Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Part II: Interview With An Iraqi General

This is the second part of my interview with General Ali. As before I hope you share this interview with as many people as you can because all people need to hear the truth coming out of Iraq.




Do you think your soldiers have learned from American soldiers?

General Ali: Yes they have learned from the soldiers and so have I. I learned many things from the coalition forces.

What do you see as problems for the Iraqi army right now?

General Ali: The Iraqi army does not have clear leaders right now. This is bad. The coalition also supplies everything for us right now and the Iraqi government does not supply anything for us. We get fuel and uniforms from the coalition, but we do not have leaders checking what we need for the future.

When the Americans leave what will happen?

General Ali: No problem we will be able to take care of ourselves.

What would you say to the American people who think it was a bad idea for us to come to Iraq and whom think we should leave now?

General Ali: This message is from the terrorists. The terrorists encourage the media and they encourage the U.S. people. The U.S. soldiers who came to Iraq are heroes. The media do not convey the real picture of what the US soldiers are doing. Our problem from the very beginning has been the media. They think the U.S. soldiers just came to fight the Iraqi people. After this interview we will go to Qayyarah and help the people. We will talk with the people and do things for them. The U.S. media only show the bad to the U.S. people. And also the U.S. media is very bad, they are against the US people because they make sure only to show the bad and not the good of what the US heroes do here. They help the Iraqi people, they make projects, they make the Iraqi army and police, and make jobs here but the media does not show this. They only show car bombs, and they even change digital pictures to show Americans attacking Iraqi families (Haditha). The US people only see the bad they don’t see Qayyarah, only the dangerous areas. They did not see how the US soldiers shop in our market and meet the people and help the kids. They don’t see how the soldiers give gifts to the kids. The media do not show this, or how they do projects for schools, water, and roads. They only show the units that fight the bad guys and do not show the other units. This is a big problem. We fight the terrorists, and the terrorists are not just against the Iraqis but also against the whole world, all humans.

I want to say first hello to all the US people and second I need their trust and for them to encourage their soldiers who help us fight and also to encourage the Iraqi people. We need them to encourage the soldiers to do projects to help us. Encourage them to have a trust between them and the Iraqi people because we have a good future. Third I need them to believe me that the terrorists are down in Iraq. I only see terrorists on Al Jazerra, where are the terrorists? Show them to me! I go to Mosul by myself-no bad guys. I need to see terrorists. I have not been attacked in three years, except for once in April of last year and he only killed himself and did not hurt me. Where are the bad guys? We need the American people to know the truth.

Please tell the American people the terrorists are down. When we killed Zarqawi where were the media? They did not report on it. Where is Zarqawi?

At this point in the interview General Ali began speaking Arabic after my interpreter interrupted by saying Zarqawi went to hell. General Ali said in Arabic that Zarqawi went to the “historical trash bin.” Sounds good to me.

Do you think Iraq will look favorably upon American soldiers and what we have done here?

General Ali: This depends on the leaders of Iraq. If the leaders are good men and do good things for the Iraqi people then the people will believe him when he tells them about the Americans, they will trust him. But if we have bad leaders the people will not believe him. But if I work with the coalition and help make projects for the people then they will believe us. We will tell them “Look the terrorists destroyed all of these things, they killed civilians. But look at what the coalition did. They helped us.”
This picture will come in the future. We work to serve the people. God willing the story will be told right in the future about how the coalition helped the civilians. I am happy about our future and I think it is an excellent future.

What do you do for fun if you always work?

General Ali: I go home two days a month to see my family. I change the times I go home though. I do not have time to lie around. I see my family. I have 11 kids and one wife. I tried to get two wives but that didn’t work (chuckles).

Do you think it is a good idea for IA soldiers to protect their own villages and cities?

General Ali: Right now yes but not in the future. The U.S. army is from all over not just from Washington. We need to be like that. The most important thing now though is to encourage the people from the towns to protect their own towns. When the security becomes good we will change. We will send different units to different places. You can move my battalion to Basra, to Baquba, to Ramadi, to Nasariyah with no problem, just like the American army. But right now we keep the soldiers in their own area because their own people help them to find terrorists. Right now we do not have a real army. Right now we just find the terrorists. A real army comes from all the people.

Do you think Arabs and Kurds can work together?

Yes I have Kurdish and Arab soldiers in my battalion. We can work with Sunnis and Shiites no problem. We are one people and one army. My tribe is the military. I serve my country and do not wish to split up the army.

At this point I read to General Ali a note given to my by The Real Ugly American who asked me to share with him. The note is as follows:

“Americans support the people of Iraq. We want them to live in safety and freedom. When we hear news of Iraqis being killed our hearts break the same as when American soldiers are killed. People we love are fighting and dying beside you and your men. Do not throw away this precious opportunity that so few people in the world are given. History is calling on you and your men. Freedom needs you to be strong. The people of Iraq need you to be strong. The world needs you and your men to be heroes. May God bless you and your men”.

General Ali responded by saying “this is our hope too. My wishes and regards for this person and I am very hopeful for the future. I am sure we will get the victory”. He then asked me to ask him why Iraq is going to win against the terrorists.

Sgt. Boggs: Why are you going to win against the terrorists?

General Ali: Cause where are the terrorists!? Show me the terrorists!

At the end of the interview General Ali told me that the soldiers in his battalion call him “The Old Brother” because not only is he their commander but because he is a brother to them. After talking with this great man I understand why he is called “The Old Brother” because I feel that we are suddenly not so different anymore. He may be an older man who speaks a different language and lives on the other side of the world but we both yearn for freedom and are willing to give our lives for others. General Ali has my utmost respect because he is a lone beacon for hope in the midst of so many enemies of all faces that want to see him fail. He has single handedly changed the face of his town and given hope to all Iraqis that it is possible to stand up in the face of evil and prevail. If only there were more men like him in this world.

78 comments:

madtom said...

It does beg the question, how would General Ali know what the American media says or doesn't say?

T. F. Boggs said...

Seriously, that is the first comment on this post? Give me a break and take your B.S. somewhere else. What begs the question is your ability to know what General Ali knows or doesn't know. Does he speak English Madtom? Does he read English? Does he have a TV in his office? Does he have the Internet? What newspapers does he read?
For all of those who can look past the little things that catch ignorant people like madtom up I hope you like the post. I am sick of ignorant moonbats.

Susan said...

Thank you so much for publishing this interview here. I probably wouldn't have seen it elsewhere. I hope that General Ali's vision of Iraq is one that comes to pass. If they could just multiply him across the country. I loved the fact that he has a sense of humor, and in what is a foreign language! You asked just the things I would have wanted to ask.

