After weeks of political ads and attacks in the United States, I'm getting to the point where I'd almost rather be in Iraq. Things there feel much more promising.
In Arab Jabour, where I spent more than a week in December, my friend LTC Ken Adgie is seeing some very positive signs as democracy takes root and begins to grow.
Adgie is the commander of the 1-30th Infantry Regiment, stationed at a remote patrol base south of Baghdad that was once a "pleasure house" for one of Saddam's sons. He and his men moved into the area when it was still heavily in the grasp of Al Qaeda, finding a terrorized populace, many of whom had simply been driven from their homes and sent off or simply killed. But once Adgie and his troops restored order, they created security for the Concerned Local Citizens, and later the Sons of Iraq to take hold. This brought the people streaming back into their communities and soon, a new local government took shape.
A government center was built. Basic services were restored. Health care was improved. Today, the 1-30th is quickly working themselves out of a job.
And that was the plan all along. Great Job, Colonel Adgie! You and your men have proven once again that the American flag never flies over foreign soil without ultimately being a blessing to that country.