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Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
SGT Matt Maupin’s Remains Found in Iraq -- [Gathering of Eagles]
I have worn a bracelet with Matt’s name on it for almost four years, and was dreading the upcoming anniversary of his capture.
...Today, I take it off and place it on my desk, where I can look at it and remember him. The tan line on my wrist will fade eventually, but the memory of Matt’s sacrifice, and the horrors he endured for the sake of our nation will live forever in the hearts and minds of those who know the price of freedom. Godspeed, little brother. Your name will never be forgotten. Never.
Married Troops Can Live Together in Iraq -- [AP]
BAGHDAD (AP) -- When American soldiers get off duty in Iraq, the men usually return to their quarters, the women to theirs. But Staff Sgt. Marvin Frazier gets to go back to a small trailer with two pushed-together single beds that he shares with his wife....
Baghdad College Students Study U.S. Politics
3/24/08 Political science majors in Baghdad inteviewed by Kira Phillips of CNN.
Color of War -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Desert Battles are unfolding in hidden and faraway places. Bullets snapp through air, then splap through flesh and men fall. Bodies crumple onto the desert, a fly lands on the lip of an open mouth, fingers twitch as the flesh dies and the winds kick up and dust settles on unblinking eyes. The dry earth drinks their sticky blood and they are forgotten. Their families do not know they are dead. They came to kill Americans and innocent Iraqis. Instead, they were killed themselves. In a desert landscape, sometimes the color of a war can bleed out into black and white.
Interestingly, the people who accuse Yezidis of being devil-worshippers are responsible for the deaths of perhaps a million people in the last few decades. They are the ones who put Yezidis on “reservations,” poured chemical gases on Kurds, set oil wells ablaze, poisoned the water with oil, and encouraged suicide attacks. What do Yezidis want from us? Not much. They want to thank Americans for beating back Saddam. They want Americans to know they appreciate the sacrifice.
Iraqi Forces Show Strength Through Unilateral Exercise -- [MNF-I]
“This exercise is very important to make the people confident in the IP and PSF,” said Iraqi Col. Muhammad Shafur, the PSF battalion commander, through an interpreter. “It showed the people that the police are strong and serious about taking actions against the insurgents.”
“We have to be prepared and ready in case insurgents attack here,” said Iraqi police Col. Faruq Hardan, the Haditha Triad IP chief.
...The IP and PSF planned and executed key training events for their men as coalition forces observed.
The Iraqi forces are working hard to gain the trust of the people through these exercises and with their continual security presence in the community.
Mojo's World -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
The day before Muqtada al-Sadr lifted the Mahdi Army's freeze of attacks on Coalition Forces, things were obnoxiously normal in Anu al-Verona. Kids playing in the dirt, women shopping in the market, old men casting geriatric judgements from front porches, teenagers leering for the sake of leering - you know, the works. It all seems so distant now. Multiple 24-hour plus missions tend to have that effect on the memory.
As usual, Mojo was found near the combat outpost, on the front steps of the governance center. As the mayor’s son, he has the unofficial responsibility of hawking as much crap obtained by less than legal means as possible our way. Phone cards, cell phones, movies, iPods, and various forms of porn far more creative than necessary are always readily available through him – and that’s what he’s willing to try and sell in front of the LT.
Deja Vu All Over Again -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front -- in Iraq]
Mar. 28th, 2008 - Woken up 3 times yesterday by rocket attacks. The first one not 5 minutes after I laid down to sleep. Then they started coming in every few hours. It made us laugh a bit to hear that the second attack had overshot, landed on the Iraqi Military Academy, and set a mosque on fire.
But the constant interruption of my sleep did me no favors. It hurt to get up for work.
Al-Sadr's Jaysh al-Mahdi still going crazy. It's like all the madness of last summer all over again.
Sadr orders followers to end fighting -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio - in Iraq]
Muqtada al Sadr has called for his Mahdi Army to end fighting with the government. This comes as his forces have taken significant losses over the past six days.
In Pictures: Iranian munitions seized in Iraq -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio - in Iraq]
Multinational Forces Iraq has released new images of Iranian-made weapons that have been seized inside Iraq.
