Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Don't Look Now: More Good News from Iraq

Since the MSM (mainstream media) refuses to cover the good news in Iraq, it has been the job of the bloggers to help get the good word out about the US successes in Iraq. Despite everything the Democrats are telling you, this war in NOT a total failure and is definitely worth seeing out until victory is achieved.

I am going to divide this post into 3 types of stories: Military Achievements, Humanitarian Accomplishments, and Feel Good Stories.

In recent days, there has been a LOT of good news from Iraq. First we will cover some of the military achievements:

Surge shows results in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Though it’s still in its early stages, the surge operation in Baghdad is showing positive results, the Joint Staff’s deputy director for operations said.

Army Maj. Gen. Michael D. Barbero said attacks against Iraqi civilians are down about 20 percent, and civilian deaths are down 30 percent nationwide. In Baghdad, attacks against civilians are down 20 percent, with deaths down 50 percent.

Attacks using explosively formed projectiles are also down, from 38 in December to 22 this month, though the number of attacks against coalition forces has remained constant, Barbero said.

The Iraqi public also shows increasing signs of support, the general said.

Officials measure the support from polling data and from the number of tips they receive from Iraqi citizens, he explained. The number of tips is increasing.

“On 24 March, a tip from inside Sadr City led Iraqi and coalition forces to a cache inside Sadr City of more than 450 deadly anti-tank mines,” Barbero said. The general said he considers the raid especially important because Sadr City is a stronghold of support for radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia.

He cited polling data taken March 16-22 that indicates the Iraqi people are beginning to see results. The data shows Iraqis “are hoping the security plan will last and (that it is) showing signs of improvement. Iraqis are expressing greater confidence in the security plan and in their security forces.”

The general said people now are more concerned about basic needs such as electricity, water and sewage treatment rather than security.

The surge is designed to provide security and reduce violence in Baghdad to levels that will allow the Iraqi leadership to make political progress, he said. Barbero acknowledged that while the operation is off to a good start, problems remain.

High-profile attacks, especially those using suicide vests and vehicle bombs, have increased by about 30 percent, but they are less effective now, he said, crediting “increased and more effective security.”

While it is too early for rejoicing, the general said, but he noted that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government continues to fulfill its promises under the new security plan. The security plan calls for five U.S. brigades to be in place when it’s fully implemented.

The trends in Iraq are positive, Barbero said, and coalition and Iraqi forces are working to stay ahead of the enemy.

“We're seeing an enemy who is trying to make a statement and reacting to our operation, which is just … about six weeks old,” he said. “Only two of the brigades are on the ground, so we have a ways to go.”

Joint operation disrupts anti-Iraqi forces
Friday, 30 March 2007

BAQUBAH — Iraqi and Coalition forces began a joint operation targeting an Islamic State of Iraq power base at the Diyala River Valley Saturday.

During the ongoing operation, Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division and U.S. Army 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division killed more than 15 anti-Iraqi forces, detained more than 15 suspected terrorists, and unearthed eight weapons caches.

“The Iraqi security forces, with our support, will maintain an aggressive approach to operations in order to secure the population and defeat the terrorists,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. commander. “Working together, we are attacking the anti-Iraqi forces in their perceived safe havens.”

As Iraqi and Coalition forces continue to successfully hunt terrorists and their strongholds, the population gained confidence in the Iraqi security forces improved abilities to protect them.

“The ISF continues to improve as we conduct these operations together, and the people gain confidence in their security forces’ ability to take the fight to the enemy and secure the population,” said Sutherland.

The Iraqi security forces with the support of Coalition forces weakened the terrorists’ ability to harm the population by finding their weapons caches.

“These terrorist supplies have been used to attack the Iraqi and Coalition forces, and the local population in Diyala to destabilize the area,” said Sutherland. “However, the initiative and ability to seize every opportunity to aggressively attack the terrorists will actually destabilize the terrorists.”

The detainees have been transferred to Forward Operating Base Warhorse detention facility for further questioning.

The operation continues to destroy enemy safe havens, restoring hope and security to the people of the Diyala River Valley.


