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Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
Bird’s Eye View: The Battle for Baqubah -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
A Tactical Operations Center (TOC) is the headquarters for a unit. Company-level TOCs are the smallest I have seen. A typical infantry company has about a hundred or more soldiers. The commander will normally be a captain. A company-level TOC often consists of a radio and a map, and one person on duty 24/7. It might have a coffee maker, too. In fact, there is a company TOC at the other end of the tent in which I now reside with a company called C-52. C-52 is the smallest company with only 54 men, who all live in this tent with a huge amount of weapons, and great combat experience to back them up [to whit: Superman.]
Peace Agreement in Diyala - [Duty in the Desert - in Iraq]
This is how lasting peace will be achieved in Iraq.
The effort centered on the city of Khalis, near Baqouba, where U.S. and Iraqi troops are conducting an ongoing house-to-house sweep of the city.
Earlier this week, around 75 sheiks and local leaders met at the Iraqi Army Headquarters in Khalis to air long-standing grievances with each other, suggest security improvements and pledge to work against al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgent groups.
As has been the case in other areas, many local residents have chafed at the continuing violence sponsored by the insurgents and the hard-line Islamic law imposed in some areas...
Entrepreneurs or Insurgents? Economic Growth in Iraq -- [ONPoint]
An untold aspect of the “Surge” is to create jobs for the local citizenry. With “Clear-Hold-Build” finally being an accepted part of the Coalition strategy to pacify Iraq, what is being done to provide the Iraqis with jobs that will let them support their families? Security in a town is necessary for it’s own sake, but to provide jobs for the locals, where they can feed and house their families in some semblance of rationality – that’s what is necessary to stop the locals from saying “we were better off under Saddam”, and joining the insurgents or a militia group.
...Although JCCIA operates in both AO’s, the emphasis of these questions concerned JCCIA activities in Iraq :
Operation Fardh al-Qanoon achieving good results -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commanding general, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Aboud Ganbar, commander, Baghdad operations, Fardh al-Qanoon, held a briefing to discuss the successes of current operations in and around Baghdad at the Combined Press Information Center Thursday.
Iraqi Army, U.S. Special Forces detain rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi cell leader -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Army Soldiers, with U.S. Special Forces as advisors, detained a cell leader of the rogue Jaysh al-Mahdi militia near the southwest neighborhood of Bayaa in Baghdad, July 26.
The Iraqi Soldiers detained their primary suspect without incident during the early morning operation in Baghdad.
The primary suspect is believed to command a rogue JAM improvised explosive device cell that is allegedly responsible for attacks on Coalition Forces. He is also alleged to have received financial support and explosively formed penetrators from Iran, which were distributed to other JAM cell members in the Bayaa and Aamel areas of Baghdad.
Senior terrorists eliminated
Iraqi Security Forces, U.S. Special Forces detain al-Qaeda in Iraq members -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces, with U.S. Special Forces as advisors, detained two primary targets of an al-Qaeda in Iraq cell near southwest neighborhood of Jihad in Baghdad, July 26.
The Iraqi Forces detained their primary targets at several different residences during the early morning operation in Baghdad. One other suspicious individual present during the operation was also detained.
The al-Qaeda in Iraq cell is alleged to be responsible for conducting extra judicial killings of Iraqi citizens and emplaces improvised explosive devices. They are also believed to have conducted attacks on Iraqi and Coalition Forces as well as local Iraqi citizens.
From the Front -- [Fuzzilicious Thinking ]
Courtesy of a proud Marine Dad, from a lieutenant who doesn't get to email often:
It is a little bit of fun working with these Iraqis.
...I can't wait to be done training these guys, so we can go operational and start interdicting some insurgents on a grand scale, lol. I led the first set on their final class--a real patrol--a couple days ago, and they weren't bad. Not Marines, but not bad for what we had taught them.
Tet Comes Early This Year -- [Cannoneer No. 4 - in Iraq]
I don’t want to go through this again. I don’t want these Marines and soldiers and sailors and airmen I live with to suffer the morale-destroying disillusionment. I was an Air Force brat in Japan last time. My school bus drove past the Pacific Theater Graves Registration Tranfser Point at Tachikawa every day. Stacks and stacks of zinc coffins being moved with forklifts. The casualty list took up the entire back page of the Pacific Stars and Stripes. Big green ambulance buses. Wounded on cots in the hospital hallways, IV bottles hanging from rods attached to the cot. Walking wounded in neon blue pajamas on pass at the BX. And nobody was glad to see the Chaplain walking in their housing area in Class A’s. My father was stuck in Korea, caught up in the Pueblo Incident. We didn’t get Walter Cronkite. What I knew of the Vietnam War I did not learn from American television.
I was a cadet when Saigon fell. The psychological wounds of the men who trained me were to a certain degree contagious.
It’s happening again.
What the hell is going on around here? -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq ]
...Usually company missions are accompanied by Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police, which this one was. The Army works with us and usually does the meat and potatoes of the mission and the IP's work with the MP's doing the cordon and whatnot. The nice thing is that our job is not to actually do these mission. We are there to help, advise and make it go quicker, but not actually do it ourselves. I've noticed that in the last 5 months or so that we've been working with these guys that they have been getting better and more effeciet. We're normally not out there as long as we used to be and we are having to do less and less as they take on more of the responsibility and become better at doing these things.
This mission was to clear out a local cemetary for some stuff that the IA had intel on. The weird thing is ...
Iraq Report: Al Qaeda strikes in Baghdad -- [The Fourth Rail]
After a lull of several weeks in major mass casualty suicide attack inside Baghdad, al Qaeda in Iraq struck three times against Iraqi civilians over the past 24 hours. Yesterday's attacks occurred during the celebration of the Iraqi soccer team's victory at the Asia Games, which advanced the club to the finals.
25 dead in Baghdad car bombing
A car bomb in the Karradah district of Baghdad has killed at least 25 people.
Destroying Happiness -- [Dude, where's the beach? - in Iraq]
...In that instant 28 men, women, and children were murdered about 2 miles away from where I sat in the comfort of my office. 95 men, women and children were sprayed with glass, metal, and debris while I sent my last email and picked up my gear. These people were preparing to celebrate an Islamic holiday. The night before they were happy because the Iraqi soccer team won another game in the Asian Cup. They were happy, and happiness is so rare for them these days. Why would someone want to destroy such happiness. All of those smiles were stolen away last night by people who can't stand to see joy and happiness.
"The terrorists, curse them, are behind this act," said Firas Rahim, who sells clothes at a stand near the site of the blasts. "They are angry because the people were celebrating and happy yesterday. Now they took their revenge."
The longer I'm hear, the more I love the Iraqi people. They're vibrant, emotional, patriotic, and strong.
Full Speed Ahead -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
Sunday was reasonably quiet early on, after a busy Saturday afternoon, but that changed late when we received word that several of our Iraqi Army (IA) outposts had been hit by the enemy. We headed down to the IA battalion headquarters to learn what they knew about the attacks while U.S. forces moved to the scene to do their own assessment. That evening we put together the different stories to see if we could determine, at least roughly, the ground truth about what had happened so we could start planning for what to do about it.
That evening we also learned that a general officer would be coming to visit, and the unit we're working with had a number of other issues on the plate and didn't have an officer to spare to meet the general.
Guest Blogger, Colonel Michael Visconage -- [The Gunner's World -in Iraq]
The Camp Victory Life:
The Victory base camp is on the Southwest outskirts of Baghdad is part of a much larger expanse that has a number of other sub camps for the combat divisions and a variety of support troops. My guess would be that is covers perhaps 20 square miles and houses 40-50,000 people. While the staff has the easy life in terms of a low level of immediate danger, the fighting troops are usually out in the various forward operating bases and have much harsher living condition. They do get to rotate back to larger bases for periods of time, which I am sure they appreciate.
Everyday in Mosul.... -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
The cavalry mounted up today, again. I remember as a young kid growing up on an arroyo in southern New Mexico, I would come home after sports practice and ride my horse. Just like sports practice to stay in shape, so it is with riding a horse. I had a good quarter horse, named "Jigger". I rode him almost everyday to keep not only him in shape, but to keep my riding skills fine tuned. Such is the case here in Mosul, in a way. Everyday, the Cav rides into town keeping a strong presence while at the same time handing over more and more responsibility to the Iraqi Army as the transition moves along.
We headed out in force early in the morning to the north side of Mosul today. We passed through some crowded business areas where people like ants were going about their daily lives. When the "herd" of Humvees comes through, all eyes are watching and no vechiles dare impede the way.
Summertime Blues -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
ughhh . . . I groan and roll over to look at my clock.
It's 3:15am, and the Artillery detachment is sending out some care packages to our boys outside the wire. No surprise there; the artillery men send out their lovin' every night, and since we are almost right next to them I get to hear every round up close and personal. The only question is what time and how often. The nightly barrage goes on...
These are a couple typical nights for us here. Nothing exciting, just the sounds of the battle going on around us. Our job isn't out there at night; it begins the next day with our Iraqi counterparts. Everyday we work with them, side by side, imparting what knowledge we have and trying to help them do their part better. Many nights I wish I was out there with my coalition counterparts, fighting a battle I know a little better; but I'm not, and many days it’s hard for me to accept that my battle is in getting the Iraqi's to sustain themselves without our help.
In the Wake of the Surge -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
... The battalion I’m embedded with here in Baghdad hasn’t suffered a single casualty – not even one soldier wounded – since they arrived in the Red Zone in January. The surge in this part of the city could not possibly be going better than it already is. Most of Graya’at’s insurgents and terrorists who haven’t yet fled are either captured, dormant, or dead.
...Graya’at’s streets are quiet and safe. It doesn’t look or feel like war zone at all. American soldiers just a few miles away are still engaged in almost daily firefights with insurgents and terrorists, but this part of the city has been cleared by the surge.
...Everyone was friendly. No one shot at us or even looked at us funny. Infrastructure problems, not security, were the biggest concerns at the moment. I felt like I was in Iraqi Kurdistan – where the war is already over – not in Baghdad.
...“Do they ever get pissed off when you search them?” I said.
“Not very often,” he said. “They understand we’re trying to protect them.”
“This is not what I expected in Baghdad,” I said.
“Most of what we’re doing doesn’t get reported in the media,” he said. “We’re not fighting a war here anymore, not in this area. We’ve moved way beyond that stage.
Temple of UR!!! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
So we have been on the road for the past couple of days, same ol' stuff here and there. On are way north yesterday we saw an explosion to our three o'clock, we called it up and moved on. Everyone just watched quietly as the smoke from the blast rose into the air. "It's a controlled detenation over" we hear over the radio. Look's like someone found an I.E.D., this is always a welcome thing! We make it camp and decide to make a trip to Tallil. There we visit the temple of UR, this thing's been around since the early A.D. period. It was built by a Babylonian politician who ruled the area at the time.
The Night Shift -- [Strategy Page]
There's a war going on in Iraq that you rarely hear about. It goes on at night, and has been very successful.
While U.S. infantry and tank units make raids all over central Iraq, the other war, fought largely at night, by engineers and non-infantry troops (often artillerymen) serving as infantry, to catch and stop teams of terrorists trying to set up roadside bombs. The American troops are guided by an intelligence effort that keeps track of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) by type and location. Over 90 percent of IEDs do not do any damage to Americans, or anyone else. Many of these are captured, or at least examined remotely by a robot, before being destroyed.
Iraq Pictures - 26 July 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures - in Iraq]
CPT Paul Morton, commander of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, native of Fullerton, Calif., speaks with local elders of Jazira, a village within the Shaab neighborhood of Baghdad's Adhamiyah District. The meeting allows Morton to gauge how residents feel about coalition forces because the elders are respected members of the community who represent their people's interests.
Near the Iraqi Border -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr. - heading to Iraq]
ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE (Kuwait) — Internet is touch-and-go here at this huge tent city in the Kuwaiti desert about 23 miles from the Iraqi border. So this will be quick.
Will be flying to Baghdad in a day or so.
It's hot here: Close to 130 degrees in the shade (and believe it or not, humid). Mercifully, it drops down into the 90s at night. The dust and sand, like talcum powder, are also much worse than when I was here in March and April.
Iraqis Celebrate Win over Korea in AFC Asian Cup 25/7/07
Four Years -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
My battery's about to die, so I'll be brief.
This is four years in. My ETS date, by my original contract. I'm out, my term is up.
But not really. Call it 'Stop-loss', call it deployment, call it 'needs of the country', I'm still here, and will be for a year more and then some.
But for tonight, drinks are on me, party's at my place, and honey, I'm glad I joined.
To all the guys out on the front lines with me; I'm proud to be here.
Video Chat -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
As you know, I am paying for internet in my CHU. Most of the month it has been useless. The connectivity is generally in the bytes/second range if there is any at all. It takes upwards of two hours to check my e-mail, if it connects. I am pretty ready to just give it up. However, tonight for the first time I was able to chat with my wife!
...its still pretty surreal to me to have internet available in a warzone, let alone video chat from my CHU. I guess its a sign of the times. Our grandfathers had letter mail that took 3 months. Now, its video chat and email.
Back to Blackhorse -- [A JAG in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan ]
Since I’ve told you about the travel to each location let me comment on our trip to Blackhorse – it was fast and easy. Since Blackhorse is just down the road it was a short drive down on the mail truck. The thing that was new and different was the fact that the road between here and Blackhorse is now completely paved. It’s been almost two months since I was last there and I was amazed and impressed with how much work has been done. They are now working on the road between here and downtown Kabul. At some point the Afghans will have a nice road/highway to travel on.
More Faces of Afghanistan (Photos) -- [A JAG in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan ]
Here are some more "faces of Afghanistan." These were taken by LCDR Steven Parks down in Kandahar. Thanks for sharing
News of Afghanistan - Edition 63 -- [Miserable Donuts]
Friday again? Ah, I guess this means it is time for the News! Come on then
Still here -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan ]
Hi all. Borrowing some internet to check in. For those of you that have passed on toys in your packages, I've got some pics of the children that have received them. Thanks so much. These kids have never seen toys as such and are always so excited to get stuffed animals, cars, dolls, balls etc.
Not much else occurring here. Our missions have gone well without issue thus far and we take every one as serious as the one before. Safety first and stuff!
Heroes of Baylough
Story about U.S. Soldiers at a forward operating base in Afghanistan who face daily attacks.
New operation launched against Taliban extremists -- [ISAF - in Afghansitan]
The task force-level operation, codenamed “Chakush” or “Hammer,” began this morning in the area between Heyderabad and Mirmandab, northeast of Gereshk. The operation is continuing the momentum towards expelling Taliban extremist forces from areas of the Upper Gereshk Valley.
“This operation is another important step in continuing the progress we have made recently in providing the enduring security conditions required for the Afghan government to remove Taliban extremist influence from the communities in Sangin and the Upper Gereshk Valley,” said Lt. Col. Charlie Mayo, Task Force Helmand spokesman.
Taliban Executes First Korean Hostage -- [GI Korea]
UPDATE: I just saw on CNN International that it has confirmed that the eight Korean hostages have not been released and are still threatening to kill the others. Whoever it was in the Korean government that leaked word that eight hostages were released should be fired for getting the family member’s hopes up like that.
Majority Backs Getting Invaded -- [Strategy Page]
July 27, 2007: Much to Iran's annoyance, the U.S. is cracking down on financial institutions that moves money to terrorist organizations Iran supports. This includes Hizbollah and Hamas. The U.S. has ramped up its intelligence effort to discover who is paying who, and is ordering banks to cease providing services to terrorist related organizations, or face being cut off from the American banking system. Iran has to scramble to find banks that do not fear U.S. banking sanctions, and is discovering that this is not easy.
Buried Videos Surface in HLF Trial -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
A Northern Virginia man’s home landscaping chore became evidence Thursday in the terror-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officials in Dallas. Marcial Peredo told jurors how he was leveling the yard at his new Falls Church home when he stumbled into a stash of videotapes buried in the ground.
Their War--My War -- [Marching Camp - in Iraq]
The Washington Post published (I'm shocked) an excellent article on the disconnect between the American warrior class and the mass of the (largely unarmed) public.
It's hardly infantrymen alone, though their job has changed least. At the basic level, Soldiers are killers, regardless of how you dress it up in fancy words. The difference between a Soldier and a bandit is in intent and restraint. We kill those who deserve it, bandits prey on the weak regardless.
"But these days, that part of the job apparently makes America's civilians uneasy. World War II headlines celebrated accomplished military killers and called them heroes. Second Lt. Audie Murphy mowed down dozens of attacking German soldiers, won the Medal of Honor and went on to become a movie star. Today, U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who win medals for successfully doing their jobs while obeying the laws of war might get local coverage. But the brightest national spotlight is reserved for killers who are war criminals, such as the alleged perpetrators of the Haditha massacre, or heroes who are victims, such as prisoners of war. American civilians no longer seem comfortable labeling a soldier as both a killer and a hero.
America's Biggest Lie: "We Support The Troops" -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
The most pathetic hyperbolic chamber of them all-Congress.
Of the myriad fluff lines from our political heroes, paid well BY us to lie TO us, perhaps Hillary Clinton's lie about how best to support the Troops sums up just how little these clowns in Public Office truly understand what it means to actually "support" anyone:
FIRST THINGS FIRST -- [Soldier's Mom]
As most of you know, the fair treatment of wounded warriors -- active duty and Veterans -- has become a personal mission of mine. In that vein, here is the text of an email sent to our Congressman:
...We believe strongly that Congress has a fundamental responsibility to establish relative priorities, put first things first, and ensure that there is better proportionality between compensation and service and sacrifice rendered.
As the parents of a 22-year-old disabled U.S. Army soldier who faces a lifetime of inadequate compensation for his sacrifice, we say fix the current inequities before Congress creates others.
Also, if you use TRICARE (if you don't know what that is, you're not affected) be sure to check out this information on POSSIBLE TRICARE DATA COMPROMISE.
Freedom Walk -- [Sgt Stryker]
...The Freedom walk is a way that all Americans can show their support for this nation as well as honor our troops who are defending our county with their lives. One of the wonderful aspects of the Freedom Walk is that anyone can organize or host a Freedom Walk in their own community.
If you see that there isn’t a walk scheduled for your area, you can organize your own walk. The official America Supports You Freedom Walk is located here: Freedomwalk.
Museum aircraft carrier could serve as Emergency Operations Center -- [EagleSpeak]
the aircraft carrier museum ship USS Intrepid is available to be used as a contingency Emergency Operations Center for New York in the event of a disaster or attack.
Back in, Back out -- [From My Position... On the way!]
I am in from the field (and back out tomorrow--I've been recovering for the last couple days after spending almost a week getting pissed on by WA's "unseasonably rainy" weather.)
Training cadets is usually pretty fun. You have to realize (and it is a pretty large leap) that they are NOT trained soldiers. Worse, they haven't been working together for months, and really barely know each other. Luckily, we don't just evaluate them on tactical and technical abilities. We look at attributes (Mental, Physical, and Emotional), skills (Conceptual, Interpersonal, Technical, Tactical) actions (Communicating, Decision Making, Motivating, Planning, Executing, Assessing, (Subordinate leader) Developing, (Team) Building, and (individual) Learning.
2600 Minnesota ARNG Soldiers Return Home -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Over the past week the last of thousands of MNARNG troops with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division have returned home after a 22-month deployment including mobilization time and a short stay at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin.
'It Didn't Happen' -- [Opinion Journal - JAMES TARANTO]
Democrats go soft on crimes against humanity.
Barack Obama's latest pronouncement on Iraq should have shocked the conscience. In an interview with the Associated Press last week, the freshman Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate opined that even preventing genocide is not a sufficient reason to keep American troops in Iraq.
"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now--where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife--which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."
WINNING IN IRAQ AND LOSING IN WASHINGTON -- [Ralph Peters - NY Post]
TO a military professional, the tactical progress made in Iraq over the last few months is impressive. To a member of Congress, it's an annoyance.
The herd animals on Capitol Hill - from both parties - just can't wait to go over the cliff on Iraq. And even when the media mention one or two of the successes achieved by our troops, the reports are grudging.
Yet what's happening on the ground, right now, in Baghdad and in Iraq's most-troubled provinces, contributes directly to your security. In the words of a senior officer known for his careful assessments, al Qaeda's terrorists in Iraq are "on their back foot and we're trying to knock them to their knees."
Do our politicians really want to help al Qaeda regain its balance?
"Worst Case of Voter Fraud in Washington History" -- [Jawa Report]
Courtesy of the leftwing group ACORN.
When the libs try to scream about stolen elections, oppressed voters, yadda yadda, all you need to do is say "How about ACORN?"
King County prosecutors filed felony charges Thursday against seven people in what a top official described as the worst case of voter-registration fraud in state history,
Document drop: A new critique of the 2004 Lancet Iraq death toll study -- [Michell Malkin]
Update 9:30pm Eastern. Shannon Love at the Chicago Boyz blog called foul on the Lancet 2004 study early on and, with vindication, reacts to David Kane’s new analysis of the 2004 Lancet Iraq death toll study: “Kane shows that if the Falluja cluster is included in the statistical calculations, the confidence interval dips below zero, which is a big no-no. Since the study’s raw data remain a closely guarded secret, Kane cannot be absolutely certain that the inclusion of the Falluja cluster renders the study mathematically invalid…but that’s the way to bet. In science, replication is the iron test. I find it revealing that no other source or study has come close to replicating the original study. All my original points still stand. Ah, vindication is sweet.”
Responding to the Bridge at No Gun Ri -- [GI Korea]
In my prior posting I posted in full the Associated Press’ entire uncut article about their version of what happened at No Gun Ri for everyone to review before posting a rebuttal to it. Unlike the AP writers I don’t mind people reading both sides of the story and judging the facts for themselves. In the rebuttal I have posted paragraphs from the original AP article in bold print and then offered my comments below them.
Newsweek of McCain's Implosion: America 'Won't Listen to a Military Man' Anymore -- [NewsBusters]
...There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth now that their favorite Republican looks to be a goner, at least if Michael Hirsh of Newsweek is any indication. In "Why McCain’s Collapse Matters", Hirsh not only laments McCain's diminishment of influence, but blames the American people for not listening to military "heroes" on how evil this war is. Hirsh also uses his piece as an excuse to repeatedly bash Fred Thompson using the media's "He's just an actor" mantra. Naturally, Hirsh learns all the wrong lessons from his review of history and displays it in this little tsk tsking tirade aimed at the American people for their gall in not fawning over McCain like the MSM does.
Hollywood joins the Long War In about the way I expected. -- [CDR Salamander]
On a night four years ago, five soldiers back from three months in Iraq went drinking at a Hooters restaurant and a topless bar near Fort Benning, Ga.
Before the night was over, one of them, Specialist Richard R. Davis, was dead of at least 33 stab wounds, his body doused with lighter fluid and burned. Two of the group would eventually be convicted of the murder, another pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and the last confessed to concealing the crime.
Soldiers Having Fun
(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. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
Giggles -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Since I've figured out how to embed video, I'm able to give you a couple of more. Next up is a video from a visit to a town outside our area. This town gets almost no notice from anybody, good or bad. It's just a quiet town doing it's own thing, but security there is good, services are getting better, and the townsfolk are very supportive of the government and the Coalition.
....After the school, we visited the hospital. And then we left town and stopped at a small compound about two miles out and had lunch with an old gentleman. Not sure who he was, but he was very keen to host a lunch visit with us and told us many stories about the past. One very interesting story was about his grandfather who had worked with the British when they occupied a fort about 500 meters away from his house.
Iraq Report: Taji Tribes Turn on Mahdi Army and al Qaeda -- [Roggio Report]
Operation Phantom Thunder and the Baghdad Security Plan continue to place pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq, allied Sunni insurgent groups, the Mahdi Army and the Iranian-backed Special Group. In Baghdad, junior al Qaeda in Iraq operatives are reportedly cooperating with Coalition forces and a series of car bombs hit a Shia area of the capital. In the Belts, U.S. and Iraqi forces maintain aggressive operations against al Qaeda and insurgent cells as both Sunni and Shia tribal leaders in and around Taji have banded together to fight the Mahdi Army and al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the U.S. captured two more members of the Special Groups and have indicated that Iran is now smuggling Chinese made weapons into Iraq.
“The Three-Block War; The Mission Continues” -- [ONPoint]
Back in February OnPoint interviewed LtCol William Jurney, CO of 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, who were based in Ramadi. “It’s clear-hold-build, but all done at the same time,” he said, and it’s his strategy that’s being adapted to the current Coalition “Surge” efforts throughout Iraq. Not surprisingly, 1/ 6’s successes in Ramadi are now being duplicated in the various battle-spaces.
Yesterday, MajGen Benjamin Mixon, commanding general of Task Force Marne commented that he thought he could soon take several thousand of his soldiers out of their current combat zones and re-assign them to other AO’s; he thought that the Iraqi Army units assigned to him were good enough to work independently. Col John Charlton, CO of 1stBrig., 3rd I.D, who inherited LtCol Jurney’s pacified Ramadi, also declared that he might be able to re-assign some of his army units also - this is how clear-hold-build is supposed to work; a joint American-Iraqi operation where as the Iraqi Army and Police step up, the American can step down.
Fighting To Win Hearts And Minds In Anbar -- [Matt Sanchez]
In a conflict that relies heavily on the native population, civil affairs units are in demand. Civil Affairs are a strange hybrid because they require a strong interaction with the general population. Most units consists of reservists, but with the demand so high, that is quickly changing. Many CAG units (for the Marines) or CAT units (for the Army) have fanned out across Iraq and Afghanistan. The task is enormous. CAG units work with the local population and support the pillars of their society: governance, security and education. There is also the added obstacle of helping to put "an Iraqi face" on what they do, a task that can be difficult for a country that does not have a "customer service" mentality.
Chief Warrant officer Steve Townsley said, "We're working to get the trust of the local population, but we also want to put as much of an Iraqi face on this as possible." For Operation Alljah, local police officers, some of whom live in the neighborhoods we visited, handed out the huge sacks of foods and necessities to the local population. The "swarm" tactic of taking a neighborhood and locking it down, works best with the cooperation of those who actually live in the neighborhood.
Progress continues in Iraq despite acts of violence -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Success on the ground in Iraq is being overshadowed by spectacular attacks designed to draw attention from good things which are happening there, a U. S. Central Command officer told online journalists and bloggers in a conference call Thursday.
Sheiks meet in reconciliation effort -- [MNF-I]
CAMP TAJI — Sunni and Shia tribal sheiks from Iraqi villages of Aqar Qaf, Bassam, Salamiyat and Fira Shia moved closer to reconciliation Monday here during a meeting facilitated by the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.
The sheiks put aside their differences to end violence in their villages and met to discuss ways of starting neighborhood watch programs made up of volunteers to protect their communities.
According to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kenneth Kamper, commander of 1st Bn., 37th FA Regt., the sheiks are tired of attacks on innocent civilians and Coalition forces in their neighborhoods and want to put an end to the presence of al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups operating there.
Engaging Anti-Iraqi Forces
Cresting the Summit -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - in Iraq]
From my position it is easy to refer to every Iraqi with our slang word, Haji, and believe they are all guilty and rotten to the core. I am reminded by viewing this picture of the weeping man that it is the corps of rotten, filthy, bastard extremists and radicals who are truly the enemy here. They will force the average Iraqi - who is just trying to survive and provide for his family - to carry out acts of violence against Coalition Forces. Although he normally wouldn't do this, he has been coerced through the threat of his entire family being exterminated (while he watches) if he doesn't submit to the radicals. This example is one of many factors seated in the heart of failure for this region.
...One last thought pertaining to success v. failure for Iraq. For those members of Congress trying to "help" US troops by clamouring about bringing troops home early...one phrase for you ..."Silence is golden". Actually, I mean to say "Shut your pie hole"
Will Engineering Efforts Be Coalition’s Legacy In Iraq? -- [US Army Corps of Engineers - in Iraq]
...Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, speaking to the diverse group of civilians and military comprising the Gulf Region central district in Iraq. Brooks, the deputy commanding general for Support, Multinational Division Baghdad, was a keynote speaker for a two-day senior leader conference hosted July 1-2 at the GRC headquarters on Victory
Base Complex, Baghdad. He talked about the years of decay in Iraq’s infrastructure. “And so the challenge
you face, in concentrating your efforts as world-class engineers to leave the situation better than you found it, is
harder than you could ever imagine,” said Brooks. “You have to be an All-Star Team because average work is simply not going to be adequate. Only above average work, superb work, excellent work, will give us even a chance to progress further than we are right now,” said Brooks. He also said that Iraqis have very high and often unrealistic expectations of the United States.
Back to the grind!!! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
Regarding the I.E.D. that hit one of the trucks in our company the other day, I spoke with Cpl. "H" and he gave me the run down. While conducting combat operations in southeren Iraq an EFP went off striking the the back of a gun truck that was taking up the rear position and then following with some SAF only to take off and not be seen. Sgt. "N", Cpl. "H", and Pfc. "T" suffered no injurys except for some ringing in their ears. " I really did'nt even hear the blast."said Cpl. "H". " I was furious!" Sgt. "B" from my company said that when he arrived Cpl. "H" was scanning his sector looking for the S.O.B. that hit them. The good thing here is everybody is o.k., we'll get'em!!!
Letter from the Raider Brigade Commander -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
As requested, progress report from Ramadi:
Security here in Ramadi continues to improve as the Iraqi police and army forces work daily to keep the population safe. When we arrived in February, we were averaging 30 – 35 attacks per day in our area of responsibility. Now our average is one attack per day or less. We had an entire week with no attacks in our area and have a total of over 65 days with no attacks. I attribute this success to our close relationship with the Iraqi security forces and the support those forces receive from the civilian population. The Iraqi police and army forces have uncovered hundreds of munitions caches and get intelligence tips from the local population every day.
Our biggest challenge with the Iraqi police is getting them fully equipped, paid, and consolidated in police stations. The support system that begins with the MOI [Ministry of the Interior], and extends through the provincial police chief, is still a work in progress. As a result, the Iraqi police still rely heavily on coalition logistics and support.
Paratroopers Start Marne Avalanche - Iraq
B-roll of aerial Apache footage. Scenes include helicopters landing and U.S. Soldiers moving toward their objective
Militias -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
I have written previously about some of the major distinctions in the structure of the Iraqi Security Forces. Over the course of the last year, I have had the opportunity many times to see various Iraqi units in action. The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police have greatly increased in number- there were few of either evident in Ramadi last October, and they are everywhere now. I like to see IAs and IPs; I like to see that Iraqis fighting for their own country. However, the guys I really like to see are the PSF and Neighborhood Watch fighters.
I have witnessed the appearance of local fighters in an area several times- an advent that is normally followed quickly by relative peace.
Fuel -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
...Someone reports up that there are guys digging. It's after curfew. There is an AK. And a pistol. Someone gets permission to engage.
BOOM. A group of five guys gets their world rocked. The apocalypse descends on them and a 240bravo opens up with automatic 7.62mm fury. Some manage to run or limp away. One tries to climb under a fence. He's cut apart with machine gun fire.
One of my friends dismounts with a few other guys. They find blood trails. Scouring fields, night vision burning green migraine fury into their eyes, his eyes dart from one spatter to another. He keeps walking until he trips over something.
"This country is our country... we will defend it." -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...senior Coalition Force officer in Diyala, talk about future operations with Maj. Aziz, a company commander with 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, on top of the roof of the Zaganiyah Patrol Base in the Diyala River Valley, July 19.
“The heart of al-Qaida members is dead. They kill women, children and everyone,” said Aziz. “This country is our country. Nobody is forcing us to fight and we will defend it.”
Patton Returns [HT:Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...and he's not happy, either.
Typical Patrol (Video) -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Here I am, "rolling out the wire", on a typical patrol. No action, nothing exciting, just driving around doin' stuff. 119 times out of 120, this is what our patrols are like. It's that 120th one that makes things real interesting, if you know what I mean.
A couple of notes about some of the things you see in the video.
1. As soon as we make the turn, you see an white car with orange quarter-panels....
Iraq, Fairy Tales -- [Strategy Page]
...While an Iraqi Tet would also result in a great slaughter against the "guerillas," the only neighboring country capable of invading and taking over is Iran. But Iran is the traditional foe of the Sunni Arabs. So what do the Sunni Arabs expect to achieve by attempting a general uprising? Well, it seems that the Sunni Arabs are still very full of themselves and believe that, if they can force American troops to leave Iraq, they will be able to outsmart and outfight the Kurds and Shia Arabs, and regain control. To understand what's going on in Iraq, you have to understand that fantasies like that are taken very seriously.
