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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.
US makes progress in Iraq's `triangle of death' -- [AP]
ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq (AP) -- When the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division arrived in Iraq's once infamous "Triangle of Death," violence there and in neighboring Baghdad was so intense that hundreds were dying every day and the country was virtually in a state of civil war.
Now as the division heads home at the end of May, the region stretching south from Baghdad and across central Iraq has become a showcase for what the U.S. military hoped to achieve in Iraq.
"When we first arrived here 15 months ago there was nothing but sectarian violence, al-Qaida, Shiite extremists," the division commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said as he wrapped up a tour of an industrial complex.
Al Qaeda Discusses Losing Iraq -- [Straregy Page]
May 27, 2008: Al Qaeda web sites are making a lot of noise about "why we lost in Iraq." Western intelligence agencies are fascinated by the statistics being posted in several of these Arab language sites. Not the kind of stuff you read about in the Western media. According to al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic. According to their stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60 percent of the terrorist attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved killing a lot of civilians. The rest of the violence was carried out by Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were trying in vain to scare the Americans out of the country.
Fall in violence lures Iraqis home -- [USA Today]
BAGHDAD — One year ago, Sahba Shukry hid her tears from her daughter as the family fled their home in Baghdad's violence-wracked Saidiya neighborhood. When they returned home last month, the only tears in the family came from her daughter Sama, 3. The little girl was impatient because her mother was too busy hugging neighbors and downing celebratory glasses of orange slush to help unpack Sama's toys.
"Your toys will stay unpacked this time," Shukry, 31, told her daughter, who was tugging crankily at the folds of her dress. "We're done moving around."
The Shukrys are one among many Iraqi families who, emboldened by the fall in sectarian violence since last year's U.S. troop increase, have returned to homes they left behind. The number of returnees may be growing, although it represents a small percentage of the more than 5 million Iraqis who have fled their homes since the war began in 2003. According to the latest figures available from the Iraqi government, about 30,000 Iraqis had returned home through Mar
Iraqi booze sellers unfazed by threats -- [NewZealand News]
After living in fear for months, liquor store owners in Baghdad are proudly displaying everything from Iraqi Asriya Arak to Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky, a sign that peace and stability may return.
Bombings, shootings and hand grenade attacks by suspected Muslim militants forced many alcohol salesmen to shut down but a security crackdown by US and Iraqi forces have made it possible for them to re-open along one of the capital's busiest streets.
Baghdad Zoo Making a Comeback -- [Nick News]
It goes without saying that living in Baghdad is probably pretty stressful.
But more and more Iraqis are finding a refuge from the war at the Baghdad Zoo.
According to the Associated Press, 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqis now visit the zoo each week, on average, now that there's less violence in much of Baghdad.
Bin Laden Message A Surrender In Iraq? -- [Yankee Sailor]
There’s been an intriguing series of events playing out over the past few weeks that appear to be forming a pattern. If you recall the happenings in Iraq from two years ago, Abu Musab Zarqawi was said to be demoted from his position as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. That ambiguity was removed with the death of Zarqawi in 2006 and he was succeeded by Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
Al-Masri made his public debut to much fanfare in jihadi circles, but his leadership has proven quite ineffectual, to the extent that the U.S. has slashed the reward for his capture from $5 million to a paltry $100,000 over the course of the last year.
FIFA Suspends Iraq, Putting a Hero Team Out of the Olympics -- [NY Times]
FIFA announced today that it has suspended Iraq from all international soccer competitions for one year after last week’s decision by the Iraqi government to dissolve its national Olympic committee. Iraq was already facing a suspension from the International Olympic Committee that could prevent its athletes from going to Beijing, but with FIFA’s suspension coming first, it now means that the Iraq men’s soccer team cannot appear in the Games.
FIFA said that if Iraq reinstates its Olympic committee before 2 p.m. London time on Thursday, it will lift the suspension.
The Bon Jovi IED -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
O Dark Thirty. Memorial Day weekend, not that any of us were really aware of that at the time. Patrolling up and down Route Daytona, the highway stretch that serves as the logistical spinal column for the massive American body draped across this part of Iraq.
“Gravedigger 1, this is X-Ray.” My entire vehicle groaned along with me. Radio calls at this time of night rarely bring good news.
Insurgent Get OWNED By His RPG While Trying To Shoot A US Military Humvee In Iraq
"Failed RPG Attack At US Military Humvee"
"BTW The Insurgent Killed Some Of His Insurgent Team Also By His RPG"
Iraqi Special Forces capture Special Groups commander in Baghdad -- [LWJ]
Iraqi Special Operations Forces have captured a senior Mahdi Army Special Groups leader in the Shula neighborhood in the Ghazaliyah district in northwestern Baghdad. The Shula neighborhood has been a target of US and Iraqi forces over the past several weeks as the fighting in Sadr City has largely subsided.
The Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured what Multinational Forces Iraq called a "mid-level Special Groups leader" along with two associates during a raid on May 25. The commander, who is "affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps," is thought to lead a 300-man battalion of Mahdi Army fighters.
GEN Petraeus on Muqtada al-Sadr and How Iraqi Troops Saved Basra
Cat’s Out of the Bag: Onwards to Maysan -- [Talisman Gate - Iraqi Blog]
Well I guess enough people are openly discussing this now in Baghdad that it’s okay for me to write about it. Mind you, all the following is classified under the category of gossip:
The Iraqi Army and the Marines are preparing for a major campaign against Mahdi Army and Iranian targets in Maysan Province (‘Amara). Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may even put the entire elected leadership of ‘Amara—many of whom are Sadrists—out of a job, by flexing his authority under emergency powers. There is even talk of air strikes against military targets—weapons depots, transportation vehicles and individuals—on the Iranian side of the fence; these are targets that are arming and otherwise supporting the Special Groups throughout Iraq.
Outside the wire -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
On a mild Spring morning a while back, I climbed into an armored vehicle and took up my seat. With my body armor wrapped tightly around me and my Kevlar helmet firm about my head, I took my seat inside what is known as a Rhino - a fortified bus. But this was no ordinary morning commute. At a final stop before passing through our gates, we were told to load our weapons.
‘Forbidden pleasures’ return to Mosul -- [Middle East Online]
Weddings, park visits, coffee shops and restaurants back into circulation as Al-Qaeda melts away in northern Iraq.
Taha and his fiancee took advantage of the offensive against Al-Qaeda to don their wedding finery and head for the so-called "Forest Park" where newlyweds traditionally pose for pictures surrounded by friends and family.
Frightened residents deserted the park in north Mosul after radical Al-Qaeda militants imposed their extremist view of Islam on the city.
But since the local campaign against Al-Qaeda began residents have been returning in force to celebrate weddings in the park, especially at weekends.
Sen. Lindsey Graham asked GEN Petraeus what sparked the remarkable turnaround in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Gates Says Lack of Patience Could Cost Victory -- [Defense Link]
U.S. strategic objectives “are within reach” in Afghanistan and Iraq, but a lack of patience could doom those prospects, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said last night.
Gates spoke to the second Special Operations Forces International Conference at Tampa, Fla., the home of U.S. Special Operations Command.
Afghanistan and Iraq are the most important battlefields in the fight today, the secretary said, and his priority has been “getting us to a point where our strategic objectives are within reach in those two countries.”
America’s best opportunity to discredit and deflate the extremist ideology is in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gates said.
Progress in Iraq: Security 2008
See how and why the surge worked; watch Iraqis talk about the safety they experience now and hear the untold story of how Iraqis stepped up to the plate and made the surge work. No one should argue for or against Iraq until they educate themselves with this video.
Iraq News (27 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
Muqtada al-Sadr might be trying to brush up on his studies and boost his theological credentials according to WaPo, but the LA Times reports that the Mahdi Army is losing popular support in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City due to its racketeering and thug-like tactics.
The U.S. Presidential hopefuls may address the women in combat issue. Haha, silly politicians, military women are already in combat roles, get with the times!
Reuters reports that major heads of the state-run oil industry have been replaced, which is most likely an attempt to curb the corruption that has plagued the Iraqi oil industry.
Six young boys, who were being trained to be utilized as suicide bombers by a Saudi foreign fighter, have been rescued by Iraqi security forces in Mosul.
Memorial Day -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
...This Memorial Day as 3 others that I have spent on a deployment I ponder of the warriors who came before us, the ones we try to emulate. It’s an unwritten rule, that we try to fulfill the expectations of those that have gone before us and have changed the world. WW I, WW II, all the wars and battles before and after, one constant theme has been in every one, American men and women have volunteered to stand for the country and keep the wolf at bay. Some returning home, many paying the ultimate sacrifice.
'Ayatollah will not allow US-Iraq deal' -- [Press TV]
Iraq's most revered Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has strongly objected to a 'security accord' between the US and Iraq.
The Grand Ayatollah has reiterated that he would not allow Iraq to sign such a deal with "the US occupiers" as long as he was alive, a source close to Ayatollah Sistani said.
Is Sistani Promoting Attacks on Coalition Forces? -- [Weekly Standard]
While this certainly isn't beyond the realm of possibility, I have spoken to several US intelligence sources who think this is highly unlikely. The primary reason is that one of the groups cited in the article, the Jund al Marjaiyah, which means the Soldiers of the Religious Authorities or Army of the Marja, essentially serve as "the Shia version of the Swiss Guard for Sistani's religious circle." This means their purpose is to protect the religious sites and the senior leadership of Sistani's circle. If the Jund al Marjaiyah starts to conduct attacks on Coalition forces, this would invite reprisals and directly endanger the senior leadership and religious sites.
Andrew Sullivan celebrates Memorial Day with Iranian propaganda -- [Protien Wisdom]
Excitable Andy relays — without the slightest hint of skepticism — an anonymously sourced piece from PressTV claiming that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has strongly objected to a ’security accord’ between the US and Iraq.
PressTV is an arm of Iran’s state broadcasting apparatus. As Michael Goldfarb notes, it is an outlet that seriously reports on claims that the Holocuast was “scientifically impossible.” While it is possible that Sistani is taking a more aggressive stance toward the US presence in Iraq, his general philosophy of quietism runs against getting involved in politics (and thus against the general philosophy of the Iranian mullocracy). So it is also entirely possible that the anonymously-sourced piece is pure Iranian government propaganda, gullibly lapped up by the BDS crowd in the way they lapped up Sadrist propaganda about Sistani last month.
A Year in Iraq
Some videos and pics of my year as an advisor to an Iraqi Commando unit.
Memorial Day Memories -- [Courage Without Fear - in Iraq]
Once again I'm celebrating a Memorial Day from the desert. This marks the second time I've been in uniform, overseas for Memorial Day. Even though I hate to say it, I don't think it'll be my last. After 9/11/01 it's a different world we live in.
...Many of my soldiers here on this tour wear bracelets etched with the name of a soldier. Many of them personally knew the Soldier whose name is engraved on that piece of metal. They were friends, comrades, Brothers. Even after they leave the service and continue their lives without the Army, they'll keep those bracelets.
Chicken feed and city council, working civil affairs in Iraq -- [IN Iraq - Jim Foley in Iraq]
Captain Carlstein Lutchmedial, originally from Trinidad, asks a ton of questions. When the village catfish farmer tells him he only has a thousand fish in his pond at one time, Lutchmedial asks why he can’t breed more. When the water plant operator says he needs more gas to keep the generators going, Lutchmedial asks how much more he needs. When Tikrit city council members say they want a new clinic, Lutchmedial asks them to recall what happened to the last clinic. He asks about rent, cost of living, fuel and jots their answers down in his green book.
I made this before people were making them. A British Muslim helped me create it.
Iraqi orchestra stages rare concert -- [Middle East Online]
BAGHDAD - Iraq's national symphony orchestra staged a rare concert in Baghdad in what organisers said was an effort to preserve the nation's cultural heritage despite years of warfare.
A repertoire of Arabic, Kurdish and classical Western compositions was played on Wednesday to an audience of 400 people including UN officials, diplomats, military officers and Iraqi lawmakers, according to the UN organisers.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said the concert, held to mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, was intended to "remind the world of what Iraqis can offer and to preserve the country's cultural heritage."
Thank you Pakistan....... -- [Miserable Donuts]
Seems our Friends in Islamabad have made another deal with the Taliban in the western wastelands. "We will leave you alone if you just play nice". I have always been convinced that Afghanistan's stability has never been the goal of her neighbors. Here is more proof. With the Pak Army backing off, the tribes are allowed to continue their fight across the border. Attacks are already up 300% in the eastern ISAF areas and so are casualties on both sides, and those caught in the middle. Negotiation without Strength = Appeasement. This has been proven again and again. Take notes Obama, lets see how this works out.
Following the Marines Through Helmand III -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Take particular note of the words of town elder Abdul Nabi: “We are grateful for the security. We don’t need your help, just security.” Similar words were spoken at a meeting in Ghazni with the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan: ““We don’t want food, we don’t want schools, we want security!” said one woman council member.”
Again, similar words were spoken upon the initial liberation of Garmser by the U.S. Marines: “The next day, at a meeting of Marines and Afghan elders, the bearded, turban-wearing men told Marine Capt. Charles O’Neill that the two sides could “join together” to fight the Taliban. “When you protect us, we will be able to protect you,” the leader of the elders said.” The narrative emerging is not one of largesse, roads, education, crop rotation, irrigation and all of the other elements of the soft side of counterinsurgency. To be sure, these elements are necessary and good, but sequentially they come after security.
Afghanistan Campaign Gripped by Confusion -- [The Captain’s Journal]
In Command Structure Changes for Afghanistan we discussed the possibility that Secretary of Defense Gates would demand changes in the strategic alignment of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Promotion of General Petraeus to Commander of CENTCOM without a realignment of U.S. troops to his direct command (they currently report to NATO command) removes the possibility for any strategic changes needed to make the campaign successful.
There are further developments in the potential realignment of forces, and General McNeill has made his position known.
In Pictures: Eastern Afghanistan's most wanted -- [LWJ]
Shortly before the Combined Joint Task Force-82 transferred authority to the incoming 101st Airborne Division on April 10, CJTF-82 shared a list of the most wanted insurgent operatives' active in the areas under Regional Command East with The Long War Journal. The list is separate from the 12-most wanted Taliban list drafted up by the US military in October 2007. The current list includes a plethora of regional, provincial and district level insurgent commanders and criminal kingpins wanted for facilitating attacks against Coalition and Afghan National Security Forces. The list marks the first glimpse into the ground-level hunt for key insurgent commanders in areas such as Logar and Laghman provinces.
U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Love Their Job
Busy ,Busy, Busy -- [48th Combat Support Hospital - in Afghanistan]
...Remember a couple of months ago I wrote a post about "Sad Faced Children"? Well, I must admit...we just discharged a patient that was a young boy and he was always smiling. He had been struck by a vehicle and had received a bad burn to his lower leg. The doctors were amazing with the care they provided as was the rest of our staff. This boy had a smile that could lighten up the entire room. He thought much of what we did was funny and his smile would warm your heart. He loved throwing ball. We didn't have an actual baseball (probably best for safety reasons), but we had a plush easter egg and a baseball glove. We would throw the ball with him and he would set there in his wheelchair and throw forever. He loved it any time the staff would miss and get hit with the ball. He would do one of those "belly laughs" where you can hear the laugh come from deep within. I am so glad that he is better but hate to see him go. We should be able to keep pre-packaged muffins stocked no because that boy could really tear into some blueberry and chocolate muffins.
Other than that, its basically business as usual here at Salerno.
New from MEMRI TV: VIDEO -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Emir of the Pakistani Taliban Beitullah Mahsoud: Pakistan Should Use Its Nuclear Weapons to Challenge the Enemies; Five Percent of Fighters in Afghanistan Are Our Men
Making life a little better -- [Voices from the War - in Afghanistan]
I'm SSG Frank Broncato from Buffalo, and I am Humanitarian Aid Coordinator in the Civil Military Affairs Section of 27th Brigade Combat Team, CJTF Phoenix VII Kabul, Afghanistan.
I keep track of all incoming and out going aid supplies. I distribute clothes, toys, food and school supplies, which are desperately needed here. We are opening up a lot of schools for the children of Afghanistan.
Breaking point -- [Sun reporter | David Wood in afghanistan]
As fighting in Afghanistan intensifies, Marines battle an ever-present enemy: combat stress
GARMSIR, AfghanistanIn - In the dying sunlight, the day's heat radiates from a farm compound's baked adobe walls, which enclose Marines slumped wearily against their rucksacks.
Here in southern Afghanistan, where the men of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit are battling Taliban insurgents, life comes in a simple equation: There are men out there who will kill you, unless you kill them first.
Out here, you've got to figure out how to handle the stress of that exhilarating and awful equation.
Bust it or park it, use guesswork or patchwork or whatever works. Suck up the heat, the dust, the physical exhaustion, the fear, the loss. Help is a long way away.
I’m sorry -- [From the ’stan - in Afghanistan]
I just read a comment on one of my stories about the Court of Inquiry from someone who was offended by the fact that I was able to go to Afghanistan since my husband is there. He also said my husband should not have eaten meals with me because his Marines didn’t have that option.
In light of that, I just wanted to apologize to any of you who are or were upset and/or offended by me going to Afghanistan. I know we are all under a lot of stress when our loved ones are deployed, and I certainly did not want to cause any additional stress for any of you. As I mentioned early in the blog, I did discuss that issue at length with my editors and we determined that our readers were better served by me going and writing about what life and work is like over there than by me staying home.
