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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.
Baghdad: Update on the Security Situation in the International Zone -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - in Iraq]
Shortly after arriving in Iraq, I blogged about the worsening security situation in the International Zone (IZ, also sometimes known as the "green zone"). In criticizing the media's coverage of the increase in mortar attacks against the IZ, I noted that the press has failed to answer some basic questions: "has there been an increase in attacks, or just an increase in their lethality? When did the IZ begin to see the increase in lethal mortar strikes? Are they being carried out by Sunnis are Shias? What is motivating these attacks?" At the time I wrote that, my sources in the IZ were unable to answer all of these relevant questions -- but a recent briefing by Major Brynt Parmeter has helped to clarify these critical questions for me.
Maliki;US Troop Surge Working. -- [barnesy]
Podcast with Military.com -- [The Fourth Rail]
Last Friday, I has a discussion with Ward Carroll, the editor of Military.com. We discussed the situation in Iraq, the status of the Baghdad Security Plan, media reporting on Iraq, the political situation in the U.S. on Iraq, the question whether al Qaeda is spreading beyond Iraq into the greater Middle East, and the development of U.S. intelligence capabilities in the Sunni community. You can listen to the podcast here.
Kharmah Awakens -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
Tuesday, 29 May 2007 -"In fact, there is a civil war in progress in Iraq, one comparable in important respects to other civil wars that have occurred in postcolonial states with weak institutions. Those cases suggest that the Bush administration's political objective in Iraq--creating a stable, peaceful, somewhat democratic regime that can survive the departure of U.S. troops--is unrealistic." Professor James D. Fearon, writing in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs.
There is one problem with Professor Fearon's thesis--the facts on the ground that I am seeing right now and that he has not seen in person or not seen recently.
From inside the surge. -- [John of Argghhh!]
A report from one of the guys doing what the "stay behinds" will do if the pullout occurs as the Dems mutter about and even the President is talking about.
We are back in the palace, waiting patiently in the entry hall. A worker is mopping the Italian marble floors which reflect the dim light of an enormous chandelier that hangs from a carved Moroccan ceiling three stories above us. We have been moved around from one side of the chamber to another twice already, photographers and assistants trying to figure out the right location for the ceremony.
The 82nd Airborne In Iraq - [Darock ]
SECRET CELL LEADER DETAINED -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained five suspected terrorists and one suspected cell leader Wednesday morning during raids in Sadr City.
The individuals detained during the raid are believed to be members of the secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.
Intelligence reports indicate the cell leader that was targeted and detained during the morning’s operation is suspected of being a key weapons trafficker to include the trafficking of small arms, mortars and other munitions.
Iraqi government in talks with the King of Clubs -- [Jihad Watch]
"For reconciliation between the government and this political wing." Hmm. Evidently they have forgotten, or no longer care, how it was that the government and this political wing became estranged in the first place.
"Iraq: Government in talks with former Saddam deputy," from AKI, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Patience -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
...So far, working with the Iraqi’s has been a really unique experience. My limited Arabic has progressed more in the past 4 days then it did in 4 months at Ft. Riley. The same can be said for my understanding of their culture. Iraqi’s are eternally polite, and I say that without exaggeration. Honor is probably one of the most important things to them, so they would never try to make someone feel ashamed. They are always saying hello mister, or thank you captain. In fact they usually say both of those things, even if they don’t apply at all (like when we say “goodbye”, they will say “thank you mister, hello”)! Many of the Iraqi’s here speak very limited English, and if there is no interpreter around conversations involve a lot of hand gestures and strained usage of limited vocabularies.
minor luxeries -- [Making the Leap... - in Iraq]
After PT, I'm covered in a layer of sweat -- like always -- and the only thing I could think about is a nice warm shower and a nap before work. Grabbed the essentials, and headed back to the latrines. No water. None. Couldn't flush the toilets, couldn't brush your teeth, couldn't take a proper shower. There was no way I was going to climb back into bed without a shower.
But the other females were in the shower stalls, drying off, getting dressed. I could hear water. How in the world...? Then I saw it, sticking out from behind a shower curtain. Water bottles. The big one and a half liter water bottles. Okay, fine, I can do that. ...
Weapons caches point to Iran -- [The Guardian - Tom Coghlan - in Kabul]
Explosive devices similar to those supplied by Iran to militant groups in Iraq have been found for the first time in Afghanistan.
As concern mounts in Kabul over Iranian ambitions in the region, The Daily Telegraph has learned that three Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) devices have been found by Nato in Taliban weapons caches in the west of Afghanistan in recent weeks.
EFPs, a form of shaped charge, are used in devastating roadside bombs that have been able to defeat even the best Western tanks and armoured personnel carriers in Iraq.
They work by concentrating the explosive force of the device through a machine-turned concave copper plate, which is projected as a molten missile through the side of the targeted vehicle.
Week 19--Progress -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
Well, progess continues on the hospital. Some major milestones were passed in the last few days. The hospital in now tied in to the main water lines for the FOB.
How I Insulted Local Officials -- [A Year in Afghanistan - NGO Worker in Afghanistan]
...Working on a military base, there are always security procedures for visitors. These vary according to the visitor, but for people we know well we can make the entry procedures faster and the searches less intrusive. So I showed up at the camp entrance to greet my 2 visitors -- and instead there were 8. The message in the phone call had been completely garbled. (See last post on the need for a good interpreter.) I had made the preparations to expedite the entry of 2 visitors, but I had not filed the papers necessary to expedite the whole group. I apologized for the miscommunication, and told them they were welcome, but the full search procedures would be required.
Traveling Home -- [Casa Suescun - in Afghanistan]
...As an aside – this was a great deployment for me from a professional standpoint. Thinking back you realize that you go to Medical School and then do a Surgery Residency and think you are going to make a difference in people’s lives and, on a small scale, you do. But, here at Salerno you actually feel like it is true on a much bigger scale. It is no exaggeration to say that our small CSH is probably the most advanced Medical Center in the local province. Patients traveled from very far away to be seen at our facility. Aside from the mental challenge, making a difference in people’s lives and helping those less fortunate is why I (and many others) went into medicine in the first place.
Oregon's 41st Receives a Medal for Bravery Before Coming Home! -- [Flag Gazer]
Brigadier General Douglas A Pritt was awarded the State of Afghanistan's Medal of Bravery by Abdul Karim Kahili, Vice President of Afghanistan. the award was signed by President Hamid Karzai. Pritt was the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix V whose mission was to train and mentor the Afghan National Security Forces.
"I am humbled to receive this award for bravery from the President of Afghanistan."
Palestinian "Missile" Fauxtography? (Updateded) -- [Jawa Report]
UPDATE 05/30/07 a.m: The incredibly lucky photog got a second photo of a "missile" on the same day.
The Seattle Times ran this as their "photo of the day". What's wrong with this picture? (Click for bigger pic)
Here is the caption from the Seattle Times: (PIC)
Palestinians run as a rocket falls at them during an Israeli air strike on the Hamas Executive Force building in Nusseirat refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza strip, Friday.
Er, pardon my skepticism here....but how fast does a "missile" travel anyway? Because, unless you're both really lucky and have an ultra-fast shutter speed, I'm guessing you're not going to be able to click off a picture of a "missile" miliseconds before it impacts.
...So, is this a case of a "doctored photo"?
Here's a close up of the "missile" from the largest version of the photo I could find, and which I've only blown up to about triple the original size.
...Notice the squarish pixelization around the "missile". Maybe some one who is better at digital photography or at Pshopping than me can explain that. Just an artifact of blowing it up? But the bluring around the "missile" can also be seen in the original, just sharper edges when you blow it up.
What No One Is Telling You About Our Talks With Iran -- [Par Dollard]
Watching the pundits discuss our historic meeting with Iran, you would have mostly heard despair at the notion that we have no leverage in these talks, and so therefor why would Iran give on anything? Why would they stop waging war against us in iraq if they have nothing to fear? To all the experts in the media, the whole thing seemed like some grand puzzlement. Was it just an attempt to appease the administration’s domestic critics who have been chiding it for not engaging in diplomacy ( a vaguery if there ever was one ) with the world’s top terrorist? No one you heard from could really quite grasp what was going on.
Crocker comments on meeting with Iraqi, Iranian delegates -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — The U.S Ambassador to Iraq held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Tuesday.
Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, commented on his visit to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s home the situation in Iraq was discussed with Iraqi and Iranian delegates. The meetings between U.S. and Iranian delegates commenced after 27 years of silence.
Bashar Bashes the Competition -- [Defense Tech]
Defense Tech would like to be the first in the blogosphere to congratulate Syrian “president” Bashar Assad on his stunning landslide victory for another seven years as ruler of Syria.
How he eeked out a 97 percent victory in an electoral field devoid of competition is the biggest mystery. Maybe it was his four-point healthcare plan or the Baath party's “green” energy agenda?
The Rising Dragon -- [Defense Tech]
Just in case you didn’t see it already, the Pentagon released its annual Chinese Military Power report Friday.
One of the best China reporters in the country, Bill Gertz, wrote in the Washington Times that the report shows a robust effort by the PRC to develop anti-satellite weapons that can “deliver a knockout blow to many U.S. military satellites.”
The Same Old Threats from the American Face of Al-Qaida -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Evan Kohlmann]
The As-Sahab Media Foundation has released a new video today of most wanted American Al-Qaida operative Adam Gadahn, titled "Legitimate Demands". In a fairly brief recorded message lasting less than eight minutes, Gadahn issues a familiar set of accusations against the United States and the Bush administration, coupled with vague threats of violence. Though Gadahn peppers his diatribe with clear references to recent events (such as the massacre at Virginia Tech), much of it appears to be the same old recycled propaganda. Arguably the most incendiary remark made by Gadahn in "Legitimate Demands" is taken almost verbatim from a similar video message he recorded of himself in September 2004:
Al Qaeda's American Flack in New Video -- [ Counterterrorism Blog - James Gordon Meek]
Osama Bin Laden's Jewish-American mouthpiece Adam Yahiye Gadahn, aka Adam Pearlman, aka "Azzam al-Amriki," is making a new appearance on video at this hour to threaten more attacks, which this century's "Tokyo Rose" promises will make America forget 9/11.
The DJ Emery Family -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
I was going to add more of an update about what's been going on, and how DJ's been a bit frustrated with some setbacks, but honestly, it should really be left at that.
Tiger Woods & Troop Support -- [ROFA Six]
... Tiger was giving back, something he does often and was not asking for anything in return. Woods was announcing that the military would get 30,000 free tickets to the AT&T National tournament Tiger is hosting over the 4th of July at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. Tiger was quoted as saying:
"It's our nation's birthday," Woods said. "It can't get any better than that. ... I know what it's like, my father being in the military, and I know the commitment that it takes. I have friends who are in the military, as well.
This is the end... for now -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose In Iraq] HT BlackFive
Well I just wanted to let everyone know that I will no longer be post blogs on my site anymore and have made my old posts inaccessable. It has come to my attention from others in positions where they have more knowledge on this subject than I, that I was saying things that needed not and should not have been said. For this I am deeply troubled for I never meant for ever such a thing.
Safe and Sound -- [From My Position... On the way!]
Rich is Home!
My brother in law arrived home Saturday (a surprise to us all). he bigins RN school (began, I suppose) today.
At least one of my family members can go to a war zone and come home with all his bits.
Report from Rat -- [Afghanistan Without a Clue - home from Afghanistan]
Well it has been about a month since I have gotten home, I have been settling back into the family rhythm, and I have to say that it has been an adjustment for me and the girls too. When you spend a year away from home there are many things that change. I have to learn to live with them again and they with me.
The Meet and Greet was a blast. The radio station had it all hooked up and we got to meet a lot of great people from the area who had been listening. The station also hooked us up with some nice gifts like tickets to some Texas Rangers games and a weekend at Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor water park too.
Unending War -- [Town Hall]
Before Congress adjourned last week on another of its lengthy holidays, Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeated a phrase she has previously used about the war in Iraq. She again referred to it as "the Bush policy of unending war in Iraq."
...Were the dominant surrender wing of the Democratic Party to have its way, American troops would immediately come home, causing all of Iraq to devolve into murderous chaos. There would be religious retribution against those who not only worship differently from the majority, but also the murder of "collaborators," meaning those who voted, assisted in the writing of Iraq's constitution and helped the U.S. while trying to help themselves.
The Army We Need -- [Weekly Standard]
We can't fight The Long War with the forces we have.
In wartime Washington there is but one point of bipartisan agreement: The land forces of the United States are too small. Hillary Clinton may be trying to make her fellow Democrats forget her vote to go to war in Iraq, but she insists that "it is past time to increase the end-strength of the Army and Marines." Sen. Barack Obama agrees, and even the New York Times has editorialized that "larger ground forces are an absolute necessity for the sort of battles that America is likely to fight during the coming decades."
Sheehan 'Resigns' as War Protest Leader -- [Military.com]
FORT WORTH, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the Soldier's mother who galvanized the anti-Iraq war movement with her monthlong protest outside President George W. Bush's Texas ranch, says she is done with being the public face of the movement.
"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday while driving from her property, now called Camp Casey in honor of her son, in Crawford, Texas, to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.
"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal," she said
Petraeus' September preview -- [CDR Salamander]
Lawrence J. Korb is a reliable source of I&W on where the anti-victory caucus is planning to swerve next. As Cindy Sheehan has learned, they are not anti-war or pro-peace, they are anti-Republican. They will attack anyone, discredit anyone, join with any ally to ensure the the Democrat power structure returns to power. This isn't about freedom, peace, the soldiers, or the security of this nation. This is all about power.
Rare Good News on Iraq from CBS News: Maliki Says Surge is Working -- [NewsBusters]
Although Katie Couric began Monday's CBS Evening News coverage of Iraq on a downbeat note, pointing out how May has become the “deadliest month” of 2007, with “at least 114” U.S. servicemen killed so far, she moved on to how “in an exclusive interview, Iraq's Prime Minister tells CBS News the security crackdown is working.” From Baghdad, Lara Logan offered more of a glass is half full spin as she relayed how, “in his first American television interview since the U.S. troop surge began in February, Iraq's Prime Minister told CBS News today the additional forces here have prevented an even greater catastrophe.” Logan challenged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's premise: “When we talk to Iraqi people on the streets of Baghdad, they say security is worse. Murders went down, but they're coming up back up again. There are still bombs every day. What is your sense of the quality of life to Iraqi people?”
Engage: Iraq As It Is... [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Reliably in my mailbox this afternoon was my copy of National Review Dead Tree Edition. (The only edition that impresses my father in-law, much to my intellectual approval-seeking dismay, but alas...) And within the latest edition can be found an excellent piece by Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan titled "Iraq As It Is... (...and not as individuals might have it be.)" It is important, particularly for its timeliness as we begin to head into summer months that will be filled with bloody fighting with al-Qaeda terrorists at close quarters, street to street and house to house in their entrenched positions in Diyala province.
The entire article should be read for its proper contextualization and debunking of various erroneous positions and their respective defenses.
Censorship in Iraq? -- [An independent look at The World]
Thought everyone might like to read this piece in the New York Times by David Carr about an alarming new policy in Iraq.
It now seems you have to recieve permission from a wounded soldier. Any photo of a dead soldier's face, as it is has always been, prohibited.
Here's the new rule, as it was written in the NYT piece: paragraph 11(a) of IAW Change 3, DoD Directive 5122.5:
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
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.
And so they met today! -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
...Iran mocked Iraq and America today, their ambassador was here just to laugh at us and buy time for his regime by trying to fool us with his we-want-to-work-this-out-through-negotiations.
Take a look at this part:
Casualties of War: -- [Duke in Iraq - Broken Masterpieces]
Women and children are both a direct and indirect casualty of war. One of my roles during this deployment has been to care for the children who have been injured as well as care for those who have come to our gates seeking help where many Iraqi’s consider the only place in their country where their children can be helped.
There are many reasons why children are injured. The most common reason children come to us is from IED blasts or mortar attacks. The terrorists have increasingly targeted civilians in places where many children can be found. The next way children are injured is by bullets or bombs intended for the terrorists. To avoid being captured the terrorists often set up there mini bases in apartment complexes, schools, or mosques. They will then fire rockets or other weapons
Darwinian Award -- [Desert Flier - a Navy nurse in Iraq]
Sitting in EVAC this afternoon...
...Charlie Medical reverberates with a detonation. "Wait, that wasn't the TV." This one rattles the windows for about 4 seconds....big one.
...As we assess and start dressing the burn patient's wounds and hanging antibiotics, the first sergeant walks through from Tactical Command and tells the surgeon "No casualties from the VBIED".
We all have this incredulous "what the....?" look on our faces. Turns out, the VBIED driver only managed to blow himself up. His incompetence has an end result of one death....his own.
Transition -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...The first road we are on is so heavily traveled, it is almost like the classic movement to contact. The insurgents have so little time to put something in, we need to be lucky and be the force they try to go after next to keep this road completely safe. But with two actors, both of whom have very different goals, and neither of whom knows exactly what the other is doing actually coming upon them at a time of our choosing is difficult.
After an uneventful time on the main road we turn off to a secondary road. All of the sudden everything seems to slow down and people become hyper-aware. ...
Featured Report from Iraq: A look a the surge from Baghdad -- [The Fourth Rail]
By Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who is currently embedded with the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery in western Baghdad. Support for Daveed's reporting was provided by Public Multimedia Inc.
As I write this, I’m nearing the end of my time embedded with the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery (known as 2-32), which is working with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division while in Iraq. During my time in the country, I was able to go on a number of patrols; see some of the fruits of the current military “surge”; get a look at the Iraqi security forces and interview American soldiers and officials about their progress; speak with a number of servicemen, military officials, and Iraqis; and visit several locations in Iraq, including the International Zone and Baghdad outside the wire. This report, which I wrote exclusively for The Fourth Rail, is designed to summarize what I found.
What I Saw Looking Out the Hole Where the Window Used To Be -- [Cannoneerno4 - in Iraq]
I escaped my penal colony for awhile, on a business trip to the big city, and got to ride from BIAP to Balad on a Blackhawk, in the daylight, which is a new experience for me. I had been doing all my flying in the dark and rarely saw what was out there. It’s hot already, and even with the windows down (out altogether, actually) and 130 knots blowing, it’s still hot.
The door gunners searched for targets, but the guns weren’t needed that trip. Mookie Sadr had come back and VBC was on alert and we were ready for trouble, but
Seven hostages rescued in Baqubah -- [MNF-I]
BAQUBAH — Coalition forces rescued seven kidnapped victims during a three-day operation in Chibernat, a village north of Baqubah, Wednesday.
Coalition forces also discovered more than 10 caches, nine improvised explosive devices and detained 11 suspected insurgents throughout the course of the operation.
IA, CF rescue 42 individuals at al-Qaeda hideout near Baquba -- [MNF-I]
BAQUBA — Iraqi Army and Coalition forces conducted a raid based on a tip from a local citizen, and discovered 42 individuals at an al-Qaeda in Iraq hideout six miles south of Baquba, Iraq Sunday.
During the raid Soldiers from 5th Iraqi Army Division and U.S. Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, discovered the men, who claimed to have been held captive by al-Qaeda. Some claimed to have been held as long as four months.
Warrior Battalion defeats 18 IEDs in 48 hours -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Tips from local citizens led Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division–Baghdad troops to discover 18 improvised explosive devices in the Rashid District of Baghdad May 23 -24.
Security in northern Iraq aids economic opportunities -- [MNF-I]
A view from the tenth floor of the new Naz City Apartments in Irbil, located near the new state-of-the-art convention center and Irbil International Airport. A group of international investors traveled the stable northern region of Iraq and continued to meet with local business leaders, members of chambers of commerce and key government officials as some arranged for return trips to begin projects Friday. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Juanita Chang, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.IRBIL — International businessmen representing more than a dozen companies continued traveling through northern Iraq in search of economic opportunities Friday.
Clothes Donations -- [Me Over There - A Navy Nurse in Iraq]
Last weekend we spent over 8 hours organizing all the clothes donations that we have recieved. What you see here is only a fraction of what we have. When patients (military, civilian, adults and children) are brought to us, their clothes are often already destroyed, or cut off by us. This is so we can quickly evaluate what is wrong and where the injury is. With these donations, we are able to outfit the patients with clothes to wear when they leave us. Along with clothes, we have been recieving toys for the children, who are very appreciative.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 -- [High Plains Patriot]
Deployed to the Sunni Triangle, working directly with the people of Iraq became the duty which consumed the majority of my time during my tour there. I was responsible for processing claims against the U.S. government when an Iraqi believed we had committed a wrong against them and claimed compensation for loss of property or life.
On making the leap -- [Making the Leap... - in Iraq]
...I put my name on that list, and I made the cut. That involved finishing my finals early so I could go to reclassification school. There was no Brazil trip. There wasn't much flying. There was no workshop. And the Army training that had been planned was definitely not a two week stint. I made a choice between two planes, and I picked the one that took me to the desert rather than a sleepy Brazilian town.
...I don't regret hitting reply, no matter how tough things get.
Reflections on Management -- [Calvey in Iraq - in Iraq]
...Most people in this world seem reluctant to make decisions that might displease another person. I suppose that is natural. But it is self-defeating in the long run. Many people never get over that reluctance.
I am glad to serve however the Army wants me to serve, whether as a worker bee or as a manager. Either way I think it will make me a better leader when I return home, in the business world or as a father, for instance.
I am very proud to be here, and this would be a perfect opportunity if I did not have to be away from Toni. That's the part about being deployed that is hard- not rocket attacks, or heat, or long hours.
Iraq Pictures -- [Iraq Pictures]
Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Schweinfurt, Germany, provide security before conducting house to house searches for illegal weapons, explosives and high value targets in the Sadiyah section of Baghdad, Iraq.
Back in action -- [The Zeke - in Iraq]
Military life has a way of making you create your own little shell. A place where you only have to make your mental state function on the barest of information. No higher thinking is usually required. Survival. Not "of the fittest" type. But the essentials. Food, drink, hygiene, job. Of course there is more to it; communication home... Simple joys of mail or growing your own "lawn." But most of life consists of getting your job done, then keeping entertained. No room for higher thinking (hence my blog and journals). Mostly, it is the lack of interaction with non-military and non-military life that creates this wall of emotion, or lack thereof. It was nice to see that I am still me to an extent. The real test will be the months ahead and the mountains to be climbed at home. Regardless, it is a mountain I'm ready to take on!
Better Bombs Vs. Better Armor -- [Firepower Forward]
I've been maintaining an ongoing skirmish of words with with a small segment of the population of Glenwood Springs, CO and the encompassing Roaring Fork Valley through the editorial pages of the local newspaper there, Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
There was a recent letter that I think deserves a bit more widespread scrutiny though, that from the mother of a new soldier apparently in or on his way to Iraq. Among other things, Ms. Nicholls states that sustaining casualties from IEDs in Iraq is preventable. All we need to do is provide up-armored HUMMWVs to every soldier in Iraq.
Hello From KAF and Some More Pictures... -- [Partamian Report - in Afghanistan]
Well... I've been in Kandahar for a few days now. It a lot like Kuwait as far as the temperature and humidity goes. It's way nicer here than at Phoenix. We're still getting acclimated and waiting for decisions to be made regarding where we will get pushed out to. There's really not much to report at this time. Kandahar Air Field is pretty nice for what it is. There's a lot of Canadians and Brits here.
Terrorist Cash Crunch Causes Change in Strategy -- [Strategy Page]
May 29, 2007: The Taliban announced a new strategy, which involves sending assassins and suicide bombers after government officials and foreign troops. There will be less emphasis on have large numbers of armed Taliban out and about (where they are spotted from the air, and attacked). This new tactic was opposed by the late Taliban senior combat commander, Mullah Dadullah, as it meant giving up trying to control parts of the country.
A Message from Al-Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan Sheikh Abu Laith Al-Libi -- [MEMRI Blog]
On May 24, 2007 Al-Qaeda's media company Al-Sahab posted an 11-minute video by Sheikh Abu Laith Al-Libi, Al-Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, titled "Countering the War of Imprisonment." Abu Laith's address – which is accompanied by English subtitles and by still images of Abu Laith and of the imprisoned Islamist sheikh Abd Al-Rahman – is part of an Islamist campaign to release mujahideen held in prisons around the world.
Abu Laith states that the "infidels" are waging a "war of prisons and captivity" against the mujahideen, and are incarcerating large numbers of Muslims as part of a deliberate policy to gain, through "coercion and repression," what they have failed to gain through "debate and persuasion." Next, he describes
Securing the Perimeter - Winning Hearts & Minds (3)
Afghanistan: May 28, 2007 -- [Afghanistan Watch - Canadian toops]
Special Report - Brave Soldiers; Timorous Public
But the angst is ours, not theirs, the soldiers who have most to fear and perhaps to doubt. They may rage at times over the enemy's tactics – ambushes, roadside detonations and suicide bombings that more often kill Afghan civilians – and occasionally their spirits sag. Yet they've never lost heart or resolve. Which is so much more than can be said for the hand-wringing Canadian public.
