First off, I'd just like to say thanks for all the kind words and overwhelming show of support. I appreciate it, and I'm sure Mike does as well. I received numerous emails about his letter, and as you may have guessed from many of the comments- there were plenty of questions. I can't answer every individual email right away, but I'll address the most common questions in this post.
How can we link to Mike's photo site?
The short answer is "I don't know." I don't know Mike (at least I don't think I know him). I just know that he's in Fallujah as a member of TF 2-7 CAV. I received his email through my West Point distro list. It appeared that he wanted to get a message out to the people (and I did receive it through a public distro list), so I decided to post it. I sent an email back through the channels from which it came, and I offered to post any future messages as well as a link to his photo site. I haven't heard anything back from him, so we'll see what happens. Maybe he'll start his own blog! Or maybe he'll decide he's too busy to focus on anything other than his mission at hand. It's his call, and I'm sure you'll all support whatever decision he makes. Stay tooned...
Why haven't we heard anything about the insurgents' use of hard drugs from the MSM or official Pentagon press releases?
The only answer I can offer is that Mike's email was simply his own account of what he saw. I don't doubt that those marines found what he claims they found. But it's way too early to say that all the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq are fueling up with crack and/or heroine. Perhaps what the marines found came from a small contingent of misguided insurgent teenagers. Perhaps his (or his intel officer's) assessment was off- maybe the insurgents were selling the stuff to finance the insurgency. It's hard to say. When you're that close to the fight, you sometimes draw conclusions without benefit of having the "big picture." I was "off target" about quite a few things while I was "doing my thing" in Mosul.
In any case, the Army won't release any statements accusing the insurgents of "fighting under the influence" until they have more conclusive evidence. If they were to base such a claim from one person's report (or even one unit's report), it would be unconfirmed propaganda- and we don't do that. We studied the chemical lab discovery for several days before releasing any press reports. I can only guess that the MSM would wait for an official military press release before reporting a "drug story," but then again- I've never known the MSM to be all that concerned about spreading propaganda...
Bottom line- this was a "field report"- give it time. Let the hard facts come out as they develop.
Once again, thanks for all the kind comments and emails. I will do my very best to answer each email during the next few days...
This is an important story- U.S. Sends in Secret Weapon: Saddam's Old Commandos:
"All of them were previously officers in the Iraqi army or special forces," the Scorpions' commander, Colonel Salaam Trad, said at the Marines' Kalsu base near Iskandariya on Saturday.
"But Saddam was dirty and no good for Iraq."
Iraqi police here have stuck to their posts despite killings of comrades in bomb attacks and murders of off-duty officers: " They don't cut and run, despite their losses," Johnson said.
As for Colonel Salaam, a small, wiry man of 32, he shrugs off insurgent threats to himself and his family and says what he wants is: "Freedom, a new Iraq, peace."
Another voice from Iraq's silent majority.
Quothe Zarqawi: "This Bites!"
Not sure how much press this picked up, but I think Zarqawi's latest statement tells us a lot about how he's feeling these days:
The world's most dangerous terrorist, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, announced on Wednesday that the battle of Fallujah was a massive defeat for the Iraqi insurgency, blaming the debacle on Sunni Muslim clerics who failed to support his reign of terror.
"Hundreds of thousands of the nation's sons are being slaughtered at the hands of the infidels because of your silence," Zarqawi said in an audiotape posted on an Islamic Web site known as al-Qala'a, which has been a mailbox for Islamic militant groups.
That's probably because they know that the infidels are not "slaughtering hundreds of thousands" of Iraqis as he claims. The infidels are, in fact, systematically destroying and detaining thousands of Zarqawi's followers. There's a big difference. Someone should remind Zarqawi that Al Jazeera no longer has a monopoly on the Iraqi market. Zarqawi had better get used to the silence. With each passing day- Iraq finds itself closer to elections, freedom, and prosperity. The silence is about to become deafening.
How's Things in Iran These Days?
General Abizaid gave the Iranian government some friendly advice:
"Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me."
"We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it."
and in two related stories:
Iran Says It's Ready to Help Iraq on Border Security
Iran Makes Key Nuclear Concession in EU Talks
And Last But Certainly Not Least
Please read this article about Pat Tillman. I don't care what anyone says- he's Sportsman of the Year. I think you can still vote for him as the fans' choice.