Colonel John Charlton writes from Ramadi to Max Boot of Commentary Magazine. It sounds like fantastic work. There's a lot in it. Some excerpts.
When we arrived in February, we were averaging 30 – 35 attacks per day in our area of responsibility. Now our average is one attack per day or less. We had an entire week with no attacks in our area and have a total of over 65 days with no attacks.
The Iraqis now have repaired the electrical grid in about 80 percent of the city and about 50 percent of the rubble has been removed.
Four months ago, there were no attorneys, judges, or investigators because of the threat from al Qaeda...We expect to have criminal courts beginning here in Ramadi in August.
We have funneled over $5 million in aid to these programs and have employed over 15,000 Iraqis. All this happened in about three months. This decentralized economic development program only used about 10 percent of my reconstruction funds, but has accounted for over 70 percent of new employment in Ramadi.
Company commanders went through every neighborhood and conducted assessments on all small businesses so we could help jump-start the small business grant program.
We have a great relationship with another non-governmental organization called International Relief and Development (IRD). IRD focuses on programs for community stabilization just like we do, and it provides help in ways the military can’t. For example, IRD helped us fund a city-wide soccer league, providing equipment and uniforms to hundreds of young Iraqis. The organization has also helped us form women’s outreach groups that focus on adult literacy, health, and education issues.