Spirit of America in Anbar

Originally posted at Spirit of America on December 6.

Major Britt Rosenberry, the Army Special Operations Liason officer serving in Fallujah, has just placed an order with Spirit of America for bulk of school supplies. The order consists of several thousand backpacks filled with notepads, books, pens, pencils and other school materials for the children throughout the Al Anbar Province. I met Major Rosenberry at Camp Fallujah and discussed the difficult situation with the schools and how the supplies will help the children throughout Al Anbar Province.

Since Fallujah was wrested from the control of al Qaeda and the insurgency in November of 2004, the Coalition and Iraq government have worked to restore security and basic services in the warn-torn city. Major Britt Rosenberry, stationed in Camp Fallujah, has 3-man teams who patrol with the Army and Marine Infantry throughout the entire Al Anbar Province. They interact with the citizens and are concerned with their plight.

This generation of kids are the key to Iraq’s future success. Al-Qaeda and the insurgency have been conducting a “Taliban-like campaign” to close down schools, keep children uneducated. They harass and intimidate principals (called headmasters) and teachers. This year, a headmaster was kidnapped in front of the students and later assassinated.

One of Major Rosenberry’s highest priorities is the children. They are highly susceptible to insurgent propaganda, and a ripe for recruitment by the insurgents. “Schools are easy targets,” said Major Rosenberry. “The Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army patrol the city, but are not always providing overwatch to fixed locations.”

To counter the intimidation of al Qaeda closing schools, they are secretly opened in homes. But this comes at a cost. Some children may travel up to two hours a day for two hours of

instruction. And the provincial schools, whether they are established or clandestine, need supplies. School books, notebooks, pens pencils and other school items are in short supplies.

To fill this need, Major Rosenberry asked for help from home. “Don’t send the fat pill,” the care package filled with candy, Major Rosenberry told friends and family back home. “Send us notebooks and pens.”

Not only do the school supplies help the Iraq children, but the contributions help to defeat al Qaeda and insurgency. “When fighting an information war, it is important to back up words with actions,” said Major Rosenberry. Providing the school supplies allows the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces to live up to their commitment to keeps schools open.

The mission also introduces the children to the Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. soldiers and Marines. “They get to see we are human. They laugh, we makes jokes. We take off the gear and by the time we leave we’re exchanging hugs. When we return, they recognize us.”

To help with this project and others, please visit Spirit of America.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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7 Comments

  • jordan says:

    Bill, his critique that the articles sound like government talking points is an outgrowth of taking an adversarial stance against the government’s case from the outset. They’re so far down this path that “neutral” sounds “pro-government”. The body of your work says otherwise.

  • Hani P. Nissan says:

    Hi Bill, this is the first time I’m writing to a blog website. I’m an Iraqi American. I’m very proud with American job and commitment in Iraq. I’m very optimistic that we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m worried about the American people’s impatient. I’ld like to advance my voice to president Bush regarding what we need to do in order to prevail in Iraq. It is EDUCATION, EDUCATION, AND EDUCATION. It is the winning of hearts and minds of Iraqis supported by a good, sustained educational system in Iraq which will make America and the Iraqi people prevail. This is from personal experience, because there is alot of wrong ideas and misperception among Iraqis about American culture, behaviour, intentions, and so on. We just need to have patience and in ten years we’ll do a great servive to America, Iraq, and the world.
    Sincerely.

  • co_de says:

    Mr. Roggio…A word of thanks only. Thank you for being there. Thank you for what you’re doing there. Thank you for the message we are trying to convey to these people, and you’re Bravery in delivering that message; Thank god for you’re sacrifice for you’re own people…may God be with you always, Soldier.

  • L. Graham says:

    Dude, Thank You so very much for having the guts to do such a thankless job. And since you’re embedded with our troops please let them know that at least we ‘Nam vets are with ’em all the way. I personally am sick of our “Jane Fonda” press and their anti- american views. It’s a damn shame that in order to get any accurate info on whats really happening over there we have to go to foriegn media to get a part of the story. Semper Fidelis, Let them know over there that there is still a faithful few over here that love, respect, and admire those soldiers for doing whats right.

  • Joshua says:

    So how do we send them school supplies?

  • Grammie says:

    Bill, How can we send school supplies? Who do we send them to? Perhaps our senior group could help out with this. Please send instructions on how to get supplies to Major Rosenberry. Jen and the kids are fine – we stay close to them.

  • Americans in Iraq

    Bill Roggio has a post up describing how Spirit of America is working to help the kids in Anbar. This is another one of those things you don’t see reported by the mainstream media. Major Britt Rosenberry, the Army Special…

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