Will the "empire" strike back -- [Powerline]
Former Bush administration official Michael Gerson makes the case for tougher action against Syria. Although Syria is not the primary outside player causing trouble in Iraq, it's in the top two. As Gerson notes:
Fallujah -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
... I interviewed their commanding officer in Al Taqaddum a while back. This is an interesting group; PRP is the old Mortuary affairs unit, although now they have been assigned a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and also have a formal school to attend. This is an all volunteer unit based on the work that they do, and you can leave the MOS upon request as well. This was not always the case as many Marines were randomly selected from various backgrounds and assigned to Mortuary Affairs, having no background in it but Marines were needed in times of war for the duties of processing deceased service members. The USMC has now formalized the field and assigned it a MOS for continued consistency in the field. Although I did learn that of the 35 members of PRP who were deployed last year to Iraq only 4 have returned for this deployment. This is a very difficult and emotional job, retrieving and processing deceased service member’s for their final flight back home.
Calamity in Basra and British Rules of Engagement -- [Captain's Journal]
Published July 23rd, 2007 by Herschel Smith in Rules of Engagement, Iraq, War & Warfare |
Soon after the invasion of Iraq, some thought that the British presence in Basra might very well join the short but remarkable catalog of counterinsurgency victories in history. The British did what they have always done, including implementation of “soft” rules of engagement. More than a little ridicule has been wasted and ink has been spilled in the excoriation of U.S. rules of engagement, which even though seen by us as lacking the robustness to win OIF at times, are “harder” than the British ROE. Juan Cole gives us a preening communication from a British reservist from July of 2005. “One aspect that is rarely discussed is the vast difference between the British and American rules of engagement. You will quickly respond by saying ‘oh but things are so much safer in the South because it is predominantly Shia’. Yes but
It's a Party!! Iraqis Dance in Streets After Big Soccer Win! -- [Gateway Pundit]
"All this is not only for the game- It's for the wounds of Iraq!"
Sahar Abd Ali
40 year-old Iraqi mother
After Iraqi Soccer Team wins at Asia Cup
Iraq exploded with celebration today after a huge win for the country's soccer team.
Soccer fans wave the Iraqi flag in central Baghdad, Iraq after Iraq defeated Vietnam 2-0 in Bangkok Thailand in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup, Saturday, July 21, 2007, providing a welcome relief from the daily violence facing Iraqis.
Week 25--A Typical Day -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghansitan]
There is no typical day at a forward surgical hospital. It's like working in a big city emergency room/trauma center 24/7/365. There are slow days where I get to the gym and the bazaar and hang out with the guys. There are other days where it is busy from dawn until late at night with traumas and surgeries and patients on the ward. And there are lots of days in-between. But every day is an adventure.
This week was crazy. Lots of days with lots of traumas. A few deaths. And a few quiet days.
Taliban take credit for suicide attacks in Pakistan -- [The Fourth Rail]
North Waziristan Taliban commander said attacks are in retaliation for the Red Mosque assault
As the Pakistani government continues with negotiating to restore the Waziristan Accord with the Taliban in North Waziristan, the Taliban has admitted to conducting suicide attacks across the country. Maulvi Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, a member of the Taliban Shura in North Waziristan who is wanted by the government for past attacks, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the recent suicide attacks, and praised the "martyrs" of the Taliban-supporting Red Mosque,
Geopolitical Diary: Pakistan Reacts to U.S. Call for Action -- [Statfor]
U.S. forces on Monday moved a day closer to launching a major military operation into Pakistan. Pakistan has realized that the United States was not kidding when, last week, it broached the topic of launching major operations into Pakistan. The United States has seized people's attention, but it remains to be seen whether the chaos that is Pakistani politics can solidify for an internal housecleaning before Washington must make a final decision.
The Taliban Campaign for "Hearts and Minds" -- [Miserable Donuts]
They have learned when they attack Coalition troops and the Afghan Army they get dead. They are moving more and more to kidnapping and killing soft targets. Targets from countries whose populations are not totally convinced their Soldiers should be participating. I have noticed they always Kill the Afghan drivers and interpreters just there trying to feed their families.
Commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team of the Gardez province -- [Matt Sanchez - in Afghanistan]
I asked the commander of the PRT some of the questions and concerns you sent me.
Breaking: Missile Launcher Discovered in New Jersey -- [LGF]
A missile launcher has turned up in the front lawn of a house in New Jersey, along the flight path to Newark Liberty International Airport: Feds Seize Rocket Launcher In NJ.
From the description it sounds like a shoulder-launched SAM.
Les Vents du Change: -- [Embassy of France] HT" PJM
2500 PEOPLE GATHER ON OMAHA BEACH IN NORMANDY TO FORM A “HUMAN CHAIN” OF GRATITUDE AND HONOR THE FALLEN AMERICAN HEROES WHO LIBERATED FRANCE DURING WW II
In the spirit of its mission statement, “The French Will Never Forget” (www.thefrenchwillneverforget.com), organized an extraordinary gathering of approximately 2500 people in Omaha Beach, Normandy for July 4 th 2007. The crowd formed on the sand the letters of the phrase: “FRANCE WILL NEVER FORGET”, aimed at honoring the fallen American heroes who scarified their lives to liberate France at the end of WW II.
FRENCH TRIBUTE TO AMERICAN SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN FRANCE to FREE EUROPE (more)
Something Is About To Happen -- [Strategy Page]
July 23, 2007: Starvation deaths in North Korea have returned to 1990s levels. That means over a thousand people a week dying from lack of food. Over a million people died during the 1990s food shortages. This time around, the shortages are caused by government refusal to allow in food that must have its distribution monitored (making it difficult for the government to divert the food to the army or private sale). The government also took its time with the current round of nuclear disarmament talks, delaying shipments of food from South Korea. These have just arrived and are being distributed.
Why Warriors Make Lousy Terrorists -- [Strategy Page]
July 23, 2007: Al Qaeda has been on a downward spiral since September 11, 2001, and there's no general agreement on why this is. No attacks in North America, and the many thwarted plots there, revealed a lack of professionalism quite at odds which attacks in the 1990s, and up to September 11, 2001. The terrorist violence in Iraq, often attributed to al Qaeda, is largely the work of Saddams rather efficient security organizations. Those lads were not much good at fighting the U.S. armed forces, but they have, over three decades, become quite good at killing Iraqis, and terrorism in general.
One Thousand Two Hundred Marines: Urgent Alert for Massive Support -- [Soldiers' Angels Kansas]
One Thousand Two Hundred Marines (yes! 1200) [no! make that 3000 as of Thursday afternoon] from the Fighting 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) have been submitted to Soldiers' Angels for support.
The Marines may be looking for a few good men, but we are looking for a lot of great citizens who are willing to help support these men and women. Some of these marines are on the fifth deployment in defense of our nation.
We need Angels to adopt as many marines as possible. We need many more patriotic citizens to sign up to become Angels to adopt some fine marines. Please help us support these men and women.
Video: A. Whitney Brown salutes our “morally retarded” troops, still isn’t funny -- [Hot Air]
This one would be a career killer if there was a career left to kill; as it is, although it’s clearly not a joke, it’ll magically become one once it starts making the rounds and the requisite outrage is mustered. I guess the new, not-at-all-O’Reilly-inspired pre-electoral housecleaning operation hasn’t gotten going in earnest yet.
Update: Brown has clarified his remarks in the comments at dKos by indictating, yup, he meant every word.
So to sum up, I don’t like our troops, I don’t like what they’re doing, I don’t like their fat, whining families, and yet, I support them. Thank God I live in a free country. Thank You.
Oregon Seniors Carve Walking Canes for the Wounded -- [Gazing at the Flag]
A Salem, Oregon senior group has turned their collective hobby of carving into a philanthropic endeavor.
About ten members of the Capitol Carvers made the three-hour drive to Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Washington, to meet with Oregon National Guard Soldiers who are recovering at MAMC from wounds received while deployed to the Middle East.
The group presented Soldiers with hand-carved walking canes. Each cane came with an accompanying letter thanking the individual Soldier for their sacrifice and service.
Pro: Opponents of the Afghan military mission who say they `support our troops' are simply spewing platitudes -- [The Star]
If truth is the first casualty of war, then the tendency to spew platitudes must be war's first-born child. A current Canadian bromide is, "I don't support the war in Afghanistan, but I support our troops."
On the surface, that would seem an acceptable sentiment. But if you scratch the surface, many who object to Canadian participation in the war will begin spewing further platitudes, each more nonsensical than the previous. Platitudes about imperialism, about the wanton killing of civilians, about the war on terror being "all about oil."
If one honestly believes that foolishness, how can one "support" our troops?
If you believe Canadian troops are taking part in the slaughter of civilians for no reason other than to line Dick Cheney's pockets, then how can you "support" said troops?
If you believe that Canada's forces should only be donning their renowned "peacekeeper" hats, then how can you support them when they are at war?
A Summary of Friday's (Mostly Hate) Mail -- [Begin Each Day As If It Were on Purpose]
Technically, it's still flowing in, so it isn't just Friday's mail. And thankfully, it wasn't all hateful.
But most of the reaction to my recent Toronto Star column was nasty. People:
..."If you support the deliberate killing of bad people, then why don't you kill yourself, you dumb bitch."
But the best had to be this, from the Nationalist Party of Canada
Your bitchy warmonger face explains your ugly pro-Zionist attitude of kill, kill, kill. You're a disgusting example of Western womanhood. Begone, you Witch of the West, and we promise not to spit on your totalitarian persona, but instead, will put you on thelist of controlled media hooligans known as the Walter Duranty Award for Obfuscating Propaganda Journalism
All of the above, disturbing as it is, was washed away by the positive email I got from Lewis Mackenzie. Yes, Lewis Mackenzie. Not to mention several messages -- all supportive and flattering -- from Canadian troops in Afghanistan. I know whose opinions matter most to me.
The 9/11 Generation -- [The Weekly Standard]
...I've spent much of the past two weeks speaking with young people (and a few not-so-young) who have made the decision to serve their country by volunteering for the military. Some of these men have Ivy League degrees; all of them are talented and intelligent individuals who--contrary to John Kerry's infamous "botched joke" ("Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq")--could have chosen to do anything with their lives. Having signed up, they have either gone to Iraq or look forward to doing so. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media have underreported their stories.
One of the excesses of the 1960s that present-day liberals have disowned and disavowed since 9/11 is the demonization of the American military. While every now and then an unrepentant liberal like Charlie Rangel will appear on cable news and casually accuse U.S. troops of engaging in baby-killing in Iraq, the liberal establishment generally knows better. They "support" the American military--at least in the abstract, until it does anything resembling fighting a war.
Disgraceful anti-Military Blog at Daily Kos: Armed Forces Creating Serial Killers -- [NewsBusters]
The hatred for America's military emanating from the left in this nation reached a new low on Thursday when a blog was posted at Daily Kos entitled "KILLITARY: Are America's Armed Forces Creating Serial Killers and Mass Murderers?
In it, Corey Mitchell, a crime author and editor of In Cold Blog, addressed the "list of serial killers and mass murderers who have spent time in the military" while making the case that "a seemingly normal, everyday, All-American soldier [can] turn into a brain scooping cell phone camera posing beast."
That Deleted Daily Kos Post About Our Government-Issue Psychopaths, Discovered -- [Ace of Spades]
DP provided me with the details of the post and it seems to just be a cross-posing of this post. He told me the post was titled "KILLITARY" (in caps, by the way); it didn't take long to discover the beauty excerpted below.
DP writes back to say this is the diary he read on Kos... but softened now:
Psycho-Death Cult -- [Jules Crittenden]
Archaeblogogist Ace does some digging, uncovers traces of an anti-military cult in our midst, in the recent past. As in last week, briefly, at Kos, before the high priests feared what they had wrought and exorcised it. Spirit summoned up here in a Google seance. Psycho-death cult is obsessed with the myth that all soldiers are psycho-killers.
Emails to Congressman John Murtha page 8 -- [Gathering of Eagles]
Editor – Emails are posted newest to oldest, with one fitting exception; Darryl Sharratt’s letter will remain in the lead at the top of the lastest post. Add your email to Mr. Sharratt’s, the ones I will take to Congressman Murtha’s district office, by clicking here. Please, be succinct and civil while telling Congressman John Murtha how you really feel.
Haditha Marine Father has a Conversation with John Murtha -- [9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America]
I will personally deliver Darryl Sharratt's email to Congressman Murtha's office this week, along with all those sent to me at letters:
Throughout this Haditha investigation our family has believed in the innocence of our son L/Cpl Justin Sharratt, we knew he was innocent. There are things I do not understand and I would like to find the answers. We do not seek revenge, but we would like to see justice. In a conversation with Congressman John Murtha, my questions still remain unanswered. With the help of the American people, I hope to find justice.
On Wednesday morning, July 17th I spoke with Congressman John Murtha via telephone from his Washington, DC office. We had a courteous conversation. I knew what to expect from a career politician and Congressman Murtha did not disappoint. Mr. Murtha avoided answering the hard questions and I was unable to press him for the answers. I wanted the conversation to remain amicable and decided to let him speak and avoid a heated confrontation.
Harper's Takes Lame Swipe at Milbloggers -- [Weekly Standard]
Harper's took a shot at the WWS and others on Friday in the context of a piece about the Pentagon's "Blogger Outreach" program. Author Ken Silverstein writes that the program
...The funny thing is, Silverstein took a while to arrive at this uninformed conclusion--this was a follow-up web piece to an equally half-cocked piece that appeared two days earlier. That first piece on the Pentagon's "new spin unit" revealed the administration's dastardly plan "to bypass the traditional media and work directly with talk radio and bloggers, mostly those with a heavily conservative tilt." Making the whole thing sound even more scandalous, Silverstein adds that he hasn't "been able to learn which blogs and individuals the unit has been working with, but urge[s] anyone with such information to contact me via email." But even the most cursory Google search for "Pentagon blogger call" turns up dozens of hits from the participants. We invariably include "Blogger's Roundtable" or "Blogger Call" in the titles of our posts, and as he concedes in his second piece,
American Legacy: Wayne Downing -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
These words come with more news about the passing of General Wayne Downing, one of America’s finest. This rare man was highly respected by the best of the best. I had the honor of talking several times with General Downing in Iraq earlier this year. He was still leading the way, providing his seasoned analysis on the air with NBC’s Brian Williams. At the time, I wrote of meeting General Downing in a dispatch entitled “Ernie is Dead”:
Home At Last!!!!! -- [Foreign and Domestic - home from Iraq]
650 days after leaving, I am finally home. Not the home I left, of course, but home none the less.
I've been out of touch with the internet for a while, so I'll try to recap the last 3 weeks.
We first had to leave Al Asad, which meant selling anything you couldn't pack, and living out of a rucksack for a while. After 8 months, even an 8x17 box begins to feel like home, so it really does feel like leaving.
Welcome Home - (mp3)
This is for SSG Thul and the rest of the Red Bulls.
Mission Complete - Welcome Home - HHC Group 1, 1/34th BCT
The Patriot Guard has been asked to assist in welcoming home MN National Guard soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division. The "Red Bulls" have been on deployment for 22 months, and were in the combat theater in Iraq for 16 months, the longest deployment of any unit since the beginning of the Global War on Terror. They have performed admirably and we are glad to finally be able to welcome them home.
Group 1 from the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1/34 Brigade Combat Team will be returning to Bloomington on Monday, 16 July 07. We will be providing a small escort group for the buses returning, and have flag lines set up at the arrival point where they will be dropped off. If you would like to participate in the escorts please contact your sector Ride Captain and advise them of your availability. If you are unsure who your ride captain is contact Nate "Birdie" Zenker at email@example.com . Please keep in mind that we must keep the escort groups small for safety and security reasons. We will want most people to stand a flag line at the welcome home locations.
We will post staging and itineraries for the flag lines as soon as they are available. Thank you in advance for your help in welcoming home the Red Bulls!
Our hometown heroes come home, part 2 -- [Powerline]
There is no word in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the festivities that greeted the return of the Minnesota National Guardsmen from Iraq in Owatonna yesterday. To fill the vacuum, reader Jim Snyder has kindly provided us this report as well as the photo display that can be viewed here.
Cnn YouTube Debate- Democratic- Iraq
Troop Withdrawal: Considering the Consequences (Video) -- [Heritage Focus]
Poll: U.S. Support for Iraq Invasion Inches Up -- [NYT - The Caucus] HT Jawa Report
American support for the initial invasion of Iraq has risen somewhat as the White House has continued to ask the public to reserve judgment about the war until General David Petraeus files his report in the fall.
Instapundit and Wonkette Discuss YouTube and Politics with Howard Kurtz
An Undeniably Bad Case of Denial -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Rosa Brooks, erstwhile law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, has a profoundly disturbing column in the LA Times today. In her view the "reality" of a post 9/11 that included the violence of that day and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, was mostly an ideological construct of the "neo-cons" in her view:
Scott Free -- [Matt Sanchez]
Baby-killer was already a cliche, but dog murderer? In a world where PETA membership is taken more seriously than citizenship,
Thomas Scott, a pseudonym for a soldier supposedly stationed in Baghdad, told the story of how he was becoming insensitive to those around him. As "The Baghdad" diarist for The New Republic " penned such liberal literary jewels like "The Zombie Dogs of Baghdad."
the self-analyzing private asked the deep questions. Am I a monster," he mused in a tone dignified of Hamlet. The problem was that the story also included a skull, and too many details that just didn't add up.
The Thomas Affaire -- [Matt Sanchez - in Afghansitan]
The big point to remember about an incident like the Scott Thomas Affaire is that it only gets published because publications like the New Republic truly want to believe his story, even when the story itself doesn't even come close to passing the sniff Test.
I was at Camp Falcon earlier this month and didn't recognize any of what Scott Thomas described. So, I e-mailed the public affairs officer Major Luedeke at Camp Falcon:
Per COL Boylan's request, I have prepared the following
1. There was no mass grave found during the construction of any of our coalition outposts in the Rashid District at any time. Such a discovery would have prompted an investigation and close attention paid at levels higher than ours to making sure that the victims were properly interred and attempts would have been made to determine their identities. It is difficult to fathom that a unit's leadership would condone Soldiers disrespecting the remains of anyone in the fashion described.
2. Due to the threat of IEDs, our combat vehicles are driven professionally and in control at all times. To be driving erratically so as to hit dogs or other things would be to put the entire vehicle's crew at risk and would be gross dereliction of duty by the noncommissioned officer or officer in charge of the vehicle. Drivers aren't allowed to simply free-wheel their vehicles however they see fit, and they are *not* allowed to be moved anywhere with out a vehicle commander present to supervise the movement. Therefore- claims of vehicles leaving the roadways to hit animals are highly dubious, given the very real threat of IEDs and normal standards of conduct.
3. As for the alleged woman with severe burn scars, we have nobody matching that description here at FOB Falcon. As Soldiers, we practice the value of Respect: "Treat people as you want to be treated." If the blogger and his friends can't live the Army value of respect, I have little doubt that someone around them who does would have made an on-the-spot correction. The Falcon dining facility is not a spacious one. Anyone being rude, loud or raucous calls immediate attention to himself. It is hard to fathom that anyone would be able to get away with such callous behavior without somebody intervening and stopping it from happening.
Johannes to Thomas, Radio Check, Over -- [Outside the Wire]
"Scott" you've caused quite a stir of late. I really don't care who you are but I spent a little time around Falcon and think I know how to find you.
I'm guessing you are a member of 1-18 Infantry. They are the primary unit out of Falcon with Brads.
As for the archeological dig. My guess is that was at COP Ellis. Most of the other outposts are so urban, there is nothing much to dig.
With the Brads and Archeology, that may put you as Alpha 1/18 attached to Combat 1-28 Infanty.
If my guess is correct, that narrows it down to about 100 guys and your organic C.O. is Captain Robby Johnson.
I ran through Mahala 885 with CPT Johnson and a great group of guys last May and hammered out a little story about it.
The "Shock Troops" Crap -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Ok, this is how a real female service member reacts to adversity:
Just as Padmore reached the scene, he saw Saalman staggering toward him, her charred, flayed hands held up before her, her eyes vacant in a blackened face. She'd lost her rifle during the explosion.
"Sally, pull yourself together," he said. "You are not going to die. I promise: You are not going to die. But we need some leadership."
He watched her expression change instantly from shock to rage. "Somebody give me a fucking weapon!" she screamed. "I need a f*****g weapon!"
"Shock Troops" Pressure Builds -- [Weekly Standard]
...And the response from FOB Falcon identified the site of this alleged mass grave as Combat Outpost (COP) Ellis--the only COP that fits the description provided by "Thomas" to the New Republic. Riehl World View links to this story from Marine Corps News detailing the recent renovation of COP Ellis, complete with pictures of the Navy's Sea Bees building a new chow hall and storage facility. According to the article, the Marines and sailors of BLT 2/4 came to Ellis in November, when it was "a dusty bare piece of ground in the desert just outside of Barwanah, Iraq." As "Thomas" is described as a soldier, not a Marine, one wonders how he could have been involved in the initial construction of COP Ellis--let alone have discovered a mass grave there and frolicked amongst the remains.That is unless "Thomas" wasn't referring to Ellis, but, again, the PAO at Falcon says this is the only COP that matches "Thomas"'s description. More inconsistencies. But hey, "by the numbers" there have to be American troops somewhere in Iraq doing bad things...so why question the dubious and uncorroborated charges of an unidentified soldier.
Doubting Thomas: Simple Questions for the New Republic -- [Confederate Yankee]
As time wears on, it seems increasingly unlikely that the writings of the pseudonym-shielded soldier "Scott Thomas" in the New Republic are anything other than works of macabre creative fiction.
...I was based at Falcon last year for six months with the 101st Airborne. I never saw a woman who fits Thomas's description. That's not conclusive since I haven't been there for almost eight months.
Another soldier (an officer whose ID I have positively identified but whose name I do not have permission to publish) who has been at FOB Falcon since March describes the claims of Thomas as "total nonsense."
The New Republic must establish the following if they intend to continue claiming that this story of abuse by Thomas is true.
They must produce the year, month, and week that this attack took place, and make this time public knowledge.
If the New Republic cannot or will not release the time-frame during which the claimed assault took place, then there is no way for the military and agencies employing contractors at FOB Falcon to check their logs to prove or disprove the existence of a severely wounded soldier or contractor matching the description provided by Thomas.
The Fake Diary of a Fake Soldier -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
I won't even attempt to address the motives of the person who wrote that piece of tripe. I will however say that the fact that a magazine would print or post to the INTERNET this stuff and present it as being true shows the contempt and utter lack of understanding they have of the culture surrounding today's military.
...On top of their dislike of who and what we are, you can add that they are actively opposed to the war itself and some see opposing and stopping the war anyway they can trumps being objective or looking for the greater truth.
We in the military can try and reach out to council, teach and mentor these people but it is after all a free country (you're welcome). So if the majority of the press isn't willing to learn then what are we to do?
Time Magazine - Soviet Gunship Steals the Letter "A" -- [Blackfive]
Got this message from reader John S. about this week's cover of Time:
...Great imagery to match the fall of Saigon, right? But look closely at the silhouette of the chopper. It's a Soviet-era Mi-24 "Hind" gunship!!!!!!! It was no doubt stock clip art dropped in by some person in their art department who wouldn't know an M-16 from an F-16, but nice Freudian touch, TIME!!!!
(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. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
Badger 6 Television Interview -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Must-see TV interview with Badger 6 from Iraq and Mrs. Badger 6 from home on their local TV station.
From the KSDK NewsChannel website:
In al Anbar province, Captain Eric Coulson is in charge of route clearance. His unit removes IEDs from the roads. It's admittedly a dangerous job, but one he says becomes a little less dangerous each day. We spoke to Coulson Wednesday via the internet.
He says, "We have made such progress that instead of being a lost cause, al Anbar is talked about as the model for what Iraq could be." ...
The progress Coulson sees goes hand in hand with the frustration he feels. He dislikes the political infighting, the all-nighter on Capitol Hill, and those he feels are making uninformed decisions.
Al Qeada In Iraq Hoax.
An Al Qeada group in Iraq has that was described as one of the most violent,has been exposed by the US military as an online hoax.
7 Rules: 1 Oath -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Today marks D+30 since the start of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. The initial goal of Arrowhead Ripper was to clear Baqubah of al Qaeda, and then attempt to “jump start” the city back into civic life, which had all but ceased while the terrorists were in control. Though relatively minor clearing operations are still underway, there is little combat in the city.
Today Colonel Steve Townsend, the American commander of the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, presided over a meeting with Iraqi Army officers and former insurgent leaders. The insurgent leaders who seem to be sincerely working toward peace are now collectively referred to as “the Baqubah Guardians.” I was allowed to attend the meeting, but was—understandably—not permitted to photograph or videotape the proceedings.
General David Petraeus on the conditions on the ground in Iraq -- [Hugh Hewitt]
HH: Do you think al Qaeda in Iraq is buckling, General Petraeus?
DP: Well, it’s probably too soon to say that, but we think that we have them off plan. Now having said that, they clearly retain and have demonstrated, tragically in recent, the past week or so, the ability to continue to carry out sensational attacks. They continue to demonstrate the ability to counterattack against our forces, and those of our coalition partners. But the detention, or the capture or killing of the number of leaders that we have taken out in recent months, and weeks, actually, and the progress in terms of just clearing areas of them…as you know, Anbar Province has really become quite relatively clear of al Qaeda. Eastern Anbar still has some, and we are working in that area. We have recently cleared Western Baquba, which was almost al Qaeda central, the capitol of the new caliphate that they have tried to establish here in Iraq. So there has been considerable progress against them, but they do continue to receive foreign fighters through Syria, who become suicide bombers in many cases, and they do certainly have an ability to regenerate, to regroup, and to come back at us.
Why Pulling Out Won't Work -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
We've all heard over the course of this long war...well at least since President Bush appeared on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a "mission accomplished" banner waving proudly in the sea breeze that we need to "pull out".
Being one of the many that are "in" right now, I think it really might be a good thing to discuss the merits and the down side of "pulling out".
"They" say if we "pull out" now then we won't have any problems in the future with our current partner.
Just a simple update. -- [Sergeant Grumpy]
... What we need to look at as is where we go next. I have an opinion, but in fact no matter what Congress decides I am pretty sure I will be there anyways. But we have to look at the present situation and decide which course provides the best benefit to the Nation. We should not be trying to minimize losses or worried about what other nations think, we should focus ondesireable outcomes. Kosovo was an "illegal" war, but no except the far right was upset about it. We need to look at where we are, and what the consequences are for pulling out.
A wise man once said - "the military doesn't make policy decisions". That is true. Do I want to go to Iraq, hell no. Do I want my son and daughter to have to deal with the consequences of our failure there? Hell no. So I am off to Iraq.
The US Army's 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, engages an insurgent sniper trying to make a getaway.
A sad day. -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
...The missions seem to be picking up more action, alot of the guy's feel that the troop surge is working to draw the enemy out. They are starting to become more active which suits me just fine, the more of them that come out, the more of them we will kill! About two hours ago an I.E.D. went off destroying a gun truck, no one was injured. When somthing like this happens and no one is hurt, it is a great feeling. You buddy's are still alive and your equiptment worked. The enemy thinks by planting roadside bombs, RPG attacks, and mortaring FOB's that we will begin to become scared. That morale will lower causing the soldiers to not want to fight. They are dead wrong, these actions only strengthen are will to destroy the enemy. They are cowards who will never have the backbone to attack us face to face. By conducting these types of attacks, all they are doing is driving us to look for them even harder.
Caught In A Quandary -- [USAF Guy's Milblog - in Iraq]
If you haven't figured it out, I’ve come to be quite good friends with many of the Iraqis and they tell me they have great respect for me and what I do for them. Not every day is a picnic working with them (some days are far from it) but we have all agreed that business is business and not to be confused with the person.
I try to help them out in small ways and, of course, I share everything sent to me with them. However, the ones I’m closest with inevitably come to me and ask for assistance in some large manner. It might be something somewhat difficult but achievable.
...Most of us would love to help any one of them immigrate and the ones we would help would genuinely make great Americans but we’re caught in a quandary. There is a large exodus occurring in Iraq particularly amongst educated Iraqis fleeing to other countries in the Middle East or Europe (i.e., Ghassan fleeing to Norway). Additionally, educated professionals are far more likely to support/work with the Coalition so they become targets by the militia within Iraq. Case in point is the bravery our guys show by simply serving in the Iraqi Air Force. The result, we think, is a large "brain-drain" occurring in Iraq.
Every Day Is Yesterday, Every Day is Tomorrow -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
It got real busy. A lot has happened. An EFP burned his HMMWV to the ground and took of CPT W's leg. He not only survived, but was still in command of his platoon, giving orders as the medic was tourniqueting his leg on the hood of another vehicle to rush him to the CSH (Combat Surgical Hospital, think an updated M*A*S*H). More EFPs in a lot of places. We have done some good raids, nabbed a few bad guys. We've also gotten rocketed a lot more. A lot more. Like, 4-times-a-night-and-once-in-the-day more. No one's been hurt on our base just yet, but sometimes you know your luck has got to be running thin.
"Third Platoon, 2nd Squad and the Industrial Area"-- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
Third Platoon was on dismounted patrols during most of the times I was present recently. For that reason, I was able to accompany them more frequently than the others. Among each platoon, there are three squads, of which I've come to know each of them at separate times. Yet, 2nd Squad, led by Sgt. Keller, I've become most familiar with. And this is why I must write about them. It is only because I've spent more time with them and they too became familiar with me on a regular basis.
Third Platoon is commanded by Lt. Orr, a tall young man, in his mid to latter 20's, yet is looking older these days from all his experiences. He was prior enlisted with the Marines before he became an officer.
He was here in Fallujah during 2004, and participated routinely in combat operations when times were more volatile than they are nowadays. Put simply, he is a well seasoned combat marine who now leads marines into the same areas he was once being led through. If ever there was a case for "Leading by example," Lt. Orr fits that billing. He is very, very good at what he does.
My number must almost be up... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
OK, well I'm going to make this a short entry, because I dont have much time but I just wanted to get this little story out there because it scared the hell out of me today. So my last post I was talking about how I almost got hit by Iraqi drivers twice with a 3rd close call. Well, wouldn't ya know, today I almost got crushed by a Iraqi driving pickup truck. Jesus! This is starting to get a little old.
Basically we were walking along this road durring the busy "rush hour" type of Iraqi traffic. The sidewalk became impassable so we moved in to the street to bypass this one part. I was walking in between a parked utility truck and a pickup truck stopped in traffic.
State of the Suspect Address 2.0 -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
...I'd been informed that in the very near future, I would be taken from my current squad and put in the driver's seat of a different vehicle. Which is a bummer of course. Pile on sleep deprivation, endless mission cycles, the inability to use superhuman powers to cure the disease that is the state of this country, and a slew of other boo-hoos.
"Hey Suspect, Sgt Supply Dude needs you to go to the TOC and fill out a paper with all your uniform sizes."
This, my dear friends, is the straw that shattered the camel's back and forced its internal organs outward in fecal sprays of rage. Allow me to utilize my caps lock feature.
The “Surge” Continues: Operation Ithaca -- [ONPoint]
With the combat operations segments of the Surge Strategy less in the public view recently, the after-effects of Operation Phantom Thunder continue to be effective. Last week the 82nd Airborne launched “Operation Ithaca” on 12 July, and two days ago OnPoint interviewed Col Andrew Poppas, CO of 5th Squadron, 73rd Cav., about their part in the operation and its effect on both the locals and the insurgents.
In this brief but significant operation, 29 insurgents were killed, 23 were captured, and 8 locals who had been kidnapped and tortured by the insurgents were freed the day of their scheduled execution.
Col Andrew Poppas :
I command 5th Squadron 73rd Cav in the 82nd. We have -- since coming over to Iraq, we've been attached to 3rd Brigade 1st Cavalry Div.
As we came over, we have moved out to the Iranian border area and we're working to stem some of the accelerants coming across and some other problem sets in that area.
Iraq Report: On the offensive in the belts -- [The Fourth Rail]
Iraqi and Coalition forces remain on the offensive in the Baghdad Belts of Eastern Anbar province, Northern Babil and Diyala, as the bulk of the major suicide and bombing attacks have shifted to the northern regions of Iraq. Kirkuk has seen a massive suicide attack over the past week, while insurgents targeted two bridges in western Anbar province, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched a multi-brigade sized operation.
Welcome to Baghdad -- [Michael J. Totten - in Iraq]
BAGHDAD -- Never again will I complain about the inconvenience and discomfort of airports and civilian airline travel delays. You won’t either if make your way from Kuwait to Baghdad in July during a war.
