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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.
More Schisms Among Jihadists and Muslim Brothers in Iraq -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has translated a fascinating document from the main spokesperson for al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).
The message of Abu Omar al -Baghdadi is striking because it consists almost entirely of attacks on other Muslim groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. These are not merely passing shots or polite disagreements, fighting words and calls to executions.
Errors have been made. Others will be blamed. -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
The title of this blog comes from a list of quotes I have hanging near my desk.
...Well, I've officially started taking steps to reduce the amount of chaos and disorder I leave this place in. Construction is starting on a massive project on the eastern edge of the depot, and will soon start on the refurbishment and rebuilding of about 25 warehouses. Money has been allocated to bring in power lines, reducing our reliance on generators that only work about 60% of the time. Next month, a brand new life support area, to include living quarters and dining facility, will be complete for our Iraqi Army members.
Roll-on Roll-off Basrah berth turned over to the Iraqi Port Authority (PDF) -- [Army Corps of Engineers]
BASRAH, Iraq - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South district has completed and turned over the Roll-on / Roll-off berth of Umm Qasr Port in Basrah Province on Sept. 25 to the Iraqi Port Authority.
Brig. Gen. Dorko to Team: ‘Doing Great, Great Work’ (PDF) -- [Army Corps of Engineers]
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Dorko, standing, answers questions from military, government civilian, and contractor personnel
of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region South district in a dining facility at Tallil, Iraq. [USACE Photo]
...The general’s message while addressing USACE personnel during a visit to the GRS headquarters here was upbeat as he praised the entire team, including Iraqi associates, the private contractors who provide security and other services for USACE in Iraq, and the third country nationals who guard the GRS compound. “I’m overwhelmed by what you guys have done,” he said, referring to the whole team as family.
Coalition operations lead to death of al Qaeda terrorist
On September 25, 2007, a coordinated air strike by a USAF F-16 killed Abu Usama al Tunisi. Al Tunisi was one of the most important leaders within al Qaeda in Iraq and part of the inner circle of advisors to Abu Ayyub al Masri.
Al Tunisi was known as the Emir of Foreign Terrorists in Iraq, responsible for oversight of Foreign Terrorists moving into Iraq and their coupling with terrorist cells to conduct operations.
Like all members of Abu Ayyub al-Masri's inner circle, al Tunisia (from Tunisia), was a foreigner, not an Iraqi. (more)
Joint Statement by Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and General David H. Petraeus on U.S. Embassy and Mult -- [MNF-I]
The full Iraqi-U.S. Joint Commission on U.S. Government Protective Security Detail (PSD) operations in Iraq is preparing for its first meeting in Baghdad.
The Commission Co-Chairs have already met.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) affirm their mutual solidarity and cooperation in these important discussions.
Maleki Rejects Senate proposal -- [ON Point]
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday rejected a U.S. Senate proposal calling for the decentralization of Iraq's government and giving more control to the country's ethnically divided regions, calling it a ''catastrophe.''
The measure, whose primary sponsors included presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., calls for Iraq to be divided into federal regions for the country's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities in a power-sharing agreement similar to Bosnia in the 1990s.
In his first comments since the measure passed Wednesday, al-Maliki strongly rejected the idea, echoing the earlier sentiments of his country's vice president.
''It is an Iraqi affair dealing with Iraqis,'' ...
Pushing the bad guys out -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — A year ago the area to the east of Ramadi was a haven for insurgents who attacked the city. These days much has changed in the surrounding rural lands of the east.
The once violent lands of the east are patrolled and guarded by the Abu-Bali Iraqi Police (IP) and Soldiers from Company A, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment. Their latest mission was a joint operation, which gathered intelligence and pushed insurgents further from the city of Ramadi and its outlying towns.
Dronetek- From the Source: A US 1/6 Marine fires a SMAW in to enemy booby trapped building in Ramadi
A Us 1/6 Marine fires a SMAW in to enemy booby trapped building in Ramadi, Iraq.
The Horror!! 19,000 Dead Terrorists in Iraq -- [Gateway Pundit]
To the Horror of Democrats & Terrorist Regimes- The US Is Winning in Iraq
For the first time sine the war began the US military has released data on militants killed in Iraq.
Oh... And, the US military had their lowest number of fatalities this month than they have had any month all year.
Faces of Iraq--An Iraqi Policeman -- [Assad Baghdad - in Iraq]
If I can do anything while I am here, I hope it is to put a human face on Iraq for people at home--to make Iraq more than news clips of bombings and body counts. To that end, I'm starting to write a series called "Faces of Iraq". I hope that Faces of Iraq will bring more context to the war, and to the lives of Iraqis, than the American media or our policiticians seem able to. Ironically, in many cases, including today's post, for their own safety, I can't actually show you the face of the person I'm writing about.
To start, me tell you about Ali, an Iraqi policeman we met at a police station in the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad during a normal security assessment visit.
Citizens Receive Honors for Volunteer Work -- [Defend America]
FALLUJAH, Iraq, Sept. 27, 2007 — Iraqi citizens who have volunteered time and effort to keeping their neighborhoods safe were honored during a ceremony at a schoolhouse here. Most of the volunteers had attempted to join the local police force, but were turned away because of the overwhelming number of applicants.
Putting Iraqis out front: U.S. Soldiers aid Iraqi Police with missions -- [MNF-I]
QAYYARAH — A joint Iraqi Police (IP) and Coalition forces operation recently netted a counterfeit document production facility in Qayyarah.
I Do Not Have Smallpox… I Swear! -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
We went out on patrol the other night down in the South of our AO. We went out on a more or less “feel good” mission. The kind of mission where you interact a lot with the people, get to hand out toys to kids, eat Iraqi Chow (which I am eating more of than Army chow these days) and try to show everyone what great fellows the Coalition forces are. The officers spend most of their time shaking hands, kissing cheeks (and other body parts), drinking chai and politicking. Its not a bad thing to do as it tends to bring in leads and helps the people realize we are there to help them. The bad guys spend an awful lot of time in this area terrorizing families, intimidating Sheiks, and putting out anti-coalition propaganda.
Tuesday Thoughts -- [Dude, where's the beach? - in Iraq]
...Well, it was clear once we got into the shelter that the blast wasn't a rocket or mortar, but a VBIED exploding across town. Once you realize what it was, you're aware that countless innocent lives were just taken away when that blast went off, and you begin worrying and doubting your ability to help the Iraqis. If you think about it too long, and I'm guilty of this, things really start to get to you.
This morning was no different. Standing outside a security office to retrieve passes for some Iraqi Officers, another VBIED went off. This time I didn't run to a shelter because I knew exactly what it was. I knew what it was, and I knew that once again lives were taken because of some assholes who think killing innocent people will scare and terrorize the population, bending the country to their will.
An Experience in Baghdad -- [A Battlefield Tourist - embed in Iraq]
...I am not passing judgment on these soldiers because this is just one small slice of their daily fight for survival on these mean streets that have claimed their youth and their friends. There’s no way for me, or you, to judge a group of soldiers based on an eight hour day with them. To be fair, the soldiers only kicked down doors that weren’t answered in a quick fashion. They also always asked for the keys. In fact, the majority of kicked in doors were in abandoned houses that were locked up tight in the owner’s absence. However, the experience did make me wonder how you can convince a population to help if you cannot communicate with them, if you cannot cultivate a relationship with them, leaving the soldiers only an option of kicking in a door, clearing a home and then moving on.
This was clear to me when we encountered a family where a woman spoke descent, but broken English.
Backbone Of Iraqi Air Force Forms In Taji
In Taji -- [Iraq Partii - in Iraq]
I’m now settled into my new home-away-from-home, Taji. It’s another huge American base about 10 miles north of the Green Zone in Baghdad. Getting here on a nighttime helicopter mission was a little nerve racking though. I’m pretty sure that we came under small arms attack. I saw four or five intermittent flashes of light suddenly appear from this city we were flying over. The helicopter crew let out flares and got ready use their weapons but we were soon out of the danger area and really high up before anything could happen. That’s probably the only excitement I’m going to have during the nine or so months I’m here.
News from Afghanistan -- [John of Argghhh! - dispatch from Afghanistan]
Coda to Joe's tale of this trip to the Sandbox:
Well folks its been a fun couple of months but I will be on the plane home in two days. In fact I probably won’t be on this email again.
It’s been a fascinating, frustrating and fun time working in a NATO command. My roommate came up with a fitting description: “It’s just like an isosceles triangle, but it has four sides.”
...I still feel that’s the mission here and it’s a noble one. I don’t think anyone can “fix” Afghanistan but the Afghans themselves, but they can’t do that until the really evil people here who do like killing innocents either die or have a change of heart. We might not always do the right thing over here, or do it very well, but NATO’s heart is in the right place.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan - 28 September 2007
What can YOU do to help? -- [Those Wacky Iraqis]
One of my friends is the commander of a unit in Afghanistan and they are winning hearts and minds of the locals by being compassionate and caring. They have identified a group of Afghan children who are in dire need of winter clothing. I am including his info in the hope that some of you might understand that this is how we win. When we help a child they remember and maybe, just maybe, one of these children can make a difference in the future. Please help and while these children are Muslim the clothing is a fine, fine Christmas gift. There are 43 kids lsited here. You may not be able to help them all but i am sure you can help 1.
DIGGERS DEFEAT TALIBAN ATTACK IN HEAVY FIGHTING -- [Tanker Brothers]
In their heaviest fighting to date, Australian soldiers with the Reconstruction Task Force (RTF) in Afghanistan have successfully repelled a prolonged attack by approximately 50 Taliban extremists.
Contact With Taliban - Afghanistan
"Australian Soldiers from RTF-2 and American Soldiers worked side by side to prolong a attack from over 80 Taliban Extremists"
Red Cross workers kidnapped in Afghanistan -- [Herald Tribune]
KABUL: Four employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who had traveled outside of the capital to help negotiate the release of hostages held by the Taliban, were themselves kidnapped, the authorities said Thursday.
...But a Taliban spokesman said in a telephone interview that the militant group was not responsible for the workers' disappearance. "We don't know who arrested them," the spokesman, Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, said.
Four Red Cross staff abducted in Afghanistan (raw vid)
Four Red Cross staff, two of them foreigners, were kidnapped in the Afghan province of Wardak province on Wednesday.
Marines Help Djiboutian Villagers -- [Defend America]
NAGAD, Djibouti, Sept. 26, 2007 — The primary mission of the more than 250 Marines assigned to 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion and Heavy Marine Helicopter 464 is to provide security for Camp Lemonier and to help stabilize the area.
...“Americans are very good,” said Daoud Omar Gousieh, a Nagad native. “They have been here for seven years, and they always give.”
Reports: Military junta cuts Internet access in Burma; Sniper reportedly killed Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai -- [Michelle Malkin]
As I noted the other day, Burmese bloggers have been crucial whistleblowers and eyewitnesses to history–supplying the world with round-the-clock coverage and photos of their oppressive regime’s crackdown. Now, just as the Western press is lauding their role, the military junta has reportedly cut off Internet access:
More on Burma -- [Weekly Standard]
Again, Andrew Sullivan, has the best coverage of developments in Burma. The Bush administration has imposed sanctions on the leadership in Burma...I'm sure that'll do a lot of good, especially given the fact that "China and Russia signaled last night that they would block any UN sanctions against Burma." Meanwhile, a friend of Reason blogger Kerry Howley wrote yesterday with this disturbing message:
Battles in the War With Iran -- [Strategy Page]
While there's been no invasion of Iran, there has been a lot of Information War type operations against them. For example, all the leaks and punditry over imagined plans to invade Iran have had an impact on the Iranians. Not just the published remarks by Iranian leaders and journalists, but the private, often coded (and decrypted), messages by Iranian officials that get captured by the NSA or CIA. This kind of "information operation" is an ancient tactic, and it's getting more blatant, and interesting with regard to Iran. The best example of that are the recent interviews of U.S. Air Force planners about work being done on, well, how best to attack Iran.
Iranian Soldiers in Lebanon -- [The Tank]
Here are some facts:
Between 2,000 and 3,000 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (Pasdaran) are currently in Lebanon. Here, these Iranian soldiers are supporting Lebanese Hezbollah fighters — actual numbers are unknown — with weapons, military equipment, and cash. They are also training them in camps (at least five such camps in the Bekaa Valley and two or three in southern Lebanon) in a variety of infantry/commando operations and terror-bombing techniques.
The Faslane Peace Camp -- [In Training]
The Faslane peace camp (and, more recently the Faslane 365 crowd) has been a blight on the landscape of Helensburgh, Scotland comparable to the San Francisco parks from the 1960s - and just about as clean - since 1982. More importantly than that though, is what a horrible effect it has on the surrounding community and how they frankly just don't give a damn about anybody but themselves.
GWOT: Developing Effective Strategic Communications -- [The Middle Ground]
...That theory reflects our current and future adversaries: the use of global communications and media, the concepts of distributed networks, dissemination of information and recruitment of "actors" and sympathizers disregarding global borders. In fact, adversaries over the ages have sought to accomplish their goals using all of these methods. More so since the development of global communications and media. Our strategy must take this into consideration and develop around this core idea.
10 Ways Online Terrorism Affects the Market -- [Jawa Report]
Pretty informative column from Jessica Hupp. Not only does she identify major threats coming from cyber terror attacks directed at businesses, she also identifies companies which may profit from the upsurge in attacks by providing added security.
The Short (but Notable) Career of Fatah al Islam -- [Strategy Page]
September 28, 2007: At the beginning of September, the Lebanese military announced it had cleared the Nahr al Bared refugee camp of the Islamic terrorist organization, Fatah al Islam ("The Victory of Islam"). In the four month long fight, the top leadership of the group was killed except for the emir (leader). This fellow, Shaker al Absi, was a personal friend of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the late Al Qaeda in Iraq emir. Together they trained in Afghanistan where they formed a group of Islamic terrorists from Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria
Similar Threats, Similar Approaches: Improving Transatlantic Counterterrorism Ties -- [Countererrorism Blog]
A piece I wrote on how to improve transatlantic counterterrorism ties, which have been seriously tested over these past several years.
With U.S. government assistance, three "homegrown" terrorist suspects were arrested in Germany several weeks ago. Despite this success story, transatlantic counterterrorism ties have been seriously tested over the past three months:
Why She Carries This Flag"... -- [Jim Spiri - embed in Iraq]
...In my travels here in Iraq, the one comment all the troops have told me is that the only thing they need from those at home is their support while they are deployed. Nothing else is as valuable. NOTHING.
So I wondered about how to bridge that one request that I know would do more than anything I've written or photographed in the last five months. For my burden is to give to the troops whatever it is they ask. It came to me upon seeing this photo of Gracie Blackwell carrying the US flag with such dignity.
Yes, it is true, the entire nation seems to be embroiled in a perplexing situation called "The War in Iraq". However, I have witnessed and seen with my own eyes on a daily basis those we've sent here to do a job and what it is they do exactly. I've been there when times are very precarious and I've been there when times are melancholy as well. Time and time and time again, the troops long for only the support of what they are doing. As I have said in many previous posts, there will be plenty of time in the future to discuss the "details and the whys" of what is going on over here. But for now, it is important to take heed to support the troops, especially now, as the intensity of the mission increases. So what can those at home do in the meantime?
Limbaugh: Service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony soldiers" -- [Media Matters]
— During the September 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh called service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." He made the comment while discussing …
Brookings: On Private Military Companies and Contractors -- [Grim - BlackFive]
Peter Singer of the Brookings' Foreign Policy institute wrote to ask us at BlackFive for a review of his new paper, "Can't Win With 'Em, Can't Go To War Without 'Em: Private Military Contractors." We're happy to oblige.
...I have a few minor complaints with it, but they fade away beside the overarching one. Every single complaint directed at Blackwater and company takes this form
Defense Department Examines Armor -- [PBS]
The NewsHour reports on Defense Department priorities for combatant body armor.
Sailors, Airmen and Iraq -- [Strategy Page]
September 27, 2007: The U.S. Navy and Air Force have become resigned to having over 5,000 of their personnel stationed in Iraq, providing support for army troops. The "in lieu of" sailors and airmen are given several weeks of ground combat training and sent off to, in theory, do combat support jobs the army doesn't have enough people for. But often, these non-army troops end up doing more dangerous security work, at bases, check points or, most dangerous of all, on convoy escort.
Complaints from sailors and airmen have worked their way up the chain of command, and now their generals and admirals are asking for a written agreement with the army, covering what these sailors and airmen would do (ideally, the technical jobs they were trained for) once they got to the combat zone.
Gay protection tacked onto defense bill -- [Washington Times]
The Democrat-led Senate yesterday adopted legislation giving homosexuals additional protections under federal hate-crime laws, attaching the measure to the defense authorization bill and daring President Bush to veto it as promised.
"The president of the United States has never vetoed, in the history of the United States, a defense authorization bill," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and chief sponsor of the amendment. "For this reason and for many others ... the defense authorization deserves to be passed [into law]."
How Petraeus Moved The Debate, Literally -- [Captain's Quarters]
How far has General David Petraeus moved the debate on Iraq? His testimony on the surge, and the effects of the surge itself, has made it much more difficult for Democrats to argue for withdrawal and defeat. In fact, at last night's debate, the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination couldn't even commit to a withdrawal -- by 2013:
Seriously? THIS is "a very big deal"? -- [Jeff Emanual - embed in Iraq]
According to the Associated Press, Josh Gaines is giving back his "Iraq War medals." This, says some "Students for a Democratic Society activist" in Madison, who helped organize some protest at which Gaines will formally "mail [his] Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld," "will be a very big deal" to "many Americans."
First of all, when I read this story to the group of people I'm sitting with right now -- a Lieutenant, a Sergeant First Class, a Staff Sergeant, a Sergeant, and a Specialist in the active duty US Army -- and in the place I'm sitting right now -- in Samarra, Iraq, with a unit (which these gentlemen are members of) that has served 14 months of its 15-month tour here (and has lost twelve men during that time) -- the result was not horror, but laughter. Genuine, serious laughter that somebody would be such a publicity-seeking idiot as to do something like this at an orchestrated protest.
...Here's a minor detail for your consumption (and one which the AP writer, in his utter ignorance of all things military -- typical -- does not have the knowledge to point out): both of those medals are automatically given to every single person who goes to Iraq.
Unreal!... Democrats Redeploy Veteran's Benefits to Philippines -- [Gateway Pundit]
The democrats talked about helping veterans...
They just didn't say which country's veterans they were going to help.
America needs a "revolution in diplomatic affairs." -- [Strategy Page - Austin Bay]
Even the State Department's chardonnay and brie brigade suspects we have entered a new era of grimy, street-level foreign policy. It's an era where effective diplomacy starts with long days in bad neighborhoods, as culturally-savvy diplomats identify the hopes, fears and trends that seed future crises, and -- preferably -- create American-influenced opportunities to positively shape events.
Col. Gibbs: Beauchamp Recanted, No He Didn't??? -- [Weekly Standard]
The Pentagon's Blogger's Roundtable series featured Col. Ricky Gibbs this morning. Gibbs is the commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, and one of the 5,000 soldiers under his command is Scott Thomas Beauchamp. I asked Col. Gibbs whether the stories told by Scott Thomas Beauchamp in the New Republic were true, and whether his command was "stonewalling" and preventing Beauchamp from speaking to the media, as the New Republic claimed in its last statement on the case on August 10.
In response to the first question, Gibbs said that he had directed an investigation into Beauchamp's allegations and determined them to be false. "The incidents did not take place," Gibbs said. And Beauchamp "admitted that himself" to the investigating officer. For clarity, I asked Gibbs again, did Beauchamp admit the stories were false? "He did admit to the investigating officer that the incidents did not take place."
At the end of the call, Gibbs returned to the subject of Beauchamp's confession to say that "Beauchamp did not recant," but that "he does not stand by the story." This caused some puzzlement among the folks on the line.
Rathergate Twoofers -- [Flopping Aces]
These people are just insane. Here is Sidney Blumenthal (yes, shouldn't be surprised that this man is insane) on the Rathergate story:
Within minutes of the conclusion of the broadcast, conservative bloggers launched a counterattack. The chief of these critics was a Republican Party activist in Georgia. Almost certainly, these bloggers, who had been part of meetings or conference calls organized by Karl Rove’s political operation, coordinated their actions with Rove’s office.
Almost certainly? Man, you have us now Sidney. You finally figured out that the timing of the posts to FR could not be because someone saw something fishy in Dan's report.
We are the world -- [The Corner - Mark Steyn]
Before Katie Couric's confession that "saying 'we' when referring to the United States" makes her uncomfortable fades from the news cycle, two observations:
Edwards Takes Public Cash to Identify with Poor - [ScrappleFace]
(2007-09-27) — In a reversal of a previous decision, Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards announced Thursday that his campaign would accept public funding “as a matter of principle to demonstrate that I identify with the poor and downtrodden who live in the second America.”
(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.
An Interview with Col. Richard Simcock, Regimental Combat Team 6 -- [ON Point]
As Col Simcock describes, Fallujah is a far different city today :
Q – What’s new in Fallujah since we last talked ?
A – I’m pleased to say that nothing is new. It’s the continuation of good news throughout my AO. We’ve just finished the last part of a ‘swarm’, which is like a small-scale surge into a district of the city, and now the last district in town is under control of the I/P’s.
Last week Gen Petraeus took Katie Couric into downtown Fallujah, and they walked down the street through the market. This wasn’t a John McCain photo op, this was a no-shit walk through the market, and she was absolutely amazed at how normal it was.
Owning the Night"... -- [Jim Spiri - embed in Iraq]
It's early in the morning here in Iraq. 0400-hours to be exact. I'm tired, my feet hurt, I'm pretty dirty and the chow hall is not open yet. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm on the southeast edge of Baghdad. I have just returned from a night air assault mission into perhaps some of the most precarious pieces of real estate in Iraq. I would be part of what is being called "Operation Marne Torch II". It was a very interesting night, as are all the days and nights I've spent on this journey.
There are times I have felt a responsibility to convey to those back stateside the historical accounts of what I've been a part of the past five months.
Tonight is for sure one of those times that I want to be able to explain in words the sights, sounds, smells, and footsteps to all those that are reading this. It is not an easy task. But for the moment, it is my task at hand, and I shall try my best to bring the readers into the experience of traveling with some troops from Ft. Richardson, Alaska, into the most dangerous parts of Iraq, at night. Although I am really tired, I must attempt to write while it is fresh in my mind.
Three Purple Hearts for One Stryker -- [Blog-ah]
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq – Imagine being a wife at home back in the states with your husband far away in a war zone. You go about your life filling every minute of your day with anything to keep your mind off of the inevitable, when suddenly you get a phone call. The voice on the other end says, “I’m at the hospital. I’ve been injured. Don’t worry I am fine.” Your heart sinks and you are helpless. There is no way to assure yourself that he is ok.
Sgt. Gregory Rayho’s wife has taken that dreaded phone call not once, but three times since July 2006.
Iraq Briefing 26 September 2007
Welcome to Baghdad! -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...The first dismount these guys even went on would be a night dismount. I had one of the guys from my normal team and one of the new guys. I knew he would need extra attention so I would have to make sure and keep an eye on him. We ended up dismounting and heading back into the alleyways. It was more packed than normal since Ramadan is in full swing and during the day people can't eat or anything, so the night becomes the time for eating, praying and socializing. Fortunately for us, thats all it has consisted of, at least at this point almost 1/2 way through.
Anyways, we were walking through this one busy alley when all of a sudden I see this kid that couldn't of been more than 6 years old come out of another alleyway with a gun in his hand.
The Anatomy of a Betrayal -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
More information has recently emerged about the killing of Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi (also known as Abdul Sattar Abu Risha), who led the Anbar Salvation Front. The Associated Press reported on Saturday:
...I spoke with a senior American military intelligence officer yesterday who filled me in on some of the details emerging from the investigation. He said that al-Barghouti had been in debt to some people in the car smuggling racket in Mosul who were affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The men in the car smuggling racket had a deal with AQI: the terror group would allow them to operate, guaranteeing their security, and in return they would pass information to AQI about who was in debt to them.
Counterinsurgency in al Qaeda’s last bastion in Baghdad -- [The Long War Journal]
Camp Striker, Baghdad Province: Nine months after the announcement of the Baghdad Security Plan and the subsequent "surge" of US forces, the battle for Baghdad remains engaged. With the effort to secure Baghdad from al Qaeda in Iraq and the Mahdi Army alike, the southwestern security district of Doura has proven difficult to tame. The soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment are currently engaged in a heated battle against al Qaeda in Iraq in a corner of Doura.
Iran Supplies MANPADS to Insurgents
In a story that has some concern to me personally...
US military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox told reporters in Baghdad that Iran was shifting sophisticated arms such as "RPG-29s, explosively-formed penetrators (EFPs), 240 mm rockets and Misagh-1 surface-to-air missiles" across its borders into Iraq.
Meanwhile back home, people are having discussions over tea with the leader of a nation(the same nation that is giving arms to people who are trying to kill me) that would kill all of them in a heartbeat if he could get away with it.
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
Of course there are those that view this story with a skeptical eye, which is easy to do if someone is not shooting these things at you.
