Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Embed-Edd in Iraq

Local conservative talk show host Edd Hendee is in the midst of his second trip to Iraq, this time accompanied by nationally syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham. In his first trip to Iraq in January of 2005, Edd witnessed and reported firsthand on the first free Iraqi elections. He also played a key role in starting the process of adding much-needed armor to the US Army Humvees to protect them from the dangers of mines and "improvised explosive devices" (IEDs). He even experienced firsthand the tragedies that accompany these brave soldiers as they give their time and talents, and sometimes their very lives, to protect our nation and better the world in which we live.

This trip, as before, Edd has forsaken the "safe zone" Baghdad headquarters used by the vast majority of media personnel who report from Iraq. Instead he is spending as much time as possible among the troops, talking with officers, NCOs and enlisted men alike. And the experiences and information he sends back is so much more than we ever hear from the rest of the mainstream media, who revel in highlighting the worst news possible while ignoring the real picture of what is happening across what is, for the first time in generations, a free nation.

One interesting nugget of information that really stood out in my reading was about the IEDs. Listening to the nightly news you would think that these roadside bombs were slowly crippling our forces. Not true, Edd reports:
IEDs are the weapon of choice of the insurgents and in this last year this area has had 817 IED incidents. However [Col. Jim Pasqarette, Brigade CO for the 1st Brigade 4th Combat Division,] points out that the soldiers on patrol have become experts at finding IEDs by observing any change in their environment – new dirt, disturbed rocks, even a change in the color [of] the dust on the trash on the side of the road. Of 10 IEDs placed – 6 are found before they can be detonated, 2 explode and cause no damage, 1 will cause only physical damage to the vehicle, and 1 will damage the vehicle and cause injury to personnel. In short only 10% of the IEDs placed result in harm to personnel.

What's changed in the last year? First, [the] Army has become extremely adept at discovering IEDs ... by training the troops to recognize them. ...

Second the vehicle armor is substantially improved as all of the 4th ID Humvees are fully factory armored with more powerful engines and suspensions to handle the weight of the armor.

The third factor that has changed in the last year may be the most encouraging and significant: The Army is getting a significant number of tips on their "tip lines" set up to allow Iraqis to tip locations of weapons caches and the identities of those who set the traps themselves. In this last year the Iraqi people have begun to claim Iraq as their own nation -- it is theirs -- their election turnout is a clear demonstration of that change. They don't want the insurgents in their country killing Iraqis and the best way to rid themselves of this threat is to tip the Army of who they are [and] where their weapons are. IEDs remain the biggest threat but there are indications the battle has shifted.

Watch Lone Star Times to keep up with Edd's Iraqi experience: For Laura Ingraham's Iraq Journal, click here.

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