Military planes leave Kuwait every couple of hours for Baghdad International Airport (or BIAP, pronounced BIE-op). The United States Army’s media liaison in Kuwait dropped me off at the airfield so I could take a flight “up.”
...“Don’t fall asleep,” said the soldier next to me. “When you see the rest of us grab our helmets, put yours on, too. We’ll be beginning the spiral dive into Baghdad.”
“To avoid flying low over hostiles?” I said.
“Something like that,” he said.
This was not United Airlines.
For those of you that know LT Lora Martin -- [Me Over There - in Iraq]
She is working 90+ hour, 9 day workweeks.
She single handily saves 50 lives a day.
She has all the collaterals possible, and sits on a minimum of 32 meetings a week (4 separate clipboards required).
19 July 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures - in Iraq]
SPC Clinton Egge (foreground), a field artilleryman for Battery B, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, and native of Houston, Texas, pulls security as sheiks from the Aqar Qaf nahia arrive for a meeting in Aqar Qaf, Iraq.
Law and the Press -- [Matt Sanchez - in Afghanistan]
Comments Jude Law made after visiting Afghanistan.
"My preconception was fed by the media and there was certainly concerns about security," he said. "On arrival it becomes very apparent that it is very different to that. This is a country full of hope."
Ribbon Cutting -- [Matt Sanchez]
A "multi-purpose" building is made. The funds come from all different kinds of international NGO's and GO's.
Are NATO (and the UN) failing in Afstan? -- [The Torch]
Paddy Ashdown thinks failure may very well be in the picture. He spent thirteen years in the Royal Marines (including in the Special Boat Service), served as leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, and also as High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; he has a very good idea about what he is writing--unlike Canadian politicians of all stripes, and pundits. Unlike opposition politicians here, and those damned pundits, he has a keen appreciation of the price of failure
The Taliban Put In Their Place -- [Strategy Page]
July 19, 2007: Tradition is fighting change to a standstill. Tradition means tribe is the primary loyalty, and everyone else is a potential victim, or enemy. Change means civil society, where democracy and negotiation, not threats, bribes and violence, are used to settle disputes. Old customs are hard to give up, and Afghanistan has been resisting change for over a century. Now, the central government has the military might to break the tribal power. U.S. and NATO troops continue combing the south, smashing Taliban combat groups, and, more importantly, depleting the supply of Taliban leaders. The drug gangs see the Taliban as tools, not a threat.
Mazar-e-Shariff - The Pictures -- [A Jag - in Afghansitan]
...The statue being constructed in one of the round-abouts.
South Korean Christians Kidnapped in Afghanistan -- [Jawa Report]
Eighteen members of a South Korean Presbyterian church on a mission trip to Afghanistan were snatched off the church bus by the Taliban Thursday. The group of 3 men and 15 women were traveling from Kabul to Khandahar when they were attacked by 35-40 armed Taliban who drove the bus into the desert and forced the missionaries to walk for more than an hour to a nearby village.
Study: Americans Don't Understand Others -- [Live Science - Corey Binns]
Rugged American individualism could hinder our ability to understand other peoples' point of view, a new study suggests.
And in contrast, the researchers found that Chinese are more skilled at understanding other people's perspectives, possibly because they live in a more "collectivist" society.
"This cultural difference affects the way we communicate," said study co-author and cognitive psychologist Boaz Keysar of the University of Chicago.
Jihadi websites - hosted in the USA -- [QandO]
Interested in seeing what's in Al-Qaeda's online military magazine Mu'askar Al-Battar (The Al-Battar Training Camp)?
Should be an easy connection, since it's hosted out of Nevada by R & D Technologies, LLC.
Interested in a course on manufacturing explosives and even guides for making homemade dirty bombs? Again, an easy hookup. And it's ISP host? SiteGenie,LLC, out of Minnesota.
Blaming the Victim -- [Strategy Page]
July 20, 2007: The war on terror is all about religion, but in more ways than many people realize. The mass media in the West does not like to deal with the religious aspects of terrorism. Why this is, well that's another matter. Meanwhile, the Western media make a big deal out of Moslem grievances, and the claims that Moslems are being persecuted in the West, and under attack in their own homelands.
NEFA Series "Target America": Hamas' Military Operations in North America -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
On the heels of the foiled plots targeting Fort Dix and JFK Airport, the Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation announces the release of the seventh in a series of reports examining the multitude of threats directed at the United States since 9/11. This week's report focuses on a Hamas plot to attack members of the U.S. and Canadian Jewish communities, as well as to assassinate an Israeli official visiting the U.S. According to the Israeli government, Ahmed Wahabe, a "senior Hamas terrorist," tasked Jamal Akal, a Canadian citizen, to raise funds for the attack in Canadian mosques and purchase a M-16 from a Detroit gang. Further, Wahabe advised Akal that "New York is an easy place to find Jews."
Gold Star License Plates now available in Georgia -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Georgia has recently passed legislation to provide for a special license plate honoring the family members of service members who have been killed in action. And, according to Deborah Tainsh of TAPS, our friend Robert Stokely had something to do with it...
U.S. Troops to Receive Heart Full of Soul -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
U.S. Troops will receive copies of the Taylor Hicks book titled "Heart Full Of Soul" in Part 3 of the Proud Of Our Troops drive.
North Haven, CT, July 17, 2007 --(PR.com)-- Jewelry Sprout is sponsoring the Proud Of Our Troops drive. They are asking everyone to please support and uplift U.S. troops by sending them the inspirational book from American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. The book is titled "Heart Full Of Soul." Jewelry Sprout is accepting both the hardcover and the audio versions of the book. Show your love and thanks to our troops and give them something that will lift their spirits and give them enjoyment during their off time.
Me and Sen. Reid -- [The Middle Ground]
I don't know where Sen. Reid was tonight. I'm sure he was strategizing on how to kill...er...bring our troops home safely. However, I was at a small town "music in the park" where I handed out a hundred cards and fliers to people who wanted to support our troops. Particularly after I read a letter from one of our guys and told them about our 3000 (updated from 1200) marines. A nice school teacher wants to inquire about doing a project for her high school class.
Lt. H. and Major E. go to the White House -- [Powerline]
Power Line friends Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom and Eric Egland ("Major E.") of The Troops Need You, America! were part of a group of veterans and military families who met with President Bush this morning. They met to urge support for our armed forces and the successful completion of their mission in Iraq. Afterward President Bush made a brief statement in the Rose Garden with Pete, Eric and others in attendance including Merrilee Carlson, Ron Griffin, Chief Warrant Officer Pat Ivory, USN (Ret.), Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Terri Ivory, USN (Ret.), Becky Davis, Captain Knox Nunnally, USMC (Ret.), Sergeant Mike Seavey, USA National Guard (Ret.), and Lieutenant Wade Zirkle, USMC (Ret.). The president quoted Major E. saying, "We live in the world's oldest democracy and have been blessed with the strength to protect our freedoms and to help others who seek the same." Here is part of the president's statement:
Fight For Victory Tour
U.S. Diplomat Sees Some Progress in Iraq -- [ABC News]
U.S. Diplomat in Iraq Says Progress Made; Country Remains Gripped by Fear
Ryan Crocker testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Feb. 15, 2007 file photo, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. .
The Democrats' homeland security strategy -- [TigerHawk]
If you see somebody suspicious, do not report them to anybody in authority. Unless you are judgment proof.
The senators who voted Nay (click to enlarge) believe that if in good faith you report somebody for behavior indicative of terrorism and that person subsequently turns out to have been innocent, that person should have the right to sue you, the civilian who reported them.
Only seven Democratic senators believe that a good faith conversation with authorities about suspected terrorist-related activity should confer immunity from a law suit. Two of those Democrats are Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.
Pentagon 'Slams' Hillary on Iraq -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda.
In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces.
Brief History Lesson for Chickendove -- [Jules Crittenden]
MSNBC’s Olbermann thinks Iraq is the “most disastrous geopolitical tactic since Austro-Hungary attacked Serbia in 1914 and destroyed itself in the process.” With a good Kraut name like Olbermann, you’d think he’d know better.
Somebody needs to tell Olbermann about World War II, European and Asian-Pacific theaters. Hard to know where to start with that one. Germany’s bloody and tragic overreach starting in 1939, or Japan’s going back to 1931? Germany’s 1941 invasion of Russia has to be near the top of anyone’s list, if you want to narrow it down to a single campaign.
It Doesn't Matter that Journalists Misquote Everyone -- [Penelope Trunk - Huffington Post] HT: Jawa Report]
As a journalist I hear all the time from people in business that they are misquoted. And you know what? People need to get over that, and I'm going to tell you why.
The reason that everyone thinks journalists misquote them is that the person who is writing is the one who gets to tell the story. No two people tell the same story.
Not every example of this is so extreme as my husband's video. Look at David Sedaris and Amy Sedaris. They grew up in the same house, but they don't have the same tales to tell from it. They are both great writers who see different stories in the same facts.
Journalists who think they are telling "the truth" don't understand the truth. We each have our own truth. When you leave out details, you might leave out what is unimportant to you but very important to someone else, and things start feeling untrue to the person who wishes you included something else.
Rosa Brooks' Dirty-Harry Doctrine: Al Qaeda 'Got Lucky' on 9-11-- [NewsBusters]
Feelin' lucky, punk?
The 9-10 mentality is alive and well and living at the Los Angeles Times. In A really bad case of 'reality', house columnist Rosa Brooks approvingly cites unnamed "experts" thusly:
Brian Williams on Blogs -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
Some excerpts from a recent Brian Williams addres to the NYU School of Journalism:
The Nightly News attracts between 10 and 11 million viewers each night. But the playing field for prime-time nightly news is in constant motion, with NBC, CBS, and ABC jockeying for the top slot in the ratings game. The tremendous growth of online media — especially blogs — in recent years has altered the face of journalism.
“You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” said Williams. “All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years.”
Liberal journalists: 0, America: 1
Did you hear that high-pitched screeching noise Wednesday morning?
That was the sound of thousands of liberal journalists shrieking in agony as Democrats on Capitol Hill failed to force surrender terms upon our troops serving in Iraq.
The media were the biggest losers in Wednesday's vote on Iraq. The rest of the country was treated to their true feelings. You saw it on TV, read it in the newspapers, heard it on liberal radio. They were quite simply devastated that their allies in Congress couldn't make their call for "retreat" a reality.
Message from the President of the United States ( ...and he's not happy) -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Normally, I start these things out by saying "My Fellow Americans."
Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don't know who more than half of you are anymore.
I do know something terrible has happened, and that you're really not fellow Americans any longer.
I'll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: there's been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.
The reason I'm quitting is simple. I'm fed up with you people.
I'm fed up because you have no understanding of what's really going on in the world. Or of what's going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.
Let's start local. You've been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Top Al Qaeda in Iraq Official Captured! -- [Gateway Pundit]
As democrats wind down their surrender all-nighter...
US Forces in Iraq announced the capture of the highest ranking Iraqi in the Al Qaeda organization inside Iraq.
Today's "Surge" Press Brief by BG Kevin Bergner -- [ON Point]
The surge of operations in Iraq continues to make progress. These operations are increasing pressure on extremists by disrupting their networks, denying safe havens and reducing operating bases. The effects of these operations are also enabling Iraqis to turn away from the terrorists and work more closely with their government, their security forces and the coalition. There has, however, been tough fighting and we have much work to do. And our commanders remind us that this effort is still likely to get even harder before it gets easier.
Islamic State of Iraq – an al Qaeda front -- [The Fourth Rail]
Capture and interrogation of senior al Qaeda leader highlights al Qaeda control; Abu Omar al-Baghdadi a fictitious leader
U.S. Special Operations Forces scored a major victory against al Qaeda in Iraq’s senior leadership and gained valuable insight on the al Qaeda creation known as the Islamic State of Iraq. On July 4, Coalition forces captured Khalid Abdul Fatah Da’ud Mahmud Al Mashadani, a senior al Qaeda in Iraq and Islamic State of Iraq leader and close associate of Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda’s commander. Mashadani, also known as Abu Shahed, was captured in Mosul and is thought by the U.S. military to be the most senior Iraqi-born leader in al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). During Mashadani’s interrogation, the U.S. confirmed the Islamic State of Iraq is an al Qaeda front and that its leader does not really exist.
"If you are running for President...HEAR This." -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
"Whomever gets elected, they must see what it is we are doing over here."
Pondering that answer, over and over in my mind I came to realize that the boots on the ground got it exactly right. So, the deeper I thought about it, the more I became burdened to convey my experience to those who are not just listening or viewing or reading what I'm putting out there, but now, to those who are about to hear. Come and see for yourself.
Over the years I've seen them all come and go at various times. You know, those ones that get elected every two, four or six years. They fly in, they do the photo-op thing, they shake lots of hands, they find just the right person that will make them look good on some cover of a magazine, paper, or whatever, and then they do the same thing....leave in a hurry.
But now, I've got an idea. Let's just see if anyone who is running for President in '08, and by golly, there appears to be quite a few of them, has the integrity to really come and feel the heartbeat of what "the mission" actually is.
If someone is running for President of the USA, and has lots and lots to say about Iraq at the moment, then I say to any and all of those potential contendors, come and walk just one mile in the shoes of those I've walked among
...The angle of view from this vantage point will surely be enlightening. Come to where I am before you speak one more word concerning Iraq. Sit and listen to those who have battled for the priveledge to speak, yet have not spoken up, yet. The country needs this.
The voters are screaming for this. And I am now announcing it to all those running for President. We will see who heeds the call. There are a lot of "boots" on the ground that are waiting to see who has the integrity to step up to such a call. My suggestion is make the first stop, Jubail precinct, in Fallujah, Iraq.
Absurdity II -- [Sergent Grumpy]
"Democratic leaders engineered passage of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops to begin within 120 days, and to be completed by April 1, 2008. The measure envisions a limited residual force to train Iraqis, protect U.S. assets and fight al-Qaida and other terrorists."
This is the same Congress that unanimously confirmed General Petraeus, promised to give him the support he needed, and heard him say he would need until September to report back on the progress his approach would make. For those who have never experienced it, this is called being set up for failure.
As I've written before, there are indications that progress is being made, but no one in Iraq is going to be motivated to follow through on these glimmers of hope if they see that we, America, are going to abandon them to the thugs who would terrorize them.
Boredom -- [Ruminations of a Soldier Medic - in Iraq]
...We got in to a conversation with the man, just trying to find out a little bit about him. We all introduced ourselves and he introduced his kids (I forgot everyone’s name in about two seconds…) He told us that he loves the American troops here. He said that the IPs at the check point were doing a good job. One of his concerns though was getting shot at. At night, because they don’t have air and because it is so hot, they sleep in the grass outside their house. Gunshots are a pretty normal thing, and he told us he was “weary” of his children getting hurt from stray bullets. The sergeant I was with said that he would try to talk to the IP and the guys at our patrol base to notify them of his concerns and see if there was anything that could be done as far as getting them some sort of wall put up.
He told us that he went to the university in Baghdad and he teaches little kids at the school in the village. I asked if all of his kids go to school and he said yes, praising each one of them for their strengths in school. I could tell the kids were liking the attention they were getting.
"At Jubail Precinct...Fallujah, Iraq" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...as we departed the clinic and patroled through the district, many of the marines commented to me and pointed out areas that have since been cleaned up. Of course, to the untrained eye, one would think the place looks like a hurricane came through, but daily, weekly and now monthly, everyone is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, just in basic clean up, neighborhood by neighborhood. I later talked at length after the patrol with Lt. Kesling and he told me of plans for soccor fields, lot clean ups, school supplies as well as food distribution plans. I was struck at his hearts' desire for wanting more and more projects on the menu prior to his departure. When the goal of the whole endeavor can be seen, allbeit a long ways down the track, perhaps, the motivation for continued effort is a natural chain reaction. These are the things that keep a young, professional Lt., in the USMC guided as his precinct becomes one of many in the whole big picture of what we know stateside as "progress". Whatever standard it may be measured by, there is progress. I have seen it, I have walked among it, and I have been with those who are at this time doing whatever is asked of them to carry it out, one step at a time.
Busy day!!! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
We leave camp early in the morning to set out for our next mission, everybody seems ready to go. We get some chow and eat on the run, hard to do in a gun truck! As we hit a stretch a road about two hours into our mission one of the TCN's has a flat, it normally would take KBR up to four hours to come and fix it. So the TCN does it himself, we pull security keeping an eye on the road when a white toyota truck (Go Figure) comes out of no where and is setting about 150 meters off of our 9'oclock. It moves up the road about another 800 meters behind us and stops. "Keep your eye on them!" I tell my gunner. I call our commander and advise him of the vehicle, just as I start to desribe the situation seven men dismount the vehicle running to opposite sides of their truck.Two of them go over to a burm on at 7o'clock, one places somthing on the ground at our six and the others go to 4o'clock. " Dismount's in the open, 800 meters, 6'oclock!!!" I say over the radio as I can hear my gunner charge his weapon. Sgt. "N" quickly comes back over the net " move up and observe!"
Why Do Iraqis Want OUR Water? -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
why do we give away so much water? Because we have what the Iraqis call "sweet water". You know, cuz of all the sugar we add to everything we touch. Well, no, no sugar. It's sweet because it doesn't taste like the bottom of a well. It doesn't taste like all the trash your upstream neighbors dumped in the riverbed. It's not salty or grainy. It's sweet!
I used to think that these are some thirsty folks. I hardly ever saw them drinking water and they eagerly snapped up water when we gave it away. Then I heard, "sweet water" and it all dawned on me what was really going on.
I still give away water. Especially to good people, like this family in the mayors compound. Dad had business, mom was outside witht he kids, and it was hot. I thought of my wife and kids and had to give up some water.
Iraqi Withdrawal: Seven Scenarios -- [Austin Bay - Strategy Page]
What happens if the United States and coalition forces withdraw rapidly from Iraq? The U.S. and the Iraqi governments have their own scenarios. Iran, al-Qaida, Syria and Turkey have also analyzed potential outcomes.
Business and government make plans. Every plan anticipates a future outcome. Since the future can't be predicted, the best plans acknowledge uncertainty. Acknowledging uncertainty means accepting risk -- the risk of being wrong. The art of leadership is being "less wrong."
Here are seven "scenarios" sketching "potential outcomes" of a quick withdrawal from Iraq. These scenarios are not mutually exclusive. You will find bits and pieces in all seven:
Taliban Radio Returns -- [Strategy Page]
July 18, 2007: The Taliban radio station is back on the air in southeast Afghanistan. Back in 1996, the Taliban shut down all television and radio stations, and allowed only one, the Voice of Shariat, to broadcast, on AM and FM. The Voice of Shariat did not allow women to speak on the air, or to allow any "female sound" (definition never clarified) to be heard. The Voice of Shariat went off the air in late 2001, about the same time the Taliban fell from power. Now, apparently using a truck mounted transmitter, the Voice of Shariat can be heard again, for a half hour at a time, every few days. Not many people can hear it, as the signal is weak, and attempts to locate it (normally a simple matter) have indicated that the transmitter moves each night. Undeterred, U.S. Air Force and Navy electronic warfare (EW) experts believe they can take the station out if they can catch it while on the air, with a smart bomb or, if the EW geeks get really ambitious, a radar homing bomb tweaked to home in on an signal.
The Enforcers Turn on Their Masters -- [Strategy Page]
July 18, 2007: The Iranian government is losing control of its security forces and secret police. Islamic radicals increasingly refuse to obey orders from the top, claiming God has commanded them to do otherwise. The Islamic conservatives have remained in power by cultivating Islamic radicals in the security forces, men who were willing to fight to the death to keep an un-elected Islamic conservative government in power. But now the Islamic radicals are out of control, and bringing them to heel will threaten the ability of the Islamic conservatives to rule the country.
Controversy Among Reformists in the Arab World Over Dialogue With Islamist Groups -- [MEMRI]
Debate has recently reawakened in the Arab media over the initiative for dialogue between the West and the political Islam movements, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood. The debate has resurged in the West due to renewed interest in the initiative, which was reflected in various articles published on the issue in Western papers and journals. 
The issue became the focus of public debate in the U.S. following several meetings that took place between members of the U.S. Congress and the head of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in the Egyptian parliament, Dr. Muhammad Sa'd Al-Katatni. In April 2007, U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, heading a Congressional delegation to Egypt, met with Al-Katatni during a reception at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Cairo,  and in late May, a delegation of the House Commission for Democracy Assistance, headed by David Price, met with several Egyptian MPs, including Al-Katatni. 
HLF’s P.R. Blitz: “Islamophobia” and Apple Pie -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Yesterday, jury selection began in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history, against alleged Hamas-front group, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
Yesterday also witnessed the launch of the defense’s public strategy, a dual-track approach consisting of self-appointed Muslim leaders (in this instance, many are implicated in the case themselves, as the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator), and some in the media, claiming the prosecution is “Islamophobic,” while family members of the defendants wrap themselves in the American flag.
Thank's for your support!!! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
It's a great thing to know that the people closest to me are giving their complete support, my wife has been great during all of this. I consider myself to be a very lucky man, her husband is in Iraq, we just had a son born a little over a month ago, and she is taking care of her father who is disabled. All of this and still finding a way to stay strong and keep everything at home together.
Thanks.. -- [Ranger Sid - in Iraq]
Thank you all for all your support.... I assure you all that things are ok....I came into this deployment knowing exactly what might happen....Believe it or not this wasn't my first trip over the pond....I've seen it happen to others....and as much as it sucks its kind of funny to be a cliche'. It's like being a blooper...You usually have done some real good things before becoming a blooper....So things are positive....The Army brought me back to accomplish a mission....We've already proved our worth....we will continue to take the fight to the enemy whenever possible...I cannot let a trivial moment in my personal life take precedence.....and I will not.....Thank you all
What Can You Do to Help? -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...Finally Support ALL the troops. Next time you hear someone say "I support the troops, but not the mission" ask them how they can support a Soldier like GEN Petraeus or LTG Odinero, men who have dedicated their professional lives to our nation and are at the forefront leading this fight but are against what they are trying to do. These men are worthy of your support too. Just because those people say they "support the troops," does not make it true. Speak up at home, call them out.
And Then There Was One... -- [American Ranger]
Although I am on active duty, I attended part of the monthly drill for our weekend reservists. I learned that Master Sergeant Harvey Warshawsky was retiring and it was his last drill.
“Ski” is also a Vietnam veteran and he first went into the Army in 1966. He retired as a corrections officer from the State of New York and now he will be putting away the Army uniform as well.
He was the only other remaining “old soldier” in our unit and he had a great time reminding me that I was now the last Vietnam veteran in our battalion. The term "Last of the Mohicans” was used in reference to me and a few chuckles were shared by the youngsters in the unit.
More than 400 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers almost home from Iraq mission -- [The Racine Report]
Welcome home events planned for Thursday, Sunday in Oak Creek
About 415 soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery are safely back in the United States after completing a one-year mission in Iraq and Kuwait. One chartered airliner carrying 175 soldiers arrived at Indianapolis International Airport late Saturday night, and the two final planes, with about 235 soldiers aboard, arrived in Indianapolis this morning. The soldiers will complete demobilization processing at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before returning to Wisconsin in two groups later this week.
The first group of about 175 soldiers is scheduled to arrive at the Delphi Corporation plant in Oak Creek sometime after 2 p.m. Thursday, July 19.
Kerry: 60+ votes for withdrawal there for the taking -- [Protein Wisdom]
— if, that is, Republican Senators weren’t being ordered by King George to stay the course. Or if Kerry’s magic hat was given a Senate office and, say, 6-10 votes.
From The Hill:
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told The Hill Tuesday that he believes more than 60 senators would vote for a change in the Iraq strategy if they were allowed to vote their conscience on a measure to redeploy U.S. troops.
Lieberman Asks: Who's It Bite?
The Senate slumber party -- [Michell Malkin]
–Open thread Update: Liveblogging cont’d–The morning after Update: 10:43am McConnell blasts Senate Dems’ “Twilight Zone” episode of “gags, gimmicks, giggles, empty pizza boxes and cots”
...Rick Moran boils down last night’s debate: “Last night was about the politics of blame pure and simple. It was about the Democrats being terrified that caving in to their base on Iraq and bringing the troops home in a Dunkirk style evacuation will precipitate a chain of events in Iraq and the Middle East that would result in genocide, war, and al-Qaeda triumphant. Being politicians with finely honed instincts for survival and with absolutely no clue about what to do in Iraq (join the club, guys), they seek to shift responsibility for the coming catastrophe precipitated by our withdrawal and all the blunders, errors, mistakes, and stupidities that have marked our adventure in Mesopotamia these last 4 years in order to be able to face the voters and point the finger at their political foes.”
Our crap politics: Senate sleepover fizzles -- [Hot Air]
So after all the pants-wetting over a promised blowhard blowout all-nighter, Reid let them go home. Most of them, anyway:
...Bob Schieffer’s verdict on the sleepover: “It pretty much widened the partisan divide.” Of course it did. Go read what the Iraqi ambassador and a colleague of his have to say about withdrawal, noting especially the comment about the “fuzzy thinking” behind Baker-Hamilton. That’s the plan that’s going to win over the Republican fencesitters to the Democrats’ side. The Iraqis seem to think we shouldn’t even bother.
Iraq Vets Urge Congress: Don't Declare Defeat -- [Vets for Freedom]
Washington, DC - Vets for Freedom members fanned out across Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge Senators to support General Petraeus and his mission. "Before he was sent to Iraq, the General was promised the time he needed, but it seems that election season pandering has caused Senators to change their minds," said Pete Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran and executive director of Vets for Freedom.
Veterans met with Senators from both sides of the aisle to give them another side of the story from Iraq. "The facts I saw on the ground do not match to "facts" that pollute the debate in Washington - we came to help correct that" said David Bellavia, Vets for Freedom founding member. "It was a last minute trip, but I wanted to help represent my buddies who could not come today."
Joe Lieberman on Hannity & Colmes
So angry -- [Sergeant Grumpy - in Iraq]
Today I just don't know how to reconcile my anger over the atrocities committed by our enemies with the fact that most Americans want us to up and leave and allow mass slaughter to occur.
There has been consistent reporting that things have and are changing for the better in Anbar, Baquba (North of Baghdad) and Babil (South of Baghdad.) But instead of focusing on these successes, where does the media focus? On those towns where al-Qaeda has now run to since they can't stand up to us or the Iraqi forces. Yes, if we focus on securing Baghdad, it, by definition, means that if more vulnerable towns are attacked, we can't protect them. That is the way it works, and that represents a major change in tactics, although most people can't appreciate that.
Article or Editorial? Times Talks of Desperate Bush Admin, U.S. 'Mired' in Iraq -- [NewsBusters]
As straight news articles go, it was a heck of an editorial that appeared on the front page of yesterday's New York Times. The ostensible subject of Bush to Bolster Abbas and Seek Peace Talks was President Bush's announcement Monday of "a regional peace conference this fall to be led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that would include high-level Arab envoys and their counterparts from Israel and the Palestinian West Bank."
All well and good. But in the course of the article, author Helene Cooper managed to work in these two swipes at the Bush administration:
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Fardh Al-Qanoon Update: MND-B general sees change, progress
BAGHDAD — Five months into Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon a senior leader with the Multi-National Division – Baghdad said Iraqi Security Forces have shown continued improvements since the operation began in mid-February.
“The biggest change since we arrived in Baghdad has been the establishment of the Baghdad Operations Command March 1st,” said Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, the deputy commanding general for maneuver for MND-B and the 1st Cavalry Division. “That command, under Lt. Gen. Abud, and the subordinate Karkh and Rusafa area commands, has given the Iraqis increased command and control of their own forces. It has enabled them establish a planning process and will help them take the lead in the command and control of division-level operations.”
Campbell called this period of the operation a critical time, as American forces are now in place throughout the country, working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts. While a lot of attention has been given to “surge” of American forces, Campbell said nine additional Iraqi Army battalions were also brought into Baghdad as part of Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon.
Securing Iraq -- [Pentegon Channel]
A Pivotal Moment in Time
Iraqi Soldiers participate in first ever advanced infantry course -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division participated in the first-ever advanced infantry course, dubbed the "Commando Course," at the Iraqi Army compound in Mahmudiyah, Iraq.
Iraqi Army cleans Baghdadi of insurgency -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDADI — Members of the Iraqi army patrolled the palm groves here recently during an operation to seek out insurgent activity in the area.
ISF Primer -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
In America, neighborhood watch means a sign with an all seeing eye bolted to a pole, and perhaps a slightly higher chance that the residents of the area will call the police over suspicious activity. In Iraq, neighborhood watch means men with AK-47s and medium machine guns manning hasty checkpoints built from cinder blocks and rubbish.
There are three general divisions of Iraqi Security Forces:
The highest level in the Iraqi Army- the soldiers of an IA brigade are drawn from a broad region, and they generally have the best training of Iraqi troops. Some IA divisions are considered to be quite competent- for example,
Superman -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
..In a city like Baqubah, where I sit writing these words [and whose roads I was on today when the soldiers I was with shot and killed two armed men just hours ago (15 July 07)], Al Qaeda and other groups have so seeded many of the roads that areas remain “black” (off limits to travel) nearly a month after the launch of operation Arrowhead Ripper. The terrorists’ main target is not Americans, but other Iraqis.
Al Qaeda in Iran -- [Michael J. Totten - Noah Pollak]
It is long past time that one important piece of fantastical rubbish be finally sent on its way: this is the idea that Islamists maintain some kind of fastidious ethnic and theological separatism when it comes to who they're willing to work with on killing people. The co-option of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (Sunni Arab) by Iran (Shia Persian) is one piece of reality that intrudes on this comforting notion; so is the Iran-Syria alliance, along with the reality of Iranian support for both Shia and Sunni insurgents in Iraq.
A final nail in the coffin comes today from Eli Lake, the New York Sun's talented national security reporter (and good friend). Eli's scoop is about the National Intelligence Estimate, an unclassified summary of which will be released today, but whose classified final working draft concludes that:
One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.
Iraq: More U.S.-Iranian Talks Coming Soon -- [Stratfor]
A second round of meetings between the United States and Iran over the future of Iraq is likely to take place soon, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said. While Mottaki said there is a "high possibility" of more talks, Zebari was more certain, saying an ambassador-level meeting on Iraqi security and stability will be held in Baghdad soon.
Iraq Report: Major Offensive Underway in Babil -- [Roggio Report]
Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched a multi-brigade operation south of Baghdad as the pursuit of al Qaeda in Iraq continues in Diyala and the north. Al Qaeda in Iraq and allied insurgent groups conducted multiple mass casualty attacks in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing over 80 and wounding upwards of 200. Meanwhile, Iraqi and Coalition forces continue to hunt the deadly "Special Group" cells associated with Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army.
Iraq Briefing -- [Pentegon Channel]
Khadamiyah Comeback -- [Hot Air]
Yesterday, in the footnote to my post about counterinsurgency (which the military abbreviates as “COIN”) efforts in Al Salam, I noted that the Khadamiyah neighborhood in Baghdad had recently taken a turn for the worse as Jaish al-Mahdi activity had increased. Khadamiyah is the neighborhood that Michelle and I walked around and met with locals during our visit to Baghdad back in January, and at that time it was one of the city’s most quiescent sectors.
...Update on Khadamiyah. We have regained momentum against JAM over the last few weeks. We have JAM leadership on the run. The people are fed up with the organized crime and extortion that accompanies JAM. Although we still have plenty of political interference in Khadamiyah, I think we have swung the pendulum back in the direction of economic progress and protecting the people from extremists on both sides.
Throughout our area of operations we have made significant gains against defeating Al Qaeda (AQI). We are actively collaborating with former Sunni insurgents to drive AQI from their neighborhoods. If we stop the AQI intimidation, we take a lot of wind out of the militia sails.
Teufelhunden -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
...I am riding on through the streets of Habbaniyah with the Marines of 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. We ride on and stop at numerous combat out posts (COPS) and I move among the Marines and take pictures and do a couple of interviews. My job out here “get this now” so people will remember what is being done here so we will not forget the sacrifices made and years from now their story can be told to the next generation.
A Physician's Report from Iraq -- [Strategy Page]
This past week I spent most of my time in the intensive care unit. Sometimes I feel like a utility ballplayer the way I am used. So far, I have worked in ICU, the Intermediate Care Ward, EMT(aka ER), and in the clinic. In the ICU, I gave thrombolytic therapy(clot buster) to a 48 year old Jordanian contractor having a massive stroke, took care of an overdose of antidepressants, cared for a gun shot wound to the abdomen, an IED blast with neck and extremity wounds, a number of concussions and some burns among others. There is very little cardiology going on here. My favorite patient Abbas, was transferred to an Iraqi facility this week. We treat them until stable, then ship them out. He was a 22 year old new Iraqi policeman who was blown up by a suicide bomber and sustained a spinal cord injury with resulting paraplegia (paralyzed below the waist). He was only recently married four months ago. In spite of everything, he always had such a nice smile for me whenever I would care for him or pass by his bed. I will miss him.