Focus on Al-Qaida in North Africa: -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
New Video, Transcript, and Report Available
On May 9 and 10, Al-Qaida's Committee in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)--formerly known as the Algerian Salafist Group
Jamestown Foundation: Al-Qaeda's Media Doctrine: Evolution from Cheerleader to Opinion-Shaper -- [ON Point]
Al-Qaeda has always regarded media work as a key weapon in its arsenal, although the group has no claim to originating the use of the media as a weapon for the mujahideen. The Afghan Islamist insurgent organizations—especially Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e-Islami and Ahmad Shah Masoud Jamiat-e-Islami—ran extensive if rudimentary media operations during their jihad against the Soviet Union. The groups employed inexpensive magazines, local radio broadcasts, newsletters, video and audiotapes and posters to promote their cause in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Arabs who came to support the Afghan insurgents took this locally-oriented media project, translated its products into Arabic and distributed them across the Arab world. Later, the Arabs and their respective NGOs reproduced these items in a number of languages, making them accessible to Muslim readers in Europe, the Far East, Africa, Central Asia and North America.
Al Qaeda Telethon Appeals for Donations -- [Strategy Page]
May 28, 2007: Borrowing yet another technique from other non-profit organizations, al Qaeda has gone on television and appealed for donations. Pointing out that the organization has thousands of gunmen and suicide bombers on the payroll, and a severe cash shortage in Afghanistan, .the leader of al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, Shiek Mustafa Abu al Yazid, made the plea recently on al Jazeera television.
Meet One of Our Comrades-in-Arms: Lance-Corporal Craig Lundberg -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...The work of the American medical staff in Landstuhl stabilized Lundberg sufficiently to enable his transfer via an RAF Aero-Med Hercules C130 aircraft. He arrived at Birmingham's Selly Oak hospital on March 27, where he remained until May 3.
I had never heard of Lance-Corporal Lundberg until receiving this email the other day. I'm sure you'll agree that Mrs. Lundberg has every right to be proud of her son.
Rolling Thunder in DC -- [View from the 8th Floor]
If you haven't experienced the annual biker invasion of DC by Rolling Thunder, you're missing out. We got a preview during Gathering of Eagles this year, but the sight of the Mall covered in a heavy dusting of Harleys and biker jackets makes me grin each time I see it.
Military History Becomes Left-Wing Commentary -- [NewsBusters]
At the MRC, we work to make bias history. In the media, they’ve learned to bias history – even Military History.
The magazine by the same name has gone left. How far, as Johnny Carson fans would say? So far that the June issue included several letters skewering it for the “outrageous” switch from a balanced historical publication to another left-wing political outlet.
On a weekend where we honor our warriors past and present, it’s important to note that the left does not. And now they have taken their propaganda to a whole new audience and are trying to alter not just the future, but the past.
War of Words -- [Real Clear Politics]
The campaigns are sending dueling press releases about the Iraq supplemental vote, with McCain first to fire:
...Then Mitt Romney:
What happens when you read past a NYTimes headline -- [Michelle Malkin]
Here's the Drudge-hyped headline of a morale-undermining NYTimes article just in time for the Memorial Day holiday:
Doubts Grow as G.I.’s in Iraq Find Allies in Enemy Ranks
NYTimes reporter Michael Kamber reports from Baghdad on a story that's not news--militia infiltration of some of the Iraq security forces being trained by American troops (we noted the same problem during our embed in January reporting from the same area Kamber apparently visited). Give Kamber credit for not relying on some anonymous local stringer. As for the anonymous NYTimes headline writer: Big "F." While the NYT headline emphasizes a bleak outlook, there's more to Kamber's story than "doubts growing" among G.I.'s. For example, there's this:
NY Times Admits Iraq Is Exporting Terrorists -- [Sweetness & Light]
Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq
When Muhammad al-Darsi got out of prison in Libya last year after serving time for militant activities, he had one goal: killing Americans in Iraq.
And Now, A Word From the Front to the MSM -- [Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler]
LC 0311 Crunchie was kind enough to forward this article to us, in which Chief Warrant Officer Jim Funk, a Blackhawk pilot of the Iowa National Guard currently in theatre, shares his feelings about the MSM and their relentless war to demoralize the troops, the American public and providing good cheer, aid and comfort to our enemies.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics -
Today our nation celebrates Memorial Day, a time when we pause to remember our veterans who have died defending our country and our freedom. Our nation first began paying tribute to fallen soldiers after the Civil War, and out of that tribute a solemn and meaningful tradition was formed.
This edition is a Memorial Tribute from those that have lost loved ones, those from the Front, those who have served in the past and those that support them.
"A man is not dead until he is forgotten"
Faces of the Fallen
Here are the names of the fallen who have died serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
Last Goodbye: US Soldiers from Iraq War -- [prezjackie]
Another Memorial Day in Iraq -- [JusticeSoldier.com - in Iraq]
It is with heavy heart that we usher in another Memorial Day here in the hot and dusty lands of Southern Iraq. As Americans at home and across the globe embark upon their travel plans for picnics and other family gatherings, 4 of our finest are still considered missing in action (MIA) here in Iraq.
...Despite the horror of the recent kidnappings, there is a lot of good coming out of Iraq - too bad you all back home will never hear of it (blame your media). Al Qaeda is finding hard times lately, as the local populace grows increasingly tired of the bombings and has now begun to openly hunt Al Qaeda in multiple areas of Iraq. Iraqi’s are standing up in defiance of this extremism and beginning to kick Al Qaeda’s ass from town to town, literally putting them on the run. The news seems very reluctant to report on this progress,
Memorial Day 2007 -- [Learning to Live - husband fallen in Iraq]
I never know what to say on this day. I am sure it is obvious how I am feeling today. It is my third Memorial Day that has meaning. This photo is one of the few I have of Sean in his BDUs. It was taken in Kosovo in early 2003.
Robert Stokely: Memorial Day - A Day to REMEMBER -- [Thunder Run - Mr Stokely's son fallen in Iraq]
No doubt, as David recounted the other day, Memorial Day has become anything but in the eyes of most. Plain and simple, Memorial Day is about one group of people who share one common distinguishing denominator - they are U.S. military peronnel who died in the line of duty, serving with honor the country the America they loved. DUTY HONOR COUNTRY.
This past week I have tried to think what is the proper approach to Memorial Day. Obviously the word celebrate, at first glance seems to have the wrong "theme", for how do you celebrate the death of a soldier, sailor or airman in the line of duty? It should not be called a holiday for can it be proper to have fun and leisure on a day when we are supposed to be remembering those who died in the line of duty so we can remain free and prosperous?
Wounded Warriors -- [Lumberjack in a Desert - injured in Iraq]
You might never hear me say this again so listen close. CNN has some excellent programming on the war this Memorial Day (I am just as suprised as you are). I watched Wounded Warriors today and was quite suprised at how much of the Green Zone Hospital I remembered. I was pretty much in shock with my right arm blown off and my left hand and arm sprayed with shrapnel when I was wounded on the eve of December 19, yet I was still aware enough to take in my surroundings.
Our Little Patriots -- [Karen Z - From My Position... On the way! - husband injured in Iraq]
I have a quick story to share, which I feel is appropriate this weekend as we remember the men and women who gave their lives in the name of freedom! Happy Memorial Day to all... may we Never Forget!!!
This is about our 7-year-old son (Creighton) and 4-year-old daughter (Adelle). We have a flag hanging on the front of our house next to the garage. We come and go and see it every day... it is a "normal" part of our lives. Until one day Creighton did something that made me so proud I was near tears...
Bang the Drum Slowly -- [Some Soldier's Mom - son injured in Iraq]
I meant to ask you how to fix that car
I always meant to ask you about the war
And what you saw across a bridge too far
Did it leave a scar...
And it's a good time to remind you that not all combat wounds are visible... and that not all combat deaths are those on the battlefield...
Remember Us All -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
At the end of 'Saving Private Ryan', when CPT Miller is shot and knows he is dying, he grabs PVT Ryan and tells him, "Earn this." He died to save Ryan's life, and unless Ryan makes some use out of that fact, he died for nothing.
I can't say 'we don't mind dying, we knew that risk was part of the deal'. None of us want to die. But there are ways that we accept it. We all volunteered to place ourselves between our homes and families and war's desolation. We don't mind dying....for a reason. For America, for human freedom, for a noble cause, for our buddies...the last full measure has to mean something.
Because if we have to die, don't let it be for nothing.
For God's sake, if we have to die, make it for something.
And for God's sake please, please remember us.
Memorializing Our Fallen -- [SWJ]
...You don’t invest a large part of yourself in people and an organization though without having concerns. One of the last things I remember there was the BN CSM Tom Adams opening up one of the first deployment briefings explaining why getting your personal life in order was so important before deploying to war. There was silence and a few nervous laughs when the CSM reminded the men that some of them and their buddies would not return – they would die in combat.
From my follow on job, I kept tabs on the BN and most important to me, those I had special bonds with – the ones who I had sat on a range with and talked about shooting, knew where they were from, had shared coffee with, discussed some personal problem I might help them solve, or just BS’d with on the stairs to the company or in their platoon CP. I had friends and my old boss, who when they found time could shoot me an email with news.
It was not too long before the first deaths occurred.
A Memorial Day Message -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I am out here in Anbar Province with Task Force 2-7 Infantry. The area around Hit (pronounced “heat”) is so quiet previous units likely would not recognize the still. There was a small IED incident this morning, and the explosion was a direct hit, but the bomb was so small that mechanics had the vehicle back in shape by late afternoon. Calm truly has fallen on this city.
Tribute To The British Soldiers Killed Around The World -- [JonathanLyall]
Dear World -- [Making the Leap... - in Iraq]
Please take note of our return. Give us a hero's welcome, regardless of whether or not we feel we deserve it. Shake our hands, give us a hug, let us know that we were missed, that we are wanted, that we were cared for, that we are welcome.
...Please help us heal our wounds, obvious or not. Do not linger on scars, on missing limbs. On the other hand, don't handle us with kid gloves when we need your help -- we will not shatter.
America is at the Mall -- or, A Call to Remember Memorial Day -- [Assad Baghdad - in Iraq]
The anti-war movement assails the President for failing to ask the American people to sacrifice during war--and fundamentally I don't disagree with them on that point. The only thing we, as a nation, have been asked for is patience, and, in the days after 9/11...dare I say it...to go shopping. We were asked to live our lives as we normally would, ignoring the sounds of war marching all around us. Sadly, that's easy to do in modern America, where the military is less than 1% of the population, and when fewer and fewer communities support military facilities. It's easy to do when large numbers of Americans view this war only as an abstraction, a news report, or nothing more than a political push me-pull me.
Last year, I travelled to Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country, and I spent a number of afternoons visiting Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. I met many of our nation's wounded warriors, and ...
Memorial Day: Observed -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
I have long tried to observe Memorial Day as it was intended; in remembrance of those who died fighting America's Wars. My most memorable ones were in 1992 and 1993 when, as a member of 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) I walked through Arlington National Cemetery with a ruck sack on my back placing a US flag on each grave in my assigned area. At Arlington the only time flags maybe flown on individual grave sites is during the Memorial Day weekend.
Speaking to the VFW -- [Calvey in Iraq - in Iraq]
Greetings from Baghdad!
As I write it is 111 degrees in the shade here. I am just getting used to it, although I know it will get hotter still.
...I think it was every year since I was elected to the Oklahoma Legislature in 1998 that I was the guest speaker for VFW Post 9969 in Del City for Memorial Day.
The members of the VFW, and all veterans, along with our current servicemembers, are my heroes. Although I cannot be with the members of the VFW on Memorial Day this year, I am with them in spirit.
Memorial Day -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
I'm early for Monday, but I'll be out on the road then.
I used to be like most Americans who looked forward to Memorial Day as a 3 day weekend that kicked off summer. Even after I joined the National Guard in 1992, it was a day to show up at the armory for a quick Memorial Day service, and then back home for a few beers.
But on October 21st, 2000 I found out what it is about.
My unit was on weekend drill at Fort McCoy, ...
Faces of the Fallen
Here are the names of the fallen who have died serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Tribute to the Fallen Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan -- [dgct2]
28 May 2007, Memorial Day -- [Sgt Dub - in Afghansitan]
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag. - Charles M. Province
In memory of those of Task Force Phoenix V, Afghanistan, who gave the ultimate sacrifice:
LEST WE FORGET - British Armed Forces In Afghan Remembered -- [CF2006UK]
President Bush Pays Tribute to America's Fallen at Arlington National Cemetery -- [FOX News]
...Speaking of the more than 368,000 buried through history at Arlington National Cemetery, Bush said, "Nothing said today will ease your pain. But each of you needs to know our country thanks you and we embrace you and we will never forget the terrible loss you have suffered."
The Virtual Wall -- [Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund]
The Virtual Wall is a commemorative website created to extend the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It allows families, friends and veterans to post photo, text and audio remembrances to those who lost their lives in the war or remain missing in action.
Memorial Day: “Americans will die for freedom…” -- [The Anchoress]
An Englishman decides that it is a sentiment not worthy of mockery, after all.
The Americans are more old-fashioned than us, and what is equally admirable, they are not ashamed of being old-fashioned. They know Churchill was a great man, so they put his house on the map. There is a kind of Englishman to whom this sort of behaviour seems painfully unsophisticated.
But lest these impressions of the United States seem unduly favourable, it should be added that the Americans have not remained in happy possession of their free constitution without cost.
American Soldier- Toby Keith (tribute) -- [beevmeister]
This is a tribute movie that I made for one of my english classes.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial ~ Plans Unveiled -- [Gazing at the Flag]
The Wall of Faces will feature photos of service members whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Memorials We Deserve -- [RedState]
...At some point in the next few years, the National Park Service will give us its version of the Flight 93 Memorial. It won't have any of the sentimentality of left-behind crosses or rosaries, motorcycle jackets or matchbox cars. Neither will it have any elements of the heroic or the classical--no obelisks or domes or statuary. Instead it will, as the NPS Flight 93 Memorial newsletter soothingly explains, offer the visitor "space for reflection, learning, social interaction, and healing." Not to mention wind chimes. And a spacious visitors' center, too.
To those who prefer their monuments to be monumental, this may come as something of a disappointment, if not an outright betrayal. Even at this late date, seemingly ordinary citizens can perform extraordinary feats, as Flight 93's heroic epic reminds us. The problem isn't that we've run out of heroes in America. We just don't know how to honor them anymore.
Memorial Day -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
You've seen the price of freedom.
Tell them about the sacrifices made,
and still made every day for us.
Tell them that being a Soldier is about love,
about the greatest love there is:
The willingness to lay down your life for another
Photo from Military.com's Tattoo Gallery
Support Our Troops--Operation Gratitude Makes A Difference! -- [Operation Gratitude]
"I would like to personally thank you for the many gifts that our command received last week from OPERATION GRATITUDE. These gifts were a great morale boost for the entire crew. The support your organization has shown to the Armed Forces personnel is overwhelming. This organization is proof that many Americans do care about our troops serving in harm's way. Our crew represents almost every state in America. They are men and women that have dedicated their lives to serving their country. All have put "Country" before "Self". Thank you and your entire organization for your PATRIOTISM. I have served in the United States Navy for over 23 years and these packages are by far the best I have ever seen from any organization.
Actor Gary Sinise Receives 'G.I. Spirit Award' -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
WASHINGTON, May 27, 2007 - Actor Gary Sinise received the G.I. Spirit Award yesterday during the first G.I. Film Festival, held over the Memorial Day weekend at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here.
Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Mary Jo Myers, presented Sinise with the award, which is meant to honor the entertainer who most embodies the spirit of the American G.I. and his work.
...Iraq war veteran Army Capt. Dennis J. Skelton, who brought fellow servicemembers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center National and the Naval Medical Center at Bethesda to the event, recognizes that American support for military personnel has undergone a tremendous change.
"It's amazing to see the transition that has occurred in this country over the last four decades between the last major conflict, which was Vietnam, and the global war on terror," Skelton said. "There is definitely no shortage of patriotism in this country, and that's evident by the number of non-profit, philanthropic organizations, and attention that America has given.
Google Ignores Memorial Day…Again! -- [NewsBusters]
Well, citizens, America’s leading search engine, and one of the most powerful forces on the Internet, has once again ignored Memorial Day.
As NewsBusters reported last year:
I’m sure most Googlers are extremely aware of how Google will dress up its logo at its web search or news pages in honor of holidays or special occasions…Yet, if you go to Google’s home page here, or its news page here, you will see nothing commemorating today’s national holiday.
One might have thought that after last year’s scrutiny, Google might have capitulated. Not so.
Yet, since last Memorial Day, Google has recognized the following:...
The Memorial Day ads are here. Arrgghh! -- [Butterfly Wife]
Those would be the Memorial Day ads. It is especially frustrating to hear about LaZ-Boy furniture and their Memorial Day Sale!!! At least Buick/Pontiac/GMC dealers are attempting to combine patriotism and supporting our troops with sales. Unfortunately, on their websites, they completely fail to mention the A Million Thanks organization that is promiently displayed in their TV commercials. Just promoting their cars and sales. Cuz that's what Monday is really all about.
How not to honor a fallen soldier -- [Michelle Malkin]
Welcome to Memorial Day 2007. Here's a lesson in How Not To Honor a Fallen Soldier 101. Don't do what Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson did to fallen Marine Lance Corporal Aaron Austin:
Get his name wrong.
Exploit his death on the campaign trail.
Insult his mother by claiming she talked about money with you at his memorial service, which she vehemently refutes--and then refuse to apologize.
Here's the transcript from Meet The Press yesterday. Geez:
Memorial Day 2007. -- [John of Argghhh!]
...Just by living our lives, and taking an interest in what goes on around us, we pay that debt. We can pay it ahead by keeping an eye on those who commit us to war. And recognizing that avoidance for avoidance's sake is as bad in its way as rushing headlong and blindly into battle. Truly, in this arena, the answer lies in the middle, not at the extremes.
The Honor Was Ours -- [Sgt Hook]
For one week each month, my unit has a 9-soldier detail, including riflemen and a bugler, trained and ready to don their class ‘A’ uniforms complete with all awards, standing by to provide military honors to veterans who have passed away in our area. Sadly, each time we’ve pulled this detail (6 consecutive months), we’ve conducted funerals nearly every day of the week. I recently had the opportunity honor to participate in one of those ceremonies…
I stood in the almost green again grass, just off the edge of the narrow winding road, a few yards from a dark blue awning that provided shade for a dozen chairs, all facing a freshly dug rectangular hole in the earth. The sun was out, the birds singing.
Remember -- [Flopping Aces]
As you read, turn on your speakers and listen to: "In a Mother's Eyes" by Andrew Dean.
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for another."
...Memorial Day in Iraq
Today in Iraq, U.S. soldiers, both men and women ,will observe Memorial Day with personal reflections on fellow soldiers who have died in that long conflict. One news report even showed Iraqi Sheiks and tribal leaders coming to a U.S. Marine compound to pay their respects to some of the 3444 U.S. soldiers who have given their lives to help Iraq and ensure U.S. National Security.
While each of those lives lost is tragic and we honor and mourn their loss, we can also be thankful that we live in a nation where such sacrifice is less and less called upon. Since Memorial Day started as an observance of our Civil War dead, contrast the 3444 fallen soldiers in Iraq over four years with the 3,650 U.S. and Confederate troops who died at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.
Wherever You Will Go Military Tribute -- [AmericanBattleCry]
Memorial Day - How to honor the Real Heroes -- [BlackFive]
First, if you are relatively new to Blackfive, you should read this story about a Memorial Day four years ago - Mathew Schram's Memorial Day.
And, unfortunately, we've posted many memorials to our Fallen Americans.
...When Taps is played at dusk, it has a completely different meaning than when Taps is played during the day. No soldier really wants to hear it played during daylight.
"To Fallen Comrades" -- [RedState]
It's been thirty-seven years since the night Jerry and I shared guard duty in the 81mm gun pit. He was a radioman with the Command Post and I was in the mortar platoon.
...There's an old saying about how tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I suppose that is why Jerry's death the next day, and the hour or two we spent the night before, are committed to my memory.
Many years after returning from Vietnam, I bought a computer and got online. Some of the first "surfing" I did brought me to veteran locator sites. Occasionally there were messages posted from survivors of soldiers killed in Vietnam. They wanted to hear from anyone who may have known their loved ones.
Memories of My Own on Memorial Day -- [Family Security Matters - Carol A. Taber]
Today, only a small number of Americans have known anyone personally who died fighting for our country, but I have. My war was the Vietnam War, and I was a Vietnam wife, so I knew quite a few.
...We speak of a military death as a sacrifice given to preserve our brilliant and beloved country and our very privileged and peaceful way of life. We envision these deaths where they most often occur - on the battlefield, as our children and neighbors and husbands are transformed into fallen heroes who fall under enemy fire and die heroically in an effort to defeat America’s enemies. But there are other deaths too, not so heroic but even more tragic and sacrificial, that occur in every war and their toll needs to be counted in the measure of whether war is worth the sacrifice we all make.
A few such deaths stand out particularly for me and I always remember their haunting images when Memorial Day rolls around.
Memorial Day Tribute Video to Our Fallen Heroes -- [Sparks from the Anvil]
...Major Douglas Zembiec's widow, Pamela, bows over the casket of her husband Wednesday afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery before his internment. The couple also have a 1-year-old daughter, Fallyn. Major Zembiec was 34, a highly decorated Marine Corps officer. He was killed while leading a raid on insurgents in Baghdad on May 10th, 2007. He earned the Bronze Star with a V for valor for his actions in Fallujah in 2004.
AMERICA DOESNT FORGET! -- [One Marine's View]
As Memorial Day approaches, don’t look back on Tuesday and go “I wish I would have done this or that”. Do something special this Memorial Day that recognizes those who have gone before us to make a difference. Don’t look at it as a chance to have a three day weekend to go camping but a special day to acknowledge those who help America what it is today. Below is a post I wrote a time back. Hope you enjoy it and especially this Memorial Day. Semper Fidelis and God Bless America!
Honoring the Fallen -- [Human Events]
It was an unseasonably cold Memorial Day 1991 -- the gray morning sky blanketing a dewy ground. We sat in white chairs beneath a tent near an oversized mausoleum. I wore a red shirt and blue jean skirt and my legs threatened goose bumps against the dreary chill. The somber cast of the day kept my questions unasked. I stood beside my grandpa, a veteran of the Navy, as the sound of “Taps” drifted into play in increasingly strong tones – slicing through the silent gray like a beacon of reverence extending to the heavens.
Memorial -- [chic[k]pilot]
We left our places of work. Walked out of the squadron, the office, the shop, off the flight line. Where there would normally be the buzzing, whistling, wizzing, bustling sounds of one of the busiest airfields in the country, all was quiet. We walked, we drove, in silence, while a C-17 landed with precious cargo. We lined the center avenue of our base, side by side we stood. Pilots, maintainers, personnelists, commanders, officer and enlisted, instructors and students, military and civilian. The Honor Guard escorted the white hearse as it creeped along the street, followed by cars of family and friends of our fallen brother. As the line of vehicles neared each one of us, there was a salute or hand placed on our heart and a tear in our eye. With the police escort long past, our eyes followed the convoy through the gate as it sent our comrade on his way to rest.
Cheers on Corridor Three -- [Blog Them Out of the Stone Age]
...For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway — 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts. They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals.
Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly. There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks.
An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past. These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home.
Don't let them be forgotten -- [Old War Dogs -- Bill Faith ]
Don't forget to take some time between beers this weekend to remember our POWs and MIAs. This would also be an excellent time to discover Marsha's new blog I'm still in the process of putting the finishing touches on; click here.
A Mother’s Tears
Marsha Burks-Megehee, 2003
A mother’s tears were shed today
For a battle long ago;
Her precious gift to a warrior son
Whose fate she’ll never know....
Decoration Day -- [Old War Dogs - J. D. Pendry]
We still call it Decoration Day here in Wild Wonderful. Many of us will visit a cemetery this weekend and pay our respects to those who have stood final muster and answered their last recall. I’ll visit my Father, WWII Navy Veteran Hudson Grey Pendry. Most of our youngsters don’t know about this special day and what it represents. Take the opportunity this weekend to forget politicians and their antics. Instead, take time to visit a cemetery and reserve some time in your mind and heart for people who truly deserve our thoughts. Take time to educate a youngster about Memorial Day. Tell them why we must remember the Men and Women who have sacrificed so that we can remain a free nation.
Memorial Day 2007 -- [Gateway Pundit]
First of all... As we remember those who went before us-
Thank you to all of the brave men and women who are serving in the military today... And, especially to those who are serving this great nation in Iraq or Afghanistan. Thank you.
Bob McCarty is promoting his IRAQ SURRENDER GROUP FLAG Fitted T-Shirt for the holiday weekend:...
Bob also notes where Speaker Pelosi is spending her weekend.
Pat Rowe Kerr, the Missouri State Veterans Ombudsman, forwarded this article about a Southern Missouri soldier's family in need.
