Iraqi Police continue to improve safety in Baghdad neighborhood

News from the field…. 

Multi-National Force – Iraq – Iraqi Police continue to improve safety in Baghdad neighborhood

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Police continue to improve security in the Al-Karkh district here Friday.“Our mission is to investigate crimes and respond to emergencies,” said Iraqi Police Capt. Majid, deputy commander of the Juaifer Police Station, which is responsible for the Salhiya neighborhood.

Majid had pointed out that the Salhiya neighborhood is an area composed of Shia and Sunni residents, which borders the Tigris River and contains Haifa Street and attributes the change in the area’s crime patterns, over the last few months, to several factors beginning with increased patrols.

“Our police conduct many patrols in cars and on foot throughout the neighborhood,” he said. “We have several vehicle checkpoints and a patrol in the market.”

The neighborhood is safer because of improved law enforcement measures. Also, the Iraqi Police in the area routinely works with the Iraqi Army.

“The Iraqi Army will provide escort [security] for our police and work side-by-side at checkpoints,” said Majid.  “We used to have up to three to four murders a day, but since Fardh Al-Qanoon started, murder and attacks have decreased tremendously.”

While security and crime investigation remain positive factors, being community leaders and building relationships with local residents during patrols has also helped the Iraqi Police gain a foothold in the neighborhood.

“Children and adults come out to greet the police and seem happy they are in their neighborhoods,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elizabeth Zerwick, a Police Transition Team advisor who is helping the Juafer Police Station.  “The people will flag down the police when they drive through their areas.”

However much the Iraqi police station has improved, they still face challenges.

Many Iraqi policemen have left the station because they fear for their families lives while others have simply been fired, said Majid.  However, most of the 115 policemen who make up the force have several years experience in the field and are making a difference in the neighborhood.

In spite of challenges, Majid remains hopeful for the police station and envisioned new vehicles, more weapons and more manpower to build his workforce to continue making the Salhiya neighborhood safe.

“This police station helps Iraq because it helps make it safe for people to live here,” said Majid.

(Story by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisandro Diaz, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq Public Affairs)

US Troops kicking some Mahdi Ass.

Here is a great post from ‘JG’ over at Political Deathmatch with regard to US actions of late. Check back for updates to the discussion here.

It’s the second day of fighting in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad, and the US is having it out with Sadr’s pallies:

QUOTE
American troops swept into the troubled, predominantly Shiite city of Diwaniyah before dawn on Friday, killing three militia fighters and capturing 27 in the first day of the assault, the military said. The attack — named “Operation Black Eagle” — targeted gunmen loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Fighting continued Saturday.

Dozens of people have been killed in Diwaniyah during the past weeks and the attacks have been blamed by residents on the Mahdi Army, al-Sadr’s militia.
Many women, accused by the hard-line and fundamentalist militiamen of violating their interpretation of Islamic morality, are among the dead.

Interesting that we have apparently dropped the fiction of only targeting “rogue” Mahdi Army elements and are explicitly lighting up Sadr’s soliders.

Good.

I suspect Diwaniyah may be a precursor to a possible pacification of Baghdad’s Sadr City, and we are learning about their tactics when we are ready to snap the Mahdi Army in half for good.

Meanwhile………NATO kicks some Taliban ass in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. I’m not sure whether the objective is to cut off Taliban control of the opium revenues from the area around Sangin, or we’re just there because that’s where the Taliban and their “foreign fighters” are.

Nice to see we’re on the offensive in both countries for a change, however.

Army Sergeant Major J.D. Pendry speaks his mind.

You go, Sgt. Major!! Thank you for your service to our country.

Sgt. Major J.D. Pendry (Ret)
BrookesNews.Com
Monday 4 September 2006

J.D. Pendry is a retired Army Command Sergeant Major who writes for Random House.

Jimmy Carter , you’re the father of the Islamic Nazi movement. You threw the Shah under the bus, welcomed the Ayatollah home, and then lacked the spine to confront the terrorists when they took our embassy and our people hostage. You’re the runner-in-chief.

Bill Clinton , you played ring around the Lewinsky while the terrorists were at war with us. You got us into a fight with them in Somalia , and then you ran from it. Your weak-willed responses to the U.S.S. Cole and the First Trade Center Bombing and Our Embassy Bombings emboldened the killers. Each time you failed to respond adequately they grew bolder, until 9/11.