As the US and Iraqi Army battle the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army and the Special Groups terror cells in central and southern Iraq, the US military in Baghdad has released further information on Iranian-made weapons seized in Iraq. The US has seized numerous weapons caches in the past, with lot numbers and markings clearly linking them back to Iran. Iran has denied any involvement with sending weapons to Iraq, yet it has not explained how these Iranian-manufactured weapons are appearing inside Iraq.
Curfew Ends, Fightng Continues -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
The curfew ended early this morning, so life is returning to relative normalcy here in the city. Our household staff came in this morning and told me that the fighting still continues in Sadr City despite al-Sadr's call for his followers to withdraw from the streets, CNN is reporting the same thing. It's an indicator that al-Sadr's grip on the Mahdi Army may not be as strong as once thought. Also, to be fair, not all of the insurgents belong to the Mahdi Army, as there has been a lot of fracturing of insurgent groups lately, especially around Sadr City.
This week in Basra – 2 Major Lessons -- [OPFOR]
The infestation of Basra with Mahdi madmen shows what could happen throughout Iraq if American forces would draw down too quickly. It has not been long since British forces prematurely turned over Basra's city streets to local police. Now, the Mahdi Army roams the streets with RPGs and RPK machine guns. Basra has become one of the last Iraqi havens for extremists. If we stop our chemotherapy early because it makes us sick, the cancer will return.
Fuck the Militia -- [TheAngryAmerican - in Iraq]
...The main route we had been working on recently was empty and it was the middle of the day. Smoke from tire fires was in the air. Lately Sadr's militia went buckwhile coming out to fight. Fighting from Sadr City spilled east into Bravo Company's sector. Alpha, and Bravo and some elements from an Armored unit were in the midst of a heated battle in Bravo's sector uprooting militia men from the check points. We drove by a check point tower we had built and the side of it had been hit by an RPG. We drove past numerous check points that were abandoned. Reports of a certain checkpoint that had been taken over by JAM came across the net.
Another Interesting Day -- [Brad's Excellent Adventure - in Iraq]
...I had two projects going in the same area at the same time, and we were doing a pretty good job of managing to our plan. One contractor was adjusting the air conditioning, and another was putting down new tile on a stairway. It was all being done in a secure area that requires extensive coordination and pre-planning for me to get workers in to do anything. I had done the required coordination, and we were where we were supposed to be, and when.
One thing about working with these local contractors is that you can never tell what they are going to do next – they just don’t approach a job the way you’d expect
Escalation Of Force -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - in Iraq]
The kids in the school crowd in the doorways and peek out the windows at the foreigners clearing the area. Once we finish and take up positions inside the courtyard, the kids become more curious.
"Mista! I love you!"
"Mista! Give me!"
The teachers were obviously annoyed by the distraction and the kids' unruly behavior. There was really only one way that I could ever respond to something like this.
I gave the kids the thumbs up, which they returned, moderate cheering.
As we walked back, I took point, with my good friend, the travel partner, Solid Steak, on the other side of the road next to me. I went about the usual scanning paranoia routine, looking for the supposed bad guy before the supposed bad guy could supposedly get it on.
Down the road in front of us, an old dude pedaled towards us on a bike. I gave him the closed fist hand signal to stop. He didn't.
I gave him the Iraqi hand signal for Stop. He didn't.
I yelled at him, something polite like, "Hey! Keef! Stop! STOP MOTHERFUCKER!!!" He didn't.
I raised my M4 and put my sights on his face. "HEY! STOP AND GET THE FUCK OFF THE ROAD!!!" He didn't.
Iraq News (31 March) -- [LT Nixon Rants - in Iraq]
The Good: Sadr throws in the towel (that didn't take long). Also, check out my post entitled "Shi'ite Happens" at VetVoice for my take on this whole mess. The fact that many in the media think the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces are tactically losing to a bunch of thugs is preposterous. Apparently, Iran was involved in the ceasefire too, very interesting.
Dealing With Corruption -- [False Motivation - in Iraq]
Before I post the pictures from the kids I want to touch on a subject that is at the very heart of this conflict here in the Middle East, Corruption. No, not American corruption, Iraqi. The last thing left to do to complete our mission here is to help the IA and IP establish themselves as a legitimate, capable, and competent force; but sometimes they seem so dead set against it.
