Michael Yon’s latest two chronicles have been alternate uplifting and illuminating.
The first documents the citizenship ceremonies of US soldiers and Marines who were green card-holders.
It's been true since the U.S. was founded that some of the best Americans were not born in America. And we can use all the good people we can get. That's something to remember. [SNIP]That's right; some who aren't even citizens yet are willing to defend the USA. Accelerating the citizenship process for these fine people is the least we can do.
I was privileged to witness the award ceremony for 12 new American citizens in Deuce Four recently. I hope America makes them feel welcome. If the folks at home could see what these people are doing in Iraq, they would make these special troops feel as honored guests. But now, better yet, they are honored citizens, giving life to the concept of active citizenship.
The second gives a sober-eyed view of the crucial role played by the Iraqi Security Forces—contextualized by the Battle of Mosul--in the on-going struggle for Iraq’s freedom. There are three parts, with the fourth and final part planned for next week.
From Part I:
Unfortunately, the "Sunni triangle" is a region churning with an insurgency that shows no sign of letup. But by focusing on the flames, the media does not give the world a fair or accurate representation of what's happening for most Iraqi people, or for most of the Coalition forces. I, too, have spent most of my time in Iraq in these dangerous provinces, so even these dispatches might indicate that Iraq has more problems than is actually the case.
Yet even here in the warring provinces, progress is clear. I have endured many tedious meetings with agendas focused on roadside trash, local business development, or Iraqi police training. These normalities do not make good news.
Though "the media" zooms in on the flames, viewers are equally complicit. After all, who among us is more likely to tune in or read about another successful Iraqi adopt-a-highway initiative, when the other option is dramatic footage of the fighting that our people face every day inside these jagged borders?
And so it is. I am with the 1-24th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division, whose soldiers are fighting some of the most serious insurgency battles in Iraq.
To understand the situation in Mosul today, it helps to recap events beginning last March. Just one year ago, Mosul was largely peaceful. It hardly made the news. Then, far away in Falluja, insurgents ambushed and murdered four American contractors. In a scene as savage as any captured on film, a crowd morphed into a frenzied mob, dancing and mugging for the cameras as they beat smoldering corpses. With a depravity that even in retrospect retains its power to stun any person with a soul, they stampeded through the streets, dragging the dead behind them, until finally hanging what was left of the bodies from a bridge; pausing only to pose for souvenir photos.
The Coalition responded by clearing out the entire city, killing more than one thousand enemy fighters, and dispersing thousands of others "like roaches" throughout Iraq. Displaced fighters streamed from their nests in Falluja, scuttled into hiding throughout Iraq, and began spreading the disease of violence. Many landed in Mosul.
Only a few others are giving such thorough background to tactical battle situations in Iraq and even fewer are attempting to do so while in-country.
It has been noted that Michael Yon’s sojourn in Iraq is totally self-financed, along with supplemental donations. Please help Mr. Yon continue to be able to observe the situation and produce such outstanding dispatches to the world.
(Thanks to Gerard Vanderleun)