Mr. David Axe at the blog Danger Room points out that knockoffs of knockoffs are rarely effective (which is true enough in and of itself), claiming that the Misagh 1 is effectively a knockoff of a QW-1 which is in turn a knockoff of a SA-16.
Marines from Task Force Guardian Patrol Fallujah
Marines from Task Force Guardian patrol to keep the area around Fallujah safe.
A Soldier’s plea -- [Q and O]
We've recently had a spate of soldier written editorials such as the one written by 7 members of the 82nd Airborne Division which essentially supported redeployment.
Here's another sincere article from a National Guard officer who is working with a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the north of Iraq. As you will see, his experience has been tough but encouraging. He obviously understands the amount of work still required of this mission. His conclusion, however, says what needs to be said about as well and as elegantly as it can be said:
The reasons America got involved in Iraq may be suspect. But US forces are here, parts of the country are still broken, and regional security may hang in the balance if we don't stay and help the Iraqis fix it. The effort is succeeding in the north, and it can in the rest of Iraq as well. America's forefathers had help from other nations when the United States was born. Allow us to continue to help Iraq be reborn.
Marines guard Iraq's gradual transformation -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
In Ramadi, personality sometimes 'more useful than body armor'
HURRICANE POINT, Ramadi – If you head west from this small forward operating base located on Route Michigan, you'll reach a bridge that crosses a peaceful river. It would be easy to spend an afternoon walking along the riverbank, and many Iraqis do.
The Choice -- [Strategy Page]
September 26, 2007: Five months ago, only about 20 percent of Baghdad was considered under U.S. or Iraqi government control. Various Shia and Sunni militias held sway in the rest. Then the "Surge" began, in the form of some additional 10,000 American combat troops sent into the city. By July, about half the city was under control, with militias, gangster and terrorist groups forced into other neighborhoods, or out of the city. Now it's 54 percent under control, as U.S. troops prepare to go after the Shia militias in Sadr City (eastern Baghdad.) The major problem is corruption and a lack of police loyal to the government.
A bipartisan way out of Iraq -- [csmonitor]
Our troops have served our country courageously and brilliantly, but our engagement in Iraq has degraded our security, pushing our Army to the breaking point so that it cannot confront other pressing security concerns at home and abroad.
My military service as a three-star vice admiral – having led an aircraft carrier battle group in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and served as director of the Navy's anti-terrorism unit – convinces me that an inconclusive, open-ended involvement in Iraq is not in our security interests. Ending this war is necessary. But how we end it is of even greater importance for both our security and our troops' safety. These two considerations are the dual catalysts for a bipartisan discussion on this issue.
News of the 1st Division of Foot. -- [John of Argghhh!]
Sergeant Hook - not posting much, because he's been busy. Busy deploying his Combat Aviation Brigade to Kuwait, preparatory to them moving into Iraq.
...CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - For two weeks, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division Families tearfully bid farewell to their Soldiers.
Hours later, those same troops bid hello to Kuwait.
CAB Soldiers benefited from a shipping out procedure the Army has refined over several years. "It was long, but it was pretty well organized. If you've been deployed, it went pretty smoothly compared to previous deployments," said Spc. Brandon Graham, an Apache crew chief with Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment.
The Franchise -- [Strategy Page]
September 25, 2007: The fighting has killed nearly 5,000 people so far this year. About two thirds have been Taliban, fifteen percent civilians, and most of the rest Afghan security forces. Taliban casualties have grown as the year went on, often reaching a hundred or more dead a week. There have been more cases of Taliban rounding up young children to use as human shields, to aid in escaping pursuing Afghan or foreign troops. The Taliban have two things going for them, to keep this violence going; tradition and cash. For thousands of years, the Afghan tribes have automatically fought any foreign troops, and that includes anyone claiming to be the government of Afghanistan.
Scores of Taliban die in Afghan clashes: U.S. military -- [EIN News]
... KABUL (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces killed scores of Taliban insurgents in ... separate battles in southern Afghanistan, the U.S military said on Wednesday. More than 65 Taliban ... reported by the Afghan government and foreign troops, calling them propaganda. Several provincial officials and ...
Meanwhile in Afghanistan -- [Q and O]
Afghanistan has its own set of problems, that's for sure. But a competent enemy doesn't seem to be one of them at the moment
...I bring this up because of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with one of our generals in Afghanistan who said that the level of competence among the Taliban had been severely degraded by the constant pressure both coalition and Afghan troops had kept on the Taliban. You remember the Taliban's promised spring offensive that never materialized?
That's because CF and the Afghan army went after them all winter
Winning in Afghanistan - [FrontPageMagazine.com]
Earlier this month, greatly underreported by the media but ground-breaking nevertheless, the Taliban signaled its readiness to start peace negotiations with the Kabul government, indicating a setback if not defeat. The Taliban’s preparedness to discuss peace, dropping its long-standing demand that NATO troops must leave the country first, came only two days after Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, said he was willing to hold talks.
“For the sake of national interests…we are fully ready for talks with the government,” Yousuf Ahmed, a Taliban spokesman, was quoted as saying.
This striking and significant breakthrough in the Afghanistan conflict came after last month’s “jirga” (tribal meeting) in Kabul. Described as a “peace jirga” by one observer, this important gathering was made up of hundreds of members of different tribes from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Operation Chakush - The Royal Welsh Forces Fight In Upper Gereshk Valley
Welsh soldiers have been involved in a task force level operation to drive the Taliban out of the Upper Gereshk Valley, in Southern Afghanistan. Known as the ‘green zone’ in Helmand Province – the area is devoid of civilians, they have left the area knowing that the Taliban fighters are preparing for battle. The objective is to extend the influence and control of Afghanistan’s democratically elected Government as well as enabling vital reconstruction and development projects to gain a foothold in the region.
Warrior -- [One Marine's View]
As Afghan forces were pelting the five humvees carrying American soldiers without mercy, then-Pvt. Channing Moss took aim and fired back with the machine gun fixed atop one of the tanks under fire.
..."I looked down and saw the tailfins of the rocket sticking out of my left pelvic bone," Moss told The Times on Thursday. He had been hit by an RPG that had not detonated upon contact.
(Back) among the Nomads -- [Thomas' Myspace - in Afghanistan]
Following up on a promise we made to their elder last week, our medical team returned to the Kuchi village just west of our base on Tuesday. We came bearing medical care, again, but this time for them and their children, rather than their animals.
Since they had fewer people than animals, this operation was a bit smaller in scale than the one last week. It was also much more chaotic, owing in part to the fewer medical folks we had with us, but also the innate dislike Afghans have for lines or any type of gathering other than a mob.
Angry Wasps in Afghanistan....after explosion...amazing
A fallen rock was blocking a route in Afghanstan and EOD decided to blow it up. Camera captures a nest of wasps that were under the rock....they go crazy
How Can I Explain This? -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure - in Afghanistan]
...We operated from the firebase, meeting up with our Afghan counterparts for the missions that we did with them. We did missions daily with them, many of them now vehicle-borne. On some, we dismounted and patrolled areas as a presence, to gather any intelligence that might be available, or fight whoever wanted to fight.
One patrol took us down to the main town that The Valley is named after. It has the dirtiest bazaar I've ever seen, and until recently the bazaar itself and basically the whole town was under undisputed Taliban control. Major Stone Cold bought a goat, and the guy who sold him the goat also came back to the district Police station and slaughtered it for us.
SBS In Daring Afghan Rescue - [Rogue Gunner]
British special forces have taken part in a daring raid to rescue two Italian hostages in Afghanistan.
Operatives from the Special Boat Service became embroiled in a fierce firefight during the operation.
They flew in on board four Lynx helicopters and struck as the kidnappers left their compound in the province of Farah.Read It Here
Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall -- [Asia Times - Syed Saleem Shahzad]
...The aim of the takfiris now is to extend the current insurgency against the establishment in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas of Pakistan into a large-scale offensive to bring down the central government or force the government to support their cause.
The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Pakistan's post-September 11, 2001, about-turn into the camp of the United States led to a marriage of convenience among the flag-bearers of Ibn Taymiyyah's ideology, zealots of al-Qaeda and experts in Giap's guerrilla strategy - former officers of the Pakistani armed forces who were upset with Pakistan's policy reversal, which included abandoning the Taliban.
RE: Former Pakistani Military Officers Aid Guerilla Efforts -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Daveed directs readers to the always well-connected Sayed Saleem Shahzad's report on former Pakistani military officers aiding the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance inside Pakistan. Since Daveed mentions the topic, I should share with interested readers of The Tank that I published this morning a somewhat broader analysis on the accelerating al-Qaeda insurgency in Pakistan and the Information Operation campaign against the Pakistani Army soldiers that helps inspire the current rash of Pak military defections.
Lee Bollinger's Case for War Against Iran -- [Weekly Standard]
Samantha Sault has an excellent round up of the reaction to Mahmoud Ahmadinehad's appearance at Columbia, and Lee Bollinger's introduction of him. But watching Bollinger's comments make me wonder how the Columbia president can be anything other than a strong proponent of forceful and aggressive action against the Iranian regime. Heck--he makes the case for war with Iran more forcefully than Norman Podhoretz:
Terrorist Lawyer Lynne Stewart to Teach Legal Ethics -- [Stop the ACLU]
She faced up to 30 years for conspiring with a terrorist and got a slap on the wrist of 28 months in October of last year. So how is it that she is able to teach a class now? The judge said Stewart could remain free while she appeals, a process that could take more than a year. Is this still going on?
And of all things, she will teach a law school about ethics? What ethics?
Accused Swedish Militant Extradited to the U.S.-- [The Blotter]
A suspect sought by the United States for allegedly plotting to establish a terror training camp in the northwest United States was extradited from the Czech Republic to the United States, where he arrived today.
Oussama Kassir, a Lebanon-born Swedish citizen who is an alleged associate of Abu Hamza al Masri, the radical cleric currently jailed on terror-related charges in Britain, was arrested on Sunday in the Czech Republic after a court ruled there was no reason to refuse a 2006 U.S. extradition request.
Why Is New York's Governor Inviting Terrorists to Get a NY Drivers License? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
You cannot control illegal immigration purely at our borders, but must also create an inhospitable environment for illegal aliens who succeed in entering and making their way to the interior of the United States. The immigration laws of our nation are clear that anyone who induces aliens to enter our country illegally or reside in our country in violation of law or conspire to do so are violating our laws. Section 1324 of the Immigration and Nationality Act is quite clear on this issue:
Al-Qaeda in Iraq Publishes List of Tribal Leaders It Intends to Assassinate Before 'Id Al-Fitr -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Islamist website http://www.elshouraa.ws/vb, hosted by SoftLayer Technologies Inc. in Texas, USA, has published a list of names, some with photos, titled "Pictures of the Infidels and Apostates Wanted by the Islamic State of Iraq." The message accompanying the list praises the September 13, 2007 assassination of Al-Anbar Salvation Council head 'Abd Al-Sattar Abu Risha by the ISI,[i] and threatens other tribal leaders who oppose Al-Qaeda: "We killed your leader and sheikh on the first day of Ramadan, as we promised you. You should know that the ISI will prevent most of your [other] leaders from offering up their holiday prayers [on 'Id Al-Fitr at the end of the month of Ramadan]. You will never see 'Id Al-Fitr, because [the jihad fighters] have turned [this] Ramadan into a grave for the apostates. [Abu Risha] is the first... dead hypocrite of this month – [the month of] jihad and mujahideen – and will be followed by many others."
Homes for Our Troops -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
We got an email recently from a patriot and friend who is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, Melanie Warwick, that I would like to share. Hopefully, there is someone within our readership that is in the area and able to lend a hand (or knows someone who can):
Thank you so much for your support of Homes for Our Troops and the Veterans we serve. In the past few years we have grown by leaps and bounds and it is in thanks to you. To date we have built 16 homes and have 20 more in various stages of construction all over the country. We have several corporate and repeat sponsors that help to make it so much easier to give to the Veterans who have given so much for us.
We are currently working on a home for SPC Fair in Coraopolis, Pa.
OPERATION: LOVE FROM HOME 2007 -- [Yikes]
OK, here we go again..... time to collect cards for our Heroes overseas!! Last year, thanks to all of you working together, over 20,000 (yes, that's TWENTY THOUSAND) Christmas/holiday cards were shipped to our troops in harm's way. Let's do it again this year! I know we can!!! Our heroes need us now more than ever -- let's show them our love & appreciation!
Durbin, Obama want VA to explain deaths at Marion hospital -- [Boston Globe]
CHICAGO --Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama want the secretary of Veterans Affairs to explain how a surgeon with a history of malpractice complaints in Massachusetts was hired at a VA medical facility in Southern Illinois.
San Francisco "just says no" to the Marines -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
The City of San Francisco sure doesn't seem to have a problem closing off city streets to accommodate protests and demonstrations, but don't ask for permission to film a recruitment commercial for the Marines. The filming would have required one lane of California Street to be closed for a few minutes at a time during the morning rush hour on the anniversary of 9/11.
Terms of Art -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
By popular request, a brief glossary of military terms and acronyms. This post will be updated as necessary as I think of additional terms.
Guess The Owner Of This Building
The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.
The four L-shaped buildings, constructed in the late 1960s, are part of the amphibious base at Coronado and serve as barracks for Seabees.
Nostos -- [Desrt Flier- home from Iraq]
...Saturday morning landing in Cherry Point, North Carolina. The cheers and clapping bring the plane to a roaring good touchdown. Flight crew laughing and clapping right along with us. After un-loading and loading our gear several more times on the flight line, we board buses for the hour ride to Camp Lejune. Families are there waiting. We coordinate to make sure new Dads get off the buses first. And there we are: exhausted, soaked in sweat, and smelling up the bus like a petting zoo.
Nobody cares. Buses roll up. Wives are holding their cheeks, crying and trembling in their beautiful summer dresses. Dads rush off first with laughing and running children jumping into their arms. Moms join the fray. A few parents make it too, and they stand patiently in the back waving little American flags. I hang back a minute or so on the bus, just taking it all in. A Rockwellian moment comes to life outside my little bus window. And right here/right now: all somehow seems right in the world.
Hey there fellow Bigots! -- [MilBlogs - CDR Salamander]
I guess we have all failed to live up to all the Diversity training we take. At least, that is what Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) thinks.
On the Senate floor just a few minutes ago, Kennedy said a hate crimes amendment should be attached to the defense authorization bill because members of the U.S. military commit a significant number of hate crimes.
United in Defeat -- [Dadmanly]
In commentary published in the Christian Science Monitor, former three-star vice admiral and now Congressman, Rep. Joe Sestak (D) of Pennsylvania declares that ending the war in Iraq is necessary, as it has “degraded our security” and pushed the Army “to the breaking point.”
Rep. Sestak’s not the only pro-Dem military figure who’s spoken out against our efforts in Iraq, but he surely constitutes the most clearly partisan and political.
Whom Do You Trust? -- [Powerline]
No one, apparently. The Center for Media Research reports on a survey recently carried out by BIGResearch, which asked about the "trustworthiness" of various institutions; click to enlarge:
...At under 3%, Congress's "trustworthiness" standing is astonishingly low. It is noteworthy that bloggers edge out "the media," whose standing, at under 5%, is only slightly higher than that of the Congress. Alone at the top, with a lofty 14% trustworthiness rating, is the President.
Kyl-Lieberman Iran Amendment Passes By Huge Margin -- [Election Central]
The Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment -- which ratchets up the confrontation with Iran by calling for the designation of its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization responsible for killing U.S. troops -- just passed overwhelmingly, 76-22.
Of the Dem Presidential candidates, Hillary voted for the measure, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd opposed it, and Barack Obama missed the vote. On the GOP side, John McCain missed the vote.
The bill's backers had tried to mollify its critics by taking out some of its most incendiary language, particularly the idea that "it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies."
General Criticized Media Bias and Paper Proved Him Right -- [NewsBusters]
The definition of ironic? A media outlet that omitted positive information about Iraq...from an article that criticized the media for doing just that.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which is stationed in Iraq, spoke to reporters while on leave in the US. He denounced the media habit of omitting or downplaying positive news coming out of Iraq and then gave an example of the kind of news that is usually downplayed or omitted by the media (thnx NewsBusters reader).
Fallen Soldier Shuster Used for 'Gotcha' Game With GOP Rep. Blackburn Did Not Live in Her District -- [NewsBusters]
NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein reports that the MSNBC reporter condemmed a GOP congresswoman for not knowing that fallen Army Pvt. Jeremy Bohannon lived in her district. Shuster threw it in her face as he defended MoveOn.org's Petraeus ad.
Trouble is, Pvt. Bohannon was from a neighboring district!
It now turns out that Army Private Jeremy Bohannon had not, contrary to Shuster's claim, lived in Rep. Blackburn's congressional district. As blogger Conservative Belle brought to NB's attention, and as she has written about at
her site, Private Bohannon lived in Bon Acqua, TN. Checking his nine-digit zip code reveals that he in fact lived in Tennessee District 8, represented by John Tanner, a Democrat.
SOURCES TELL NEWSBUSTERS THAT MSNBC WILL BE CORRECTING THIS MAJOR ERROR.
Couric weighs in on Iraq, Rather [The Examiner - Yeas & Nays]
— Her take on the news — Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday evening, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric pulled back the curtain on her personal views of both the war in Iraq and former "Evening News" anchor Dan Rather.
Iraq: Winning, Disconnecting From the Matrix -- [Kat - Denizen of Argghhh!]
...In this war, history is still being written by the media. They create a narrative that equates to the knowledge of the masses and trickles down to the polls. Yet, somewhere amongst the narrative is the true story of the war, written in "0" and "1" bytes on the world wide web. It was hidden except to the few who knew that the narrative on the air waves did not match the whispers of communications from the front. And we searched for the real story among the bytes, flashing around the world at the speed of light.
The media's free ride in Iraq -- [WND - Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
The New Republic published entries from the "Baghdad Diarist," a soldier who was supposedly reporting on the realities of being in Baghdad. The "diarist" was proven to be a fraud, while the liberal media claimed even if the story was fake, it could have been true and that's what counts. Discerning facts from fiction is an obstacle the media trips over daily.
If the media are the eyes, ears and voice of a democracy, our nation is currently deaf, dumb and blind.
The conflict in Iraq is complicated, and yet the media has dumbed-down that complexity by communicating in flashy breaking-news banners with "expert analysis" that is, in fact, amateur opinion given by activist glamour correspondents whose names are synonymous with their news programs.
Take the main issue in Iraq:
NPR Snubs Interview with the President, So It Airs on Fox News -- [NewsBusters]
Does National Public Radio have a nose for news? Or a nose that's offended by the scent of President Bush? NPR news boss Ellen Weiss has snubbed an exclusive interview opportunity with President Bush. Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz reported Wednesday that the White House offered NPR’s Juan Williams an interview on race relations, but NPR didn’t want it on its airwaves. So it aired on Fox News instead.
(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.
"Here and There"... -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
So many stateside hear only the word surge. Here, they live it, day in and day out. I am constantly reminded that it is not just words and phrases but an event that is actually happening. It hits home upon seeing the photos of those lost. The pace is fast here, as well as most everywhere I've been recently. It is not a game. It is war.
Flying out of Taji I was able to view from the air just how expansive the Baghdad area is. There is a lot of population in the Baghdad vicinity and one can only imagine the enormous task of trying to contain the fight. One cannot help but imagine all the obstacles just looking down from above. As I've traveled from place to place and experienced from my varied vantage points how it all works, I am again in awe of how a coordinated effort such as this, even takes place. But that is what is happening. It is nearly impossible to explain it all in words, but after a sustained length of time going from place to place, one begins to see that the effort is a plan, and the carrying out of the plan is what lays before my eyes.
“Al Qaeda Lost” -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
“How long have you been in Ramadi?” I said.
“Since the last week of January, 2007,” he said. “When I first got here my area of operations was the southern half of downtown. It was ugly then, especially for the civilians. We found more than 50 dead in just one grave in the desert. 50,000 – 70,000 people have returned so far since the war ended in April.”
“Describe the progress you’ve seen so far,” I said.
“Sure,” he said, “let’s look at the Abu Bali area for example. 6,000 or so people live there. When I first arrived there were 10 attacks every day just in that small area alone. Since May 1, 2007, we’ve had only one attack total in that area. The people went from having two to three hours of electricity a day to having twelve hours a day. Insurgents kept blowing up the power lines, but now that they’ve been cleared out the government has put them back up. Commerce has really taken off.”
Iraq Briefing 23 September 2007
The Enemy -- [Far From Perfect]
...The first was a target we had been looking for. He was pretty high on the most wanted list. We rounded him up in some raids with a group of other people. He was caught wearing women’s clothes and trying to skirt out. He was acting suspicious for a woman, and I bet the big mustache didn’t help either. Anyway, why would he do this? Because he knows that coalition forces attempt to respect the Muslim culture and not search women directly if possible. We usually bring women with us to do the searches, if necessary, to avoid hurting Muslim women’s dignity. As a last resort, if necessary, we will get the husband or another Muslim woman on the premises to do the search under supervision. So he figured he would just be able to skirt out unsuspected by acting as a woman and playing to our sensitivities. Lucky for us, someone had a sharp eye.
The second man is even worse in my opinion. The IA raided his house and found several weapons, including a sniper rifle. They were initially unable to locate the man as they searched the house, but eventually found him. He was hiding under a blanket in the corner, using children as a cover and shield. The children were evacuated and the man arrested.
Night Rhino, Take 3 -- [Laughing Wolf - in Iraq]
...On the flights over, at the airport, and while waiting for the Rhino, I chatted with civilians and with soldiers, and one theme came through loud and clear: they feel the war is lost—at home. During a transportation wait, one person told me flat out that it was won here, but lost at home because the average person doesn’t have a clue how things really are here. Are there problems? Sure, but they are being worked and things are better, and people are working to keep making them better. But you never hear it on the news, and that is killing them.
An interview with the “Lion of Arab Jabour” -- [The Long War Journal - in Iraq]
LWJ: What motivated you to organize against al Qaeda in Iraq?
Mustaffa: They are criminals. There is no law, no order here. No system of government. We needed to organize against al Qaeda to protect ourselves.
LWJ: What has al Qaeda in Iraq done to the people of Arab Jabour?
Mustaffa: They killed our sons, ruined our infrastructure, displaced families, used sectarian violence against the people. They killed our electricians, our engineers, the technicians that run our water pumps and [water filtration] plant. They cooperated with foreign powers, with Syria and Iran, to kill us.
LWJ: Did al Qaeda in Iraq attempt to enforce Shariah?
Mustaffa: When al Qaeda announces its Islamic State, it forced people to obey their godless laws. The people of Arab Jabour would not submit to this. Al Qaeda are godless criminals.
LWJ: What support do your Concerned Citizens need from the central government to restore order to Arab Jabour?
Mustaffa: The central government hasn’t dealt with us. There is no provincial government. Every time we try we have been rebuffed.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Caught bringing weapons to Iraq
Update he was caught 9/20/07
The Latest from Jeff Emanuel, Reporting From the Front Lines in Iraq. -- [Vets for Freedom - Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
...Ramadan is well underway in the Islamic world. This past week has involved some joint patrols and operations, but has primarily featured, at its center, operations planned and conducted almost exclusively by the Iraqi and National Police in the area. These Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) planned and executed three major operations in the city, locking down large sections of houses and industrial buildings and searching them for weapons and hostile personnel. Between the three, the ISF detained nearly fifty individuals and impounded several vehicles. Some of the people were subsequently released and returned home, but others were kept for questioning. Some of these were found to be very high level targets in the area, including a key figure in an al Qaeda rape and terror cell, which was broken up by the ISF during the course of one of these missions.
How they Live: A Guided Tour of (most of) Patrol Base Olson in Samarra, Iraq -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
The living situation would be considered austere by most at home, but Charlie Company's paratroopers make the most of it. Inside the Casino is a pair of cubbyholes housing five computers and five pay-per-use telephones that all of the occupants of PB Olson share. There is also one small, grainy television which plays the Armed Forces Network 24/7, and around which the paratroopers crowd in the early morning on Sunday and Monday to see football games.
However, the top priority at Patrol Base Olson is not comfortable living, healthy eating, or watching sports -- it is maintaining readiness and performing daily (or more) missions into the city of Samarra.
Iraqi Police surge dramatically reduces Baghdad violence -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Violence in Baghdad has been cut in half, thanks to a massive influx of new Iraqi Police officers, a top U.S. military advisor said today.
“Along with the surge of U.S. forces is also the surge of Iraqi Police,” Brig. Gen. David Phillips told online journalists and “bloggers” during a conference call from Baghdad.
As deputy commanding general of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, Phillips helped stand up the Baghdad Police Academy in January 2004. Thursday, he watched 744 brand new officers graduate from that academy.
“A community (in) which, in the past, we saw a significant al Qaeda presence now has concerned local citizens come forward (to join) the police forces,” Phillips said. “You saw a lot of pride in these new police officers as they graduated.”
Insurgents strafed twice by Predator
Insurgents get two passes by a predator after planting IED, second time they exit the car.
The Battlefield of the Mind -- [ON Point - Andrew Lubin - in Iraq]
A major part of the success of the “Surge” operations is that the local villagers are turning in the insurgents, with the result that there are now 25,000+ in custody. The majority of the detainees are not hard-core insurgents, but have been recruited by AQI and various militias for a variety of religious and economic reasons.