BAGHDAD, Iraq –Coalition Forces captured 11 suspected terrorists during operations targeting foreign fighter facilitator and al-Qaeda in Iraq networks Friday morning.
During an operation near the Syrian border, Coalition Forces captured six suspected terrorists with alleged links to al-Qaeda and foreign fighter facilitation.
Five more suspects with alleged involvement in foreign fighter facilitation were captured in a raid north of Karmah.

“These and other foreign terrorist facilitators are attempting to undermine the peace and stability the Iraqi people deserve,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.


BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces killed six terrorists and detained 10 suspects Sunday afternoon and Monday during operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq couriers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices cells.

Monday, ground forces killed six terrorists in Mosul tied to VBIED attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. During the operation, ground forces entered the first of two targeted buildings and engaged three hostile men including one armed with a pistol. As one of the men charged at Coalition Forces, self-defense measures were used killing the three terrorists.

While approaching the second building, Coalition Forces began receiving enemy fire. Coalition Forces returned fire, killing three more terrorists.

In Baghdad, three suspects were detained with alleged ties to al-Qaeda courier operations and three more were detained for alleged involvement with VBIED emplacement operations.

On Sunday, Coalition Forces captured a suspected senior-level al-Qaeda in Iraq courier and an associate in an operation north of Karmah.

Also on Sunday, Coalition Forces captured two suspected terrorists southeast of Mosul who are allegedly involved in VBIED and rocket attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces.

“These operations demonstrate that the Coalition continues to whittle away at the Al Qaeda in Iraq network,” said Multi-National Force – Iraq spokesperson, Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. “Al Qaeda continues to demonstrate they are only interested in murder and destruction and are not interested in the peaceful future of a united Iraq. Eliminating the threat of Al Qaeda will make Iraq safer for all Iraqis.”

Two suspected terrorists detained in Sadr city raid

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi forces along with their Coalition advisors detained two suspected terrorists Saturday evening during a raid in Sadr City targeting anti-Iraqi forces.

As ground forces approached the targeted area, they began receiving enemy fire. Ground forces called for air support and Coalition aircraft delivered munitions, suppressing the enemy fire.

No one was wounded during the raid. One building received minor damage during the air strike.

“Coalition forces take exhaustive precautions to mitigate damage to Iraqi property while in pursuit of terrorists,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesman.

Tuesday, 03 April 2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq – During a recent four-day operation beginning March 30 in Arab Jabour targeting al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists, Coalition Forces killed eight terrorists, detained 13 suspects, destroyed two explosives production facilities and several weapons caches.

Coalition Forces were engaged by the enemy multiple times during the operation. Coalition Forces used appropriate defense measures to eliminate the threat resulting in eight terrorists killed.

Among the weapons caches discovered, Coalition Forces found six DShK anti-aircraft heavy machineguns, 150 rocket propelled grenades, more than 30 rockets, plastic explosives, and several hundred mortar rounds. The weapons caches were destroyed to prevent future use by terrorists.

On Monday, a Coalition Forces air strike destroyed two buildings housing large caches of explosives materials and chemicals used in the production of improvised explosive devices.

A total of 13 suspected terrorists were detained during the four-day operation.
No civilians were injured during the four-day operation.

“Coalition Forces continue to tear apart the al-Qaida network inside Iraq. This operation contributes to the reduction of this VBIED terrorist network’s ability to operate,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.

Iraqi citizens aid security forces
Tuesday, 03 April 2007

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi Army general and a spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq held a press conference concerning the progress of Fardh Al-Qanoon at the Combined Press Information Center Sunday.


“We’ve seen some initial progress, but our work will not be accomplished in days or weeks, but will require a sustained effort over the course of many months,” said Fox.

Along with the contribution of over 5,000 tips from Iraqi citizens, Iraqi and Coalition forces seized over 300 weapons caches, detained over 1,400 suspects and cleared over 300 improvised explosive devices in March including the rescue of a kidnapped family in Doura, Iraq, last week.


As violence decreases in Baghad and other cities, some terrorists have fled to areas surrounding the cities, placing the responsibility of security on tribal leaders.

