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Welcome Home, Dan
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Got a welcome email today from a friend I'd been keeping up with in Iraq. I'll only use his first name for privacy reasons. He got home this week and in his short, no nonsense style espoused precisely the sentiment I expected. He said:
Your sentiments of last December are still valid, we're in it and we need to finish it. Just thought I'd drop you a note and let you know that I made it back in one piece, though there are now others from the 87th in the box. Keep up the fight on the home front.
Dan has been sort of a touchstone for me. He's been doing a tough job - training the Iraqi Army. That means live, eat, breath, and sleep with the unit you're training. And it also means being there when they step in the stuff. He's been my "ground truth" in Iraq. A combat arms Lieutenant Colonel, Dan knows what is going on.

If you're a regular reader here, you can obviously imagine what my "sentiments of last December" were. But Dan reflects well the steel and determination I've found in most of those I know "in the box". As he notes, more of my old unit are now deployed there.

Welcome home Dan ... and thanks for your professionalism and a job well done. And I will keep up the fight on this end.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Your friend certainly served under incredibly difficult circumstances. But given that the available evidence suggests that there is very little loyalty from either Army or police units to the central government, what is the basis for your claim that the job was "well done"?
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Because unlike you, Francis, I know him and I know what he’s told me is true. He has no reason to tell me otherwise. We were serving officers together and have absolutely no reason to lie to each other or pretend the reality he faced is other than it is.

That’s my basis. What’s the basis for your conclusion?
Written By: McQ
Because Iraq is a (WAIT FOR IT!)...quagmire quagmire of the quaggiest-type...
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
From Knight-Ridder:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Car bombings on Sunday killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 250 in a campaign of bloodshed that has threatened to plunge Iraq into open civil war.
The killings have come despite a highly touted Baghdad security plan that includes about 42,500 Iraqi army and police troops and at least 7,200 U.S. soldiers (one American officer said last week that the number was closer to 8,000).

From Joey Galloway’s column from last Thursday:

Both army and police are made up almost entirely of Shia and Kurds, and various militias of both have infiltrated the ranks, especially of the police. Some of them have not merely facilitated but participated in the revenge slaughter of Sunnis.
It makes an American president’s declarations that we’ll somehow achieve victory in Iraq if we only stay the course ring ever more empty. Who gets to define victory? The Iraqis or us?

This is a job well done? Are you seriously arguing that the US has adequately discharged its responsibility as an occupier to provide basic security?
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
This is a job well done?
Francis, has anyone called you an idiot today? No? Well let me be the first.

I welcomed a friend home who served a year in Iraq and did a hell of a good job. Is it possible that you might find it in yourself to acknowledge that fact and leave the politics alone for a minute?
Written By: McQ
McQ, Well he is from the reality based community so he knows, KNOWS, ..., I tell you!!

Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Hang on there kids. It is perfectly possible both for McQ’s friend to have done well in his job and for security in Baghdad to be getting worse and worse and worse. This illustrates a common misaprehension. Many servicemen and women report that they are doing much good where they are. Certainly the ones I know believe they have helped in the bits of Iraq that they saw. I believe them. But if there are not enough of them, they can improve the small part of Iraq where they are and still have Iraq as a whole spin further into the abyss. Every one of the Americans in Iraq can do as much good as he or she possibly could and we can still fail to provide baasic security for the country. Two American soldiers doing all the good they could 24/7 wouldn’t change the course of Iraq. Turns out neither will 8000 of them in Baghdad. Will 130,000 drops of ink be enough to color the whole bucket of 25 million Iraqis? It is entirely possible for every American in Iraq to do his or her job well and for us to fail there. And that, my friends, is a failure of leadership.

Oh, and welcome home. It must be great to be back.
Written By: Retief
URL: http://

Please pass on my greetings , and my thank yous, and my respect. He deserves them.
Written By: Bithead
since i don’t see any posts on this thread calling you a dumbass, let me be the first.

I’m glad for you and your friend that he’s back in one piece. but I still want to know why you think his job of training the Iraqi Army — a job critical to any definition of US success in Iraq — was well done when respected military journalists report that the US failed to keep militias from infiltrating the Iraq Army.

Maybe the job was impossible. As the officers I’ve met over my life have almost always been solid competent people, I’ll assume that your friend is a solid competent professional who did his very best in extremely difficult circumstances.

But effort doesn’t really count here; outcome does. So why is it out of bounds to ask hard questions, indirectly, to a relatively senior officer as to the success of the US Army in accomplishing its most critical post-combat mission?

Your friend is a Lt. Col., not some green-as-grass lieutenant. What’s the proper greeting for a soldier of his rank back from an uncertain mess, like Somalia? Glad you’re in one piece, sorry you got screwed by the politicos? Or job well done?
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Umm Francis, that maybe because the Iraqi Army has taken over part of Iraq and seems positioned to continue doing so. Just a guess her you know. Welcome back Dan! My best 2 you. Thank you for your service.
Written By: dawnsblood
URL: http://
Your friend is a Lt. Col., not some green-as-grass lieutenant.
Exactly, which is why what he has to say about the situation has much more weight than some cretin who has no idea what the situation on the ground actually is and can only guess by reading selected news reports.

