Dawn Patrol 12/30/2009 [Mrs Greyhawk]
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Support Our Troops, Read Their Stories
8 U.S. deaths at military base in Afghanistan -- [CNN]
Eight Americans were killed in a suicide bombing Wednesday at a military base in eastern Afghanistan, according to a U.S. military official and a U.S. Embassy official.
A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest attacked Forward Operating Base Chapman near the district of Khost in Khost province, said a third official, who asked not to be named.
Afghan soldier shoots dead US trooper -- [Guardian]
Soldier opens fire at military base in Afghanistan, killing one American and injuring two Italian troops
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: Afghanistan Army Flunks Pentagon Report Card
U.S. pledges $16 bln to train, equip Afghan army, says Kabul -- [Reuters]
The United States has pledged $16 billion to spend on training and equipping Afghanistan's army and air force, but the country needs more to build a force that can guarantee stability, an Afghan army official said on Wednesday.
Defence Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said Kabul hoped a donor conference in London next month would provide cash and supplies needed for ambitious plans to expand the army to 240,000 soldiers, from over 100,000 at present.
The fractured U.S. policy -- [Washington Times]
...White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, adviser David Axelrod, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the president all indicated July 2011 was real, and senior White House sources said "winning" was not an objective.
In an extraordinary example of expository journalism on Page 1 of The Post, Rajiv Chandrasekaran laid bare the shockingly different understandings of the Afghan mission held by the White House and the Pentagon (see "Civilian, military planners have different views on new approach to Afghanistan," The Post, Saturday).
There are three broad areas of "misunderstanding." First,...
Confession -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
I'm on a small base, much farther forward than where I live. I woke up this morning, just a half-hour ago, to the sound of gunfire. It wasn't the first time, but usually it's just the 6-8 round burst of a test-fire as a convoy rolls out. This was different.
Counterbureaucracy -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
I'm back after a month off to find things have changed very little on the Afghan street. Nobody here seems to believe we are going anywhere in 18 months yet everyone I talk with thinks the international military effort is entering its final stage. I have been on the road for most of the week and have had the chance to talk with all sorts of folks from the military, USAID, and many Afghans. The lack of optimism regarding our effort was the common denominator in every conversation. That is not to say morale is down; the military is able to go out and do whatever they plan whenever they want. We are not being beaten by the Taliban; we are beating ourselves.
WUSF interview for yesterday and today -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Had a chance to chat with WUSF Radios Bobbie O'Brien again while at Bagram. We talked about the how it is to return to camp after mid tour leave, the COIN strategy and some frustrated troops whom I met who are leaving Afghanistan after their deployment. Here's the link. ...
Indiana's National Guard Warms Afghan Hearts
Package made from the B-Roll "Indiana's National Guard Warms Hearts" about Soldiers from the Indiana National Guard who, in honor of a fallen comrade, donated coats to the children of Afghanistan.
New Clinic Open -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
For those of you who have been following all along you may remember my post from 17 August. In that post I showed you an ANP clinic which was still under construction. Well, yesterday we visited the same clinic and it is now open and operational.
The Backbone's Connected to the ... What? -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
Six days ago, I suggested that President Karzai's ability to connect with the Afghan people -- a compassion and charisma evidenced in his visits with army casualties and police cadets -- could be an important source of the government's public rehabilitation. After the government's reaction to allegations of civilian casualties in Konar Province, it is clear that another important source must be political backbone.
Afghan probe says NATO fighting killed children -- [AP]
The head of a presidential delegation investigating the deaths of 10 people in eastern Afghanistan concluded Wednesday that civilians - including schoolchildren - were killed in an attack involving foreign troops, disputing NATO reports that the dead were insurgents. Asadullah Wafa, a senior adviser to President Hamid Karzai, told The Associated Press by telephone that eight schoolchildren between the ages of 12 and 14 were among the dead discovered in a village house in the Narang district of Kunar province.
Attack Puts Afghan Leader and NATO at Odds -- [New York Times]
The killing of at least nine men in a remote valley of eastern Afghanistan by a joint operation of Afghan and American forces put President Hamid Karzai and senior NATO officials at odds on Monday over whether those killed had been civilians or Taliban insurgents.
