Another Success story in Iraq

Stories like this one need to be heard.

When they realized that the newly trained local police force desperately needed walkie-talkies, the U.S. troops who patrol Iraq’s fourth-largest city didn’t wait for civilian bureaucrats to buy them, as have their Baghdad counterparts.

The soldiers in Kirkuk found a dealer and ordered the radios with their emergency funds. They did the same with weapons, vehicles and office furniture.

Today, while many once-looted police stations in Baghdad remain sparsely furnished shells, the ones in Kirkuk, which also were gutted, are freshly painted and sparkling with renovations – including air conditioners, exercise equipment and cafeterias. And while police in the capital struggle with shortages, Kirkuk’s force is among the best equipped in the country.

“Security was our top priority, so we couldn’t wait,” said Col. William Mayville, commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade, the main ground force in Kirkuk. “We’re a couple of chapters ahead of the rest of Iraq on a lot of this stuff.”

Kirkuk, a multiethnic city of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrians that is 150 miles north of the capital, may be the U.S. military’s greatest Iraq success story. Attacks on soldiers are unusual, violent crime is low, and Iraqis have worked with Americans to restore basic services to prewar levels. *snip*

God Bless our men and women there in Iraq.