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th of July, Sgt. Boggs! It does tick you off to work so hard and to see men dying, willingly, to rid their country and the world from terrorists and criminals and to have so many miss the point or in some cases try to draw attention away from great truths you are presenting to us. The general said many things that we know are true. They need right minded, capable leaders, militarily and politically. They need leaders in commerse, in education - -in every area of life. It seems that civilians from around the world could be helping in those areas more than they are -just like our military is training the IA. The only thing we hear on the MSM is negative about Companys going into Iraq trying to help build up an economy that will give them a better life over there. I know some companys must be there achieving things to some degree but we don't hear anything good about that either. We don't hear what advances are being made in education. What are your thoughts on those things, Sgt. Boggs? As our own Declaration of Independence was also a Declaration of War, we appreciate people like General Ali, but as it was in America all the citizens of Iraq will have to work hard and search diligently for men to lead them down this road to true freedom that they are now on. Thanks Sgt. Boggs for your part in keeping us Independent and thanks to you, General Ali, for having a vision for your people and for backing up that vision with a life of sacrifice. We are not fooled by the MSM or other deceivers. We liked your interview very much. And tell the General he is much better off with just one wife! Stay safe Tim and give all the men a hug or something for us today - -please. Great job!!
Annie & Neatie

t.h. snure said...

Hey Tim,
Once again you have outdone yourself! We continue to pray for you and your friends like General Ali! Don't let the weenies like madtom get to you.

Todd and Susan

Also From Helen,
I love you and you are my best big cousin (Eva loves you too, but she is too small to tell daddy that)

Rich S said...

Hey Tim, First off Happy 4th and thank you for your service. I truly enjoyed reading your interview and have been busily telling other to come read it. Since the MSM will never report stories like this I am forever grateful that people like yourself take the time to share your stories and experiences. Stay safe and I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Gypsy said...

t.f. well done! You continue to outdo yourself, I'm glad you started your blog and that I found you from the beginning.

I truly enjoyed the interview with the General and I hope you'll pass along my best wishes for him and his country. It's absolutely wonderful to read such comments, God knows we don't get anything like this from the media.

Stay safe and stay strong. We appreciate you. Happy Independence Day, thanks for all you do.

madtom said...

Sgt. Boggs,

For my first comment here we would seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot. It was just a question, not an accusation.

For the record I have been enjoying your blog, and thank you for your efforts. Have a happy forth.

dj elliott said...

TFB: Don't let the BS get to you and keep up the good work. I am curious about how much wheeled armor the IA is getting?

- madtom: Reality 101.

Western press (AP/UPI etc) is translated into Arabic, etc. What you see in the US, is seen worldwide. (For that matter, we survey and translate foreign press into english for internal USG distro.)

The General is the Commanding Officer of one of only ten Iraqi Divisions. Like our senior officers, he probably gets a condenced brief on significant foreign press reporting on his country.

In other words, your first statement was classic ignorant wingnut troll.

IS1(SW), USN(Ret)

Webproze said...

Outstanding interview that should be required reading for all the mainstream media idiots.

I do disagree with the General in one part though....he said that the media is getting their message from the terrorists. I don't believe that, I believe that the terrorists are getting their message from the media. When the media says "we can't win this war" that provides aid and comfort to the terrorists.

Thanks for your service, and keep up the good work.

Semper Fi

Courtney said...

Tim,

Wow! That was an amazing interview! Great questions!

I turned my brother onto your website and now everybody in his department of Whirlpool reads your blog religiously!

Keep writing and stay safe!!!

P.S. Great adjective with "ignorant moonbats" by the way- ha!

The Ugly American said...

Great job Tim! I really hope this interview makes it into the MSM somewhere. It deserves and needs to be widely read.

Ps.

Thank you for passing my note on to General Ali.

Bag Blog said...

Great interview! I know you guys are doing a great job in Iraq, and I know the Iraqi army is improving because you are there to guide them. My cousin, a Marine who was in Fallujah last July thru Feb attached to an Iraqi army unit, mentioned an Iraqi Col. Najim in many of his emails home. He said that Col. Najim "was a great man with a great heart for his family and his people." He wrote over and over how well the Iraqi army was doing in his area. He enjoyed his work with the Iraqi army. In fact, he will be back in Iraq in October attached to another Iraqi army unit. The mass media may not report the good that you do, and people may not believe it is true, but I know and support all you do.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Hi Sgt. Boggs,
Just a note to say that I have been enjoying your blog, although I haven't commented before.

I am curious about something. Does General Ali know General Georges Sada (retired)?

Thank you for all you are doing.

Melinda said...

Another great effort yet again! It is shameful that a guy in Iraq "gets it" when it comes to the picture being painted by the media and people in this country who love to jabber on about how enlightened & intelligent they are remain so hopelessly dense.

Keep up the good work!!!

dj elliott said...

I keep seeing IA 2nd Division Bns TOAs. How long til 2nd joins 8th, 6th, 9th and 5th as Independent?

strykeraunt said...

Thank you for the interview. It is so good to receive the reinforcement that some Iraqis do get it!! I know this is true but it sometimes becomes real difficult to keep the faith when so much bad continues to occur.

A young soldier from my hometown was killed a little over a week ago. While I have experienced a couple of tragedies close to home, this is a loss where I actually knew the soldier. He was a great soldier, and a great kid. He will be missed by many. Words cannot describe how pissed off I am right now. If there is any solace, it is that he died doing what he wanted to do. This interview of General Ali also helps me to regain my belief that there are actually some Iraqis who have an understanding about who our soldiers are, and the sacrifices they are making to bring stability to that country.

Anonymous said...

We understand that pissed off feeling that you speak of Strykeraunt, as well as the suffering your town is going through. I hope General Ali takes a moment to try and understand how losing our sons and friends in this struggle can affect us. It is one thing to die for someone else when it is appreciated, another when you see little evidence of that. The Generals interview does help but we need many many more such stories. We, the United States of America, do not have to go to war. We could just close our borders and protect ourselves from terrorists and be brutal in retaliation if attacked and like some other nations say let the rest of the world take care of itself. The fact that the American people have so much respect for every human life should tell the rest of the world something - - - but sometimes it seems the world just doesn't catch on. Sometimes you get tired of defending those who do little to defend themselves. We are sincerely devastated with your loss Strykeraunt and our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your town.

Antediluvia said...

Right on! In your face, MSM! Yet another great interview by t.f. boggs.

EW1(SG) said...

Excellent interview. I'll be passing this on.

And pass on to "The Older Brother" our support for both you, our soldiers, and his soldiers building a new Iraq.

madtom: As IS1 noted above, part of the military job is keeping track of what is going on in the world and how it relates to your mission. As a collateral duty Intelligence Assistant, for example, I daily read half a dozen foreign papers (even in our home port thousands of miles from our area of operations) just to keep up with daily events there and to guage how it would affect our presence there. That a senior officer would do the same is no surprise.