Hero For A Day - U.S. Troops and Iraqi Children
A Triumph of Spirit -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
The soldiers had told M many times to be careful. They worried about him. He smiled and dismissed the warnings, they said, and asked just one thing: "If something happens to me, take care of my family."
After he was killed, Beckert and Wilz went to console Mrs. M and the children. She was terribly frightened, they said, certain that her children were in danger. She looked at the soldiers and asked: "We go America?"
"We looked at each other," Wilz said. "Then, we looked at her and said, 'Yes.' "
Read this inspiring story about the North Dakota National Guard soldiers of the 141st Engineer Combat Battalion and the Iraqi family who became their own. And bring a tissue.
VIDEO: From the Frontline - Episode 2 -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog - in Iraq]
This edition features stories on Operation Spider Web and it's mission in Aramayah, Iraq as well as Joint Security Patrols in Subayhat, where they patrol the streets and meet with locals.
Part 2 - Continues to feature stories of Marines patrolling through the Andaloos district in Fallujah, Iraq where they are searching for cars that may house vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and interview shop keepers along the way.
on call at AFTH -- [the alley - in Iraq]
Posted March 19th, 2008 by JoshI'm the SOD (Surgeon Of the Day) on call tonight here at the Air Force Theater Hospital, and it's just after 1:15 AM. We've just "tucked in" two injured US troops who came from Baghdad, which is sort of a nightly occurrence. One of them had to go back to the OR on arrival here. I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last posted...sorry. It's been a little busier here lately, with lots of Iraqi thoracoabdominal injuries and our fair share of postoperative complications.
"KBR runs this country" -- [IN-iraq - in Iraq]
(KBR employee Brian Bodway, of Gulf Shores AL, trains new Indiana soldiers on how to extract a truck driver in case of an emergency. Bodway has driven trucks in Iraq for almost three years.)
“You’re gonna learn real fast that KBR runs this country,” said Sgt. Robert Bishop, 29, of the Alaskan 297th combat support battalion, as he spoke to several Indiana platoons on their mission for the next nine months- convoy security to and from Iraq's U.S. bases.
KBR, Kellogg Brown and Root, is the omnipresent corporation that seems to supply and maintain everything from Port-a-potties to busing on U.S. bases in Iraq.*
Biggest Mistake -- [One Marine's View]
I heard on the radio the other day that morons are claiming that the Iraqi War was the biggest blunder of President Bush's presidency. Wow, are these guys the most ungrateful, unfocused, un-American people or what? It was a mistake, they say, to invade Iraq. Hell, let's wrap Afghanistan in that too then.
Why 4,000 Wasn't 13,747 -- [Strategy Page]
March 31, 2008: Five years of fighting in Iraq has killed 4,000 American troops. The first five years of fighting in Vietnam (1965-69) killed 40,258. There were about three times as many U.S. troops involved in the Vietnam fighting. But even then, the number of Americans killer per thousand troops in Vietnam was three times higher (19, versus 6 in Iraq). If the casualty rates were the same in Iraq, there should have been 13,747 dead so far. However, there were proportionately more wounded in Iraq. While there were 3.4 times more dead in Vietnam (in killed per thousand troops), there were only 3.2 times more wounded. Overall, there were 133 casualties per thousand troops in Vietnam, versus 47 in Iraq.
Downgrading Iraq? -- [Matt Sanchez]
Five years after the initial invasion of Iraq, Americans wonder where we are.
Iraq is like no other conflict in American history. It is arguably no longer a war, but a low-level insurgency. We are not fighting a country, but a transnational conspiracy that operates more like an international fast-food franchise than a military force. In this conflict, there will be no "D" Day or signing of a peace treaty.
What is victory? It is ...
Mass grave uncovered in Iraq -- [Wa Times]
ZAHAMM, Iraq — The graves of more than 50 people thought killed by al Qaeda in Iraq during their two-year reign of terror in Diyala province's "bread basket" region have been found in a pomegranate orchard in a village near the town of Himbus.