These are the Iraqi’s that the Coalition wants to reach, and Detainee Operations, with Task Force 134, has instituted some extremely effective programs in religious enlightenment and other educational programs.
The Deputy CG of “Detainee Operations” is Maj Gen Douglas Stone, USMC, who runs the program out of Task Force 134. With two main internment camps under his control, along with a camp designed for minors south of Baghdad in Camp Victory, MajGen Stone talked about changing the minds and mindset of his detainees.
...Stone added that has released about 2,000 detainees since May "and we've not had any coming back." His goal is to keep those who are released from harming Coalition troops, Iraqi Security Forces, or the local population. "They're not going out of here unless I can feel comfortable about that…I'm not doing mass releases."
Boat Versus Apache HT: BlackFive
Time keeps on tickin' -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
And then I was back in Taji, back to my daily routine, back to trying to figure out ways to convince the Iraqi's to work more efficiently, a little harder, and a little longer. There was a new wrinkle to this challenge when I returned from the IZ, though: Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month on the Islamic calendar and represents the month that the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. To observe this, Muslim's increase many of their religious activities and fast from sunrise to sunset. Ok - this is an abbreviated explanation of what Ramadan truly is
Iraq Pictures - 24 September 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures]
SSG Yair Cardona peers through the window of an abandoned building in an attempt to locate a sniper firing on fellow Soldiers.
Pic: lLT Richard Ybarra
Afstan: Strategy and negotiations -- [The Torch]
A thoughtful piece in the Ottawa Citizen; I agree with the conclusion; but I think the bit about "no negotiation" being possible is rather a straw man as clearly some sort of negotiations with some elements of the Taliban will take place--it's not an all or nothing proposition. And clearly foreign troops will be withdrawn in any case if and as the situation improves; nobody just wants to stay there:
Freedom Watch Afghanistan 9/24/07
Afghan army may fill key security role by 2009: NATO -- [Reuters]
Brigadier-General Vincent Lafontaine, operations commander of the 40,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan, said the process of trying to put the Afghan army at the head of some missions had already started and the aim was to step this up next spring.
"It's the beginning and we will have to improve," the French general told a news conference in Brussels by video-link.
Asked when the Afghan National Army (ANA) might be able to take over a regional security role from some of NATO's provincial reconstruction teams, he replied:
Nato frees Italian hostages in Afghan raid -- [Times Online]
Two Italian soldiers kidnapped in western Afghanistan were freed in a Nato-led raid early this morning after a two-day ordeal, the Italian Defence Ministry reported.
The two men were taken to hospital after the raid by British and Italian troops, during which one of the hostages was shot in the head and chest, according to Italian media reports. Up to seven of the kidnappers were killed.
Korean Hospital Recieves 250,000 Patient
September 11 and Democracy in Afghanistan -- [Afghan Lord - afghani in Afghansitan]
Today many Afghan says God bless Osama Bin Landin who attacked the twin tower and drove the world to look at our country which was in burning and also they say God bless America that saved our live and brought democracy, freedom and security. I am not talking about how the NATO troops and international forces fulfilled their tasks and how much they are successful. I am talking about the importance of September 11 for Afghanistan and its people. Many Afghans says it is not important for us how many people have been killed in September 11 in twin tower in New York and Pentagon outside Washington but it is important that US saved our live and released our country.
Syria-North Korea Connection Scenarios -- [GI Korea]
More details are coming out now in the international media about the Israeli airstrike in Syria three weeks ago that provides details about how the attack was carried out and further explains the Syrian and North Korean reactions to the airstrike:
UN-Ruly Anti-Ahmadinejad Protesters Ready to Roll in Big Apple -- [Gateway Pundit]
UPDATED: With Photos From His Party Last Night In New York City!
Mahmoud met with several hundred regime supporters in the Big Apple last night:
Ahmadinejad plays coy ON 60 Minutes
Iran and Syria: Brinkmanship in the Middle East -- [Denizens of Argghhh!]
Iran has lately become an even hotter topic than Iraq and, once again, Afghanistan has fallen off the radar completely. An upcoming push by the United States and France to enforce even greater sanctions against Iran is heating up the rhetoric from all sides of the ocean. Germany continues to struggle with the repercussions of joining the sanctions program. Democrats in Congress have been inordinately quiet since their last political push regarding President Bush's attempts to "escalate" the war by "implicating" Iran in the Shia insurgency in Iraq.
Dean's Statement Re: SIPA Invitation to President of Iran -- [Columbia Law School]
(Sept. 23, 2007) -- A controversy has developed about the invitation extended to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran by the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Although Columbia Law School was not involved in arranging this invitation, we have received many inquiries about it.
This event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom, and to our free way of life. Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards. A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true. Therefore, my personal opinion is that he should not be invited to speak.
ANOTHER MASSIVE PROTEST in Rangoon Against the Junta! -- [Gateway Pundit]
100,000 protesters marched down the streets of Rangoon today to push for democracy!
The locals are surrounding the protesting Buddhist monks locking arms to protect them from being attacked by the junta thugs.
All Bluff and Bluster -- [Strategy Page]
September 24, 2007: The new French government is talking openly of the possibility of war with Iran. This is talk, aimed at increasing European sanctions on Iran, in an attempt to convince the Iranian people to overthrow their Islamic dictatorship, and replace it with something more efficient, and less belligerent. War with Iran would disrupt, possibly for an extended period, oil shipments from the Persian Gulf. Iran may have a ramshackle and run down military, but they do have enough missiles and jets to seriously threaten Arab oil fields and shipping facilities, as well as use of the Straights of Hormuz, the only way in or out of the Persian Gulf. Cutting off oil revenue, and imports, would be catastrophic for Iran, and disruption of the oil supply would upset economies worldwide.
Russian Claims That Theirs is Bigger -- [Strategy Page]
September 23, 2007: Russian claims to have developed and tested a more powerful bomb than the U.S. MOAB are being picked apart. Russia recently tested a ten ton conventional bomb, which it claimed was twice as powerful as a similar U.S. weapon, the nine ton MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast). The American weapon was ready for service four years ago, but has never been used.
NYC gives illegal aliens licences
Terrorists Announce Death of 'Juba, the Baghdad Sniper' -- [Jawa Report]
A forum connected to al Qaeda has announced the death of 'Juba, the Baghdad sniper'. Several videos produced by The Islamic Army in Iraq purporting to be of 'Juba' began to appear online 2005. A 'Top 10' video went viral and 'Juba' became a pop phenomenon.
Internal and External Threats to the Jihad Media War -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Several Sunni insurgent factions fighting in Iraq have recently released official communiqués addressing brewing conflicts over the jihad media war--including divisions that exist within the mujahideen community itself. On August 29, the Mujahideen Army issued a statement accusing their "dear brothers" from the Al-Furqan Foundation--the official media wing of Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq"--of distributing a video of a military operation that had already been claimed months earlier by the Mujahideen Army.
Is Al Qaeda Iraq a Threat to Sweden? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq recently offered a bounty encouraging the assassination of a Swedish cartoonist and his editor for having published drawings deemed insulting to the religion of Islam. Omar al Baghdadi, in an audio statement said Lars Vilks, who "dared insult the Prophet", should be killed for a reward of $100,000 and, if "slaughtered like a lamb", the killer will receive another $50,000. In addition, he offered a Jihadi financial reward of $50,000 for the murder of Ulf Johansson, the editor of Nerikes Allehanda, the Swedish paper that printed Vilks' cartoon on August 19.
Cabaniss Family Needs Help -- [Soldiers Angels New York]
CPL Jeremy Cabaniss was injured in two separate IED explosions. In July 2006, an improvised explosive device knocked Cpl. Cabaniss unconscious for 15 to 20 minutes in Baghdad. In February 2007, a second blast knocked him out for nearly an hour. He has TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and will be 80 or 90 percent disabled when he is discharged from the Army.
While Cpl Cabaniss was deployed, the roof of his home in Panama City Beach, Florida, was damaged in a hurricane and has been leaking since. Part of the house has started to collapse.
...Soldiers Angels and the Patriot Guard Riders have partnered together to replace this house, since the cost of repairs would exceed the cost to tear down the house and build a new home. However, we need your help to do so. Our goal for this project is to raise the $100,000 needed to replace the house.
Online Via PAYPAL
Checks payable to Soldiers' Angels
c/o John Adkins
7626 Kingman Street
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
Soldiers at Landstuhl talk about Soldiers' Angels -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
While at Landstuhl I often run into soldiers who know about SA, but this weekend was something else.
It seemed like every time I turned around another Soldier was coming up to me and shaking my hand and saying, "Did I hear you say you're with Soldiers' Angels? Well, I just want you to know that... "
" ...I've been deployed for 13 months and you guys were the only ones who sent me mail."
"... there's a Wii at our FOB from you guys. We treat it like a trophy - when we're not using it we cover it up with a sheet and put it in a cabinet to keep the sand out."
A Little Help From Our Friends -- [Major Andrew Olmsted - in Iraq]
The average Iraqi probably would love to see the U.S. gone, at least if we could leave without the country descending into chaos and bloodshed. But Iraqi children still love U.S. convoys, if only because we like to toss goodies to them as we pass by. It's debatable whether or not we should, but it's hard to resist when you see the children swimming in dirty canals and making do at levels of subsistence that make poverty in the U.S. seem like a sweet deal in comparison. So we like to toss candy, school packets, and soccer balls to the kids when we can.
One problem with all that, however, is that soccer balls tend to deflate over time, and we only have one air pump, so while the kids enjoy getting the balls, over time they need new ones. So we'd like to be able to provide them with pumps to go with the balls, if we can. Which is where all of you come in. Much as I dislike begging, if there is someone out there reading this who knows of a way we can get air pumps for soccer balls cheaply, I would greatly appreciate it if you would drop me a line and help us out.
Like I Said, Subject To Change Without Notice.... -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front - in Iraq]
...I had to grab dinner and eat it on the run because I was at a memorial service for two of our guys killed last week. I suppose now I can finally mention their names. SPC Nurnberg and SPC Paredes. I didn't know Nurnberg, but Paredes was one of our medics, and I did know him. He was the friendliest guy you could meet, and utterly dedicated to being the best medic he could. He could quote exact answers from his medic training manuals that he studied all the time. He was just a 19 year old orphan, dedicated, friendly, and liked by everyone who met him. Nurnberg's child is not yet born, and will never know his/her father except in pictures and stories. They were my brothers, and all of ours. The chapel filled to overflowing with hundreds from the Battalion who came to the memorial.
Combat Zone Exemptions Updated -- [Strategy Page]
September 24, 2007: The U.S. Army is changed its regulations for soldiers who are exempt from serving in a war zone. This exemption practice goes back to World War II, when there were cases of families losing all their sons (as many as five) in combat. In response, rules were put in place to keep at least one son out of combat, and alive. The new rules retain that exemption. But there are modification. This in a family where someone has died in military service, is 100 percent disabled, is a prisoner of war or missing in action, the sole surviving son or daughter does not have to serve in a combat zone. But in a new twist, any soldier who has a family member who meets the above criteria (dead in combat, captured, missing or disabled) can also avoid combat duty. Another addition is that any soldier who was hospitalized for 30 days or longer because of combat injuries, can be exempted from finishing that tour of duty.
Marine convicted in murder of Iraqi civilian shares story
David Hardt in Iraq - David's Last Day in Iraq -- [Blog-ah]
6:30 a.m.: The alarms start going off. They’re the same annoying alarms that I have heard over the last 15 months. At this point, I think when I get home I will be hearing these alarms in my sleep — especially Staff Sgt. Pearson’s cow alarm. I roll over in my bed and look over at Staff Sgt. Reeves’ bed, and surprisingly, he isn’t there. I start to wonder if I am late for something. I roll out of bed and then look at my watch — 6:30 a.m.
Final Thoughts on our Mission and Command -- [Badgers Forward - home from Iraq]
Team Badger and the rest of Task Force Pathfinder are now safely back in the confines of the United States. Many of the Soldiers have now seen their families at the demobilization station. For those who have not they are merely days away from being reunited with their loved ones.
I'm Home! -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Cpl M - home from Iraq]
I wanted to let everyone know that I have made it safely home! I got into base last night to the cheers of a huge crowd of families. My wife, daughter, mom, dad, and mom-in-law were all waiting once I got off the bus. I am really surprised at how big my little girl has gotten. Man, it is amazing.
Home at Last -- [Me Over There - home from Iraq]
I got home this last Thursday evening, and it is hard to express how wonderful it is to be here. The incoming baby was able to wait for me (probable arrival is by next weekend).
It is at this time that I'm going to retire this blog, at least until my next deployment 'over there'. Thank you for all the interest that you have shown, I have met many people through this venue that made a tough time a little more bearable.
Return on Success? -- [Real Clear Politics]
But events are not playing out that way. Last week, the Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have made it more difficult to rotate troops into Iraq -- and passed, by a 72-to-25 margin, a resolution denouncing the moveon.org ad that attacked "General Betray Us" for "cooking the books."
Polls show that the public approves of Petraeus' performance and endorses his recommendations for going forward with the surge -- the first margin of approval for the administration's course of action in a long time.
The Long Road Home -- [MilBlogs - Soldier's Dad]
Clinton said she couldn't promise to bring all U.S. troops home in her first term if she is elected president. ``I don't know what I'm going to inherit,'' Clinton said on ABC. ``I don't know and neither do any of us know what will be the situation in the region.''
This just in - NYT is biased! -- [John Of Argghhh!]
Yeah, well, so is this place. Only I get snarked for it by MSM journalists, but when the NYT does it... hey, that's just "hard choices" and "holding people accountable..."
Yesterday, I posted a link to this bit over at Stop The ACLU on the topic of ad rates at the NYT's., which Jay has updated since I posted it.
All The Propaganda That's Fit To Print -- [Roger Simon]
It’s not often I underestimate the stuck-in-time, fuddy-duddy sixties traditionalism of the New York Times, but in this case I did.
Not in my wildest dreams was the paper capable of deliberately giving a fifty percent advertising discount to the George Soros-supported Moveon.org for a juvenile advertisement calling General Petraeus General Betray-us, of all things
Quite clearly the Times’ favoritism to Moveon was deliberate.
In many ways this is worse than the Jayson Blair affair that so embarrassed the Times and caused a change in editorial administration. That was the result of inept fact checking. It could partially be excused as accidental, although the “accident” was repeated many times. The Moveon Affair goes much further, showing a functional and deliberate bias pervading the newspaper’s operations.
New York Times Will Run Anti-Ahmadinejad Ad Monday -- [Gateway Pundit]
"Ahmadinejad Is a Terrorist"
This FULL RATE ad will appear in The New York Times on Monday.
Sadly, this Pro-American Freedom's Watch ad did not get the same discount as the liberal democratic group MoveOn.org did when they called General Petraeus a traitor.
It appears to work that way at The New York Times.
Globe's Carroll: Bush, Not Ahmadinejad, Desecrates Ground Zero -- [NewsBusters]
This morning's column by James Carroll, the Boston Globe's resident gushy liberal, is so predictable you wonder whether it might have been produced by a liberal-column-generator software program. You know the kind: insert issue, names of political players, a few factoids, and let the program spit out the boilerplate of a standard leftist diatribe.
Stories Not Reported -- [Strategy Page]
A major problem with the war on terror is keeping score. Even if you count things like the number of terrorists killed or captured, and the number of attacks, there's no consensus on what the numbers mean. Moreover, journalists and pundits rarely take a close look at what might have happened if nothing were done. Granted, it's difficult to report on another time line that didn't happen. The government actually spends a lot of money on computer simulations that do just this. But these tend to make poorly attended news stories, so journalists avoid them. Since these simulations are not reported, they, effectively, do not exist. But consider that, without an invasion of Iraq, al Qaeda would still be flying high and exploiting its popularity to carry out more attacks in the West.
NYT’s Paul Krugman Calls Republicans Racists -- [NewsBusters]
I wonder how many NewsBusters readers knew they were racist.
After all, if the New York Times publishes a column saying that we are, it's got to be so given that it is the paper of record in this country, correct?
Ironically, it does seem fitting days after the civil rights protests in Jena, Louisiana, that one of the Times' leading columnists would point fingers at the Party largely responsible for getting civil rights laws passed four decades ago.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Arab Jabour -- [A Battlefield Tourist - in Iraq]
...These Concerned Citizens are doing more than just manning checkpoints that keep the roads clear of terrorists, they are in actual full contact fights with the criminal element that has made life for the common person here very deadly. Just two nights ago, PB Murray supported a Concerned Citizens group in contact with Al Qaida with accurate mortar fire that was directed by one of the Concerned Citizens using a cell phone. Cell phones have actually become the number one weapon against the terrorists as networks of informants and “bird dogs” keep the Americans fully informed of what’s going on in this sector.
All of the killers here are well-known by the people, who grew up around them, making this area of operations different than any of the others I’ve encountered.
"Ready to Make Nice..?" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
We arrived at the home where the meeting was to take place. A person came out to greet us, and shortly the colonel, myself, his PSD team and many other soldiers pulling security entered the home. Once inside the home, I noticed about a dozen middle aged men all dressed in local attire, waiting for our arrival. There were greetings and handshakes and in due time, Sheik Adil would be entering the room. I knew now that this would be a very interesting time.
I was sure glad I had come along. I would see what a colonel does in the midst of war in the matter of reconciliation between enemies who now "want to make nice." It is very surreal.
...Col. Lehr began by asking the sheik what it is he wanted to say and what could the U.S. do for him. The sheik began by saying that in the past many things had been done and it was time to "bury the hatchet" so to speak. Col. Lehr, who is in charge of the battle space that Sheik Adil wants to now remain in and pick up where he left off, spoke rather directly, as well as firmly throughout the entire dealings with the Sheik. Both have much to gain by a successful result stemming from this meeting.
Live from Anbar--Kevin McCullough
I've been doing a lot of radio shows since I got here, depending on where I am in the country and if I have a decent phone connection. It's great to talk to people back home and share what's going on here.
US says Iran officer seized in Iraq -- [AFP]
BAGHDAD (AFP) — The US military said it seized an Iranian officer accused of smuggling bombs in northern Iraq on Thursday, as an American commander said Iraq is emerging from the most violent phase of the war.
The commander told reporters that violence across Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since early 2006.
'Awakening' musters Iraqi courage against al-Qaida -- [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
I've spoken to many Iraqis here in Ramadi; they all have a similar tale to tell, but it usually boils down to a few basic details. For about two years, al-Qaida did everything in its power to murder and intimidate the men, women and children of Ramadi and Anbar. Al-Qaida's occupation was at a peak last year when they declared Ramadi the capital of the Islamic state of Iraq.
Then came the awakening. Tired of the violence, Sattar lost his father and three of his brothers; the sheik brought together various tribe heads, the ones that were still attached to bodies, and formed a coalition with American forces to fight al-Qaida.
Hunting Al Qaeda Part III of III -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Snipers were to be expected. While we were moving down the road -POW!- a shot was fired. Where it came from I do not know, but it seemed to come from the palm groves to our left, where the other American platoon was covering our left flank. An American Soldier opened fire into the palm grove where the other platoon was. I’d never seen anything like it. It was hard to imagine he did not know where our other guys were. Other members of the platoon descended upon him like hawks. He laughed. He was sent back to the Bradleys. The Iraqi Soldiers in the video looked shocked as if they’d seen aliens landing.
Iraqi Security Forces make progress in northern Iraq -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Security Forces have made much progress toward readiness in the past year within Multi-National Division North’s area of responsibility, a top official in the region said Tuesday.
...“We are starting to see the key measure of effectiveness, … which is independent operations -- being able to plan, coordinate and execute operations on their own, standing and fighting against an adversary that is trying to kill them,” he said. “Only a year ago, there were times … where they would be engaged by a demanding adversary, they’d drop their weapons and head in the other direction. Not the case any longer.
“I’m not painting a lilacs and roses picture, but in the broader perspective, clearly, we are seeing improvement from the readiness perspective of the Iraqi Army,” Bednarek said.
New Generator Brings Electricity to 300 Homes -- [Defend America]
BAGHDAD, Sept. 19, 2007 — With most Iraqi families living on only one hour of electricity per day, life’s been tough for Karkh District resident Rawaa and her family. But, with a new generator and better security in her neighborhood, the future looks a little brighter.
Violence down in baghdad -- [The Air Force Pundit/ Yahoo News]
BAGHDAD - The No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq said Thursday that a seven-month-old security operation has cut violence in Baghdad by half, but he acknowledged that civilians were still dying at too high a rate.
Walk in the Park -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
We went on some raids with the IA and IP. The IP were raiding a nearby village, so we acted as a backup for them while operating primarily with the IA in their target city. The city has been known to hold terrorist safehouses. The first time we ever visited there, the bad guys set an IED in the road immediately after we passed by hoping to get us on the way back. Its that kind of place.
BOOM! IED in Iraq
Iraq Pictures - 19 September 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures]
Local children joke with SFC John Duggins, a platoon sergeant for Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, as they conduct a dismounted patrol through the "Fish Market" area in the Adhamiya District of Baghdad, Iraq
Mosul and Baqubah: A strategic city update (pdf) - - [US Army Corp of Engineers - in Iraq]
“Our Reconstruction mission in Iraq is more than bricks and mortar,” said Col. Michael F. Pfenning, commander of the
Gulf Region North district, or GRN. “It’s reconstructing the young Government of Iraq’s capability to become self-sufficient and to sustain through rebuilding its infrastructure.”
Random Pictures, Two -- [INDC Jpurnal]
The "Twin Towers Mosque" lights up in preparation for Ramadan as electricity becomes available in the city.
Military Transition Team Captain Theodore "Teddy" J. Folsome was tired but dryly funny, with a nametag that read "Elvis Presley." When a passing Lt. Colonel chaplain saw it and asked him how "that all [came] about," he responded: ...
Which one of these guys is not named Haider? -- [Assad Baghdad - in Iraq]
Three of theses guys are named Haider, a very common Shia name. We all work together here in Baghdad, and in order to know which Haider is which, we jokingly refer to them as Wahid, Thain, and Thalatha (1, 2, and 3). But every morning when we greet each other, and each night as the close of the day, we call each other "my brother." To say "my friend" would be insulting to the Haiders, and I am honored to do be able to think of them as brothers.
Marine General Speaks Out -- [BlackFive]
This little speech given by a little known US Marine Corps General Officer should be in every paper across the country...instead, it was given to a small group of patriots in San Diego...and now to you. Thanks as usual to former Marine Seamus for sending it on. It is worth your time
Soldiers of the 3rd Platoon, 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, come to the aid of an Iraqi family in Adhamiyah
Camp Virginia, Kuwait -- [Desert Flier - on his way out of Iraq]
25 by 100 foot hut. The stench was overpowering by midday. The smell of old crusty uniforms in desperate need of a change out and stacked bodies in need of scrub. So I sat outside and read James Herriot until the heat got to me, then re-entered when forced with few other choices.
We were at the A/DACG (arrival/departure air control group) terminal, and it was 20 hours and counting. No sure thing when flying out on your way home, we were on terminal standby.
The hut is the staging area, and occasional place of permanent residence when one has nowhere else to go, for all personnel flying out of Taquaddum. The hut is too small. The hut smells like a hundred years of stink.
Green Berets Charged with 'Murdering' a Terrorist -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
The man behind the charges being leveled against the two Green Berets is Army Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney.
Perhaps the general knows something the rest of us don't. But you'll recall, he also (along with Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry) kicked a U.S. Marine Special Operations company out of Afghanistan in March after it was alleged the leathernecks used excessive force in beating back an ambush.
Kearney took the word of the Afghans over that of the Marines.
News from our Man in the 'Stan. -- [Castle Argghhh!]
I spent the last two days in Bahgram Airfield meeting with the eastern regional commander (82nd Airborne) to discuss how things were going so far. Now when I say “meeting with” of course I mean I sat in another room listening to him give his assessment without him knowing I was ever there.
It was a fun trip and it was great to get out of ISAF for a while and see something new. We took a convoy to Kabul Airfield late at night. (As we piled into the SUV with our guns the Brit driver was listening to rap…It all seemed so right somehow.) Then sleeping the night away at the airfield in a tent for transients (insert joke here) and off the next morning on a Blackwater plane to Bahgram. The base is huge, and was interesting to see so much “America” after two months in a European command.
Reconstruction Teams in Khost PRTs Oversee Afghan Building Projects
Afghanistan Six Years on -- [Austin Bay]
By the first week of October 2001, American's chit-chat class had lost patience with America's new war in Afghanistan. Television's hype-drenched talk shows claimed the Pentagon had botched it. The gloomiest prognosticators (most of them from the political left) foresaw a Himalayan defeat, with U.S. soldiers outsmarted by wily, inspired "resistance fighters." As fighting raged and Afghan winter blizzards arrived, millions would starve.
Afghan Special Operations Troop - [Strategy Page]
September 19, 2007: Three years ago, the Afghan Army formed its first commando battalion. The unit was trained by U.S. Marines. Since then, a hundred carefully selected Afghan infantry NCOs were sent to Jordan for six months of commando training. These sergeants then served as trainers during the formation of additional commando battalions.
