Friday, February 29, 2008


The week is over.

The big deadline was met.

Now, time to relax? Ha!

Time to call the real estate agent, again.

More later on that. :D

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I sent 25 cards to SAG yesterday.

Running total: 813

And just another nice picture. :D

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Week of Insanity

I've got a big deadline on Friday. I think I might be running around crazy-like between now and then.

In an effort to ease this week's activities, I am giving myself permission to drop off the radar screen here.

I feel like I need to explain this to myself.

BW, it will be OK.

And I need to not argue with myself about it.

See you all later.

Good News from Iraq: 25 Feb 2004

From MNF-I, IED, Indirect Fire Cells Disrupted by Weapons Find.

PATROL BASE LUTIFIYAH — A significant weapon cache was discovered through a group effort between Iraqi Army and U.S. Soldiers Feb. 19, north of Lutifiyah.

Led to the site by a tip from a local citizen, members of 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army (IA) division and 4th Platoon, Battery B, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), found a mass of weapons and homemade explosives.

The cache contained various improvised explosive device (IED)-making materials, multiple explosive rounds, firearms and documentation.

“The source of intelligence for the cache was with us the whole way,” said Capt. Charlie Lewis, executive officer for Btry. B, 3-320th FA. “He led us to the location and told us the cache was located between two specific houses; from there we started our search.”

The IA came upon the cache before the U.S. forces did.

“The Iraqis know the area better than us and can tell more when ground in an area has been disturbed,” said Sgt. Jeremiah Hash, fire support noncommissioned officer, 4th Plt., Btry. B, 3-320th FA.

This was the largest find for the battery since arriving in country in October.

“The find is extremely significant, we thought it was going to just be a regular cache,” Lewis said. “Instead we found a fair amount of IED-making materials, disrupting an IED cell in the area.”

Six men thought to be tied to the cache were detained and brought in for questioning.

Hash said he has seen a lot of IEDs and is confident this find will result in less attacks in the area.

Hash said mortar rounds and multiple direct-fire weapon systems found indicate an indirect fire cell was also disrupted.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

On becoming a Military Spouse: UPDATED

UPDATE at bottom.

I just got my first issue of Military Spouse Magazine. Review: not bad, actually. Looks like a good variety of material to get people started learning or updated on topics. At 66 pages, it is not comprehensive or in-depth. But I think it is going to be something I'm glad I spent money on. If nothing else, it is just one more way to feel connected to this community. And that is a good thing.

I subscribed figuring I need to learn more about what it means to be a military spouse. Yeah, yeah, I know what you all are saying. But really, outside of deployment and doing my best to support my husband, I don't know the first thing about the military or military life.

On top of that, Jack Bauer just told me that when he goes to school (which will be the first military experience for many if not most of the students), other spouses will probably look to me for answers on military life. Yikes!

So where is that Milspouse Handbook that I was supposed to have been issued? I might have to write it myself.

Chapter 1; Hurry Up and Wait. Seriously.
Chapter 2: Savoring Time with your Spouse.
Chapter 3: Don't Panic. You are really not alone.
Chapter 4: Acronyms 101. Probably needs to have a pull out card that can fit in the wallet and easily and discreetly referenced.
Chapter 5: The Big "D": Deployment
and on and on.

I am sure others have addressed these before. So if you know of someone who has prepared a simple, comprehensive, panicky-wife ready, funny, purse-sized version, please point me in the direction of it.

UPDATE 2/24/08 0732
A very nice reader e-mailed me a few suggestions and comments.

The Wows are my comments. I ordered the first one. I'll let you know what I think of it.

Good News from Iraq: 24 Feb 2008

From The Long War Journal, Gordon Alanko (aka Teflon Don of Acute Politics), In Pictures: A medical mission in Sayafiyah.

On Feb. 16, the Sayafiyah Combined Medical Engagement clinic was set up in a school occupied by Apache troop of the 5th Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, the 5/7 Cav. There is currently no doctor for the towns of Sayafiyah and nearby Al Sur. The two towns combined total about 15,000 people, most of whom have not seen a doctor since al Qaeda gained control of the area.

The CME was set up as an outreach program to provide needed medical care and help establish Coalition forces as an agent of goodwill amongst the people in Sayafiyah and Al Sur. The 5/7 Cav has conducted numerous CMEs during its time in Iraq, which helped the CME in Sayafiyah to come together smoothly.

The 5/7 Cav brought in an Iraqi doctor and two Arabic-speaking nurses, as well as a number of Army medics. They examined more than 550 people, and gave all of them hygiene supplies like soap and shampoo, vitamins for the youngsters, and prescriptions as needed for actual medical problems.

There were a few people with serious medical problems -- one woman with cancer, a boy with a broken leg -- and quite a few elderly patients. Many of the women had three to five children with them. What makes that remarkable is that many of them were not their own children. From talking to the villagers coming through the clinic, I estimated that upwards of 50 children who came through were orphans, either in actual fact, or because their parents had fled the area and left them with neighbors.

The CME mission was a resounding success: the doctor had to shut down a few hours early because the village response had been greater than anticipated. The gate guards let in a last few patiently waiting in line, and the rest were told they would be helped in a follow-up CME as soon as more supplies came in.

Soon, there will be similar gatherings with dentists and veterinarians. Sayafiyah is a brand-new rebuilding enterprise, and 5/7 Cav is at the forefront.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 23 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Iraqi, Coalition security forces detain 27, discover 4 caches in recent operations in Mosul.

MOSUL, Iraq – Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces detained 27 suspects and discovered four weapons caches in the Ninewa Province in recent joint operations.

During these operations joint forces also rescued a hostage from an underground prison. These operations are part of Multi-National Division – North’s continuing pursuit of criminals in the area.

