I found this at BeliefNet thanks to Flag Gazer:
This article is written by a young specialist in the Army. This young man gets what most politicians and journalists did not. A Soldier’s Perspective
Following the article sent about Bush’s national address and troop increase, I thought it was a good idea to let you all know what the perspective is over here. I’m tired of hearing the media’s skewed version, the politicians squabbling over what they read in a report, and the average ill-informed American ranting about things he knows NOTHING about.
I’ve been over here a couple of months now, and I’ve learned more about this country than a year’s worth of watching CNN. I’ve sat in mission briefs with Colonels, talked with village elders, had tea with Sheiks, played with the kids. And I agree with the President. We need more troops and we need to take greater action.
There are 3 major factions here. The Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The Shiites are in the majority, but Saddam was a Sunni, so he kept the Shiites in check. Everyone hates the Kurds, who are Christian and in the vast minority. The Kurds received the brunt of Saddam’s murderous tyranny. Now that Saddam is gone, the Shiites have taken control of Baghdad. The largely peaceful Sunnis are now the victims of radical Shiite terrorism. So the young Sunni men, who can no longer go to work and support their families, do what all young men would do. They join the Sunni militia and battle the Shiites. And thus the country sits on the brink of civil war.
But this war is between them. They largely do not concern themselves with the U.S. troops. The insurgents who battle the Coalition Forces are from outside the country. And the biggest problem down here isn’t the insurgents. Its the politicians. The local politicians. Even though the country is controlled by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, downtown Baghdad is controlled by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Shiites follow al-Sadr and thus the Prime Minister does what al-Sadr says. Think of it as if a warlord controlled New York and blackmailed the President into diplomatic immunity.
When 1st Cav (mainly 2/5 Cav) came here in 2004, they took downtown Baghdad (known as Sadr City) by force. It cost many lives, but after a year, we held an iron grip on the largest insurgent breeding ground in Iraq. The insurgents were afraid of the Horse People, and rightfully so. But when 1st Cav left, al-Sadr influenced the Prime Minister to kick out the Coalition forces from that area of Baghdad. He said the Iraqi military forces could hold the city. But all that happened was al-Sadr regained control of his city, and it is now a heavily guarded fortress. A place where insurgents and terrorists can train and stockpile arms. And we cannot go back in because the Prime Minister won’t let us. Our hands are tied.
So where does al-Sadr get his backing? From Iran and Syria. Iran supplies him with money and Syria supplies the terrorists. The insurgents that battle the Coalition Forces are from Syria, Somalia and dozens of other places outside of Iraq. Iraq is literally a terrorist breeding ground. They have terrorist and sniper schools here. Why not?...
The rest of this IS a must-read (have I ever steered you wrong?) You can find it at You Served here. [Not sure that works, for some reason, so here is the link: http://www.vamortgagecenter.com/blog/2008/12/04/america-in-uniform-a-soldiers-perspective/ ]