Stay with us Canada -- [Bouhammer Afghan Blog]
...Well it seems that there are finally those in position of power whom are starting to be somewhat honest. The President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai stated on Tuesday that there is no way his country will succeed without the help of Canadian troops beyond February 2009. Canada’s current mandate states that their forces should be pulled out by then. The Canadian Army is one of just a few non-US countries that truly participates in constant and direct combat with the enemy. The Canadians, Brits, Polish, and US forces are the only ones in the south and southeast parts of the country where all the fighting is happening. Losing the Canadians would have a terrible impact on the war over there.
Iranian president intends to visit Ground Zero -- [ABC News]
Iranian mission says he'll go despite NYPD rejection — Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad requested to visit Ground Zero during an upcoming trip to New York. That request was rejected Wednesday. But a source tells Eyewitness News that the decision may not stop him.
Columbia to Host Ahmadinejad -- [Weekly Standard]
Powerline picks up reports that Columbia University will play host to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on September 24 for what the university describes as "a question and answer session with university faculty and students." Well, not really. University president Lee Bollinger elaborates: "In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions."
Just shove your wreath, Ahmadinejad -- [9/11 Families]
Just shove the wreath you want to place at Ground Zero, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Those are my words and so are these: if you try to set one foot on where the terrorists your regime supported murdered a member of my family and 3,000 others, I will be there standing in your way.
...No, I do not want to get arrested and would not resist arrest for blocking his path but I will not stand by idly while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks on our sacred ground.
Shelf-Life: How Long Can a WMD-Armed SCUD Remain Fueled? -- [Conferate Yankee]
According to Janes Defence Weekly and carried in the Jerusalem Post, a Syrian SCUD-C missile exploded while being armed with a chemical warhead in late July, spreading a lethal mix of nearby WMDs. Dozens were killed:
Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in Jane's Defence Weekly, which reported that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.
According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.
As you may imagine, other bloggers are tracking this story, and Ynet news adds detail, including that the specific warhead in question was loaded with mustard gas, and that the explosion started due to a fire in the Scud-C's engine.
Philippines - Ideology Bordering on Insanity -- [Strategy Page]
September 20, 2007: The NPA violence has scored some significant victories. Attacks on electrical power systems has cut electricity to millions of people for hours, or days, over the last few years. Thousands of people have lost, or never gotten, jobs in mining because of the terror campaign against foreign mining companies. The NPA seeks to keep the companies out to prevent the workers from being exploited. These tactics have made the NPA unpopular among the people the communist rebels seek to serve, much to the consternation of some NPA members.
Pure and Mighty -- [Strategy Page]
September 20, 2007: Many young Communists (who remain a powerful political minority in Russia) are switching to nationalist parties that support the current government. The Soviet Union is being restored, in spirit, by a movement that seeks to revive the lost Russian empire. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and 14 new countries arose from the wreckage, five centuries of Russian empire building was destroyed. It was the czars that built the empire, and the communists who caused its destruction. The new government recognizes the need for a market economy, but also wants the traditional Russian dictatorship, or "strong center" to run it.
New al-Qaeda Video: The Power of Truth -- [Jawa Report]
Today, as-Sahab has released a new video in which Ayman al-Zawahiri declares war on Pakistan. Laura Mansfield has a the video available for download here.
Laura Mansfield: The As Sahab video, "The Power of Truth", announced today by the organization, has a total running time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 34 seconds.
The documentary style video begins with the voice of Mohamed Atta shortly after hijacking the plane that would fly into the World Trade Center, and includes clips from various Al Qaeda leaders, as well as clips from TV news and features. The video also includes it's spin of US politics.
Although Osama Bin Laden appears in this video, all of the clips appear to be older footage, including segments taken from his October 2004 message to the American people, and his April 2006 message "Oh People of Islam".
The Sudden Rush of al Qaeda Communications -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Perhaps one of the most successful achievements of the old guard al Qaeda, besides staying alive, is the vast expansion of its propaganda outreach arm.
Not only are the videos and tapes coming fast and furious, but in multiple languages aiming at a wide variety of audiences.
Al Qaeda Bin Laden Message To Declare War on Pakistan President Musharraf -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Media and Jihadist web site monitoring groups report that Osama Bin Laden is about to release a new message declaring war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. AP, AFP, and Reuters have all reported on this.
The Update: Al Qaeda call to arms
Al Qaeda Leader Zawahiri Steals Harry Reid's Line -- [Gateway Pundit]
For their latest release, Al-Qaeda found some great material from the democratic vault...
Harry Reid's famous line makes it in their latest production.
The Ron Hinkle Family Story -- [American War Heros]
Ron was deployed to Operation Iraq Freedom IV in Dec 2005. Served as a tank driver and gunner. On 4/15/06, while on patrol, an IED, consisting of two 130 millimeter artillery rounds detonated next to SPC Hinkle’s vehicle seriously injuring him and two other soldiers.
His injuries included a perforation to the left ear drum caused hearing loss, shrapnel wound, pulmonary contusion, and internal injuries to his left shoulder resulting in long term hospitalization. SPC Hinkle’s injuries were not considered life threatening at that time.
SPC Hinkle was sent home to Byers, CO on emergency family leave after the incident where he came down with a serious staph infection (MRSA causes organ failure and sepsis with a death rate of over 50%) initiating at the site of the shrapnel wound, multiple emboli in both lungs, and in his right inner bicep, (due to the injuries of the right shoulder from the explosion), pneumonia, cardiac and pulmonary failure causing loss of the use of his left lung and hospitalizing him for 49 days of which 16 days were in a drug induced coma. During this time his commanding officer and family were told by the doctors, that his chances for survival were minimal and he was administered his Last Rights by the hospital Chaplin. However, he came out of the coma ...
THE REST OF THE FAMILY STORY
Reece (wife age 37) is a juvenile diabetic facing multiple complications from the diabetes. She had aheart attack in April. She is also on a pancreas and kidney transplant list.
...Rebecka (daughter) she was diagnosed withcancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and underwent painful chemo therapy.
Cally (daughter) has allergies and acute hearingproblems.
An Unforgettable Reunion -- [Philly.com]
Resolute on war
Hennagir's favorite tattoo was on his calf. It was a map of Iraq with the words Operation Iraqi Freedom running through it.
Hennagir supported this war and still does: "The terrorists need to be stopped."
Jim also supports the war, and believes there has been progress. He believes that the Iraqis are rejecting the insurgents, and that there's hope for victory. "I do believe, given time, the armed forces can succeed," he said.
He also said: "I think the war was fought wrong. The politicians, the government, did not do their best job running that war. There were a lot of things screwed up, but that doesn't say you're done."
What upsets him now is the idea that America's leaders might try to "back out gracefully, ease our way out."
"My son left his legs over there," Jim said. "It would tick me off if the last three months they're looking for a way out and just offering these young men as sacrificial lambs as a way to do that."
I Don't Support the Troops..oops, there, I said it -- [Daily Kos]
This has been digging at me for, oh, about 4 years now. I have been hesitant to express this thought, in comments sections and in discussion with other people about the Iraq quagmire for fear of, I don't know, being called mean. Or, un-American. Or something.
Supporting the troops essentially means supporting the illegal war. It seems that us anti-war types have been doing all sorts of mental and philisophical gymnastics to try and work around this. What has emerged is a sort of low impact, mealy-mouthed common wisdom that is palatable to everyone but is ultimately going to allow us to stay in Iraq for years to come.
Continues -- [Blackfive]
First, some Kossack nutjob has it in his head that origins of the "Betrayus" label for GEN Petraeus originated in the 101st Airborne Division because someone left a comment about it here on Blackfive.
...Second, there is a concerted effort underway to undermine General Petraeus's credibility. I keep getting emails asking me to look into events around the General's Bronze Star with V
Supports hospitalized Veterans and Wounded Warriors -- [Pin-Ups For Vets]
The "Pin-Ups For Vets" project supports hospitalized Veterans and Wounded Warriors . "Stars and Stripes " has covered the project for a second time. The troops and hospitalized Vets have embraced this project.
I will be bringing my calendars and posters donated from civilians and military around the world to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, and I know a mention on your blog would allow me to bring more donated calendars and posters to the recovering troops.
Gene Simmons (from KISS) Honoring our heroes!
Help NEEDED NOW! -- [Tanker Brothers]
Yes folks - a HERO veteran needs our help. From time to time, I get notice of a worthy cause - someone who desperately needs help. Today's is a truly worthy cause: a veteran who is in hard times and needs a hand to get back on his feet. I could go on and on, but instead I will just lay out what I know, from my source:
Chuck Norris In Ramadi 9/19/07 visit with Troops
Playing fair with the other team -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
...Now any of us even a step right of center are continually vilified by the left as haters and usually most unfairly. Charles from Little Green Footballs is a perfect example. For pointing out the many violences of the Religion of Peace he is slandered as a hater. This is usually accompanied by cherry-picked comments from LGF without any notice that it is not Charles writing, or that the comments are unmoderated and labeled as such. That is completely unfair and rightly condemned.
Charles should play as fair as he requests though, if only to maintain the actual moral high ground. He takes a Daily Kos diary that says what many there certainly think:
Foresight is alot better to have than Hindsight! -- [Northern Disclosure - in Iraq]
...Ranger didn't hesistate to seperate everyone by squad and get the letters to their rightful owners. Why was I pleased with this simple task? It showed me that the Bad Voo Doo family is coming together, the guys are getting to know each other well enough to know everyones first names and family member names. I take time to learn this stuff because as a leader that is my job to know and care for all under me but to see the guys exibit this quality just solidified my belief in the awesome dynamic and wonderful fellowship we have created here at Bad Voo Doo.
The letters were the real stars though, a sweet group of 4th graders from Haughton, Louisiana wrote them and included some drawn pictures and individual messages. All the guys got a kick out of it, for some it was the first mail in a bit and the personalized aspect added to it.
I will also say that we have an Extremely faithful group of ladies that send us the greatest of things on a regular basis that we distribute to the needy and deserving. They joined us through a relationship they started with one of our own JP. Now JP is one of the original milbloggers and one of the guys that helped make this blog a reality for me.
SGT Eddie Jeffers ~ Farewell, and Walk with God -- [Gazing at the Flag]
I write this tonight with a heavy heart and great sadness for the loss to the spirit of our country. Eddie was so special to so many of us who never had the honor of knowing him, but whose hearts he touched with goodness and honor. He was a hero to so many of us. We felt fortunate to be able to show our appreciation for what he gave to so many of us... honesty, faith, hope and the American spirit.
I was fortunate to correspond with Eddie's father this year. We were part - a teeny, tiny part - of a surprise for Eddie and Stephanie on his leave. Eddie Jeffers was more than a name on a page to me. He was a part of the spirit of America that has soared for over 200 years - a young man who loves his country enough to fight for her and to speak out for her, a young man of profound faith in God and in America, a soldier who believed in his mission and was willing to tell us all how much.
Army Gets Sweet New Combat Threads -- [Defense Tech]
PEO Soldier has now begun to outfit its troops with a sleek new "combat shirt" that is comfortable under body armor and also has flash-resistent properties to stave off the severe burns that can result from roadside bombs.
It looks pretty cool, and I know from interviews with PEO Soldier officials that they put a lot of thought into this new uniform item. I gotta say, one thing that's been a result of continued combat operations with such an adaptable enemy is the near-constant refining of services' gear. The Soldier of today looks pretty darn different from the Soldier of Kosovo days - or even from those of the kick off of OIF.
A Letter to Congress -- [Dadmanly]
I was invited to write an OP Ed in response to General Petraeus’ testimony this past week and my thoughts on our efforts in Iraq. The OP Ed was published this past Sunday in the New York Daily News.
...Dear Senators and Representatives, you criticize President Bush relentlessly — picking apart the speech he gave last week with withering words, looking for any and every chance to bring him down.
But at least he maintains steady attention to this war. At least he seems to grasp the stakes of losing and the danger of giving up. Not so Congress.
Leaders influence the morale of their people, for good or bad. I wish you wanted to lead your constituents towards victory rather than defeat.
Processing the Protest and Counter Protest last weekend. -- [John of Argghhh!]
...This is where I'm going to start to get in trouble. I don't think the counter-demonstration, as it unfolded, was productive. I think the rally was an excellent idea. Heck, I think the ANSWER rally was a fine idea, it's still a mostly-free country, regardless of the people who managed to bravely shout "Free Speech!" towards the White House with fear of being clubbed, arrested or shot seem to think.
Had the both groups just engaged in a mutual Slogan Shouting Contest, like opposing college football fans do, it would have been fine. And being there, being seen, along the march route was fine.
Presidential Remarks 19 Sept 2007
U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress - 1st Session -National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 -- [US Senate]
To express the sense of the Senate that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.
(Editors note : Senator Hillary Clinton voted NAY and that brave one, Barack Hussein Obama didn't bother to vote.
His "GET OUT OF IRAQ, NOW!" measure is rejected by the Senate. -- [Redstate]
Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, is a dumb guy. Just sayin'.
He tried to push a measure in the Senate which would have guaranteed all troops spending X-units of time in Iraq an equal X-units of time here Stateside. It sounds nice on the surface, but it would strip a power from the Commander in Chief; more importantly, it would have made it impossible to keep the number of troops in Iraq at a level with which victory could be achieved. The Amendment was essentially a GET OUT OF IRAQ, NOW! measure disguised as something happy.
Major Troy Gilbert's Wife Speaks Out Against the Anti-War Media -- [Flopping Aces]
"When media chooses to use Troy's plane crash as a political catalyst to generate anti-war sentiment, it only serves to degrade the moral integrity my husband possessed and the morale of those still selflessly serving," Gilbert said at news conference at Glendale's Falcon Dunes Golf Course, across from Luke.
"Every time the press lends credibility and significance to terrorist propaganda clearly designed to erode public support or questions the validity of our brave soldiers' selfless acts of service and the war itself," she added, "it only serves to damage our country from within its own borders and embolden those who would do us harm."
David Rye is an Ass. -- [The Marching Camp]
Dave Rye is a two-bit journalist at some small-time radio station, who made the following statement regarding the article published recently in the New York Times by a group of infantry NCOs.
"Pardon my skepticism, and certainly no disrespect for the dead Montana soldier, but in my time in the Army I never heard such a word as “recalcitrant” escape the lips of any Staff Sergeant. I doubt if it’s spoken all that much in Ismay, either.
"The soldiers had the help and probably the encouragement of a writer with an agenda, from a newspaper which has always had one. Its continually declining circulation now mainly consists of those who want desperately to consider themselves sophisticated as well as compassionate, even if that means always branding the U.S. as the chief villain on the world stage—-in fact, especially if it does.
Ignorance -- [Fuzzilicious Thinking]
I've seen a lot of writing from journalists that puts their ignorance of military culture and concepts in stark relief. This bit by Dan Froomkin is probably the most fundamental demonstration of that condition that I've yet seen.
In discussing President Bush reportedly expressing to milbloggers the desire to be "out there" with the troops on the ground, Froomkin puts his ignorance on display in a way that reflects terribly on both his character and ability to empathize:
MRC/NB's Rich Noyes Blasts Dan Rather: 'He's the Perpetrator' -- [NewsBusters]
In a story on Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, Rich Noyes, Research Director at the MRC and Senior Editor of NewsBusters, got two soundbites Wednesday night on the 11pm news on WUSA-TV, channel 9 (ch 34 DT), the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate in Washington, DC. Reporter Gary Nurenberg traveled to the MRC's offices to tape Noyes at about 6:30pm. In Nurenberg's story, Noyes blasted Rather:
Rather's Lawyer: 'Nobody's Proved the Documents Were Forgeries' -- [LGF]
It’s absolutely amazing, but Dan Rather and his lawyers are actually planning to argue in their lawsuit against CBS that the phony memos are genuine.
...I’m going to say this again just to go on the record: the CBS “Killian” memos are frauds. It has been proven beyond all doubt. It is simply impossible that these documents were created on any machine available in the 1970s.
‘Darth’ Cheney to Hillary: ‘I Am Your Father’ -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-09-20) — Vice President Dick Cheney, responding to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s reference to him as “Darth Vader,” this morning addressed the Democrat presidential hopeful saying: “Hillary, I am your father.”
“Before I turned to what you call ‘the dark side’,” Mr. Cheney explained, “I was once like you, Sen. Clinton. I had hopes and dreams that good could triumph over evil through the force of government regulation. But then my eyes were opened to the true source of power — freedom — and my lust for that power has driven me since that day.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
No looking back -- [Leader-Telegram Online - HT:Lumberjack in a Desert - jrsalzman.com]
Despite losing his right hand in Iraq, a UW-Stout student has no regrets about serving his country. Now he's set his sights on a teaching career and a return to logrolling.
Badgers Forward . . . Onward . . . but still in Iraq -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
I am working on a couple of posts to wrap up this deployment. In the mean time though, Mrs. Badger 6 would like me to remind you that although the rest of Team Badger is winging their way home, I am still in Iraq.
I have volunteered for another 10 months. I hope to use what I learned to help another unit.
I am in a completely different part of Iraq and and least for the time being my Internet and thus blogging capability is a little more limited.
Hunting Al Qaeda, Part II of III -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
...Al Qaeda still lurks in the area, so the farmers were happy to see us. One woman said that seeing the Army out there was a blessing from God, which made the Soldiers happy. There’s not a lot of happiness to be had here, but the Soldiers respond when people show gratitude. It charges their batteries. And they really love those cards from home where kindergartners and first graders ask all kinds of funny questions like, “Is it hot in the desert?” Yes, a little bit. But along the waterways in Iraq, such as here next to the Diyala River, it’s hot and humid. Practically steaming. Even the mosquitoes must sweat here.
Citizens find, report explosives -- [MNF-I]
ARAB JABOUR, Iraq — Concerned citizens found a bag of explosives and took it to Coalition Force Soldiers conducting security operations outside Arab Jabour Sept. 12.
Rather than risking a detonation near their homes, the concerned citizens picked up the bag and brought it to the Soldiers of Company D, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Anbar Awakens Part II: Hell is Over -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
Al Qaeda met resistance, after a time, from the Iraqis and responded with a horrific murder and intimidation campaign against even children. The Sunni Arabs of Ramadi then rejected Al Qaeda so utterly they forged an alliance with the previously detested United States Army and Marine Corps and purged the terrorists from their lands.
...Only then did I notice that Lieutenant Colonel Crane was no longer wearing his helmet. Neither were most of the others.
Major Rory Quinn 3/7 Marines Ramadi -- [Matt Sanchez]
An Iraqi Alliance Breaks Apart -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
On Saturday, exactly six months after the Fadheela Party announced its defection from the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the Sadr bloc made a similar decision and withdrew from the alliance as well.
Abdul Kareem Inizi, the chief of Dawa Party-The Iraqi Organization (this is the other half of the Dawa, has 10 seats in the parliament) was the first to comment on the news:
Insurgent Rocket Lands on Civilian's Car
Sept. 13: "One 107mm rocket impacted in an intersection near Forward Operating Base Loyalty, striking a car and engulfing it in flames. Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, responded to the blast and cordoned off the area. The wounded were transported to Medical City for treatment."
"No comment." -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
An Interview with a Mukhtar
My interview with a "Mukhtar" - a city sheik who represents a neighborhood in Fallujah - is published at the Long War Journal.
Sheikh Sattar assassin captured by US forces -- [The Long War Journal - Bill Roggio - in Iraq]
US Special Forces captured an al Qaeda leader involved in the assassination of the leader of the Anbar Awakening, as well as other attacks in Anbar province. Al Qaeda attacks a tribe aligned with the Diyala Awakening; an anti-extremist Shia movement forms in Wasit province.
Standing up the Concerned Citizens in southern Baghdad -- [The Long War Journal - Bill Roggio - in Iraq]
...In southern Baghdad province, the establishment of the Concerned Citizens, also referred to as Iraqi Police Volunteers, began to take hold in late spring. Initiated by tribal connections from Anbar province, the movement mimicked the rise of the Anbar Salvation Council in some respects, but differed in many ways. This bottom up process of local reconciliation consists of both Sunni and Shia tribes wishing to restore a measure of peace to the war torn regions south of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, in Real News, Sheikh Abdul Sattar al Rishawi was killed in Ramadi a few days ago. He was the leader of the Sons of al-Anbar, described as Iraq's most important man and a potential savior of Iraq. Even the NYT had to acknowledge his impact.
Dronetek- From the Source: The US Marine's 1/6 react as an IED goes off in building 10 in Ramadi
The US Marine's 1/6 Carlie Company, react as an IED goes off in building 10 in Ramadi, Iraq. Part 1
Along the Way -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...There is too much to say about it, so for the time being, I will just say, it was very, very good.
...So, with the media folks loading up in a van to take them to the briefing, I immediately began my plan to "get on the van". I went to the person in charge here and hurriedly explained that I want to attend. After a very short interval of explanations, the person got the picture and made it happen that I would be allowed to attend the "media" briefing. The van was directed to wait for one more passenger, me, and I came out with camera in tow and loaded into the van.
Now, this is where the story gets fun.
In this van were reporters from the Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, Financial Times, NPR radio, and some others. And then there was me, from, uh...well..New Mexico. But some of the Army folks had received word that "Mr. Spiri" had just finished an interview with Lt. General Odierno a couple days back and perhaps it might be a good idea to bring him along.
General Petraeus, Canes, and Assorted Oddities -- [Marching Camp]
....I served in Ramadi during my last tour, and I cannot overstate the impact the al-Anbar Awakening had in the area. When we got there in June, Anbar was the wild west, the most dangerous city in the world. Everyone knew it, and we weren't sure we were going to make a difference short of blowing the city up. When we left, our brigade commander described Ramadi as an 'unconsolidated victory'--in other words, about like Tal Afar was when we took it over from 3rd ACR that January.
A Twist in American - Iraqi relations -- [ON Point - Andrew Lubin - in Iraq]
Iraq: Repercussions of today’s Blackwater Killings Andrew Lubin The Iraqi Interior Ministry today suspended the operating license of Blackwater, the North Carolina-based security contractor. Their stated reason was due to the 8 killed, 13 wounded Iraqi civilians in a gunfight yesterday between a Blackwater security team and insurgents. Interior Ministry officials also threatened to prosecute everyone deemed to have used excessive force in the shooting. Prime Minister Maleki apparently...
The Untouchables: US Rushes To Smooth Iraq’s Anger Over Blackwater -- [Pat Dollard]
“The incident reports were a whitewash, and nobody did anything about it,” he said, adding that there have been a few cases where Blackwater and other companies have fired workers for killing civilians, but those same workers were back ...
Happy 60th Birthday U.S. Air Force -- [Dude, where's the beach? - in Iraq]
...I attended our own Air Force birthday celebration here in Baghdad this morning. We had the standard cutting of the cake by our most junior and senior members, as well as a great speech by our Commanding General, Brigadier General Robert Allardice. I have to admit that I thought his speech was the best I'd heard in years, and not just because he used something I wrote in it. It's nice to work for a person who knows how to make a point, and his point was that our Air force is doing a great job out here in Iraq. Things may be rough, but the mission is getting accomplished by some amazing people throughout the AOR.
17 September 2007 1640 GMT -- [HOKIE.US - in Iraq]
There have been a couple of common themes in the last 24 hours here since hitting the ground. First is sand. There's a lot of it. It's a little finer than I remembered it, but I guess that doesn't really matter. You can't really see too far in the distance because of the layer of dust in the air. It'll also probably take a year for my mouth and sinuses to be cleared of the sand too. I'm already starting to taste it with every breath.
I'm not complaining though. The living conditions are still better than the last time I was out this way. The A/C makes a big difference, especially when it's still getting close to 120 degrees in the mid-afternoon sun.
...Oh well...things are actually going really well so far and morale is pretty high.
DFAC Dining -- [manrymission.com - in Iraq]
Anyway, the DFAC here in Mosul does not deserve the Mess Hall moniker. This is the most impressive DFAC I have ever seen. Due to OPSEC, I am unable to post any pictures of this magnificent structure. You may recall the explosion in a DFAC in Iraq around Christmas in 2004. The blast killed 22 soldiers and wounded 66 others. That occurred here in Mosul on FOB Marez, right across the road from FOB Diamondback. Because many soldiers congregate at DFACs, these facilities are considered high-value targets. So we take every possible measure to ensure the safety of our soldiers in the DFAC. I will not discuss anything here that violates or compromises OPSEC.
Home is Afghanistan -- [Helmand:911 Badges... - in Afghanistan]
I am on the last few days of my leave and I am getting ready to come home. If home is where the heart is, Afghanistan is my home. I have had a wonderful R&R, I have seen everyone I wanted to see and done everything I wanted to do. The places and people I have visited have not changed much, and that in it's own way is comforting and good. But my heart, my spirit, is in Afghanistan. One question I was asked over and over again was if this would be my last deployment. I usually said it was fifty/fifty. Truthfully, I will keep deploying as long as my body holds up.
Shake Your Make Money Maker or Just Pick Up a Puppy -- [ETT PA-C - in Afghanistan]
We actually went and did some training with the ANA and ANP not too long ago and while we were there gathered up a fan club of 3 mutt type puppies. To lay the framework here, it's Ramadon, the season in which Muslims fast (nothing past the lips) after 0400 until 1900 depending on when the sun sets. Well, we're not supposed to drink or eat in front them out of respect blah, blah, blah. Well, these pups came whimpering up to us and of course, we whipped it all out of our trucks for these dogs. Bottled water, peanut butter crackers, beef jerky etc right in front of the ANP and ANA.
