In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Great feedback on elections

From LTC John M. Hughes in Mosul...

Folks - spent the whole day with the TFF CG again busily visiting and observing (from a polite distance) various Iraqi polling sites through out Mosul and Tal Afar (Northern Iraq).

The Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army proved today that they have successfully earned the faith, trust, and confidence of the droves of Iraqi citizens that came out to vote in their National Election.

At each polling site security and control was layered, organized, and provided an efficient and orderly process... The people, many wearing their "Sunday best", came out, stood in line, checked through security, received their ballots and voted... many of the voters left the Polls waving their ink stained index finger to their neighbors still waiting in line. Whole families came; including children of all ages to see and experience the process with their parents... Many old and frail people came out as well and were being carefully assisted by concerned friends and family members...

The people were very calm and showed absolutely no concern for the threats of violence made by the various insurgent malcontents. In some areas it was like a block party and people were happy, jubilant, and congregated in large groups to socialize... Best of all, the WHOLE SHOW was conducted and managed by the Iraqis... They manned, secured, and managed the entire Election process themselves... US Troops had no role in today's Election... We only observed from a distance or made passing visits to congratulate the poll workers and Iraqi security forces on their obvious success... In fact, very few US units were out patrolling the streets at all today...

For the last few days there has been a nation wide "no roll rule" where no civilian vehicles are allowed to even be parked on the streets (let alone be moving on the streets). Consequently, the streets were filled with pedestrians... and LOTS of them too. For the first time in a long time, the Iraqi people confidently "owned" their own city streets... they moved leisurely to and from the polling sites and many just "hung out and socialized" within their communities...

Kids were everywhere... whole crowds of kids (big and small) would rush to and congregate around the US troops and vehicles when we showed up... The kids know that GIs are generous to children... they were not disappointed and many of the troops tossed out and our handed out candy... I gave away all my government issue Skill Craft ink pens, which is a serious prize for the kids over here... Some kid ended up with my ACU (BDU) cap that fell out of my Cargo pocket... The kids picked it up and brought it to me... and as a reward I gave it away (only because I have an extra one)... that hat went from one head to the next is seconds, then moved rapidly down the street with a comet of kids following closely after.

Regrettably, there were some minor terrorist incidents here and there, but nothing of real significance and all the polls stayed open. We did take some small arms fire while leaving Mosul to Tal Afar, but it was only a short burst and very ineffective.

The day was truly great and the only downer was that we sucked down a good bit of road dust... which is nothing new, and well worth the trouble.

I'll send out some pictures in a later email.

As always... BIG HUGS and Much love to one and all.


At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds awesome. our local paper carried a tiny article on the inside page. they don't want to admit the iraq people are actually benefitting from the presense of US troops.

so do you think this would have happened without intervention from another country? just curious for your take on it.


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