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Thursday, June 03, 2004

More News From Iraq
Nick, I enjoy reading your letters from James in Baghdad. Hugh Hewitt posts another letter from a Marine near Fallujah.
We have made great inroads in breaking up insurgent cells through ambushes and raids. Even more important, we have begun to establish an early and still fragile rapport with the people of these areas.
He goes on to tell of a firefight with mujahadeen (muj) in the area:
It was a 360 degree engagement that lasted 8 hours. An 8 hour firefight is an eternity. To put it in perspective, this guy was in both OIF 1 battle for Baghdad as well as the Fallujah fight. He states that the firefight up near this town was the toughest he has been in. We fired quite a bit of artillery and brought in a number of sorties of close air for them. By the time it was over, the estimates (now confirmed) are that they killed over a 100 muj. We could not understand why they kept coming but they did (more on that later). Throughout it all, very accurate mortar fire up to 120mm was falling inside the Marine position. Automatic weapons and RPGs were crisscrossing through the perimeter. The Marines just laid there in the micro terrain and squeezed off well aimed shots.

The Battalion Commander stayed that day until his guys broke the muj and he "owned the field" (his words). He then withdrew back to his original position.
Yeah! I love these guys!

The upshot is the regular folks in the area are warming to our forces. "The people were watching the entire time and have made up their own minds where their best future lies." They (the Marines) are receiving more walk up intelligence & more cooperation in locating the bad guys. The Iraqi people see the contrast between our guys, who treat them with respect, and the thugs, who rape, intimidate, steal, etc., and they're making the wise choice.

Read the whole thing, it's pretty good.

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