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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.
Crossing Anbar -- [Iraq the Model - iraqis in Iraq]
We've been getting some reports about the improvement in security in Anbar in the last few months but little was said about the highway that runs across the province.
The several hundred kilometer western section of the international highway is technically Iraq's second "port" in a way as it connects Iraq with Syria and Jordan and was for years the only window to the world when all airports and the southern ports in Basra were closed to traffic in the 1990s.
My family returned yesterday from a vacation in Syria and they have used this road twice in six weeks. I had tried hard to convince them not to do that and take a flight instead but now after hearing their story I'm convinced that my fear was not justified; the road is safe…
This is good not only for Iraq's economy and traveling but also for the American troops who can use this road as an alternative supply route in case the British troops withdraw and leave the strategic southern highway between Kuwait and Baghdad unguarded.
Road leads to success, confidence restored in Tal ‘Afar -- [MNF-I]
TAL ‘AFAR — A major thoroughfare leading into Tal ‘Afar received extensive damage in March when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated along the route. But with help from Coalition forces and the local Iraqi government, the road has been reopened and completely repaved.
Dora in World Net Daily -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – It was a very nice street. The residents of Dora came out as the 1-4 Cav walked down the mostly paved road.
Paving a road is a good sign of safety in Baghdad, where deep-buried IEDs are deadliest. An Army staff sergeant explained how the terrorists liked to burn tires over a pressure-plate IED and set it off under an unsuspecting Humvee. This street had no pressure plates, but plenty of residents who had felt the pressure of day-to-day life.
An English-speaking man in his mid-40s was one of the first to greet Lt. Col. James Crider and his men. He was animated but welcoming, even when he complained that he had waited in line and got no propane. Propane was the main means of cooking in Baghdad and throughout Iraq.
Soldiers remember Iraqi man’s sacrifice that saved their lives -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — A routine meeting on Aug. 18 became a saga of tragedy and heroism when one young Iraqi man gave his life to save his family and his friends in the U.S. Army.
Coalition generals announce progress in Iraq -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Two Coalition representatives held a press conference at the Combined PressInformation Center Wednesday.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, commanding general, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman talked about recent events in Iraq and the road ahead.
The GWOT Reconstruction Report (PDF) -- [AED]
PROJECT UPDATE: Gulf Region Division Healthcare Clinic Completed…
The Al Armooshiya Primary Healthcare Center in Salah ad Din Province was completed on Aug. 8. When this clinic is staffed and operational, it will have the ability to serve approximately 35,000 residents of Al Armooshiya.
CERP Update…As of Aug. 18, 6,809 Commander’s Emergency Response Program projects have been completed out of 8,356 planned. Of these, GRD currently has 106 projects ongoing and had completed 640 projects.
Water Project Nearly Complete…Construction on the Nasiriyah Water Supply, Thi-Qar Province, is 99% complete and the estimated completion is Aug. 28. The project will benefit 555,000 people.
Children’s Hospital 62% Complete…The Basrah Children’s Hospital is 62% complete and work remains ahead of schedule.
Infrastructure…Completed GRD projects have met the program goals of increasing crude oil production capacity to 3.0 million barrels per day, liquefied petroleum gas production
capacity to 3,000 metric tons per day, and natural gas production capacity to 800 Standard Cubic Feet per day.
DATE PLANT OPENING — An Iraqi businessman loads the first batch of dates to go through the processing machine at the date plant
opening in the Babil Province. The total cost for the project was $800,000 and funded through the Commander’s Emergency Response
Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals -- [Washington Post]
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment …
Battle of "The Bums" -- [RedState]
During their mutual month-long August recesses, wherein public confidence in each has plummeted to record lows, the American Congress (“Our Bums”) is denouncing the Iraqi Parliament (“Their Bums”) as “do nothings.” Further, despite American military progress on the ground in Iraq, Washington claims Baghdad’s failure to meet political benchmarks will doom General Petraeus’ plan for victory.
Front-line lessons from the Iraq surge -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
While American politicians bicker among themselves from eight time zones away about whether the surge led by Gen. David Petraeus is working or not, I returned to Iraq to see for myself.
This trip - from which I returned this month - was my fourth reporting stint in the country since the conflict began. And this time, what I saw was overwhelming, undeniable and, like it or not, complicated: In some places, the surge is working remarkably well. In others, it is not. And the only way we will know for sure whether the tide can be turned is to continue the policy and wait.
I know that's not what many Americans and politicians want to hear, but it's the truth.
On my first stop, I embedded with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Graya'at area of northern Baghdad. There, the soldiers live and work in the city 24 hours a day. Their sector has been so thoroughly cleared of insurgents that they haven't suffered a single casualty this year.
Dead Eyes -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
It wasn't a good night to have a new LT on patrol. Our LT was was out with us, of course- the new guy would be leading the platoon coming to replace us. We were on a mission that could easily turn bad- as it happened, everyones night but ours was bad. We waited around at a Combat Outpost for hours for our Marine attachments to resolve some equiqment issues, cleared our route, and went home. One of our sister platoons ended up MEDIVACing two men on a helicopter after an IED strike, while another route clearance team out of Falluja was hit multiple times, and an EOD team hit a bomb that flipped a Cougar and sent two techs to the hospital.
Sadr calls for Mahdi Army ceasefire -- [The Fourth Rail]
Sadr denies role in Karbala fighting, orders Mahdi Army to stop all attacks, including against Coalition forces
Just one day after major clashes between Iraqi security forces and the Mahdi Army during a Shia religious celebration in Najaf, Muqtada al Sadr has ordered the Mahdi Army to halt all attacks in Iraq, including attacks against Coalition forces. The fighting in Najaf resulted in 52 killed and over 300 wounded, according to reports, and have harmed Sadr politically while placing him in the crosshairs of US and Iraqi forces.
1-28 Infantry: The Black Lions -- [Notes from Downrange - in Iraq]
...I was expecting to finish up my trip with a few days in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniya, but because the U.S. presence in the Kurdish north is so small, transport turned out to be too difficult. I didn't really have a fallback plan, either. Luckily, late Saturday night, out of the blue, Gen. Petraeus saved the day by linking me up with Lt. Col. Frank, whom he had commanded in the 101st in 2003, so early Sunday morning, the colonel and his security squad picked me up at the absurdly luxurious al-Rasheed hotel in the IZ and brought me back with them to their AO, in southwest Baghdad.
*20th Flight* -- [Me Over There - in Iraq]
Very, very busy day yesterday. Started with 2 soldiers in full arrest on arrival, one was able to be revived. He was my flight, and this was by far my most critical patient to date. I'm proud to say he was in as good a condition, if not better, at the end of the flight compared to the beginning. Our staff invested a lot of themselves into this patient, and all were relieved to know he made it to the next level.
Several other groups of patients came in throughout the day. All turned out ok, but made for a constantly busy day, from beginning to end.
I’m Trying To Sleep, MuthaFucka! -- [From an Anthropological Perspective - in Iraq]
...What is this place, County lockup? I think not. And if that is the interaction given my soldier, a man willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect me, how is that contractor interacting with Iraqis at Camp Victory where he will work for the next six months? Might unprofessional behavior on the part of contractors feed resentment by Iraqis against Coalition Forces trying to bring stability to the country? I’ve heard soldiers call contractors some pretty negative things and I am beginning to understand their frustration and resentment. Contractors may at times be compounding problems in an exponentially complex environment.
There are many civilians and companies making a lot of money here in Iraq. There should at least be professionalism for the kind of money people are earning. The lack thereof is likely very costly in the long run in this Long War.
2am Call -- [White Rose's Adventure]
This is a call that I have received many times in the last year since I have been home from Iraq. A Soldier, or Civilian Contractor that has spent time in Iraq is having a hard time sleeping, driving, or just making it throught the day or night and needs someone to talk to that will understand. So I get the call. I don't always know what to say, but at the very least I can listen. Sometimes that is all they need. I know at times, that is all I need. To know that I am not alone, that there is someone out there that understands what I have seen and done, is enough at times to help me calm donw and go to sleep, or make that next mile.
American Forces Press Service: Hardly “The Weaker Sex” -- [ON Point]
Soldiers kept alert, but visibly struggled under the weight of dozens of pounds of battle gear. Throughout the sun-scorched day, all but two Soldiers limited their movement as much as possible. All but two could afford that luxury.
"Bolo" and "Collver" continuously walked up and down the lines of men. "Drink water," they repeated. "Are you feeling OK?" they asked. They were the two Soldiers charged with ensuring that each man stayed hydrated and returned safely to base. As usual, they were the mission's only dedicated medical personnel.
Bringing 'em back! (Part II) -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - in Iraq]
Just so you know I have been going in sequence with these as well. Those posts that I redid and put up with Bringing 'em Back! (Part I) were some of my very first, and right in chronological order come these posts. I believe these posts were some of the very posts that began the word being spread of my blog. These were the exciting, fun, scary and memorable days of my deployment. I hope yall enjoy them as much as I did.
Links to old posts:
The More Things Change... -- [Jake's Life - home from Iraq]
So far our days have consisted of scrubbing down weapons, taking a urine test, drawing blood, and lots and lots of sitting around. Oh yeah, and paper work. Want to know what it takes to go on leave after 7 months in Iraq? I’ll give you a hint, its more paper work than is needed to deploy to that same combat zone you are returning from. Want to go home? Request the time off. Gonna fly? Turn in your flight itinerary. Driving to the airport? Print off a street by street route that you will take, provide a mapquest printout of that same route, complete a vehicle inspection checklist, provide backup drivers, devise a ‘rest plan’ to ensure proper sleep prior to driving, write an essay on how you will mitigate the risks of driving yourself. Fill out ‘operational risk management’ forms to determine your level of individual risk. Under 25 years old? That’s a point. Single? That’s a point. Traveling further than 240 miles? Three points. Post deployment decompression time?? No points, as in not happening.
Generator operation and Villages choosing their own projects -- [A Year in Afghanistan]
...There was good news this week that a proposed project will now become reality. We've been working since December to give grants to Afghan NGOs. They would go to villages and consult with the local people to choose a small project that is important to them. Then the NGOs would work with the villagers to build it. Last week, after 8 months of working toward this, the grants were finally signed. Projects that will start soon include a gravel road, a security/privacy wall around a school, and a flood mitigation wall.
Update from the Edge of the Edge -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Afghanistan]
There was a big dustup in southern Afghanistan earlier. No word on coalition casualties yet, but at least a hundred Taliban KIA. Right across the border from where the Frontier Forces were firing H&Is the other night.
The strategy of find 'em, flush 'em and fight 'em seems to be working so far.
Wanted Taliban leader killed in raid -- [Rantburg]
A wanted Taliban insurgent leader in Afghanistan, Mullah Brother, was killed on Thursday in a U.S.-led raid in the southern province of Helmand, the Afghan Defence Ministry said, citing ground commanders.
Brother served as a top military commander for the Taliban government until its removal from power in 2001 and was a member of the movement's leadership council led by its fugitive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
RAF AFGHAN DIARIES: SPECIAL FEATURE: New Mates
U.S. COUNTERNARCOTICS STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN -- [US State Dept]
...changing trends in poppy cultivation and trafficking, the security situation, the political climate, and economic development require significant and, in some cases, dramatic changes in the way Afghanistan and the international community implement the counternarcotics strategy.
For example, while there appears to be a trend of reduced poppy cultivation in the northern half of Afghanistan that could make it close to poppy-free by 2009, poppy cultivation in Helmand and the rest of southern Afghanistan is increasing at a rate that more than offsets the successes in the north. Although Governor Led Eradication (GLE) figures are greater this year than they were last year, political obstacles have closed the door on opportunities for much greater success in eradication.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan
Hamas Co-Founder Mahmoud Zahar Warns of World War IV -- [Gateway Pundit]
Charles Levinson, blogger and journalist at Conflict Blogger, recently interviewed deposed Hamas foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar. The Hamas official says that Islamic rule will dominate the Arab World and warns about war with the West.
The interview is now posted at Conflict Blogger:
Yassin Qadi and the Failure of UN/US Sanctions -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal (available by subscription only) carried an important story on Yassin Qadi, the designated terrorist financier, and his ongoing ability to end-run the international sanctions by investing in Turkey.
Qadi, who denies any ties to funding al Qaeda, has, according to reporting by Glenn Simpson, used his close friendship with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other founders of the Islamist party, the Justice Development party, for protection and access.
Understanding and Disrupting Terrorist Financing: Funding Capacity -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
This is the third in a series of five articles. In order to disrupt terrorist financing, there must be a more comprehensive understanding of the multi-dimensional elements involved in the funding process. The first article in this series provided an overview of four components that must be included in training in order to establish a framework for understanding the complexity of terrorist financing. Each of the subsequent articles focuses on one of the four components, which include:
The Bad, the Good and the Ugly--UPDATED -- [Fuzzilicious Thinking]
...UPDATE (8/30/07, 8:15 a.m.): Labeling Talking with Heroes a spamblog was obviously a lame attempt to suppress it. But it more than just failed to suppress us... Two days ago (prior to the Google/Blogger attention that resulted from a Blogger human verifying we weren't a spamblog) we had 12 visitors, after a one-day maximum of about 200 since we started. In the first eight hours today we've had over 2,000 (after 1300+ yesterday), and are popping up on sidebars in everything from comic fanblogs to mommyblogs to typical vanity blogs. I think the plan backfired... :D
Woman collects school supplies for Iraqi children -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Woman collects school supplies for Iraqi childrenThursday, August 30, 2007By Chris Pagano ~ Southeast Missourian
When Cindy Raines of Cape Girardeau adopted a soldier through the My Soldier program at Manhattanville College in New York, she simply typed in "troop support" on an Internet search and found that for a $10 donation she could receive the address of a soldier plus a commemorative bracelet. Two years later, she is requesting donations for notebooks, pencils, pens, scissors, glue, folders and filler paper -- basic school supplies -- for schoolchildren in Ramadi, Iraq.
Calling all Marines! -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
My good friend, Capt. Tammy Megow-Jones, with the Marine Corps Officer Selection office in Syracuse, N.Y. e-mails me with a request:
Vote here to help immortalize as an American cultural icon the famous recruiting slogan — THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARINES — as a "Best Slogan" for the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame sponsored by Yahoo! in partnership with USA Today.
Vote here now.
Yet Another Improved Protective Vest -- [Strategy Page]
August 29, 2007: The U.S. Army is equipping its infantry with a new protective vest. This one covers a bit more, is more streamlined, distributes its weight more effectively, is ten percent lighter and has a quick release system. The new vest also comes in more sizes, which is welcome news to female soldiers, who appreciate more smaller sizes. There are a lot of small improvements, like more attachment points for gear, and a better camouflage pattern.
Will a U.N. Navy Defend America? -- [Accuracy in Media]
The Senate will vote in September whether to join the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the most comprehensive and potentially dangerous treaty ever devised.
Back home and on the road again! -- [Air Force EWO - home from Iraq]
Well, I finally made it home from Baghdad! I arrived in Shreveport at 10:00 pm on the 15th of August. Of course, Cindy was there to meet me. It was a great reunion after being gone for 7 months. It's a great feeling to be back home. I'll always remember my time in Iraq; the people I worked with, and of course the war, but I love being home again.
Clinton donor wanted by FBI in scheme to funnel money -- [Rantburg]
A Pakistani immigrant who hosted fundraisers in Southern California for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is being sought by the FBI on charges that he funneled illegal contributions to Clinton's political action committee and Sen. Barbara Boxer's 2004 reelection campaign. Authorities say Northridge businessman Abdul Rehman Jinnah, 56, fled the country after an indictment accused him of engineering more than $50,000 in illegal donations to the Democratic committees. A business associate charged as a co-conspirator has entered a guilty plea and is scheduled to be sentenced in Los Angeles next week.
My contribution to the war effort ... -- [The Landlocked Sailor - in Iraq]
... Apparently is my blog ... no, seriously. I was teaching the new class of JCCS-1 guys this morning and received comments on my blog!
...My class usually runs about 45 minutes (more if they ask a lot of questions), today ran almost an hour. When we finished, we put the students on a break and I went into the hall to chat with some of them. One of the students, an ex-A-6 Intruder BN, callsign: Pearl, walked up to me and asked a few questions about life on Camp Victory. We chatted for a few minutes, and he stopped me saying, "By the way, great blog!" I was shocked that he knew who "The Landlocked Sailor's" secret identity was - he reminded me that my callsign is on the title slide of my class, and asked, "How many dudes named "Grease" are in Iraq?" ... Good point. He went on to say that the class agreed that one of the best sources of information for folks coming over here on IA's are the blogs! I guess I never thought of it that way, I thought of this venture as a way to share some of my life's daily experiences with family and friends back home. Then I thought about how many folks have visited T.L.S. during my time here (approaching 5,000 - many of those are repeat hits, but the sheer number of hits indicates a ton of new guests.
We've got a reporter from Stars and Stripes with us for a few days. -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
Such simple words from Phillips, but what a story.
The story of our warriors and the treatment they receive at FOB Salerno Hospital is nothing new to anyone at Richard's Deployment to Afghanistan. Afghan Nationals receiving the same great treatment, and the their gratitude, again is nothing new to the reader's of Phillips' blog.
Surprise! Another Anonymous Leak Damages US War Efforts -- [Gateway Pundit]
Genocide Be Damned! It's all about bringing down the Bush regime...
Another day- Another liberal in government leaks classified information to the Bush-hating media.
The AP has today's leak to damage the US war efforts:
...The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been made public, also said the administration is preparing a case to play down the findings, arguing that Congress ordered the GAO to use unfair, "all or nothing" standards when compiling the document.
More Big Picturing -- [Protein Wisdom]
An addendum to Karl’s post, courtesy Major General James E. Simmons, Deputy Commanding General for Support of Multi-National Forces, Iraq, [JS] who was yesterday interviewed by Hugh Hewitt [HH]. Here’s what he has to say about conditions in Basra, which we’ve been told by the mainstream press has been overtaken by radicals in the vacuum left behind by a British force withdrawal:
AP: Scolds Military for Not Using Non-Existent 'Ray Gun' in Iraq -- [NewsBusters]
This one makes you want to say, "Captain Kirk to the Starship AP. Beam us up, there's no intelligent life in the AP News Room." on August 29th, the AP published a story scolding the U.S. Military for refusing to use a non-lethal "ray gun" to control crowds in Iraq and they quote a few military sources who claim they issued an "urgent request" for the system. It takes over half the story before the reader is finally told that this system is still experimental and that this "ray gun" has never been put into production, so "urgent requests" or no, the Pentagon couldn't ship the weapon even if it wanted to because it doesn't really even exist in a field ready state. And, even as the AP admits this, the fact that this weapon doesn't really exist is never developed well enough in the story for a casual reader to easily grasp this fact. The net effect of the story causes a reader to imagine we have a warehouse filled with these life saving, non-lethal weapons and that the Pentagon refuses to release them to desperate commanders in Iraq.
Gen. Petraeus' Pivotal Report -- [Austin Bay]
Perhaps we are entering new historical terrain, where the commanding general's pivotal strategic gambit is a media event.
And media event it is. With its certain long-term global import and short-term political impact, Petraeus' report meets a hustling television exec's primal requirement: drama.
When the spotlight strikes his face and he begins to speak, we will witness drama in large letters.
No one, however, should confuse the general's appearance with entertainment.
...Petraeus' pivotal moment is the rare opportunity to correct what media analysts call "the dominant narrative."
That dominant narrative has been defeat. Defeat has been a useful narrative to that large percentage in the political class who are mere politicians, not statesmen.
Breaking The Cycle -- [Strategy Page]
August 29, 2007: The Western media has generally ignored what is really going on in Iraq. Rather than see what Iraqis, and U.S. troops are actually dealing with, an attempt by the Sunni Arab minority to win back power via a terror campaign, Western journalists and politicians ran with the "Western imperialism" angle. Very 19th century, but an illusion that even many Moslems in the region quickly discarded. The thousands of dead Moslems, victims of Islamic terrorists, horrified those closest to the carnage. Also getting little attention from the media was the dynamics of how Sunni Arab neighbors of Iraq (mainly Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) provided varying degrees of support for the terrorists. That support is waning, now that it's clear how reviled the terrorists are. Al Qaeda went to war in Iraq, and lost. Ask any Iraqi, or American soldier there. But that's not news back home.
Wall Street Journal Lies About Sea Treaty -- [Accuracy in Media]
This article, unfortunately, is typical of the liberal media treatment of the issue. It reflects everything that is wrong with the media today, including bias and laziness. King offers no facts about where the treaty came from. For example, how many people know that one of the brains behind the treaty was a Harvard Law Professor, Louis Sohn, who believed in world government? And that Sohn favored a world government with hundreds of thousands of troops, nuclear weapons, and military bases around the world? And that Sohn was a major influence on the current Yale Law School Dean who could become President Hillary Clinton's first nomination to the Supreme Court?
Hillary: Sending Katie Couric to Iraq ‘Too Little, Too Late -- [ScrappleFace]
Hillary Clinton, D-NY, today said that the decision by CBS to send Evening News anchor Katie Couric to Baghdad, Iraq, was a “desperate move” that she called “too little, too late.” “When what you’re doing isn’t working, you need to cut ...
(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.
The Ghosts of Anbar, Part II of IV -- [Michael Yon - journalist in Iraq]
Through the window, clearly
Over the past several years, while working into a strategic fatigue, our military has made an amazing transformation in how it conducts this war. Gone, for instance, are heavy-handed tactics, replaced by multi-dimensional counterinsurgency strategy rolled out simultaneously with targeted kinetic battles, like those recently with the 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Baqubah.
Arrowhead Ripper was merely the latest experience that underlines the Army’s rapidly-growing expertise. Yet the Marines have adapted faster and seem poised to win the war in their battle space. In fact, it’s been Army officers who have told me repeatedly over the past several years that nobody is successfully morphing to meet this war faster than the Marines.
The Future of Iraq -- [Micahel Totten - journalist in Iraq]
MUSHADAH, IRAQ – “Al Qaeda terrifies locals,” said Major Mike Garcia from Canyon, Texas, before he put me in a convoy of Humvees with 18 American Military Police on their way to the small town of Mushadah just north of Baghdad. “The only people Iraqis may be more afraid of is their mothers. When we arrest or detain people and threaten to call up their mom, they completely freak out. Please, no, don’t tell my mother they say. Women are quiet outside the house, but they severely smack down their bad kids inside the house. When your Iraqi mother tells you to knock something off, you knock it off.”
The American military has slowly figured out how to leverage Iraq’s culture to its advantage, but it only works to an extent.
Operation Phantom Strike -- [Weekly Standard]
On August 15, several hours after night fell over Baghdad, an air assault squadron of the 3rd Infantry Division launched the first attack of Operation Marne Husky. A dozen darkened transport and attack helicopters took off and headed south along the Tigris River, carrying a full company of infantry--about 120 young riflemen with night goggles and weapons loaded. Their objective was a hamlet several dozen miles away. At about 11 P.M., the force landed and rapidly surrounded several small structures. The occupants were taken by surprise. Five suspected insurgents were captured. By 4 A.M., the entire team was airborne again.
Every night since then similar scenes have unfolded at dozens of locations in and around Baghdad--all part of a larger operation named Phantom Strike. The attacks involve units of all sizes and configurations, coming in by air and land. In some cases, the units get out quickly. In others, they pitch tents for an extended stay. The idea is to keep the enemy--al Qaeda and its affiliates--on the defense and constantly guessing, thereby turning formerly "safe" insurgent areas into areas of prohibitive risk for them.
Iraq Briefing 26 August 2007
Iraqi and Coalition forces capture a suspected distributor of Iranian weapons -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi and Coalition forces captured a highly-sought weapons facilitator before dawn Tuesday in Baghdad.
Iraqi and Coalition Forces conducted a raid to capture a suspected weapons distributor connected to the Special Groups network. The suspected senior weapons facilitator is responsible for distributing weapons and other forms of lethal aide smuggled from Iran into Iraq. The individual is also suspected of distributing explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs. The weapons distributor is also suspected of having direct ties to other senior commanders in militias operating in and around Baghdad.
Iraqi citizens escape makeshift prison, CF find remains -- [MNF-I]
TAJI, Iraq – Seven Iraqi citizens made their way to a Coalition patrol base near Khan Bani Sa’ad Saturday, after escaping a makeshift prison.
Attack helicopters patrolling the area earlier in the morning observed three armed individuals moving in a tactical formation through a ditch in the area. After positively identifying the individuals as hostile enemy forces, the helicopter fired on their position, killing all three.
The escapees identified the remains of the three individuals as their captors and led Coalition ground forces to the location of the makeshift prison.
Kidnap Victim Rescued by US Army in Baghdad (((A MUST WATCH)))
The "General" Public -- [Matt Sanchez - journalist in Iraq]
There should be no doubt, the so-called surge is working, but, in September, I am afraid General Petraeus will downplay the positive effect for fear of appearing too partisan. It is sad that in today's society and political environment it is unacceptable for a general to be…well, a general. Even worse is an ambivalent public afraid to root for their own team.
"Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it."
Projected ISF Five Year Plan (end-2012) -- [The Fourth Rail]
...What follows is heavy on speculation, estimation, and extrapolations. If sixty percent proves accurate, I will consider it good. It is based on already formed and planned ISF elements, US standard organization, and extrapolation of the planned Table of Organization and Equipment (TO/E). What I have done is take the apparent framework inferred by the current organization and filled in the missing pieces in a standard TO/E. All hard data is in italics.
A Fractured Country -- [ON Point]
Today’s Feature is different. Instead of our usual article, today we’ve taken two articles about our troops, one covering the Marines in Fallujah, and the other written by five soldiers who were stationed in Baghdad, as an example of what is happening in Iraq.
In Fallujah, and throughout Anbar Province, the Sunni’s have joined up with the Marines in rejecting the Al-quada – insurgent philosophy of terror. As reported in ON POINT and other major news organizations, The Marines and the Sunni’s are actively working together to drive out the terrorists and rebuild their cities and their province into a workable, livable environment.
In Baghdad, however, and the other Shia-centric parts of Iraq, they are still struggling for power internally, still wrapped-up in their religious fervor, and therefore their cities are still in turmoil. Those are the areas from where we hear about the horrific truck bombings and suicide attacks.
But when one looks at the successes and advances being achieved every day by the Marines – with enthusiastic Sunni co-operation, as opposed to the daily Iraqi body count coming out of the rest of Iraq, it is no wonder that stalwart GOP leaders like Sen John Warner are saying that Prime Minister Maleki and his government are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Like General David Petraeus says, it’s their country, and they have to want to take control of it.
Night Shift in Iraq"... -- [Jim Spiri - journalist in Iraq]
"Jim, it's important that you keep up with us when we
dismount and go over the wall. You got that?"
"Roger that sir", I replied.
These are the words that SSgt Mansapit had told me prior to embarking on last nights mission. I've not ever had trouble keeping up the pace. Seems I thrive on the endurance part. However, what was going through my mind from that point on until we arrived at the objective was, the wall. "Oh great", I thought to myself. " I forgot my big res "S" and my cape, you know, the one Clark Kent always keeps handy when he runs into a phone booth to save the day from what ever Jimmy Olson got him into. For the next twenty minutes or so, I went over and over in my head how to scale a wall and not get hurt.
The attack of the demon dog... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - in Iraq]
The story of these two dogs would not exist without the story of one dog. That probably makes no sense right now, but I will explain, trust me. I might have mentioned it before, but we have a dog that stays at our combat outpost. A few months ago my old squad was out on patrol at night and this cute little black and white puppy began following them. They didn't pay much attention to it at first, but he kept following them and, well, he was just so damn cute. They brought him back that night. I was on guard shift and happen to be sitting on the desk inside when they brought the little guy in.
...OK, so now that I've told you about Charlie, let me tell you about this demon dog.
Taliban Believe They Are Winning -- [Strategy Page]
August 28, 2007: It's mostly about money, mainly the money coming from growing poppy plants, turning it into opium and heroin, and smuggling most of the drugs out of the country, for sale in the Persian Gulf, India, Europe and North America. The Taliban get all the publicity, but the drug gangs have all the power. It's the drug gangs that pose the most serious threat to the government. The Taliban are largely ineffective in their attacks on the security forces and government officials. The drug gangs don't want to kill these people, but to make them rich.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan Aug 28, 2007
Breaking: Korean Hostage Deal Done -- [Pat Dollard]
Both the Taliban and the Korean government have announced that a deal has been done for the release of the 19 remaining hostages. Sources indicate that they finally settled on a dollar amount for the ransom.
Koreans Bow to Taliban Demands, Hostages to Go Free -- [Jawa Report]
It is also a major supplier of law enforcement ammunition under Federal Premium, Speer Gold Dot, Lawman, and CCI Blazer brands. The law enforcement ammunition is made in plants in Idaho and Minnesota that are completely separate for their military operations at Lake City. These production lines do not, as the AP falsely states, use the same equipment used to manufacture military ammunition
China Invades Germany and Gets Caught -- [Strategy Page]
August 28, 2007: Chinese Cyber War operatives have, over the last three months, hacked into the computer networks of several German government ministries (Foreign, Economics and Research), as well as the office of the Chancellor ( Angela Merkel, the head of the government). Some 160 gigabytes of data was moved to computers in northern China. This revelation was leaked to the media while the Chancellor was in China, to discuss trade matters, and demand that China do more to stop the theft of German intellectual property.
The Drug-Terrorist Connection -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
There is much written on terrorist financing and possible sources of radical Islamist financing. We write about the Saudis (true), commodities (true) and many other parts of the puzzle. But, as the latest U.N. assessment from Afghanistan shows, one of the biggest sources of revenue now available to at least some parts of the Islamist forces is from heroin production and trafficking.
Afghanistan has set a new record on
Bang Your Head... -- [MilBlogs - Andi]
airforcewife and I recently interviewed Drowning Pool about their support for our troops. Drowning Pool is part of the USO entertainment circuit. They played in Baghdad on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and are currently working on putting together another USO tour, which they hope will take them to Afghanistan and Iraq, and they will soon be visiting troops at Walter Reed.
Before the show, my husband were able to meet and chat with the band, and they could not have been more gracious to us. Ryan McCombs told us that his trip to Iraq "changed him forever.
While the meet-and-greet was wonderful, I was shocked, pleasantly shocked, at what happened during the concert....
Support our Troops Rally in Indianapolos, IN
Home -- [Jake's Life - home from Iraq]
I am happy to say that as I am writing this I am not in Iraq, I am not in Kuwait, I am not holding my rifle, I am not wearing cammies, I'm actually not even sweating. I am sitting at a kitchen counter in Palm Springs, CA. I just got done swimming, grilling and eating, and I enjoyed EVERY SINGLE SECOND of it.
The flight home was long, but the reward at the end was perfect. Stepping off the bus, I couldn't find my family in the crowd at first. After pathetically wandering around looking like a lost puppy for about a minute my mom finally found me.
It's Not Combat That Will Kill You -- [Strategy Page]
August 27, 2007: The military has made enormous progress in reducing the number of fatal accidents the troops are subject to. So much so that the death rate in the military, even with combat casualties, is lower now than it was in the 1990s. The Department of Defense Medical Mortality Registry shows that, even now, combat deaths make up a minority of deaths in the military. Unlike World War II, where combat deaths out numbered non-combat deaths three to one, better training, weapons and equipment have greatly reduced the combat death rate. The big danger now is accidents and disease.
More fixed-wing love -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
This is a time lapsed photo of an AC-130 gunship firing its guns and cannons while flying a circular pattern over Afghanistan. Every fifth round is a tracer, so you can imagine how many are raining down on the enemy. You do not want to be under this.
