Just wanted to drop you a brief line about a couple of things you might find interesting.
Iraq has been a surprise to me. Accommodations are nicer than expected, with running water indoors for showers and urinals (gravity fed from tanks ;) electricity (albeit 220 VAC rather than 110 VAC ) etc.
However, I'm terribly disappointed in the way we fight. It's been, for lack of a better term, garrisonized. "Higher" cares more about whether you have holes in your cammies than if you can fight, they expend more manpower building walkways with sandbags than reinforcing the buildings, and worst of all they're stingy with the ammo. I've got empty mags, empty grenade pouches, and we carry 1/3 of what we should for the M240 [MMG] on top of the truck. I truly don't understand. Do we not rate ammo? It's a war, isn't it?
After some reflection I'd have to say it's really not. It's not even a "police action" in the Vietnam/Korea sense. It's an armed humanitarian effort. We're like Triple Canopy or Blackwater on an international scale. It's frustrating, but jarheads are nothing if not adaptable.
IEDs have been getting fewer but bigger. All our trucks are armored to some degree, and the old "a couple 155s" style IED doesn't cut it. My company hasn't been hit much yet, but the Army and one of the line co's have been nailed pretty good. The Army even had a Bradley get mobility killed the other day. Not easy, those things are tough.
I'm looking forward to Ramadan and the elections. We're hoping it'll spur the bad guys to come out in force instead of sniping, IEDs, and hit and run attacks they prefer now. I'm getting tired of raiding houses and ending up holding a bunch of women and kids at gunpoint.
Have to cut this short, my section about to go on QRF and I've gotta get back to the hootch. Stay low and watch six. - John in Iraq