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Old 03-26-2005, 08:26 AM   #1
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A recent General's speech


Don't know the guy who wrote this piece; a friend at Ft Hood sent it to me.
Will give you a different view of Iraq than you get from the MSM.
I went to an AUSA dinner last night at the Ft. Hood Officers' Club to hear a
speech by MG Pete Chiarelli, Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division. He
and most of the Div. have just returned from Iraq. Very informative and,
surprise, the Mainstream Media (MSM) isn't telling the story. I was not there as
a reporter, didn't take notes but I'll make some the points I remember that were
interesting, surprising or generally stuff I had not heard before.

It was not a speech per se. He just walked and talked, showed some slides and
answered questions. He is a very impressive guy.

1. While units of the Cav served all over Iraq, he spoke mostly of Baghdad and
more specifically Sadr City, the big slum on the eastern side of the Tigris
River. He pointed out that Baghdad is, in geography, is about the size of
Austin. Austin has 600,000 to 700,000 people. Baghdad has 6 to7 million people.

2. The Cav lost 28 main battle tanks. He said one of the big lessons learned is
that, contrary to doctrine going in, M1-A2s and Bradley's are needed, preferred
and devastating in urban combat and he is going to make that point to the JCS
next week while they are considering downsizing armor.

3. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were
getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had
flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

4. His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that
cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said
yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in
Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up

5. The electrical "grid" is a bad, deadly joke. He said that driving down the
street in a HUMMV with an antenna would short out a whole block of apt.
buildings. People do their own wiring and it was not uncommon for early morning
patrols would find one or two people lying dead in the street, having been
electrocuted trying to re-wire their own homes.

6. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslim culture never happens. On
election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up trying to take out
polling places, voters would step up to the body lying there, spit on it, and
move up in the line to vote.

7. Pointed out that we all heard from the media about the 100 Iraqis killed as
they were lined up to enlist in the police and security service. What the media
didn't point out was that the next day there were 300 lined up in the same

8. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin Laden went public
with naming Zarqawi the "prince" of al Qaeda in Iraq. Said that what the Iraqis
saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordanian that his job was to kill Iraqis.
HUGE mistake! It was one of the biggest factors in getting Iraqis who were on
the "fence" to jump off on the side of the coalition and the new government.

9. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious sects.
Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first and then say
they are Muslim but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not that big a deal to them.

10. After the election the Mayor of Baghdad told him that the people of the
region (Middle East) are joyous and the governments are nervous.

11. Said that he did not lose a single tanker truck carrying oil and gas over
the roads of Iraq. Think about that. All the attacks we saw on TV with IEDs
hitting trucks but he didn't lose one. Why? Army Aviation! Praised his air
units and said they made the decision early on that every convoy would have
helicopter air cover. Said aviators in that unit were hitting the 1,000 hour
mark (sound familiar?). Said a convoy was supposed to head out but stopped at
the gates of a compound on the command of an E6. He asked the SSG what the hold
up was. E6 said, "Air, sir." He wondered what was wrong with the air, not
realizing what the kid was talking about. Then the AH-64s showed up and the E6
said, "That's air, sir." ... and then moved out.

12. Said one of the biggest problems was money and regulations. There was a $77
million gap between the supplemental budget and what he needed in cash on the
ground to get projects started. Said he spent most of his time trying to get
money. Said he didn't do much as a "combat commander" because the war he was
fighting was a war at the squad and platoon level. Said that his NCOs were
winning the war and it was a sight to behold.

13. Said that of all the money appropriated for Iraq, not a cent was earmarked
for agriculture. Said that Iraq could feed itself completely and still have food
for export but no one thought about it. Said the Cav started working with Texas
A&M University on agriculture projects and had special hybrid seeds sent to them
through Jordan. TAMU analyzed soil samples and worked out how and what to plant.
Said he had an E7 from Belton, TX (just down the road from Ft. Hood) who was
almost single-handedly rebuilding the agriculture industry in the Baghdad area.

14. Said he could hire hundreds of Iraqis daily for $7 to $1 0 a day to work on
sewer, electric, water projects, etc. but that the contracting rules from CONUS
applied so he had to have $500,000 insurance policies in place in case the
workers got hurt. Not kidding. The CONUS peacetime regulations slowed everything
down, even if they could eventually get waivers for the regulations.

There was more, lots more, but the idea is that you haven't heard any of this
from anyone, at least I hadn't and I pay more attention than most.

Great stuff! We should be proud. Said the Cav troops said it was ALL worth it on
Jan. 30 when they saw how the Iraqis handled Election Day. Made them very proud
of their service and what they had accomplished

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Old 03-26-2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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All seems to be about right.

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Old 03-27-2005, 02:40 AM   #3
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i think we've all lost interest in the WAR forum.. so little traffic. it's got to be merged to FYM. it will stir some controversy, something we desperately need after 30-something 'ask the' threads
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Old 03-27-2005, 06:14 AM   #4
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I don't think we've lost interest in War. We're all sort of waiting how things work out after the elections. Can the newly elected government do anything about the insurrection? We'll see. I think what with all that's going on with the tour starting there's been less participation around here, but that doesn't mean nuke the forum.
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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Originally posted by all_i_want
i think we've all lost interest in the WAR forum.. so little traffic. it's got to be merged to FYM. it will stir some controversy, something we desperately need after 30-something 'ask the' threads
i think it should be back in FYM also

if these were -
this thread would be the only one on the first page
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:26 PM   #6
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I could dare to post it in FYM - whadyathink?
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:33 PM   #7
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Speaking of the topic at-hand, I think it's very interesting. Studying media for six years, I'm well aware that American broadcast media is often only interested in the most sensational of stories. We may look derisively at figures like William Randolph Hearst (co-father of "yellow journalism," along with Joseph Pulitzer and the figure behind "Citizen Kane"), but the fact remains that he has won, in the long run.

Anyway, for Iraq's sake, I hope the general is correct and not just being overly optimistic.

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Old 05-10-2005, 01:27 PM   #8
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I think the General is accurate in his oservations. I'm in Iraq now and almost everything he says correct. There are a lot bueracratic stumbling blocks here that if we could get around I think we could get so much more done. Much has to do with money allotment and the management or mis-management thereof.

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