August 24, 2006

Read All About It! (Just Not In the MSM...)

Hatched by Sachi

The training of Iraqi security forces, both the New Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police, seems to have fallen off the front pages of the antique media. There is a good reason for this: it's going very well.

"If it bleeds, it leads;" but that means that if it's good news, newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news just aren't interested. Don Henley was right: it's "give us dirty laundry!"

But if you hunt hard enough, you can actually find out what's going on around town... kind of like finding a really good movie hidden among all the theaters showing Snakes On a Plane. Fortunately for you, Big Lizards does the theater-crawling so you don't have to. Here are four great stories about Iraq, all of them very, very good news: one from the Department of Defense's website; one from the website of the Multi-National Force -- Iraq; one from Captain's Quarters (yet another obscure site!); and one from, of all places, USA Today. Enjoy.

Baghdad is still a dangerous place. Just the other day, a group of gunmen open fired on a large crowd of Shiite worshipers, killing 20 and wounding 300. But a quick response from the Iraqi security forces controlled the situation, demonstrating their improved capabilities:

“This was a tremendous demonstration of the increased capabilities of the Iraq security forces and the leadership of the government of Iraq,” Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, told reporters during a Baghdad news briefing....

Iraqi security forces quickly responded to these attacks, controlling the situation and killing six of the terrorists and detaining 19 others, Caldwell said....

Iraqi and coalition forces continue to pursue people intent on using violence to impose their beliefs on others. For instance, operations by Iraqi and coalition forces over the past week resulted in the capture of more than 100 known and suspected al Qaeda terrorists and associates and multiple weapons caches....

Iraqi and coalition forces also continue to target death squads. There have been 20 different operations just in the past week conducted specifically against these groups, he said.

Iraqi police forces have had a lot of problems, as we all know. But many months of US training have started to pay off. The first full Iraqi Army division will soon be operating without the mentoring of U.S. advisors, a U.S. Army official who oversees Iraqi security forces’ training; and for the first time, we're seeing the same sort of improvement in the Iraqi police that we saw some time ago in the Iraqi Army:

Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard discussed the formation of the Iraqi National Police and security concerns throughout Iraq in a briefing to reporters....

The INP is a relatively new command in the Ministry of Interior force structure. It was formed from the Police Order Brigade and Commando Brigade.

To become an officer in the INP, a candidate must successfully complete the initial 10-week training program and then train an additional four weeks of follow-up training.

Pittard looked back on his first deployment in Iraq as a point of reference for the Iraqi security forces’ progress, and commented on how much better they are doing now.

“The Iraqis fight and fight well,” he said. “It’s not the same as it was at all two years ago.”

Pacifying Baghdad is still a dangerous job. Policemen are often targeted by both terrorists and radical militiamen. But the Iraqi police department has no shortage of recruits:

More than 500 Iraqi men have joined the police in restive Anbar province -- a focal point of the Sunni Arab insurgency -- in the most successful recruiting drive in the region by U.S. and Iraqi forces, the U.S. military said Tuesday....

U.S. Marines screened thousands of applicants earlier this month in various regions along the western Euphrates River valley before shortlisting the recruits for the Anbar police force, said a statement by the U.S. command…

To combat the insurgency, and sectarian and criminal violence in Baghdad, the Iraqi government and Coalition announced Operation Together Forward. USA Today provides a simplified breakdown of the operation. "The offensive is planned in stages and is designed to avoid an all-out attack. In the first phase, launched July 9, Iraqi security forces positioned checkpoints throughout the city. In the second phase, launched last week, Iraqi forces supported by U.S. troops began isolating and clearing parts of the city block by block. Iraqi security forces will remain to provide security once areas are cleared. When areas are stable, the government will bring economic assistance into blighted neighborhoods." This strategy is essentially what the Marines call the "3 Block War."

Operation Together Forward is focusing on four of the most violent neighborhoods of Baghdad: Doura, Mansour, Shula and Azamiyah. These are neighborhoods where the sectarian violence has been at its worst. Coalition forces have begun operations in Doura and Ameriya. In both cases, the neighborhoods were cordoned off, and each building was searched. "Kilometer after kilometer of barriers emplaced, building what some may call the semblance of a gated community, affording them greater security with ingress and egress routes established and manned by Iraqi security forces with coalition forces in support," as the Multinational Forces - Iraq press release describes the operation in Doura.

A similar strategy of cordon, search, secure and rebuild was successfully executed in Tal Afar, and is currently being executed in the Sunni insurgent stronghold city of Ramadi. Tal Afar, with populations of 170,000 was secured in less than a month, while Ramadi, with a population of 400,000 is still up for grabs.

And here is the new face of the Iraqi police:

The Humvee has barely rolled to a stop, and Iraqi army Col. Talib Abdul Razzaq is already out of the vehicle.

