8/9/08
Unfortunately, I will not be going to Anbar. Due to transportation problems, flying out to Fallujah or Ramadi fell through last night. I have now joined up with the Army's 10th Mountain Division, which is in charge of Multi-National Division-Center, a region just south of Baghdad. I will be reporting out of Camp Victory, which is near the Baghdad International Airport. Obviously, I am disappointed that I will not see the changes in Anbar with my own eyes. I was especially excited about seeing a dear Iraqi friend and his father, the local sheikh in my platoon's area when I served there. However, Ben Hayden, a fellow former Marine and VFF embed, is in Fallujah and providing excellent reporting on the major improvements in the city. Please check out his posts. My return to Anbar will have to wait for another trip.[# More #]

Now, it's a matter of making the best of the situation. Today, I had an interview with Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who is the deputy commanding general for operations of 10th Mountain Division. He has significant experience with training the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and provided some insight into their strengths and weaknesses. I will continue to collect information on ISF development with an eye to producing an article on the topic. Otherwise, I will have to go with the flow and write on issues that present themselves.

Stay Tuned

Erik Swabb