John Bolton to be target of citizen's arrest at Hay Festival -- [Telegraph]
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, faces a citizen's arrest when he addresses an audience at the Hay Festival in Wales this evening.
George Monbiot, the journalist and activist, is planning the action because he believes Mr Bolton is a "war criminal".
He said he was surprised that Mr Bolton would be allowed to "swim through the politest of polite soirees – which is of course Hay."
Israel: Carter Offers Details on Nuclear Arsenal -- [Reuters]
Former President Jimmy Carter said Israel held at least 150 nuclear weapons, the first time a current or former American president had publicly acknowledged the Jewish state’s nuclear arsenal. Asked at a news conference in Wales on Sunday how a future president should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, he sought to put the risk in context by listing atomic weapons held globally. “The U.S. has more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union has about the same, Great Britain and France have several hundred, and Israel has 150 or more,” he said, according to a transcript. The existence of Israeli nuclear arms is widely assumed, but Israel has never admitted their existence and American officials have stuck to that line in public for years.
Amid Middle East Peace Talks, Political And Military Problems Cause Domestic Uncertainty In Israel -- [Threats Watch]
The recent announcement by Israel, Syria, and Turkey concerning the advancement of indirect negotiations on the Golan Heights has diverted attention away from some significant developments in Israel and the Middle East region. More damaging evidence against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on corruption charges has been temporarily muted by the Golan announcement, as has the outcome of talks in Qatar between various factions of the Lebanese government. Hizballah now has veto power over decisions made within a new national...
Oil Hysteria Driving Price More Than OPEC Supply, Global Demand -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
America’s greatest strength in wartime has long been its economic and industrial might. Record oil prices are damaging this capacity. Yet the cause for the sustained spike in oil prices has less to do with increased global demand or fluctuations in supply than most acknowledge. Rather, an irrational market panic is by far the greatest variable in the economic equation. Nevertheless, we continue to look to address the problem by cajoling or even intimidating the suppliers. Regardless of what one...
Media and Intel Community Caught by Apparent Al-Qaida Nuke Message "Prank" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
As of early this evening, ABC News and the Drudge Report are running a headline claiming that "al Qaeda operatives will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is 'jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West.'" The ABC News report quotes FBI spokesman Richard Kolko as acknowledging that "there have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians."
For the record: there is no indication whatsoever that Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation is preparing to release anything in the next 24 hours. There has been no notification posted on the usual channels, there are no glitzy advertisements, and there is no credible electronic chatter, period. Rather, the intel community appears to have (once again) fallen victim to poorly researched open source news reporting.
Video Urges Nuclear Jihad Against US [UPDATE: "Code" Threatens September 2008 Attack?] -- [Jawa Report]
The most popular jihadi web forum has posted an "unofficial" video urging Muslims to use nuclear weapons against the U.S. and the West. The video is titled "Nuclear Terrorism". By unofficial they mean that it was produced by forum users, and not by al Qaeda's official video production arm.
The lengthy video uses reports popular in the Arab and European Leftist press that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah as justification for using WMD against the United States. The star witness is Jeff Englehart.
Al Qaeda Supporters' Tape to Call for Use of WMDs -- [ABC News]
Intelligence and law enforcement sources tell ABC News they are expecting al Qaeda supporters will post a new video on the Internet in the next 24 hours, calling for what one source said is "jihadists to use biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to attack the West."
"There have been several reports that al Qaeda will release a new message calling for the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against civilians," FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told ABC News in an e-mail.
Osama Bin Laden Located in Himalayan Mountains? -- [Gateway Pundit]
UPDATE: Top Pakistani Taliban official Baitullah Mehsud announced that Osama Bin Laden is dead.
UPDATE 2: Then there is this other report from today claiming that Osama is hiding in northern Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan.
TERRORISM: AL ARABIYA, BIN LADEN IS ON K2 -- [AGI News]
(AGI) - Cairo, May 26 - Osama bin Laden is hiding on K2: Dubai's sat tv 'Al Arabiya' claimed that a vast military operation carried out by US secret services is being conducted there to capture the leader of al Qaeda. According to the arab channel, which quotes anonymous military forces, the imminent military operation is being readied at the base of the second highest mountain in the world in a tribal area of northern Pakistan where Bin Laden has been living for some time under the protection of pashtun populations. In order to prepare the operation US secret services and army officials met in recent days in a military base in Doha, Qatar. The meetings have allegedly been attended by US general David Petraeus who is leading American forces in Iraq and the US ambassador in Islamabad Anne Peterson. News of the possible raid against bin Laden, yet to be confirmed by other sources, arrives at the same time as an al Qaeda announcement requesting for attacks against US interests in Yemen. An announcement "attributed" to al Qaeda and posted on the 'al ekhlaas' website, the terrorist organisation asks its "brothers in Yemen to undertake attacks such as the one against the USS Cole or the one against French tanker 'Limburg'" because "only attacks of this kind can be considered effective these days".
Sri Lanka 'will defeat terrorism' -- [BBC News]
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has vowed "not to stop until terrorism has been defeated".
He was speaking after at least eight people were killed and more than 70 injured in a bomb attack on a packed commuter train on Monday
Religious Frictions In The Moslem World -- [Strategy Page]
May 27, 2008: The West, and non-Moslems in general, aren't the only ones suffering from the effects of Islamic extremism. It isn't just the violence of terrorists, it's the threats and harassment. Moslems suffer from this the most, and that has led to a strange revival of Christianity in Moslem nations. In Algeria, for example, the local Christian community has grown from a few hundred, to over 30,000, in the last 25 years. Moslems are looking for a change, and those that cannot get out, try and find solutions closer to home. This in spite of the fact that Islamic extremists are particularly hostile to Moslems who convert to any other religion.
521 Soldiers need adopted -- [Soldiers' Angels]
Adopting a Soldier:
To adopt a soldier you must commit to sending a card or letter each week and a minimum of 1 or 2 care packages a month. This is one of the most important things we can do to help bring home a healthy hero--It is so very important for each of them to know that we care and support them, and your letters and care packages will do just that.
Heart Full of Soul Being Sent to Military Hospital -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Jewelry Sprout is sponsoring the Proud Of Our Troops drive. They are asking everyone to please support and uplift US troops who are patients at Walter Reed military hospital in Washington, DC by sending them the inspirational book by American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. The autobiography is titled 'Heart Full Of Soul.' Jewelry Sprout is accepting both the hardcover and the audio versions of the book. Show your love and thanks to the troops and give them something that will lift their spirits and give them enjoyment during the time that they are recuperating at the hospital. The goal for this drive is to have a book for each inpatient at the hospital. There are approximately 270 patients at Walter Reed hospital.
Vandals Deface Welcome Home Display For Marine -- [WCSH6.com]
WINTERPORT (NEWS CENTER) -- A Winterport woman's "Welcome Home" message for her fiance, a Marine who has been serving in Iraq, was vandalized Friday.
Brittney Ginn put up a display along North Road in Winterport to welcome her fiance, LCPL William Shibles, home from Iraq. But vandals all but destroyed the display. They ripped flags off and stuck them upside down in the ground, slashed the banner with a knife and drove a vehicle over it, leaving tire marks.
The vandalism has shocked and angered Ginn's family and friends. Ginn has fixed the display and added a message for the vandals.
"We washed it back up and put it right back up there and put another one," said Ginn. "'Respect those who serve,' that's the key word, respect those who have gone."
Turning Our Backs on the Gold Star Families -- [Thunder Run]
Most of America just doesn’t get it.
In point of fact, only a select few know what it’s really about.
To most of America, Memorial Day is the beginning of summer, the start of vacations and days at the pool, of sales and parties and friends all together to kick off the biggest party of the year…summer. A time when backyard parties occur for no reason other than everyone was available, the beer is cold and the sun still shines on warm summer evenings, but to some families Memorial Day still holds true to its original intent, a day set aside to honor their loved ones - who fell in combat.
Have we ever considered what a slap in the face it is on Memorial Day to the families of those whom gave the ultimate sacrifice? To see consumerism run amuck, sales and discounts and an extra 10% to active duty military when their loved one couldn’t take advantage of any discount even if they wanted to - because their loved one is dead. Yes dead, I said it, the word that scares so many people.
Charlie and the Troops -- [The Corner - David Freddoso]
As a Golden Domer, I cannot help but draw attention to Charlie Weis's words at the White House yesterday, on his trip with other college football coaches to visit the troops in Iraq in celebration of Memorial Day:
We went over there to help motivate the morale of the troops -- but I think we came home probably more inspired than even they were. I mean, it was just an unbelievable experience to watch the enthusiasm and the pride and the teamwork over there…
David Hardt on PTSD & Courage -- [Blog-ah]
I opened the paper the other day and read that the government has started to implement a one-stop shop to possibly cure or at least help those of us who have PTSD. When I first read this it was almost like a joke. I commented to my wife, “Hey, from what I am reading, they’re going to treat us all the same, sit us in a circle like we are in AA, and we will just talk it all out.” My wife looked at me and laughed, “You in a circle talking it out; that would be entertaining.” In an effort to write responsibly, I have to admit that for some talking it out will suffice, and for others, listening to a recording of ocean waves crashing down will do the trick. But on a serious note, let’s be real about it. Some of us are far beyond that.
...Since I am included in these numbers, I have a front seat to what is really going on, and let me tell you, what I am seeing and experiencing is angering me and slowly discouraging me.
Father Travels To Iraq To See Where Son Was Killed
An American father traveled all the way to Iraq just to see where his son was shot dead by an islamic insurgent sniper.
Shitbags and Thieves -- [Toby Nunn]
For the past month people have been looking at me pretty hard trying to find something to get at me with. Proudly its easy to keep the wolves from the door when you don't have a steak hanging on your door knob. It was apparent that some leaders not all where going to use things against me if given the opportunity so I had to with hold some posts from publication. Here is one that was written a few weeks ago and had to sit on the burners but is worthy of publication still because I will have no reason to be ashamed of my feelings. This post will not affect the future of the men like had been threatened so without further adue, I give you Shit Bags and Thieves:
Does The U.S. Military Use The Wrong Bullets On This ‘New’ Enemy? -- [Pat Dollard]
US uses bullets ill-suited for new ways of war
WASHINGTON - As Sgt. Joe Higgins patrolled the streets of Saba al-Bor, a tough town north of Baghdad, he was armed with bullets that had a lot more firepower than those of his 4th Infantry Division buddies.
As an Army sniper, Higgins was one of the select few toting an M14. The long-barreled rifle, an imposing weapon built for wars long past, spits out bullets larger and more deadly than the rounds that fit into the M4 carbines and M16 rifles that most soldiers carry.
“Having a heavy cartridge in an urban environment like that was definitely a good choice,” says Higgins, who did two tours in Iraq and left the service last year. “It just has more stopping power.”
Strange as it sounds, nearly seven years into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bullets are a controversial subject for the U.S.
Missing the Real Point Of Military Blogs?!?! -- [The Marine Corps, Social Media and Millennials]
I’ve been pretty busy since my last post in which I requested some feedback on Blogger X and I’ve also been doing some thinking and further researching on the phenomenal of Military Blogging.
A Different View of Military Blogs and Social Media
What’s intrigued me in my research thus far, is that no one is really looking at military blogs or the military using social media as a recruiting and retention tool. All the focus is on the potential security risks…and the harm of blogs on official military operations.
To me this is due to complete lack of understanding of Social Media by the military. Blogger X is an attempt at using blogging for social media purposes but unfortunately, it’s not properly implemented.
Families welcome soldiers home from Iraq -- [ABC7Chicago]
Sunday brought a happy homecoming for soldiers in one Illinois National Guard company. The group has returned home after nearly one year in Iraq.
More than a dozen members of the National Guard's 3625th Maintenance Company out of North Riverside were greeted by their loved ones.
It was a long day for the Chicago area soldiers that began with a flight from Ft. Hood in Texas to Springfield. There, soldiers had a parade and welcome-home ceremony, after which they boarded a bus to North Riverside. The trip was delayed, however, after the unit's bus broke down, but finally, late Sunday afternoon, the soldiers arrived home.
Marine gets welcome home from Iraq -- [Southtown Star]
Sixty-nine-year-old grandmother Carolyn Dean last rode on a motorcycle 50 years ago.
At that time - a memory she doesn't recall with too much fondness (she alluded to an "accident") - she was six months pregnant with the first of what would be eight children.
On Saturday, she finally got back on the horse - after all, it was a momentous occasion.
Her grandson, Marine Corps Pfc. Kenneth Stoots, returned home from Iraq last week, and for his big welcome party, several local motorcycle rider organizations escorted him from his house to the party spot at American Legion Post 1160 in Chicago Ridge.
Another... MAJOR FOREIGN POLICY GAFFE By Obama Campaign -- [Gateway Pundit]
Barack Obama Is Going to Open New Channels Of Diplomacy With Iran
Barack Obama believes that:
"We have not exhausted our non-military options in confronting the Iranian threat; in many ways, we have yet to try them.
Barack Obama- Is ready to offer the Iranian Regime membership into the World Trade Organization:
But, Oops!... There appears to be a problem with this plan.
Amir Taheri at The Wall Street Journal has some critical information that was missed by Obama's staff of foreign policy advisors
Exclusive: McClellan whacks Bush, White House -- [Politico]
Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a surprisingly scathing memoir to be published next week that President Bush “veered terribly off course,” was not “open and forthright on Iraq,” and took a “permanent campaign approach” to governing at the expense of candor and competence.
• McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.
• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.
The eagerly awaited book, while recounting many fond memories of Bush and describing him as “authentic” and “sincere,” is harsher than reporters and White House officials had expected.
McClellan was one of the president’s earliest and most loyal political aides, and most of his friends had expected him to take a few swipes at his former colleague in order to sell books but also to paint a largely affectionate portrait.
Instead, McClellan’s tone is often harsh.
Obama admits reference to Auschwitz was wrong -- [Reuters]
Democrat Barack Obama admitted on Tuesday he was wrong to say his uncle helped liberate the Nazis' Auschwitz concentration camp after Republicans said Soviet troops freed the camp.
Obama's campaign said the candidate meant to say that his great-uncle, Charlie Payne, had helped liberate a part of the Buchenwald camp, not Auschwitz.
Senator Lieberman compares generals Petraeus and Odierno to Patton and Eisenhower, Grant and Sherman:
Lieberman called Petraeus’ assessment of the Basra offensive and Maliki’s efforts “nothing short of thrilling
Petraeus/Odierno Brief War Progress to Media Blackout -- [Amy Proctor]
Did you know LT GEN Ray Odierno and GEN David Petraeus appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday in Washington, DC? Neither did most people because the MSM ignored the briefings designed to promote the generals, Odierno to Multi-National Force-Iraq commander and Petraeus to CENTCOM commander as they sought approval for those positions before the Senate committee. Both were nominated by President Bush.
The MSM had good reason for not covering the hearings, which weren’t even live on C-Span. The news from both commanders about progress and security in Iraq are irrefutable and contradict the logic for withdrawal that has been flaunted by Democrats for the past several years and we all know how liberals in the media want this war to end. Even Democrats on the committee were docile, agreeable and non-confrontational. Violence in Iraq is at a 4 year low. B-O-R-I-N-G. The Obama/Clinton campaign fiasco is so much more important than how the troops everyone supposedly supports are doing in combat.
Why Memorial Day is a Double-Whammy for Me -- [Middle East Online]
On this Memorial Day, remember, too, to look at the pictures of Iraqi children being lifted out of rubble after their homes have been bombed by US jets, says Cindy Sheehan.
Memorial Day is a double-whammy for me.
You see, my son Casey was born on Memorial Day 29 years ago.
...Seeing all the flags and the battered vets paying homage makes my stomach turn and my heart break for all the broken families that have had to pay needlessly high prices for this war, and other imperial wars, like Vietnam.
...With a presidential election season upon us, we need to recognize the militarism of each candidate and realize that their positions on war and empire are not so different from each other.
We need to rededicate our lives to opposing empire, war and unbridled presidential power so that Memorial Day is not grief-soaked for thousands more families to come.
I know I will never experience Memorial Day as a holiday again.
Hamas : US President Clinton Would Speak With Arab Leaders While Having Sex With "The Jewish Monica
It Was a Bogus Story 2 Days Ago... But, Who Cares?... TIME Mag Throws It Out There Anyway -- [Gateway Pundit]
TIME Magazine followed the AP in reporting the same bogus story on Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq.
Two days ago the AP reported that Iraq's moderate and popular Ayatollah Ali Sistani was issuing fatwas for Iraqis to go out and kill US soldiers.
Iraqi-American blogger Nibras Kazimi at Talisman Gate quickly dismissed the report as a "Red Herring Fatwa."
Sure enough, after a few hours the Iraqi website Iraq Alalaan disputed the shocking report by the Associated Press.
The Huffington Post's Memorial Day: Bush Is a Murderer -- [NewsBusters]
When the national political conversation turns to excessive nastiness, will the media remember The Huffington Post? On Bush's last Memorial Day as Commander-in-Chief, Democratic activist Bob Geiger posted an article titled "Dead Troops Remembered by President Who Had Them Killed." Bush is a murderer? Geiger says yes: "Make no mistake about it, George W. Bush is as responsible for the deaths of those men and women as if he himself had fired the bullet or set the IEDs that ended their lives."