“Now is the time for everyone, ISF, Coalition Forces and the people of Mosul to stand together in a united front against these monsters in order to end their wave of violence against the innocent,” said Maj. Daniel J. Meyers, spokesman for Task Force Iron.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 22 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Sons of Iraq tip lead to weapons cache in Jabr al Ansari.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Acting on information provided by the Sons of Iraq, soldiers assigned to Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, confiscated a weapons cache in Jabr al Ansari, a small village southeast of Baghdad, Feb. 19.

The cache contained 21 122mm Russian projectiles and three 130mm Russian projectiles. The munitions were buried approximately three feet deep in a suspect’s backyardt. The suspect was detained and brought back to Combat Outpost Cashe for questioning.

“Every time the Sons of Iraq bring in or lead us to ordnance, it saves the lives of innocent Iraqis, as well as the lives of Iraqi and Coalition forces,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Huell, from Miami, command sergeant major of 3-1st Cav. Regt. “This act signifies that most Iraqis have rejected violence and are on the side of peace.”

Lt. Col. John Kolasheski, from Louden, Tenn., commander of 3-1 Cav. Regt., believes his troops’ effectiveness operating in the Jisr Diyala area is due to the rapport developed with their Iraqi neighbors.

“This cache find serves as another example of how our soldiers are winning the trust and confidence of the population,” Kolasheski said. “By denying terrorists the use of these dangerous munitions, we collectively make Jisr Diyala and the surrounding areas a safer place for the people of the region. The Sons of Iraq continue to show their effectiveness in thickening our lines.”

The SOI have played a significant role in most of 3-1 Cav. Regt.’s recent cache finds by providing information.

“The Sons of Iraq continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of local security by decreasing accelerants and extremist activities in our area of operations,” said 1st Lt. Jamel Reese, a platoon leader in Headquarters Troop, 3-1 Cav. Regt.

The cache was destroyed by the 789th Ordnance Company, from Ft. Benning, Ga., currently attached to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mil-girlfriend on ANTM

We are off to a good start with the newest cycle of America's Next Top Model, my not-so-secret indulgence. Those of you who know me and are on gmail might see me with ANTM Time! and a red stop sign letting you know I am not to be disturbed. Yeah, I kinda like the show.

Kristen, 18, has a boyfriend in the Army who is currently (well at least at the time of filming) in Iraq. Her brother is in the military, too.

Unfortunately, she made it only to the Top 20 and not into the Top 13.

Good News from Iraq: 21 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Mahmudiyah Women Seek Advancement.

CAMP STRIKER — Rakkasan Soldiers hosted a meeting with Iraqi women to evaluate their needs and talk about topics of interest to them Feb. 16 at the Mahmudiyah Civil Military Operations Center.

The project is part of a Task Force Marne initiative to reach Iraqi females. The event was the second in a series of meetings headed by 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), where female Soldiers talk to Iraqi women to gain knowledge about their current conditions and what they want or need.

Eleven women attended the meeting, comprising a sampling of females who live in Mahmudiyah.

Although the women receive government assistance in the form of coupons for food items such as milk and wheat, the subsidy is not sufficient to care for their families and the items are sometimes substandard. They said money is the answer.

“We’d like to work, but we don’t have the money to start businesses,” one woman said at the start of the meeting.

That one comment segued into a whirlwind discussion about their fears, hopes and dreams.

“We understand that to start your businesses, it requires money,” said Capt. Martrell Gamble, from Landover, Md., officer in charge of the women’s outreach project for 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT). “We need you to tell us what you need … to help you take care of your families.”

Acknowledging that women in Iraq face certain cultural obstacles, Gamble posed the question, “If you could work what would you do?”

To this, the ladies answered that they would like to sew, bake, can fruit or make pickled vegetables, style hair or teach other women to do all of the above. They spoke enthusiastically about things they would like to do if they had the means.

One woman has a business of sorts with her husband where they make and package pickles to sell at the market. However, it’s not something they are able to do on a steady basis due to a lack of funds to purchase supplies.

A mother of nine said she would like to have a mini-market inside her home. “My husband doesn’t work and I need money for food,” she said.

The women agreed that many of their husbands are unemployed for fear of being targets for extremist groups.

In-home businesses seemed to be a common desire for these women who, in spite of increased security, sometimes fear going out on a regular basis. That would satisfy the need and desire to make money, as well as providing a feeling of relative security since they could work from home instead of commuting every day.

The women departed as animatedly as they arrived, expressing hope that things will look up for them in the near future and seemingly happy to be given a voice and forum where they could talk about those hopes.

“I studied and worked in women’s studies in college, particularly focused on women and development in third-world countries,” said 1st Lt. Heather Wilson, from Lusby, Md., 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, who attended both meetings sponsored by 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT). “(Women are) a demographic that is unfortunately overlooked because of cultural differences; I am glad we are addressing it and can help.”

An interpreter who also attended both meetings said she has never seen Arab women so excited about women’s prospects.

“They are very brave women who are risking themselves to do this project, but they know it will mean a better future for them and their children and, thus, Iraq,” Wilson said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quick update

Went to the doctor yesterday. He seems quite confident that this is going to heal on its own, but it is going to take some time. I go back to see him in a month. That's a lot of bandaids.

Good News from Iraq: 20 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Caches discovered from detainee information (Ninewah Province).

NINEWAH, Iraq – Soldiers of 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, Task Force Iron, discovered two caches next to each other in Ninewah Province Feb. 17 after receiving information from detainees.

The cache included rockets, washing machine timers, a suicide vest, grenades and receivers, as well as magazines for different weapons systems.

The contents of the cache were transported to a remote location and destroyed by an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Call me Frankenthumb

I might change the name of this blog to The Thumb Blog, and I will be posting as Frankenthumb, as a friend has taken to calling me, endearingly I am sure.