John Kerry , dishonesty is your most prominent attribute. You lied about American Soldiers in Vietnam. Your military service, like your life, is more fiction than fact. You’ve accused our Soldiers of terrorizing women and children in Iraq. You called Iraq the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time, the same words you used to describe Vietnam. You’re a fake. You want to run from Iraq and abandon the Iraqis to murderers just as you did the Vietnamese. Iraq, like Vietnam is another war that you were for, before you were against it.

John Murtha , you said our military was broken. You said we can’t win militarily in Iraq. You accused United States Marines of cold-blooded murder without proof. And said we should redeploy to Okinawa. Okinawa John? And the Democrats call you their military expert. Are you sure you didn’t suffer a traumatic brain injury while you were off building your war hero resume? You’re a sad, pitiable, corrupt and washed up politician. You’re not a Marine, sir. You wouldn’t amount to a good pimple on a real Marine’s ass. You’re a phony and a disgrace. Run away John .

Dick Durbin , you accused our Soldiers at Guantanamo of being Nazis, tenders of Soviet style gulags and as bad as the regime of Pol Pot, who murdered two million of his own people after your party abandoned South East Asia to the Communists. Now you want to abandon the Iraqis to the same fate. History was not a good teacher for you, was it? Lord help us!! See Dick run.

Ted Kennedy , for days on end you held poster-sized pictures from Abu Grhaib in front of any available television camera. Al Jazeera quoted you saying that Iraqi’s torture chambers were open under new management. Did you see the news this week, Teddy ? The Islamic Nazis demonstrate real torture for you again. If you truly supported our troops, you’d show the world poster-sized pictures of that atrocity and demand the annihilation of it. Your legislation stripping support from the South Vietnamese led to a communist victory there. You’re a bloated drunken fool bent on repeating the same historical blunder that turned freedom-seeking people over to homicidal, genocidal maniacs. To paraphrase John Murtha, all while sitting on your wide, gin-soaked rear-end in Washington

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Carl Levine, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton , Pat Leahy , Chuck Schumer, et al ad nauseam. Every time you stand in front of television cameras and broadcast to the Islamic Nazis that we went to war because our President lied, that the war is wrong and our Soldiers are torturers, that we should leave Iraq , you give the Islamic butchers – the same ones that tortured and mutilated American Soldiers – cause to think that we’ll run away again, and all they have to do is hang on a little longer.

American news media, the New York Times particularly : Each time you publish stories about national defense secrets and our intelligence gathering methods, you become one United, with the sub-human pieces of camel dung that torture and mutilate the bodies of American Soldiers. You can’t strike up the courage to publish cartoons, but you can help Al Qaeda destroy my country. Actually, you are more dangerous to us than Al Qaeda is. Think about that each time you face Mecca to admire your Pulitzer

You are America’s “AXIS OF IDIOTS”. Your Collective Stupidity will destroy us. Self-serving politics and terrorist abetting news scoops are more important to you than our national security or the lives of innocent civilians and Soldiers. It bothers you that defending ourselves gets in the way of your elitist sport of politics and your ignorant editorializing. There is as much blood on your hands as is on the hands of murdering terrorists. Don’t ever doubt that. Your frolics will only serve to extend this war as they extended Vietnam. If you want our Soldiers home, as you claim, knock off the crap and try supporting your country ahead of supporting your silly political aims and aiding our enemies. Yes, I’m questioning your patriotism. Your loyalty ends with self. I’m also questioning why you’re stealing air that decent Americans could be breathing. You don’t deserve the protection of our men and women in uniform. You need to run away from this war, this country. Leave the war to the people who have the will to see it through and the country to people who are willing to defend it.

No, Mr. President , you don’t get off the hook, either . Our country has two enemies: Those who want to destroy us from the outside and those who attempt it from within. Your Soldiers are dealing with the outside force. It’s your obligation to support them by confronting the AXIS OF IDIOTS. America must hear it from you that these Self-centered people are harming our country, abetting the enemy and endangering our safety. Well up a little anger, please, and channel it toward the appropriate target. You must prosecute those who leak national security secrets to the media. You must prosecute those in the media who knowingly publish those secrets. Our Soldiers need you to confront the enemy that they cannot. They need you to do it now.

AMEN

J.D. Pendry
Army Command Sergeant Major, retired

Iraqis: life is getting better-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline

Iraqis: life is getting better-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline

MOST Iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a British opinion poll published today.