EW1

Anonymous said...

TF...

We left Mosul (FOB Courage) in December of 05. Had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with General Ali about a year ago. Great man. Qayyarrah is indeed a model. Keep your head down and you eyes on the big prize until your back in the land of the big PX.

Pat in NC said...

Thank you so much for interviewing the general. I will be sending your posts to some friends who need to see that the mission is worthwhile and our troops are fantastic. Your service to our nation can never be prised too much. Msay God bless our brave men and women as the help the Iraqi people who have suffered so much.

Praguetwin said...

General Ali: Cause where are the terrorists!? Show me the terrorists!

Here
Here
Here

For those of you who expected that al-Zarqawi's death would mean less car bombs...

The U.S. military reported 74 car bombs in the four weeks ending June 9, two days after al-Zarqawi was killed, compared with 125 in the four weeks since that date.

That quote was clipped from an article which you can read Here

Also, from the article, and answering the question posited by General Ali....

In other violence Thursday, according to authorities:

_ A suicide car bomb struck a joint Iraqi-U.S. checkpoint near Ana town, about 155 miles northwest of Baghdad, wounding two Iraqi solders.

_ A former judge during Saddam's regime was killed and his son was wounded in a drive-by shooting in western Baghdad.

_ Gunmen killed a real estate broker at his office in Mosul. A roadside bomb also struck a police patrol in the northern city, wounding one of the policemen.

_ A mortar barrage struck a police station in Madain, southeast of Baghdad, killing two people, including a woman, and wounding seven policemen.

_ Gunmen killed a police major from the Interior Ministry as he was driving near Baqouba.

_ A roadside bomb struck an electric pylon in eastern Baghdad, wounding one civilian and causing power outages. Police also defused three other bombs in the area.


At least for Thursday, July 6th, 2006, the terrorists were in those places mentioned above.

Sorry Boggs, but if you guys are going to reduce your argument to, "there are no terrorists, the media is just making it up," someone needs to call you out on it.

You can all jump on me now and call me a moonbat, but I suggest you find out something about me before you call me ignorant.

This in no way means I don't respect what both you and General Ali are trying to do. You know I'm seeking the truth.

Anonymous said...

The propagandists are back - -that means it was a great interview Sgt. Boggs. Thank you very much for the hard work you went to in order to get it for us. And tell General Ali thank you for standing up instead of back. We know that there are terrorists in Iraq but we are smart enough to know that General Ali meant that they had been rounded up or rendered uneffective in his area of ooperation. Some people can't read.

Anonymous said...

someone just turned me onto
your blog...i LOVE it!!!!!!!

great interview!!!!!
loved what he said about
zarq.hehehehehehehehehehe

thanks for your service too!!
can't tell u that enough!!!!

andrea/summer pj's/minnesota

jordan said...

"My tribe is the military."

Great interview, great man. The professionalism and pride in soldiering is a sign of promise for this society, which is going to need a strong security force for sometime to come.

There does seem to be an Iraqi national identity and character that doesn't get fair play. Too often, our view over here is of a people hopelessly divided by religion and neighborhood.

While some of that is undeniable, there does seem to be emerging an Iraqi national identity -- tenacious, committed, and aware of it's ancient, thousand year historical roots. Perhaps they're drawing confidence from, and taking pride in the importance of their country to early civilization.

So many strong pillars for them to build a nation and Iraqi nationalism upon - it gives me hope. Thanks.

Tom C said...

I don't recall Mad Tom being a moonbat. I could be wrong but I anm not usually. Loved the interview. Gotta give a special thanks to the gal that emailed me your link. Thanks Andrea.

The Ugly American said...

Jordon I have a couple Iraqi friends that Tim knows as well. They both tell me the Iraqi national identity has been around for a long time and that the divisions between sunni and shia have only recently become more prevalent.

They also think this is overblown by the media and caused more by outsiders than by Iraqis.

Take a look at their blogs sometime

Treasure of Baghdad

and 24 Steps to Liberty

Ikez said...

Awesome interview T.F.
Keep up the great work.

www.regimeofterror.com

Praguetwin said...

Third I need them to believe me that the terrorists are down in Iraq. I only see terrorists on Al Jazerra, where are the terrorists? Show them to me! I go to Mosul by myself-no bad guys. I need to see terrorists. I have not been attacked in three years, except for once in April of last year and he only killed himself and did not hurt me. Where are the bad guys?

Maybe I'm not reading this correctly but doesn't "the terrorists are down in Iraq" mean that there are no terrorists or that they have been defeated.

Maybe he means "down in Iraq" like in the south and not in the north like Mosul for instance.

I could use some clarification on this one.

But anyway, if you are looking for bad guys in Mosul, maybe you should look for the guys who did THIS

Huntress said...

GREAT INTERVIEWS.

SHOW ME THE TERRORISTS! Gawd I love General Ali :>)

Too bad the point he was making is lost on one of your commenters, altho that comes as NO surprise.

BTW: your interview with Gen.Ali
(Part One) was picked up by The Assyrian International News Agency.
http://www.aina.org/news/20060706113312.htm

mamaworecombatboots said...

Sgt Boggs

Great score with the interview! Maybe a new career calling when you're outta there.

As for opposing points of view, as long as they are respectful, I think it is a good thing. No one learns much preaching only to the choir. It is extremely encouraging to read about people like General Ali, however the conditions pointed out on Riverbend, Healing Iraq, 24 Steps are also true. As are those on Fun with Hand Grenades, Green. . . Again, The Real Ugly American, Michael Yon and T.F. Boggs. The best thing about reading blogs is the diversity of viewpoints. Iraq is not a single entity and many things are happening around the country. The key is to read all the experiences as they are presented by those who are living them. How else can we really see the big picture?

Mike H. said...

Tom C., I don't remember madtom as a moonbat either.

Praguetwin, as I read Gen. Ali's statement I glean the fact that the terrorist density is not as heavy as the media would have you believe. The examples that you highlight are fact but the number of actions per hundreds of thousands of people are few. Each one makes a disproportionately louder bang because of the amplification of the press.

mamaworecombatboots said...

Oh I forgot--when the general talks about "terrorists," what does he mean? Foreign fighters or local insurgents or someone else?

BUCK SARGENT said...

Praguetwin,

If all you did was scan the police blotters (aka, the MSM coverage of Iraq) in a large metropolitan area like Los Angeles or Detroit, you'd get the same skewed picture of what an average day is like. You'd be afraid to travel to those cities thinking they are out of control and wracked with violence, death, and murder.

