Well it’s been a couple of days since I updated, so let me get everybody caught up. We have been pretty active around here this past week. It’s been hard to keep track of the days, it seems like time just moves forward and you only know what day it is by the calendar. All thinks considered, you really become numb to it, and it’s easy to see how Iraqi’s have no real understanding of the importance of time. This is, of course, how we as Americans view it. I gather from them that time isn’t as important, and things will happen if god wills it to happen.
Anyways, we have scene some remarkable improvement in the Iraqi Police. Not much mind you, but like I tell my guys, little victories are critical. We pretty much started our week with no plan at all, so I put together these classes on patrol planning and patrol steps. The officers got a class on planning, while the soldiers got a class and instruction on patrol operations. The classes went on the same day, and much to my surprise, were a big hit. The officers displayed no apparent knowledge of anything resembling military skill, while the soldiers performed reasonably well. We had a plan to put this into action, and last night we had the officers plan a patrol while the soldiers actually worked it on the street. In the end, it worked out pretty well, at least till they got tired, and that’s when they lost control. But, for 3 hours, it worked out pretty good, and I am proud of my team for helping put it together.
We have also been working hard to get the soldiers to wear flacks and helmets. It has been an ongoing battle, and almost fruitless. But yesterday, I guess they all decided to pay attention. I think the IED had something to do with it. A couple of days ago, we had an officer get killed by an IED. Apparently he walked right up to it after he was told not to, and it blew him to pieces. Not very pretty, but one very large he had his Kevlar helmet on, and his head was still intact. Anyways, pretty gross, but all of the sudden the helmet is critical to these guys. Lesson learned I suppose.
I have been thinking about this lately, watching the police in action. I think we have all read about how Saddam treated his people, but it didn’t really dawn on me how badly these people suffered, until I watched the Iraqi’s interrogate a prisoner. Now, before anybody gets into an uproar, they DIDN”T touch the guy, or beat him, or anything like that. But, from the moment they brought him in, you could tell by looking at him that he was petrified. They (the police interrogator) were quiet and asked specific questions, but something in his voice struck me as evil. Watching these people work makes me feel as if I am infected by them. Its not so much as what he says, but the way he says them. Some of the things he said and the way he asked, I think the people are still very much afraid of the authority. It makes me wonder how Saddam destroyed these people. Some of the stories I have heard over the years were pretty horrendous, but you never really take them as fact until you see it in the eyes of the people who committed them. Also, the police have a tendency to grab people randomly. Better to grab somebody and bring them in, then to say we didn’t catch anybody.
A good rain has a way of washing away the filth. Clouds are forming overhead, and it looks like another storm is on its way.