Excavations at the site began last week and were expected to continue after troops of the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment were tipped to the location by a man who claimed to have escaped from al Qaeda's "jail" there last summer.
The Case for Conditional Engagement in Iraq -- [SWJ]
Five years into the war in Iraq with no end in sight, a new strategy is needed. The current strategy of unconditional support to Iraq’s central government has not produced nearly enough political progress. President Bush and those wishing to succeed him should embrace a new political strategy in Iraq that makes our military presence conditional on political accommodation.
Under the leadership of General David Petraeus, U.S. forces in Iraq have designed and implemented the best military strategy possible under the circumstances. But security progress appears to have leveled off, and violence has started to tick back up. Further gains can only come through the political process. General Petraeus recently told reporters that “no one feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation.” Similar candor will likely be on display when Petraeus testifies before Congress in the coming days.
Al Qaeda Trying to Change the Look of Terror -- [ABC News]
The nation's spymaster said the United States faces an imminent threat of attack from al Qaeda fighters training today along Pakistan's mountainous frontier with Afghanistan.
And the attackers, he says, will look like many of us.
"It's very clear to us that al Qaeda has been able, over the past 18 months or so, to establish a safe haven along the Afghan/Pakistan border area that they have not enjoyed before," CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.
"That they are bringing operatives into that region for training, operatives that ... wouldn't attract your attention if they were going through the customs line at Dulles with you when you're coming back from overseas," he said.
Front of the line -- [Yellowhammering Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
Girls get the goods in Andar.
I recently made what may end up being my last visit to Ghazni's much-talked-about Andar District.
Moving to the head of the line.Andar has quite a reputation. Historically it has been the most active area for Taliban. It is the most populous district outside of the central Ghazni District and most are Pashtun, the tribe that dominates Afghanistan and Taliban membership.
Though Andar has improved over the last year, it always perks the ears and makes the hair on you neck stand up when you are told you're going there.
Last Look At Afghanistan Up Close -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure - in Afghanistan]
...Over the course of the year, I would spend hundreds of hours on the worst roads imaginable, out in the middle of nowhere, humvee working hard, and here would come the ubiquitous (and I am not using that term lightly; I mean ubiquitous) Toyota Corolla headed in the opposite direction, often crammed to the gills with Afghans. Sometimes it would be just one guy. I have never seen a woman operate ANY piece of equipment in Afghanistan.
Unless you count goats as equipment. I was thinking motorized transport or farm equipment.
Today we moved by armored bus, which is a step up from an up-armored humvee comfort-wise. We had armed exscort... in UAH's... but we were just like tourists on our way to a tour of the local cheese factory.
French Soldiers Engaging Talibans [Part2]
What you'll see: French soldiers looking for talibans in a village, getting engaged (Buzzing bullets above heads), engaging them with 20mm cannons and assault rifles(FAMAS).
At the end of the video, there is a big battle between French/Afghan soldiers and talibans.
The Longest War -- [WaPo - Richard Holbrooke - in Afghanistan]
...Success in Khost required some of America's best troops. Today elements of the legendary 101st Airborne Division -- the Screaming Eagles of the Battle of the Bulge -- are replacing troops from another storied unit, the 82nd Airborne, who, over 15 tough months, took Khost back. That success resulted from tactics developed locally by a stellar team: a courageous and honest provincial governor, Arsala Jamal, who has survived four assassination attempts; a creative American troop commander, Lt. Col. Scott Custer (yes, he is a direct descendant), who devised a more aggressive system of joint patrols with local Afghan army units; and a remarkable young Foreign Service officer, Kael Weston, who has established a direct dialogue with tribal leaders, university students, mullahs, madrassa students and even Taliban defectors.
As I saw in hours of meetings with these groups, Weston's intense hands-on process identifies problems and misunderstandings that might otherwise spiral out of control.
