18 August 2006

B36 News - 18 August 2006

The sunrise in this picture happened a couple weeks ago now. It's not particularly beautiful if you don't know the story behind it. At the time of the picture, I had been working with these troops for about 20 hours trying to run the fiber optic cables that you can see in the bottom of the picture. The guys who specialize in running cable are lovingly referred to as "Cable Dawgs" and until this day I had never really experienced what it means to run cable. I had talked about it a lot in meetings and I knew what they did, I just didn't know how they did it. Now that I do, I have a whole new respect for these guys.

The reason I was out with these guys is because I had to be a jerk and flex my rank to get them to come help us. Rather than being that guy who orders troops to stay up all night working and get some rest myself, I decided that I would work with them, hopefully showing them that the work they were doing was important enough to warrant me being a jerk. By the time it was over, we had run about half a mile of fiber through pipes that had been filled with mud and had been awake for roughly 27 hours and working for at least 20 of them. I can't really get into too much detail about the affect that their work had, but I can say that it supported the 172nd Stryker Brigade's new mission in Baghdad and resulted in the team being awarded Army Achievement Medals in recognition of their work.

It was among the most personally rewarding 27 hours I've spent in Iraq.

Boo Frickin' Hoo
I try to avoid talking about other people's opinions that don't deal with the success of the war, but this one was too good. The Saddam trial continues and I found this piece in Reuters particularly interesting:
"Based on extensive observations of the tribunal's conduct of its first trial ... Human Rights Watch believes that the Iraqi High Tribunal is presently incapable of fairly and effectively trying a genocide case," the group [Human Rights Watch] said.
Later in the same article I found this:
"Our investigation showed the Iraqi government ordered the extermination of part of its Kurdish population. But individual guilt or innocence in the Anfal case can only be determined through a fair trial," Dicker said [director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program].
... *stunned silence*

Real Clear Progress
When I found out I was being deployed to the IZ, I signed up with Google News to receive alerts when stories were published that had the words "Green Zone" in it figuring it would be a good way to get some intel before I got there. Yesterday, an alert landed in my inbox titled "Is Iraq a Lost Cause" which, as you can imagine, I found very interesting. As I read the article on Yahoo News, I found that it was actually a cross-post from Real Clear Politics. I'd recommend reading the whole story, but let me post a summary:
Taken together, the impressions from General Caldwell and Secretary Nicholson give a much different picture than the one provided in the New York Times today - and on most days, for that matter. If even you discount Nicholson's comments for administration spin, or assume that Caldwell is putting the best possible face on the security operations in Baghdad, you're still left to confront the fact that some progress is being made. Instead of hearing about it, however, we get the relentless negativity of the media, epitomized by the Times story today. The situation in Iraq is serious, no doubt about it. But it is far from hopeless. U.S. troops, and Iraqi forces and leaders haven't given up hope that Iraq can be saved. We shouldn't either.
I think I'm going to start reading RCP.


Anonymous Solo said...

Bandit, the mainscream media is nothing less than frustrating. I gave up on them long ago. I count on blogs like yours(and others) to get a better idea of the situation. I have great hopes for Afghanistan also, even though the reports have been less than optimistic.(have to, a friend of mine has family there).

Blogger andrea/pj's said...

i saw that human rights
piece this morning...
and said what the fuck!!!!!

i posted it over at itm bandit
and said let the hanging
begin mon.aug 21st

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that if a person were to ask the troops what they thought of the idea of their Lieutenant out there helping lay cable, they would say to a man, "He rocks!" Respect is never given; it's earned and you, Bandit, have earned it from your troops and from those of us who read your blog.

Blogger Mike H. said...

Who told human rights watch that they were competent to read law, let alone determine what a trial on genocide should consist of.

human rights watch is another construct of the M$M. A dubious honor, to be sure.


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