Yesterday after I posted, I was washing my wound and noticed that it wasn't really healed at all. And my doctor agreed. The skin above most of the wound is not attached to the flesh beneath. This is not good. So the last stitch is still in and I am being sent to see a hand specialist.

I am really frustrated. I just want the thing to heal. I don't care if it is ugly or if the sensation is lost forever. I just want the thing healed.

So I think I will be wearing the My Little Pony bandaids for quite some time. I better learn the names of these characters.

Good News from Iraq: 19 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Soldiers Find Large Weapons Cache.

BAGHDAD — Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers discovered a substantial weapons and munitions cache in Adhamiyah, a district in northeast Baghdad Feb. 15.

Acting on a tip from a local Iraqi, Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division discovered the cache at approximately 8:30 p.m.

The cache consisted of 36 107mm rockets, 29 MJ1 fuses, five dual rocket launcher tubes, 37 120mm mortar rounds, 54 81mm mortar rounds, 30 hand grenades, six M80 portable one-shot 64mm anti-tank weapons, 13 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 15 RPG motors, five RPG launchers, four mortar tubes, two mortar tripods, one mortar sight, 10 antipersonnel mines with ball bearings, nine new AK-47s, two MP5 submachine guns, two sniper scopes, 72 packages of 200 rounds each 7.62 linked ammunition, three packages 100 rounds each DSHKA rounds, a DSHKA tripod, a DSHKA mount, two DSHKA barrels, approximately 1,500 miscellaneous small-arms rounds and improvised-explosive device components, including three large bags of motorcycle batteries, washing machine timers and wires.

“These were weapons ready to be used against the Iraqi people,” said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, MND-B and 4th Inf. Div. spokesman. “Countless lives were saved because one concerned Iraqi citizen tipped off coalition forces about this cache.”

Coalition explosive ordnance disposal teams deemed all the weapons and munitions safe to move and transported the items back to a coalition forces base.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's going on

A general update on me.

The thumb that I sliced super bad 2 weeks ago continues to heal. Slowly. I had 5 stitches in for 10 days, went to the doctor for a wound check, and he took out 4 of the stitches. Hmmm. Part of the wound that WAS stitched wasn't healing. The flap was very edematous and still continues release serosanguinous fluid. After 5 days of butterfly closures and tight bandaids (Hello Kitty and My Little Pony worked the best), I think it might be healed enough to get the last stitch out this afternoon. I obviously cut a lot of nerves, but hopefully feeling will return, someday. But I must say, that this has been incredibly frustrating because I think it should have healed by now. Besides, it is really difficult to put on a bra without that thumb. Humphf!

Day job has been busy. My attitude adjustment is helping me get through the days.

Something I haven't talked about it a long time, my super secret job. Fabulous. Love it. Going very well and keeping me super secret busy. :D

Weight loss. Going well, mostly. But the last 2 weeks I let the thumb injury and a very busy job stuff (both jobs) get in my way. Getting back on track today.

Next step with the Army. Well obviously there is a lack of clarity and certainty that I would like. I just keep telling myself what ever happens, it will be OK so long as Jack Bauer and I are able to be together. Of course, being in the Army, we will be apart in the future, but after what we've been through for the last 25.5 months, most every thing will seem short. For now, Jack is doing well in his position in southern Iraq, and should be coming home sometime between mid-spring and mid-summer, depending on some of those things I'd like more clarity and certainty about. Uggg. (Note to self: get used to it.)

Doggies are doing good. Cat too. I need to start working on the house projects again and contemplate packing and working with a real estate agent. At some point well be moving. It may be in 5 months, it could be in a year. Regardless, I need to get busy. That stimulus package will help with some cosmetic repairs. How stimulating.

Good News from Iraq: 18 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Iranian Rocket, Other Munitions Handed Over to Coalition Forces.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELTA — Coalition forces received a weapon cache of more than 2,000 rounds at Forward Operating Base Delta, Feb. 13. The cache consisted of 2,078 various types of munitions including a 107 mm Iranian-made rocket, 14.5 mm rounds, 82 mm rounds, 155 mm rounds, 100 mm rounds, hand grenades, 130 mm rounds and 30 meters of fuse fire cord. The munitions were collected by the Iraqi civil defense directorate from the villages of Numaniyah, Suveira, and al Aziziyah.

The ordnances were given to the Kazakhstani Explosive Ordnance Detachment and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 Detachment 18 for disposal at a later date.

Friday, February 15, 2008

WANTED: Clarity and Certainty

Current Army Reserve/soon to be Active Duty Army wife seeks Clarity and Certainty to ease burden of daily life filled with unknown and nebulous plans of deployment and future Active Duty life. Appearance is not important. Must be somewhat sane and honest, and must be willing to work on trust issues. No liars please. A love of cats and dogs living together is a plus. Dogs are strongly encouraged to respond.

Good News from Iraq: 15 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Adwaniyah Residents Look to Brighter Future, Normalcy.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Last year, the community of Adwaniyah witnessed the worst of what the insurgency brought to the people of Iraq.

There were reports of kidnappings and murders. Members of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were said to have forced residents out of their homes. Soon, Adwaniyah residents realized that life under AQI would be a step backward and they began to work with Coalition forces to rid their community of AQI.

Adwaniyah citizens Hazim Shaker Ahmen and Riyah Yas Khudayr, both former Iraqi Army officers, began working with Coalition forces and started ‘Sons of Iraq’ (SoI) programs last October.

In mid-November AQI mounted an offensive against U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi Army and Sons of Iraq. At the time, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division was the Army unit patrolling Adwaniyah. Troop B and the SoI repelled the offensive and since then AQI members have either been detained or fled the community.

Now, Troop B, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. controls the battle space and the future of Adwaniyah is bright.