The Politics of Memorial Day -- [Sgt Stryker]
Memorial Day is meant to be a day to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending this country. But there are those who are choosing to make Memorial Day into a political event. Presidential candidate John Edwards is at the forefront of a movement to make Memorial Day a day of anti-war activism. He is urging his supporters and anyone else who will listen to take to the streets over Memorial Day weekend to protest the war in Iraq.
Memorial Day: Eating My Words -- [Gun Toting Liberal]
A GTL™ “Blast From The Past”:
Want to see something amusing?
Take a look at my post from Memeorial Day Weekend of 2005, from the old blog; back in the “old days” when I still thought Senator Joseph Lieberman was a bit of a “hero” for sticking to his guns on the Iraq invasion when all of our other fellow liberals were blasting the whole fiasco and dropping like flies as things were beginning to look grim in the Middle East for our nation. I was still PROUD to be one of those “maverick liberals” back then…
Silent As The Grave -- [Villianous Company]
...On this weekend of remembrance, it is most fitting to recall who really protects America's beloved freedoms: Congress and the media.
With these two pillars of freedom bravely speaking out on behalf of our armed forces, there's no need for your inconvenient and superfluous opinions.
You needn't, for instance, give permission to be filmed while critically injured or dying. Never fear that your wife, eight year old son, or aged grandmother might stumble across that graphic video of you gasping out your last breaths as your buddies look on in horror. Who could fail to see that the closeup of your charred, bloodsoaked torso was meant as respectful "homage" to your sacrifice, a reverent sacrifice laid on the altar of America's all-consuming need to know?
Don't sweat it if, doped up on morphine, or writhing in agony from a leg blown off by an IED you scream, swear, whimper, say something embarrassing, or are caught sucking your thumb while half conscious. The New York Times has your back.
The Lost Heroes of the War on Terror -- [NRO - Jeff Emanuel]
Four names that every American should know.
Despite taking place in an age of seemingly limitless information, the Global War on Terror (GWOT) has spawned a paucity of stories of heroic action and courage under fire. Regardless of whether this has been the result of honest, if unfortunate, oversight or a byproduct of the “if it bleeds, it leads” mindset of a sensationalist 24-hour media apparatus, the fact remains that there are no grand tales being told of modern Audie Murphys, Jimmy Doolittles, Pappy Boyingtons, Bill Pitsenbargers, or Bud Days, despite the fact that the nation — and a significant amount of its soldiers — is at war.
War On Terror Tribute -- [Peptobismarck]
Happy Memorial Day -- [Jules Crittenden] I thought body counts went out with the Vietnam War. The AP is kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a fresh body count in Iraq.
The AP story leads with the number of new graves opened for dead American soldiers since Memorial Day last, but only those in Iraq. Why this slight? Are the dead in Afghanistan not worthy of respect in the eyes of the Associated Press? It is possible that this article is not about honoring the dead at all, or even about reporting the news, but just another thinly veiled editorial attack on the Bush administration? Would the Associated Press be so callous as to use American dead in this manner, as a political tool?
No Substitute Yet Found for U.S. Troop Blood -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-05-27) — As the United States marks Memorial Day, recognizing those who sacrificed their lives in service to the country, scientists worldwide admit they are likely years away from discovering a “fertilizer for freedom” as effective as the blood of American troops.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
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.
Ramadi all-nighters -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
1:06AM brings a loud rap on our door "11 in-bound. Mikes unknown".
Knocking the fuzz out of my head as we all stumble and hop around the room putting our uniforms back on. Hopping around on one foot, I avoid a collision with D squared just as someone flips the lights on.
Feeling like I'm floating to the back of Charlie medical, I run down a mental checklist of how many patients, where we are going to triage them, and making little bets in my mind that this could be a long night.
MASCAL #3 and some pics at the range
Air, ground elements continue search for missing Soldiers -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Soldiers continue searching around the clock for their missing comrades throughout southern Baghdad Thursday.
Baghdad: Patrolling Yarmouk -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - in Iraq]
On May 23 and 24, I went on a couple of evening patrols in Baghdad's Yarmouk administrative district. I went with a platoon from the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade, 32nd Field Artillery, with which I am embedded; they are working with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division while in Iraq. The battalion of which 2-32 is a part is responsible for a large section of northwest Baghdad, which includes a couple of districts that have been hot lately, Kadamiyah and Mansour. But the districts that 2-32 patrols -- Yarmouk and Hateen -- are relatively quiet. The most dangerous aspect of patrols in those districts is the drive to reach them.
Voices of Anbar: Riverine squadron proud
Voices of Anbar: Riverine squadron proud. Riverine Squadron reactivated since Vietnam and proud to serve in Anbar Province.
Marines volunteer to return to Iraq -- [LA Times]
In one battalion, 200 members opt to extend their enlistments, for no bonus money. 'I'm here to teach the younger guys,' says one.
RAMADI, IRAQ — Marine Cpl. Saul Mellado could be back in California, finishing the final months of his enlistment in a safe billet at Camp Pendleton.
Instead, the 23-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Mexico is patrolling these war-torn streets only recently wrested from insurgent control — and bracing for an expected counteroffensive.
Iraqis taking the lead at Al Suleikh -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Capt. James Peay was starting to feel like a third wheel.
Peay, a battery commander with the 82nd Airborne Division from Nashville, Tenn., was accompanying Iraqi police chief Lt. Col. Ahmed Abdullah on a combined engagement patrol through the east Baghdad neighborhood of Suleikh.
Iraqi Soldiers win hearts, minds
COALITION FORCES NAB 20 SUSPECTED AL-QAEDA TERRORISTS -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained 20 suspected terrorists during several raids targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq around the country Friday morning.
In Baghdad, Coalition Forces raided a house looking for a suspected al-Qaeda battalion commander. The ground force detained three suspected terrorists at the targeted location, including the alleged leader. Intelligence reports indicate he is responsible for numerous attacks in Baghdad, including assassinations, attacks on news media and attacks on the city’s infrastructure.
RAF jets save life of top Iraqi Police commander -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 crew saved the life of an Iraqi Police commander by "scaring the all living grace of God" out of rogue militias that had ambushed him.
The value of human life -- [Those Wacky Iraqis - in Kuwait/Iraq]
Everyone has a tough time over here with labor brokers and construction type firms when it comes to how they treat their workers. Our values and sense that all men are created equal just do not compute here. These brains are hard wired that if you are of a certain religion, nationality, caste, or tribe other than their own, you just don't count.
the al-qaeda torture handbook, chamber, and victims Marked as: Mature -- [Live Leak]
this was discovered in a recent raid.Al Qaeda terrorists use blow torches, electric drills and meat cleavers to torture and force information out of their victims, according to a "how-to" handbook discovered by U.S. forces in an Iraqi safe house.
The Defense Department recently released disturbing images and cartoons showing how to torture a captive found by American forces during a raid on a Al Qaeda safe house a few weeks ago. They also found photos of tortured Iraqi victims. The book guides followers of Al Qaeda how to interrogate and torture captives
Coup Panic -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
Fear from coups and implied threats with coups have been a common feature of the political scene in Iraq.
After the formation of Maliki's government with all the rifts inside the major political blocs that accompanied that stage, the political map became quite complex that groups within the same bloc were sometimes thought to be conspiring against each other.
At the center of most coup rumors was almost always the Iraqi List and its leader Ayad Allawi.
Right now there's a new uproar, a panic attack in Baghdad about an alleged coup plan, again
Al Qaeda strikes a funeral in Fallujah -- [The Fourth Rail]
Targets the funeral of a slain member of the Anbar Salvation Council
Al Qaeda's war against the Sunni alliance of the Anbar Salvation Council continues in the eastern region of Anbar province. Today, an al Qaeda suicide car bomber successfully attacked the funeral procession of a man killed earlier in the day. "That man was identified as Allawi al-Isawi, a businessman who was reportedly involved in a Sunni Arab alliance working against al-Qaeda fighters in Fallujah," Adnkronos reported.
He's Back: Sadr Resurfaces in Iraq -- [Iraq Slogger]
Najaf, May 25, (VOI) – Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr appeared at the al-Kufa Mosque, where he performs the Friday prayers, after three months of absence, reportedly outside Iraq, eyewitnesses said. "Sadr has arrived at the Kufa Mosque along with several of his supporters to perform the Friday prayers," eyewitnesses from Kufa, 10 km east of the holy Shiite city of Najaf, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). A source close to Sadr said the latter "is expected to deliver a speech before crowds of worshippers on the position of his current regarding several issued raised at present on the Iraqi arena."
Pimp my ride -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
...These kids get attached to their trucks, and inevitably they “pimp their ride” with custom light bars, sirens, bumpers, loudspeakers—not quite Road Warrior, but pretty cool. The best thing I saw, or rather herd, was some guy rigged up the music system from an ice cream truck. So the other day, I was walking along and I heard “It’s a Small World” blaring down the street in downtown Camp Victory, Iraq. It was great! Just hearing that sound brought me back to a simpler time and place. I think it made quite a few people’s day.
The Desert -- [The Calm Before The Sand - in Iraq]
117. In the shade. That's Fahrenheit, for those of you just tuning in.
It's been murderously hot, and getting hotter. The sun casts its hard eye down on everything, and as I walk around post, I swear I can feel the plant life dying.
In heat like this, even your skin feels like a bulky sweater; a hot, oppressive thing you can't wait to pull off. And sometimes, you're just crazy enough to try.
Of "Intellectual and Moral" Failures -- [SWJ - Brigadier General Huba Wass de Czege]
The SWJ received the following via e-mail from Brigadier General Huba Wass de Czege, US Army (Ret.) and continues the dialogue surrounding ‘Reflections on Generalship’.
With some interest I have been tracking these exchanges over what Paul Yingling, Jack Cushman and Doug McGregor have had to say about our military operations since 9/11. It takes a great deal of courage to say things that are sure to be unpopular whether you are beyond the reach of those who might be offended or not, and therefore we ought to listen for that reason alone. And Paul Yingling is most at risk, therefore his message interests me the most.
There is another reason to listen.
TRIBAL ELDERS SURROUND INSURGENTS -- [Centcom]
The set up of an illegal check point and the subsequent assault of a Jingle truck driver and destruction of a Jingle truck prompted local Tribal leaders to surround the insurgents responsible in a nearby house in Chapakoh village, Nuristan province May 17.
Coalition forces conducted a Shura where the tribal elders informed the Coalition that they had surrounded the insurgents, responsible for the attacks, in a nearby house.
Villagers requested the Afghan National Police arrest the insurgents. Coalition forces provided additional security outside the village while the ANP searched the home. The insurgents fled the village before the ANP or Coalition forces could make an arrest.
“This is a perfect example of how much the people trust the ANP and Coalition forces,” said Army Maj. Eric Zenk, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division spokesperson.
“They were willing to risk their lives to expel the insurgents who are not welcome in this village.
American Soldiers And Afghan Locals - Sing Along
"Celebrating the muslim new year in Afghanistan, American soldiers were invited to attend. One of us performed a decent rendition of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and the rest of us can't sing anyway."
Week 18--And the Beat Goes On.... -- [Richard's Deployment to Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
There appears to be no shortage of sick and injured in this part of Afghanistan. The days are long, but morale at the hospital is high. Even with everything that is going on, it is hard to blog every week. By the time I subtract anything that would violate Operational Security (OPSEC) and anything that would violate someone's privacy (my own rule) and anything the Army would consider detrimental to good order and discipline (so they don't shut down my blog) sometimes I'm not left with much to say! But I can always write about life on the FOB, or occasionally off the FOB. This week I was off the FOB on a mission, so I took a few pictures.
I'm always amazed at how difficult life is in this part of Afghanistan, and how resilient these people are.
Al Jazeera report on Afghan Al Qaeda leader
Al Jazeera has obtained a videotape showing Mustafa Abu al-Yazid presenting himself as the leader of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Afghan Warlord Should be Punished -- [Afghan Lord - Afghani in Afghanistan]
I wrote in my Farsi blog that Saddam Husain's execution is an alert to all war criminals in Afghanistan; some weeks later HRW announced that the warlords’ crimes in Afghanistan should be punished. It has driven many to conduct debates and force the Karzai government to deny parliament and house of the nations where all war committed crimes were committed by their local forces.
...If the US and International community want to bring peace and prosperity in Afghanistan they should implement a cleared strategy against gangs of warlords and drug traffickers. The warlords should be taken to the war criminal court in The Hague and punished.
In order to bring peace and normality to Afghanistan, the criminals should be sent to court.
If the US and its alliance want to have support, they should sympathize with Afghanistan’s victims of war. If the Mujahideen (holy warriors) will not be punished, this country won’t gain peace and prosperity.
Aftermath -- [Strategy Page]
May 25, 2007: More than 8000 refugees who fled Burundi in 1972 will be permanently resettled in the US. The refugees have been in Tanzania. The first group of approximately 90 Burundians left for the US in early May. The rest will be flying to the US throughout the remainder of 2007. Phoenix and Atlanta are two of the primary destinations.
Bush declassifies al-Qaida intelligence -- [Iraq Updates]
President Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq - and that the United States should be the top target.
The information mirrored a classified bulletin from the Homeland Security Department in March 2005, reporting that bin Laden had enlisted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to plan potential strikes in the U.S.
Terrorists Seek More Satisfying Targets -- [Strategy Page]
May 25, 2007: Government counter-terror investigators believe that Jemaah Islamiah leadership has recognized the decline in their popularity, and realized that large scale bombings of tourist targets is one of the reasons. Indeed, any attack that kills large numbers of civilians, garners much sympathy for the victims, and much hatred for the terrorists.
AT&T Support for the Troops -- [AT&T]
AT&T Supports Cell Phones for Soldiers
A long-standing mission of AT&T is helping connect military families. Cell Phones for Soldiers, initiated in 2004 by 16-year-old Brittany Bergquist and her 15-year-old brother Robbie, uses funds from recycled cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members – to help connect them with their families.
Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones from drop-off sites across the country, Cell Phones for Soldiers has already raised more than $1 million and distributed more than 75 thousand phone cards to soldiers overseas.
Guardian Angel for Soldier's Pet -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Touching interwiew with an Army couple, their two dogs, and Linda Ludwig of Guardian Angels For Soldier's Pet.
Watch the video.
Guardian Angels For Soldier's Pet is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit located in the state of Arkansas with affiliated chapters in Minnesota and Mississippi.
Added duties -- [Calvey in Iraq - in Iraq]
...I very much appreciate when decent people post on my blog. More than you realize.
I also appreciate the opportunity to engage in respectful, reasoned discourse with real people through a medium like this blog, including reasonable people who respectfully present a differing viewpoint. I have had numerous such conversations on this blog, and I think everyone involved has enjoyed them.
But lately a couple of anonymous individuals have chosen to post on this blog to present ad hominem attacks against me for my pride in serving my country here in Iraq.
I guess some people have nothing better to do than to attack those of us who are serving here in Iraq and are proud of it.
Do You Appreciate All You Have?? -- [Tanker Brothers - Aussie Chic]
...Often your friends will never fully grasp what you feel. You will, of course, display the toughest exterior possible. Your partner is a Warrior, the least you can do for them is be strong. So when your friend complains that after 3 months she is still not pregnant, you smile and reassure her. You don't remind her you haven't seen your partner for 3 months and any Baby plans may have to wait another 9 months or so.
Have you ever been in that situation where you have been invited to something that requires an RSVP, but you can't RSVP because you don't actually know if your partner will be able to attend??
Hard to come home
Contrasts life in America with deployed soldiers.
The U.S. Army vs. Pinnacle Body Armor -- [ON Point]
Andrew Lubin Last Sunday, May 20, NBC News ran a television special in which they claimed that a Pinnacle Armor flak jacket known as “Dragon Skin” appreciably out-performed the current body armor used by the American military. NBC News claimed that Dragon Skin defeated more bullets than the current system of plates, Interceptor Extended Small Arms Protective Insert (ESAPI) fielded by the Army for Afghanistan and Iraq. Dragon Skin, according to NBC’s tests, also protected vital organs...
Soldier or Recruit: What's in a Title? [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
This is a subject that has been frequently brought to my attention by readers who want to know why soldiers in basic combat training are referred to as soldiers instead of recruits since they have not yet graduated and become 'full-fledged' soldiers.
Marine recruits, after all, are never referred to as 'Marines' until the day of graduation from boot camp. Marine recruits are 'recruits,' sometimes 'privates,' sometimes 'boots' — hence the term 'boot camp' — occasionally a few more colorful titles which I won't get into right now. But recruits have to earn the title, 'Marine.'
De Bitterness of De Foot Soldiers -- [Jules Crittenden]
… As they endure de agony of defeat. It’s been a rough seven years. Gore. Kerry. Now this:
WASHINGTON — Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled Congress grudgingly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war Thursday night, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.
Troops to Dems: Let Us Fight -- [Danger Room]
"Haunted by Vietnam, Democrats are determined to express support for the troops [while they advocate for withdrawal]. This is admirable. The truth of the matter, however, is this: many troops in Iraq, perhaps even most of them, want to stay and fight," writes DANGER ROOM pal Spencer Ackerman, in yet-another dynamite piece from his recent trip to Iraq.
Republican Votes Make the Difference -- [Weekly Standard Blog]
It was a busy day in the House of Representatives, with action on both the Iraq funding legislation and a major ethics reform measure. On the ethics front--and with Democratic dissension forcing votes on two separate measures--Republicans provided 195 of the 218 votes needed to pass a strengthening of ethics rules opposed by 85 percent of the Democratic caucus:
Congress backs Iraq funding bill -- [Iraq Updates]
Both houses of the US Congress have passed a bill allocating $100bn of new funding for the Iraq war.
The House of Representatives voted in favour of the bill, and the Senate approved it shortly afterwards.
Earlier President George W Bush praised the bill, a compromise measure between Republicans and Democrats without any timetable for a US troop withdrawal.
Illegal Immigration/Amnesty: We are missing the big picture -- [A Proud Infidel]
...We hear so many sob stories from the Dems that we can’t break up families and can't expect children who were born here in the US to be separated from their illegal parents. Well, the question is we also should be asking is, who put these kids in this situation? It wasn’t the US.
I have a unique perspective on illegals as I married into a family with many illegals and I happen to know the answers to the above referenced questions. Today’s immigrants want the benefits but don’t want to make the commitment to America.
Will Media Report Al Qaeda Torture Manual With Same Zeal as Abu Ghraib? -- [NewsBusters]
In early 2004, when the first revelations about prisoners being tortured by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq appeared, the media covered the story on almost a daily basis for months.
With that as a pretext, the website The Smoking Gun has obtained graphic sketches of various torture techniques being employed by al Qaeda, as well as pictures of victims that have undergone such treatment.
In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal."
...given the media’s fascination with what American soldiers were doing at Abu Ghraib, is it safe to assume that the same level of attention will be given to what our enemy is doing?
Sad.... -- [ArmyWifeToddlerMom]
It nauseated me to my core. The idea of someones, Husband, Son, Brother, Friend being talked about in such a callous way. For the media to think it is ok to talk about the condition of "a body" on National Television, is decadent.
...These are not bodies...these are children, lovers, friends...people we may have touched, hands that have held children, feet that have walked miles.
Can we please honor these brave men and women, by honoring them, and their families. This is not information that needs to be shared unless the family wants to do so...
A Note on Sources -- [Swampland -Time Blog]
...Finally, I find it amusing that some doubt the military source who told me the good news in Anbar province but don't question the sources who told me about the growing pessimism about the Shi'ites ever putting together a viable government...Why does good news about Iraq, however modest--and this was truly a modest, if intriguing, development--trouble you? Isn't it about time that the suffering Sunnis of Anbar Province had a little good news? (And the fragility of the good news is emphasized by a terrible bombing in Falluja today.)
In fact, my good news about progress against Al Qaeda was bad news for the White House: it came the same day that Bush was speaking at the Coast Guard Academy warning about the dire threat from Al Qaeda in Iraq in his usual hyperbolic way.
Al-Sadr Unveils New Plan to Humiliate Bush -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-05-25) — After several months in hiding, reportedly in Iran, radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr emerged south of Baghdad yesterday to tell his Mahdi Army to avoid shooting at Iraqi forces because the U.S. uses that as a justification to continue its illegal occupation of Iraq.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Task Force Making a Difference -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
When we arrived in theater last year no Coalition Forces walked through Ar Ramadi and there were no Iraqi Security Forces here to speak of. Now we have CNN reports like this one. Great job to the Soldiers of the Task Force and thanks to their families; without you this would not be possible.
100 Days -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - in Iraq]
Normally in the government sphere, there is some significance about the "First 100 Days". Being the captive audience, government employee that I am, I'll reflect on my first 100 days on this second trip to Iraq.
...Lastly, is close encounters of the explosive kind. Throughout the day we hear explosions and gunfire on the other side of the perimeter wall...from which we are situated about 75ft away. Volume and shock wave are the two factors we use to judge the proximity of explosions. Inside our office, we have a dry erase board hanging in front of our window. Explosions that are close enough will actually bow the window and shake the white board. We'll look at each other with raised eyebrows and say,"Nice one!". Two nights ago, I had the utmost in "Holy Smokes!! I need to duck" experiences ever.
...The biggest difference we face is in the value of life. Western cultures cherish it and the hard liner's & extremists see other's lives (not their own) as expendable...using women, children, and animals to blow up American soldiers
Cellular Battlespace -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
...Ducote, the commander of the 1-28 Infantry's Bravo or 'Battle' company answers nearly every call, going through a set of greetings himself so that the Iraqi callers know it is him they are talking to before he hands the phone to an interpreter.
The calls range from tips to complaints to pleas.
This morning it is a call from one of the leaders of a Neighborhood Advisory Council who heard third hand that the body of a woman--assassinated for being Sunni--was in a vacant lot.
The location the council member gave was out of Battle Company's operating area, but Ducote sent a unit to a point to where it could over watch the area and scan for the body.
"It could be a trap. They booby trap the bodies, position a sniper over the body," Ducote said.
"I don't think he's lying, but the people who called his relative are the ones not to trust."
"70%" of Iraqi Insurgents Are Not From Iraq! -- [Gateway Pundit]
Gulf States do their part in Iraqi 'Civil War'
Despite what Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi says...
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that 70% of terrorists in Iraq are not from Iraq!
Close call for Marines
Gator -- [Acute Politcs - in Iraq]
We said goodbye to Gator recently, after over four months of working together. Gator is the nickname Marines affectionately give their Amphibious Assault Vehicles- the 23-ton tracks that accompanied us on so many missions through Iraq. Our Gators were the men of Co. B, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion. Gator was the first Marine unit that most of us had ever worked with directly, and I doubt we'll soon see one better.
Iraq from the air -- [Those Wacky Iraqis - in Kuwait / Iraq]
...As I cruise above the strife, heat, danger, poverty, and misery I reflect on how fortunate I am. I am fortunate to be an American, a free man who can make the choice whether to be here or not. Those folks below me can't make that choice but I can. They can't run and I won't run. Dangerous or not, I am committed to finishing my part in this honorably and to the best of my ability.
General Petraesus's Letter to the Iraqi people -- [ON Point]
ON Point: Early this week General David Petraeus wrote an open letter to the citizens of Iraq. With the American efforts embroiled in a Sunni- Shia - Kurd - Al-Quda - conflict of gordian knot complexity, With this letter, Gen Petraeus reached out to the Iraqi people in order to explain the current American role in their country, what he expects from the Iraqi's, and what is the end-goal which he and the American troops he commands are seeking. OnPoint was sent this letter by General's media relations...
The Adviser Model -- [Slate - Bing West and Owen West]
We have to stay in Iraq for a decade. Here's how to do it.
Now that Democrats have stripped their troop-withdrawal timetable from the war funding bill, it's clear that American forces will remain in Iraq through 2008. It also seems likely that they will stay much, much longer. The leading presidential candidates in both parties recognize the dangers of a rapid pullout, and achieving stability in Iraq is going to take a decade. (In this piece, Phillip Carter argues that the United States can withdraw quickly, and explains how to do it.)
Exit Stage Right -- [Phil Carter]
A step-by-step plan for withdrawing from Iraq.
In a carefully lawyered statement this week, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace told a Senate committee the Pentagon had "published no orders" detailing American plans to leave Iraq. Translated into English, this means that the Pentagon has compiled volumes of unpublished plans, PowerPoint briefings, and staff studies about how, exactly, we would withdraw from Iraq. The Iraqis, too, say they are planning for our eventual departure and the chaos that would likely ensue.
How to Withdraw from Iraq -- [Danger Room]
Just to be clear, before the trolls go nuts: Iraq vet Phil Carter is not advocating an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq. Nor am I.
But "eventually, as even Gen. David Petraeus admits, our time in Iraq will run out, either because the Iraqis force us out or because the American people run out of patience," Carter writes in Slate. Which means the time has come to at least starting planning "for America's exit from Iraq... To not plan for it would be military malpractice."