U.S. and Allies Must Detain Afghan Prisoners -- [Washington Post - Max Boot]
Canada, one of the largest contributors of troops to the war in Afghanistan, is embroiled in a controversy over the treatment of prisoners captured by its army. Its policy has been to turn detainees over to the Afghans, whose prisons are not exactly run according to Amnesty International standards. Now the chief of the Canadian defense staff, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, has set off a political firestorm by admitting that a detainee who had been beaten in 2006 had initially been in Canadian custody - something he had previously denied. "You continue to transfer prisoners to torture in the name of Canada," one Liberal parliamentarian told the Conservative government. "I think you stand indicted in the court of public opinion of turning a blind eye." Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ministers have professed outrage in response, but
China Willing to Spend Big on Afghan Commerce -- [New York Times]
A Chinese company is undertaking the largest foreign investment project in war-torn Afghanistan.
Bulgaria Sending More Troops to Afghanistan -- [New York Times]
Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and has also provided troops for international operations in Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia.
Provincial Governor Survives Iraq Bombings -- [New York Times]
Attacks by two suicide bombers on Wednesday in the city of Ramadi killed at least 24 people and wounded nearly 60, including the governor of Anbar Province, a police official said.
Bombs kill more than 30 in Iraq -- [Reuters]
RAMADI, Iraq - Twin suicide bombs killed at least 24 and wounded more than 100 in Iraq's Sunni Arab heartland on Wednesday and a roadside bomb killed seven pilgrims returning from a major Shi'ite Muslim religious festival.
Road Trip: Erbil -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
This morning, we headed out bright and early for Erbil, which is one of the major cities in the Kurdish region. We didn't have much trouble with rush hour here in Kirkuk and our little convoy was soon heading out onto the wide rolling flat plains to the north of the city. It was a really gray morning and even more gray looking north. We passed a Hyundai dealership on the way out ... first car dealership I've seen in Iraq. (I know there are some in Baghad, but I've never seen them). We also passed a huge trash dump. They don't have very many regular landfills here, there are just vast areas where they dump trash, and this was one of them. Right in the middle of it was a soccer field that had been carefully graded flat and kept clean. The main highway is in pretty good condition and we were moving pretty fast. Our security team
Orbiting astronauts converse with soldiers in Iraq-- [Journal Sentinel] (Video)
Jeff Williams and T.J. Creamer pass by Baghdad with some regularity - actually, every 90 minutes. But it wasn't until Tuesday that they could give a shout out from 220 miles above Earth to American troops serving in Iraq.
During a 20-minute satellite link around 5 p.m. Baghdad time, the two American astronauts and Army veterans aboard the International Space Station answered questions and thanked the soldiers, including Wisconsin National Guard members, for their service.
With a large American flag and an Army pennant in the background, Williams and Creamer bobbed in weightlessness, passing a microphone to answer questions posed by the U.S. soldiers who gathered at an Armed Forces Network studio in Baghdad's international zone.
Iraq oil contract goes to Angola -- [BBC News]
Sonangol will be paid between $5 and $6 a barrel, one of the highest fees awarded in Iraq's oil deals. The two fields combined contain an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
Russian oil firms moving back into Iraq -- [The Gazette (Montreal)]
Potentially they could quadruple Iraq's oil production to about 12 million barrels daily, equalling Saudi Arabia's present maximum capacity.
U.S. seeks to defuse Iran-Iraq showdown after seizure of oil well -- [World Tribune]
Iran and Iraq have been embroiled in their first military standoff in more than 20 years. The Iraq Army, with U.S. support, deployed hundreds of troops along the border with Iran during a confrontation over a crude oil field, Middle East Newsline reported.
Iraq reviews oil well seizure -- [UPI]
Iraq established a special committee to find a way forward to settle disputes following the Iranian seizure of an oil well in Maysan province, officials said.
Abdulkarim al-Aibi, the inspector general for the Iraqi Oil Ministry, said the country set up a committee to develop ways to share oil fields that straddle the border with Iran, Iraq's Azzaman news service reports.
Gertrude Bell drew Iraqi borders -- [Iraqi Mojo]
I find it ironic that the majority of Iraqis, especially Iraqi Arabs and nationalists, are determined to keep Iraq united, given that Gertrude Bell, with T.E. Lawrence (of "Arabia"), drew Iraq's borders.
The US occupation has been very different from the British occupation of the 20th century. The US could have split up Iraq, but left it up to the Iraqi people to decide. The British, on the other hand, combined Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra and called it Iraq. The British exploited Iraq's oil resources. The Americans have not. Incidentally, two huge oil contracts (to two European companies) were signed today in Baghdad.
