This is intended for informational purposes only.
The following is a great SITREP, ..it is from an Army engineer working very
hard in Iraq on doing all those very many difficult things necessary to
enable the Iraqi people to eventually take care of themselves and allow our
folks to come back home. ...and all we have to do back here is be patient
and supportive and let all of these good people do their jobs.
OPEN LETTER TO FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH OF RICHMOND BEACH:
It has been a while since I have written to my friends at First Lutheran
Church about what's really going on here in Iraq. The news you watch on TV
is exaggerated, sensationalized and selective. Good news doesn't sell.
The stuff you don't hear about on CNN? Let's start with Electrical Power
production in Iraq. The day after the war was declared over, there was
nearly 0 power being generated in Iraq. 45 days later, in a partnership
between the Army, the Iraqi people and some private companies, there
are now 3200 mega watts (Mw) of power being produced daily, 1/3 of
the total national potential of 8000 Mw. Downed power lines (big stuff,
400 Kilovolt (Kv) and 132 Kv) are being repaired and are about 70%
Then there is water purification. In central Iraq between Baghdad and
Mosul, home of the 4th Infantry Division, water treatment was spotty at
best. The facilities existed, but the controls were never implemented.
Simple chemicals like Chlorine for purification and Alum (Aluminum Sulfate)
for sediment settling (the Tigris River is about as clear as the Mississippi River)
were in very short supply or not used at all. When chlorine was used, it was
metered by the scientific method of guessing. So some people got pool water
to drink and some people got water with lots of little things floating around in it.
We are slowly but surely solving that. Contracts for repairs to facilities that
are only 50% or less operational are being let, chemicals are being delivered,
although we don't have the metering problem solved yet (...but again, it's only
been 45 days).
How about oil and fuel? Well the war was all about oil wasn't it? You bet
it was. It was all about oil for the Iraqi people! They have no other
income, they produce nothing else. Oil is 95% of the Iraqi GNP. For this
nation to survive, it MUST sell oil. The Refinery at Bayji is at 75% of
capacity producing gasoline. The crude pipeline between Kirkuk (Oil Central)
and Bayji will be repaired by tomorrow (2 June). LPG, what all Iraqi's use
to cook and heat with, is at 103% of normal production and WE, the US ARMY,
are insuring it is being distributed FAIRLY to ALL Iraqis.
You have to remember that only 3 months ago, ALL these things were used by
the Sadam regime as weapons against the population keep them in line. If
your town misbehaved, gasoline shipments stopped, LPG pipelines and trucks
stopped, Water was turned off, power was turned off. Now, until exports
start, every drop of gasoline produced goes to the Iraqi people. Crude oil
is being stored and the country is at 75% capacity right now. They need to
export or stop pumping soon, ...so thank the UN for the delay.
ALL LPG goes to the Iraqi people EVERYWHERE. Water is being purified as
best it can be, but at least it's running all the time to everyone. Are we
still getting shot at? Yep. Are American Soldiers still dying? Yep, about 1
a day from my outfit, the 4th Infantry Division, most in accidents, but dead
If we are doing all this for the Iraqis, why are they shooting at us? The
general Iraqi population isn't shooting at us. There are still bad guys,
who won't let go of the old regime. They are Ba'ath party members (Read Nazi
Party, but not as nice) who have known nothing but and supported nothing but
the regime all of their lives. These are the thugs for the regime that
caused many to disappear in the night. They have no other skills. At least
the Nazis had jobs and a semblance of a national infrastructure that they
could go back to after the war, ...as plumbers, managers, engineers, etc.,
...these people have no skills but terror. They are simply applying their
...and we are applying ours. There is no Christian way to say this, ..but
they must be eliminated and we are doing so with all the efficiency we can
muster. Our troops are shot at literally everyday by small arms and Rocket
Propelled Grenades (RPGs). We respond. 100% of the time, the Ba'ath party
guys come out with the short end of the stick. The most amazing thing to me
is that they don't realize that if they stopped shooting at us, we would
focus on fixing things more quickly and then go on back to the land of the
Big PX. The more they shoot
at us, the longer we will have to stay.
Lastly, all of you please realize that 90% of the damage you see on TV was
caused by Iraqis, NOT by us and not by the war. Sure we took out a few
bridges from military necessity, we took out a few power and phone lines to
disrupt communications, sure we drilled a few
palaces and government headquarters buildings with 2000 lb. laser guided
bombs (I work 100 yards from where two hit the Tikrit Palace), he had plenty
to spare. But, ANY damage you see to schools, hospitals, power generation
facilities, refineries, pipelines, was ALL caused either by the Iraqi Army
in its death throes or from much of the Iraqi civilians looting the places.
Could we have prevented it? Nope.
We can and do now, but 45 days ago the average soldier was fighting for his
own survival and trying to get to his objectives as fast as possible. He
was lucky to know what town he was in much less be informed enough to know
who owned what or have the power to stop a 1,000 people from looting and
burning a building by himself.
The United States and our allies, especially Great Britain, are doing a
very noble thing here. We stuck our necks out on the world's chopping block
to free an entire people from the grip of a horrible terror that was beyond
I've already talked the weapons of mass destruction thing to death,
...bottom line, who cares? This country was one big conventional weapons
ammo dump anyway. We have probably destroyed more weapons and ammo in the
last 30 days than the US Army has ever fired in the last 30 years (Remember,
this is a country the size of Texas), so drop the WMD argument as the reason
we came here, ....if we find it GREAT, if we don't, SO WHAT?
I'm living in a "guest palace" on a 500 acre palace compound with 20
palaces with like facilities built in half a dozen towns all over Iraq that
were built for one man. Drive down the street and out into the countryside 5
miles away like I have and see all the families of
10 or more, all living in mud huts and herding the two dozen sheep on which
their very existence depends, ...then tell me why you think we are here.
WMD? ...important, ..have to find 'em wherever they may be (...in Syria?),
but not OUR real motivator. Don't let it be yours either.
Deputy Division Engineer
4th Infantry Division