"It's one of those experiences that really gives one hope," writes Major K of his visit to the Mini-NCO Academy set up by 1st Brigade with the help of their MiTT Team a few weeks ago. "This Academy was the brain-child of SFC R. of the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade. He saw the need and took the initiative to fill it. When the Academy was first set up, SFC R. and the rest of the MiTT Team were teaching all of the courses. Now, the courses are taught exclusively by Iraqi NCO Instructors. Several of these instructors are female. One of the most important things that is infused in these NCO candidates is to think on their feet and take the initiative rather than waiting for orders from an officer." (Major K. photo)
"As we stood at the back of the classroom watching one of the classes being taught by a graduate of the Academy, I thought to myself, 'Maybe this whole revamp of the Iraqi Army might just work,'" writes Major K in his latest post from the front of the War on Terror in Iraq:
As anyone who knows anything about the military will tell you, Non-Commissioned Officers(NCO's) are the core of any competent military force. Most of the outside world knows them as "Sergeants." In the US Army, it is said that NCO's are "the backbone of the Army," and it is true. Tough, competent, professional NCO's are what the Iraqi Army has been lacking for many years. The culture of the old Iraqi Army was one of an aristocratic officer corps and subservient but tightly controlled enlisted force with no real NCO corps in the middle . . .
I then looked over at my interpreter, Jay, who was born in Iraq but has lived in the USA for over ten years, and he was wiping away tears of joy from his eyes. As a young man, he had taken part in the Shia uprising in the south after Desert Storm. He fled to the US not long after, having a price on his head. He was touched to the core and deeply moved at seeing this small but profound step forward in his native land. He is a US Citizen now, and will return to his family in the US at the end of his year-long contract here. He came here to make a difference and serve both of his countries. Seeing this little Academy let him know that he is.
A few tears of joy here as we read Major K's essay. Tears of appreciation, too, as he managed -- in a brief but eloquent blogpost -- to teach us so much that we didn't know but need to know about the military, both what makes our own so effective and the debilitating legacy that left Saddam's enlisted force with no incentives for initiative.
As Hugh Hewitt said the other day, reflecting on the MSM's monumental "failure to capture the true story in New Orleans even with all of the combined resources of all the MSM working around the clock":
Why would anyone believe that American media is accurately reporting on the events in Iraq from the Green Zone, in the course of a bloody insurgency fought in a language they don't understand? If the combined forces of old media couldn't get one accurate story out of the convention center, why for a moment believe it can get a story out of Mosul or Najaf?
Like Major K's Iraqi-American translator Jay, the frontline bloggers are the ones who will make a difference and serve both countries in the war between truth and propaganda.
Update: Truth trumps propaganda at Beth's My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.