Who is to blame?
Brig. Gen. Carter F. Ham is a man of integrity, honor and is one man I would follow anywhere. He sent Christmas letters to the family members of every Task Force Olympia soldier. He knows my soldiers by their first names. And he is the first person to visit a wounded soldier. He is a great man. Yesterday, in our studio, he told CNN that he blames himself for the suicide bomber incident at Marez when in fact it’s anybody’s fault but his own.
Everybody is asking how a person could “infiltrate” our FOB and detonate a bomb. The talking heads: “Are the military bases susceptible for more of these kinds of attacks? How did this happen? Is there not enough security on our bases? How could a general let this happen?”
I don’t think people realize that we have anywhere from 100 to 1,000 local workers on any base, and that we search every single one of them. Yes, we have found numerous contraband on locals before. Yes, we work side-by-side Iraqis, whom we emplace our trust. We search them too, and we’ve also detained them for insurgent activity. The problem with this war is we don’t have a defined enemy, and those who are supposed to be our allies often run and hide until the fighting is over.
Who is the enemy? Well, for one, they don’t wear a uniform and two, we are trying to give these people freedom, which means while we’re killing bad guys, we’re also employing people who look no different than the ones we’re killing. This war is hard. In Korea, Vietnam and WWII, we knew who we were fighting to some extent. Yesterday, I had guard duty and rather than looking for a uniformed soldier, I looked for an enemy who looks just like the people we’re helping. Imagine playing basketball with a group of total strangers, with everybody wearing white T-shirts. You have no idea who’s on your team. Well, that’s our challenge; we don’t know who we can pass the ball to.
As we’ve tried to give the Iraqis the lead in the security of this area, we have seen their shortcomings and a few victories. Freedom is earned, not given. And if this country is to succeed, its people must step up. When the terrorists, insurgents or whatever you want to call them attacked the police stations last month, the Iraqi Police abandoned their post. Then, Iraqi National Guard went into those stations along with us and regained control of the city. (So, as I said, there are Iraqis who will fight for freedom. I just wish there were more.) Many of the Mosul Imams are crooked, encouraging the locals to stand up against us or kill the Iraqis who work for us. I don’t understand this at all; they’re supposed to be holy.
Back to the suicide bomb, how could somebody pass our checkpoints, get by our guards and possibly bring a bomb inside a protected mess hall. Well, I don’t have the answers for you. I can tell you that it’s not Gen. Ham’s fault. All I know is that we are doing everything we can to win this war; I just don’t think the Iraqis have.
THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, NOT THAT OF THE ARMY’S. THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.