Matty O'Blackfive is out of pocket today. He asked me to direct you, on his behalf, to Yon's latest. Yon's office sends:
Michael has just published an update on Operation Arrowhead Ripper, entitled "Operation Arrowhead Ripper: Surrender or Die."He reports that combat operations are proceeding smoothly and according to plan but that problems are arising in several areas, including the humanitarian needs of several hundred Baquba residents who have had to flee their homes during the battle. Michael reports that the local Iraqi commanders who were responsible for seeing to humanitarian needs have proved less than competent, requiring American military officers to step in and get things moving in order to avert having a problem become a crisis.As Michael describes in this dispatch:"The Iraqi commanders have dozens of large trucks and have only to drive to our base to collect the supplies and distribute those supplies to the people displaced in the battle. Our troops are fully engaged in combat, yet the Iraqi leaders were not able to carry that load without LTC Johnson supplying the initiative. The Kurds would have had this fixed yesterday. The Iraqi commanders in Mosul would have fixed this. The local Iraqi command climate is disappointing by comparison."The other area where Michael notes problems that could have been prevented with better planning are in the area of communications for press. After singling out the brigade level PAO as "A+" and "excellent," Yon points out that planning and decision making that occurs above that level failed to consider that the media might want to cover this major battle and thus no arrangements for reliable communications were made, despite how simple this would have been.As Michael explains in this dispatch:"Valuable stories about our soldiers and the battle are being lost and will never be filed because reporters, after a long day of being on the battlefield, cannot make a simple phone call, or file a story. Why be here? It's pretty dangerous, and insurance is expensive. I had to skip a mission this morning because I cannot make communications, and am down to filing stories on the fly again without time for editing. There is no other way to keep the flow open, and if you are reading this, it's only after I've wasted hours trying to upload it. Hours I could have been with our soldiers, telling about their days in one of the most important battles of this war."