Iraq: April 26, 2003


The unseen war is apparently going quite well. There are nearly 10,000 troops from the Special Forces (actually, Special Operations Command) in the region. Probably no more than twenty percent of these are actual Special Forces, the rest are civil affairs, psychological warfare troops (who have always been part of the Special Forces operation) and support units (especially aviation). What's going on in Iraq right now is basically what the Special Forces have long trained for. While the A Teams are still capable of strenuous combat, their language and diplomatic abilities are preventing a lot of situations from blowing up. You don't hear much about that, which is how the Special Forces prefers it. Diplomacy is best practiced in the shadows, especially when the Special Forces has to deal with tribal and religious leaders with shady histories. Another problem is that the 5th Special Forces Group, which covers the Middle East, is also responsible for Afghanistan. Men of the 5th are the ones who speak Arabic (and some Afghanistan languages) and know the cultures in the region. These guys have been on the go since late 2001. Some operators have been transferred from the other four Special Forces Groups, but it's mainly been a rough time for the 5th. Yet they get the job done, and you rarely hear about it.


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