“The local leadership, the Sons of Iraq and Iraqi Army all played an important part in making this a success and they continue to do so,” said Capt. Douglas Hoyt, Troop B, 6-8th Cav. Regt. commander, from Columbus, Ohio. “The willingness to make a stand, to sacrifice and work hard has paid off.”

In December, a SoI headquarters was set up and a town council was established.

By January, word began to spread that the community was safer. Residents began moving back into the city and businesses started re-opening.

“The situation has gone from bad to better,” said local SoI co-founder Ahmen. “The task has begun to improve the security, economic and employment situation and the relationship with the central Government of Iraq.”

Assisting with the improvement in security, Troop B, 6-8th Cav. Regt. established Patrol Base Dolby in the community to help keep residents safe, rebuild the infrastructure and try to boost the economy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V Day!

Here's a Valentine BW style.

Love where you've been.

Love where you're at.

Love how you think.

Love the power you pack.

Love all that you seek.

Love all that you feel.

Love your rocking emotions
and the thoughts you make real.

But mostly, amazing Butterfly Wife, I really, really love you in this very moment.


Loving you from every angle -

The Universe

P.S. Far be it from me to tell anyone what to love about themselves, Butterfly Wife, I'm too busy loving YOU.

Good News from Iraq: 14 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Al Qaeda Fighters Flee Cities, Head for Desert or Out of Iraq.

WASHINGTON — A surge in military operations and a shift in local support in northern Iraq has driven many al Qaeda fighters out of cities that once provided them safe haven and into the desert, or even out of the country, a commander in the region said Monday.

Citizens in the four-province region of Multi-National Division - North have begun shifting their support to Coalition and Iraqi forces in “droves,” and security gains are increasingly putting extremists on the run with no clear place to go to be safe, said Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multi-National Division - North and the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division. The northern division is about the size of Pennsylvania and includes Diyala, Salahuddin, Ninevah and Tamim provinces.

Some foreign fighters are returning to their home countries of Syria and Saudi Arabia, he said, taking with them funds earmarked for fighters in Iraq. Some are trying to reorganize outside the country’s borders, but Hertling’s troops are watching the border and have arrested some as they try to return, he said. Others, who no longer feel safe in the cities because they are afraid that local citizens will turn them in, are hiding out in abandoned mud huts, canals or caves in the desert.

“That's their biggest fear. So many of them are going to the desert regions to just get away from being ratted out by the citizens by being pointed out and captured,” Hertling said.

But, even their desert hideaways are targets under six-week-long Operation Iron Harvest, part of the countrywide Operation Phantom Phoenix.

“Some of them are saying it's not even safe in the desert because the night raids are coming to get them,” Hertling said. “And that's a good thing. We want them to keep thinking that they can't sleep well at night because we're coming after them, because, quite frankly, we are.”

Hertling could not give specific numbers on how many fighters have left or an estimate of the size of the enemy force remains in the region, but he said fewer al Qaeda fighters are in the province now than six weeks ago.

“We’re doing exactly what we’re trying to do, and that is make the cities safer for the Iraqi citizens while continuing to target al Qaeda and the other extremist groups,” the commander said.

Diyala province, specifically, is much safer today than it was a month ago, Hertling said. Citizens are less afraid to go out on the streets, and markets are opening, he said.

Hurtling attributed the gains in the province to the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, the installation of local bases in the province, and improving local and national governments.

In Iron Harvest operations over the past 45 days, Coalition and Iraqi security forces there have conducted 74 missions. They have captured or killed more than 70 high-value individuals, and “hundreds” of enemy fighters, the general said. They found more than 430 caches with tons of explosives and weapons, he added, and they have cleared 653 homemade bombs, 42 house bombs, 35 car bombs and three bomb factories.

Attacks have leveled off in the region since December, following a drastic drop. Attacks range from about 20 to 50 daily, Hertling said.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More puppies

A few weeks ago I sent Jack Bauer the doggies because I was just too frustrated with them. Apparently, they are now guarding his office when he is not there. He took a much better picture of them than I did. I thought I would share with you. That's Bear on the left and Moo on the right. In fact that looks just like Moo, except that Moo weighs about 95 pounds more and prefers to lie on her back with her feet up in the air. Such a silly princess doggie.

Good News from Iraq: 13 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Hawr Rajab Women’s Committee Holds Inaugural Meeting.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Leaders of the newly-formed group sat before colleagues, government officials, community and Coalition leaders, but the audience they addressed was much larger; what some would even consider the backbone of their community.

The first meeting of Hawr Rajab’s Women’s Committee began Feb. 7 with a press conference at the Hawr Rajab boy’s school and a discussion of topics vital to the community’s welfare.

If the orators were nervous they did not show it as one-by-one they began to stump for their cause.

As a collective hush enveloped the audience, more than 200 women and young girls eagerly listened to what the guest speakers had to say.

Manar Fahdil Salman, a lawyer who grew up in Hawr Rajab, one of eight speakers, sat poised ready to take up the cause.

“This message is for the entire world. We need to show them that we have rules. We need to help side-by-side with the men to help our city be safe. This can’t be done with one hand, all of us need to help,” Salman said.

Salman and her fellow women’s group leaders expressed gratitude for the increased security in their respective regions and recognized the need to focus on the future.

“Women in this area are looking for training. They are looking for special skills and training to help them provide for their communities,” she said.

Salman said when al-Qaeda extremists moved into the region more than two years ago, many of the men in the community were killed. This resulted in a number of families being left without their traditional ‘head of household.’ It also forced widows to rely on extended family for basic needs.

With cooperation between Coalition forces, Sons of Iraq, Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi government officials, security in Hawr Rajab has become a much-welcomed reality.

In a show of support for the Women’s Committee, Rashid District Chairman Yaqoub Yousif Bekhaty said the committee was a good idea, one which would encourage women to participate in the political process.

