Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Best

Perhaps I am now finding out why Bastogne, the 101st, is so highly regarded. There has been an increase in road and car bombs in Kirkuk over the last several months. Today, I found out why. The Idaho National Guard crew that was here got along very well with the people and did a lot of training, building, and built some solid relationships of trust here. But the 101st group here has brought in many times more perpetrators on the "blacklist" than the last crew, and it is very difficult to do. This is not a nebulous list of suspects, it is a careful rendering of known bombers and anti-freedom fighters. In retaliation for bringing so many of them in, they propagate more attacks on Americans and Iraqi security forces.

But this helps them little. While their attacks change nothing about the progress in Iraq, it increases their exposure to capture and elimination and many are. Much information is gained from them and they are being rounded up or taken out by snipers in increasing numbers. Bastogne is here taking care of business while Iraq continues to improve.

The bombers are very ingenious, and although so many attacks are prevented by American technology (they have the coolest toys) the Iraqi insurgents are quick to react, adjust, learn, and change. I imagine this same intensity and ability Iraqis have will benefit them in their own future. I would not be surprised if they set a whole new standard of development and achievement in the next few decades for the Middle-East. On my most recent return to Iraq, I saw at the airport for the first time Iraqi Airways jets back in service. The changes are coming quickly.

And it is the outstanding commitment of soldiers like that of the 101st that will help propel this process forward.


annegb said...

I actually met some of those guys! My daughter and I were on our way to New York last year and they were in the airport in Salt Lake and I had my daughter take my picture with them.

I might could scan it and send it, but I'm not sure if I know how. I have a scanner now. Anyway, let me know.

Mo Mommy said...

annrgb, my husband was very touched by your story. Asking to have your photo taken with someone is usually reserved for celebrities and the rich, what shock and pride they must have felt from your request. DH says that he feels greatly humbled whenever someone here thanks him for his service. Way to go!!

Ernest said...

Yes, if you get the chance, we would love to see the picture.

I can't tell you what an honor it has been to live amongst these guys and gals and see the things they do. They clearly do our nation proud. They are the American military heros we were told soldiers were as children when they were saving the world then.

annegb said...

I'll dig it out today. I've been off line the last few days, getting a tooth pulled (we are becoming aged here, the bishopric wanted us to be a service project the other day), but I'll take today and dig it out.

It'll probably take a few days to get it right. Knowing me.