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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.
KILLING FOR CONGRESS -- [Ralph Peters]
As far as the Thieves of Baghdad (also known as Iraq's government) go, the terrorists were right. Iraqi minorities, including Christians, have been classified as fair game by Muslim butchers. Mainstream Iraqis simply look away.
But the second reason for those dramatic bombings was that al Qaeda needs to portray Iraq as a continuing failure of U.S. policy. Those dead and maimed Yazidis were just props: The intended audience was Congress.
Al Qaeda has been badly battered. It's lost top leaders and thousands of cadres. Even more painful for the Islamists, they've lost ground among the people of Iraq, including former allies. Iraqis got a good taste of al Qaeda. Now they're spitting it out.
Welcome to Ramadi -- Part 5: An Iraqi Police Lietenant
In this clip from a long interview, an Iraqi Police lieutenant shares his view of Al Qaeda, the wavering loyalties of local Anbaris, and the consequences of coalition troops leaving too soon
August 11: Petraeus -- [Notes from Downrange - in Iraq] HT:[Chap]
...I’d gotten up Saturday morning at FOB Union III in the IZ, home of 1-14 Cav, expecting a long morning before heading over to the embassy landing zone to get going for the day. I’d learned the previous afternoon that I was going to spend Saturday afternoon on a “battlefield circulation” with Petraeus – a tour of a unit’s area of operations with the general, some of his staff, and space for four or five members of the media, including me. The plan was for me to get a ride over the IZ landing zone around noon, where Petraeus’s two helicopters would stop on the way up to the day’s battlefield to pick up me and the other reporters. At 0900, though, as I sat in the Union III hajji café having my breakfast (they make a very good white chocolate mocha) and reading Stars and Stripes, the squadron and brigade public affairs officers rushed up in a huff and told me to grab my armor and bags right away –
Touring with Gen. Petraeus -- [The Fourth Rail]
Inside a building next to the landing zone, the general's first order of business was lunch with a group of soldiers from 4-9 Infantry, one of the brigade's battalions, which I was allowed to sit in on. The battalion leadership, including some company commanders – one of whom had been wounded and was about to go home for surgery – and first sergeants, and after giving them a brief rundown of the situation in Iraq from his perspective, Petraeus went around the table and asked each of them for the most important lesson they'd learned since arriving in Iraq and what their plans were for their next assignment. As they answered, the general listened and then gave feedback; when one captain said that his main lesson learned was that "the counterinsurgency tactics everyone talks about really do work," he seemed gratified, and talked for a while about the mix of kinetic and non-kinetic tactics.
What metrics will Petraeus use? -- [Austin Bay]
I’ve run this list past a couple of other veterans of Iraq. Yes, it’s a sketch. Yes, several of the categories must be broken down into very small pieces and those pieces accurately assessed (ie, the security of neighborhoods, the competence of police precincts, etc).
Iraq Report: Qods in Iraq -- [The Fourht Rail]
...US and Iraqi forces continue the hunt for al Qaeda and Shia terror operatives. Fourteen al Qaeda operatives were captured during raids in Baghdad, Taji, Balad, Samarra, and Mosul on August 16 and 17. Two al Qaeda operatives were killed and 16 captured during operations in Baghdad, Tarmiyah, Bayji, Tikrit, Kirkuk, and Mosul on August 18. The Bayji raid netted "an alleged weapons and logistics facilitator" while the Tikrit raid resulted in the capture of an "operative believed to move large amounts of explosives and foreign terrorists into Iraq." Three al Qaeda were killed and 21 captured during a series of raids in Muqdadiyah, Tarmiyah, and Salahadin province on August 19.
In Baghdad, Iraqi security forces captured a Mahdi Army sniper cell leader and weapons facilitator, along with a cell member, and killed another
Public Affairs: Baqubah Food -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
This is the only Public Affairs release I have ever published. This release is consistent with the facts I saw on the ground in Baqubah.