Confluence -- [Threats Watch]
Abandoning Iraq Would Mean Catastrophe Elsewhere As Dominoes Likely Fall
Following majority leader Harry Reid’s declaration that the war was “lost,” General David Petraeus spent his day reassuring prominent Iraqi religious, political, and military leaders. Many Iraqis fear the United States will abandon their country as in 1991, only this time to the ruthlessness of al-Qaeda rather than the brutality of Saddam Hussein.
Who could blame them for detecting such signals in the air? Even though the new strategy put into effect at General Petraeus’ hand shows unmistakable signs of progress in a mere few weeks, there also appears to be no political will to see it succeed.
The Desert Heat -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - in Iraq]
Today temperatures will be as high as 111 degrees in Camp Liberty, where I'm embedded. Even walking under the scorching sun can be tiring, and the desert heat will play tricks with your mind. At one point yesterday I forgot the name of a lieutenant I was supposed to meet with -- something that would normally leap immediately to mind. Another time I got turned around and it took an unusually long time to regain my sense of direction. These were small mistakes made in a safe place. In a more dangerous context -- on a patrol, in the middle of an insurgent attack -- small mistakes spurred on by the desert heat can have far more serious consequences.
MARINE ENGINEERS UNDERFIRE
H&I* Fires, 23 MAY 2007 -- [Argghhh!]
So, what’s the real death toll of Iraq on US personnel, once you’ve included the contractors, you ask? Not as high as many would like to make it seem. An extra thousand. Not trying to make light of this, but even with the contractor casualties this is still one of the least costly, in terms of casualties, wars the US has ever fought.
Iraq Report: Bad News in the Search -- [Roggio Report]
The search for the three missing U.S. soldiers abducted west of Mahmudiyah on May 11 may have taken a turn for the worse. Unconfirmed reports indicate that up to three bodies resembling American soldiers have been found in a river near the town of Mussayab, south of the search area. The bodies are said to have been clothed in Army fatigues. Multinational Forces Iraq confirmed it was working to identify one body, but there is no confirmation on the other two. In today's briefing, Maj. Gen. Caldwell stated that intelligence indicates both soldiers may still be alive.
One of three missing soldiers found dead
CNN - Arwa Damon reporting from Yusifiyah, Iraq BAGHDAD - A body pulled from the Euphrates River south of Baghad Wednesday was identified as one of three American soldiers
DoD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Walsh from Iraq -- [Defense Link]
As you know, the United States contributed almost $22 billion towards Iraq's reconstruction efforts, and of that, 376 million (dollars) went to the health care sector. The U.S. contribution was intended to jump-start the rebuilding efforts here in Iraq and help the Iraqi government lay the foundation upon which to continue to recovery and rebuild their country.
Every day in Iraq, we see the fruits of our labor. Many of these successes are things in America that we take for granted. One of them is access to local medical facilities throughout the country.
The Gulf Region Division is working on renovation projects at 20 different hospitals. We're also constructing 138 primary health care centers, and constructing one new speciality hospital, all focused -- all of these are focused on pediatric care or maternity care.
One of the hospital's renovations highlighted includes the Najaf Teaching Hospital. ...
The Revolting Generals: calling them on the carpet -- [CDR Salamander]
Major Daniel L. Daniels penned an OP/ED at The Washington Times that calls a spade a spade - and hits a home run. Funny how the retired GOFO come out of the woodwork as election season comes around and they want to get on the short list for the next Democrat Administration - but when they are actually called forward to help now - you know - to win; well some have other issues of more importance. Go get 'em Dan.
Good News, More Souvenirs -- [Half a World Away - in Iraq]
We got some good news about 2 weeks ago and it is finally official so we can share it. We found out we'll be leaving "early" from Iraq, so instead of getting out of here in mid to late July, we'll be leaving in early to mid June. We have a date but can't give it out for security reasons. Most likely we'll be home in time for the 4th of July. Obviously we are very excited and morale is high. There is much to do as we got short notice and have about 2 months of work to do in 2 weeks. That is fine though, it will make the time go back quickly. Unfortunately, the 167 is the only unit getting replaced early, the rest of the Red Bulls will be leaving as scheduled.
This is the BX here on the base. Technically it is the AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) store. There motto is “we go where you go”. That part is true, every FOB has at least a BX trailer. Think of it as a Wal-Mart whose inventory is managed by a couple of monkeys. For some reason the sell 42” plasma TVs, but can’t seem to keep anything else in stock. You can’t be choosey wish it comes to shopping there.
The Taliban Take a Tumble -- [Strategy Page]
May 24, 2007: Year two of the "Return of the Taliban" is turning into a disaster for the visitors from Pakistan. So far this year, three members of the Taliban ruling council have been killed by NATO and Afghan forces. The overall casualties this year are running behind those of last year, and the Taliban is taking more of the losses than last year. This year, the Taliban don't have the initiative, but are instead on the run most of the time. NATO and Afghan forces have launched several offensives of their own ,
Vanessa R. Bowman in Khandahar
Royal Marine Helmet Camera in Afghanistan gets shot in the A...
Good morning, Kandahar -- [Western Standard.ca Blog - journalist in Afghanistan]
What surprised and impressed me about this young guy was how level-headed and realistic he was regarding the overall mission here in Afghanistan. Without prompting, he put it in context of other long missions Canadians have accomplished, Bosnia, Cyprus, etc. He didn’t sound like he was just regurgitating stuff he’d been told.
As for the PM’s speech this morning, here’s a pic just to give you a general idea of the circumstance: you’ll be hearing clips on the TV news no doubt this evening. Here is the text as it was given to me. Download speech_to_troops_final.doc
Enemy Well Fought in Afghanistan
Don't ask troops to stop doing their jobs-- [The Hamilton Spectator]
The next time a Canadian soldier is killed in Afghanistan or anywhere else, think about his or her death the way soldiers do and ask the following two questions:
The troops don't understand those who get squeamish or question Canada's contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan when a soldier or soldiers are killed or wounded by the Taliban.
They accept that risking their lives in the war against terrorism is part of their job and that casualties are an inevitable fact of war.
The Story Behind the Latest Iranian-American Hostage -- [Gateway Pundit]
An Iranian website offers more details on the latest American arrested in Iran.
Kian Tajbakhsh joins three other Americans detained by the Iranian Regime.
A regime-run website Bazteb News (Persian) reports on the Soros consultant working in Iran who was arrested recently:...
MPAC in Denial About Radicalization of Muslim Youth? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Earlier today, on CNBC’s Kudlow & Co., I debated the spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Edina Lekovic, on the findings of the recent Pew Poll on the levels of radicalism within the American Muslim community.
The Letter - [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...Today I received a letter from the child of a regular Badgers Forward reader that inadvertently touched me deeply. I am changing a few things for privacy sake, but other wise typing verbatim.
Dear Badger 6
Hello my name is PC. I am a foruth grader in New Jersey.
I hope you are heatlthy and doing okay. I am letting you know that we kids care about you guys as much as adults. My class and I would like to know what an average day is in Iraq.
Surviving -- [Lumberjack in a Desert - injured in Iraq]
I just wanted to let everyone know I am still alive and kicking. I realize it has been a long time since you have heard from me so I wanted to put your fears at ease. I still have my daily physical and occupational therapy, visits to prosthetics, mountain loads of paperwork for my medical board, as well as a million other little things that always seem to pop up last minute. Not only that, but I try to spend most of my time involved with Project Healing Waters trying to go fly fishing and fly tying.
Light, From Darkness -- [Villainous Company]
There is a positive river of outrage flowing through the streets and cities of this nation right now; a veritable flood tide of righteous indignation on behalf of America's armed forces. Because unlike Vietnam era war protesters, those who oppose the 21st Century Quagmire support their troops:
Army Airborne trooper meets Alzheimer’s patients -- [The Anchoress]
A pal of mine is a therapist in a facility for high-functioning Alzheimer’s patients. One of the staff organized a collection of goods to be sent to Iraq for our soldiers, and yesterday a young man - Army Airborne, on his way back to Iraq for a second turn - showed up to collect the packet and thank the staff.
Yet more truth about Dragon Skin -- [OPFOR]
Recent comments on this site and others continue to show that people are unable to comprehend what they are being told about body armor. They continue to believe Murray Neal, Pinnacle, SFTT, and the rest who have hyped body armor that is heavier and less capable than the issue gear. I have trusted my life to the issue body armor, and I will do it yet again later this year.
By the way, those who trouble themselves with a little factual research will discover that the Army testers get paid the same amount whether the Army adopts Dragon Skin or not.
Next week we get them blogging -- [Lex]
In “The Hill” magazine, the Joint Chiefs have some words for the American people as we head into Memorial Day - I thought I’d share them with you:
U.S. Military Collection
Ancestry.com, a research database for genealogists, has just added a fabulous collection of military records that's worth a look. Their new Military Collection includes all the WWII United Newsreel collection, all the WWII Stars & Stripes editions and something like 7,000 photographs from the Civil War (including the Matthew Brady collection). This is in addition to the muster rolls, draft registrations, pension applications and other data we researchers love to dig through. The Military Collection will be open to all through June 6th and is well worth a visit.
Iraq War Funding: Dems capitulate for now, but watch out for September -- [Q and O]
Good synopsis of the politics of the fight about the latest version of the Iraq Supplemental bill from the US News & World Report "Political Bulletin" (subscription):
...The pork, of course, is being underplayed now by the White House. And, as mentioned, the bill only buys a couple of extra months before this whole thing is back on the front burner. But in political terms, there's no question of who the winner is in this confrontation.
I'm Shocked, Shocked to Learn... -- [Armchair Generalist]
Sen. Joe Biden is joining my list of asshats for his pathetic attempts to mouth his shock that the Marine Corps didn't run out and just start buying Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles wholesale when the field troops asked for them.
...Come on, Joe. You didn't just join the Senate last year and find out how defense acquisition really works. Funny thing, the Marine Corps - the smallest of the four services - didn't want to casually decide on a multi-billion dollar investment for a vehicle that amounts to a huge armored bus with lousy gas mileage, no main gun, and no maintenance plan (other than contractor support) at the same time as when they have their Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle to justify.
Slander -- [OPFOR]
OK, I have accepted the fact that the press will report that every time we put another carrier in the Arabian Gulf that it is a "show of force," or an "impending attack." I get it. They can speculate. I don't necessarily agree that news should be speculative, but sure, you can go ahead and speculate.
Which is why I was OK when I started to read this AP article:
Outrage! -- [GM's Corner]
There is no such thing as a "liberal media;" so say the leftist pundits. After all, the media is owned by corporations which are by definition "conservative" and thus they wouldn't jeopardize their income by being liberal. And if you believe that twaddle, I've got a quit-claim deed to the Brooklyn Bridge I'd be happy to sell to you for the paltry sum of only $99.99. Think of it, having your very own bridge.
But, I digress! The ABC blog "The Blotter" has a report by Brian Ross and Richard Esposito concerning the existence of a "Presidential Finding" that authorizes the CIA to begin a campaign of "covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government."
...So, since this is a "covert" action, lets spread it over the airwaves and the internet, I mean after all, it is the peoples right to know isn't it? Geeze guys, can you be more Anti-American than you already are?
Toadying to Terrorists -- [Strategy Page]
May 24, 2007: Terrorists in Iraq have been getting more aggressive in trying to control the international media. For the last three years, it's been too dangerous for Western journalists to wander freely around central and southern Iraq. So Iraqis, and other Arabs, were hired to go and to do the interviews and get the video images TV news demands. The terrorists quickly made these agents of Western media know that survival depended on how cooperative the journalists were with terrorists goals.
Maysan -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
A Small Battle in the Media War
...While progress in Anbar is robust enough to make mainstream news reports, down in southern Iraq, the enemy is resurging. They are well-resourced, resilient and intelligent, and capable of landing hard punches. They recently “shot down” a C-130 with IEDs planted by the landing strip. The enemy may be good, but American and British forces are much better. On my previous two missions with the British Army, with the 2 Rifles first and the next day the Duke of Lancaster Regiment, they killed roughly a total of 40 enemy fighters, and they did so without sustaining a scratch to a British soldier. On the next mission with British forces, the enemy would successfully engage us, taking two British soldiers.
British Army Defeated By a Press Release -- [Strategy Page]
May 18, 2007: The decision not to send Cornet Harry Wales ("Prince Harry" to the media) to Iraq, in the face of threats against him, has caused the British Army a significant loss of face. Once again, terrorists have managed to manipulate a Western democracy through the adept manipulation of that country's media. It is a disturbingly familiar pattern in recent years, and there is a question that naturally arises. Can anything be done about it? Sadly, it seems unlikely.
Milbloggers Upset with Restrictions, But Won’t Stop Blogging -- [Media Shift]
Imagine you’re working at a small startup company and there are no regulations in place as to what you can do on company computers. You update your personal blog, and watch clips on YouTube during work breaks. But over time, the company grows bigger, and eventually tighter regulations come: no personal blogging on company time or blogging about sensitive company information; and no wasting time and company bandwidth with sites such as YouTube.
That scenario sounds straightforward enough, but overlay that onto the military, and you have military bloggers (a.k.a. milbloggers) and the media in an uproar about the chilling effects on free speech and censorship of military personnel.
A Critique of this Blog -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Not all the links I pick up are friendly, occupational hazard of putting your self out there. I was linked to the comments section of a trite blog. This was how one person opined about Badgers Forward;
Thanks for directing us to a font of propaganda. I have heard that the US military are working to use cyberspace more efficiently to push their mission, interesting to see one of their attempts. They could put a bit of effort into making it seem less like a propaganda outlet and more like one humble soldier trying to make a difference.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Iraq Report: Iranian EFP Cell Taken Down -- [Roggio Report]
An Iraqi soldier during operations south of Baqubah.Iraq has seen yet another relatively quiet day, with no major suicide bombings or large scale attacks. The most serious reported incident occurred in Mussayab, south of Baghdad, where three were killed and four wounded after a suicide bomber attacked a police checkpoint. The large scale attacks appear to be coordinated and meted out over regular intervals.
Framing Iraq -- [TigerHawk]
Anyone who is not trying to gain partisan advantage should think seriously about the best Iraq policy for the United States in the coming months and years. The purpose of this post is to propose a framework for considering both the Bush administration's policy and alternative policies offered by both the right and left. Toward that end, I offer a series of minimalist assertions, delightfully free of evidence and supporting linkage. Each assertion or question is numbered; please comment below with reference to the corresponding number. (Background note: Newer readers may want to look at the most recent edition of my "victory conditions" post, published about a year ago at The Belmont Club. It includes my basic thinking about the intersection of al Qaeda and rogue states.)
Salvation Council's Tough Stance -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
An interesting interview took place a few days ago in Baghdad with the head of the Anbar Salvation Council, Sheik Hamid al-Hais. He eludes to the surge in police recruits over the past few months in Anbar Province, and has some hard-hitting statements about our struggle with Al Qaeda in the area. We have the local and regional sheiks aligned with us, and the results are impressive and cannot be discounted. Critical daily incidents are down significantly in the area compared to a year ago, and the emergency response units we are guiding through training on-base are the reason.
Karma, Karma, Always Karma -- [Acute Politcs - in Iraq]
We took another trip up into Karma tonight. We patrolled up through the town and cut east, out through the area in which coalition forces recently took a bite out of al-Qaeda's anti-aircraft capability. One bomb crater nearly blocked the road in one spot- another was visible a short distance off the road. We spent four or five hours heading out to our turnaround spot, with dark clouds menacing their showers over the entire trip. Rainstorms are refreshing, once in a while, but they also mean more work spent drying and cleaning ammunition and weapons.
Seven days of searching in the Triangle of Death and beyond [Updated] -- [The Fourth Rail]
A soldier from the 101st Airborne searches for enemy activity on a highway near Mahmudiyah in early May. Click to view.
Nine detained in involvement of kidnapped soldiers, General Petraeus says information exists that two of the soldiers are alive
Seven days after al Qaeda in Iraq conducted a complex attack against an Army squad patroling the region west of Mahmudiyah, which resulted in 4 soldiers and an interpreter killed and 3 soldiers kidnapped, the search continues in the Triangle of death, and beyond.
Missing Soldiers Found? -- [Flopping Aces]
MEMRI is reporting that rumors are being passed around the jihadi blogs that two of our missing soldiers have been found decapitated.
...CNN is reporting that the US military is draining canals in Baghdad due to reports of decapitated heads floating in the water: ...
One Missing Soldier's Death Announced -- [MilBlogs - Chap]
I have received this public announcement from DOD
12 May was a hell of a fight. I'm very sorry to hear we've lost Sgt. Schober, one of four men reported missing from that fight.
Air, ground units continue search for missing Soldiers -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Soldiers continue 24 hour full spectrum air and ground operations dedicated to the search and rescue of three missing Soldiers, today.
Since May 12, pilots and Soldiers from 3rd “Spearhead” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, – a UH-60 Black Hawk battalion – have been conducting air assaults and air movements of Soldiers and cargo around the clock supporting the search for the missing Soldiers
Baghdad: Iraqi Journalists Targeted by Militants -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - in Iraq]
The tragic kidnapping and killing of ABC News employees Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf last week brought the number of journalists killed in Iraq since 2003 to 104. While I was at the Coalition Press Information Center in the International Zone yesterday, I sat down for dinner with a couple of courageous Iraqi journalists. They provided me with some context of the situation that journalists face here, and it isn't a pretty picture.
FIVE IRAQI HOSTAGES FREED -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Five Iraqis who were held captive and tortured by terrorists were freed Monday morning during a Coalition Forces raid on the site where they were imprisoned.
Coalition Forces targeted the building northeast of Karmah during continued operations to disrupt the al-Qaeda network operating in the area. After a thorough search of the building, ground forces found a padlocked room. Inside were four men and a boy who had been kidnapped and severely beaten with chains, cables and hoses. The four captives also showed signs of torture, and the boy stated the terrorists had hooked electrical wires to his tongue and shocked him.
Iraq Pictures 19 May 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures]
Soldiers from Company B, 3rd Brigade Support Battalion hold a prayer for a safe journey before the start of a mission to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment.
"Reflections from my time in Iraq" -- [Citizen Soldier Sojack in OIF - in Iraq]
(Editor’s Note: Carol Vols deployed as a civilian volunteer for the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade communications group at Camp -Anaconda, Balad, Iraq, from Oct. 1, 2006 to March 15, 2007. She shares her thoughts from her experience.)
-People who haven't been in a war zone don't understand. I know I didn't.
-You can't make people who haven't been in a war zone understand.
-Seeing a two year old in the hospital that was shot in the head by insurgents is as senseless here as it is when a two year old is shot in -America. The "why" doesn't matter. It's a two year old.
-Seeing soldiers in the hospital and asking them how they are doing when you can see they've been burned, lost limbs, and have shrapnel wounds seems somewhat silly. But it's important to ask.
-Watching your friend play his mandecello at the hospital for the wounded is something to sit down, smile at, and enjoy.
-The extra money you get paid really doesn't seem like that much when you're laying on the ground during an alarm red/incoming attack.
-We are at war. War is not pleasant and our soldiers and civilians will die. But you cannot continue to walk away or turn your head, or I guarantee you the war will be on American soil soon.
Awesome Military Women! - HT Citizen Soldier Sojack in OIF - in Iraq
Women are often overlooked and not recognized for their roles in the military
It's Officially HOT -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - in Iraq]
There was a USO concert here on Sunday by the all female rock group named Bandshe.
...Objectively, they were a talented group who sang everything from the Allman Brothers to Christine Aguilera. They chatted up a couple guys from the audience in between songs. The keyboardist on the right is a 40 something school teacher from California...said she hoped her students would take some pride in their country and serve like we are doing now. Nice touch...she is leading her students by example.
The following photo was posted on the Multi-National Corps-Iraq website. We have a few organizations on base (not sure which ones) who make their way out to the community orphanages and local communities. Yet another example of Americans opening their hearts to the locals, making a difference, and you'll never see this on CNN or the liberal news media who only want to sabotage what we do.
Geen Zone - [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
This is a picture of a street in the Green Zone. For a Baghdad street, it is pretty clean. All kinds of people are out and about. Of course, you have Soldiers everywhere, but also embassy employees, contractors, Iraqis, private security guards. You name it-- a total mix.
Life in the Green Zone -- [The Will to exist]
Share This Categories: Citizen Soldier and Daily Life Tags: Citizen Soldier, Daily Life.
"Green Zone" is perhaps the worst possible name for the sector of Baghdad where the U.S. and Iraqi governments hold court. It should be called the Bullseye instead. Recent reports indicate that the Green Zone is taking lots of mortar and rocket fire. That’s nothing new.
During my year in the Green Zone, I lost count of the number of mortar attacks. Sometimes, they would come while I was in the shower. One time, a mortar landed close enough to my trailer that the concussion knocked the shampoo bottle out of my hand and pushed me against the wall.
Baghdad: Behind the Increase in Mortar Attacks in the International Zone -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - in Iraq]
While drinking my morning coffee today in a small courtyard outside the Coalition Press Information Center in the International Zone (IZ, also sometimes known as the "green zone"), an alarm rang out. An automated voice declared, "Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!" Indeed, the increase in deadly mortar attacks in the IZ has caught the media's attention of late.
...As is often the case, the media has done a terrible job of reporting on the deteriorating security situation in the IZ -- not necessarily due to any overt bias, but because reporters have been characteristically ignorant and lazy in pursuing this story. Some basic questions that need to be asked are:
Positively Medieval -- [The Adventures of Professor Lieutenant Soule - in Iraq]
the longer i stay here, the more the medievalist in me marvels at the parallels between the current state of affairs in iraq and the dark ages of the western world. i'm staggered that no anthropologists or medievalists have tackled it yet... at least as far as i've been able to divine. now, obviously, my contact with the local populace is severely limited (despite the fact that i live in closer proximity to the iraqis than any coalition forces other than those who actually walk the streets daily), so perhaps my perceptions are skewed, but there are simply too many correlations to ignore.
first of all, the hierarchy of authority is thus: islamic sacred law (sharia) takes precedence over all, followed by the dictates of one's tribal elder,
STORMTROOPERS and THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA -- [The One Wire - in Iraq]
So, in an attempt to find some levity in generally shitty situation, I'm always on the lookout for some interesting and comical photo opportunities. In my own perverse sense of humor...these two pictures top my list, for now. The first picture was taken on one of my most recent trips to one of the oasis spots in Iraq that I frequent. Note the sarcasm in the word "oasis". This young soldier was the left-side "door-gunner" on the helicopter I was riding in. He was diligent in his observation duties when I snapped his photo.
Arabian Gulf Sunrise -- [Those Wacky Iraqis - in Iraq]
An interesting issue in this part of the world is what to call international areas like waterways. What you routinely call the Persian Gulf is called the Arabian Gulf by the Arab nations so that they are not constantly reminded that at one time they were all subjected to the boot heel of Persian domination.
Catching up on May, Big doings this month -- [McNeilly's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
I haven't written anything for a couple of days as we have had a VIP in our area scheduled, and I didn't want to give anything away. President Karzai came to town to talk with the elders of the area about the recent fight in Zirco Valley. I was not present for the discussion, but he addressed well over a thousand people, and he asked them if they wanted the US / ISAF forces to be withdrawn from the area. They as a group said that they did not want that. They do want schools and hospitals, which we were in the process of building prior to the fight in April. Ironically, one of the buildings that were used as a firing point was the school that we built last August to the tune of 100k. It has some cosmetic damage, but is still serviceable.
Desperate Taliban Changes Strategy -- [Strategy Page]
May 21, 2007: Another Taliban ambush backfired, resulting in at least 25 dead Taliban. NATO and U.S. aerial surveillance, and a growing network of informants, puts the Taliban at an enormous information disadvantage. When the shooting starts, the Taliban have only vague idea of who is where, while their opponents are getting live overhead video of the action. That, plus smart bombs and better trained troops, usually results in a very lopsided outcome. As a result of this, the Taliban now says it is getting out of the countryside and moving the war to the urban areas. This would appear suicidal, because the Taliban has far more support in the countryside than they do in the towns and cities. But
Made it to Afghanistan -- [PARTAMIAN REPORT - in Afghanistan]
I am now in Afghanistan. The mountains are beautiful, but the FOB I am at is not as aesthetically pleasing as the base in Kuwait... and it wasn't really pretty in Kuwait. I saw Erika and Chris there. That was cool to cross paths with some of my buddies from home. I'll post some pictures later if I have time. The convoy to the FOBwas interesting. I saw kids playing (one gave us the finger)we saw some men with beards who looked pleased to see us, and others who looked not so pleased.
Arrival - [ATT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
We've arrived!!! In the land of plenty.......of what I'm waiting to see. At any rate, it was pooring down rain on arrival as it was when we arrived in Kuwait last week. Not much rainfall around here and both places we fly into get rain. HMM. I hope that's a sign of God's promise. Now where's that damn rainbow?
Faces of Afghanistan -- [A JAG in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
Wanted to share some photographs. Some I took, some I found on the shared drive at Phoenix.
