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Reading a Warzone: Bloggers in Iraq

By mmguestblogger  •  January 10, 2007 12:08 PM

Iraqi army, Iraqi police, Shiites, Sunnis, U.S. troops, local tribes, insurgents, and how to win. Bill of INDC is in Iraq, and puts them all into one dispatch for the Examiner:

The radio crackled: a M1A-1 Abrams tank was hit by a large IED while patrolling a notoriously active downtown street. The typically invulnerable behemoth was immobilized and set afire by a bomb laden with fuel accelerant, a fiery addition to the explosive arms and tactics race between terrorist insurgents and Coalition forces. The crew escaped the vehicle and made it safely to other tanks before getting burned or sniped in the ambush…

With a cordon established and satisfied that the tank’s ammunition would not explode, Marines at the JCC radioed the Fallujah Fire Department to put out the remains of the blaze around 12:30.

But with the scene a mere 800 meters from the fire station, the Iraqis refused.

The firemen had heard reports of anti-Iraq forces in the area, and were afraid that insurgents would kill them at the scene or later retaliate against them for working with American and Iraqi government forces.

Read the whole thing.

Will Fallujans step up? A Fallujan civil servant says they must:

Yusef: “More Iraqi Police. If [Fallujah] recruits more police, it is a good thing, that means we’ll get that power, and at that point tribal leaders will be on our side.”

INDC: What are your plans to make this happen?

Yusef: “It’s going to depend on an upcoming meeting [with] tribal leaders. This is key, I believe, to use it to get into their mentality and convince them to be on our side. [They need to be told] about Marines leaving, Iraqi Army leaving, if the sons of Fallujah will provide security and work with the police.”

“If their answer is yes, start sending tribe members to join the police service and the Iraqi Army in Fallujah. If you want the Marines and the (predominantly Shia) Iraqi Army to stay in the city, that’s your choice, but you need to be responsible for it. Let’s not waste our time standing here and talking. Either yes, the sons of Fallujah will take over, or if the answer is no, end this meeting.”

Michael Yon, who is planning to be in Iraq for most of ’07, is on the ground in Baghdad again. He documents his trip in and profiles the senior enlisted soldier in Iraq– CSM Jeffrey Mellinger, who sounds like a mixture of your grandpa and Batman.

Bill Roggio, who just got back from Iraq, takes a look at an Iraqi Army offensive in Baghdad.

There will be plenty of puffery in D.C. today about the troop surge. Most of it will be much less useful but much more covered than what these guys write. Give them all a click and a read as an antidote.

Army Maj. Michael Mundell, father of four who had already survived a sniper’s bullet, died in the Abrams IED incident Bill described:

He’d dedicated his life to the necessity of war. He’d studied history at Washington & Jefferson College; he’d taught ROTC classes at Wright State, in Dayton, Ohio; as a hobby, he painted miniature soldiers; and, above all, as an apolitical student of battle, he understood war’s role in history…

“He loved it,” Mr. Grosso said. “A guy of Mike’s intellect couldn’t have had a better job.”

Keep Mundell and his family in your prayers. God bless him and the work he did. He was training the Iraqi forces the country needs to secure it. Mundell was interviewed for this Christian Science Monitor piece in November. I thought this was interesting: (emphasis mine)

Maj. Mundell told his sister and his friends, following the Christian Science Monitor interview, about his experience. The reporter, he felt, prodded him to criticize U.S. involvement overseas. But Maj. Mundell wanted only to share the facts, not so much because of his personal views about Iraq, but because of his personal views about all military endeavors.

The guys I linked share more facts more fairly than most of the media reports I read. Enjoy their writing and the stories they bring of brave men and women like Mundell.

A milblogger I found recently–an Army officer–is on ground in al-Anbar. His take on the surge:

The presence of more Coalition Forces in this sector will help defeat these goals of the AIF. More Coalition Forces mean that roads will have more presence, more observation, more deterrent effects. The AIF knows that if we see him emplacing an IED the most likely occurrence will be to hasten his appointment with paradise. Though the suicide bomber has entered the popular consciousness as the prototypical jihadist, in fact most of them either have enough doubts about their eternal reward or the understand they are more effective fighters alive and not dead, and thus they do not readily seek death. The presence of more Coalition Troops will either neutralize their ability to engage in their nefarious activities, or it will force them into direct confrontations with Coalition Forces; battles they will surely lose.

Update: The lighter side of combat blogging: “…the Army will, also inevitably, release a safety brief warning us all not to throw big rocks.”

Posted in: Iraq

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Categories: Al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Democrats, Iran, Iraq, Terrorist attacks