The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.

One in four Iraqis has had a family member murdered, says the poll by Opinion Research Business. In Baghdad, the capital, one in four has had a relative kidnapped and one in three said members of their family had fled abroad. But when asked whether they preferred life under Saddam, the dictator who was executed last December, or under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, most replied that things were better for them today.

Only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not, <shove that straight up your liberal white-bread a$$ Senator Biden>…according to the survey carried out last month.

function pictureGalleryPopup(pubUrl,articleId) { var newWin = window.open(pubUrl+’template/2.0-0/element/pictureGalleryPopup.jsp?id=’+articleId+’&&offset=0&&sectionName=WorldIraq’,’mywindow’,’menubar=0,resizable=0,width=615,height=655′); } By a majority of two to one, Iraqis believe military operations now under way will disarm all militias. More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, said the findings pointed to progress. “There is no widespread violence in the four southern provinces and the fact that the picture is more complex than the stereotype usually portrayed is reflected in today’s poll,” she said.

Gathering of Eagles–30,000 strong

Living in the DC area, I had planned to post about this event today. But Michelle Malkin has done much better than I ever could. Thanks to Ms. Malkin for the great photos and links. And thanks to the Gathering of Eagles for punking out the moonbats. Sorry that some of the images don’t load…go to Michelle Malkins blog for more updates….-Chin

Michelle Malkin: Blogburst: Gathering of Eagles–30,000 strong

Gathering of Eagles–30,000 strong

By Michelle Malkin · March 17, 2007 05:35 PM

***Update: Heidi at Gathering of Eagles reports on the National Park Service estimate of the GoE turnout: 30,000 strong. The silent majority no more.***

***Update March 18, 2007 1:30am: The NYTimes lies***

nytimesgoe.jpg

Pure bullcrap. Yup, the journalistic standard-bearers of the NYTimes relied on “several veterans of the antiwar movement” to give them crowd estimates of the Gathering of Eagles. It’s the domestic equivalent of MSMers relying on dubious Iraqi stringers to provide them with war coverage while they sit in their comfy Green Zone offices in D.C. and Manhattan.

***Update March 18, 2007, 7:30am: Compare and contrast…***

College student Leslie Grainger sent me this striking photo she took of a proud American at the GoE yesterday:

Proud American

She writes:

My name is Leslie Grainger, I met you earlier in the day today at the gathering of eagles ( I am the college student, that drove 12 hours from Massachusetts to go). The Vietnam veterans were abandoned by their generation, and they’ve always had to stand up for themselves, and on their own, I was there because I wanted to show the veterans that I love them and thank them for helping to ensure my freedom and safety. I was also there to show the veterans than I will not stand quietly, or look away (as their generation did) when our new veterans, and our troops are being disrespected. I think our effort today let the veterans of the past know that Americans will never let the disrespect or degradation of our troops go un-opposed again. I have been praying that one day the actions of the silent majority of America that supports the troops would speak louder than the cries of those who oppose them, and I think that happened today aswell.I took a lot of photos but there is one in particular I think you’d like…It’s surely a photo the media, or liberals wouldnt like to see.

Now, here’s the GoE photo the Washington Post chose to spotlight:

wapogoe.jpg

Pictures that say a thousand words, no? As I wrote last night, “Having spent nearly 6 hours covering the event, I can tell you that the (com)Post cherry-picked one angry face out of thousands and thousands of proud, dignified, peaceful pro-victory, pro-troop participants. Typical of their selective photo bias. Just go back and look at how they cover illegal alien protesters and pro-life protesters. No surprises here.”

Tons more photos you won’t see in the WaPo or NYTimes
over at our Hot Air Flickr album. A sample:

GoE2007 086

GoE2007 020

GoE2007 089

GoE2007 029

GoE2007 054

GoE2007 008

***

It was a breath-taking, historic, and emotional day in Washington, D.C. You won’t know it if you tune in to the usual MSM channels. But new media–bloggers, conservative documentarians, Internet activists, FReepers (giant thread here), citizen journalists, photojournalists, and talk radio hosts–turned out in full force to participate and cover the Gathering of Eagles counter-protest. Thousands upon thousands turned out despite freezing temperatures and hairy travel conditions. We met bikers who drove up all night from Huntsville, Alabama; a retired NYC firefighter who arrived here at 2am; college students who traveled from Massachusetts; a Vietnam veteran’s wife who bought plane tickets at the last minute from San Francisco; and countless participants who arrived as part of Move America Forward’s cross-country caravan.

