As he was helped to his feet, Burghardt said, he felt a wave of anger and adrenaline flow through his system. He had just extended his Iraq tour that morning and he was livid that he had been bested by the bomber.
“I was really pissed off that they got me, that after all this time, they got me,” Burghardt said. “I figured the triggerman was still watching, so I flipped him off. I yelled, ‘[Expletive] you! I’ll be out here next week!’”
So far, this guy has 'fixed' thousands of bombs (some were IEDs, some were garden variety munitions) meant to hurt his brother soldiers. He is currently serving his third tour in Iraq...that means he's had very little vacation time back home. It's committed citizens like him who ensure victory in Iraq. And he is just a drop in the bucket.
As an aside, the number of IEDs per week is 1/3'rd what it was at it's high. And in case you think that means it's 100 attacks per week instead of 300, the actual numbers are 45 (from this september) to 15, this week.
We are comming out on top, and the Iraqi troops are taking more and more of the load, as we continue to train their grunts (normal soldiers), and more and more of their officers learn enough to lead troops. Rebuilding an army takes a lot of time...and it's not the total number of soldiers that takes the most effort. Common soldiers are easy to train and find, even if you only take volunteers. What is much harder to replace are the years of experience necessary to see the whole picture like a General needs to do, or to find people with the necessary interpersonal skills to lead units at the level of an army Captain. Some of these can be found in natural leaders, but most need to be found and trained. It will take a long time. Probably more than a couple of years. And I have no desire to cut and run until the Iraqi's can defend themselves without us. We created the 'mess', we need to stick around to clean it up.