Monday, January 28, 2008

Same place, different story

Michael Totten reports from Iraq.

FALLUJAH – At the end of 2006 there were 3,000 Marines in Fallujah. Despite what you might expect during a surge of troops to Iraq, that number has been reduced by 90 percent. All Iraqi Army soldiers have likewise redeployed from the city. A skeleton crew of a mere 250 Marines is all that remains as the United States wraps up its final mission in what was once Iraq's most violent city.

There are many more anecdotes. Here's one:

One of the people who help the Marines train the Iraqis is, oddly enough, another Iraqi.

His semi-official name is Staff Sergeant Crash. He is not a Marine, so he is not really a staff sergeant. And his name, obviously, is not really Crash. He's an Iraqi interpreter who goes by a pseudonym. And he is authorized to go by the rank of staff sergeant because he saved the life of a real American staff sergeant in battle.

“I've been fighting with the Marines in Fallujah for three years,” he told me.

“Fighting?” I said. “You mean they let you carry a weapon?”

“Yeah,” he said and laughed as if my question was silly. But it was not a silly question. I had not yet met an Iraqi interpreter who is allowed to carry and fire a weapon in combat. None of the interpreters I met with Army were allowed to do that. The Marines, though, kept trying to put a gun in my hand, so it's perhaps not surprising that they're willing to let their most trusted Iraqi comrades shoot, too.

Read the whole thing


Blogger NahnCee said...

Two questions that I wish someone -- perhaps Mr. Totten since he's there and bored -- would follow up on:

1. American soldiers were killed while on patrol a couple of weeks ago by an Iraqi police officer. It was immediately announced that the Iraqi was Al-Q infiltrator but what were the circumstances of the incident, how long had the Iraqi been patrolling with Americans, and how do we know it won't happen again? And why does no one ever mention it in discussions regarding working with Iraqi police?

2. In November, it was reported that six Iraqi's in the United States participating in training for something called Defense Training Systems were filing a lawsuit against American Airlines for an incident last August where they were detained and "humiliated" for exhibiting "unusual behavior", including being drunk. My question is whether or not these Iraqi's are still in the United States, who is sponsoring them to be here, and what is the status of their CAIR-encouraged lawsuit.

1/28/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Nothing Happened in MAJ Today

I’m keeping a journal of my experiences in Iraq — something I hope my kids and grandkids can read many years from now — and I began that day’s entry: “Nothing happened in MAJ today.”

But as soon as I typed those words, I knew they were wrong. Something did happen. Not only did hundreds of individuals have their basic needs met — at least for that day — but in terms of the war in Iraq, “nothing” isn’t just something — it’s everything.

We will win the war when “nothing happened today” is the common report, when “nothing” means no explosions, no beheadings, no snipers, no torture, and no kidnappings, when “nothing” means that kids went to school, mothers went to the market, and dads went to work.

1/28/2008 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Try starting the posts like this:
"Nothing nasty happened in MAJ today ..." :)

1/28/2008 03:33:00 PM  

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