CBS: 'Substance Abuse'? People Think McCain War Injuries 'Funny'? -- [NewsBusters]
The night after ABC's World News raised the possibility John McCain's POW ordeal caused "psychological damage," on Friday's CBS Evening News Dr. Sanjay Gupta thought it noteworthy that the release of McCain's medical records ignored the Senator's "mental health," any "mention of post-traumatic stress disorder" or of "substance abuse." Oddly, Dr. Jon LaPook asserted that "people" notice McCain is "not able to raise his arm" and think "'doesn't that look funny?'" Who thinks McCain's limitation, caused by an attack on him after his plane crashed in North Vietnam and he was denied medical care, looks funny? In what circles does CBS's doctor travel?
Will Media Report Obama Seeing Dead People in Memorial Day Audience? -- [NewsBusters]
The gaffes continued this holiday weekend for the media's presidential candidate.
Having mispronounced the name of the Florida city he was speaking in on Friday, as well as erred about what president was in the White House when Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela, Barack Obama talked about seeing dead people in the audience during a Memorial Day speech in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Note: The Obama website scrubbed the "dead people in the audience" from his speech:
Circulation Arcana [Media Blog - Kevin D. Williamson]
One of the worrying things about the publications we turn to for honest reporting is that they are not always all that strictly honest when reporting things about themselves, especially when reporting their circulation/readership numbers to advertisers. News publications do all sorts of things to artificially pump up those numbers, in order to command higher advertising rates. One of the things they do is give away, or practically give away, lots of copies for public spaces — doctors' offices, business lobbies, shopping malls, even parking garages.
Mediaweek reports that ABC, the big daddy of circulation auditors, is changing the way it counts those copies:
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are 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.
Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away -- [IraqWarHeroes.org / AfghanistanWarheroes.org]
Last Update May 26, 2008. 4653 USA Names
Dedicated to our deceased Heroes that have served in Iraq & Afghanistan
If you have photos, statements, tribute pages for any of these heroes that will help others remember them, Please Email me.
I prefer Large photos. Many of the small photos on this website are links to larger photos. Thanks.
I'm a 1 person operation. Due to the amount of missions I've been on lately, I'm far behind on emails
MAJ GEN Hertling: Support the Troops with More than Just Your Words this Memorial Day
Everyone says they support the troops, but America is at war; Americans are at the mall. MAJ GEN Mark Hertling, commander of Multi-National Divison North in Iraq, described it on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer saying soldiers often feel like we are an Army at war, not a nation at war.
"Mike" -- [Greyhawk]
Life is hard when you lose a child; you have children and you think of them burying you and not the other way around. But war brings a nw perspective to the parent child relationship, for the parent is put in a position that they are unable to fulfill a basic parental
Mike Stokely Slide Show
Medal of Honor Citations: Vietnam War and Iraqi Conflict -- [Medal of Honor Recipients]
A complete and official catalog of the 242 United States Medal of Honor Citations issued during the Vietnam War.
Bush Confers Highest Military Decoration on Fallen Navy SEAL -- [Navy News]
President Bush posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor April 8 to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy SEAL whose mortal sacrifice in Iraq saved the lives of two fellow SEALs and several Iraqi soldiers.
...Monsoor, a 25 year-old machine gunner with SEAL Team 3, was providing security at a sniper lookout post on Sept. 29, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq, when a fragmentation grenade hit his chest and bounced to the floor. Positioned next to the single exit, only Monsoor could have escaped harm.
Instead, he threw himself onto the grenade. Monsoor used his body to absorb the blast and shield two nearby SEALs. The SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers survived, some with wounds, others unscathed. Monsoor died a half hour later.
Michael Monsoor awarded the Medal of Honor
Parents dedicate Marine's Medal of Honor to all service members
he Medal of Honor awarded Jan. 11 at a recent White House ceremony belongs to all service members, according to the parents of the man who earned the honor.
Cpl. Jason L. Dunham of Scio, N.Y., posthumously received America's highest military decoration two years and nine months after succumbing to a mortal brain injury while fighting in Iraq. He served with K Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, based in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
"We're accepting this honor for Jason, but we're also accepting this in all the servicemen and women's names," said mother Debra Dunham.
On April 14, 2004, in Iraq near the Syrian border, the corporal used his helmet and his body to smother an exploding Mills Bomb let loose by a raging insurgent whom Dunham and two other Marines tried to subdue.
The explosion dazed and wounded Lance Cpl. William Hampton and Pfc. Kelly Miller. The insurgent stood up after the blast and was immediately killed by Marine small-arms fire.
After the grenade exploded under Dunham's helmet, he lay face down with a few tiny pieces of shrapnel lodged in his head. The hard, molded mesh that was his Kevlar helmet was now scattered yards around into clods and shredded fabric. Dunham never regained consciousness and died eight days later at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., with his mother and father at his bedside. He was 22.
Cpl. Jason L. Dunham
Andrew Olmstead's Final Post
"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."
G'Kar, Babylon 5
This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose.
Rafael Peralta - Home of the Brave -- [Greyhawk]
Rafael Peralta was not born in America, but he died defending her.
It’s the stuff you hear about in boot camp, about World War II and Tarawa Marines who won the Medal of Honor,” said Corporal Rob Rogers, one of Peralta’s platoon mates.i
A Mexican immigrant, Peralta joined the Marines the day he received his green card. His love for America was no secret; it showed in everything he did. Even the walls of his bedroom were a testament to his patriotism. On them he had hung a picture of his boot camp graduation and replicas of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.ii
...The very day he became a legal resident, Rafael Peralta enlisted to become a United States Marine. In so doing, he joined the long, proud history of the United States Marine Corps. In all he did, it was that lineage, that long line of all the heroic Marines who had come before him, that Peralta strived to honor—especially that fateful day in Fallujah, Iraq.
...When Sergeant Peralta’s body was returned home to the States, he would receive a hero’s funeral. The event would be emotional. Indeed, the explosion from the blast had been so violent that his family members had to rely on the tattoo on his shoulder in order to properly identify him.xv On Nov. 23, 2004, Peralta, 25, was buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California, following a moving funeral Mass at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.
For his marine brothers, it was a time for grateful reflection and remembrance. “He saved half my fire team,” said Corporal Brannon Dyer, 27, of Blairsville, Georgia. Platoon mate Corporal Rob Rogers, 22, of Tallahassee, Florida agreed: “He’d stand up for his Marines to an insane point.”xvi
Memorial Day 2007 - [Outside the Wire]
that time -- [Learning to Live - Gold Star Wife]
It is that time of year again . . . I sort of want to just escape but don't. It really irritates me that so many businesses use this 'holiday' to promote sales. Of course I will probably take advantage since Texas is offering tax free on many energy star products (even light bulbs) this weekend. I mean what is so happy about this upcoming day. I did get an email from a store in McKinney that I am on their mass email list and at least they had a sentence it there to remind people to take a moment to remember the sacrifices our military members have made . . . first one and think I will shoot them an email back thanking them for remembering. Not sure if I will post much but I will be remembering Sean and the thousands like him especially those who I have met or our lives have crossed.
In Memory of SPC David Lee Leimbach -- [Michael Yon]
CSM Jeff Mellinger is out there still "Walking the Line." He did the longest continuous tour in Iraq that I have ever seen: about 2.5 years without a break except for normal leave. And he was seriously out in the red zone. I drove about 4,000 miles with him within Iraq checking on our servicemen and women, Walking the Line, and that was a tiny fraction of the work he did. And so he came back to the United States and is stationed in Washington D.C., but CSM Mellinger's duties have taken him back to Iraq and Afghanistan. I got an email from CSM Mellinger this morning from Afghanistan. He was remembering SPC David Lee Leimbach, the latest Great American to give his life in Afghanistan fighting dark forces that wish to do us great harm. CSM Mellinger had written a private tribute to SPC Leimbach, and I immediately asked if I may publish it so others may see. Just a few minutes ago, I spoke with CSM Mellinger on the phone. He's in Afghanistan Walking the Line right now, and says we are taking the fight to the enemy.
Sergeant Merlin German, USMC -- [NewsDay]
Sgt. Merlin German, Marine burned in Iraq, dies
More than a year after Sgt. Merlin German nearly died in a roadside bombing in Iraq, his hands burned into nubs and his body in a wheelchair, he resolved to walk into his San Antonio church on his own two feet.
His mother, Lourdes German, who had been "his hands and feet" since that day in February 2005, worried but knew it would be so. "Everything he did, he did himself," Lourdes German, 54, said. "That parish was just overjoyed. The pastor even stopped preaching to welcome Merlin."
Her vigil over her son ended April 11, when German, 22, died unexpectedly in San Antonio after a surgery to graft skin onto his lip. "Even with pain in my heart, I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other," she said.
German, a Marine who grew up in Washington Heights, had become a guiding light to the rest of the service members in the burn unit at the Brooke Army Medical Center, where he spent 17 months as an inpatient and underwent more than 100 surgeries, his family said.
Body of U.S. Marine returned to Liberty -- [Beaumont Enterprise]
Burris died Oct. 8 in the Al Anbar province in Iraq near the Syrian border.
A roadside bomb detonated under a patrol vehicle he was driving. He survived the blast and pulled two other Marines out. He had gone back to the vehicle to get their equipment when a second bomb went off, killing him.
He was 22.
Burris is the 10th area service member to die in the war in Iraq.
Update] Memorial Day 2008 -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Update: I wanted to add a few things to this post since it has to do with something LTG Caldwell wrote on his blog. Please check out his tribute to CPL Jeremy Allbaugh and also this video tribute to him.
I was going to write an awesome Memorial Day post when I received the following from LTG William B. Caldwell, Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center, Ft. Leavenworth. (of which, I'm not a member by the way):
Jeremy Burris' Blog
MySpace.com - Jeremy - 23 - Male - LIBERTY, US - www.myspace.com ...
his name Jeremy Burris he died a week ago in iraq he was a marine that was not only ... Jeremy Wade Burris, you're my best friend, you're my brother.
Moment of Valor - Spc. Ross McGinnis
December 4, 2006, Spc. Ross A. McGinnis' vehicle was attacked by an insurgent who threw a grenade in the hatch. Spc. McGinnis jumped on the grenade in the cockpit to save his comrades. For his selfless act, he was awarded the Silver Star, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor.
Operation Puppy Love - Bringing DJ Home -- [BlackFive]
First up is Staff Sergeant Christopher Moore who was born 14 June 1978 and raised in Bakersfield, California...Next is Sergeant Jean Medlin was born 26 July 1979 in Alabama...Third is SPC David Behrle who was born 06 March 1987 and raised in Tipton, Iowa...This is Specialist Joseph Gilmore who was born 8th of August 1980 in Plant City, Florida...Say hello to PFC Travis Haslip who was born on 21 March 1987 in Pontiac Michigan, and raised in Tennessee...PFC Alexander Varela was born 29 January 1988 and raised in California.
To know more about the character of the men in the squad, you should know about one of their patrols in Ameriyah, Iraq. From an official report:
An Iraqi man, Mohammed, was running towards the American patrol holding a small bloody child in his arms. A 7.62 round had fallen out of the sky and struck her right temple. The round had passed along the side of her face and buried itself in her neck. She was blue and her eyes were cloudy.
Without any hesitation the soldiers of First Platoon rushed Mohammed, his wife, and the toddler’s grandmother into the back of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
While on the base, the soldiers had trained a dog to help with protection of the base. The dog had puppies and the combat soldiers couldn't help but take care of them, as well. ...A few weeks later, on May 19th, 2007, all six men were killed in Baghdad when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle while on patrol.
Thousands Take Part In Matt Maupin's Funeral (Video) -- [WLWT5]
CINCINNATI -- It may not have been the largest crowd to fill Great American Ball Park, but it was likely the most heartfelt gathering in the stadium's history.
Spc. Chad Highland Memorial Day Greeting from Iraq
Major Mathew Schram's Memorial Day -- [Blackfive]
On Memorial Day, May 26th, 2003 at approximately 7:00AM, Major Mathew E. Schram was leading a resupply convoy in Western Iraq near the Syrian border. Major Schram was the Support Operations Officer for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (out of Ft. Carson, Colorado). He had responsibility for organizing the logistical arm of the regiment - ensuring that the Cavalrymen never ran out of food, fuel or ammo.
...I was at my desk at work on Tuesday, June 3rd. The phone rang. I looked at the caller ID to see that it was a call from Ft. Leavenworth. I picked it up.
It was John, a friend of mine and Mat Schram's. We had all served together years ago and had stayed in touch. He told me to sit down. I did. He told me that Mat had been killed in Iraq.
Salute to a Memorable Marine -- [WaPo]
The turnout seemed entirely fitting for a Marine who was described -- with little apparent hyperbole -- as the toughest guy in the house. More than 1,000 mourners, from generals to civilians, packed the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis yesterday to honor Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec, who was killed last week outside Baghdad.
About 40 enlisted men gathered under a tree, telling stories about their former commander. Some had flown in from as far away as California, prompting one officer to observe: Your men have to follow your orders; they don't have to go to your funeral.
Major Zembiec's Funeral -- [OPFOR - Lt Col P]
Folks, you may have read about Major Doug Zembiec in the pages of Blackfive recently, with heartfelt and glowing praise from his Marines, especially his First Sergeant, now Sergeant Major Skiles, and the sniper's sniper, Sergeant Ethan Place. One of my fellow Marine field historians, Major Joe Winslow, had the chance to sit down with (then) Captain Zembiec and (then) First Sergeant Skiles in late summer 2004, when their battalion was headed out of Iraq. Today Joe attended Doug Zembiec's funeral and asked me to post this for him.
Why we fight: Because "all of humanity is our tribe" -- [Soldier's Angel Germany]
The following is a response to this post showing footage of a medevac mission carried out after members of Chosen Company, 2-503rd PIR, 173rd ABCT were ambushed in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.
1LT Matthew C. Ferrara, SGT Jeffery S. Mersman, SPC Sean K.A. Langevin, SPC Lester G. Roque and PFC Joseph M. Lancour of Chosen Company and Marine Sgt. Phillip A. Bocks were killed in the attack which occurred while returning to their outpost from a meeting with elders in a nearby village.
...I understand from one of Matthew's brothers that Matthew is under consideration to be awarded the Silver Star.
Woburn native killed on patrol in Iraq -- [Daily Times Chronicle]
WOBURN - Word circulating around the city last Thursday that a soldier with ties to Woburn was killed in Iraq was confirmed Friday morning by the U.S. Department of Defense.
...Word that Callahan had been killed this week while in Iraq began circulating Thursday, but a representative of U.S. Rep. Edward Markey's office said the protocol is to first inform the family and then allow a 24-hour period before making the information public.
Callahan's family is from the South End of Woburn where he leaves his mother, three brothers and two sisters.
Officials from the city's Veteran's Services office said a sister is also serving in Iraq.
Sgt. First Class Keith A. Callahan, 31, died Wednesday, Jan. 24 "of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was conducting a combat patrol south of Baghdad, Iraq," the Department of Defense release stated.
Guest Book for Sgt. 1st Class Keith A. Callahan
I spent close to 3 months with SFC Callahan in Ranger School. It had to have been one of the most difficult times in our lives, but I can tell you that SFC Callahan always kept us smiling and motivated. He was a tremendous leader and good friend. I still think we were the coldest two Rangers in the class even if we were the "Boys from Boston".
Army Specialist Casey Sheehan - Someone You Should -- [BlackFive]
...He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He decided to be a mechanic. He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training - a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma only second in intense learning to combat medic training. He was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.
Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.
...Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying.
Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."
Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith
Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously during a White House ceremony April 4, 2005.
...In January 2003, Sgt. 1st Class Smith returned from leave to prepare his men for rapid deployment to Kuwait as part of the 3rd Infantry's Divisions buildup for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smith took a strict approach to training his men, ensuring that his platoon was proficient in handling weapons and prepared for urban combat.
Bravo Company crossed the border on March 19th and traveled more than 300 kilometers in the first 48 hours of the war as part of the lead company in support of Task Force 2-7 Infantry. Passing through
the Karbala Gap, Smith and his men pushed through the night of of April 3, 2003, towards Baghdad Airport where Bravo Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of Task Force 2-7 were involved in a firefight with Iraqi forces. Sgt. 1st Class Smith's heroic actions and tragic death are described in more detail in the battlescape section of this website and in his Medal of Honor Citation.
Sgt. Smith Medal of Honor
This is the true story of Sgt. Paul Smith, and his actions that earned him the Medal of Honor in Iraq.
Female medic, 19, earns Silver Star in Afghan war -- [USAToday]
Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.
After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.
Travis Wayne Nixon - Silver Star
A son of Pine City died Saturday while serving in Afghanistan. Those who
knew him say he died because he gave more than was asked of him — the ideal that defined his life. Staff sergeant Travis Wayne Nixon, 24, was nearing the end of his third overseas deployment with the United States Army when an enemy ambush surprised his squad while on patrol near Lwara on the Pakistani border. “My understanding is that he was squad leader; he died making sure his squad got to safety in an ambush,” said Frank Watson, Nixon’s high school football coach and teacher. “I was not surprised Travis would do that. If his job was to lead his men, he would lead his men the best way he knew how.” He said he believed that when she got the call telling her that her son was the 23rd, or whatever number, American fatality in Afghanistan this year, she responded, “He’s not going to be a number.” Watson said, “That wasn’t (a number) that was killed. That was Travis
Nixon, and he was one of ours. “He was more than a number.” n A memorial service is scheduled to remember Travis Nixon on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Kenova Grange in Pine City. Also on Sunday, there will be a military service in Raleigh, N.C., where Nixon will receive the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals posthumously.
Photo presentation honoring the first fifty Oregonians to die while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan accompanied by Jeff Buckley's magnificent rendition of Hallelujah.