Taliban Deputy Announces "Al-Ibra" ("Lesson") Campaign -- [MEMRI]
On March 27, 2008, the Islamist forum www.alhesbah.bz (hosted by ThePlanet.com Internet Services, Inc. in Houston, TX and NewMedia Express Pte Ltd in Singapore) posted a communiqué by Mulla Beradar, the second in command of the Taliban, announcing a new campaign named "Ibra" ("Lesson") against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan with the onset of spring
Afghan lament -- [Wa Times - Arnaud de Borchgrave]
Most of the European members of NATO, while professing solidarity with the U.S. and NATO over Afghanistan, and conceding that it's a make-or-break issue for the trans-Atlantic alliance, are not prepared to stay more than another two years, maximum three. Supplying their, at best, weak troop commitments stationed in the quieter parts of Afghanistan (where there is little Taliban guerrilla activity) is more costly than anticipated. Countries like Belgium, Spain and Italy have limited airlift capacity and their military transport aircraft are stretched to the breaking point. European Union countries that are also members of NATO allowed their defenses to run down since 1989 when the Berlin Wall collapsed and money saved went into the gargantuan appetites of welfare states.
Most European "statesmen/-women" concede the need for becoming more engaged in Afghanistan, but the man-/woman-in-the-street questions the need to expend resources in a country that is still hovering between the 15th and 16th century. Taliban was there before we came, argue most Europeans, and will be back even before we leave. With luck, they add, what will follow our withdrawal will accept the education of girls that the Taliban had rejected and ruthlessly stamped out when it ruled the roost between 1996 and 2001.
...In any event, this could not be achieved in time to influence events in Afghanistan where the clock is running out. The Taliban cannot win militarily. Nor can NATO. But could NATO, EU and the U.N. build a viable state with modern infrastructure? Certainly not over the next three years. Hence, Frank Carlucci's admonition to stick it out for 10 to 20 years if necessary. Chances of this happening? Slim to none.
Questionable peace if Taliban are part of it -- [Sydney Morning Herald]
After six years of fighting in Afghanistan, sharing power with the Taliban has been suggested as the way to end the war. Negotiating with the "moderate" and "good" Taliban is an idea the Afghan Government and the coalition forces have employed since the removal of the Taliban at the end of 2001.
All parties, including the Afghan Government, the United States and those Western countries that have considerable numbers of troops in Afghanistan, have been, at different levels, in secret negotiations with the Taliban. So why have all parties suddenly come to a more overt consensus that a political settlement with the Taliban is a solution?
Pakistan's Taliban Militants Welcome Talks With New Government -- [VOA]
The Pakistani Taliban says it is open to holding talks with the country's newly elected government.
Yousaf Raza Gilani talks to media upon his arrival at Parliament House in Islamabad, Pakistan, 24 Mar 2008
A spokesman for the militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Maulvi Omar, says the group is ready to cooperate with the government and bring peace to tribal areas.
However, he urged Pakistani officials to end their cooperation with U.S.-led forces that are fighting an insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.
North Korea Vows “Great Lesson” for South -- [GI Korea]
The lack of reaction from South Korea over the North’s rhetoric this week is causing them to increase the threats:
In addition North Korea has increased military maneuvers and aircraft flights along the DMZ in an attempt to increase tensions on the peninsula. However, none of this is working, for example look at the South Korean government’s response to a North Korean threat to turn the country into ashes:
Bush Begins a Long Farewell on the World Stage -- [Moscow Times]
Winding down his presidency, George W. Bush is beginning his farewell tour on the world stage trailed by questions about how much clout he still wields. Air Force One will roar out of Andrews Air Force Base on Monday to whisk Bush to the first in a long-planned series of global goodbye events. After a brief stop in Ukraine, Bush stops in Romania to attend his last summit with NATO leaders.
Part VI: CAIR Portrays "War on Terrorism" as Malicious "War on Islam" -- [Counterterrorism Blog- IPT]
The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself," CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed declared at Washington's National Press Club in July 2007.
But, in fact, CAIR officials and spokesmen have been peddling that same "new perception" ever since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. They have portrayed virtually every intervening prosecution of an alleged terrorist who is Muslim and every investigation of an alleged terrorist front group as an insidious attack on their religion.