He moves like a politician, stopping on the sidewalk to playfully cuff a young boy on the head and joke with a man selling shoes. He quizzes several people about violence and militias in the neighborhood. Most say the streets have been quiet.

"I'm trying to make people believe in the Iraqi army," Razzaq says at the next stop, where a sidewalk vendor gives him a complimentary sandwich from his cart. "They will feel more safe." Razzaq hands the sandwich to an aide and keeps moving.

Twice a day, Razzaq patrols the troubled neighborhoods in his battalion's sector of Baghdad. He's checking on his troops, who have set up checkpoints in the area. And he's listening to what merchants, local leaders and ordinary people have to say about security in their neighborhoods.

"I am an officer, but my job is like a tribal leader," says Razzaq, who in this polarized society refuses to say whether he is a Shiite Muslim or a Sunni.

So there you have it; we promise, we deliver. I wonder -- how many of these stories made the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post? Maybe they were too busy telling us how Iraq was a lead-lined catastrophe, an utter disaster, how it has collapsed into a full-blown civil war "by any definition" (just like 1864!); so we should just declare defeat and redeploy over the horizon... say, in the Philippines.

I guess tales like these just don't fit The Story.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, August 24, 2006, at the time of 4:56 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Spc Patrick Ziegler

It is always good to see blogs such as this who are not afraid to put out the good news. Yes, Baghdad seems to be a bit quieter at least these last few days and we all hope it stays that way.

I would like to bring to your attention a story on the OIF website that’s talks a little more on this subject.

Also, Blog owners, you have my email but I do not have yours so pardon me for using this forum to make contact with you but, If you would like to receive press releases, feature article etc strait from Central Command, drop me a note and I will add you to the mailing list.

One last thing, if you think it would be of value to your readers, we are always looking to get people who wish to keep up to date with events in Iraq to our site. Would you consider linking to CENTCOM?

Thanks again

Spc. Patrick Ziegler
U.S. Central Command
Public Affairs

The above hissed in response by: Spc Patrick Ziegler [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 5:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Newsflash - Big Lizard doesn't like "Snakes on a Plane!" I would think you'd show a little solidarity there, brother.

In summary - no news is usually good news.

One thing the news also almost always fails to report. If a Coalition of Iraqi force is attacked, we always get the news of the attack, but never the aftermath. I.e. "Today Iraqi insurgents attacked a U.S. convoy, killing two American soldiers and wounding three others." What is left out is "14 insurgents were killed in the attack, and five others captured." The first story makes me think "Wow we are sure losing this thing" The second makes me think "two of our guys for 19 of theirs? The insurgents can't possibly keep this up."

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 9:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Thank you for the links.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 4:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist


*GREAT* Job...once again!!!

However, America has been at war with these so-called “Islamic Terrorists” for decades now, and we are back at the starting point...even after the 911 attack (BTW, the second one against the WTC)...even after *ALL* of the investigations of and why and how the 911 attack (BTW, the second one against the WTC) happened or was allowed to happen!?!

With roughly half (Plus) of Americans now against the Iraq *BATTLE*, in this War Against Terrorism, humble Low and Ignorant Insane swamp hermit me lays the blame for such fickleness squarely at the feet of America’s “Right-Wing”, and the Republican Party. When the Left-Wing called for investigations of, and into “why and how” the 911 attack happened, the Right-Wing and the Republican Party caved faster than a young boy in Prison. The same caving attitude happened with Fallujah, with Abu Ghraib, with Guantánamo...etcetera etcetera etcetera.

When something like “Water-Boarding” is considered “Torture”, during times of peace or war, by portions of even the Right-Wing, then America best surrender now, because MSM isn’t the to speak.

America no longer knows how to Fight a *WAR*, even when a President shows up and is willing to fight...simple as that. Former President Jimmy “The Mullah” Carter did one thing right...PD (Presidential Directive) 63, the Persian Gulf Security Framework, and now he bashes President George W. Bush for actually protecting the “Persian Gulf” region!?!

Heck, 99.99999999999999999% of Americans can’t even remember why we are even in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even more than that have absolutely no clue as to what former President Jimmy “The Mullah” Carter’s PD 63 was to speak gently.

i have said it before, and will say it once more...America needs a serious pruning. It’s coming. As far as the lack of actual reporting by MSM goes, they had reported like some, “5000 body bags” would be needed during the “first year” in Iraq...three days into Iraq, MSM was already reporting “American Troops were Bogged Down”.

Enough said...


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 4:31 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

If anyone thinks that PD 63 was just about the now former Soviet Union, then i suggest that you try reading into page 2, and the “diminishing radical influences” to speak whilst waiting for the ‘Blood Bath’ to start.


The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 4:54 PM

The following hissed in response by: k2aggie07

Linked and excerpted at Logosphilia.

Excellent work as usual.

Spc. Ziegler, leave me a message at my blog. Will Link, am curious about recieving messages.

The above hissed in response by: k2aggie07 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2006 8:21 PM

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