“Tribal leaders and tribesmen are conducting operations against [terrorists],” said Moussawi. “We have noticed military operations carried out by the tribes in Al-Anbar, Diyala, Hillah, and Nineveh; they have chased and tracked down these terrorists.”

As the Coalition and Iraqi populace aid the Iraqi government, confidence in security is expected to improve the economy and help establish water, sewage and electric facilities.

“The people of Iraq and the people of Baghdad are sick and tired of this violence,” said Fox. “We’re going to accomplish this mission.”

Joint police work toward secure Iraq
Saturday, 31 March 2007


"Our mission as a police transition team is to make sure the (Iraqi police) are fully trained and qualified to take on the mission of securing their country and keeping the citizens safe," said Staff Sgt. Johnny Colon, squad leader and native of Guayama, Puerto Rico.

This mission is of the highest priority not only to the Iraqi police who are training but also for the civilians they are training to protect.

"In our area of operation, the important thing is that more of the local population is beginning to trust the IPs," said 1st Lt. Nathan Diaz, platoon leader for the Wolf Pack. "The people are happy to see the IPs going through their villages and towns patrolling the area as well as a large increase of information being given to the IPs to help combat the insurgents in the local areas."

"In the short time that we have been here, the human intelligence has grown dramatically," said Diaz. "We are getting more and more tips on events that could harm Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in the local neighborhoods."

British, Danish troops arrest members of Iraqi rogue militia
Sunday, 01 April 2007
RAF.AL QURNAH — British and Danish troops successfully detained a number of suspected rogue militants in Al Qurnah, 70 km north of Basrah, Iraq, on March 23.

The search and arrest operation, known as Operation Python 2 involved 450 British and Danish troops. The operation was based on information which suggested that a number of senior figures and members of a rogue militia, involved in attacks against coalition troops, could be found in that location.

The number of suspected rogue militants detained included one individual suspected of involvement in coordinating attacks across Iraq.

At least one member of the rogue militia was killed after opening fire on the Coalition troops.

During the operation a quantity of small arms, ammunition, grenades, night vision equipment and intelligence material were seized.

Militarily we are routing out terrorists, destroying their weapons caches, and winning over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people... you wouldn't know this to talk to the reporters in Iraq.

Now we will look at some of the Humanitarian Accomplishments
Black Jack performs medical mission
Monday, 02 April 2007
BAGHDAD — As Haifa Street residents begin coming back out into the streets that were once too dangerous to step into, coalition and Iraqi security forces are beginning to lend a much needed hand in many of the basic needs.

So, with hundreds of medical supplies, a few Army medical soldiers and an Iraqi doctor and nurse on hand, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, used an elementary school to perform examinations on hundreds of local citizens during a medical mission in the Haifa Street district of Baghdad, March 24.

"It's really good that they are doing this," said a man who brought his daughter to the clinic. "With the security plan working now, we can come out again."


Within a five-hour period, the team saw more than 230 patients, who were mostly women and children, according to Rivers.


The people really like us being there," he said. "Every time we go, we get a really warm reception."

Maternity hospital agreement reached
Monday, 02 April 2007

AN NASIRIYAH — In an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and cooperation, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Provincial Reconstruction and Development Council (PRDC), and the Iraq Ministry of Health (MoH) signed a partnering agreement March 28 to build Al Musayib Maternity Hospital (MMH) in Iraq’s Babil Province.

“The partnering agreement is based on an essential interest in the successful and timely completion of a fully operational 50-bed maternity and pediatric hospital for the MoH,” said Robin Parks, project manager for GRS. “The main goal of the project is to reinforce support to the residents of Musayib and to the Babil Governorate. The community will get an aesthetically pleasing hospital where women can learn the importance of a safe and healthy pregnancy, and a childbirth program.”

Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers give humanitarian aid to Tal’Afar
Sunday, 01 April 2007

TAL’AFAR – Iraqi security forces and Tal’Afar civic leaders provided aid and humanitarian assistance to Tal’Afar citizens displaced by the terrorist bombing Wednesday. The Iraqi military coordinated and flew a critical airlift resupply mission to Iraqi ground forces who distributed supplies to the population.

