24 August 2006

B36 News - 24 August 2006

In my posts here I have gone to great lengths to check myself and make sure that I'm not violating operational security (OPSEC), not because they told me that I would get in trouble if I did, but because I recognize the threat that poor OPSEC poses to troops on the ground.

For a long time I had always suspected that the warning that blogs were being watched for OPSEC violations was just a ghost story told to keep us milbloggers in line. Well, that changed yesterday. Shortly after posting the story "Progress of Together Forward" I received an email from the "they" who checked for violations informing me that posting the maps violated OPSEC. In response I immediately removed the maps and asked for clarification on the issue because I had obtained them from www.mnf-iraq.com, an open-source news outlet. After a review it was determined that because they had been officially released in a public news briefing conducted here in Baghdad, that there was no violation and that I was authorized to re-display the maps.

Let there be no doubt; I am very happy that there is someone who does what "they" do. The threat of poor OPSEC directly impacting troops on the ground *cough*NewYorkTimes*cough* is very real and "they" are helping prevent that.

Thank you, "they".

Uniting Iraq
In an unprovoked display of national unity, military, political, and religious leaders of all stripes met in the city of Al Hillah at the local police station to discuss the future of their province. Remember the reconcilliation plan? It's one of those things that PM Maliki is pushing to try and bring peace to Iraq. Remember that thing? Yeah, so here is a small scale example of the progress that's being made by Iraqis to secure Iraq. Not all progress involves bullets and bombs.

“This was Iraqi generated, Iraqi led,” said Col. John Tully, commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, an invited guest of the ISF leadership present at the conference “They are clearly trying to come to grips with the issues their society is facing.”

The meeting was orchestrated by Maj. Gen. Qais Hamza, Babil provincial police chief, to bring representatives of every facet of Babil culture to the conference and provide them a forum to speak. It is hoped the meeting would signify the commencement of a new era in the region and the end of terrorism in southern Iraq, said a sheik in attendance.

“We have Sunnis, Shias, women, children – that is a miracle in this day of age,” he said. “Everybody knows what needs to be done, but Gen. Qais is the person who decided that it was time to quit talking and start acting.”

CNN Learns Armyese
Yesterday I posted a story from a reporter from FoxNews. Thanks to my Google Alert on "Green Zone" I found a similar story, this time from CNN. Michael Holmes spent some time here in the IZ (as nearly every single reporter does) and struggled with the heavy usage of acronyms by the military. It reminded me of a funny story my wife told me about a friend of hers who was going to a military graduation ceremony on a nearby post. When she got to the parade ground, the guard told her where she neede to park her POV (personally owned vehicle). She responded by pointing to an open space and asking, "Can I park my C-A-R over T-H-E-R-E?"

(As I re-read that I get the feeling that it may only be funny if you were there.)

Interesting Omission
I've heard it said that the things we regret most are not acts of comission, but acts of omission. Here's something that was omitted from every single report I read or heard about the shootings that killed 20 during the recent pilgrimage.

Try to imagine yourself as a fly on the wall ... or donkey ... or whatever when the shooting occured. What kind of response would you expect from security forces? Perhaps you have images of troops standing guard while medics treat the wounded and collect the remains of the dead. Perhaps you see troops surveying the remenants of the shooting before jumping back in their HMMWV and heading home. Here's what actually happened:
...the loss of life is tragic, and we regret the deaths of those innocent Iraqis who were killed in the cold blood by the small-arms fire on Sunday.

These, like so many other terrorist attacks, are aimed at innocent civilians. According to the Ministry of Defense, Iraqi security forces quickly responded to these attacks, controlling the situation, killing six of the terrorists and detaining 19 others.

What this means is that the ISF quickly responded to the violence and acted to stop it. Am I missing something here or is this a great example of progress? The ISF went towards the sound of gunfire. They went looking for the bad guys and killed/captured them. This is how a government protects its people.


Anonymous Solo said...

Seems like in the past year or so the ISF has begun to prove it's grit. I no longer judge the Iraqi people by their former leaders, but as the the human beings they truely are. My regards and respects to them. Hey Bandit! If I get a chance Sunday, I'll tell you about my sorority sisters. What? A 51 year old grey bearded biker can't have sorority sisters? This might give you a grin.

Anonymous Anna said...

Thank you for giving us this great news about the progression with the Iraqis ability to take on their own security! It gives a lot of hope that you and your fellow brothers and sisters in arms will come home soon!

Blogger Louise said...

Great post, Bandit.

Blogger Mike H. said...

I'll thank 'they' too.

Anonymous Cop The Truth said...

I'm glad the OPSEC people do their jobs, and I'm glad you keep posting about what's hppening over there. Cheers!

Anonymous JG said...

Bandit, I want to thank you for providing the basis for my frequent comments about Iraqis and the progress in Iraq. Your addition to the sniper attack is one that only adds to my sense of progress. Your account of the province wide meeting illustrates a national sense of cohesion that is developing, augmented by the top down efforts to build unity.

Blogger devildog6771 said...

Bandit, this was a great post. I loved the "POV" comment, but maybe it is more of a vet./active we get it thing. But who cares. It was funny. I get the CENTCOM RSS and email distribution they send to bloggers willing to post updates. They are great but until lately, lack the emotional feel of bloggers like yourself. I suspect the guys doing the writing just came back themselrs.

What I try to do is look for parallel reports from the blogs of the various events so I can lead people to them for support of the story. It is a little tough because sometimes I see things that I consider might be an opsec problem. Since, y'alla safetry is my first priorty, I use the when in doubt, leave it out rule.

What I anm seeing is an amazing sense of nationalism beginning to take root in Iraq of a good kind. Do you agree with that observation? I see it in the ISF and the IA. It is especially noticeable in Mosul where the local Police drove back the enemy who tried to retake the area after the !&@nd left and before the new SBCT mpoved in. Repeatedly it was stressed that "they didn't" run this time. Taht they really held their own. When the new SBCT arrived, the CXO really praised them all for their courage and great job.

In Baghdad, as you guys move through more and more "zones," I see that the same thing is appering. The IAS and the ISF are the lead front. From the pictures as more and more battles are won the IA and the ISF seem toappear more confident and proud. As they begin to "feel their oats" so to speak it seems to be feeding over to the local citizenry.

Now this is really truly awesome. I also sense less and less sense of you guys as occupiers and more and more a "we" meaning you guys, the IA, and the ISF "did it!" To me I see this as another sign of confidence on the part of the IA and the ISF and therefore they are feeling they are contributing as equals. Do you agree with my assessment here too? Or am I just being overly optomistic and wishful?

Thank you for the great posts and updates. Thank you and your budiies for all you and your families sacriifice. I for one am 100% behind you all and love you to death. Watch your 6. Be safe! My prayers are with you?

Blogger devildog6771 said...

ps- I am sorry for the typos. I try to do better than that. I just woke up! lol

Blogger bandit.three.six said...

I think your assessment is exactly right. I especially appreciate that when you say "we" you mean the Coalition and the ISF because it truly is a team effort although the ISF is increasingly taking over. The ISF is by no means perfect or without its flaws, but I think that those flaws can and will be overcome. The progress that they continue to make is amazing considering how far they've come in the last three years.


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