A pure, grass-roots effort, the Gathering of Eagles’ volunteers matched the massive Soros-funded anti-war machine sign for sign, chant for chant, and marcher for marcher. The contrast was most stark right before the entrance to the Memorial Bridge, where Eagles gathered with a field of American flags–while anti-Bush, 9/11 conspiracy nuts wrapped themselves in a figurative blanket of yellow “Out of Iraq” placards. Several of the vets shouted, “Yellow! How appropriate!” in between spirited chants of “U.S.A! U.S.A!” While the classless Cindy Sheehan ranted profanely, the Eagles raised their voices in polite, but roaring disapproval and raised their American flags in answer to the ANSWER socialists’ Che banners and peace pennants.

Why did the Eagles come? One common refrain: Vietnam veterans, some fighting back tears, told us they came to show the kind of support for the troops that they did not receive when the surrender lobby marched on the Pentagon 40 years ago today.

Mission accomplished.

Meantime, the battle for victory against global jihad continues. God bless our troops on the front lines.

E-mail or track back if you were there for a GoE blogburst.

We’ll have a full video report on Hot Air Monday (update: here it is) and more coverage to come. Here are a few photos I snapped with frozen fingers. I’ll upload the rest to the Hot Air Flickr page later tonight:

goe002.jpg
Early Saturday morning, Eagles line up to pay tribute to fallen heroes at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. Security officers screened every visitor in the white tent on the right.

goe010.jpg

goe007.jpg

goe004.jpg

goe005.jpg
Face off…

goe006.jpg

goe008.jpg

***

Slapstick Politics covered the Denver moonbat protest.

Charles Ryder of Age of Hooper will have video of the Gathering up soon.

MKH has video.

Janet at SCSU Scholars observes:

My friend, Chris, and I were a bit worried about the turnout, but as we came down the hill from the Metro station and looked to our left, our concerns diminished rapidly. There were Vets everywhere, from all over the country.Security for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was tight. Visitors could enter from one end only and exit at the other side. Everyone had to pass an electronic screening. The line was long but orderly.

For the demonstrations, The National Park Service had set locations for each side and patrolled the interim space constantly. There were no altercations that I saw. Some anti-war people tried to get to the Vets but they were asked to leave quickly and quietly – they did. It was apparent that the anti-US crowd did not expect a Veterans turnout of this size.

What will the media show? I don’t know but the line up of protesters walking to the Pentagon to protest will look long. What will be missing from the scene are the thousands of vets who lined the protest route and thousands more were on the other side of the grounds. Take all numbers with caution – my best guess, having walked back and forth multiple times is that the numbers were even at worst, Vets outnumbering protesters a bit at best.

I have just watched the “news” on Channel 4 in NBC in Washington DC. Their statement of “tens of thousands of protesters” is flat out wrong! More biased coverage – NBC never showed the number of vets other than the ones at the Wall. Thousands of Vets were everywhere. Perhaps NBC had to inflate the numbers because the crowd was so much smaller than expected. In addition, they had to revert to film from 1967 to show larger crowds. It also appears the “name” speakers didn’t arrive because only Cindy Sheehan was shown. ‘Tis a national disgrace when the media must enforce its anti-freedom agenda on the public.

In general, the anti- ____ crowd was comprised of naive and some very factually-challenged people. Signs with “data” were simply wrong.

The usual protest representatives were there: sixties hippies; their kids; ANSWER; Che Guevara; the pacifist and anti-fight for anything crowd. They were joined by another assortment of protesters: high school kids bussed in from Philly – they get extra credit in their US History classes if they participate in a protest (note, anti, not pro); a few who dressed like Palestinians and carried signs for the oppression of the Palestinians; “No war with Iran” crowd; impeach everyone crowd; anti-Halliburton; etc. These people are well-financed, signage is good.

On the other hand, the vets were proud, professional, and polite. Speakers summarized some real history – in particular, the real culprits for Vietnam casualties. One speaker, Kevin Michael of DC was particularly powerful! He is a Desert Storm Veteran and proud of it. He speaks well for all veterans.