Canals, watermelon, and the Dutch PM -- [A Year in Afghanistan - in Afghansitan]
Kamp Holland was busy with VIPs this week, including a suprise visit by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands on September 11. I have a picture of him speaking with soldiers at the camp.
I also hosted a visit by the head of the Kandahar office of our Local Governance and Community Development program. I've been working for months to get projects started in Uruzgan through this program. There are grand plans to refurbish and construct government buildings, improve roads and irrigation systems, and train officials their staff in public administration. This visit culminated in commitments: hiring staff, scheduling visits by engineers, designating space for a computer training center. When the project staff went to look at an irrigation system, they brought me back some other pictures: a spot where seasonal runoff damages the canal each year, mountains behind cornfields, curious children, and a watermelon snack.
Somehow, It Fits... -- [CW4BillT - in Pakistan]
Multan, Pakistan, the City of Dust. Or, in this case, the Airfield of Dust.
It's one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in Asia, if not the oldest -- it's definitely one of the *hottest*...
And, since I was the oldest continuously-breathing pilot the company -- *not* "The Company" -- sent over, I felt right at home (snarking myself so *you* don't have to; that's the kind of service the Castle provides, yessirree).
Entries from Today In Category: 'Afghanistan' -- [The Long War Journal - Bill Roggio - in Iraq]
US forces captured Inayatullah, a senior al Qaeda leader and Afghan national, earlier this year and have moved him to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Over 10 Taliban fighters were killed after attacking a joint Afghan-British patrol in Helmand province. Nine Taliban were captured in Kandahar. A US airstrike killed at least one Taliban fighter in a village east of Kabul that facilitates "Arab, Chechen and Taliban" terrorists. The Taliban kidnapped a Bangladeshi aid worker south of Kabul.
The Politics of Money -- [Startegy Page]
September 18, 2007: The Taliban continue trying, and failing, to use groups of gunmen to drive police and soldiers out of southern Afghanistan. For the last month, the Taliban have been losing several hundred men a week (dead, wounded, captured). The Taliban continue to get nailed when they try to attack soldiers or police patrols with an ambush or attack. Bombers or helicopter gunships quickly show up, and the Taliban are scattered, with heavy casualties.
September 11 premonitions - "I Told You So" will be just too cruel thing to say -- [Dark Roasted Blend - HT: Tigerhawk]
When we reflect upon the horrendous events of 9-11, we can't help but stumble upon different premonitions and uncanny coincidences that took place BEFORE any of this had happened. This article is an attempt to collect together all such instances of unintentional insight and creepy prediction.
We'll start with the most incredible of them all, courtesy U.S. Mail Service:
France: Prepare for war with Iran
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear programme.
"We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war," Mr Kouchner said in an interview on French TV and radio.
Wars Are Hell -- [Strategy Page]
September 16, 2007: The country is at war, or, more correctly, at wars. There are many fronts. Most of the fighting is being done by the Revolutionary Guards and the national police. The regular armed forces are kept in their barracks, as the government does not trust this conscript force, full of young men who are not very fond of the religious dictatorship running the country. The Revolutionary Guards, or at least the al Quds force (which specialize in supporting pro-Iranian terrorists in foreign countries) is having a hard time in Iraq. With the collapse of al Qaeda in Iraq (because the Sunni Arabs turned on them), U.S. troops are now concentrating on Iranian supported groups. Coalition commando forces are specifically looking to capture as many al Quds operatives as they can. As a result of this
Why They Hate Osama -- [Strategy Page]
September 17, 2007: The collapse of support for Islamic terrorism was not just an Indonesian thing. Throughout the Islamic world, the al Qaeda terrorism in Iraq, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Afghanistan has turned public opinion against the Islamic militants, and leaders like Osama bin Laden. The loss of popular support has made it difficult for Islamic terrorists to recruit and operate. That is particularly true in Indonesia, which was never very enthusiastic about Islamic radicalism to begin with. Meanwhile, even the ethnic unrest among Melanesians (who are often Christians) in eastern Indonesia, is dying down.
KSM's Transatlantic Shoe Bomb 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 eleventh in a series of reports examining the multitude of threats directed at the United States since 9/11. This week's report focuses on 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's (KSM) plan to utilize two British Al Qaeda operatives -- Richard Reid and Sajid Badat -- to blow up U.S.-bound commercial airliners with shoe bombs. On December 22, 2001, Reid attempted to bring down American Airlines Flight 63 by igniting the explosive device in his shoe; his attempt failed and he was restrained by passengers until the plane landed. And,...
Be A Hero -- [Tanker Brothers]
...Today well over 500 pair of premium warm, wicking, cushioned socks as well as photos of the children, their letters and notes are on their way to the Korengal Valley.
My deepest gratitude to Nancy Rouse, Beth Nelson, the students and staff members at all of the schools that participated, Bass Pro Shop and Vicki and Claire at Boxes and More for making this happen for our amazing Warriors.
“I don’t need the big ceremony or the big white dress. But, I do need Craig.” -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
I found this incredibly romantic. Congratulations to the young couple!
Rachel Holmes stands with tears in her eyes during her marriage to Spc. Craig Bowes. The couple were able to see and speak to each other through the entire ceremony and after. The first words Bowes said to his fiancée via the connection were, “You look so beautiful, Rachel.”
Popped -- [Popping Smoke]
Saturday is my last day in the Army. In ten years, I have lived in five states and set foot in six different countries. We met and still hold close plenty of friends in those places. But now it is time for the next chapter . I don't regret joining the Army and I don't regret popping smoke and getting out. I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would be like if we had missed all of the great things that have happened because I was in the Army. Thanks Uncle Sam.
Democrats will hold war funding hostage -- [Michelle Malkin]
Who’s playing politics with the war? You tell me:
Democrats are not expected to take up President Bush’s war spending request until November, giving them time to calculate their next move and see if Republican support for his policies deteriorates.
General Petraeus [HT :Soldiers' Angels Germany]
"...the cradle of the best and the worst..." -- [Tanker Brothers]
I took that from Freepers here, who have many pictures of the Gathering of Eagles yesterday in Washington. Iif that doesn't make YOU sick, I swear nothing will. I expect she is proud of herself, as her infamy is spread far and wide over the internet. Shame on her. I would like to say I am surprised, but I am not. And you shouldn't be either. Not when your politicians set the tone by their disgraceful behaviour towards the fine General this last week. After their treasonous actions, on YOUR tax dollars, I guess the gloves are really, REALLY off now.
Wes Clark Gets Stomped Rewriting Saddam's Uranium History -- [Gateway Pundit]
General Wesley Clark, the antiwar activist and founder of VoteVets.org, an organization that put out tainted antiwar ads during the 2006 elections, was a guest on the Allman and Crane Show on 97.1 FM in St. Louis.
Screened for Sycophancy -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Meeting with President Bush apparently wasn't but half the honor. According to Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post, I was "screened for sycophancy," which is apparently a new box on the Secret Service security checklist.
Bush didn't have to go out of his way on Friday to endear himself to his guests, who had been screened for sycophancy.
And as their ensuing blog posts make clear, they lapped up even his most timeworn talking points and hoariest stories.
Froomkin finds it easier to react to a quote than to actually look to qualify his remarks. For if he had, at least in my case, he would find a fair amount of criticism of the President's policies and — in the case of designating Quds Force — potential policies. That particular criticism is ongoing, in fact. The Sycophant Patrol apparently missed that bit. Whew.
Wash Times editorial: "Heroic soldiers, Pelosi slanders" -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
The Editorial in today's Washington Times newspaper, entitled "Heroic soldiers, Pelosi slanders," liberally quotes my op-ed (appearing in the same paper, on the facing page) about the gains I've witnessed in Iraq, both on the part of the coalition and of the Iraqi people themselves.
...Unfortunately, this matter of life and death (both for the American soldier and for the Iraqi civilian) is still being treated as a political football by those "mature adults" who govern our nation.
Regardless, I will be remaining on the front lines in this conflict for several more weeks, making sure that those who seek it have accurate, firsthand information from the front in Iraq available at their fingertips. Whether they use it or not is entirely up to them.
Apparently David Sessions needs to get out of the library and come over into the real world -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
Slate.com's David Sessions picked today of all days to type out a little piece called "How Hot Is Iraq?: Why does everyone think it's 130 degrees?" The apparent impetus for this is a McCain speech, in which the Senator referred to "U.S. soldiers...carrying 40 pounds of body armor in 130-degree temperatures" -- something which Sessions absolutely must disprove.
So, he sets out to do so - and reinforces the fact that booksmarts are only applicable, well, inside.
Kerry Says Tasered Student ‘Seared’ in His Memory -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-09-18) — Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, said today that a University of Florida student who was Tasered after cursing police while resisting arrest during a Kerry speech is “seared…seared in my memory.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Suspected Sheik Sattar assassination planner captured -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces captured a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist linked to the assassination of Sheik Sattar during an operation Sept. 15 west of Balad.
The captured individual, Fallah Khalifa Hiyas Fayyas al-Jumayli, also known as Abu Khamis, is believed to be responsible for the death of Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Resha, founder of the Anbar Awakening, a coalition of tribes in Anbar Province committed to driving al-Qaeda in Iraq out of the area. Intelligence reports indicate al-Jumayli is involved in a plot to kill key leaders in the tribal awakening. He is also reportedly responsible for car bomb and suicide vest attacks in Anbar Province, and is closely allied with senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders in the region.
Sheik Sattar and America -- [ON Point - Andrew Lubin - in Iraq]
...In the hours after Sattar’s death, his murder united leaders across Iraq. "I can honestly say he was the first one who lit the candle in the fight against al-Qaeda in Anbar province," said Maj. Gen. Muhsen Abdul Hasan Lazem, Ministry of the Interior official who oversees border forces in Iraq. "Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, a martyr, proved to everyone that there is nothing more valuable than the homeland, and nothing is better than fighting terrorism."
His fellow tribal leaders, along with U.S. military officials, vowed to protect the Anbar Salvation Council and carry on his mission, and said they expected his death would galvanize further support. Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, a leader of the Dulaim confederation, the largest tribal organization in Anbar, and a rival of Abu Risha's, lamented the loss. "His death has squeezed our heart and made us terribly angry.
Iraq Invades Washington -- [Iraq the Model - Iraqis in Iraq]
The American capital is going to witness intensified Iraqi presence and political activity in the coming few weeks.
First there are Sunni leaders who have been invited by members of Congress. The Sunni leaders are likely to make this visit coincide with former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi expected visit to Washington since the Sunni alliance with the Shia Allawi became more evident recently, especially after the latter confirmed that he had meetings with former leaders in the Baath Party to persuade them to join the political process.
A True Martyr -- [Acute Politics - heading out of Iraq]
Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu al-Rishawi, the founder and leader Anbar Awakening, was killed yesterday afternoon by a bomb planted near his home. Two of his bodyguards were also killed, and others, including a nephew, were wounded. Initial reports indicate that al-Qaeda terrorists took advantage of Sheik Sattar's gesture of charity at the start of holy month of Ramadan, infiltrating a gathering of local poor at the home of the Sheik in order to plant the bomb that killed him.
By The Numbers -- [Badgers Forward - heading out of Iraq]
Task Force Pathfinder and Team Badger are no longer responsible responsible for Route Clearance operations in Western Iraq. All of Team Badger should be safely out of Iraq. Here is what they accomplsihed.
To summarize in numbers Team Badger accomplished the following
Missions Performed - 647
Improvised Explosive Devices Reduced - 458
Kilometers Traveled - 51135
Sadr's movement pulls out of Iraq alliance -- [Rantburg]
The political movement loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr quit Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Alliance on Saturday, leaving Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's coalition high and dry in a precarious position in parliament.
The Surge: Security and Transition in Baghdad -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
I liked this story because it really gives a good, all-around picture of what the surge is all about and what our guys are accomplishing.
Security: By taking an "agressive stance" early on, the paratroopers of the 2-319th 82nd Airborne (“Black Falcons”) not only made the civilians feel safe, it also removed the major threats to coalition and Iraqi security forces which freed up manpower for reconstruction and training.
Detonation -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
The first one was different.
Not in the way you would expect.
It's not as if the first VBIED scared the religion into me, and all the rest got easier. No, quite the opposite, in fact.
With that first concussion wave dissipating, what I was about to realize was that as the reverberations faded, it was only the beginning of the experience. Of course I knew I was going to Anbar. Your gonna see some bad shit. Thought I was ready for it. Standard issue "bring it on" attitude: check. The false bravado fell to the wayside as soon as those casualties started pouring in. I was quickly reminded that "talking the talk" has nothing to do with "walking the walk". You just can't predict how you will react until the bodies hit the floor.
Raids, Grenades, and Gunfire: The Last Few Days in Samarra, Part II -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
The operations tempo here in Samarra has been so high lately that I haven't had a chance to write up many updates, so here's a quick overview of the last few days (more detail to follow).
I went on a pair of early-morning (2-3am) raids with Red Platoon, in the southeastern part of town (a very bad area). We didn't catch either of the guys we were looking for, but the drive back on both was pretty exciting, as we took a good deal of gunfire.
500 LB Bomb drop on insurgents building in Samarra
"Don't worry, we're not going anywhere" -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
...As part of the Lt. General's visit here in Mosul, he was taken to Iraqi Police headquarters in a section of Mosul and had an extensive briefing from Col. Abid, an Iraqi Police commander here in Mosul. During the hour-plus long meeting with Col. Abid, Oderno heard many details on the situation here in Nineveh province. Odierno asked Col. Abid, "what is the threat of Al Queda in the Mosul area?"
Col. Abid, who is a former Iraqi Army officer with 18-years experience under Saddam Hussein's rule, replied, "The Al Queda threat here is not as big a problem as is the insurgency comprised of former Iraqi Army officers who were discarded by Paul Bremmer early on in the war after the fall of Baghdad". Lt. General Oderno, Col. Twitty as well as Lt. Col. Welsh all nodded in agreement.
Lt. General Odierno then said to Col. Abid, "We have found that Al Queda forces have been pushed out of areas such as Anbar province in the west, Baghdad, Baquaba, as well as other places and are trying to regroup, unsuccessfully here in Mosul."
Radio Interview -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
My interview with the Charles Adler show is up on YouTube. Really simple answers to extremely complex questions, but that's the broadcast medium:
Progress -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
Things are still frustrating in my little sector of Iraq. However, elsewhere, things are going well. So well, in fact, it seems that the Shia militia is taking some time off. This is good news! Why isn't there more coverage of it?? We didn't even know here, and we supposedly have a few members of JAM working for us (no, seriously, but that of course is rumor). In addition to that, I've talked to a few of my Marine buddies out West, and the reports there are even better. This is very positive news; news that shows a certain strategy is working.
Saddam’s Summer Palace -- [manrymission.com - in Iraq]
I went on another site visit recently. For this mission, I went first to Erbil, a city about 50 miles east of Mosul with a population of approximately 1,000,000. The entire city of Erbil is experiencing a construction boom. Among other projects, USACE is involved in the re-building of the Ministry of Interior government buildings, as well as the construction of the Erbil Police Academy. After spending the night at the office compound in Erbil, I went to Dahuk the next day. On the way to Dahuk, I visited a major electricy construction project in Akra. This USACE project involves the building of a power sub-station to receive electricity from Turkey and distribute it to transformers in various communities throughout the region.
After reaching Dahuk, I took a look at two sites for upcoming projects.
First Graduating Class of Iraqi Air Force Officers -- [Dude Where's the Beach - in Iraq]
Yesterday was a historic day for the Iraqi Air Force. The very first class of newly commissioned Officers graduated from the new Air Force Officer Training School here in Iraq. These 11 new second lieutenants are the first new Officers in the Iraqi Air Force since the fall of Saddam. They represent the future leadership of the Iraqi military, and have risked life, limb, and the security of their families to pursue their dreams of becoming military leaders.
Those that qualify from this class will make up the first batch of new Iraqi Air Force pilot candidates, and will start the newly established initial flight training school on 1 October of this year.
Ramadan begins... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
...Now this is an extremely holy time and it actually bans fighting, unless there is an actual war going on. Well this is a problem for us coalition forces, because well there IS a war and so they have every "right" during this time to attack us. The additional problem is that during this time the gates of Hell are closed and the gates of Heaven are opened. Anything they due during this time is extra holy, especially on the day (I forget the name) that the texts of the Koran were delivered. On this day anything they do in the eyes of Allah (God) is multiplied 10,000 times. The only problem for them is that they are not totally sure of what day it is. All they know is it is during the last 10 days of Ramadan and that it fell on an odd numbered date. Most people celebrate the 27th day, but many practice on all the days just to be safe. The problem comes for us, because if they were to kill an infedel or an occupier or whatever, it is like they killed 10,000 on this day. Also the potential for suicide bombers and people wishing to achieve martyrdom is greately increased.
Another First -- [Major Andrew Olmsted]
Coming back from a visit to one of our battalions, our lead vehicle comes to a sudden stop. There's a civilian vehicle stopped in the middle of the road ahead. That's a classic sign for an IED attack, so we set up security to check things out, machine gunners scanning the area for any signs of a trigger man or shooters. Mac moves up to get a better look and sees a man on the ground, his dishdasha dark red. Looks like someone has been ambushed, so we roll up quickly to survey the site and see if we can help.
Balad, Iraq: War is Hell -- [Iraq Partii - in Iraq]
...So much has changed on this base in four years that I hardly even recognized it when I landed. Curious to find out what my old barracks looks like today, I went over and took a look. There was my old building, a former Iraqi Air Force barracks, surrounded by blast walls and looking sleeker than ever. I walked away laughing to myself knowing that my friends and I were the first ones to occupy it in its original decrepit state of broken glass, no A/C, rusted metal, and mold.
I’m here for a few more days and then I head to Taji where I’ll spend the rest of my 9-month to 1-year tour. I heard they made a lot of improvements there too, so this will probably be a more comfortable deployment than my last.
U.S. Soldiers Demonstrate in Iraq -- [Democracy Project]
Sometimes, the less said by way of introduction, the better. Army reserve chaplain Maj. Jim Higgins, from Atlanta, Georgia, wrote this from Iraq back on May 14, 2007.
...Here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier stood at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand Soldiers:
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here.
C sqn The Light Dragoons - Afghanistan
What was Israel doing in Syria? -- [Peace like a River]
On Sept 6, Israeli jets struck a target inside Syria. The exact nature of the target is not known. There is, of course, speculation. (See also here.)
Iran Battles Arab Terrorists -- [Strategy Page]
September 15, 2007: There is a growing anti-government terrorist movement in southwest Iran. The government blames it on the U.S. and British, but the local rebels, nearly all local Arabs, blame the non-Arab Iranians. Although Arabs comprise only about three percent of Irans population, they constitute much of the population an area that produces 70 percent of the nations oil. Arabs used to be the majority in this area, but in the last 80 years, more ethnic Iranians (linguistic cousins of Indians and Europeans) have moved into the oil territories, and are now the majority.
Are We At War? -- [Strategy Page]
September 12, 2007: China has been rattling the saber a lot this year. This has been in the form of numerous live fire exercises along the coast opposite Taiwan. This is seen as China's way of warning Taiwan not to go ahead with a referendum, next year, on applying for UN membership, and to shut down Taiwanese politicians advocating declaring the island nation sovereign. China considers Taiwan a wayward province. In the past, training exercises with live ammo were rare. This was an old Soviet custom, picked up by the Chinese. But it's since been realized that training with live ammo is more realistic, and effective, and China has been doing more of it.
Russia Drops The Bigger One -- [Strategy Page]
September 14, 2007: Russia has tested a ten ton conventional bomb, which it claims is twice as powerful as a similar U.S. weapon, the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast). The American weapon was ready for service four years ago, but has never been used. MOAB is pushed out the back of a SOCOM (Special Operations Command) MC-130E aircraft. The blast can be felt several kilometers away, and the mushroom shaped cloud (that rises to over 10,000 feet) can be seen more than 40 kilometers away.
Impediments to Making Us Safer -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
On September 12, I posted an article on the Counterterrorism Blog addressing the question “are we safer as a nation now than we were before 9/11”. I stated that we were safer but not safe, which is a prevailing theme. I attributed our safety, in great part, to the government agencies at the federal, state and local level, which are responsible for protecting us against the threat of terrorism. Unfortunately, there are impediments which make protecting us a more difficult task, thereby jeopardizing our safety.
Terror in Tampa Update: Iraqi Terror Angle -- [Jawa Report]
In addition to the following news posted below, let me clarify something a source told me: that Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed were probably not planning to commit acts of terror within the United States, but that they actively helping promote violent jihad outside the US--specifically in Iraq.
Cold weather is coming, our wounded need blankets -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
One of my medics wrote that it is getting cooler in Iraq...only 115 degrees yesterday. Still, the fall is coming and it does get cold there. Even more so in Afghanistan, where we also have many American troops. Every wounded soldier who is evacuated by helicopter or airplane needs a blanket to keep warm, and an amazing group of Angels has made thousands of them. The "Blankets of Hope" project provides guidelines for volunteers, collects the blankets and gets them into the hands of medics all over the world for use by our wounded and sick American soldiers.
BACK FROM IRAQ - UPDATES AND NEWS -- [TalkingWithHeroes.com]
This is a quick update since we returned from our Third Trip to Iraq:
1. You can see online a list of people we interviewed in Iraq and some places we were at:
2. Read text and see pictures of what we were experiencing from Iraq on our new Blog:
March across New Jersey -- [
BREINER TO MARCH ACROSS NEW JERSEY AGAIN!
THIS TIME TO RAISE MONEY FOR "INTREPID FALLEN HEROES FUND"
He's at it again! United States Marine Corps Sergeant Craig Breiner (inactive reserve) will once again be marching across the state of New Jersey to raise the morale of our troops serving abroad. This time though, he's put money where his feet are. Breiner will be raising funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with every step he takes.
Missouri Kids Kick Off "Operation Adopt a Military Hero" -- [Gateway Pundit]
George Lauer sends this terrific story from Middle Missouri:
This high school project to collect money and useful items for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan was the idea of Jefferson City High School students.
Santa arrived at the kickoff today in a military vehicle.
And Then, We Were Home… -- [JusticeSoldier.com - home from Iraq]
Well, my deployment is now over, and I am home safe. I have been home almost a month now, and a lot has gone on. My return home like every soldier started with a long flight across the ocean, and into the arms of the Bangor greeters. And incredible organization of Veterans, patriots and people who just truly care about the path we have just concluded - it is really overwhelming to come through their welcome home line. Here are a few pics from their reception for us and a link to their website
Poll shows slim majority believe a mandatory draft should not be reinstated -- [Matt-Sanchez - in Iraq]
The latest Matt-Sanchez.com Poll results have been tallied and a slim majority of those participating believe a mandatory draft should not be reinstated. Here are the results of that poll and a map showing where the votes originated. Note: Map limited to locations within the United States only. Other votes that were included in the finally tally came from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Should a mandatory draft be reinstated?
Strange Days for U.S. Army Recruiters -- [Strategy Page]
September 16, 2007: All four branches of the U.S. military met their recruiting goals in August. The army, which has the hardest time recruiting, because of the war, exceeded its goals for two months in a row, after coming up a bit short in May and June. The army appears ready to meet its recruiting goal, of 80,000 new troops for the year. Reenlistment goals have also been met. The biggest problem recruiters have is not with anti-war activists (who get the most attention) but a booming economy. Since most (over 80 percent) of the jobs in the army have nothing to do with combat, recruiters are basically competing with the civilian job market. For the educated, energetic young people the army is seeking, there are often lots good jobs out there that don't require extended visits to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Victory Caucus meets Gathering of Eagles (update: and crazy anti-war protestors!) -- [Victory Caucus - NZ Bear]
Latest September 15, 2007 10:42 am
I'm pleased to be on site at the Gathering of Eagles rally on the mall in DC. Great folks and a great crowd. Here's a few quick photos that I've taken; check back for more throughout the day...
Gathering of Eagles 3
Photoblogging Gathering of Eagles 3: Us and Them…plus bonus Rolling Thunder vs. Code Pink video…and more photos added -- [Michelle Malkin]
Update: Gee, which side do you think the protester charged with felony possession of an incendiary device was on…Us or Them? Via ABC News (hat tip - bpmonaco): “Thousands of anti-war protesters holding black and yellow signs saying “End the War” filled the park in front of the White House today demanding an end to U.S. occupation of Iraq. Police said they arrested 189 people, one of them on a felony charge of carrying an incendiary device.”
Eric Egland blast MoveOn.org ad
Slam! -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
Here's the headline up on the WCBS website (via Drudge):
Hillary Slams Giuliani Over Moveon.org Comments
This constitutes a "slam?" Kind of more like "Clinton Responds to Rudy Giuliani" if you aske me.
Since Clinton was one of the 81 Senators who voted for the confirmation of General Petraeus, maybe she can elaborate on her unqualified support for President Bush's hand picked general, chosen to implement said "failed Iraq strategy" in her next slam.