The Secret Weapon -- [Strategy Page]
May 18, 2007: Iran has obtained the open support of 56 Islamic nations, for its nuclear energy program. This support was limited to "peaceful use of nuclear energy," which is one reason why Iran insists it is not developing nuclear weapons, despite evidence to the contrary.
Death Toll at 65 in Lebanon- Wanted Terrorist Among Dead -- [Gateway Pundit]
One of the men killed in Sunday's fighting, Saddam El-Hajdib, was a suspect in a failed German train bombing a sign that Nahr al-Bared refugee camp had become a refuge for militants planning attacks outside of Lebanon. In fact it had been reported that the Al Qaeda-linked group was in the advanced planning stages for spectacular external attacks against civilian targets in Europe and the America.
Operation Fresh Air Update -- [Villianous Company]
Things are shaping up for Operation Fresh Air, but we can still use your help if you want to donate or live in the DC area and can spare some time.
Carrie sends a progress report:
Dixie Bones of Woodbridge gave us a great deal on some fantastic food, so if you're in the area, drop by and let them know you appreciate their support for our wounded soldiers and Marines. You won't be sorry!...
Soldiers' Angels Comprehensive Care Package Suggestions -- [Soldiers' Angels]
One of the most common questions from new members to Soldiers' Angels is what to put into that first care package. We have put together a list of some of the most requested items from our soldiers for you. Now, obviously you don't have to send ALL of these items in your first care package. This is just to give you some ideas.
Rosie: U.S. Troops are Terrorists -- [Villianous Company]
Zut alors! In une fit du beclownerie journalistique Rosie O'Donnell has once again blessed the nation with her unique take on geopolitical events:
Thankfully, Kate O'Beirne knows who Elisabeth Hasselbeck is. From Hardball last night where Rosie refers to our troops as terrorists:
Twins update # 3 ... -- [The Landlocked Sailor - in Iraq]
After several hours of trying it the old-fashioned way, the doctor's decided to perform a C-section on Karen after all. I was able to get through to the Operating Room on speaker phone just before the surgeon started to cut and ... at 6:41 PM (EDT) Patrick Andrew entered the world and his sister Bridget Grace joined him two minutes later. Both babies are doing great and mom is still finishing the C-section as I type (they kicked me out of the room after the babies were born). I'll get a chance to call her in about one hour where I can get some 'official' times, weights and measures. Thanks again for all your prayers. More to come.
The First Week Home -- [Bouhammer Afghan Blog - home from Afghanistan]
Well I have been home for a few days and am still getting settled in. I have meant to blog more, but getting on a laptop and typing away just has not been making it to the top of my priority list. It also has not helped that I have already turned my laptop into Best Buy to get fixed. It has had a hard last year and needed some repairs done badly. The screen won’t stay up without resting against something, the CD/DVD-Rom drive won’t read any disks and the battery only lasts about 20 minutes. I have about 6 weeks left on my service plan for that laptop so I wanted to get it in and get fixed or replaced with a new one. Granted there is no shortage of computers in my house, but taking the time to sit down and start typing just has not happened as much as I thought.
Dragon Skin Debate Heats Up -- [Defense Tech]
Soldiers for the Truth and other Dragon Skin advocates have already begun dancing in the end-zone on this. But as many DT readers already know, the field of ballistic protection is not a simple one. There’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye.
Fortunately, we’ve got it. But under ground rules, we have been “embargoed” from publishing information that would – and in some cases already has – force Dragon Skin’s vocal backers to scratch their heads and wonder whether the miracle armor is all it’s cracked up to be.
Dragon Skin Body Armor Report (Part 1)
From the May 20, 2007 broadcast of Dateline NBC.
Dragon Skin vs. Army -- [Defense Tech]
The report shows test conducted by NBC that seem to prove the vest - as its proponents have claimed over the last several years - can take many more rifle shots than the Army's Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts.
But Army officials disclosed to Military.com that in a series of tests conducted by the service in May of last year, the Dragon Skin vest failed to stop bullets as well as the current Army armor. In fact, test results showed that bullets slipped through the vest as early as the second shot.
The Dragon Skin Show -- [Defense Tech]
Alright, so the NBC piece on Dragon Skin aired last night. Based on the contentious discussion on this board, I figured most DT readers have seen it.
So what do you think?
I caught a few things that concerned me. First of all, the Dragon Skin was clearly tested on a flat clay backing rather than a curved one – while the ESAPI was tested on a curved backing.
Clinton, Webb call for body armor investigation -- [Raw Story]
Two Democratic Senators are calling on the Comptroller General of the United States to probe whether or not US soldiers have been issued "second rate" body armor.
"In light of recent media reports suggesting that a particular body armor system may offer better protection than the system currently being used by our servicemembers, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Jim Webb (D-VA) – both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee – today called on Comptroller General of the United States David M. Walker to initiate a Government
Let's Go Already! -- [Hard Soldier - training for Iraq]
Nothing makes a soldier move faster than when he knows that he is going home; well guess what ladies and gents? We are going home, well at least for eight days.
Aahh yes block leave for eight days. After 3 months of constant training and no days off we are being released back into the wild temporarily to say our final goodbyes to our loved ones. Marriages are going to happen, some guys are going home to empty houses because in three short months they found out their spouses or girlfriends just can’t cut it being a military wife.
Remember Jesse MacBeth? - [MilBlogs - Bubblehead]
The wannabe boot camp washout who "confessed" to being an Army Ranger who committed war crimes, and who got a big following among the gullible left before mil-bloggers (among others) outed him, wasn't forgotten by the criminal justice system. He was charged with two counts today related to his deception under a federal indictment unsealed in Seattle:
Armed Forces Day Security? [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Just got back from Celebrate Freedom (an Armed Forces Day celebration at Fort Jackson, S.C.) where thousands of people — adults and children — were walking around, wearing "Go Army" t-shirts, drinking Cokes and eating corndogs, checking out static displays of helicopters and armored-vehicles, as flags waved, soldiers smiled, and martial music blared from loudspeakers. There were also lots of veterans — including a few retired generals and at least one Medal of Honor recipient — a few authors hawking books, defense contractors showing off their latest weapons-systems, and some military recruiters.
Marine Corps Drops Drinking Age -- [GI Korea]
Could this ever happen in the Army?
The Corps-wide drinking age has been lowered from 21 to 18 for Marines on liberty overseas and for leathernecks taking part in official on-base command functions — including the birthday ball.
Consider Yourself Slapped -- [Some Soldier's Mom]
The other day the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a "Symposium" on PTSD. The speakers (besides all the members of the committee) included people from the Thought Field Therapy Center (ummm, tapping various pressure points on your body in a specific sequence and applied to a psychological problem the person is focusing on, "will eliminate the perturbations in the thought field, the fundamental cause of all negative emotions..." [ed. comment: including war??] and...
Priorities -- [Sgt Stryker]
...How can we seriously consider funding illegal immigrants, but refuse to fund our troops who are in harm’s way? The men and women who are putting their lives in danger in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve more than that. They deserve to be more than a political pawn, they deserve to be more than a budgetary weapon to use against the President. There should not be any talk about defunding a war when we still have troops fighting it. How is that blatant illogic of that statement not immediately obvious? Defunding a war when out military is still actively engaged in fighting the enemy is tantamount to abandoning our service members.
Issues -- [The Zeke - in Iraq]
Bear with me folks, this is a long one. This topic has long been a favorite of mine and I was waiting for the perfect opportunity. Well it has arrived. My home town paper printed this article.
That being the case, why do we gun owners need an assault weapon? Is it just for kicks? Isn’t it time we stepped up and told NRA to take the lead in calling for a ban on the manufacture of all assault weapons?
My lengthy response.
I am a soldier from Bemidji, writing from Iraq. This subject is a passionate one for me.
To the author of this article-owning guns and having been an avid hunter does not qualify you to speak on the subject of guns as you yourself have proven. “Assault weapons” have been around for years
Summary Of The Fine Print Read, And NZ's Easy To Use Text [NZ Bear]
— UPDATE: Be sure to check out N.Z. Bear's online version of the draft immigration bill which allows for section-by-section comments.
News Unfit To Print -- [Jules Crittenden]
More than a week of intensive operations, up to 6,000 troops, often on foot, presenting themselves as targets everywhere, and only two Americans reported killed in the search area as of last night, out of two dozen Americans killed in Iraq in that time. That’s remarkable.
PERSPECTIVE -- [Marine Historian - home from Iraq]
...Most members of the American public have not had the opportunity to put events in Iraq in perspective. They have not had the chance to see with their own eyes the progress that has been made, particularly over the past year and particularly in Western Iraq (which has been the epicenter of the insurgency for most of the war). While in Iraq I had the opportunity to compare media coverage to my own daily experiences and put it all in context. Since I have returned home, I have been shocked by the absolute lack of balance here on the home front. It comes as no surprise that atrocities are favored over stories about progress – the expression, “if it bleeds, it leads,” is well-known and true. More disappointing are the charged words and misleading images. The line between reporting and editorializing seems more blurred than I recall before deploying. Ever notice the images which run in the background during most cable news stories? Have you noticed that they use the same footage over and over? What you may not realize without perspective is that those images are months or even years old and don’t reflect the current reality in many cases. Images are very powerful… and sometimes powerfully misleading.
The Shelbystani’s LOST -- [Northern Disclosure - training for Iraq]
...I do want to mention that there has been a lot of hoopla about milblogging and whether or not we are allowed to do it anymore. I want to dispel the myth that millblogging is dead by letting everyone read this post. We registered our blogs with the security officer and are in accordance with the new guidance. We had always been respectful and protective of the information that we hold and publish. The story I am telling is our soldiers and not the political and operational story. I hope that all you readers out there understand that and continue to support our team. Bad VooDoo is alive and well and we are still keeping the Shelbystani’s down.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Iraqi Spokesman to U.S.: “Please Don’t Leave!” -- [War is Boring]
Yesterday the Office of the Secretary of Defense hooked up me and some other bloggers with Dr. Ali Aldabbagh, spokesman for the Iraqi government, for a quick chat. The good doctor had this to say …
Exclusive: Dr. Aldabbagh Interview -- [ON Point]
On Point: Last November and December, you and most responsible members of the government of Iraq were saying that you thought that an early American withdrawal would be “a gift to the terrorists.” But just last week, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said that he wanted the American troops out soon. Does Allawi reflect the mood of the Iraqi government?
Caldwell: Can We Just Walk Away? -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
From today's MNF-I operational update with Major General William Caldwell, the bulleted points are particularly noteworthy, as is the appeal for a principled approach to the heated debate over an Iraq withdrawal. The bullet points serve as a (nearly) direct transcript of Caldwell's opening statement.
It's all about the Iraqi people: Their lives, their choices, their future, and their timeline -- [Accuracy In Media]
What the troops, and the Iraqi people, appear both to want and to need is to be given the support and the resources which will allow them to establish a free and secure state which can endure without an overt American presence
TRCNAK - Our Support is Working -- [Thunder Run]
TRCNAK sends us another dispatch and provides us with some much need insight into how our support affects the troops in theatre. He writes:
"Whether you realize the full impact or not, you are doing a tremendous job for morale. We need what you provide. On a larger scale, your readers need to do what they do best. Whether it is to support the troops with mail or donating computers, or whatever it is - IT IS WORKING!!"
The Best Ambassadors -- [The Weekly Standard]
How American troops are making some unlikely friends
Baghdad - OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM saw the advent of a practice that has revolutionized modern war reporting: the embedding of journalists with frontline combat units. This practice gave the media, the American public, and the world, unprecedented access to the soldiers on the front lines, as well as to the war itself. "We were offered an irresistible opportunity: free transportation to the front line of the war, dramatic pictures, dramatic sounds, great quotes," said Tom Gjelten of NPR. "Who can pass that up?"
CNN: al-Qaeda on the verge of collapse in al-Anbar
Looking for That Civil War We are Bogged Down in -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
I've been out living among the Iraqi Police. Some people would say I was living among the Jaysh al Mahdi but I don't think the police are 100% JAM, maybe 10% JAM and 90% display the usual arab work ethic which is, uh, somewhere below the French work ethic.
Iraqis Observe Moment of Silence to Mark "Mass Graves Day" -- [Gateway Pundit]
What if you had a mass grave day and no Western media noticed?
Wednesday marked the day back in 2003 when the first mass grave was uncovered Mahaweel after the US liberated Iraq.
Iraqi Special Operations Forces detain suspected terrorist leader in Basrah -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Operations Forces detained the suspected leader of an alleged terrorist cell during an early morning raid May 13 in Basrah. The targeted individual is alleged to be the leader of a rogue element of the Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) which is involved in extensive improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in the Basrah area. ISOF also detained five other suspicious individuals in the area during the raid.
Pockets of Resistance
Life with the Iraqi Police in Karmah (northeast of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad
Transition team advances Iraqi training -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — New Iraqi Soldiers trained on essential skills at the “Lions Academy” Sunday and Monday.
Members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team conducted additional training on essential skills for Iraqi Soldiers who recently graduated from basic training.
Another Chlorine Attack - Well, Maybe Not -- [Armchair Generalist]
Almost thought we had the tenth chlorine attack in Iraq today -
...But the initial reports seem to be wrong. The doctors were confused - when they saw burns on the patients, they initially thought the injuries were chemical burns. Whoops! Our bad.
Latest Attacks in the Green Zone -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
AP is reporting:
Mortar rounds hammered the U.S.-controlled Green Zone for a second day Wednesday, killing at least two people, wounding about 10 more and raising new fears for the safety of workers at the nerve center of the American mission in Iraq.
Such attacks are a media-driven, fear-inducing tactic. They have no military value beyond terror and media coverage (the hoped-for result of the terror).
The terrorists blow up mosques and places where women and children might gather in an effort to keep the sectarian fighting hot.
2 Men Dressed As Women Arrested For Missing Soldiers
2 men dressed as women were amongst those arrested as 1000's of troops look for the 3 missing US soldiers. However, the identities of the missing soldiers is proving difficult due to the extent of the injuries the 5 killed soldiers sustained...
US Drops Leaflets Offering Reward -- [Iraq Slogger]
Tipsters Could Earn 200,000 USD For Information on Missing Soldiers
Iraq Report: More on the Search, Diyala, and Battling Mahdi -- [Roggio Report]
As we noted late last night, the search for the three missing U.S. soldiers has intensified in the "Triangle of Death," the region south of Baghdad, particularly in the areas near Yusifiah and Mahmudiyah. This region "has been divided into 35 zones of which 32 have been searched," according to CNN. Two suspects involved in the assault have been captured, a battalion commander involved in the search in the region told CNN's Arwa Damon. "They do not appear to be al Qaeda members, the commander said. They told interrogators they were paid by a middle man to take part in the attack."
The Iraq Chirac -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Now I'm a law-and-order kind of person, and I've been more than disgusted at times with our over-restrictive ROE, but part of me can't help believing it's this type of thinking that has gotten Iraq - and the entire region - into the mess they're in today.
One the other hand, things are going well in Anbar, and he is our ally.
As the old saying goes, "yeah he's an SOB, but he's our SOB."
Tasha Got Blown Up -- [Americas North Shore Journal]
Tasha Gerken, one of the twins that I interviewed last month, survived
an IED attack. Her mom forwarded to me her description of the attack.
Ashely and Tasha’s mother sends the the following from May 10:
I am OK!
Just wanted everyone to hear my story before it gets blown way out of perportion.
Yes…I did get hit with a roadside bomb (IED)
Yes…I am ok. I only have a few little cuts and bruises
T-Wall Paintings, Baghdad
Baghdad artists have spruced up the temporary "T-walls" near the city's Abu Nuwas fish market to reflect traditional scenes of Iraqi life.
Doha's older sister, Gofran -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
"She just can't stop smiling! I think she's even happier than her sister." Someone says as we play around and socialize with Gofran, Doha's older sister. She has the sweetest smile and I can sense her warm disposition as she looks down with a sheepish grin and plays with the fuzz off her new pink bunny. We just can't help ourselves when the children come in, and I ran to my "stash" to bring her a few more toys.
On Air Appearance -- [Dadmanly]
The local Fox Affiliate reached out yesterday for reaction to a reported military ban on soldiers accessing You Tube and MySpace via government computers on government networks.
This morning's interview is already posted online as well.
Both Greyhawk and Blackfive have weighed in on this, with some difference of opinion.
My take-away is that,...
On the blocking of You Tube, My Space, etc, by DoD. -- [John of Argghhh!]
This is their official position. I have, um, some specific and germane knowledge regarding this action on the part of DoD. Not the decision making process on this particular topic, but regarding the underlying data that helped feed this decision. Which is all I will say about it in a non-.mil domain.
And I support it. The fact that it does inconvenience deployed warriors notwithstanding, I fully support this action by DoD in managing their networks.
Turning a Battle Into a War Crime -- [Strategy Page]
May 16, 2007: One of the dirty little secrets about recent claims of massacres is that all too often, they really are not massacres. The latest case of this now appears to be Haditha, with testimony now emerging that shows that at least eight of the 24 "victims" were armed terrorists. If so, Haditha would have more in common with the 2002 battle of Jenin (also claimed to be a massacre) than it does with My Lai.
Justice for Haditha Marines? -- [PrairiePundit]
The Belmont Club discusses the changing nature of the evidence in the case.
The Strategy Page discusses the possibility that the "Haditha Massacre" may turn out to be a battle with a lot of civilian casualties. "With testimony now emerging that shows that at least eight of the 24 'victims' were armed terrorists ... Haditha would have more in common with the 2002 battle of Jenin (also claimed to be a massacre) than it does with My Lai."
...I think he is talking about the political consequences and not the military consequences. Militarily the consequences for troops who hesitate when fighting an enemy that camouflages himself as a civilian and uses civilian shields can be his units destruction. Even after the fact, it is not easy to sift the facts as this story demonstrates.
Afstan: Bad news, good news -- [The Torch]
1) Bad news: dissension (with some reason) within NATO:
U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan need to change tactics to limit civilian casualties and prevent a backlash from locals, Germany's defense minister said Monday, reflecting European unease about reports of high death tolls in incidents involving American units.
Week 17--The Summer Heats Up -- [Richard's Deployment to Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
Well, the summer is definately heating up here in Khowst Province, Afghanistan. Our temperatures have been in the 90's, except when the thunderstorms roll through.
We had a big thunderstorm with lightening and hail last week. The hospital survived without any major damage, but a few Soldiers received minor scratches from grape-sized hailstones.
Another Hostage in Iran -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
Haleh Esfandiari is the director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, and in December of last year she traveled to Iran to visit her ailing mother. In a statement on its website, the Wilson Center explains that in late December, “on her way to the airport to catch a flight back to Washington, the taxi in which Dr. Esfandiari was riding was stopped by three masked, knife-wielding men. They took away her baggage and handbag, including her Iranian and American passports.” Her visit to a passport office four days later instigated six weeks of interrogations. Last Monday, just over a week ago, she was arrested and taken to the notorious Evin prison, where she stands accused of being a Mossad agent, a U.S. spy, and of trying to foment revolution inside Iran
Hamas Mistakenly Kill Five Of Their Terrorists -- [Sweetnes & Light] HEH
From a deeply saddened Associated Press:
Hamas mistakenly kills 5 of own fighters
Hamas gunmen kill five of own fighters in ambush of Fatah jeep as Gaza seems to be sliding into an all-out civil war with 41 Palestinians killed in four days of internal fighting between the rival factions
Hamas gunmen mistakenly ambushed on Wednesday a jeep carrying their own fighters, killing five of them, in the bloodiest day of Palestinian infighting since violence erupted in the Gaza Strip four days ago.
Tim McGraw Honors Fallen -- [A Soldier's Perspective - in Iraq]
On Tuesday, May 15th, the Country Music Awards will be broadcast on CBS. For those that don't listen to country music, stay with me. Tim McGraw will be debuting a new song that he released to honor our Fallen Heroes. He is flying family members of fallen troops all expenses paid to Las Vegas where the show is being taped. The families will be standing behind Tim as he sings the song, making it that much more special.
"Supporting" the troops---or patronizing them? -- [Winds of Change - neo]
The Democrats in Congress---and the few Republicans who agree with them---who've been pushing for a troop withdrawal continue to maintain that what they're proposing is not only in the best interests of the American people, but it's in the best interests of the troops themselves.
Oregon National Guard Returning from Afghanistan -- [Gazing at the Flag]
Nearly 100 soldiers of the Oregon Army National Guard began returning to Oregon on Monday after a yearlong tour in Afghanistan. They are among the first to return from their tour of duty of about 950 soldiers who deployed.
The soldiers, members of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Tigard, began to mobilize for training last year in February and deployed in June.
While deployed, the 41st IBCT led Joint Task Force Phoenix in the critical mission to train the Afghan National Army. Because of their skill and expertise, the unit picked up the additional responsibility of training the Afghan National Police.
This was the largest wartime deployment of Oregon National Guardsmen since World War II.
Finally, The Complete Trip -- [Afghanistan Without a Clue - home from Afghanistan]
...Jancy and Elise met me at the gate, and finally, we were reunited. Everything after that was uneventful, and soon I was home again. There I will stop, and when I feel motivated, I will write about my adjustment to home life. Rat, Drew, and Mike are all home safely now, so I’m going to have to smoke that cigar soon.
Military Recruitments Shockingly High Despite War -- [Bottom Line Up Front]
Bottom Line Up Front: U.S. troops support the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite the war of words over “supporting the troops” in Iraq, the troops are speaking for themselves through recruitment and retention rates, which are through the roof. The Defense Department released yesterday it’s April 2007 Recruitment and Retention figures.
The waiting room… -- [American Soldier - injured in Iraq]
...The shiny tiled floor, reminiscent of the one I stared at a little over a year ago in another land. The bright lights and the annoying sound coming from an EKG machine. My brain feeling like it’s about to expand past the threshold of my skull. The pulsating pain that seemed to heighten with every heartbeat. I lay there wondering if this was the point in which things would slowly drift off into darkness. I have accepted my mortality and last night would have been a shitty death but we don’t really have that choice now do we? I close my eyes and think of things that make me happy. Trying to ignore the pain but it only lasts a few moments. A doctor comes in the room and talks to me. I am barely coherent and he begins to spout off like the teacher from Charlie Brown. My responses are grunts and subtle nods. My wife told him that I had a Traumatic Brain Injury. He gives me some anti-nausea medicine tab and puts it under my tongue.
The VA hospital to nowhere -- [Don Suber]
The ever-reliable Mary Wade Burnside of the Times-West Virginian in Fairmont reported that six months after the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg was dedicated, it has yet to be used by one patient.
Sergeant Major Bradley Conner -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
I wrote about memories yesterday and today I was struck in the face with more memories.
Earlier in the day, I mentioned blogger Michael Yon to someone at my FOB. Since I hadn't checked his blog in a while, I decided to take my own advice and surf on over where I discovered the picture of someone from my past, SGM Brad Conner. As I realized why I was seeing his picture online, my hands dropped into my lap and I leaned back in my chair. I lost focus for a few minutes through the tears...
Brad and I served in C Co, 2nd Bn, 10th SFG(A) in the mid-90's. He was a great guy, personally and professionally. He took his job (18D) very seriously but he was always so cheerful, friendly and helpful. I remember laughing deep, hearty, belly-busting laughs with him and there haven't been many people that I've done that with in my life.
Remembering the Lion of Fallujah - Major Doug Zembiec -- [BlackFive]
Via Seamus, Sgt Maj Bill Skiles writes this message about his former partner and commander, Doug Zembiec. It'll give you a glimpse of the man being laid to rest today:
67-29 -- [QandO Blog]
As far as I'm concerned that says it all. Not only couldn't Democrats muster even a slim majority (which would then have allowed them to call Republican senators obstructionists who stand in the way of the "will of the people"), they couldn't even muster 1/3 of the Democrats to vote for defunding the war through Feingold-Reid.
Yes, that's right, 2/3ds of the Senate said now. Now where I come from, that's an overwhelming defeat.
Exchange rate -- [Foriegn and Domestic - in Iraq]
From my favorite source of materiel to post on, the StarTribune, comes an article about a speech by Senator Norm Coleman on Monday at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. But I'm not going to take issue with the article. My issue is with Sen Coleman. Keep in mind, I voted for him.
Excuse me Senator? We are in the process of putting more troops into Baghdad right now, not pulling them out. And although 'sometime in 2008' could of course refer to December 31st 2008, I don't think that's the date he had in mind. More likely he's thinking prior to November 4th, 2008. That date may have some special significance.
Now, I've said before that Sen Coleman is in a tough spot, politically speaking. He generally supports the mission in Iraq, but he also represents a state that had 2600 Guardsmen extended in country.
Islam, Democrats, and the ties that bind. -- [The Marching Camp]
I'm beginning to like Raymond Ibrahim, especially his latest. He's a research librarian and author of the 'al-Qaeda Reader', a collection of translated religious and propaganda (how do you tell the difference, with Islam?) materials. His latest essay up on VDH's website is a sort of Islam 101, the basic dissection of why folks associate Islam with violence.