Lt. Michael P. Murphy Awarded The Medal Of Honor -- [Flopping Aces]
I’ve written multiple posts on the heroism of these Navy Seal’s (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8) and now one of these brave men is being honored with the Congressional Medal of Honor:
Lt. Michael P. Murphy
Navy Cross Citation for Danny P. Dietz -- [Home of Heroes]
Danny P. Dietz Gunner's Mate Second Class, United States Navy. For Services as Set Forth in the Following. Citation: For extraordinary heroism in actions ...
Navy Cross Citation for Matthew G. Axelson -- [Home of Heroes]
Matthew G. Axelson Sonar Technician Second Class, United States Navy ... Petty Officer Axelson demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan
Green Berets Recount Deadly Taliban Ambush -- [CBS News]
It took an hour and a half for O'Connor to reach Fuerst and Binney. From a rooftop, Master Sergeant Thom Maholic was single-handedly holding down a group of advancing Taliban who were threatening the rescue operation.
"They were coming to take that compound that Thom was holding. And he would stop them by killing them or wounding them. And eventually they gave up their assault," Ford explains.
"Did Thom make it possible for you to get out?" Logan asks O'Connor.
"Absolutely," he replies.
To Live with Honor - [NRO - Joseph Morrison Skelly]
Mike Spann and the meaning of Memorial Day.
My son died with honor.”
These words struck this writer like a bolt from the blue. Captured by a television news crew, they were spoken with quiet dignity by Johnny Spann to reporters at the front gate of his home in Winfield, Alabama, upon learning of the death of his son, Johnny Mike Spann, the first American to die on a foreign field of battle in the War on Islamic Terror. Mike, as he was known to his friends and family, was killed on November 25, 2001, during a combined al-Qaeda–Taliban uprising at a temporary prison in Qala-i Jangi, not far from the town of Mazar-e Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. He was 32 years old. He is survived by his wife, Shannon, and three young children.
Jason Cunningham awarded the Air Force Cross
13 September 2002 at Kirtland AFB, NM
Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, a pararescueman who lost his life in Afghanistan while saving 10 lives and making it possible for seven others who were killed to come home, was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross here Sept. 13.
The Air Force Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in action against an enemy of our nation. It is second only to the Medal of Honor.
"We gather to salute his bravery and to reward his heroism," said Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James Roche. "We gather to pay tribute to an airman who, on the field of battle, not only gave his life serving his nation, but also gave his life serving his fellow Americans."
Army Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller -- [North Shore Journal]
iller found himself willingly leading a team of Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition soldiers Jan. 25 during a combat reconnaissance patrol in Kunar Province near the Pakistan border. Insurgents hiding in a structure attacked Miller’s team. A fellow teammate called for close-air support to drop ordnance on the insurgent position, disrupting their attack. When the combined patrol moved toward the structure to check for any remaining enemy threats, insurgents again fired using heavy weapons.
Miller’s team captain was seriously wounded within the first minutes of the attack. While his commander was moved to safety, Miller returned fire. At great personal risk to himself, Miller remained at the front of the patrol and continued to lay down suppressive fire on multiple insurgent positions, allowing his wounded commander to be pulled out of the line of fire, ultimately saving his life. Miller’s personal courage under intense enemy fire enabled the entire patrol to gain cover and return fire. Even while injured by direct enemy small-arms and machine gun fire, Miller continued to employ his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and grenades to suppress enemy fire and protect his teammates.
‘We pledge allegiance’: 44 service members earn U.S. citizenship on Memorial Day -- [Castle Argghhh!]
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (May 26, 2008) – The poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty beckons “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free,” but on this Memorial Day, quite the opposite was true as 44 members of the U.S. military marched forward to become America’s newest citizens.
USS Cole Remembrance Ceremony
Sailors from the USS Cole (DDG 67) pay their respects to recently buried Cole crew members at
Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11, 2000. Cole sailors were invited to take part in Veterans
Day receptions and ceremonies at the White House and Arlington Cemetery. The Arleigh Burke
class destroyer was the target of a suspected terrorist attack in the port of Aden, Yemen, on October
12, 2000, during a scheduled refueling. The attack killed 17 crew members and injured 39 others.
Soldiers' Angels Needs You to Adopt a Hero -- [Soldiers' Angels]
Soldiers' Angels is reaching out to America to let them know that their volunteer services are much needed to provide comfort, support and hope to the American service members that rely on the reputation that Soldiers' Angels has built regarding the mission of the organization. "May no soldier go unloved. May no soldier walk alone. May no soldier be forgotten. Until they all come home."
"As more troops deploy, some on their 3rd and 4th tour in the Global War on Terror, Soldiers' Angels mission becomes even more critical. Soldiers' Angels has never let our troops down, but now, more than ever, we need help from Americans like you.", says founder Patti Patton-Bader.
What Soldiers' Angels means to me -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
You know, you hear it all the time from various inspirational stories printed online or emailed around via chain letters and such — "one person can make a difference." I can honestly say that I never FULLY believed that until I joined Soldiers' Angels. I can honestly say that this is the most rewarding and humbling experience. I'm constantly wow'ed by the awesome men and women in our military that I've spoken to and corresponded with over the past year.
This Memorial Day honor a loved one with a gift in support of our troops and get a Free 3'x5' American Flag -- [USO]
On patrol at the Front: it’s lonely... desolate... and still far too dangerous for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They continue to risk their lives in defending all that we stand for. So, at the USO, we have a mission...
To deliver a welcome “touch of home” to these courageous men and women and show them they have not been forgotten.
Without your support, our mission may fail, so please be as generous as you can. And as a special thank you, we'll send you a free 3'x5' American Flag to hang proudly this Memorial Day.
Memorial Day Video: Baseball Hero Saves American Flag -- [NewsBusters]
One of the greatest plays in Major League Baseball history occurred on April 25, 1976, when Chicago Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday stole the flag from a couple of anti-American wackos looking to set fire to her in front of a huge crowd at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles:
The Sunburn Song (WARNING for Memorial Day)
I went to the beach for memorial day
cause memorial day is the time for beach play (yah-uh-ya).
got a towel, got a bucket, got a spot in the sand.
Editor's Note: This a perfect example of what Memorial day is NOT about.
The Medal of Honor -- [americal.org]
The Medal of Honor is the highest medal awarded by the United States. It has only been awarded 3428 times in the nation's history.
Local Pearl Harbor veterans recall day of infamy -- [Army News]
Sixty-five years ago today, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, creating a defining moment that would go down in history as the event that caused America to ..
Memorial Day Parade Wantagh NY 2008
Capt. Ryan Beaupre
The letter read in this song is an excerpt from the actual letter written by Capt. Ryan Beaupre to his family before he was killed in action on March 21, 2003 in Kuwait.
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS! THANK YOU! For all the family members of Fallen Heroes, BASEFORCE wants you to know we are eternally grateful for your soldier's sacrifice. May God bless the troops and their families.
Interview: Woody Keeble, a hero of two wars -- [indianz.com]
Dorreen Yellow Bird of The Grand Forks Herald interviews Russell Hawkins about his late stepfather, Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Keeble, the most decorated soldier in North Dakota history.
Keeble, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, served in World War II and the Korean War. He received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross award.
VIEWPOINT: Are we worthy of these warriors? -- [Grand Forks Herald] HT: Shelle
...What struck me most as I visited with these heroes was not what was missing on their bodies, but what was missing in their attitude.
There was no talk of anger, regret, fear or pity. No one was overly concerned with his or her personal situation; they knew instinctively that they would be OK somehow.
What concerned them the most were buddies and units left behind. They worried that they could no longer help, or that their units were now short another crucial team member. Over and over I heard the same question: “How soon can I go back?”
I often had to ask myself, “Where/how do we build these heroes?” I also asked myself many times, “Am I worthy?”
I wore a uniform proudly for 30 years. As a woman, I could never fight on the front lines. No one in my family or even a close friend ever died as a result of war. Was I really worthy to count myself as one of them?
I finally understand the answer to that question.
Missing -- [Jules Crittenden]
GQ with a haunting tale of searching, finding and the pain that lasts decades in the story of Jimmy Doyle and his B-24 crewmen, missing for more than 60 years. Also, about the strange things the pain makes people do.
Jimmy Doyle left a son, who was told his father had abandoned him and only as an old man learned the truth, that he gave everything. The absent of our time, lost in service, include hundreds of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of missing fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, and now wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and a nod today to my own absent uncle, lost in flying battle over Belgium, night of Oct. 20-21, 1941, with the crew of Wellington IV Z1218.
Why Didn't We Listen to Their War Stories? -- [WaPo]
The last known surviving U.S. veteran of what was once called the Great War, Cpl. Frank Buckles of Charles Town, W.Va., recently toured the World War I memorial in Washington. Accompanied by his daughter and an aide, the wheelchair-bound 107-year-old rolled around the small, temple-like structure, stopping occasionally to acknowledge the applause of the small crowd that had gathered to watch. He did not comment upon the memorial's unkempt appearance -- it has been neglected for three decades -- but noticed that it honored only veterans from the city. "I can read here," he said in a soft, barely audible mumble, "that it was started to include the names of those who were local."
No one, apparently, had told him that the United States has no national World War I memorial. Buckles later modestly accepted tributes from President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates at ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon, asking only that all of the recently deceased U.S. veterans of World War I be honored alongside him.
A Tribute to The Fallen.
in Memory of the Men who lost their lives in Mogadishu, Somalia. 14 years ago today in Operation Gothic Serpent.
"I am going to die well" -- [Greyhawk]
Note: This salute to those who fell in Vietnam was originally published in November, 2005, and is re-posted today in honor of Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial 2008 - In Rembrence - [The World according to Carl]
On this Memorial Day, I’d like to quote the third stanza of “America, The Beautiful” written by Katharine Lee Bates
Welcome Home Matt
Maupin disappeared more than four years ago, on April 9, 2004, west of Baghdad, when insurgents attacked his convoy using rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. His remains and part of his uniform were found March 20, buried in an isolated agricultural region about 25 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment found Matt Maupin’s remains.
“I believed a long time ago that the surge was going to help find Matt, and as it turns out, it did,” Keith Maupin said. “[The soldiers] were able to go into an area and they were able to keep the peace and over time [the locals] talked to them.
“We’re so grateful that they didn’t give up on Matt and they were able to find him, because they put themselves in harm’s way to find him,” he said.
The Maupin family was told that the battalion planned to display their son’s photo on its memorial wall.
“Matt will forever be a part of the unit,” Keith Maupin said. “That was important to me, that people never forget Matt.”
The Final Mission Of The Vietnam War. ...The Welcome Home
Long Overdue National Event to Honor Vietnam Veterans
The mission of the Welcome Home Day Foundation is to acknowledge our Vietnam Veterans by finally welcoming them home in a one-time national event designed to bring our Nation together in reconciliation over this controversial conflict. This National Event will also attribute collateral recognition to the Veteran�s families for their silent, albeit, very real sacrifices.
POW MIA News - The Final Chapter
63 Years to Find His Way Home
RUMFORD, Maine -- An Army airman, killed more than 60 years ago during World War II, finally has been laid to rest in his hometown of Rumford.
Second Lt. Al Bujolds B-17 bomber was shot down over New Guinea in 1943, but it wasnt until five years ago that DNA technology allowed the Army to identify his remains, which were part of a mass grave in St. Louis.
Missing WWII Sailor is Identified
20 July, 2007 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Bush pays tribute to troops on Memorial Day -- [AP]
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — President Bush has paid tribute to America's fighting men and women, thanking them for "countless acts of courage."
Bush traveled from the White House on a clear and sunny Memorial Day to carry out what has become an annual spring rite — a talk to military people and their families at Arlington National Cemetery, the country's foremost burial ground for war heroes.
Bush's outing came a day after he welcomed to the White House members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycling group, who gave him a cowhide vest jacket and made him an honorary member of their organization.
The president said, "It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place like this grows with every Memorial Day."
Bush Honors Fallen at Tomb of the Unknowns
Remarks By John McCain On Memorial Day -- [johnmccain.com]
RLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain will deliver the following remarks as prepared for delivery at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, today at 10:30 a.m. MDT (12:30 p.m. EDT):
Thank you. I'm always grateful for the opportunity, and pleased to be in the company of Americans who have had the burden of serving our country in distant lands, and the honor of having proved your patriotism in difficult circumstances.
I was blessed to have been born into a family who made their living at sea in defense of our security and ideals. My grandfather was a naval aviator; my father a submariner. And it was nearly pre-ordained that I would find a place in my family's profession, and that occupation would one day take me to war. Such was not the case for many of you. Your ambitions might not have led you to war; the honors you sought were not kept hidden on battlefields. Many of you were citizen-soldiers. You answered the call when it came; took up arms for your country's sake; and fought to the limit of your ability because you believed America's security was as much your responsibility as it was the professional soldier's. And when you came home, you built a better a country than the one you inherited. It's a privilege to be in your company. ...
Statement from Hillary on Memorial Day -- [hillaryclinton.com]
Memorial Day is a solemn day for every American; a day to express our profound gratitude to the men and women who have given their lives in military service. A day to join in our thoughts and prayers with the families mourning loved ones. A day to cherish the freedoms and opportunities that so many have served, sacrificed, and died to defend.
On this Memorial Day, I’m reminded of the words of a poet and a veteran named Archibald MacLeish. He served in World War I and witnessed incredible service and sacrifice. Before the close of World War II, to commemorate those who had died, he wrote of the responsibility of all of us who survive them.
In his poem entitled “The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak,” he reminds us that those we have lost: “have a silence that speaks for them at night…They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done…They say: our deaths are not ours; they are yours; they will mean what you make them…They say: we leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.”
How do we give these lives their meaning? I believe we must honor our service members by doing our best to serve the men and women who have served us. And I believe we must honor the lives we’ve lost by honoring the values for which they fought. That is our duty. And on this Memorial Day, let us recommit ourselves to fulfilling this sacred responsibility every single day. ...
Senator Obama's Statement on Memorial Day -- [obama.senate.gov]
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today issued the following statement as the nation pauses to honor the fallen and pays tribute to our service members and veterans in observance of Memorial Day:
"Today we pause as a nation to honor the fallen who gave their lives defending our security, our rights, and our liberties. We must recognize the extraordinary sacrifices of our most courageous sons and daughters not only on Memorial Day, but throughout the year."
"When I meet with soldiers, veterans, and their families, I am reminded of the deeply engrained spirit of Americans to serve others and to stand up for our values. They didn't hesitate when they were called to serve. And we must always meet our commitment to them, not just with words of praise, but with actions that support our heroes and their families."
"From Arlington National Cemetery in Washington to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, we recall the sacrifices of generations of our nation's heroes. As we mourn their loss and pay tribute to their bravery, I know they will always be in our memory."
Obama Excludes Military Service as Way to Serve Country in Memorial Day Weekend Commencement Speech
CNN correspondents thought it “strange” that Barack Obama’s Memorial Day commencement speech at Wesleyan University didn’t mention the military. Obama, who replaced the ailing Ted Kennedy as commencement speaker, encouraged graduates to serve, but not in the military. CNN correspondent Bill Schnider took notice:
The Ed Morrissey Show: Michael Yon replayposted at 2:00 pm on May 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey -- [Hot Air]
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly In our third Memorial Day interview, Michael Yon talks about his experiences as an embedded independent journalist in Iraq. This is one of the best shows I think we did on Hot Air, and the hour just flew as Michael and I discussed his new book, Moment of Truth in Iraq
Twice In One Week: The White House Goes After The Media
Once again, the New York Times Editorial Board doesn't let the facts get in the way of expressing its vitriolic opinions - no matter how misleading they may be.
In today's editorial, "Mr. Bush and the GI Bill", the New York Times irresponsibly distorts President Bush's strong commitment to strengthening and expanding support for America's service members and their families.
This editorial could not be farther from the truth about the President's record of leadership on this issue. In his January 2008 State of the Union Address, while proposing a series of initiatives to support our military families, President Bush specifically called upon Congress to answer service members' request that they be able to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouses and children. In April, he sent a legislative package to the Hill that would expand access to childcare, create new authorities to appoint qualified spouses into civil service jobs, provide education opportunities and job training for military spouses, and allow our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.
It's Memorial Day Weekend so how do the two top search engines honor this day? -- [Thunder Run]
First up - Google [pic]
Next - Yahoo! [pic]
My Hometown Paper's Lead Memorial Day Article Focuses on Depression, Suicide in the Military -- [NewsBusters]
Ah, Memorial Day in Ithaca, NY, a town that looks upon Berkeley, CA as suspiciously conservative. OK, perhaps not quite, but Ithaca is so liberal than in her 2006 Senate primary [bet you didn't know there even was one], Hillary lost the City of Ithaca to a [very] little-known far-lefty named Jonathan Tasini. So liberal that a certain NewsBuster lost a 1990s mayoral bid to the then incumbent, a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are 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.
Iraq News (22 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: 11 militia thugs tried to take on U.S. forces near Sadr City...and they got dead. The temporary head of CENTCOM, LTG Dempsey, said Al-Qaeda in Iraq is at it's weakest due to the counter-insurgency strategy, the rise of the Sahwa councils, and improved Iraqi Security Forces. This comes at a time when attacks in Mosul are down a stunning 85% due to the recent Iraqi-led offensive. Also, Sadr City remains calm during the Iraqi-led Operation Salam.
Basra is now new city of hope -- [MNF-I]
BASRA, Iraq – A sense of calm prevails in Basra as Iraqi forces continue to walk the streets.
Since the beginning of Operation Charge of the Knights March 25, citizens have embraced the Iraqi Army presence as humanitarian assistance continues along side its clean-up and reconstruction efforts.