Betrayal of Trust
Frank Rich Paints Petraeus as Coward -- [NewsBusters]
The gravest charge you can level at a military man, as MoveOn.org essentially did to Gen. Petraeus with its infamous "General Betray Us" ad, is to call him a traitor.
But close behind in the catalog of calumny is to call a soldier a coward. And that's what Frank Rich did in his [p.p.v.] New York Times column of today.
Writes Rich [emphasis added]:...
"If MoveOn.org existed 65 years ago".... -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
Courtesy of Erick at RedState (and reminiscent of MoveOn.org's pathetic, spiteful, and anti-American "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad from Monday's NY Times):...
Danger Room=Classless Jackasses -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons! - in Iraq]
First of all I recognize that everyone has the right to an opinion. As I stated when I commented about the blog of a deployed soldier, who had soured against the war, he has that right...it doesn't mean however that I have to agree with it. Or sit by while people use pictures of dead/injured soldiers to illustrate their point. Which brings me to these clowns and their story, "2 of 7 Soldier-Critics Dead".
The story links an ARTICLE from Editor and Publisher which details the unfortunate deaths of 2 soldiers who had been some of the authors of the editorial critical of the conduct of the war featured in the New York Times. The soldiers died in a vehicle accident in Baghdad earlier this week. This is the picture Danger Room chose to illustrate the story with...
Well then, if hearsay and "fake but accurate" are good enough for you... -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
...So you would rather take the word of people who not only aren't even seeing things there with their own eyes, AND who lie to you about their own biases and "objectivity," over someone who is an eyewitness -- and who dares to be honest about their own background and point of view?
'History' Teacher Asks 14-Year-Olds to Renounce U.S. Citizenship -- [NewsBusters]
Keep your eye out for this story. It has the potential to go big… IF the MSM will report it wider than just by the local paper that broke the story. But, since it is a story that once again reveals the anti-American propaganda so prevalent in our government funded schools, will it get the coverage it deserves?
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker discuss the details of their report on the military and political situation in Iraq. They testify before a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Cmte. and the House Foreign Affairs Cmte.
In 24-hr battle, Hawr Rajab turns on al-Qaeda -- [MNF-I]
HAWR RAJAB, Iraq – Over the course of 24-hours across September 6-7, a decisive battle reshaped the security outlook for Hawr Rajab, when more than 80 concerned local citizens swept through the streets looking to drive al-Qaeda elements out of the city.
The concerned local citizens coordinated with the imam of a local mosque to broadcast the message to al-Qaeda, “Move to the mosque and they will be given amnesty, and there will be peace in Hawr Rajab.”
Don’t Ask Me What I Think about the Petraeus Report -- [NRO - Michael Yon - in Iraq]
Ask the battalion commanders.
Weeks ago, as the deadline for General David Petraeus’s progress report on the war loomed, journalists were already asking me what I thought of it. Then, as now, I do not know what to think of the report since it is not yet published. Even this coming week, after listening to the general’s testimony before Congress, I will have to read the report and transcripts numerous times, sleep on the information, and reflect on it in light of my own observations of the situation in Iraq. The outcome of the war in Iraq, and to some extent the greater War on Terror, will largely depend upon our decisions today. The outcome is too important for quick words. Many will try to be the first to report on the report, and their reports likely will be the most unreliable.
The troop surge IS working... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
So I've heard a little bit on the news and seen online about the recent analysis of the Iraqi government and their failing to meet 11 of the 18 benchmarks that were set for them. I'm not up to date on what these benchmarks are so I wont comment about what I think about that, because I dont know if I would feel the benchmarks were realistically obtainable with the given situation or not. One thing I can comment on based on my experiences here lately is that the Presidents troop surge which went in to full effect in late June I believe, combined with the new strategies that are in place with rooting out Al Qaeda and whatnot, are in fact working!
Anbar Awakens Part I: The Battle of Ramadi -- [Michael Totten - in Iraq]
RAMADI, IRAQ – After spending some time in and around Baghdad with the United States military I visited the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s notoriously convulsive and violent Anbar Province, and breathed an unlikely sigh of relief. Only a few months ago Ramadi was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It was another “Fallujah,” and certainly the most dangerous place in Iraq. Today, to the astonishment of everyone – especially the United States Army and Marines – it is perhaps the safest city in all of Iraq outside of Kurdistan.
Wish You Were Here! (& Caveat) -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
I'm holding a Russian shoulder-fired surface-to-air-missile (SAM), part of a weapons cache found by IPs and brought back to Fallujah Police Headquarters today. At my feet are fuses, detonators, an anti-personnel mine and a French anti-tank missile launcher. Out back were mortars and other artillery rounds of all shapes and sizes, often used for IEDs. One IP casually strolled into the station carrying an immense, fused artillery shell. The Marines yelled at him to "get it the hell outside," though I was already high-tailing it up the stairs before they could finish the instruction.
One piece of information to caveat my initial positive impressions of Fallujah: a significant reason the city is so peaceful is a ban on non-commercial vehicle traffic instituted at the request of the police a couple of months ago, after a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) killed and maimed Fallujans attending the funeral of a slain cop.
Dronetek- From The Source: The US Army's 875th Combat engineers, engage 2 insurgents
The US Army's 875th Combat engineers, chase down and engage two armed insurgents in Iraq.
Marines, Iraqi Police rid Anbar of insurgents -- [MNF-I]
SAQLAWIYAH — The Marines of Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, and local Iraqi Police recently swept through the farmlands outside Habbaniyah while conducting Operation Street Sweeper II, to rid the area of insurgents and their deadly tools
Leaders of Diyala River Valley recommit to reconciliation -- [MNF-I]
BAQUBAH — In an effort to build upon the recent success of the Aug. 19 reconciliation agreement between more than 80 leaders from the Diyala River Valley, approximately 40 tribal leaders recently gathered at the Baqubah Government Center to continue their discussions about the importance of reconciliation.
Cockroaches & Cinderblocks: Keeping an eye out for the out-of-place -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
To the Yorba-Linda, Calif., native, the cinderblock, sitting in the sun-baked mud, stuck out like a cockroach in a spoonful of oatmeal.
“Now, tell me why a cinderblock would be just sitting in the middle of this field, all by itself,” implored the smirking 22-year-old fire team leader, to no one in particular. “Like we wouldn’t notice these things.”
In the distance, away from the two Marines who accompanied Bear, were IPs, who had brought the Marines to the location. The IPs made their way alongside the Marines through dust and 100-degree-plus heat, as they meticulously scanned the area for weapons caches.
Bear and his fellow Marine, Pfc. Cesar R. Burgos, approached with a metal detector, sweeping back and forth, low to the ground. Suddenly, the device made a sharp beeping sound, signaling the presence of metal.
“Let’s dig,” said Bear, a 2003 El Dorado High School graduate.
The digging continued for a few minutes until Burgos struck something solid with the tip of his shovel.
Operation Alljah: The Swarm -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
Commenced on May 29 and ending last week, Operation Alljah was the latest and most successful bid to achieve security in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, marrying projection of force with aggressive civil affairs outreach. During the operation, the city was subdivided into 10 neighborhoods in efforts dubbed "the swarm," a coordinated series of counterinsurgency components: US troops and Iraqi Security Forces rolled into a neighborhood and established security, cordoned it off with concrete barrier checkpoints, created a local police precinct, recruited a neighborhood watch, provided employment for day laborers, conducted an information campaign to inform the citizenry of the operation, arbitrated any claims against Iraqi or US forces, distributed food and began meetings with neighborhood leaders to address infrastructure concerns.
The Last Few Days in Samarra -- [Jeff Emanual - in Iraq]
This evening, I went along with 3rd Platoon to check on several gas stations around the city, which should have received shipments of fuel yesterday to provide to the people here. We also had an element of M1 Tanks which checked other gas stations, to the south. One of those tanks hit an IED on Route Heat (the southernmost east-west running road in the city), where 2nd Platoon had hit one the other day when I was with them. Nobody was hurt, and the vehicles were in good enough shape to continue their mission.
As we exited our first gas station, an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) was fired in our direction, and hit a house to our north with a deafening BOOM!! Again, no paratroopers were injured, and the rest of our evening was uneventful as we checked two more gas stations and headed back to post.
Tomorrow we'll be checking out a couple of markets, and then going out again at night to find a big AQI guy and bring him in. Should be interesting.
Dronetek- From the Source:The 875th Combat engineers call in an apache to deal with a group on insur
The 875th Combat engineers call in an apache to deal with a group on insurgents in Iraq. According to the soldier who supplied me with this footage, they were shooting at their outpost.
Anbar, meet the Ospreys -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
Loitering in the chow hall last night, I was sitting with the CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) corpsmen stationed here in Taquaddum. Having worked with them over the past seven months, I've never had the opportunity to sit and actually hold down a conversation until tonight. Flying missions with them was always a rushed affair filled with yelling report over the roar of prop wash and vague hand signals in the helo while we transported critically ill patients to Level III hospitals.
When I first arrived in Anbar in February, mission breakdown followed these general rules: daytime medevac was handled by the Marine Corps. and a pair of H-46 helicopters with two CASEVAC corpsmen, while night missions were handled by the Army aeromedical Blackhawks and a flight medic. However, ...
Labor Day -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
We went out to an area that was once a coalition outpost yesterday. Before that it was one of Saddam’s many ammunition dumps. The place was a huge, many miled, wasteland scattered with debris from the bunkers and structures that used to be there. There were rusted shell casings and vehicle parts every few feet, and I couldn’t help but imagine just how big that place was before we bombed it out of existence. We drove through the old outpost to get out there. High earthen barriers and rotten HESCO barriers topped with the green shreds of old sandbag emplacements made the entrance seem like something straight out of a 1970s post apocalyptic movie. I half expected Mad Max to come barreling over the top of one of the craters. It didn’t help the that the sky had turned that sickening gray/brown you can only get here and the wind was blowing hot and hard from an oncoming dust storm. It was probably the most desolate place I have seen yet, and that is saying a lot in this country. The place was creepy and you could feel death there.
Gun Tape Footage - Iraq
Footage from Tikrit, part of initial stike for Baghdad in Iraq war.
"I Hear The Choppers Comin'...." -- [All Quiet on the Southwest Asian Front]
...We've taken too many casualties we shouldn't have this time. I'm very, very tired of seeing my friends go out to drive around for a few hours, waiting to get blown up. Yes, we're fighting back. We're capturing cell leaders and Jaysh al-Mahdi members at a great clip. But not enough. And we're not even fighting like you think. Our tanks are not being put to the use they could be. Our snipers sit idle. Our mortars haven't touched their tubes in weeks.
But we're 'putting an Iraqi face on things'. I never thought I'd long for the day when we could have a unit as reliable as ARVN on our side. The IP are a joke. The IA are better only by comparison.
An Army of...Dude Give Me A Break -- [Guidons, Guidons, Guidons!]
I was surfing around the internets the other day and noticed on the Danger Room a little post that said Army of Dude was leaving Iraq. For those who don't know Danger Room is a little skeptical of our efforts over here in the cradle of civilization, ...
...To fly around the big city now is to see a totally different picture that when we arrived a year ago. It's much more calm. It isn't unusual to fly a whole mission without a troops in contact call...unheard of a year ago. In 2004 it was nearly impossible to fly at night without spotting some type of gunfire just about every minute if one looked hard enough. There were in fact engagements I was involved with that looked like something out of the final scene of Star Wars and we were in the X-Wings attacking the Death Star. Now it's possible to fly hours without seeing it. Let me get this straight, it doesn't mean the war is won, but it does mean that I can see that things ARE changing. It will be up to the Iraqis finish the job...but for what it's worth progress is being made...it's just a shame for everyone that it's taken this long.
I wish Mr. Horton the best of luck outside the Army and thank him for his service...maybe one day we will all be able to say that his and his comrades sacrifice was worth it.
America At War -- [Villainous Company]
...My question to you today is, how do we go about instilling a sense of duty in America's young? How do we instill a sense of civic duty in our citizenry at large?
I have complained about this before. Let me be blunt, though I know some of you disagree with me. I cannot disagree more with the argument that the reason there is not more support for this war is that the President has not asked us to "sacrifice". Not to put too fine a point on it, that is utter bullshit. To hear that argument from conservatives makes this Marine wife's blood boil.
We do not lack knowledge that there is a war going on: the news is all around us - on the television, in our newspapers, in magazines, on the Internet. We know that only a small part of America is fighting and dying on our behalf. If we cared, more of us could certainly step up to the plate and volunteer to help out. The truth is, we don't care. Or more accurately, perhaps we care, but not quite enough to do something concrete about it.
Iraq Pictures - 08 September 2007 -- [Iraq Pictures - in Iraq]
New Iraqi army recruits who volunteered to join during a recruiting drive listen for their names before being transported to their basic training site. The training program will last 45 days. The recruits are a few of the 1,500 who signed up during a recruiting drive.
Pic: SGT Marcus Butler
Get Informed -- [VA Mortgage Center Blog]
Yes, we are still at war in Afghanistan. However, if you talked to some people you would never know it. I have had some people actually ask me if there is still a war going on over there and if I have seen any “real” combat. Part of me wants to choke them for asking such a dumb question and part of me wants to hug them and feel sorry for them because they are so ill-informed and ignorant.
You may ask yourself how can someone not know that we sill have troops actively engaged in combat in Afghanistan? Well, it is because these people either have their head in the sand or use the nightly news reports as their only source of information. Unless there is body count higher than 50, some foreign missionaries kidnapped, or tons of opium destroyed you simply do not hear anything about Afghanistan. It is sad that people either choose to ignore all what their country is involved in or what their own countrymen are risking their lives for. All someone has to do in order to see that we are still very active in Afghanistan is to read articles like this,
Life On The Frontline,Afghanistan.
Over 70 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. Sky's Alex Crawford has been with UK troops in the Helmand province and has this report on life for one small infantry unit holding the line against the Taliban.
The Military Press Officer -- [Vaughan Smith - in Afghanistan]
Mike’s main job is to make sure that I don’t compromise operational security. To check that I don’t put the soldiers lives at risk by what I write or film. He also helps me get around. He can organise space on transport and knows where I might get the information that I want.
At the beginning of the trip I was told me that he was also here to protect me, so that troops in the field didn’t have to. They should be concentrating on their job, not the visiting journalist.
But he is a Matelot and far from the ocean here. His naval trade is hydrography and meteorology. Afghanistan is a parched and land-locked country. I don’t expect that he will be shooting many Taliban but he tells me that it will be hot and dry tomorrow.
Whiteboards and Annotations: shaping the story -- [Afghanistan Blog - Scott Kesterson]
The process of making a documentary film on the war in Afghanistan is an integration of extremes. From a year of living amongst soldiers and their continued mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and the War on Terror, the setting has now shifted to the quiet rooms, long desks, computer monitors and the hum of terabyte drives in the background. Dallas, Texas has become my new home in the final leg of a fifteen month journey to bring an understanding of the culture of war to the Silver Screen.
The initial focus of the editing process is to sort the footage, create a working movie-trailer, and to settle on the official title of the film. Though the title "The Forgotten War" was created as the working title for the project, it has historically been used in reference to the Korean conflict. We are now in the final stages of review of the title that will encapsulate the experience of Afghanistan.
Iranian Raises Possibility Of An Intrusion Into Iraq -- [New York Times]
In a sharp escalation of a dispute over border fighting, an official Iranian delegation at a diplomatic conference here warned Sunday that if the Iraqi government could not stop militants from crossing into Iran and carrying out attacks, the Iranian authorities would respond militarily.
Patriot Day~September 11 -- [Tanker Brothers]
September 11 is the anniversary of a terrible day in our country. That is the day that terrorists attacked civilians and around 3,000 people died. 3,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, friends, wives, mothers, daughters.
September 11 is now "Patriot Day". A day that we use to remember what happened that day. The horror, the heroism. At 8:46 a.m. (Eastern Time) the President asks that we observe a moment of silence for those that lost their lives that day.
Hispanic Heritage Month 2007: Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 -- [Sweetnes& Light]
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2006, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 15 percent of the nation’s total population. (This estimate does not include the 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.)
Iran -- [The Belmont Club]
Readers of Pajamas Media probably know that I'm engaged in a low-key debate with Michael Ledeen over whether it is desirable to push for regime change in Iran now. For the record, Ledeen does not advocate using primarily military means to overthrow the Ayatollahs. He argues that Iran has had a long record of belligerence against the US and "it’s time for us to fight back … using political and economic weapons, not military power."
Neither Drezner, Rubin, Packer nor de Borchgrave assert that the administration is actually going to war with Iran after Labor Day.
North Korea Is Losing Control of Its Borders -- [One Free Korea ]
...Recently, North Korea has taken to executing people in public. Having accepted that it is no longer loved, the regime now aspires only to be feared. The execution you just saw happened in March 2005. Three people were shot for making contact with the outside world, most likely missionaries or defection brokers.
Beware the War of Tomorrow -- [Yankee Sailor at Military.com]
Since the start of the War on Terror many calls have been made to make increasingly pervasive changes in the U.S. military in response to what is frequently characterized as the “war of tomorrow”. The most recent came in the pages of the Weekly Standard’s online edition from John Noonan, and challenged the Pentagon to completely overhaul the curricula at its service academies. However, while the changing security environment in the world does demand ongoing rethinking of forces and roles, for the Navy in particular, too radical a change is unwise in the face of recent maritime developments.
Take China, for example....
Second Bin Laden Tape Expected -- [ABC News]
A second tape from Osama bin Laden was recorded in the same location as the video released last week.
People in the intelligence community who have seen the tape feel it is directly related to the 9/11 anniversary since the al Qaeda leader introduces the prerecorded video of one of the 9/11 hijackers, Waleed al Shehri.
Thoughts On The Osama Tape: Was It A Forgery? -- [Stop the ACLU]
...In conclusion…there are a lot of oddities that open up a lot of questions. What we do know is that the voice analysis says it is Osama. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Adam Gadahn wrote the speech. I think he probably did. It doesn’t really matter, since Al Qaeda has adopted him as a spokesman anyway. So, he wrote it and Osama read it. The only thing of significance we can ponder on from these pecularities of the tape is whether it is an old video voiced over, or a new one. Either way it opens up a lot of new questions. If it is an old one, and the voice is that of Osama, then why does Al Qaeda not want us to see him in his present state? If it is a new one, we come back to questions about the beard, droopy eye, and why all of the current events were during frozen parts of the film.
The Importance and Unimportance of Bin Laden Videos -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
There is an interesting debate ongoing over whether the mass media, and particularly Arab-language television, should broadcast and assign great importance to the videos of al Qaeda leaders, particularly Osama bin Laden.
Do the broadcasts help create a mystique around a cult figure that inspires those who want to participate in the broader al Qaeda project, even on an ad hoc basis? Or are such broadcasts necessary for the general public to see and understand al Qaeda, to understand the enemy more clearly? Or both, and does it make any difference?
American Freedom Foundation -- [Jack Army - in Iraq]
A friend of mine asked me to post about the American Freedom Foundation and all the good work they are doing.
The American Freedom Foundation (www.americanfreedomfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation organized to honor veterans of America's armed forces and raise money and awareness for various veterans' organizations with special emphasis directed to welfare and educational issues facing those wounded in action, those disabled and families and children of veterans killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Schumer Floor Speech Slandering U.S. Troops Ignored by Old Media -- [NewsBusters]
Bloggers have caught a politician saying one thing in a speech, while carrying a very different rendering of a critical passage at a supposed "transcript" of that speech.
The difference is significant.
The transcript whitewashes a slander on the performance of US troops in Iraq delivered by a United States senator.
Specifically, New York's Charles Schumer gave a made a speech on the floor of the Senate last week ascribing the turnaround in the Anbar province in Iraq to the locals, and discrediting the notion that American troops could have had anything to do with it.
BUSTED!... Schumer Wipes Away Disgraceful Line From Website -- [Gateway Pundit]
BUSTED... Slick Senator Schumer erases slandering line against the troops from his own website!
Senator Schumer, you are not only pathetic in your attacks against the troops during wartime-
You are a coward, Senator!
Jane Wyman and Ronald Reagan hold their 9-month-old daughter, Maureen, on Sept. 13, 1941 -- [Newsday]
LOS ANGELES - Jane Wyman, an Academy Award winner for her performance as the deaf rape victim in "Johnny Belinda," star of the long-running TV series "Falcon Crest" and Ronald Reagan's first wife, died Monday morning at 93.
We have troops in 130 countries -- [Flopping Aces]
Whether it’s Democratic Presidential candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, or Republican candidate, Dr. Ron Paul, or Osama Bin Laden…millions-perhaps billions of people around the globe believe that the United States military is occupying the 130 of the 193 nations on the planet. America has one of the largest militaries in the world, arguably the most powerful, and this one nation-we’re led to believe-has occupation forces in almost every country. From Angola to Zimbabwe, American legions are everywhere.
This claim is grossly misleading-so much so that that those who make it are either complete idiots, or propagandists pushing personal political agendas rather than truth and reality. Yes, it’s technically true that the United States has military forces in 130 nations, but to suggest that these forces are:
History Made in Military Aviation -- [Captain's Journal]
Published September 10th, 2007 by Herschel Smith in UAVs, Army, Iraq |
September 1st came and went quietly without any public discourse on what might be a very signficant event in military aviation. An unmanned aerial vehicle scored a kill of two IED emplacers.
U.S. Congress IN Uproar By Womans Choice of Words
Slime From The Fever Swamps -- [Blue Crab Boulevard]
As sickening as this is, in a way it is a good thing that the mask has slipped. Any Democratic party politician who accepts any aid from MoveOn.org should have to address this bit of shark-jumping from that group. Because when you call the general commanding American troops in the field - with the approval of the United States Senate - a traitor, you have crossed a line.
General Petraeus or General Betray Us? -- [MoveOn.org]
View the ad (PDF)Cooking the books for the White House
General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress“ in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.”
Washington Post, “Battling for Iraq,” by David H. Petraeus. 9/26/04 (see below)
And last week Petraeus, the architect of the escalation of troops in Iraq , said ”We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress.”
White House: No 'cooking the books' with Petraeus -- [The Swamp]
Snow also denounced a MoveOn.org ad today claiming that Crocker is cooking the books in his report about progress in security gains in Iraq as a “boorish, unworthy, childish attack. “Gen. Petraeus is not going to be cooking the books,’’ said Snow, maintaining that the general “is trying to… stay as far away from politics as possible.’’
“We think that it is incumbent on members of Congress to try to get a full picture of what is going on in Iraq’’ before deciding what should be done about it, Snow said. “Lawmakers can be skeptical,’’ he said, “but they also ought to be fair-minded.’’
Will Democrats Denounce MoveOn? [The Tank - Pete Hegseth]
Today - as General David Petraeus provides his Iraq assessment to Congress-the anti-war group, MoveOn.org, is running a full - page advertisement in the New York Times with the headline: General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House.
Let's be clear: MoveOn.org is suggesting that General Petraeus has 'betrayed' his country. This is disgusting. To attack as a traitor an American general commanding forces in war, because his ‘on the ground' experience does not align with MoveOn.org's political objectives, is utterly shameful. It shows contempt for America's military leadership, as well as for the troops who have confidence in him, as our fellow soldiers in Iraq certainly do.
Anti-war leaders stymied, frustrated -- [The Politico]
A well-known anti-war leader has gone public with the transcript of a private conference call that shows peace activists are exasperated with the Democratic congressional leadership and at a loss for a long-term strategy.
The future of Iraq, and the past
Among all the possible mistakes or miscues that account for the length of the war in Iraq, there is one that is blindingly obvious that I have yet to hear anyone mention
How much responsibility do the liberal Democrats bear for lengthening the war and costing American lives?
To make my point, I am going to fall back on my favorite analogy to war--football.
Imagine, as my favorite Vikings open the season this weekend with the Atlanta Falcons, that the Vikings cheerleaders come out with buttons that say 'Make Love not War" and "Women Against Football Madness".
The Vikings owners and executive staff are steadfast in their support for the importance of winning. But some members of the coaching staff have anonymously leaked to the media their doubts about the ability of only 55 men to overcome the opposition. Some have even wondered about the moral imperative of 'winning'; after all the Falcons players are just innocent pawns in this struggle, why do they deserve to 'lose'?
Initially, the game goes well. The Falcon's defense is no match for the awesome firepower of the Vikings offense. Shock and awe paves the way for a quick Falcon's collapse. But the Falcon's regroup, and begin a series of long pass plays and razzle dazzle trick plays
Alive Day Memories--Updated -- [Fuzzilicious Thinking]
"Alive Day" is a label many wounded apply to the day they were hit--the day they could've died but lived instead. HBO has taken that label for a new documentary by James Gandolfini of Sopranos fame that seems to be worth checking out.
As regular readers know, the well-being and treatment of the wounded is a subject that is very close to my heart. So, when I hear of a documentary being done about the experiences of some of them, I start to get nervous. I worry that it will be exploitative or condescending, or in some way pitying--anyone who works with the wounded knows that in most cases, offers of pity are generally not well-received.
