25 September 2006

B36 News - 25 September 2006

I had another "Unplugged" episode over the weekend during which I spent several hours out and about at various locations in the IZ, one of which was the Al Rasheed hotel cafe pictured here. I'm working on a write up like I did with the last one though this one will have fewer visual aids.

The surreality (if that's a word) of life here in the IZ is starting to set in now that I'm starting to readjust my perceptions for the redeployment. Redeployment is Armyese for going home.

One Iraq
Over the weekend the Iraqi government came to the conclusion that breaking Iraq up into seperate autonomous regions isn't the way ahead. This shows continued commitment to creating one Iraq. The way ahead that has yet to be finalized, but looks like it will be very similar to what we have in the States as far as the federal and state government. The plan on how this will look exactly should be voted on and released within a week and we'll get a look at Iraq's future.

Together Forward
I've been talking about Operation Together Forward a lot for the last couple months because I believe that it's going to be the pivotal battle in the war. Baghdad is the center of gravity for the country and once we secure the city we will have knocked the bad guys out of their strongholds.

After clearing roughly one third of the city's most violent neighborhoods, we're winning this battle. While our guys and the ISF are out securing neighborhoods, they're also collecting census data and asking questions. Questions like "Do you think the Baghdad security plan will be effective?" The most recent poll shows a 20% increase in the number of "yes" responses to that particular question for a grand total of 60%.

Hearts and Minds of Anbar
Baghdad isn't the only place where our guys are getting out and talking with Iraqi citizens. The Marines of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment have been getting a lot more face-time with the locals in an attempt to win their trust and support. Just as in Baghdad, it's working in Anbar as well.

Based on intel collected from chats with the locals, the Marines were able to put the zip-cuffs on one high-value target and 70 of his buddies. Just as important as the intel that local Iraqis provide to the Marines is the support that the Marines give back. In addition to the security and protection from bad guys, Marines are there to listen to their problems and to do what they can to help out whether the problem is power, water, or health related.

This is how the fight is fought.

A couple weeks ago I introduced The Liz as a new member of the B36 News team as a "stringer" which resulted in the question, "What's a stringer?"

A stringer is a local who, for obvious reasons, has a much easier time running around outside the secure areas bringing news stories to journalists who are cooped up in fortified compounds and only step outside the wire if they're on their way home.

Today I found a story on The Strategy Page that gives a bit better idea about what stringers are and how they operate as well as the affect they have on the "news". Well worth the read.


Anonymous Billie said...

I love this. I never hear about this stuff on the news here in the states. I know this is going to work and give the Iraqi people the freedom they deserve.

Im sure you cant wait to get back with your family--get to know that precious little man of yours and reconnect with your sweetie. Mine will be home on leave here in about 3 weeks. Two weeks of leave just isnt long enough...lol. But better than nothing. :-)

Anyway...keep up the great insight on what is happening there for us here. You are a bright light in a very dim media world.


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