Since the initial push to rid the region of criminal elements, searches have resulted in the discovery of more than 2,700 mortar rounds, 650 rockets, ten surface to air missiles, 130 rocket propelled grenade rounds, and 160 rocket propelled grenade launchers.
More and more citizens of Basra are approaching the IA and Iraqi Security Forces to identify cache locations.
There have been five cooperative medical engagements within several communities of Basra. In Tannumah, bilingual bicultural advisors, former Iraqi citizens who are now Americans, provided much needed medical care and coaching mentorship to the community providers. The overwhelming response resulted in more than 550 patients treated and more than ten patients identified to receive extended care through the National Iraqi Assistance Center.
Shooting up the Quran -- [ROFA Six]
The e-mail below is from a platoon leader in Iraq about the recent shooting "incident" of a Quran in Iraq. The President recently apologized for the incident as has the senior military leadership in Iraq (Video of 'mea culpa' ceremony here). Clearly it is a setback to the "hearts and minds" campaign that has shown such success in the last year.
Letters from Iraq: Which way is up? -- [ISN Security Watch]
Iraqi security forces have visibly improved since they began training in 2004, but much depends on their ability to overcome sectarian loyalties.
But despite their professional appearance, the Iraqis are still not ready to standing up on their own, as the mission has shown. They could not read the map. They bickered over who got to search which house. Instead of sending smaller search teams into houses to scour them for weapons first and make sure the houses were safe, the lieutenants would go into the houses themselves first and sit down for lengthy conversations with the owners, leaving most of their men to stand outside, smoking cigarettes, while one or two policemen looked through the house.
"My men steal stuff, break stuff," explained an Iraqi police lieutenant who identified himself as Lieutenant Haidar. "I don't trust them," said another officer, who called himself Lieutenant Ali.
The lack of trust is also external. Recent polls suggest that only about 60 percent of Shiite Iraqis and about 50 percent of Sunnis are confident in the police force, said Maj. Mike Birmingham, the planner for the First Brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division, which is stationed in Baghdad. The lack of trust is one of the legacies of 2006 and 2007, when sectarian militias infiltrated the security forces and used their status to carry out extrajudicial killings.
Iraqi Troops Take Charge of Sadr City in Swift Push -- [NY Times]
Iraqi troops pushed deep into Sadr City on Tuesday as the Iraqi government sought to establish control over the district, a densely populated Shiite enclave in the Iraqi capital.
The long-awaited military operation, which took place without the involvement of American ground forces, was the first determined effort by the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to assert control over the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood, which has been a bastion of support for Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel cleric.
The operation comes in the wake of the government’s offensive in Basra, in southern Iraq, which for the time being seems to have pacified that city and restored government control.
The Iraqi forces met no significant resistance.
US and Iraqi Special Operations Forces
US military killed Mahdi Army commander Arkan Hasnawi in May 3 strike -- [LWJ]
The US military killed a senior member of the Mahdi Army, according US and Mahdi Army sources. Arkan Hasnawi, a senior lieutenant of the Mahdi Army commander in Sadr City, was killed in a guided rocket strike in Sadr City on May 3. The news of Hasnawi's death comes as details emerge on the senior leadership of the Mahdi Army in Baghdad and the blurring of the lines between Sadr's militia and the Special Groups.
Upcoming Iraqi Elections Must Consolidate Security Gains of 'Sons of Iraq' -- [SWJ]
In the typically polarized debate on Iraq, the significance of the "Sons of Iraq" -- the predominantly Sunni militias now allied with the U.S. military against insurgents and terrorists -- can easily be lost. Depending on one's point of view, the U.S. military's new Sunni friends are either "concerned local citizens" or "opportunist insurgents" -- with pro- and anti-war camps each using the phenomenon to support pre-existing political positions. As Iraq approaches provincial elections in October, however, and the United States nears its own presidential vote, it is high time to abandon easy slogans and to examine the fresh challenges and many opportunities presented by recent events in Iraq. Among such events, the emergence of the Sons of Iraq stands out as particularly important.
Recon IED Sweep Iraq
Peek-A-Boo -- [False Motivation - in Iraq]
Sure, I'm not a big fan of Iraq; this country sucks, and deployments suck too. Even though neither are fun, there's a bit of freedom in them from Garrison life. Now they're wanting our personal ao's dress right dress, and we're having tent inspections and gear inspections every day (or every other day). It's almost enough to make me want to put my kit back on and head back out into sector.
I understand though, they're trying to keep us busy, trying to recondition us to "normal" life again; but I wasn't a fan of "normal" life anyways.
Iraq 2008 - It's FANtastic!
Long days and nights of cat-and-mouse and winning the fights against Al Qaeda in Iraq's Diyala Province...sometimes one IED at a time. Next to the brotherhood of being with fellow Marines, your sense of humor will help carry you through. Please support our fallen comrades' and those severely wounded at http://www.fallenheroesfund.org/ Semper Fi. Maj Chuck McGregor USMC
... 5.21.2008 -- [Fun With Hand Grenades - in Iraq]
18 days of leave went pretty quick.
I'm sick of saying goodbye, even to my cat.
Fuck you, Iraq. FUCK. YOU.
10 months and counting.
Swatting the Taliban -- [abu muqawama]
Kip believes that negotiations that address the legitimate grievances of the Taliban will be vital to victory in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The most recent agreement in Swat, however, between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban cedes the territory to the Taliban and removes the Pakistani Army without gaining significant benefits even for Pakistan. Swat is a territory over which the government has traditionally had more control than the other areas of the North West Frontier Province. The people and the government there were both unhappy and surprised when the Taliban moved in violently over the last couple of years.
Airmen who have dangerous ground missions in Afghanistan.
Pakistani government inks peace deal with Swat Taliban -- [LWJ]
The latest deal signed with Mullah Fazlullah, who led an armed uprising in Swat and Shangla. Fazlullah has been behind suicide and conventional attacks against Pakistani security forces and civilians.
Exclusive : Inside The Dangerous Places Of Waziristan.
It's considered one of the most lawless and dangerous places on earth.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 -- [Cheese's Milblog - in Afghanistan]
I will preface this by pointing to my previous posts. I think it is apparent that I enjoy working with the Afghan people and I truly feel that I am doing some good here. That being said, there truly are people in Afghanistan who wish us harm, and I feel as if we are doing less to seek them out than we are doing to protect ourselves from people within our own FOB. As you may have heard, a couple of Humvees went missing from my area of operations. We all assumed that this would not lead to anything good. That turned out to be an understatement. Without getting into too many details, I'll say that the policies that we infantryman call "big boy rules" no longer apply. This is to say that no one on the FOB can be trusted and that the security measures we were forced to implement hurt our combat effectiveness.
Another Pakistan Deal with the Taliban Jihadists -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Once again, the Pakistan government signs another deal with the Taliban, while counting on an impotent American government and an uninformed American public to continue to provide them billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars as our "ally".
NEFA TerrorWatch: The Spillover Impact of the Iraqi Jihad in Afghanistan -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
This week's episode of NEFA's TerrorWatch broadcast takes a closer look at Mohammed al-Thibaiti (a.k.a. Abu Sulaiman al-Otaibi), a Saudi Arabian national and a senior Al-Qaida lieutenant who was confirmed killed during recent clashes with the "crusaders and apostates" in the Paktia province of Afghanistan--and the larger spillover impact of the Iraqi jihad on the conflict in Afghanistan. On May 11, Al-Qaida leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid published a letter confirming that al-Thibaiti "was martyred in the Paktika province in Afghanistan… as a result of clashes with the enemies of Allah from the crusaders and apostates.
AFGHANISTAN: Streamlining the Allied Command? -- [Militay Watch]
I reported in a story from Afghanistan a few weeks ago that the complex and unwieldy allied military command in Afghanistan, together with a lack of clear strategy, was hobbling the U.S. military intervention in the critical southern part of the country.
Rather than clear and concise military command, there was disagreement and squabbling over what ought to be done. The story landed like a stink bomb in Washington, in the offices of Defense Secretary Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council.
But I later heard from some officials who said the story was helping to provoke a bureaucratic movement toward corrective action to the problem, which they'd been trying to get fixed for a long time.
Marine Sergeant Bee takes a bow -- [Militay Watch]
The other day I posted a dramatic photo of a Marine from the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, ducking away from a round fired by insurgents in Garmsir, southern Afghanistan. Neither I nor the Reuters photographer, Goran Tomasevic, could identify the Marine.
He is Sgt. Willliam Bee, "Billy" to his wife, Bobbie, with whom I spoke by phone a few minutes ago.
The photo was shot Saturday. I posted it on the blog Monday morning and when Bobbie checked it as she does religiously, "There was my husband's mug!''
Her first reaction? "I thought I was going to go into labor," says Bobbie, who expects to deliver baby boy Ethan, their first, in July. ...
Boy's Motivated Haircut Gets Him in Trouble -- HT: LT Nixon
Flight 93 blogburst: Mancow steps up to the plate, swings for the fences -- [ThunderRun]
Radio talk show host Mancow Muller is asking his listeners to help SHUT DOWN the crescent memorial to Flight 93. (Audio 27 seconds.)
Mancow describes how the giant crescent points to Mecca , and how the four terrorists are consistently placed in the symbolic Islamic heavens (the crescent and star parts of the design), while the 40 heroes are consistently depicted as symbolically damned (placed outside of the symbolic Islamic heavens). Good stuff (1 min, 21 sec).
Flag Disposal - [Instapundit]
Lenoir City, Tennessee. Jeez, I thought we'd at least have until the Democrats took the White House before these things started popping up . . . .
US Relief Supplies, Troops Wait Offshore as Burma Rebuffs American Overture -- [VOA News]
Burma is refusing deliveries of humanitarian aid from U.S. Navy ships, standing by off the Burmese coast. Washington's offer to help victims of Cyclone Nargis highlights the U.S. military's wider efforts to employ "soft power" in the region - something the Burmese junta views with suspicion. On board the ships, American sailors and Marines express frustration over not being able to help. VOA Southeast Asia Correspondent Luis Ramirez was aboard two of the ships and has this report.
Canada to deserters: Get lost -- [Hot Air]
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly During the Vietnam War, Canada gave refuge to as many as 90,000 draft dodgers and thousands of deserters from the United States, treating them as immigrants and refusing extradition requests from the US government. When the Iraq War began, scores of deserters traveled across the border, expecting a similar reception. Yesterday, the Canadian government gave them a rude awakening:
Canada is set to deport in June the first of possibly hundreds of American soldiers who sought asylum to avoid military duty in Iraq, a group backing the US deserters said Wednesday.
Report: Minnesota Bridge Collapse Due to State Bureaucratic Blunders -- [NewsBusters]
Bureaucratic bungling by the state of Minnesota had a heavy hand in the fatal Minnesota bridge collapse last summer, according to a new report commissioned by that state's legislature. The Associated Press has the story, but it's not as exciting as the initial "blame Bush" meme the media found so convenient as the tragedy unfolded.
Al-Qaeda At It's Weakest State Since US Invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- [Gateway Pundt]
This follows the news yesterday that global terror attacks are down 40% since 2001.
Here's some great news for America and bad news for the Bush-bashers...
Al-Qaeda is at its weakest state since the US led invasion of Iraq 5 years ago.
Geneva, Illinois School kids support our troops -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
The kids at our elementary schools in Geneva have made thousands of beautiful Holiday cards for our soldiers the past two years. These cards were mailed to dozens of military hospitals and other medical units in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. This year, the Air Force Theater Hospital at Balad, Iraq honored them by flying flags in their honor.
National Moment of Remembrance -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
In case you haven't done so yet . . please mark your calendar on Memorial Day (May 26, 2008)) for 3:00pm your time . . . to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. Just 60 seconds of your time!
The National Moment of Remembrance does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be.
In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.
And please tell your loved ones and friends about the National Moment of Remembrance!
Battlefield scars often carry over to bedroom, troops find -- [Houston Chronicle]
Wounds and mental disabilities of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq can mess up their sex lives too, health experts said Wednesday. But those wounds often go untreated because the topic is taboo and has gone unstudied.
Whatever the reason, failed sexual intimacy can contribute to higher suicide and divorce rates among returning troops, specialists told a seminar sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on health issues.
They said the latest U.S. wars have brought more attention to psychological wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression, and should now include sexual problems.
USS Ronald Reagan Deploys
Friends and family members waved farewell to their loved ones Monday as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the six ships in its strike group sailed out of San Diego.
Badass Americans Dress Down -- [Strategy Page]
May 22, 2008: Commanders who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are questioning the uniforms policy currently in force. Put simply, if there is any risk of combat in an area, troops are not to leave base unless in full "battle rattle". That means body armor, helmet, weapon and ready to rock. This is meant to protect the troops in case there's trouble, as well as to intimidate any hostile locals. But it also intimidates friendly locals. For that reason, Special Forces troops often dress in civilian clothes, usually the same stuff the locals are wearing. This has frequently irked senior U.S. officers, who sometimes make enough noise to get the Special Forces operators back into uniform (but that's another debate.)
Boys on Thier Way -- [Toby Nunn - home from Iraq]
I am back in the states following some legal issues created by a member of leadership that come along after the film had been made and was unaware of who and what we were. It has been a painful experience that possible will end my career as a soldier because ego's are bigger than facts sometimes. There were some immature comments posted about us not going home which were untrue for the guys but were for me. I was not too concerned because I knew nothing illegal had happened and proper protocol was followed and it was a matter of pride and prejudice. I am not out of the deep end yet because in the real world you are innocent until proven guilty and get due process to facilitate that but in the MILITARY its the opposite, guilty until proven innocent and due process comes after the fact. So I am currently fighting to get the facts published and my record cleaned up so that I can again be a soldier but its a painful timely process.
"Frank Sinatra Day" vs. Funding the Troops -- [The Tank]
Here we are, four days from Memorial Day weekend, and Congress still hasn’t passed a funding bill for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers and Marines are achieving undeniable progress on the ground in Iraq—and what does Congress do? It spends the final hours before Memorial Day recess passing this “critical” legislation:
Time to Curb “Code Pink” -- [The Tank]
Finally, a member of Congress has announced a laudable plan to do something about the abusive behavior of demonstrators of the anti-war left. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation to deal with what he has described as “a growing number of our fellow citizens [who] are abusing their right of free expression through vandalism and violent protest aimed at military recruiters and those who wish to serve.”
'Dear American Voter' – George Soros Says The World Should Pick Our President -- [NewsBusters]
We've seen it over and over, people in Europe who imagine that they should be allowed to vote U.S. presidential elections. Some of these people imagine that they should have a voice in our elections because, they say, America is so supremely powerful that the man who becomes our president makes decisions that will impact the entire world. Now some far left think tanks and foundations have created a so-called "non-partisan" website called "Dear American Voter" for foreigners to make videos aimed at letting Americans know how they feel about our elections.
Lt. General Sanchez Slams Media's Iraq Coverage on FNC -- [NewsBusters]
During the interview, Sanchez conveyed his disapproval at the mainstream media's coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. When O'Reilly contended that the "New York Times and the liberal media" "went wild over Abu Ghraib" to "humiliate the Bush administration," Sanchez agreed: "To a large extent, you're absolutely right, because that is reflected in some of the questioning and some, obviously, in the press reports that occurred ... I believe that, in fact, we create the strategic defeat for America to a large extent by the way that we cover it in the press." (Transcript follows)
SUCCESS IN IRAQ: A MEDIA BLACKOUT -- [Retired Army Colonel Ralph Peters]
DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?
If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.
Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.
But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win?
Distributor Refuses to Carry "Moment of Truth in Iraq" on Military Bases -- [Michael Yon]
My publisher and literary agent have been working with the private companies who handle book distribution on military bases in order to get "Moment of Truth in Iraq" on their shelves. The process is arduous, to put it mildly.
They have succeeded in getting the book into overseas bases. But as the publisher and my agent are slowly working their way through US distributors who cover different geographic regions, they have been told "no" by the largest distributor, the Anderson News Company.
A letter from Anderson News:
Thank you for submitting Moment of Truth in Iraq to Anderson News for review. We have reviewed this book and do not consider it appropriate for our company to handle at this time, as it does not fit our current distribution needs and capabilities.
Thank you for considering us to distribute your book.
...Anderson News Company has almost a complete monopoly over the books carried on Army, Navy and Air Force book shelves in the following US states:
Gray Lady fighting dirty against McCain campaign? Update: NYT Ethics Policy -- [Hot Air]
Does the New York Times leverage access to campaign events through threats of negative news articles? According to one source at the McCain campaign, the answer is yes.
The New York Times has published a series of articles and editorials that have called its objectivity towards John McCain into question. The first shot across the bow came in February, when the paper ran an allegation that McCain had a “romantic” relationship with a lobbyist in a story that turned out to have no evidence except two unnamed, disgruntled campaign workers. A month later
CNN’s Kyra Phillips: ‘Iraq War is Not About Protecting Us From Terrorism’ -- [NewsBusters]
"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Fascinating: The Jihadists Admit Defeat in Iraq -- [Talisman Gate - an Iraqi blog]
A prolific jihadist sympathizer has posted an ‘explosive’ study on one of the main jihadist websites in which he laments the dire situation that the mujaheddin find themselves in Iraq by citing the steep drop in the number of insurgent operations conducted by the various jihadist groups, most notably Al-Qaeda’s 94 percent decline in operational ability over the last 12 months when only a year and half ago Al-Qaeda accounted for 60 percent of all jihadist activity!