I'll grant you that there are still two areas in Iraq that are not under control (Ramadi and some areas of Baghdad), but everywhere else is a joke as far as a "war" goes. You can go on dozens, sometimes hundreds, of combat patrols without seeing anything even remotely close to combat. The enemy doesn't engage us anymore because all the brave/crazy ones are dead. The clever ones are all that's left, but they prefer hit & run tactics that simply aren't very effective unless they get lucky, which occasionally they do.

But anyone can randomly kill civilians. How many are violently killed in any urban population of 25 million on any given week, even with no recent history of war? I'd certainly like to know that. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands. Why not look it up for me, and report back?

Cheers,
Buck

BUCK SARGENT said...

Oh, and true Iraqi men like General Ali are not as rare as one might think. There's even quite a few on the police side, which tends to not be as squared away an organization as the Iraqi army right now.

Believe me, the Iraqis are doing their best with what they have to work with right now, which is a country broken from decades of neglect and mistrust. It's not going to become the United Arab Emirates overnight. But they are the only Arabs in the Middle East who can choose their own leaders. That's got to count for something.

tanksis said...

Sgt.,

Inspirational-again.

I am not sure what the hell we are going to do when you and Buck come home. Or at least what the hell I am going to do anyway.

Hope you get that report back on those stats you've requested, Buck Sargent. I'd sure love to see what they are:-)

You guys rock.

BUCK SARGENT said...

FYI,

I come home for good in three weeks, baby!

How long you got left, Boggsy? Oh, that's right... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH

Okay, that was mean. I take it back. (Except for the part about me coming home in THREE WEEKS.) If I did, my wife would divorce me, or kill me, or worse (you fill in the blank on that one).

dj elliott said...

"But anyone can randomly kill civilians. How many are violently killed in any urban population of 25 million on any given week, even with no recent history of war?"

You will find that Venezuela's murder rate is higher than Iraq's Murder/insurection (even if you count bad guys killed). And VE is supposed to be at peace.

Anonymous said...

We will ALL miss you Buck Sargent but save our all our email addresses and after your wife grows weary of you and you start writing again please update us and please - -KEEP WRITING. We understand that it may be a while. As for you Boggs, you will have to fill Bucks boots while he is busy elsewhere. Both of you be safe.
A&N

T. F. Boggs said...

The fact that the point of this interview was missed on some people does not surprise me. No matter what we try to do over here to push a positive message it will always get shot down or twisted by those who dont think we are telling the truth because we dont write as a profession. I wonder how many people would believe every word I said if my articles were being published by major news organizations?
Buck is right, I am sure it is far more dangerous for a white man to drive around in South Central, LA in a nice car than it is for anyone to travel around Iraq. With that said I agree with Buck and would advise people to avoid Ramadi and certain parts of Baghdad. But then again I am sure there are parts of everyone's cities that they would rather not go.
The interview with General Ali shows that Iraq is moving in the right direction. There are hard working people in Iraq that want to see their country change into a peaceful place. The interview also shows that Iraq does not consist solely of Ramadi and Baghdad. There are tons of cities and towns where it is safe to live. If you are bound to listen only to the news about every car bomb and every beheading than you are always going to see the glass half empty. I choose to see those events as temporary. And with more men like General Ali they will be.
As far as me going home it will be a few more months, keep laughing Buck-at least I am not going home to an army base! I will be in control of my own life when I get back later this year. No early morning PT, no PMCS, no training, no shaving, no "Yes first sergeant, whatever you say top." I think I'll have to go home and grow a beard, how about that Buck!
I am not sure what you guys will do without Buck and I, maybe now you will quit reading our blogs at work and start working harder. I read somewhere that reading blogs is fast becoming the number one time waster at work.

Anonymous said...

Reading Sgt. Boggs and Buck Sargent are NEVER a waste of time!! Now hear that - and that from a civilian! So don't get cocky on us and just keep on writing you two. And we do believe what you blogg even if you write independent of editors.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Terrific interviews, Sgt. Boggs! Thanks so much for sharing these with us. Seems some people deliberately misunderstand what you guys blog. I'm sure some would prefer to think that the "bad news crews" are only read & heard here at home instead of realizing the global reach of communications these days - and the abilities of more than an elite few to read and understand them. Your efforts are appreciated!

Praguetwin said...

Buck,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I was worried no one would even try. I'll disregard the jab about having a lot of time on my hands, but I will note that you have spent some time writing to me in the past, and most of the readers here would definately consider that act as evidence that you have WAY too much time on your hands. I know that you don't, and thus I appreciate the time that you spend engaging me. Keep in mind there are few people in the blogosphere who actually spend the time to interact with those who disagree with them in an intelligent way. Good on you, Sir.

I ran some numbers (as per your request). Here is what I came up with:

I think a conservative estimate of how many people are dying violent deaths in Iraq would be 10,000 per year. I casualties is reporting between 800 and 1100 civilian and Iraqi security forces deaths per month, of late, with the caveat that the list is incomplete (i.e. there could be more). This list doesn't count insurgent deaths, and it also doesn't include Coalition casualties which are running over 700 per year.

So if we can agree on 10,000 violent deaths per year in a country of 25,000,000 as a very conservative estimate, the numbers look like this....

For the country of Iraq, the "murder rate" is currently at 40 deaths per year for each 100,000 citizens.

As a comparison, in the United States (much more violent than any other developed country) the murder rate for metropolitan areas was 5.5 per 100,000. Now that is metropolitan areas, that is not the country as a whole.

If you reduce the the violence down to Baghdad (population nearly 6,000,000) and Ramadi (population approximately 400,000) you get a "murder rate" of about 160 per 100,000 people. But you and Boggs are saying that it is only Ramadi and "certain parts of Baghdad" that are the problem, so the areas of violence would have even higher numbers.

In the U.S. the most violent city in 2000 was New Orleans with 20 murders for every 100,000 people. This rate is over 30% higher than the next highest city. It is double the LA-Long Beach tally which comes in at just over 10 per 100,000. Even cities like Sacramento and Oakland which I have been in very bad parts of, come in just barely over the national metropolitan area average.

I had a girlfriend in college who worked at the Sacramento morgue on the weekends and processed so many gang killing bodies, it really started to get to her. She said it was nearly always the same: black male between 18 and 25 with a gunshot wound.

What bothers me is that the level of violence in a city like Sacramento has become accepted as normal by American society. Just be sure to live in the right (not pun intended) neighborhood and you will be fine. And extrapolating from that, if the level of violence in Baghdad as a whole is 30 times what it is in Sacramento, that isn't so bad.

If you want, I can compare these numbers to murder rates in European metropolitan areas, but I don't think you are going to like the multipliers. Using the U.S. as par is definately to your advantage.