Computer Games Helps Troops Cope.
Military commanders are turning to an unusual aid to help soldiers trying to recover from the stress of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sen. Kerry permits last statute of limitations for defamation to lapse, forever barring any defamation claim against SwiftVet authors O'Neill and Corsi -- [BeldarBlog - HT: The One and Only]
When I first brought it to his attention in September 2005, I reminded Sen. John F. Kerry that — based on the publication date on or about August 25, 2004, of Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi — Sen. Kerry had already allowed the one-year statutes of limitations for defamation to expire in Texas (where Mr. O'Neill resides), New Jersey (where Dr. Corsi resides), and the District of Columbia (where their publisher Regnery Publishing, Inc. has its principal place of business and Sen. Kerry has his own regular place of business).
Democrats Reject Earlier Arguments on Iraq -- [Weekly Standard]
Democrats and war opponents have for months argued for a withdrawal from Iraq, partly on the grounds that neither the people of Iraq nor its government would seriously attempt reconciliation so long as the U.S. commitment there seemed open-ended. Some Democrats went so far as to say that by insisting on a date-certain for withdrawal, they were helping the administration by playing 'bad cop' to President Bush's 'good cop.' If the Iraqis believed that Congress might really force a withdrawal, the argument went, they would press for reconciliation with more urgency.
Huffington Post ups Iraqi deaths past 1 million -- [Michael Fumento]
As of August 14th, 1,019,627 Iraqis "have been killed due to the U.S. invasion" according to Robert Naiman in a blog at the Huffington Post. His methodology, however, as you might guess, is a bit wanting.
He starts with a 2006 Lancet study that he says calculates 600,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the war as of July, 2006. (Actually, the study said 655,000 but then you can't expect Naiman to read actual studies or even their abstracts or conclusions.) He then updates that figure to the present by taking the estimated death figure at the website of an anti-war group called Iraqi Body Count at that time, the estimated figure now, and applying the percentage increase to 600,000. Comments on his blog express disbelief that the mainstream media has ignored this ingenious work and the horrifying conclusion - but there just may be a reason:
HuffPo: Don't Impeach Bush, Court-Martial Him -- [Weekly Standard]
A truly special example of left wing idiocy popped up over the weekend. It came from the Huffington Post (where else), which allowed "humorist" Martin Lewis space to request that General Pace arrest the commander-in-chief for conduct unbecoming.
Blogging the War -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...Both soldiers write their blogs aware of the fine line they walk with their postings. Coulson and Alanko have not experienced any Army censorship over their articles, but they make sure not to violate any security concerns in the course of their blogging.
“The bottom line is I don’t want to be writing anything that’s going to put myself or another American in danger,” said Alanko. “It’s kind of a trust system, where I’ve never violated that trust so they don’t feel that I need constant inspection to keep me in line.”
He continued, “There’s been a number of times where I’ve wanted to write about something that’s skirting the edge a little bit, that might be a little bit controversial, and in those instances I’ve gone to my chain of command and said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m thinking about, do you see a problem with this?’ And it’s all been stuff that I’ve ended up posting,” said Alanko.
Capt. Coulson said, “As a military blogger, even though I’m an independent voice, I am still an Army officer and I am that first, so I have responsibilities over the content of my blog.”
A letter to the Denver Post -- [THE DRUM and CANNON]
Denver Post cartoonist Mike Keefe set a new record for tastelessness, disrespect, and crudity in his "chickenhawk" cartoon on 8/28. He owes all veterans of the Vietnam War, especially the 50,000 plus who paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives, a serious apology for suggesting that it was they who "cut and run" from the war. Even Keefe must know that it was our spineless politicians and media-types, not our brave soldiers, who brought about the fall of South Vietnam. Better than an apology, Mr. Keefe should be given the opportunity to "pursue new career interests". By retaining him, the Denver Post becomes a willing accomplice in expressing disrespect and dishonor for those brave men and women who died giving their lives for their country.
MSNBC, CNBC Refuse to Run Pro-War Ads -- [Power line]
We wrote here about the television commercials that Freedom's Watch has produced, featuring veterans and their families, that urge Congress and the public to continue supporting the Iraq war. The commercials are well done, and convey the simple message that the Iraq war is important and winnable, and that we should allow our troops to see the mission through. The ads are appearing in the context of a blizzard of anti-war ads by left-wing groups, intended to pressure Senators and Congressmen into pulling the plug on the Iraq effort.
Freedom's Watch has placed its ads on Fox and CNN, but CNBC and MSNBC have refused to run the ads. Ari Fleischer wrote this morning on behalf of Freedom's Watch to let us know that CNBC and MSNBC have stubbornly refused to air the pro-war ads, even though they have run issue ads on other controversial topics. Freedom's Watch has written to CNBC and MSNBC to protest their decision; here is the text of that letter:
Bad Reporting After Bad
We've been over--and debunked--this story before:
Not only is the Washington Post running a story debunked a week before it was written, it is featuring it on the homepage.
Commenters are already shredding it, and linking to both my previous debunking and the one I recycled last night.
Was Howard Kurtz completely asleep at the wheel here?
What a trainwreck...
How A Biased Press Distorts History -- [Villainous Company]
Here's an interesting mental exercise. Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Now think of three words:
Decorated. War. Hero.
Write down - quickly - don't overthink this, the very first three names that come into your mind, regardless of your reaction to them. Whose names appeared on that little slip of paper?
The Red Cross Ambulance Incident -- [Zombie Time - HT: TigerHawk]
How the Media Legitimized an Anti-Israel Hoax and Changed the Course of a War
Of all the exposés and scandals surrounding the media's coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon, The Red Cross Ambulance Incident stands out as the most serious. The other exposés were spectacular in their simplicity (photographers staging scenes, clumsy attempts at Photoshopping images), but often concerned fairly trivial details. What does it matter whether there was a big cloud of smoke over Beirut, or a really big cloud of smoke, as one notorious doctored photograph showed? The fact that the media was lying was indeed extremely important, and justified the publicity surrounding the exposés -- but what they were lying about was often minor, a slight fudging of the visuals to exaggerate the damage.
Iraqis Reach Accomodation - US Press Misses Story -- [NewsBusters]
Has the US media turned a completely deaf ear to actual events in favor of a warped view on what they wish to occur in Iraq? It would seem so. Ever since it became apparent that the miltiary 'surge' strategy was succeeding in Iraq, both the media and the Democratic Party have been complaining that the poltiical benchmarks in Iraq were not being met. in particular, they castigated the Iraq civilian leadership for failing to make strides in rteaching out to the minority Sunnis and releasing political prisoners.
'Ever Upbeat' Bush Deluded in His Iraq War Optimism, Says NYT -- [NewsBusters]
Reporter Steven Lee Myers's "White House Memo" for Monday's New York Times, "A Familiar Strategy to Help Stay the Course," portrayed the president as deluded in his Iraq optimism and chiding him for not acknowledging anti-war sentiment.
On the ISNA Conference and the DOJ -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
As Jeffrey Imm points out, Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times has reported that "[t]he Justice Department is co-sponsoring a convention held by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) -- an unindicted co-conspirator in an ongoing federal terrorist funding case." Unfortunately, this article overstates the DOJ's involvement in the ISNA conference and offers objections to DOJ participation that seem inaccurate.
Both the headline and opening paragraph of the article state that the Justice Department is co-sponsoring the 2007 ISNA convention,
Gonzales Quits, Bush Appoints Rove Attorney General -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-27) — Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales submitted his letter of resignation over the weekend to President George Bush, who today announced he’ll fill the post with departing White House adviser Karl Rove.
The president said he selected Mr. Rove because “he meets the major qualification for the job by being one of the few unemployed, longterm Bush cronies available at the moment.”
(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.
View from the Tunnel -- [MilBlogs - Greyhawk - in Iraq]
This NY Times Op/Ed from a group of 82d Airborne NCOs is well written, thought provoking, and worthy of more than a quick read. While I disagree with many of their conclusions, the facts they present in support are indeed fact. The authors are clearly well-informed from personal observation and external sources, but in most cases the therefore that follows many of those facts is where we part company.
We are indeed working to straighten out a hell of a mess in Baghdad, and any number of things can foil our objectives. In fact, failure is easier and quicker than success, our failure can bring success to others (is, in fact, prerequisite to their success as they currently envision it) and
"Vision" - [MilBlogs - Greyhawk - in Iraq]
For viewpoints decidedly different from the links I included in my previous entry on this topic, see Paul Rieckhoff, Andrew Sullivan, Think Progress, and ...
There are two basic concepts being touted on the left:
This completely refutes a recent optimistic analysis of the war by Brookings Institute scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack because they were only there for 10 days while the GIs have been there for over a year.
Too hot for the Times: Vets for Freedom respond to soldiers’ anti-war NYT op-ed -- [Hot Air]
VFF agrees with the NYT soldiers that political reconciliation won’t happen until conditions on the ground make it possible. Where they disagree is how best to get to those conditions: the NYT seven hint that we should side with the Shiites and let them do what they have to do. VFF appears to think U.S. troops can defeat the radicals on both sides, which is a hard argument to be making this morning in light of the news about Pace allegedly wanting (or rather, needing) to cut troop levels in half next year:
NIE's Key Judgement -- [Outside the Wire]
As I and many have noted, the speed of battlefield has outpaced distinguished professors published in Foreign Affairs and much commentariat.
This NIE is catching up to conditions on the ground that were developing months ago.
But they Key Judgment is made on the last page:
"We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI from establishing a safehaven would erode security gains achieved thus far.
Pace advises troop cuts -- [Q and O]
Given the way this is written I'm not sure there will be a clash. Most of what I've read says the Surge will continue through April of 2008. LTG Ray Odierno, 2nd in command and the day-to-day commander of Operation Phantom Thunder has said previously that if trends continue it is possible some troops may be withdrawn by the end of the year.
I would guess Petraeus is well aware of the strain a deployment of this size puts on the military and is planning for withdrawals during 2008. I'd also guess that politically that will be an attractive thing at the time for Republicans.
"Report Cites Grave Concerns on Iraq's Government" (UPDATED) -- [INDC Journal]
As this is a story based on a leaker's analysis of a forthcoming report, and not a direct analysis of the report (nor is it the report itself), apply grains of salt to taste:
Iraqi council makes strides in community -- [MNF-I]
Qaisi said the council is striving to unite the community and bring stability to Iraq. There are approximately 150 sheiks currently involved in the council. Qaisi brought three with him for support.
“All three sheiks here and the leaders of the support council along with all the other members of this support council are working very closely with the local government,” Qaisi said. “And they're working very close to stabilize the security along with accomplishing the national reconciliation with central government.”
When are we going to admit that Iran is at war with a sovereign Iraq - as well as with America? -- [Redstate]
“A Public Affairs officer within Multinational Force-Iraq privately expressed his concern to me that the media were spiking or deliberately misrepresenting reports made by the military about Iranian involvement”
Sworn to protect: Volunteers begin service to Iraq -- [MNF-I]
ABU GHRAIB — “I promise to give my allegiance and my service to the nation and people of Iraq,” the middle-aged men said in unison.
“I promise to cooperate in order to serve the Iraqi people and build a new Iraqi nation,” they continued with their hands stacked one over the other on top of a copy of the Quran.
“I will support and defend the Iraqi government and the people of Iraq against other organizations. For these reasons I sign below,” the men concluded, subsequently signing a card with the oath they had just sworn to uphold with God and one another as witnesses.
Anbar's newest Policemen
8/23/07 - HABBANIYAH, Iraq -- Men recruited within the Anbar Province become first to graduate from the Police Training Center in Habbaniyah.
Security and Justice Projects Helping Secure Iraq -- [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Thirty two court facilities are complete as well as 93 fire stations with still more security and justice projects anticipated to come on line soon, according to officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division (GRD). Correctional facilities, training academies, witness protection facilities and secure document
storage sites are on the way also.
The Future of Iraq -- [Assad Baghdad - in Iraq]
I took these pictures today while on a mission in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad -- north of the Green Zone, on the east bank of the Tigris. We dismounted our vehicles and had to walk several blocks to access the civil courthouse, where we were to meet the judge and talk with lawyers practicing at the court. Adhamiya is the oldest part of Baghdad, and predominantly Sunni. This was our 7th attempt to visit this courthouse--previous efforts had been scrubbed due to security.
After we got back to the Green Zone this afternoon, I showed the pictures to an Iraqi national who works on our staff. Iraqis can sometimes (or most of the time!) be pretty dramatic, but what he shared with me is important, and so I thought I would share it with you.
Children around Fallujah -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
We have been receiving a few requests about children in the area. Recently, while at a meeting in the city, we ran across this little boy. He was curious, as many kids are, but when they want to sit and play with a Marine, you know that things are going well here.
Iraq Pictures - 23 August 2007 - [Iraq Pictures]
An Iraqi bank teller counts out Iraqi dinars at the bank in Baqubah, Iraq. About 35 billion dinars were transported from the Iraqi Central Bank in Baghdad, Iraq, to Baqubah, Iraq, by the Iraqi army, without the help of coalition forces, Aug. 22
New Glass -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Road trip from Camp Ramadi to Camp Falluja. Again. But this trip is different. Down Michigan, through Ar Ramadi, through Habbinyah, and through Al Falluja - in HUMVEES. Pathfinder 6 and I are escorting journalist Bill Schaefer to the Camp to meet with Team Badger Soldiers so he can give you his version of their story.
Iraq, Insurgents shooting at our Humvee get a big surprise from the air
Links - [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
Question from Dave Dilegge (Small Wars Journal):
"Yeah, if I could just follow up on one quick thing here. If you were, say, commandant for the day or CINC for the day, what one or two capabilities that you may not have or need more of would top your list?"
Answer from COL. Simcock:
"That's an easy question. And the commandant was just out here a couple weeks ago and I told him exactly what I wish I had more of. Engineers and route clearance. Those are the two capabilities. It's a lowdensity, high-demand type capability that we just -- we need more of out here. ... They do a great job for us, but I'm just -- I just don't have enough of them. "
I hear it's pretty much the same story everywhere. What's more (as you'll soon hear when I have the final details and time to write), my guys are some of the very best.
Disappointments -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
In an additional disappointment, the BN CO has apparently decided that a concussion isn't really a combat injury, and a Purple Heart is unwarranted in my case, the regs regarding enemy-fire-blast-induced injuries notwithstanding. I'm still mixed on my feelings about that. The headaches that are still lingering may be part of that. Eh, c'est la armee.
So now the leave countdown is kicked back to 41 days. I'm too tired right now to even think straight. But I'm sure the time really is getting longer as I go now.
Predator strike after IEDs planted on road
Taliban Leader's Strategic Name-Dropping -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
According to Stratfor (sub. req.):
Osama bin Laden is alive and actively involved in operations against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, top Taliban military commander Haji Mansour Dadullah said, according to the transcript of a video released Aug. 22. The statement offers a glimpse of the Taliban's leadership structure and probably was motivated more by a desire to confirm Dadullah's position than to provide an update on bin Laden's status.
In the transcript of the 12-minute video released yesterday, Dadullah (aka Mullah Bakht Mohammad) — the senior Taliban military commander for southern Afghanistan and the younger brother of former top Taliban military chief Mullah Dadullah — says bin Laden is "alive and well," and that he has given him (the younger Dadullah) his (bin Laden's) "blessing" to succeed older brother Mullah Dadullah, who was killed in action against U.S. and Afghan forces in Helmand Province three months ago.
Just Another Day at the FOB ... -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
... The media seems to highlight the disenchanted, unhappy Soldiers but in my experience they are in the minority. For me, sometimes I feel guilty for being happy here, for enjoying life on (and off) the FOB.
But for me, the best days on the FOB are actually off the FOB. Recently I had the opportunity to visit our local Provincial Hospital in the city of Khowst. I’ve been there often enough that it feels very familiar to me. We were visiting the hospital director and conducting some training. Our relationship with the Provincial Hospital is good, and getting better all the time.
US Marine's Encounters with Children in Afghanistan
A compilation of clips from 3/3 India company US Marines encountering children in afghanistan
The eastern Afghanistan offensive -- [The Fourth Rail]
Senior al Qaeda leader may have been wounded in the ongoing battle at Tora Bora
The battle at the Tora Bora mountains in Nangarhar province has completed its first week, the fighting has intensified as Afghan Army and US forces hunt Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who have infiltrated the region. Scores of Taliban and al Qaeda operatives are reported to have been captured after upwards of 50 terrorists were killed in the initial fighting. A senior al Qaeda leader was also reported to have been wounded in the attack.
News of Afghanistan - Edition 65 -- [Miserable Donuts]
Having seen it in 2005, I was surprised to see this dam has actually held up as well as it did to this point. I suspect the locals are right that a little cleaning isn't enough.
When I see fighting in the Tagab and "Taliban" in the same story, I get suspicious. The Tagab is the main smuggling route N/S from the Panjshir Province. Guns, Goods and Opiates. Note the quote is from the "crime branch chief".
Castles Still Have Their Uses... -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Pakistan]
Troops foil attack on Hangu fort
PESHAWAR (AFP): - Pro-Taliban militants attacked a paramilitary camp in northwestern Pakistan overnight in a clash that wounded a dozen soldiers, officials said Thursday.
One militant was killed in the hour-long shootout following the raid on the fort by more than a dozen heavily-armed men...[who] attacked with rockets, hand grenades, and Kalashnikov rifles, but were beaten off.
Attacking a castle, even when most of the inhabitants are asleep, is not a good idea.
"Qala-I-Bist" -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghansitan]
So in our area of operation (AO) happens to be some ruins of palaces from Alexander the Greatand many more conquerors that followed. There happens to be several smaller palaces along the Helmand River but the main one, Qala-I-Bist (castle at Bist), we recently visited. A few pics above. The palace was built in a huge rock mountain along the river a couple thousand years ago, or if my history it wrong, whenever the heck Alex the Great was hanging out in this area for vacation. So, at the top, used to be a much more. The surviving part is in the rock itself. You look down these huge shafts that are bricked about 200 feet down into the rock. It's absolutely amazing. When you look around, the basic people in this country can't build better than this, 2000 years later, albeit some western trained people can throw some construction up.
A Death in our Family -- [A*W*A*C]
I got an e-mail from Hamid today, with very sad news. For the last several months his family was supposedly working to get him engaged, as I mentioned back when I was still in Afghanistan. Well, recently he discovered that in fact, his mother had done nothing, and the girl’s family got tired of waiting, and now she is engaged to someone else. Although he has trouble writing in English, he had no trouble expressing his anguish at this betrayal. Now there is literally no one he can trust.
Finally, MSgt Gillespie, US Air Force, part of the team that replaced us in Afghanistan, was killed recently. Needless to say, this hits very close to home. Here is the press release from his home base, Luke AFB in Arizona:
Soldiers' Heroism and Charity in South Korea -- [Gazing at the Flag]
Meet PFC Russell McCanless Jr and PFC Reid Erickson. Stationed in South Korea, the two entered a building to check to see if anyone was in the apartment above a burning restaurant. They encountered an elderly woman who pleaded for them to help her daughter who was disabled. PFC Erickson assisted the mother and PFC McCanless carried the daughter to safety.
'They answered their call to duty," said Maj. Gen. James A Coggin, 2nd Infantry Division commander, during the award ceremony at Camp Red Cloud, Korea. "They put their lives on the line to help save the lives of others. Their personal courage proved to the world, proved to their fellow Soldiers and proved to themselves what being a Soldier is all about."
Defense Ministry Responds to Attempts to Give Away Korean Territory -- [GI Korea]
...It is unbelievable that the Unification Ministry is willing to give up sovereign Korean territory that ROK military personnel have lost their lives defending and the Unification Ministry didn’t even bother consulting the military about what the national security consequences of such actions would be. Than again these are the same people who treat these dead ROK military personnel as if they are criminals for defending their home land. If the Unification Ministry pushes on with changing the NLL, USFK may need to get involved because the DMZ and the NLL were established by the UN at the conclusion of the Korean War. It will be interesting to see if USFK will be willing to approve of such a change that would have national security consequences on the peninsula, especially when the ROK military does not agree with it.
Fearing the Law They Face -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
Congressional plans to outlaw material support for designated terrorist groups and their leaders in 1996 caused a stir for leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), evidence released Wednesday shows.
Muslims resent FBI's release of ferry passenger photos -- [Jihad Watch]
Seattle Muslims in a Full Court Victimization Press: "We need to get some type of apology from them and figure out how to get back to where we were." The FBI agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs and trying to protect people. Gomez is right: "people in those communities have to get over this sensitivity toward feeling victimized." And instead of resenting anti-terror efforts, some cooperation with them would be most welcome.
An update on this story.
Help Me Win a Harley, AND Honor a Fallen Hero!!!! -- [Yikes]
On Saturday, August 25, I will be participating in the first annual Mike Stokely Foundation "Ride to Remember," a fundraising event seeking to raise the funds necessary to establish a scholarship at Georgia Military College in the name of Sgt. Mike Stokely, who was killed in Iraq on August 16, 2005. In addition to raising money for a very worthy cause, which is plenty of motivation in and of itself, they are having a raffle: for every cumulative $250 donated in my name, I get a free raffle ticket for a chance to win the grand prize at the end of the day - a Harley!!!!! :-) (and I reeeeaaaaallllllyyyyyy wanna win that Harley, haha, since I'm currently bike-less and trapped in my old, falling-apart car!! Momma Kat needs new wheels, y'all!) Seriously, though: Motorcycle raffle or not, this is still a great cause: honoring one of our local fallen heroes, investing in the youth of this state and in America!! As much as I want that Harley (did I mention, I really, really, really would LUV to win it?! as would all the others who will be there, haha), what I want EVEN MORE is for this ride to be a huge success, and for the Mike Stokely Scholarship to be firmly established forever at Georgia Military College. That, my friends, is the deepest motivation for my blegging. :-)
Give 'em an inch… -- [View from the 8th Floor]
and they’ll go a mile.
That's my spin on that common catch phrase. To me, it perfectly describes many people who join Soldiers’ Angels. Show them what can be done, and they'll do five times as much as expected. Frankly, they amaze me.
Case in point. There is a new crowd of Angels out in Manassas, VA (about 30 miles west of DC). Through a corporate initiative, they were given a little encouragement and "space" (not funding) to do volunteer work, particularly in support of our men and women in uniform and their families. Different locations chose different ways to volunteer. The Manassas location chose to participate in Soldiers’ Angels programs. Part of the pitch for Soldiers’ Angels came from an employee, who just happens to be a mom, a veteran of OIF, AND a Soldiers’ Angel.
Mattis to Sharratt: Case Dismissed! -- [Eurphoric Reality]
Talk about good news coming in bunches!!! This is indeed great news. This is also proof that seemingly ordinary men who tirelessly seek the truth will be rewarded. One man that fits that description is Tim Harrington. Tim has worked so hard on digging out evidence of these men’s innocence that he’s become an ‘adopted’ member of these Marines’ families. Justice-loving people should thank Tim for his role in exposing the holes in the prosecution’s cases.
Gen. Mattis did the right thing in dropping the charges against LCpl. Justin Sharratt and Capt. Stone. I wish he’d just done it sooner.
There’s more than a few ‘down arrows’ to go around. One of them goes to Rep.
John Murtha. On May 17, 2006, Rep. Murtha declared that these Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” We now know that that’s been proven false beyond all doubt.
Here’s what we know from Capt. Dinsmore’s testimony:
Interview | The Daily Show - Lt. Col. John Nagl [HT:SWJ]
Finally! Combating the anti-victory crowd -- [WND]
A few months ago, the national media coverage of the war in Iraq was downright depressing for military families and their supporters.
News media coverage of Iraq was showcasing acts of violence on a nightly basis. Television commentators solemnly assured us that Iraq was a hopeless cause and was already consumed by a full-blown civil war. Anti-military protesters were waging constant protests here on the home front, throwing red paint at veterans' memorials and military recruitment centers.
But now things are changing in a big way.
"IED's, RGP, saf, and Comments"... -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...This mission was now over. We had made contact, found two IED's the hard way, an RPG was shot at us from somewhere, and lots of small arms fire was directed at us and other elements.
The bad guys area was found, again. This was the morning of August 24, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq.
By the early afternoon, we were back and I was having lunch in the chow hall. I sat near the television and listened to all the reports about Senator John Warner's comments that were all over the wires in the past 24-hours. I began to feel a bit frustrated.
Many times lately, I've seen the enemy evade and escape us. He is clever and knows the strategy of harassment. He gets caught eventually, through lots of hard work by us and many other elements working 24/7 to eliminate him. But I keep hearing this political wrangling about how and when to leave at every meal on the television in the chow hall.
I keep going back to things the President has said over the past five years about telegraphing our move to the enemy. At every place during my time in theatre, I'm constantly reminded about OPSEC, which stands for operational security. Now, I hear some of the most powerful players in our government, basically telegraphing our next move to the world audience.
SENATOR WARNER: PROTECT AMERICA, NOT GEORGE BUSH!
“Our troops have earned more time” -- [Michelle Malkin]
Democrat Rep. Brian Baird is one of the most liberal members of Congress. Last week, he made headlines and angered moonbats after returning from Iraq and concluding that precipitous withdrawal would be disastrous. Today, he has an op-ed in the Seattle Times elaborating on the need to stay and fight despite his initial opposition to the war:
The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.
As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future.
Hillary: Terror Attacks Help Republicans -- [NewsBusters]
In a new low of political promoting, Senator Hillary Clinton says that a new terror attack would help Republicans. The New York senator is reported by the New York Post online edition as saying,
"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,"
ABC News Paints Suspicious Men on Ferry as Victims of 'Ethnic Profiling' -- [NewsBusters]
Washington State authorities and the FBI on Monday released photos, taken by the captain of a Pugent Sound ferry, of two men that passengers and crew saw acting suspiciously -- taking photos of doorways, for instance -- but Thursday's Good Morning America seemed more concerned about “ethnic profiling” than identifying the potential terrorists who had been seen on up to a half-dozen ferries. “The case is raising concerns about security. But it's also raising concerns about possible ethnic profiling,” declared news reader Kate Snow. Reporter Neal Karlinsky asked: “Are these two men terrorists casing the boats for attack?” or “are they totally innocent passengers, the victims of ethnic profiling?”
Warner: Show Qaeda U.S. Commitment Not Open-Ended -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-24) — Sen. John Warner, R-VA, yesterday called on President George Bush to start bringing troops home from Iraq “to show al Qaeda that the U.S. commitment to fighting Muslim terrorists overseas is not open-ended.”
“This is a two-way street,” said Sen. Warner. “We’ve kept our end of the deal, delivering crushing blows to the terror networks, but al Qaeda has refused to capitulate. It’s time to send a strong, clear message that our devotion to fighting the enemies of freedom is not a blank check.”
The influential member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said, “Usama Bin Laden
Hillary to Qaeda: Help Me Beat GOP, Halt Terror ‘Till 2009 -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-24) — Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, convinced that a U.S. terror strike before the 2008 elections would help Republicans to hold the White House and recapture Congress, today called on al Qaeda to delay planned U.S. martyrdom operations until early 2009.
“I’m respectfully asking al Qaeda for a brief hiatus,” said Sen. Clinton, “until we can accomplish our shared goal of removing Republicans from power.”
5/14 Marines dancing when there is nothing else better to do.. "Since we're in the middle of nowhere.."
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
The Ghosts of Anbar -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Part One: The Paradox of Counterinsurgency
Iraq and this part of the world are complicated in the way, and by the way, that dysfunction always is “complicated.” Worse, in this labyrinth of history, where recent rumors have as much cache as ancient myths, facts fade quickly into mirage, granting mistakes and missteps a kind of perverse permanence. Fertile ground for paradoxes.
Interview with Lt. Col. William F. Mullen -- [Captain's Journal]
TCJ: How badly has the lack of political reconciliation harmed the efforts to pacify the Anbar Province and in particular Fallujah? It seems that there is still much animosity between Fallujah and Baghdad.
Lt. Col. Mullen: I cannot comment too much on the political situation in Baghdad, but the people here do not like the Iraqi Government and blame them for all the shortcomings in fuel, food and essential services. I will say also though that things are rarely as bad as the Iraqi’s make them out to be. They are prone to serious over exaggeration and always want to blame someone else. It is never their fault. For example, fuel arrives in the city, but to make extra money, the truck drivers sell it to “free enterprise” folks that then sell it curbside from plastic jugs - it is known as black market fuel where we come from. They charge much more than normal and keep the fuel from getting to the gas stations and city government in enough amounts to keep them open and operating. They also tap into electrical and water lines illegally to get better service, all of which seriously degrades the overall service provided. The city government is working on these things, but they all contribute to the problems Fallujah is having, and the Fallujans blame it all on the “Iranians” who make up the current.
Anbar Awakening -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
Anbar is at the center of the famous Sunni Triangle, the triangle of death. Just last September a "secret" intelligence report, that somehow reached the hands of the mainstream media, declared the former Baathist stronghold "lost" to American forces. Al Qaeda declared Anbar city of Ramadi, the capital of The Islamic State of Iraq.
Things have changed since the "spurge". Over the next few days, we'll bring you commentary and analysis of the people who have caused that change, as well as assessments of where things are heading in a place the media declared the "Key to Victory in Iraq"
Hugh Hewitt: Deputy on Iraq
They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. -- [Iraq the Model - iraqis in Iraq]
In the last few weeks, the major political parties in Iraq have kept taking turns at damaging the political process and ultimately their own government. First, the ministers of both the Accord Front and Allawi’s bloc withdrew from the cabinet almost simultaneously, just as the unjustified summer recess was starting.
Last week, the Kurds and Shias added their share of the damage by announcing their new coalition of four parties. The move is wrong in both timing and principle; on the one hand, the date for Gen. Petraeus’ progress report in September is getting near. On the other, it’s a step in the exact opposite direction to what is needed in terms of the surge — the lifeline America has extended to save the country and allow the government in Baghdad to win the confidence of its people.
In fact I don’t know what those people were thinking when they formed this coalition; instead of trying to mend the rift and glue back the fractured unity government they come and officially reduce the government to a Shia-Kurdish alliance and further sideline reluctant Sunnis and seculars.
Audio Interview -- [Jim Spiri in Iraq]
Jim Spiri talks with Spc. Simon Valdez, from Albq, NM.
Citizen sacrifices life to thwart suicide bomber -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – An Iraqi man saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians when he intercepted a suicide bomber during a Concerned Citizens meeting in the town of al-Arafia Aug. 18.
The incident occurred while Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, were talking with members of the al-Arafia Concerned Citizens, a volunteer community group, at a member’s house.
“I was about 12 feet away when the bomber came around the corner,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Kane, of Los Altos, Calif., acting platoon sergeant of Troop B, 3-1 Cav. “I was about to engage when he jumped in front of us and intercepted the bomber as he ran toward us. As he pushed him away, the bomb went off.”
The citizen’s actions saved the lives of four U.S. Soldiers and eight civilians.
Citizens turn in 4 caches -- [MNF-I]
MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq — Iraqi concerned citizens led Coalition Forces to four caches located in the southern belts around Baghdad Aug. 19.
Troops of Company B, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., and 4th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, were alerted Aug. 19 there were two caches near a highway in the Mahmudiyah area.
The call came after a contractor hired to clean out canals in the North Hargawi area found two caches along the Mulla Fayyad Highway that contained a DShKa heavy machine-gun barrel, receiver, mount, seat and tripod, 133 green flares and 54 red flares.
A local citizen took Soldiers of Co. D, 4-31st Inf. Regt. to another cache...