BAQUBAH, IRAQ— After the fight to retake an Iraqi city is over, the struggle to reconstruct a functioning government is the fist order of business.
That’s why U.S. and Iraqi forces were excited recently to witness local trucks arrive, accompanied by the Iraqi Army, at a Baqubah flour mill with 560 tons of imported wheat to feed the people of Diyala province.
“This is one more piece to the larger puzzle of providing normalcy here,” said Lt. Col. Fred Johnson, deputy commanding officer of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. “It’s probably the most important thing we’ve done.”
Baker Company Med Op in Wuerdiya -- [Jeff Emanual - in Iraq]
After Baker Co. secured the site -- a recently refurbished school which was still empty due to summer vacation -- Sergeant First Class Marcus, a Special Forces Medic (according to USSOCOM regs, special operators are identified only by rank and first name), and a team from Army Civil Affairs arrived to provide medical treatment to the local villagers, and to give them bags containing foodstuffs for families and clothing (primarily Iraqi soccer team replica uniforms) and soccer balls for children.
Over 200 people showed up to receive care, and not a shot was fired in the town while we were there -- a great success.
The Surge in Action -- [Jeff Emanual - in Iraq]
And there are newfound signs of success in the area just north of Salman Pak, along the road known to 3rd Brigade as "Route Wild," between the villages of Wuerdiya and Ja'ara. It all began with a phone call. During the first week of August, an Iraqi man who lived in the area, and whose brother was the sheik of the al Jabouri tribe, called Captain Rich Thompson, head of 3rd Brigade's Baker Company 1-15 Infantry and the local ground commander, and asked for a meeting. Tired of the persistent insurgent infighting in his area, the man wanted information on starting his tribe's own 'Concerned Citizens' brigade, to augment the National Police and to defend their land and their clan against terrorism.
Called "basically a thumb in the eye [of] a Maliki government that won't get its [act] together" by one officer I spoke with, the Concerned Citizens program, another brainchild of MNF-I commander General David Petraeus, puts ground-level security in the hands of the individual tribes and groups who need it most.
Falluja Post-Bellum Concerns -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...There is one big hospital in the city that has clearly seen better days, although it does appear active and protected when I have driven by it. Additionally there is a Jordanian hospital just outside the city that people have access to. Not ideal, but it is there.
Although we refer to it as a vehicle ban, it would be more precise to say that it was "vehicle segregation." There are vehicles in the city, they are just not allowed to go in or out. At some point people had to make a decision about where they wanted their vehicles. Most people park them outside the city and they take a bus to the Entry Control Point to leave town. After certain people were so successful in eliminating the roadside bomb threat, the enemy resorted to car bombs because they could be built in a more secure countryside area and then delivered to the target. The vehicle "ban" is being used to combat that threat.
ISJ Profiles Another Team Badger Soldier -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...He’s seen a profound change in the people and the streets of Fallujah during the year that he’s been here.
“When we first got here, the people wouldn’t wave at you. We were always getting shot
, going over place,” he said. “Now we see a couple of bombs here and there go off, but we’re not finding as many as we used to. And the people in the city have actually gone out and cleaned up the streets.”
Teuscher is looking forward to coming home and spending the mule deer season hunting with his family and fishing with his friends and getting caught up on everything that’s happened during his year in Iraq. His friends are going to find a different person than the one who left for Iraq 12 months ago.
“I’m more opinionated then I used to be. I talk a lot more,” Teuscher said with a smile.
His tour of duty in Iraq has been an experience he doesn’t regret. He said, “I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.”
In fact, Teuscher’s prepared to return to Iraq someday.
“I’ll probably volunteer to come back.
