UH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (5 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 2243 times:
For the past month and a half, I've been away from Anet, because I was TDY in Iraq for a unique mission to work with Iraqi forces. The opportunity to partake in this mission came down quickly, and I accepted it immediately. Weeks prior to leaving, I learned that I was not going to be able to deploy to Iraq with my sister unit, this fall, as I had intended. Instead I will be going to the new UH-60M model transition course, in a few months. While I have a good chance of going to Afghanistan with the 101st Air Assault Division, I don't know when I will get another chance to fight in Iraq... so I jumped at the chance for this special mission.
It was only a few months since I was last in Iraq... but I have to be honest... some of the progress I witnessed was incredible.
For some time, a lot of people in the military - including myself - have repeatedly said that we've always needed MORE troops in Iraq. The summer surge has the current level at ~160,000 troops, most of them focused in and around Baghdad... where I spent the last 45 days. When General Patreaus was the commander of the 101st, he oversaw combat operations in the city of Mosul. He was able to dramatically reduce violence by mixing troops amongst the local population, utilizing local troop stations and small unit tactics. Now that he's the commander of the overall theater of operations, he's applying a very similar technique to the country, as a whole.
When I left Iraq back in April, I was ready to throw in the towel. Progress was nonexistent. The insurgency was maximizing their efforts in zones where our troop levels were weakest, and what opinions did we have? We could either move troops away from other areas (thus creating a void of strength where they left and open the door to new attacks in the void) or simply ignore the violence. Either option was unacceptable, and hindering any advancement we made. When I left, it felt like every step we were making towards success, would be followed by 5 step backward!
But when I returned most recently, I flew over one particular neighborhood that was a hotbed for violence and danger, only months earlier. But I was amazed that this same neighborhood had done a 180degree about face -- it was relatively quite and safe enough for locals to move about without fear of getting caught in the violence. And each day, I saw a new example of the progress we are making. I also saw that our response to instances of violence and terrorism were a lot quicker and harder. What I saw, was that we're making harder and harder for the bad guys to operate. In many respects, it was a different ballgame than it was back in April.
I'll be honest... I didn't think it possible. I was pretty disheartened when I came home a few months ago. But I am still worried. We have ~160,000 troops in Iraq, but to sustain that number, is going to be VERY difficult. Of the 38 Army brigades, all of them are either deployed, returning from a deployment, or preparing to deploy. It's a strain on us, to say the least. But if we're proving one thing right now - the more troops we have in Iraq, the easier it becomes to maintain security and stability.
If we're able to do that, then we can focus on stabilizing the government. The biggest problem has always been security. Without it, it was impossible for the government to govern effectively. It seems like everyone wants significant progress on every front. Politically, socially, militarily, etc... But I've always considered security to be the chief concern, without it, progress in other areas would be retarded. And we're making progress on that front. If we can maintain the pressure, and make it more and more safe, then we can focus on politics and social issues.
DavestanKSAN From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1678 posts, RR: 15 Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 2219 times:
Welcome back UH, we all missed your posts around here!!!! Glad you had a safe trip, and got to see some progress being made in Iraq.
While you were gone, the debate raged on (well talking about here on A.net) about should we stay or leave Iraq. Well I was one who said we should leave, but after hearing your report I'm not so sure any longer. I wish we could leave Iraq, but the point about security you brought up is very pertinent because the Iraqi government cannot secure their own country. However, like you said, can we maintain the 160,000 troop level?
How about outside the neighborhood you saw? Is there any level of diminishing violence from insurgents?
What I hope that this post does not turn into is a political showdown. I can just see those on the right snickering as they read the title of your post. I hope they won't come in here and boast about how well the Republicans have lead the war. Conversely, I can see those on the left trying to bring down the good news you bring.
Bottom line is that we need to maintain or implement a strategy that works, not so that Democrats or Republicans can feel good about themselves, but for you and your fellow Servicemen and Women UH.
And as always, thank you for your service. I salute you Sir!!!!
Yesterday we've sinned, today we move towards God. Touch the sky....love and respect...Safe Star!
FlyDeltaJets87 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 2206 times:
Thanks for the inside-view UH60. And welcome home.
As always, your first hand updates are appreciated. I wonder if in three years when I commission, I'll get the opportunity to deploy to the Sandbox myself. On one hand, I hope I don't for the sake that it means we've made tremendous progress from where we stand now, and the situation is for the most part, all cleaned up. On the other hand, if we're still there in 3 years (well, I presume we'll have a presence there for many years to come) I hope to go and do my share and contribute to the war effort over there. (As I'm sure the country will have many Air Force built golf courses by then.
PPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8493 posts, RR: 43 Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 2161 times:
Any words on the insurgents who were turning agaisnt Al-Qaeda, and at least some of them getting help from the US military? There was a video about it on CNN a while ago, I'm wondering how they are doing.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Thread starter): But I've always considered security to be the chief concern, without it, progress in other areas would be retarded.