I'm not saying there is a full blown war going on in Iraq. My point is only that the U.S. has removed the mechanism which prevented people from killing each other (a mechanism that relied on the killing of certain people so good riddance) and has not provided adequate security since that time. This is in direct conflict with the Geneva Convention on Occupying Forces. No disrespect to what you and Boggs are doing, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of y'all to go around. Even the big push on Baghdad recently to replace the militias as security forces has resulted in an upsurge in civilian deaths. It seems the militias were able to do at least a commensurate job as what Coalition forces are now doing. Disarming the militias will be the hardest task of all when and IF enough securtiy can be provided by the U.S. or the Iraqis to make the disarming of militias (or at least their "well regulation") a possibility.

The number one reason that Operation Freedom type of intervention is rarely tried is that the power vacuum often creates worse conditions than were present before the occupation. If a force believes that it can quell opposition and provide adequate security for the civilian population three years on, then the action justifies itself. In this case, serious questions about the ability of Coalition forces to provide security abound.

But if the move creates chaos, then it is all in vain. You replace one bad system with more death and destruction. I'm not saying we are there yet. I hope that this thing can be brought under control. My ire is for people like Rumsfeld who have failed to provide a level of security for Iraq that meets any kind of resonable test. That is not a knock on your guys' ability, but on the numbers of y'all that are currently deployed.

Having said that, I've also been to Venezuela and to consider that place as safe, or not in the midst of a battle (or war) is just plain mad. Just because Venezuela is a mess, that doesn't make Iraq a better place.

And finally, Huntress, well.... well, you know.

Rurik said...

Every man should be a patriot for his own country. I was told that twelve years ago in Volgograd.
That statement is true in Russia, and in America, and in Iraq.
As long as Iraq has General Ali (may victory be upon him) and America has Sgt Boggs, we are fine, and need not fear the treason media.

BUCK SARGENT said...

One problem, Praguetwin:

You made the assertion that Iraq is in worse shape now than before the invasion (based on the murder rate).

Without the commensurate stats of the Baathist era to compare it to, sounds like you're just spitting in the wind here. As far as I'm aware, no one knows for sure exactly how many were liquidated under Saddam, but Iraqi society didn't suddenly become violent in the span of a three week liberation. The fractured society we're currently seeing has roots that go way, way back. There may not have been foreigners exploding car bombs in the streets, but it's difficult to find an average Iraqi who did not lose some relative or other to the brutality of the state.

Some security they provided. Anyone makes a fuss, their whole family disappears. Ah, pining for the good old days.

Kathy said...

Sgt. Boggs,
Thanks for this excellent post - I've linked you (but blogger without haloscan won't format a trackback) - you can find the link here.

Thank you for your service! God bless you.

T. F. Boggs said...

Praguetwin:

You raise a semi-valid point but at the same time I think the point you are trying to make does not work in this situation.

You ask what General Ali was talking about when he said "Where are the terrorists?" Well what he meant was where are the real terrorists, not petty criminals. They certainly aren't around my area in any real numbers. Of course General Ali catches more of them from time to time as I mentioned in the interview but the overall number is way down from when he started to take over his city. If your neighborhood had 100 murderers and you killed 85 of them in a year then the subsequent years would see a lot less murders. They would still be out there but not in a significant number.

You also are comparing American cities to cities in a country that saw a war just three years ago- apples and oranges. Even though LA or Detroit may seem bad sometimes they didn't just go through a war and are not currently undergoing a complete change in the government with many opposition forces roaming the streets. I don’t think any comparisons will work in this case. Maybe we could compare Iraq with the aftermath of WWII in Germany although I know many people don’t like to. That would provide us with much more comparable numbers.

I also don’t like your quip about car bombs going down after Zarqawi's death. There is no relevance to what you said. I, and probably everyone in the military who has a clue about these things, expected the number of attacks to grow right after his death. The bad guys were seeking revenge for the death of their leader. Those things always happen here. However, they happen for a while but then usually decline rapidly as the enemy cannot keep up with the pace.

I don’t know exactly what you are trying to get at. What do you mean by bringing up these numbers? Seriously, I am wondering. Do you mean to show that we are losing here? Are you trying to show that peace will not prevail here? What is it Praguetwin? I am trying to make sense of your comments.

Praguetwin said...

Buck,

I didn't mean to imply that less people were killed under Saddam, but that case has been made. At 10,000 a year that would mean he would have to kill 350,000 since 68. Sounds about right.

I don't want to get into pining for the old days, that is for sure. My point was just that by any measure, the security situation is poor.

Boggs,

Thank you for that clarification. What exactly do you have to do to be a "real terrorist." It seems the complextion of the problem in Iraq is shifting to one of criminality and revenge killings from just random violence. Is that an improvement?

You said...

If your neighborhood had 100 murderers and you killed 85 of them in a year then the subsequent years would see a lot less murders. They would still be out there but not in a significant number.

This is a logical statement, but doesn't match the situation on the ground. With all these killers being rounded up or killed, why are people and coalition soldiers still dying in roughly the same numbers month on month?

I ran the numbers because Buck asked me to.....

How many are violently killed in any urban population of 25 million on any given week, even with no recent history of war? I'd certainly like to know that. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands. Why not look it up for me, and report back?

So I did and found that Iraq as a whole has 8 times more people dying than an average urban area in the states, and in Baghdad it is more like 35 times as violent as a city in the U.S. As an occupying force, the coalition has a legal obligation to provide security. The charge is that they are unable to provide an acceptable level of security. This is a fair charge in my view.

The quip about Zarqawi I think is fair in that I and others contend that the killing of figures like Zarqawi do little to improve the security situation or reduce the activities of terrorists. There are 10 guys waiting to take his place and the activities of the people he led continue unabated. I can report back on the number of car bombs in six months if you like, but you won't like the numbers. Will your email still work?

I'd be happy to compare the situation in Baghdad now with say Berlin in 1946, or actuallly 1948, three years after the end of major combat operations. I think I will post it on my blog.

My point is that the reporting on the war reflects the dismal security situation there. General Ali flat out says "no bad guys" in Mosul and yet there was a car bomb there just a few days ago.

You guys can continue to pretend that "things aren't so bad" or that "the situation is improving" and in some places you are right. But as a whole, if you look at the numbers, the security situation is poor, and the monthly death toll is not waning.

It has been three years. How long do you think it is going to take to acheive your goals there? 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years, 6 decades, or 6 centuries?

Really, I'd like to hear your opinion.

I'd say stay safe, but there isn't any danger where you are, right?

Elizabeth said...

I was fascinated to read, after reading this blog post and comments, the following blog post by another soldier:
http://foxholephilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/07/more-media-part-ii.html

strykeraunt said...

Elizabeth,

I went to the blog that you linked here and read the post. However, I also read this soldier's other posts to gain a better picture of where the soldier who the "Foxhole Philosopher" blog is coming from.