The Surge: Gunners on Patrol -- [The Fourth Rail - Joe Talley - in Iraq]
Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Baghdad, Iraq: The signs of war are never far from the men and women of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, currently stationed at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. Yesterday at lunch, a sergeant entered the building yelling, "ATTENTION IN THE CHOW HALL! ATTENTION IN THE CHOW HALL!" This is usually a command given when a high profile visitor such as a General or someone of similar distinction arrives in the building. Instantly, everyone seated stops eating, and everyone standing moves to the position of attention in military precision.
Conducting the surge, one raid at a time -- [The Fourth Rail - Joe Talley - in Iraq]
Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Baghdad, Iraq: Blacksheep's 1st platoon, led by 1st Lt. Alex Kerr from Murrysville, PA, begins to prepare for a mission to be conducted in a few hours. Around midnight, the platoon leader briefs the platoon on the specifics of tonight's raid -- they will raid a target house in their sector and hope to catch one of the battalion's HVIs or "high-value individuals." This target is a Mahdi Army leader responsible for attacks against 2/17 Field Artillery's own soldiers. The target heads a cell that also includes his brother and father.
US soldiers and Iraqi forces work together to battle insurgent in Adhamiyah, Iraq 2007.
Iraq Report: Sadr's Denial -- [Bill Roggio]
Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army militia, has been on the defensive over two recent reports in the media. Just one day after Britain's Independent published excerpts of an interview with Sadr, Sheikh Ahmed al-Shibani, Sadr's spokesman in Najaf, claimed the interview never happened.
Baathists "Disown" Al Qaeda -- [Weekly Standard]
From adnkronosinternational (AKI) we learn that the Iraqi Baathists, led by Saddam's former righthand man Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, have decided to “disown al-Qaeda.” It is in an interesting development in the insurgency since Saddam's Baathists have fought alongside al Qaeda since the beginning of this war. I don't know if this latest development is a result of the "surge" or not. It may be that al-Douri has realized that being on al Qaeda's team is a losing proposition given the success American-led forces have had in routing al Qaeda in places like Anbar. We'll wait to see if the new schism is temporary or more permanent. But in the meantime I'll just note that the Iraqi Baathists had to be working with al Qaeda in the first place in order to now “disown” them. (See Mark Eichenlaub’s Regime of Terror web site for a handy list of Baathists who have been working with al Qaeda.) Here is AKI's report:
Masked men set Iraqi child on fire
Masked men in Iraq set a 5-year old boy on fire, and his mother is desperate to see him smile again.
CNN's Arwa Damon reports.
More Please... [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
...I need to write about a conversation I had with my Iraqi counterpart this past morning.
It was a dusty morning, already approaching 95 degrees at about 8:45am. We were driving through the depot, talking about how to better organize certain warehouses and what work needed to get done. The conversation then turned to physical improvements that needed to be done, and I got excited because this is an area I have been working since we arrived here. We have already rebuilt the guard houses that used to be falling apart, impressed with them; he stated that the warehouses needed to be fixed in a similar fashion. I happily responded that we have already contracted out the work, which would begin soon, and that they would be as good or better. He then declared that we need power; I again responded excitedly that we have plans to run power all throughout the depot, including street lamps and power to all the warehouses. In addition, I continued, we are going to have the roads repaired and the spaces in between each warehouse graded and leveled for drainage. On top of all that,
Brits can fight - when their leaders let them. -- [John of Argghhh!]
Of course, we might never hear about it... unless their leaders let them.
AN Army sniper hero has beaten an MoD ban to reveal the true story of the most epic battle fought by British troops in Iraq. Sgt Dan Mills has told of the bloody, six-month Siege of Cimic House, which defence chiefs tried to conceal.
...Given the gag order they've imposed, at this point they're following the script, and if the Sergeant published in the face of the ban, yeah, okay.
Of course, the ban, as imposed, is just stupid, with no accounting for nuance. It's typical bad-commander-covering-his-butt over-broadly written.
Maliki Gives Calm Response To U.S. Criticism -- [Pat Dollard]
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Iraq's prime minister lashed out Wednesday at U.S. criticism, saying no one has the right to impose timetables on his elected government and that his country "can find friends elsewhere." Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the U.S. presidential campaign for the recent tough words about his government, from President Bush and from other U.S. politicians. Bush on Tuesday said he was frustrated with Iraqi leaders' inability to bridge political divisions. But he added that only the Iraqi people can decide whether to sideline al-Maliki.
How to Spy in Iraq -- [Michael J. Totten - in Iraq]
BAGHDAD – American soldiers arrived in Iraq in 2003 with not much of a plan and little idea what to expect. The Iraqi government, military, and police were overthrown and disbanded under de-Baathification. Most Iraqis who knew how to run the country were either sent home or imprisoned. Americans were in charge of just about everything even though they had no experience running even their own country let alone a traumatized and suspicious Arab society. They were confounded by its exotic and dysfunctional ways. When Sunni and Shia militias launched wars against each other and against the Americans, confusion turned to bewilderment.
The End Times -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
We're living in them. No, not those end times... I don't know anything about those.
Our time here will soon be up, as I've mentioned. It doesn't seem that way; no matter how much gear I pack up and turn in, this desert still feels normal, still feels like home. A year doesn't seem that long- twelve months, less than five percent of my life to date- but I barely recall what "normal" life is like. It feels so distant to me now that it might as well be a second lifetime, an earlier incarnation of myself. Leave wasn't that long ago, of course, but that was only two weeks, lived under the specter of impending return.
Sleep Comes Down -- [Major Andrew Olmsted]
When we returned to our FOB I headed down to the battalion HQ to see if anyone was there. It turned out the battalion XO was there, but he was sleeping. Iraqis nap in the afternoon, an understandable pasttime given the intense heat of Iraq, but frustrating to us Americans who are used to working during the day. (Iraqis work much later into the evening than we do, which leads to really messed up sleep schedules for us US guys.) So we came back after he was done napping. He impressed me at once by noting that he had observed some of the same problems I had seen. We agree to set up a meeting with his commanders later that week to talk about those issues.
The next day ...
Nothing for Anybody -- [Strategy Page]
August 22, 2007: The government has issued a list, of former Saddam cronies and officials, to Interpol, and asked for their arrest. Those on the list, including one of Saddams two daughters, are accused of financing and planning the Sunni Arab terror campaign inside Iraq. Jordan has refused to turn over Saddams daughter, Raghad, who was given refuge by the king of Jordan in 2003. Jordan has a lot of Islamic conservatives, Palestinians and Iraqi refugees, and the king must carefully negotiate the constant potential for terrorist violence, or open insurrection. But ...
KBR and Team Blinky -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
The ensuing week brought both insight and bemusement to how KBR HVAC guys work. Most are from Turkey, and we have a hard time communicating with them. I have a harder time understanding where the credentials came from. Several "teams" show up on various days to fix our AC unit and compressor, each with their own brand of comprehensive HVAC know-how:
Better Found at Police Checkpoint... -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
We've been checking on a lot of checkpoints lately. Got a few pics to share of one of the checkpoints. We were doing our stuff. Checking on the police blah blah blah and Allman and I went down into this underground part of this checkpoint and saw some gifts pictured above. Chinese origin. We figured, better found here than elsewhere...
The Three Curses -- [Strategy Page]
August 21, 2007: Over the past six years, the United States, and the Afghan government, have built up an informer and intelligence network along (and across) the Pakistan border. This is providing more information on Taliban and al Qaeda activities. This makes it easier to go find and destroy enemy camps (or villages where the bad guys are hanging out.) The large number of UAVs available also make it much harder for the enemy to pass unnoticed, or sneak up and attack or ambush you. All this led to the recent operation around the old Taliban base area at Tora Bora.
Human Shields in Afghanistan -- [Strategy Page]
August 22, 2007: About 1,100 civilians have died in Afghanistan during the past three months. Civilian casualties have doubled in the past two years, largely as a result of more civilians resisting the Taliban with force. A major reason for that is the continued Taliban use of civilians as human shields. As word of this practice got around, and general dislike of the Taliban grew, more villages organized to repulse Taliban attempts to visit.
U.S. Incomes Are Falling ... Nope, They're Not -- [U.S.News]
"More Americans making ends meet with less money," was the headline atop a Boston Globe story Tuesday morning. The newspaper went on to tell its readers that Americans in 2005 earned a smaller average income, when adjusted for inflation, than in 2000, $55,238 vs. $55, 714.
What the story notably failed to tell readers is that incomes have been on the rise since 2002, a fact I gleaned from a different version of the story on the New York Times website. (The original version of the Times story had a misleading headline "Average Incomes Fell for Most in 2000-05," but it was later changed to "2005 Incomes, on Average, Still Below 2000 Peak." The Globe story also said that Americans' total income in 2005 was $7.43 billion. I'm pretty sure it's "trillion," not "billion.")
It might have also been nice had either story mentioned the great likelihood that the Internal Revenue Service data the newspapers relied on will show further income gains for 2006 and 2007, given the state of the economy and the continuing rise in real wages.
The Show Must Go On, but Not the Summit -- [GI Korea]
Published by GI KoreaAugust 22, 2007 in Inter-Korean Issues and North Korea. 5 Comments
I think Nomad is on to something with the fact that the North Korean Arirang Mass Games are going to continue despite the flooding, but the Second Inter-Korea Summit has been delayed. Someone else who is on to something is OFK who finds the damage statistics from the flooding very suspicious:
The Web of YouTube Terrorism -- [Jawa Report]
You'd think with a name like "Mujahidin Media" that Youtube would, you know, kind of figure out who they are allowing to use their platform. You know, the enemy.
Youtube is an American owned company, right? Or should we call it by its proper name, Jihadtube?
There is quite a web of interconnected jihadis on Youtube. Hundreds of them at least.
The channel which features enemy propaganda and Jewish conspiracy videos has 216 subscribers, 3 of which are similar pro-terrorism "channels" with their own videos up.
...So, is Youtube still in denial that they are hosting enemy propaganda ...
Attention, John Does: Have you seen these men? -- [Michelle Malkin]
Take a close look:
The FBI is asking for the public’s help two identify two men who have been seen acting strangely aboard Washington State ferries recently.
Update 11:15am Eastern. John Does are coming forward to assist the FBI. The feds say they have been flooded with tips.
CAIR’s Reputation and Incredibly Fluctuating Membership Roll -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
Much has already been written about the amicus brief filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), naming the CT blog (specifically this post) as part of an effort to defame the organization.
"Thanks for your service." -- [From an Anthropological Perspective - home from Iraq]
I'm currently in transit with my team and today I was impressed at the number of people in airports that stopped the soldiers on my team and said, "Thanks for your service." I have an Army Combat Uniform (ACU) pattern rucksack that my sergeant told me to buy and in the past couple of months I have been stopped in the airport and thanked as well. I really got to thinking about this though today because while we were at the gate, the check-in staff made an announcement that there were some special guests in the waiting area who either were coming back from Iraq or on their way to Iraq and would passengers give a hand in appreciation. So most everyone clapped for a while, some stood and clapped, and my sergeant blushed self-consciously which was neat for me because he can get scary.
You Cannot "Desperately" Support The Troops -- [Riehl World View]
All I could think after reading the quote below from Armed Services Committee member Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) via the WaPo , was how terrifically sad it is that such a person serves on said committee at all. She could have used many words - intensely, incredibly, immensely, etc. But she didn't. She chose desperately and without going through the various definitions of the word, if you believe that language is an important indicator of the way we view and think about the world, you're all but forced to conclude she and her liberal colleagues like Speaker Pelosi don't genuinely support the troops at all. They are simply desperate to appear supportive because of their fear of having their genuine sentiments exposed.
How things have been -- [American Soldier - injured in Iraq]
Hello to everyone. It has been sometime since anything new has been posted here. We have been busy. I want to let you all know how things have been going.
AS has finally finished all of the physical testing they wanted to do in order to determine how well his brain has healed. He was having some extremely bad headaches as well as the occasional slip ups with his speech and tremors. As you all know he went to Walter Reed in the spring for a battery of tests. The results from there came back at pretty normal ranges. Since being home he most recently underwent an MRI and a PEDS scan. They both concluded that there was no swelling, no bleeding, and no blood clots, and ultimately normal brain function. So he is in the clear physically. That was a big relief for the both of us.
Back in the States -- [Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain - home from Iraq]
Well, I'm sitting here in the Philadelphia airport, after a long nights of flights from Kuwait to the US via Germany. It's hard to believe I'm here.
We were welcomed at Fort Dix, New Jersey by a group of USO volunteers and Vietnam Vets. As one man spoke, it occurred to me for the first time that I'm a veteran now.
It's not like I didn't know it before, but as he spoke, I realized I was part of that group. It is an odd feeling.
Naval Reactors: Still No Sense Of Humor -- [Bubblehead]
[Intel Source: The Sub Report] Lately, it seems like carrier Sailors have been turning out humorous "music videos" to improve morale and unit cohesion. So what happens when Sailors trying to do something to make their lives more enjoyable draw the attention of NR? Pretty much what you'd expect. From an article in today's San Diego Union-Tribune:
The Navy has pulled the plug on a YouTube video shot aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan because it shows sailors inappropriately using safety equipment, a Navy spokesman said.
168,000 to Lose TRICARE Prime Coverage -- [Military.com]
More than 168,000 TRICARE Prime enrollees -- those in managed care networks set up more than 40 miles from a military base or a base closure site -- could lose access to those networks and therefore pay higher out-of-pocket costs under new TRICARE support contracts to take effect in 2009. Read the full story at Military.com.
Political Discourse: MilBlogger Interpretation -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Mix politics, war and MilBloggers and what do you get? Well, to be honest, I don't know. But there's not a lot of fluff. Sure, he may not have been the first in chronological emergence, but he was close. So why do I refer to an Air Force officer currently serving in Iraq (again) as the Godfather of MilBlogging?
Winning The Information War -- [Laughing Wolf - BlackFive]
It is you who can make much more possible: Wesley Morgan, Joe Talley, Bill Ardolino, David Tate, the Blackfive JSOTF-P embed, and myself. Shorter visits, but specific targets and a larger area can be covered. Each of us can only be at one place at any given time, so the more that are there, the more that can be covered.
To support this information war surge, Public Multimedia Inc. is attempting to raise $20,000 in the next three weeks. If you want to support a particular embed, simply note that it is for that person; or, you can note that it is for the Blackfive embeds. Personally, I would like to see the $20,000 not just raised, but exceeded so that other embeds can get out there as quickly as possible.
Party of Rage -- [Jules Crittenden]
Can’t we all just get along?
Rep. Bob Filner is facing an assault and battery charge after an incident at Dulles Airport where he allegedly pushed an United Airlines bag claim employee as first reported by ABC7/Newschannel 8.
WHEN AND HOW? -- [Trying to Grok]
I know everyone's BS detector is running on high after Scott Beauchamp, so maybe I'm treading heavily. But I'm puzzled by a Newsweek article on MSNBC today. The reporter's cousin just came home from Iraq, so a homecoming article was in order. It seemed like an ordinary tale of happiness and relief until she delineated her family's fears during the previous year. And then this odd paragraph appeared:
I’d read reports of some female soldiers allegedly being raped by Iraqi insurgents—some 50 to 75 rapes, according to The New York Times. Alexia assured us that several male soldiers had volunteered to walk her home after she stood post at night. But that reassurance still couldn’t erase the images of assaults, bombs and corpses.
In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary...come again?
A Little Exaggeration? -- [Dadmanly]
Sarah at Trying to Grok links to a Newsweek/MSNBC article on a soldier’s homecoming. Sarah picks up on a highly suspect factual statement (Fabulism ala Beauchamp) hidden in the reunion piece. But I found something else that seemed a bit exaggerated, too.
Allison Samuels writes of her 24 year old cousin returning from a tour in Iraq, her family’s anxieties in her absence, and relief with her safe return home. Here’s how she introduces us to her ordeal – not her cousin’s, but Samuels:
August 22, 2007: TNR - Changing the Story -- [Roger Simon]
Changing the story when you're under attack is such an overused and obvious technique that you'd think people would be embarrassed to employ it. But not Jonathan Chait at The New Republic who jumps into the fray with a largely ad hominem attack on William Kristol in order to deflect criticism of TNR in the ongoing Scott Beauchamp scandal.
CNN’s Upcoming Miniseries Equates Christian Activists with Taliban? -- [NewsBusters]
--CNN's upcoming miniseries "God's Warriors," hosted by left-wing bias exemplar Christiane Amanpour, looks like it will play the old liberal game of moral equivalence. Amanpour reportedly compares Christian chastity advocates to the Taliban in the miniseries. Even the promos for the miniseries which have been running on CNN for the past few weeks demonstrate the probable "game plan" that Amanpour and CNN have in mind, grouping together pro-life Christian college students protesting in front of the Supreme Court, Jewish settlers on the West Bank, and Islamic radicals.
You had me up until “risk” -- [Neptunus Lex]
I was reading this NYT summary of the internal investigation of the CIA’s processes leading up to 9/11 with a fair degree of agnosticism. After all, the Agency’s many dedicated public servants do critically important work for the Republic, hard work involving long hours, superior technical expertise and civil servant pay, not to mention the additional discomforts and hazards attaching to those in the clandestine service. It’s easy to be a critic in retrospect,
Getting the Narrative Right While Ignoring the Story -- [Thunder Run]
Lately the Beauchamp affair has exposed the lengths that the leftist media will go to, to paint a particular picture about the war in Iraq. The phrase that was coined lately is, “Getting the Narrative Right, but the Facts Wrong” and it applies to pretty much all that comes out of the media establishment concerning Iraq, political correctness, global warming and any other cause de jour.
Today the big news out of Iraq is the crash of an Army Blackhawk helicopter while on a night mission killing all 14 personnel on board and once again we find the news media and especially the Associated Press getting the narrative right but getting the facts jumbled with their desire to paint Iraq as a lost cause.
CIA: U.S. Nearly Out of Americans to Blame for 9/11 -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-22) — A recently released two-year old analysis shows that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under George Tenet lacked an overall strategy for fighting al Qaeda, and missed key opportunities to thwart the 9/11 terror plot.
As America approaches the sixth anniversary of the attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people, this latest report shows the country may be perilously close to running out of Americans to blame for the events of September 11, 2001.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
KILLING FOR CONGRESS -- [Ralph Peters]
As far as the Thieves of Baghdad (also known as Iraq's government) go, the terrorists were right. Iraqi minorities, including Christians, have been classified as fair game by Muslim butchers. Mainstream Iraqis simply look away.
But the second reason for those dramatic bombings was that al Qaeda needs to portray Iraq as a continuing failure of U.S. policy. Those dead and maimed Yazidis were just props: The intended audience was Congress.
Al Qaeda has been badly battered. It's lost top leaders and thousands of cadres. Even more painful for the Islamists, they've lost ground among the people of Iraq, including former allies. Iraqis got a good taste of al Qaeda. Now they're spitting it out.
Welcome to Ramadi -- Part 5: An Iraqi Police Lietenant
In this clip from a long interview, an Iraqi Police lieutenant shares his view of Al Qaeda, the wavering loyalties of local Anbaris, and the consequences of coalition troops leaving too soon
August 11: Petraeus -- [Notes from Downrange - in Iraq] HT:[Chap]
...I’d gotten up Saturday morning at FOB Union III in the IZ, home of 1-14 Cav, expecting a long morning before heading over to the embassy landing zone to get going for the day. I’d learned the previous afternoon that I was going to spend Saturday afternoon on a “battlefield circulation” with Petraeus – a tour of a unit’s area of operations with the general, some of his staff, and space for four or five members of the media, including me. The plan was for me to get a ride over the IZ landing zone around noon, where Petraeus’s two helicopters would stop on the way up to the day’s battlefield to pick up me and the other reporters. At 0900, though, as I sat in the Union III hajji café having my breakfast (they make a very good white chocolate mocha) and reading Stars and Stripes, the squadron and brigade public affairs officers rushed up in a huff and told me to grab my armor and bags right away –
Touring with Gen. Petraeus -- [The Fourth Rail]
Inside a building next to the landing zone, the general's first order of business was lunch with a group of soldiers from 4-9 Infantry, one of the brigade's battalions, which I was allowed to sit in on. The battalion leadership, including some company commanders – one of whom had been wounded and was about to go home for surgery – and first sergeants, and after giving them a brief rundown of the situation in Iraq from his perspective, Petraeus went around the table and asked each of them for the most important lesson they'd learned since arriving in Iraq and what their plans were for their next assignment. As they answered, the general listened and then gave feedback; when one captain said that his main lesson learned was that "the counterinsurgency tactics everyone talks about really do work," he seemed gratified, and talked for a while about the mix of kinetic and non-kinetic tactics.
What metrics will Petraeus use? -- [Austin Bay]
I’ve run this list past a couple of other veterans of Iraq. Yes, it’s a sketch. Yes, several of the categories must be broken down into very small pieces and those pieces accurately assessed (ie, the security of neighborhoods, the competence of police precincts, etc).
Iraq Report: Qods in Iraq -- [The Fourht Rail]
...US and Iraqi forces continue the hunt for al Qaeda and Shia terror operatives. Fourteen al Qaeda operatives were captured during raids in Baghdad, Taji, Balad, Samarra, and Mosul on August 16 and 17. Two al Qaeda operatives were killed and 16 captured during operations in Baghdad, Tarmiyah, Bayji, Tikrit, Kirkuk, and Mosul on August 18. The Bayji raid netted "an alleged weapons and logistics facilitator" while the Tikrit raid resulted in the capture of an "operative believed to move large amounts of explosives and foreign terrorists into Iraq." Three al Qaeda were killed and 21 captured during a series of raids in Muqdadiyah, Tarmiyah, and Salahadin province on August 19.
In Baghdad, Iraqi security forces captured a Mahdi Army sniper cell leader and weapons facilitator, along with a cell member, and killed another
Public Affairs: Baqubah Food -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
This is the only Public Affairs release I have ever published. This release is consistent with the facts I saw on the ground in Baqubah.
BAQUBAH, IRAQ— After the fight to retake an Iraqi city is over, the struggle to reconstruct a functioning government is the fist order of business.
That’s why U.S. and Iraqi forces were excited recently to witness local trucks arrive, accompanied by the Iraqi Army, at a Baqubah flour mill with 560 tons of imported wheat to feed the people of Diyala province.
“This is one more piece to the larger puzzle of providing normalcy here,” said Lt. Col. Fred Johnson, deputy commanding officer of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. “It’s probably the most important thing we’ve done.”
Baker Company Med Op in Wuerdiya -- [Jeff Emanual - in Iraq]
After Baker Co. secured the site -- a recently refurbished school which was still empty due to summer vacation -- Sergeant First Class Marcus, a Special Forces Medic (according to USSOCOM regs, special operators are identified only by rank and first name), and a team from Army Civil Affairs arrived to provide medical treatment to the local villagers, and to give them bags containing foodstuffs for families and clothing (primarily Iraqi soccer team replica uniforms) and soccer balls for children.
Over 200 people showed up to receive care, and not a shot was fired in the town while we were there -- a great success.
The Surge in Action -- [Jeff Emanual - in Iraq]
And there are newfound signs of success in the area just north of Salman Pak, along the road known to 3rd Brigade as "Route Wild," between the villages of Wuerdiya and Ja'ara. It all began with a phone call. During the first week of August, an Iraqi man who lived in the area, and whose brother was the sheik of the al Jabouri tribe, called Captain Rich Thompson, head of 3rd Brigade's Baker Company 1-15 Infantry and the local ground commander, and asked for a meeting. Tired of the persistent insurgent infighting in his area, the man wanted information on starting his tribe's own 'Concerned Citizens' brigade, to augment the National Police and to defend their land and their clan against terrorism.
Called "basically a thumb in the eye [of] a Maliki government that won't get its [act] together" by one officer I spoke with, the Concerned Citizens program, another brainchild of MNF-I commander General David Petraeus, puts ground-level security in the hands of the individual tribes and groups who need it most.
Falluja Post-Bellum Concerns -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...There is one big hospital in the city that has clearly seen better days, although it does appear active and protected when I have driven by it. Additionally there is a Jordanian hospital just outside the city that people have access to. Not ideal, but it is there.
Although we refer to it as a vehicle ban, it would be more precise to say that it was "vehicle segregation." There are vehicles in the city, they are just not allowed to go in or out. At some point people had to make a decision about where they wanted their vehicles. Most people park them outside the city and they take a bus to the Entry Control Point to leave town. After certain people were so successful in eliminating the roadside bomb threat, the enemy resorted to car bombs because they could be built in a more secure countryside area and then delivered to the target. The vehicle "ban" is being used to combat that threat.
ISJ Profiles Another Team Badger Soldier -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
...He’s seen a profound change in the people and the streets of Fallujah during the year that he’s been here.
“When we first got here, the people wouldn’t wave at you. We were always getting shot
, going over place,” he said. “Now we see a couple of bombs here and there go off, but we’re not finding as many as we used to. And the people in the city have actually gone out and cleaned up the streets.”
Teuscher is looking forward to coming home and spending the mule deer season hunting with his family and fishing with his friends and getting caught up on everything that’s happened during his year in Iraq. His friends are going to find a different person than the one who left for Iraq 12 months ago.
“I’m more opinionated then I used to be. I talk a lot more,” Teuscher said with a smile.
His tour of duty in Iraq has been an experience he doesn’t regret. He said, “I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.”
In fact, Teuscher’s prepared to return to Iraq someday.
“I’ll probably volunteer to come back.
Coalition Forces Kill Eight, Detain Three, Capturing a Special Groups Leader and Smuggler of Iranian -- [MNF-I]
Coalition Forces conducted a raid targeting this known weapons distributor and Special Groups leader. The captured weapons facilitator was responsible for the storage and distribution of Iranian weapons. Coalition Forces intelligence suggests the weapons facilitator has traveled to and from Iran numerous times and is responsible for smuggling and distributing deadly explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). The target was also responsible for the distribution of those weapons to Special Groups operating throughout the Baghdad area and was connected to a very large network of weapons facilitators and Special Groups associates. The weapons smuggler is believed to have had ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force.
Clearing operations in Samarra strike hard at insurgency -- [MNF-I]
TIKRIT, Iraq – Operation Jalil, which concluded Aug. 3, uncovered contraband and suspects but more importantly, the operation served as another example of a vastly improved Iraqi Security Force operating in Samarra, which has gained the confidence of their Coalition Forces partners as well as city residents.
Terrorists Mortar Explodes Pre-Maturely -- [HT: Duty in the Desert]
**Warning** Video of terrorist attempting to kill our guys but instead takes himself out of the fight. Perfect.
A new meaning to the term, Highway Patrol -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
Imagine donning full combat gear, a flame resistant hood for your head, and the outside air temperature is hovering around the 120 degree mark. But wait, that's not all. Now, jump into an Assault Amphibian Vehicle (AAV) and shut the lid. You are now in 140+ degrees of sand and sweat while riding with some of the hardest working Marines that patrol around Fallujah. Pfc. Brian Jones takes us for a trip with Team Gator as they pound the pavement:
Boom, here comes the boom! -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...The mission we ended up having was a raid to try to grab some dudes we have been looking for. We ended up having to park at this other base that was quite a ways away and required us walking through some of the bad area that we used to have. It was to be a slow deliberate walk for we were going to be prepared for anything. Along the way some guys working at some bank began yelling "Wake up the Americans are here!" Not real sure why or really what happened because I wasn't right up front, but we ended up confiscating their weapons to include a couple of machine guns. They were Iraqi police and federal guards, so we couldn't detain them for having the weapons. While we were held up dealing with that we heard a burst of an AK off in the distance. My heart beat accelerated a little and once whoever was being shot out returned fire with a burst of their own, the adrenneline began pumping.
19 -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Nineteen years ago, I started my Army career, at the time with the intention of doing my four years and returning to Texas, to Texas A&M University specifically, and getting a degree. In high school, I was accepted to Texas A&M and was awarded scholarships from the Army and the Navy (to become a Marine officer). I turned it all down and enlisted because I just was fed up with school. I could not see myself in four (or more!) years of school.
I have never regretted that decision. Despite how things turned out, though not too shabby actually, I love the Army. I love the experiences I've had. When I start telling "war" stories (not so much about war but about what I've done, where I've been) folks are amazed. When I really think about it, so am I. For example,
Something My Dad Has Said Quite Often -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
When I went into the BN Aid Station the night of the attack, SGT C, the medic on duty greeted me.
"Evening, G. What brings you here?"
I replied "Hi. I need my head examined."
I feel much better today. The headache is lighter, the Tylenol cuts it more, the nausea on waking is weaker and doesn't last as long, and I have a lot less trouble concentrating. CPT B. tells me the nausea is typical, and that I should be a bit messed up for several days.
I filled out a witness statement for the 1SG on the events of that night. I'm not sure who or what its for. I might be eligible for a Combat Action Badge or a Purple Heart for this, but I'm not certain I qualify or even if want to. There were guys actually bleeding for this, I feel almost ashamed to qualify for merely getting my bell rung really well. I didn't lose a leg, an eye, or 80% or the hearing in one ear, to cite some examples of guys I've served with. A CAB maybe, since these guys were trying to kill me, but a Purple Heart?
EMT Iraq -- [Me Over There - in Iraq]
The National Registry of EMTs has acknowledged that this is the 1st EMT class taught in Iraq they are aware of.
5 students will be completing the course (4 Corpsmen and 1 Marine), and they have all shown a dedication to this class to be admired. They did all the requirements for this course on top of their normal duties.
victory speech -- [Jake's Life - in Iraq]
Well our batallion got our victory speech today. It's kind of weird because, well because the war isn't over. But when you examine what we did in our little piece of it, then I think you could say that we did a damn good job. The other thing that made it so hard was knowing that as we are all celebrating the end of our deployment, preparing to go home to our families and loved ones, we have 8 brothers who will not make the trip with us, who can't share in our joy. In addition to the eight Marines who sacrificed it all, we took over 140 casualties in the batallion. Our victory, if that is what it is to be called, came at an awfully steep price.
The King of Spain's Afghan Rifles -- [Strategy Page]
Spanish troops in Afghanistan have adopted a novel, but ancient, technique in order to get some local help in pacifying the area they are in. Spain has asked the government to allow Spain to pay for the recruitment, training, equipping and maintenance of an Afghan infantry battalion. This could cost Spain about $27 million, and Afghanistan would be responsible for the unit after the Spanish left.
Afghan Independence Day.
Aug 19 - Afghanistan celebrates 88 years of independence from Britain.
In a speech during official celebrations President Hamid Karzai has urged the nation to stand on its own two feet, and save the country from further meddling and intervention.
RAF AFGHAN DIARIES: SPECIAL FEATURE: Word of the day 2
Cobblestone roads and learning to saw straight -- [A Year in Afghanistan]
If last week was about telecommunications, this one was about city management. Cities are the levels of government that deliver services: decent roads, garbage collection, sewage disposal, water, power, etc. On June 9, I wrote about a program to mentor city officials. That project is now underway, and now we have started programs that train municipal staff in how to deliver services effectively. The road building and maintenance program has already begun, as pictured. There will be a need for skilled workers for the city to hire, so we visited the Trade Training School operated by the Australians and took a look at the students learning carpentry (also pictured)
Out O' The Closet -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Afghansitan]
No, not *that* one -- *this* one, from the AKO website.
... Along the border, ground troops are sweeping the area around Chaghmalai in South Waziristan to recover the survivors of an ambushed convoy. "Militants" are holding them and demanding the release of ten terrs (including three suspected bombers) caught in the sweep following a suicider's attack in Islamabad. Several firefights erupted in Tora Teegha and Ghut Khawa when troops were sweeping the towns -- seven friendly KIA and at least fifteen terrs dead, four more wounded and captured. The "militants" forebade the townsfolk to evacuate, but the "swim in the sea of the people" tactic seems to have backfired -- the locals have started warning the troops about ambush sites and pointing out terr strongpoints.
