View Full Version : 'Can Do' Spirit of US Troops in Baghdad

Steve Blair
05-17-2007, 06:48 PM
Interesting piece from a British perspective about the ground-level in Baghdad. Downloadable as an MP3 as well. For the flavor of it:
I had always thought of the US army as an organisation that did not exactly ban creative thinking, but severely limited it at lower levels.

And there were Lieutenant Carlisle and Sergeant Perez wondering how important waving and smiling were in Arab culture or considering the value of removing your sunglasses when speaking to Iraqis.
Full article here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6663513.stm)

Merv Benson
05-17-2007, 08:57 PM
Gen. Mattis evidently consulted experts on the proper way to wave to Iraqis according to this LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-force17may17,1,1497323.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=2&cset=true) article.


At this smuggling and farming village on the Syrian border, Mattis told Marines to be prepared to make eye contact and wave even if just moments earlier a Marine has been injured or killed by the roadside bombs and snipers that remain a daily threat.

Whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it's a victory for Al Qaeda and other insurgents, Mattis told Marines in a makeshift chow hall at Camp Gannon, named for a Marine officer killed in a 2004 firefight.


05-17-2007, 09:04 PM
Gen. Mattis evidently consulted experts on the proper way to wave to Iraqis according to this LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-force17may17,1,1497323.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=2&cset=true) article.

... that General Mattis is an expert and might not need the consulting advice in some matters of the culture and COIN ops.

Merv Benson
05-18-2007, 02:05 AM
From the LA Times story:


Mattis, who led Marines against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and insurgents in Fallouja in April 2004, is urging his troops to show respect to ordinary Iraqis and exercise restraint in the use of deadly force to prevent civilian deaths and injury.

The Marine Corps has even asked a consultant about the best way to wave. Answer: Make eye contact, don't just wave mechanically like a beauty queen on a float.


Steve Blair
05-18-2007, 12:39 PM
The article says the Marine Corps, not Mattis.

05-18-2007, 01:02 PM
Steve, I didn't read anything about GEN Mattis at the link. Did you have it removed :rolleyes:

I like the maintained professional demeanor of our Marines and was a bit surprised at the opinions regarding the British Army.

Thanks for the post !

I wondered how Iraq did not exhaust the positive energy or intellectual curiosity of a man like Dorian Perez.

You can marvel at the Americans' can-do spirit, as some British soldiers do.

You can see it in terms of America, the world's hyper power staring failure in the face and refusing to accept it.

But in the sergeant's case the will to carry on comes from a sense of responsibility towards the people of Iraq.

Steve Blair
05-18-2007, 02:03 PM
Sorry, Stan...I meant the LA Times article that Merv mentioned, not the BBC story. I also found the reporter's comments about the British Army surprising in a way, but not in others. Sometimes I think Americans like to slip into old thought patterns and forget about the quality of people we really have in uniform.

05-19-2007, 03:42 PM
This is one of the best newsreels I've seen in a long time.