War on Terror -- [NewsBusters]
Contrary to Liberal Myth, Pre-War Media Were Fierce Critics, Not Bush Lapdogs
--Liberals are engaged in an amazing display of myth-building and revisionism concerning the establishment media’s performance before the Iraq war, trying to put for the notion that the American press wasn't sufficiently skeptical. That's nonsense, as anyone who has actually looked at the coverage would know. In the months leading up to the start of the war in March 2003, the much of the media — especially ABC — portrayed the Bush administration as aggressive, impulsive, pig-headed and even blood-thirsty, while routinely doubting the credibility of their public statements.
Congressional Dems' Approval Rating Falls, Will Media Report It? -- [NewsBusters]
--We've been hearing a lot about Bush's low approval ratings, but what about the new Democratic congress? Despite the fact that they won the 2006 elections, Democrats' poll numbers are actually lower than that of President Bush.
Dr. Laura Gets Educated -- Dr. Laura, meet the MSM: -- [Fuzzilicious Thinking]
Raging radio human relations guru Laura Schlessinger, in Salt Lake City on Friday [Military Spouse Day] to speak to Army families at Fort Douglas, said she was tired of hearing the complaints of lonely and overwhelmed military wives whose husbands are deployed.
"He could come back without arms, legs or eyeballs, and you're bitching?" Schlessinger asked before taking the stage at the base theater to host her daily program on ethics, morals and values. "You're not dodging bullets, so I don't want to hear any whining - that's my message to them."
Needless to say, voluminous amounts of anger and scorn were heaped by military families on Dr. Laura for her supposed comments. Left in the dust was the fact that her son is currently a deployed paratrooper, and that even I (who is not a regular listener) know enough about her to know that her attitude for decades has been that a mature person is responsible for one's own emotions and does not lay one's own burdens on those whose burdens are greater.
Exposing the Hidden War -- [Accuracy in Media]
What is the war of ideas? Is it a byproduct of the clash of civilizations proposed by Samuel Huntington? Is it the battle for the hearts and minds of the Arab street? In The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy, Dr. Walid Phares exposes a very different war of ideas waged by Jihadist groups and authoritarian Arab states to obfuscate the West's understanding of both Jihad itself as well as the core strategies utilized by the Jihadists to confront Western civilization.
Defeatists Let Down Our Guardsmen -- [Thunder Run]
Our newest expert on all thing Military in the state of Maryland, Elizabeth Marsh Cupino: give me a break! Let me get this straight a “journalist” who has never once written about our National Guard or military is now an expert on national defense because she read a single little snippet of news that stated that the state employed guards at MEMA who are also National Guardsmen are being deployed to Iraq and a contractor would have to be brought in to cover their posts.
One. Freaking. Million -- [Iraq War Today]
At some point today, this blog will register its one millionth visitor.
Can't believe we're going to hit a million. Thanks to all of you who stop by regularly, and those of you who just pass through.
Brass Tells Troops: Defend Freedom, But Don't Exercise It -- [Paul Rieckhoff - Huffington Post]
Bullets were pinging off our armor all over our vehicle, and you could hear multiple RPGs being fired and flying through the air and impacting all around us. All sorts of crazy insane Hollywood explosions... I've never felt fear like this. I was like, this is it, I'm going to die.
New Blog Canival -- [Dave's Not Here]
...The first time I ever went to a carnival I ended up blowing my money on the carnival games. That hazard was learned in a harsh lesson when I had no tickets later to go on the rides. The following bloggers have made an effort this week to keep new bloggers from wasting time on the carnival and using the tickets where they really count - on the rides.
Rob is blocking the attempts of the hawkers with A Comprehensive Blogging Guide.
Joshua is trying to make sure you get the most out of your blogging time at the carnival with The Top 77 Mistakes New Bloggers Make.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
The ISI Warns the U.S. Not to Search for Their Captured Soldiers -- [MEMRI]
On May 14, 2007 the Islamic State of Iraq issued a second communiqué titled: “The War Scale Tips Once Toward You and Once Toward Us.” In it the ISI mocks the official spokesman of the “Crusader forces… for looking pale and speaking in a weak voice” after the American soldiers were taken hostages, “[compared] with his haughtiness” on the day he announced the killing of the ISI’s official spokesmen, Al-Jaburi.
Soldiers -- [Letters from the Desert - in Iraq]
I recently attended a showing of "Superman 3" here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorioum we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem the music stopped.
Troops Cut Off From YouTube and MySpace -- [Strategy Page]
May 15, 2007: On May 14th, the U.S. Department of Defense began blocking access to YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos, and FileCabi, BlackPlanet, Hi5, Pandora, MTV, and 1.fm, live365, and Photobucket. These are sites that provide video and audio clips to users. This means that anyone using a computer connected to Department of Defense network (NIPRNET), won't be able to reach the banned sites. The reason for the ban was quite practical. All those video and audio clips were jamming up the network, and making it difficult to get official business done. This is a problem university networks began to encounter in the 1990s, and solved by a combination of expanding capacity, and restricting how much students could use the network for downloading large files.
Military Ban on YouTube and MySpace -- [Blackfive]
Been getting and fielding lots of calls from the media about the "new" ban on social networking web sites. Haven't those sites (YouTube, MySpace, etc.) been on the URL (web site address) filter list at most bases? Heck, I had to spend a lot of time trying to get Blackfive un-blocked at some USAF installations, and we're still blocked by some administrators (blame Uncle Jimbo and his quest for media domination). I think the difference now is that soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan depend on the .mil networks to communicate with family and friends back home. And if that ban includes MySpace, one more outlet will be unavailable to them.
Comments: RE: DoD Blocking Access to Some Sites from Official Computers -- [Doc in the Box - MilBlogs]
Most of the government computers had these sites blocked locally anyway, now that policy is going under a large official umbrella. This is from work computers, the sites they've blocked are huge bandwidth hogs. MySpace not only hogs bandwidth but it’s a good place for people who don’t know what their doing to upload bad code and spyware. We can’t use P2P networks either. This isn't about shutting down voices, it's a security issue as far as I.T. security. When people who are trying to do official work can’t because it takes 3 minutes to upload a plain text page because the guy next door has music and video streaming in his office, then something has to change. I’d complain about it if they were blocking them at the internet cafes but they're not.
Where I Once Again Set the Record Straight II -- [A Soldier's Perspective - in Iraq]
I was sent an article by one of you readers this evening detailing new restrictions on Internet sites accessible on government owned networks. I'm already seeing people going completely crazy over this story.
Are Commanders Stupid? Then Why Don’t People Trust Them? -- [Army Lawyer]
Who are these “commanders” people keep talking about? On the one hand you have people proclaiming that we should trust our “commanders on the ground.” Yet at the same time there’s the utter distrust of “commanders” when it comes to things like the new OPSEC regulation. Won’t those commanders on the ground be those most concerned with OPSEC?
15 May 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures]
Shown are ambulances that were handed over to the Diyala Ministry of Health from the Diyala Provincial Reconstruction Team during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Warhorse near Baqouba, Iraq. The ceremony marked the handover of 18 ambulances from the Diyala Provincial Reconstruction Team to the Diyala Ministry of Health. Pic: SGT Armando Monroig
Iraq: Condemned to failure, say experts -- [ISN Security Watch]
Iraqi policy experts meet in Brussels to discuss a way out of the quagmire, but the conclusion is grim: Iraq is condemned to failure regardless of whether US troops stay or go, they say.
Pakistan Unraveling -- [The Fourth Rail]
After a weekend of mortar exchanges between Afghan and Pakistani security forces on the Khost-Kurram border, and the subsequent Pakistani incursion into Afghan territory, a U.S., Afghan and Pakistani commission met in Pakistan's Kurram agency. The delegation, which was made up of security and diplomatic officials from the three countries, was ambushed as they left the school which served as a meeting place. The initial reporting on the incident varied widely, with the first reports intimating Pakistani security forces or an al Qaeda mole shot and killed the NATO soldier
Jamestown Foundation: Afghanistan’s Drug Trade and How it Funds Taliban Operations -- [ON Point]
ON Point: The opium economy in Afghanistan is a key component of the counter-insurgency campaign, yet remains one of the most difficult issues to tackle. It is a critical problem facing international efforts to create a functional government in Kabul that can prosecute counter-terrorism on its own territory. A successful counter-narcotics intervention would have the added benefit of undermining an important terrorist funding source in arenas as diverse as Chechnya, Xinjiang and Central Asia. While...
Afghans Get World War II Artillery and Love It -- [Strategy Page]
May 15, 2007: Turkey has donated 24 M114 155mm howitzers to Afghanistan. The U.S. made, towed guns were first introduced during World War II, and continue to be used by over a dozen nations. The M114 was replaced by the M198 in the 1980s, and that weapon is now being replaced by the M777 in some countries. The newer 155mm howitzers were lighter, and had numerous mechanical improvements. But, basically, the M114 still gets the job done, because it can fire all NATO standard 155mm artillery ammo. The Turkish M114s were well maintained, and the Afghans can, if they take care of them, get another decade, or more, of service out of them.
Front-Line Bungling for Hearts and Minds -- [Celetial Junk]
There's the battle in Afghanistan, and then there's the battle at home ... for the hearts and minds of Canadians. While our soldiers in the field hand the Taliban a beating, the suits manning the defenses at home stumble, bumble, and bloviate their way to a tactical loss:
Iraqi Freedom Hero Soldier Beaten/Tased By Las Vegas Police At McCarran Airport!! -- [Live Leak]
Operation Iraqi Freedom Hero Solider being beaten and tased by 2 officers at Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. while another Las Vegas Metro Police Officer stands back and watches with his hands in his pockets thru glass doors, then laughs and makes a little skip as he makes fun of the Soldier's fall from the first of THREE tasings with a buddy TSA employee. This Soldier did NOTHING wrong and NO charges were filed against him~ Watch the ongoing investigation on ABC Las Vegas with Ben Deci reporting or on www.ktnv.com
Iraqi Freedom Hero Soldier Beaten/Tased By Las Vegas Police At McCarran Airport!!
Operation Iraqi Freedom Hero Solider being beaten and tased by 2 officers at Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. while another Las Vegas Metro Police Officer stands back and watches with his hands in his pockets thru glass doors, then laughs and makes a little skip as he makes fun of the Soldier's fall from the first of THREE tasings with a buddy TSA employee. This Soldier did NOTHING wrong and NO charges were filed against him~ Watch the ongoing investigation on ABC Las Vegas with Ben Deci reporting or on www.ktnv.com
Report: Officials Fear Imminent Terror Attack on Americans in Germany -- [ABC News Blog]
U.S., Germans Fear Terror Attack
U.S. and German officials fear terrorists are in the advanced planning stages of an attack on U.S. military personnel or tourists in Germany.
Law enforcement officials tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com that U.S. air marshals have been diverted to provide expanded protection of flights between Germany and the United States.
"The information behind the threat is very real," a senior U.S. official told ABC News.
U.S. Air Marshals Flooding German, British Flights -- [ABC News]
Richard Esposito and Rhonda Schwartz Report:
As many as five or six U.S. air marshals are now assigned to each U.S.-bound flight from airports in Frankfurt, London and Manchester, England, because of fears terrorists might attempt a coordinated series of mid-air explosions, law enforcement officials tell the Blotter on ABCNEWS.com.
Fight! Fight!!! -- [CounterColumn]
Richard Perl calls out former CIA director George Tenet in the pages of the Washington Post.
But the greatest intelligence failure of the past two decades was the CIA's failure to understand and sound an alarm at the rise of jihadist fundamentalism. It is Wahhabi extremism and the call to holy war against infidels that gave us the perpetrators of Sept. 11 and much of the terrorism that has followed. In his attempts to blame others for CIA shortcomings, Tenet cannot say, "I told the president that our Saudi allies were financing thousands of mosques and schools around the world where a hateful doctrine of holy war and violence was being inculcated in young potential terrorists..
let's go back in time to 1993, when Clinton was taking office and the World Trade Center was attacked for the first time. ...
A Hero’s Story -- [Sgt Stryker]
The story of Private First Class Stephen Sanford is a story you should know. On November 19, 2005 Pfc. Sanford serving with the 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 172d Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Mosul, Iraq. When his squad became involved in an intense firefight in a home, PFC. Sanford was shot in the leg. Despite his injury, he remained with his squad for a second assault on the target and later remained to assist in the evacuation of casualties. He returned to the home a second time to provide covering fire while the final injured soldiers were evacuated. When the last soldier to leave the house was shot in the neck, PFC. Sanford ran to his fallen comrade’s side and began to perform CPR. As he was attempting to revive the soldier, he was shot twice in the back. PFC. Sanford managed to return fire and kill an insurgent. He was then shot two more times, but he continued to return fire and shield the fallen soldier until he was incapacitated by his own loss of blood. PFC. Sanford was just awarded the Distinguished Service Cross which is second only to the Medal of Honor.
1st Sgt. John Mangels Awarded Silver Star -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...Due to his accurate aim and the threat he personally posed to the enemy, lethal and direct fire was aimed at Mangels. During this onslaught, Mangels received a shrapnel wound to his head which knocked him out for several minutes. Once Mangels regained consciousness, he continued to move between fighting positions to rally his men and provide guidance.
"He actually still had shrapnel in his head, but he wouldn't even let me look at him until he knew all his Soldiers were fine."
FINAL ITINERARY- 10,000 Mile Ride for the Wounded -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
NOTES ( Please read first! ):
This is the final version of the Ride Itinerary. No further changes will be made unless there is an emergency of some sort. I apologize to those who offered places to camp that I was unable to incorporate here. Your kind offers are deeply appreciated.
OK, that wasn’t too bad -- [QandO Blog]
...A tip of the hat to Matt Burden of Blackfive for thinking of me when he decided he had to turn over the segment to someone else due to his increasing responsiblities. Old paratroopers just naturally hang together I guess ... no pun intended. And it is truly an honor for me to be able to tell the stories of our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to a wider audience.
Beloved Son -- Jules Crittenden
...The story I helped the reporter put together hasn’t been posted yet. There wasn’t much to work with. Here’s the AP. WBUR has a little more. Killed south of Samarra, on patrol with his men, checking vehicles, when one of them explodes. Huffington Post makes it all about the ironic political point, Prof. Andrew J. Bacevich’s criticism of Bush’s Iraq war policy. The Globe followed suit.
Mentioning it is unavoidable. We did, too. Though at this point, I think it’s more about a family’s loss. A beloved son who followed in his father’s footsteps and gave his life for his country, as his father had put himself in harm’s way in another war four decades before. So Andy Bacevich begins the terrible journey of a father who has to bury a son, and decide for himself what it means.
Appeal 3000 -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
While we were in the middle of a commo blackout here, the Appeal For Courage blew past 3000 signatures.
And if you haven't seen it, this graph on the Appeal's graph page shows a clear difference between Iraq and Vietnam.
"Unpopular War, my ass! ; May edition" -- [Tanker Brothers - ]
You might have thought we are in an unpopular war. You might have, if you only read and watch the msm. You might have thought that nobody in the military believed in the mission, You might have, if you only watch and read the msm! (yes, yes I KNOW Tanker Bros readers know all this!)
The number that are freely available to the public tell what a 'really' unpopular war this is...
Happy Mothers Day -- [Cannonette - Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group ]
I wrote this note to my Mother -in- law today, as I re-read it to check spelling errors and for well language a nice middle class woman should not use. It dawned on me this letter is for everyone. I’m so upset about how Congress is messing around with the money to fund our troops I could scream, and I have screamed but it does no good. Why are there so many people in our country so hell bent on losing this war! We are winning!
I’m just one wife and mother of 4 Men (I call them my boys) who are or have gone to war for our country. I can’t do this on my own. We as Americans should say to Congress. Stop fighting about your pork barrel treats and give the money to our troops NOW!
...I’m so upset that there are so many people who hate my boys for what they feel is the right thing to do.
The "America Goes Home" Scenario -- [American Ranger]
For argument’s sake, let’s assume the United States and its Coalition partners complied with the wishes of the “cut and run” crowd and pulled out of Iraq tomorrow. I submit the following fictional article as one of the scenarios that might occur:
Celebrate Memorial Day the Anti-war Way -- [Wizbang]
John Edwards has a Memorial Day message that many of the troops will definitely not appreciate. The Washington Post loved it though. Enough in fact that they directly linked it from their website -- free of charge. I wonder if the other candidates will get similar treatment. Here is Edwards' patriotic message.
A Message From John Edwards
Take Action May 26th, 27th, 28th
As citizens, we honor and support our troops for their service and sacrifice.
As Americans, we are blessed by that sacrifice and support, which keeps us safe and keeps us strong.
As patriots, we call on our government to support our troops in the most important way it can - by ending this war and bringing them home.
This Memorial Day weekend, we will all take responsibility for the country we love and the men and women who protect it. We will volunteer, we will pray, and we will speak out. Each of us has a responsibility to act, a duty to our troops and to each other. Support the troops. End the war.
Reporter discusses media-military relationship -- [A Healthy Alternative to Work]
During one of his regular visits to Iraq as the Wall Street Journal’s military correspondent last year, Greg Jaffe was interviewing a squadron commander with the 1st Cavalry Division.
As he took notes, a sergeant major from another division noticed him and approached.
...“I think we could do a better job celebrating some of the tactical successes and the sacrifices that are being made,” he said. “But on the other hand, it’s that strategic-level picture that has to drive the coverage, to give people in this country the information they need to know to be able to make informed decisions.”
But to do that, Jaffe said he has to approach the war one battalion or one neighborhood at a time. Expecting a single news story to explain all the complexity of the war is asking too much.
-“You’re writing with the hope that people who have better things to do will read it,” he said. “I try to pick a battalion or a neighborhood that illustrates some sort of broader truth about the war.”
Jaffe’s work in Iraq has been done exclusively as a media “embed,” which he said is a system that has benefits for all parties involved.
-“I think it’s good for the media, and I think it’s good for the Army,” he said.
As a result of the embedding program, “We in the media understand the military a lot better.”
NYT in Denial: 'Unclear What Role, If Any, Religion Played' in Fort Dix Six Terror Plot -- [NewsBusters]
New York Times reporter Alan Feuer, seen on Times Watch last May giving respectable coverage to a convention of "Bush-caused-9-11" conspiracy nuts, went to enormous (and erroneous) pains on Monday to soft-pedal the Muslim beliefs of the Fort Dix terrorist plotters in "Two Mosques Are Shaken by Ties to a Terror Plot."
--"It is unclear what role, if any, religion played in the attack Mr. Shnewer and the five other men are charged with planning. (The sixth suspect, Agron Abdullahu, had no apparent connection with Al-Aqsa or the
South Jersey Islamic Center.) The authorities have described the suspects as Islamic extremists, but the lengthy criminal complaint summarizing the F.B.I.'s 15-month undercover investigation of the group does not mention where -- or how often -- they prayed. Certainly there is no evidence that they picked up radical ideas at either mosque."
Denver Post Columnist: Christians Could Be Suspect Over McVeigh's OK City Bombing -- [NewsBusters]
Dick Kreck of the Denver Post seems to think there is a good "point" to a suggestion that Christians should be suspected bombers because Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh was supposedly a Christian. In a column about local radio talk show host "Gunny Bob" of KOA, Kreck comments that a radio station detractor has "got a point" when he satirically said that, since McVeigh and Nichols were Christians, all Christians should be placed under surveillance because of the actions of the two bombers. The detractor was responding to talker "Gunny Bob's" idea that all Muslims in the USA should be forced to wear GPS tracking bracelets so the government could keep track of them all.
Media bias -- [Foreign and Domestice - in Iraq]
With my work on the Appeal For Courage, lots of people have asked me to define 'media bias'. They want specific examples and proof. Today's StarTribune seems happy to provide it. To me, the worst media bias is the insidious slant of reasonably straightforward information and the insertion of opinions. The offhand comments that probably aren't even intentional.
Most Minnesotans oppose Bush troop surge, poll says
Okay, maybe it's just me, but when I hear 'most', I think in terms of 'most if not all', or 'almost all'.
But to the StarTrib it means just over half, and maybe not even that much
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Anbar Rising -- [Foreighn and Domestic - in Iraq]
When I got here in April of last year, the Anbar province was described in the media as the wild west of Iraq, the 'volatile Anbar province', and the base of operations for AQI. A Marine intel officer even filed a report saying the situation was dire. It was also the main route for foreign fighters sneaking into Iraq. Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police were unheard of outside of the large towns of Fallujah and Ramadi.
13 months later, Anbar is being hailed as a model for Coalition-tribal cooperation against AQI. What accounts for the huge turnaround? The Iraqis themselves, with support from the Coalition.
It's a rough time but I wouldn't panic. -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
The political process in Iraq has reached another very critical and important stage. This is the time that will decide if Iraq will emerge as a country that can sustain itself and where groups of people-while have many differences-can share this nation and coexist peacefully.
Values Message -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
One of the reasons I trust General Petraeus is he just comes right out and says what needs to be said. The letter which he sent to our forces serving in Iraq (posted below) is a case in point. The letter is more important than it might appear on first glance.
Captured! -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
Acute Politics is back, after some long missions and another communication blackout.
The news is all abuzz with reports of killed and captured soldiers near Mahmudiyah. To be more precise, the attack occurred between Mahmudiyah and Amiriya. The area is mostly open desert, and the Sunni insurgency is strong there. Bill Roggio has written previously about the fight in the region, and my platoon recently conducted a long mission northwest of Amiriya.
Iraq Report: The search, Kurds attacked, SCIRI, Sunni moves -- [The Fourth Rail]
The search is on for the 3 missing soldiers who are believed to have been captured after a complex assualt on a U.S. Army patrol on the outskirts of Mahmudiyah Saturday morning. Over 4,000 troops, along with aerial and satellite surveillance, and elements of the Anbar Salvation Council, are involved. Al Qaeda in Iraq's political front the Islamic State of Iraq has claimed it has captured the 3 soldiers, but has not offered any evidence.
Smoke On The Horizon -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
...The shockwave pushed a good cloud of dust in through the gap in the back door of the TOC, giving a surreal haze to everything as we left. The plume of oily black smoke so signature of burning diesel was huge, leaving a trail at least a mile long as it eeled through the sky over the FOB. I saw it as I ran out the door, looking foe J to confirm he was still alive as SFC B. went to look for Luke and Davis. After any impact or attack we have to get 100% accountability of all our people. Just in case.
Once back in the TOC, I managed to get the video repeater for the brigade's UAV up and running, and soon we had a visual on the blast sites. The bridge close to us was still fully engulfed in flames, with many people scurrying about in view. Most of the people in the TOC took the chance to crowd around to take a look, even the battalion commander. "Boy, what a useful valuable system that is,...
Coalition forces kill insurgents caught firing anti-aircraft guns -- [Stars and Stripes]
...The military said intelligence reports and surveillance of a known al-Qaida in Iraq meeting spot led troops to discover three trucks, two of which were mounted with anti-aircraft artillery weapons. The vehicles were followed, and after the insurgents started firing the guns at two houses, it was determined that they were practicing for possible future attacks against coalition troops, according to a Multi-National Forces-Iraq news release.
SUSPECTED SECRET CELL SENIOR LEADER DETAINED -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained three suspected secret cell terrorists Sunday morning, including an alleged senior leader in the organization, during operations in southeastern Baghdad.
Coalition Forces raided several buildings and captured three suspected members of a secret cell terrorist network known for its use of explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, as well as facilitating the transport of weapons and EFPs from Iran to Iraq, and bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.
COALITION RAIDS TURN UP 35 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces detained 35 suspected terrorists during several raids Sunday morning targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership.
During a raid near Tarmiyah, Coalition forces detained 11 individuals for their suspected involvement with a regional al Qaeda in Iraq emir and al Qaeda senior leaders. In two other operations in the Tarmiyah area, Coalition forces detained eight suspected terrorists allegedly tied to a network responsible for kidnapping, extortion and attacks against Coalition forces.
Numerous caches discovered near Ramadi -- [MNF-I]
RAMADI, Iraq – Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces discovered multiple weapons caches in the Albu Bali region while conducting clearing operations during the past week.
Iraqi Police, Provincial Security Force 2 and Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, uncovered 21 enemy caches, including an underground bunker and a car bomb factory.
Petraeus urges troops to adhere to ethical standards in recent letter -- [MNF-I]
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, is urging troops in his command to take the “moral high ground” when dealing with insurgents and the Iraqi people.
In response to the results of the latest mental health survey of troops in Iraq, Petraeus sent a letter to the troops, stressing that the key to securing Iraq is building trust by adhering to values and ethical standards.
Iraqi SWAT training -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
...As Ramadi continues to improve on security, it was felt that now is the time to give the police force extra training. The Ramadi police colonel was asked to go around the different substations and find his 'best' men to begin training for a possible Iraqi SWAT team. I spent the day out there with them as the trainers put them through their paces. Also got an opportunity to shoot the AK-47 with them and a few of the special forces weapons. Was worth every second I baked under that hot sun.
