From LTC Bob.
Things continue to go better in Iraq. Not sure if you can get that from the stateside news, but I can tell a big difference. For example, in one division area that frequently reported attacks, IEDs and IDF, they now report on the status of fish farms, distribution of chicks to the local chicken farmers, new clinics, economic development, irrigation projects, etc. Refreshing change. The Marines in the west (Al Anbar Province) have changed their age-old motto of “Every Marine a Rifleman” to “Every Marine a Civil Affairs Officer”. No joke, it is amazing the difference since we arrived last July.
Recently we again shared an Iraqi supper with our friends from the Iraqi Ground Forces Command Engineer Section, led by COL Tariq. He has a great sense of humor, speaks a bit of English, and is a real trooper. He’s been in the Iraqi Army for over 30 years; the insurgents burned down his house up north, but still he comes to work every day and is a pleasure to be around. (fortunately his family is ok)
Attached are two group photos from last Sunday (the Canadian is an exchange officer with our Topo company – one of less than 10 in theater, all exchange personnel), the Marine works for MAJ Maher in Team Muhandis, our partnering effort with the IGFC;
and a pic of the previous Sunday meal showing the local fare. I don’t generally eat lamb, unless I am in the mid-East. For some reason, they do it much better over here – it always tastes “wooly” to me in the US, but it’s quite nice in Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan. And it is even better after eating chow hall food for 11 months. The bread is also delicious, freshly baked. It only last a day – no preservatives. The other item you see on the table is a tray of pickled vegetables, which go in the bread with tomato and the lamb kebab.
Anyway, we’re starting to count the days – not too much longer till October.