It appears to me that you grabbed onto the phrase, "Where are the terrorists" to make a point that the General is lying. However, the point the soldier at Foxhole Philosopher is attempting to make does not center around, "Iraqis lie," but that journalists are not spending enough time in country to learn the culture (that often includes lying) before they report what they perceive to be facts. Ironically, he is blaming journalists for the same thing you seem to do here. You seem to take snippets of information and run with it rather than looking at it in context. In fact, General Ali also points out the inaccurate reporting by the U.S. media.

Just in case you missed it, T.F. Boggs is not a Journalist who just flew into Iraq. He is not relying on stringers for his information. He is actually a soldier whose boots have been on the ground for more than a few months. Buck Sargent says he is coming home in three weeks (which means he has been in country for almost a year). Tim and Buck are in a position to put what the General is saying into context with the current situation in the area that the General is referring. Why is this so difficult for you.

I am just dumbfounded when people who have not even planted their boots on the ground, come to these blogs and attempt to correct soldiers who are or have "been there."

I don't know too much about Qayyarah, most likely because there is not a lot of violence occuring there. However, I have followed the situation in Mosul and Tal Afar since earlier 2004, and definitely see that the violence has dropped dramatically in those two cities. I read this interview of General Ali, and see a consistency with other information I have collected the last couple of years and conclude that the interview appears accurate. This does not mean that violence no longer exists but that it has taken a dramatic downturn. In comparison to two years ago, I think it is accurate to say, "where are the terrorists" in these two cities. And, since many of us have not even heard about the conditions in Qayyarah from the MSM, it is probably safe to say, "where are the terrorists" in that city too.

I think it is pretty sad that people would prefer to grab onto any information they find that will prove failure rather than progress.

Anonymous said...

Motives are everything, Strykeraunt. Since we can't see the hearts of men or women we can't know their motives. We can however see their works and thereby know if their motives are good or evil. General Ali has much work to display openly what is hidden in his heart. He does not tear down. He builds up. He is consistent and provides evidence of his work. Maybe you can't see motives but if you look at the evidence of a persons life and watch for how they handle or mishandle the truth. In this way you can know their hearts, if their motives are good or evel. Face it Stryteraunt. Our country has many enemies and not all of them carry guns. Some of them smile sweetly. Thank you for your comment. Thank you General Ali for what you are doing and know that all evil comes from the hearts of men as well as does all good. You have shown us your heart and we will respond accordingly. Two Americans who are greatful for good men no matter what country they come from or what language they speak. Thank you Tim for a very good blog.

Praguetwin said...

Strykeraunt,

I think you have me confused with Elizabeth. It seems like everytime I comment on this site, I get mixed up with another dissenter. I guess in binary logic, "we" are all one entity and therefore interchangable.

Anyway, you said...

but that journalists are not spending enough time in country to learn the culture (that often includes lying) before they report what they perceive to be facts.

Are you saying that, for example, when journalists reported the car bomb that went off in Mosul last week that maybe they should have checked the facts before they rushed to print? Maybe it wasn't a car-bomb at all and just a nasty backfire! Those lying Iraqis just exaggerated the story!

I don't deny that things have improved in Mosul, but things are deteriorating in places like Falujah (which Boggs does not mention. I guess Falujah is all clear for tourism.

The point is simply this: you can point to certain improvements in certain places but as a whole, when you look at the numbers, things are about the same as last year or two years ago with the caveat that Iraqis are killing each other more and more.

If you would like to challenge me on that contention with facts, please, enlighten me. In fact, since you have been compiling data on Mosul and Tal Afar, why not share it with all of us?

You also said...

I am just dumbfounded when people who have not even planted their boots on the ground, come to these blogs and attempt to correct soldiers who are or have "been there."

I'm just after the facts and trying to clarify what was said. When General Ali says..."The terrorists are down in Iraq." I'm trying to figure out what he means. Incidently, no one has answered that question. So what exactly does he mean?

When General Ali says..."No bad guys" in Mosul, I point out the car bombing last week and justifiably so. I'm not saying he is lying: he probably believes it. But the facts just don't match the story.

Are you suggesting that I should disregard news reports about car bombings and instead just believe General Ali that the media is just making all this up?

Oh, and thanks for the report on Boggs. I thought he was a high-school student living out some fantasy. Please.

Anonymous said...

Point proven Strykeraunt.

strykeraunt said...

Praguetwin,
No I am not mistaken. You may assume that everyone is responding to you, however, I was indeed responding to Praguetwin. I actually think Buck Sargent and Tim are addressing you quite well on their own. And, quite frankly, I have not all of the information you seem so willing to place here, including the information you just provided me.

strykeraunt said...

Actually, I meant that I was responding to Elizabeth.

T. F. Boggs said...

The question remains Praguetwin-what is your point with all of this? Why do you bring up these numbers? What is the point?

Is General Ali supposed to know exactly how many terrorists are in Mosul at all times? Is he supposed to anticipate what terrorists are going to do next? Are we as the "security force" supposed to lock everyone down, search house to house, take everyone's cars away so there wont be anymore car bombs, take all the batteries away, all the cell phones, all the det cord, all the lathes so shape charges can't be made, all the UXO, all the mortars, all the triggers, all the washer timers, all the land mines, all the RPGs, all the AK 47's, all the bullets, all the knives, all the saws, all the hatchets, all the anything sharper than a spoon so no one here can hurt anyone else? What do you seriously suggest we do? Do you want us to build a fence around Iraq so no one can get in? Should we put road blocks on every street? Should we strip everyone in Iraq of their privacy so no one else will die? What should we do Praguetwin? If all you have are numbers where are the solutions?

We are doing the best we can do. Patience is a virtue Praguetwin, one in which you are lacking.

Why does the blame lie solely on the Americans and not on those Iraqis who wantonly kill others for jihad and money? Is anything their fault or is it all ours? Did we make them kill other people? Did we implant into the terrorists a religious zeal? Blame, blame, blame.

In my eyes more killing equals more desperation on the part of the terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Great Tim.

strykeraunt said...

The number of errors in my previous comment shows the rush I was in when posting. I was on my way to witness a couple of thousand motorcyclists participate in the third annual Ride and Rally for the Troops. During each of the last two years, over two thousand riders registered to participate in the ride, raising $35,000 for soldiers and their families. From what I witnessed today, this support did not wane this third year. This is only a small segment of our society who is showing their support in very large numbers. This does not even count those who came out to the overpasses to show their support.

These Americans are not compiling numbers and arguing facts with soldiers. Instead they are using their time to show a solid support for those soldiers who are making the sacrifice. Then there are people like Praguetwin who pretends to be an American, pretending to be East European, pretending to be American. If you are confused by this statement you are not alone...it confuses the heck out of me too!