It’s Good To Be Missed -- [Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group -- in Iraq]
...Out here in Anbar, the war is going fairly well. You know how I know? The incoming doesn’t come in anymore. The Retrograde Yard has fewer destroyed vehicles in it. There are fewer helos dropping off casualties. Things are getting better where I’m at. I’m winning my part of the war. The people around me are winning their part of the war. There are successes all over this country, but, back in the rear, one Aw, Shit erases 100 Attaboys, and all al Qaeda has to do is set off a bomb and the NYT/WAPO/LAT/CNN/PMSNBC/ABC/NBC/SeeBS branches of al Jazeerah wail and gnash their teeth about how we can’t win, we’re in a quagmire, the Surge has failed, we must cut & run, yadda, yadda, et cetera, et cetera, yessir, yessir three bags full. And way too many of my fellow Americans are ready to pull the plug on us. Us’ns out here are winning our part of the war, but y’all in the rear are letting us down. Y’all ain’t doing YOUR part to resist the enemy propaganda. Y’all ain’t doing YOUR part to hold defeatists accountable for their treachery. Y’all ain’t doing YOUR part in providing our leadership with some FOLLOWERSHIP!
VOICES FROM THE FRONT -- [ONPoint]
With the news from Iraq being as much “political” as “military” in the last week, OnPoint has decided to focus today’s feature on something different’ today’s feature is that of our Marines in the field.
...Marines exterminate terrorists in Karmah
When Marines arrived in Karmah near the beginning of June, it was not the warmest of welcomes. Citizens were hesitant to come outside, much less smile and shake hands with those in uniform. Less than a month later, children fool around in the streets trying to get Marines to play soccer. Men sit outside reopened shops and approach the patrols, pointing out houses with suspected threats.
Fallujah--From Near, from Afar -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
The guards have “Rules of Engagement” or “ROE” for vehicles that don’t belong or don’t follow directions, which is pretty much the same thing. The last escalation on the rules checklist is disable the driver, which means several well-aimed bullets through the windshield. From the outside, the FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) are foreboding places, hardly welcoming, but once inside you’re in one of the safest areas of a country where explosions are a leading cause of death, right behind shot wounds to the head. As we approached the gate the Marines locked in rounds, bolts drew back and bullets snapped into chambers, just a firing pin tap away from discharge.
General Petraeus' September Report -- [Duty in the Desert]
The more I've read and watched General Petraeus interviews the more impressed I am with him. A great communicator. A leader. Finally this war has a 'military face' to it and someone who uses the media to get his images and messages out to the American people and our allies.
General Petraeus has that 'it' factor. One of those nebulous, undefined and subjective attributes one either has or doesn't have. This General has 'it'. Not bravado. But confidence and something else. That you-know-it-when-you-see-it factor. We haven't had a uniformed face to a war, really, since General Norman Schwarzkopf in Operations Desert Shield/Storm 16 years ago.
Winning the Narrative -- [SWJ - Bing West]
The National Review On-Line recently posted an interview with LtGen James N. Mattis, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Forces CENTCOM. Mattis is widely-known for his boldness and ferocity in combat. Yet Mattis did not discuss operations. Instead, he focused on perceptions. "I noticed (in the newspaper) today that 'a bomb went off in Baghdad'... the moral bye, the passive voice by our media, makes it appear like what the enemy is doing is just an act of God of some Godamned thing...getting our narrative out will be as important or more important than tactics."
Plus and Minus -- [Rock and Roll Soldier - in Iraq]]
As a brigade, our convoy security teams find far more IEDs than other convoy teams. We've got damn good soldiers who have saved a lot of lives by virtue of simply paying attention and doing their jobs.
...In the beginning of the war, soldiers rolled around in soft skinned vehicles with no ballistic protection. Now, we have fully armored HMMWVs which, while not perfect, are much better at keeping troops alive. And don't even get me started on the advancements in EOD as a job.
...I'm also pissed that I can't reenlist into the guard while in country, if i chose to do so. IRR soldiers who want to stay in the national guard can't recieve a tax free bonus unless they get lucky enough to find a recruiter that can push all the paperwork through during the same month they get back. As a result, we also can't receive schools while our guard brethren can. I submitted awards for my soldiers for saving some lives by cordoning off an IED (which required driving past it) so a civilian convoy didn't drive past it. I was told they "were just doing their jobs."
Yet we have people getting bronze stars just for being here, and many of the folks who will receive it don't leave the wire.
Saddam's Place -- [Desert Flier- in Iraq]
I've learned over the past few years how conversations usually go when you talk to an OGA. That stands for "other governmental agency". In other words, you have no idea who they work for, what they are doing, or how long they are staying. Our modern day version of government 'spooks'.
A few of us took them up on an invite to an isolated part of Ramadi along the banks of the Euphrates for some weapons range time. These guys live in a fairly nice house. It used to be an Iraqi General's house during the Saddam regime. Marble floors, top shelf tiling in the bathroom. Was that a Viking rangetop in the kitchen? Not only do the OGA's live in top digs, they have their own cook. This was getting better by the minute! Prime rib cooked to perfection and steamed asparagus to start. Now I know how the other half of Iraq lives...
When Anthropologists Go to War -- [Danger Room]
One of the more fascinating ideas to emerge in military circles of late is the concept of the Human Terrain System, which is "designed to address cultural awareness shortcomings at the operational and tactical levels by giving brigade commanders an organic capability to help understand and deal with 'human terrain'-the social, ethnographic, cultural, economic, and political elements of the people among whom a force is operating."
In practice, this system entails recruiting and deploying anthropologists as part of small teams deployed with forward-operating forces.
Now, one of the first anthropologists being deployed to Iraq has started a blog where he plans to talk about his experiences in Iraq. I would suggest reading several of the entries for context, but here's an excerpt
Suicide bomber kills only himself -- [ISAF News Release]
KABUL, Afghanistan – An explosion occurred July 14 in Khowst province, when a suicide bomber detonated before reaching his target.
Hamid Khan, the bomber, was the only person killed in the blast. No local nationals, ANP or ISAF troops were in the vicinity at the time.
“Incidents like this highlight the senselessness of the enemy’s suicide bombing tactic,” said Maj. John Thomas, ISAF spokesman.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan -- [Pentegon Channel]
The latest from Operation Enduring Freedom showing the activities of American troops in country. Produced by AFN-Afghanistan.
Military begins battle to sell mission to Quebec -- [Globe and Mail]
Most Quebeckers remain skeptical about the role of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan
QUEBEC -- As more than 2,000 Quebec-based troops are deployed to Afghanistan this summer, the Canadian Forces are opening up a new front - a political and public relations battle to win over the support of Quebeckers for the mission.
The foot soldiers in that battle will be the 180 from the Royal 22nd Regiment, headquartered at Valcartier military base near Quebec City, who return from their tour of duty in Afghanistan over the next few weeks. Their experience in conducting security for the provincial reconstruction team at Camp Nathan Smith near Kandahar will be used to help sell the mission to Quebeckers who remain skeptical about the role of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
"There is a greater need for education," Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier said in a telephone interview. "When they come home and get a chance to talk to friends, neighbours and community organizations, clubs, schools, and get a chance to tell the story of what they were doing, what they engaged in and what values they see, that will be one aspect of helping Quebeckers ... understand better why Canada is doing what it is doing."
Italian Ambassador Treats Wounded Troops to Mediterranean Hospitality -- [Media Blog - Tom Gross]
It is rare that we come across a story about European generosity to American troops, so this piece, from the American Forces Press Service, provides a welcome change to all those negative stories about European attitudes to America.
Too bad it hasn’t appeared in the mainstream media. Here are some highlights:
Bank Robber Says He Wanted to Raise War-Crimes Awareness -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
This story would be sad if it were not so laughably ridiculous:
Apparently, rogue Army Ranger Luke Sommer robbed a bank, and then blamed it on what he alleges were war crimes he witnessed being committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says he wanted to use the public exposure he would surely receive from robbing the bank to create awareness for war crimes.
Shari’ah Courts in America? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
An issue in Zeyno Baran’s recent Counterterrorism Blog post jumped out at me because of my current research into how Islam has been treated by U.S. courts. Zeyno’s note dealt with the recent appointment of Imam Talal Eid to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which she questioned, in part, because of his suggestion in his Harvard Divinity School dissertation of “the establishment of Shari’ah courts which would manage the family affairs of American Muslims and mediate their religious affairs within the scope of American law.”
Why The South No Longer Fears the North -- [Strategy Page]
The South Korean military admitted, when pressed by parliament, that they monitor many North Korean military activities in real time, using a combination of technology and agents. The growing corruption in the north has been a major assist to South Korean military intelligence. The reliability of the spies can be checked via air reconnaissance, spy satellites and other sensors, making the South Koreans confident they know what's going on up north. The South Koreans are less and less impressed with North Korean military power, which is slowly eroding because of money shortages and declining morale and discipline.
http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htpeace/articles/20070717.aspxStirring Up Old Threats -- [Strategy Page]
July 17, 2007: More World War II and World War I naval mines are showing up in the Black Sea, as post-Cold War economic growth puts shipping into areas that have not seen a lot of it for nearly 70 years. The northwest part of the Black Sea, and especially the Danube river delta, were heavily mined during both World Wars. The most dangerous mines are the ones held in place by a chain (attached by an anchor that lies on the ocean floor in shallow coastal waters).
Al Qaeda Tries To Change The Rules -- [Strategy Page]
July 17, 2007: Terrorists tend to be poor historians. Throughout the last century, terrorist groups achieved few of their objectives, and ultimately faded away. The media tends to concentrate on the few terrorist objectives that have been achieved, ignoring the (boring, and thus not news) fact that the terrorists usually fail. A recent study published in "International Security" magazine ("Why Terrorism Does Not Work") took 28 terrorist organizations that have been operating during the last six years, counted their objectives, and found that only seven percent of those have been achieved. Not very encouraging for the bad guys.
Report Claims Al Qaeda Leadership Meets Regularly in Iran -- [Gateway Pundit]
It is believed that Iran is protecting Saad Bin Laden, the son of Osama Bin Laden, and other Al Qaeda leaders including Saif al-Adel who fled Afghanistan in 2001. The Al Qaeda leadership holds regular meetings in eastern Iran according to a new report.
Zawihiri Close to Capture? -- [Jawa Report]
This is what DEBKA is claiming:
Until the middle of last week, Zuwahiri sheltered with the local Pashtun tribes in Bannu, a town in the northwest Pakistan tribal federation of North Waziristan. The approach of Pakistani and US intelligence and special forces caused him to switch hiding places and move to Tank or Tang, a town 120 km south of Bannu.
Interesting Thoughts On The Latest Osama Tape -- [Stop the ACLU]
Many have speculated that hidden codes were in Zawahir’s latest message as well as Osama’s, despite it being unreleased footage from 2001. Blogger Eteraz thinks he may have broken the coded message:
Landstuhl Heroes Deserve Your Support -- [Military.com]
Recovering troops at the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany need your help. During a recent visit there, American Legion National Commander Paul A. Morin and American Legion Auxiliary President JoAnn Cronin found these war heroes are in need of comfort items and essentials that could improve their quality of life.
The National Commander, the National President and Sons of The American Legion Commander Earl Ruttkofsky are asking your help in raising at least $50,000 for this cause. Don't let the well-deserved media attention given to Walter Reed Army Medical Center detract from the needs of the heroes at Landstuhl. These veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars must not be forgotten as America is engaged in a war on terror to protect all of our freedoms.
Click here to read their report and to donate to this worthy endeavor.
Family Heartaches Unnoticed -- [Spouse Buzz]
Next time someone talks about supporting the military members, think of their families as well. You may not know this, but a lot of military families are broken just because of military errors. For example, I am a military wife, my husband is active duty. I move back to Illinois a few months back because my husband was scheduled for deployment. We were advised by commander and first sergeant to clear housing and move to where ever we were planning on staying through out deployment. They said they were FOR SURE leaving by that date. So a few months ago we packed everything up and moved me and my kids to Illinois. We had got all of our belongs packed and a lease signed with tenants and the next day was informed that my husband was not deploying till a later date, due to the extension of deployment months change from 12 to 15. Now we are forced to live apart.
New Idea -- [Military Motivator]
I've enjoyed making the posts here and more over have enjoyed the positive responses that the posts have generated. I recently posted a motivator that someone sent me. I'd like to do more of that.
So, if you have an idea for a motivator or an image that you think would be appropriate, email me and I will post it (please mention how you'd like to be credited). You can generate the full motivator using the link to the right. It's all in good fun and if a single person donates to the links to support our uniformed men and women then this site has been a success.
Iraq Star -- [Pentegon Channel]
A non profit foundation in St. Louis helps wounded veterans recover.
Where’s MEGEN? 07/2007 -- [Chaotic Synaptic Activity]
At the USS IOWA Turret Nr 2 Gun Crew Memorial in Norfolk, VA
It seems “Pinch” Paisley was on a road trip and took some time to get pictures and publicity for the ValOUR-IT project the week of the 4th of July, while doing some active duty time…Stay turned for more outstanding naval settings where MEGEN has been showing up at!
Update 07/16/2007: Pinch has posted an entire set of great photos of MEGEN, in the company with ships a and planes and at memorials. Not only are they fun to look at, but they are great to copy and send around to your friends, complete with an explanation of the ValOUR-IT program!
A presumption of innocence: I’ll deliver your email to suddenly silent John Murtha -- [9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America]
Updated: Latest emails added July 17, 2007, 06:55 a.m. EDT
If the lives and liberty of United States Marines were not at stake, Congressman John Murtha’s new found silence would be hilarious.
You know the story. On May 17, 2006 — to celebrate the 6-month anniversary of his first demanding a timetabled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq — John Murtha held a press conference in D.C. and stated that Marines in Haditha had, “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” Even before the preliminary investigation had been completed and before the Marines under investigation had a chance to defend themselves, Congressman Murtha used his office to inquire and publicly pronounced them guilty.
Last week, the investigating officer recommended that the charges against LCpl Justin Sharratt be dismissed, in his strongly worded official report:
The Lie Mutually Agreed Upon -- [Strategy Page]
July 16, 2007: Yet another Marine has won a court victory in the investigation of the battle at Haditha – adding more doubts to the claims of a massacre. In this case, the officer conducting an Article 32 hearing (equivalent to a grand jury hearing in civilian courts) has ruled that charges should be dropped. In essence, the claims of a massacre at Haditha are now looking false. That said, al Qaeda, through some adept media manipulation, has still won a victory.
Almost home -- [The Zeke - coming home from Iraq]
How can I explain the joy of seeing my homeland once again? We're so close to home right now. A thunderous roar was heard from our company as we crossed into American air-space. We're not quite home yet, it will be days. But I'm in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and it feels so good.
I forgot what so much grass looked like! One of the first things I did was flop down in some grass by the air field and just lay there. No dust in my eyes, no sweat soaking through my clothes...clean, fresh air. Humidity! Trees everywhere. LAKES!!! What a site to behold. I never want to leave again.
Vets On The Hill -- [Flopping Aces]
Vets For Freedom is converging on Washington DC tomorrow to get their message through the thick numbskulls of those Senators who still do not understand that the Iraq and Afghanistan war is a just and necessary fight, and one we should not run from
Defeatists Are Not Looking Past 2008 Elections -- [ThreatsWatch]
Most of those in Congress who now oppose the war were at one time all for it. Today of course they claim to have been duped, lied to, though there is pretty solid evidence that most of them did not bother to evaluate the available information themselves. Politicians are busy, fair enough, but if they are determined not to be fooled again then you would think that they would wait to get some solid, authoritative information about the state of Iraq before they decided on their strategy for Iraq. The surge did not begin in earnest until a few weeks ago and General Petraeus is not due to give his first status report until September. So why are some already calling the surge a failure and arguing for withdrawal now?
The fact is that those calling for “re-deployment” are less motivated by data or facts and more keen on supporting anything “not-Bush.” These are politicians after all, so that is to be expected, but such a strategy is only going to be useful until 2008. Then what?
First Muslim in Congress - Whack Job? -- [Broken Masterpieces]
Bush like Hitler, says first Muslim in Congress | International News | News | Telegraph
America's first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.
Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933.
The scarier part is that the audience was applauding. The absolute hate for George W. Bush is bordering on crazy. I know a lot of us didn't like Bill Clinton and some went overboard but this is even beyond that.
Bush as Hitler -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
Rep. Keith Ellison has gone and compared President Bush to Adolph Hilter. So, what does the Minnesota Star Tribune have to say about the comment? They defend it, of course:
What's more interesting is that Rep. Ellison made these statements last week and they're only now coming to the attention of the MSM.
'Today' Depresses Troop Morale, Highlights Group Calling for War Defunding -- [NewsBusters]
As NBC's Matt Lauer advertised Harry Reid’s "all-nighter" to debate Iraq’s funding, his colleague, Jim Miklaszewski, buttressed Reid's theatrics by showcasing military families, whose "anger over the war is growing," and even highlighted a group calling for the war’s defunding. On this morning's 'Today' show, Miklaszewki, aired soundbites from three war opponents but he didn’t gave any air-time to supporters of the war effort.
The following is the full, unbalanced, segment as it occurred the July 17th Today show:
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
/Rant -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
I got up this morning and went to breakfast. I sat and ate eggs and half of a grapefruit, while the tv news helped Sen. Reid tell me I'm a failure. The surge is not working, the newest current strategy is not working, and the war is lost. I gathered via the internet today that he later stepped back from some of his harsher statements- I don't know for sure whether that is true or not. If so, it only adds to my disgust. I also learned that Congress
...I do not sense the nasty undercurrent to the city that the Village Voice alleges is there. Lest anyone say that the people would restrain their opinion in the presence of men with guns, I would encourage you to ask an OIF or OEF veteran whether he or she could tell when the people didn't want you there. The people will glare, shoo their children inside, and move away as you pass. They won't wave, they won't answer to a simple "as salaam alaikum". What I see in Falluja is quite different.
US troops celebrate blow on insurgency in Iraq
US troops in Iraq's Ramadi, a stronghold of insurgents supporting Al-Qaeda, celebrated the capture of the district.
Blackfive & Iraq in a nutshell -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
...In other news we were recently asked by a media outlet how things were going in Anbar province. The change over the past year has been amazing. Hell, even the change since we got here in January has been noticeable. The sheiks and the tribes they lead have thrown in their lot with us despite a constant murder and intimidation campaign by Al Qaeda. Our approach to counterinsurgency is working and is an illustration that given enough time, ordinary men and women -- the Iraqis we work with every day -- will say "Enough violence is enough." They're tired of their children dying, and of fearing for their lives just because they had the nerve to try to keep their neighborhoods safe.
I could go on for pages. I think if you talk to the vast majority of Marines out here you'll see that the optimism we're pushing out is legitimate. One anecdotal bit is that we have to really campaign to get mainstream media outlets to our AO. Why is that? Because it's freaking calm out here.
Al-Qada-in-Iraq; the main Enemy -- [ON Point]
General Kevin Bergner talked with OnPoint yesterday about the Surge and recent Coalition efforts in defeating Al-Qada in Iraq, and also had time to answer a few questions afterwards :
Gen Bergner :
Today we will provide an update on the principal near-term threat to Iraq—al-Qaeda of Iraq. In their own statements al-Qaeda leaders have declared Iraq their central front. AQI and its affiliates are the greatest source of spectacular attacks and are fueling sectarian violence. Our intelligence community, the Government of Iraq and MNFI-l all assess AQI as the main near-term threat to Iraq.
Wishful thinking -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
Good News! Apparently, I can come home now! No, seriously - just ask the Iraqi Prime Minister, who says we can go anytime we want. I want, I want!
...So what are we doing here? Well, as I see it, we are trying to give them a system to use, provide the training for that system, and then set some benchmarks to see if they can use that system. The problem with the Iraqi Prime minister’s statement, then, is that he is pissed about the benchmarks. Well, if we don't have any benchmarks, how do we know your getting it?? Another comment that's funny to me is the PM supposedly is frustrated with Gen. Petraeus, because "he works along a 'purely American vision.'" Hello, CPT Obvious? This is common sense calling. The general is an American! We can only train you on American systems because that's all we know! He also talks about arming the militia, but I am not close enough to that situation to comment on it.
Security forces gaining strength, generals say -- [MNF-I]
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox (left), a Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman, and Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta Al-Moussawi, Fardh Al-Qanoon spokesman, held a press conference on the progress of Iraqi Security Forces Sunday. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Scott Kim, Combined Press Information Center.BAGHDAD—Army Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta Al-Moussawi, Fardh Al-Qanoon spokesman, and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, a Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman, held a press conference Sunday on the progress of Iraqi Security Forces.
Fox detailed how Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces are working together in various locations throughout Iraq. Coalition forces have helped train and equip more than 349,000 ISF soldiers and added 8,700 Soldiers since June 24. Fox says the ISF is getting stronger every day.
Back in the Land of the Living -- [Jake's Life - in Iraq]
...About the most exciting patrol I had to do in 13 days involved going into the market to help cordon an IED that 4th platoon and the Iraqi Police had found when sweeping through. Yes, this is the same market that tried to kill me and my squad about 4 weeks ago when we got ambushed. Walking back to that thing was a complete head trip, everyone was a little itchy going back in. We got to the north side, and we had to link up with the IPs. We had brought an interpreter with us, but this guy was new to the job, and well apparently in the interpreter screening process they don’t ask if you speak English, because this terp spoke English about as well as my dog. After linking up with the IPs I actually sent him away because his lack of English was just making things worse. Explosive Ordinance Disposal ended up rolling up on scene and wanted to speak to someone who had actually seen the IED. Well that person wasn’t me, so I was trying to get this IP guy to explain where the bomb was.
I didn't see much of this in the States -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
"Made in Syria" (image)
Using Dead Soldiers For Fun and Political Gain -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
As I have stated in the past I usually don't give a whole lot of my time to watching the news over here. I discovered the last time I was in this monkey house (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) that what is presented on the news is not an entirely accurate picture of events on the battlefield and it remains true today...from what little I am exposed to while trying to eat in the DFAC. So I missed Sunday's Meet the Press, where SENs Lindsey Graham and Jim Webb had an exchange about the war.
Jim Webb fights Lindsey Graham
Wow, that was a close one... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...Once under cover, we saw this one kid that was in there that had taken some shrapnel to his shoulder. It was nothing big, just a little bit. The funniest thing was that as the medical personell were patchin him up, he was bitching up a storm about how he had just paid for his pizza and was waiting for it to cook, and now he wasnt going to get his pizza! Thats great! Hey, Im sure that Purple Heart will get him a free pizza or beer or two.
The crazy thing was that he was twice as far from the mortar than we were. The thing was it hit a building with a solid roof and thus exploded 15 feet above the ground. It was pretty much dead online with where we were sitting, but because we were below it, all the shrapnel flew past us over our heads and ended up hitting that guy. If it had ended up hitting the ground level, it could have been a very bad day for the 5 of us sitting there. But once again, luck or fate or whatever intervened and we escaped totally unharmed with a crazy story to tell. Thats how it is. If it doesnt kill you or hurt you it makes a great story.
Ubaidi, Anbakia tribes sign peace agreement in Diyala -- [MNF-I]
TIKRIT — Key tribal leaders from the Ubaidi and Anbakia tribes signed a peace agreement July 10 during a meeting at the Baqubah Government Center to end tribal conflicts that have been occurring for decades and stand together against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.
Japanese government extends military mission to Iraq by a year -- [Tanker Brothers - in Iraq]
Yasuhisa Shiozaki said that members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) stationed in Kuwait, from where they airlift supplies into Iraq, would remain until at least July 31, 2008.
"We have decided to extend the operational plan to continue the uninterrupted and stable provision of supplies being carried out by the self-defense air force," he said.
He said that Japan would continue cooperating with the United Nations and interested powers to rebuild Iraq.
Pearl -- [Gunner's World - in Iraq]
Talking with the Master Guns I found out the dog is a female named "Pearl". Pearl is an IED bomb sniffing dog attached to a Marine Battalion here in Iraq. She is specially trained by some folks back in the states for this type of work. Pearl is a new kind of weapon, highly trained and making a difference out here and saving Marines lives. Pearl has had some close calls already being in three IED explosions with her handler and close to forty engagements with the enemy in fire fights.
Sadly she is what the World War II guys used to call “Shell Shocked" and now with the sound of artillery or gunfire she will fall to the ground and shake. So long story short we have adopted her here within Camp Fallujah and specifically within the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned. She will spend her remaining tour here with us and not out with front line Marines, so we have a new mascot here in Fallujah and everyone is happy to have her around.
F-16 Fighting Falcon Destroys IED House -- [DVIDS]
Iraqi Boy Scouts -- [Calvey in Iraq]
That's right, the Boy Scouts are operating again here in Baghdad. I bought some Council patches the other day.
I find it particularly hopeful that even in a society that has not yet quelled an insurgency in its entirety, there is some room for normal, character-building institutions to grow.
The Boy Scouts in Iraq, which is a part of the same World Organization of Scouting Movements of which the Boy Scouts of America is a part, has apparently been building the character of Iraqi youths since the 1920's, except during the Nazi occupation of Iraq in the 1940s and the latter years of Saddam's evil dictatorship.
God Likes Me! -- [Letters from the Desert - in Iraq]
Yesterday afternoon I was wandering around brigade, saying farewell to some friends and looking forward to leaving late at night the next day or following morning. Then someone asked, "Hey Chappie, do you want to go on the supercargo tonight?" Now for those of you who are unaware of what I am talking about, these were the options:...
Two more suicide strikes in Pakistan's northwest [Updated] -- [The Fourth Rail]
One day after a Taliban suicide attack on a military convoy in North Waziristan, the Taliban hit hard in Dera Ismail Khan and Swat. In Swat, a pair of suicide bombers struck another military convoy. Sixteen were killed, including 12 Pakistani soldiers and four civilians, and 40 were wounded after the suicide team rammed their cars into a convoy near the town of Matta.
Matt Sanchez Now Arriving In Afghanistan [Matt Sanchez - in Afghansitan]
They don't build them like they used to! Or, do they? Welcome to Afghanistan!
Villagers prevent Taliban extremist crossing border -- [ISAF]
KHOWST, Afghanistan – During a recent shura, village elders of Chamkani signed a security agreement with ISAF forces here to position an armed volunteer forces along the border, focusing primarily around the Bodkai Pass.
The villagers honored their agreement July 12 when more than 300 villagers from Chamkani District, Paktia province, prevented Taliban extremists from crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
The villagers, a majority of which hail from the Shia tribe, reportedly used non-violent means to deter 130 Taliban extremists planning to attack an ISAF base, according to an ISAF official.
RAF AFGHAN DIARIES: 15th June 2007
Taliban Bombs Iranian Consulate in Kandahar -- [Gateway Pundit]
Iran says the attack on their consulate proves that they are not arming the Taliban
Taliban guerrilla fighters holding their weapons at a secret base in eastern Afghanistan February 3, 2007. Iran on Thursday rejected U.S. accusations it is arming the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying an attack on its consulate there showed the hostility of the Sunni militant group towards Shi'ite Iran.
Tribes Gone Wild -- [Strategy Page]
July 16, 2007: In Pakistan, nearly a hundred people have been killed by terrorist attacks in the tribal areas over the last few days. The renewed violence is in response to the government crackdown on rebellious religious extremists in the capital. Meanwhile, the U.S. has doubled the reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden, to $50 million. This set off rumors that the increase was in response to tribal chiefs who were willing to flip on bin Laden, but only if the payday were large enough. The U.S. can further sweeten the pot by arranging for much of the $750 million in economic aid, pledged for the tribal areas over the next ten years, to go to certain chiefs.
Iran: We'll Hit 600 Targets In Israel If Attacked -- [The MENRI Blog]
Arab and foreign diplomatic sources have said that Iran has issued a warning, through various channels, that 600 Israeli targets are within range of Iran's missiles and will be destroyed if Israel or the U.S. attack Iran.
Iran returns fire in the Economic War -- [CDR Salamander]
Smart decision by Iran - and a warning. Economic warfare is a soft way of attacking your enemy without all the kinetic nastiness -passive aggressive warfare if you want; but warfare nonetheless. The US Dollar is at a historically weak point - and Iran makes the decision to make a strike.
Military Solution For Iran? -- [Captain's Quarters]
The Guardian reports that the Bush administration, led by Dick Cheney, has decided to emphasize the military options in dealing with Iran. This would change the policy from last year's decision to emphasize the diplomatic approaches to ending the Iranian nuclear program, and it apparently comes over the objections of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates:
The Countdown to Reneging Begins -- [GI Korea]
North Korea has reportedly shut down its nuclear reactor and the countdown to the eventual reneging on the deal by the North Koreans has begun. What will be the cause for the reneging? This Chosun Ilbo article casually mentions it here...
Does anyone really think Pyongyang is going to give up the nuclear weapons they currently have as well as fully disclose their secret HEU program? If you believe in this deal that is what you have to trust the North Koreans to comply with. History has shown us that North Korea has no intentions of giving up their nuclear weapons program, but are more than willing to use them as a bartering tool to get concessions from the international community for giving back little in return.
Newly Released Message: Osama Bin Laden Calls for Islamic Martyrdom
Osama Bin Laden appeared in a 50 second clip in an As Sahab video posted on Jihadi web sites today, promoting Islamic martyrdom and quoting Muhammad.
...In today's video message, Osama Bin Laden stresses the importance of martyrdom for Muslim causes, quoting Muhammad per translations by both Laura Mansfield and CNN:
"So be alert, be wise and think. What is this status that the best of mankind wished for himself? He wished to be a martyr."
'New' bin Laden video said to call for martyrdom
The “latest” bin Laden video…plus: ex-jihadist Hassan Butt tells Muslims to get their heads out of the sand -- [MichelleMalkin]
It’s from old video, but coming on the heels of Zawahiri’s possibly coded message, counterterrorism officials are rightly concerned.
Ex-jihadist Hassan Butt speaks out today in the Times of London:
…I disagree with those who say the pressing problem is simply how do we deal with an aberrant, extreme minority who have unleashed a reign of terror on Britain–rather, I believe the heart of the matter is Islam itself and how its teachings are interpreted. If we isolate the problem to that of the extreme fringe, then we are merely skimming the surface.
What we Muslims need to do is go back to our books: we need to debate the teachings that are used to radicalise young men and legitimise the killing of innocent people. We need to discuss and refashion the set of rules that govern how Muslims — whose homes and souls are firmly planted in the West — live alongside nonMuslims. Only when we do this can we successfully dissect the radicals’ interpretation of Islam and fight back against terrorism.
Hero Hugs -- [SgtStryker]
You’re never too young to help our soldiers, and a little girl named Bailey Reese is pure proof! At the age of seven, Bailey’s home was caught in the midst of a hurricane. When she and her mother went to receive ice and water from a military checkpoint, Bailey observed people complaining and not treating the soldiers with respect. Bothered by this behavior, Bailey asked her mother why they were treating the soldiers in this manner.
Marine Heroes of Haditha Need Your Help! -- [NewsMax]
Three brave Marines urgently need your help.
You may have heard of these Marines associated with an incident in Haditha, Iraq — an incident that has put them under threat of a court martial, perhaps leading to life imprisonment on unjustified charges of murder.
We at NewsMax have reported the truth about this case for over the past year with comprehensive coverage from our correspondent Phil Brennan. We believe a grave injustice has been committed against these hero Marines.
In fact, just this week an investigating officer conducting an Article 32 hearing — the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing — in the case of one of the three Marines, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, issued a report indicating that Sharratt should be exonerated and not subjected to a court martial. [You can help these Marines with their legal defense — Go Here Now.]
Haditha Marines Want Murtha Censured
Darryl Sharratt, father of exonerated Haditha Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt on Pundit Review Radio -- [Pundit Radio]
We really appreciated the opportunity to speak with Darryl Sharratt, father of exonerated Haditha Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt tonight on Pundit Review Radio. We took an in-depth look at the three most important areas of this story
H&I* Fires, 16 JUL 2007 -- [John of Argghhh!]
...Denizen 1SG Keith is entered in the New York Institute of Photography photo contest.
Go take a look at 1SG Keith's efforts - photos he took while deployed to Afghanistan. If you like 'em, vote for 'em, and let's see if we can't get him into the finals for at least one category!
His three pics are Here, here, and here.
Heroes in the War On Terror -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
When someone from the Office of the Secretary of Defense sends you an email, you better listen up, mister!