The Iraqi People Get It -- [Iraq Pundit]
I can't help but wonder whether anyone noticed the differences between this past weekend's events in the region. WaPo reports that about five thousand Iraqis protested the Nouri Al Maliki government of Iraq. NYT also reported on demonstrations in Iran where the government fired upon its own people, killing ten. Of course Juan Cole wrote that all hell broke loose in Iraq, but what else is new? The WaPo reporter said a couple of days ago that Saddam Hussein "discouraged" Ashoura events. Today he writes Saddam banned the observances. Well? Which was it? I thought these guys are supposed to know what they're reporting on. It's odd to me that they don't see that Iran, which so many say turned Iraq into another Iran, greets protesters with violence. But Iraq, which also had demonstrations, did not kill its protesters.
In Iraq, a Plan to Revive the Pulse of an Artery -- [New York Times]
A $5 billion plan to rebuild Baghdad's economic and cultural main street is the most ambitious vision put forward of a new Iraq.
British hostage released alive in Iraq -- [AP]
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says a man held hostage in Baghdad for more than two years has been released alive....
U.S. AND OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Intel report: Iran seeking to smuggle raw uranium. -- [AP]
Iran is close to clinching a deal to clandestinely import 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press. The assessment is heightening international concern about Tehran's nuclear activities, diplomats said.
Pakistani Taliban claim Karachi bombing -- [AP]
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Wednesday for a bombing against a Shiite Muslim procession in the southern city of Karachi earlier in the week that killed 44 people....
Interpol and U.N. Back 'Global Policing Doctrine' -- [New York Times]
Interpol and the United Nations are poised to become partners in fighting crime by jointly grooming a global police force that would be deployed as peacekeepers among rogue nations riven by war and organized crime, officials from both organizations say.
Somali Pirates Seize U.K. Tanker -- [AP]
Striking into the heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden, Somali pirates seized a British-flagged chemical tanker - the first merchant vessel to be hijacked there in nearly six months, the same day that a ship was taken by brigands in the Indian Ocean, officials said Tuesday.
Pirates seize UK chemical tanker
Russia may send spacecraft to knock away asteroid -- [AP]
Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to a large asteroid to knock it off its path and prevent a possible collision with Earth, the head of the country's space agency said Wednesday....
The Military Must Stop Making Light of Security Breaches -- [The Chosun Ilbo]
Top brass in the U.S. Forces Korea have expressed serious concerns over the leak of a joint South Korea-U.S. defense plan being accessed by suspected North Korean hackers after a South Korean military officer used an unsecured USB memory stick on a computer. After the incident hit the headlines, the South Korean military got busy trying to downplay the importance of the information that was leaked, but when the USFK's concerns became public, the South Korean military suddenly claimed it, too, is "deeply concerned" about the situation.
Standoff Over US Base Closure Sours US-Japan Ties -- [New York Times]
... relations between Tokyo and Washington, delayed a plan to restructure America's military presence in Asia and divided Japan's political leadership.
WAR ON TERROR /TERRORISM
U.S. Gov Knew of Airline Terror Plot Before Christmas and Did Nothing -- [Amy Proctor]
...it turns out that the attempted Christmas day terrorist attack by a Nigerian man backed by al-Qaeda aboard a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was also known by the government, which did nothing.
U.S. Had Early Signals of a Terror Plot, Obama Says -- [New York Times]
...The president was told during a private briefing on Tuesday morning while vacationing here in Hawaii that the government had a variety of information in its possession before the thwarted bombing that would have been a clear warning sign had it been shared among agencies, a senior official said.
Two officials said the government had intelligence from Yemen before Friday that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda there were talking about "a Nigerian" being prepared for a terrorist attack.
CIA also knew about suspect -- [Politico]
The CIA learned the man's name in November, when his father came to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and sought help in finding him, officials said.
A U.S. intelligence official defended the agency's handling of the elliptical information, telling POLITICO: "Abdulmutallab's father didn't say his son was a terrorist, let alone planning an attack. Not at all. I'm not aware of some magic piece of intelligence that suddenly would have flagged this guy ...
Al-Qaeda 'groomed Abdulmutallab in London' -- [Times Online]
The Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect organised a conference under the banner "War on Terror Week" as he immersed himself in radical politics while a student in London, The Times has learnt.
Somali arrested at airport with chemicals, syringe -- [AP]
A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Somali man - whose name has not yet been released - was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody.