More Attacks on Kurdish Political Control -- [Moderate Risk - in Iraq]
The second attack in four days on Kurdish political control occurred in the town of Makhmoor near Mosul at the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) offices, killing at least 32 and wounding more than 115. The city of Makhmoor is not under formal Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) control, but the area is almost entirely composed of racial Kurds. According to CNN, political meetings were taking place at the KDP offices when a suicide truck bomber struck. Although firmly in the red zone of active conflict, Makhmoor and other ethnically Kurdish areas have mostly been spared this kind of violence. It appears that Al Qaeda cannot accept any peace in Iraq.
Shame on Who? -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Someone with a bit of ironic sense, calling herself "LadyLiberty", responded to the previous post with:
What utter poppycock, the only reason your [sic] blogging is because you present pro-administration views.
We have family there, your [sic] not telling what [the] hell is going on in other places. Good for you getting a cushy spot-most others aren't so lucky....
...I say, shame on you. You have a family member in Iraq, fighting this war, and you show your support by poo-pooing what he or she is trying to accomplish. Regardless of whether or not he or she is happy here or feels that his or her efforts are having an effect, you should be telling them that they are doing a great job and that while it may be difficult it will all be worth something, hopefully very soon. Instead, you are negative and shameful and probably even counterproductive to our efforts here in the war zone. Our troops belong where the fight is, and right now the fight is in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines and dozens of other places you didn't even know we had troops. Bringing them home now would just be admitting defeat and worse, encouraging more attacks, more genocide, more oppression and killing... is that what you hope for?
Living on the surface of the moon -- [Making the Leap - in Iraq]
I am the only one in the lab at the moment, and it's one of those surreal moments. It's almost like everyone else on camp is asleep... but I know that's not the case. Those that work today are already at work, and those that don't are probably still asleep in their bunks -- my roommate included.
Afghan Rebel Leader Claims OBL Is Alive -- [Gateway Pundit]
An anti-American rebel leader in Afghanistan says he has information that Osama Bin Laden is still alive.
Alarab Online reported:...
Mullah Dadullah, Taliban top commander, killed in Helmand -- [The Fourth Rail]
The corpse of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah. Click to view.
Afghan officials, ISAF confirm the Taliban's most senior military leader was killed during fighting in the south
NATO and Afghan forces have struck a major blow to the Taliban's military leadership. Mullah Dadullah Akhund, the Taliban's top military commander, has been killed during fighting in the volatile southern province of Helmand. "He was killed last night and right now I have his body before me," Governor Assadullah Khalid of Kandahar province told Reuters. Governor Khalid displayed the body to a group of reporters in neighboring Kandahar province.
AFGHAN SCHOOL CHILDREN -- [Afghanistan JAG - in Afghanistan]
During a recent village recon I had the chance to see an elementary school and visit with the kids.
...Despite our appearance, the kids opened up to us really fast and were glad to see us. A great icebreaker is to show the kids digital pictures of themselves. They've probably never seen pictures of themselves so they're fascinated by the camera.
Week 16--The Sun Comes Out Again -- [Richard's Deployment to Afghanistan - in Afghanistan ]
...The new hospital continues to go up. All the columns are now poured.
The foundation is next. I can see progress every day. One day we will be done with the tents and working inside a new, "brick and mortar" facility. Of course, there's lots of work to be done between now and then, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel. Watching the hospital go up is fun, especially if you like to watch the big equipment
Canadian soldiers echo Hillier's frustration with focus on detainees -- [CNews]
...The letter, with coloured hearts around its edges, was written by a Grade 7 student in Toronto who was born in Kabul. It tells the story of a little girl whose family fled to Pakistan after being chased from their homeland by the Taliban. Once there, her one-year-old sister was kidnapped.
"My mom wanted a country that was safe and where I would be able to learn so we came to Canada," the neatly typed letter reads. "Thank you so much for trying to make my country a better place and tell your soldier friends that I said thank you."
...But they feel acutely that most of their fellow Canadians at home are themselves largely oblivious to their efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Afghan people.
During his visit to Kandahar last week, Canada's top soldier, Gen. Rick Hillier, said in his typically blunt fashion that the soldiers are "pissed off" that the detainee controversy has dominated headlines at home.
"If they're pissed off about anything, it's that we are here and we're doing so much other good stuff, and nobody's talking about it now,"
A Good Career Move -- [Strategy Page]
May 14, 2007: In a major setback, the senior Taliban field commander, Mullah Dadullah, was cornered and killed by NATO forces in Helmand province over the weekend. NATO and Afghan troops have been chasing Dadullah around southern Afghanistan for a month. Dadullah knew he was being tracked, and his pursuers knew he was trying to get to safety in Pakistan. This time, Dadullah didn't make it.
Another Good Deed Gets Punished -- [Strategy Page]
May 13, 2007: If Colombia thought that frozen American military aid was where it would end, they guessed wrong. U.S. Congressional leaders have all but declared war on Colombia's war on FARC and ELN. In a very real sense, victories won in Colombia are going to be undone in the halls of the United States Congress. This is not getting the headlines that come from Iraq, but it is just as important.
Turkey Holds Another Massive Protest Against Islamic Rule -- [Gateway Pundit]
100,000 to 1.5 million protesters rallied in the coastal city of Izmir, Turkey, on Sunday against the growing threat of Islamic rule on the secularist society.
Exclusive: Interview with a Foreign Fighter from Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq" -- [Counterterrrorism Blog]
On April 27, 2007, the administrators of a radical Arabic-language chat room on the Paltalk online network announced a special live question-and-answer session with Abu Adam al-Maqdisi, a Palestinian national fighting with Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State of Iraq.” In advertisements posted on other online forums, the organizers explained that the interview had been arranged in order to address questions from Al-Qaida supporters and to “offer an accurate picture of the jihad in Mesopotamia.”
Advice from Al-Qaeda -- [Jules Crittenden]
“Your soldiers are in our grip. If you want the safety of your soldiers then do not search for them.”
Because doing what al-Qaeda wants has always worked so well in the past.
Of course al-Qaeda wants us to stop. Al-Qaeda is afraid it might do itself more damage than whatever brief propaganda value it might gain from torturing and murdering American soldiers. The U.S. and Iraqi forces are doing in Youssefiya what we should be doing in a lot of places, with or without missing soldiers.
Sunday at Walter Reed -- [Soldiers Angels New York]
All week I have wanted to write about our visit to Walter Reed. It has been difficult not only because I have been busy trying to catch up on work since returning home, but because it was quite emotional for me.
I'm Very Sad Right Now. -- [Partamian Report - going to Afghanistan]
I just hugged and kissed my wife and daughter about 100 times. They got on a plane back to GA and I won't see them again for a long time. That was tough to do. I can't adequately describe how hard that was.
Distrust In The Dust -- [Strategy Page]
May 14, 2007: The U.S. Army has just ordered another $375 million worth of M4 rifles . This got a lot of troops agitated because of the continuing jamming problems with the M4 and M16 rifles. In dusty places like Iraq and Afghanistan, you have to clean your M16 and M4 rifles constantly, otherwise the combination of carbon and dust in the chamber will cause jams.
Graduation -- [Afghanistan Without a Clue - home from Afghanistan]
I heard from Mike today. He is back and safe. Still have not heard from Drew and Rat. Today I get to go see my daughter Elise graduate from college and celebrate my son Taylor's birthday. One of these days I'll write a bigger post, but not today. I have terrible vertigo and am not sleeping well yet. It will probably take a week for it all to get sorted out. MIke promises a post soon too.
Coping with Homecoming -- [War in the SandBox...- home from Afghanistan]
This may sound silly, in fact at first it may make you think I am crazy. But the fact is that for the last few weeks I have really missed Afghanistan. I have given this a lot of thought, and I have discussed it with a few people, including some veterans, and I have realized that perhaps it is not as crazy as it may initially seem. You see I have realized that it's not Afghanistan that I miss. I don't miss the crappy living conditions, I don't miss being shot at, and I don't miss carrying a weapon everywhere. What I do miss is the camaraderie that I shared while I was there.
How Do You End a War? -- [Sgt Stryker]
The Democrat controlled Congress passed their defeatist war funding bill and the President fulfilled his vow to veto it. Now we are back to square one. The war is still being waged and the money needed to wage the war is still being used as a political weapon by both sides. Democrats have promised to find a way to force an end to the war. The President has vowed to support the war until Iraq is stable. And all the while our troops continue to fight and die.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Heavy hands…-- [American Soldier - wounded in Iraq]
The wounds revealed and the stories that go along with it. The many reasons behind our flag are vast. For most the comprehension of what is given in order to preserve freedom is unimaginable. The loss of life. The failed marriages. The absolute horror to see your friend choke on his own blood. The sound that never leaves when he begs to just not die. You sit there and hold his hand and help him die slowly, you are helpless.
...F***k the MSM and the lies that they yield....
...Support your soldier, not by bringing them home but allowing them to finish what we have started. If we leave in vein or for a political belief then all that has been sacrificed will be shamed.
Cell phones bought in US being used to kill our troops in Iraq -- [Jawa Report]
Now why does this not surprise me at all?
Northeast Intelligence Network - Visitors to this site may recall our reports of suspicious bulk cellular telephone purchases and the subsequent controversy about this issue. The essence of the argument involves the intended use of the cellular telephones purchased in bulk – in the majority of cases by young men of Middle Eastern appearance or origin.
In His Eyes, A Hero -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
....To that end, referring to LTC Miciotto Johnson, a man recently posed the question his native Atlanta:
“Where did you guys come up with a hero like this?”
The man asking the question was not from Charlotte. Nor was he from Chicago, nor Fargo, nor Bakersfield. He wasn't even an American praising one of his own.
He was, rather, an Iraqi. From Ramadi. Speaking of his American "brother" in their common fight against al-Qaeda terrorists.
Building A Police Force -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
"Where are you going to be?" the Iraqi Police Lieutenant asked the Army Corporal.
"Here, we're staying here."
The Lieutenant looked at the Corporal, the Corporal looked back at the Lieutenant.
This would be the first time Iraqi police officers from the Civil Camp police station walked the beat at night without Soldiers and Marines at their side.
Iraq Report: Diyala Salvation, Politics, Sadr Sleight-of-hand -- [Roggio Report]
In Iraq, the major developments over the past two days occurred in the political realm. First, the tribes of Diyala are beginning to organize along the lines of the tribes in Anbar province and have now vowed to battle al Qaeda. "Tribesman Sheikh Wameed al-Jabouri told al-Hayat that a number of tribes had signed a cooperation agreement to undertake this mission and to bring the city [of Baqubah] back to how 'it used to be,'" notes Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "The agreement could be considered 'a national charter' that proves their rejection of the actions of the terrorist groups, al-Jabouri said." This development
Blood Is Thicker Than Religion -- [Strategy Page]
May 10, 2007: U.S. commanders have made deals with Shia militias to help provide security for Shia neighborhoods. The Sunni terrorists now concentrate in killing as many Shia civilians as possible, rather than risk losing suicide bombers trying to attack military or government targets. Similar deals have been made with Sunni Arab tribal leaders, to try and shut down the suicide bomb factories and safe houses in Sunni Arab neighborhoods. The remaining Sunni Arabs are falling all over themselves trying to be nice to the Americans.
SUNNI TRIBAL HEAD IN IRAQ: AL-QAEDA A CANCER IN OUR LAND -- [MEMRI Blog]
Sheikh Majd Suleiman, head of the Al-Duleim tribes in Al-Anbar, has accused Al-Qaeda in Iraq of "fighting the residents of the country, not the Americans" and called the organization "a cancer in our land."
Iraqi Special Ops demonstrate capabilities -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Special Operations Forces battalion soldiers recently demonstrated their improved capabilities during an exercise at Baghdad International Airport, which included skills in marksmanship and clearing structures.
Deja Vue, Monseiur -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
Sit down to dinner with Tim, D squared, and Eric. Chaplain is a few tables down and comes over with his radio: "Guess what guys? GSW to the chest 15 mikes out."
Five minutes later "chaps" is leaving and says "Sorry guys, but the patient just rolled up." Eric is up and gone in a flash. This seems to be the recurring chow routine. Still missing at least a sip of coffee before we check out. Tim and I collect the leftover trays and make our way.
Nothing Happened Today -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
For which I am very greatful. Well, 1-8 CAV had a solitary IED, but that's just background noise around here. There were no VBIEDs on civilian markets, no EFPs tearing a HMMWV to shreds, 50lbs-of-C4-buried-in-the-road IEDs, no snipers making headshots on the tower guards (fortunately, only a light wound. Thank Heaven for bulletproof glass and Kevlar.).
All that, God help me, was last week.
But today was quiet.
ABC: F-16s Destroy al-Qaeda Terror Camp in Al Anbar -- [Pat Dollard]
...Dramatic Video Documents Strike The Department of Defense gave ABC News first access to imagery of the night operation that was carried out a little more than 48 hours ago.
The three-minute video begins with imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The operator of the drone first spotted a truck with anti-aircraft weaponry mounted on it driving in the area. The drone followed the truck as it drove to a nearby training compound.
Good News: Diyala establishing own salvation front -- [Air Force Pundit]
The Diyala Salvation Front: Tribal leaders in the troubled province organize against al Qaeda
In March, we noted the successful model of the Anbar Salvation Council will very likely be replicated elsewhere in regions where al Qaeda has established bases of operation. We singled out Diyala in particular, as al Qaeda's campaign of murder and intimidation was beginning to anger the tribes much as it did in Anbar province. Al Qaeda's establishment of its Islamic State of Iraq, with its capital in Baqubah made the province ripe for a major Coalition operation in the region. In early March, Al Sabaah reported the local sheikhs in Diyala were organizing against al-Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq, "which [is] spreading corruption in the province districts." Today,
Iraq Vol. 1 -- [zackmccary]
A video I made of me and my freinds in Iraq
Battle Wounds -- [Making the Leap... - in Iraq]
About a week or so ago, I was waiting at the bus stop when male Soldier walked up. His face looked dirty -- like he had been splashed with paint and didn't bother to wash it off. As he got closer, I realized that it wasn't paint. All of those little splotches were scabs. He had been hit by a roadside bomb. Now I wonder
Coalition investigates, then destroys IED factory
Coalition UAV catches insurgents testing an IED near Fallujah. Troops search the insurgent hideout, finding chemicals, munitions and other bomb-making materials. Finally, and air strike destroys the IED factory. (more)
Video for the Folks Back Home -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
Below you'll find a video that was made and posted to You Tube for the folks back home by some people that are very near and dear to me...
Soviet K-9 Dog Kennels -- [Afghanistan JAG -- in Afghanistan]
Soviet Combat Engineers used dogs to sniff for land mines during their war in Afghanistan. German shepherds were the breed of choice.
These pictures show the remains of a Soviet K-9 dog barracks. They were built using the same mud construction that the Afghans use for their homes.
Afghanistan: May 10, 2007 - Avoiding Civilian Casualties -- [Afghanistan Watch]
"Canadians conduct our business as we conduct it and we're very much reflective of Canadian society," said Ruff. "We had a couple of incidents where the Taliban were hiding amongst women and children inside compounds but we won't engage them. It's not what we do.
More Iranian Hostages -- [A Soldier's Perspective - in Iraq]
If you think Iran is done with its hostage taking, think again. Only this time they've got Americans!! Why isn't this front page news?!
Latest on Kansas Tornado Conspiracy- The Hand of Howard Dean -- [Gateway Pundit]
What did Senator Sam Brownback hear and when did he hear it??
BREAKING NEWS From the Quinn and Rose Show/www.warroom.com
Same Words -- Different Mouth Piece
PLEASE NOTE: The following is information we have received from a reliable source. We have never been misinformed by this person in the past.
When will Howard Dean and the rest of that crowd learn that if they are going to write the script for their Democratic team members -- they should probably mix it up a little. They are just so darn predictable. The mantra is always the same; "It's Bush's fault!"
The President visits, and the National Guard helps clean up... -- [John of Argghhh!]
...in Greensburg, Kansas
President George W. Bush thanks U.S. Army Soldiers from the Kansas Army National Guard in Greensburg, Kan., May 9, 2007. The town was struck by a massive tornado May 4. Approximately 400 National Guard members have been called up to assist with the cleanup, provide security and perform other disaster response functions.
British Terrorists Headed for the U.S.A. -- [Strategy Page]
May 10, 2007: The U.S. is putting pressure on Great Britain to identify Britons of Pakistani origin who might be terrorists. This is all because, under current rules, any British citizen, without a criminal record, can visit the United States without a visa. All they need do is carry their passport. What has the United States upset is that so many of the 2,000 terrorist suspects the British are keeping an eye on, have no criminal record. In addition, there are some 400,000 Britons (mostly those of Pakistani origin) who visit Pakistan each year. Most of these are
IIRO announces bold new expansion of international support for orphans, including in countries where its offices have been shuttered for supporting terrorism -- [Zachary Abuza - Counterterrorism Blog]
Yesterday the IIRO, one of the largest Saudi Arabian charities, announced that it was going to sponsor some 250,000 orphans around the world in the coming years, up from the current level of 92,000.
Operation Fresh Air -- [Villainous Company]
DC area readers, we need your help with an exciting project!
From the inimitable Carrie Costantini:
Operation Fresh Air is offering wounded vets from Bethesda and Walter Reed and their families a day of fishing, relaxation and fun at Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge.
Into the light: A wounded Marine and his Vietnam Veteran father -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
I've never written about Josh Cooley, but not a day has passed since July 7, 2005 that I haven't thought about him.
That was the day I received an email from Sandy Gay, whose husband Norman worked with Josh at the Pasco, FL Sheriff's Office. Josh had been hurt in Iraq two days before. It was bad, and his wife and mother were flying to Germany on orders.
RE: OIF Troops Need USO -- [A Soldier's Perspective - in Iraq]
Absent are the "amazing 428,521 performances" by more than "7,000 entertainers" that would travel overseas. … Where are all those entertainers who "support the troops?" Toby Keith can only do so much.
We’ve had two concerts while I’ve been here in country. One was a Jimmy Buffet tribute band that I can’t remember the name of. Yeah, not really from my generation so I skipped that one
Military Spouse Appreication Day Redux -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Today is the day. None of us over here could do this without them.
The Life and Times of a Butterfly Wife
An Army Wife's Life
Trying to Grok
The Lemon Stand
Sighs of my Life
Proud Liberal Army Wife
Give them all a shout out.
Coping with Homecoming -- [War in the SandBox... - home from Afghanistan]
This may sound silly, in fact at first it may make you think I am crazy. But the fact is that for the last few weeks I have really missed Afghanistan. I have given this a lot of thought, and I have discussed it with a few people, including some veterans, and I have realized that perhaps it is not as crazy as it may initially seem. You see I have realized that it's not Afghanistan that I miss. I don't miss the crappy living conditions, I don't miss being shot at, and I don't miss carrying a weapon everywhere. What I do miss is the camaraderie that I shared while I was there. I built friendships in a mere 18 months that usually take years or even a life time to forge.
An Open Declaration of War Against The House Republican Leadership -- [RedState]
The House Republican Leadership just does not get it and they will not take us seriously until we flex our muscle against them. We must fight the House GOP and we must fight today.
Today, I declare war on the Republican Leadership of the United States House of Representatives. We must scalp one member. That member's name is Ken Calvert.
Dem funding delays killing troops? -- [Uncle Jimbo - BlackFive]
The Democrats have disgraced themselvs by turning the funding for our ongoing war into a game of political point-making. I hope they suffer for that come next election, but what about the effects this is having on our operations right now. I mean they wouldn't be doing it if it was actively harming the troops right now would they?
Appeal Part 2 -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
First, a mea culpa. We may have missed a chance for a live TV interview yesterday. I honestly hadn't considered the possibility of doing live TV, and at 7:00 in the evening, even in a war zone, the office types are all off duty. I'll be checking on the TV capability of Al Asad this morning, so that if another chance comes up we wont miss it.
Iraq & The RINO's -- [Flopping Aces]
How in the world is anyone surprised that the group that has fought us for years, and has wanted us out of Iraq for years, is now trying to do it politically?
Press Ignores 2,700 Troops -- [Jawa Report]
So 2,700 active-duty troops petitioning Congress to support the war isn't news.
Retired generals who have been against the effort for years are suddenly news. Three of them.
Problems with the Wire Service Model -- [INDC Journal]
Bryan Preston documents an error by the Associated Press:
This problem is at the heart of why it's vital that wire services and major outlets get their facts straight the first time. The first report, whether it's true or not, might get picked up by thousands of outlets worldwide. ...
Wisconsin Columnist: We Just Need to 'Understand', 'Educate' These 'So-Called Terrorists' -- [NewsBusters]
It is no wonder that jihadists everywhere imagine we can so easily be beaten when western MSM outlets are often filled with capitulators and defeatists. The Wisconsin State Journal has just such a foolish, western dupe in it's May 10th issue in a column by Kevin J. Mack who is scolding us all that these "so-called terrorists" just need a little understanding... as if they are merely errant teenagers who need a stern talking to and a little parental lovin'. And, Mack's sentiment that it is really all our fault is all too common in the media today.
Sympathy for the Devil? -- [Blonde Sagacity]
The capture of the Ft. Dix jihadists is truely amazing and reads like a Season One of Sleeper Cell...but,
The NYT has an article that seems to sympathize with the would-be Ft. Dix bombers...implying (ever so subtly) that it may have been the FBI informer that pushed them into setting their sites one bigger targets:
"...Since 9/11, law enforcement officials have praised the work of such informers, saying they have been doing exactly what they should be doing — gaining access to the world of a possible threat, playing along to see just how far suspects were willing to go, and allowing the authorities to act before the potential terrorists did.
Literary Battle Fatigue -- [Phil Carter - Intel Dump]
In Slate today, I question the wisdom behind the Army's new "Operational Security" regulation, which would sharply restrict the writings of its personnel, first reported by my colleague Noah Shachtman in Wired. I argue this policy will further aggravate the civil-military divide in America, and that it may help the war effort more to allow dissenting views and honest perspectives to percolate up and out of the ranks:
Moderate Republicans to Bush: Push for Victory -- [ScrappleFace]
A group of moderate Republican House members, led by Rep. Charlie Dent, R-PA, met privately with President George Bush in the White House yesterday to urge him to “press on to victory, no matter the cost.”
According to Rep. Dent, the lawmakers encouraged the president to “put aside concerns about his own plunging personal popularity and do the right thing by getting out of Iraq so that we can get re-elected in our home districts.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
ON Point in Anbar: The Tide Turns in Ramadi (Part 2 of 2) -- [ON Point - in Iraq]
Ramadi’s successes—and challenges—have started to garner attention from mainstream media. Although a pair of suicide bombs hit the city yesterday, killing 20 ON Point follows last week’s article with several profiles of personalities, events, and issues that have been the talk of the town in recent weeks. Here’s a look inside Al Anbar Province and its capital, Ramadi: Latif’s the Man The security provided by the Marines in Ramadi is reflected in the work of...
Saturday, May 5: An update from Bh.tv's Baghdad Bureau help (VIDEO) [Blogging Heads HT Glenn]
Robert Wright talks with the embedded Eli Lake, who's there covering the surge.
In Their Own Words -- [Duty in the Desert - in Iraq]
...Across the city, restaurants are slowly filling and shops are reopening. The streets are busy. Iraqis are not cowering indoors. The appalling death tolls from suicide attacks are often high because of crowding at markets. These days you are as likely to hear complaints about traffic congestion as about the security situation. Across Baghdad there is a cacophony of sirens from ambulances, firefighters and police providing public services. You cannot even escape the curse of traffic wardens ticketing illegally parked cars.
...Iraqis, for all our determination and courage, cannot succeed alone. We need a healthy and supportive regional environment. We will not allow our country to be a battleground for settling scores in regional and international conflicts that adversely affect stability inside our borders. Only with continued international commitment and deeper engagement from our neighbors can we establish a stable democratic, federal and united Iraq. The world should not abandon us.
It Continues to Work in Ramadi -- [Serving the People of Iraq and Iran]
Despite occasional setbacks, parts of Iraq's Anbar Province are trending toward peace. This occurs as Sunnis in the Anbar heartland realize that al Qaeda does not have Anbar's best interest at heart.
While I was in Ramadi, a change in sentiment began to occur. That sentiment is coming substantially to fruition 18 months later.
Mas. Cal. 4-24-2007 Camp Ramadi, Iraq
Iraq the Model? -- [Redstate - in Iraq]
On the morning of May 1, I accompanied the second platoon of 1-4 Cav’s Alpha (“Apache”) Company and members of the sherda, or Iraqi National Police (NPs) on a joint patrol of the southwestern quadrant of the unit’s area of operations, in the area known as Abu Dischir. The main purpose of the patrol, and the house searches it entailed, was to continue showing a sustained US presence in this Shi’a district which is home to large numbers of Jaish al Mahdi, or "JAM" members, and to check for such things as weapons caches and unlicensed firearms (each Iraqi household is allowed a registered AK-47 and thirty rounds, but no other weapons).