Russian Revival, Part One -- [Danger Room]
More bomber patrols. Dramatic exercises with the Chinese. And now a refurbished aircraft carrier plying the waves. Russia's depleted armed forces are riding a wave of nationalism and oil revenue in an attempt to grab back some of their Soviet-era glory. Is the U.S. military worried? Michael Bruno over at Ares transcribes a press conference with a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council:
Gunmen take 30 hostages in SE Iran -- [Peace Like A River]
Iranian officials may link Rigi's group to Al Qaeda, but I don't think that's true. Sounds more like a convenient excuse so they don't have to talk about why there is unrest in SE Iran. The Jamestown Foundation had this last year:
F-22s Aimed at North Korea -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. Air Force has assigned a squadron of F-22 fighters to Elmendorf air force base in southern Alaska. This puts 24 F-22s as close to North Korea as possible (for aircraft stationed in North America). Earlier this year F-22s were sent, for the first time, across the Pacific, to Japan, for a training exercise. About half the 183 F22s to be built, have been delivered already.
The Generals Dodge a Bullet -- [Strategy Page]
August 20, 2007: The growing scandal over tainted food and toys, mostly for export, have revealed to the the world what most Chinese have long known. The government is unable to regulate production standards. Thus China is where the U.S. was a century ago, in terms of unscrupulous manufacturers selling shoddy goods to unsuspecting consumers. It's all made worse by very active government efforts to suppress news of the problem. A classic example of this occurred last week, when the collapse of a bridge under construction killed fifty people, and the government tried to keep it out of the news. Police physically attacked journalists, and drove them from the scene. But the news got out anyway,
Beckham & Justin Timberlake Targeted By Al Qaeda -- [Gateway Pundit]
News of the World reported that soccer stars David Beckham and Wayne Rooney and music stars Justin Timberlake and P Daddy are the targets of a new Al Qaeda murder plot:
Hizb ut-Tahrir posts propaganda videos on YouTube -- [Jihad Watch]
A search on "Hizb ut Tahrir" at YouTube yields abundant examples of HuT propaganda. "Islamist propaganda on YouTube," by Natalie O'Brien for The Australian:
Blessings of being an Angel -- [View from the 8th Floor]
A Soldiers' Angel that is.
As I think almost every Angel will tell you, when we get a chance to thank one of the members of our military for their service, we often get thanked in return. We could get into a humorous cycle of, "No, no, thank YOUs", but we all usually just smile and say it's our pleasure, honor, duty, joy, or all of the above. WE know who needs to be thanked, don't we Angels?
Call to Action for Community Support for the Veterans Clinics and Hospitals Across America -- [Soldiers' Angels]
The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) clinics and hospitals located in many communities across the nation provide medical services to combat veterans. These facilities are an important resource for veterans returning from the Global War on Terror and their families.
Of the 25 million veterans currently alive, nearly three of every four served during a war or an official period of hostility. About a quarter of the nation's population, approximately 70 million people are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans.
Former sgt. accused of fake Purple Heart claim -- [Marine Times]
Topeka, Kan., police captain Ron Brown earned a Purple Heart after he lost a portion of his hearing in both ears when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded next to the Marine reservist’s head outside Fallujah in 2004. So he made sure he was there when former Sgt. Tim Debusk was arrested and charged with forging a Purple Heart citation on May 25.
“I just told him that I thought what he did was despicable, and that I hoped he thought about the guys he disrespected who died for this country over Memorial Day,” Brown said.
Home at Last -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - home from Iraq]
From the time we went into Customs lock down until I stepped off the plane to see my family waiting...it took 45 hours to finally be home. Good flights and the good company of my AF brethren, who deployed on this mission with me, helped pass the time and the miles.
Touchdown -- [Sixty-six - home from Iraq]
...The aircraft taxied for a few minutes before coming to a halt near the same hanger I had been briefed in on my return from Bosnia three years prior. A handful of the guys stood up from their seats in anticipation of the door’s opening.
“Gentlemen, it’ll be just a few minutes before we begin deplaning. On behalf of the crew and bla bla bla bla…” The Captain droned over the com.
The complaining began, cutting off the Captain’s speech. Complaining in the infantry is a group effort. If you complain by yourself, you are a whiner. But complaining en mass is acceptable, if not expected.
...After what seemed like an eternity the Flight Attendant finally slid the door open. I imagined the view from the outside of the aircraft as the putrid, man-stanked air escaped from the airplane, clearly visible with its greenish tinge.
...Two hundred exhausted, stanky Joes stood up in unison as the Captain said something unintelligible over the com, an obvious cue for us to get the hell off the plane in a hurry
I stepped out of the threshold and onto the stairs to descend onto the tarmac when the answer to my question hit me. The thick, humid, Wisconsin air smelled so sweet I could almost taste it. After months of inhaling the dusty, dead, bone-dry desert air I was breathing pure ambrosia.
Return -- [The Gunner's World - home from Iraq]
Glancing out the window of the Lufthansa flight I was taken aback by all the green I saw, after months in the desert everything seemed so alive with color from my view headed into Dulles Airport. I sat back and thought about my whole experience and how in an hour or so I would be joining my family again and heading north back to Maryland.
Home.... -- [Ranger Sid - home from Iraq]
I am sorry for my recent abscence...I am currently back in the comfortable world of the United States... Not however for the circumstances that I would have liked to return...My Grandfather passed away on August 8th...Thankfully I was able to return in time for his service...It was amazing to see just how many lives he touched in his lifetime...He was definately taken before his time...I can only hope to do as much good in my life as he did in his...
To the men of Bad Voodoo, Stay strong in my abscence, and I'll be back soon.
The Perfect Conspiracy-Theorist Foil -- [Captain's Quarters]
For the last seven years, Karl Rove has served as the focus for some of the worst vitriol thrown in the political and media arenas. When he decided to retire last week, his resignation captured the top spot in newspapers and news programming for days. Howard Kurtz wonders whether all of the fuss reflected the reality of Rove's work, or whether it served a synthetic narrative that the media created out of laziness:
Biden's New 'Flag-draped Coffin' Ad -- [Real Clear Politics]
In a new ad, Joe Biden uses the image of the "flag-draped coffin" to argue that the U.S. must end the war and that he is the only one with a plan to do so. It's also strange in that of all the Democratic candidates, Biden is the least anti-war:
How The New Republic Got Suckered -- [PJM]
When Pajamas Media heard the authenticity questions surrounding the “Baghdad Diarist” articles by Scott Thomas Beauchamp in The New Republic, we asked our Washington Editor Richard Miniter to look into how the respected opinion magazine could once again be the locus of such a scandal.
Miniter spoke with several people involved in the extraordinary story, including the whistle-blower and a German woman who was Beauchamp’s fiancée until just before he married, of all people, Miniter discovered, a fact-checker at The New Republic. That fiancée said of her former boyfriend, the soldier/reporter: “He hates the army. The only reason he joined was because he wanted to have more experience to write about.”
Lesson No. 3 in the School of the Counterprogandist -- [Cannoneerno4]
Misinformation is inaccurate information. When the inaccuracy is pointed out to the source, the source usually runs a correction, which will never be seen by 90% of the people who saw the original incorrect piece. It is usually assumed that the inaccuracy is caused by ignorance and not willful disregard of known facts. Misinformation about military affairs is extremely common nowadays. Very few “journalists” and even fewer editors know jack about the military.
Small World -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq.]
... particularly for reporters in and out of a combat zone.
Ran into The Wall Street Journal's Greg Jaffe, again. You'll remember we met in Baghdad ... This time we crossed paths in the tent city at Ali Al Salem. He's trying to get out on the same flight from Kuwait that I am.
That was this morning. This afternoon, two Army public affairs soldiers drove me to the airport in Kuwait City. Once here, they picked up my inbound friend, Linda Robinson (U.S. News & World Report), who is heading to Iraq for the eighth time; and the ever-prolific Ralph Peters (The New York Post): Shared war stories and
WaPo Shilling for 'Peace Mom'... Still -- [NewsBusters]
Michael A. Fletcher of the Washington Post has a little snippet of a story so full of hyperbole about how wonderful and "crystallizing" so-called "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan has been for the country that unintentional comedy is the result -- that or it raises a collective groan for its slobbering sycophancy. He so outlandishly exaggerates the impact of the "antiwar hero" and her protégé in "Camp Casey" that it just boggles the mind. Seems like Fletcher is far from a disinterested "journalist" but has succumbed to outright hero worship here.
Hillary: “Even I Don’t Like Me, But I Like Winning” -- [ScrappleFace]
Sen. Hillary Clinton. D-NY, today acknowledged that many people don’t like her, but she said nobody’s negative opinion can stymie her race to the White House, even if that opinion comes from the candidate herself.
“Even I don’t like Hillary Clinton most of the time,” said Sen. Clinton, “But I do like winning, and I’m not going to let a little self-loathing stand in the way of my presidential ambitions.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Iraq Report: Lightning Hammer update -- [The Fourth Rail]
US and Iraqi security forces are pushing forward on two fronts against al Qaeda in Iraq and the Shia terror groups. In the regions north and east of Baqubah in Diyala province, Operation Lightning Hammer is in its third day. Nationwide, US and Iraqi security forces continue the intelligence-driven operations against the rogue Mahdi Army, Iranian-backed Special Groups cells, and al Qaeda. Meanwhile, al Qaeda in Iraq pulled off one of the biggest attacks in the war after four suicide bombers murdered upwards of 200 civilians in a small village in northwestern Iraq.
Iraq Briefing 15 August 2007 -- [Pentagon Channel]
Iraqis lead Soldiers to weapons caches north of Baghdad -- [MNF-I]
CAMP TAJI — Concerned Iraqi citizens recently fed tips to Soldiers from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Cavalry Division, which led to four weapons caches and two detained suspects during multiple operations north of Baghdad.
Lt. Colonel James Crider 1st RSTA Squadron 4th Cavalry Regiment -- [Matt Sanchez]
Military official discusses progress in Iraq -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — A military official discussed current events in Iraq at the Combined Press InformationCenter Wednesday.
“The Coalition is assisting the Iraqi Army and provincial authorities in providing humanitarian assistance, and will work closely with government authorities to bring these terrorists to justice,” Bergner said.
The Men Of MiTT -- [Matt Sanchez]
BRIEFING BEGINS at 0800 at FOB Prosperity, and I was ready for the typical "SIGACTS." Small push pins on a magnified satellite image map on the wall showed where each significant act occurred: SAF, IED, EFP, a morse-code of letters that usually meant danger, explosions, and possibly a dead body. But these were the Rogues, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division Military Transitional Team (MiTT), and they had a different mission than most stationed here in Baghdad. First Sergeant Joseph McFarlane, a career Army man whose father served in Vietnam and whose grandfathers both served in WWII, read the latest news from the place the soldiers cared about most--back home.
Gun-battle light show, Med-Ops, and Major Offensive Operations -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
The last 24 hours has been interesting -- if a bit incongruous -- in this small slice of 115-degree, mud brick and dust heaven southeast of Baghdad.
After Blue platoon, Baker Co 1-15's departure from FOB Hammer (from their monthly "refit" at the dust bowl that houses Brigade headquarters) was slightly delayed by an electrical fire inside a Humvee, the actual drive back to COP Cahill (just north of Salman Pak), which passed through some traditionally very bad areas (Jisr Diyala, "Four Corners," which marks the informal boundary between JAM and AQI in the area, and Wuerdiya), was entirely uneventful. Not a shot was fired at us, and no IEDs were detonated
Haifa Street: The day after -- [The Fourth Rail - Wesley Morgan - in Iraq]
In the morning (Wednesday, August 8), I geared up before first light. We were supposed to roll back to the forward operating base around 0600, but there was a delay: The cameras positioned on the perimeter of the outpost showed very few pilgrims. Apparently the holiday hadn't really started yet – the marchers last night had been Shia from southern Iraq who had arrived early. "Nobody knows when this damn holiday actually starts," Peterson told me in frustration – the terps, apparently both Sunnis, had no idea either.
Balance of Terror -- [Michael Totten]
BAGHDAD – The American soldier sitting next to me flipped open his Zippo lighter and gloomily lit a cigarette. “Do you know why this base isn’t attacked by insurgents?” he said.
I assumed it was because his area of operations, in the Graya’at neighborhood of northern Baghdad out of Coalition Outpost War Eagle, had been cleared of insurgents. Many American military bases and outposts in Iraq are attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists and Mahdi Army militiamen with mortars and rockets. War Eagle was quiet and had not been bombarded for months.
“We aren’t being attacked because the Mahdi Army is in the next building,” he said. “They don’t want to hit their own people.”
American soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division shared the small outpost with Iraqi Army soldiers who lived, worked, and slept in the building next door.
“You mean the Iraqi Army unit here has been infiltrated?” I said.
He nodded grimly and took a pull from his cigarette.
Baghdad's 'Little Venice' -- [Dude where's the Beach - in Iraq]
Uncle Jimbo from Black Five was looking for information on Baghdad's 'Little Venice'. This area isn't the sewage-filled or disgusting place it was rumored to be. Sure, it's located in Baghdad, and inevitably there will be some stuff dumped into the water somewhere, but this place is more relaxing than anything else. It looks like it's a direct flow out of the Euphrates, which is located nearby. The temperature is also significantly cooler due to the water and shade.
Road Warriors - Iraq
A day on patrol with one platoon.
Sweet dreams are made of these... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...The next day we ended up heading out for our patrol and we found out that one of our platoons was ambushed the day before. They were in the trucks and drove in to some heavy fire from AKs, a couple machine guns and RPGs. One RPG hit a truck and obliterated the engine. Rounds were hitting the trucks at a greater number than normal and one of the gunners joined the lucky day club. Apparently a round struck him in the head, but off to the side. It entered into his helmet, looped around the back and back out the front of the other side. God was again watching down, for he only received 5 stiches and we picked him back up from the CSH (Combat Support Hospital) the next day. The crazy thing was, no only was this ambush a new thing for the area we're operating in, but these guys seemed to be better shots than what we've seen in the past. But once again it was the platoon that is the only one that seems to find trouble these days that wandered in to this. How do they always manage to find it?!?
"Because They Don't Shoot At Us" -- [Matt Sanchez]
Dora is a dangerous neighborhood. Due, in part to the "surge", 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry, of Fort Riley Kansas, increased their presence in this small area. Soldiers talk to Iraqis on a daily basis and form relations. These personal relations between Iraqis and the American military may just be the least reported aspect of the war.
More from Matt Green -- [FOB Tacoma]
It's been a few weeks since we last heard from Lt. Col. Matt Green, writing about his experiences with a police training team in Iraq. This installment, No. 20, is out of sequence. No. 18 ended with a surprise -- an arrest warrant issued for Green's comrade, Iraqi National Police Brig. Gen. Bahaa.
We're trying to get our hands on No. 19, but in the meantime, here's No. 20 (and we are assuming that things turned out OK for Bahaa).
RE: Pistol-Packin' Senator -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
...Sen. Lindsey Graham's carrying a weapon here in Iraq while on Air Force Reserve duty, which I first reported yesterday ... and now everybody is having a ball with (which is one of the predictably fun reasons I posted the observation in the first place).
It's certainly being talked (blogged) about from my NRO pals over at "The Corner" to Ana Marie Cox at Time magazine's Swampland. But here's the reality of it all:
Yes, I saw Graham in uniform carrying a weapon (specifically a pistol) in Baghdad, but every servicemember in and out of uniform does here. They have to. This is a frontless war zone, where you have to be prepared to defend yourself and others no matter where you are or what you are doing.
It was even suggested to me once by a Marine officer that I carry a weapon, because the area we were moving into was so utterly dangerous. Plus,
Insurgent killed by a Hellfire while trying to Escape
Fantasies and Competence Coexist -- [Strategy Page]
August 15, 2007: Shia warlord Moqtada al Sadr appears to have fled back to Iran once more, apparently in reaction to increased military pressure on his armed followers. The U.S. knows who al Sadr's key military lieutenants are, and these guys are being arrested, or killed while trying to avoid capture. When American and Iraqi forces raid Sadr's people, they often find Iranians (who claim to be religious pilgrims). There are 2,760 foreigners in Iraqi jails, including 800 Iranians.
Beauty in the Dirt -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
Last night was beautiful.
There's a stark, harsh beauty in the desert. In the daytime, it seems more harsh than at night. The sun beats the dust bone dry, and the wind drives it with a force that occasionally threatens to rip the body into atoms. The night is more subtle- the sand cools, while both the sky and ground come alive with predators. The bats and owl I heard last night are not the only ones- once I saw what seemed to be a herd of scorpions moving blackly across the road, pinchers waving. Camel spiders emerge from holes, skittering impossibly fast in search of those same armored denzians. Scattered across the desert are the moving dirt bumps, the ones that turn into hedgehogs as you approach.
Politics of Iraq - [Hugh Hewitt]
Though the AP was careful to bury the details in a story about the suicide attacks of earlier this week, the political news from Baghdad is encouraging:
The United Nation Returns to Iraq -- [Austin Bay]
Four years after an explosives-packed suicide cement truck blew up and destroyed the U.N. headquarters building in Baghdad, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to expand its operation in Iraq.
US Prof Putting Out Enemy Propaganda Overseas -- [Riehl World]
I thought this was a joke, but it isn't. I found it as I have spent several days trying to ascertain the fate of Taliban Leader Mansoor Dadullah, targeted in a recent air raid in Afghanistan.
Despite the best efforts of Taliban propagandists, claiming massive civilian causalities, as Rusty eventually posted, there were hardly any civilian causalities at all when the story was fleshed out.
Now weeks later, here comes an atrocious article illustrated with the worst of images (graphic depiction of a child in hospital) claiming massive civilian causalities and giving our enemies all the propaganda it could want under the heading of a US-based college professor: Marc W. Herold.
Pakistan Provided Military Support To The Taliban -- [Captain's Quarters]
Pakistan has insisted since 9/11 that it never provided military support to the Taliban before that date, let alone afterwards. Pervez Musharraf insists that Pakistan only provided diplomatic recognition and economic ties to the oppressive regime until the US ejected them from Afghanistan after the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. The Guardian reports that Musharraf may have lied through his teeth to save his rear end:
RIP SGT CHARLES KITOWSKI -- [Deviant Saint]
It's all over the web and papers now, so I can talk about it.
Kit was in my unit back in Dallas and came out with the rest of us volunteers into Afghanistan. We all decided to go fill in the slots of another battalion that needed people to do the mission. We were already passed the halfway mark when this happened.
Kitowski and two others were killed by a roadside bomb (or at least that's my understanding of it). a bunch of us from the Dallas unit found out as we rolled in the gate from a long op. We were all pretty happy because we made it through another one, all in one peice.
and then they told us.
about 48 hours ago 8 of us loaded a flag drapped box with our friend in it onto a plane to take the last flight he'll ever be on.
We carried him, we paid our respects, we wept unashamedly.
On Watching Grass *Not* Wilt -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Afghanistan]
Results from Talking the Talk: I’m not sure what the coverage has been in MSM-Land, but the four-day Afghani-Pak jirga produced some interesting results. The closest suitable English translation I can conjure for jirga is “a summit conference incorporating national and trans-national entities” -- the trans-national entities being seven hundred Pashtun tribal delegates. And every tribe was *not* represented.
Next time you want to get a glazed look from your confreres in the conference room, ask them, “Did you know that there are sixty distinct Pashtun tribes in Pakistan?”
Return to Tora Bora -- [The Fourth Rail]
US-led troops in eastern Afghanistan kicked off a major offensive Sunday designed to root out Taliban, al Qaeda, and Hizb-i-Islami-Gulbadin fighters hiding in southeastern Nangahar province. So far, the fighting has killed at least three American GIs, two of whom were Green Berets. Local government officials say up to 50 militants are dead with another 40 "under siege." The fighting has forced as many as 100 families in the area to flee.
Five Years of Change in Afghanistan - Video from NATO
A brief video highlights some of the changes in education, reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan over the past five years.
After 25 years of war and just over five years since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan is now one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Beyond this, some 7 million girls and boys are now attending school.
Yes! A Hyena it is. -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
...We ended up cruising a little out of our way into Taliban land for a couple of hours. Ironically, I think they were so shocked to see us in there turf it caught them off guard. We didn't get into contact at all. You should have see some of the looks on their faces as British vehicles and our Humvees drove by on these near impassible roads. They were priceless.
Padilla Found Guilty -- [Stop the ACLU]
All three counts get slammed on him, including the terrorist charge at the top. It won’t be long before we hear the cries of injustice from left field. Oh…and so it begins. Check out the comments at Huffington Post.
NEFA Series "Target America": KSM's West Coast Airline Plot -- [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 tenth in a series of reports examining the multitude of threats directed at the United States since 9/11.
The Domestic Intelligence Imperative -- [Threats Watch]
How do we deal with the enemies among us?
This is a banner week for intelligence-related stories, and the biggest story so far is summarized in this post at Secrecy News about the expanded use of intelligence resources in and on the US. Issues surrounding domestic intelligence are going to come to a head a lot sooner than most...
The Islamists' Agenda Exposed By Reformer Supports What We Are Seeing Today In CAIR's Support Of Terrorist Groups And The Saudi Wahabbists' Plan For America -- [Freedom Zone]
Thanks to Kemal for sending us this video (below) of Tashbih Sayyed exposing Islamist-supremacists (CAIR and MPAC) hidden agenda: to intimidate us into submission to Islamist domination.
On a Wing and a Prayer Soldiers Angels Helps Support Our Troops and their Families With Emergency Airplane Flights -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
A wounded American soldier lies in a bed in a military hospital in Lundstahl, Germany. He is post-op, in intensive care, and holding on to his life. He is literally across an ocean and thousands of miles from home. The military rushes his mother and father to his side. His grandmother wants to see her grandson and support her daughter but the family does not have the money for the last minute airfare. Military regulations prevent the Army from paying for her flight. She calls Soldiers Angels, a military support charity. A ticket is purchased for her through the use of donated air miles and she is on her way to Germany on the next flight.
Thinking about Elvis -- [PowerLine]
Today is the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, who died on August 16, 1977. Elvis died of a life of excess and drug abuse at an absurdly young age. He had been a superstar for more than 20 years by the time he died, entombed by his own celebrity.
...Bodyguard Sonny West would fly in from Memphis to meet them. Elvis asked Schilling to take out some cash for the trip, which Elvis ended up giving away to soldiers returning from service in Vietnam.
California Senator George Murphy was coincidentally on the flight from Los Angeles to Washington and Elvis sought out Murphy back in tourist to enlist his assistance. On the flight Elvis wrote a letter to President Nixon:
Man, People Are So Gullible... -- [Winds of Change]
...as long as the things they are gullible about confirm their prejudices.
I've got a newfound - interest - in military welfare these days. So I pay particular attention to news items that cross my computer screen that touch on issues about the welfare of our military.
A few weeks ago, I saw the release about rising suicide rates in the military, and to be honest I was concerned.
Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report....Gosh, guys. It is a damn serious issue - because the rate is rising, and because one suicide is unknowably painful to the circle of the person who kills themselves.
But you know, the first question I asked was "Gosh, I wonder how that compares to normal rates of suicide in the US?
So I spent a whopping ten minutes looking up stats and building a small spreadsheet.
Army Suicide Rate and Random Variation -- [Outside the Beltway]
The Army’s suicide rate for 2006 is the highest in a generation. While this sounds alarming, and will naturally be attributed to the stresses of an ongoing war, the chances are quite good that this is mere random variation in a low frequency event.
Today Is National Airborne Day -- [BlackFive]
I've been a member of many, many great organizations. But none am I prouder to have served than with the Airborne. It is amazing to work with such motivated people - and you have to be highly motivated to throw yourself out of a perfectly good airplane (all jokes about military aircraft aside).
So, here's to you, Airborne:
Time to Move Out and Draw Fire! - The Battle Over the War Narrative -- [Blackfive]
Notice the uptick in troll activity? Well, that's just the beginning. MoveOn and George Soros and VoteVets and CodePink and the cast of lunatic fringe elements are all trying to get ahead of the testimony from General Petraeus and paint the surge as a loss.
In order to join the fight, Uncle Jimbo and I should be joining up with Veterans for Freedom in Washington DC on September 17th and 18th. And both of us should be at a MAF rally on September 11th here in Chicago. Please consider joining us.
Giuliani and Edwards -- [Dadmanly]
...What on earth is Edwards talking about here? Military voices, despite a few critics and political partisans, are very supportive of GEN Petraeus, his counterinsurgency doctrine, and current surge operations. The military, in this entire affair, has been 100% responsive to however the mission has been defined, and whatever priorities military and civilian leadership have defined. If Edwards thinks any aspect of that needs fixing, he's not any keen student of the US military. Perhaps he's been reengaging a bit too much with some of our international critics (some of whom have a serious problem in this regard).
Prominent War Opponent -- [SgtStryker]
Cindy Sheehan will be running against Republican Nancy Pelosi, in a bid for the US House. She made her threat that if Pelosi didn’t move to impeach President George Bush by July 23, Cindy would challenge her. True to her words, Cindy Sheehan made the announcement last Thursday that she will run.
Nancy Pelosi states that she is adamant about bringing the troops home, but believes that it must be done in a timely and safe manner. Apparently, that isn’t good enough for Sheehan.
"Victim" Of US Sadr City Raid: American Troops Are Now Throwing Ammunition At People!
UPDATE: PHOTOGRAPHER SNAPPED *ANOTHER* ELDERLY WOMAN POSING WITH PRISTINE BULLET A MONTH AGO -- [Ace of Spades]
Back on July 10th, this same photographer snapped a pic of another sad elderly woman, that time claiming that gleaming, undamaged bullet had hit her bed.
Going to the Well Once Too Often -- [Confederate Yankee]
Photographer Wissam al-Okaili has had quite an interesting summer in Iraq, and apparently made quite a few friends.
In July, he published a picture carried in media around the world, as an elderly Sadr City woman held up a object that she claimed was a bullet that came into her room and hit her bed. What was quite interesting about the claim is that the "bullet" had no rifling, and did not match up to a caliber used by any known U.S. or Russian-designed weapons system. Many at the time felt that the object was most likely a fake, but results were never conclusive.
Over at Blackfive last night, Uncle Jimbo caught al-Okaili attempting to use this narrative once too often as captured on Yahoo!'s photostream:
It's Not Just Scott Beauchamp -- [American Thinker]
Scott Beauchamp was the last straw. I realized that I need a scorecard to keep track of all the fallen journalists, journalistic mistakes and major and minor screw-ups in the media.
...Offenses include lying and fabricating, doctoring photos, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, falling for hoaxes, and overt bias. Some are hilarious, such as an action figure doll being mistaken for a real soldier. Some are silly, such as reporting on a baseball game watched on TV. Some are more serious.
I leave it to you to judge whether the internet damaged "journalism's ability to do its job professionally", as Marvin Kalb accuses, or if the internet has in fact helped expose an already damaged "profession".
I doubt if my list is comprehensive, but I think it's a good start. So that I'm not accused of plagiarism myself, I would like to give credit to Wikipedia for many of the entries on this list. And all the information below can be found with a little internet searching; I just could not find it all in one place. I do give at least one source for each item, embedded in the text.
E&P: "It's Not About Balance...It's Not Even About Objectivity..." -- [Jawa Report]
E&P pens a piece pretending to scold journalists for wearing their dyed-in-the-wool Blue politics on their sleeves (prompted by the Seattle Times' newsroom erupting in applause at the news of Unterfurher Rove's resignation), but can't bring itself to actually engage the real problem - that newsrooms are overloaded with Democrats by ridiculous margins, and that this slants news coverage consistently and egregiously.
A New Tune for Iraq -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
If you like James Taranto's "Best of the Web" column in the WSJ, you'll enjoy his video discussion today, A New Tune for Iraq? about the new narrative developing in regards to the Iraq war.
View the video here.
US May Label Iran Guards ‘Terrorist’, Earth ‘Round’ -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-15) — Officials in the U.S. State Department are reportedly close to labeling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a “terrorist” organization. At the same time, sources also indicate that the State Department may soon label the Earth “round”.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Why Soldiers Cry -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.- in Iraq]
AL MANSOUR (Baghdad) — U.S. forces have launched a new offensive north of Baghdad in an attempt to crush insurgents who have recently fled Baqouba. A major bridge was attacked on the outskirts of the city (several killed). And some roundup raids, which I cannot get into, may be stepping off in the city center as we speak.
Most of this morning and afternoon, my team — part of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division — has been running a series of foot and mounted combat patrols in Baghdad's Al Mansour district. Fortunately, no direct contact: But there were two IED attacks followed by small-arms fire against Iraqi Army (IA) forces a few blocks west of us in an adjacent sector of the neighborhood. We heard the explosions and gunfire while we were on foot, saddled up in our Humvees, and began moving toward the action until another — closer — unit responded.
GoodNewsIraq: Mosul A Safer Place
Haifa Street and the Seventh Imam March -- [The Fourth Rail]
Tuesday evening [note: August 7], after a delicious local lunch in the café with a couple of soldiers, an Iraqi contractor, and a glamorous interpreter who I think hopes to marry her way out of Iraq (no cavalry troopers have taken her up on it yet), I attended a squadron battle update briefing, another briefing, and then got ready to roll out on my first patrol with the Strykers. At the first briefing, I was informed that since I would be hooked into the intercom on missions, I had a radio call sign: Harry Potter.
Safer off the FOB?!? -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
Today was again my turn to be off for this next patrol. I was pretty stoked because this now makes 2 patrols I've had off in between rotations to our outpost. I normally only get one so this extra time off is an added suprise. Well I ended up going to bed at a decent time last night (1230 if your curious) after watching Aliens 2 for the first time with my grenadier. It was a good movie and when it was all done I was ready for bed. One of our trucks apparently had some damage done to it a LONG time ago and it was just now discovered during one of our semi-annual inspections. This was to be at least a day fix and so those of us off had to set up a rotation to go down and watch the truck while they worked on it. I was going to have to get up early, but not really that early.
Welcome to Ramadi -- Part 3: The Market
Ambassador Crocker rolls out his fluent Arabic while interacting with a shopkeeper in Ramadi.
Notice NO armor
Air Assaults and IEDs -- [Jeff Emanual - Vets for Freedom]
Well, the first week here is done -- only seven more to go in this front-line embed. So far, there have been several interesting and eye-opening experiences.
I'm back at Forward Operating Base Hammer tonight, home of 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade. In the morning, after meeting with the 3rd BDE commander, I'll be mounting up with some real unsung heroes of the coalition in this country -- a US Army Engineer unit called a "route clearance team." These men -- every single day -- drive all of the main roads southeast of Baghdad, from FOB Hammer, to Jisr Diyala, to Salman Pak and back, at 5 mph or less, looking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Their task is basically to locate the IEDs and either to dismount and blow them up, or to run them over and "take one for the team," getting blown up in their incredibly armored vehicles so that no thinner-skinned trucks will suffer that fate.
Paratroopers capture rogue Jaysh Al-Mahdi cell leader -- [MNF-I]
Paratroopers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Airborne, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, captured the cell leader and his militants during a raid on four different houses east of Mussayyib.
Concerned citizens bring cache to patrol base -- [MNF-I]
PATROL BASE INCHON — Citizens tired of terrorism in their communities recently brought 185 cans of ammunition to coalition forces
Lt. Singer 118th MP -- [Matt Sanchez]
Old Haifa -- [Matt Sherman - in Iraq]
Recently I visited an area of Bagdad called "Old Haifa" in the Karkh district. Exploring this part of town was off limits to virtually everyone until recently. Its now showing some signs of life.