The author, writing under the pseudonym ‘Dir’a limen wehhed’ [‘A Shield for the Monotheist’], posted his ‘Brief Study on the Consequences of the Division [Among] the [Jihadist] Groups on the Cause of Jihad in Iraq’ on May 12 and it is being displayed by the administration of the Al-Ekhlaas website—one of Al-Qaeda’s chief media outlets—among its more prominent recent posts. He's considered one of Al-Ekhlaas's "esteemed" writers.
'Raqstar - (awesome video) -- [From the Halls to the Shores - in Iraq] HT: Soldiers Mom / AWTM
New posts will appear below this one until the above date... mostly because it took me awhile to put this together and I don't want it to get buried...
Lying Low in Mosul -- [Talisman Gate - an Iraqi blog]
Here’s the western media’s brand-new dodge when trying to explain why the Iraqi Army is winning across the country: the insurgents, whether Sunni or Shia, are lying low.
Never mind that hundreds of insurgents are being killed and captured. No, according to the likes of TIME’s Mark Kukis (...who claims to be reporting from Iraq but could be up to something else in NYC), it’s “all a ploy, and any day now the real Iraq, which we refuse to report on, will unravel to fit to our imagined Iraq.”
But it seems that journalists too are adopting these alleged insurgent tactics: the Iraqi Army’s operation in Mosul is basically being ignored. In a sense, reporters are also lying low for fear that their false narratives would unravel.
Iraq Hunts Al-Qaeda in Its Last Urban Stronghold -- [Iraq the Model - an Iraqi blog]
Although we haven’t written anything about the operation in Mosul which started a week ago, I’ve been closely following its developments. The reason why I waited is that we had often heard about a new operation, which would then turn out to be just a rumor. Anyway, the operation this time has actually started, and the arrival of Maliki and his defense and interior ministers in the city leaves no room for doubt about the seriousness of the government in seeing to the plan’s success.
The interesting thing about the operation is that it’s been suspiciously quiet, to the extent that one wonders if there’s actually any operation going on. In fact, Mosul has seen the calmest eight days of the last five years.
Al Qaeda “Prince” reported captured in Mosul -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Iraqi military reports the “Prince” of Ninewa province has been captured. More than 1,100 insurgents captured as the government appears to give a green light for an Awakening to form in Mosul.
Locals Bring Security to Adhamiya -- [Alive in Baghdad - an Iraq blog]
Baghdad/Adhamiya, Iraq - After Al-Qa’eda controlled several places in Iraq such as Fallujah, Ramadi, and several neighborhoods in the west of Baghdad, there were many atrocities committed by Al-Qa’eda. This caused the people living in those areas to vehemently reject them. Some of the actions done by Al-Qa’eda were to ask the young men not to wear short trousers or colored T-shirts, or any other shirt with English writing. As for women in these regions, they demanded that they wear a headscarf, or a veil, and never go out of their houses without covering their head, and those who didn’t obey the strict instructions were facing the threat of being beheaded, killed, or otherwise assassinated by the several militias that were controlled by Al-Qa’eda.
The Sahwa Councils were first created in Anbar after some Iraqi tribes agreed to work together with the US forces against the actions of Al-Qa’eda, and in order to wipe out all the elements of Al-Qa’eda in their areas. The first Sahwa council was created under the leadership of Abu Risha. He claimed to organize the first Sahwa council in Anbar against Al-Qa’eda. After Abu Risha’s example, other Iraqi tribes were inspired by his work and created Sahwa councils in their areas in order to eliminate Al-Qa’eda cells in their neighborhoods. Some of the areas where Sahwa councils were formed are Mosul, Kirkuk, Diyala, Tikrit, Hawr Rajab, and several neighborhoods in Baghdad, such as Ameriya, Adhamiya, Al-Khadra’a, and Ghazaliya.
From “Ambush Alley” to Peaceful Ally -- [MNF-I]
RAMADI — Step after step, combat boots hit the pavement. It’s been a few hours for the Marine squad walking the Ramadi streets. Fatigued yet steady, the young men push forward on their routine foot patrol despite the mid-day desert heat; each squad member maintaining a constant alertness with eyes scanning the environment in every direction.
The squad leader passes by a familiar face; a local vender who he sees almost every day. Instantly, the look of exhaustion washes away, and a smile is brought to his face. Lifting his hand, he warmly greets the vender with, “Al salaam a’alaykum.”
Every day, Marine infantrymen like those with Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, patrol neighborhoods and actively engage the community of al-Anbar province
US Army Apologise for Using Quran for Target Practice
Soldiers Bring Hope to Urs' Last Standing Primary School for Girls -- Newsblaze]
UR, Iraq - Multi-National-Division - Baghdad Soldiers are working with a local headmaster to improve the last standing primary school for girls in a northern Baghdad neighborhood.
...Part of the mission was for Soldiers to identify needs by establishing a solid relationship with the school leadership and local residents.
As the visit and communication progressed, they discussed topics such as finding ways to receive additional help from the Iraqi government and neighborhood councils for the more than 800 students who attend the school.
For the Soldiers, the main goal is to serve as a conduit for the school leadership and the Iraqi government, said George.
A group of Iraqi boys wave to the camera through an opening in the Al Murooa School for Girls' gate during a visit by Soldiers from 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 68th Armored Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National-Division - Baghdad, May 12.
The Al Murooa School is the last primary school for girls standing at Ur and educates children from the ages 6 to 15. It serves the residents of Ur as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
The Sisters of Fallujah -- [BlackFive]
An Iraqi woman, a member of "Sisters of Fallujah," practices shooting a weapon under the supervision of International Police Advisor Anna Bailey on a range in Fallujah, Iraq, April 29, 2008. Sisters of Fallujah is a security force comprised of local women that help maintain security in their neighborhoods. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Erin A. Kirk.
Iraq News (20 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: The Iraqi Army has launched Operation Peace in Sadr City to take control of security and provide services to the residents of the militia-controlled district. Despite the operation's hokey name, it has not met any resistance and the Sadrists support the operation (so far so good). The Chaldean Church is opposing the execution of the thug that kidnapped and killed their Archbishop Rahho, since the church is against the death penalty. USA Today has the story of a courageous Shi'ite cleric, Sada al-Lami, promoting reconciliation in Baghdad by visiting Sunni mosques in the Adhamiya district. He continues to promote peace despite being kidnapped for a brief period and being threatened by militia goons.
Nancy Pelosi Visits Iraq, Nobody Cares -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
OPSEC prevents explanation of the details, but V.I.P. visits to Iraq generally require complex logistics and are very expensive to the American taxpayer. They usually serve one of three purposes: fact-finding, boosting troop morale, or diplomatic engagement. Since it doesn't look like Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) got around the country too much, that would only mean that the reason for her recent visit was for diplomatic purposes. But if that was the case, she certainly got a pretty chilly reception.
Pelosi Now Sees Iraq Surge As Working -- [Flopping Aces]
Military progress from the change of direction to counter-insurgency strategy as well and the political change it’s bringing about is so undeniable now that even people who support the troops but not their efforts, people who want success but oppose the war can no longer ignore the fact.
Triple Digits -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
Down goes the ramp. In comes the light. Out goes the soldier.
It starts with a dry mouth. Thirst. The body is more clever than the brain, no matter what the haters say. Speaking of which … Hater-Ade is far more prevalent than water and Rip-Its over here, with flavors ranging from that old vanilla staple “Bored Colonels Make Grown Men Cry” to the newest rage “Passionless PowerPoint Punch.” No liquid is going to help you though, when you realize the source of the thirst in question. There’s that big ball of orange suck again, climbing up the horizon like a stoned sloth lost in a tree.
Suddenly the personal tragedy becomes less of a bitch and more of the Bitch. You remember that your 140 pounds of raw American fury carries 70 additional pounds of raw American gear. The lightest glide becomes the heaviest step.
A Soldiers Dream - Helping an Iraqi Girl injured by IED.
Actor wants to hear the good news stories from Afghanistan -- [Press & Journal]
Media rapped for just reporting bloodshed and violence
ACTOR Jude Law yesterday called for wider reporting of stories of hope in Afghanistan.
Law was talking after the screening in Cannes of a documentary charting a campaign for an annual global day of peace.
...Last year Law travelled to Afghanistan to promote the UN’s annual Peace Day on September 21, accompanied by Gilley.
Law said Afghanistan was dear to his heart and continued: “It stuns me and appalls me that the media in the west only report bloodshed, murder, the violence.
“Because I met people over there, reconstructing, with incredible pride and hope.
“And little girls who had been shot at by Taliban going to school the next day because they wanted to, to be teachers and doctors.
“That’s really, really moving stuff and real stuff and that should be reported.
Forward Base Afghanistan - 45 min documentary
Australia's hi-tech, lethally-equipped soldiers cut a surreal presence as they cautiously patrol the baking dustbowl of southern Afghanistan, drawing casual glances from turbaned tribesmen and nomadic herders.To the locals, they're Americans wearing a different emblem, but the Australians are trying to carve out a special identity among the 40 nations that have come to Afghanistan on a mission to suppress violence and get society functioning again. The Australians face an unseen enemy who emerges at night to lay hidden roadside bombs then melts back into the villages.
Successful Marine Operations in the Helmand Province -- [Captain's Journal]
This is the sixth in a series following the U.S. Marines through the Helmand Province, Afghanistan. U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit try to take shelter from a sand storm at forward operating base Dwyer in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan Wednesday, May 7, 2008. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) Report The Marines are continuing their success in the Garmser area of the Helmand……
**EXCLUSIVE: Latest from British troops in Afghanistan
Soldiers from the Argyle and Southern Highlanders, 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, are providing security in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand Province, in Afghanistan.
Northern Afghanistan Irrigation Rehabilitation Program -- [HOPE worldwide Afghanistan - NGO workers]
To date our engineers have written proposals for 12 projects; 10 in Jawzjan Province and 2 in Saripul Province. These first 12 "pilot" projects are ready to be implemented by the villagers themselves through what is known as the Community Development Councils (CDCs). These are locally elected village leadership groups that can receive government funding to implement locally impacting projects. Our team will train the CDCs in financial accounting methods (to account for project funds), project management, agriculture and water management, as well as conflict management
US Marine cheats death in Afghanistan -- [Telegraph]
A US Marine narrowly avoids death in this dramatic series of photos taken on the frontline of the battle against the Taliban.
The soldier ducks just in time as insurgent gunfire blasts away rock from the top of his trench, just inches from his face.
Marines Emphasize Character Building in Afghan Police Mission -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2008 – The 1st Marine Division’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines’ is focusing on Afghan people, not on fighting terrorists, the battalion commander said May 16.
“What’s unique about our mission is that we’re doing a police training and mentoring mission, as opposed to coming in here kinetically like a lot of our past exploits have been, especially in Iraq,” Marine Corps Lt. Col. Richard Hall told online journalists and “bloggers” in a teleconference.
Afghanistan, Roads and Counterinsurgency -- [Captain's Journal]
Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is at a state of development where the construction of roads is a significant player in counterinsurgency due to the creation of avenues of movement, interdiction and access to the population. David Kilcullen recently wrote about this at the Small Wars Journal Blog. It is a detailed look into this aspect of counterinsurgency and well worth the time to study it, but only a small portion is reproduced below.
In Focus Afghanistan: Failure of Expectation
Pakistan frees former Guantanamo prisoner, Afghan Taliban commander -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The government has freed a Taliban commander in Afghanistan and a former inmate at Guantanamo Bay along with scores of Taliban fighters in exchange for Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan and captive Pakistani soldiers.
HORROR In Johannesburg-- Immigrants Beaten & Burned Alive -- [Gateway Pundit]
WARNING ON CONTENT-- VERY DISTURBING PHOTOS--
Andrew from Zimbabwe forwarded this story on the rioting this weekend in Johannesburg.
SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY
Residents laugh as a foreigner burns in his own blankets
The photos in this posting are from the South Africa riots this week.
As we made our way through the Ramaphosa squatter camp in Reiger Park on Gauteng’s East Rand, a woman’s words made us freeze in horror. “They are burning people down there,” she said.
I ran to the nearest police officer and said: “The locals say they’re burning a person at the other intersection.”
Officers leapt into a Casspir and a Nyala, and drove through the debris and barricades in the road.
I ran after them, with other photographers following.
..."Is this how you South Africans are going to treat foreigners when they come here for the World Cup?” asked one irate Zimbabwean, identifying himself only as Charles.
“This is a s**t country. It’s a shame to the rest of the world that they are allowing the World Cup to take place here. South Africans seem to think that no one’s life is precious.”
USNavy Violates Venezuelan Airspace -- [Jawa Report]
(Caracas, Venezuela) A U.S. Navy S-3B Viking aircraft strayed into Venezuelan airspace over the weekend, prompting a strong denunciation by Hugo Chavez's government.
Penn and Teller Explain Flag Burning Trick
Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Calls Iran "a threat to Turkey as well as to the U.S." -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Doug Farah and I talked about his post on Hezbollah and clarified that Hezbollah might be the premier non-state terrorist threat. After all, Hezbollah's support and the extent of its direction from the current Iranian regime is massive. Two years ago, I wrote here about my discussions with a senior Western intelligence service official, who estimated Iran's direct financial support to Hezbollah at $100 million, and that was when oil was less than half of the current price. I assume that amount has not been decreased. Those ties now constitute a dagger aimed at the freedom of entire countries - Lebanon and Israel in the Middle East - as well as a threat to the U.S.
Anyone wondering whether the threat posed by Iran is "tiny" or substantial should ponder what the Ambassador from Turkey to the U.S. said today at our panel on the Turkey-U.S. relationship.
Feared FARC Commander Surrenders -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Another FARC commander has surrendered to Colombian authorities. Nelly Avila Moreno, aka Karina, turned herself in (along with her daughter andher partner, known as Michin.) Karina was commander of the 47th Front. (She was also one of the top-ranked women in the FARC - here is some background on the women in the FARC.) This would be roughly equivalent to a Captain surrendering. At a news conference, she stated the FARC was “crumbling.” She had been out of communications with the FARC leadership for two years. Her once feared unit of 350 was down to about 50 fighters.
Secret Report on Saudi School in Virginia Must Be Released -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, DC, unanimously voted to continue leasing county property to the Islamic Saudi Academy, which is funded by the Saudi government. The school had been criticized for using textbooks which included virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Christian language and teachings. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report last year urging the State Department to shut the school down unless it materially changed the textbooks to remove the hateful language. To quote the Commission, "Moreover, a 2006 report analyzing some Saudi textbooks from the 2005-2006 school year found that 'a ninth grade Saudi textbook on Hadith teaches teenagers in apocalyptic terms that violence towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers is sanctioned by God.' For example, the textbook reads, 'the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.'" ISA's 1999 valedictorian was Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was convicted and sentenced to prison for joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush. Apparently, the Board of Supervisors is satisfied
Unresolved U.S. Strategy on Jihad and the War of Ideas -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
An unresolved question remains who in the U.S. Government is accountable for the wartime "war of ideas" against Jihadists. Last fall, Senator Joe Lieberman questioned the FBI, the DHS, the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) about their organizations' role in the "war on ideas" against jihadists. The answer was a giant shrugging of shoulders.
Jihadists Take Recruitment Efforts Online 2/2
Google Brushes off Lieberman's Request to Remove Terrorist Content -- [LGF]
Senator Joe Lieberman sent a letter to Google/YouTube asking them to remove the video content that’s been posted at YouTube by terrorist groups and their supporters, and Google told Lieberman to take a hike.
It’s no joke; this kind of highly disturbing radical Islamic content is easy to find all over YouTube, and it’s clear that several terrorist groups feel safe about posting pretty much anything they want, up to and including videos that show murders and terrorist attacks. But at CNET, they scoff at the problem (and Lieberman):
The New al-Qaeda: Jihad.com part 2 of 6
Fidelity to Our Heros: Ali Soufan -- [Jawa Report]
When I was reading this excellent WaPo about the USS Cole bombers all being free, I was focused on this: "Diplomatic relations soured further in February, when the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa learned that Fahd al-Quso, another Cole conspirator, had been secretly freed nine months before. Like Badawi, Quso faces U.S. charges in the Cole case and has a $5 million bounty on his head."
While my head was exploding, I entirely failed to notice this quote from former US Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine, who Gary (Jawa pal and father of one of the murdered sailors) and I view as an impediment to the FBI's efforts:
...If Yemen is truly an ally, it should act as an ally. Until it does, U.S. aid to Yemen should be reevaluated. It will be impossible to defeat al-Qaeda if our "allies" are freeing the convicted murderers of U.S. citizens and terrorist masterminds while receiving direct U.S. financial aid.
938 Heroes Awaiting adoption -- [Soldiers' Angels]
There are three different ways to help Soldiers' Angels carry out its vital mission:
Join a Soldiers' Angels Team
Adopt a Soldier
Please Note: A donation is not required to join Soldiers' Angels or to adopt a soldier. The instant approval process through PayPal simply provides an expedited process for those who wish to take advantage of it. Please do not feel obligated to do so. As with all donations to Soldiers' Angels, your donation is tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Please consult your tax adviser for further information.
When A soldier comes home -- [American Infidel]
"This is a video that I put together to show what it was like for myself and all the other
vets out there who have returned from a deployment."
When A soldier comes home
Face of Defense: Soldier Fights to Deploy Despite Medical Condition -- [Defense Link]
After he was diagnosed with a neurological disease in which his body attacks his nerves, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christian Smith waged and won a long battle to deploy with his unit.