Coalition Forces Kill Eight, Detain Three, Capturing a Special Groups Leader and Smuggler of Iranian -- [MNF-I]
Coalition Forces conducted a raid targeting this known weapons distributor and Special Groups leader. The captured weapons facilitator was responsible for the storage and distribution of Iranian weapons. Coalition Forces intelligence suggests the weapons facilitator has traveled to and from Iran numerous times and is responsible for smuggling and distributing deadly explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). The target was also responsible for the distribution of those weapons to Special Groups operating throughout the Baghdad area and was connected to a very large network of weapons facilitators and Special Groups associates. The weapons smuggler is believed to have had ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force.
Clearing operations in Samarra strike hard at insurgency -- [MNF-I]
TIKRIT, Iraq – Operation Jalil, which concluded Aug. 3, uncovered contraband and suspects but more importantly, the operation served as another example of a vastly improved Iraqi Security Force operating in Samarra, which has gained the confidence of their Coalition Forces partners as well as city residents.
Terrorists Mortar Explodes Pre-Maturely -- [HT: Duty in the Desert]
**Warning** Video of terrorist attempting to kill our guys but instead takes himself out of the fight. Perfect.
A new meaning to the term, Highway Patrol -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
Imagine donning full combat gear, a flame resistant hood for your head, and the outside air temperature is hovering around the 120 degree mark. But wait, that's not all. Now, jump into an Assault Amphibian Vehicle (AAV) and shut the lid. You are now in 140+ degrees of sand and sweat while riding with some of the hardest working Marines that patrol around Fallujah. Pfc. Brian Jones takes us for a trip with Team Gator as they pound the pavement:
Boom, here comes the boom! -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...The mission we ended up having was a raid to try to grab some dudes we have been looking for. We ended up having to park at this other base that was quite a ways away and required us walking through some of the bad area that we used to have. It was to be a slow deliberate walk for we were going to be prepared for anything. Along the way some guys working at some bank began yelling "Wake up the Americans are here!" Not real sure why or really what happened because I wasn't right up front, but we ended up confiscating their weapons to include a couple of machine guns. They were Iraqi police and federal guards, so we couldn't detain them for having the weapons. While we were held up dealing with that we heard a burst of an AK off in the distance. My heart beat accelerated a little and once whoever was being shot out returned fire with a burst of their own, the adrenneline began pumping.
19 -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Nineteen years ago, I started my Army career, at the time with the intention of doing my four years and returning to Texas, to Texas A&M University specifically, and getting a degree. In high school, I was accepted to Texas A&M and was awarded scholarships from the Army and the Navy (to become a Marine officer). I turned it all down and enlisted because I just was fed up with school. I could not see myself in four (or more!) years of school.
I have never regretted that decision. Despite how things turned out, though not too shabby actually, I love the Army. I love the experiences I've had. When I start telling "war" stories (not so much about war but about what I've done, where I've been) folks are amazed. When I really think about it, so am I. For example,
Something My Dad Has Said Quite Often -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
When I went into the BN Aid Station the night of the attack, SGT C, the medic on duty greeted me.
"Evening, G. What brings you here?"
I replied "Hi. I need my head examined."
I feel much better today. The headache is lighter, the Tylenol cuts it more, the nausea on waking is weaker and doesn't last as long, and I have a lot less trouble concentrating. CPT B. tells me the nausea is typical, and that I should be a bit messed up for several days.
I filled out a witness statement for the 1SG on the events of that night. I'm not sure who or what its for. I might be eligible for a Combat Action Badge or a Purple Heart for this, but I'm not certain I qualify or even if want to. There were guys actually bleeding for this, I feel almost ashamed to qualify for merely getting my bell rung really well. I didn't lose a leg, an eye, or 80% or the hearing in one ear, to cite some examples of guys I've served with. A CAB maybe, since these guys were trying to kill me, but a Purple Heart?
EMT Iraq -- [Me Over There - in Iraq]
The National Registry of EMTs has acknowledged that this is the 1st EMT class taught in Iraq they are aware of.
