There's no better feeling for American military personnel in faraway lands than the one they get when they receive letters from loved ones. But this is close competition. It's an "insider" letter to you, me and all Americans from a senior officer in our armed forces on the front lines in Mosul -- his third tour in Iraq.
God bless you, Capt. Bowers, and all who serve this Christmas season! -- Your friend, Chuck Norris
Dear Families, Friends and all Americans,
During this Christmas season, I would like to take the time to express my deepest thanks for your wishes, praises and concerns for our troopers here in Mosul, Iraq.
During this past week, Chuck Norris' syndicated column ("The Most Overlooked News Story of 2008") spoke of the success in Iraq, what the reality of it is, and how it is portrayed in the media. Some media outlets only portray the violence of Iraq, and that is fine, but I want to tell you that there are far more nonviolent acts than there are violent ones. There are daily meetings with local sheiks, civic leaders and politicians, as well as humanitarian aid and civil affairs missions that have helped shape Mosul into a better place today for the civilians. Our troop has conducted more civil affairs and humanitarian aid missions during my current tour in Iraq than I can ever recall having done here in my two previous tours.
Let me be the first to tell you, as a cavalry troop commander on the ground, that we have been very successful here in Mosul. Success can be measured in many ways. I measure the success of my ground cavalry troop by the day-to-day dealings and patrols that we conduct with the Iraqi army, police and, most of all, local civilians. Since we arrived here in November 2007, we have seen a drastic difference in Mosul. When we first arrived in Mosul, there were very few Iraqi army and police units conducting operations, civilians did not move about the city freely, and most of all, the total number of daily incidents of insurgent attacks was outrageous. This is not true today.