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Heroes in Al Anbar

The Colonel of our Regimental Combat Team was interviewed for Fox News.  I had intended to post the video, but at my connection speed I could not.  (This might work on your computer.  It does not work on mine - http://johnsonmatel.com/FNC_12-13-2007_19.42.57.wmv) I still want to post what I wrote and I hope you can find the video.  If somebody finds a link, please send me a comment.   

I admire Colonel Clardy.  He has done an excellent job here.  There is lots of credit to go around, but the Colonel certainly deserves a big share in turning this situation around in western Al Anbar.  He is well respected by his men and our Iraqi colleagues alike, a true soldier-diplomat.  I saw he is also very good on television and told him that he should run for political office.  We could use politicians who have experience running a big operation under these kinds of difficult conditions.  I continue to be amazed at how comprehensive a job it is, with elements of management, leadership, diplomacy, public relations and rule of law. It would also be good more politicians with real experience with war and peace.  

There are lots of heroes around here.  Some people fear that this generation of Americans is not up to the standards of the past.  Every generation has its heroes; it depends on where you look.  I trust my life to young men driving humvees or flying helicopters.  I am impressed by their devotion to duty, not to mention their intelligence, politeness and friendliness.  

The Greatest Generation was great, but they did not use up all the heroism available in America.

Many of the officers are true intellectuals (although I am sure they would reject that characterization).  They work to understand the whole situation, not just the parts but how the parts fit together.   Especially impressive is General John Allen who I meet with some regularity.  I learn a lot just from standing near him. 

Sorry if I am rambling.  I just wish more Americans had the opportunity to work with the brave ad capable men & women here in Iraq.  They would be prouder to be Americans and it might change some attitudes.  One of my colleagues, a self described former tie-dye hippy, was talking today about how he quickly jumped to the defense of our Marines while at a conference about refugees.  He was annoyed when some UN & NGO types accused them of “invading the humanitarian space” that these organizations considered their rightful property.  The Marines were saving lives and building the future while some others were theorizing and chattering about when they were going to decide to decide to demand something be done by somebody else.  Heroes do more than talk about helping.

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Great post! I've had the privilege to talk and listen to Marines who have done time in Al Anbar, as well as other wars. I've met two Navy Cross recipients from Iraq and have a friend that almost lost a foot to an IED - - recovered and did another tour in the exact same place where he almost got killed. They are just amazing men and women. Even the enlisted are very articulate. I never get tired of listening to their stories and talking politics with them.

Hi, I just returned from Al Anbar and was wondering if the recent improvements in personal communications, Iraqna mobile phone service available in Al Anbar, has improved commerce for the locals?
And on your comments on our young servicemembers, I totally agree that this group of young people make me proud and I really enjoyed my time working with them.

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