Coalition civil affairs teams provided assessments, making sure the aid was funneled through Iraqi leaders to areas who needed it most.

There is no question that part of winning over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people is by providing them much needed humanitarian support. It would be nice if there was more international support for the Iraqi people, but as long as as the United States is able to, I am proud that we are helping the Iraqi people.

Finally, some feel good stories. The Iraq war is full of them, yet the press is reluctant to cover them.

Soldiers strive to make Iraqi village safe
Monday, 02 April 2007

KHAN DARI — On March 25, three improvised explosive devices went off here. Soldiers from Company E, 2nd “Lancer” Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment entered the village in an attempt to find the assailants.

“We know if we can continue getting information from anyone who can help us clean out insurgents here and find weapons caches, we’re making this a safer place down the line for the [citizens of the community],” said Staff Sgt. William Stone, a squad leader from the regiment. “All the people here say the same thing, they want our help, they want safety and they want the insurgents to go away.”

While asking the citizens about the IED strikes; Soldiers collected information about terrorist cells operating in the area, and inquired about the welfare of the people.

On their first stop, an Iraqi family greeted U.S. troops by offering them tea as a sign of friendship. Later an Iraqi man thanked the Soldiers for their help, telling them he felt safe when they were patrolling his neighborhood said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Pluhar, Co. E, platoon sergeant.

“When you meet people like that you really feel like (you’re) doing some good,” Stone said.

While the mission did not yield much information about the three IEDs, the Soldiers said, it was a success because the trust and cooperation of the villagers led to information on other insurgents.

“It’s a great feeling to know we’re contributing to getting insurgents off the streets so the people don’t have to live in fear from someone killing their children or hurting them,” said Spc. Michael Evans, Co. E mortarman.

As the Iraqi Police and Army stand up and take the lead being able to protect the lives of Iraqi citizens may be considered a rewarding mission.

“I’ll be coming away from this with a lot bigger appreciation of life in general and knowing that I was doing something to help (both) the Iraqi and American people, so what happened on September 11th never happens again,” he added.

Soldiers sacrifice for Baghdad security
Tuesday, 03 April 2007
By Spc. L.B. Edgar,
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Baghdad — ...

Petraeus met with the leadership of the Iraqi army soldiers, who live and work with U.S. troops on a day-to-day basis. He encouraged the commander of 2nd Bn., 3rd Inf., Regt., 10th Iraqi Army Div.

“It’s your country. You’ve got to go out and take it back,” he said to the Iraqi troops. “We need Iraqis to want this as much as we do.”

In order for Iraqi security forces to take back their country from the insurgency, Soldiers like Mankaja, are serving as role models to their Iraqi counterparts.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot of changes. Their tactics are better,” he said. “In a way, it kind of makes you feel good because you’re helping someone else to help their country.”

However, despite the early success, Petraeus said the Baghdad Security Plan is far from complete.

“It’s off to a solid start, but there is a long way to go, and we only have about 40 percent of the additional forces on the ground so far,” he said. “Our Soldiers partnered with Iraqi soldiers and police have made a difference in the neighborhoods in which they’ve become established. The idea is to, in fact, bring better security to the Iraqi people, so they can reopen their businesses (and) send their kids to school without fear.”

To accomplish this objective, Soldiers like Mankaja, have had to sacrifice the relative comforts of large, fortified base complexes for the austere living conditions of Combat Outposts and JSSs like Mansour.

There are no hot showers, Post Exchanges or dining facilities for the Soldiers to enjoy. Though the creature comforts are in the rear and not every meal is a hot one, Soldiers like Mankaja, adapt to their environment and take pleasure in what few amenities they are afforded.

Letters from home help take the Soldiers away from their Spartan conditions, if only for a little while.

“That helps me out a lot,” Mankaja said of receiving letters from home. “It’s a morale builder. It feels good to just sit down and read a letter – see how everyone is back home.”