"Scared Straight: Iraqi Style" -- [INDC Journal]
From an interview conducted earlier this year:
...INDC: So the majority of the insurgency here is religious radicals?
Yusef: "People in Iraq fighting, they are kids. They have no knowledge, they are ignorant from both sides, about their religion and education-wise. They (the radicals) buy them with money, so why not? Some guys who work with insurgents and start killing people, when they begin and kill one, they cannot leave."
INDC: What do you mean, they can't stop killing?
Back to Fallujah -- [INDC Journal]
I'm headed back to Iraq for two weeks on August 30th, to report on the situation in Fallujah prior to Gen. Petraeus's September report. I'm accredited with Bill Roggio's Public Multimedia, Inc., and would sincerely appreciate any (tax deductible) donations that cover expenses (airfare, insurance, etc.) through his shop. If you choose to give, please mark the subject or notes line with "Bill Ardolino":
From the Idaho State Journal -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
A profile of one of my Soldiers from our recent embed. - Finding ieds Pocatello soldier’s job
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq—Visualize Mr. Clean with a pinch of chewing tobacco.
If you can picture that then you’ve got a good sighting for the image of Sgt. Mike Devlin of Pocatello.
The tobacco chewing father of three and recent grandfather is serving his second deployment to Iraq.
The Army reservist has decided to return to active duty following his current tour of duty with the Idaho-based 321st Engineer Battalion.
His first deployment was in 2004 in Baghdad with the 458th Engineer Battalion doing “route clearance.” That’s military lingo for searching for and removing improvised explosive devices.
Dead Duck -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
Well, goose, actually.
We were sitting in our truck watching an intersection with a drainage ditch running through it. The several-months old puppy half-covered in blackwater, a nice way of saying raw sewage, was disgusting. Poor thing loped along, looking for anything to eat and any way to stay cool, hence the blackwater stains.
Security and Justice Projects Helping Secure Iraq -- [Army Corps of Engineers]
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Thirty two court facilities are complete as well as 93 fire stations with still more security and justice projects anticipated to come on line soon, according to officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region Division (GRD). Correctional facilities, training academies, witness protection facilities and secure document storage sites are on the way also.
Iraqi Refugees Seek Asylum -- [SgtStryker]
Since the beginning of the war, Iraqis have been fleeing their homeland. Their plight has been one of survival, of life and death. They have crossed borders, only to find unwelcoming arms. To date, there are over 2 million Iraqi refugees seeking shelter and asylum in other countries. Many of the hardships that the refugees are facing is heartbreaking. In a time when we expected to see an end to the war, civil unrest has made life difficult for all who seek peace, especially the Iraqi refugees.
Some of them want to come to America. In fact, our government has made provisions for 2,000 Iraqis to be admitted into the United States by September 30, 2007.
Korean Hostage Crisis Day 25 Update -- [GI Korea]
Many developments as the Korean hostage crisis moves into its 25th day. After the conflicting reports of the release and then reimprisonment of two Korean hostages the Afghan government has banned all media from the city where direct negotiations with the Taliban have been taking place:
2 More South Korean Hostages Released In A Gesture Of Goodwill.
2 More Korean hostages have been released by the Taleban,more than 3 weeks after they were first kidnapped.
Video shows the 2 women being handed over by Taleban guerillas to the Red Crescent in Arzoo,Nr Ghazni.
American Power Play In Pakistan -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
al-Qaeda Abandons Camps After US Intelligence Shared with Pakistan
In Washington, the topic of Pakistan has come to the fore in all of the major institutional spheres that impact, influence and execute warfighting and foreign policy. Within the military and intelligence communities as well as the political arena, the long-deferred issue has bubbled to the surface; What actions should be taken to combat the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance shored up and thriving within the tribal areas throughout the western swath of Pakistan?
Freedom Watch Afghanistan----8/14/07
Pak-Afghan Jirga: Draft Declaration -- [Sanjar]
At the ongoing grand peace jirga in Kabul, Pakistan has proposed formation of a joint tribal council to open negotiations with Afghan resistance groups and work for a ceasefire to create necessary conditions for peaceful resolution of the conflict, an official document made available to Dawn reveals.
Pakistan President Seeks Mainstream Taliban -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Nearly a year after agreeing to a peace truce with the Pakistan Taliban in Waziristan, Pakistan's President Musharraf is now calling for the political mainstreaming of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Musharraf's views were reported in the August 13, 2007 Pakistan Daily Times article "Musharraf says not all Taliban terrorists", and by the Associated Press "Pakistan, Afghanistan mired in extremism, Pakistan president says".
Live Free or Die -- [Strategy Page]
August 14, 2007: With increasing amounts of drug cash pouring into southern Afghanistan, comes more government, NATO and American troops. And more Taliban as well. This has sharply increased the level of violence in the area, partly because over the last two years, there have been more government officials around to record it all. It's all about tribal politics. The Pushtun tribes on both sides of the border form a population of some twenty million of the poorest, and most heavily armed, people in the region. Leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan are trying to convince the tribal chiefs that it's time to pay more attention to education and economic development.
Airmen Teach Afghan Police Hand-to-Hand Combat -- [Defend America]
"Without security, we wouldn't have the freedom of movement. Other PRTs in other provinces have more difficulties because security continues to be an issue. Here, that's not the case. Due to geography and the sheer commitment of the police, we are relatively safe. So, we're able to help the Afghans help themselves rebuild their great country."
SPIEGEL ONLINE: "The US Military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe." -- [Davids Medienkritik]
Historical consistency has never been a strong point for SPIEGEL magazine or SPIEGEL ONLINE - but this is shocking:
Just look at this article.
After years of calling Iraq a disaster, debacle and quagmire, SPIEGEL ONLINE has decided to declare the following:
"The US military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe."
This all stems from last week's Der SPIEGEL magazine cover feature article by Ullrich Fichtner: An enormous, fascinating and remarkably honest report on the complex situation in Iraq.
SPIEGEL ONLINE is also publishing Fichtner's report that US troops are in a remarkably good mood and have high morale. That also flies directly in the face of past SPIEGEL reporting that consistently depicted US troops as demoralized, depressed, defeated, prone to suicide and suffering from low morale.
Flight 93 Family Member Against Memorial -- [Flopping Aces]
Alec Rawls at the Error Theory has an exclusive with the father of Tom Burnett. You may recall that Tom was one of forty people on Flight 93 that were the first to fight back against our enemy.
Tom's father is now requesting that his son's name NOT be inscribed on the 44 glass blocks places along the flight path inside this disgrace of a memorial.
Deadly Flooding in North Korea -- [GI Korea]
As bad as this sounds I take such reports with a grain of salt because the North Koreans use these natural disaster excuses to get more aid money from South Korea and it provides the ROK government the cover it needs to send it. So when the big massive bribe aid package is announced during the 2nd Inter-Korean summit the ROK government can claim that it is also part of flood relief for North Korea. Talk about a well timed flood.
DEBKAfile CLARIFIES ITS DISCLOSURE OF AL QAEDA’S RADIOLOGICAL THREAT TO NEW YORK -- [DEBKAfile]
At midnight Thursday, Aug. 9, DEBKAfile’s monitors of terrorist Web sites and forums connected the messages accumulating from midday. They spelled out an al Qaeda threat mentioning New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets of attacks “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material.” Our counter-terror sources and monitors stressed “there is no way of gauging for sure how serious these threats are, or how real.”
Monday, Aug. 13, the chatter continues.
What is Your Primary Source for Emotional Support? -- [SpouseBUZZ]
I just read this article about how milspouses depend on their FRGs for support. We've discussed FRGs at length here at SpouseBUZZ. I think it's pretty clear that all FRGs are different. Some are highly effective, some are disorganized and not particularly helpful.
All about the cookies -- [View from the 8th Floor]
Since becoming a member of Soldiers’ Angels, I’ve sent…
… Starbucks coffee to medics all over Afghanistan and Iraq
… birthday brownies and cupcakes to Marines in Anbar and Sailors in Baghdad
… holiday goody bags to 270 sailors somewhere in the Pacific
… letters to National Guardmen, active duty Army Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen
… and cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.
Homemade cookies often look a little homely. With no preservatives, it’s always a bit of a gamble as to what they’ll look and taste like when they arrive. But they always taste a little better, I think. And my guys seem to agree - at least that’s what they tell me. They say they try to hide them, but in the end they always say that they share them around.
Thunder of Niagara -- [Soldiers Angels New York]
On Saturday, I had the privilege to exhibit for Soldiers' Angels at the Thunder of Niagara Air Show in Niagara Falls, NY. Big thanks to "angel" Kimberly for helping on Saturday, manning our table while I snuck out of the hangar to snap some pics, and for doing it all again on Sunday on her own. (You can click on the photos for larger version)
Fort Chaffee : New Blaine guardsman receiving military honor -- [NWAnews]
By the time the wounded Iraqi soldier lying in the back of a demolished flatbed truck raised his arm, Capt. John Vanlandingham had already escaped a fierce insurgent ambush outside of Iraq’s Camp Taji.
Vanlandingham didn’t hesitate.
US not considering draft: Pentagon -- [Breitbart]
The Pentagon sharply rejected Monday a key general's assertion that a return to the military draft has always been "an option on the table" and should be considered.
"I can tell you emphatically that there is absolutely no consideration being given to reinstituting the draft," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. "The all-volunteer force has surpassed all expectations of its founders."
Attack on the Blue Angels…again Update: Resolution dies in committee -- [Michelle Malkin]
Update: Vote was 2-1 to table the anti-Blue Angels resolution (hat tip - Gus).
...Meanwhile, far Left members of Global Exchange continue to collect signatures petitioning SF mayor Gavin Newsom to “Halt the Blue Angels.”
Obama leaves some wanting a little more -- [NH Primary Article]
...Obama defended his push to prosecute a tougher military effort to root out al-Qaida on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which drew criticism from primary rivals for sounding too bellicose.
“Now you have narco drug lords who are helping to finance the Taliban, so we’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there,’’ Obama said.
Campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin said Obama was not endorsing the current Bush policy, which consists solely of air raids and bombing of civilians.
Giuliani: "Early Battles of the Long War" and the Right Lesson from Vietnam -- [The Tank - J. Peter Pham]
In his contribution to the "America's Next Foreign Policy" series of essays by presidential candidates, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani writes that "first and foremost" among the key foreign policy challenges the next president will face "will be to set a course for victory in the terrorists' war on global order." In his piece, entitled "Toward a Realistic Peace," which will appear in the September-October issue of Foreign Affairs, he cautions that "unless we pursue our idealistic goals through realistic means, peace will not be achieved," specifically:
A Surge in the Media Battlespace -- [Outside the Wire - in Iraq]
There has been a modest up-tick in support for winning the war in Iraq.
The New York Times in a mid-July poll discovered up-tick and didn't believe it. So, they ran the poll again. Same result. Support for the war was up.
The reason for the uptick? An increase in optomistic Gross Ratings Points on the same topic.
NYTimes: Claiming General Petraeus has 'Flagging Spirits' is 'Dogged by Detractors' -- [NewsBusters]
In a report that is supposed to be about General David Petraeus and his efforts to pacify Iraq by commanding the forces in president Bush's Iraq surge, The New York Times speculates instead about his state of mind and generally tries to tear him down. Times writer John Burns seems to be putting in a bid for his own late night psychic TV show by being able to read the General's mind and divining that he has "flagging spirits" and that he is "rueful." Instead of a serious news report, Burns gives us speculation and a mystic's interpretation.
The most egregious paragraph in the story is the second.
NYT, Dems change course on Iraq -- [Don Suber]
To paraphrase John Kerry: Who wants to be the last person calling for the U.S. to surrender a war the Army is winning? Apparently not Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama or the New York Times, which just 5 weeks ago said genocide was better than having U.S. troops keep the peace in Iraq.
More Reuters photo fraud uncovered (updated) -- [American Thinker]
Barely over a year ago, in the midst of Reuters being proven to have fraudulently Photoshopped a picture of Beirut under attack, I wrote that founder Julius Reuter must be spinning in his London grave. Poor Julius has not gained any more peaceful repose a year later. This time the fraud is not even political, and the person who busted the formerly prestigious news agency turns out to be a 13 year old in Finland.
Nomenclature, again: What is the relationship between Al Qaeda in Iraq and Al Qaeda Central? -- [TigerHawk]
A little more than a month ago I wrote about the complaints of lefty readers of the New York Times that it was conflating "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" and bin Laden's organization, often referred to as "Al Qaeda Central." As these complaining readers well understood, the relationship of these two organizations is important politically and practically because it has an enormous bearing on whether we ought to persist in Iraq even if the government of that country does not mature in accordance with the American electoral calendar. Those who favor rapid withdrawal as a matter of principle do not want the American public to think that the enemy in Iraq is derivative of bin Laden's organization, because that will hurt the political appeal of their argument.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Three Marks on the Horizon -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Almost everyone (by now) must have heard about the “lazy” Iraqi parliament members who, like so many Neros fiddling while Rome burns around them, are taking a month off. Yet comparatively few Americans will ever hear or read about IA Scorpion Company Commander Captain Baker; or Iraqi entrepreneur and community catalyst, “Tonto”; or the Mayor of Baqubah, who summoned the courage to step out of the shadow of al Qaeda and fight to get his constituents a warehouse-sized stockpile of food.
Operation Lightning Hammer in Diyala -- [The Fourth Rail]
Clearing operation launched against al Qaeda in Iraq in the Diyala River Valley
On the same day Multinational Forces Iraq announced Phantom Strike, a major operation against the networks of al Qaeda in Iraq and Iranian-backed Shia terror groups, Coalition forces announced the onset of a major clearing operation in Diyala province. Dubbed Operation Lightning Hammer, elements of two Iraqi Army divisions, Diyala police, five US combat brigades and a combat air brigade are striking al Qaeda positions in the Diyala River Valley north of Baqubah.
Iraq Briefing 13 August 2007 -- [Pentegon Channel]
Baghdad, part deux -- [Letters from the other side of the World - in Iraq]
...A few hours after we rolled in to the BIAP fortress, me and some other Joes had to go to the other side of the airstrip to meet with a VIP.
It seems a U.S. senator from the great state of Illinois -- not the one running for president -- was passing through and wanted to talk with troops from home.
I was really tired -- I'd only had about five hours sleep out of the last 48 -- and I think it showed. I felt like I creeped out the man.
...He went on to ask us where we were from, who was a Cubs of Sox fan -- the usual grip and grab stuff, but I felt like he had an agenda to push.
The senator, to me, seemed very keen on hearing the word "frustrated" come from the Joes when he asked about dealing with the Iraqi government. He also was quick to point out how much money the U.S. has spent and we're still having a tough go. The reporter in me had the thought of seeing a plug in the news about how the troops told lawmakers they're "frustrated" with the situation. That's when I opened my mouth. Paraphrasing, I babbled it's tough to get anything done in Iraq. But the hallmark of any society lies in part in its criminal justice system, and that if we could have some more time to help the Iraqis get on their feet, it'd be a feather in our cap.
The senator blinked and then it was time for some snapshots. At least he showed up to say "hi," which does give him a few points in my book.
Incognito to 180-Out -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
...by far, the most noteworthy information I have to share is the current state of Ramadi's security. A stark contrast to what we saw in February when we arrived in Anbar, Ramadi is now one of the top success stories coming out of Iraq in the past six months. Iraqi Police have been working hand in hand with our units in and around the surrounding Province, and attacks have been virtually non-existent for weeks on end. The media has also keenly picked up on our successes, and have been reporting that Ramadi, and the cooperation and open exchange of information with local Sheiks we have enjoyed, should be the model considered for transforming the unstable, hold-out Provinces left in the Country.
Marne Forward Part 2
Ambassador Crocker Visits Ramadi -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Remember when Al Anbar was a lost cause? Now people make comments like "he is lucky to be in Al Anbar."
Remember when Senator McCain visited Baghdad and characterized the situation as improved and received no end of grief because he wore a vest and had protection?
Here is an ABC News report of Ambassador Crocker visiting Ramadi recently. You will note that he walks around town wearing no vest.
Major attacks decline in Iraq -- [USA Todday]
The number of truck bombs and other large al-Qaeda-style attacks in Iraq have declined nearly 50% since the United States started increasing troop levels in Iraq about six months ago, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.
The high-profile attacks — generally large bombs hitting markets, mosques or other "soft" targets that produce mass casualties — have dropped to about 70 in July from a high during the past year of about 130 in March, according to the Multi-National Force — Iraq.
Iraq Report: Assassination campaigns -- [The Fourth Rail]
Both the Mahdi Army and al Qaeda in Iraq appear to have conducted bold assassination attempts on Iraqis working with the Coalition. Both attacks occurred on August 11, one in Baghdad and the other in the contested city of Diwaniyah.
Coalition Forces Capture Key Financier of Special Groups Terrorists -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces captured a key financier of Special Groups terrorists during a pre-dawn raid Monday in Western Baghdad. The detained individual is believed to be a Special Groups leader for the Bayaa province in Western Baghdad.
No shots were fired when Coalition Forces conducted a ground assault to capture or kill a suspected key financier of the “Special Groups” that are believed to have direct ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF). These Special Groups terrorists are suspected of killing Iraqi citizens, directing attacks against Coalition Forces, and promoting sectarian violence.
General expresses optimism about Iraqi Police progress -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — The deputy commander of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team operating in Iraq said Friday that he’s feeling “very, very optimistic” about progress over the past several months.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. David D. Phillips told civilian defense experts he’s seen big changes since 2004, when he helped stand up the Baghdad Police Academy as commander of the 89th Military Police Brigade.
“I’ve seen significant differences in the way the academy is run,” he said via teleconference from Baghdad.
Ashes and Dust -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
"You may get to see some action today after all," he said to me, sardonically, as we walked back to the vehicle. Once we were safely inside, and he had made his request for a helicopter, Geiger said to me, "We have to let the National Police handle this – we can give them backup and moral support, but this is their show, for two reasons. One, we don't have enough people to go running into a situation that we just don't have enough information about." (The squad he had brought with him consisted of six total dismounted soldiers – the rest of his platoon was carrying out a different tasking at the northern camp of Rustamiyah.) "Second, did you hear the woman saying that the NPs couldn't do anything? We're going to be gone from here sooner or later, and we have to leave a police force that is used to taking on things like this – and a population who knows that they are capable of it."
The Ligers -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
...I continued on, "It's like this: If we fail to make a mission here, our coalition HQ comes down on the coalition advisor's here. Who, then, is coming down on the Iraqi's? That's supposed to be our job in a way, but do you really thing the Iraqi's are paying much heed when they know we'll be gone in 8 months?"
No response, so I drove forward. "What needs to happen is our HQ needs to put aside their arrogance and start letting the Iraqi's command the Iraqi's. Then, when a mission fails, have an Iraqi general come down hard on the Iraqi commanders here. These guys are lifers - you better believe they care when their commanding officers bring a shit storm down on them!"
Good News and Operational Energy -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
AL TAQADDUM — There is so much more to the story of Iraq — specifically Al Anbar — that I've yet to have time to get into here at "The Tank:" Good news about amazing progress that I can't wait to explain once I begin my more detailed NRO stories over the coming weeks.
Courageous Iraqi Kidnapped -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Associated Press journalist Talal Mohammed has been kidnapped. Although I learned this information earlier, I did not report it out of concern for his safety. Now that the Associated Press has officially reported his kidnapping, the need for secrecy is diminished.
I met Talal on the first day of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. There was a shootout going on somewhere very close. Many shots could be heard, yet Talal had come in to report on the operation. He saw my camera and walked up showing his press ID.
Welcome Back! -- [Assad Baghdad - in Iraq]
...what I found in my conversations with people at home, but in a nutshell, if I can give a quick assessment, it's that Americans are simply hungry for straight talk about Iraq from all sides--they just want to know, what is really happening.
So, I'll close for today simply by saying that it is good to be back in Bagtown. Seriously, it is. What motivates me here is knowing that I have an important mission to accomplish. After being at home, I'm further motivated by the encouragement and good wishes of so many Americans who want us to succeed. With an eye toward next spring when this deployment will come to a close, I'll do my best to honor those good wishes, make a difference here, and come home safely.
The million man march... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...In general, when approached alone or in small groups, most Iraqis seem to show that they are happy to see us and glad we are here. But as soon as you get a big group of them together, then apparently it is cool to hate on Americans and that seems to be the trend. I guess it doesn't help that the route the were taking meant that most of the pilgrims we were seeing were coming from Sadr City, know to be quite anti-American.
The rest of the day was uneventful, with what I would consider "busy work" for us to do, because, well they didn't really have anything for us to do. Unfortunately they had enough of this to keep us busy well in to the night and by the time we finished and head to go to sleep, we were looking at about 6 hours. Thats before you factor in the time to settle down, fall asleep and also waking up for an hour guard shift. Fun fun!!
The next day the vechicle ban was lifted but there wasn't much traffic. This was the last day of the holiday, so there were still a decent amount of people in the street and not really much else going on.
Sadr Traffic and the Future for a Departing Soldier -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
Knocking On Doors -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
It's still dark out and one eye sees dimly with whatever moonlight there is. No power in this neighborhood, and that's the norm. The other eye sees with the NODs, the night vision, in shades of green with skewed depth perception. Nearly a dozen of you walking down the streets. Heel-toe, heel-toe. Quietly as possible. Don't kick rocks or trash. Speak in rare hushed whispers and hand signals.
The gate is locked. This isn't your standard American style gate on a flimsy chain link fence. The walls are five to six feet high and the gate is cheap metal, but it's still solid. There is no reaching through, and this one is locked. Breaching it would make way too much noise.
"Psst! Suspect! Up and over!"
I hand my M4 to a buddy and step on the plate on someone else's back as they get down on their hands and knees and hoist myself over, silently as possible.
My Head Still Hurts -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
I felt a CRACK of the shockwave, then a cloud of dust and shards or what I guess were concrete pelted my back and neck. Luckily, no shrapnel, thanks to a slight misalignment of the next T-wall which shadowed my spot from the worst of the blast. I still couldn't hear very well for several minutes, and wasn't sure that I'd escaped more than that.
The door guards at the PX Threw on their body armor as six or seven of us that had taken shelter in the entrance-way huddled for a moment, then made a dash for one of the real impact shelters across the street the other way. But as soon as we got there, the calls for medics started behind us, so I whipped out my flashlight and ran into the dust cloud around the impact point with two medics right behind me. We called as we ran, "Who needs a medic? Anyone there?" "Medic! Here! I'm hit!" came back with a Spanish accent. I led with its beam to the first voice we could zoom in on, an bleeding SGT stumbling along calling to us. He was none too steady on his feet. He said he could feel he'd been hit, but wasn't sure where. I ran my light over him,
Iraq Update: Part 5 -- [ON Point - Andrew Lubin]
The political and military situation in Iraq continues to veer in different directions. As the military situation continues to improve in many parts of the country ( Anbar, Diyala, and other northern areas ), Prime Minister Maleki’s government continues to implode. On the political front, with the resignation Monday of four more ministers, the total is now 17 cabinet ministers who have either resigned, or refused to work within the framework of the Shia-heavy government of Nouri Al-Maleki....
Prisoners and Sun bathing. -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
"Is this Juarez?" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...As anyone else would imagine, why are border patrol agents from the US here in Iraq, while our own borders
are still a major problem? What I saw however today, is that what is being done here, is not just a learning process for the Iraqi authorities who eventually will take over the process one day on their own, but it is also a highly intensified border control experience that will benefit the controlling of our own borders back home.
This is an excellent opportunity to not only stem the flow of foreign fighters into the Iraq war zone, but also an excellent opportunity to train up in such an intense environment that deals with every aspect of border control in a
'Get It Done' -- [Opinion Journal]
Gen. Petraeus is a man of "straightforward decisiveness" who values "action with results."
In the lives of interesting people, there are bound to be interesting events. This is about one in the life of Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Gen. Petraeus of course will be all over television in September, reporting to Congress on the war, and America will be getting used to him. He is not in an easy position. The left and most Democrats are invested in the idea of Iraq as disaster. The right and most Republicans placed their bets on the president and the decision to invade
The Taliban Ducks and Decentralizes -- [Strategy Page]
August 13, 2007: The Taliban is changing its leadership arrangements, after losing two top military commanders in the last few months. Rather than trying to reconstitute the top command, the Taliban have told local commanders to run their own show, without any orders from a central command. There is still a central Taliban leadership, but it is mainly a political one. Any centralized resources (cash, weapons) will be allocated to whichever of the local groups (one or two per province) appear to have the best prospects of success. The senior Taliban political leadership will set overall goals, but not provide any military direction on how to carry out that strategy.
Afghanistan Complaint Department -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
What reads like a screed at the Daily Kos or the Democratic Underground actually comes from "a former U.S. diplomat and staff reporter at TIME," Edward M. Gomez, in a semi-coherent entry at the San Francisco Gate.
Just what is anybody doing anymore - U.S. troops, British and Canadian soldiers, other NATO forces - in George W. Bush's war (or whatever it is) in Afghanistan? Does anybody know what its aims and strategy once were or are now supposed to be? Does Bush himself know or, as he sets off on the month-long vacation his handlers have renamed, with their usual, Orwellian touch, a "recess," does he even care?
Interestingly, the above was apparently edited after its initial posting, as the cached Google reference that sent me there read "George W. Bush, Jr.'s war," which explains even more accurately the intent behind the usage of "recess" by Gomez. As the open appeared in the Google News cache link:
Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan...
On the Road to Jalalabad -- [Opinion Journal]
Don't believe the naysayers. Afghanistan is doing as well as anyone has a right to expect.
AFGHANISTAN--Sen. Hillary Clinton has cynically charged that we are "losing the fight to al Qaeda and bin Laden" in Afghanistan. But on my eighth trip to Afghanistan (last month) I saw that the trend lines are up, not down.
The first encouraging sign came in Dubai as I boarded my flight for Kabul. Afghanistan's main private air carrier, Kam Air, has recently added a second daily round trip between Kabul and Dubai.
Shootin an ied in afghanistan
IED found in road shot with 240
The Future . . . -- [Richard's Deployment to Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
In our hospital we have Soldiers and Airmen who are here for a variety of tour lengths; 90 days, 120 days, 180 days, 365 days and even some for 15 months. It makes for quite a diverse work environment. Some are planning to go home while others are not even half-way through their tour! We bond quickly, and separate painfully, and then the cycle begins again.
By the time I finish this deployment I will have worked with four different USAF rotations and four different USAR rotations, plus all the individuals who backfill during R&R leave. In all, after 12 months here with my 45-man hospital I will have worked with over 100 different individual staff members!
Eagle Scout -- [A JAG in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
...As you may recall, he did his Eagle Project collecting school and humanitarian supplies, made hygiene kits, collected toys, clothes, backpacks and other great things for the kids. He organized the Scouts and they collected items from all over our area. Janae can give you the exact number but they easily sent over 60 boxes of supplies over here. For a month or so the guys at the Post Office “hated” me because I received so many boxes.
His donations were distributed in two different missions. I’ll post some pictures from both. I know that lots of kids were benefited by his efforts as well as the efforts of all those who donated.
Lost.......uh......um......what the H........You had me at hello. -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
Found at checkpoint. Lost something. Cross between inner city crack addict, chuwawa and hyena. Kind of reminds me of my future brother-in-laws dog. You should see that thing!
Majority Backs Getting Invaded -- [Strategy Page]
A recent opinion survey showed that 58 percent of Iranians would support a foreign invasion to overthrow the current religious dictatorship. However, nearly 70 percent would prefer a popular, but non-violent, revolution, like the one that tossed out European communist dictatorships in 1989-90. Worse, 92 percent do not approve of how their government operates. Only eleven percent oppose democracy, and 72 percent did not support the "Islamic Revolution" that has dominated the country for 28 years. Still, most Iranians are not willing to fight, knowing that the minority of Iranians who do support the government are armed and willing to kill Iranians that oppose them. The survey also showed that 78 percent of Iranians believe the country should have nuclear power, but only
The ACLU sues JetBlue on behalf of a passenger who happens to be an Arab -- [TigerHawk]
In the category of bad cases having the potential to make bad law, consider the case of Raed Jarrar v. JetBlue (complaint(pdf)). On August 12, 2006, Jarrar -- an Iraqi architect and well-trafficked blogger -- arrived for a JetBlue in New York sporting a t-shirt that said in Arabic and English "We will not be silenced." August 12 was two days after the discovery of the plot by Arabs in the United Kingdom to blow up aircraft flying across the Atlantic, so the United States was at a high level of vigilence. Not surprisingly, an Arab-looking person wearing a confrontational Arabic political message unnerved some of the passengers, and the TSA intervened:
Jihadist/Islamist Websites and Their Hosts (List II): Websites Supporting the Jihad in Iraq - Hosted in the U.S. -- [MEMRI]
As part of their warfare against the Coalition forces in Iraq, terrorist organizations have been using cyberspace to enhance the psychological effect of their attacks within their ranks, to enhance recruitment, and to extend the reach of their propaganda.
The following is a list of active Jihadist/Islamist websites supporting the jihad in Iraq, divided into four categories. 
All the websites, forums, and blogs supporting jihad in Iraq are hosted by companies in the West, mostly in the United States.
Darryl Sharratt on life after Haditha -- [Pundit Review]
Darryl Sharratt, father of innocent Haditha Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, returned to Pundit Review to tell us about the great news the family received this week.
Helping Life Go On -- [The Tank - Kathryn Jean Lopez]
From the Orange County Register:
SAN ONOFRE BEACH, CAMP PENDLETON - Chuck Hayter stood in front of a new beige handicapped-access cabin with light blue trim overlooking the Pacific Ocean here on Friday and said he would love to stay in it.
The Marine captain with the recently activated Wounded Warrior Battalion – West, who was injured in Afghanistan, was among about 100 who attended a dedication service for what is believed to be the first such cabin put on a U.S. military installation using non-government funds.
"So when Marines come out here to use the beach, they're going to see the support from the community in this building here," Hayter said.
The Launch of the 2008 Calendar - Benefit Calendar for Veteran Hospitals -- [Pin Ups for Vets]
People ask me all the time how the “Pin-Ups For Vets” calendar project came to be...
A few years ago, I started seeing news articles about under-funded Veterans’ healthcare programs. Then, there were stories about older Veterans who lay in bed day after day, never receiving any visitors. Reports started surfacing on TV about the severe injuries sustained by our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Good News Friday(B*N*S*N)1 -- [Tanker Brothers]
Remember a while back how the msm vultures were all over the stories of how bad things were at Walter Reed? The media fell all over each other in their haste to inform the public of whatever negative stuff they could dig up. Here, of course, we shared a letter from a Chaplain who was there and knew Walter Reed well. This week, there was a good news story out of Walter Reed that I only found on the Army site. I don't waste my time scouring the msm, but often it is hard to avoid. No surprise - this story hasn't made it to msm as far as I can tell:
Honoring the dead -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
Honoring the dead from wars past isn't something that stops once hostilities end. When Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, rolled up their tents and packed their wagons to head home earlier this month, the last thing they did before they left was clean up a British cemetary from World War 2. Our correspondent with 3/6, Lance Cpl. Christopher Zahn, writes to tell us how that effort went.
Convicted Marine Hutchins Gains Public Support -- [Salem News - HT: Gateway Pundit]
Thanks to Papa Ray for sending this story on the court marshal of marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins from the Salem News:
Entertainer, Businessman Griffin Dies -- [AP]
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Merv Griffin, the entertainer turned impresario who parlayed his "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" game shows into a multimillion-dollar empire, has died. He was 82. Griffin died of prostate cancer, according to a statement from his the family that was released by Marcia Newberger, spokeswoman for The Griffin Group/Merv Griffin Entertainment.