But, hey, thanks for your support of the troops. Seems I remember you from the good old days in Viet Nam. Or at least your type.
Written By: McQ
dawnsblood: plenty of places in Iraq are ethnically relatively monolithic and have seen comparatively little violence. But that is not true of the capital, the security of which is a little more critical to our mission.

McQ: let’s see. you’ve called me an idiot, a cretin and a backstabber. (I assume that’s what you meant by the "your type" comment; please feel free to clarify.) And all this for asking the simple question why you thought your friend’s job was well done, in light of some very strong evidence to the contrary. I didn’t insult you or him, nor did I question his honor.

Prickly, aren’t we? Maybe you can invite Patterico over and he can start calling me a douchebag. Ace could probably come up with some choice insults and the rest of that gang could start investigating my personal life. I’m sure you’d feel lots better. That whole Greenwald thing really worked out; did you hear that the publisher is withdrawing the book after that great investigative work your crew did?

Alternatively, you might answer the question I asked — given the level of violence in Bagdad, why is it that your friend’s job was well done?
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
McQ you have over-reacted. Cretin, your type, "douchebag"... a little early in the game for that.

1) McQ’s friend could have done HIS job well. Any number of folks did their jobs well in the Campaign in the Low Countries May-June 1940. Any number of folks did their jobs well at Dieppe 1942. You make a logical fallacy of that which applies to the parts applies to the whole, or rather possibly the reverse, because the whole is doing poorly the parts have as well.

2) Of course the assumption is that the whole IS going poorly. Now the book is still out on that. I’m not sure that is true.

Finally, did Greenwald lose his book offer? Don’t blame us, blame Glenn Greenwald. My advice is don’t use "sock puppets." Play the game ethically and you have lot fewer problems. AND if you read this site, you;d probably know that this site, it’s operators/owners seemed to be unconcerned with Greenwald’s peccadillo’s, so shining about Greenwald’s supposed "victimization" really does reveal a shocking level of silliness.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I welcomed a friend home who served a year in Iraq and did a hell of a good job. Is it possible that you might find it in yourself to acknowledge that fact and leave the politics alone for a minute?
Whatever the merits of the objection, it is disheartening that someone would criticize the way someone else offers thanks to an American soldier returning home from combat. And for that critic to then, in the next breath, argue victimhood and demand sympathy for a self-promoting fraud?! What a sense of proportion. What a set of priorities.
Written By: David Shaughnessy
Alternatively, you might answer the question I asked — given the level of violence in Bagdad, why is it that your friend’s job was well done?
I answered the question immediately after it was asked and you know it. I then asked you a question which, to this point, other than throwing up a couple of clippings, you’ve not answered.

What’s your motivation Francis? A simple tribute to a good friend who spent a year in Iraq and you try to turn it into some sort of political statement. And you continue to ask a question that’s been answered.

What ever happened to someone having the good grace and manners just to keep their mouth shut at certain times?

Can you answer that question as well?
McQ’s friend could have done HIS job well.
Well of course he could have and this a$$hole knows it as does anyone with the IQ of warm spit.

Ok, point taken ... maybe he doesn’t.

Anyway and as should now be obvious, that isn’t what this is about despite all the feigned surprise by Francis at my reaction.
Written By: McQ
I’m sorry, McQ; this guy’s hit the button.


Francis, you’re a bit of work, that much I’ll grant you.

However; If your intent is to discredit the soldier in question, thereby discrediting the entire effort..(And of course the current administration in the process) I’ve got news for you; You’ve discredited yourself instead by climbing up on this soldiers back to spread your BS. That perch from which you dare to judge the success or failure of the man’s military mission based on sectarian violence, is a rather precarious one to begin with.

But let’s for just a moment make believe that your arguments actually have a scintilla of credibility, that you’re not the braying ass I take you for, and get you on that basis to address something I’ll bet you’d rather not;

Given the violence of the non-governmental groups (the militias , Hamas, Hezbollah etc.) if any group, government or otherwise is to maintain complete control of the situation, they will only do so to the degree you claim to want, by gaining and maintaining an essential monopoly on violence for themselves.

Explain to us how this would be different than what Saddam did, and why you’d support it.

With that, I will withdraw.
Written By: Bithead
It is entirely possible for every American in Iraq to do his or her job well and for us to fail there. And that, my friends, is a failure of leadership.
It is a mystery to me how the second sentence is a logical conclusion from the first one.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"the US failed to keep militias from infiltrating the Iraq Army."

I am curious. Just from a practical standpoint, how would we prevent this alledged infiltration? Do the various militiamen have tattoos identifying their particular militia? I would think, since they are infiltrating, that they would be a little discreet as to their gang affiliation. Does the US Army run background checks on them? I doubt it, since we do not have the organization or databases to do so. A week or so ago their was a thread on this site about infiltration of the US military by right-wing zealots. If we can’t prevent undesireables from joining our military, how do we keep them from joining someone elses military? Finally, even if there is some infiltration, is it anything more than a minor nuisance? Does it prevent the Iraqi forces from accomplishing its overall mission?
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
invite Patterico over and he can start calling me a douchebag
Is this Greenwald?
That whole Greenwald thing really worked out
no thanks necessary. ;)
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://

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