Having seen examples of this forward thinking in other parts of Iraq, members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division’s embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team women’s affairs group brainstormed ways to get the ball rolling in Hawr Rajab. However, it was the initiative of local women that allowed the organization to take root.

As the newly-appointed women’s affairs representative, 2nd Lt. Cynthia Peters, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., currently attached to the 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., said she enjoyed seeing the high turnout and has great hopes for the group’s future.

Peters, a native of Huntington, Ind., said she gained a better understanding of issues facing women in Hawr Rajab by attending the meeting.

While the Hawr Rajab Women’s Committee currently has no facility from which to work, its members are not discouraged. Instead they have found new support from their communities and are gaining their political voice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More cards

Sent 21 cards out to our wounded Soldiers in Germany through Soldiers' Angels Germany.

Running total: 788

Just thought that was a nice picture of Antonio Banderas. :D

Good News from Iraq: 12 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Citizen’s Tip Leads to Explosively-Formed Penetrator Weapons Cache.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Soldiers from Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, seized an explosively-formed penetrator (EFP) cache in Jurf Nadaf, a town southeast of Baghdad, due to a tip from a ‘Sons of Iraq’ [formerly known as Concerned Local Citizens] member, Feb. 8.


This find consisted of 13 EFPs, one shape charge, 37 blocks of C4 explosive, 13 blasting caps, one 62 mm mortar tube and one 40 mm rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

The 3-1 Cav. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Benning, Ga. and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March, 2007.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can I get off the teeter-totter?

Up. Down. Up, down. Up down. Updown.

I think I need to off this stupid teeter-totter.

Or maybe someone could just wave a magic wand.

Or maybe if I click my heels three times.

Maybe then I could go back asleep and live in the world where I don't have to think about this thing called war.

Last night I was at a dinner in a very upscale home with some folks I went to the retreat with in November. Smart, intelligent, spiritual women.

Someone asked about Jack Bauer and the coversation generally turned to politics and war. I shut up and shut down. Someone said that she had read about Ernie Pyle and WWII recently. "You would have thought that we would have figured out by now that we don't need war." I don't have the energy to explain, to teach, to argue about any of it.

I got up at one point and a woman, who I didn't know, cornered me and asked me how I felt about hearing conversations like that. I told her that it is very difficult for me. I didn't bother to explain further.

And no, it wasn't lost on me the irony of these "enlightened" women, who are so compassionate about so many things, becoming vicious attack dogs when it comes to this war and this administration.

Good News from Iraq: 11 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, 1,000 landmines unearthed (Iskandariyah).

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq – One thousand landmines were unearthed in a weapons cache Feb. 3.

Coalition Forces and Iraqi Army Soldiers found a total of six weapons caches during the joint operation northeast of Iskandariyah.

The operation was designed to locate weapons caches and deprive al-Qaeda in Iraq of their ability to attack Iraqi and Coalition forces.

In addition to the 1,000 landmines, a substantial amount of munitions was found in two other caches, including 24, 57 mm rounds; nine, 130 mm artillery rounds; and 60 pounds of unknown bulk explosives.

The other three caches contained lesser amounts of munitions and improvised explosive device-making materials.

The caches were destroyed with the assistance of air support and an explosive ordnance disposal team.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 10 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, SOF train Iraqi Security Force unit.

BAGHDAD – Twenty-five Iraqi Security Forces troops recently graduated from a three-week training course taught by U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Iraqi Security Force will work closely with SOF during the transition of Al Anbar’s security back to the Iraqi Government.

This graduating class is one of the first units in the area consisting of people from all of tribes in the area.

The SOF unit instructed ISF recruits on the importance of physical training, how to secure a building and how to conduct searches once the area is secure. The unit was developed to fight terrorism in Ramadi.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

On giving

It is time for paying for what I get for free.

Say what?

There are two nonprofit media organizations that I rely on daily.

NPR is having its fund drive. Time to give to your local station if you listen and find what you get for free to have value.

Another nonprofit media organization is also doing some fund raising. The nonprofit that brings us The Long War Journal is asking for donations to help support their embed program. Teflon Don just landed back in Iraq to provide original reporting for LWJ. So it is time to give if you read and find what you get for free to have value. Here is the link to the donate page or click on the logo.

Good News from Iraq: 9 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Sons of Iraq provide tip, Soldiers seize cache (Sabah Nissan).

BAGHDAD – A Sons of Iraq [formerly known as Concerned Local Citizens] group discovered a weapons cache near Sabah Nissan, a village east of Baghdad, and turned it over to Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, Feb. 5.

The Soldiers secured the site, awaiting the arrival of an explosive ordnance disposal team from the 789th EOD Company, from Fort Benning, Ga., to dispose of the munitions.

The cache consisted of two rocket-propelled grenades, one 130 mm artillery round, one 120 mm tank round, one 60 mm mortar round and one 57 mm mortar round.

“The Sons of Iraq continue to prove their worth when they provide us these tips on weapons caches,” said Capt. Charles Cannon, from Moultrie, Ga., commander of Battery A. “They hear and learn things that some local Iraqis may be hesitant to approach Coalition Forces about. The Sons of Iraq allow them an outlet and this information eventually trickles down to us, at which time we can properly dispose of the ammunition and ordnance.”

Soldiers from 1-10 FA have seized 11 caches as a result of Sons of Iraq tips since last November.

The 1-10 FA is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Benning, Ga. The 3rd HBCT deployed to Iraq in March 2007.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today is Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day for Team Badger. Badger 6, Teflon Don, and Mel are all deeply affected by the deaths of Sergeant James Holtom, Sergeant Ross Clevenger, and Private First Class Raymond Werner one year ago.

Today may be a good day to visit our fellow bloggers.

Good News from Iraq: 8 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Two ton explosives cache found in Salah ad Din province.

