This was the first I heard of Michael Totten but after reading his blog posts, I will certainly be following his reports.
He has a post up about Anbar Province and what it is really like on the ground there. Great pics and some great comments by Americans and Iraqis.
Here's a snip from Anbar Awakens Part II: Hell is Over...
“As of July 30,” Major Peters said in early August, “we’ve have 81 days in the city with zero attacks since March 31.”
“We’ve had only one attack in our area of operations in the past couple of months,” said Captain Jay McGee at the Blue Diamond base. He was referring to the Jazeera area immediately north of the city and including the suburbs. “And we haven’t had a single car bomb in our area since February.”
Totten explains why we don't hear all the good news from Anbar...
Violence has declined so sharply in Ramadi that few journalists bother to visit these days. It’s “boring,” most say, and it’s hard to get a story out there – especially for daily news reporters who need fresh scoops every day. Unlike most journalists, I am not a slave to the daily news grind and took the time to embed with the Army and Marines in late summer.
What about the residents of Anbar province?
“We hand out care packages from the U.S. to Iraqis now that the area has been cleared of terrorists,” one Marine told me. “When we tell them that some of these packages aren’t from the military or the government, that they were donated by average American citizens in places like Kansas, people choke up and sometimes even cry. They just can’t comprehend it. It is so different from the lies they were told about us and how we’re supposed to be evil.”
Please take some time and visit Michael Totten's blog. Like Michael Yon, he is on his own so if you have any spare change drop some in his tip jar.