After the protesters took their march to the Pentagon (who works there on a Saturday is beyond me) the Vets milled around, making sure key contacts will be maintained. An interesting side point: the grounds where the vets congregated were clean, no trash; the grounds where the protesters congregated – well, they apparently don’t know how to use trash cans.

More vid from Lifelike Pundits and Pam at Blogmeister.

Bryan Preston shares his thoughts on the astroturfed anti-war demonstrators and highlights an exclusive first-look at a new Move America Forward ad going national Monday. More at MAF here.

Old War Dogs posts rolling GOE coverage and after-action reports.

Photos from Right on the Right. And from Michael Fumento.

An e-mail that summed up the feelings of many vets we met:

I, a submarine force veteran from the Vietnam Era, was there with my Marine Corps Force Recon friend who fought in South Vietnam. As one speaker indicated, we have been quiet for 4 decades and now that congress is moving in the direction of abandoning Iraq as they did to South Vietnam, we will no longer remain silent. To me and others I talked with, this was a gathering that released the decades of disgust and personal anguish over our government’s abandonment of over 58,000 American men and women military personnel and those of our allies who died and the other hundreds of thousand who sacrificed to keep South Vietnam free from our mutual enemy. There was little talk of us not being held in high regard on our return, but open emotional displays of unity with those who shared our mission 40 years ago.Whether or not it was recorded, we took the physical and moral high ground today, adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the ANSWER mob and displayed our greater strength with just a portion of our patriot warrior contingent. To those that I talked with over a 5 hour period from all over the United States and from our many military service and organizations, the consensus was that this is just the first shot across the bow of the anti-war and anti-American ANSWER and congress.

Alan M. Reasin
ETR2 SS
Conowingo, MD

The Redhunter has a good write-up and pics. So does This Ain’t Hell.

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive reports on the Madison, WI moonbat convergence.

Robert C. Sampson drove 13 hours in hellish traffic from Connecticut on Friday to get to the Gathering of Eagles:

I am thrilled that I got the opportunity to go stand side by side with my patriot brothers and sisters today and I’m going to just briefly report the important facts you are not going to hear from the mainstream news outlets. I also strongly encourage you to visit some of my fellow bloggers who I am quite sure are going to elaborate on the event much more than I. Just since I’ve been back, I’ve been informed that CNN, C-Span and even Fox news made very little mention of the number of Eagles in attendance while they gave a lot of news coverage to the anti-war protesters…

Yup.

…We stuck around to the end and helped pick up the thousands of flags donated and placed by the Eagles before us. It was my understanding that they are to be shipped to our fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many were signed and I was quite moved at some of the supportive comments inscribed on them.Overall, I think today was a turning point in a lot of ways. I heard someone say that they got the impression that the anti-war folks were blown away at the turnout of Eagles and in some ways it quieted their normally “in your face” tactics having us shouting back at them. Also, I think it[‘]s worth noting that some of the forces on our side have finally reached the conclusion that we need to show up for events like this. We are ignored by the liberal media at large and if we are going to make an impact in the two minutes of news the average Joe watches per day, we need to make some news ourselves. Let[‘]s hope the trend continues. I know I’m up for it.

Many Eagles asked why big-name conservative celebrities didn’t attend the rally. I have no idea. I can only tell you that I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Special thanks to the gals at Euphoric Reality for driving this event in the blogosphere.

Semper Gratus sends a pic of Eagles armed with a spit shield:

spitshield002.jpg

Looks like Fox News’s Griff Jenkins could have used one of those spit shields.

Mark Levin Fans were there and have posted a photo gallery.

Here’s the WaPo’s unfair and unbalanced coverage of GoE. Check out the feature photo they chose to represent the face of the Eagles. Having spent nearly 6 hours covering the event, I can tell you that the (com)Post cherry-picked one angry face out of thousands and thousands of proud, dignified, peaceful pro-victory, pro-troop participants. Typical of their selective photo bias. Just go back and look at how they cover illegal alien protesters and pro-life protesters.

No surprises here.

***

More:

Baron Bodissey from Gates of Vienna was at GoE and has a terrific write-up, plus photos:

After a long walk down from the Metro station at Farragut West, I expected the area on the Mall around the Vietnam Memorial to be crowded with lefty demonstrators. But it wasn’t — apparently the moonbats like to sleep in. But the veterans were out in force; I saw a heartwarming combination of Rolling Thunder people, Patriot Guard Riders, and VFW representatives of various ages crowding their counter-demonstration area next to the memorial.It was very cold and blustery with occasional snow showers, and the veterans’ area soon became a sea of icy mud. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of those who came to protect the memorial. I talked to people who had come in from California, New York, Florida, Texas, and many other places across the country.

