Thursday, January 31, 2008

Iraqi Countryside Diyala near Iranian border (FOB Caldwell/Mandali)

Klika Photo of chicken dinner on the foot (left)

The one striking fact about Iraq and other places around the globe is the dependence of man on goats, there must have been three goats for every Iraqi. They obviously can live eating the little green you see in these photos and the ones below.

The canal arrays made quite extensive agricultural efforts possible but were the bain of manuevering for US forces. Like thoughts from Korea our obsession with staying on the roads hurt us. In Korea the terrain channelized us onto the roads in Iraq they became the place to kill us too only from the fact that we presented ourselves on them daily and operated from FOBS instead of just plopping down in the towns and cities. FOBs represent the infrastructure that we think we need, but there were literally millions of Iraqis living someplace else, bad sewers or not.

When factoring in the commuting time back and forth, the different units and sections repeating each others footsteps because each had to learn the AO, and the defacto relationship with our emplaced people (town Mayors/IP) often not representive of the total populace it all added up to problems of one nature or another. In the end either we have to walk the towns and stay in them or the Iraqis have to do it. General Petraus may have been the impetus but he surely was not the first to figure that aspect out.

Iraq was barren except for around canals and the two big rivers. It had a tremendous amount of agricultural capacity that was not being used in 2005. I always watched Vietnam movies and wondered why in the heck would they walk across open fields into an ambush, well this is how we approached houses/farm compounds etc. and everytime I did I thought someone was going to shoot one of us meandering up to the house, we did not really do bounding overwatch but did have vehicle gunners overwatching us. Of course that is not going to do you any good after a 7.62mm machinegun burst to the chest from an insurgent shooting from cover if you are the guy on point. It is hard on the first guy to recover from something like that.