Don't bury your heads in the sand. -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
I had said it over and over again that some of us in Iraq and America are sending wrong messages to the terrorists and the dictators behind them; in fact I wasn't surprised when I saw Zawahiri appear on al-Jazeera to announce America's defeat, not long after Reid did.
Soldiers continue to build schools, trust -- [MNF-I]
CAMP TAJI — While insurgents continue attacks near and at construction sites, U.S. soldiers with Multi-National Division-Baghdad this week continue bringing construction supplies for several schools being built north of Baghdad.
COALITION FORCES FIND TORTURE ROOM, DESTROY WEAPONS CACHE IN SADR CITY -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces destroyed a torture room, a large cache of weapons and improvised explosive device-making materials Sunday morning while targeting terrorists in Sadr City.
Coalition Forces targeted the location based on intelligence reports that indicated the presence of suspected members of a secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.
Door to door fighting in Iraq.
American soldiers partaking in door to door fighting in Iraq.
Rattlesnake -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
....Unlike some other parts of Iraq, little if any compelling evidence of civil war is present in Basra. In Baghdad, by contrast, suicide bombers commonly strike several times per day, often into the very heart of guarded areas and scores of innocent victims are killed daily by bombs, guns and knives. Meanwhile in Basra, seemingly random, wholesale attacks are by comparison uncommon. There have been few suicide attacks. While the overwhelming majority of attacks in Baghdad, or in provinces such as Nineveh and Diyala, are against Iraqis, down here in Basra, 90% of the attacks are against British soldiers.
There and Back Again (A Soldier's Tale) -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
This is the third and last segment on our 40-hour mission. It's a little more disjoint than the others, because I don't remember the second day as well as the first and I didn't take the luxury of a lot of time editing this one. Hope you enjoy!
Digger risks life to save mates in Iraq -- [Tanker Brothers]
The Australian army's anonymous new hero in Iraq is a raw, young infantryman who leapt into a blazing armoured vehicle to provide cover for his wounded mates.
Australia's commander in southern Iraq says he is humbled by the freshly qualified gunner's "incredible" courage and professionalism.
But the brave Digger, whose patrol took fire four times in two days, does not want to be named.
He was in a 50-vehicle convoy hit by light arms fire and rocket propelled grenades in two different villages as it returned to base at Tallil two weeks ago.
Monday, May 7, 2007 - "Sure hope that's a controlled det" -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
...Despite today's setback, the intel we are receiving mirrors what is in the media: Ramadi and the Anbar Province are improving. Sunni leadership in Anbar have formed the Anbar Salvation Council (ASC), and are working with U.S. leadership. The ASC is officially opposed to al-Qaeda, and is working towards stabilization of the region. Sheik Fassal Al-Giood of the ASC states "al-Qaeda has not stopped attacking Anbar. Today's incident is a reaction to our work."
As stated in a previous post, Doha gets a second chance, Ramadi has seen a surge of new police recruits and officers. Much of the raw infusion of new officers is due to the ASC leadership supporting regional stability and sending their tribesmen to the recruiting stations to become officers.
Talking Points -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
At the Chow. It is a nice one here. Occasionally referred to as the 'Golden Corral.'
On the TV two human talking-points-generators are debating about a war they know nothing about in a country they have only seen on a map or on TV.
I don't know why they are called 'strategists'--neither one of them could design a decent ambush.
As the politicians make logic defying statements. (See Senatorial Logic) and toss out focus group tested talking points the work in Iraq goes on.
It is this morning and I'm sure there are a couple thousand wet Soldiers and Marines still out on patrol. They will spend the next two or three days tromping through mud and puddles. Their feet will welt up with blisters and rot.
One of "those" days -- [The Zeke - in Iraq]
119 degrees...SO hot. Body soaked in sweat, eyes burning, breath ragged. Drag body armor from truck to can (room). Sit down, let the sweat flow....thank God for AC. Boom boom boom! "Might have 'that' mission tomorrow" "Ya?" "Ya" "Anything else?" Nope, standing by.
Doing paperwork, minding own business. Hear gaggle outside, peek out to see. Mistake, more paperwork... (grunts hate paperwork). Doing paperwork, told to "find vehicle." Where? Who knows. Vehicle found, needs work, must fix it, stock it, fix it, fix it. Oops, out of time, close to done. Meeting. 11pm....oops, mission 4 hours earlier than expected, doh! Get to bed! 4 hours of sleep, get up, finish vehicle. Not fast enough. Mass confusion. Stress building.
Mission starts. Hit IED....BOOOM! What was that? Vehicle behind me. Slight damage. No one hurt. Drive on with mission. Mission is on.
Patrick Interviewed by Vladimir van Wilgenburg -- [Moderate Risk - in Iraq]
A recent UN report talked about corruption, nepotism, lack of press freedom and honor killings in Kurdistan. Do you think this report is correct? What are your negative experiences with Kurdistan? And what are your positive ones? The notion of the UN calling anybody else corrupt and nepotistic is somewhat surreal, and their relationship to honor and death is it's own category of disgrace. Regrettably, the report is probably also an understatement. I will be writing on this more extensively soon.
Training Iraqi pilots - (VIDEO) -- [Military Times]
Maj. Mohamad Althawrah of the Iraqi Air Force's 2nd Squadron was imprisoned under Saddam Hussein's regime for refusing to fire on civilians. Now he's learning to fly Huey IIs under U.S. Air Force trainers like Capt. Corey Hunt.
Iraqi Soldiers serve for country, family -- [MNF-I]
Iraqi Army Pvt. Najah Hassan Kathim, who deserted the old Iraqi Army during the initial invasion of April 2003, resumed his military career in the new Iraqi Army when he began basic training in February.
“The basic training here now is first class,” said Kathim. “The equipment is new and the training is new.”
Hand & Arm Signals -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...One basic hand and arm signal is the clenched fist, held straight up. This means stop or more specifically freeze, do not move. Of course this clenched fist has other popular varitations in meaning, such as "power to the people" (think any campus protest), "black power" (think Mexico City 1968), or "solid" (think Mod Squad).
Yesterday I was having some leadership challenges moving some vehicles from here to there and I was becoming quickly agitated, so I stepped out of Badger Main to head down to Badger Maintenance and put some Command emphasis on the issue.
As I walked down the main road, in the already 100+ degree temperature, I became more frustrated the more I contemplated the issue that had arisen.
Suddenly, coming the other direction, I spotted what I thought was one of the vehicles in question. I looked to see who the driver was to confirm it was one of my vehicles.
Poll, Notes, and Questions - [Jack Army - in iraq]
1. In case you couldn't tell, my "project" was a trip into and around Baghdad. A great experience, especially in that I feel like I have a much better understanding of the struggles there as well as the progress. Like I've said before, history in the making and I got to go there and see for myself. How many Americans can say that? For decades, if not centuries, students of history around the world will read about this conflict and what we are accomplishing...
2. The recent poll about the Surge warrants a post on its own as I have many thoughts and observations to share, so look for that in the near future.
Wondering: -- [Duke in Iraq - 5/7/07 - in Iraq]
wonder how many people become concerned when the phone rings. I wonder how many people are suddenly worried when they see an official vehicle drive into their neighborhood. I wonder how many parents only get to speak to their spouse 15 minutes twice a week to discuss all of the household issues and how to deal with rebellious children. I wonder how many people wonder if their loved one is OK if the phone disconnects. I wonder. This is the life of the families of a serviceman who is deployed in harms way.
The other night we had the Wing Commander Commander's Call for officers. This was to recognize our achievements during this rotation. As we were in our seats waiting for the room to be called to attention,...
Iraq Report: Kufa bombed, Iraqi/Coalition operations -- [The Fourth Rail]
There have been no major suicide or car bombings inside Baghdad over the past two days. Mortar, roadside bombings and small arms attacks persist, but sectarian killings are still below the levels prior to the implementation of the Baghdad Security Plan. Much of the significant violence has occurred in Baghdad's "Belts," the regions about 20 miles outside Baghdad. This is where the latest two significant attacks occurred.
FULTON COUNTY DAILY REPORT ARTICLE -- [Afghanistan JAG - in Afghanistan]
Atlanta JAG carries out aid mission for Afghan refugee village
On Friday, U.S. soldiers distributed two 7-ton trucks’ worth of clothes, shoes and supplies to a refugee village near Kabul Military Training Center in Afghanistan. Atlanta solo plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Delius, serving in Afghanistan as an Army National Guard JAG since November 2006, organized the relief effort.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007 -- [Sgt Dub - in Afghanistan]
In case you were not aware, the Taliban have kidnapped a french aid worker and 3 Afghans helping and have been holding them, demanding that the French 1,100 soldiers leave Afghanistan or they will be executed by beheading. The time frame was set for Monday, the day after French elections. The demand was to see a change in France's President and then an immediate pull-out of troops. Now, let me start off by saying that once again the insurgent supporting liberal media has not balked at this action one bit, an innocent person who is actually over here to help people, not involved in conflict at the slightest. Now, they do bark a little if it was a journalist, but really not that much, since that would be the ultimate story for a reporter anyway. But, I do have to laugh at all this too. The deadline came and went. Now, there was a change in the Presidency, duh!
Afghan Training Navy Seals Wont Go Through - (HUMOR)
The Afghanistan National Army on Physical Training Standards
Man Jammies -- [A JAG in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
A traditional style of clothing of the men are what we call "man jammies." I have no idea what they're called in Dari so "man jammies" they are. The consist of a long flowing shirt, just like a night shirt and a pair of draw string pants, exactly like MC Hammer pants - remember those?
Anyway, COL Khaliq presented Scott and I with a pair as a gift. He got white and I got black. I joked with him that at least they got the colors of our personalities right!!
Long and Painful -- [Afghanistan Without a Clue - coming home]
Just a quick note to let you all know that the AWAC staff is on the way home. I have camera in hand and will share all the gruesome details later. Rest assured, it hurts! There are no non-stops between Kabul and the US (There are hardly any non-stops between Kabul and anywhere).
Step 5 has started -- [Bouhammer.-'s Afghan Blog - coming home]
Well I am writing this from a country that does not end in "stan". I am actually writing this from Turkey as I sit here on a re-fueling stop. The flight home has begun. The total flight time will be over 24 hours, but that is ok because we are heading west and that is all that matters. I have a lot to write about and will be posting more as I can. There was a big concert last night in K-stan and was a nice way to end out last night there. Anyway I will be writing about that and a lot more later.
Ready, Fire, Aim! -- [John of Argghhh!]
As many readers know, the Castle Moat has not required any topping off of late, nature having been doing that for us. The Moat Monster is quite disturbed, as he prefers brackish, stagnant water with sickly, easy to catch fish and stale cheetohs that Ry tosses out the dungeon grate (we do let him have light for 30 minutes a day). The Missouri River right now is just a touch under 6 feet above flood stage, and should crest today. This is well below the 15 foot flood stage in the Great Flood of '93. This being a slow-moving disaster, the city and county have had ample time to sandbag the small areas (mostly city-owned, in terms of buildings) likely to be affected.
Iran Wants to Get Bombed -- [Strategy Page]
May 8, 2007: All the blather from some circles in the U.S. about an imminent attack on Iran only plays into the hands of the Islamic radicals who control the government there. It works like this. If we don't attack, they'll cite their readiness to defend themselves as having successfully deterred the "Great Satan." If we do attack, the Iranian radicals can cry about being beaten up by the Great Satan, and rally the country (which generally despises their clerical rulers). This is why most of the talk about the U.S. attacking Iran is coming from Iran.
Kosovo Crises Reaches New Jersey -- [Strategy Page]
May 9, 2007: Six Moslem refugees from the Balkans were arrested in the United States and charged with planning a terrorist attack on an American military base in New Jersey. The six were observed for over a tear. Three of the young men are in the country illegally. The base in question, Ft Dix, hosted 4,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo in the 1990s.
The Fort Dix Plan -- [All Alone in the Night]
Apparently Wonkette's take on the Fort Dix six's plan to attack soldiers at Fort Dix is becoming the accepted wisdom about the attack.
...It is not my intent to blow up the attackers beyond their means. They were clearly not too bright, and the incident serves as an important reminder that law enforcement and intelligence are critical tools in this war. (BTW, would these men have been caught pre-Patriot Act? I'm better they would have, but I'm not certain of that. If I'm right, that's a good reminder of how little the act really did to further secure the U.S. against attack.)
Democrats Gut Homeland Security Protections -- [Redstate]
screw the 9/11 commission, we support illegal aliens and employee unions
Nancy Pelosi and assorted House democrats woofed a lot about how they were going to remedy the deficiencies in homeland security funding that were totally and only the fault of the eeeeeevil Bush Administration.
Who Needs Terrorists When You Have All These Gangsters -- [Strategy Page]
May 9, 2007: India has accused Pakistan of allowing Islamic militants to double the number of terrorist training camps (to about fifty) in the last few months. Most of the camps supply terrorists for operations in Kashmir, which India and Pakistan dispute control of. India has it, Pakistan wants it and the Islamic terrorists fighting there are very popular throughout Pakistan.
How Did the "Fort Dix Six" Enter and Stay in the U.S.? -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Michael Cutler]
Six men have been arrested for terrorism-related charges emanating out of an alleged plot to enter a military base in New Jersey, Fort Dix, and kill as many of our soldiers as possible. I will provide my thoughts with the limited amount of information that is being made available (download and read the official complaint).
New Al Qaeda Suicide Bomb Video -- [Pat Dollard]
Al Qaeda recently launched a series of attacks in Morocco, as part of it’s expansion of the African front. Their buddies at Al Jazeera just released some video.
The words of support. --[American Soldier - wounded in Iraq]
I received the following message tonight and it really meant alot. I have withheld his name but his message speaks much support for my fellow warriors and me.
Soldiers' Angels gets it done - Donate today! -- [Holly Aho]
I wanted to do a special post just for Soldiers' Angels. There are many great organizations that support our troops, and I often get asked why I promote Soldiers' Angels as much as I do. What makes them so great? I couldn't thoroughly answer that question with just a sentence or two, or even a page or two. But one of my favorite reasons can be summed up in two words, "Response Time".
Alone Time -- [Life in a Cracker Box - spouse of wounded GI]
Today has been such a typical Walter Reed day. I awoke this morning to the high-pitched clangor of my cell phone. As usual it rang before my alarm could even think about going off. I laid in bed staring at the caller id wishing it was a family member that I could quietly ignore for the time being and drift back off to sleep. Instead it was... as it always seems to be... a number that I had never seen before in my life. Reluctantly I took the call hoping it would be someone I could quickly escape from. No luck. Thus a new day dawned at Walter Reed and it was time to roll out of bed, glue on my everything is fine face, and meet the world with ceaseless "enthusiasm."
VIDEO - Lumberjack in a Desert Recovery -- [FOX 9 News]
FOX 9 tells the story of a 1/34th Brigade Combat Team Soldier and blogger as he struggles toward recovery at Walter Reed Medical Center.
The experience of Walter Reed - Final -- [American Soldier - wounded in Iraq]
I wanted to install the final portion of my experiences at Walter Reed. I don’t want to not forget about it because so many emotions and things happened while I was there. So here it goes.
After the Goodbye -- [On Wings of Eagles]
I watched the whole scene, as it played out, from beginning to end. I recognized it, and was captivated, not so much by what was happening, but the surrounding action in the airport.
What was it?
I spotted a Soldier on his way back from his R&R. From reading his uniform, I could tell he's serving in Iraq. His wife was there, as they clung to every last second they could. Trying to avoid the inevitable.
She looked spectacular - having dressed well for this last time together. He was in his uniform.
...Surrounding them was a boisterous crowd of folks going easily amongst their lives, unaware of the drama unfolding before them. Literally completely surrounding them, lives were going on, while theirs was coming back to a skidding halt.
Armed Forces Worklife Profiles -- [Dave's not Here - in Iraq]
The folks at Harvard Law have put together a study on Military pay rates for those who might be interested. They do some good analysis, and the numbers should demonstrate that the payroll situation for members of the Armed Services are not as dismal as they used to be. Still, the pay rates do not compare easily to civilian world pays, but there are areas that the folks at Harvard Law are no doubt overlooking, such as BAH, BAS, access to Military only stores and MWR facilities (generally a lot cheaper than off base equivalents), etc.
SpouseBUZZ Goes LIVE -- [Welcome To Andi's World]
I'm off to San Diego for SpouseBUZZ LIVE. If you didn't get your fill at the MilBlog Conference, you can watch the panel sessions via video streaming on May 12 at SpouseBUZZ. Panel sessions run from 9:30 - 12:15 PST.
One of The Corps' Great Historians Passes [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Simmons passed away Saturday.
General Simmons, 85, was a highly decorated combat Marine officer and one of the Corps' great historians. We Marines have all read his books, articles, and essays over the years, and learned much from him about our Corps.
The War Comes Home, again -- [John of Argghhh!]
Another Blue Star turns to Gold for a Fort Leavenworth family. I'll post more info as I have it.
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 6 at Pol-e-Charki, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire. Their deaths are under investigation. Killed were:
Col. James W. Harrison Jr., 47, of Missouri. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Master Sgt. Wilberto Sabalu Jr., 36, of Chicago. He was assigned to the U.S. Military Police
School, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam
Anti-War Groups Blame Iraq War for Kansas Tornado Response -- (CNSNews.com)
Cleanup of the damage caused Friday when an F-5 tornado tore through the Kansas town of Greensburg has been slowed because National Guard resources are in Iraq, according to a group of anti-war activists and the Kansas governor.
Appeal For Courage -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
In less than six months, the Appeal For Courage has gathered over 2700 signatures of current members of the US military. The Appeal is simply worded.
We believe the war in Iraq, though costly and painful to the men and women here fighting it and to the families back home, is necessary to the long term security of our country and the short term stability of the Middle East. In four years we have accomplished much, and I believe the endgame is just around the corner. But some politicians and much of our media would have you believe that all of Iraq is in flames and mired in civil war. They want to leave Iraq to the terrorists for purely political reasons, most notably next years elections.
Soldiers and Sailors Petition Goes to Congress [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Senators Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss, and Congressmen John Boehner, Roy Blunt, and Eric Cantor will accept a petition from U.S. servicemen — the majority of whom are serving or have served in Iraq — urging Congress to both support their mission in Iraq and end the calls for retreat.
ASP Gets Political -- [A Soldier's Perspective - in Iraq]
...I'm getting more and more convinced that Pelosi wants to have Bush's lovechild. She's obsessed with him. Thehill.com is reporting that Pelosi is threatening to sue Bush if he issues a "signing statement" on the next Iraq war bill that hits his desk. A signing statement is basically a proclomation issued normally by a President when he signs a bill into law. It basically tells agencies what the President's interpretation of a law is meant to be.
Ladies and Gentlemen... The President of the United States
2007 bush milblog president statement
Milblogging -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
Really there are two ways to look at this regulation, either as a cynic or an optimist. The cynic would say that the army is setting a broad and restrictive policy in place that it will decide to enforce aggressively at some future date. The optimist would say that the army is setting a broad policy in place that it can use to weed out the few individuals that are actually violating opsec policies, while not interfering with the vast majority. As I mentioned in Stars and Stripes, the key is of course in how this is enforced. There does now arise the potential of some units being very restrictive on blogging, while others are very loose. That could indeed be a problem. But Army-wide, this should help milbloggers quite a bit.
More OPSEC Update -- [Dadmanly]
Just below a photo of soldiers boarding a helicopter, DJ Elliott opens his report with the question, “what’s wrong with this caption?”
U.S. Army Soldiers move to the UH-60 Black Hawk after searching the area for items of interest during an aerial response force mission, Iraq, March 31. Soldiers are assigned to the 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway. [Link]
Msgt Dunaway may not be the author of the captions on his photos, but whoever is, needs to learn the art of “sanitizing” intelligence information. Public disclosure of this sort information is precisely what the increased vigilance of new OPSEC Update was designed to prevent.
"new" OPSEC rules -- [Making the Leap... - in Iraq]
While a good portion of the Milblogging community is up in arms about the "new" OPSEC rules, it's really not a big deal. No photos of roadside bombs or bodies, don't talk about strength and buildings, and so on and so forth. Since we're not supposed to have pictures of battle damage or causalties, there's no problem there. Oh, and we're not supposed to have pictures of antennas and satellites either. Not a big deal. Calm down, and blog on.
Remembering Sgt. Mike Stokely
At the Milblogs Conference, Robert Stokely remembers his son.
AR 530-1 changes and why I will keep blogging. -- [The Marching Camp - in Iraq]
On 19 April, 2007, the United States Army released a now version of AR 530-1, Operational Security which became effective one day later, 20 April. The regulation is marked "For Official Use Only" which means that as this blog is a public forum, technically I am not supposed to quote from it.
It was, however, released to the press in its entirety. Someone up in Washington is smoking way the hell too much crack. The contradiction between the Army's institutional culture of obsessive secrecy and the open nature of the 21st century American society is obvious. All information is out there if you know where to look.
I'm Still Here -- [Half a World Away - in Iraq]
Ran across this article today, which explains some of the problem: Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death. Basically the new policy is that you must get approval from your Commander before posting anything on your blog. Most of us are guessing that rather then waste the Commander's time, most units will just ban blogs all together.
It is really frustrating for us because I think most of you at home would agree that soldier blogs provide a window into this war that has never before been utilized. Not that it is always positive, but for most part they are real life. In a time when the military is struggling for public support, you would think our stories would be encouraged and not the other way around. I honestly don't understand where they are coming from. My guess is that the brass is just being risk averse and rather then have to deal with the few troublemakers that violate op-sec or something like that, they are going into widespread lockdown mode.
I'm not giving up the fight yet, as this blog has really meant a lot to me over the last 13 months.
Army Crackdown on Bloggers -- [War in the SandBox... - in Afghanistan]
There has been a lot of hoopla lately about a recent "U.S. Army Crackdown" on military bloggers. What strikes me as funny is that there is very little new to this "Crackdown". The basic explanation of the whole thing is that bloggers must register their blogs with their chain-of-command. If the chain-of-command wants they can require personnel to submit each post for review before posting, or they can ban blogging all together for their personnel. Luckily for me the Navy has not yet released any particular regulations, although my blog is registered both with my command and my former combat command.
To Blog or Not To Blog... That isn't the question -- [McNeilly's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
This morning I received an email from a Stars and Stripes reporter reference my thoughts on the new regulation,
We’re trying to get some reaction from guys blogging downrange, so I was hoping you’d take a minute and send me some of your thoughts. I don’t know if this will have or as had any effect on your blog – I’m also interested if you feel the Army is sending the wrong message to guys who are trying to write about what they’re seeing and doing overseas. Many of the bloggers back stateside are petrified that the on-the-ground perspective is going to get lost.
I guess I will keep my answer relatively short, and caveat it by saying I could be wrong.
The new regulations as I read Army Reg 530-1 updated April 2007, do not significantly change the rules of operation that I was under previously. Especially if you read the explanation here
More Milblog Conference Picks, and a Caption Contest! -- [Holly Aho]
First, the caption contest.... here's a few from the conference...
I'm on CNN! -- [Doc in the Box]
It looks like they took my part of the interview and ran with it, you can watch the video here.
Other things we did today, woke up rather late (it has been a busy couple of days) and after a brief meeting some other milbloggers in the lobby. We checked out of the hotel and loaded our bags into the trunk of two fellow bloggers Beth and Wintermellonsoup who are bloggers who just moved to DC from the Midwest, I’ve been blogging buddies with Beth since 2003 and they offered top pick us up and take us to the cheaper hotel.
Chuck's lunch time Milblog Conference speech
DC Recap - [Soldiers Angels New York]
Friday night at the pre-cocktail party cocktail party: The sun was beating through the windows into the room we were congregating. A good crowd had gathered. A lot of familiar faces, but some new ones. The pool table nazi was busy making sure nobody set anything down on the pool tables that shouldn't be there. I swear the guy had eyes on top of his baseball cap. I met Sgt Hook! No word on if the pool table nazi will make an appearance in one of Hook's stories.
CAIR Warns the Media [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/8/07) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded efforts by federal law enforcement authorities that apparently thwarted a planned attack on Fort Dix in New Jersey.
In a statement, the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said:
"Based on the information gathered in this case, it seems clear that a potentially deadly attack has been averted. We applaud the FBI for its efforts and repeat the American Muslim community's condemnation and repudiation of all those who would plan or carry out acts of terror while falsely claiming their actions have religious justification.
"We continue to urge American Muslims to be vigilant in reporting any suspected criminal activities that could harm the safety and security of our nation."
Google Video copy of Freedom Journal Iraq #642 -- [Jawa Report]
Update: Google says
Your video "Freedom Journal Iraq Episode 642" was rejected because it didn't comply with our Program Policies.
Heh, that's funny because according to MNF Iraq.com
All content on MNF-Iraq.com is public domain and may be used freely
They didn't reject this video or this one.
My conclusion, Google Hates America and ...
Wolfowitz Moves Girlfriend to Drive-Up Window -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-05-08) — In what may be one of his final official actions as World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz today arranged for his girlfriend, Shaha Ali Riza, to get a “steady job” after his expected resignation.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)