My life in al-Qa'eda, by bin Laden's bodyguard -- [The Telegraph]
He served loyally at the terrorist leader's side in the build up to the attacks on America and is wanted by the FBI and CIA. Nasser al Bahri speaks to Tim Butcher
Nasser al Bahri, a former al-Qa'eda fighter, who was Osama bin Laden's bodyguard
Osama bin Laden is a workaholic who will always be one step ahead of Western intelligence, his former bodyguard has told The Daily Telegraph.
Many have claimed intimate knowledge of bin Laden over the years. But in the case of Nasser al Bahri, a bearded and slightly portly 35-year-old taxi driver who lives in Yemen, the claim is not tainted by exaggeration.
The Bin Ladens -- [Patterico’s Pontifications]
According to a new book about the Bin Ladens, eldest brother Salem wanted to buy America:
“The Arab millionaire is charming but determined. He has made a bet to persuade four young Christian women from four different Western countries to become his wives simultaneously in accordance with the Islamic law that allows polygamy. The girls are American, British, French and German.
Younger brother Osama also has a goal: He wants to bankrupt America.
4,000....DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THEM? -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
I had to take a break from my vacation. The toll in Iraq reached 4,000 dead the other day. That bothers me alot. It's funny, but so many people I know in California don't know anyone who's in or has been to Iraq (other than me). So, I think for many it doesn't seem real. What makes it real for me, besides having been there, is the soldiers I know who died there. I say the word "know" not "knew" because I will always think of them.
Red White and Blue, Lynyrd Skynyrd: Military Tribute
He knows something's up. -- [Non-Essential Equipment - Military Spouse]
We are trying to get Munchkin ready for the deployment.
We've bought our Daddy doll. We've put photos of CPT Dick everywhere we possibly can. We've been doing a lot of videotaping of CPT Dick reading perennial favorites like "Red Fish, Blue Fish" and "Whopper Cake."
And we've started telling him that Daddy is going away. We've read the advice in books (translation: I have and told my husband what to say) and we've been mentioning it casually over the past few months. A bit more now that D-day is coming right up on us.
... But this week, I think we crossed a line. We were wrapping a present for a birthday party and I started to talk about how Daddy wouldn't be back until after his next birthday. Munchkin looked up at me, somewhat alarmed, and said, "No. No bye-bye. Daddy stay. No bye-bye. Daddy stay here."
Part of him is still here -- [Oh! That's gonna leave a mark]
Stuntman left home at the end of R&R more than 2 weeks ago.
The morning he left, he changed his ACU shirt when he realized that the one he was wearing was faded more than his pants. He removed the velcro patches and the pins and put them onto his new shirt. The old one was hung on the back of a kitchen chair.
It's still there.
Do Valor Awards Mean Anything? -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
In January I wrote this post about Xavier Alvarez, a member of a California water board who falsely claimed to have been awarded the Medal of Honor in 1987. Mr. Alvarez was charged with a federal crime for falsely making the aforementioned claim and I took Mr. Alvarez's defense counsel, Briana J. Fuller to task for her assertion the Federal government did not have " a compelling enough reason" to regulate claims to military awards and such false claims should be protected as freedom of speech.
The story is one again in the news ...
Fixin' America's Military -- [Intel Dump]
In Slate today, Fred Kaplan and I have a column on several things we think the next president (regardless of who he/she is) should do to fix America's ailing military. The list looks beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to the deeper, structural issues facing the force, and hopefully proposes (or endorses) a few good ideas, including:
There's no place like . . .Kansas? -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - home from Iraq]
I am back in the US. Not quite home, but I am in the US and happier then I can describe. We arrived at Fort Riley early in the morning a couple days ago, and haven't even really slept since then. A combination of de-mobilization, equipment turn-in and jet-lag has prevented most of us from getting any sleep, but we really don't care. Tomorrow I will be back in Philly and while it it will be sad to say goodbye to everyone, the sense of relief I feel about being home is overshadowing everything.
What Costs More Per Year Than The Iraq War? -- [Western Front America]
Illegals are taking the lives of 23 American citizens each and every day - thats 8,395 Americans a year. In the 5 years of the war in Iraq we have lost 4,000 soldiers. In those same 5 years we have lost 41,975 of our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers to the invaders from Mexico and South America. These illegals are also costing American taxpayers 340 Billion dollas a year, and the numbers keep climbing.