BAYJI, Iraq – Iraqi Police, Sons of Iraq [formerly known as Concerned Local Citizens] and Coalition Forces discovered a 4,400 pound cache of explosives, in Salah ad Din province during a joint operation, Feb. 6.

Iraqi Police and SOI noticed freshly disturbed dirt off an unimproved road. Coalition Forces investigated the site with IP and SOI assistance. Buried under a hidden tarp were 40 bags filled with a mixture of ammonia nitrate and cocoa powder, each weighing approximately 110 pounds or 50 kilograms. This mixture is commonly used as a homemade explosive commonly used by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

“The Iraqi Police and the Sons of Iraq are committed to bringing stability to their country,” said Lt. Col. William W. Prior, commander of the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment. “They prove this on a daily basis. Today they were able to make a significant impact in securing their country, their homes and their families.”

Additionally, IP, SOI and CF consisting of 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment and 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment cleared several villages in the area.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Being busy = less to miss ??

I keep myself insanely busy. And after having hours to do nothing on Sunday night in the ER, I know why I stay so busy. Less time to think about, dwell in, wallow in the fact that my husband isn't here. Nothing quite like a few hours alone in the middle of the night with nothing to read, no internet to surf, no one to talk to -- well, there was the lady who was talking to herself, I'm sure I could have joined in -- to free up some time for thinking. Nothing but me and my thoughts, for hours on end.

It sure would have nice to have Jack Bauer there to hold my hand and to rest my sleepy, drooping head on his rugged shoulder. To feel the warmth of his touch as he comforted me stroking my hair and kissing my forehead. That's what I missed the most.

Good News from Iraq: 7 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Coalition, Iraqi Army Bring the Heat, Fuel Iraqi Fires.

BAGHDAD — When the joint patrol arrived in Saydiyah, there was already a crowd of more than 150 families waiting for kerosene, Jan. 31. On this momentous occasion, Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers from Company A, 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment, along with policemen from 1st Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police (NP) Division, distributed the fuel to the neighborhood’s residents for the first time since September.

The distribution was important for the residents since Iraqis primarily use kerosene to provide heat for their homes as well as cooking.

The local residents lined up hours before so they could receive the fuel, said Capt. Benjamin Fielding, of Youngstown, Ohio, who is the A Co. commander.

“You can tell these people really needed this precious resource,” Fielding said. “Some of the locals have told me they came out to get a place in line as early as 5:30 a.m. this morning.”

The NP helped keep order so the thousands of people who made their way through the line could get their kerosene.

Iraqi Lt. Basher, the NP platoon leader, worked well with the locals and was able to relate to their concerns by using his troops, as well as local leaders, to keep the crowd orderly and the operation running smoothly.

First Lt. Aaron Hall, the patrol leader who conducted the joint patrol with the NPs, was responsible for securing the site for the kerosene issue and said the event was a good way to get in touch with the people in Saydiyah.

“Every time we conduct a mission like this, we get positive feedback from the community,” he said. “We always have citizens asking us for phone numbers, which they call later to report extremists in their neighborhoods. They obviously want to see conditions improve.”

Lt. Col. Johnnie Johnson, a Tampa, Fla., native, and the commander of Task Force 4-64, arrived with Staff Brig. Gen. Baha, the 5th Battalion, 2nd Iraqi National Police Brigade commander, to see how the operation was going.

When they arrived, some of the citizens voiced concerns about their ration cards or explained reasons why they were not currently in possession of rations cards.

Baha promptly explained to the crowd that without a rations card, people could not receive their allotted 100 liters of Kerosene but would still receive 20 liters, which should be enough to get them by as they rectify their issues with the ration cards.

“This is the first time in months this type of operation has occurred, so it is expected there will be some administrative challenges, such as this issue with ration cards,” Johnson said. “Despite minor challenges, this is a very positive outcome because the citizens were told they would receive kerosene on Thursday – and it is here. That builds trust and confidence.”

The Tuskers and the NP returned the following day with another shipment of kerosene for the Families who did not receive any the day prior.

The “Tuskers” of 4th Bn., 64th Armor Regt., are a 3rd Infantry Division unit, stationed out of at Fort Stewart, Ga., and are currently attached to Task Force Dragon.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More packages to the CTU Gang

This past Saturday I sent Jack Bauer and his gang some goodies.

5 lbs Kaldi's coffee

2 pairs of tevas, old used ones mind you, cuz he didn't want to buy new ones.

From Whole Foods

  • Magnet with pic of dog that says "All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening." - Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943). How totally true is that statement?
  • Organic Caramel Truffles
  • Truffled Espresso Clusters
  • Allegro Celebration Coffee (1/2 pound) cuz they can never seem to get enough good coffee.
  • Fleur de Sel caramels
  • Little bites chocolates
  • Newman's Own ginger mints
  • College Farm hard candies

Good News from Iraq: 6 Feb 2008

From 1AD Task Force Iron, Task Force Iron Soldier teaches Latin dance class to deployed troops in COB Speicher, Iraq. (h/t KJ, who emailed me her suggestion; this is her Soldier)

SFC White dancing with one of his studentsTIKRIT, Iraq – One, two, three … five, six, seven …

He swayed to the left and he swayed to the right as his students looked on in amazement. He swung around and his students started to mimic his movements. He stopped to help them.

He looked at his watch. There was just a few minutes left before the salsa dancing class would be over and Latin Night would commence.

“Okay, great job. All of you have improved and are ready to show your new talents tonight,” he said. “If no one has any questions, then that is all I have this week.”

He watched them as they began to leave and noticed a student staying back trying to improve his steps.

“I can’t dance,” the student said. “Maybe I should give up and not dance tonight.”

“Don’t worry, I’m staying until you get it down,” he said.

One, two, three … five, six, seven ….