The first veteran I talked to was a man named Kevin Gray, who was carrying a sign dissing Jane Fonda. Ms. Fonda is a frequent target of gibes and insults among vets — I heard one of the organizers announce over the PA system that the porta-johns were available along Constitution Avenue “for anyone who wants to take a Fonda or a Sheehan.”

Awesome Video!!!!

Damn I love seeing bad guys get blowed the hell up!! The video is from The Jawa Report…sorry, it’s embedded, so click to go there and check it out. Great stuff! -Thanks TJR!

Video Here

Chlorine gas sickens 356 in Iraq bombing

Looks like this is developing into the new preferred tactic. 

Chlorine gas sickens 356 in Iraq bombing – Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD – Three suicide bombers driving chlorine-laden trucks struck in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, killing two policemen and forcing about 350 Iraqi civilians and six U.S. troops to seek treatment for exposure to the gas, the military said Saturday.

The attacks came after back-to-back bombings last month released chlorine gas, prompting the U.S. military to warn that insurgents are adopting new tactics in a campaign to spread panic.

Just after 4 p.m. Friday, a driver detonated explosives in a pickup truck northeast of Ramadi, wounding one U.S. service member and one Iraqi civilian, the military said in a statement.

That was followed by a similar explosion involving a dump truck south of Fallujah in Amiriyah that killed two policemen and left as many as 100 local citizens showing signs of chlorine exposure, with symptoms ranging from minor skin and lung irritations to vomiting, the military said.

Less than 10 miles away, another suicide bomber detonated a dump truck containing a 200-gallon chlorine tank rigged with explosives at 7:13 p.m., also south of Fallujah in the Albu Issa tribal region, the military said. U.S. forces responded to the attack and found about 250 local civilians, including seven children, suffering from symptoms related to chlorine exposure, according to the statement.

Insurgents have detonated three other trucks carrying chlorine canisters since late January.

Soldier calls nasty bar beating a ‘sneak attack’

See! Now this really pisses me off! If Fitzgerald has been a minority or gay or some other ‘protected class’ then this story would be jammed down our throat as an example of our ‘intolerance’. Liberals are just a bunch of peace loving hippies…till they jump you with 3 of their buddies. F’in cowards!!!!

CTV.ca | Soldier calls nasty bar beating a ‘sneak attack’

CTV.ca News Staff

A soldier honoured for his military valour in Afghanistan is wondering why strangers beat him up in his hometown bar this past weekend.

“This wasn’t two guys on the ice dropping gloves and going, ‘OK, let’s go’,” Master Cpl. Collin Fitzgerald told CTV Ottawa on Tuesday.

“This was an attack — a sneak attack. To blindside a guy … and hit him with an object, there’s something wrong.”

Fitzgerald is well known in Morrisburg, Ont., a small town about an hour’s drive south of Ottawa.

He says he’d been in the bar only about 20 minutes late Friday, visiting with a childhood friend who introduced him to people as a war hero, when he was suddenly struck from behind with some type of object. Four men jumped him and began beating on him.

“They were saying ‘What kind of hero are you now?’,” Fitzgerald’s mother Arlene told CTV News. “If it was true that they said that, then they’re ignorant,” Fitzgerald said. Bystanders pulled the attackers off Fitzgerald and his friends drove him to hospital.

The weapons instructor at CFB Trenton had his foot broken in three places and needed 10 stitches to close a cut above his right eye. Fitzgerald, 27, also suffered a broken nose and two black eyes in the Friday night attack.

“Whatever he hit me with, he could have easily taken out an eye,” the soldier said. “What if he hit me in the throat? It could have been an artery.” Fitzgerald is married, with a young family.

Decorated hero

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean recognized Fitzgerald in a Feb. 19 ceremony for braving enemy fire in Afghanistan.

He served eight months there. He was one of the first recipients of the Canadian Medal of Military Valour, “for outstanding selfless and valiant actions” carried out on May 24, 2006, during an enemy ambush “involving intense, accurate enemy fire.”

According to the military, Fitzgerald “repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire by entering and re-entering a burning platoon vehicle and successfully driving it off the roadway, permitting the remaining vehicles trapped in the enemy zone to break free.”

