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A Christmas letter from the front lines in Iraq

A Christmas letter from the front lines in Iraq

There’sno better feeling for American military personnel in faraway lands thanthe one they get when they receive letters from loved ones. But this isclose competition. It’s an “insider” letter to you, me and allAmericans from a senior officer in our armed forces on the front linesin Mosul — his third tour in Iraq. God bless you, Capt. Bowers, and allwho serve this Christmas season! — Your friend, Chuck Norris

December2008 Dear Families, friends and all Americans, During this Christmasseason, I would like to take the time to express my deepest thanks foryour wishes, praises and concerns for our troopers here in Mosul, Iraq.During this past week, Chuck Norris’ syndicated column (“The mostoverlooked news story of 2008”) spoke of the success in Iraq, what thereality of it is and how it is portrayed in the media. Somemedia outlets only portray the violence of Iraq, and that is fine, butI want to tell you that there are far more non-violent acts than thereare violent ones. There are daily meetings with local sheiks, civicleaders and politicians, as well as humanitarian-aid and civil-affairsmissions that have helped shape Mosul into a better place today for thecivilians. Our troop has conducted more civil-affairs andhumanitarian-aid missions during my current tour in Iraq than I canever recall having done here in my two previous tours. Let mebe the first to tell you, as a cavalry troop commander on the ground,that we have been very successful here in Mosul. Success can bemeasured in many ways. I measure the success of my ground cavalry troopby the day-to-day dealings and patrols that we conduct with the Iraqiarmy, police and, most of all, local civilians. Since wearrived here in November 2007, we have seen a drastic difference inMosul. When we first arrived in Mosul, there were very few Iraqi armyand police units conducting operations, civilians did not move aboutthe city freely and, most of all, the total number of daily incidentsof insurgent attacks was outrageous. This is not true today. Whenpeople traverse the city of Mosul now, they notice the number ofcivilians that are moving freely about the city. This is because theynow feel safe and have had security provided to them by their own Iraqisecurity forces. Attacks are way down compared with this time lastyear, and now a large majority of ISF operations are being conductedjointly between the Iraqi army and police. When our unit arrived inIraq, our mission was to provide security to the civilians while at thesame time ridding the city of insurgents. Although

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