Dutch to use full body scanners for US flights -- [AP]
The Netherlands announced Wednesday it will immediately begin using full body scanners for flights heading to the United States, issuing a report that called the failed Christmas Day airline bombing a "professional" terror attack. "It is not exaggerating to say the world has escaped a disaster," Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst told a news conference.
"Al-Qaeda practises beating body scanners" -- [RNW News] HT: Jawa Report
A body scanner at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport would not necessarily have detected the explosives which the would-be syringe bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had sewn into his underwear. A Dutch military intelligence source told De Telegraaf newspaper that Al Qaeda has its own security scanners and has been practicing ways of concealing explosives. The terrorist group has even carried out test runs at smuggling explosives through European airports, the paper reports.
Analyze This: The Mind of the Underpants Bomber -- [Danger Room]
Here's a rare chance to step inside a would-be terrorist's head.
...Online, he complained about his "extreme loneliness," and the fact that "sometimes people are so mean." He questioned whether it was okay to take meals with his parents, even though they ate meat he considered unclean. He asked if Muhammad were alive today, "would he watch [soccer], play it, encourage it or what?" He talked about how much he enjoyed his studies in Yemen. He wondered, "when is lying allowed to deceive the enemy?" And he denounced the "global War On Terror [which resulted] in the death of thousands of innocent lives and thousands more detained illegally without trial or judgement [sic]."
Freed Qaeda creeps hatched undie-cover plan to blow up Christmas jet -- [NY Post]
A Yemeni al Qaeda faction -- whose masterminds had been released from Guantanimo Bay -- claimed responsibility yesterday for orchestrating the bungled Christmas Day terror attack aboard a Detroit-bound jet.
Said Ali al Shihri and Muhammad al Awfi were captured in Afghanistan in late 2001, ABC News reported. They were freed from Gitmo in November 2007 and promptly took up arms again against the United States after completing a bizarre "art-rehabilitation therapy" program in Saudi Arabia as a condition of their release. "The so-called rehabilitation programs are a joke," a US diplomat told ABC.
Yemen vows to eliminate al-Qaida from country -- [AP]
Yemen says it will continue hunting down al-Qaida members and launching military strikes against them until the group's powerful branch in the country is eliminated. Deputy Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Saleh al-Zawari made the pledge Wednesday at a meeting of senior military officials in Mareb, one of three provinces where al-Qaida militants are believed to have taken shelter.
It's time to sue Google -- [Cannoneer No. 4]
How many Jihadi videos did Hasan watch on YouTube?
Self-radicalization without Jihadi videos is like self-gratification without porn. Pictures get you there quicker.
UPDATE: 200911271035 The next time the Taliban kill an American, thank Google's YouTube service for helping spread their vile propaganda.
SUPPORTING THE TROOPS...OR NOT
Wounded FdL Marine refuses to be an invalid -- [The Reporter]
...Wege had been in Afghanistan five months when he began a new assignment. He was hit with an explosive device four days later.
Wege said he couldn't feel his legs after the blast Oct. 4, but he was still trying to figure out what had just happened. He tried to move, but nothing was happening. I said, "Aw crap. I looked down and it (foot) was pretty much shredded."
..."The Purple Heart ceremony was done after dark fell, but was very touching, even in the dark. The darkness actually contributed to a feeling of privacy, though we were surrounded by hundreds of people. Josh was called forward in front of the assembly and the orders giving him the award were read. We heard remarks about his bravery and the example he set during his rehab serving to inspire the troops. Most impressive, however, were the individual reactions of Josh's platoon members when they realized he was standing among them." ..."They weren't expecting me to be standing," Wege said.
Operation 'Proper Exit'
Injured U.S. soldiers seek emotional closure
USS Cole horror finally ends for wounded sailor -- [Washington Times]
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool lost his left foot when a bomb ripped a hole in the side of the USS Cole nearly a decade ago, but the injury was nothing compared with the mental torment that ravaged him almost daily.
...One of the brothers he lived with found him dead in their home last Wednesday, just a week after his 31st birthday, Natala Gokool said. His cause of death was unknown, though she said foul play was not suspected. The family believes the seizures just became too much for his body to handle.