In your eyes, what's the attitude of the civilian populace currently towards the Iraqi government? And what's your take on Nouri al-Maliki and his effectiveness? The President defends him (to the chagrin of some), and Allawi wants back in the mix. We're interested to see what Petraeus says, because I'm sure it will reflect also on how Iraq's government will be able to use any advantage(s) the surge brings (in reference to what you said, in that bringing greater security will allow us to focus on the government), and that will have a big impact on our role there, IMO (in addition to all the grandstanding the politicians and candidates will make).
AGM100 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 5407 posts, RR: 17 Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 23 hours ago) and read 2136 times:
Quoting DavestanKSAN (Reply 2): Bottom line is that we need to maintain or implement a strategy that works, not so that Democrats or Republicans can feel good about themselves, but for you and your fellow Servicemen and Women UH.
Glad your well UH ... Thanks for the report ,, we know you earned it.
To all , lets keep in mind .... We love to argue ! I would be bored if everyone on here agreed with me. ! Thanks to the one of you who does.
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
BN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5292 posts, RR: 52 Reply 18, posted (5 years 9 months 22 hours ago) and read 2048 times:
Quoting DavestanKSAN (Reply 2): Well I was one who said we should leave, but after hearing your report I'm not so sure any longer. I wish we could leave Iraq, but the point about security you brought up is very pertinent because the Iraqi government cannot secure their own country. However, like you said, can we maintain the 160,000 troop level?
Of course we can't.. as Michael Ware reported on CNN last night, 'It looks like the surge is working because we (the US) are making deals with the various militias (and sects) who in turn are targeting the very Gov't we are holding up. Just how long do thing that's gonna last. The whole "it's working" is a farce.
As pointed out in the film Zeitgeist, (and i said this before the Zeitgeist was ever made) that we (the US) are not leaving..no matter what happens! ...the film points out, the goal is hav ethe various militias and waring factions to take on each other ultimately causing the demand to split the country into pieces...and that's exactly what this 'the surge is working' facade is all about. It's the quiet before the storm..and if you notice Democrats are jumping on board too saying 'maybe we should give it more time..' -- why because they too know (and I suspect, have always known)..deals are being made 'to buy' the calm the same EXACT type of shady deals we made to put Saddam Hussien in power -- 'we aren't going anywhere--
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
CALTECH From Poland, joined May 2007, 1590 posts, RR: 22 Reply 23, posted (5 years 9 months 21 hours ago) and read 1997 times:
Quoting BN747 (Reply 18): Of course we can't.. as Michael Ware reported on CNN last night, 'It looks like the surge is working because we (the US) are making deals with the various militias (and sects) who in turn are targeting the very Gov't we are holding up. Just how long do thing that's gonna last. The whole "it's working" is a farce.
The whole "it is a disaster" is the farce, more people are dying in American inner cities than in this so called civil war, and resistance in Iraq.
Glad your are back and safe UH60. Hope you were sucessful in your job over there.
BN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5292 posts, RR: 52 Reply 24, posted (5 years 9 months 20 hours ago) and read 1963 times:
Quoting CALTECH (Reply 23): The whole "it is a disaster" is the farce, more people are dying in American inner cities than in this so called civil war, and resistance in Iraq.
CALTECH. I'm in 100% agreement, but America demonstrates the most remarkable an uncanny ability to over look it's own problems versus issues abroad, ex. Katrina/New Orleans, USA vs Banda Aceh, Indonesia to Falujah, Iraq vs Any Inner City, USA. That's why I say we're staying in Iraq.. Iraq freedom and tranquility is the selling point TODAY..but trust me behind that label is some pretty serious shit. All the guns in Iraq were laid down right now...the US would not...I repeat NOT pull up stakes and leave. Not with a $600 million dollar Embassy in place.
"the surge is working..."
"No it isn't.."
"Yes it is..!"
That's all a (human lives costly) elaborate 'smoke and mirrors' side show...
We ain't goin' nowhere-
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
25 Itsnotfinals: Thanks for that excellent report, I for one truly appreciate your service as well as your excellent posts that raise the bar around here on anet.
