A reader and fellow Long Islander writes:
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2004 9:17 AM
"An update from my brother who is stationed in Tikrit:
All, Hope you are well. Things heating up here somewhat. The Fallujah operation is going on now and we have one battalion down there. The battalion, 2-2 Infantry, is doing well but the fight is much harder than the one we did in Samarra last month. The Marines and Army troops are well supported and will be mopping up in a day or so. The hard core 3,000 insurgents down there deserve to get it, as Fallujah is ground zero for beheadings and vehicle-bombs.
We have had some incoming here but not too much over the past week. A few mortars were dropped in but again, no one was hurt. We did lose a few of our Iraqi workers the other day. The tailor who sews on patches, including the ones on the uniform I'm wearing, and his family had all worked here supporting us with their little business. The insurgents followed them home the other day and drove them off the road. They questioned our workers, starting with the wife. She told them that she gave massages to our troops so they cut off her arms. The tailor was next refused to tell so they cut out his tounge. When his helper told them that they were tailors, they cut off both their hands. The helper,the wife, and tailor were then shot in the head on the side of the road.These are the people we're fighting against.
Ramadan ends soon. The final days are called the 'days of power' so we expect a rise in attacks as the martyrs rush to Allah. This may be the most dangerous part of the whole year. Amazingly, we still have a lot of Iraqi National Guard and police working with us. Two police stations were attacked in our area and both times the police fought off the attackers, perhaps knowing that their lives depended on it.
Many of these people hope that we bomb Fallujah into the stone age and be done with them, but that's not an option. With Bush's victory the enemy knows that we are not going to back out soon. The biggest question is still the elections -- can the Iraqis actually pull them off. We'll see. Thanks again for the notes and cards. Sorry to be writing about the gruesomness here.