Smith, deployed near Kirkuk with his National Guard unit, reports on another day in the sandbox.
We searched around 12 villages, some as large as 8,000 people. We cordoned them off and searched each and every house. We found LOTS of stuff. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m sure we have prevented countless deaths throughout the country. We blew up a cache of weapons the first day that consisted of a dozen RPGÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, over 200 mortar and rocket rounds, 3 AK47ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, thousands of rounds of ammo, Motorola radios for detonating IEDÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, spools of wire, and other IED making materials. The next couple days were more of the same. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not sure how many people we detained, but it should have been a lot more. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s tough with the IA because they will tell their buddies we are coming, and we find that a lot of terrorists are long gone by the time we get there. You know how quickly word spreads in small towns. We are working to rectify the situation though, so it wonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t be a problem for long.
That’s the thing I’m missing from the big media reporting. This is the war. This is where it’s being won — or lost. And if you’re the AP and you don’t tell me what people like Smith are doing, day in and day out in Iraq, you’re not doing your job.
If all you write about it suicide bombers because you’re locked into the notion that the only news is big explosions, get a new model. Journalism has done it before. You can do it. Nothing ever blew up in Watergate.
Today, every mil-blogger is his own Ernie Pyle. In part, that’s because there are no Ernie Pyles with newspaper columns nowadays. Read the war correspondents filing from Iraq for the big media, and see how many G.I. — or National Guard — voices they contain. Last summer I read through dozens of New York Times and AP versions of stories about the fighting in Najaf. They quote U.S. generals in Baghdad, and they quoted al-Sadr’s militiamen. And they quoted U.S. politicians. Where were the G.I.s? The exact people Pyle put at the center of everything he wrote? The people most Americans are most interested in? The ones who performed splendidly, picking off the thugs without putting a scratch in the precious Shi’ite mosques? Where were they?
With the Internet, you can find them, of course. But the owners of networks and newspapers might want to file this under “1,000 reasons we’re losing audience.”
Smith has another message for us:
One more plug before I finish. Things are good here. Regardless of what you hear on the news. The terrorists are losing, and losing bad. If you canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t see that, you need to open your eyes. They have resorted to such cowardly tactics as suicide bombers targeting civilians. Civilians! What did the civilians ever do to the terrorists? Nothing. But it doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t matter. The terrorists are only here (from other countries mind you) to create havoc.
ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not working too well. For every huge explosion you see on CNN, there were probably two dozen that were prevented by quick thinking, hard working soldiers. You donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t hear about that on the news though. You donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t hear about the 18 year old machine gunner who shot a suspicious vehicle trying to enter their convoy which turned out to be an attempted suicide bomber. This hero is not on CNN for saving the lives of fellow soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike. You donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t hear about how many lives were saved when the Iraqi army raided a small village and destroyed hundreds of would be IEDÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s. No, that is not news my friends.
But when some pus nuts friggin terrorist blows up innocent people in the middle of a market, you are told by the media that we are losing the war and that we shouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t be here. Well, we should. When you work with these people daily, you see what the hard work is doing. When the kids are anxious to go to school to learn about the world around them, you realize that we should be here.
I hope the trend continues, and that the terrorists run out of cowardly suicide volunteers. Can there be that many stupid people around? Iraq doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have any left. Neither does Iran. These terrorists are from Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, ect. I hope the people fight back. They are starting to, believe me. Yesterday we were tipped off by a man in the village about a house that had already been searched. When soldiers went back inside to search more carefully a cleverly hidden sniper rifle was found. How many people had this terrorist killed? How many would he have killed had we not been tipped off? A big thanks goes out to that civilian. That Arab wants to see his country make something of itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s self. I do too. And you know what, I think it will.