“Collin was safer fighting the Taliban. At least he saw the enemy coming, or knew the enemy was there,” said his mother. “They are just total cowards, nothing but snakes,” said Gerald, Collin’s father.

Fitzgerald will need at least a month to recover from his injuries. Several of his army buddies are still recovering from injuries they suffered in Afghanistan.

“They don’t realize how good we have it here in Canada and what we’re trying to help the Afghan people have,” he said of his attackers.

Ontario Provincial Police have arrested 21-year-old Travis Baldwin, a Morrisburg resident and hockey player, and charged him with aggravated assault. An investigation is ongoing.

Baldwin will appear in Morrisburg court on May 1. CTV Ottawa has learned he may be the only person criminally charged in connection with the incident.

Robert Kagan – The ‘Surge’ Is Succeeding

Robert Kagan – The ‘Surge’ Is Succeeding – washingtonpost.com

A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn’t work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does. <Excellent question,Bob!!>

Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy. The conventional wisdom in December held that sending more troops was politically impossible after the antiwar tenor of the midterm elections. It was practically impossible because the extra troops didn’t exist. Even if the troops did exist, they could not make a difference.

   

Four months later, the once insurmountable political opposition has been surmounted. The nonexistent troops are flowing into Iraq. And though it is still early and horrible acts of violence continue, there is substantial evidence that the new counterinsurgency strategy, backed by the infusion of new forces, is having a significant effect.

Some observers are reporting the shift. Iraqi bloggers Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, widely respected for their straight talk, say that “early signs are encouraging.” The first impact of the “surge,” they write, was psychological. Both friends and foes in Iraq had been convinced, in no small part by the American media, that the United States was preparing to pull out. When the opposite occurred, this alone shifted the dynamic.

As the Fadhils report, “Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups abandoned their positions in Baghdad and in some cases fled the country.” The most prominent leader to go into hiding has been Moqtada al-Sadr. His Mahdi Army has been instructed to avoid clashes with American and Iraqi forces, even as coalition forces begin to establish themselves in the once off-limits Sadr City.

Before the arrival of Gen. David Petraeus, the Army’s leading counterinsurgency strategist, U.S. forces tended to raid insurgent and terrorist strongholds and then pull back and hand over the areas to Iraqi forces, who failed to hold them. The Fadhils report, “One difference between this and earlier — failed — attempts to secure Baghdad is the willingness of the Iraqi and U.S. governments to commit enough resources for enough time to make it work.” In the past, bursts of American activity were followed by withdrawal and a return of the insurgents. Now, the plan to secure Baghdad “is becoming stricter and gaining momentum by the day as more troops pour into the city, allowing for a better implementation of the ‘clear and hold’ strategy.” Baghdadis “always want the ‘hold’ part to materialize, and feel safe when they go out and find the Army and police maintaining their posts — the bad guys can’t intimidate as long as the troops are staying.”

A greater sense of confidence produces many benefits. The number of security tips about insurgents that Iraqi civilians provide has jumped sharply. Stores and marketplaces are reopening in Baghdad, increasing the sense of community. People dislocated by sectarian violence are returning to their homes. As a result, “many Baghdadis feel hopeful again about the future, and the fear of civil war is slowly being replaced by optimism that peace might one day return to this city,” the Fadhils report. “This change in mood is something huge by itself.”

Apparently some American journalists see the difference. NBC’s Brian Williams recently reported a dramatic change in Ramadi since his previous visit. The city was safer; the airport more secure. The new American strategy of “getting out, decentralizing, going into the neighborhoods, grabbing a toehold, telling the enemy we’re here, start talking to the locals — that is having an obvious and palpable effect.” U.S. soldiers forged agreements with local religious leaders and pushed al-Qaeda back — a trend other observers have noted in some Sunni-dominated areas. The result, Williams said, is that “the war has changed.”

It is no coincidence that as the mood and the reality have shifted, political currents have shifted as well. A national agreement on sharing oil revenue appears on its way to approval. The Interior Ministry has been purged of corrupt officials and of many suspected of torture and brutality. And cracks are appearing in the Shiite governing coalition — a good sign, given that the rock-solid unity was both the product and cause of growing sectarian violence.

