Inside Iraq - Santa Barbara in the Warzone
Ben Preston, a staff writer for The Santa Barbara Independent, is taking some time off from his usual duties to report from Iraq with the U.S. Army's 425th Civil Affairs Battalion, which is based in Santa Barbara. He'll be spending about a month in the war-torn country, traveling with the unit as they help Iraqis rebuild their country, and reporting about the work here on this blog.
A little bit of military history, and some of my reasons for going to Iraq.
Military transportation has come a long way since the days of horse-drawn caissons, but by modern standards, it is best described as deliberate.
Coalition forces still have a job to do, but is there a term limit on the amount of welcome enjoyed by foreigners?
The 425th's Battalion Commander sees civil affairs projects from a slightly different perspective.
In Iraq, you can't just hop in your Honda Civic and go somewhere, so what's the best way to get around?
Through training Iraqi Army soldiers and National Policemen in civil-military operations procedures, the US Army hopes to increase peoples' trust in their government.
Throughout history, wars have affected monuments and artifacts. How will what's left be protected?
In a perfect world, God listens to Obama, and the military listens to thousands of years of tradition.
Job training is supposedly humming along in Baghdad, but where is the end product?
As Baghdad slowly rebuilds, local companies and government agencies find themselves the recipients of increasing amounts of responsibility.
The sight of Saddam's decaying palaces is the butt of many jokes, but a look at history reveals the weight of global economics brought to bear.
Things are never what they seem like from far away. Step a little closer and see what's really going on.
When gunfire and helicopter noise are the norm, an occasional explosion seems a natural part of the cacophony.
From humanitarian aid to sewage covered soccer fields, all problems are solved by funding.
They rotate in and out, but things are being accomplished in the long run.
Soldier's report Baghdad being safer than it has been in a while. Perhaps business has superseded security.
Observations about local culture and soldiers yarns can give someone who doesn't speak Arabic a unique insight into the fabric of Iraqi society.
Security can be both good and bad, and movement is necessary.
In Baghdad, cultural groups abound, but every individual has a story.
Sometimes the best way to suppress the fires of war is through training.