This morning, I had the honor of speaking to Col. Donald J. Bacon, Chief of Special Operations and Intelligence Information, Strategic Communications, Multinational Force Iraq. It was part of the on-going series of the Pentagon's "Blogger's Roundtable" that allows everyday blogging folks like myself to have access to major players at home and abroad fighting the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the first time in this series, however, we received VIDEO! Col. Bacon gave us two significant videos obtained by our Special Forces: one that depicts the rescue mission on an AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) safe house that saved an 11-year old Iraqi boy's life; and the other a compilation of obtained training and indoctrination videos being used by AQI to recruit Iraqi youth.
This video that I have posted is an amazing - and "legitimate" according to Col. Bacon - piece of evidence that Col. Bacon's training of Iraqi Special Forces is having success. Col. Bacon told me also that "there were US advisors who played an overwatch role" but that the men carrying out the mission were Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces. I also asked Col. Bacon if we could expect to keep our Special Forces in Iraq even after a decision could be made to withdraw conventional forces. His answer was vague as it appears that those considerations are under discussion, but he said it "seemed like a likelihood" to him.
One note about this boy, seen later talking and being re-united with his parents, was that the AQI kidnappers originally asked for $100,000 ransom. When the father explained he could not pay the ransom, they reduced the ransom to $80,000 and told him if he did not pay, then they would behead his son and put his head in their trash can in front of their home.