Anon, you are absolutely correct. I suspect that this is why Praguetwin and Elizabeth don't get it. They are so busy looking at the way they can compile the numbers that they can't see the heart (plus the fact that they aren't there). It is true that I am not there either. However, I do trust judgement and insight of our soldiers who are there.

In addition, I have yet to find a journalist who has actually imbedded with our soldiers come out and say that they are not seeing progress in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Yes Strykeraunt - -that is all very true. Read Leventhals blogs after being with the Marines in Western Iraq a month or so ago. Read Steve Harrigan who went into Afghanistan at the beginning of that war with the Northern Alliance and embeds often. Read the good war journalists and you are exactly right! Read Mike Yon. The real journalists who have no agenda before they go, tell the truth. We can't write them all off. But our Military men are special messengers to us because they are fighting this war for us and see it for the longest periods of time and have no preconceived agenda for the most part. Thanks again Tim. We can't say that enough!

Kat said...

THANK YOU for doing and posting this interview!!! It is awesome! Hope you don't mind, but I've linked your blog on mine. :) Thanks for everything you do for our country - WE APPRECIATE YOU!

Praguetwin said...

Boggs,

I ran the numbers because Buck asked me to. I don't really know how else I can explain that.

The numbers show that the security situataion in Iraq is poor. Which is in direct contradiciton to the flowery picture painted by General Ali. I don't expect you or the General to be able to solve these problems right away, but to pretend they don't exist is not helping anyone.

What should you do about the poor security situation in Iraq? I'm not sure. I didn't want this war because I figured this is where we would be years later: chaos, poor security, maybe even civil war. I think you sould direct questions about what to do to your commanders, not some flakey ex-pat.

No one seems to have any answer to your question. Some think we should give up and leave. Others think there should be at least twice as many soldiers on the ground. Still others want to "stay the course."

So I'll ask you again since I'm supposed to be patient, how long do you think the U.S. will need to be there in roughly the current numbers? Another 3 years? 5? 10? 20? What is your guess? How patient do I need to be?

And finally, I never said it was all your fault, just that as an occupying force the coalition has a legal and moral obligation to provide security.

Strykeraunt,

Sorry for the confusion. You were talking about latching onto the phrase "where are the terrorists" which I did but Elizabeth didn't: she just posted the link. My mistake.

For clarification, I'm not pretending to be anything. I am an American citizen with residency and working papers in the Czech Republic. Is it that hard to understand?

dj elliott said...

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Press Releases/DispForm.aspx?ID=3359&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecentcom%2Emil%2Fsites%2Fuscentcom1%2FLists%2FPress%2520Releases%2FCurrent%2520Releases%2Easpx

T. F. Boggs said...

Chaos, chaos, mass chaos everywhere. Watch out world there is mass chaos in Iraq.

Seriously Praguetwin there is not chaos in Iraq. The goal I had in mind when I started this blog was to help spread the truth about Iraq since the world cannot get it from the media. My belief that this is true is evidenced by your last response. You obviously don't know the situation on the ground in Iraq and rely solely on what you hear from the media and there is really nothing wrong with that because I don't expect you to come here nor do I think you should. You have to get your info from somewhere right?

The real problem lies with the media because I feel they have an obligation to present the truth about what is happening here. While car bombs are part of what is happening they are not the whole picture. If you balance car bombs with what I and men like General Ali say then you get closer to the truth. The picture he paints is the truth, it is not just some flowery picture intended to deceive.

I really don't care if you have patience or not because things will continue to go on in Iraq whether you have patience or not. I am just glad that there are people out there who can "see" into the future. How long did it take for America to get things right? After the founding fathers signed the paperwork did things just magically fall into place or was it a ongoing process that took many years to realize?

Anonymous said...

Lies are always confusing but the truth is easy to understand. You, Sgt Boggs, are easy to understand. I enjoyed and learned from your interview with General Ali. Thank you for what you are doing. Thank General Ali for what he is doing if you get the chance. Sometimes I think that with all the immigration to the US we are replanting all those old lies that we left Europe for and against which we declared independence. All in the name of multi-culturalism. What a shame.

Praguetwin said...

Well, you are right that I am not there and so I don't really know.

All I have to go on is the reports, and they are pretty graphic. I do have one friend reporting from the "red zone" and I trust that he isn't making up his stories.

I'm particularly worried about the surge in sectarian violence like the massacre less than two miles from the green-zone. Let's hope the rumors of Mehdi involvement are lies.

I never expected this to go quickly, but the Seceretary of Defense did, and that is what he told all of us on national telivision.

On the one hand you are saying that there is no chaos, on the other, you imply there is a long way to go.

When do you think we will see a drop in the body count?

When will the mission be acomplished?

I trust you have a much better ability to see these things clearly so, please, just give it a guess.

Margarita said...

Wow, what an awesome privilege to interview an Iraqi General! Very interesting.

Intriguing comments too... It's rather apparent that nearly everyone (from all sides of the political spectrum) holds serious hostility towards our media. Can we say reform?

Rantin' Ron said...

SGT. Boggs,
Keep up the great work. I recently stumbled across your blog and hope to be an avid reader until you guys are home again.
You shame this old man with your bravery and dedication to duty.
I half heartedly "served" in Vietnam because I was ordered to do so. I never made a difference like you have. I can honestly say that I never believed we should have even been in Vietnam and subsequently, I never went out of my way to help the locals. It is to my enduring disgrace that I didn't. I was a petulant child draftee who just wanted to go back home and party.
Therein lies the difference between my generation and yours...
You CHOOSE to serve and do so in an exceptional manner.
THANK YOU SERGEANT BOGGS.

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Boggs,
Thank you for sharing the interview with General Ali. Mainstream media reports seem to be nothing but body counts and doom and gloom. Your work in sharing what else is happening in Iraq is important.
We'll keep praying for you, General Ali and everyone in Iraq courageous enough to fight evil in all its forms.
Thank you,
Olivia

membrain said...

Sergeant Boggs, I've been reading you and Buck Sargent for some time now and I believe you have accomplished your mission in getting the word out about the real situation on the ground in Iraq. Milbloggers in general have been doing this since the early days of OIF. Carry on this fine tradtion. In my mind you are a fine, intelligent and brave young man. I tell as many people as possible about your blog and I will reprint your interview on mine to help spread the word. Thanks again for everything you do. It is an invaluable service.

Marian said...

Dear Boggs,

Thank you for your service and for posting the interview with Gen Ali. I read Part I also and thought it provided very good insight. I do agree whole-heartedly that the MSM does not want to provide a balanced picture of what is really happening in Iraq. I am a member of Soldier Angels and I correspond with many military personnel over there as well as providing support for their efforts with helping local children and schools. I hear a lot of really wonderful first-hand accounts of the progress that is happening all over Iraq. It is in complete contrast to what one would believe if you only read the MSM reports.

