November 12, 2006
Special Programming NoteStarting in very late December, I'll be traveling to Western Iraq to embed with the Marines, publishing both independent blog items and op-eds for the Washington Examiner. Specific destinations (thus far) include Ramadi, Habbaniyah (the headquarters of the Iraqi First Army and several IA boot camps), Fallujah and Baghdad. Prioritized is an embed with Military Transition Teams advising First and Seventh Iraqi Army units:
Posted by Bill
A Military Transition Team, MiTT is a U.S. Army or Marine elite team that embeds and trains with the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police, the Afghan National Army and other allies in the War on Terror. MiTTs advise the fledgling security forces in the areas of intelligence, communications, fire support, logistics and infantry tactics. The aim is to make the Iraqi unit (at battalion, brigade, or division level) self-sustainable tactically, operationally and logistically so that the battalion is prepared to take over responsibility for battle space. Also, MiTTs can, if necessary, call in U.S. air support and battle assistance, thus boosting confidence and troop morale. In Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the transition teams are a central part of the strategy to train and equip national security forces, hand over battle space and reduce Coalition troop levels. MiTTs also report misconduct and allow the U.S. Military to monitor the level of professionalism of the fledgling security force.A look at the training, motivation and competence of Iraqi Army units primed to assume responsibility for security in Anbar - one of the two critical theatres in Iraq - should contribute to an accurate assessment of the war's progress. I have a month budgeted for the trip, with 1- 2 weeks still open for to-be-determined embed opportunities that arise while in country. There are a variety of reasons that I'm going, but a fairly compelling one is curiosity coupled with dissatisfaction about the present coverage of the war. This negative impression was reinforced by a surprising Pajamas Media item published in September:
Pajamas Media, in the course of a casual conversation with a Marine Corps information officer who tracks the number of embedded reporters in Iraq, learned the real number of embedded reporters covering the Iraq story on September 19, 2006. It was, according to the officer, a fairly typical day. To illustrate his point, he provided Pajamas Media with the illustration he uses to brief with on the state of media embedding in Iraq.Thus, in addition to providing shallow, slanted updates on the war, the overwhelming majority of mainstream media outlets are failing to present the essential perspectives of military embeds at a pivotal time in the conflict. The Examiner is compensating me for certain pieces, but this will not cover my initial expenditures, which include a satellite modem, satellite phone rental, new toughbook laptop, body armor and lots more. So if you'd like to support citizen journalism, please consider donating to help fund my trip:
If you'd prefer to donate via check, please e-mail me and I'll provide you mailing instructions. Thank you for your support. More details to follow.
UPDATE: My supportive co-blogger sends along a smart-ass photodramatization of my future embed.
Posted by Bill at November 12, 2006 11:01 PM | TrackBack (10)
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Exciting and sobering at the same time. I wish you a safe trip, and I know you will come up with some great writing out of this.
Posted by: sockpuppet in training at November 12, 2006 10:22 PM
How did you clear this with work?
Posted by: Foster at November 12, 2006 11:23 PM
Good deal, Bill.
Posted by: Donnah at November 13, 2006 10:39 AM
man. stay safe. You're a courageous man, and I look forward to your dispatches - but please.. don't be a hero, ok?
Posted by: Aziz at November 13, 2006 10:46 AM
Bill, Keep your head down at appropriate times. And head up all the rest. Stay safe.
Posted by: John Burgess at November 13, 2006 10:54 AM
Keeping his head down is something Bill is uniquely qualified for.
I'm in for two bills, Bill. Now only tell us what we want to hear, got it?
Posted by: spongeworthy at November 13, 2006 11:13 AM
Thanks, all. Regarding questions:
How did you clear this with work?
I took time off.
but please.. don't be a hero, ok?
Oh, no reason to worry about that. I've been practicing a maneuver whereby I actually fold myself into my own body, thus reducing to the size of a small breadbasket.
Now only tell us what we want to hear, got it?
I would, but no one wants to read stories about how smart, handsome/pretty and kind my blog readers are ...
Posted by: Bill from INDC at November 13, 2006 11:23 AM
i look forward to reading you. ill hit the tip jar when i get paid =)
Posted by: eteraz at November 13, 2006 11:25 AM
Posted by: rod at November 13, 2006 11:47 AM
Good luck to you, Bill. Good stuff.
Posted by: TF6S at November 13, 2006 02:01 PM
Posted by: Flea at November 13, 2006 02:28 PM
Look forward to your dispatches, Bill. If I were 20 years younger, 50 lbs lighter, normal prostrate, drained knee, unslipped disc, hemorrhoid free, and not suffering from the pain and itch of psoriasis, I'd join you.