5 students will be completing the course (4 Corpsmen and 1 Marine), and they have all shown a dedication to this class to be admired. They did all the requirements for this course on top of their normal duties.
victory speech -- [Jake's Life - in Iraq]
Well our batallion got our victory speech today. It's kind of weird because, well because the war isn't over. But when you examine what we did in our little piece of it, then I think you could say that we did a damn good job. The other thing that made it so hard was knowing that as we are all celebrating the end of our deployment, preparing to go home to our families and loved ones, we have 8 brothers who will not make the trip with us, who can't share in our joy. In addition to the eight Marines who sacrificed it all, we took over 140 casualties in the batallion. Our victory, if that is what it is to be called, came at an awfully steep price.
The King of Spain's Afghan Rifles -- [Strategy Page]
Spanish troops in Afghanistan have adopted a novel, but ancient, technique in order to get some local help in pacifying the area they are in. Spain has asked the government to allow Spain to pay for the recruitment, training, equipping and maintenance of an Afghan infantry battalion. This could cost Spain about $27 million, and Afghanistan would be responsible for the unit after the Spanish left.
Afghan Independence Day.
Aug 19 - Afghanistan celebrates 88 years of independence from Britain.
In a speech during official celebrations President Hamid Karzai has urged the nation to stand on its own two feet, and save the country from further meddling and intervention.
RAF AFGHAN DIARIES: SPECIAL FEATURE: Word of the day 2
Cobblestone roads and learning to saw straight -- [A Year in Afghanistan]
If last week was about telecommunications, this one was about city management. Cities are the levels of government that deliver services: decent roads, garbage collection, sewage disposal, water, power, etc. On June 9, I wrote about a program to mentor city officials. That project is now underway, and now we have started programs that train municipal staff in how to deliver services effectively. The road building and maintenance program has already begun, as pictured. There will be a need for skilled workers for the city to hire, so we visited the Trade Training School operated by the Australians and took a look at the students learning carpentry (also pictured)
Out O' The Closet -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Afghansitan]
No, not *that* one -- *this* one, from the AKO website.
... Along the border, ground troops are sweeping the area around Chaghmalai in South Waziristan to recover the survivors of an ambushed convoy. "Militants" are holding them and demanding the release of ten terrs (including three suspected bombers) caught in the sweep following a suicider's attack in Islamabad. Several firefights erupted in Tora Teegha and Ghut Khawa when troops were sweeping the towns -- seven friendly KIA and at least fifteen terrs dead, four more wounded and captured. The "militants" forebade the townsfolk to evacuate, but the "swim in the sea of the people" tactic seems to have backfired -- the locals have started warning the troops about ambush sites and pointing out terr strongpoints.
Russian Revival, Part One -- [Danger Room]
More bomber patrols. Dramatic exercises with the Chinese. And now a refurbished aircraft carrier plying the waves. Russia's depleted armed forces are riding a wave of nationalism and oil revenue in an attempt to grab back some of their Soviet-era glory. Is the U.S. military worried? Michael Bruno over at Ares transcribes a press conference with a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council:
Gunmen take 30 hostages in SE Iran -- [Peace Like A River]
Iranian officials may link Rigi's group to Al Qaeda, but I don't think that's true. Sounds more like a convenient excuse so they don't have to talk about why there is unrest in SE Iran. The Jamestown Foundation had this last year:
F-22s Aimed at North Korea -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. Air Force has assigned a squadron of F-22 fighters to Elmendorf air force base in southern Alaska. This puts 24 F-22s as close to North Korea as possible (for aircraft stationed in North America). Earlier this year F-22s were sent, for the first time, across the Pacific, to Japan, for a training exercise. About half the 183 F22s to be built, have been delivered already.