Rubber-Stamp RAND Report Excuses Women in Land Combat -- [The Tank - Elaine Donnelly]
The long-delayed RAND Report on the issue of women in combat, quietly released last Thursday in the absence of Congress, is an affront to the military. It denies the clear meaning and even the existence of a key Defense Department (DoD) regulation, called the “collocation rule.” That regulation, which remains in effect, exempts female soldiers from involuntary assignment in support units that physically remain or embed with direct-ground-combat units, such as the infantry. The Rubber Stamp RAND Report also ignores the Army’s willful disregard of the law requiring formal approval by the secretary of defense and notice to Congress in advance of regulatory changes affecting our female soldiers.
The Department of Defense should demand a refund for this mess of a report, delivered almost a year and a half beyond the delivery date mandated by Congress.
Where Have All The Gunners Gone -- [Strategy Page]
August 12, 2007: Iraq has been good news and bad news for American artillerymen. On the bright side, the cannoneers finally got "smart" (GPS guided) shells and rockets. No more firing dozens of shells per target, to make sure you took it out. Now, one or two smart shells or rockets, and the job it done. The smart shells are important in Iraq, because a lot of the action is in residential areas, where accuracy is critical. Before the smart shells and rockets showed up last year, the troops had to use smart bombs or missiles. The smart bombs were often too big (the smallest one was the 500 pounder), and you had to call in the air force (an air controller on the ground, was not always handy). The missiles were regularly carried by army attack helicopters, but the hundred pound Hellfire was often not large enough. The smart shells and rockets were just the right size, and they were under the control of the army.
H&I Fires* 11 Aug 07 -- [Castle Argghhh!]
Yesterday's meeting of the Veterans and Military Affairs Advisory Council that Congresswoman Nancy Boyda has established went well. She's pulled together a broad assortment of people with relevant expertise, from retired general officers of multiple services and components to people with specific specialties in military affairs, to family members and multi-component non-commissioned officers. A decently diverse group covering the ground that the council title lists.
Welcome Home Party Pictures -- [Rmychk's Oh So Optimistic Blog - home from Iraq]
Thank you to all who could make it! I had a great time seeing you and meeting some of you for the first time.
· BREAKING: Karl Rove To Quit, He Tells WSJ -- [PJM]
Karl Rove, President Bush's close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, he told Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot. PJM will be tracking the reaction.
President's Radio Address -- [WhiteHouse Press Release]
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. In America, August is considered a slow news month. But in the war on terror, America and our allies remain on the offense against our enemies. And this month, we've had some encouraging news from both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Earlier this week, I had a good meeting with President Karzai of Afghanistan at Camp David. He updated me on the work his government is doing to help build a more hopeful future for the Afghan people. He told me that senior officials and tribal leaders from Afghanistan and Pakistan are meeting to discuss how to deal with the extremists who are targeting both their countries. And he explained why he's confident that his government will prevail against the Taliban remnants who continue to launch attacks throughout his country.
Here's how President Karzai put it:
Success In Iraq Rains On Democrats’ Plans For ‘08 -- [SoCalPundit]
The Power Point presentations produced by Democrat campaign strategists for the 2008 election cycle are about to hit the recycle bin. What was thought just one month ago to be the way for Democrats to build their majorities in the House and Senate and recapture the White House look anything but certain today.
Surrender Is As Surrender Does -- [Jules Crittenden]
Surrender enthusiasts may finally be surrendering. Dem candidates say getting out of Iraq may take years:
Wrong Way -- [Jules Crittenden]
Genocide-preferring NYT ed board, noting that Britain’s slow exit from Basra has left serious problems in its wake, takes a firm stand for a more responsible rush to abandonment. Aptly headlined “Wrong Way out of Iraq” is short, sweet, and utterly chilling in its cold willingness to relegate U.S. troops to encircling Iraq and watching the mass murderfest, with a mandate only to lob bombs at questionably identifiable targets:
Thunder Run Radio! -- [Thunder Run]
Well not exactly.
I am not starting a segment on Blog Talk Radio, not yet at least, but I will be on the Andrea Shea King show Monday night at 9:00 pm EDT to discuss my interview with LTC Fred Johnson and any other topic that comes up during the hour.
Information on the show can be found at her web site, or you can listen live by clicking on this link or the button below.
Why The New York Times Can Legally Help The Enemy in The War on Terror -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
In July 2007, the Washington Post gave a Hezbollah supporter full coverage of an online column on Jihadism, and in June 2007, both the New York Times and the Washington Post printed editorials by a Hamas figure.
The Army Responds -- [Bill Roggio]
I recently emailed Col. Steve Boylan asking for whatever information he could provide regarding the status of the investigation of Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Here is his response:
His command's investigation is complete. At this time, there is no formal what we call Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) actions being taken. However, there are other Administrative actions or what we call Non-Judicial Punishment that can be taken if the command deems appropriate. These are again administrative in nature and as such are not releasable to the public by law.
Words of Wisdom - Let the Warfighters Focus on the Real Issues -- [SWJ]
An e-mail recieved today from Colonel Steve Boylan, MNF-I CG PAO. The subject line: The Issues with Beauchamp...
It doesn't matter anymore. An investigation was completed at the unit level and it was found that there was nobody that could support his claims. The young PVT has now decided at least for the time being from what I have been told, not to engage with the media whether they be traditional media or alternative media (blogs/online pubs, etc).
That is his right.
This has become a huge distraction for the unit and those above him. The issue has been taken care of within the unit as it should be. I ask that all that feel compelled to continue this discourse to STOP. Enough is enough. We have a lot more to worry about than what one young albeit perhaps wet behind the ears Private chooses to write about that turns out not to be very accurate and made its way into the online world of media. This should have never, never made it over to the main media and should stop.
LA Times Item on Art Students Painting Their Anti-War Politics -- [NewsBusters]
Today's Los Angeles Times op-ed page item "The art of war" contains drawings on the subject of the Iraq war done by students of visual arts teacher Steve Brodner at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. The drawing displayed here, of Pres. Bush in a bubble floating over a mound of skulls, typifies the attitudes expressed, all of which are opposed to the war and the Bush administration in one form or other
Rove Quits White House to Run Hillary Campaign -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-08-13) — Karl Rove, the chief adviser to George Bush since 1993, in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, said he would resign from the Bush administration effective August 31, to spend more time with family and to head up the presidential campaign of Democrat front runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.
Mr. Rove called the move “a cold calculated decision to remain in charge of the U.S. government indefinitely.”
“I crave power,” Mr. Rove told the Journal, “and I can’t get my fix working for a lame duck president.
British Morale In Iraq
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Bread and a Circus, Part II of II -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
...The American press that flooded in for the kinetic fighting in Baqubah left when the shooting stopped. Their interest waned for covering these aspects of counterinsurgency. They were gone and missing the real story. Nobody was even watching, but this play was not for the American journalists; it was for the Iraqi people. So with the drivers frightened and ready to abort, the mission could do worse than merely fail; it could backfire. (Like the entire war.)
The story in the Iraqi press might be that after 10 months of no food shipments to Baqubah, Arrowhead Ripper is launched, and . . . food shipments do not resume, and Baqubah and Diyala Province are abandoned by the Iraqi government in Baghdad. This would be a terrific media victory for al Qaeda and its push to deepen the civil war here.
Some drivers wanted desperately to go home. The Mayor of Baqubah, caught between his job and his fear, was having second thoughts. Clearly he was scared; everyone could see it. He was leaning on the abort button and his angst reinforced the fear in the drivers.
LTC Johnson bristled when he spoke to the collapsing convoy, telling them that that the future of Iraq would depend on the outcome of moments like this all over the country, where men either stand their ground or run away and give the day to the terrorists. Johnson’s words carried particular weight because of an encounter earlier that morning.
Ramadi: Open for Business -- [ON Point]
“This place is dynamic ! The people are working ‘round the clock, and it’s all positive,” said Kristen Hagerstrom, leader of the ePRT ( embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team ) based in Ramadi. Mrs. Hagerstom spent an hour talking with OnPoint Sunday about the economic and administrative successes in the city.
When 1st Battalion, 6th Marines left Ramadi in June, they’d successfully cleared the city of Al-Quada, and formed a successful partnership with Sheik Sattar al-rishi and his newly-formed “Sons of Anbar.” Long before terms like “The Surge” and “Clear-Hold-Build” entered the Pentagon and American public’s vocabulary;
The Iraqi Army clashes with insurgents in Ramadi
The Iraqi Army clashes with insurgents in Ramadi with the help of a US MITT team.
An Iraqi Interpreter’s Story -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
Iraqis who are not American citizens and who work as interpreters for the American military cover their faces when they work outside the wire. Mahdi Army militiamen and Al Qaeda terrorists accuse of them of collaboration with the enemy. They and their families are targetted for destruction.
Here is the story of one such interpreter who works with the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad. He calls himself “Hammer.”
General James Mattis -Attacking the al Qaeda "Narrative" -- [SWJ]
In his June 2007 State Department E-Journal article, New Paradigms For 21st Century Conflicts, Dr. Dave Kilcullen of General David Petraeus' senior staff in Baghdad called for, among other things, a "New Lexicon" for better defining and more effectively defeating enemies which subscribe to the faith-based mantra of "Death to America, the Great Satan".
In other public statements and in several Small Wars Journal postings, Kilcullen entered very slowly, very prudently into the virtually verboten realm of attacking al Qaeda-style Terrorism in Islamic religious context, rather than in Western secular terms only -- referring to the AQ terrorists as "munafiquun" (hypocrites to authentic, Qur'anic Islam) and pointing out that "they call themselves mujahideen" but are doing barbaric things which are anything but holy.
Once you feel at home... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
... and you begin to feel that you are safe and things are normal, the war comes and slaps you across the face. I don't know how to describe how or why that is, but it holds true. The second you begin to think "Hey this doesn't feel like a war" thats when it happens. Its like clockwork. Thats what happened to us the other day.
It was early in the morning. I had stayed up late, almost until daybreak and I had just gone to bed. I was sleeping good when I was awoken by a loud explosion and the rattling of the walls. I sat up in bed as the incoming warning sirens were blaring. Then another thunderous explosion. This one sounded like it had landed right on top of me. The concusion
Citizens oust terrorists from mosque, help uncover weapons cache -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Fed up with violent and indiscriminate terror tactics, a group of more than 80 residents of the Adhamiyah district, on the east side of the Iraqi capital, banded together Sunday to oust suspected terrorists from a local mosque.
Dora, Baghdad and the 1-4 Cavalry -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
I was with the 1-4 Cavalry, a spurge unit, out of the Dora neighborhood in Western Baghdad. The neighborhood is getting better but sometimes...
Can't Run, Can't Hide, Can't Make a Deal -- [Strategy Page]
August 8, 2007: There are now 162,000 American troops in Iraq, the most ever. The surge tactics, of constantly chasing after terrorist groups, has left more of the terrorist leaders vulnerable. This week, the guy who planned the two bombing attacks on the Shia Al Askaria (Golden Dome) mosque in Samarra was killed up north. In nearby Mosul, the local Sunni Arab community is becoming even more vicious, knowing that their politicians have been unable to obtain amnesty for the terrorist leaders who have been presiding over the bombers and death squads in the northern oil city.
UN rides to the rescue in Baghdad -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
It really took me a bit to get past the sinking feeling in my gut whenever I contemplate the UN helping with anything. I have far too many first hand experiences with UN help to consider it even a net positive thing. But in Iraq, they would serve a purpose almost no other group could. Our loyal opposition has shown they are willing to take a victory from our troops and abandon the Iraqi people to a genocidal civil war, but will they throw the UN under the bus?
Children's engagement in Ghartan -- [Fightin 6th Marines’ - in Iraq]
Iraqi soldiers and police, with support from RCT-6 soldiers and Marines, do a lot of what's called "civil affairs" out here, which is handing out goodies to kids, providing medical attention to the locals (the Iraqi army units have medics) and helping with civic projects, such as enabling water, electricity and educational services.
Cpl. Bryce C.K. Muhlenberg recently wrote a dispatch (and took the simultaneously haunting and charming photo above) outlining a so-called "children's engagement." What I think is important about this story is the fact it addresses the fact that while, yes, these things are done out of a sense of "niceness," we also do them with showing the populace that we are not the enemy.
LSA Anaconda -- [Army Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
...One thing we're learning about Iraq is that it takes a lot longer to get anywhere than you would think looking at the map. When we planned our trip, we guessed it might take us two hours to get to Anaconda. Instead we rolled into the LSA some six hours after leaving our FOB. Even taking out the time we spent with our battalion and at the other FOB, that was a very long trip. Due to the threat of IEDs we travel pretty slowly, because that gives us the best chance of spotting IEDs, wires, or triggermen before they can hit us. It's a good technique, but it does mean that travel outside the wire takes far longer than you would expect, and it gets pretty tiring between the heat and the constant searching for a threat that may never appear.
Visuals -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
If you wanted to know what Baghdad looks like, watch the movie "Man On Fire". Towards the end, you see the neighborhood that "The Voice" lives in. Take that, and suck all of the color out of it. Keep the extended families living together.
Clearing a room. (pic) , Found this while searching a house. (pic)
"Route Clearing" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
August 8, 2007 FOB Marez, Mosul-Iraq
After a couple days of staying on the FOB taking care of some coordination of arrangements, I found myself linking up with Echo Company, 2/7 Cav. The ones that clear routes. These are the folks that are perhaps most critical to American troops safety, as it is their job to go find IED's, before the IED's find them. Prior to departing on this mission, I thought to myself, "I wonder exactly what the recruiter tells the prospective enlistee when he signs him up for this job...?"
Are you Ready? -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
...In my travels as a historian I have had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of Marines and have seen things I will never forget. Doing an interview is mostly a one on one meeting between me and a fellow Marine, behind a closed door on most occasions. I have seen hard as nails combat veterans break down and cry when telling me about the loss of a fellow Marine or seeing a child killed; I am most likely the first Marine who has asked them to tell me their story, sometimes making them relive horrible memories. I have heard stories of incredible bravery and of self sacrifice to “Duty, Honor and Country” words that for some are not a cliché, but truly have meaning. Those moments are burned into my memory….Are you ready? I have tasted my own fear being outside the wire and riding in a convoy with weapons loaded and at the ready, the mental preparation for that is something to experience…Am I ready to do what may need to be done?…Is there an IED in the road? Will we take fire? Is there a sniper out to kill us? If it does happen what will they tell my daughter about her father?… Am I ready?
Reporting out from the 'Stan. -- [Dispatch at John of Argghhh!]
Well the first team is gone, and we are on our own. Not so bad so far, I moved out of the cramped box the two Poles and I were squeezed into, and into a slightly larger box that the last team had been in. (Pictures to follow) The mission is a little bit different than what we expected, but nothing earth shattering. Any time you step into a new job, the reality is going to be a bit different.
US Marine Encounters with Children in Afghanistan
Taliban Overshadowed By A Larger Threat -- [Strategy Page]
August 6, 2007: The Taliban have changed tactics, now they favor kidnapping foreigners and suicide bombings, to try and weaken the government. The traditional Taliban tactics, of war bands (of 50-100 gunmen) roaming the countryside, attacking the police and terrorizing villagers into supporting the cause, have failed. The Afghan police and army are too well trained and equipped (with radios, to call in NATO troops and airpower) to be defeated. The losses for the Taliban are very high, with a third or more the men in these war bands being killed. Many of the survivors are wounded, or captured.
RAF AFGHAN DIARIES
SAC Paul Goodfellow's Afghanistan diary - Entry 101 -- B Flight has managed to secure medical funding for an Afghan boy suffering from cutaneous leishmaniasis. Today they'll travel to the village and deliver the good news.
The Military Might? -- [Matt Sanchez]
....The media is already forecasting the "downturn in Afghanistan" and they're quick to point out the upturn in opium production. This unilateral blame America first will not take into account the multi-lateral support as evidenced by the rainbow village in Afghanistan. The ISAF (International Security Afghanistan Force and umbrella organization for Coalition forces) does not mandate a pro-active role in the eradication of the illegal (and rising) Opium trade. With so many chiefs and too few brave Indians it stands to reason that, in Afghanistan "legal" will never quite equal "logical".
Karzai Thanks Bush, American People for Support -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2007 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai today thanked President Bush and the American people for helping liberate and secure his country. (Video)
“I'm here today to once again thank you and the American people for all that you have done for Afghanistan, for our liberation first, and then for our stability and prosperity,” Karzai said in a news conference at Camp David, Md., following meetings with Bush. “We have gone a long way.”
75 Taliban Attack Base
Taliban targeted in Helmand -- [ISAF]
Kabul, Afghanistan – Coalition forces in support of ISAF struck a large group of Taliban meeting in a remote area of Helmand province.
The mission was directed against two Taliban leaders present at a meeting of Taliban extremist senior leaders and fighters. Sources link them to IED operations and attacks on ANSF, ISAF and civilians. The group is known to be directly responsible for facilitating the movements of insurgents between central Hel
Navy Begins Diving at Minnesota Bridge -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
A Navy diving detachment and salvage team arrived early Tuesday morning to search for bodies stilll missing after the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Aug. 1.
Pennsylvania 9-11 Memorial Still Honors Hijackers -- [Gateway Pundit]
With last week’s final approval for the crescent design, the hijacker still has control of the cockpit.
...A crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a “mihrab,” and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. There are a dozen typical mosque features. Every one is realized in the crescent design, all on the same epic scale as the giant mihrab. (Is a 93 foot tall minaret/prayer-time-sundial epic enough for you?) These mosque features account for every particle of the design. The planned memorial is 100% pure mosque.
Iranian nukes: Bringing the Bear to bear and the Iraq endgame -- [TigerHawk]
...So, two diplomats, one European and one American, simultaneously leak a story that the Russians have decided to mess with Iran's Track B to a bomb (the Bushehr plant is the plutonium path, different from the Natanz centrifuge cascade for enrichment of U-235 that you hear about more often). This has actually been going on for some time. One cannot avoid suspecting the invisible hand of Condoleezza Rice, whom history may yet reveal to be a more subtle Secretary of State than the chattering classes now understand.
The interesting question is not that the Russians are squeezing Iran -- they have been doing that for centuries and are presumably delighted to keep squeezing so long as it does not appear to give advantage to the United States -- but that they are doing it now. A daring person -- and I am nothing if not daring, safe behind my pen name -- might suppose that the Russkies are pressuring Iran to accelerate the American retreat from Iraq.
Pakistan Is The New Iraq -- [Pat Dollard]
The AFP report below is an early indicator that the International Jihad Machine is cranking up an insurgency to conquer Pakistan for the IFIM ( Islamic Fascist Imperialist Movement ). What I refer to as the International Jihad Machine is the shadowy network of financiers, propagandists, recruiters, mercenaries, ideological warriors and other facilitators of the IFIM's military campaigns. When I first arrived in Fallujah and Ramadi, the military provided me copious evidence of the Machine at work in Iraq.
Something Is About To Happen -- [Strategy Page]
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.
Neighbor Drops The "T" Word On SC Suspects -- [Riehl World View - HT: Jawa Report]
I'm not completely sure what to make of this, but following up on a post by Debbie Schlussel, I viewed a video news report from Tampa's Channel 10 here and edited it down to the most pertinent bits. I have a hard time believing the FBI used the word "terrorist" when interviewing the neighbor the way she claims. However, her description of events surrounding the location where one was living don't give a lot of comfort. See here and scroll here for my posting history
No surprises here: Adam Gaddahn in new Al Qaeda tape says “We shall continue to target you, at home and abroad” -- [LauraMansfield.com]
Those are the words of Orange County Adam Gaddahn, aka Azzam al Amriki, in a new hour-plus video message, announced Thursday by As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media production group. In the 1 hour 17 minute video, which takes the form of a documentary, Gaddahn says that Al Qaeda will continue to target the US both at home and overseas. He singles out embassies and consulates as specific targets.
Looking Out for the Children……. -- [Soldiers' Angels]
"We are the children of Iraq and we dream like other children of the world," the boy read a poem in English with a perfect American accent, describing how Iraqi children only want what other youngsters around the world want; their toys, their families and their lives. It is the children who will lead the world to peace. Let us pray for the children in war torn countries who are suffering.
Operation SOS: KIDS
Tough Americans - The Inspiring Stories of Soldiers Wounded in Iraq -- [Michael Fumento]
In the film “Home of the Brave,” a soldier who lost her hand in Iraq is asked if she underwent physical rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. “Yeah, Walter Reed,” she says. “Talk about tough Americans.” Tough Americans, indeed.
When I visited that same ward the first soldier I met was Sgt. Luke Shirley, who had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) blowing off his right side appendages and spraying him with shrapnel. “It kinda sucks not having an arm or leg,” he told me, “but it hasn’t bothered me like you’d think it would.” Just offhand, I would think it would have devastated him. I was dumbstruck. What kind of person is this?
That’s why I visited Walter Reed’s Orthopedic Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Ward in Washington, D.C, along with the surgical inpatient ward at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. (At Bethesda the men and women aren’t yet ready to be sent on to Walter Reed or elsewhere for rehabilitation.) I wanted to meet these tough Americans and tell some of their stories.
It was something I had long put off, because I go to war zones as an embedded reporter.
Home for a Hero Blog -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
Alta Vista Homes is going to base their decision on who to award a home to a subjective decision by their board. They are going to look at the stories of the three Soldiers who are candidates and review comments on their blog.
From my review of the Soldiers' stories they are all worthy candidates, but of course I am biased in favor of Sergeant Hansen because he is my Solider. So read them here and then tell Alta Vista Homes why they should get that house.
Home Again -- [FBL]
What an amazing couple of days! I hardly know where to begin... so much running around in my head. I'll try to sort it out and tell the stories, but in the meantime, here's a taste:
My trip included a wonderful party at BAMC's Fisher Houses for several hundred people and the delivery of 78 laptops there (thanks to a gigantic donation from a local corporation), amazing soldiers and Soldiers' Angels with hearts as big and strong as Texas, people who are dedicated to getting out the "truth," networking in both directions, a retired Brigadier General who may have served with BillT, Sgt. X and family, an Army wife with the vision to care for her husband while simultaneously creating a charity to help wounded veterans and their caretakers train to earn money from working at home, perfect strangers who invited me to a Families United event and were the nicest people I met in San Antonio, a Marine lieutenant who started his speech with:
G.I. Gets 110 Years -- [Sgt Stryker]
On August 4, 2007 a 23 year old Army Private named, Jesse Spielman was sentenced to 110 years for the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and her relatives for a crime that occurred in 2006. Along with Jesse Spielman, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24 years old, Specialist James P. Barker, and Steven. D. Green were also charged in the attack. Both Specialist Barker and Sergeant Cortez pleaded guilty and received 100 years and are currently serving time in Fort Leavenworth. Steven D. Green is currently awaiting trial.
Now here is where the case gets interesting. Apparently, Jesse Spielman has been declaring his innocence from the beginning. Specialist Barker, and Sergeant Cortez both plead guilty, but also attested to the fact that Private Jesse Spielman was an unwilling observer who never participated in anything. He did not plead guilty, because he believed that the facts would prove his innocence and he would be cleared of all wrong doing- not so. In fact, Jesse Spielman received 110 years, where the two who admitted their wrongdoing received 100 years with the possibility of parole in 10. As you can tell, many people are scratching their heads trying to determine what is going on.
Phony war hero -- [Army Times]
Former soldier to plead guilty to bank fraud, falsely claiming Medal of Honor
A former soldier charged with felony bank fraud and two misdemeanor counts of falsely claiming military awards or decorations is set to plead guilty Thursday to two of the three charges against him, according to the prosecutor handling the case.
Against all enemies -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Fascinating - and, frankly, depressing - WSJ editorial today from Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc.
During the decades he spent scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe he learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president. Therefore,
Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels.
Bash Bush -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
I love the "head in the sand" routine... or is it "head in the clouds"? I forget which. I'm referring to this comment from this post:
Well, if Bush/ Rumsfeld/ Cheney/ Wolfowitz had provided the right equipment and troop strength in the first place we wouldn't be in this mess!
...It's been proven again and again that the President gave the generals prosecuting the initial invasion and all subsequent operations all the troops they asked for. Stop blaming Bush for there not being enough troops. Sure, there were those that said there wasn't enough, but they weren't in charge of anything in the war zone at that time, so their opinions aren't really the one's that counted, then. Please receive your first clue.
Winter Soldier Syndrome
The tale of Army Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the discredited “Baghdad Diarist” for the discredited New Republic magazine, is an old tale:
Self-aggrandizing soldier recounts war atrocities. Media outlets disseminate soldier’s tales uncritically. Military folks smell a rat and poke holes in tales too good (or rather, bad) to be true. Soldier’s ideological sponsors blame the messengers for exposing anti-war fraud.
Deceiver -- [Confederate Yankee]
In the New York Times this morning:
In an e-mail message, Mr. Foer said, "Thus far, we've been provided no evidence that contradicts our original statement, despite directly asking the military for any such evidence it might have," adding, "We hope the military will share what it has learned so that we can resolve this discrepancy."
And in the Washington Post:
But New Republic Editor Franklin Foer is standing his ground. "We've talked to military personnel directly involved in the events that Scott Thomas Beauchamp described, and they corroborated his account," Foer said. The magazine granted anonymity to the other soldiers it cited.
And also at WaPo:
Foer said the New Republic had asked Maj. Steven Lamb, an Army spokesman, about the allegation that Beauchamp had recanted his articles in a sworn statement, and that Lamb had replied: "I have no knowledge of that." Before going incommunicado, Beauchamp "told us that he signed a statement that did not contradict his writings for the New Republic," Foer said.
"Thus far," he added, "we've been provided no evidence that contradicts our original statement, despite directly asking the military for any such evidence it might have."
In both newspapers, Foer issued the statement that "we've been provided no evidence that contradicts our original statement, despite directly asking the military for any such evidence it might have."
That, gentle readers, is a deception.
Surprising change in surge reporting -- [Sgt Grumpy - in Iraq]
Well, maybe I shouldn't give up on the mainstream media just yet. While I have been getting frustrated by the disconnect between what on the ground journalists (such as Michael Yon and Michael J Totten and milbloggers have been saying and the drumbeat of defeat coming from the press and the Dems, something funny happened - the media is hesitantly starting to acknowledge what those who really understand counterinsurgency operations have been saying. Namely, the so-caled "surge", which much more than additional troops represents a radical change of tactics, is starting to have a noticeable impact.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
The Untimely Recess -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
The withdrawal of the Accord Front from Maliki's cabinet and the persistence of the parliament on taking a month long recess is a major embarrassment for Baghdad and Washington alike and for anyone who was looking forward to seeing some political progress in Iraq before the September milestone.
When it comes to the recess, two main factions can be identified as the cause of the deadlock:
First there is the Accord Front. This bloc apparently trying through the withdrawal from the cabinet and preventing the passage of legislations by insisting on taking the recess to show
I have seen the horror -- [Michael Yon - NY Daily News]
Al Qaeda is guilty of monstrosities in Iraq - no matter what anyone says
Amid all this talk of timetables for the War in Iraq, blurred as they are by a strange lemming-like compulsion to declare the "surge" strategy a failure almost before it actually began, one deadline looms larger with each passing day: It's time for a reckoning with the truth.
Gates: Troop Drawdown Possible -- [Military.com]
WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that political stability in Iraq likely will not happen before the administration of President George W. Bush makes its critical September assessment on whether its war strategy is working.
But Gates declined Sunday to predict that a drawdown of U.S. military forces in such a scenario would happen by year's end. He cited some progress in reducing violence locally in regions such as Anbar Province, a former base of al-Qaida's activities in western Iraq.
Building on Steel -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
Despite the ongoing war and what those on Capitol Hill might have us believe, there is progress in Iraq: Real measureable progress in Al Anbar that must be talked about. I had intended to wait and discuss the progress in Anbar, fleshing it out in detail in one of my NRO columns when I get back to the states (and I will), but it deserves talking about now. Here's why:
Iraq is Not a Mess, Just Extremely Complex -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
AL QAIM — Early afternoon here as I watch two wicked-looking Harriers roar across the desert beyond me. Over the past couple days, I've seen Harrier jump jets and Cobra helicopters (flown by Marine pilots) as well as the two permanently stationed Black Hawk medevac helos (flown by the Army). Rarely do I see transports like C-130s out this way (in fact, I don't think I've seen any) unless they are picking up or delivering. After all, this is the proverbial last American outpost — counting battalion HQ, all the battle positions and combat outposts — in western Iraq.
Were headed north! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
Yesterday we left our base camp for our mission up north. We will be counducting combat operations within the sunni triangle. I have a handfull of southeren op's under my belt, well into double digits. So needless to say I'm excited to finally get to go up north. We are conducting a joint venture operation with another componet that at this time I can not mention, hopefully we are all on the same page. We arrived at our first destination last night without incident.
Col. talks of progess being made...
Air strike kills mastermind behind Iraqi Golden Mosque bombings -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — The senior al-Qaeda terrorist believed to be the mastermind behind both bombings of the Golden Mosque in Samarra was killed during a Coalition air strike, a Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesperson told journalists in Baghdad Sunday.
“Yesterday, the government of Iraq announced that the Coalition force killed a senior al Qaeda terrorist, Haitham Sabah al Badri,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark Fox, spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq. “He was killed east of Samara on August second.”
Insurgent headquarters discovered, destroyed
Concerned citizen leads U.S. Soldiers to cache -- [MNF-I]
RUSHDI MULLAH — A concerned Iraqi citizen led Coalition troops to a weapons and ammunition cache along Route Malibu, near Rushdi Mullah, Aug. 4.
Soldiers of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum N.Y., followed the man to the cache site, where they uncovered weapons buried in the ground.
F-16 Fighting Falcons eliminate rogue JAM extremists attempting an attack on Coalition Forces
Multi-National Corps -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Two F-16 Fighting Falcons destroyed a rocket site being used by suspected Shi’a extremists linked to Jaysh al-Mahdi to target Coalition Forces Aug. 4 in the outskirts of Diwaniyah.
According to preliminary reports, more than three members of the extremist group at the site were killed in the bombing. The aircraft also destroyed a tractor-trailer used in the attempted rocket attack against the nearby military installation.
CNN Embed Correspondent in Awe of Ramadi Progress
CNN correspondent Barbara Starr usually reports cynically from Washington, DC, but this week she's embedded in Iraq traveling with GEN Peter Pace and expressed astonishment at the positive conditions in that city. We are winning in Iraq.
Taliban Overshadowed By A Larger Threat -- [Strategy Page]
August 6, 2007: The Taliban have changed tactics, now they favor kidnapping foreigners and suicide bombings, to try and weaken the government. The traditional Taliban tactics, of war bands (of 50-100 gunmen) roaming the countryside, attacking the police and terrorizing villagers into supporting the cause, have failed. The Afghan police and army are too well trained and equipped (with radios, to call in NATO troops and airpower) to be defeated. The losses for the Taliban are very high, with a third or more the men in these war bands being killed. Many of the survivors are wounded, or captured. This is bad for morale, and makes recruiting more difficult.
Iran gives Taliban hi-tech weapons to fight British -- [Times Online]
British troops in Helmand province fighting the Taliban face a new danger as sophisticated Iranian weapons and explosives are being smuggled into Afghanistan.
In the dusty frontier town of Islam Qala, near Herat, on the Afghan side of the border with Iran, weapons and explosives such as armour-piercing roadside bombs are being trafficked to the insurgents.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan - 06 August 2007
A Shout Out to the Sky Soldiers in Afghanistan -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
On June 6, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, also known as “The Herd”, held a transition-of-authority ceremony on Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The 173rd ABCT took over the AO of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
This is the unit's second tour in Afghanistan, the first began in the spring of 2005.