Posted by: Rick Moran at November 13, 2006 02:35 PM
Rick: Suck it up! How can you pass up the opportunity to come back with new diseases and infestations you're doctor's never seen before?!
Posted by: John Burgess at November 13, 2006 03:49 PM
Whoa! Kickass! Be careful, Bill, and make sure to let them know how much we appreciate their service.
Oh! Could you try to get their honest opinion on the Iraqi Army? I've been really worried about how well we've been overcoming the cultural issues that lead to such poor military performance in the region.
Posted by: SeanH at November 13, 2006 04:11 PM
I am thoroughly envious.. Here's to the trip of a lifetime !
Fair well and stay as safe as possible, of course.
Posted by: csason at November 13, 2006 04:23 PM
Good luck & Godspeed! And keep practicing that bread basket manuver until you have it perfect.
Posted by: Big Mac w/ an Egg at November 13, 2006 04:35 PM
At least he'll be able to wear his helmet. I had to use mine as a pocketbook in the absence of such.
Posted by: Donnah at November 13, 2006 04:59 PM
Here, found ya one.
Posted by: Donnah at November 13, 2006 05:08 PM
Godspeed and good luck. Keep safe...I just got back from Ramadi and it can be brutal as well as muddy this time of year. Keep your head down and do what they say and come back in one piece...OK? You don't need to be a hero, just get the story right. I envy you. Semper Fi.
Posted by: Gene R. Conley at November 13, 2006 06:47 PM
Godspeed, Bill. My sister is currently stationed at one of the nicer Baghdad bases. If I didn't have 3 kids under the age of 5, I would seriously be joining up myself. But I'll have to settle for living through you two for the experience. Keep your head low.
Damn, Bill. My hat's off to you, sir. Safe travels.
Posted by: Scott P at November 13, 2006 08:52 PM
God keep you safe, Bill.
Posted by: Juliette at November 13, 2006 09:12 PM
All the best, Bill.
Posted by: gail at November 13, 2006 09:14 PM
All you have to do is transplant some of that mutant kudzu weed to confuse the bastards.
Be well and take care of those marines.
Posted by: Diana at November 13, 2006 09:49 PM
I have one son in Fallujah until March, one going to Fallujah in Feb. and one in another area of Iraq.
Posted by: Army Mom at November 13, 2006 10:07 PM
How can I get your articles?
Check back here in late December. Whatever isn't published here will be linked here. Thank you. Best wishes to your sons.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at November 13, 2006 10:15 PM
I just kicked in enough for a 12-pack of Charmin Double-Rolls, a big bag of Gummy Bears and a couple of glow-sticks. I admit it ain't much, but every little bit helps, right?
Good luck Bill. We all look forward to your reporting.
Posted by: johnd01 at November 13, 2006 10:59 PM
You got boobies?
To be a citizen journalist, one must have boobies.
No worries - fake ones are okay too.
Posted by: agent bedhead at November 14, 2006 09:30 AM
holy crap Bill. errrr I meant to say Wow. Good move, be careful and bring your own toilet paper, bug spray and baby wipes.
Posted by: Jane at November 14, 2006 10:48 AM
Posted by: nbpundit at November 14, 2006 11:28 AM
Posted by: Garduneh Mehr at November 14, 2006 05:07 PM
I've disagreed with you in the past but if you are willing to go, I'm willing to help. I've kicked a few bucks your way. Good luck and have a safe trip.
Posted by: Bill Maron at November 15, 2006 02:07 AM
I have a son who is a "ma deuce" gunner with the US Marines 9th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Falluja. He'd love to have you aboard his patrol vehicle and you'd be sure to see what's really going on. He sends me reports that are encouraging.
Posted by: Ralph Hatcher, MD at November 15, 2006 09:46 AM
Bill M, et al -
Posted by: Bill from INDC at November 15, 2006 10:34 AM
I have to be honest, Bill, I stopped reading your blog months ago for reasons that, at the time, seemed real enough... but now they seem trivial in comparison to the magnitude of what you're about to do. You're site is back on my bookmarks with my sincerest well wishes and genuine anticipation.
Posted by: mcg at November 16, 2006 01:26 AM
Thanks buddy. But -
I'm sure that I'll find a way to tick you off in the next month or so, so best just wait to visit INDC until I leave in late Dec. ;-)
Posted by: Bill from INDC at November 16, 2006 01:34 AM
Thank you for going after the truth, no matter what it is. I trust bloggers more than I will ever trust those photoshoppers...Godspeed.
Posted by: Rosemary at November 18, 2006 02:00 PM
Posted by: child at November 30, 2006 09:34 PM
Posted by: child at November 30, 2006 09:35 PM
Posted by: insurance at December 6, 2006 07:01 AM