‘I understand soldiers can get so busy’

Federico White II, a sergeant first class in Bravo Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division, can trace his kindness way back to a boyhood tranquil lifestyle in Laramie, Wyoming.

His mother, Iva, never wavered in giving her love and kindheartedness to Federico, his little brother, Reynaldo and her husband Fred.

“She has always been there for us,” said Federico, who has served in the military for 23 years. “She’s had a helping hand in our lives, and she helped the Salvation Army many times a week. I admire her love for us and others.”

His father, Fred, was instrumental in many students’ lives at the University of Wyoming, retiring from the zoology department.

“My dad was very strict, but he always made time to take me fishing,” said Federico. “He would talk to me about his life during our fishing adventures and I learned what a wonderful man he truly was. He loved to be there for his family.”

His little bother, Reynaldo, is studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to become a math professor and serves as a counselor for troubled kids.

“My brother has been an inspiration because of what he does for the troubled kids,” Federico said.

1AD Soldiers having fun dancing.With a household full of humanitarians, its no wonder Federico can freely give his time to help others learn how to dance … in Iraq.

That’s right.

The 1st Armored Division based in Wiesbaden, Germany deployed to Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq last fall, and Soldiers were looking for a way to wind down from the daily rigors of war.

Federico, who has taught Latin dancing classes in North Carolina, Colorado, Germany and Korea, was quick to offer them the chance to learn how to Latin dance.

“I understand Soldiers can get so busy out here and I just wanted them to have something to relax,” he said. “Most of them want to learn to dance, but are afraid to take that first step.”

So one could find Federico feverishly helping, instructing and teaching Soldiers how to Latin dance every Friday night at the main Morale, Welfare and Recreation building. The class, which started with a handful, now is so packed that Federico added assistants to help him.

“Word is spreading about this class and that is why it’s so big,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter because I enjoy helping others learn this great art. I hope many others come to class because being in a war zone is very stressful. Hopefully, this class can help them not focus on being away from their families.”

One, two, three … five, six, seven …

‘A sense of satisfaction’

The crowd was dancing to the blaring music out the speakers. As expected, the room turned Latin dance hall was packed. At every corner Soldiers could be found listening to the Latin song playing or dancing to its beat.

He stood near the back of the dance hall, so he could see all of his students dancing.

He waved at those who saw him.

He felt a sense of satisfaction because they were enjoying themselves in spite of being in a war zone.

He looked around the room for the student who almost quit.

He found him laughing, smiling and dancing.

Just then, Federico left the dance hall.

One, two, three … five, six, seven …

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Picked up 300 while shopping at Target on Sunday. I thought would watch that instead of the Super Bowl. The men in the movie have less clothes on and they are Soldiers. What could be hotter?

Well, life had other plans for me and I spent the entire night in the ER waiting to get stitched up. (I can now type with 9 fingers for a period time.)

But after getting a few hours of sleep during the day, I lied down to rest my arm and hand and watched 300. And all I can say is wow. Those are some ripped bodies. At one pint I realized I wasn't listening to what they were saying.

Hottie hot hotties aside, I thought is was a great movie. Excellent tale of Spartans going off to battle. It was simply a great looking movie. I loved the way it was shot. It is adapted from a graphic novel and keeps to that genre in the spectacular scenes. Here is the link to the trailer.

If you are up for watching battle, this is definitely a good movie for the wife of a deployed Soldier.

Good News from Iraq: 5 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Security Gains by Coalition Allow Families to Return to Zambraniyah.

ZAMBRANIYAH — Nearly 1,000 residents returned to Zambraniyah throughout the last week of January after learning the area had been secured by Coalition and Iraqi forces. When heavy fighting in the Zambraniyah area broke out in early January, Coalition Forces advised families to evacuate the area to stay out of danger.

As residents fled, blending in was difficult for al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) members, enabling Soldiers to identify and target them. Over the course of combat operations, more than 40 extremists were killed.

The 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, currently attached to 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., is now helping displaced families return to their homes.

“In the past 48 hours approximately 1,000 Zambraniyah residents have returned to their homes,” said Captain David Lively, 6-8th Cav. Regt. assistant operations officer.

Last year, AQI infiltrated Zambraniyah. Local citizens said those who refused to support AQI were killed. Now, citizens are standing up to protect their community. Coalition forces have organized a neighborhood watch program of concerned citizens, called ‘Sons of Iraq’.

To date, more than 500 Sons of Iraq in the Zambraniyah area have been recruited and organized into a force that works closely with the Iraqi Army and Coalition forces. More than 100 improvised explosive devices have been uncovered and disposed of with their help.

As the civilian population returns to this agricultural community, the hope is that economic activity will increase. U.S. Army civil affairs teams working with the 6-8 Cav. Regt. are assisting in economic assessments of the Zambraniyah community and plan to offer micro-grants to small businesses in the community.

Monday, February 4, 2008

light blogging

i cut my thumb last night while making dinner. spent the entire night at the er. got some stitches. i will be just fine but for right now i am typing one handed.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Saturday Cards

The cards are continuing to go out to our wounded servicemembers through Soldiers' Angels Germany.

Sent out 16 yesterday.

Running total: 767

Good News from Iraq: 3 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, More Electricity Projects Improving Lives in Dhi Qar Province.

DHI QAR — Electricity for any country means prosperity for its people; improvement to their lives and more opportunities for employment. In Iraq, a country that long has suffered from a serious lack of electricity production, a gleam of a light for a child in a dark night is a gleam for a new future.

To avoid the darkness of winter, many Iraqis buy oil lanterns. And for many Iraqis, electric flash lights are very important if their private generators run out of fuel. Others have an electrical connection to generators run by local businesses to feed them with power when the supply from electrical plants shuts down.