China-to-Iran-to-Taliban and Al Qaeda. And that's not all... -- [JunkYard Blog]
Iran's interference in Iraq is well known and frequently discussed. But those discussions rarely address the underlying circumstances which have made Iran such a player on the international scene.
New al Qaeda Video Shows Zawahiri, Adam Gadahn, Threatening U.S. Homeland -- [Jawa Report]
A yet to be released video by al Qaeda's as Sahab media group shows Orange County, California native Adam Gadahn ranting against the West. Gadahn, who is known by Azzaz al Amriki, has appeared in several al Qaeda produced videos and is the only American indicted for treason in the global war on terror.
Al Qaeda Issues Warning to America (and others) with an American Accent ! -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Another chilling video from Qaeda production house Al Sahab reportedly warned India, Israel, Russia and of course the United States. This one hour long terror docu-drama came within a week after Abu Yahya al-Libi’s call for overthrowing Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. This time the presenter is one American Qaeda member Adam Gaddhan (Azzam al Amriki). The video declared, besides targeting US at home and its diplomatic missions abroad, the outfit is planning to target Tel Aviv, Moscow and New Delhi. For the first time a video from Al Qaeda inventories reportedly accused India directly for killing thousands of Muslims in Kashmir and that to with US support. Gaddhan came to limelight in 2004 when he threatened in one such video, “Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood.” This is not the first time Gaddhan featured in such videos.
NEFA Series "Target America": The Columbus Mall Plot -- [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 ninth 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 plot to attack a Columbus, Ohio area shopping mall. Earlier this week, Nuradin Abdi, a Somali national living in Columbus, admitted his involvement in a cell that included Iyman Faris, currently serving 20 years in prison for assessing targets on behalf of 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Christopher Paul, indicted in April 2007 for plotting against European resorts and U.S. government facilities. Abdi told FBI agents that his group was "willing to conduct acts of violence in the United States."
Vote for Your Favorite Military Charity! -- [Gazing at the Flag]
This is a chance to earn extra money for your charity of choice.
Everyone can have ONE vote, so look at the charities listed, and cast your vote.
Prizes for Charities
2nd, 3rd and 4th Places—$300 each
Raffle—$100 for a randomly selected charity
Vote HERE - http://www.vajoe.com/charity/
Voting occurs August 5-20.
Daily Kos diarist: Still thinks troops are “morally retarded” -- [Michell Malkin]
Update 8/6 9:05am Eastern. Must-read of the morning–Rick Moran reflects on his adventure at YKos. He reports on nutroots zeal, the unbearable whiteness of the left-wing blogosphere (and the double standards in making such observations), and concludes with a warning that I’ve made myself before:
Let Me Free to Be Speedy -- [Strategy Page]
August 6, 2007: There's a growing demand, from troops and combat commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq, for permission to go into action wearing less armor. The helmet, protective vest and bullet proof plates add up to a bulky ensemble that restricts movement, and adds over twenty pounds to what the infantry are carrying. The troops know, from experience, that there are situations were lightness and flexibility are more critical than being partially bulletproof. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) commandos have long had the option of wearing less, or no, armor.
Perceptions of Iraq War Are Starting to Shift -- [Real Clear Politics]
I's not often that an opinion article shakes up Washington and changes the way a major issue is viewed. But that happened last week, when The New York Times printed an opinion article by Brookings Institution analysts Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack on the progress of the surge strategy in Iraq.
Yes, progress. O'Hanlon and Pollack supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- Pollack even wrote a book urging the overthrow of Saddam Hussein -- but they have sharply criticized military operations there in the ensuing years.
YearlyKos Hypocrisy: Markos Supports Soldiers Wearing Uniforms at Anti-war Rallies -- [NewsBusters]
As the folks at Daily Kos scramble to explain what transpired at their convention in Chicago Friday morning when a soldier in uniform tried to speak at a breakout session called "The Military and Progressives: Are They Really That Different," it has been revealed that Markos Moulitsas supports such attired military members attending anti-war rallies.
Army SGT Censored at Daily Kos Convention
The Army SGT wanted to present evidence that that Iraq Surge is working. Was he censored? Is he a heckler? Why won't the moderator let the panelists answer the question?
Rick Moran interviews soldier who spoke up at Yearly Kos
His name is David Aguina and he’s an Army reservist. His UCMJ claims against Soltz seem thin to me — Article 88 prohibits “contemptuous words” directed at the president, not criticism, and Article 91 seems to apply only to lower-ranking soldiers and only when on duty — but it’s hard not to be moved by his story about his experience with Iraqis.
Kos Kids Can't Handle Truth -- [Blonde Sagacity]
First off, how disturbing is it that there is an annual "Yearly Kos" conference? This year the conference (to be a fly on the wall) ended like this:
"...At the end "a young man in uniform stood up to argue that the surge was working, and cutting down on Iraqi casualties."
"The moderator largely freaked out," Ezra Klein wrote. "When other members of the panel tried to answer his question, he demanded they 'stand down.'"
The moderator, Klein said, "demanded the questioner give his name, the name of his commander and the name of his unit. And then he closed the panel, no answer offered or allowed, and stalked off the stage."
Panelist Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, "took the mic and tried to explain what had just occurred," Klein said.
Klein said "the argument appears to be that you're not allowed to participate in politics while wearing a uniform, or at least that you shouldn't, and that the questioner was engaging in a sort of moral blackmail, not to mention a violation of the rules, by doing so."
Missing Newt's Point on the "Phony War on Terror" [The Corner - Andy McCarthy]
By taking one sound-bite out of context, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has Newt Gingrich saying pretty much the opposite of what he said in a speech last week.
In a report on Saturday, they have the former Speaker grousing in a speech last week that "the Bush administration is waging a 'phony war' on terrorism." If you read what he actually said, however, Newt said that the war is entirely real. What is "phony," he argued, is the administration's approach to the war — including the reluctance to come to terms with the facts that radical Islam is the enemy, that you can't win it in a single theater (like Iraq), and that any serious approach would require real thought about energy independence.
Hacker Proves How MSM is Fooled by al Qaeda Photochopped Images -- [NewsBusters]
At the Black Hat computer Hacker's conference held in Las Vegas last week, Neal Krawetz of "Hacker Factor" showed how easily the MSM has been tricked into believing the fake images that al Qaeda has offered to further their propaganda. Krawetz specifically referred to two images, one the July 27, 2006 image of al Qaeda second in command al-Zawahiri supposedly sitting in a modern television studio. It was an image that had the tongues of the MSM and pundits alike wagging. How is it, they clucked, that al-Zawahiri could be sitting in a modern television studio yet still could not be found?
Reuters Runs False Report of Afghan Rescue Operation, says AP-- [Media Blog - Tom Gross]
The Reuters news agency issued a report at 7:42 a.m. EDT Wednesday that an operation aimed at rescuing the South Korean hostages held by the Taliban in Afghanistan was under way.
A full-length story on the rescue was put out by Reuters at 7:51 a.m. Both stories quoted Khowja Seddiqi, a district chief in the area, as the source.
At 9:31 a.m., Reuters sent notice that “the official quoted in the story did not make the comment reported.”
It takes the Associated Press (whose own foreign coverage is far from exemplary) to take a critical look at its rival:
'The Bourne Ultimatum' Politicized -- [NewsBusters]
Perhaps we should have expected this but apparently The Bourne Ultimatum which opened this weekend is chock full of liberal proganda. So who is making this charge? Some vicious rightwinger with an axe to grind against liberal Hollywood producers? Nope. This is the claim of a liberal movie reviewer, Anthony Kaufman, who wrote the following in his Huffington Post blog, Jason Bourne: An Anti-Cheney American Hero?
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
"Raiding and Finding in north Mosul" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...Yesterday evening, I ventured by Bravo (Bulldog) company of 2/7 Cav, where I had earlier met 1st Sgt. Gonzalez and Captain Kendell. Both were eager to accomodate me and as I had hoped, a mission was planned for the morning of August 2. So I determined while all the "big media" was swarming around the FOB, doing whatever it is they do, I would go and mingle with Bravo Company. I showed up at the prescribed time and met a new group of folks that were preparing for the big day. Some information had been obtained about a location in north Mosul and we were headed that direction to see what we could find.
...As we departed north Mosul, Lt. Dolny pointed out on the way back, areas on the left and right, that had been recent points of IED explosions. He also anticipated the possibility of receiving small arms fire from other areas he pointed to on the left and right again. He warned the gunner up top to take heed. We pressed on, and eventually arrived back at the FOB.
We had scored one in the confiscation of nearly 15,000 lbs of bomb making material. We also had located two prime suspects. For now, at least, there is less material available to do damage to soldiers as well as innocent Iraqi civillians.
Long Day -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
...On one patrol, my crew spotted a suspicious vehicle darting around some alleyways. We had IA on perimeter with us, and when the car popped up again, we managed to corner it and do a search. We knew it wasn’t a VBIED or an attack, but we suspected it was someone trying to gather information. Turns out it was a local IA higher up who lived around the corner. This is no reason for him not to be a suspect, but it made the job that much harder. He had a weapons permit, and admitted to the AK-47 and pistol, but not to the grenade we found. He stated he was authorized to have it and had it for his protection because he was under threat. I can see the rifle and pistol for protection, but not the grenade. He would more likely kill himself, his family, or innocent bystanders with it than he would successfully engage the enemy. In my mind, and the minds of several others, the only reason to have a grenade in your personal vehicle is to covertly throw it out the window at something. Maybe we are just too paranoid. We called it in, and the IA sent out some people to verify his story. After a heated discussion, he was allowed to keep his grenade (not my first choice), but he was warned not to have it in his POV or next time he was caught he would be detained. He went home after that and we did not see his car sneaking about again.
Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: August 2007 Update -- [The Fourth Rail]
The August 2007 updates to the Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle are now available at the ISF OOB Page. Significant changes include plans to deploy a Kurdish Regional Guards (Peshmerga) Division outside of KRG, a minor reorganization of the pages and the planned addition of a Logistics Brigade to the Iraqi National Police. The significant changes to the Order of Battle are summarized below.
Getting to Know You -- [Army Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
Yesterday morning we hopped on the HMMWVs and rolled down to the U.S. part of the base to link up with the mortar platoon. Their area of responsibility is one of the hotter parts of our sector, and while our battalion doesn't work there, with all the other MiTTs in Baquoba for the foreseeable future, it falls on my team to try and help that battalion as well. Since the mortars know the area and were heading there anyhow, we rolled with them to increase our force protection and to make sure we could find our way. It turned out to be a good thing we went with them, as one of our HMMWVs went down as we pulled in, so we ended up leaving them behind.
"Sacrifice, not a Casualty" -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE GANNON (Iraqi-Syrian border) — My embed unit, Regimental Combat Team 2, lost a Marine yesterday: Killed in an ambush while interdicting fuel tankers just up the road from my position in the Al Qaim sector. RCT2 then shut down all military to civilian communication — in order that the family be notified before word leaked out — so I have been unable to contact anyone beyond our area of operations.
The Marines are understandably angry about the loss of one of their brothers. One highly vocal leatherneck here was also quick to point out that the Marine's death is "far more than just a casualty of war. It's a sacrifice."
IA, Stryker leaders assess progress in Baqubah -- [MNF-I]
As Operation Arrowhead Ripper continues, the effort has shifted from combat operations to reconstruction and humanitarian missions. The Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and provincial council members are leading the majority of the projects. Many residents have joined in to do their part to improve their city.
Female combat medics in the fight daily; earn respect -- [MNF-I]
KIRKUK — Temperatures exceeded 115 degrees during the five-hour mission in Amerli that day. More than 50 Soldiers were on site and tensions were high; Amerli was the scene of a massive suicide truck bombing just four days earlier.
Highlanders rock on with Mawtini -- [Marine Corps News]
COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, Iraq – (Aug. 2, 2007) -- North of the Euphrates River, an unusual sound began to echo across the sands and through the hills, gradually building until words and instruments could be recognized.
Suddenly the ground shook as a mortar round, loosed by Lance Cpl. Shelby A. Weathers, exited its tube and ripped through the air, landing over a mile away on the side of a hill.
The Real FOB Falcon -- [Matt Sanchez]
Falcon, in southeastern Baghdad, is a Forward Operating Base (FOB) which means it's not quite big enough to be named camp, but should have enough firing power and defenses to hold its ground. Razor sharp barbed-wire and huge slabs of concrete delineate the borders in a place where boundaries save lives. Above helicopters ferrying soldiers and personnel touchdown on the landing puds. Inside, soldiers running steadily-timed round-the-clock patrols in Baghdad muhallahs emerge from dusty entry control points and onto distinctively American named routes like "Senator" and "Jackson."
Baghdad -- [The Gunner's World - in Iraq]
I am jolted by the Soldier walking past me who snaps a salute and says “Good Morning Sir” I wonder what the hell is he doing? I have been in Iraq since May and we Marines do not salute in a combat zone. I am seconds away from asking him ‘Do you know where the hell we are” I salute him back and think where the hell am I? A salute out here is recognition of who the officers are, a great target for snipers or anyone else trying to find out who the leaders are... things are different here at Camp Liberty in Baghdad I learn.
The Booze-Free Bar in Baghdad -- [The Tank - Mario Loyola - in Iraq]
Earlier this afternoon, I was walking through the lobby of the Al Rashid hotel in Baghdad's Green Zone. Mostly empty, dark, hot, and humid, it has the feel of a hotel in Puerto Rico after a hurricane has passed. Except a lot more creepy, because it doesn't seem like a real hotel: most of the vehicles that pass in front of it belong to the American military; I didn't even want to ask what the occupancy might be;
Curse of the Flamingos -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
I’ve learned a couple of things while I was here in Iraq. One of which—Flamingos are pure evil. Just ask any trailer park resident in “Tornado Alley”. The other thing I learned was that wives are often more right than I ever realized.
Last fall, my wife gave me a pair of pink flamingos to decorate my trailer. On the day they arrived, I spoke with Braye on the phone and told her that I was going to put one in front of my trailer that night when I got “home” from work. She relied “OK, but are you sure someone won’t use it as an aiming point?” At the time I thought “Well… someone has been watching the History Channel without me” and told her something along the lines: “I’m in Iraq, what could possible go wrong?”
Well a few hours after the Flamingo went into the ground, a rocket landed about 30 feet from my trailer.
Reality on an August Afternoon -- [Wyld's Q & A - in Iraq]
Today, while the sun was passing over the horizon and the blast furnace seemed to go down a notch, I realized "I really hate this place."
...Then suddenly, it all comes back to me, with the dust cloud surrounding the base, I am still in Iraq and I can not give blood today since I gave last week. So I look at it in sorrow that I cannot help that soldier or Marine today.
Doing the Deid -- [USAF Guy's Milblog - in Iraq]
...We folded the flags in a proper triangle and explained the significance of the stars, the stripes, and the fold. I asked them how they folded their flag and they weren't really certain. Lee had never owned a flag and explained that flying a flag on their homes, et al, wasn't really something the British did though everyone knows the significance of the patterns in the Union Jack.
When we arrived at Al Udeid the British collected all our information and inprocessed us into the base...all we had to do is sit there and wait for them to return which saved us quite a bit of running around. I'll miss the British.
Taliban Commander: Why We Took The Koreans, reports Newsweek -- [ON Point]
The kidnapping of South Korean aid workers signals a key shift in Taliban tactics. In an exclusive interview with NEWSWEEK, a Taliban commander discusses the thinking behind the abduction and what might happen to the surviving hostages. By Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai Taliban Subcommander Abdullah was on the lookout for hostages. Ever since his superior, Commander Daro Khan, was arrested by U.S. forces in Ghazni province's Qarabagh district in June, Abdullah has had his men patrolling the...
News of Afghanistan - Edition 64 -- [Miserable Donuts]
This is going to be the last edition for a while. I will be on vacation the next two Fridays and after that I will be making some changes around here. Oooh, cryptic! All that aside, here is the News...
Afghan Stories: Afghanistan - a land of contrasts
The following clip, from the Romanian Forces shows soldiers provinding assistance and health care to the local population in Eraze Kalay, south of Kandahar. They provided health care to more than 100 and distributed food and water supplies to hundreds of people in the village.
Video highlights five years of change in Afghanistan --[ISAF - Nato News]
A brief video highlights some of the changes in education, reconstruction and economic development in Afghanistan over the past five years.
After 25 years of war and just over five years since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan is now one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Beyond this, some 7 million girls and boys are now attending school.
NUKES AND MIDGET SUBS: HOW AND WHERE IRAN MIGHT USE THEIR NUKES -- [Astute Blogger]
First: it's gotta be obvious to anyone with an IQ that Iran is only interested in enriching uranium to make bombs.
NEED PROOF: As the Guardian asked last week, why rush to enrich uranium for peaceful uses when the nuclear power plant they're building isn't finished and can't used what they're making? And why did they keep it secret and lie about for all those years? And why have they been running it NONSTOP on a blitz to produce enriched uranium? QUOTE:
Sean Penn Meets Friend Hugo Chavez- Bashes Bush -- [Gateway Pundit]
Is there any enemy of America that this Hollywood icon will not befriend?
Sean Penn is the latest Hollywood Leftist to meet Hugo Chavez.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s “Military Work” in the US--UPDATE -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial is already proving to be a watershed event in terms of exposing the inner-workings of the Ikhwan, or the Muslim Brotherhood, in the United States. The exhibits released by the U.S. district court in Dallas paint the picture of a semi-secretive organization bent on recruitment, expansion, subversion, and – as Doug Farah pointed out in his excellent post - The Smoking Gun on the Muslim Brotherhood's Agenda, transforming the United States into an Islamic state. One of the documents released, quoted by Farah, is a strategy memo by Mohamed Akram (Adlouni), (More on Akram below) that explains that the Brotherhood in America wages:
Moronic al Qaeda Propaganda of the Day -- [Jawa Report]
Behold, al Qaeda's glorious parade through Baquba! That's, what, like 4 old Nissan sedans, a kid on a bike, and a few dozen onlookers? Yeah, Allah and the ummah are on your side alright.......
Week #4: Sign up Today to Show up on September 17/18
In September, General Petraeus will report to Congress on the status of the mission in Iraq. At that time, members of Congress will decide whether to continue the mission and defeat Al Qaeda, or abandon the mission and surrender to America’s enemies. The stakes could not be higher.
It is absolutely crucial that veterans have a voice in September's debate. And therefore we're asking every Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who believes in the mission - and supports our fellow soldiers and Marines still serving - to converge on Washington, DC on Tuesday, September 18th.
We plan to have hundreds of veterans on Capitol Hill ... and hope you'll be one of them.
Vets For Freedom Thanks Norm Coleman
The troops do not deserve respect
RE: The troops do not deserve respect
RE: The troops do not deserve respect
Re: The troops do not deserve respect
They Have Names -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
SGT James (Jim) Holtom was born in Waupaca, Wisconsin to David and Reyne Holtom on January 30, 1985.
...During his funeral, Pastor Randy Mitchell said, "He knew he was probably going to end up in Iraq, yet Jim being Jim, he knew that's what he was supposed to do and he stayed on task. He loved the Lord, family, church and country." Jim's father, Dave, spoke of his son as the "point of the spear" in his service for the Army, and he said the greatest honor for a man was to give his life for someone else. Dave also called for increased efforts in missions in Iraq and the need to fight for liberty. He said his son was all the great things people said about him, but that he could get angry and lose his temper, "He wasn't perfect, but he was a wonderful young man. We had 22 wonderful years with him."
Someone Deserves a Pat on the Back -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
There are a large number of working dogs over here. I see them all the time and envy the Soldiers and Marines that have canine partners.
So the Army Times brings us this story of Corporal Kory D. Wiens and his partner Cooper who were killed on July 6.
The first military working dog team killed in action together since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were laid to rest together July 18.
30,000 troops out of Iraq this fall? -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
OK, so things still suck, no reason to believe the Surge is working other than folks saying that it is, but CENTCOM will reduce forces in Iraq in the spring because things are not getting better. Uh, has Mr. Murtha lost his mind? Where is the logic in that prediction? And there's more!
Links on Iraq, John Doe, The Most Disturbing Statement I've Seen all Week -- [Marching Camp]
...Even if you set aside malicious intent, there's the question of knowledge. I have a pretty good idea what to look for in a suicide bomber. Do you? Does Fred All-American know the difference between a Costa Rican who owns a construction business taking his family to Disney World, and Jamal abu Jihadi who is taking a one-way flight to the afterlife? Hell, no. Most American's can't peg the ethnic group of someone with a dark complexion more than half the time. Most Americans cannot pick the potential suicide bomber out of a crowd. Part of that is because they have not been educated--because of liability issues, who wants to take responsibility for saying that a Middle Eastern military-aged man with a freshly-shaved beard, smelling of flower water, who is either nervous or stoned, wearing unseasonably bulky clothing, is most likely to be someone you want to tackle now and ask questions of later?
I'm not sure that everyone needs the blanket legal protection implied in this act. I think it could have been better thought out.
Dems Now Demand "Monumental" Iraq Progress -- [Sweetness&Light]
“The military victories are just episodic,” said Rep. Jane Harman, a hawkish California Democrat and chairman of the Homeland Security intelligence subcommittee.
“It is doubtful that there will be a silver bullet, or even a brass bullet, in this report that will turn this thing around.”
Rep. Charlie Wilson, a freshman Democrat from a conservative blue-collar Ohio district, said he “would definitely need monumental proof, not just an isolated improvement.”
They are moving the goal posts. Of course Nancy Pelosi will decide what is “monumental” and what isn’t.
Who’s Not Listening Now? -- [One Hand Clapping]
Not even a year ago the Democrats in Congress and others of their allies vehemently charged President Bush for not listening to the military. They criticized the civilian leadership of our defense establishment for creating a culture of fear wherein generals were afraid to challenge military policy.
Obama’s Folly: Plan for Disaster -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...In further news, we learn that Obama has no plan for the exercise of nuclear power, or he does, or perhaps he doesn’t. U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons “in any circumstance” to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, drawing criticism from Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democratic rivals. “I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,” Obama said, with a pause, “involving civilians.” Then he quickly added, “Let me scratch that. There’s been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That’s not on the table.”
So he would send U.S. troops into a land where they are likely to take one hundred thousand casualties and inflict a million, and he has no plan if Pakistan invokes the nukes?
One word: disaster
Reading is FUNdamental... -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
In a rush to call some COL a unfeeling zealot in the religious war that isn't, some folks at the Danger Room call out COL David Rice (not named in the Danger Room article but named in the Ares article that was linked as the reference) for a statement that he made about GMLRS and their effectiveness in Iraq.
Here's the statement as quoted in Ares
Al Qaeda Fed Up With Ground Zero Construction Delays (VIDEO) -- [The Onion - Via: A Soldier's Perspective]
Health Bills Promote Senior Smoking to Fund Kid Care -- [Scrapple Face]
(2007-08-04) — With child health care bills emerging from the House and Senate each relying on increases in the federal cigarette excise tax to help provide $7 billion a year or more, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, today offered an amendment designed to “guarantee an un-ending funding stream for children’s health by encouraging older Americans to take up smoking.”
“Without a growing population of smokers,” Sen. Reid said, “We won’t have enough cash to fund these increases in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and we would have to raise other taxes. This bill would provide federal matching dollars to create an advertising campaign through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to get more seniors to consider the joys of tobacco in their waning years.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
The Future -- [Gunner's World - in Iraq]
...I arrive at the office of LtCol Fisher, the head of the Marine Corps MTT attached to the Iraqi 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division; he has the unique challenge to help build the 2/1 of Iraqi Army into a force that can provide stability and security to their nation. A very difficult task given the best of circumstances. We discuss the problems encountered in his position, the troubles with the central government in Baghdad, the cultural differences and the interaction of his team of Marines and the Iraqi soldiers and how things are getting done. He is the right man for the job having been a military advisor for many years working with other countries military and training them to be more effective. The Corps has got the right man in place here with 2/1.
Insurgent Headquarters are Discovered then Destroyed
A captured insurgent leads Coalition Forces to an Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) headquarters in Maqdadiyah, Iraq.
No grey area!!! -- [West Coast Notorious - in Iraq]
...I move my gun truck into postion speeding up to his rear. My driver is honking, my gunner is using his spotlight, and I'm flicking my go lights at him but he won't stop. " He's coming right towards you and picking up speed." I say to Sgt. "S". " Roger, I have eyes on." He responds. I tell my driver to cut him off and stop in front of him, his truck weighs about 18 tons, our's does not! My Driver pulls along side of him, I can hear my gunner barking instructions at him, " STOP, Pull the f--k over." My driver stops in front of him and makes a right hering bone between our TCN and the suspicious vehicle. I jump out with my weapon in hand and Shout to the driver" get out of the truck now!" " Open the door and get out now!" He does'nt do what I ask him so I charge my weapon, he has his hands down were I can't see them and he's in an elevated position only about 12 feet from me. "No english." he respond's. Arabee (arabic) ? I ask. He does'nt anwser. Iftah il bob, tal hena yella! ( Open the door and move here now)! I say as point to the ground in front of me. He opens the door and gets out of the truck, I'm lookin for my CC to come up. My guy's are still in the truck as they should be, my gunner has my back and I can see my driver from his rearview mirror.
No Casualties, A Little Damage -- [Ruminations of a Soldier Medic - in Iraq]
My truck got hit by a rocket!
That city that we can't travel in during the day, and that is dangerous to travel through even at night? That's where it happened. There were so many things leading up to it happening, we should have known.
Earlier in the day, three of my guys were discussing whether certain convoys are targeted, either infantry or MP. They were discussing we are lucky because we rarely ever get hit, but the infantry who follows the same route as us gets hit on an almost nightly basis. Some said it was luck, others said the bad guys didn't target us because we don't blow up and shoot their people, others said they can't tell the difference between our convoys and just shoot 'em all up.
Then, when we got our IP patrol as we entered the city on our way back to the FOB, they didn't fall in line in our convoy like they should have. They drove way ahead of us, a huge gap where there shouldn't have been. The lead truck mentioned they weren't where they were supposed to be. My gunner said, "Hmm, I wonder what it is they know that we don't.
Sand Storm -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr - in Iraq]
BATTLE POSITION TARAWA (On the Syrian border) — A little after 3:00 a.m., a sand storm rolled in putting us at condition red, which means everything stops.
I was supposed to head back to Al Qaim for a little decompression time (shower, sleep, generally retool for the weekend "sweep"), but when we go to "red," they can't launch aircraft. And ground vehicles do not move out here without air support.
local Iraqis talk about the many deaths al-qaeda caused
Aren't we just full of luck? -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
Well basically the title of the posts deals with a lucky day for our battalion a couple days ago. Not a whole lot to write on, but the cold facts are this. 1 guy shot in the hand while on guard duty from a small caliber weapon. Another guy shot in the head on guard, but nothing serious, again by a small caliber weapon. A 3rd guy out in sector was shot in the head by a sniper. The round entered the front of his helmet, traveled along the top of his head, and burst out the back of the helmet. Other than a cut along his head (and Im sure one hell of a headache) he's OK. I don't know what made God watch down on us that day, but he sure had other plans for those 3 guys.
The Usual Suspect or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb -- [The Unlikely Soldier - in Iraq]
And now down to business, to deliver to you, the enraptured reader, the quick and dirty. It's been a great couple of days. Why you ask? Because we've been finding cache after cache, explosives, rifles, chemicals, munitions of all shapes and sizes, you name it. We've blown up so many of these caches, EOD ran out of explosives and had to use all of ours. We've taken so much shit out of the hands of these crazy zealots, its unreal. By we, I mean they.
"I met a Thug(s)..." -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
The other day, while travelling on the highways of northern Iraq, I was impressed listening to the communication between air support above and our humvees below. In previous missions, I had witnessed OH-58 helicopters in close support while on foot patrols in and around the city of Mosul. I had determined at one point to go see these ones that fly these aircraft like killer bees at rooftop level. As the line goes in Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid, "who are those guys?", would be my goal this day.
Promise of the People Conference
Story about a conference focusing on building unity between Sunni and Shiite tribes and fighting insurgents.
Dinner and Farewell -- [USAF Guy's Milblog - in Iraq]
...I will miss them. They all asked that we send their well wishes to our families and their hopes for our future. We all agreed that we would like to come back someday when Iraq is safe so we can truly experience their culture. Until then I hope for a safe/secure Iraq for them.
Lastly, Col Sami and Abdul Raheem asked us to remember Iraq and the people serving here. Particularly they asked us to tell American people about the true Iraqi people—peace loving people including those serving in the military and the government, people who want a safe Iraq. (Their words.) They want Americans to know that the insurgents and militia do not represent Iraq.
RIP/TOA -- [My Desert Adventure - in Iraq]
One of the many Army acronyms I’ve learned is RIP/TOA which stands for Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority. In the Navy, we just call is a turnover. Today, I am officially out of a job. My relief is fully up to speed and to coin another navy saying, “he has the conn”. Between now and Monday, I will finish packing and mailing stuff back home.
This is a picture of me and my relief. I am the one with the faded uniform and happy expression.
Photographers Story From Afghanistan.
VBIED -- [A JAG in Afghanistan]
Well today (Tuesday, July 31, 2007), after almost a year in country, I experienced my first VBIED (vehicle born improvised explosive device – translation: suicide bomber in a vehicle). Now before you get too concerned, I was in the chow hall when it exploded but I experienced it nonetheless. Of course I’m not saying that my experience was like that of those guys who have actually been in a humvee and been hit by one but I at least caught a glimpse of what it was like.
"Forward Base Afghanistan" – how Australian soldiers are prosecuting a counter-insurgency war
To the locals, they’re Americans who wear an emblem of a red rat. But the Australians are trying to carve out a special identity among the 40 nations that have come to Afghanistan on a mission to suppress violence and get society functioning again.
Drugs facilitators targeted in Lashkar Gah -- [ISAF]
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF recently launched operations to target local drugs facilitators.
They searched two compounds in the Lashkar Gah area and found drugs-refining equipment, a quantity of heroin and opium, and also receipts for onward drugs trade and trafficking. In addition, two facilitators were arrested.
Mortar Crew Protects Fellow Soldiers
Russia plants flag 14,000 feet under North Pole as Putin stakes claim to Arctic -- [Daily Mail]
Russia has sent a submarine to plant a flag beneath the ice of the North Pole in an audaciouas bid to lay claim to the resource-rich Arctic.
The submarine managed to plant a Russian rust-proof titanium flag on the seabed. 14,000 feet beneath the surface of the Arctic Ocean, according to Vladimir Strugatsky, vice president of Russia's polar exploration association.
Russia wants to extend the territory in the Arctic it controls right up to the North Pole.
Bush: Federal Response Will Be "Robust" -- [Captain's Quaters]
President Bush made an obviously impromptu appearance just now to make a statement about the bridge collapse. He promised a "robust" federal response, not just in the recovery and investigation, but also in rebuilding the bridge. He didn't spend much time talking about details, other than to say that the Secretary of Transportation has flown to Minneapolis to ensure the best possible coordination with state officials already on the ground.
Interstate 35W Security Footage of Bridge Collapse
Coast Guard Responds to Minnesota Bridge Collapse -- [Marine Link]
The Coast Guard is responding to the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., to assist local fire and police departments, emergency medical services and the state emergency operations center with search and rescue operations. A 25-ft. smallboat crew from the Marine Safety Detachment from St. Paul, Minn., is on scene. An HH-65C Rescue Helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., along with and the Coast Guard Auxiliary in St. Paul, Minn., have been deployed to the scene to conduct search and rescue operations.