The Generals Dodge a Bullet -- [Strategy Page]
August 20, 2007: The growing scandal over tainted food and toys, mostly for export, have revealed to the the world what most Chinese have long known. The government is unable to regulate production standards. Thus China is where the U.S. was a century ago, in terms of unscrupulous manufacturers selling shoddy goods to unsuspecting consumers. It's all made worse by very active government efforts to suppress news of the problem. A classic example of this occurred last week, when the collapse of a bridge under construction killed fifty people, and the government tried to keep it out of the news. Police physically attacked journalists, and drove them from the scene. But the news got out anyway,
Beckham & Justin Timberlake Targeted By Al Qaeda -- [Gateway Pundit]
News of the World reported that soccer stars David Beckham and Wayne Rooney and music stars Justin Timberlake and P Daddy are the targets of a new Al Qaeda murder plot:
Hizb ut-Tahrir posts propaganda videos on YouTube -- [Jihad Watch]
A search on "Hizb ut Tahrir" at YouTube yields abundant examples of HuT propaganda. "Islamist propaganda on YouTube," by Natalie O'Brien for The Australian:
Blessings of being an Angel -- [View from the 8th Floor]
A Soldiers' Angel that is.
As I think almost every Angel will tell you, when we get a chance to thank one of the members of our military for their service, we often get thanked in return. We could get into a humorous cycle of, "No, no, thank YOUs", but we all usually just smile and say it's our pleasure, honor, duty, joy, or all of the above. WE know who needs to be thanked, don't we Angels?
Call to Action for Community Support for the Veterans Clinics and Hospitals Across America -- [Soldiers' Angels]
The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) clinics and hospitals located in many communities across the nation provide medical services to combat veterans. These facilities are an important resource for veterans returning from the Global War on Terror and their families.
Of the 25 million veterans currently alive, nearly three of every four served during a war or an official period of hostility. About a quarter of the nation's population, approximately 70 million people are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans.
Former sgt. accused of fake Purple Heart claim -- [Marine Times]
Topeka, Kan., police captain Ron Brown earned a Purple Heart after he lost a portion of his hearing in both ears when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded next to the Marine reservist’s head outside Fallujah in 2004. So he made sure he was there when former Sgt. Tim Debusk was arrested and charged with forging a Purple Heart citation on May 25.
“I just told him that I thought what he did was despicable, and that I hoped he thought about the guys he disrespected who died for this country over Memorial Day,” Brown said.
Home at Last -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - home from Iraq]
From the time we went into Customs lock down until I stepped off the plane to see my family waiting...it took 45 hours to finally be home. Good flights and the good company of my AF brethren, who deployed on this mission with me, helped pass the time and the miles.
Touchdown -- [Sixty-six - home from Iraq]
...The aircraft taxied for a few minutes before coming to a halt near the same hanger I had been briefed in on my return from Bosnia three years prior. A handful of the guys stood up from their seats in anticipation of the door’s opening.
“Gentlemen, it’ll be just a few minutes before we begin deplaning. On behalf of the crew and bla bla bla bla…” The Captain droned over the com.
The complaining began, cutting off the Captain’s speech. Complaining in the infantry is a group effort. If you complain by yourself, you are a whiner. But complaining en mass is acceptable, if not expected.
...After what seemed like an eternity the Flight Attendant finally slid the door open. I imagined the view from the outside of the aircraft as the putrid, man-stanked air escaped from the airplane, clearly visible with its greenish tinge.
...Two hundred exhausted, stanky Joes stood up in unison as the Captain said something unintelligible over the com, an obvious cue for us to get the hell off the plane in a hurry
I stepped out of the threshold and onto the stairs to descend onto the tarmac when the answer to my question hit me. The thick, humid, Wisconsin air smelled so sweet I could almost taste it. After months of inhaling the dusty, dead, bone-dry desert air I was breathing pure ambrosia.
Return -- [The Gunner's World - home from Iraq]
Glancing out the window of the Lufthansa flight I was taken aback by all the green I saw, after months in the desert everything seemed so alive with color from my view headed into Dulles Airport. I sat back and thought about my whole experience and how in an hour or so I would be joining my family again and heading north back to Maryland.