Alive Day -- [Lumberjack in a Desert - jrsalzman - injured in Iraq]
I want to give everyone a heads up for an HBO documentary, "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" premiering Sunday at 10:30 p.m. EDT. Our Alive Day is the day each of us nearly lost our life in combat (the vast majority of us to ieds/rpgs). Just for the record, my alive day is December 19 and I intend on making it a positive aspect in my life every year. The documentary is based on a set of interviews with 10 Soldiers and Marines. Most of them were long gone by the time I got to Walter Reed on the eve of Dec 24th, 2006 (although I did share the same Physical Therapist as famed triple amputee, Sgt. Bryan Anderson) I did however attend the Vail Veterans Program this past March where I got stuck in an airport (after our connecting plane broke) with Dawn Halfaker. She was the first "senior" arm amputee I had met (it had only been about 3 months since my incident when I met her, and she had already left Walter Reed a year earlier). What started out as a simple "hi, were you at Walter Reed?" quickly turned into "so how do you tie your shoes? How do you scrub the left side of your body?" (since we both lost our right arm) It was great to finally talk to someone like me who knew exactly what I was going through.
"no credible evidence that TNR made any attempt at fact checking prior to publishing the articles. [The Tank - Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Furthermore, not one of the soldiers interviewed under oath in the investigation corroborated Beauchamp’s story."
An interview with the major who conducted the investigation.
Propaganda Analysis -- [Cannoneer4]
PSYOP Auxiliaries must use all available assets to collect the wide variety of opposing information and propaganda existing in media. Avoid being lured by the obvious propaganda and missing the more subtle and potentially effective propaganda being disseminated. The enemy may deliberately disseminate obvious propaganda to draw collectors away from other events or information. For example, an adversary may put a particularly obnoxious poster on a forum, chat room, or blog, while subtler and potentially more damaging disinformation, hoaxes, opposing information, misinformation and propaganda appears in your local newspaper. A proven method of collecting information is media analysis.
Media analysis is the structured, deliberate tracking and analysis of opponent and neutral media (TV, radio, Internet, and print). Properly performed media analysis, although time-consuming, can identify trends and become predictive. To be truly effective, media analysis must be conducted on a daily basis. There are several good web sites that conduct media analysis as part of a push back against media bias.
Baghdad Neighborhood Watch -- [Weekly Standard]
Yesterday the New York Times released its report on the impact of the surge in Baghdad's disparate neighborhoods. The conclusions were not encouraging. Essentially, the Times found modest gains in the security of the city, but that much of the reduction in violence could be explained by the homogenization of the city's districts. Further, the paper found that the "city’s underlying sectarian dynamic" had not been fundamentally changed by the increase in troops. Allahpundit focuses on this quote:
New Vent: Checking up on The New Republic -- [Hot Air]
Michelle interviews The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb about the Scott Thomas Beauchamp scandal. We also stop by The New Republic’s office in Washington to see if editor Franklin Foer will talk with us.
Bush Mulls Bin Laden Offer to Convert to Islam -- [ScrappleFace]
(2007-09-07) — Just hours after the release of al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden’s latest video message inviting all Americans to convert to Islam, U.S. President George said he would “seriously consider the offer, because it sure would simplify the war in Iraq.”
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
Petraeus previews report in letter to troops -- [Intel Dump]
Today, Gen. David Petraeus published a letter to all Multi-National Forces Iraq (MNFI) personnel which previews his testimony to Congress next week. He takes the tack that many of us expected in his letter — progress is good in some areas, bad in others, and we're a long way from victory. He highlights the good news on the security front while candidly acknowledging the lack of progress on the political front. Here are a couple of quotes:
The Ghosts of Anbar: Part IV of IV -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
The Host Nation Doing Something Tolerably Is Normally Better than Us Doing It Well
1-154. It is just as important to consider who performs an operation as to assess how well it is done. Where the United States is supporting a host nation, long-term success requires establishing viable HN leaders and institutions that can carry on without significant U.S. support. The longer that process takes, the more U.S. public support will wane and the more the local populace will question the legitimacy of their own forces and government. … T.E. Lawrence made a similar observation while leading the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1917: “Do not try to do too much with your own hands.
Ramadan, Up-Ticks, and Stage Left Exits -- [Desert Flier - in Iraq]
Ramadan, the holiest month of Islam, is upon us. Following a lunar calendar that varies slightly from year to year, Ramadan, the ninth lunar cycle month, will begin around September 12th this year. Consistently over the past few years, the preceeding period and Ramadan have been markers of significant insurgent activity and concentrated attacks on Coalition units.
"We like you!" (UPDATED) -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
I've attended a Fallujah City Council meeting, a recruiting day for the "Fallujah Protectors" (neighborhood watch), the establishment of the city's last police precinct and a meeting of "muktars," traditional cultural leaders of specific neighborhoods who work with Marines to improve infrastructure. Tomorrow, my CAG unit will distribute food bags downtown. Almost none of this access or interaction was possible in January, and the cooperation with American personnel is widespread and animated.
The surreality of the change can be summed up by this afternoon. I sat chit-chatting in a downtown precinct with Iraqi cops and newly-minted neighborhood watchmen, junior security officials drawn from the same labor pool that previously drove the insurgency. As was the case last visit, the Iraqis assume that I'm an Arab when they first see me, and express amused fascination when they discover I'm American.
The Anti-Iraq -- [Acute Politics - in Iraq]
The coffee franchise Green Beans has carved out a foothold in the Middle East over the last few years. Several months ago, a Green Beans opened up in Ramadi; the deck outside has become a nightly oasis of sorts for like-minded individuals across the post.
Some of Bravo company is there almost every night; I'm there every night that I'm in Ramadi. Other people drop in occasionally- some from other companies in the task force, some from other units. There are a few shadowy figures that come and chat now and then- they are happy to talk, and we are happy for the company.
Surge is working, but that is only half of the story -- [Redstate - Hooah Mac]
Promoted by AE because this first-hand narrative of the last year in Iraq complements Jeff's work as a refreshing alternative to conventional wisdom of the armchair variety.
This is one of the updates I promised you all now that I am home and safe and sound.
Where Am I? -- [Dude, where's the beach?]
Two weeks ago I was tasked by my Commander to escort one Iraqi Air Force Major General, and two IqAF Colonels into, and throughout, the U.S. No kidding, I've spent the last two weeks touring Texas, Kansas, South Carolina, and now Alabama with three Iraqi Officers. Trust me, its been the most difficult/rewarding duty assignment I've ever been on, but there's a reason I was 'tasked' to go on this trip. I was at the bottom of the totem pole.
... We met up with a bunch of 4 stars, 3 stars, 2 star Generals, Contractors, and 'Yes Men', all the while touring aircraft and helo factories to look at the systems the IqAF has ordered from companies here in the U.S. Remember, I'm nothing but an underpaid arms dealer out here in Iraq, setting up the IqAF and buying them weapons systems and gear to help fight the terrorists who are tearing Iraq apart.
The Warrior Scholar -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...Handling such situations as presented to the Marines in Anbar at the moment requires greater managerial skill than most state-side executives will ever be required to exercise in their entire careers. The successful field grade officer in counterinsurgency must be an anthropologist, psychologist, theologian, manager, tactician, logistician, arbiter, lawyer and politician. He must exemplify the warrior poet … in a different era.
Operation Lightning Hammer II launched in Iraq’s North -- [The Long War Journal]
Multinational Forces Iraq and Iraqi Security Forces have launched a major offensive operation in Iraq’s northern provinces on September 5. Called Operation Lightning Hammer II, the offensive is aimed at al Qaeda’s network in Salahadin, Ninewa, Diyala, and Kirkuk provinces.
In Iraq, everything before the fall of Saddam Huseein seems to have faded from collective memory, but in Ramadi, the Anbari capital of one of Iraq’s most important provinces, the general agreement was that an organized race in the streets of the city had not taken place for nearly a decade.
The Ramadi Run -- [Matt Sanchez]
Ramadi was the focal point in the once infamous Sunni Triangle. Marines from the 1/6 and 3/7 out of Camp Lejeune and 29 Palms fought up and down the streets that were now a flag spangled race route. The Northwest bridge was the starting point, but the year before it was also prohibited territory as it provides no cover from possible sniper fire. A Marine set off the starting flare.
Down the memory hole: Transcript of Schumer’s surge speech rewrites knock on U.S. troops; Video: Ralph Peters on Schumer — “He’s a liar” -- [Hot Air]
Follow the link to see how he rephrased that on the Senate floor. If you want to check S&L’s work, click the image below and fast forward to about 2:40. Two possibilities: either Schumer delivered the line as prepared and is now trying to rewrite the speech after the fact to hide the evidence or else the transcript reflects the version that was prepared for delivery and Schumer reworked the line on the floor to make it more damning of the military. Either way, we have a discrepancy between the official version and the actual version of a key passage to which he clearly paid some attention. Why?
DoD Operational Update Briefing with Maj. Gen. Sherlock from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington Va -- [Defense Link]
GEN. SHERLOCK: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for being here today. I have a few opening comments and then I would like to take your questions.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Felix and in response to requests from the government of Nicaragua via the State Department, the U.S. Southern Command has dispatched an assessment team from Honduras to assist the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Office with assessing damage from the storm and with evaluating the relief efforts in the areas affected by the storm. Additionally, SOUTHCOM has a variety of assets in the region which are available and standing by to assist if needed.
Mail Call -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Afghanistan]
In the Op Area: Convoy bombings are becoming more frequent up north (Miranshah, Rawalpindi, Peshwar) and drive-by shootings of troops and security personnel are on the increase in Quetta, Baluchistan. The 19 troops captured in the Mehsud/Betani tribal areas were freed. The Taliban opened a regional office -- literally -- in Saam. The Mehsud tribe is almost evenly divided between pro-Taliban and we-think-you-idiots-will-get-us-all-killed factions. Currently, the elders are of the latter opinion, and elders wield major clout in Pak socety, tribal or urban. Meanwhile, 150 troops left stranded by a flood in the Khar region have been surrounded by militants and presumed captured -- four militiamen kidnapped from a checkpoint on 6 July were released yesterday.
Signs Show That Syria Is Ramping Up For a Major Conflict -- [Gateway Pundit]
Syria said that it fired on Israeli planes today.
The Syrian government reported that Israeli aircraft dropped "munitions" inside Syria overnight- AP.
Reuters misreported the incident (with an anti-Israeli slant):
Bin Laden Plans to Release New Video -- [Town Hall]
The first new images of Osama bin Laden in nearly three years will be released ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, al-Qaida's media arm announced, a move that would end the terror mastermind's longest period without a message.
The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it had no credible information warning of an imminent threat to the United States, and analysts noted that al-Qaida tends to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary with a slew of messages.
Intel Agents Have Bin Laden Tape Transcript, Say He’s Alive -- [Pat Dollard]
The Blotter: Intelligence sources tell ABC News they believe the expected video message from Osama bin Laden is authentic, recently produced and evidence the al Qaeda leader is still alive. U.S. authorities now say they have a transcript which they say is aimed at potential suicide bombers who he urges to carry out missions against the West. The jihadist Web site announced the tape with a banner, ...
Is Belgium Appeasing the Jihadists? -- [PJM]
Belgium's anti-terror watchdog Jean-Claude Delepière isn't worried following the arrests of Muslims plotting terror attacks in Germany and Denmark: "Belgium is careful to avoid any aggressive attitude that may provoke negative reactions from Muslims." PJM contributor Paul Belien asks why officials like Delepière can openly link Islam and terror - but when anti-jihadists do the same, they are called racist.
A Marine's Lament -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
CPL Mark Finelli thinks our troops are idiots and that we need the WWII style draft (not the "elite friendly" Vietnam style one). Miss Ladybug disagrees with that assessment. Check out her post and weigh in on the issue.
ACLU Depictions -- [Dadmanly]
(Coming soon to a theater near you. No doubt.)
Dan Riehl referenced a pending lawsuit to be filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) by way of making a cautionary rejoinder to Bob Owens recent defense of our troops. Riehl also linked to a report on the ACLU lawsuit published by Time Magazine, as well as the ACLU press release, and full text excerpts of military prosecutions and investigations of soldiers who were alleged to have committed criminal acts while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. More on the ACLU’s press release and documentary “evidence” below.
Zogby poll: 42% of Democrats think Bush either caused 9/11 or let it happen -- [Hot Air]
I guess we should be grateful it’s not a clear majority, eh? You can thank the turds at 9/11 Truth for commissioning the poll; SLC spotted it earlier and has since been digesting the numbers. Spend some time with the data, paying special attention to question 402 starting on page 5 of the PDF. The results run on for several pages as Zogby breaks it down by age, region, religious belief, even gun ownership. The data for party affiliation comes on page 8. Here’s the most interesting bit, though, which I’ve taken the liberty of screencapping and highlighting. Click for large size:
Senator Joseph Lieberman Calls Chuck Schumer Anti-Surge Comments An Insult To The Troops -- [Hugh Hewitt - Duane R. Patterson ]
Posted by: Duane R. Patterson at 11:43 PM
Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman joined Hugh Hewitt earlier this afternoon, and Hugh played for him the offending comments from fellow Senator Chuck Schumer on the floor of the Senate yesterday. Here is the audio of that segment, and here is the full transcript. Senator Lieberman was very clear in his reaction.
GI Film Festival AAR -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
By all accounts, GI Film Festival 2007 was a huge success! The program was first-rate. And the festival earned worldwide press coverage from CBS, NBC, Fox, The Pentagon Channel, WMAL, the AP, The Washington Post, and Variety, to name just a few media outlets.
Be sure to check out their updated website, www.gifilmfestival.com, to view their official festival video, which will give you all of the highlights from last year’s event. I like the Gary Senise video.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
A Marine. A Mentor. A Model Approach. -- [Michael Yon - in Iraq]
I did not even know his name when I went on the first mission with Rakene Lee. Yet within half an hour, it was clear that Lee was another example of someone who intuitively understands the basics and basis of counterinsurgency. In Ghosts of Anbar, Part III of IV, the importance of leaders like SSGT Lee is described:
Progress -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - in Iraq]
Things are still frustrating in my little sector of Iraq. However, elsewhere, things are going well. So well, in fact, it seems that the Shia militia is taking some time off. This is good news! Why isn't there more coverage of it?? We didn't even know here, and we supposedly have a few members of JAM working for us (no, seriously, but that of course is rumor). In addition to that, I've talked to a few of my Marine buddies out West, and the reports there are even better. This is very positive news; news that shows a certain strategy is working.
"Curses" -- [Hard Soldier - in Iraq]
There is no such thing as bad luck right? Well I have been hit by more IEDS and had more break downs and just overall bad luck than most in the company so much that people are starting to say that I'm bad luck. These guys have even given me the nickname "routes red". I don't know if I should be honored or just keep laughing at it. I mean it's my job to work in danger so I don't consider it bad luck I think it's all just part of the job but, these guys keep telling me I'm bad luck.
Affirmative...action!"... -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
Everyone was ready, and the mission was on. We would be going to west Mosul once again, where it's never a dull moment. This time, however, we would have some Iraqi Army soldiers with us, commanded by Col. Haji whom I have seen in the past. This time I was able to experience his level of expertise a bit closer today.
More and more, I see the Iraqi Army here, taking the fight to the enemy as they have been taught by the Ghost Battalion, under the direction of Lt. Col. Eric Welsh. Today I saw the students become the example of how it shall be done as time goes on here in Mosul, long after I leave.
Will the Real Sheik Wake up -- [Matt Sanchez- in Iraq]
I just finished interviewing one of Iraq's most fascinating people, Sheik Abdul Sattar al-Rishawi, the man accredited with starting the Anbar Awakening. I'll print the interview in depth shortly, but a small introduction is in order.
Sheik Sattar is one of the few real sheiks in a country that currently has
Security in Iraq
Iraq to sign security agreement with U.S.-FM -- [Aswat Aliraq]
Baghdad, Aug 30, (VOI)- Iraqi Foreign Minster Hoshyar Zibari said on Thursday an expanded conference for Iraq's neighboring countries is to convene in Baghdad in early September, unveiling that Iraq is seeking a long-term security agreement with the U.S. next year once the U.N. mandate given to the Multi-National Forces' presence in the country was over.
"Iraq is currently making preparations for a meeting that will include Iraq's neighbors, U.N. Security Council permanent members and G8 on the experts' level during the first week of September in Baghdad," Hoshyar Zibari told a news conference today in Baghdad.
Iraqi Army withdraws from Fallujah -- [Fightin 6th Marines - in Iraq]
On an obviously momentous day that perfectly enshrines the hard work of the Fightin' 6th, our three regimental predecessors in the region, as well as the work of our Iraqi compatriots, the Iraqi Army has ceded their counterinsurgency operations in Fallujah to the Iraqi Police. A city that only 3 years ago was the scene of arguably the most ferocious house-to-house fighting operation of the war is now in the hands of the 'Sons of Fallujah.'
Clearly, this is something to be excited and spread the word about. Click on the "Share" link under the headline of this story and spread the word to Digg by "digging" the story.
Pfc. Brian Jones was there to watch the last battalion of the last brigade inside the city limits pack up their humvees and roll out.
15,000 miles in 10 days -- [Sergeant Grumpy - in Iraq]
While en route we were put up in one of Saddam's old palaces, and got to visit a couple of others that are occupied by our forces. The places were so overdone with marble and chandeliers, just what you would expect from a thug-king. Opulence without a trace of elegance. And of course you could only imagine what horrors may have occurred there, especially in any of the homes used by his sadistic sons.
But the base that was our real destination was nothing like that. It reminded me very much of Camp Doboj, where I served for a while in Bosnia. Not that it looked like it at all, but in the way it was primitive - no amazing chow hall run by KBR, no PX, no movie tent, no top-notch gym.
Iraq Diary: Shame and Honor in Fallujah -- [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman - in Iraq]
Even the most hard-headed American commanders have lost interest in trying to blast Iraqi insurgents into submission. Now, the focus is on winning the hearts and minds of the people – so they’ll give up the insurgents living in their midst.
There are all kinds of operations underway to do this. A typical one went down the other day in Fallujah,
Focus on the Force 03
Labor Day in Iraq -- [ON Point]
With both Gen David Petraeus and Amb Ryan Crocker arriving in Washington this weekend in order to brief the President on the situation in Iraq, Republicans and Democrats of all leanings are already trying to pre-spin the reports. Gen Petraeus will report on the military situation, and Amb Crocker the political – from listening to several of the Provisional Reconstruction Team leaders last week, it is obvious that “The Surge’s” military success has not led to any semblance of political, economic, or reconstruction success. The next week or so will be most interesting, which leads us to two other items : ...
Businessmen or Baathists…Economic Reconstruction in Iraq -- [ON Point]
we’re also very focused on the need to build capacity in the local and provincial governments and to be able to deliver economic and reconstruction assistance.”-- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, January 11, 2007 There are two “Surges “being implemented in Iraq today. While the military surge commanded by Gen David Petraeus is responsible for regaining control of the country from the various insurgent and religious militias, the economic surge led by 25 Provisional...
Primary school reopens in New Baghdad -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – After a month of painting, repairing, and installation, the Tumooh Primary School reopened Sept. 1 in the New Baghdad.
The school, which provides education for almost 500 elementary-age students, was refurbished by Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, attached to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Battalion leadership had determined that bringing the school up to speed was one of the key areas to be tended to in the area. Improvements to the school included a reattached water line, a new water pump, and a fresh coat of paint.
Charlie Company 3/509
The Pacification of Fallujah: Is it Fake? -- [Captain's Journal]
John Robb has a post entitled Potemkin Pacification, in which he writes:
Indications of calm and tranquility in the “pacified cities” of Iraq is at the expense of viability. Essentially, to pacify urban areas we have destroyed the basic levels of connectivity that make them work. For example, Fallujah residents are disconnected…
Never Play Chess With a Two Star -- [Wizbang]
"Little brother, never play chess with a two star."
I was reminded of that bit of childhood humiliation when I read the news that General Petraeus is going to recommend troop reductions by March. He just beat Congress before he walked in the room.
It's obvious to everyone the surge can't last forever. We had 130,000 troops before the surge started and we're presently at 160,000. It can't last much past April without extending the tours of the guys there which is a political nightmare. So we have to reduce troops by March.
But by recommending that to Congress and throwing them the bone that some can start rotating home by Christmas, he gets the time he needs while giving up "nothing." The "troop reduction" will only get troops back to previous levels.
Petraeus is going to walk into Congress, rattle off a list of talking points about how well our troops are doing and then tell Congress that as a result we can start bringing people home (winners) before Christmas. Make no mistake this isn't what the Democrats wanted 60 days ago, but they will have no choice but to take it.
Like A Rock (video)-- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
A new slide show from our Operations Officer with lots of photos of our Team Badger Soldiers.
TQ Surgical Personell -- [TQ Surgical - in Iraq]
AL Taqaddum Iraq - Navy personell
Behold the forbidden blasphemous balls! -- [Michelle Malkin]
Instead of taking Allah’s name off its flag, Saudi Arabia is whining about football manufacturers putting the flag on its balls. But do you have any doubt in your minds that those manufacturers would be damned by the Islamophobe card-playing rabble-rousers if they purposely left the Allah-bearing flag off its balls?
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Military officials, who did nothing wrong, can’t apologize fast enough:
Freedom Watch Afghanistan
Electing a Murderer? -- [Weekly Standard]
In June of 1992, right before President George H.W. Bush’s scheduled visit, a group of Panamanian thugs ambushed an American Humvee north of Panama City, killing a U.S. soldier. Among the murderers, according to a U.S. indictment, was a man named Pedro Miguel González. Over the weekend, González became leader of the Panamanian National Assembly.
His election comes at a time when Panama’s center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) is torn between its moderate wing and a more radical bloc associated with jailed dictator Manuel Noriega, who led Panama until his ouster by U.S. troops in 1989. According to Otto Reich, who served as a senior diplomat for Latin America under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, González “belongs to the Noriega faction.” Reich says the PRD radicals consider Panama’s current president, Martín Torrijos, also of the PRD, to be “too moderate” and “too pro-U.S.” If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Martín’s father was the late Omar Torrijos, Panama’s erstwhile military ruler.
Airport terror suspects 'planned massive attacks' -- [Independent Online]
Three suspected Islamic terrorists were arrested for plotting "massive" bomb attacks on Frankfurt's international airport and the Ramstein US Air Base, German authorities said today.
German federal prosecutor Monika Harms said the three had trained at camps in Pakistan and procured some 700 kilos of hydrogen peroxide for making explosives.
"This is a good day for security in Germany," she said.
Officials said the 35 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide, stored in a hide-out, could have been mixed with other additives to produce a bomb with the explosive power of 550 kilos of TNT.
THREE TERRORIST SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN GERMANY
Germans Arrest Three Terror Suspects In Plot Against U.S. Military Base UPDATED/BUMPED -- [Jawa Report]
UPDATE by Rusty, bane of al Qaeda in Germany, at 08:00: Attack is said to be "imminent" and "massive". Two of the arrested "youths" were German born converts to Islam, 22 & 29. The other is a 29 year old Turkish immigrant--which contradicts the earlier report which said he was Pakistani.
Minnesota Website Tells how to Wage Jihad -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Middle East Media Research Institute has a disturbing and interesting new report on an Islamist website hosted in Minnesota telling people how to join al Qaeda, how to attack high value targets and how to form a functioning cell.
Always Faithful -- [Gathering of Eagles]
By Kit Lange I learned, shortly after accepting the position as National Director for Operations that I would not be able to help every one of our brave warriors that needed help. I promised myself that I would try tirelessly on each. For the most part, I handle the issues as they arise through various official and quasi-official organizations. This is a case where I need some numbers though and a place where every one of you can help. The Marine below apparently isn’t receiving much mail while he recovers in a San Antonio Military Hospital. From the information provided he was deployed to Iraq in Jan 07, shot in the lower back Feb 07 and can not move his leg. He is in the spinal cord unit at the Hospital.
Please take a moment and drop this valiant defender of freedom a get well card. I know you had no plans to go to the drug store today and you never know which card to buy.
Could you spare $5 or $10? or a few more for Soldiers' Angels? -- [View from the 8th Floor]
It's that time of year when donations are lowest for all non-profit organizations.
If you have $5 or $10 or more to spare, you might...
Send a check to: Soldiers' Angels, 1792 E. Washington Blvd, Pasadena, Ca 91104
Donate via PayPal or Credit Card by clicking the "DONATE" button on THIS PAGE.
Happy Anniversary Wednesday's Hero Blogroll! :) -- [Yikes]
Many thanks to Indian Chris for starting this wonderful project to honor all our fallen heroes; Many thanks also to Kathi for putting together this slideshow! And most of all, many, many thanks to our troops and their families who sacrifice so much on our behalf.
ACLU Accuse Long List Of War Crimes On American Troops -- [Stop the ACLU]
It is no surprise that the ACLU is more concerned about “rights” of our enemies than those of Americans. However, as for the legitimacy of the allegations, I will take a step back with caution. I haven’t seen this 10,000 page list.
Update: Jack Lewis thumbs through the 10,000 pages and finds them quite lacking.
Interservice Argument Over Altitude -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Marine Corps Times:
Following the Vietnam War, there was a debate in Congress about attack helicopters and whether the Army’s procurement of them represented a duplication of the Air Force’s requirement to organize, train, equip and provide forces for close-air support.
