Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Quid Pro Quo

It's been far too long since I last wrote here. Between the internet service, which is spotty at best, and a rough mission schedule this week, I just haven't had much time. Ah, well... enough excuses.

I had the opportunity this week to be a part of several good things. It all began almost a month ago. A local sheik came to the Army unit in charge of the sector he lived in, announced his desire to fight the insurgents, and asked for help in doing so. He was received with some healthy skepticism- many people in this part of the world will say whatever they think you want to hear in order to profit from you. To demonstrate his commitment, he organized his militia and began to attempt to quell some of the violence in the sector. Within days, indirect fire attacks against US bases from his area dropped to nearly zero over the next three weeks, from a former rate of multiple attacks per day. IED attacks and other insurgent activity was also down. By all appearances, this sheik was a legitimately good guy, stepping forward and doing his best to bring peace to Ramadi. Those appearances were confirmed three days ago when the local insurgents mounted an all out campaign to kill or humiliate the sheik, his family, and as many of his fighters as they could find.

The sheik got the help he had asked for before he began his pro-government activities. Coalition operations are still ongoing, so I'll leave it to the news to reveal the details (if they deign to do so). Suffice it to say that we grabbed some very bad men, found some bombs and some arms caches, and generally repaid the favor he did us. The military has failed both allies of chance and longstanding friends in conflicts past. This time, I was proud to see we did the right thing.

The second good thing that I got to be a part of this week involved one of those bombs I mentioned. While clearing a route that we expected to be heavily used by coalition vehicles later in the night, we found a possible buried IED. It took quite some time to unearth it, but in the end we pulled from the hole our largest single IED to date. Once again, I won't go into specifics because of operational concerns, but I will say that this one was big enough to make some family's holiday season very, very bad. All of us know for a fact that we saved multiple lives with our work that night, and that's the best reward we can have in this job.


  1. I know it's still early, as I just found this milblog, and I think this is only the second post, but I think he's going to be my next best favorite milblog. Congratulations!!

  2. You make me proud. :)

  3. Ditto. Although white on black is hard on 50-year old eyes.

  4. Good work! You boys are heros, and it's good to hear your (and badger 6s) stories in your own words, rather than the rather one sided, not to say criminally biased, version peddled by the mainstream media. You are doing a vitally important job, both here on your blog and in Iraq in general. Never forget it. We won't.

    God speed,
    Simon Barnett (UK).

  5. Thank you for your service.

    Also, thank you for this account of the several good things you experienced this past week.

    I may be mistaken, but I think that this is how the war will be won. Stay long enough to make the most of the opportunities that arise by having been there, fighting, making the difference. And get the word out across Iraq and the other areas of conflict, an important front being the homefront.

    Back home we hear a lot about how our presence there (and everywhere) provokes and attracts the enemy fighters.

    But your account shows that by showing commitment, there are Iraqis who show their commitment against our mutual enemies. Our presence (your presence) is proactive and attracts Iraqis ready to defend their country with or without our aid.

    That sort of mutual and spontaneous understanding in action on the battlefield takes time and guts to grow and to harvest. Grand things start small.

    It is too horrible to imagine abandoning such friends of action in the field of combat.

    God Bless.

  6. Good job, and keep up the good work. We support you.

  7. There is nothing more noble or noteworthy than giving someone there freedom.

    Be proud of yourself. Others certainly are of you.

    NorthBayTrapper - Canada

  8. Good Job Soldier,,,

    I bet your boots were shaking when you saw the size of that IED...

    Hopefully , the Shiek's sons won't try to help you and showup at the frontgate with an Insurgent IED they found in the back of their truck,,

  9. Only just now finding you and am quite glad I did. Excellent work and thank you for your service, sir. Well done.

    Actions such as those taken to defend the local sheikh are precisely what will defeat al-Qaeda and the insurgency, serving to embolden free Iraqis to defend themselves with the confidence that we will support them in kind.

  10. It is so good to get this type of news and I am quite pleased to hear of something fruitful going on. I ferverently pray that this leader and his entourage can survive (and our support persists) long enough for some kind of real momentum to build behind his efforts and we can start to "turn the corner" on this mess. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for sharing the positives all you men and women are doing in Iraq. I have given up on the media reporting the positives instead of only negatives.

    Keep up the good work, be safe, and may God bless you all.

  12. GOD BLESS ALL TROOPS fighting for America and all the good folk.

    you are indeed CHRIST-LIKE, and to be sure you are all in my prayers every single day.

  13. Well done, well said bro. Keep up the great work over there in the sandbox. There are more of use supporting you than you know. Stay safe.

  14. Thank you, Sir! We are indeed very proud of you. Bravery is not fearlessness. It's doing something in spite of fear. And you guys are the pinnacle of bravery.

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