1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare support given to illegal aliens each year. See Immigration and Welfare.
2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
Progress is measured in steps, not moonshots -- [Peace Like A River]
Both Clinton and Obama have expressed their desire to reach waaaay down the gullet of victory and pull out defeat by pulling our troops out of Iraq. With lip service to the changes the surge has brought, they say the surge was really intended to give the Iraqi government room to meet the “benchmarks”, and since that’s not happening, they say, the surge has failed so let’s call it a day.
Coming Soon: A Crisis in Civil-Military Relations by Richard Kohn at World Affairs Journal. -- [SWJ Blog]
When a new president takes office in early 2009, military leaders and politicians will approach one another with considerable suspicion. Dislike of the Democrats in general and Bill Clinton in particular, and disgust for Donald Rumsfeld, has rendered all politicians suspect in the imaginations of generals and admirals. The indictments make for a long list: a beleaguered military at war while the American public shops at the mall; the absence of elites in military ranks; the bungling of the Iraq occupation; the politicization of General David Petraeus by the White House and Congress; an army and Marine Corps exhausted and overstretched, their people dying, their commitments never-ending. Nearly six years of Donald Rumsfeld’s intimidation and abuse have encouraged in the officer corps a conviction that military leaders ought to—are obliged to—push back against their civilian masters.
Student Mob Shuts Down MN Military Recruitment Center -- [Gateway Pundit]
Student leftists from MacAlester College wearing plastic arm tubes shut down an army and navy recruitment center in Minnesota on Thursday.
The Macalester SDS action was undertaken alongside a protest at the U by the Anti War Committee, UofM SDS, and Youth Against War & Racism. The slightly larger anti war march started at noon and met up in front of the Navy and Army recruitment center.
What A U.S. Surrender Looks Like -- [The Corner - Lisa Schiffren]
The current campaign has gone on long enough so that actual policies and pronouncements made more than a year ago by candidates would already be bearing fruit, were they our president. Take a look at this brilliant illustration of what the history books (websites) would look like if Barack Obama were really our Commander-in-Chief, and we were bound by his convictions on military and political strategy in Iraq, God forbid. As Meigs points out, there aren't a lot of pictures of American surrender. Those that exist are ugly. Increasing the number is not a good platform for a rational nation to embrace.
Washington Post embeds with the enemy -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Well color me shocked, but the Washington Post has a reporter embedded with the Mahdi Army. They are receiving first hand reports on how the Iranian-backed militias there are trying to kill our troops. I am just curious about how it would have gone over if they had embedded a reporter with the SS in France as we invaded Normandy, or in the caves on Okinawa to report on how well the Japanese were doing slaughtering Marines.
Fortunately for us our media has no qualms about engaging with (not in the proper way), reporting on, and essentially becoming terrorist press agents.
Hersh Says US Media Spreading Fake News and the US is "in real trouble" in Iraq -- [PressTV]
Prominent journalist Seymour Hersh says the US is 'in real trouble' because news coverage on Iraq is anything but balanced and unbiased.
When the American government says the US is winning in Iraq and is not torturing prisoners, they are just words, Hersh told his audience of journalism students in Regina, Canada. "We are in real trouble [in Iraq]."
Remind me again — who’s losing in Basra? -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
Anyone who follows the news closely in Iraq knew this day would come. The British left a power vacuum behind in the south that the Baghdad government could not fill at the time, and Sadr and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Badr Brigades filled it instead. They have fought each other and some smaller Shi’ite groups for control of the streets ever since 2005, as Steven Vincent tried to warn people just before they murdered him in Basra. The Iraqi government had no choice but to challenge the militias for control of Basra and the surrounding areas, but they waited until the Iraqi Army had enough strength to succeed.
Did our media give anyone this context? No. They reported it as some kind of spontaneous eruption of rebellion without noting at all that a nation can hardly be considered sovereign while its own security forces cannot enter a large swath of its own territory. And in the usual defeatist tone, they reported that our mission in Iraq had failed without waiting to see what the outcome of the battle would be.
