happen if we don't sacrifice, if we don't stand up and if we don't WIN this war.

As everyone reads the terrible reports about how we are losing and how this war is slipping from our grasp, I have to ask how many stories have been reported about progress?

When was the last time you heard ANY news about the fighting on Haifa Street?  Come on, this is one of the worst sections of Baghdad.  It is right near the Green Zone and the fighting has to be terrible.

Well no.

4-9 Cavalry "the Buffalo Soldiers" have gone in and almost completely secured that area of Baghdad.  There has not been a single significant activity on or around Haifa street in almost a month.  Don't worry, I won't claim that as progress because we are losing.  If we look at what elements of 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry "Black Jack" are doing in Diwaniya province. This use to be a terrible area for insurgent activity.  Now, things are fairly quiet and the soldiers are conducting many more dismounted patrols and capturing insurgents from intelligence that the populous walks up and provides.  An area that is near and dear to my heart, the Al Doura area of southern Baghdad.  This is, without question the worst area to be in within the country right now.  Al-Qaida in Iraq has made it publicly know that they intend on turning Al Doura into their regional headquarters.  So obviously there is still significant fighting going on as this is a major flash point.  In the midst of this fighting, we continue to see the Al Doura market expand and reopen.  More vendors are reopening shops everyday and the market is staying open later as each week passes.

So you see, there is progress being made by the fantastic efforts of our soldiers and service members that are over here.  Obviously the American people aren't provided this information as it will give too optimistic of an outlook on things.  Seriously, how much do American's really care if another Joint Security Station was opened up to provide better protection and response to the people of Al Rasheed?  This type of progress is a critical steping stone to the overall success of our effort.  It is this success and progress that is happening every single day.  Apparently it is all for nothing because we have already lost.

It is not reported that on any given night, American patrols will capture 50 - 60 insurgents all over Baghdad.  It is not reported about how many IEDs are actually found and destroyed prior to their implementation.  It is not reported how bravely and heroically our soldiers are fighting everyday, in a war that we believe we can win, only if the American people are behind us and understand the sacrifice.

It is emotionally draining to see day in and day out the news coming out of Washington.  When we read reports about how many Americans DON'T support the war and think we should pull out now, it makes me physically sick.  Did we as Americans not learn anything from Vietnam?  The Vietnamese NEVER beat us in a conventional battle.  All they had to do was out last the American will to fight.  That is exactly what happened.  The American people lost the will to fight.  They lost the will to support the military action.  We lost.  Our military was not accepted back home.  The Vietnam Veterans are fighting to this day to regain the respect and dignity they so rightfully deserve.  Now as I look at what is happening over here and back in the states, I realize that we as Americans are so spoiled and selfish that we no longer have the will or backbone to stand up to what is right.  I fear that as I return back to the states, I will see my country repeat history and hand the war over to the terrorists.

I know that the terrorists can never beat us.  I know Al Qaida can never win this fight on their own.  I know we still have the most capable military in the world.  I have to say that the most significant weapon the enemy has at their disposal right now, is not an IED or suicide bomber, it is the will of the American people.  We have allowed the terrorists to brake our collective will to fight.  It is not the insurgency that will win this war, it is the American people who will lose it.

As so many people claim to support the troops, I ask that they prove it.  I ask America to make a sacrifice.  Take a stand against the "popular Hollywood" view point and support a victory.  It's not enough to say I support our troops by wanting them home.  Hell, I want to come home too. But I support a unilateral victory.

I support kicking the hell out of the insurgency and sending them to meet Allah.

I support building walls around Baghdad neighborhoods because it provides better security.

I support executing major artillery barrages on portions of the city that foster terrorists that launch rockets and mortars at me and my team.

The American people need to realize that if we are going to maintain a signifcant presence in the world, we must at times revert back to a John Wayne persona in which we don't concern ourselves with polls and opinions but rather take care of business because it is the right thing to do.

As I approach my return to the states, I simply pray that we as Americans don't let this period of history effect the security and safety of my children years from now...