Iraqi Police graduates key to future
Tuesday, 03 April 2007

BAGHDAD — Recruits of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police Division graduated from training at Forward Operating Base Falcon, March 28. This is the first group of “shurta,” Arabic for police, to come onto a U.S. forward operating base and receive complete, 24-hour-a-day training by a National Police Training Team.


The training program includes weapons marksmanship, drill and ceremony, physical training and ethics classes. Once the recruits execute those tasks to standard they move on to team exercises such as precision room clearing and conducting raids.


“During this time that we spent here on this (base), we got good training,” the Baghdad native said. “They care about us a lot. We want to say thanks for our American brothers.”


“The men were excited and very proud to get formalized training like this,” he said.

One of the key points Hubbard said he wanted the new police officers to take away from their training cycle is how to treat the Iraqi people.

“The way they treat them as policemen will decide whether (local residents) go against the Iraqi government or if they come on board,” he said. “These people are here to protect them and they need to understand that.”

Hubbard said that police staying involved with their local community is vital to the success of their mission.

“They need to embrace their community, and start doing the right thing from this day forward,” he said. “I believe that they’re ready to do that. They understand this is the key to victory.”

Program sends soccer balls to children
Thursday, 29 March 2007

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA — A program that will provide hundreds of soccer balls to Iraqi children began with a mother who wanted to send them candy.

Spc. Daniel McCoy from Omaha, Neb., a soldier with the 134th Infantry Long Range Surveillance Detachment, said his mother, Sue Behr, wanted to do something for Iraqi children. He mentioned that soccer balls would be a good idea, since the children enjoy the game and are always asking for them.

Behr walks McCoy’s little sister to elementary school each day, and mentioned to a counselor, Nancy Wedberg, about her son being deployed to Iraq. When Wedberg asked what the school could do to support him, Behr suggested the soccer balls. In September, Wedberg began a program she called “Our Child to Child” and began speaking to parents and children at other schools she serves.

“I was talking about the project at the other school I serve as a counselor and the parents there wanted their kiddos to be involved,” Wedberg said in an e-mail interview. “Then the principal of a third school asked, so ultimately students from three elementary schools participated.”

The first of 290 soccer balls were shipped here in December. Many of McCoy’s family and friends donated to the effort and businesses also contributed. One teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, gave $400 to help cover the shipping expense of the $1,800 worth of balls, Wedberg said.

Many of the children were involved from start to finish on the project.

“About half of the 290 balls shipped were bought by students earning $5 to buy a ball for a child in Iraq,” Wedberg said.

Once the soccer balls arrived in Omaha, the students had the opportunity to place a picture of themselves on a ball with their name. Peggy Rupprecht and the District Print Shop Staff worked hard to ensure the student picture and print cards were done for the students, Wedberg said.

The project saw its first products delivered on March 6 in the tiny village of Al Jamiah, Iraq, which is heavily populated with children. After the unit’s regular mission was complete, McCoy invited some children to join him by his Humvee. He proceeded to the trunk, popped the hatch, and dug out a huge bag with several balls.

The children went wild with excitement. While several soldiers from the 134th Infantry, LRSD, kept the area secure and safe, other trunks started to open up. Soon the town was full of youths wanting to get a soccer ball.

Not all of the balls were delivered to Al Jamiah, as the 134th Infantry will be able to visit other towns and villages surrounding Logistical Support Area Anaconda where the 1st Squadron, 167th Cavalry (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target and Acquisition) defends the base.

McCoy, who serves as both a gunner and a driver for his unit, said he made sure that the children got a fair share and he purposely made sure that one little girl was given a ball. He said he was looking forward to seeing the children at the schools in Omaha when he returns from his deployment.

“The whole thing was neat. It is amazing how I don’t even know Nancy Wedberg except through e mails,” he said “I have only been to my sister’s school once and I already feel a bond with the school.”

With so much good news from Iraq, why can't the MSM be bothered to give a little front page room for all of the progress our soldiers are bringing to Iraq? As long as the MSM is dropping the ball, we bloggers have no other choice than to devote our pages to the progress being made in Iraq.

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