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The Most Widespread Combat Operations Since the End of the Ground War are Now Unfolding

I posted previously about the beginning of massive combat operations in Iraq today, as reported by Michael Yon, here: Major Combat Operations Now Underway in Iraq: Be Not Afraid.

I want to highlight the last part of the dispatch by Michael Yon (see below), because it hit me hard for some reason. I did not realize how desensitized to the war effort I had become until I read this last part and became overcome with emotion and worry and dread for our soldiers in Iraq. I sent out this note to my e-mail distribution list asking people to pray for our soldiers who are, to say the least, right now in harm’s way and undertaking possibly the most dangerous and intense combat operation of the war effort in Iraq:

I suggest everyone say prayers today for our soldiers who have gone into harms way. From what Mr. Yon describes, our military will experience many casualties as they are going into massive combat operations right now, and the enemy is well-prepared for them.

Semper Fi to the Marines and Godspeed to all our soldiers. May God watch over all of them in the dangerous times ahead…

A couple hours after sending this out, I received a short e-mail from Matt Burden at Blackfive directing me to his post he put up this morning: Prayer and Support for Our Troops

Many of you know that General Petraeus has announced the beginnings of combat operations in Iraq now that the surge forces are in place.

“Kinetic” doesn’t do justice to the description of what is now happening.

On Sunday, a friend of mine brought the chaplain to his area to speak to his men. There’s only one reason to “bring in” the chaplain. The @#$% is about to hit the @#$%ing fan and the leaders know it.

Here’s a note from another pal of mine in the middle of it:

Serious fight taking shape. City is surrounded. So far the plan seems to be going well. There is fighting within Baqubah. Casualties on both sides.

Matt lists some military charities to which to donate. Please go to his site and donate anything you can to the great organizations which help our men and women who sacrifice for us. Anything will help, even a dollar. Imagine… If every person in the country gave $1, these charities would have $300 Million each.

Matt adds:

Unfortunately, their help will be needed in the coming weeks and months.

A prayer for General Petraeus and our soldiers, beset by the enemy and our own oily politicians, wouldn’t hurt either.

Update: Speaking of prayers, Mike Yon has an update about his activities and how we got to this point in time in Iraq. Mike is sure to be in the middle of the fighting by now. He posts a prayer, but you should say one for him too (although, knowing him, he’d rather you direct those thoughts and prayers to the troops – send him one, anyway).

Keep them all in your prayers during this very important time in the war effort. Many, many people are in need of our prayers. There will be many casualties, including many deaths. Many families will lose their loved ones in the coming days and weeks. Many children will lose a parent. Many parents will lose a child. They all need our prayers and support to get through these trying times.

In case the intensity and seriousness of the situation going on right this minute has not hit you, take a few minutes to read this and let it sink in:

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers — real snipers — have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Our jets will drop bombs and we will use rockets. Helicopters will cover us, and medevac our wounded and killed. By the time you read this, our artillery will be firing, and our tanks moving in. And Humvees. And Strykers. And other vehicles. Our people will capture key terrain and cutoff escape routes. The idea this time is not to chase al Qaeda out, but to trap and kill them head-on, or in ambushes, or while they sleep. When they are wounded, they will be unable to go to hospitals without being captured, and so their wounds will fester and they will die painfully sometimes. It will be horrible for al Qaeda. Horror and terrorism is what they sow, and tonight they will reap their harvest. They will get no rest. They can only fight and die, or run and try to get away. Nobody is asking for surrender, but if they surrender, they will be taken.

We will go in on foot and fight from house to house if needed. We will shoot rockets into their hiding spaces, and our snipers will shoot them in their heads and chests. This is where all that talk of cancer and big ideas of what should be or could be done will smash head on against the searing reality of combat.

These words flow on the eve of a great battle, but are on hold until the attack is well underway. Nothing is certain. I am here and have been all year. We are in trouble, but we have a great General. The only one, I have long believed, who can lead the way out of this morass. Iraq is not hopeless. Iraq can stand again but first it must cast off these demons. And some of the demons must be killed.

And while the battle rages, that prayer card will be in my pocket:

Be Not Afraid

You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst. You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way. You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me, and I will give you rest.

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June 21, 2007 , 3:35PM - Posted by | Embed Bloggers, Iraq, Islam, Jihad, Michael Yon, Military, Muslims, Terrorism, US Army, US Marines, War Effort in Iraq

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