I do have some questions that hopefully you can pose to Gen. Ali when you can interview him again.

General Ali said: The Iraqi army does not have clear leaders right now. This is bad. The coalition also supplies everything for us right now and the Iraqi government does not supply anything for us. We get fuel and uniforms from the coalition, but we do not have leaders checking what we need for the future.

My questions are: "What are the plans for the future to develop stronger, better leadership in the Iraqi military?" I think this is key to making Iraq more secure in all areas and it is an important issue going forward.

Also: "What is the Iraqi government doing to address the transfer of resources to Iraqi control and Iraqi military leadership?". It seems that before there can be any real transfer of control to the IA, the fundamentals of supplying the military needs to be addressed. But, I do realize you are military guys, not politicians - so you may not be in a position to answer these questions. However, I would be interested in Gen. Ali's take on this.

To Praguetwin:
Your condescension is absolutely nauseating! I think you made the right move leaving the States to live in a socialist country. It is so much easier to criticize and tear down another's efforts! It is, by far, much more difficult to actually shed your own blood, sweat, and tears to be one of those who builds something of good consequence in this world. And to be persistant in that effort until your goals are realized (that is where a spine comes in handy). Thank God that our Founding Fathers did not think as you do! We would not exist as one nation today and I am convinced that this world would be a much darker place without the U.S.A.

The Ugly American said...

On the one hand you are saying that there is no chaos, on the other, you imply there is a long way to go.

comon prague twin you can do better.

Are you accusing Sgt. Boggs of lying or general Ali?

I think Tim correctly stated that the truth lies between his reports and the MSM's.

That is the impression I have when I read his blog, or Buck's blog or 24's blog or BT's blog or Iraq the Models blog.

Iraq is definitely heading in the right direction but it is not a linear progression. It comes in fits and starts and the end result is far from decided.

The question is do we, and the Iraqis want to condemn Iraq to years of civil war and murder, or do we want to continue to fight to establish a stable democratic country.

The only way we can loose this fight is by giving up.

No matter your prejudices about Iraqis or Arabs or Muslims and how savage, or barbaric they may be, I personally find it very hard to believe that most Iraqis would choose men like Zarqawi, and Al Sadr who like to behead people and murder imams in the streets; over men like Sgt. Boggs and General Ali.

We have distinct and immense advantages. Civilization is right, modernity is right, our military advantage is beyond question.

They have advantages as well, like the will to do anything, and kill anyway in as barbaric a way possible to intimidate the population.

It seems to me very hard to objectively compare our advantages to theirs and come to any conclusion other than victory will be ours as long as we and the Iraqi people have the will to fight.

dj elliott said...

Logisitcs, C2 and improving what is formed are the current focus.

- Tallil BSU went independent last month (Logistics unit for IA 10th Div), K1 BSU also went independent (4th IA Div), Four (of 9 planned) MTRs have been formed that I know of (1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th). Two of five planned Support Bns for 9th IA (Mech) Div were operational in May's report.
(For TFB: Has 2nd Div's MTR and BSU stood up yet?)

- Four of the IA's ten Divisions are Independent (5th, 6th, 8th, 9th). 8-9 are estimated to be Independent by end-year.
(For TFB: I have seen several IA Bn turnovers in Mosul (2nd IA) AOR, have any of the Bdes assumed battlespace yet? ETA on Div?)

- Gen Dempsey mentioned the 60mm mortars planned for IA would be issued by end of summer, also mentioned the 2797 uparmored HMMWVs being provided to the ISF (~15 per Bn). I have seen video of Otokar APCs with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Div and DZIK3s with 6th and 8th (and UI APCs delivered to 10th).
(For TFB: Any clairification on how many APCs per Bn the IA is getting, number of 60mm mortars per Co, are any heavier mortars being delivered for Bn/Bde and any other upgrades?)

- I have also noted ~18 IA Bns conducting and/or trained in air assault operations.
(For TFB: How much of 2nd Div is AAslt trained/operational? The 1st Bde/4th IA Div does these ops so often that I think they sleep in the helos...)

T. F. Boggs said...

DJ-
I am not exactly sure as to what numbers the IA's are being supplied. I do know they are getting better and better stuff and we are even handing over some of our equipment to them. Sorry I cannot give you any specific information as I am not informed about their dealings. I did hear about some of the battlespace takeovers that you talk about so it seems that your info is right on. If I hear anymore I'll let you know.

Praguetwin said...

Real Ugly American,

You are right. That was a cheap shot. I'm not saying anyone is lying specifically, just that I'm getting a mixed message.

General Ali said, "the terrorists are down in Iraq" and to date, no one has explained what that means.

I interpreted that to mean, perhaps wrongly, that they were defeated.

I realize this is a long process, but we are not seeing the progress here on the outside. It seems like there is a lot of fighting left to do, but Boggs and Buck are saying that it is getting wrapped up (just Ramadi and parts of Baghdad).

So I also wanted someone from the inside to estimate about how long they thought it would take to complete the mission. Just a guess.

I've been saying minimum 5 but likely over 10 since before the invation, and people called me crazy. Now I think I'm crazy for thinking it could have been done in 5.

DJ Elliot's rundown is great. Maybe he has a good idea of what we are looking at before all the troops can be fully independent.

I think it is a fair question for those on the ground who have first hand knowledge of the situation.

Boggs?

dj elliott said...

"So I also wanted someone from the inside to estimate about how long they thought it would take to complete the mission. Just a guess."

-- Depends on how you define the mission.

- IA support will be down to Advisors, Artillery, heavy Armor and Air within the 18 months predicted by the new MoD (~20k). Still receiving APCs and Artillery plus I am looking for tank/helo purchases.

- IZ Navy/Marines will be Advisors only in that same time.

- IZAF is the long pole. What they have now is a transport group. I have yet to see fighter/strike aircraft purchases and that is too dangerious of a neighborhood to exist without Air/Air Defense. (Iran and Syria nextdoor.) Five years MINIMUM.

(Note: I am not an insider. I am a retired USN Intel Spec who no longer has any special access. Every detail I cite is open source. I just have 22 years experience at piecing together details into a picture. Too much of it in the ME.)

Praguetwin said...

I would define the mission as creating, "a peaceful and democractic Iraq that serves as a beacon of hope and an example to the region of the benefit of self-determination."

Mission complete would mean air support is no longer necessary, and at least 75% of the current troop levels could come home.

You say 5 minimum. I wonder how many American's who supported the war expected it to take a decade?

Again, thanks for the information. I really wouldn't know how to process all of those akronyms.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding, Sgt. Boggs. I hope that there are a lot more General Alis over there. Good luck and a safe tour to you and yours over there.