Monday, June 11, 2007

From Outside the Wire

One of my favorite blogs to keep up on things "over there" is Outside the Wire.

JD has some great posts up:

Random Thoughts

Dragon Skin Armor?

All the grunts dig my Dragon Skin body armor by Pinnacle and wish they had Dragon Skin. It fits well and the fit takes a lot of the load off my shoulders which makes it a lot more comfortable. The flexibility is also nice when traversing walls and rooftops.

Best Crop of Officers

This current crop of Company and Battalion commanders could be one of the best ever. Nearly every company commander in theater has already been a platoon commander in combat. Most of the Battalion commanders have been here previously on a Battalion or Regimental staff.

I ask the officers: "When you joined, did you ever think you would be--acting as a city manager, provincial governor, village sheriff, mediator between tribes, spending so much time talking with the locals?"

They all say no.

Losing the Bidding War

The bureacracy--even in combat--is staggering. To get some things done the request has to go through 15! steps of approval.

One Company Commander summed it up like this:

"They trust me with the lives of 100 men, humvees, weapons, ammo, civil affairs negotiations, classified intelligence, radios, everything. But I cannot be trusted with $20k worth of Dinar to hire a crew to build up an IP station?"

Which is interesting, because I keep hearing that the appeal of JAM and AQIZ is the money.

I saw one sheet listing the rewards for tips. But the rewards were lower than what JAM and AQIZ pay.

Is the coalition losing a bidding war?

The Iraqi Police

Like everything in Iraq, the state of the IP all depends on where you are because no two areas are alike.

In Anbar the IP and PSF may be your strongest allies. In Baghdad they may be your worst enemies.

I spent two weeks with the Black Lions, the 1-28 Infantry out of Ft. Riley, KS.

The Black Lions operate in West Rasheed. An area south of the fabled route Irish and bordered on the west by Camp Victory, the U.S. mega base at Baghdad International Airport.

Jaish al Mahadi has been waging a campaign of intimidation, terror and murder against the Sunnis in the area. JAM is winning.

Bold Predictions

In the past I have cautioned people against making predictions about Iraq as they have a habit of not coming true.

But, one prediction I made in late April has, unfortunately, come true.

Late one night while logging video I commented to Andrew Lubin that I thought this Summer would be the most violent and bloody Summer of the war.

It is starting to look that way.

My rationale was, and still is, simple. If the Anbar Awakening works, AQIZ is in trouble and will be seen as losing not only the war against the U.S. but of losing support among their core constituency--Sunni Muslims.

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