Friday, June 3, 2005


Without discipline an Army would just be a bunch of guys wearing the same color clothing.

So begins a very interesting post by an unusually articulate soldier in Iraq. The post is about an Iraqi unit demonstrating discipline. Another excerpt:

I didn’t think back to that clipped broadcast until I returned to Iraq. Here in the throbbing heart of Baghdad, swimming in a sea of shimmering heat - that news segment seems almost disingenuous. I’m sure that yesterday, half a world away that same newscaster spent 10 or 15 seconds covering the latest insurgent ambush before moving onto the local weather forecast. And I’m equally certain that someone watched that broadcast and grew a little more despondent about the situation here in Iraq. But what was lost in that syrupy smooth slice of news was a story that shows just how much Iraq has changed, and about how disciplined some Iraqi Army units have become in a few short months.

I heard the story this morning from one of our NCOs who works hand in hand with the Iraqi Army unit that was ambushed. After conducting operations outside of our sector the IA unit was returning in the shadowy silence of early morning. The unit was moving in a snaking column, a long sinuous file that took them right into the waiting ambush. I can imagine the silence of that morning, the only sound echoing off the urban canyon the grumbling clamor of Bongo trucks and Iraqi vehicles making their way down the road. And then the silence was broken, and the sky was aflame with a storm of machine gun fire. The insurgents had set their ambush in the middle of a quiet residential area an arrangement that guaranteed that any returning fire would careen through a densely populated neighborhood and compound the tragedy by killing innocent civilians sleeping in their beds. The Iraqi unit took the worst the insurgents had to throw at them, making the wrenching decision to limit their return fire to protect the civilians the insurgents were using as unwitting shields.

Frank Burns is the soldier's name, writing in his blog "365 and a Wakeup". Don't miss the rest of this post, or his other writings. I've added him to my blogroll...

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