Body Armor and COIN -- [Combined Arms Center Blog]
The modern day US Soldier and Marine wields lethal weapons and daunting body armor reminiscent of a fierce crusader in full battle dress. Bulky plate carriers bearing large ceramic plates in addition to the elbow pads, knee pads, and the advanced combat helmet give a larger than life presence to a formidable warrior who wears ballistic safety glasses which hide the eyes. From a distance or when passing by, our Troops might strike awe in the minds of the people we work to protect and advise, but when confronted face to face, we likely intimidate those with whom we wish to assist.
The seemingly impenetrable armor worn by our Troops, although necessary, can effectively shield our intensions and foster the wrong perceptions in the minds of the population when perception carries a very high value.
Welcome-home committee forming for Iraq soldiers -- [Janesville Gazette]
Tim Donovan about the return home of National Guard troops from Janesville Anyone interested in serving on a committee to organize a welcome-home event for
Last 'Black Jack' troops arrive at Fort Hood -- [Killeen Daily Herald]
Yet, now on their second deployment to Iraq, the Edwardses knew exactly how and where to meet on the division's parade field where the welcome home
THE MEDIA/SOCIAL MEDIA
NCIS Goes PC -- [PJM]
...I settled in to watch an episode of NCIS called "Faith." I soon found myself growing increasingly uneasy as the plot developed. A Marine who had converted to Islam had been murdered at prayer; in the course of the investigation, it turned out the culprit was his younger brother, who committed the crime in order to salvage the family honor, for the father, a former military officer, was now a Christian minister. A curious inversion seemed to be occurring in which Muslim honor killing, usually targeting a daughter who is deemed to have violated the tenets of the faith, was now chiastically transposed into a Christian honor killing, targeting a son who had embarrassed his observant family.
Troubled in mind, I proceeded to watch NCIS: Los Angeles, which occupied the next hour slot. This episode was called "Brimstone" and, sure enough, a strangely similar story unfolded. A group of wounded soldiers recently returned from Iraq were being systematically eliminated by a mysterious serial killer. Suspicion fell on a Muslim soldier, a member of the unit who had been disfigured by a roadside bomb and who had gone into hiding. But as the investigation continued, it ultimately became clear that our suspect had been falsely accused and that the killer was a crazed Christian evangelist and fellow soldier, seeking redemption for an imagined battlefield atrocity by blowing up his comrades.
Perhaps this deviant "reading" of the world is now to be expected.
Ol' School to New School -- [Army Live]
...the Social Media "craze" within Public Affairs. I did not see any reason why we needed to go there. As the former CMF 46 Branch Manager, I received numerous emails from Public Affairs Enlisted Soldiers inviting me to places like Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Each time I cringed and reluctantly said "no." One day I finally gave in and opened a Facebook account.
...Luck would have it that I'm now currently working with the Office of Chief of Public Affairs' On-line Social Media Division. They're the team responsible to advise the Army's Public Affairs Chief on things like FACEBOOK. So, now I'm smack back in the middle of what I've been avoiding and actually loving it! I've
Obama takes the heat Bush did not -- [Politico]
Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber's attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11.
I Think I'm Going To Puke... -- [Embrace the Suck]
This little fucking douche bag was in the same company as me in Afghanistan! I will never forgive him for this!
Code Pink's misfire on Afghan women -- [Calgary Herald]
In October, the women's antiwar organization, Code Pink, went to Afghanistan. The Christian Science Monitor reported that the pink T-shirted women were surprised to learn the overwhelming majority of women do not support a withdrawal of foreign troops from their country. Expecting their counterparts - Afghan activists fighting for peace and gender equality - to support their demands, they were confronted with the problem that perhaps their position has been counterproductive to the Afghan women's movement, or even wrong.
PART 1 - Confessions of a Dove in Afghanistan -- [Sara Davidson - who joined the Code Pink]
...There was no stopping us, even though the State Department issued a warning against travel to Afghanistan because of "an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate Americans." We were a group of eight women and one man organized by Code Pink, Women for Peace, and we arrived in Kabul believing the U.S. should withdraw its troops and spend more money on development.
Part 2, Real Housewives of Afghanistan -- [Sara Davidson - who joined the Code Pink]
...We're subdued as we ride away from the UN office. We're hearing numerous stories like this, which makes us probe and question our assumptions. Ann Wright, 63, a former army colonel and State Department officer who has kind blue eyes and speaks with a Southern lilt, says, "I have changed a little bit. Before this trip I was leaning toward: let's get the hell out! Accept the inevitable! Now I feel we have a responsibility--to be part of a security strategy and help provide education and jobs. That's a far better way to deal with terrorism."
HUMOR / SATIRE
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