19 September 2006

B36 News - 19 September 2006

After reading the replies from my family and friends to my 'Bandit Unplugged' post, I was reminded of why I started this blog in the first place - to keep my family updated on how I was doing. I got so caught up in trying to help show the progress that we're making in the war that I forgot to add personal stories.

So with that in mind, I'll start off this post with a bang, literally. It's been about a month or so since we've taken any mortars or rockets, but today that streak broke. When we first got here we averaged about an attack a week, now it's closer to one attack per month or two. I remember the first attack I was here for. We heard a couple booms and half of the people in my office grabbed their kevlars, the other half dove under desks, I think I went under a desk. I tried to set a good example for everyone and was the first to venture out and try to make sure everyone was ok. I figured that if the troops saw me walking around they would feel more confident.

Now the booms are more of an annoyance than anything else, much like a fly buzzing around your head. At first it was sort of a macho thing to treat them casually, but as I thought about the threat of indirect fire (mortars & rockets) I began to realize that I had two choices: 1) have a nervous breakdown worrying about something I have no control over, or 2) pray that no one got hit when they did launch at us and forget about it. I chose not to see the shrink. You can either make peace with the fact that one day you're going to die and enjoy the time you have or you can worry about dying until you do. The choice seems simple to me.

Dhi Qar
About a week ago I posted a story about the province of Dhi Qar which borders the province of Muthanna to the northeast. What's so significant about these two provinces? Well, on Thursday Dhi Qar will be the second Iraqi province to be controlled by Iraqis. Muthanna has already been under Iraqi control for the last month or so and has seen a large measure of peace and tranquility with very few acts of violence and now Dhi Qar will follow suit.

Yesterday I mentioned that watching Iraqi Army Divisions transition to IGFC control would be a good indicator of mission accomplishment and our departure from Iraq. This is also a good barometer of victory. And by the way, Iraqi Security Forces outnumber Coalition forces by nearly 2 to 1.

This is good news.

Unity Government
I've had a few questions about this unity government. People want to know why it's such a big deal that Iraq has a 'Unity Government'. Most Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, don't realize that for many Iraqis, loyalty to tribal groups trumps that of loyalty to country.

Years ago, some guys looked at a map and drew lines and said, "We'll call this one Iraq" and poof, we have what is today called Iraq. Before that the land belonged to whomever could defend it. If a tribal group wanted some resource that another group had taking it by force was a valid option. This is where a Unity Government comes into play.

A Unity Government will unite Iraqis under a single flag and cause and will result in reconcilliation among Iraqis which is a source of most of the violence today. This is the major hurdle that faces the new Iraqi government right now and PM Maliki's reconcilliation plan is aimed at leaping straight over it.

Ramadi Tribes Unite
A sparkling example of what can be accomplished with a Unity Government was seen recently in the Al Anbar province. Of the 18 prominent tribes in Ramadi, 15 have signed a pact agreeing to actively fight the "infidels that use Islam as a cover for their crimes". These leaders are uniting to defeat terrorists. We'll see in the coming months how this will translate to effects on the ground, but the overt political support provided here lends considerable weight to the Iraqi government.


Anonymous Solo said...

Here's to continued successes!

Blogger dcat said...

Oh success will be in the picture for sure!

We have our bandit36! :)

Blogger The Griper said...

yes, victory is at hand and with each province handed back to the Iraqis victory becomes more visible. And with that visibility of victory support of your efforts over there will once again grow.

Anonymous Chad said...

This is great news. What an encouraging post. This is a side of the news you never hear in the states.
I sent you an email yesterday concerning contributions to our local newspaper. I hope you are willing to contribute to our online version as well. People are hungry for the positive side of what's happening in your neck of the woods. I know for myself, your latest post was a breath of fresh air. Thank you. I have included a link to your blog in our online newspaper and will add one to my blog as well.

Blogger bandit.three.six said...

Unfortunately I don't think I received that email. I'm glad to be able to provide another point of view on the war. It's really frusterating to think that people think we're losing. Most troops don't bother to listen to the news about the war because they don't feel like they can do anything about it.

Blogger The Griper said...

hey, read some good news from the homefront. and believe it or not from a msm source in regards to people's attitude here in regards to this war. the poll shows that people attitude about it has risen.


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