Kidding. But it is apparent that JACK ARMY is noticed in a number of DoD places by the emails I get and the occasional links.
Regardless of all that, below is a great site that folks should be checking often. What a great way to find out about America's current crop of real heroes.
Military Leadership Disorder -- [Iraq Pictures]
Questionable Treatment for Some Iraq Heroes
Veteran Care Under Review as More Than 22,000 Are Discharged With 'Pre-Existing' Personality Disorder, Which Some Say Developed During War.
Army Spc. Jonathan Town is back home in Ohio now, but still very much at war.
"When you see bits and pieces of actual people or people bleeding to death or anything, it's very unsettling. It's something you'll never be able to forget. Period,...
Iraq Video Essay: Why liberals should love this war -- [Hot Air]
What will victory look like in Iraq? How will we know if we’re getting closer to victory, or farther from it? Back in January I spent some time with the US Army’s Ist Division, Task Force Dagger at Forward Operating Base Justice in Baghdad, and came away with a small picture of what a peaceful, stable Iraq might look like. More importantly, I saw how we might be getting there. Tragically, what I saw in Al Salam might turn out to be a fleeting glimpse of a stable, peaceful and secure Iraq that will never be.
If the UCMJ Applied to 223 Members of Congress -- [Army Lawyer]
House OKs Plan to Withdraw US Troops
On a related note:
Article 99—Misbehavior before the enemy
Any member of the armed forces who before or in the presence of the enemy—
(1) runs away;
(2) shamefully abandons, surrenders, or delivers up any command, unit, place, or military property which it is his duty to defend;
(3) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct endangers the safety of any such command, unit, place, or military property;
(4) casts away his arms or ammunition;
(5) is guilty of cowardly conduct;
Hold Firm -- [Dadmanly]
The “surge against the surge” in Washington politics reached a seeming high tide this week. As the rhetoric swells, Congressional surfer dudes (and even some Republicans) fixate on polls, presumed mandates, and each new breaker of partisan advantage.
War opponents bob up and down on the “wave,” and the media frames the action at the beachfront with an almost universal storyline of the surge against the surge, reflected in “increasing GOP resistance to the war.”
It’s costing too much -- [Neptunus Lex]
Er, no, actually. No it’s not. Or at least it wasn’t.
Found a couple of interesting slides in a presentation I was reviewing (click on the slides for better resolution).
In case it’s not immediately obvious, what the charts show is that - despite the increased costs that went with prosecuting the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan - DoD outlays are very nearly at historic lows compared both to gross domestic product and the total federal budget, although that second statistic would be more interesting if 1) mandatory spending (i.e., spending on entitlements plus interest on the national debt) had not gone from roughly 30% of the federal budget in 1960 to over 70% in 2003, reducing discretionary spending proportionately and 2) the federal budget itself had not mushroomed 50% since 2001.
Keep on Surgin' -- [Duty In The Desert]
I think Bill Kristol pretty much nails it here:
The Defeatist Democrats have lots of support from the mainstream media, most of whom have simply given up on reporting the war or analyzing arguments about the war. Actually, the newsmen who know something, like John F. Burns and Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times, have produced some terrific reporting. But run-of-the-mill foreign policy and White House reporters have little interest in what is actually happening in Iraq, or in a real consideration of the likely outcomes of different policy options. They're not even reporting what's happening in Washington. They're simply committed to discrediting the war and humiliating the Bush administration...
More Crazy Reporting on the Military -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
One of my beefs with so much of the writing and reporting on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is the lack of basic knowledge about the military and about military equipment that is so obvious in much of the writing.
Of course this ignorance or at least questionable reliability does not only reveal itself about the war, it can be about anything military related.
The Colorado Springs Gazette brings us this story from Fremont, Colorado - ...
Honing The Message In Iraq Reporting -- [ThreatsWatch]
The devil’s always in the details, no matter the subject or issue. And when it comes to reporting, words are everything and every detail. Few Americans pick up a newspaper to analyze events of the day. Unless they are on the OpEd/Opinion pages, they read to simply find out what happened. They pick up a newspaper and read what they read presuming that they are consuming reporting and neither commentary nor analysis.
Yet, what they read more often than not is reporting written in a language that displays the writer’s inability or unwillingness to extract outlook, view or opinion from what passes as straight news reporting. And when it comes to honing a message (consciously or subconsciously), subtlety reigns supreme.
It’s no wonder so many Americans take a decidedly dim view of the only battlefield in which we are actively (and overtly) hunting and killing al-Qaeda terrorists in large numbers.
Case in point, ...
Playing Field to Battlefield -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
...WHAT? Has Phillips ever heard of Mogadishu? Fallujah? Ramadi? The villages in the Triangle of Death? House-to-house fighting? And the myriad close, bloody battles that have taken place among the rocks and ridges of Afghanistan? Why does he think the Army today places — and the Marines have always placed — a premium on the time spent in urban warfare training and close-quarters combat training? And what kind of 21st-century fighting does he think the U.S. Special Operations Command is most concerned with?
Some of these guys waxing philosophic about modern war seem clueless when it comes to an understanding of what modern war actually is.
Media -- [Winds of Change]
Former BBC producer Anthony Jay has a pamphlet out about the culture of the Beeb; an excerpt appeared in the Telegraph.
It applies as well to things here in the states - both to the media groupthink and to the overall pattern of thought in the prog-blog community as well.
This is why I'm hot
Some More Internet Stuff (VIDEO) -- [Far From Perfect- in Iraq]
A quick quote:
“Only two defining forces have offered to die for you,
Jesus Christ and American GI’s.
One Died for your soul,
The other dies for your freedom.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Al-Qaeda on the Run: Feasting on the Moveable Beast -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
...Al Qaeda’s ultimate failure in much of Anbar and now in parts of Diyala relates back to one of the pillars of success—or failure—in this war: Values. People who understand how to tamp down this war realize the critical pillar that values can play into success or failure in counterinsurgency, or COIN.
Iraqi people, Coalition join against al-Qaeda -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq held an operational update on al-Qaeda in Iraq Wednesday at the Combined Press Information Center.
Bergner named al-Qaeda in Iraq as the principal near-term threat to Iraq. “The government of Iraq, Iraqi security forces and Coalition forces are engaged in a tough fight against al-Qaeda and in particular it’s extremist ideology and leadership,” said Bergner.
Eleven killed as insurgents bomb house in western Iraq.... Official US Statement.
Antiterrorism Successes Continue in Iraq -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2007 – Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured hundreds of al Qaeda members in Iraq over the past two months, including 26 of the terror network’s “high-value” leaders and a would-be bomber, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman said today
Two Suspected Secret Cell Terrorists Detained by Coalition Forces -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained two suspected Secret Cell terrorists before dawn on Thursday in Baghdad. It is believed that the terrorists are members of the Special Groups affiliated with Jaysh al-Mahdi, the terror group active in Baghdad and believed to be responsible for numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians as well as Coalition Forces in Baghdad.
Coalition Forces conducted the raid to capture or kill terrorists who allegedly specialize in kidnapping, killing and building and placing improvised explosive devices. Intelligence reports indicate that the suspected terrorists targeted during the raid are associated with key leaders in the secret cell terrorist network and have ties to Iranian terrorists groups.
Should we stay or should we go now... -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
I live in a vacuum. I have Internet access, obviously, but it is usually slow and mostly unreliable. However, when I do have it, I make a point of scanning today's headlines, the progress (or lack thereof) interpreted by the media, and editorials from a number of sources.
What I do offer on a personal level to you is an eyewitness account of what is happening in my little part of this world and this war. Ramadi, ...
...Progress is slow, I admit. However, who gets to set the timetable for success? Who defines success, and what is it? Right now, there are still many more questions than answers. That is exactly why setting timetables for withdrawl would, in my humble opinion, be a grave mistake. I fear it would spell a total failure and complete negation of my and many others' sacrifice.
Burden of the big tent -- [MYSA.com Blog]
..."You with me? Take some good deep breaths, OK?" the doctor, Army Lt. Col. Jeff Ross, told Barnes. "Deep, deep, deep."
The operation began and ran well past the dawn. It went well, thanks to Habib's speedy hands. An Air Force lieutenant colonel with a deep faith in God, asks every wounded soldier if they want to pray before the operation.
My guess is that no one turns down the offer.
"The Lord has a plan. There is no need to fear," Habib said later. "He told us, 'Let me take your burden.' "
There are a lot of people like him in this hospital, folks who take up the burden of a terrible war night and day but never complain about their working conditions or the threat of a mortar attack that would rip the tent and all inside it into shreds.
The Bad Guys -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
...Recently, the Sunni tribes have been taking up arms against the Al Qaeda types out in the Al Anbar province and recently, south of Baghdad. I guess Shari law doesn’t settle with them very well. I also think they are starting to realize that it will be better for them to work with the Collation than against it.
Of course to the vast majority of Iraqis are good people that just want to get on with their lives. They are the ones that are suffering and we have a moral obligation to help--why? Because we are the good guys and it is the right thing to do. Of course, many people in our country don't see it that way. I guess ours isn’t a perfect country either.
The Onion -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
The honeymoon phase is over. We are slowly realizing that this place is sort of like an onion - everytime we peel away one layer, we discover another layer underneath - and they all make us want to cry. For example, a few posts ago I wrote about my frustration with the Iraqi major who insists on turning away all of the supplies before they even enter our compound. I couldn't figure out why he was so stringent on the quality of products, and it was driving me crazy. He was turning away perfectly good supplies for no reason!
...Seeing my frustration, one Iraqi that I trust pulled me aside and gave me some inside info, which was later verified through another source who came to me in confidence. Apparently, there are some Iraqi's here who demand bribes from the drivers in order to let them into our compound to deliver their supplies. Most drivers pay, because if they are turned away they face the repercussion of not being paid by their employer, with the added danger of having to drive the dangerous roads. So, now I have to figure out how to stop this.
Iraq Medals Given to Iraqi Soldiers
200 Suicide-Bomber Belts Enter Iraq From Syria -- [The Tank -- W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
AP reports some 200 "explosive [as in suicide bomber] belts" were discovered today by Iraqi security forces searching a truck that had just crossed the Syrian border.
But if you look at the types of attacks, it doesn't take a military expert to realize most of the big, dramatic attacks on mosques and against civilian crowds — where there is a large presence of women and children — are carried out by terrorists, not insurgents. And there is a big difference between the two in terms of tactics, objectives, and who the players are (Though I'm convinced the anti-war crowd doesn't want the general public to understand those differences for obvious reasons.)
Iraq Report: Al Qaeda in the northern villages -- [Weekly Standard Blog - Bill Roggio ]
As Operations Phantom Thunder pushes forward in Baghdad and the Belts, U.S. and Iraqi forces attacked and killed an al Qaeda team attempting to take control of a rural Kurdish village in Diyala. Meanwhile, as critics claim the U.S. is al Qaeda focused in operations, Iraqi and U.S. forces put a significant dent in the Mahdi Army over the past several days.
Al Asad -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
...I have come to Al Asad to cover four Marine squadrons, two helicopter and two fixed wing. I start the day with a courtesy visit to the XO to thank him for the truck and temp can, also to let him know I made it here. We exchange a hand shake and my plans for the week and off I go.
My week starts off the Marines of VMAQ-1 an EA-6B (Prowler) squadron, I am getting excited as I make the turn and start to see the flight line come into view, I start to make out the Harriers, Prowlers, Herc’s and Hornets parked on the ramp, I also notice a squadron of Air Force Warthogs…starting to feel at home, and not so tired. The Marines of Q-1 take care of me and the day starts with interviews lined up until 5:00pm.
Proper I.D. Please! -- [Matt Sanchez]
"In Their Own Words"
Lance Cpl. Williams gives a great account of the use of the ID cards. It pays to proper ID and you'll hear why in Cpl. Williams' own words.....
Nearing the end -- [sixty-six - in Iraq]
It’s 0004. I am tired, but am too restless sleep. My mind wanders in the dark.
I know that soon I will be home. It has been so long since that all I know is that home is supposed to be a place I want to be. But a part of me is afraid to go home.
My life here is simple. There are few things I have to worry about. I don’t have to do my own laundry or cook for myself. I don’t worry about paying bills, what I’m going to wear or catching the next episode of Lost. But most of all I don’t have to worry about what I should do with myself, my time and my education –that decision has already been made for me.
Sometime in the last fifteen months I’ve lost sight of where I was going and what I wanted to do. I am going home uncertain of which path to take. That is what keeps me from sleeping this night.
Baghdad -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
...The flight into Baghdad went remarkably smoothly. It took about six and a half hours to get from our tent at Camp Buehring to our tent here at Camp Stryker. That includes loading the buses and baggage truck, the ride to the airfield, loading the aircraft, the flight to Baghdad, offloading the aircraft, and offloading our gear. All in all it was an impressive experience.
BIAP itself is an amazing sight. Technically known as the Victory Base Complex, it includes multiple Coalition bases arrayed around the airport and thousands of personnel. We've only seen a small fraction of it, but what's we've seen bustles with activity and is a testament to how much work goes into maintaining the Coalition presence in Iraq.
American Naval Infantry Go To War -- [Strategy Page]
July 12, 2007: The U.S. Navy has just created Riverine Squadron Three. Meanwhile Riverine Squadron One has been in Iraq for three months now, the first U.S. Navy riverine unit to see combat since the Vietnam war in the 1960s. Riverine Squadron Two is undergoing training.
Lies To Die For -- [Strategy Page]
July 12, 2007: June was the bloodiest month in a long time, with about a thousand dead (700 Taliban, a hundred government and foreign troops and 200 civilians). For the first six months of the year, about 3,200 were killed, compared to about 4,000 for all of last year. About 70 percent of the dead are Taliban. The high Taliban casualty rate is the result of high losses among Taliban leaders, and recruiting many younger, inexperienced Pushtun tribesmen. The more experienced Pushtun gunmen noted the losses from last year, and took a pass on a Taliban paycheck this time around. Their misgivings were well founded, with most Taliban war bands getting chewed up pretty bad.
Interview with Ambassador Said Jawad of Afghanistan, Part I -- [Peace Like a River]
Ed Morrisey of Captain's Quarters did a very informative interview with Ambassador Said Jawad of Afghanistan and aired it on his CQ Radio program as part of BlogTalkRadio.
Here is a transcript of the first half of the interview. I typed it up off the webcast, so any errors are mine.
Villagers turn in explosives to PRT -- [ISAF - in Afghansitan]
CHAGHCHARAN, Afghanistan (July 12) – Villagers of Dahane Qutse Sufla, Ghowr province, turned in explosives that they found to soldiers of Provincial Reconstruction Team Chaghcharan.
The explosives included two rocket-propelled grenades, five 82-mm mortar rounds, and one 82-mm, four 30-mm and one 115-mm artillery shells.
“We were coming back after our tasks, when the villagers saw us and stopped us,” said Warrant Officer Arturas Traskovskis, PRT Chaghcharan explosive ordnance disposal commander. “This was the first time people have stopped us and turned in explosives, because they were afraid of what could happen if children found them and started playing with them.”
Week 24--NSTR -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
This last week was quiet. But I guess my standard of quiet has changed over time. When I think about the week I try to remember all the patients that have come through the hospital:
Two patients with gunshot wounds to the chest, one patient with shrapnel wounds to the neck, one patient with a traumatic amputation to the lower leg, one patient with a skull fracture and C-Spine injury from falling out of a truck and four patients from a vehicle accident, all with various cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises. And those are just the trauma patients that come to mind right now. And that does not include the various scheduled cases in the OR; spleens and thyroids mainly, but also various abdominal and breast masses. And to facilitate all this patient care are the numerous MEDEVACs and Air Evacs for patients coming and going from the FOB. And all the training, in between patients arriving, to prepare for the next case. When all is said and done, even a quiet week around her is very busy.
Some Photos -- [Partamian Report - in Afghanistan]
Taliban leadership was having a meeting and the good guys found out. (pics)
Taliban all gone...
RPGs were found in the "rafters" of one of the remaining small buildings.
the mud hut behind him has the hidden RPGs. Dutch EOD had some fun with that hut. It's gone now.
Update: Airman shot by unhinged anti-war gunman in serious but stable condition -- [Michelle Malkin]
Here’s the latest on the young McGuire Air Force Base airman who was shot in the heart by an armed anti-war zealot...
A reader e-mailed this address to send Schrieken get well cards
200 Suicide Bomb Vests Captured in Truck from Syria -- [Media Blog - Tom Gross]
Somewhere in Syria, there’s a factory mass-producing suicide bomb vests.
The Associated Press reports that Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf confirmed that 200 explosive belts were captured in a truck crossing into Iraq from Syria yesterday. There is no doubt they were designed to murder as many ordinary Iraqis as possible.
Jane Felix-Browne, a 51-year-old grandmother and parish councilor from Cheshire, England, marries Osama bin Laden’s 27-year-old son -- [Media Blog - Tom Gross]
Yes, it’s true, according to today’s Times of London:
A British woman has married a son of Osama bin Laden after a holiday romance and is to apply for a visa so that he can visit Britain.
Al-Qaeda Has "Regrouped to an Extent Not Seen Since 2001" -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
The National Intelligence Estimate recently produced by CT analysts officially documents that al-Qaeda is not 'on the ropes' or even weakened any more than it is led by two men darting about from cave to cave. They are, in fact, stronger, more capable of producing terrorists, and more comfortable in their havens carved out in Pakistan than they were in Afghanistan prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
NEFA Series "Target America": Irhaby007's American Connections -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
On the heels of the foiled plots targeting Fort Dix and JFK Airport, the Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation announces the release of the sixth in a series of reports examining the multitude of threats directed at the United States since 9/11. This week's report focuses on the Atlanta, Georgia cell in Younes Tsouli's global, Internet-based, jihadist network.
Al Qa'ida Returns to Pre-9/11 Operational Level
Al Qaeda to Pakistanis: Join The Jihad -- [Couterterrorism Blog]
Al Qaeda's Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri issued a new videotape on Wednesday titled "The Aggression against Lal Masjid".
This message is focused on the clashes between the Pakistan Army and Islamic students at the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Pakistan, in which Al-Zawahiri calls upon Pakistani Muslims to rise up and take revenge against the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani government for their actions against the Lal Masjid mosque. Al-Zawahiri stated: "Muslims of Pakistan: your salvation is only through Jihad".
Use All Available Tools to Fight Terrorism -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
International law enforcement and intelligence bodies are only as effective and useful as the people in them and the political will of various countries. Open source information is only as useful as the willingness to look for it and use it. But the truth is that some of these international groups produce very useful data that the U.S. and European communities could use effectively. If we are to maximize the chances of finding the needles in the haystacks of data that could be useful, some of these walls have to come down.
Quilts For Iraq -- [Duty In The Desert - in Iraq]
Kimberly Dozier recently visited a group of women in Tennessee to thank them for giving her a quilt while she recovered from the injuries she suffered in Iraq.
Last December, Dozier wrote about her injuries and our U.S. military in a story titled "Emerging From A Nightmare":
"The U.S. military treated me as one of its own, saving my life a few times over, with the best people, the best training and the best equipment. I was blessed time and again on my particular journey, with daily encounters with extraordinary people who helped put my body, and in some instances, my spirit, back together again...
"Those men and women worked the same kind of miracles on me that they do daily for thousands of injured servicemen:
1st Annual "Ride To Remember" - Saturday, August 25th, 2007 -- [mikestokely.com]
Law Enforcement Escorted Ride
Starting at First Baptist Church of Peachtree City (208 Willow Bend Road/behind City Hall), THE ROUTE WILL INCLUDE THE SGT MIKE STOKELY MEMORIAL HIGHWAY IN SHARPSBURG, GA Ending at Jackson-Pless National Guard Armory on Armory Road by Newnan High School/Newnan, GA
When confronted with the news of Mike's death two years ago, we made a choice to remember with honor rather than blame in bitterness. On August 25, 2007 - 104 weeks since we sat graveside grieving as our hearts broke in the final moments of saying goodbye to Mike, a 21 gun salute and the sound of TAPS riveted our hearts with a forceful reminder of what we had lost, we will gather again to celebrate a lifetime of love we shared with Mike, and a lifetime of memories to carry forward. We will send a message - Honor is the reward for what one has given, and we will remember with honor by helping others go to college in memory of Mike Stokely. Freedom is not free and we shall never forget the price Mike and his fellow Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade soldiers, and all the other soldiers from each branch of service paid for us. DUTY HONOR COUNTRY!!!
Mourning The Passing Of A Hero -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
This is Terri, with some information that I think all the reader's here at ASP need to be aware of. Today, we're mourning the passing of a World War II Hero…. CJ's grandfather, James A. Stuthers Sr., who passed away in his sleep on Monday, July 9, 2007. He’ll be terribly missed by CJ and his family. CJ will be away for the next week to attend his Grandfather’s funeral in Florida and pay tribute to this World War II Hero. May he rest in peace.
New memorial park at Fort Lewis -- [FOB Tacoma]
Fort Lewis and its housing contractor, Equity Residential, say they're going to break ground Friday morning on a new park on post to remember fallen service members from Washington and Fort Lewis' contribution to conflicts going back to World War I
Breaking: Armor-Makers "Risked Soldiers' Lives," Says Pentagon I.G. (Updated) -- [Danger Room]
A report from the Pentagon's Inspector General, obtained by DANGER ROOM, is accusing the Marine Corps, the Army, and suppliers of armored vehicles of contractual wrongdoings which "increased risk to the lives of soldiers."
The Marine Corps Systems Command "continued to award contracts for armored vehicles" to one firm, Force Protection, Inc., "even though [the company] did not perform as a responsible contractor and repeatedly failed to meet contractual delivery schedules for getting vehicles to the theater," the report says.
Haditha Commander To Stand Trial -- [RedState]
Wires are just now carrying the announcement, based on a leak of that investigation, that the Article 32 officer investigating the charges against Marine LTC Jeffrey Chessani has recommended that he stand trial for one count of failure to obey a lawful order and one count of dereliction of duty all arising from the alleged massacre in Haditha.
Poly- Tick- ing -- [Wyld's Q & A - in Iraq]
Being in the military it is very hard to get away from politics, since the sole purpose of the military is to be an arm of politicians and the government. I was looking at the use of the left and right terms and how they translate into what I do, and unfortunately, that would take away too much space on the Internet and is really not worth it.
The part that really gets me is these terms come from the French then in the 1800 the Spanish used the terms in their Constitution. I figure,HG Wells, can be blamed. He was one of the first to openly use left and right.
Helen Thomas vs. Bush on Iraq
Democrats Define Defeat For America -- [Gateway Pundit]
So much for Land of the Free and Home of the Brave...
Democrats and the media have set new guidelines for America.
The national sacrifice limit will now be set at 4000, max.
Anytime the US records 4000 military losses in 5 1/2 years it will be recognized under the new rules as a horrible defeat.
The US will then promptly surrender to the nearest enemy.
It does not matter how these numbers compare to the last time democrats surrendered:
Who Says the Democrats aren’t doing Anything? -- [RedState]
Six months into the new Congress and Democrats have accomplished almost nothing for the country and continue to make one bad decision after the other.
They decided to redirect intelligence resources to study global warming, want to turn important U.S. nuclear weapons proliferation program over to United Nations control and have a senior Democratic Chairman threatening Members who question his earmarks on the House floor. Then you have Speaker Pelosi appointing Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), in whose freezer authorities found $90,000 in cash and who has since been indicted on federal charges of racketeering, soliciting bribes and money-laundering, on a panel that oversees our national security.
What's wrong with right? -- [Vox Veterana]
With the resurgence of talk lately of a planned date of withdrawal from Iraq there is nothing I can do but shake my head at the stupidity of many of our politicians. Apparently the democrats, and those few weak-kneed republicans who have turned on the president’s plan for Iraq lately, have very short memories. It was only 30 some years ago, (when all of them were alive by the way) that we made an early exit from Vietnam and watched as the massacre that we knew would come ensued.
For those of you who may be wondering why it is such a bad idea to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq let me explain using an analogy.
Japanese Propaganda and American Mass Media -- [Strategy Page]
U.S. troops have been mystified at how differently the war they fight in Iraq is portrayed by the U.S. media back home. Most just shrug it off as "politics," and yet another reason to not trust what the mass media presents as reliable reporting. But recently, the troops have been passing around an interesting discovery. Namely, that the Japanese psychological warfare effort during World War II included radio broadcasts that could be picked up by American troops. Popular music was played, but the commentary (by one of several English speaking Japanese women) always hammered away on the same points;
1 Your President (Franklin D Roosevelt) is lying to you.
2 This war is illegal.
3 You cannot win the war.
The troops are perplexed and somewhat amused that their own media is now sending out this message. Fighting the enemy in Iraq is simple, compared to figuring out what news editors are thinking back home. A few times, the mass media has been bold, or foolish, enough to confront the troops about this divergence of perceptions. The result is usually a surreal exchange, with the troops giving the journalist a "what planet are YOU from" look.
How to win the CNN Young Journalist Award? Fabrication and Plagiarism -- [Michael Fumento]
"Negotiating with the Taliban is like going to dinner with Hannibal Lector," Michael Fumento, an American author and columnist on the West's engagement in Afghanistan, told ISN Security Watch. "You cannot gain."
So declares Anuj Chopra in his June 30 article, "At the Table with the Taliban," for ISN News. (Swiss-based International Relations and Security Network)
Problem is, I never spoke or exchanged e-mails with anybody at ISN Security Watch, to include Mr. Chopra. I had never heard of either the writer or the publication. But I did say (or rather write, those words in my own article that appeared in various print and online periodicals and on my own website. He simply lifted them and made it look like it was from an interview.
The WaPo: Regarding Iraq, there is wishful thinking on all sides -- [TigerHawk]
Regarding the timing of any retreat from Iraq, the editors of the Washington Post are more intellectually honest than their colleagues at the New York Times:
As clear as a glass of water from the Tigris. -- [Media Blog - Denis Boyles]
Here's how US News is headlining its advance coverage of the interim Iraq progress report:
At Least Half Of Iraq Benchmarks Unmet
That "half-empty" take will be repeated ad infinitum over the next 48 hours or so. The Iraqi glass can never be half-full, of course. Something about the water in Baghdad.
How Al Qaeda is Winning Even as it is Losing -- [J.D. Johannes]
In Iraq, the administration has empowered a general and officer corps capable of winning the war on the ground. Now it must develop the media corps that can win the war on the airwaves. June 2007 saw a dramatic turnaround in our military fortunes, with the insurgents in headlong retreat in Anbar, Baghdad, and Diayala. But al Qaeda continued to dominate its chosen battlefield: America's living rooms.
Woodward holds a seance, summons up a false ghost
Both Bush and Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, have repeatedly said that there is no military solution to Iraq and that the sectarian strife and the insurgency can be resolved only by the Iraqi government.
Actually, what they have said is that there is must be a political solution. But there must be security, a military component, for that to happen. That would be the current counter-insurgency strategy.
...Because it is hard, otherwise, to see what the point of this raising of the dead is about. The headline, “CIA said Stability Was Irreversible,” suggests it’s about more fatal, wrongheaded Bush myopia. There’s a bit of debate in there about whether Hayden actually said “irreversible” or not. Several people discuss whether they think that assessment, real or not, was and is accurate or not. The article otherwise, like all efforts to bring a departed loved one to life, goes nowhere.
A Cut & Run Lovefest -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
The following conversation between MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran is not only disturbing — because of the sheer fact that it aired on national television, and some Americans who don't know any better about military operations might actually believe what these two were talking about — but it is so irresponsibly wrong (regarding what was suggested), that the only reason I'm responding to it is because it did air on national TV.
Unreported Tragedies -- [Strategy Page]
...for those who were paying attention, you could follow the progress of the war, despite the misleading reporting and partisan rhetoric.
Added to the mix was the Western attitude that Arabs were not capable of handling democracy. There was certainly a lot of evidence to back that up. There were no functioning democracies in the Arab world in 2003. The sorry state of Arab governance had also produced economic and cultural backwardness. Despite all that oil wealth, the Arab world had made little progress in the last half century, and was still mired in poverty and ignorance. Even many Arabs were noticing. The initial purpose of al Qaeda was to rectify this situation by replacing the tyrants with a religious dictatorship. The tyrants proved too formidable for al Qaeda, which turned to attacks on Western targets (in the belief that it was the West that was keeping the Arab tyrants in power, when, in fact, Arab tyrants got most of their police state tutoring from the defunct Soviet Union
Teh Crazy Surfaces (UPDATED) -- [Baldilocks]
Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom has quit blogging again. Since he recently overhauled his site, I suspected that the abrupt, initially unexplained decision had something to do with the nut job and pervert Deborah Frisch. As it turns out, it does. From Jeff:
Frisch has once again — with no provocation — stepped up her assault on me, my site, my family and my friends.
Which means I am simply going to redouble me efforts to put a stop to it.
Frisch is known all over both sides of the political blogosphere for her disjointed, racist, hateful and pedophilic musings and for continual harassment of her former colleagues in higher education, but for some reason known only to her and to the person she serves, she has fixated on Jeff and his family, which includes a pre-schooler.
Bush: CIA Needs More Money to Watch Qaeda Grow -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-07-12) — As details of a new top-secret threat assessment begin leaking to the media through the usual intelligence community channels, President George Bush stands poised to ask Congress for more funding to boost the CIA’s ability to watch al-Qaeda grow.
The unreleased National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) will show a resurgent al Qaeda — with training facilities, money and communication abilities not seen since 2001 — enjoying safe haven in the western tribal regions of Pakistan, a U.S. ally.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Second Chances -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
But on D+18, when a most important “visitor” came to Baqubah, not only did he not seem to cause a hiccup, but everyone I talked with was happy to see him. General Petraeus came to Baqubah on 7 July 2007, amid practically zero fuss.
...A couple weeks ago, LTC Fred Johnson told me a story about General Petraeus. Back when LTC Johnson was Captain Johnson, and General Petraeus was Colonel Petraeus, Colonel Petraeus was Captain Johnson’s new commander. They were doing a live-fire exercise at a range at Fort Campbell when a young soldier named Specialist Terrence Jones tripped and accidentally fired his weapon while conducting a live-fire assault. The bullet from Specialist Jones’ weapon struck Colonel Petraeus, slamming through his chest and taking a piece of his back on the way out. Petraeus fell to the ground, bleeding out of his mouth. He nearly died. We could have lost one of the most important and influential military leaders in generations to a mistake. To a professional misstep.
The best that Captain Johnson and Specialist Jones might have hoped for was a painless end to their military service. I asked LTC Fred Johnson about the story of his own soldier shooting David Petraeus, and I asked how it could be that Johnson was still in the military. Johnson looked me in the eye and said something like, “Mike. You know what Petraeus did?”
The Clean Streets of Falluja -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...Approximately ten days ago we road through the city of Falluja and I was delighted to see clean streets.
Because Team Badger working in conjunction with RCT-6 has done such a great job reducing the road side bomb threat in the city Al Qaeda has had to resort to the car bomb as their terror weapon of choice.
After a couple of attacks the Mayor of Falluja had an answer to that problem. Simply allow no cars or trucks into the city.
People park on the out skirts of the city and walk in through an entrance control point. There are busses to move people around internally.
Operation Alljah explained -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
Our correspondent with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, Cpl. Joel Abshier, recently wrote an article explaining the whys and wherefores of the ongoing Operation Alljah in the city of Fallujah.
...Operation Alljah is a multi-phased operation, with different portions of the city targeted for partitioning by Coalition Forces at each phase of the operation. Erecting blockades and barriers to control the vehicle traffic of each area is the first step. Once established, forces move in, gain a foothold and begin assisting the residents within the respective districts.
“We’re giving (the residents) a certain amount of security that will allow the operation to be conducted,” Cameron said. “At the most fundamental level, we are building up a neighborhood watch. It’s not the same kind of neighborhood watch that you would see in the States though. Here, they are involved in actual operations and assist the Iraqi Police in dealing with the anti-Iraqi forces.”
The Anbar Report - Jul. 3, #1
This edition features stories on MRAP's and operation Alljah.
Summer logistics, and more on summer politics -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
...On the political front there are some interesting developments. You probably heard about the message Maliki sent yesterday to the Sadr movement demanding they clarify their position from the violent elements among their followers. It wasn't as tough a message as we were hoping but it's still an interesting step that broke the fear barrier that Maliki put between himself and Sadr.
In fact it seems that this statement is part of government plan to weaken Sadr's position through public frank statements.
On Saturday there was a demonstration in Nasiriyah against militias. The governor called for the demonstrations and the tribes answered the call and took to the streets demanding rule of law and limiting the use of arms to the forces of the government only.