...Every three weeks, he underwent an intravenous immunoglobulin treatment at a local hospital. By this time, Smith’s unit was on mobilization orders for deployment, but he was scheduled to stay with the rear detachment.
“Within four or five days, I started noticing a lot more strength, and by 10 days after that, I could wiggle my toes and keep my left foot up,” he said. “I went back to the unit and told them the treatment was working. At that point, it was a matter of how the Army medical system was going to handle this.”
The unit deployed. Despite his objections, Smith stayed at Fort Hood, Texas.
“The doc said when he diagnosed me that this is a legitimate medical condition that would definitely keep me from deploying,” he said. “He asked me why I’d want to deploy if I didn’t have to.
“It’s one of those things where, having grown up playing sports, you spend all that time practicing with a team; and, all of a sudden, they go to an away game, out of town, and you’re stuck at home,” he added. “It’s not a good feeling.” A year and a half later, Smith found himself facing the same situation, this time with a new team. He was newly assigned to Troop R, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, once again on orders for Iraq.
Time Passes By -- [48th Combat Support Hospital - in Afghanistan]
...I would also like to take this time to thank the elementary school students who sent us the pillows. They are from Grand Rapids, MI. Thank you all so much for the wonderful pillows that had some great artwork on them. The students took markers and drew patriotic pictures and notes of love to us. I have one on my bed right now. I still use the memory foam that I had already, but the pillow these children sent is fantastic as well. Thank you all so very much....teachers, students, and faculty. I am still receiving messages of support from family, friends, and supporters from all across our wonderful nation. Obviously, we all know where most of it comes from.....thank you honey.....but the amount of support we receive from our fellow Americans shows why our nation is as great as it is. Sure, we have election/campaign battles going on right now, we have murder, drugs, and numerous other crimes being committed. There are some obvious flaws in some of the things that we do as a nation, but by God we're the best of the best and we stick together.
Letters from Kids -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
among all of the letters and packages we get, the most entertaining are those from the children. Countless schoolkids sit down and write a soldier. In poor grammar, but with heartfelt emotion, they tell us what they think. Sometimes they can make soldiers cry. Other times, we just smile. Most of the time, though, they make you laugh.
So this week, I’ll give you a taste of what the kids are saying. Here are some of the highlights of the letters to soldiers that I’ve come across. Some are touching, some are funny. Some kids are a little too gung-ho. Most letters are simple, on paper. Many more have drawings with them. Some are nothing but drawings. Some even have elaborate pop-ups.
Readers give airman some welcome assistance -- [Ohio.com]
Beacon Journal readers are directly responsible for creating a joyous homecoming for a local serviceman who has just returned from Afghanistan.
Nick Frangos of Jackson Township flew into Akron-Canton Airport last week and into the arms of his mother, brothers, niece and fiancee.
From CAK, he didn't have far to go — the family lives directly behind the airport on Wales Avenue.
By contrast, the rest of his journey home was a chore, with stops in Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Maine and, finally, his base in Raleigh, N.C.
The Air Force footed the bill to Carolina, but after that, he was on his own.
No branch of the military will pay to fly its people to their hometowns. And because service folks don't know the exact dates of their leaves until the last minute — ''My date changed four times,'' Frangos notes — they often must pay the same astronomical fares as last-minute business travelers.
He Did It Again! Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) Attacks Troops -- [Gateway Pundit]
Antiwar Liberal Democrat Attacks Troops Visiting Capital Hill
This was posted by DM at the Power Line Forum:
A class of senior Army War College officers (all of whom are either Iraq or Afghanistan combat veterans with multiple deployments) were taking part on a tour of Congress. All of this was officially approved and part of the Army War College curriculum.
The officers observing Congress hold multiple bronze stars between them; and other citations too numerous to mention.
Yesterday, while voting on the war supplemental spending bill in the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help but notice a contingent of approximately 20 flag rank Army officers sitting in the House Gallery watching the debate and vote for a couple of hours. I was looking from below so I thought they were Army, but there could have been other branches present.
It’s possible they were on leave time or vacation. If so, I obviously have no concern. However, if they were doing this on military time, I want an explanation of why they were there.
Why Harvard Harasses the Military -- [WSJ]
Benedictine held its annual commencement ceremonies this past weekend, and I happened to be there because I was the speaker. After all the degrees had been handed out, two young men in dress blue were called back on stage. Before their families, their classmates, and their teachers, these men raised their right hands and swore to "support and defend" our Constitution. And then Lt. Jeff Fetters and Lt. Michael Mundie were presented to their class as "the newest officers in the United States Army."
What a striking moment this was. Here were two young men who had stepped forward to wear the uniform in a time of war – and who had their service publicly acknowledged by their peers and institution. One retired general who graduated from this same campus in 1966 put it this way. "These young men will need every bit of encouragement in the world they have now entered," said Tom Wessels. "And by golly, it was great to see them get it."
Now, Benedictine is hardly an Army kind of place. On this campus, you are far more likely to encounter someone becoming a missionary than someone entering the military.
Why I Stayed Enlisted -- [VA Mortg. Blog]
...Every single Soldier has the choice to go Green to Gold - going from the enlisted to commissioned ranks - provided we were high speed Soldiers who stayed out of trouble. I’ve been hounded by many of my commanders and Warrant Officers about getting a commission or going warrant. However, I like being enlisted. Why?
The SMA contrasted the 20-year careers of enlisted and commissioned Soldiers. You take the career of an officer and, of that 20 years, the officer will spend about 5 years directly working with and leading Soldiers. The other 15 years are spent on staff and special assignments. You take the same 20-year career of an NCO and the results are opposite - 15 years directly working with and leading Soldiers and 5 years of staff and special assignments. He said that we each had to decide what we wanted to do - lead Soldiers or work on a staff keeping the Army moving.
Pentagon Improves Transitions for Troops -- [Defense Link]
The Defense Department has merged two military support programs to better address the financial and transition needs of departing troops.
Blogging Gets Blessed Off By A Three-Star -- [Lt Nixon - in Iraq]
Lt. Gen. Caldwell, head of the Combined Armed Center and prior director of Strategic Effects in Iraq, has encouraged his soldiers to do more blogging to spread information on the internet according to Wired's Danger Room Blog. Obviously, this is a boon to military bloggers, as some in the Pentagon want us to go away, and Small Wars Journal reports that this will allow a healthy exchange of ideas.
Troubled teen becomes war hero
KNOX, Pa. -- Spc. Ross McGinnis, a kid who hated school and even got expelled for buying marijuana on campus, did more than turn his life around.
He saved the lives of four fellow soldiers when he used his body to cover a grenade that an Iraqi insurgent threw from a rooftop into an Army Humvee.
McGinnis, atop the truck in its machine-gun turret, could have dived to safety. Instead, he jumped into the Humvee and pinned the grenade between his back and the vehicle's radio mount.
The grenade exploded a second or two later, killing McGinnis at age 19.
6 May 08 -- [Afghanistan-A day in the life of a deployment - home from Afghanistan]
...Our introduction back to the States was magnificent. I can think of no better word to describe the happy outpouring of emotion that greeted us as we walked off the plane. It seemed like everyone's excitement to return was magnified by the wild relief of those receiving us, and their unbridled openness about releasing their emotions. It's humbling to be part of a large group suddenly free of longing and concern, which until minutes before had been tucked away neatly beneath the surface. When we got back we were home; nothing else mattered.
My guys have surprised me a bit this week. I expected them to be wild, acting more their age than anything else. I'm sure most bars have the recipe they're seeking, but for now, their most common behavior has been one of exhausted relaxation. I think that for most of them, they're just happy to be home.
Back in the US of A -- [Sgt Grumpy - home from Iraq]
A quick note to let everyone know that we are back in the States. As "D" will attest, we are going thru a lot of stupidity, Army style. But the key is we are home. It is so clean and green here, and people bathe - glorious
GI Bill -- [Outside the Wire]
In the national wires and in the my local paper there are stories about legislation to modify the GI Bill.
(I was a beneficiary of the GI Bill in the previous decade.)
In reading these stories, I can see how people are easily confused by the concept of a GI Bill that covers tuition and one that provides a monthly payment. In most cases, the monthly payment would exceed full tuition.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, also veterans of Vietnam, would guarantee full tuition payments to veterans at any public school in their home state."
From the same article:
"McCain says the legislation is too expensive and has proposed his own version, which would increase the monthly benefit available to most veterans to $1,500 from $1,100. It would not offer the equivalent of a full scholarship."
But does the current montly payment or the McCain plan provide the equivalent of a full scholarship? In some states, yes. Lets run the numbers.
Do Liberals Hate the Troops -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
Right Wing News offers up a fine list of douchebag liberals that have spoken ill of "The Troops", but is it fair to say that all liberals disdain the military? As a middle-of-the-road type supporting a gentleman who lives in his car for President, I feel compelled to over up my two-bit impartial analysis. There are some strong criticisms emanating from liberal coffers about the Pentagon being a propaganda monstrosity and the military being inherently misogynist and having a culture of rape towards women, but I've only seen hatred directed specifically at the troops from extreme fringe groups or gaffe-prone politicians. Mainstream pundits will avoid direct criticism of military personnel like the plague as evidenced by the latest Olbermann-Ingraham debacle.
Civil Rights Groups Outraged Over Child Abuse in War -- [Jules Crittenden]
No, they’re not outraged at al Qaeda, the Taliban or Iraqi insurgents for using children as terrorists. Don’t be ridiculous. They’re outraged at the United States for holding them. AP: UN reports US holding +500 kids as unlawful enemy combatants. Here’s the ACLU on the issue:
Hark, another phony soldier speaks... -- [Greyhawk]
Let's set the wayback machine for August, 2004. In the heat of a Presidential campaign pitting a Vietnam combat veteran against a former Air National Guard fighter pilot, Democrats used one of their other veterans to launch an attack on the Vice President...
...But anyhow, that was 2004, and this year the Republicans are nominating a Vietnam combat veteran. In fact, he's a Navy fighter pilot (though unlike Harkin he flew combat missions).
Since neither of his potential opponents has any military experience (though Hillary Clinton once fabricated a story about being under fire in a combat zone and has that in common with Harkin) guess which veteran Democrats called on to insult him...
I expect politicians to lie a little bit, but liars of Harkin's caliber are no better than the Jonathan Apontes of the world.
We Are America -- [Villianious Co]
...As Grim remarks (and I commented some weeks ago) it seems strange how quickly the some of our leaders turned from voicing support for the military to thinly veiled expressions of suspicion and contempt
What's even more interesting is the manner in which military service is prostituted by these politicians. On the one hand as Senator Harkin is quick to note, there is nothing inherently wrong with military service:
He said that "I just want to be very clear there's nothing wrong with a career in the military" and that he has friends who are generals and admirals who have served the country well.
"But now McCain is running for a higher office. He's running for commander in chief, and our Constitution says that should be a civilian," Harkin said. "And in some ways, I think it would be nice if that commander in chief had some military background, but I don't know if they need a whole lot."
Winter Soldier Stories -- [Dadmanly]
The malcontents and miscreants of Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW) are at it again, invited to testify before a Congressional “Progressives Caucus” this week.
In perfect accord with their previous efforts, their “Winter Soldier” circus this time was a mix of pretenders with phony or hyped up resumes, exaggerated stories fuzzy of facts but overstuffed with fabulisms, or outright falsehoods.
White House Challenges NBC News to Explain Whether Iraq Is in 'Civil War' -- [Fox News]
The White House is calling on NBC News to declare whether the network still believes Iraq is mired in a “civil war,” escalating a fight that began when NBC aired an interview with President Bush that the White House called the product of “deceitful editing.”
The network rattled the White House in November 2006 when it called the conflict in Iraq a “civil war.” On Monday, White House Counselor Ed Gillespie wrote a letter to NBC News President Steve Capus, looking in part for an explanation of how NBC News now views the war.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday the administration is “fed up” with the way NBC News is treating the Iraq war.
White House Slams NBC For "Deceitful" Reporting
The White House blasted NBC News today for purposely distorting an interview with President Bush.
Olbermann Says Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin Hate Our Troops -- [NewsBusters]
It appears the New York Post's assessment that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is on the verge of another professional meltdown was quite prescient.
On Monday's "Countdown," answering to criticism that his Special Comment last Wednesday about President Bush's "panoramic and murderous deceit" was so over the top that he should be suspended, Olbermann had the unmitigated audacity to claim those offended were showing "their instinctive hatred for, and contempt for" America's troops.
Keith Olbermann: US Troops Are The Cold Blooded Killers??!!?
A little balance. -- [John of Argghhh!]
Just remember, for every idiot troop with discipline issues whose actions put us in this position:
U.S. General Apologizes For Desecration Of Koran
...there are dozens, if not hundreds, who are doing things like this - that rarely make the NYT...
..."Our goal is to have her keep getting better every day. She’s an amazing little girl. She has a drive I wish I had," said Daniel Izquierdo, the physician assistant for Task Force 1-35 Armor, which is the unit replacing 3-1 at Patrol Base Assassin. Izquierdo said he will carry on the therapy program started by his predecessors.
But you have to look to find those stories. Drudge doesn't link them. Most majors news outlets don't, either.
But there are a lot more soldiers like Sergeant George Sumrall out there, than that idiot with rage issues.
Correction: Iraq-US-Jailed Kids story -- [AP]
NEW YORK (AP) — In a May 19 story about the U.S. military holding approximately 500 juveniles in detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq, The Associated Press erroneously reported that a U.S. government report said those held in Iraq were "unlawful enemy combatants." The military considers all its Iraqi detainees "civilian internees" as defined under the Geneva Conventions, terminology that does not appear in the report. The designation "unlawful enemy combatant," a term used throughout the report, confers a different legal status and is used for detainees in other facilities including Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan.
Karl Rove agreed that NBC deliberately edited the president. -- [Gateway Pundit]
Rove added that NBC has a real problem, "We are starting to see the journalistic standards of MSNBC, which are really no standards at all, creep into the NBC which is a respected news organization."
Really?... Who knew?
The Lost Art of War
Hollywood has gone back to war. And this time, it’s appalling. All autumn long, the film industry released movies about America’s battle against global jihad. With one exception—the competent actioner The Kingdom—each of these movies distorted an urgent, ongoing historical enterprise through the lens of a filmmaker’s unthinking leftism. Redacted, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, and Lions for Lambs characterize our soldiers and government agents as rapists, madmen, murderers, torturers of the innocent, or simply victims caught up in a venal and bloodthirsty American foreign policy. All this at the very moment when our real-life soldiers and agents are risking, and sometimes losing, their lives fighting the most hateful and cancerous worldview since Nazism.
But I guess that’s showbiz.
Needless to say, it wasn’t always thus. During World War II, Hollywood stars like James Stewart and directors like Frank Capra enlisted in the military to combat dictators as willingly as Sean Penn and Michael Moore now tootle down to Venezuela and Cuba to embrace them.
McCain SNL Ad
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Report: Al-Qaeda Operatives Who Infiltrated Into Iraq From Syria Kill 11 Policemen -- [MERMI Blog]
U.S. and Iraqi sources reported that Al-Qaeda operatives who infiltrated into Iraq from Syria had penetrated a settlement in the Al-Anbar province and attacked the homes of 11 policemen, killing all 11 as well as the son of one of the policemen.
It was reported that the infiltrators wore U.S. military uniforms and that one, a Lebanese, was caught on his way back to Syria.
Iraqi Army captures Special Groups cell leader in Husayniyah -- [MNF-I]
Iraqi Army captures Special Groups cell leader in Husayniyah
BALAD, Iraq – The Iraqi Army captured a mid-level Special Groups cell leader in Husayniyah, responsible for coordinating improvised explosive device, rocket and smallarms fire attacks against Iraqi Security and Coalition forces, approximately 30 km north of Baghdad, May 15.
Iraqi Army soldiers conducted the operation to capture the Special Groups cell leader whose cell conducted attacks against the ISF and CF as recent as April 22.
These criminals emplaced explosively-formed penetrators and conducted indirect fire attacks against static Coalition force positions. Three additional suspects were detained.
“The capture of this cell leader will likely affect the ability of Special Groups criminals in Husayniyah to conduct attacks against Iraqi Security and Coalition forces,” said Col. Bill Buckner, MNC-I spokesman. “This will prevent Special Groups leadership from exploiting the city as a safe haven.”
Ouch! Iraq Vows It Will Not Become Another Lebanon -- [Gateway Pundit]
Talk about a sucker punch? That has got to hurt.
The Iraqi foreign minister said that Iraq would not allow formation of a state within a state.
...In other good news from Iraq...
The US announced that it is planning on turning Al-Anbar Province over to the Iraqis in June.
This is amazing news considering the sprawling province was once believed lost to the insurgency.
Attacks decrease in Sadr City; fighting shifts to western Baghdad -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Mahdi Army continues to strike in Sadr City, but the intensity of the attacks has decreased significantly. Fighting may be shifting westward.
...The US and Iraqi military has insisted the Special Groups - the Iranian-armed and trained factions of the Mahdi Army - and not the Mahdi Army itself, are behind the attacks in Sadr City. But the lifting of the weapons and the reduction in attacks in Sadr City suggests otherwise. The Special Groups appear to be abiding by Sadr's order for a cease-fire to some degree.
Letters from Iraq: Testing Sadr's control -- [ISN Security Watch]
The recent ceasefire between Moqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government is fragile at best, and shows that some fighters are outside al-Sadr's control, Anna Badkhen writes from Baghdad for ISN Security Watch.
