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Good News Dallas
by    Mon, Jul 31, 2006, 10:49 AM

Late last year, my cousin and I were invited to adopt a solider who was about to be deployed to Iraq. We are merely two of dozens of people who have come together to support one of the troops in the 4th Infantry Division, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. Our goal is to send one care package a month to each soldier.

Sometimes our care packages get lost in the mail. At other times, the soldiers are out of email contact for days or weeks on end. Communication is often sporadic and brief. We are, after all, basically strangers. But we are reaching out to each other because we share a deep love of country and a desire to protect her from those who want to destroy us.

Even the limited contact that we’ve had with our soldier has brought more than one smile to my face. Americans should know how strong, brave, and kind our soldiers and their families are. Moreover, this adoption experience has exposed me to information that I otherwise would not have seen. And I’ve learned a great deal about the wonderful accomplishments that have been achieved in Iraq. More Americans should know about these successes. The mainstream media often focus on the more sensational—and negative—stories of torture allegations, bombings, and the deaths of American soldiers. Needless to say, such a focus makes it easy for the average American to feel a bit pessimistic.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with Dallas readers at least a few of the positive news pieces that I’ve been exposed to during the past few weeks as a result of the adopt-a-soldier program in which I am participating. I highly recommend involvement in similar programs for those who have the opportunity. Perhaps then, you, too, will be able to sidestep the mainstream media and receive a more balanced view of the state of affairs in Iraq.

  • On July 18, soldiers foiled a terrorist attack in the southern Babil province of Iraq. Four roadside bombs had been planted and were awaiting Coalition convoys. Soldiers charged with patrolling the area and keeping the roads safe discovered the bombs. "It was an amazing feeling," said Sgt. Jessie Sparks. "Nobody likes to hear about the death of a fellow comrade, and to be able to prevent that from happening just feels great."
  • Coalition forces have found many ammunition and weapons caches in Iraq, including those found on July 5, July 6, July 15, July 22, and July 25. Sometimes, they find weapons because an Iraqi citizen submitted a tip, as occurred on July 3, July 23, July 25, July 26, and July 27. During one of these missions, Capt. Ivan Anaya remarked on the importance of tips received from Iraqi citizens. "[I]t shows the Iraqi people don’t support the insurgency," he concluded.
  • Coalition forces are not the only ones capturing insurgents. The Iraqi forces have been successful in this regard as well. On July 6, July 7, July 13, and July 16, Iraqi soldiers captured several high-level insurgents. Other insurgents were captured on July 9, July 14, July 17, July 18, July 20, and July 25. On July 10, Iraqi forces captured an entire cell of insurgents.
  • The Iraqi village of Kendala, which has not had clean water in two years, recently received help from NASA engineers. Via email, these engineers helped soldiers and in-country volunteers install a water filtration and purification system for villagers. The technology is similar to that used on the International Space Station and the space shuttle.
  • Infrastructure rebuilding and the training of new security forces is reportedly having a positive impact in south Iraq, as the tribes in the area are becoming more willing to work together to rebuild their region. The tribes are currently working together—voluntarily—to improve the area’s water system. Iraqi soldiers have been a critical part of the effort to generate goodwill among the region’s civilians.
  • Water treatment and distribution facilities recently opened in Hibhib, Iraq. A fire department opened in Husseniya. A playground was renovated in Yusufiyah. The latter project opened with great fanfare as Iraqi parents and children cheered. These ventures were completed through the joint efforts of Iraqi soldiers, Coalition forces, and the new Iraqi government

Our soldiers believe in their mission. Shouldn’t we believe in it—and them, too?

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