Massive toy recall by Fisher-Price -- [ABC News]
Fisher Price is recalling nearly one million plastic toys today, including the popular Elmo, Dora and Diego characters, because of excessive lead in the paint.
It's a recall that's raising new concerns about products from China.
The worldwide recall, involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.
Al Qaeda Leader Calls For the Overthrow of Musharraf -- [Bill - Roggio - Weekly Standard]
Al Qaeda has weighed in on the Pakistani government's military assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad last month. Sahab productions, the media outlet for al Qaeda's central leadership, released a 21 minute tape by Abu Yahya al Libi, a senior al Qaeda leader who has served as a spokesman and released numerous propaganda videos. In the video, titled “Of the Masters of Martyrs,” al Libi praised the followers of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa as "martyrs." He forcefully called on Pakistanis to take up arms against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who he called the "dirty tyrant" and a pawn of the West.
'Moderate' Muslims think it's okay to Make Fun of Radicals? -- [Jawa Report]
American Convicted of Terrorism Charges
(Scranton, Pennsylvania) In October 2005, a 47-year-old Wilkes-Barre man, Michael Curtis Reynolds, starts communicating in an Islamist chat room looking for an opportunity to make money from al-Qaeda terrorists. For $40,000, Reynolds wanted to sell plans to attack the Alaska and Transcontinental pipelines and U.S. refineries.
Why Military Jihad is illegal in Modern Times -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
One of the strangest, but not unexpected, battles of words and ideologies is over the claims made about the Muslim perception of Jihad and Jihadism and their impact on public speech. Although there are various clashes on this level, it is appropriate here to introduce the essence of this ideological confrontation. In the three Wars of Ideas from 1945 to 2006, the heart of the Western engagement in the conflict was the understanding of two issues: what Jihad was historically and what Jihadism is in modern times. These are two different but related phenomena.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad Clash -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
According to press reports, the day after a Hamas militant was killed by a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas responded by killing two militants (one from Islamic Jihad and another from Fatah) and wounding three Islamic Jihad militants.
What kind of person... -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...could believe the world would be a better place (and we would be better off) if we turned our backs on this man and the children with whom he works?
EMail written to my friend Sara from SA. Soldiers often ask their Angels to support interpreters and others with whom they work. This gentleman agreed to let her share his words and the picture, saying it would "make me proud if I can build a good reputation and nice view for USA people of new generation of Iraq".
Manhattanville My Soldier -- [SgtStryker]
There are a lot of organizations that have answered the call of meeting our troops needs. The story regarding My Soldier is a little bit different though. You see, My Soldier was founded by Juan Salas, a naturalized United States American citizen who is originally from Venezuela. His love and commitment to America was proved when he committed nearly two years of his life serving in Iraq. While serving, Second Lieutenant Juan Salas was aware of how much encouragement he derived from receiving letters. He makes the point that his letters are a tangible form of encouragement that he can take with him throughout his life.
AUGUST CHALLENGE! -- [View from the 8th Floor]
So, the AUGUST CHALLENGE from the 8th floor is for you to write up a note to be included in the holiday stocking for a Georgia soldier. Plus, get five friends or family members to do the same thing.
Do it today while you have a spare minute. Then go pester your family and friends!
...The emailing of messages worked well for the holiday care package shipment that Angel Michelle and I did last year for a Navy ship. Many included a digital photo that I printed out along with their notes to make a photo card. The picture at the top of this post shows some of the picture cards based on emails, plus a bunch of cards made by my mom's 5th graders in Texas and some high school students in Georgia. :-)
When Do You Know You're Winning? Combating Insurgencies - Past, Present, and Future -- [Heritage Foundation]
Date: August 2, 2007 - Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Speaker(s): Keynote Remarks by:
The Honorable Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
With a Discussion featuring:
Dr. Conrad Crane, U.S. Army War College
LTC Gian Gentile, USAR,U.S. Military Academy
Dr. Richard Stewart, U.S. Army Center of Military History
Decompression -- [Mission Iraq - Round 2 - in Iraq]
One last thought on Sen Murtha's bill to have US troops begin pulling out of Iraq in 2 months and allowing the President a.k.a the Commander-in-Chief to decide the final withdrawal dates. Based on what I have seen and experienced here in Iraq, nothing would be better than to call mission complete and pack up for a speedy return to the States. It's just not that easy.
Even though the Iraqi Parliament has done nothing to help itself and decided to break for the entire month of August in a spiteful move against President Bush, the United States of America is a super power in this world and it has the responsibility to finish what it started and not be a cut and run country.
‘Have you been to Iraq?’ — 76 sens. say they have -- [The Hill]
...As debate over the war reaches a tipping point in Washington, visiting Iraq has become a rite of passage for many lawmakers looking to bolster their credibility on national security. Many lawmakers feel that making a trip is important for their credibility when they are asked to weigh in on the war.
As a recent case in point, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) alluded to his Iraq travel when he challenged Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) in a July 15 debate on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Graham, who has gone to Iraq seven times, took Webb to task after the freshman senator said that less than half of the military believes that the U.S. should be in Iraq.
“Have you been to Iraq?” Graham charged. “Have you ever been and talked to them?”
Unexpected Reactions -- [Dadmanly]
The past couple of days evidenced two rather unusual reactions, or rather, two reactions from unexpected sources.
In the first, US Representative Keith Ellison returned from Iraq and made statements that conveyed that the situation there was improving (and better than he expected).
In the second, Senator Barack Obama continues his effort to claw his way ahead of Presidential nomination opponent Senator Hillary Clinton, declaring that as President, he would invade Pakistan to go after terrorists.
Will Democrats Move On FISA Changes? -- [Captain's Quarters]
Democrats have decided that they have to support changes requested by the White House to the FISA law in order to protect vital national-security programs, the New York Times reports. They fear leaving themselves open to charges of being weak on terrorism as well as impeding vital signal intelligence efforts to keep the nation safe from another attack
...The Bush administration didn't just start calling for movement in the last few days. They agreed to place these efforts back under the supervision of the FISA court in January on the promise that the Democratic-controlled Congress would take action on these requests months ago. Instead, the Democratic leadership put them on the back burner while taking 108 days to authorize funding for the troops in Iraq and spending hundreds of hours on oversight hearings.
Sunday in the Park with Mama Sheehan -- [Atlas Shrugg]
Moonbats converged today (all 20 of them) to support Mama's bid for Congress (would love her to unseat Peloshia - wouldn't you?)
This video is really rich - see my other video below for Cindy's "speech."
False Reuters Report-- [Media Blog - Guy Benson]
Reuters falsely reported yesterday that US allies had launched a military operation intended to free 21 South Korean hostages being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Several major news outlets picked up the wire report, including CNN, Fox News, and ABC, leading to erroneous on-air statements on each network.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Bread and a Circus, Part One -- [Michael Yon- in Iraq]
Before the Battle for Baqubah (Operation Arrowhead Ripper), thousands of refugees had streamed out of Baqubah and the surrounding towns. I’ve heard Iraqis throw around a number of 17,000 IDPs [Internally Displaced Iraqis], although I have no idea how accurate that is, if at all. Two weeks after the start of Arrowhead Ripper, 3-2 SBCT was tracking just over a thousand IDPs, and since I shared a tent with the soldiers who did most of the counting (C-52), I put stock in that number and believe it to be roughly accurate. I saw many of the IDPs with my own eyes.
Maj. Gen. Mixon On The Surge
Talking to a CNN Reporter, I posted this so you could listen to the reporter answer his own questions the way he wants the answer to be.
Got to give Mixon credit he does well.
Turning the corner in Ramadi -- [The American Legion Vision - Sgt. 1st Class Jack Robison - in Iraq]
It's too late to say I'm going to bring all my soldiers home, which was my naive goal when we first arrived, but I'm bringing everyone home who I can, and I won't hesitate to rain hell on a house just because somebody inside might not be shooting at us.
These are not people you let escape if you can help it. They are not "freedom fighters" as some ridiculously stupid people have suggested. These people regularly kill whole Iraqi families, cut off the heads of Iraqi civilians, and show complete disregard for any life but their own. The only freedom they fight for is the freedom to maintain the law of the gun. Most Iraqis know this and will tell us enthusiastically that they wish we would hurry up and win, but they'll only tell us behind closed doors, usually in the absence of other Iraqis, for fear of informers. Many stop short of actually helping us. If they are found out, they're almost certain to be killed.
...A corner has been turned. Every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in Ar Ramadi, along with a few hundred thousand Iraqi civilians, knows it and is better off for it.
A corner, not the corner. Unfortunately, this war is still very much in progress. If certain people in the legislative branch are bound and determined to lose it, I'm sure they'll be able to, but it won't be lost by us. While they point fingers and manipulate public opinion in our name, we are doing what we came here to do: fight and win.
Baghdad Raid Night -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
...“What’s the situation in Tunis?” I said.
“It’s not too bad anymore,” said Lieutenant Evan Wolf from Omaha, Nebraska. “It’s a rich neighborhood. Lots of educated and cultured people live there, doctors and lawyers, people like that. It was infested with Al Qaeda a while ago, so the neighborhood formed a protectionist militia. They set up road blocks, gates around the mosque, and they drove Al Qaeda out. But now the militia harasses and extorts the residents. They follow us from house to house and intimidate whoever we talk to.”
If the Iraq Panic Bubble Bursts -- [Moderate Risk - Patrick S Lasswell - in Iraq]
...One of the reasons Michael and I went into business was to prove that honest people could make a decent living without distorting facts. We both worked for Enron at one time or another and remain disgusted by the market manipulations that allowed despicable energy traders to make fortunes preying on the fears of gullible people. Even worse is that nine out of ten Enron frauds got away with their criminal behavior. Furthere, there are still people in California who think that there were rolling blackouts in 2000 because of an energy shortage, when all that happened was a critical deficit of integrity.
Much of the reporting on the war in Iraq suffers from a similar abandonment of integrity in pursuit of short-term profit. Even though it will cost the free people of the world massively if the United States abandons the Coalition and Iraq, the media continues to present distortions and outright fabrications about the conditions of the war.
A War We Just Might Win -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
If you are reading Badgers Forward you probably already know we can win the war in Iraq, the only question is do we want to do so. This last year has seen numerous positive developments - the Awakening movement here in Al Anbar. A movement that has spread to other provinces. Tribes and clans that once were willing to make a deal with the Devil known as Al Qaeda realized the depth and horror of their error and the approached the US for help.
It looks like another body might have turned as well, although the signs are early, there is promise.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand:
Insurgent is targetted after planting IED
We Are Winning -- [Town Hall - Dennis Prager]
Prager H2: Dennis reflects on Iraqi blogger, Omar Fadhill's observation that Iraqis think we're in Iraq to stay. GW is holding fast, but the Democrats and the NY Times want to abandon our Iraqi allies post haste, if not sooner… The horrific murders in Connecticut continue to haunt Dennis. The DA is "considering" the death penalty… The "John Doe" amendment is back in the Home Security Bill thanks to the Republicans, Joe Lieberman and Talk Radio.
Mesopotamia: The Champions of Asia -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said hat today has been as exciting as one of those election days in Baghdad. Our national soccer team is playing for the Asian cup for the first time in its history. By comparison this is as if the American team is playing for the cup of Copa America against the team of Brazil or Argentina! But of course here in Iraq we care way more about soccer than Americans do. No offense meant of course!
Iraq: More than a game More than a game
Iraq plays Saudi Arabia in the Asia Cup final. CNN's Arwa Damon explains the importance of this match to a troubled nation
The Game -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
On the evening of the 29th, I found myself at the MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) center trying to use the computers there. In the midst of it all, there was a large celebration going on with many local Iraqi's from all ethnicities and religions, all dancing to loud music in celebration of the Iraqi soccer victory over Saudi Arabia, (1-0), giving Iraq the Asia Cup title. I found myself watching the crowd in total jubilence over this victory. It can truly be said that this one event has in fact brought together all Iraqis into one accord. If only for a little while, then so be it. But, what I saw, in my little corner of the war at this point, gave me an insight into just how profound the transformation of Iraq can be. For hours, the celebration went on and everybody watched.
Local tip leads to cache discovery -- [MNF-I]
MOSUL, Iraq – Tipped off by an Iraqi citizen, Iraqi army soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division conducted a joint mission with Coalition Force Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, July 30, to remove illegal weapons from the neighborhoods of western Mosul.
Focusing on the Wade Hajar and Al Sinaa neighborhoods, IA and Coalition troops captured a detainee with knowledge of a substantial weapons cache at a home located in the Al Najar neighborhood. Inside the house, the joint forces discovered a spider hole hidden under tiles beneath a stove.
Battle Position Tarawa -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr. - in Iraq]
WEST KARABILAH (On the Syrian border) — Last night, went out on a combat foot patrol through the town of Karabilah with Alpha Company Raiders of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. We went out in two squads, operating independently until just after midnight when we linked up and moved back into the BP. Throughout the night we stopped and searched a few vehicles, collected intelligence, and gathered some atmospherics (mood of the people, feelings about the U.S. Marine presence, etc.). We learned through a Jordanian interpreter – the Marines call them “terps” – that al Qaeda operatives are threatening the lives of some locals. And al Qaeda in Iraq is definitely here: During previous nights, Alpha Marines captured 10 bad guys, weapons, and at least one primed and aimed rocket. I’ll be discussing more about the rocket after getting back to Al Qaim and going over a few details with Lt. Col. Bohm, commander of the battalion task force. AQI is also targeting infrastructure. They recently blew three bridges in the region among other things.
AQI is trying to move back into the Al Qaim region which the Marines have so effectively killed or beaten out. According to intelligence, AQI is planning something “big” here in the coming days.
Insurgents caught and thier vehicle with an IED is exploded
We're really starting to get spoiled -- [Jake's Life - in Iraq]
We're really starting to get spoiled with these safe, simple 6 day ops. I'm happy to say that we once again did not get shot at, not even once. That's not to say things are completely safe over here, there's still danger and Marines are still getting hurt.
...Like I said though, our six days went by very uneventfully. The first three days were pretty much cake. We were expecting that to continue the final three days, but at the midway point we were told we were going to an area called Rufush. Now I'm going to have to put this in perspective for you. Rufush is a place that we have only seen labeled on a map. All that we have ever been told about Rufush is that it's THE al Qaeda stronghold in the Zaidon.
VOICES FROM THE FRONT -- [ON Point]
Recent OnPoint features have featured various generals and senior-level officers talking about they’ve incorporated the “clear-hold-build” strategy into “The Surge”. They’re hoping to copy the tactics of 1st Bn, 6th Marines in Ramadi, who walked the city, met the residents, and brought peace and reconstruction to Anbar Province. Here are the thoughts and quotes from another group of Marines; located some 20 miles south of Ramadi, as they handle the “Surge” strategy their way.
Sleeping in Hell -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
After five days in a row of having the power go out every afternoon around 1 pm, we finally seem to have consistent electricity again. Hopefully the juice stays on- it's hard to stay up on sleep for nighttime missions when the power continually goes out during the hottest part of the day (and during the time we have for sleeping). I talked with the lead KBR electrician who was sent to fix the problems as they arose each day- it seems there are a number of reasons for the difficulties. First, the electrical system is a hash of several different standards: US, British, and one or two Middle Eastern. ME triangular cable does not fit well into round receptacle American circuit breakers. Secondly,...
Building the Iraqi Air Force -- [Dude, where's the beach? - in Iraq]
Sunday I attended a very interesting meeting. It was a meeting I didn’t want to attend. I was supposed to have flown down to Baghdad Airport the day prior to receive a shipment of 6 newly modified Huey II helicopters for the Iraqi Air Force. But at the last minute my Commander wanted me to stay behind and help with this meeting.
The meeting was to help decide future aircraft and capabilities of the Iraqi Air Force. In attendance was the Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Air Force, and nearly all of his top Generals and advisors. It was important, and it had everything to do with what my job is here with CAFTT. We’re rebuilding, and building up, the Iraqi Air Force. The once great, 900 aircraft, 2000 pilot force was reduced to nothing in 1991, and what was left was reduced even further in 2003. I can’t say they were starting from scratch though. There are veterans.
Fire From The Sky -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
It had to happen eventually. About 1700L we got a barrage of 120mm mortars hitting the FOB, big nasty suckers. The hit several buildings like the PX, and some of the KBR tin cans we live in.
Thank whatever Power you like; none of our people were killed, just several wounded. We did learn that these trailers we're living in catch fire really easily. More of them burned than were directly hit. The smoke from the burning trailers drifted right to our TOC, even more so once the fire trucks managed to douse the flames down to the charred shells. We counterfired, but only with illumination shells. God forbid we hurt anyone. Wait, wasn't that the point of the exercise?
High-tech ID system sniffs out hidden threats -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
From roadside bombs to small arms fire to rocket attacks, Iraq can often be a dramatically unstable and dangerous place where enemy fighters hide amongst innocent civilians.
Marines with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, are letting technology be their guide in the effort to separate the terrorists from the Iraqi innocents.
Watching - [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
I was standing out on patrol the other day when I looked over and saw some small children outside their house staring at us. They weren’t doing the normal abrasive “Gimme! Gimme!” that most of the children do so I went to the truck and got a soccer ball for them. One of the guys in the truck and I headed down there and gave them the ball and went back to our corner. A few minutes later I was up on a balcony overlooking the neighborhood and I looked down into their yard. The kids, both girls and boys, were all playing with the soccer ball. They were kicking it around, chasing it and laughing. An older man (I assume their father) came from the side of the house and picked up the ball. He looked at it for a moment, then kicked it across the yard and began playing with the children. He was holding up the toddler and one of the kids would roll the ball towards him and he would swing the toddler so that he kicked the ball back. Everyone had smiles, and it looked as though they were having a good time.
July 31st -- [Foreign and Domestic]
Today will always have special significance for me. Last year on this day, I was still checking my fingers and toes to make sure they were all there after being hit by an IED.
Now, let me say right off the bat that it wasn't really bad. I'm not a hero, nor am I wearing a Purple Heart. But the experience was still life changing.
A Night That Will Live In Infamy! -- [Air Force EWO - in Iraq]
There had been rumors floating around the squadron about a large rat-like creature that was said to be haunting the building at night. I had never seen it, and, it seemed, no one else had really seen it either. The stories were most often told about someone else seeing this mythical creature. "Oh, yeah, Oscar told me the other day that one of the Admin folks saw him yesterday." OK, so I mentally filed these stories away in the same folder as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Over time, the legend continued to grow.
As fate would have it, the legends were true! Friday night was my night to stand the watch. ...
Dead Taliban Leader Was Guantanamo Detainee -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
But they're all innocent...
During 25 months there, he managed to conceal his identity and convinced his interrogators he was an innocent man caught up in the fighting. He was released in March of 2004. Just a few months later, Mehsud masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Winning Hearts and Minds (5) Standard Ops
Week 26--A Look Back. -- [Richard's Deployment - in Afghanistan]
As we pass the midpoint of this 12-month tour, it seems like a good time to look back on where we came from and what we’ve experienced in the last six months.
...In just one week we completed the right seat/left seat ride with the 14th CSH and we were ready for the change of command and transition of authority (RIP/TOA).
Finally, we were running the hospital!
Unfortunately, the honeymoon did not last long, as a suicide bomber hit the front gate of the FOB the same day the 14th CSH personnel departed. We did well, but it was a bit overwhelming dealing with so many casualties, both dead and dying, on our very first day. It was a rude introduction to life in Afghanistan, particularly for our first-time deployers.
At the same time we were learning our jobs, we were meeting our USAF partners.
Bombs and Believers -- [Matt Sanchez - in Afghanistan]
Camp Salerno in the Khost province is located in a beautiful valley with hills that jut out of the landscape like thorns on a rose. The 70th Engineers Battalion has the job of clearing the roads of IUD's, so that others can move up and down without getting blown up. These Kodiaks are meticulous in their job--lives depend on it.
A few pictures from Kabul -- [A Year in Afghanistan]
I'm back in Tirin Kot this week, but I've been looking through the pictures I took the previous week in Kabul. I don't get to tour around, but whenever I'm being driven between meetings I keep my camera in my hand and take as many pictures out the window as I can. I'd like to show a bit of a sample of what I see. I thought I haven't shown enough of the commercial heart of city, so here you can see Afghan Fried Chicken and a Bride & Groom store.
Insurgents use mosque for cover -- [ISAF]
KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents used a mosque in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province, as cover during an engagement with ISAF soldiers on July 28.
Insurgents initially attacked ISAF soldiers with small-arms fire. As ISAF soldiers fired back, the insurgents retreated back from the engagement to a nearby mosque. They began to fire on ISAF soldiers once again. The ISAF soldiers, aware that mosques are protected sites, decided to not return fire with the enemy.
Pakistan: A new Red Mosque is established in the tribal agencies -- [The Fourth Rail]
Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; purple is defacto control; yellow is under threat.
Islamists take over a mosque in Mohmand as attacks against government troops continue in North Waziristan
Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province remains a cauldron of violence in the wake of the military assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in Islamabad in mid-July. Attacks against government forces continue on a daily basis as North Waziristan remains the hub of Taliban and al Qaeda-directed violence against government security forces. In the Mohmand agency, a group of Islamists stormed a local mosque, renamed it the Lal Masjid, and pledged their support to the deposed leader of the original Red Mosque.
Saudi Arabia Pledges to Support Iraq -- [Defense Link]
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 1, 2007 – Saudi Arabia promised today to continue working with its Gulf neighbors to support Iraq’s new government and promote stability in the region.
Around The Torture World In 80-Seconds -- [Gateway Pundit]
I didn’t notice any of these recent stories at Amnesty International, so I decided to take a quick tour of current events in the world of torture.
In Iraq, Najaf Mosque Imam Welcomes U.S.-Iran Negotiations On Iraq, But Tells Iraq’s Neighbors Terrorism Must Stop -- [MEMRI Blog]
In his Friday sermon, Sayyed Sadruldin Al-Qabanchi, imam of the Najaf mosque and a leader in the Supreme Islamic Council, welcomed the U.S.-Iran negotiations but called on Iraq's neighbors to do their utmost to put an end to terrorism in Iraq.
He said that if Iraq's neighbors wanted the U.S. to withdraw, they must stop terrorism. By his account, 4,000 terrorists from Syria and Saudi Arabia have been killed in Iraq.
Buried Videos and Documents in Backyard of Co-Conspirator Show HAMAS Links -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
By The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
Dallas, TX—The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial resumed this Monday with hours of video evidence, some of which had been buried in the backyard of unindicted co-conspirator Fawaz Mushtaha, a former resident of a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington DC.
Home for a Hero -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
KUTV in Salt Lake City, Utah brings us this story of Sergeant Joshua Hansen. Sergeant Hansen was a Team Leader in Second Platoon of Team Badger before we finally had to send him home. Sergeant Hansen is one of those ordinary Americans who volunteered to serve his country and has deployed twice to Iraq. He and his wife Melissa are very nice people that have big hearts.
Evidently the television station in conjunction with a local home builder are holding a contest to provide a Home for a Hero and Sergeant Hansen is one of the finalists. I can't quite figure out how to vote yet, but I notice the TV station is not finished running its profiles so we need to keep checking back to see how we can help Sergeant Hansen get that house.
2 Missed Calls -- [Paulette - USO volunteer]
May was a busy month for USO here. We sent out an entire brigade and part of another. I had flights in the morning when I was there before the sun came up. I had flights in the evening and I saw the sun go down. After several days like that things kind of run together and you have a hard time remembering what day it is. But once in a while something will happen and it will stick with you. Something that you know you won't ever forget. ........I was at the end of the table where the post cards are set up. I was trying to encourage deploying soldiers to write home before boarding the plane. One guy told me he just really wished he could call home. He wanted to talk to his dad and his girlfriend one more time before leaving. I asked him if he would like to use my cell phone to call them and he declined. Then I could tell he was thinking about it. He didn't want to trouble me or ask me for anything special. After assuring him it was no trouble..he declined again. Finally i just put the phone in his hand and told him to call.
I just discovered I'll be headed to San Antonio, Texas next weekend (August 2-5). I'm visiting Brooke Army Medical Center, among other activities. Any Texas friends--or friends of friends--in the vicinity?
It also involves a very big announcement that Soldiers' Angels and Valour-IT are about to make (stay tuned for details).
10,000+ To Take to Streets Supporting Troops -- [Move America Forward]
(SACRAMENTO) – With General David Petraeus set to report to Congress by September 15th on the progress of “the surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq, supporters of Operation Iraqi Freedom are preparing to launch a massive public effort to show support for the missions of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Fisher House matches Landstuhl phone card purchases -- [Legion Current Event]
INDIANAPOLIS (July 30, 2007) - Just days after The national commander of The American Legion announced the purchase of $25,000 in pre-paid telephone calling cards to be given to troops as part of Operation Landstuhl (Lond Stool), an official with the Fisher House Foundation announced his organization’s intention to match the donation given to U.S. troops recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
Precious Little Glory -- [The Calm Before The Sand - in Iraq]
I've been thinking about this war, and about the events of the last couple of months. I was kind of put off by the flood of fanatics who suddenly began slandering and threatening me at every available opportunity, and now I see talk that they've done it again, to a blogger writing under the pen name of Scott Thomas.
The people who, in each case, have attacked us most ardently were those who would have presented themselves as being our country's most ardent supporters of "the Troops." And yet, nothing I can find in my old comments section really strikes me as having been all that supportive. Unless in that definition, you include death threats and threats of career repercussions
...and then we were home -- [The Zeke - home from Iraq]
If home is where your heart is, then I finally caught up with mine; we're back! We arrived in B-town last Sunday (22nd). Many miles and many months have passed. Many hardships have been overcome. We've bled and we've cried. "All gave some, some gave all." I never want to "put it all behind" I've learned a lot about myself in the past 22 months, and a lot about my fellow man. I imagine I'll never look at life the same again, and I hope most of it will be for the better. Some things I wish hadn't happened, but we don't always get what we wished for. Time to step out of the uniform and sand, and into green grass and vacation clothes.
I had the honor of serving over-sea's with Minnesota's finest. I had the pleasure of being greeted and welcomed on our return by more of the same.
The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side -- [Rmychk's Oh So Optimistic Blog - home from Iraq]
Trying to fit in with my civilian friends after being a soldier for a couple of years and being a civilian with my army friends is a tough adjustment. Just like when I was in Spain on leave it makes me want to go back to the sandbox. As miserable as it was there, it was normal for me and the bonus was I loved my job. It was by far my favorite job. Things were simple. I do not disagree with having a million choices for everything being a civilian but it sure was easier in the military as most things were decided for us already. My brain hurts with all the sights and sounds. I love the air here, it is so crisp and clean. The colors are overwhelming and brilliant after seeing only tan for so long. I know it will take quite a while to readjust to the civilian life but I am an impatient person. So, as usual, I am wanting to do a million things at once and yet I cannot seem to get even one thing accomplished. I have to remind myself that I have not been back for even two weeks yet. I am very much longing to lay on a beach and do nothing.
Home!!!! -- [Half a World Away - home from Iraq]
...I wanted to let anyone know that has been stopping by that I am home safe and sound. Reintegration with the family is a challenge but is going well, better then I expected. I had a spectacular coming home party a few weeks ago, and Erika and I just returned from 4 days in Lake Tahoe. I have pictures of both that I will be posting shortly now that I have a working computer with internet again.
The Glenn and Helen Show: Austin and Annabelle Bay on War, History, and Life. -- [Instapundit]
Austin Bay is a novelist and nonfiction author (author of The Wrong Side of Brightness and A Quick and Dirty Guide to War), blogger and host of Pajamas Media's Blog Week in Review. He and his daughter spent part of this summer following the route of Austin's great-great-grandfather in the Civil War, shooting video and working on a book project tentatively entitled Eli's War.
Defeatism Defeated? -- [Real Clear Politics]
If victory in Iraq was oversold at the outset, there are now signs that defeat is likewise being oversold today.
One of the earliest signs of this was that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he could not wait for General David Petraeus' September report on conditions in Iraq but tried to get an immediate Congressional mandate to pull the troops out.
United We Fall? -- [Opinion Journal]
It seems to us that there is something to be said for the idea that when America is at war, citizens, and especially political leaders, have a patriotic duty to put differences aside in the cause of victory. We oppose government censorship but wish for more self-restraint on the part of war opponents.
...House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war. . . .
Democrat Walks Out on Iraq Good News -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Cpl M]
I received the following from a contact working for a Congressman. The story is all over the place now, but I still got a good chuckle from it. All I could think of was someone holding their hands over their ears while screaming, "La la la la la! I can't hear you!"
Freshman Democrat Walks Out of Armed Services Committee Hearing; Frustrated by Positive News about Iraq:
Durbin Gets a Challenger -- [Real Clear Politics]
It may be an exercise in futility, but Dr. Steve Sauerberg has announced he's going to seek the Republican nomination to challenge to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Sauerberg explains on his web site:
Tire Slashing “War Protestor” Charged In WA -- [Sweetness & Light]
...When Chavez was arrested Sunday deputies smelled alcohol and asked him to take a portable breath test. He complied and blew a 0.168, more than double the legal driving limit.
Chavez told deputies he would have slashed the tires, sober or not, according to the report.
He also said if he was in Iraq he would kill everyone fighting on the American side, adding that he believed the actions of the government were “unjust and wrong.”
This is what they are being taught by their Churchillian-like (Ward) teachers.
By the way, it’s probably time to update that fine, which goes back to the Espionage Act Of 1917:
Murtha Brushes Off Brookings Report on Iraq as ‘Rhetoric' on CNN's ‘American Morning' -- [NewsBusters]
Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon's surprising op-ed in the New York Times on improvements in Iraq may have been ignored by NBC Nightly News on Monday , but CNN's John Roberts thought it was worthy enough to mention the article in an interview of Representative John Murtha on Tuesday morning. Murtha, a frequent guest on CNN when the subject of discussion is the Iraq war, dismissed the Pollack/O'Hanlon assessment. "I dismiss it at as rhetoric. I dismiss it as -- you know, in my estimation, the things that I measure are not -- oil production, electricity production, water. Only two hours of electricity. I don't know where they were staying. I don't know what they saw. But I know this, that it's not getting better. It's rhetorical is what is getting better. It's over-optimist. It's an illusion."
JD on O'Reilly Factor -- [Outside the Wire]
JD was embedded with Scott Thomas Beauchamp's unit this past May when they captured a Jaish al-Mahdi cell leader and rescued a Sunni man from being assassinated.
Credibility -- [Tigerhawk]
Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon of Brookings have just come back from eight days in Iraq, and they have reported their findings in The New York Times. Excerpts below, on the remote chance that any of our readers are fool enough not to read the whole thing:
Paul Mcleary Explains -- [QandO]
I actually spend a lot of time on milblogs. I was careless in my choice of wording when I wrote the piece. What I meant was the whole community of blogs that have sprung up in the same universe as milblogs — Hugh Hewitt, etc., who act tough about the war, but have never served, and have never left the comforts of their air-conditioned offices to see what might be going on in Iraq or Afghanistan.
House to Dump Earmarks, Replace with Nosemarks -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-07-31) — An amendment to the House lobbying reform bill would completely eliminate the power of legislators to allocate taxpayer dollars to pet projects through anonymous “earmarks” and replace it with a “totally reformed concept” which would allow lawmakers to allocate taxpayer dollars to pet projects through anonymous “nosemarks.”
“This is landmark legislation,” said one unnamed House aide. “The age of corrupt politicians paying off corrupt lobbyists with funding earmarks is over. We have absolutely eliminated Congressional earmarking.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)