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.