There is still violence, as Sunni insurgents and al-Qaeda seek to prove that the surge is not working. However, they are striking at more vulnerable targets in the provinces. Violence is down in Baghdad. As for Sadr and the Mahdi Army, it is possible they may reemerge as a problem later. But trying to wait out the American and Iraqi effort may be hazardous if the public becomes less tolerant of their violence. It could not be comforting to Sadr or al-Qaeda to read in the New York Times that the United States plans to keep higher force levels in Iraq through at least the beginning of 2008. The only good news for them would be if the Bush administration in its infinite wisdom starts to talk again about drawing down forces.

No one is asking American journalists to start emphasizing the “good” news. All they have to do is report what is occurring, though it may conflict with their previous judgments. Some are still selling books based on the premise that the war is lost, end of story. But what if there is a new chapter in the story?

Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund, writes a monthly column for The Post. His latest book is “Dangerous Nation,” a history of American foreign policy.

U.S. Strategic Command Refines, Fields New Capabilities

I thought I’d post this for those who cry about the defense budget.   Please try to understand that upgrading and replacing old technologies is an ongoing and expensive process.  To cite the defense budget and cry “Iraq” is being overly simplistic. It’s called “…provide for the common defense…”.  Look it up.

U.S. Strategic Command Refines, Fields New Capabilities

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2007 – To adapt to the shifting national security environment, United States Strategic Command is refining and fielding new capabilities, the organization’s commander said yesterday.

Army Gen. James E. Cartwright outlined the transformation from Cold War-era structures to “new functionally aligned organizations designed to improve our operational speed and progress” in a prepared statement he submitted to the strategic forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.

“We’ve moved from the old triad construct of the bombers, the submarines and the (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to one that is more integrated and offers the country a broader range of activities that can deter and assure our allies,” Cartwright said.

According to Cartwright’s statement, the functional components for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; network warfare; global network operations; information operations; integrated missile defense; and combating weapons of mass destruction are at or nearing full operational capability.

In addition, STRATCOM is constructing an organizational system “that can be joint from the start, can move to combined or allied type of configuration … so that we don’t have to build those in a time of crisis,” Cartwright said.

“Having a balanced … defense infrastructure underpinned by command and control and the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is critical to the strategy,” he said.

Subcommittee members asked Cartwright how the newly organized STRACOM will address issues like the reliable replacement warhead program to modernize U.S. nuclear capabilities. They also asked about China’s recent anti-satellite testing and the U.S. missile defense system, which some critics say has not yet sufficiently integrated the warfighters who operate it.

“One of the key issues before us today involving the nuclear arsenal is the reliable replacement warhead program,” said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, the subcommittee’s chair. “We must ask, first and foremost, do we really need such a significant modernization of our existing nuclear capabilities?”

Cartwright responded, “RRW is a form-fit function replacement, in that we’re not changing any of the delivery vehicles. … It puts us on the right path towards drawing this stockpile down to the minimum number necessary for national security.

“It has the same operational characteristics,” he said, “but it is safer for the people who have to handle it. It’s secure, so that one of these weapons does not end up in the wrong place, used in the wrong way. And it is reliable, which draws down the number of platforms I need and the number of weapons we have to deliver.”

The general then addressed members’ concerns about China’s January anti-satellite test, which destroyed a Chinese satellite orbiting in the upper area of the low earth orbit belt, an estimated altitude of 530 miles.

Cartwright said debris from the destroyed satellite could interfere with commercial and government satellites and other space equipment orbiting in the same region.

“We’re going to have to move to avoid this debris when it occurs; that is an impact on us,” he said. “We’re reactive in this; we’re going to have to change our posture to (predict) where this debris is going to be.”

Cartwright said such experiments are not unprecedented, referring to similar tests the U.S. and Soviet Union conducted during the Cold War, in which meddlesome debris took more than 20 years to disintegrate.

On the defensive side of the new triad, Cartwright said, the missile defense system has had success over the past year in forging the relationship between Strategic Command and the Missile Defense Agency.

“The test programs have moved to a much more successful footing,” he said. “Technically, because Missile Defense Agency has done a great job, (and) operationally, because we have integrated the warfighter into the test program.”

Cartwright said the system and its operators’ readiness and capability were tested July 4, when North Korea launched several missiles.

“We stayed in an operational configuration for an extended period of time,” he said. “The system worked well; we learned a lot. The system can be moved to an operational configuration any time.”

Biographies:
Gen. James E. Cartwright, USA

Related Sites:
U.S. Strategic Command