Fairy Tales -- [Strategy Page]
July 10, 2007: The war in Iraq is notable not because it is against guerillas or terrorists, but because of the large number of armed opposition groups that are, for all intents and purposes, criminal gangs. Such organizations have been around here for thousands of years, but Saddam made them more powerful by incorporating the loyal ones into his security organization. Maybe it was something he learned from the Russians (the KGB loved to work with gangsters), but it left post Saddam Iraq awash in criminal gangs. Sunni Arab gangs grew rich, Kurd and Shia gangs got constant heat. Many quickly discovered that there was money to be made by giving yourself a nationalistic or Islamic name and declaring loyalty to the cause of Sunni Arab supremacy.
Gharna School Opens In Irbil, Iraq
Built by South Koreans that are serving in Iraq
Both Feet In The Pit of Hell -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
Its been ugly here recently. And welcome to the first massive understatement of this post. We, the supposed super-heroes of the world, have our hands full.
Yesterday started out the same way it always does. You get ready, get your gear on, and pile onto the vehicle. It starts moving, and for that time, the world consists only of that troops compartment. Then it finally stops and we make our final preparations. The ramp drops, and we're right there in the middle of it, not sure what to expect. Streets, houses all the same color, trash everywhere just like every other time I mention it, hundreds of wires crisscrossing in jumbled messes over the streets.
We took our building without any real event, and sat in place, waiting to be needed or something...
Reset the clock--again -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
I take my camera with me everywhere, just in case a good picture presents itself. Today, I was in the motor pool when the guys were getting ready for a mission. On the hood on one truck, right in front of a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) is a box of toys. When the guys go out on missions, they often take toys for the local kids as well as other things. There is no such thing as “Operation Toy Give-a-way” These guys give toys and other things to kids because, well…because they are kids and our guys…well that is just who they are. Sure doesn’t sound like the guys the members of the far left like to refer to as “Nazis”.
What do Michael Moore’s “freedom fighters” do for kids? Recently, a couple of them put 2 small children in a car bomb—so to not arouse suspicion while driving through a check point. Once they got through, the insurgents ran off and detonated the car bomb—with the kids still inside.
Surprise! -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
...We left the gate at 1400, and returned at 1410. The backup tractor for the tractor-trailer recovery team broke down before we made it completely out of the gate. We had to stand by the trucks for another two hours while the tractor was recovered into the FOB and replaced. At 1730 we finally pulled into Camp Falluja, where I learned that the lineup time for our next mission was at 0130. It would be a three-day operation.
Great. So now I have 6 hours to eat my first meal of the day, finish fixing a truck, supplement my previous night's 4 hours of sleep, and pack for three days. This is why they call Iraq "The Suck".
Iraq Report: Phantom Thunder Update -- [The Fourth Rail]
Today's report includes: Phantom Thunder update; A fake suicide bombing in Anbar; Sadr runs to Iran as the Mahdi Army is a target; Special Groups and EFPs, Diyala, Babil, Baghdad and the North.
Iraq Report: Phantom Thunder Update -- [Weekly Standard Blog]
With Operation Phantom Thunder, the corps level operation in the Baghdad Belts, now underway, Coalition and Iraqi forces continue to work to secure Baghdad as they take on the Mahdi Army, Iranian backed cells, and al Qaeda's networks nationwide. In Anbar province, combat operations are underway in Thar Thar and Karma and a false suicide attack in Fallujah was reported in the Washington Post. Muqtada al Sadr fled to Iran and operations continue to target his Mahdi Army and the Iranian-backed Special Groups.
Maysan Electrical Distribution Network Upgraded -- [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]
MAYSAN, Iraq - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Gulf Region South (GRS) district has been upgrading the electrical distribution networks in the Maysan Province, building a 400-kilovolt electrical substation project to inhance electricity production in southern Iraq.
First Journal Entry -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
I've been working on a journal off and on since deploying to the theater. I thought you'd like to see what I recorded nearly a year ago:
Jill] gave me a journal to write in and she wrote me a message on the first page. She sure does a have a way of making me feel cared for. I’m going to miss her a lot during this deployment. I love my job and I love the Army, but it is hard to be away from her and the girls. It took all my strength to keep from crying like a baby when [Jill] led [Princess 1] and [Princess 2] to the van on Thursday. Watching those little girls walk away knowing that there is the possibility that I may never see them again is one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I know they will be fine with [Jill]. She is a great mother. But I have not spent longer than about 5 weeks away from those little girls since their births.
The assault on the Red Mosque has begun -- [The Fourth Rail]
Pakistani security forces launch the assault on the Taliban mosque in Islamabad
After a week of negotiations and skirmishes at the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, which left over 20 dead and 100 wounded, the final assault on the compound has begun. Pakistani security forces, led by the elite 111 Brigade, the Special Services Group, and the Pakistani Rangers, launched a major offensive early Tuesday morning Pakistan time on the radical Islamist mosque in the heart of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Islamabad is said to be rocked with explosions. Metroblogging Pakistan provides the details of the opening moves of the assault, with rolling updates.
Afghanistan OPS Maiwand
New Ghowr governor calls for Afghans to fight poverty -- [ISAF News Release]
Release # 2007-525 9 July 2007
CHAGHCHARAN, Afghanistan (July 9) – The new governor of Ghowr province called for Afghans in the province to work together to overcome poverty during his induction ceremony July 7.
“We have to work together and we will have a better life,” said Baz Mohammad Ahmady. “We will struggle against these difficulties, and our friends [ISAF forces] will help us.”
U.S. Companies Helping the Taliban *Bumped* -- [Jawa Report]
These companies probably don't know they are doing business with the Taliban. It's best to:
a) let them know what they are doing
b) let them know it is illegal to knowingly or unknowingly do business with the Taliban under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Each IEEPA violation carries a $50,000 fine.
c) once they know they are doing business with the Taliban, which they now do, they may subject to criminal as well as civil penalties. Knowingly aiding and abetting the enemies of the United States during a war could be construed as treason.
Islamic Militants Calls For Help Ignored -- [Strategy Page]
July 10, 2007: At dawn, police attacked the Red Mosque in Pakistan's capital. After five hours of fighting, about 70 percent of the mosque complex was captured. Three security personnel were killed, along with 41 Islamic militants. Another 51 militants were captured.
Potential major break in Lebanon -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
From The Croissant come these two stories:
Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel’s murderers were arrested.
Lebanese security forces obtained the confessions of the killers of the Lebanese Industry minister shot in November 2006.
The assassins belong to Fatah Al Islam [FAI], group linked to the Syrian security services.
If this is confirmed, it could have huge implications on proving beyond any reasonable doubt Syria's role in the murder of anti-Syrian Lebanese personalities.
At the same time, some are taking their precautions.
Right after the murder of Lebanese MP Walid Eido in Beirut on June 13, the majority decided to send abroad MPs and this for their own protection.
New Stak Attack: An Interview with Dr. Tawfik Hamid -- [Hot Air]
What attracts an educated, successful man from a secular family to become a jihadi? Erick Stakelbeck interviewed former jihadist, Dr. Tawfik Hamid on that question and many others. Dr. Hamid also details one difference between Sunnis and Shia that doesn’t get much press.
Imam Behind JFK Terror Plot Sought Assistance From Iran -- [Gateway Pundit]
62 year-old Kareem Ibrahim was denied bail for plotting to blow up fuel tanks at JFK International Airport.
Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, is led out of a courthouse in Port of Spain June 4, 2007. A Trinidad court denied bail on Monday for three suspects in an alleged plot to blow up New York's JFK International Airport and a local prosecutor said they may face life imprisonment. (Stringer/Reuters)
Trinidadian Kareem Ibrahim, the imam arrested for plotting to blow up the JFK airport, was seeking help from Iran for the terrorist act.
Iran Focus and The New York Sun reported.
Shopping for our Soldiers -- [SgtStryker]
The next time you go shopping, you may want to pick up a few items for our troops. The U.S. Troop Care Package has been meeting the needs of soldiers for the past three years. Founded at the forefront of Operation Iraqi Freedom, on March 19, 2003, U.S. Troop Care Package was created with the purpose of sending care packages to troops.
Jan Sass is the founder of the organization. She was moved to action when she saw anti war protestors displaying an American flag that they had dyed yellow. In response, Jan raised an American flag and counteracted their protest for 60 days. During this time, an onlooker asked her how she could send care packages, and Jann Sass went to work. She took it upon herself to discover the best way to send care packages to the troops and after completing her research; U.S. Troop Care Package was born.
Auction benefitting Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund raises more than $6000 -- [Miss Lady Bug]
I followed up on the Round Rock Express autographed, game-worn Patriotic jerseys that were put up for auction on June 26th. The auction ended on July 3rd. By my calculations, the twenty-nine jerseys netted $6,206.29:
When War Hits Close to Home... -- [Iraq War News]
...This one hits close to home. Each day as I see the names, it affects me. But somehow this one is particularly strong. I remember my mother talking about when someone she went to school with was lost in Vietnam. Even if you're not close to them, seeing a familiar town on a casualty list reminds you that the people fighting this war are not just Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, or Sailors. They're sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, friends. They are ours. They are your paperboy, the kid who used to sell lemonade down the street, the little girl who fell off her bike in front of your house. They are your UPS guy, your brother's old girlfriend...or a 'nice kid,' who went to school with your sister.
Warfare in the 21st Century, by Andrew Lubin -- [ON Point]
..An interesting and enthusiastic speaker, Barnett discusses how warfare today consists of economic, military, cultural, and political factors, and how the American military needs to change into a two-tiered military that is capable of both winning battles as well as securing the peace afterwards.
The other video comes from Iraq; from the type of intelligent, and motivated Islamic opponent who is more than willing to die for his cause. Globalization and technology is a 2-way street; and it’s worth noting that whether Americans understand or accept this type of warfare or not; this is the face of the opposition in the new millennium.
Navy SEAL Becomes Highest-Ranking U.S. Commando -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Admiral Eric T. Olson, a veteran of the Battle of Mogadishu, made history today when he became the first Navy SEAL to command all American special operations forces worldwide.
During the U.S. Special Operations Command change-of-command ceremony in Tampa, Florida, Def. Sec. Robert Gates referred to Olson's actions at Mogadishu:
Unused Veterans Benefits -- [Strategy Page]
July 10, 2007: American military recruiters report that one of their most potent lures for new recruits are the veterans benefits. It's taken for granted that more than half of the new recruits are only going to stay for one enlistment (usually four years). The most attractive of these goodies are the educational benefits. Put simply, a veteran can receive nearly $40,000, over 36 months, while they are attending college. For someone attending a State university (with its low tuition), the military benefit pays for more than half the cost of going to college. While most American recruits have the intelligence and educational background needed for college work, and the remainder can qualify for trade schools, some 40 percent of veterans college benefits are never used.
Jihadists Celebrate Awesome Win in Iraq -- [Gateway Pundit]
(Note: the US lost more soldiers during the first 4 years of the Clinton Administration than the US has lost in the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq combined over the last 5 and 1/2 years.)
The word on the street is that the democrats are going to push surrender this week.
Perspective: Vietnam and the GWoT -- [Jawa Report]
Dan Riehl adds another installment to the "Historical Perspective the Mainstream Media/Democrat Noise Machine Refuse To Add" series.
Four Years of War in Iraq and Afghanistan: Total of 4,000 fatalities (yet another 'grim milestone').
Vietnam fatalities: 1965 - 1,863; 1966 - 6,143; 1967 - 11,153; 1968 - 16,592; 1969 - 11,616; 1970 - 6,081; 1971 - 2,357.
Riehl notes that we lost four times as many soldiers in 1968 alone than in four years and two theaters in this war.
Dooming Iraq For Votes -- [Flopping Aces]
If spineless Republicans force a withdrawal from Iraq knowing full well what will happen if we leave too early (namely wholesale slaughter) then I can tell you with 100% certainty, the political skins they are trying to save will not survive:
The Lame Duck Phenomenon -- [TigerHawk]
...One thing has become blazingly apparent. The Bush presidency hs entered its lame duck phase. The Executive and Legislative branches of government are locked in combat, unable to accomplish anything. Gridlocked, at least they seem unlikely to do any harm. The more interesting developments seem to be emerging from the Judicial branch, where there appears to be a conservative ascendancy in the making. And the military may - I say may - be making strides against certain Taliban elements in Pakistan (captures of senior aides to Mullah Omar in Quetta) and Al Qaeda elements in Iraq. But much of that isn't getting mainstream attention, and won't.
Lots of potential ugly ideas are being tossed around in Congress - from increased taxation to trade protectionism -- all of which would likely lead to economic contraction. This despite generally good economic news - jobs, stock market performance, earnings and so forth. Still, I am doubtful that much of any of that will get signed into law. Bush will almost certainly veto more in the last 18 months of office that he did in his first six and a half years.
Martin Luther King of Iraq - Murdered by Racists -- [Thunder Run]
This is going to be hard to say, and even harder to take for many of you reading this, but it needs to be said. If you are advocating retreat in Iraq you are either a coward or a racist.
There I’ve said it.
Yes I called you a racist, why? Read on.
I’ve listen to many people and their arguments for leaving Iraq: it’s too dangerous, it’s not our fight and “they” just don’t understand democracy are some of the biggest reasons people give for wanting to leave Iraq. The other biggie: we are creating more terrorists by being there. Of course all of those reasons are valid in the minds of those advocating a sudden and deadly retreat from Iraq and yet I can give examples and anecdotal information that can counter almost everyone of them but one. “They just don’t understand democracy because of their culture.”
Walking a Mile in Our Shoes -- [Andi's World]
Sending a spouse, parent or child off to a war-zone is not an easy thing to do, not at all. Mary-Jo Cooney will soon find this out. Her only child, a Marine, will deploy in a few days.
There is no one-size-fits-all for how to cope with deployment. A few months ago I wrote that when my husband leaves, I can't wait to get the laundry done and put away. It is my way of quickly adapting to my new temporary life. The one that doesn't include having my husband at home. Another military wife takes an entirely different approach, which perfectly illustrates how differently each of us handle events. Because of this, I hesitate to criticize someone for how they choose to deal with all of the emotions that surround a deployment. Having said that, I did find myself taken aback by Mary-Jo Cooney's op/ed, mostly for the reasons that Lex so soundly stated. I learned a lot about Mary-Jo and her views from her op/ed, I learned very little about her son, the Marine. I assume the Marine and his upcoming deployment were the inspiration for the op/ed, but I could be wrong.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Letter to America -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
I asked an Iraqi I know to write a letter to Americans. I told him he should write whatever he wants. Specifically, I said, "if you could say anything you wanted to the American people, what would it be?" He wrote a letter and was very passionate when giving it to me. I could tell that he had agonized over this letter, what he wanted to say and how best to say it. He speaks English well but has a little difficulty writing it. I wanted to give you his words without any help from my, but I did edit slightly only to make a few confusing sentences a little more understandable. Because he wrote such a long letter, I broke it into two parts. Below is part one. My Iraqi friend is eager for feedback. I promised him that I would share any comments about his letter with him. So, feel free to address your comments to him. Unfortunately, for security reasons, I cannot tell you much about this fine man, but I can tell you that I admire him for what he does and his dedication to Iraq.
This is what he wrote:...
Letter to America, Part II -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
An Iraqi's letter to America, Part I is here, and continues here:
...By the way, this is the same guy who said this and this. This fellow is college educated and has a good job in town in addition to being an interpreter. As you can tell, he is a very deep thinker and pays attention to everything that happens around him. He tries to follow the news and I have heard him discussing politics, Iraqi and international, with fellow interpreters and I.A. officers many times.
I believe that Iraq's future rests on people like this guy. He sees a better life and wants it for his country. I hope he gets it.
Iraqis Urged to Take Up Arms -- [Military.com]
BAGHDAD - Prominent Shiite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms to defend themselves after a weekend of violence that claimed more than 220 lives, including 60 who died Sunday in a surge of bombings and shootings around Baghdad.
Ummmm... We Were Here First -- [Soldier's Mom]
I get email... and it seems Maj. Gen. Lynch of the 3ID has ruffled a few feathers of a unit in his AO that would like to remind him that they have been there fighting the fight for quite some time...
...So, this soldier says this:
[T]here is one concern that I've got that is REALLY bothering my guys. I would never ask this as a personal favor, but for the sake of every member of [my] Troop, 1/40th Cavalry I really wish someone would set the record straight about these 2nd BDE, 3ID... who have shown up in our area as a part of the overly publicized Marne Torch operation. It's no secret that we... have been [here] the last 9 months and we've got over 30 purple hearts and 2 KIA to show for it as well as -- and this is just my platoon -- having covered 731 kilometers completely dismounted. Now, if these 3ID guys showed up in an area their Commanding General claims has had "zero American presence" since the beginning of the war, how did we accumulate those hard statistics?
Newscast – Air Force brings big guns to fight -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — The latest version of the 3rd Infantry Division’s Marne Forward newscast is available upon request from the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) by calling (678) 421-6604 or by accessing the DVIDS Web site at http://www.dvidshub.net/?script=video/video_main.php.
This week’s program includes stories of the Army and Air Force working together in major operations, and the Iraqi army taking the lead in Arab Jabour to earn the confidence of the local community. There’s also footage of one of the largest re-enlistments in Iraq, officiated by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq.
Two-day clearing operation in Mansour nets cache, community support -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers, in conjunction with the Iraqi Army, conducted a two-day clearing operation in western Baghdad last week.
Task Force Patriot, the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, partnered with the 2nd “Falcon” Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Infantry Division for the two-day operation, known as Operation Patriot Strike. The combined force cleared parts of the two neighborhoods of Hateen and Yarmouk in the Mansour District.
This was the first battalion-wide operation for the Patriots since Operation Arrowhead Strike IX in April and the first combined battalion-level effort for the Patriot and Falcon battalions. More than 100 Iraqi troops participated in the clearing operation.
Military forces moving in on insurgents
Baqubah Update: 05 July 2007 -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
...Media coverage went from a near monopoly (Michael Gordon from New York Times and me) to a nearly capsized boat as journalists flooded in from other parts of Iraq to see the fight. They managed to miss most of it. Today, I’m told, there are now only 3 journalists remaining, including one writer (me).
As with the Battle for Mosul, which I held in near monopoly for about five months during 2005, the most interesting parts of the Battle for Baqubah are unfolding after the major fighting ends. But as the guns cool, the media stops raining and starts evaporating, or begins making only short visits of a week or so.
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”
‘Arrowhead Ripper’ continues to deny terrorists resources -- [MNF-I]
BAQOUBA, Iraq – Iraqi army and Coalition Force Soldiers from Task Force Lightning continued offensive operations in and around the capital of Diyala province, Iraq, as Operation Arrowhead Ripper continued to deny resources to al-Qaida terrorists during its twentieth day in the area.
Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Division, discovered and disabled five vehicles being prepared as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and caches containing pipe bombs, sniper rifles and other explosives and IED-making materials.
Michael Yon discusses Bless The Beasts, and the Children Live From Baqubah -- [Pundit Review]
Following Someone You Should Know, Bruce McQuain from QandO stayed with us for an extended interview with Michael Yon, who joined us live from Baqubah, Iraq. Michael is the Ernie Pyle of our generation.
Repeating the Success of Anbar -- [Captain's Journal]
Hopes are high that the success of the Anbar Province can be repeated in Diyala and other provinces.
...In Settling with the Enemy I discussed the necessity to put erstwhile Sunni insurgents to work ensuring security. But it was more than enlisting the insurgents to work for us that has at least partially pacified the Anbar province. There have been four years of hard work by the Marines to effect security. The past regime ensured that the population, accustomed to acquiescing in the face of brutality, and who had seen much of it over the past several years, would come ever so slowly to the U.S. and Iraqi side.
Muqtada al Sadr back in Iran -- [The Fourth Rail]
Mahdi Army leader leaves Iraq and goes to Iran for second time this year
Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Shia Mahdi Army and the Sadrist bloc in parliament, has left Iraq and is in Iran, military sources told Reuters. An anonymous U.S. military intelligence official and a military officer stationed in Iraq told The Fourth Rail the Reuter's report is accurate, but would not say when they believe Sadr left Iraq. Sadr's flight from Iraq and return to Iran comes as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki issued an unusually strong statement calling for Sadr's Mahdi Army to disarm, and Iraqi security forces continue to battle his Mahdi Army in southern Iraq.
Cancer patient answers call to duty -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
A Dilworth, MN native isn't letting breast cancer stop her from serving in Iraq.
Elizabeth Cowie, a 42-year-old mother of two from California, will deploy soon for Iraq. She's with the 1113th Transportation Company of San Jose, Calif.
Cowie was diagnosed with cancer in April and had a lumpectomy May 22, a second surgery a week later and a five-day targeted radiation treatment, according to an Associated Press story. She was declared cancer-free June 8.
Cowie chose not to stay behind.
"The commander said, 'Are you sure? You have an opportunity to go home and be with your family and go through this.' And I said, 'No, I have a family here. I have my civilian family, but this is where I need to be and where I'm needed,' " Cowie told the AP.
Bronze Star -- [Letters from the Desert]
To all who shall see these presents, greeting: This is to certify that the President of the United States of America authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded
The Bronze Star Medal
Major James B. Higgins, United States Army
...It has been awhile since I have posted due to my schedule, and trying to get to a computer that will allow me to post to my blog. The good news is that my delay has been in large part to wrapping things up here. This week I will leave for Kuwait, and, Lord willing, by this time next week I will be at Ft. Hood. The next stop after that is home!
I'll keep you apprised.
465 -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
As I perused the internet today, I noticed a lot of people talking about the date, 07-07-07, and the good luck they think will come with it. For me, July 7th, 2007 marks 100 days plus 1 year in theater. We are now down to the last few days, hopefully no more than a week, and then we start the journey home. A brief stop in Wisconsin for the 3 P's, poking, prodding and paperwork, known as demobilization. And then we will be back at Fort Living Room, and back to our lives. But our lives have changed so much.
For starters, I'm not going back to the home I left, since I don't live there anymore. And the 2 year old and the 5 year old I left behind are now soon to be 4 and 7. Two years is a big amount of time in anyone's life, but so much more so for a child.
Saturday, July 07, 2007 -- [The Desert Excursion - in Iraq]
Well folks, here it is. The is my last official blog from the Middle East.
It has been a long road but finally we can see the end. Our bags are on our backs and we are headed home. It has been lots of fun sharing this whole experience with everyone and I have enjoyed all the comments and e-mails from all of you.
Thanks to all of you that kept in touch, sent letters or packages, and thought about me. I hope to see many of you when I get home.
Dustoff in Afghanistan -- [Soldier's Angel Germany]
This Dustoff team is one of the many medical units supported by Soldiers' Angels. Visit my friend Roger at the Soldiers' Angels - Medical Support blog for more info.
...F*cking almost got shot today.
We got called for a 5-patient mission. I grabbed a Special Forces medic to come with me. We get put into the LZ [Landing Zone] as the infantry guys are bombing the sh*t out of the mountain.
After putting us down my dustoff bird takes off and goes into a holding pattern. I link with a commo guy and he tells me someone from the fire team is coming down the hill a little to meet up with me to take me up to the causalities.
We start moving with the other flight medic, the SF medic, 4 infantry guys, our photographer and me. We have moved 75 meters up hill and we start hearing a whizzing sound and then bullets ripping through leaves. We all hit the deck and find cover.
Taliban Fight Each Other Over Traditions -- [Strategy Page]
July 9, 2007: In Afghanistan, even the radicals are having problems with their radicals. The Taliban are undergoing something of a civil war, and it's all about tribal traditions. The Taliban, on both sides of the border, are basically political manifestations of traditional Pushtun tribal culture. That is, very conservative, especially when it comes to the treatment of women and in religious matters. Not all Pushtun tribes share the very conservative attitudes espoused by the Taliban. In fact, the reason why the Taliban is now a struggling minority is because so many more moderate (or less radical) Pushtun tribes have rejected the Taliban ideas. But even among the Taliban true believers, there are moderates and radicals, and that has led to a growing civil war within the Taliban.
Operation Ghartse Gar continues -- [Peace Like A River]
The British and Coalition forces continue the hard work of pushing the Taliban out of the Sangin valley in Helmand province (map) as part of Operation Ghartse Gar. From the British MoD:
News of Afghanistan - The Return V (Edition 61) -- [Miserable Donuts]
I am going to be a bit more "military" in this edition. When I saw this, I felt a bit bad that I had been underreporting what the US/Canada/Britain/ISAF have been doing. So, here we go:
Aftermath Of 15 ANP Vs. 200 Taliban - Afghanistan
US Military comments on what happened when 15 ANP went into a compound with 200 Taliban inside.
ISAF soldiers respond to enemy fire in Kunar -- [ISAF News Release]
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – ISAF forces operating in Kunar province today responded to enemy fire after being attacked in a remote area several kilometers north of Asadabad village.
ISAF forces were engaged with small arms fire from multiple positions. The ground commander called in airstrikes against positively identified enemy firing positions, including a hostile compound.
Initial indications are that there were a number of insurgent casualties.
“Contrary to some press reports, at this time there is no reason for us to believe that there are any civilian casualties of any type,” said Maj. John Thomas, ISAF spokesman.
Sunday, July 8, 2007 -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
...Our internet is being turned off tomorrow so it may be awhile before I'm on again. MWR in all their wisdom is cutting off funding to us because there aren't enough US soldiers here to warrant the funding. So, we are looking for other solutions. I'll email and update you all as I fly to other FOBs and hope we get this under control soon.
The History of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. Courts -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The most pointed and interesting discussions at the recent NEFA Conference on the Muslim Brotherhood involved the issue that is the subject of so much recent public commentary: whether Western governments should embrace the Brotherhood as an effective counterweight to Al Qaida. Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by several Arizona-based Muslim leaders against US Airways, after passenger complaints led to their being pulled from a recent Minnesota flight, along with the libel actions filed against those who have dared to write about Islamic charities in the U.S., raises an interesting issue that was not addressed at the NEFA event nor, to my knowledge, by any legal commentatory: what is the Muslim Brotherhood’s history with the American courts?
Dig We Must, With North Korean Help -- [Strategy Page]
July 9, 2007: In central Iran, satellite photos revealed several tunnels being dug into a mountain near a nuclear weapons research facility. Several other nuclear research facilities have had some of their operations moved underground, but this tunneling operation is one of the most ambitious "protective" efforts yet undertaken. Iranian officials have been to North Korea, and seen the extensive underground facilities there. It's possible, even likely, that North Korean engineers are lending their expertise (for a fee) to assist the Iranians in their tunnel construction. Tunnels for industrial facilities are not quite the same as highway, aqueduct or mining tunnels, which Iran has many of.
The Enemy Is Sophisticated -- [Town Hall - Hugh Hewitt]
One of the obstacles to the public's understanding of the war is the widespread belief that because the terrorists are brutal and cruel as well as contemptuous of modernity that they are somehow unsophisticated and thus not as dangerous as they have repeatedly declared themselves to be. Not even the appearance of a neurosurgeon among their number makes much a dent on this view.
F*cking almost got shot today. -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
That's the way a medic started his letter to one of our Angels. You can read all about it at my buddy MaryAnn's blog.
I write a lot about the medics who work the CSH's and aid stations and the casualties they have to deal that come in their door. Lots of these folks also have experience as combat medics - the ones who go into combat with a unit and are right there on the scene with them. In a combat unit, nobody has it tougher than the medics. A lot of them are 19 year-old kids, with 16 weeks of training and all of a sudden they are responsible for providing all the care that a fully-equipped ambulance team of EMT's back home would...with only what they can carry in a backpack.
Beg, Grovel - I need your help! -- [Spouse Buzz - GBear]
I'm writing a post to beg, grovel and plea for help! As most of you know, I am founder of an organization called "Sew Much Comfort". We provide adaptive clothing for the wounded troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. This clothing allows the troops to get dressed soon after their injury, provides them with more comfort and dignity than the ever-so-unpleasant alternative (hospital gown!) and lets them know, with every stitch, that America supports them!
The clothing we've created up til now has been geared solely for their hospital rehabilitation. But, we've had requests recently from troops returning to active duty who need to have their uniforms adapted to accommodate injuries and prosthetics. This is where it gets sticky!!!!!
DJ Emery on the Today Show -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
This just in from Jamie:
Hello everyone! DJ's segment from the Today Show is online! I know a few of you missed it and the rest of you, like me, would love to watch it again and again and again!
You can watch the segment here.
Telephone Companies Torment the Troops -- [Strategy Page]
July 9, 2007: The United States is making it illegal for a telephone company to keep billing someone in the military for a long term cell phone contract, if the cell phone user has been sent overseas for more than 90 days. This is part of a larger movement it enable troops to get out of long-term financial commitments (rental leases, health club, and other membership contracts) when they are sent overseas. Some states have passed laws to deal with this, and there is a drive for federal legislation. Meanwhile, legislators are getting more complaints from troops who have had their cell phone contracts cancelled unexpectedly because the telephone companies didn't like all the roaming charges piled up by those transferred for a few months to another part of the United States.
Keeping Watch Over The Wounded … A Father’s Love -- [A Soldier's Mind]
This story is both heartwarming and inspirational. It’s wonderful to hear about parents who’ve lost their children, like Robert Stokely, or who’s children were injured, like the subject of this story, Michael Sparling, who are dedicated to continuing to honor their children by supporting their brothers and sisters in the military. Both of these gentlemen have my utmost respect and admiration. After reading about Michael Sparling, I think you’ll understand why I feel that way. To many of our Wounded Warriors and their families, Michael Sparling is nothing short of their guardian angel.
Boy Scout Sends 13,000 'Goodies' to Deployed Troops -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Like all candidates for Eagle Scout, Boy Scout Nick Balbona, 14, was required, as he says, to "spearhead a service project that shows leadership and ambition."
.That he has, through a "comfort goods" for Marines effort the Scottsdale, Arizona teenager started in May. Balbano has collected some 13,000 goods from his school and church, which already have been sent to Marines in Iraq.
Former Steeler Joins The Marines -- [KDKA] HT: The Tank
(KDKA) PITTSBURGH A man from Shaler who used to play for the Steelers will now wear a uniform of a different kind.
Bob Dzvonick, 27, joined the Marines and says football is now a distant memory.
He chased his dream of playing professional football until he was 26, and even played one season for the Steelers in the NFL Europe league.
Team Badger Soldiers Arrive Home -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Two fantastic Soldiers and Squad Leaders arrive home to their loved ones.
Give the 'Surge' a Chance -- [WSJ]
This week, Democrats on Capitol Hill are expected to present several different bills meant to undermine the war in Iraq. I fear that it will be difficult for Americans to discern the facts, as members on the Hill (including some Republicans) will revisit past failures and lament unfortunate losses rather than undertake a serious critique of the new counterinsurgency strategy.
Why? Because for some members of Congress, there is a growing fear that Gen. David Petraeus just might have a winning strategy in Iraq.
The President, The War, And The Push For Impeachment -- [Iowa Voice]
...My point is, don’t kid yourselves…this has been the plan all along. Republicans impeached Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice, yet Democrats continue to claim it was about sex, when it wasn’t about that at all. It infuriates them to no end that their liberal god has that blemish on his presidential record. And that’s what this really is about…it’s payback time, plain and simple. We’ve already seen that behavior towards the Republicans in Congress, and they clearly plan to do the same with the administration.
And if, on the off-chance that Democrats in Congress refuse to bow to pressure from their base, they will face the wrath of the kooks who once supported them.
Julian Bond: "The War in Iraq Weakened Our Levees-Resulting in Katrina" (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
Among other things, Julian Bond blames the War in Iraq on the weakened levees in New Orleans.
Unhinged?... You be the judge.
Remember while you listen to this latest unhinged rant by Julian Bond that the NAACP advertises itself as a non-partisan organization:...
The impeachment drive gains steam -- [Michelle Malkin]
Cindy Sheehan returns: “Cindy Sheehan, the soldier’s mother who galvanized the anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless she introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks.”
The world of mirrors and shadows -- [Peace Like A River]
The NYTimes has an interesting story today about an aborted operation in early 2005 aimed at senior members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
A secret military operation in early 2005 to capture senior members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas was aborted at the last minute after top Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, according to intelligence and military officials.
My primary interest in this story has to do with my (purely speculative) theory of what led to another attack aimed at Zawahiri, the attack on the compound at Damadola in Pakistan's Bajaur Agency in January 2006, a year after the events in this NYT story.
That attack killed several high-ranking Al Qaeda members, including Abd Rahman al-Masri al-Maghribi, who was Zawahiri's son-in-law. Sadly, Zawahiri was in fact not at that meeting, and missed an early shot at his 72 virgins.
