Sergeant Scown has just given me an update: The update is: there is no update. That is, things continue to progress the way they have been. There have now been 640 schools built. Water and power supplies continue to get more reliable. The IP are becoming better and better trained. The bad guys are getting more and more of their roots pulled out. Unfortunately, they also are getting smarter and more lethal. But they are continue to lose the battle for the hearts of this people.
Sgt. Scown’s duty is patrol. The enemy can’t get comfortable or come out in the open because he never knows when Sgt. Scown or other soldiers will come by on patrol. Sgt. Scown has two eyes. With one eye he looks for trouble, for bad guys, ready to fight back if attacked. With his other eye, he looks for ways to build Iraq. This town needs a power plant, that town needs some leadership training. This school needs some books, that child needs some shoes. Waves and smiles from his boyish face for those who will return them.
Scown told me of going into a town that was completely demolished by Saddam. The remnants of that village still live in the rubble. A boy that appeared to have a bronchial problem was treated for his malady. Unfortunately the child remembers all too well the soldiers that came and took his father and brothers way, never to be heard of again. They were Saddam’s hacks and the trauma returns to his mind: he is too young at first to differentiate between good and bad guys.
Even Scown notes that, although he is involved in the vast improvements in living conditions and circumstances, he is still amazed at the great progress in the short time that he has been here. I am happy to hear that. His visage gets concerned as he looks toward the Fall elections though. Kirkuk, although mostly quiet, has Iraq’s second most important oil sites. Three political parties vie for control: Turkish Iraqis, Kurds, and Arabs. Up here it is more hereditary lines than the southern political/religious shades of Shiite and Sunni in the South. Elections here have the potential to be quite interesting...
But for now, the improvement is steady and coming along quickly. It’s not pain-free, but it is moving in the right direction. Not bad for a non-update! I think you will really enjoy a visit to Sgt. Scown at his new blog: Sgt. Scown