“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.” said Rebecca Wingfield, project engineer with the Adder Area office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We are trying to improve Iraqi lives. It bothers us, it hurts us and saddens our hearts to see and hear about the severity of the conditions that some Iraqi families endure. We are here to help.”

To bolster the local electricity supply, the Corps has awarded a $1.54 million project to build, supply, install, test and commission a double 33kV electrical feeder line of the Al Nasiriyah powerline, according to Taha Jabber, an Iraqi engineer with USACE Gulf Region South district.

The project includes towers, cable and accessories necessary to connect the Old Nasiriyah substation and Al Shamiyah substation, the engineer said.

“The Nassiriyah powerline project will rehabilitate electrical systems in the Nassiriyah area that supply electricity to the Al-Shamiyah substation,” said Wingfield. She said the project is funded by the Provincial Reconstruction Team funding source--Economic Support Funds from the State Department.

“Al-Shamiyah substation has only one critical feeder from the oil directorate substation, which is overloaded,” Wingfield said. “The project will provide the Ministry of Electricity with a more reliable and secure transmission network in the south of the country while supplying electricity to keep the oil refinery working.”

Al-Shamiyah city is located southeast of Nasiriyah city in Dhi Qar province in a rural area. This project will provide its people with more electricity and reduce blackouts. The project began last year and is now 15 percent complete. It is scheduled to be completed in May 2008.

“Electrical projects are important because they are a part of the basic infrastructure of the country,” said Wingfield. “Everyone wants to be able to feed and cloth and house his or her family. Electricity, water and sewer systems are the basics that are necessary for a stable society.

“If a person can’t provide basic services for his family then disease, malnourishment and death usually follow,” she continued. “People get desperate when they can’t provide for their families and that makes them unhappy and angry. Unhappy and angry people will become violent to try to get the services that they want, especially if they are egged on by insurgents.”

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhog Day ... Again

I loved the movie Groundhog Day. Bill Murray has to get up in the morning to relive the same day until he gets it right.

Well, I sure hope that I get today right. Three Groundhog Days without Jack Bauer is two too many. So as I go off to yoga and Weight Watchers, go about mailing care packages and cards, I will do my best to make it the best Groundhog Day possible. Maybe then, next year Groundhog Day won't play out the same.

Regardless, the Camp Toenges doggies are predicting at least four more months of deployment.

Old technology meets Jack Bauer

Sarah sent me this yesterday in light of my recent post on rotary phones. Hysterical! I love it. :D

Good News from Iraq: 2 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Coordinated Medical Engagement Treats Hundreds in Khidr.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Working side-by-side, surgeons and medics from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division and the Iraqi Army came together in a coordinated medical engagement Jan. 28 in Khidr, Iraq.

“By us coming out here and doing this with the Iraqi Army, the families know that we are serious and want to help them,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Newsome, commander of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

Throughout the day, Coalition and Iraqi Army surgeons treated more than 500 people. Many seen during the day received medical care for injuries or illnesses that otherwise may not have been treated.

“Most of the people being seen today were because of cold and flu symptoms,” said Sgt. 1st Class Monty Ranisate, medical platoon sergeant of Headquarter and Headquarters Company, 3-7th Inf. Regt. “We also saw many chronic diseases.”

Due to the previous medical facility in the town being destroyed by al-Qaeda in Iraq, many have been unable to get the healthcare they need.

When residents arrived at the school to be seen, they were first sent to the preventive medicine room to learn information on how to stop diseases before they start. During the preventive medicine class, residents were taught how to properly boil water and to practice good personnel hygiene.

With some residents not having clean drinking water, many have developed diseases from the unclean water. Mohammed, an Iraqi medic, explained how boiling water would kill germs making it healthier for them to drink.

Children from the community were also taught not to play with plastic weapons because of the similarities between real and toy weapons.

“I told them not to use the guns,” Mohammed said. “Anyone who sees them might think they are real.”

After the class, patients received a standard medical questionnaire and had their vital signs checked. After checking vital signs, those who needed to be seen waited in line to see a doctor.

Doctors diagnosed the patients on what exactly was wrong with them, Ranisate said. “And if they need to make follow up appointments, we help them make it with local doctors.”

In addition to receiving medical care, residents received humanitarian assistance bags.

Friday, February 1, 2008

On Snow

It is snowing in Middleville. It started around 11 AM yesterday and isn't supposed to stop for until noon today. We got about 7 inches so far.

I love it when the snow is falling. All the sounds of world are silenced. The world disappears. Other things don't matter. Just the peace, the quiet, the sanctity that emerge. The walls of the house are reinforced by the snow and protect us from all that lies outside.

So long as we have electricity, coffee, dog food, and internet service, I say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Good News from Iraq: 1 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Hospital Project is About Iraq’s Children.

BASRAH — The Basrah Children’s Hospital project can get its hooks into people.

Take Lt. Col. Kenneth McDonald, an Area Deputy Commander in the Gulf Region Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He leads the Basrah Area Office in the Southern District where part of his job is overseeing the Basrah Children’s Hospital project--one of the highest profile, most complex and potentially most rewarding projects undertaken by USACE in its four years in Iraq. He extended his tour in Iraq to two years from one to help bring the project to a successful conclusion.

“Where else as an Engineer would you want to be?” asked McDonald, who taught in the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department at West Point before coming to Iraq in 2006.

The hospital is designed and being constructed as a 94-bed pediatric tertiary care referral hospital with a focus on pediatric oncology. Intended to support the population of southern Iraq, including Basrah, the country’s second largest city, the facility also will be a training center capable of improving and expanding the training of health professionals throughout Iraq.

In a very real sense, the project is about children. “Sick kids,” said McDonald, citing the grim statistic that 15 out of 100 children in southern Iraq die before the age of five. Childhood cancers are 8-10 times more common in Iraq than in the West. ...

Read the rest here.