BUSH CALLED OFF ATTACK ON TOP AL QAEDA LEADERS!
Compare and Contrast -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
September 11, 2006 - I stood in the parking lot of a Starbucks in Chicago, kissed Mrs. Badger 6 and hugged her as long as I could - then she got in her car and headed home and I hopped in my rental car and headed back for Fort McCoy, then Kuwait and Iraq.
We were headed for Ar Ramadi and Al Anbar province, the stronghold of the Sunni insurgency. September 11, 2006 was also the day this Thomas Ricks article appeared in the Washington Post.
I was pretty down after reading that article. The chief intelligence officer of the Division I was going to support was reportedly saying Al Anbar was a lost cause. What was I as a combat leader supposed to tell my Soldiers?
A question of nomenclature: The al Qaeda "in Iraq" argument -- [TigerHawk]
A couple of weeks ago I predicted that Clark Hoyt, the new Public Editor at the New York Times, would "carefully defend the Times from the grave risk that it tilts too far to the right." Judging by today's column -- "See al Qaeda Around Every Corner" -- my cynicism is exceeded only by my prescience.
Should We Lie More To Report "The Truth?" -- [Jawa Report]
That's the question being knocked around in this Poynter Institute column.
The question is framed as a great ethical dilemma for journalists, and their chosen case study (now the editor of Harper's) is angry that the Washington Press corp for being afraid to "lie" more to get to "the truth."
I'll leave it to you to decide whether this 'deception tool' is good for the already abysmal credibility of the mainstream press.
The Media's Bright, Shining Lie -- [Villainous Company]
When telling a really big lie, the important thing is to lie with gusto. Repetition matters too. When a falsehood is repeated over and over, familiarity alone begins to lend it substance and credibility. The novel, given sufficient time, becomes conventional wisdom. Most people don't have the time or energy to research every assertion they encounter. After all, "everyone" is saying it, and so it must be true: ...
Sarah Baxter Is A Journalist Who Is Misinformed About The Surge -- [RedState]
Consider the following paragraph from this story, relating to Colin Powell's statement that he tried to talk President Bush out of invading Iraq
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
That's what we're here for -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
Happy Independence Day, 2007.
A day of backyard barbecues, fireworks and adult libations.
Here in Iraq, there is sure to be a barbecue somewhere, chowhalls supplying steaks and lobsters to throw on dusty grills. Marines will undoubtedly come in off patrol to the smell of cooking meat and the promise of a country music concert here on the camp.
The vast majority of troops, though, are continuing to fight, and that is the real story.
The cold, hard reality is that Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen are moving into contact with both the local Iraqis and the enemy at this very moment. They are putting their lives on the line. We are at war. At all times we are either preparing for combat:
The stakes are high. But let there be no confusion: We are here to win, and we are winning.
Independence Day -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
Big voice booms "Clear all roads from Trooper Gate to Charlie Medical. I say again clear all roads from Trooper Gate to Charlie Medical."
Iraqi civilians were struck by a VBIED that was gunning for an Iraqi Police checkpoint. Two families in a big minivan, including seven children! All survived and were treated by Charlie Medical for minor and deep lacerations. It looked like a mess when they came in, but after getting wounds washed out, sutured, and clean sets of clothes for everyone, things shaped up to be a lot better than it could have.
Off Is Not Really Off... -- [Some Soldier's Mom]
From the friend of a family member... Next time you think you're having a busy day at the office...
A Day in the Life of an Air Ambulance Team
This article is a brief synopsis of a day in the life of a US Army Forward Support Medical-Evacuation Team (FSMT) in Iraq. The team has sixteen soldiers and three helicopters. The soldiers are eight pilots, four mechanics, and four medics. The pilots are all commissioned officers or warrant officers. The mechanics and medics are enlisted personnel; mostly sergeants. The flying machines are Sikorsky UH-60A Blackhawks. Each can carry up to six litter patients, or four litter patients plus four ambulatory patients. In the summer heat of Iraq, where 110F is the mid-day norm, the Hawks fly at about 130 knots (twice as fast as your family car on the highway).
The duty cycle for our team is 1st Up, 2nd Up, Chase, Off. Each of these is a 24-hour period, so we are on duty for 72 hours then off for 24 hours. Off is not really off as we have housekeeping chores and home improvement projects going all the time.
Eyes Out Now! -- [Jules Crittenden]
Bullet-splattered House No. 632, N. Bin Laden St., Unoccupied Baquba, Iraq.
Look what I have seen here, Achmed, on the website of the Herald of Boston. Sheik al-Zawahri calls upon Allah the Merciful to pluck the eyes out of those who do not embrace jihad! Is it not wonderful news?
That was close! Allah should pluck the eyes of those who do not embrace jihad. I am tired of doing all the jihad-embracing around here!
Blackfoot Paratroopers Close in On Al Qaeda
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) footage of Blackfoot Paratroopers (4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division) closing in on a building held by the enemy. Also, Hellfire missiles destroy the second building.
Update on “Bless the Beasts and Children” -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Baqubah, Iraq - Since the publication of “Bless the Beasts and Children” many questions have arisen: some of which I can and will answer here, and some whose answers lie elsewhere.
Today, late afternoon on 3 July in Baqubah, Colonel Hiduit from 2nd Brigade 5th Iraqi Army was able to provide some additional details about the murders, as the ongoing investigation begins to yield more facts. The name of the village was not on any maps I examined while preparing the dispatch, but Colonel Hiduit said the name is al Hamira.
Top U.S. commander enters the ‘Lions’ Den’ -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — The commanding general of Multi-National Force-Iraq visited Soldiers operating in the southern neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital to get a better understanding of the battle going on in the hotly contested region.
Gen. David H. Petraeus visited Joint Security Station Black Lion and Coalition Outpost Attack in the northwest section of the Rashid District June 30.
Naturalization, re-enlistment ceremony held on America’s 231st birthday
BAGHDAD — Hundreds of Soldiers became citizens of the country they risk their lives for, while others decided to extend their time in service to continue the fight against terrorism.
The U.S. Army conducted a naturalization and re-enlistment ceremony at Camp Victory on Wednesday.
Over 160 Soldiers became U.S. citizens at Camp Victory’s Al Faw Palace, while 600 servicemembers serving around IraqAmerica’s 231st birthday. re-enlisted on Becoming a U.S. citizen is a life-long dream come true for the newly naturalized Soldiers.
New Americans: Taking the Oath On The 4th in Iraq
Nearly 600 U.S. Troops Re-enlist in Baghdad on Independence Day -- [Defense Link]
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 4, 2007 – Hundreds of troops gathered at Al Faw Palace for the Multi-National Force-Iraq Reenlistment, Naturalization and Independence Day Ceremony today at Camp Victory. During the ceremony, 588 troops reenlisted and 161 were naturalized as American citizens.
During the Multi-National Force-Iraq Reenlistment, Naturalization and Independence Day Ceremony July 4, 2007, at Camp Victory, Iraq, today 588 troops reenlisted and 161 were naturalized as American citizens. U.S. Marine Corps
Army Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general, MNF-I, gave opening remarks before administering the Oath of Enlistment."This morning we pay tribute to the American ideals we all hold so dear in several significant ways,” he said.
The Baghdad Chef Speaks On Camera -- [Matt Sanchez]
I had the privilege of eating at a restaurant in Baghdad and had the greater privilege of meeting the chef who prepared the meal for those seated at our table. He was a quiet, yet, friendly man who is an excellent chef and also owns the restaurant. I wanted to find out how he felt about the conditions of the city he calls home and what, if anything, he misses about Saddam Hussein in power. Speaking through an interpreter, his answer about Hussein was something Americans take for granted every day....unless it's out!
My Little Devil -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
I'm not obsessed, believe me. My every thought isn't overshadowed by the unconscious memory of the VBIED, but I do think of it often. In fact, every time we get ready to go out of the wire, I think of it, how it happened, how we could prevent it again, or at least identify it sooner and keep it away from us.
Tonight, as Independence Day winds down where I am, I was perusing the blogs that link to JACK ARMY, and I came across a link from Some Soldier's Mom to this video of the VBIED that her son was injured by.
The VBIED that struck my team was about that size. However, we were unaware it was there until after it detonated. It is only luck that prevented anyone on my team from being killed. Only luck. Like I said, we didn't know it was there so there was no shooting before it went off, there was no chance to take cover from the blast, there was no running away. We were doing what we do, watching what we could see when all of a sudden there was smoke and dust, a HUGE shock wave and then a moment or two of confusion for a few of us.
Losses in Iraq -- [Americas North Shore Journal]
Information in these graphs is available in detail from the Terrorist Death Watch site and the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site.
The use of the word terrorist and the word terrorism is consistent with the definitions provided by the United Nations at this link.
IED Deaths in Iraq January 1 2006 through June 30 2007
Shot In The Head - Iraq
From the source: "Right after we were ambushed and I took a round in the helmet."
Done -- [Foreign and Domestic - in Iraq]
Yesterday, the 4th of July, was the last day of the last mission for me. It felt good to be coming back in the wire for the last time. Now, short of some freak accident on the plane, I will be coming home safe to my family.
My wife, of course, worried more about this one last mission than was really necessary. In truth, it was no more dangerous than the other 90 or so. But even us 21st century Americans with out gadgets and incredible technology still believe in luck, both the bad kind and the good kind.
4th of July......Iraq -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
4th of July and I am in Iraq, I am out from Camp Fallujah and at the Air Base of Al Asad on a collection trip. While out and about today I thought about today and what it means, lots of BBQ's and swimming back home but just another day here, no need for fireworks while in Iraq!
...I wonder now what will I take away from my time here? The people I have seen? The places I have been? The emotions I have felt? the personal stories I have collected? In 5, 10, 20 years from now will I be the old man in the VFW looking back in my minds eye?
Now I understand Uncle Ray better than ever before, sadly I had the honor and privilege to be a pall bearer at his funeral many years ago. Standing in my dress blues I could not help but shed a tear as a flag was presented to my Aunt by the members of his VFW post.
I also found out years later talking to my Aunt, that he never would discuss his war time experiences with her or my cousin his daughter. Seems ...
Choosing a Narrative and Making Sense Out of Chaos -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...In other words we could no longer gamble that Hussein and his regime would not work with the Al Qaeda networks.
In the World War II narrative, if September 11 is Pearl Harbor, Al Qeada is the Japanese and Hussein is Hitler; Ba'athist Iraq is Nazi Germany.
It is an appealing narrative. The comparisons of Hitler's Germany and Hussein's Iraq have much to recommend them. Of course, no matter how nuanced one's analysis of World War II, most people will believe the Allies cause was righteous and the Axis cause was evil. Certainly not a universal notion, but the defenders of the Axis powers are a relative rarity.
July 4th -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
...Events of today are not that far different from what happened in American 231 years ago. A fledgling democracy is struggling under extreme odds. Just as the French assisted us in our fight for freedom, we are helping the Iraqis obtain the same God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we hold so dear. It is a long and difficult struggle, but the cause is just. Although he spoke these words over 40 years ago, John F. Kennedy said it best when he said:
4th of July -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - in Iraq]
It is with great honor that I continue the tradition of protecting our freedom whether it is at home or across the seas helping further freedom in a land once oppressed. Our freedom is the envy and ideal of many countries in the world and the scourge of the so-called peaceful religion of Islam.
I am an American and completely proud of it.
The honor of carrying the lit torch of freedom, paid in full by many who have given the ultimate sacrifice, is mine on your behalf.
4th of July -- [Calvey in Iraq - in Iraq]
Greetings from Baghdad!
Happy Independence Day!
My usual 4th of July is filled with picnics with hot dogs and apple pie, parades, and fireworks.
This year is a little different. Here in Baghdad, there was sort of a picnic outside the Dining Facility (DFAC), although I did not see any hot dogs or apple pie.
There were no parades, unless you count convoys of Humvees and Bradleys whizzing by.
And there will be no fireworks- the whistling type of fireworks sound too much like mortars, and it would make no sense to freak anybody out with the noise.
Happy Independence Day! -- [Air Force EWO - in Iraq]
Over here in Baghdad, July 4th is just another day. We are all at work and are attending our regular meetings. I do plan on having a hot dog and cheeseburger at the chow hall for lunch today, but we're hoping there won't be any "fireworks". I did get to see some very impressive sights the last two days. Yesterday, 3 July, there were a couple hundred troops who, due to their service in our military, we becoming naturalized citizens. Very cool. And this morning, on my way to a morning meeting at the palace, there were 500 troops all standing and raising their right hands and re-enlisting. 500 troops on one day, in a war zone, re-enlisting. Very impressive.
The Fourth -- [The Calm Before The Sand - in Iraq]
It's the Fourth of July--Independence Day. Being in Iraq, this day is of special significance for me. However, rather than revisit the usual themes so often discussed on this important date, I'd like to shift the focus to something more personal. For just a moment, I'd like to drop the soldier mask.
Radio -- [The Zeke - in Iraq]
On that note, HAPPY 4th of JULY everyone! I sure wish I could be home to celebrate...but it looks like I'll spend another in Iraq. To all those who have put in time, and all those that have been there supporting them. To my fellow brothers who went too Nam and didn't get the hero's welcome they deserved...here's to freedom!
The Dog Days Of Summer -- [T Mark Green - in Iraq]
Here we are just enjoying another hot day in Ramadi. Bob Smits one of our anesthesia providers had his wife mail him a thermometer so we could really appreciate the heat out here. I think we are all acclimating well to the heat because now 100 deg. doesn't seem to phase us at all. We set the thermometer outside for 5-10 min and it quickly pegged itself out at 140 deg.
Oil and all that -- [Those Wacky Iraqis - in Kuwait]
Here is an oil tanker that is loading up on good ol' Kuwaiti black gold. Unlike the United Arab Emirates, the Kuwaitis have huge oil reserves and just pump it out as fast as they can drill it. They act like it will never run out but at the rate the western world gobbles it up they will be back to poverty in 100 years.
This offloading terminal is about 1 mile from where I bunk and this shot is from my rooftop. There is usually a patrol boat cruising around here. Oh wait, here he is!
The Fourth in Kuwait -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Kuwait]
Today was the 4th of July. There are no days off over here, but we did get to do a 'fun run' this morning. A big chunk of the camp showed up to run five kilometers in the morning heat. The Army is big on running, so these events always draw a crowd. I don't know that I'd call it a fun run, but almost everyone on the team completed the run and got a t-shirt to prove it, and it was nice to have a little something different to do in the morning. The dining facility offered cake for dessert at lunch, a little birthday surprise for the U.S.'s 231st birthday. I doubt there will be fireworks tonight, but we all comfort ourselves with the knowledge we'll probably be home for the next 4th of July.
Independance Day. -- [DeviantSaint - in Afghansitan]
So it's the 4th of July, or at least it is in Afghanistan. I believe that by the time I post this it will also be the 4th in the US. The day that the colonies declared themselves independant of British rule.
In my blog or in emails on this day, I usually get thanked for protecting our freedom or some other such. This year was no different and I'm always humbled by the sentiment. However it always irks me a little bit. Not because of the show of gratitude but because I think the gratitude is misplaced and that my part in securing American freedom is minor and should be overshadowed by the sacrifices of the past and the obligations of the present.
Freedom, is not something that an army fights for very often. Infact, I dare say that a civilian population. THE PEOPLE are more important and intrinsic in guaranteeing freedom than the US army has been since the revolutionary war, probably the civil war, and maybe even ww2.
Because of this I don't want to be thanked on the 4th of July. We should be thanking others for the freedoms we enjoy.
US, Canadian and Afghan National Army troops move at night, and engage Taliban forces at dawn.
The firefight drags trough the morning. A wounded taliban is given first aid and evacuated by a US helicopter to Kandahar Airfield for treatments.
The battle at the Red Mosque -- [The Fourth Rail]
Conflicting reports of an assault underway; Aziz goes on TV; captured Islamists will return to the NWFP
The confrontation between the Taliban-supporting Islamists of the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, and the Pakistani government in the heart of Islamabad appears to be moving towards the end game. With Yesterday's capture of Maulana Abdul Aziz, the leader of the Lal Masjid, and the surrender of upwards of 1,400 students, the hard-core Islamists inside are now in a stand off with the Pakistani Army, the Pakistani Rangers and the Islamabad police. Pakistan's The News reported a "full-fledged commando operation has been launched" against those remaining inside the mosque while the Rangers have occupied the Environment Ministry building next door to the mosque. Other news outlets, such as Dawn and Daily Times said the blasts at the front gate of the Red Mosque and the positioning of troops and deployment of Cobra helicopter gunships are a show of force in an attempt to get others inside the mosque to surrender.
Miracle Man! -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
...We did our first mission which the details I'll leave in wonderment but it had to do with trainees firing there AK47s. We went to support DynCorp and it was nice to get out of the wire. We were out there for quite a while so I pulled out my trauma (BlackHawk) bag to get some stuff out and the next thing I know I have about 5 guys surrounding me with all there medical problems. Reminded me of an ER in the US without all the fancy stuff and coffee. Anyway, this guy turns out to have a pretty rough episode of bilateral shin splints. Can't imagine why with the quality of sandles and shoes around here. The moonlike terrain couldn't contribute, eh!? So, I call our terp (interpreter) over and we talk to the guy and I give him a motrin there and enough to last a couple of days.
Release # 2007-500 3 July 2007 -- [ISAF]
MEYMANEH, Afghanistan (July 3) – The security situation in northern Afghanistan was the topic for a recent meeting arranged by Provincial Reconstruction Team Meymaneh of the three main political parties of the Faryab province.
Independent political parties Jumbesh, Azadi and Jamiat met in the fourth time in a round-table discussion hosted by PRT Meymaneh to discuss supporting the national government and countering Taliban extremist propaganda.
“Less than a year ago some representatives of these parties were involved in armed conflicts with each other,” said Oskari Eronen, PRT political advisor. “Therefore, it is a great step forward that the parties now can meet for discussions.”
“The discussions proceeded in a friendly and professional spirit,” said Lt. Elli Flén, PRT Meymaneh spokesperson. “All three parties promised to do their best to stop insurgents from infiltrating into the province and creating insecurity.”
Russians threaten to counter US shield -- [Financial Times]
Russia could site cruise missiles in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, if the US goes ahead with plans for a missile defence shield in central Europe, Russia’s first deputy prime minister warned on Wednesday.
New Zawahiri Video Released: "The Advice of One Concerned" -- [Jawa Report]
A banner from al Qaeda's as Sahab video hit the Islamic forums yesterday announcing "a happy event". Speculation on the forums was that the video would show Osama bin Laden. To the disappointment of Osama's millions of fans, though, the video is actually of al Qaeda #2 man, Ayman al Zawahiri.
al-Qaida's No. 2 has issued a new video
Al Qaeda's Zawahiri Urges Muslims to Join Jihad -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Al Qaeda's number 2, Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, released a new video today calling for Muslim unity behind Al-Qaeda, and calling for global Muslims to join jihad. According to SITE Institute: "Touching upon a variety of issues pertinent to the jihadi arena and Muslims, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Palestine, Zawahiri repeats his call for unification of Mujahideen and total support among Muslim populations for jihad."
Cyberterrorists Sentenced in London; Made Online Threats against the U.S. -- [The Blotter]
Three men, including one of the United Kingdom's most notorious cyberterrorists, were sentenced in London today for inciting terror over the Internet. One of the men provided a car bomb recipe to someone who claimed that he wanted to attack the United States.
23 year-old Younis Tsouli, known online as "Terrorist007," received a message from a user in his extremist chatroom on February 12, 2005, which read: 'We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America."
Retiree answers the call- NJ.com -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
"If it wasn't for her, I probably would have lost my mind," he said.
Marty Wheeler, Matt's mother, said she was amazed to find out that Harmon was regularly supporting not just Matt but hundreds of troops.
"I never knew there was anyone out there doing as much as she does. She is totally dedicated to not only our country, but the men serving our country," said Marty Wheeler.
The troops show their appreciation by sending Harmon letters and gifts that bring her to tears.
Her "Troop Room" features framed pictures of Petreaus and Johnson, a bald eagle, a uniform with her name on it, a propeller from a drone and six flags flown on missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Patti Patton-Bader, founder of Soldiers' Angels, said Harmon has set the standard for volunteer work.
Thank A Vet
RCT-6: Ten Thousand -- [BlackFive - Grim]
Just heard from Sgt. Deboard that they're sending out the Ten Thousand flag. The man who wrote in the 10,000th email was an "Old Corps" Marine who served in WWII and Korea. Apparently, those of you who have pushed out the email campaign to veterans' organizations are seeing the effect now.
If you still haven't sent your letter, or you know someone who should, write to:
Another Weekend, Another Event -- [Soldiers Angels New York]
Sunday, July 1st, Soldiers' Angels was invited to participate in a special Fort Drum Appreciation Day at the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY. We had two 4' x 8' banners for people to sign, along with an info table and cards for the deck of cards project.
We met many soldiers and their families. One soldier was home on R&R and came over to speak with us. He said he had received one of our mugs in Iraq. He didn't really know what Soldiers' Angels was, but he liked the mug and thought the logo was cool. He told us he carries it everywhere and he can't wait to tell the other guys when he goes back that he met real life Soldiers' Angels.
All About Military Brats -- [Andi's World]
This evening on SpouseBUZZ Talk Radio, we were joined by Army brat and filmmaker Donna Musil. Donna is the producer and director of the film, BRATS: Our Journey Home, a film devoted solely to life from the perspective of military brats. The hour we had with Donna was so informative and compelling that before I knew it, it was time to say good-bye.
I personally feel that projects like BRATS are so important, not only to the military community, but also to the civilian world. We live in a country where so few people are touched by the military experience -- and war -- that any chance we have to expose them to our lives is an opportunity that should not be missed.
Click the icon below to hear our fascinating hour with Donna Musil.
Dress up day... -- [Southern District of Florida Blog] HT: The Tank
In the Jose Padilla trial, jurors showed up today all dressed up. Row one in red. Row two in white. And row three in blue. I'm not kidding.
And this isn't the first time the jury has dressed up. A week back, all of the jurors (save one) wore black.
So what do you make of this. On the one hand, the jury might just be having some fun. This is a long trial and it's not a one hour Law and Order show. It's boring.
Perhaps the jury is unified, which might be a poor sign for the defense. If everyone is thinking the same way at such an early stage, defense lawyers get nervous. Or the prosecution might be concerned because this is obviously a happy jury. Happy juries during a terrorism trial might not be good.
Webb Debuts New Strategy for Ending Iraq War: Slow Bleed -- [Weekly Standard Blog]
We've written before on the plan by Congressional Democrats to turn the page on the Iraq funding debate, and instead talk about... Iraq funding. Today it's reported that as the Senate takes up the annual defense authorization bill next week, the first amendment to be considered will be offered by Senator Webb, to ensure that servicemen and women have appropriate time at home between deployments:
Food for thought in the current political fracas. -- [Castle Argghhh!]
From an internview with Colonel Harry Summers, back in 1996
...In the job of educating the American public, the media has not done a very good job. In the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows has a piece on the limitations of the American media. For one thing, they don't understand the military very well. It's not so much anti-militarism as just sort of benign neglect. I worked for US News for a while after I retired, and I didn't find any great anti-militarism there, but I found a great apathy about the military -- and pure ignorance. In fact, they take sort of a perverse pride in not being "captured" by the military-industrial complex. ...
For those who wonder who Harry Summers is, he wrote a analysis of the Vietnam War, called On Strategy, that is one of the better books on the subject. Summer's laid out a pretty good analysis of what happened, and why.
No one seems to have broken the code of how to do it and succeed - which is also instructive.
Local Journalists Key To War Reporting
The war in Iraq has become so dangerous for western journalists,they are forced to rely more and more on local "Stringers" to help them cover the conflict.
Independence Day -- [Marching Camp - in Iraq]
...half a world away, Soldiers are celebrating with fireworks of the less decorative and more dangerous type. Never mind that the enemy's fireworks are, essentially, a tactic of last resort and are incapable of creating decisive results in a strategic, operational, or even tactical sense. It still sucks to be sitting on one when it goes 'boom'.
Of course, that level of suck is pretty much the only thing being paraded across your screens these days. Unless, of course, you can find a story on alleged murders committed by American troops.
I find it interesting that Abu Gharib got literally thousands of new stories non-stop for months, and still manages to get mentioned in stories on Iraq. The alleged "massacre" in Haditha--which "massacre" doesn't have enough evidence to convict anyone yet and does not seem likely to ever have enough--has been a mainstay of media coverage as well. Yet when our enemy engages in documentable massacres, what is the MSM's reaction?
Al Gore Defends Arrested Son’s Carbon Offset Strategy -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-07-05) — Al Gore, the concert organizer and former U.S. vice president, today defended his son, Al III, after the younger Gore’s arrest for speeding and drug possession, applauding his use of the hybrid Toyota Prius to offset the carbon emissions of his smoking marijuana.
“Even at 100 miles per hour,” said the elder Mr. Gore, “the Prius produces less deadly greenhouse gas than a Lincoln Navigator or a Hummer. While I don’t condone getting caught with marijuana, I would venture to say that my boy’s total carbon footprint is still substantially smaller than the median for his socioeconomic and age brackets.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Pilots Shot Down in Iraq Tell of Dramatic Escape -- [Washington Post - Ann Scott Tyson]
Comrades Rescue Ambushed Officers
"We're taking fire!" Chief Warrant Officer 2 Steven Cianfrini, 27, yelled to his co-pilot as he looked out the helicopter door and saw tracer rounds flying his way.
It was the first ominous sign Monday morning as their OH-58D Kiowa attack helicopter banked over palm groves, fields and canals on a reconnaissance mission to flush out Sunni insurgents in rural areas south of Baghdad.
Iraq Helicopter rescue
OPS. Marne Torch
Task Force Marne pilots rescued from downed helicopter -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — An AH-64 Apache helicopter rescued two Task Force Marne pilots after enemy fire brought down their OH-58D Kiowa Attack helicopter south of Baghdad July 2.
The OH-58 pilots received minor injuries.
An Air Force Thunderbolt II destroyed the downed helicopter with two 500-pound laser-guided bombs after the pilots were evacuated from the area.
The incident is under investigation.
Apache rescue -- [Desert Flier]
The apache rescue of one of our soldiers July 1st made it into mainstream media news. Check the links below to read the story and watch the video:
One -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
1 PM finds Jason and I trying to figure out another detainee's injuries. Initial chest film looks good, but the patient's oxygen levels aren't "quite right" and he seems to be guarding a mystery injury. Tim and I are in the x-ray room 5 yards away, and I'm right in the middle of looking at the detainee's chest film, when a detonation and subsequent deep bass of the concussion wave knock the wooden window cover back. My initial thought: "mortar attack was pretty close." Jason and I both look at our patient and immediately request he be put in patient hold for observation. We need the trauma bay cleared out...as in right now. All staff immediately start pulling down litters, setting up triage stations, and the trauma bay jumps to life as all stations are manned with medics and corpsman.
"VBIED" cracks over the radios. My initial thought was wrong, but somehow doesn't matter when the results are the same: casualties.
...One July. One 24 hour period; midnight to midnight.
One day that couldn't go fast enough.
One day that I will never forget.
Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Dropping
Training team commander sees improvement -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s military forces are committed to standing on their own, the officer in charge of their training told bloggers Thursday, and he expressed confidence that Iraq’s army, navy, air force and police will succeed.
“What we do see from the Iraqis is a commitment to continuing to improve and a desire and a passion to be more responsible for all things military,” U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Terry Wolff, commander of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team, said during a teleconference from Iraq. “They very much want to be able to do this themselves.”
Paratroopers prove unshakeable in the face of adversity -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Only one man knew what was coming. From afar he completed the circuit and braced for the blast’s impact. None of the Iraqis going about their daily life were ready and the sound cut through the hustle and bustle of daily life on the streets of the eastern Raabi neighborhood in the Iraqi capital’s Adhamiyah District.
The Islamist's War Against Liberalism -- [Michael Totten]
No one has ever called Saddam an Islamist, nor has Islamofascism ever been used to describe Baathism, though its ideological affiliations with National Socialism are well known.
As for the Islamist movement, it has long been compared to fascism and, as Martin Kramer shows, by some distinguished Orientalists with first-hand experience of both fascism and the Islamic world: Maxime Rodinson, a French Marxist whose parents died in Auschwitz, and Manfred Halpern, who was born in Germany, fled the Nazis in 1937, and joined the US Army to fight in Europe during WW2.
Walking the Beat in Salman Pak -- [America's North Shore Journal]
Cpl. Aaron Wait, from San Antonio and a rifleman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, escorts a young girl across the street during a dismounted foot patrol in Salman Pak, June 20.
Adhamiyah Safe Markets
Americans work to make market safer for civilians.
One of MY Heroes! -- [Tanker Brothers - in Iraq]
Gabe here IS one of my heroes! He may look like one of your neighbourhood pooches, but Gabe works hard for a living (unlike a certain Bratdog - but I digress.lol)
In Iraq, Gabe's title is Military Working Dog. As any one of the hundreds of fans that Gabe has can tell you, Gabe is no ordinary MWD. He is a dog who works tirelessly for OUR team in this GWOT!
His handler, Chuck, sends out regular bulletins on their progress and this is the latest:
School opening in Anbar -- [Fightin 6th Marines]
While not everything is sunshine and lollipops here, on a pretty regular basis now we get to assist in another school opening. Lance Cpl. Christopher Zahn, our correspondent with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, brings us the following story and photos on the efforts of the 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, Civil Affairs Group to bring education to the lives of Iraqi children.
Terror Doctors Were Recruited And Trained Under Order Of Al Qaeda In Iraq Leader Abu Al Zarqawi -- [Pat Dollard]
“CBS News confirms that in 2004 the current head of al Qaeda in Iraq was instructed by then-head Abu Musab al-Zaraqawi to recruit these people to move to the West and easily integrate until the time came to strike.”
Hear it "In Their Own Words" -- [Matt Sanchez]
George Quinton Rhubi was born to be a Marine. After all, his father was a Marine and he says, "It's all I know." Rhubi is stationed in Fallujah and just beforer a day of handing out softballs to the children of a neighborhood, he sat down for this interview to talk about his life as a Marine and his goals after he leaves the service.
Mornings -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
Like all neighborhoods back home, mine over here has its own personality. After a while, you get used to the daily routines and everything seems “normal”. Although to the folks back home, I’m sure that this place would seem so very far from the ordinary.
Take for example mornings. Right now, it is a cool 92 degrees. The sun just came up, but you can’t see it though the haze and dust. A couple of guys just walked by on their way to work. Instead of business suits and briefcases, they are wearing body armor and carrying machine guns.
Week 23--Soldier On -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
...I watch the new hospital construction and think about the day when we have a clean, dust free work environment...and indoor plumbing! It continues to progress quickly, and I continue to be amazed at how hard the host nation crew works every day in the heat and dust and rain and mud.
...And of course, we always have our patients. Azad has been with us for almost two months. Wounded by shrapnel from a mortar round, he spend 6 weeks in our ICU. Now that he has recovered from his wounds he must now recover from the ICU. I never knew how hard it is to recover from being in the ICU; on a ventilator, paralyzed and sedated. Our nursing staff has done wonders with his rehabilitiation. We are not set up to manage these patients, but we do it anyway.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan -- [Pentagon Channel]
Coalition forces work to ensure the healthcare needs of Iraqi's are met. /The space shuttle Atlantis heads home. /The DoD adds another level of security.
Transcript: Weltwoche Interview with Taliban Commander Mansoor Dadullah -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Evan Kohlmann]
My colleague Urs Gehriger from Die Weltwoche in Switzerland has forwarded me the English transcript of a new video interview of the Taliban's top military commander Mansoor Dadullah obtained exclusively by Weltwoche with the help of journalist Sami Yousafzai. The interview with Mansoor--the brother of and replacement for the late Mullah Dadullah--took place on June 7, 2007 in the region along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and was conducted by a Pakistani journalist who was supplied with questions by Weltwoche. Transcript as follows:
Q. What is your name?
A. My name is Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, by the grace of Allah, and I am 35 years old.
Q. Are you Mullah Dadullah’s brother?
Clash at Islamabad's Red Mosque -- [The Fourth Rail]
Pro-Taliban students at the Lal Masjid attack Pakistani Rangers, one killed
Pakistani security forces have clashed with the followers of Taliban supporters Maulana Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed at the notorious Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in the hear of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. One member of the Rangers, a paramilitary police force, was killed and two wounded, and seven students of the Lal Masjid were wounded after the students initiated the fighting. "The clashes began when around 150 students attacked a security picket at a government office near the capital's Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, snatched weapons and took four government officials hostage," police told Reuters
Vacations and Transitions, by David J. Danelo -- [ONPoint]
As we celebrate our liberty this week with summer vacations, barbecues, and fireworks, 150,000 American men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are dealing with real explosions… the kind that don’t come with warning labels. This should remind all of us of what their uniformed ancestors faced when the nation was struggling forth in generations past.
