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Election Reflections

AL ASAD AIR BASE, IRAQ: My impressions from Election Day in Barwana are available at The Weekly Standard – Election Day on the Eurphrates - Democracy vs. Zarqawi. Many of the photos I took are available in a flash presentation of the voting from Husaybah, Sadah and Barwana.

There is one story from Election Day I failed to share in The Weekly Standard. My Election Day experience began on the night of the 14th, when I hopped a flight from Al Asad Air Base. I accompanied a portion of the ballots that were designated for Barwana on a Marine CH-46 helicopter. We landed atop Haditha Dam, a beautiful setting for a night landing.

The following morning at 4:00 AM, I accompanied a convoy from the dam to Barwana. The ballots were with us. I watched them being unloaded by the Iraqi poll workers into the voting center. After the day ended, we took a convoy back to Haditha Dam, again with the ballots, but this time they were no longer empty forms, but contained the will of a portion of the Iraqi people.

We waited on the top deck of the dam for the night flight back to the air base. The flights were delayed as there was a lightening storm across the lake, which along with high winds precluded the helos from landing. After a month in Iraq with dry clear skies, the lightening strikes in the distance were a sight to behold.

The weather cleared at 2:00 AM, and we loaded the ballots onto the helos, and took the short flight back to Asad. Once there, the ballots where unloaded and stored in a secure location. It was quite an experience to accompany the transformation of mere sheets of paper into a statement of self determination and will.

The elation of the long days of travel and witnessing history was punctured by events in Barwana late this morning. The place where I stood just hours ago, a place of joy and hope for the Iraqi people, became a scene of terror and sorrow. The polling center, which once was a Ba’ath Party headquarters and now has been converted into a school, was struck by three mortar rounds.

Four children and one Iraqi soldier died on the spot. The soldiers were cleaning up the site from yesterday’s crowds while the children were playing soccer in the schoolyard. Two other children were wounder and evacuated to the air base for medical treatment. One of the children died while being treated. “Insurgents” continue to have no compunctions against killing children in their quests to destroy the dreams of the Iraqi people. And the joy of the ballots – possessing the will of Barwana’s citizens – continue to stand against the perpetrators of such acts of evil. Thankfully they are also protected by Coalition forces and an indomitable will to vanquish Iraq of the cowardly terrorists.

Victim of Attack in Barwana.

Barwana Attack Victim Receiving Treatment at Al Asad Air Base. Photograph by SSgt Beckstead.

Reference

Listed below are links that reference Election Reflections:

» Election Day on the Euphrates from Small Town Veteran
Election Day on the Euphrates Democracy vs. Zarqawi. by Bill Roggio Barwana, Iraq In the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, the cities of Barwana, Haqlaniya, and Haditha are collectively known as the Triad. Over the summer, before the joint U.S. military [Read More]

» Election Day on the Euphrates from Small Town Veteran
... [Read the rest here and don't miss Bill's follow-up blog post here.] [Read More]

Feedback

While the will of the nation soars, the Islamofascist children killers descend to a new low.

Hi Bill,

Your in depth reporting of many events approaching this most important of all Iraq elections is greatly appreciated here in America!

The good news now is that the people have better established a solidarity of country that will deflate the value of any future insurgent attack. In fact this event for all the peace loving Iraqi people will now generate the perfect reason to eradicate that element from amongst themselves. The "VOTE", "Purple Finger" has put the people on the side of non-violent civilization! Let us hope that Barwanans will now extinguish all the evil of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Thanks for your reporting, Bill. Sounds like you just missed one. Glad for you but really sad for the kids. Zarqawi's ilk is getting really desparate.
I would like to ask about the identity of the guy with the LSU cap, being a grad from there. If you can't, no problem. But thanks for the report - and you should know that several of the MSM jezeera covers over here are repeating the "every vote is a bullet to Zarqawi" line of thinking. Now that it's happened.

Bill;
I am sad after reading of of such events. Our son was with the team, 82nd 3/504 PIR, that "cleaned out" Haqlaniyah in October. They moved on to Ramadi, worked there, and are now returning to Al Asad. Excellent report, Thanks and continue to keep your head down.
Ken (Pops)

Mr Roggio
I thank you for your families sacrifice. You are doing the work a thousand CNN reporters won't do. Another American just doing what's right, even when they shoot at us. History and the lord will reward you Sir.
_Joe

Bill! You are da MAN! Keep it coming! You are doing a great service by keeping us informed!

HISTORY CHANNEL doing a documentary on the training of Iraq troops and some of the individual operations. It's good if anyone can catch it or Tivo it.

Dear Bill,
What a great day for Iraq,the
strength of these people to keep going even when their
children are being killed by
cowards. Everyone who sacrificed for this moment should be proud of themselves.
I know there are many people who are proud of them and their families. Thank-you.

Once again I am reminded that in the war against terror and the islamofacists, we have frieds in far away places who are risking their lives too. We need to remember, respect and honor those people. The people with inkstained fingers immediately spring to mind, but if you think, you can recall others.
Just read an article by ex-Spanish PM Aznar who was thrown out of office in Spain partly for supporting the United States in Iraq. He is still supporting us, a great man.


Many of us keep you in our prayers for a safe return to your family. So sad about those kids and the soldier. The scum just could not hold off. They must have known the kids where playing there. Keep up your work.
A big Semper Fi,
Free Republic Marine Uncle.

I also, like Ken (pops) have a son in 3/504 . Today is his 21rst birthday. Maybe youll see him in al asad. so very thankful for your reports.
His name is Pat Clifford. Doesnt want anyone to know its his birthday. So just between us militarymom82

Thank you for your reports from Barwana, and a glimpse into the 3/1.
I enjoy reading your honest approach to what is happening on the ground.

Proud father of Lima Co. Marine

Bill, I was with 3/25 over the Summer in Iraq. We routinely went into Barwana. When you say the Barwana bridge was destroyed, which one are you talking about? I remember a pontoon bridge on the northern end of the city. There is also a railroad bridge at the southern end. The Barwana bridge you are talking about is between those, correct? I would love to know because this must have happened after my unit left.

Regards