Thank God for Stop Loss -- [MilBlogs - Greyhawk]
...because soldiers aren't capable of living in the cold cruel world outside the hellish military cocoon.
At least that's what the LA Times wants you to believe. Vets Face Grim Job Prospects - and if you think I'm exaggerating above, here are a few key quotes from the first few paragraphs explaining why.
My thoughts on the upcoming release of Bad Voodoo's War -- [J.P. Borda - milblogging.com]
The film Bad Voodoo's War airs on April 1st. Deborah Scranton and my Platoon Sergeant SFC Toby Nunn, have done an outstanding job telling the story of the Bad Voodoo soldiers. I know for a fact, my family, friends, and several of my readers are excited to see what I finally do over here.
It's always tough to explain my job. Even after my last deployment to Afghanistan from 2004-2005, I had some short video clips, photos, and my blog to help illustrate my job as an Infantryman. But man, having this film is way neater.
Prebirth Anticipation -- [Toby Nunn's Briefing Room - in Iraq]
Sand Storm yet. Its amazing to how accustomed we have become to getting sand in and around everything and now what was a catastrophic annoyance is now just another part of our functioning lifestyle. The good news, going to be another Sand Day!
I am very excited for the guys and I to watch "Bad Voodoo's War", I hope the men like it and that their families will enjoy and appreciate this legacy that they have created for themselves. Of course I am a little apprehensive about the public reaction and that of my family. I very rarely share my life outside the house with them. This in part not to create undo worry but to me there are just some things about me and what I do that are mine plain and simple. It's not that I don't trust them with this but Toby and Dad is a much nicer guy than SFC Nunn. Toby and Dad don't swear or cuss around the kids and house but here I have found that my vocabulary has suffered greatly and I am almost embarrassed by my mouth. This is one of the things I am sure Pops will relay to me upon seeing the show. I also hope that the other Families of the guys see how well their loved ones perform so that it takes some of their fears away.
Beating Hollywood -- [cannoneerno4]
People often complain about Hollywood’s leftward tilt when it comes to Iraq, but few do anything pro-active about it.
JD Johannes is trying to do something about it.
He has nearly died a few times trying to do something about it.
Hollywood and the entertainment industry is a business focused on the bottom line. If people want Hollywood to produce a pro-victory film, or a pro-troop television series, they will have to demonstrate that it is economically viable.
Most of the anti-war films have taken a beating at the box office.
To demonstrate to Hollywood and the cable TV networks that a pro-victory documentary is viable, he needs to sell 2,900 in 6 weeks.
Are you willing to prove to Hollywood that a pro-victory documentary is viable?
Are you willing to take on Hollywood and do something about the ongoing flood of anti-war propaganda films?
If you are, here is what you can do:
Don't Panic -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
I want to thank everyone for their support as we negotiate our issues with Big Brother. However, I want to ask that people be level headed for now. We're still in the preliminary stages trying to figure out what's going on. I'm communicating personally with the office and trying to get them to be specific about what rules I've specifically violated on which specific posts.
I would also ask that no one cast stones yet.
Milblog Hate -- [Steward Family Website]
First it was the Army tightening up on soldier’s abilities to post blogs, then they created a special unit out of the Virginia National Guard which is funded and resourced solely to read milblogs and make sure that nobody is saying anything that they shouldn’t. Then the Airforce started banning its people reading milblogs. After that the Coast Guard stopped its senior people from writing blogs.
Well it looks like this is a popular trend, and according to this report (not sure of its validity), even our enemies are catching on.
Blogging the Long War -- [CJR - Paul McLeary]
...As with any other niche in the blogosphere, some heavy hitters soon began to separate themselves from the milblog pack. Sites like Blackfive, The Mudville Gazette, MichaelYon.com, and BillRoggio.com became favorites for war geeks and anyone else looking for insiderish news and critiques from a decidedly pro-military perspective. Each fills a certain role—Blackfive is the irreverent, often partisan, group blog; Yon is the roving, embedded reporter; and Mudville is more an aggregation of other milblogs. Bill Roggio, though, a former Army signalman and infantryman who runs The Long War Journal (which replaced BillRoggio.com) and writes most of its posts, has his sights on something grander.