AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Marines with 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment recently conducted a patrol through a neighborhood here, Jan. 18, to gather information about possible insurgent leaders who may be operating in the area.
The cordon and knock operation was hailed as a success by their platoon commander, 2nd Lt. Larry Iverson, as the Marines returned with information that to be crosschecked with reports gathered from previous operations in the city. By gathering large amounts of information and processing cases, almost like police officers, the Marines are making significant changes in their standard operating procedure for detaining possible insurgents.
“We are working to build cases against possible key leaders of the insurgent population here,” said Iverson. “We are trying to build Iraq up and part of that is setting a standard of law and order in the city. In order to detain a guy, we need to have document evidence against a target. Although this takes longer, eventually we can detain them and he will go to prison.”
Although evidence has always been required to detain someone, the burden of proof is being raised as Iraq takes larger and stronger steps toward civility and stability. This operation is just an example of the progress made in Iraq and the opportunity for order.
“Today went pretty good,” Iverson said. “With the information we gathered today, we will be able to either confirm or deny if he is the insurgent we think he is. Sometimes, knowing someone doesn’t live somewhere is almost as important as knowing where they live. Missions like this, gathering information and building cases against people, is fundamental to the future of Iraq.”
While out in the city, the Marines were able to interview a number of homeowners, allowing them to get an accurate census of the people in each neighborhood. This kind of information is used to target individual insurgents as networks are identified and broken up by the Marines and Iraqi Police.
“Right now, we are trying to build the foundation for the criminal justice system here,” he said. “It’s frustrating sometimes, but the long term purpose of what we are doing here is to provide peace and stability for these people. The things we do right now will determine how successful we will be in Iraq.”