22 August 2003
Coalition Soldiers Try To Learn from Baghdad Terrorist Attacks
Defense Department Report, August 22: Iraq operational
Washington -- In the wake of the August 19 attack on United Nations
headquarters in Baghdad and the August 7 attack against the Jordanian
Embassy in the city, U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Kenneth Preston
says, American soldiers serving in Iraq are trying to learn from
the techniques and tactics "the enemy has used to conduct these
The morale of U.S. soldiers serving as part of "Operation Iraqi
Freedom" is still high, according to Preston, who spoke to reporters
at the Pentagon via video teleconference August 22. These soldiers,
he said, "understand the threat and the environment which they
work in and, you know, they walk with death every day out on patrols."
Terrorist acts can occur anywhere in the world, Preston said,
not only in Iraq, but in places like Afghanistan and Germany. Whenever
such an attack occurs, he said, "It's one of those things ... we
learn from." Lessons learned are passed back to follow-on troops
who will replace those now in Iraq during the next planned rotation,
Preston, of the Army's Fifth Corps, said what the enemy fails
to understand is that "the more they attack us, the more fight
we'll take to them." The soldiers' resolve is great, he added.
Command Sergeant Majors are the most senior non-commissioned officers
in the Army and answer directly to their commanding generals about
the welfare of the enlisted soldiers.
Asked about the need for additional troops, Preston said the U.S.
Central Command (CENTCOM) is working on an initiative that is bringing
coalition forces into the theater of operations. In building a
team of coalition forces, he noted that many units are already
on the ground while others have sent in advance parties, specifically
mentioning his recent visit to a division of Polish soldiers. He
also expressed a desire to see the new Iraqi Army in place so that
it can carry out missions along the nation's borders.
Another participant in the videoconference -- Army Command Sergeant
Major Charles Fuss of the 4th Infantry Division -- pointed to training
under way with the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and said it is going
very well. Preston added that the Civil Defense units are being
trained to secure Iraq and "to help us to get things under control." He
also indicated that the Americans and Iraqis are learning from
Army Command Sergeant Major Michael Bush of the 1st Armored Division,
who also took part in the conference, said it is good "for the
local population to see Iraqis in there with us going on patrol" --
a joint force of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police officers.
All three spokesmen said logistics in Iraq are improving, but
power generation remains an issue.
Meanwhile, CENTCOM reported earlier in the week that Taha Yasin
Ramadan al-Jizrawi, the former Iraqi vice president is now in custody.
Kurdish forces captured him and turned him in to the 101st Airborne