Home.... -- [Ranger Sid - home from Iraq]
I am sorry for my recent abscence...I am currently back in the comfortable world of the United States... Not however for the circumstances that I would have liked to return...My Grandfather passed away on August 8th...Thankfully I was able to return in time for his service...It was amazing to see just how many lives he touched in his lifetime...He was definately taken before his time...I can only hope to do as much good in my life as he did in his...
To the men of Bad Voodoo, Stay strong in my abscence, and I'll be back soon.
The Perfect Conspiracy-Theorist Foil -- [Captain's Quarters]
For the last seven years, Karl Rove has served as the focus for some of the worst vitriol thrown in the political and media arenas. When he decided to retire last week, his resignation captured the top spot in newspapers and news programming for days. Howard Kurtz wonders whether all of the fuss reflected the reality of Rove's work, or whether it served a synthetic narrative that the media created out of laziness:
Biden's New 'Flag-draped Coffin' Ad -- [Real Clear Politics]
In a new ad, Joe Biden uses the image of the "flag-draped coffin" to argue that the U.S. must end the war and that he is the only one with a plan to do so. It's also strange in that of all the Democratic candidates, Biden is the least anti-war:
How The New Republic Got Suckered -- [PJM]
When Pajamas Media heard the authenticity questions surrounding the “Baghdad Diarist” articles by Scott Thomas Beauchamp in The New Republic, we asked our Washington Editor Richard Miniter to look into how the respected opinion magazine could once again be the locus of such a scandal.
Miniter spoke with several people involved in the extraordinary story, including the whistle-blower and a German woman who was Beauchamp’s fiancée until just before he married, of all people, Miniter discovered, a fact-checker at The New Republic. That fiancée said of her former boyfriend, the soldier/reporter: “He hates the army. The only reason he joined was because he wanted to have more experience to write about.”
Lesson No. 3 in the School of the Counterprogandist -- [Cannoneerno4]
Misinformation is inaccurate information. When the inaccuracy is pointed out to the source, the source usually runs a correction, which will never be seen by 90% of the people who saw the original incorrect piece. It is usually assumed that the inaccuracy is caused by ignorance and not willful disregard of known facts. Misinformation about military affairs is extremely common nowadays. Very few “journalists” and even fewer editors know jack about the military.
Small World -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq.]
... particularly for reporters in and out of a combat zone.
Ran into The Wall Street Journal's Greg Jaffe, again. You'll remember we met in Baghdad ... This time we crossed paths in the tent city at Ali Al Salem. He's trying to get out on the same flight from Kuwait that I am.
That was this morning. This afternoon, two Army public affairs soldiers drove me to the airport in Kuwait City. Once here, they picked up my inbound friend, Linda Robinson (U.S. News & World Report), who is heading to Iraq for the eighth time; and the ever-prolific Ralph Peters (The New York Post): Shared war stories and
WaPo Shilling for 'Peace Mom'... Still -- [NewsBusters]
Michael A. Fletcher of the Washington Post has a little snippet of a story so full of hyperbole about how wonderful and "crystallizing" so-called "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan has been for the country that unintentional comedy is the result -- that or it raises a collective groan for its slobbering sycophancy. He so outlandishly exaggerates the impact of the "antiwar hero" and her protégé in "Camp Casey" that it just boggles the mind. Seems like Fletcher is far from a disinterested "journalist" but has succumbed to outright hero worship here.
Hillary: “Even I Don’t Like Me, But I Like Winning” -- [ScrappleFace]
Sen. Hillary Clinton. D-NY, today acknowledged that many people don’t like her, but she said nobody’s negative opinion can stymie her race to the White House, even if that opinion comes from the candidate herself.
“Even I don’t like Hillary Clinton most of the time,” said Sen. Clinton, “But I do like winning, and I’m not going to let a little self-loathing stand in the way of my presidential ambitions.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)