As the debate over Iraq enters a critical phase, I'm struck by how little information we receive from that country, other than a litany of the day's car bombings, kidnappings and killings. We know that much of this information is provided by Iraqi stringers--some of whom have ties to the terrorists. At the same time, the number of embedded reporters, attached to U.S. units on the ground, is at or near an all-time low.
To provide a wider perspective on Iraq, I'd like to enlist the help of those currently serving there (military and civilian), as well as those who have recently returned. Send your observations to email@example.com, and we'll publish them in future editions of the blog. Your confidentiality is, of course, guaranteed. To help identify your geographic region and particular area(s) of expertise, please provide the following information:
--MOS or AFSC
--Grade or Rank (Optional)
--Geographic region in which you currently served (or served, if you've rotated back to the States)
--Brief description of your duties in Iraq
--Your thoughts on the current situation in that country, namely (a) how close is Iraq to sliding into a civil war; (b) the current security situation in your sector; (c) how the security situation has changed during your current tour; (d) how the situation has changed, compared to your previous tours in Iraq
--Your impression of the capabilities of Iraqi military units and police
--What impact--if any--would the deployment of 20,000 additional troops to Baghdad have on the security situation?
--What impact would a short-term U.S. withdrawal have on the security situation?
One final request: if you send the information by a private e-mail account, please include your deployed, military e-mail address as well. After we receive your e-mail, you'll get a benign reply in your military e-mail address. This helps us weed out the phonies and imposters.
Also, if you're a blogger and your thoughts are already on-line, just provide a link.
Thanks in advance, and stay safe. We'll limit our initial effort to Iraq, and provide a similar forum for those serving in Afghanistan in the near future.