26 RJdxer: Ok, good report. Another fine mission accomplished. I love those pics but is the vis as bad as it seems? But now on to the more important stuff....how
27 NoUFO: Maybe there are more Americans dying in all American cities together. Not sure if you grasp how cynic (on more than one level) this "more Americans d
28 CALTECH: I agree with you, we seem to be grinding to a halt in America.
29 FlyDeltaJets87: Hmmm....I think Air Force Blue would be a great color for the walls in the nursery.
30 CALTECH: I think I do. The absolute horror of human deaths around the whole world is apalling, even in a "advanced" country like the U.S. from different and s
31 AGM100: Speak for yourself , I am busier than ever ! I guess its just us right wingers . And we do not overlook our problems , we have political fights about
32 CALTECH: Politically speaking, nothing seems to get done anymore, which I think is great because the U.S. Government is way too big as it is. Oh, and by the w
33 UH60FtRucker: It's going to be very tough. And unfortunately, there is no easy answer. - We could extend the tours beyond 15months. (The Army is currently saying "
34 Fridgmus: Glad you're back safe and sound Rotorhead! You've been sorely missed! I'm up north in Kirkuk and things are well, warm! The farther north you go, the
35 AeroWesty: What are the prospects for that? It's great that we're running after insurgents, but if it's all left to us, it's futile since there will always be m
36 CALTECH: Good to see that you can see progress over there. America does not need another Vietnam, the job should be finished. May you be safe in your deployme
37 RJdxer: No matter what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan, that is a good idea. As a matter of fact we need to extend that beyond the Army to all the services.
38 ME AVN FAN: - If the situation is improving in the way you state, then the USA can withdraw most of its troops without problems rather soon. -- - that the variou
39 Connies4ever: UH60 --- Wondered where you were the past several weeks. Thanks very much for the report. I know you are sincere in your views, and, since you have ha
40 UH60FtRucker: The Pentagon is dismissing this report as setting goals which are far too unrealistic. And I agree. As I pointed out earlier... it is absurd of us to
41 Baroque: Welcome back. Interesting view. As Connies indicates, the GAO has a different view. Time will tell if the dismissal of the GAO view is correct. Meanwh
42 Oli80: Great post as usual. Keep up the good work and lets hope these positive reports continue to come our way!! Stay safe!
43 RJdxer: We can't make it happen in the political arena in this country. Why do we expect the Iraqis, who are under far more pressure than our politicians are
44 DL021: The GAO is using a measuring stick line for a pass/fail grade as opposed to showing progress made. Look at the reports and determine if forward progre
45 Baroque: That is a fair point, but where are we going to find current rates of unemployment, levels of poverty, amount and distribution of electricity and wat
46 UH60FtRucker: It's funny you brought that up, because all of these issues are showing progress in both the Baghdad and the Al Anbar Province. Hell... if you look a
47 CO777ER: UH60: Thanks for your sacrafice and service to my country! Stay safe and have fun!
48 Falcon84: Glad to hear from you UH60. And congrats on the "double the fun" news. I'm really excited for you. You'll get a kick out of your double trouble. :} As
49 Baroque: Happy to read that. Those poor bloody Iraqis who are the vast majority do need some sort of progress. Ah well, therein seems to be the trap. From the
50 JGPH1A: Glad to hear you're OK and that you're seeing worthwhile progress in what you're doing - encouraging to hear it from eyes on the ground (as it were )
51 BMIFlyer: Good hearing from you UH, keep yourself safe Seems I may be heading out your way in 2008, subject to confirmation of course. Lee
52 ThePRGuy: Very encouraging. Keep up the brave work UH60. Meanwhile, anyone that wants to see a non-biased movie about Iraq over the last 3 years, I can only rec
53 Baroque: " target=_blank>http://www.iraqinfragments.com/ Meanwhile the UK generals are returning to the fray http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6974611.stm "Ma
54 ME AVN FAN: the probblem is not a military one but a political one s
55 RJdxer: Yes, it's always nice when a subordinate continues to back you up. I hope Sir Mike's book sells well, it should since he has included the requisite p
56 ThePRGuy: Sorry, I don't see how this is relevant, this has been discussed and talked about for months. Alex
57 Cfalk: But sometimes you cannot have a political solution without a military solution. Do you really think that if we invite Al Qaeda to the table, they wil
58 Baroque: It is true that is has been known for over a year, and it has been discussed. However, it is still relevant. If you look at the stats that the BBC ha
59 ME AVN FAN: - I would be strictly against even talking with "elQaeda" (in reality a kind of eQ-franchisee, trading under that "fashionable" name). Political step
60 Baroque: Is that strictly against talking with Al Q in Iraq (with which I agree) or against talking to them at all, which is fairly pointless as some time we
61 ME AVN FAN: As soon as the occupation forces are out and the Iraqi armed forces (yes, including airforce and artillery) will have their way, the so called "el Qa
62 Baroque: I agree, the Al Q Iraq group will likely not survive long after the coalition of the willing departs. There is also a very different Al Q outside Ira
63 ME AVN FAN: - - There are some differences : - the IRA was/is the military wing of a political party - the IRA represents some real political positions and has a
64 Baroque: I think your analysis of the IRA is fair enough, but not so sure about Al Qaeda. It stemmed intellectually from the Muslim Brotherhood which had a na
65 UH60FtRucker: Jesus, this has become yet another thread where Baroque & MAF jerkoff one another off, and destroy the discussion for everyone else. Suggest locking i
66 Baroque: Lock away if you do not want to discuss what comes next.