Regardless of where you think they should or should not be, these men and women who have volunteered are the spiritual descendents of a long line of patriots. Amongst a sea of their fellow citizens, they have stepped out to answer their nation’s call. While others are perhaps too fearful, too apathetic, or too busy, a few have raised their hands, volunteering to train for danger and go wherever they are sent.
As we slide into another 4th of July.... -- [SWJ]
This piece of pseudo-history below bounces around the internet every year about this time. Like most things of its ilk, it probably has a few errors, and its author is writing to reinforce a point with succinct and selective facts. But darn if it doesn't strike a nerve.
As we in the U.S. chill our lite beer (ughh!) and refill the propane tanks to burn plenty of meat for the 4th, let's not forget the stories and sacrifices of the many proud Iraqis and Afghanis who are out there trying to do the right thing, whether it be for their country or just for their family. Their history, when it is finally written, looks like it will be on par with this list, at least in terms of blood. Unfortunately, the outcome is still very much in question. Perhaps they have underwhelmed us with a lack of 56 such bold and audacious men, who have had all they can stands, can't stands no more, and stepped off in unison with a flourish just begging for a remake starring Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford. But, hey, this thing started on our schedule, not theirs. And our sterile expectations and remote perceptions are not their ugly reality.
UK Terror Plot Investigation - News Roundup - July 3 -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
July 3 news roundup of UK terror plot investigation activities:
-- Seven Doctors Held in UK Terror Plot. The Daily Telegraph is reporting that, of the total of 8 suspects currently arrested, "Seven doctors held over al-Qa'eda bomb plot" and that "five of the seven suspects held by British police are young Middle Eastern men employed at British hospitals". This includes a Dr. Mohammed Asha from Jordan, and Dr. Bilal Abdulla from Iraq. The Daily Mail is also reporting that two of the doctors are Saudi. An increasing focus is on suspects employed at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, Renfrewshire. Sky News has provided a brief summary of the 8 suspects arrested thus far. Daily Telegraph has provided a high level timeline of the Jihadist car bomb efforts.
Getting Out of Londonistan -- [NRO - Joshua Treviño]
...The killers of July 2005 succeeded where the would-be killers of June 2007 have failed — at least so far — but the latter have introduced a chilling new element into the pattern of terror with their assault on Glasgow’s airport. We were appalled and troubled in Scotland two years back, but we were not threatened. Now, with a fiery Jeep smashing its way through the façade of the Glaswegian passenger terminal, that fiction is stripped away. It doesn’t matter so much that the attack was unsuccessful: It is enough to show that no one is safe, and that terror is no longer restricted to the great cities and capitals.
Cinnamon Pecans -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
There is nothing like receiving a package from home. You come in fro a long hot sweaty 130+ degree day on patrol. You and your team smell horrid and your wiped. You are barely able to walk, let alone reset the trucks for the next day, but you do. Then comes the mail handler with mail from home. There are several boxes and you receive one from your family. Suddenly the day just got good.
Do your part to support the troops! -- [Greta "Hooah" Perry]
As I hugged my veteran during the fireworks at the Mandeville Seafood Festival last night, singing "Proud to be an American," I couldn't help but get all sentimental. You see, my soldier is home safely this year, and even better will not be returning to the sandbox (Iraq) due to his retirement last October.
I am pleased to share an article I wrote for Inside Northside magazine and and the on-line article can be read HERE. In this article, you get a peek into the "milblog" and "milspouse" community. Please read it and then afterwards go check out a new website I just launched for Soldiers' Angels Louisiana.
MilBlogs -- [Inside Northside - Greta Perry]
What does a military wife who doesn’t live near a military installation do when she needs to create a sense of community?
In the United States, only one percent of the population has family members in the Armed Forces. A lot of people don’t support the military at all; among those who do, there is often some confusion. Some suggest that they don’t approve of the war, but do back the soldiers. They may be sincere, but their pronouncements sound like tap-dancing sometimes. And then there are those who are outright hostile to anything related to military culture. In this situation, I found only one way to find support for my family, and to offer the same to others: I turned to the Internet, and created virtual support. I became a blogger, an online diarist—a publisher of a personal magazine. In search of something ordinary—a sense of community—I stumbled into something extraordinary: the New Media, blogs.
America Supports You -- [SgtStryker]
If you have been looking for ways to support the troops, but weren’t sure how, then you may want to visit the site: www.americasupportsyou.com or www.americasupportsyou.mil America Supports You is an official organization founded by the Department of Defense. One of the first things that you will notice, is that you can send a message to the troops from the website. This is a great way to know that your message will truly reach the troops, and with the Fourth of July just around the corner, it is a good time to sent our troops encouragement if you haven’t already.
Military Transformation Uplink: June 2007 - [Winds of Change - Joe Katzman]
Militaries around the world are moving to modernize and transform themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our renewed mission is to deliver a monthly cross-section of relevant, on-target stories, news, and analysis that will help experts and interested laypeople alike stay up to speed on key military developments and issues. Stories are broken down by military category and presented as fast bullet points that orient you quickly, with accompanying links if you wish to pursue more in-depth treatments.
Coming Soon...Rescue Dawn [HT: Duty in the Desert]
This film tells the real-life story of U.S. fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, a German-American shot down in 1966 and captured in Laos during the Vietnam War. Dengler organized a death-defying escape for a small band of POWs, including Duane Martin.
No Time in Non-Crime -- [Jules Crittenden]
Scooter skates. Well, not exactly. There’s $250,000 that won’t be going into any GOP campaigns, and Scooter gets to be a felon. Pretty rough when no one actually did anything wrong. The left has had to make do with half-truths and fabrications in its quest to find some Bush malfeasance over the years, and this commutation is only a half-step toward the pardon they were hoping to get indignant about. Quick indignation check:
Libby Commutation Reactions -- [Outside the Beltway - James Joyner]
As one would expect, last evening’s news that President Bush has commuted Scooter Libby’s jail sentence has spawned a huge amount of controversy in the blogosphere, with some decrying it as the greatest outrage since Watergate and others complaining it didn’t go far enough.
Bush Commutes Libby's Jail Sentence; Leaves Fine, Probation Intact -- [Ace of Spades]
...Suggestion: Bush should have reduced the fine to a more reasonable $50,000, which just so happens to be how much Sandy Berger was fined for stealing and destroying classified documents and lying about it to investigators (he wasn't charged for the latter, but subsequent revelations has made it clear he did just that).
Making the fine $50,000 would have been more in line with Libby's transgressions, and it would have made it harder for Democrats to argue against it. The penalty -- no jail time, $50,000, probation -- would have been so similar to Berger's that one could scarcely mention it without also mentioning Berger.
New York Times’ Boldfaced Lies About Joe Wilson -- [Sweetness & Light]
Mr. Libby was convicted of lying to federal agents investigating the leak of the name of a covert C.I.A. operative, Valerie Wilson. Mrs. Wilson’s husband, Joseph Wilson, was asked to investigate a central claim in Mr. Bush’s drive to war with Iraq — whether Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Africa. Mr. Wilson concluded that Iraq had not done that and had the temerity to share those conclusions with the American public.
It seems clear from the record that Vice President Dick Cheney organized a campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson. And Mr. Libby, who was Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, was willing to lie to protect his boss…
...Remember how boldly and easily the New York Times lies each and every time you read an article from them.
They are shameless, dangerous liars.
(By the way, if you are still confused about what actually happened in the Wilson/Plame non-scandal, you might take a look at my exegesis: When And Where Joe Wilson IV Outed Valerie Plame.)
TODAY! 7-3-07 OLBERMANN TO CALL ON BUSH & CHENEY TO RESIGN!
Short on the Concept -- [Jules Crittenden]
Olbermann: Bush, Cheney should resign. Warmed over Bush-lied-people-died argument delivered in stentorian Declaration of Independential tones sees Scooter commutation as the last straw in King George’s long list of crimes. Get a grip.
...Forgive me if, in the course of reading this tripe, I fail to take it with something more than the level of seriousness it deserves. That said, if this is where after 231 years we have at long last arrived in this imperfect union of ours, if Olbermann’s idiotic remarks indeed reflect the will of the people and Bush is to be driven out, then it may be incumbent upon us as a righteous people to revisit the crimes of other recent presidents and mull appropriate punishment. Clinton, for all the dirtball crimes he pardoned, not to mentioned the debasement of the office, the stocks! Carter, for humiliating the nation by allow a third-rate nation to hold us hostage for 444 days and inaugurating 30 years of war and terrorism, a dank basement somewhere.
While Old Media Obsesses over Haditha, Al Qaeda Massacre Gets the Silent Treatment -- [NewsBusters]
(WARNING: Link contains graphic and unsettling pictures) Michael Yon reported a massacre committed by Al Qaeda that wiped out a village on the outskirts of Baqubah, Iraq just after midnight on July 1.
Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion had this to say yesterday in reaction:
If American media fails to cover this with the same amount of gusto that they have pursued Haditha and Abu Ghraib, they will be demonstrating their preference for whom they wish to win this conflict. The press has to tell the story that evil really does exist in this world. Imagine if the story of the Holocaust was never told because the media was only interested in reporting Allied atrocities. Yes, by failing to treat this war objectively, the media does indeed enable massacres such as this one and history will judge the coverage of this war very harshly.
Robin Boyd noticed the lack of Old Media interest in a NewsBusters post yesterday. Almost 18 hours later, the fact is that Old Media has is still ignoring Yon's dispatch:
The three items of the 10 listed not included in the above picutre also do not relate to the Al Qaeda-committed massacre. That is indeed quite a contrast to the Old Media treatment of the Haditha situation:
Quick Nonsense Review -- [Jules Crittenden]
Iran had Hezbollah arrange murders of Americans. NYT leaps to undercut claim with some anti-war speculation in graph five:
But some critics said the evidence was circumstantial and charged that the Americans appeared to be offering a new rationale for maintaining or increasing the military commitment in Iraq.Curiously, this important angle is not supported by any actual quotes in this story, which otherwise is largely focused on Iranian plot details.
American troops having fun in Iraq
Libby Walks, Bush Urges Jittery Public Not to Panic -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-07-02) — Ending years of speculation, President George Bush today commuted the 30 month prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter‘ Libby, yet urged a nervous nation to remain calm even though Mr. Libby is “on the loose.”
“Even with this convicted criminal roaming the streets,” said Mr. Bush, “The neighborhoods of our homeland remain safer than a lot of places in the world.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Bless the Beasts and Children -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
...Later in the day, some of the soldiers from the unit I share a tent with, the C-52, told me that one of their Kit Carson scouts (comprised of some of our previous enemies who have turned on al Qaeda) had pointed out an al Qaeda who had cut off the heads of children. Soldiers from C-52 say that the Kit Carson scout freaked out and tried to hide when he spotted the man he identified as an al Qaeda operative. Just how (or if) the scout really knew the man had beheaded children was unknown to the soldiers of C-52, but they took the suspected al Qaeda to the police, who knew the man. C-52 soldiers told me the Iraqi police were inflamed, and that one policeman in particular was crazed with intent to kill the man who they said had the blood of Iraqi children on his hands. According to the story told to me on 30 June, it took almost 45 minutes for the C-52 soldiers to calm down the policeman who had drawn his pistol to execute the al Qaeda man. That same policeman nearly lost his mind when an American soldier then gave the al Qaeda man a drink of cold water.
Fireworks Or Fortitude -- [Threats Watch]
Al-Qaeda Beheaded Their Children - We Must Ask Ourselves, What Is Worth Fighting For?
...It is therefor sadly understandable that when the words in our National Anthem include “the rockets’ red glare,” many will associate that with beautiful displays of entertaining fireworks. When, in fact, those “rockets’ red glare” written about so eloquently were the trails of destruction, seeking their targets and bringing death and carnage to those who were defending something worth fighting for in the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Yet for many, little today seems to be worth fighting for at all.
Perhaps it is because the beheaded children are not our own. Perhaps because the slaughtered share not our names. But underlying, among those who refuse to engage our enemy where he slaughters without grief or remorse, is a clear disassociation with the distant victims of such horrors. Comfortably concluded is that we somehow brought the unspeakable upon them. Present also is a refusal to acknowledge that the distant ‘they’ are ‘we’ in a greater war we did not declare and did not seek.
It must be acknowledged that, if we disengage and leave Iraq and its children to the hands of al-Qaeda, millions will suffer the consequences of our ultimate decision.
IED ring broken by Operation Bastogne -- [MNF-I]
KALSU, Iraq — Paratroopers and Soldiers from Task Force Steel, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division detained 10 suspected insurgents during a raid July 1 near the town of Mahawil.
Operation Bastogne was designed to capture members of an improvised explosive device cell operating along Highway 1 and other roads in the north Babil province.
In addition to capturing the IED cell members, the operation captured two buckets of ammunition, IED making materials and an instruction manual on how to construct IEDs.
The insurgents are being held for further questioning.
US links Iran to Iraq attacks... "Official US Military release"...Brigadier General Kevin Bergner
The US military on Monday accused Iranian special forces of orchestrating an attack that killed five US soldiers in Iraq and of using its Lebanese Hezbollah proxy to help train Iraqi fighters
27 suspected terrorists captured in raids -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Coalition forces captured 27 suspected terrorists, including an alleged terrorist with ties to Iranian elements, during missions conducted across Iraq Friday as Operation Phantom Thunder continues, U.S. military officials reported.
Coalition forces detained a suspected secret cell terrorist Friday in Baghdad’s Sadr City section. It is believed the suspected terrorist has close ties to Iranian terror networks and is responsible for numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians as well as on Iraqi and Coalition forces in Baghdad.
US commander says operations in Anbar aid Baghdad Security Plan
Carl E. Mundy, US commanding officer of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit said on Sunday in Baghdad that their reason for the recent operations in the western Iraqi Anbar province is to contribute to the Baghdad Security Plan and prevent insurgents from contributing to sectarian violence in Baghdad.
U.S., Iraqi leaders reflect, give thanks -- [MNF-I]
TAL AFAR — When the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment moved into Tal Afar in 2005, the city had been reduced to a terrorist base of operations. Streets were deserted, businesses were closed and destitute citizens lived in fear of sectarian violence.
That changed when 3rd ACR arrived to work beside Iraqi security forces. Rations, not yet delivered by the local government, began to filter through to hungry citizens. Crime rates dropped when Soldiers moved into patrol bases around the city, and soon children were playing by the streets.
Iraq - The Ultimate Suckfest -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...Once we loaded up, we headed over to another market. As we were leaving there, we heard a loud explosion, and then the call came up over the radio that some mortars had been fired at the market. We rolled back over there to check it out. I guess only 1 or 2 had actually exploded and there were a couple unexploded ones. Almost immediately after pulling up to this IA checkpoint, one of the snipers from that one bad area started shooting. They constantly shoot at the IA, as well as the civilians just trying to shop in the markets. Its not very often that they do this when we are there, but this guy was ballsy enough to take a couple shots with us there. None of them were directed at us, but they were definatly shooting in our direction. We couldn’t see anything, or where he was, so we could do anything.
More Baghdad Summer Politics -- [Iraq the Model - iraqis in Iraq]
...Abdul Mahdi said during a press conference after meeting his eminence in Najaf that, “We support the elected government,” [to answer questions about replacing Maliki before they are asked] and added, “We have informed Sayyid Sistani of the new coalition that would soon be announced, and we reassured [him] during the meeting that there was no intent to undermine the current government.”
I think that the new-old Kurdish-Shia coalition needs to have something more than God’s blessings via Sistani. Seeking the approval of senior clerics, and similar shows of support, have become obsolete, boring, and likely as ineffective as they have been in the past.
U.S. Confirms CNN’S Report That Iran Has Sent It’s Hezbollah Soldiers Into Iraq -- [Pat Dollard]
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iran is using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a “proxy” force in Iraq and Tehran’s Quds force was invloved in a January attack in Karbala in which five Americans died, a U.S. general said Monday.
U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner said a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq.
Kuwaiti Cleric Imprisoned for Inciting to Jihad Against U.S. Forces in Iraq -- [MEMRI Blog]
Kuwaiti cleric Jaber Al-Jalahma has been sentenced to 21 days in prison for inciting citizens to wage jihad against U.S. forces in Iraq. The Kuwaiti authorities have raised the level of alert at government institutions and oil facilities after an Islamist group called "the Guantanamo Returnees Association" threatened to target these facilities unless Al-Jalahma is released.
2D Battalion 5th Marines... Al Fallujah -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
...We ride out in a six vehicle convoy along with the Commanding Officer of 2/6, a tall man of quiet professionalism, dedicated to his craft and his Marines. Today's journey we will visit various out posts within the city and stop at two Iraqi police stations. I watch as the CO meets with his Marines at the various stops and quietly talks with them, a shepherd of sorts tending to his flock, keeping their spirits up and letting them know what a great job they are doing. At one stop I watch a squad of Marines coming in off a patrol in the city, drenched in sweat, tired and hungry, the CO asks how they are doing and they respond with "Great sir". Some of these young men are not even 20 yet. Looking for America's best?...follow me and I will show them to you.
Voices from Iraq; Uniform Pride
You Knew That -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
...Maybe you support the war. Maybe you believe we are doing the right thing in going after terrorist-supporting despots like Saddam and then trying hard to change his country into something democratic and peaceful. Maybe you, like me, believe that all that is worth dying for.
Maybe you just don't understand that nobody, even the Soldier, goes about life believing that they will die, despite knowing the possibilities. I take that back. There are those that believe they will die, plan to die, and then do so trying to kill others in the process. They are the terrorist assholes like the one that set off a VBIED just a few meters from me and my troops. But then, you already knew that, right?
Iraq Report: Surprising Drop in Civilian Deaths -- [The Fourth Rail]
The civilian death toll in Iraq dropped sharply in June, by over 35 percent from May's totals and reached the lowest number since July 2006. This occurred despite the launch of Operation Phantom Thunder in mid-June. Iraqi Security Forces absorbed 222 deaths in June, more than twice the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq over the same time period. The sharp drop in civilian casualties and the reduction of sectarian-related murders in Baghdad are encouraging signs, but it is too soon to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the Baghdad Security Plan.
So This is Kuwait -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Kuwait]
...We dropped the National Guard unit at another camp before heading north to Buehring, where we will spend about ten days training before we leave for Iraq proper. The training here is intended to reinforce what we learned at Fort Riley, focusing on items considered of particular importance. We'll refire our weapons, conduct some convoy and IED training, and get some more Arabic training, among other things. There are a total of eight days of training scheduled for Camp Buehring.
Friday, June 29, 2007 -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
While I'm attempting to upload a single picture (cross your fingers) I'll elude to an interesting/awkward situation that occurred last night. So, Corrigan, A. Johnson and I went to have Chai tea with the interpreters in the camp. Some of these guys live on camp and have small rooms they live in. Well, they are a very social bunch and like us Americans being in the camp because we treat them well and respect them. (Hold the trust, please) Anyway, they love to have us over for tea and discussions. Anyway, they have satellite TV in their room. Corrigan and I are talking to them and watching them flip channels. Of course there are a plethora of channels, some Russian, Indian, British, the US White House Channel (what the hell) and numerous other adult channels that come in fuzzy etc... Well the guy with the remote stops for about a minute on a Televangelist channel. Some lady was on there talking about Jesus and salvation etc.... they were all fascinated and just looked at it. It reminded me of the RCA dog watching the sun rise. Corrigan and I were looking at eachother in bewilderment. How weird it was to see a bunch of devout Muslims checking this TV show out.
Shura leaders ask for ISAF support -- [ISAF - in Afghansitan]
URUZGAN, Afghanistan (July 1) – More than 40 tribal elders of Mirabad district met with ISAF officials in a shura to discuss ways to support the provincial government and move forward now that Taliban extremists have been expelled from the area by Afghan officials.
Meanwhile, 25 tribal leaders of Chowreh district had a meeting with Maulavi Abdul Hakim Munib, Uruzgan governor; Gen. Dan K. McNeill, ISAF commander; and Maj. Gen. Jacko Page, Regional Command South commander. Also attending the June 30 meeting were the district chief and the district chiefs of the Afghan National Security Forces.
A RC-South spokesman said the shura is a positive development.
Search of IED factory turns up weapons -- [ISAF - in Afghansitan]
URUZGAN, Afghanistan (June 29) – A suspected improvised explosive device-making factory was cleared during an operation here June 28.
“The clearance of this compound hinders the ability of the Taliban extremists to make IEDs and bombs used for suicide bombings that have cause death and injury to Afghan civilians,” said Maj. John Thomas, ISAF spokesman.
ISAF, in support of Afghan National Security Forces, conducted the operation. During a search of the compound a number of weapons and bomb-making equipment was found.
“Successful operations of this nature have an immediate positive affect on the local population,” said Thomas.
News of Afghanistan - The Return IV (Edition 60) -- [Miserable Donuts]
I am grappling with some sort of minor aliment, so this one will be brief, and maybe a little different. I'm still waiting for the Dayquil and Alokozay Tea to work their magic, you see..
The Taliban Cash Cow -- [Strategy Page]
July 2, 2007: The reason you hear so many reports of battles with the Taliban in Afghanistans Helmand province, is because that one area (south of Kandahar and on the Pakistani border), currently produces over 40 percent of the worlds heroin. With less than a million people, Helmand has long been a Taliban stronghold. The Taliban are basically a coalition of Pushtun tribes from southern Afghanistan. The Taliban were unpopular in most of Afghanistan because non-Pustuns (about 60 percent Afghans), and many Pushtuns, did not like having the Taliban lifestyle and customs crammed down their throats
Why The South No Longer Fears the North -- [Strategy Page]
July 2, 2007: A major reason for North Korean desperation is the disappearance of its support from Japan. The Korean community in Japan, descendents of slave laborers stranded there after World War II, are prosperous and, until the 1990s, about half of them supported North Korea (mainly because North Korea was more vehemently anti-Japanese.) At its peak, in the 1990s, the pro-north Japanese-Koreans were sending about half a billion dollars worth of cash and goods to North Korea each year.
NK Reactor Shutdown Needs More Six Way Talks -- [GI Korea]
What is so interesting about this is that there is already a date set for the reactor shutdown that was agreed upon in the February 13th agreement between the US and North Korea. In the deal North Korea agreed to shutdown their reactor 60 days from signing the deal. April 13th came and passed with no signs of North Korea shutting down their reactor without receiving first $25 million dollars in money frozen by the US Treasury Department in a Macau bank due to the money being obtained through counterfeiting and money laundering. The return of the money was never in the original agreement and was something North Korea added after signing the February 13th deal.
Our brothers in the UK and the price of liberty -- [Fightin 6th Marines]
As I'm sure most of you are aware, a planned dual car bomb attack was foiled in the early morning hours (EST) in downtown London. I'm watching FoxNews/SkyNews on AFN here and it's horrible to watch. Two car bombs (here in Iraq we call them "suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices" or SVBIEDs... pronounced "ess-vee-bid") in different blocks of the city. They were only foiled by the vigilance of an ambulance crew and alert police.
Bin Laden Was Right: America Is Weak -- [Outside the Wire]
In 1996 Osama bin Laden wrote:
"the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear."
...After Senator Richard Lugar's speech; After Senator Harry Reid's speeches; After several U.S. Representatives declared we should withdraw from Afghanistan....
Is there any doubt that what bin Laden said in 1996 is true?
And if the United States of America cannot withstand the forces of Islamic Terror, what hope is there for the rest of the Western nations?
What happens when once again Islamic Terrorists attack the United States? They know that any threat of force is a just a charade as long as the likes of those above hold elected office.
Al Qaeda Adapts -- [Strategy Page]
July 1, 2007: Al Qaeda continues to take a beating, but you can ignite a media firestorm just saying that. One of the most irritating things about the war on terror, is trying to keep score. Unlike a conventional war, where you can measure territory won and lost, as well as casualties, the current conflict does not really lend itself to those measurements. But there are things that can be measured.
The Car Bomb Jihad: Is Britain seeing clearly? -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Walid Phares]
With each revelation made in Britain and in the West about a foiled plot or after an actual attack, a shower of questions is raised within the mainstream media, some of which contradict the other. The June 29 British success in averting two (maybe more) car bombs in London has also been accompanied by an endless series of issues, revealing among other things how the counterterrorism culture within Western democracies is still lacking in terms of cohesiveness. By comparison with previous conflicts, the analytical behavior of the global war on terror deserves a serious review. Following are a few questions I suggest we consider:
Drowning Pool, IAVA & Lizzie Palmer Launch 'This Is For the Soldiers' Campaign -- [IAVA]
Rock Band, Veterans Group and Ohio Teen Ask Young People to Support America's New Veterans
NEW YORK - In what may seem like an unlikely alliance, hard rock band Drowning Pool, non-profit organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and 15 year-old YouTube video producer Lizzie Palmer are teaming up to encourage young people to support expanded health care for veterans returning from Iraq & Afghanistan. They are launching a campaign called 'This Is For the Soldiers' and asking Americans to support legislation currently before congress which addresses the urgent need to improve mental health care for veterans. The campaign includes a website (http://www.thisisforthesoldiers.org/) which hosts a petition urging Congress to support the Lane Evans Mental Health Care Reform bill along with a powerful music video created by Palmer.
While 'This Is For the Soldiers' officially kicks off the week of July 4th, supporting the troops is nothing new for those involved. Rockers Drowning Pool toured with the USO and performed for troops in Iraq, Kuwait and South Korea in 2005 and 2006. "We have had the opportunity to meet the troops overseas, come back to the States and get invited to different bases in difference cities. We have spent countless hours with soldiers who do what they do without question and you can't help being touched by that," said Drowning Pool lead singer Ryan McCombs.
No thank you, Mrs. Speaker -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
Recently, the Speaker of the house reiterated her desire to pull out American forces from Iraq. She stated that withdrawal was the best way to support the troops:
“Democrats are committed to an American military that is second to none. That is why in this Congress we have made huge investments in America's military readiness. And we will always do whatever it takes to support our troops. But we believe that the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home.”
Funny, no politician ever asked me how they could help. I hate being away from my family, but right now, my place is here. If I have to stay another year, I will.
Good News For Yaderlin Jimenez -- [One Nation Under Blog]
The wife of Alex R. Jimenez, one of the two U.S. soldiers kidnapped and feared dead after an Al Qaeda-led ambush in May in the Triangle of Death, has been issued a green card and can stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
Yaderlin Jimenez, like her husband, is a native of the Dominican Republican, but she entered the U.S. illegally prior to marrying him in 2004. She had been listed for deportation despite being married to a naturalized U.S. citizen because she did not apply for a green card.
Alex Jimenez helped her apply for a green card when he was home on leave from Iraq, but an immigration judge refused the request. The Army then intervened and asked that an exception be made on a hardship basis.
Inept Bureaucrats Screw Soldiers -- [Strategy Page]
July 2, 2007: The U.S. Army has a major morale problem on its hands, and it has nothing to do with combat or overseas service. This time, it's a purely bureaucratic screw up, having to do with unpaid insurance premiums, for insurance the troops didn't want. It all started when the Veterans Administration made available Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI). This provides low cost coverage for troops' spouses and children. Great idea, but the army managed to screw it up by not getting permission of all the troops before enrolling them in the program. That was compounded by not collecting premiums for 25,000 troops, for up to six years. This was a purely administrative error. But now the army is trying to collect some $25 million from about 26,000 soldiers.
Officer Found "Not Guilty" in Shooting of Air Man in 2006 -- [The Middle Ground]
"Anonymous" left a link in my original post regarding Air Man Carrion who was shot in February 2006 by a San Bernadino Deputy Sheriff.
Apparently, a jury decided that the officer was "not guilty" for attempted manslaughter and assault with a firearm.
...I have nothing against the officer or police in general, but this is a miscarriage of justice. Drinking, car chase, cursing, etc neither excuses nor validates this officers actions.
A hero falls -- [Eagle1]
On his submarine's battle flag was the symbol of a railroad train which his crew "sank."
...Fluckey passed away on June 29. He was one of the most daring and successful submarine skippers of World War II -- he was credited with sinking 29.3 enemy ships totaling more than 146,00 tons -- Eugene Fluckey helped lead and inspire our Navy to victory. He inspires us still today. We will miss him sorely.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, they pinned upon his chest four Navy Crosses, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and a host of other unit and campaign awards. He was known for his audacity and courage, on more than one occasion
If Bush And Cheney Don’t Cooperate With Subpoenas He Will Push To Find Them In Contempt Of Co
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Leahy: If Bush And Cheney Don’t Cooperate With Subpoenas He Will Push To Find Them In Contempt Of Co
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, (D-VT) was on “Meet The Press” this morning to discuss the ongoing DOJ and White House scandals. and clearly states that if George Bush and Dick Cheney continue to withhold requested documents and ignore the subpoenas they have been issued, he will hold a vote to hold them in contempt of Congress. If the Democrats are paying any attention to their miserable poll numbers and the blogs, they will see that America is clamoring for them to stand up to our out of control Executive Branch and force them to comply with the law. Leahy did well this morning, calling Timmeh out on his RNC, straw man question right out of the gate
The DCCC's Independence Day Attack -- [RedState]
...Among those on the list, the targeting of Kirk is particularly ironic and, one could argue, dishonest. Yes, Kirk represents a fairly liberal district on the Northshore that is upset about the war in Iraq. And yes, Kirk got more of a race from Dan Seals last November than he initially expected, prevailing 53-47. Seals announced last week he's signed up to take another run at Kirk in '08, and the DCCC is doing its part to keep Kirk as soft and fat of a target as possible.
...As I said, Kirk is vulnerable over his initial support for the war, but trying to attack him as neglecting US soldiers and veterans is exceedingly dishonest - and doing it over the Fourth of July holiday only makes it that much more shameful.
Why is it the some of the most ardent supporters of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the very men and women who have actually been and fought there?
...Throughout my second tour I kept a blog at www.boredsoldier.blogspot.com and came to realize the need for the American public to hear the truth about what is really going on in Iraq. Ever since I returned home I have been reminded of this fact day in and day out as I encounter people from both sides of the political spectrum who don’t have the slightest clue what is really going on in the Middle East. As I try to explain why they don’t need to be entirely discouraged about the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan I wish there was some place I could point them to where they could find out what is really going on. We all know (at least I hope) that it is near impossible to glean the truth from the MSM when it comes to reporting on Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether this is the fault of the reporters or of the higher ups doesn’t really concern me. What does concern me is that a biased media is misleading the world at large.
William Arkin Dips His Toe Into Sub Waters Again -- [The Stupid Shall Be Punished ]
Back in early 2006, Washington Post National and Homeland Security writer William Arkin (best known in the mil-blogosphere for his recent "the troops have obscene amenities" article) wrote about USS Virginia's initial deployment to SOUTHCOM; his story had so many errors that he was forced to devote another column to correcting them a few days later. (My responses to those articles can be found here and here.)
He's venturing back into the submarine waters again with today's post, based on an E-mail he received from an alleged Trident JO with a bad attitude who was responding to his post earlier this month expressing horror at the SSGN conversion program.
In what many are calling a final act of spite, BBC cut off Blair’s final speech [Media Blog - Tom Gross]
Attacking him to the last, the BBC cut off British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s final speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday. The BBC – which as a state-funded organization is meant to be impartial – has never forgiven Blair for Iraq. No wonder Blair recently called the British media a “feral beast ”.
CNN Rediscovers Saddam's Govt Backed Terrorism, Notes Clinton Airstrike Anniversary -- [NewsBusters]
On Tuesday's The Situation Room, CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted that it was the 14th anniversary of a cruise missile attack on Iraq, ordered by then-President Clinton, in retaliation for a plot to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait earlier that year. CNN also played a clip of the CNN correspondent from June 26, 1993 in which, referring to President Clinton's speech to the nation, Blitzer relayed the Clinton administration's desire "to make sure that the Iraqi government does not engage in what the U.S. describes as state-sponsored terrorism." (Transcript follows)
Obama, Clinton Redistribute Campaign Cash to Poor Rivals -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-07-02) — Senators Barak Obama, D-IL, and Hillary Clinton, D-NY, today turned presidential campaigning on its head when they announced that the combined $52 million in primary campaign cash they raised in the second quarter would be redistributed to less fortunate candidates like Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
In a joint news release, Senators Obama and Clinton said, “The fundamental principles of the Democrat party say that the rich and powerful have an obligation to help the poor and downtrodden.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)