Sources: B-52 Mistakenly Carried Nukes -- [Washington Post]
AP BISMARCK, ND -- A B-52 bomber was mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads during a flight from North Dakota to Louisiana, a newspaper reported
Attacking Iran from left and right -- [TigerHawk]
I, and just about everybody else in the blogosphere, missed this op-ed from last week -- Barack Obama virtually channeling Andy McCarthy and Michael Ledeen on the subject of Iran:
I’ll supply the protesters, you supply the war -- [Don Suber]
How to tell the Surge is working, Part XIV: The Left is changing the subject. Bloggers and columnists on the left are preparing for a war in Iran. They even set up a protest site: Stop War On Iran — a very real protest of an imaginary war.
Dianne Feinstein, "I'm Voting To Fund Bush's War" 9/4/07
Military Officials in Iraq Fault GAO Report -- [Washington Post]
A bleak portrait of the political and security situation in Iraq released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office sparked sharp protests from the top U.S. military command in Baghdad, whose officials described it as flawed and "factually incorrect."
You May Not Be Seeing "Path to 9/11" Any Time Soon... -- [Ace of Spades]
The Emmy-nominated miniseries, which unflatteringly portrayed President Clinton's role in the events prior to 9/11, is still not out for purchase. The mini's writer traces the delay to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Bush’s Staged Chat With The Troops?
Listening, Dems/MSM? Friedman Says Iraq 'Blows in 10 Minutes' If We Leave -- [NewsBusters]
Thomas Friedman shouldn't be so modest. The opening line of his column today proclaims his inability, based on his current trip to Iraq, to see the big picture there. But buried in his description of three experiences from his journey is a conclusion as unequivocal as it is harrowing.
War Today, War Tomorrow, War Forever! -- [Jules Crittenden]
Kind of has a ring to it, don’t you think? It’s part of the latest embarrassingly bad commentary from the drama-addicted, accuracy-challenged Keith Olbermann. He’s engaged in a bit of a kindergarten project with bluntnose scissors and Elmer’s glue. He starts with someone else’s arts and crafts project, the following chop job graph from the NYT:
THE BORE WAR - KATIE'S NEEDLESS IRAQ GIG A RATINGS STUNT -- [New York Post]
KATIE COURIC'S big adventure in Iraq looks so far like it's been very interesting for her, but for the rest of us the whole effort seems unnecessary.
Let's start with the obvious. Everyone knows CBS sent her to Iraq as a stunt aimed at goosing the ratings for the third-place "Evening News."
You don't really have to send your news anchor to a war zone. That's not the anchor's job. Covering war zones is what you pay correspondents for.
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)
The Watchmen -- [Weekly Standard - Mario Loyola - in Iraq]
Kharma, Iraq - In Iraq's Anbar province most of the U.S. military has moved beyond counterinsurgency and into "stability operations"--but not Company K, 3/3 of the Marines 6th Regimental Combat Team. Not entirely. This flat, grassy, and serenely rural farm country a few miles northeast of Fallujah, near the town of Kharma, is one of the few areas of Anbar province that still has some insurgency left to counter.
In the three days before I arrived for my stay with 3/3, the company had found seven IEDs on the roads within a mile of their tiny base. The various platoons on patrol, billeted in local houses, were still taking small-arms and mortar fire nightly.
Gunbattle in Samarra and AQI attack on a Hospital -- [Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
Here in Samarra, a Sunni city, al Qaeda -- also Sunni -- is the number one enemy. They not only attack US forces and the Shi'a national police, but also civilians all over the city. A case in point is today, when al Qaeda carried out an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) attack on the hospital here in Samarra. At the time, it was full of over 200 women and children.
This is the situation, and the type of person, to whose mercy some in America want us to abandon the Iraqi population. That is unacceptable.
As we were talking with civilians in a crowded market on our patrol this evening, a masked al Qaeda man popped up at the end of the street and started firing at our vehicles.
President Bush Visits An Iraqi Air Base Marked as: Mature
Provided by www.dvidshub.net
Bush makes unexpected Iraq visit -- [ABC News]
Mr Bush flew secretly to a heavily guarded desert air base for talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister. (AFP: Jim Watson )
Related Story: British forces in Iraq to remain strong: Brown United States President George W Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday in a bid to seize the upper hand in a looming showdown with congressional war critics pressing him to begin a troop withdrawal.
Bush makes war assessment in Iraq -- [AP]
The temperature topped 110 degrees as Bush stepped off Air Force One. The president stopped at a small building where a Marine Cobra pilot briefed him about the positives and negatives of current troop rotations. He told the president that troops were not getting enough time at home and did not have enough time for training.
"Morale?" asked Bush. "How's morale?"
"Very high sir," the pilot, Capt. Lee Hemming, said.
Bush's six-hour stay was being confined to Al-Asad Air Base, an airfield once part of Saddam Hussein's military.
White House Pool Report from Iraq -- [The Politico]
In a trip shrouded in secrecy, President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq’s al Asad Air Base Monday. The base is in the heart of al Anbar Province, which Bush has often pointed to as an example of the success of his troop surge in creating space for grassroots political reconciliation.
...We were told to report for pool duty not Monday morning, as had been publicly announced, but Sunday between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. Reporters were given maps of Andrews with our rallying point highlighted. We were told to come in through the main gate, not the usual Virginia Gate entrance. We also were told to tell only one editor at our respective news organizations, and not to do so by cell phone. Also, that editor had to be asked to not tell anyone. In addition, we were told that we could tell spouses about the impending trip, but no one else.
Bush Visits Iraq -- [Flopping Aces]
A great comment at LGF which highlights something different then other Presidents:
Think about it:
How many times did Roosevelt visit the front lines in WWII?
How many times did Wilson visit troops in the trenches in the Ardennes?
How many times did Johnson go to Vietnam?
Clinton in Bosnia? Nope.
Brown defends troop pullout from Basra -- [Herald Sun]
BRITISH Prime Minister Gordon Brown today denied the withdrawal of British troops from the Iraqi oil port of Basra was a "defeat" insisting it was a "pre-planned and organised move".
'And he said British troops stood ready to "reintervene" if the security situation demanded.
"Let me make this very clear. This is a pre-planned, and this is an organised move from Basra Palace to Basra Air Station," Brown told BBC radio on the withdrawal of some 500 troops from Basra Palace.
British Troops Complete Pullout From Basra Palace.
British troops have left Basra Palace in the south of Iraq, ending the permanent presence of the Army in the city.
Majority believe Iraq war 'lost' -- [BBC News]
More than two-thirds of the British public think UK troops are losing the war in Iraq, a survey suggests.
The poll, conducted for BBC Two's Newsnight programme, indicated that 52% believe victory is impossible.
A further 17% of the 1,001 people questioned thought British troops were losing - but could eventually win.
The survey comes as 550 British troops completed their withdrawal from the palace in the south Iraqi city of Basra to join 5,000 troops at Basra airport.
Combat deaths in Iraq decline; reasons aren't clear -- [McClatchy News]
WASHINGTON — American combat deaths in Iraq have dropped by half in the three months since the buildup of 28,000 additional U.S. troops reached full strength, surprising analysts and dividing them as to why.
U.S. officials had predicted that the increase would lead to higher American casualties as the troops "took the fight to the enemy." But that hasn't happened, even though U.S. forces have launched major offensives involving thousands of troops north and south of Baghdad.
American combat casualties have dropped to their lowest levels this year, even as violence involving Iraqis remains high.
WHAT EXIT? FALLUJAH! -- [Ralph Peters]
...It's summertime, but the living ain't easy. The work's tough, the heat's wicked, the "facilities" conjure the old line about what bears do in the woods, and only goodie boxes from home liven up a diet of field rations (great for two or three days, nasty after two or three months).
You'd expect complaints. I didn't hear one. And talking to three Jersey boys, I was surprised to hear just how positive they felt about the mission.
"I'd do it again in a heartbeat," Lance Cpl. Justin Blitzstein of West Milford told me. Self-assured and ready for anything, he added, "Anybody who doesn't think we should be here should see the difference we've made in the way these people live. And everybody here's a volunteer. We want to be here."
Citizens turn in weapons cache to Wolverines -- [MNF-I]
AL-DHOUR, Iraq — Coalition troops responded to a local citizen’s request for assistance Aug. 30 in the village of al-Dhour, southwest of Baghdad, removing a stash of weapons he had found.
Soldiers of 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), out of Fort Drum, N.Y., went to the front yard of a man who volunteers with a neighborhood watch-type program in
The man had gathered three hand grenades, a 105mm artillery round, 15 57mm anti-aircraft rounds, an AK-47 assault rifle, two machine-gun barrels, five rolls of wire, 50 pounds of homemade explosive, a suicide vest made with plastic explosive, loose plastic explosive, rocket-propelled grenade accelerators, a highpowered rifle scope, batteries, many cellular telephones and long-range cell phones, communications equipment and multiple false vehicle registrations and license plates.
MND-B attack aviation crew destroys mortar on rooftop -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A Multi-National Division-Baghdad close combat support aircraft destroyed a mortar system on a rooftop in the Rashid District in a southwestern neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Aug. 31.
While arriving on station to support Company C, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., during a small arms engagement, the helicopters tracked a suspected insurgent to a home with a mortar system emplaced on the roof.
Soldier attacked during combat logistics patrol -- [MNF-I]
LSA ANACONDA, Iraq – A U.S. Soldier was killed and three others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near their combat logistics patrol yesterday morning near Baghdad.
The wounded Soldiers were transported to a Coalition Force medical facility for treatment and further evaluation. The attack is under investigation. We will provide more details when they become available.
Still A Gunfight -- [Badgers Forward - in Iraq]
0600 Tuesday - computer booting, coffee ground and brewing, into the the TOC - what happened over night? The board that was so often blank, filled with five events and a sixth being written.
"What? Did First decide they need to make up for doing Convoy Security the first part of this rotation?"
"I guess so, Sir," replied one of the Battle NCOs.
"So what do we have?"
"Six finds , Sir. One with det."
The battle NCO using our slang indicates one detonated while being interrogated.
Death and destruction... -- [Eighty Deuce On The Loose - In Iraq]
No matter where you go or what you do, while here in Iraq you will see this kind of stuff more than anyone ever should. God forbid should you have to create some of it yourself. It truely is an ugly aspect of human nature. But like all things in life, you become desensitized and used to what you see. That is sadly the point in my life where I am. Seeing another dead body, or executed Iraqi or whatever no long has an effect on me. Nothing... cold nothingness.
What got me thinking about this was from when I was out the other day. We ended up having to swing by our outpost for something and as we were pulling in we saw an Iraqi Police (IP) pickup truck pulling in before us with probably 30 IP's walking behind it chanting and screaming. My initial reaction was that they were pissed about something and was preparing to have to deal with that. But as we continued pulling in I looked to the side of the road and noticed two IPs sitting down holding each other. When they looked my way I saw the stream of tears on their faces and I immediately knew what this was about.
Sep 01, 07 -- [Jim Spiri - in Iraq]
In this photo, SSGT Hjelm is seen during house search in Mosul, Iraq. Hjelm, is a newly promoted Staff Sergeant and today he wore the new rank for the first time. I have been with him on many ops and he is quite a character to ravel with. Congratulations on the promotion.
RE: "Why has there been a marked decrease in operations conducted by Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq?" -- [The Tank - W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
Pretty simple: It's not so much that there has been a decrease in their operations, but there has been a shift from their offensive ops to defensive ops. Basically, Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq.
In Anbar for instance, they've been beaten out of the cities and villages and are trying to either regroup or reconstitute themselves out in the desert (where they are running up against our sniper teams and constant, aggressive infantry patrols) or they are moving further east where they are being pummeled by our surge forces.
Turning the Tribes in Iraq -- [NY Times - Michael Gordon- in Iraq] HT: Michael Yon]
The American military has a new strategy for fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia — American soldiers are now working with Sunni counterinsurgents.
Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt -- [SWJ]
Some aspects of the war in Iraq are hard to fit into “classical” models of insurgency. One of these is the growing tribal uprising against al Qa’ida, which could transform the war in ways not factored into neat “benchmarks” developed many months ago and thousands of miles away. I spent time out on the ground during May and June working with coalition units, tribal leaders and fighters engaged in the uprising, so I felt a few field observations might be of interest to the Small Wars community. I apologize in advance for the epic length of this post, but it's a complex issue, so I hope people will forgive my long-windedness. Like much else, it’s too early to know how this new development will play out. But surprisingly (surprising to me, anyway), indications so far are relatively positive.
Pictures from FOB Loyalty -- [Talking with Heros - Bob Calvert and Jim Martin - in Iraq]
These pictures were taken during and after the high-level Iraqi and Coalition meeting on FOB Loyalty that Bob and Jim attended (click for larger versions).*
Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi Major General Riyadh the Rusafa, the Iraq District Commander in the FOB Loyalty area of operations:
Collected Thoughts After a Few Days in Baghdad -- [RedState - Jeff Emanuel - in Iraq]
...This is the biggest detraction I see at this point: long-term stability and effectiveness. While the 'Surge' is almost inarguably working militarily in many different areas of the country, the fact is, this is still a very broken country, with a great deal of instability, unrest, and upheaval -- and, were we to leave at any point in the near-term future, the vacuum that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke of earlier this week -- that Iran would love to fill -- would most certainly become a reality. While social, governmental, and security services are being developed and (hopefully) improved here (albeit at a pace that would make even a snail seem quick), the fact of the matter is that, as you know, the coalition - led, of course, by the US - is the glue holding this humpty-dumpty together (better that analogy, I suppose, than to call us the Little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike ;-). A situation resembling stability and security is achieved only as long as US units make their daily and nightly trips outside the wire; should our forces depart -- or even pull back to any of the handful of obscenely big "Super FOBs," as they did under General Petraeus's predecessor, General Casey (who, after overseeing a stagnant and ineffective policy in Iraq, was made the current Army Chief of Staff) -- then I fear that the fragile bit of security and stability which we have achieved will simply crumble with little or no lag time or resistance.
Hack Job - [Matt Sanchez - in Iraq]
Coalition Forces paid for food to be distributed in the Ramallah neighborhood. It's a way of engaging the population, but it's the Iraqi police who were going to hand out the rice, wheat, and seven kilos of lamb
Afghan Army Training -- [Vaughan Smith - journalist in Afghanistan]
I have now attached myself to Colour Sergeant Jim Bastin of the Inkerman Company of the Grenadier Guards. He is part of the 3rd Kandak training team. I have been able to film him running through some basic drills with them on the helicopter pad.
I am going to spend more time with both Colour Sergeant Bastin and the 3rd Kandak to see how this ‘mentoring’ works. It is clearly a demanding and dangerous role.
The Guardsmen from the Grenadiers are very much as I remember them. Except they are busier, more together and very confident. Then they are 5 months into an active service deployment where they have seen lots of action.
...I have met two officers who knew about the Frontline Club and our events. See frontlineclub.com.
When I speak to the officers about the opium problem in Helmand they are convinced ...
Flashpoint Afghanistan: Musa Qala -- [The Fourth Rail]
By David Tate. The scene of last year's heavy fighting is once again catching on fire as Operation Palk Meher continues.
Helmand province. -Over the past week, Coalition forces have been engaged in heavy fighting near Regay village in Musa Qala district, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Taliban who have been attacking Coalition patrols daily. Located 14 miles south of the city of Musa Qala, Regay saw heavy fighting break out August 25th when a joint Afghan-US Special Forces patrol came under attack and spent the night fighting off the Taliban.
In the Taliban's Backyard... -- [BlackFive]
Scouts from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), react as villagers below run after spotting the Soldiers moving on the hillside during Operation Destined Strike in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan, August 22. Photographer for all photos in this post: Sgt. Brandon Aird, 82nd Airborne Division.
Three Day Blitz Planned for Iran? -- [Captain's Journal]
The London Times makes claims concerning Pentagon plans for a coming air war against Iran.
...Here the “source” might be conflating the existence of plans by the U.S. military for addressing every known exigency on earth, with the intention of implementing any particular plan. However, there is one factor that strongly argues for seeing this as more than saber-rattling or contingency planning. In February of 2007 I argued that Israel is the key to unlocking the planning activity with respect to Iran.
US to Remove North Korea from State Sponsored Terrorism List? -- [GI Korea]
The big news today was that North Korea agreed to disclose and disable all their nuclear facilities and for some reason everyone is excited about this. Why am I not excited and jumping with joy that peace is about to break out on the Korean peninsula? Well because we have been here before just this past February when North Korea promised the same thing that they are promising now. They then made new demands which the US met and the North Koreans have yet to meet their side of the agreement anyway.
Psycho complains to city about "rogue helicopter pilot" - [HT: Jawa Report]
Local lunatic David Thompson complains to Charlotte, NC city council during a community access forum, which is conveniently captured on tape and broadcast live on the local community access channel. There aren't enough tags to cover his rant against ice in the arena, rogue helicopter pilots, and "terrorist pussies".
Islamist Website Hosted in Minnesota Features Discussion on How to Attack U.S. Military Bases -- [MEMRI Blog]
On September 3, the Islamist website www.ekhlaas.cc, hosted by SiteGenie LLC in Rochester, Minnesota, featured a discussion on ways to attack U.S. military bases. The discussion was accompanied by diagrams of military bases showing various possible plans of attack.
The Tampa Bombers: Jihadists or "Beach Boys?" -- [Counterterroism Blog]
Six years after 9/11, the mainstream reading of the war on Terror still circles around the essence of the conflict. Two young men indicted for charges of possession of explosives aren't yet perceived as part of an Urban Jihadist campaign inside the United States, despite the fact that a number of cells and of individuals have been arrested over the past years, all linked to Jihadism. Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24 and Youssef Samir Megahed (in Egyptian accent it reads “Mujahid”) 21, are affiliated with South Florida University in Tampa. As one reviews all news reporting (until this day), no link was made yet to an ideology which is the master chain between the perpetrators and their action. The AP story begins with "two Egyptian students at the University of South Florida were indicted Friday on charges of carrying explosive materials across states lines and one was accused of teaching the other how to use them for violent reasons." The News Agency doesn't explain what these violent reasons are.
Bloggers Choice Awards And An Update On The Project -- [Thinking Right]
Now, an update on Project: “Letters from Home”. So far, I’ve recieved 380 emails. The response has really slowed down though, so anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated. If you’ve not sent a letter yet, it’s certainly not too late. If you have, well, there’s nothing that says you can’t send more than one letter. If you have a blog, please post about this project. Otherwise, please spread the word through email to your family and friends. The address the letters should be sent to is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once I reach the 500 mark, I plan on sending out the first batch of letters to the 1st battalion 1st Marine regiment. I know these men and women will really enjoy getting a letter of support from home. i would love to be there to see the look on their faces.
Meanwhile, back on the front... -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Hello Soldiers' Angels,
I am currently deployed to XXX, Afghanistan, and we've been out here for about 5 months now. Let me tell I had no clue there was such an organization out there that supported troops as much as you do. I thank God for your organization and pray that it continues to be a blessing to myself and all the other troops that are serving around the world.
The Man Behind The De Palma Smear: Mark Cuban Declares War On The Troops -- [Pat Dollard]
Mark Cuban Billionaire Mark Cuban has decided to put all of his weight behind a campaign to smear US troops in Iraq as "monsters'. Cuban has decided that De Palma's film "Redacted" must be seen as the cornerstone of his and De Palma's self-declared anti-victory campaign against America and her troops fighing in Iraq. Cuban's company Magnolia Pictures will be bringing this propganda campaign to ...
"We Are Going To Hit Iran. Bigtime" -- [Daily Kos - by Maccabee]
I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.
I asked her why she is telling me this.
Her answer was really amazing.
Hoisting the flag -- [Neptunus Lex]
Something there is among certain elements of the left that gets weak kneed at the notion of Bu$hitler’s legions of myrmidons finally coming to their senses and Flipping On The Man. It serves to explain how the New Republic fell for the Scott Thomas Beauchamp diaries, and perhaps explains the tone of breathless, schoolyard tattletaling in this dKos diary entry. Whoever the diarist’s correspondent is, s/he clearly knows a bit of the inside lingo but still manages to get details glaringly wrong in a way that coincidentally serves to reinforce the Kossacks’ prejudices, garnering over a thousand comments when I first looked in this morning.
Don't believe everything you read on the internets -- [Daily Kos - by kos]
Seriously, just because something online confirms your own viewpoint or prejudices or whatnot, it does not mean it's true.
Skepticism is a virtue.
Now the right-wingers are laughing at the gullibility of those who recommend Maccabee's diaries.
And they are quite justified in doing so.
Military Censorship: Think Progress -- [BlackFive - Grim]
I'm about a day late getting to this story, but apparently lefty blog Think Progress feels it's being censored by the military as punishment for its content. I'd like to quote a piece of the recent Bloggers' Roundtable with Col. Simcock, Commander, RCT-6.
Why did we create BlogWorld & New Media Expo? -- [BlogWorld]
I found blogs just after September 11th 2001. Milblogs like Mudville Gazette, Blackfive, and Michael Yon were and still are regular reads for me. In fact after years of leaving lengthy comments and having great debates on many political blogs left right and center I finally got motivated enough to create my own blog therealuglyamerican.com and started posting.
One day I emailed one of those milbloggers and asked him for an interview via email. His name was Tim Boggs. Tim agreed to the interview. I have interviewed other soldiers and Iraqi journalists and bloggers 24 Steps to Liberty and Treasure of Baghdad. Later I put two of my friends 24 steps and Tim together to ask each other questions.
Michael Yon, Matt and Uncle Jimbo from Black Five, other Milbloggers to speak at BlogWorld! -- [Blog World]
I just received the latest info from Andi and the folks at Military.com. This is an all star lineup. The panelists will include Matt and Uncle Jimbo from Black Five, John Noonan from Op-for, Tim Boggs, and many more.
Publication Day - The Sandbox -- [Badgers Forward]
Today is the day - The Sandbox is being published. Read some of TD's and my posts there. I think this is the second big book of war blog posts. The other one being Matt Burden's Blog of War. It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this project.
Remember all of the profits go to Fisher House. I will try and talk TD into a book tour when we are both back.
Edwards Statement On Bush Iraq Visit -- [John Edwards]
"The situation in Iraq is too serious for any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ photo ops. It's good that the violence is down in Anbar Province, but it's a homogeneous area that lacks the ethnic conflict that's plaguing the rest of the country. Iraq needs a comprehensive political solution and our brave troops deserve better than more of the president's rhetoric that clings to a failed strategy.
Bill Clinton 'shocked' Hillary donor was a fugitive -- [Newsday]
Digg Del.icio.us Facebook Furl Google Newsvine Reddit Spurl Yahoo Print Single page view Reprints Reader feedback Text size: Contoocook, N.H - Former President Bill Clinton said he was "shocked" by revelations that a top fundraiser for his wife is a fugitive from justice and claimed he didn't even know what "HillRaiser" Norman Hsu did for a living.
Vote For Mo -- [Jules Crittenden]
Dean, Ellison tell Muslims to run for office:
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told American Muslims gathered in Rosemont to think beyond voter registration drives.
“You need to run for political office,” Dean said Saturday. “The only way you can achieve your goals is to stand up and say who you are and be proud of it.”
Those in the packed house rose to their feet and applauded.
Media Misreports UK Withdrawal From Basra -- [Gateway Pundit]
Last night, the UK forces turned over their post in Basra to the Iraqis.
So how did the media report this event?
Reuters said: "British troops quitting Iraqi city of Basra
The Insufferable Katie Couric -- [Charlie Foxtrot]
...Since she seems obligated to point out dastardly Pentagon propaganda (Heck, that market was probably a set, just like in The Truman Show or Capricorn One) I guess it would be too much to ask that when CBS news reports bad news out of Iraq, that their talking heads be obligated to say "Of course that's what Al Qaeda wants us to see so you have to keep that in mind as well". At least that would be more honest....
Are More Troops Helping?
Bob Schieffer talks with Katie Couric and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on whether the surge of troops in Iraq should be withdrawn and if General Petraeus' report will seek to retain those troops.
Seeing Little Progress, Warner Announces Pullout Date -- [ScrappleFace]
Sen. John Warner, R-VA, today said the failure of politicians to make reforms and the lack of progress on “almost any benchmark you can name” have led him to conclude that the only way forward is to pull out of the U.S. Senate, therefore he will not seek reelection at the end of his current term.
The silver-maned lawmaker said his withdrawal from the Senate is designed to show politicians that his commitment is “not open-ended.”
Meals Ready To Excrete -- [The Smoking Gun]
Soldiers serve up amusing mixed reviews of military grub-in-a-bag
Next year, the U.S. military will begin production of a new line of Meals, Ready-to-Eat, those indestructible chow packages that help sustain American soldiers. MREs, which are distributed to servicemen during operations where regular meal preparation is not possible, are packaged to last for three years (or six months in 100 degree temperatures). The new MREs were developed, in part, after a late-2005 taste test involving 400 soldiers stationed at Fort Greeley in Alaska. Each serviceman involved in the field evaluation filled out comment forms, which were then compiled in a report prepared by Department of Defense officials. A copy of that entertaining document, filled with the blunt appraisals of junior Frank Brunis, can be found below. Eight complete meals were tested, with mixed results. One soldier complained that
(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)