Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Back in Iraq

Michael Fumento is back in Iraq. Forget the spin, go for the primary source. Good diverse writing.
I should have explained earlier that I was embedded with three units in First Division, Fourth Brigade. It's commanded by an Iraqi and comprises mostly Iraqis with American MITT advisors. That stands for Military Transition Teams. Their purpose is to transition the Iraqis into an independent fighting force. It's actually an Army Special Forces job, but the Green Berets are essentially being used in what's supposed to be their secondary job as commandoes.

So MITTs are pulled together from conventional units. In this case, most were from an Army Reserve unit based in Richmond, Virginia. That was actually rather nice for me because it meant a lot of these guys were essentially neighbors of mine. One lived one city over in Alexandria, a couple lived in nearby Fairfax where my German classes are, and one had a condo in my own town of Arlington. One of the Fairfax guys knew about a bar called "Dr. Dreamo's" that's about a block from my townhouse, so he knew exactly where I lived. But we also had Marines mixed in, so your typical patrol would be about half Iraqi, one-fourth Army, and one-fourth Marine.

Yes, the Army guys badmouthed the Marine Corp sometimes. The usual complaint is that the USMC is too big on brawn, to little on brains and finesse. In this case, there was some definite bad blood. Marines were given orders to come through the area and shoot stray dogs and ended up plugging the cute little camp mascot. The soldiers said they knew it was a pet but killed it out of spite. I don't know. But certainly the soldiers completely respected and got along with the Marines who served alongside them.
Hat tip The Corner.

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