...Moqtada al-Sadr may have negotiated a fragile ceasefire with the Iraqi government after several weeks of street fighting in northern Baghdad, but in this part of the city, Shiite fighters who loosely associate themselves with Sadr's Mahdi Army militia couldn't care less.
"My intelligence tells me that they are Jaish al-Mahdi special groups," said US Army Captain Andrew Betson, the commander of the outpost in Saidiyah, using the Arabic name for Sadr's militia and the American military term for Shiite militants that are believed to have splintered off from the mainstream.
"I do not believe that they are mainstream Jaish al-Mahdi," he said. "At least they believe that they don't have to abide by the ceasefire."
American government and military officials say the ceasefire is a test of how much control Sadr has over Shiite fighters who have been at the forefront of violence against coalition troops, Iraqi government forces and Sunni Iraqis. Sadr has demonstrated the ability to rally tens of thousands of fighters to battle and to order them to stop fighting.
Baghdad Patrol - Sadr City
In Pictures: From Rusafa to Sadr City -- [LWJ - Bill Ardolino - in Iraq]
Click image to view slideshow. To remove the text in the images, click 'hide captions'.
The 3rd Squadron of the 89th Cavalry conducts operations across central and northeast Baghdad: from the Tigris River, to downtown, to residential areas in northern Rusafa District, to the edge of conflict areas in Sadr City. The 3-89 Cav's missions include force protection of Iraqi Police Stations, day and night mounted and dismounted patrols, and raids on suspected Mahdi Army roadside bomb and weapons caches.
Iraq News (16 May) -- [Lt Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: A Iraqi Parliament member has claimed that national reconciliation has taken place amongst quarreling blocs, which is a way to convince investors in Egypt to bring in more money. Arab investors have been sluggish to invest in Iraq due to security issues and perceived corruption within the Iraqi government. However, Iraq doesn't have any trouble bringing in money from religious tourists to its holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.
General Cites Iranian Links to ‘Special Groups’ Terrorists in Iraq -- [MNF-I]
So-called “special groups” terrorists operating in Iraq apparently are receiving training, arms and funding from Iranian sources, a senior U.S. military official posted in Iraq said May 14.
“Over the course of the last several months, we have publicly discussed numerous times, and shown numerous times, the evidence on four separate occasions on what we have found and continue to find: Iranian-made weapons in the hands of criminals in Iraq,” Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner told reporters during a Baghdad news conference.
How Iran Is Killing U.S. Troops in Iraq -- [PJM - Bob Owens]
American and Iraqi military forces have repeatedly claimed to have uncovered evidence that Iran is supplying both Sunni and Shia insurgent groups in Iraq with various munitions. Operations in Basra and Baghdad’s Sadr City slum in recent weeks have allegedly uncovered Iranian weapons manufactured as recently as this year, which would seem to preclude Iranian weapons having been obtained on the black market. Instead, it suggests the direct supply of belligerents inside Iraq with Iranian weaponry by the Iranian military with the knowledge of the Iranian government.
The Night of Gun-Toting, Barrel-Blazing Ghost Pandas -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
Gunfire in Iraq is not a rare thing – especially at night. Most of the time, the scattered, random shots heard somewhere off in the distant shadows fade away with time, not warranting any American attention other than a brief radio report sent from the roof of the combat outpost. That’s most of the time. Occasionally though, the scattered, random shots do not fade – instead progressing into something military vernacular junkies describe as “direct” and “sustained;” i.e. a firefight. This kind of gunplay tends to require our own special brand of attentive intervention. The night of the ghost pandas was one of these times.
Basra Open For Business
After Operation Charge Of The Knights
Summer School -- [Toby Nunn's Briefing Rm - in Iraq]
Sitting in our 5 thumbs down dinning facility today eating lunch several of the Bad Voodoo NCO’s were commenting on the year. Being that we are stationed at the very camp that many soldiers visit on their way home we are constantly seeing new faces and I guess we just never paid attention to the atmosphere because even though we are permanent party here we have always been on the outside looking in and also advoid eating there as mich as possible because it is terrible. (By far the worst chow hall we have eaten in ALL year and Theater)
...The soldiers have all survived their tour which is very much like passing your finals and knowing you will graduate, (granted you show up) but still there with just enough time that you have to still “play the game”.
We are graduates of combat or an “eminent danger tour” to be politically correct since its not right to admit combat these days so who are our Valedictorians? I would like to nominate the Bad Voodoo Squad Leaders, Bad Voodoo Team Leaders and Bad Voodoo Soldiers for doing it even though we didn’t always know what “it” was or why. The young men and some women that showed up and TRIED to do the right thing just not the Great Pretenders. “It’s easy to be the Hero when you’re the one telling the story” was a recent quote from a blank sleeve A/C using oxygen thief the other day. I simply replied “it’s easy to sit and criticize when you don’t know or do”, then I stole a quote from on of my favorite Political Science Professors D. Blair “Some have knowledge of and others have acquaintance with”. Chose wisely when picking sides it the topic of combat.
Sanchez: Iraq Strategy Working & the War Was Worth It
BLITZER: So is it moving in the right direction right now, U.S. strategy, or the wrong direction?
SANCHEZ: No, absolutely, I think the tremendous successes that Dave (GEN Petraeus) and our great young Americans have achieved is, in fact, allowing us to move in the right direction.
BLITZER: General, looking back, knowing what we know right now and obviously we’re all a lot smarter we are now as opposed to then. Was this war a mistake?
SANCHEZ: Well I think when we look at exactly what the decision elements were that were being considered, the intelligence that we believed in, I don’t know that our nation’s leadership, both military and political, could have made any other decision.
And, in fact, Saddam was a significant threat in the region and we expected that we had some sort of WMD capability that was likely to get in the hands of extremists. So, when you look back, given what we knew then, I don’t believe you can call it a mistake.
Sanchez Concedes He Had Enough Troops in Iraq 2003 -- [Amy Proctor]
LT GEN (RET) Ricardo Sanchez, former Multi-National Forces in Iraq commander, promoting his new book Wiser in Battle; a Soldier’s Story on CNN’s Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, conceded he did tell Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in Iraq that he had enough troops on the ground in 2003. This contradicts his complaints both publicly since his retirement and in his book that throughout his command in Iraq he did not have enough troops.
Kuwait -- [Pearl in the Desert - in Iraq]
My journey home has begun – I bid a final farewell to Iraq yesterday and am now in Kuwait. ...Early Sunday morning we (those of us EWOs who are finally heading home) will move to a different base to actually begin the Warrior Transition Process. Some of it is quite important, like turning in all of our Army equipment, some of it is mandatory, like the “don’t go home and beat your family” lectures we get at the end of every deployment, but it is all intentionally designed to take longer than necessary to give us time to “decompress” from our time in a combat zone. I think their heart is in the right place but I imagine by the time I get on a plane to head home I will be more antsy than relaxed after all of the sitting around time. I will say it is nice not having a schedule today and being able to just wear my PT shorts and t-shirt in the 105 degree heat rather than having to wear my normal uniform with sleeves rolled down!
My Son's in Afghanistan: Complaining Because he isn't Fighting the Taliban Enough!-- [Times Online]
Another traumatic phone call from 'Stan for our soldier's mum Mandy
I have heard the term ‘I’m bored’ twice this week and am in real danger of swinging off my virtual ‘orse and drowning myself in my honey encrusted milk! Firstly, Ross phoned from Camp Bastion, full of roller-coasting emotion about having operations cancelled at the last minute every day this week. “It’s just so frustrating mum!” I bite my lip to quell the feelings of joy. So! There is a God! I immediately phone the Ministry of Pretence to thank them…..but they are too busy fielding calls from the Home Office.
Baja 1000 - Part two... -- [Third Time's A Charm! - in Afghanistan]
Last week I went on another convoy to Bagram. Again, I was convoy commander in what we lovingly refer to as a “two ship” (a nod to how we reference two aircraft on a CAS* mission), meaning we had two trucks with 5 guys between them both inside. The morning of the convoy I was uneasy, even secretly saying to myself, “Do I really want to go on this one today?... Is there any other way we can get these tasks completed without going to Bagram?”….. Much to my chagrin, I already knew the answers… and they were an obvious “No!” to both, and I had no choice.
24th MEU South Helmand
Happy Mothers day from OEF -- [SandGram - in Afghanistan]
...All the Afghan’s that I have come in contact with are super nice and love to smile. You greet them with your right hand over your heart and say ‘Salaam Mailickem’ and they will do the same. Like people all around the world, they just want to provide food for their families and have some sort of home.
I have to say that this place reminds me of Mexico in a way with the crazy drivers except you don’t see this everyday in Mexico–a flock of sheep going down the main street with cars whizzing around them at hyper speeds as the father and son try not to get them killed (now I know where our mystery meat comes from.) The women for the most part walk around in beautiful blue burkas, but the children don’t wear them from what I have seen. Sometimes I’ll be waiting for my ride to pick me up, and the children from the school two miles down will come over to say hello.
Afghanistan’s Only Female Governor Meets With Coalition Forces -- [DVIDS]
Afghanistan’s only female governor met with a top U.S. national security advisor at the governor’s palace in Bamyan province, Afghanistan.
The governor and generals discussed ongoing needs for the province and the progress they have made with the help of the New Zealand provincial reconstruction team, TG CRIB 12, at Forward Operating Base Bamian.
“In many provinces, there are problems between provincial council and local government, but here, there is not,” Sorabi said. “With the old system, the system of kings, they believed the people were slaves to them. With the new system, the democracy system, we believe we are the servants to the people.”
Assignment Afghanistan: Entry #1 -- [The National Defense - embed in Iraq]
So I get to work, do some nosing around, make acquaintance with a couple of people: one from the U.S. State Department and a U.S. Army Major, both of whom are members of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT’s). I explain that I had been in-country a couple of years ago and was curious as to how/what things may have changed since then.
...And it’s here in Khost, that counterinsurgency directed and implemented by U.S. forces have met with success by way of roads, schools, clinics as well as establishing and improving economic opportunities.
Okay, so now that I’ve heard about all of the success, I want to see it…experience it.
Pilot of First Burma Relief Mission Describes Experience -- [DVIDS]
The Air Force pilot who flew the first U.S. relief flight to Burma said today that, while he and his crew were received warmly, it was clear to him that more relief is needed.
"Everyone ... was so ecstatic or excited to have us there on the ground," Capt. Trevor Hall said during a teleconference with online journalists and "bloggers." "With very little broken English that we could make out, they were trying to say, 'Please bring more; please bring more.'"
U.S. Aid to Myanmar
Training (and Sweating) to standard -- [Strong Ideas - in Bangladesh]
So the temperature in Bangladesh this time of year is hot. The average in the Farenheit grade has been between the high 80s and the high 90s with an average of 98 degrees, with a humidity of about 70%. Thus, being the sweat machine that deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Katrina have proven me to be, I have shed about eight pounds since our arrival...now to keep it off.
The exercise has enabled us to work with combat leaders from across the Asian subcontinent and it has been a great opportunity to get to know the cultures, values and training standards of these diverse peoples.
It has also given us, as members of the Oregon National Guard, both Army and Air components, to get to know each other better, reminding us of the incredible value we bring to the expeditionary military environment we are currently so actively involved within.
Interpol Confirms: US Democrat Was Secretly Working With FARC To Undermine Colombian Government -- [Gateway Pundit]
US Democratic Congressman James McGovern was offering the Marxist FARC terrorists help in undermining the Colombian government.
Interpol confirmed documents today showing that US Congressman James McGovern (D., Mass.) (pictured), a leading opponent of the Colombia free-trade deal has been working with a go-between, who has been offering the FARC terrorists help in undermining Colombia's elected and popular government.
Colombia is America's closest ally in South America.
Saudis see no reason to raise oil production now -- [AP]
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabian leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until their customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices. During Bush's second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, Saudi officials stuck to their position that they are already meeting demand, the president's national security adviser told reporters.
Dead Guy OBL Awakens Again For New Message -- [Jawa Report]
From Laura Mansfield
Just two weeks shy of the tenth anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's declaration in a televised press conference that he "does not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians: they are all targets".
Bin Laden once again attempts to take center stage, with the announcement of a message addressing the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.
Do you want to help fight the cyber-GWOT? -- [jihadi SMACKDOWN of the day] HT: Jawa
You can, and best of all it's easy! Help YouTube SMACKDOWN remove jihadi recruiting videos from YouTube.
We know how valuable your time is, so we've made it simple. All you need to do is subscribe to this feed and flag ONE video a day.
Al Qaeda Leader Punked -- [Strategy Page]
May 15, 2008: The head of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al Masri, just got demoted. The U.S. reward for his capture, dead or alive, was reduced from $5 million to $100,000. There's been no response to this from mister al Masri, but one can assume that he is not happy. It's difficult to keep track of who is winning in the war on terror. But one measure of success is the size of the rewards offered for terrorist leaders. High rewards indicate a dangerous man. On the downside, those rewards require the guy in question has to be careful with where he goes and who he associates with. Earlier this month, Iraqi police thought they had arrested al Masri, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. That incident apparently caused the U.S. to review its rewards policy for al Qaeda officials in Iraq. It's been a bad year for al Qaeda there, with heavy losses and a major reduction in capabilities.
National Lab Security Failure - We Get What We Pay For -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Today, the Washington Times reported the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, that conducts research on America’s nuclear weapons and houses special nuclear material for that research, failed a crucial counter-terror security exercise (also reported in today’s CTB Newslinks section). The exercise was a “force-on-force” operation where mock commandos infiltrated and took over key parts of the facility, managing to gain access to what would have been quantities of that special nuclear material.
NPR radio interview with DJ Emery -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
The story focuses on the infection which nearly cost DJ his life after being wounded in February 2007. The infection which caused his doctors and his mom to be faced with the gut-wrenching choice between life or limb almost 6 weeks after his injury.
Going back to the beginning, DJ also tells about getting blown up. "I was trying to get up, find my rifle and stuff... but I couldn't move. I couldn't see anything, either."
Home from war, injured vet recalls darkest hour
May 15: A roadside bomb left Sergeant Israel Del Toro severely burned and with little chance of survival. But medical advancements, 97 surgeries, and Del Toro's unwavering devotion to his son kept him going. NBC's Anna Davlantes reports.
Wounded Warrior Games -- [Blog-ah]
Wounded Warrior Summit helps warriors keep their skills current
MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Fort Lewis, Wash. –Madigan Army Medical Center’s Warrior Transition Battalion will host a two-day Wounded Warrior Summit May 20-21.
Day one will kick off at the Fort Lewis Cowan Stadium. Hundreds of wounded warriors will participate in a variety of competition-style adaptive recreation activities and military skills testing – all are designed to prepare wounded Soldiers for their transition back to active service or civilian life. Additionally, there will be a variety of family oriented activities, information booths, and lots of food.
Real People, Real Support
We, as a society, are failures. -- [Chuck Z]
...All three were lauded by their local elected representatives and each was Proclaimed "insert entertainer's name here day" in their hometowns. They were given "heroes welcomes." Hero refers to people that, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice, that is, heroism, for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.
Here's my point (and I do have one):
The American Public, represented by the general public in these three towns, are so hopelessly out of touch with what deserves adulation and exaltation that they choose these individuals to put up on pedestals and give heroes (or prodigal children's) welcomes. As a society, unless we can change this, we are doomed to fail.
1,000 -- [
So that friendly competition where Jack Bauer was rushing to get home before I finished writing 1,000 cards for our wounded soldiers for Soldiers' Angels Germany. Well the competition is over. Jack Bauer made it home. But I had finished writing all the cards two days before. But we mailed 159 cards yesterday.
Running total: 1,000
Here's the link to the post that got me started. If you want more information on how to start your own letter/card writing campaign (or other volunteer opportunities), visit Soldiers' Angels Germany
Disqualified General Won't Quit Tribunals-- [Miami Herald]
San Juan, Puerto Rico - A Pentagon official said Wednesday that he will not resign as legal advisor to war-crimes tribunals at Guantánamo, despite his removal from the trial of Osama bin Laden's driver because of a lack of impartiality.
But Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann left open the possibility that he could step aside if questions about his neutrality bog down other cases.
"I am the legal advisor today. We take it one day at a time," Hartmann told The Associated Press.
Last week, a military judge barred Hartmann from any role in the case against Salim Hamdan - Osama bin Laden's driver, possibly for case to go to trial - because he aligned himself too closely with prosecutors. Hartmann said he will abide by the judge's ruling and noted that he did not testify in the Hamdan case.
Purple Heart For PTSD? -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
It shouldn't be so, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates is saying that the possibility of awarding the Purple Heart to veterans of Iraq and Aghanistan "needs to be looked at".
Does PTSD Warrant a Purple Heart?
Readjustment And Trivia -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure - recently retuned home]
The Army warns you about readjustment and "reintegration." Oddly enough, a lot of it is true. They warn about depression, or let-down. They warn about the family and things that happen normally as part of reintegration.
A lot of it is true.
I never felt overly "jacked-up" in Afghanistan. It all felt pretty normal to me, actually. There were a few times when I knew that I could easily be killed, and there were several times when I knew without a doubt that if the ACM had chosen to hit us at that moment that I was in a very very precarious position.
I did, however, feel alert. There have been times here in the States that I have been inattentive, even though I was going through the motions.
Those lean, mean, green Marines -- [Military Watch]
When the Marines of the 1st Battalion 6th Marines come out of Garmsir, Afghanistan, where they've been fighting for two weeks, they will bring out with them their ... waste.
Along with weapons and ammo, MREs, combat first-aid gear and a hundred other items, Marines are issued WAG (waste alleviation and gelling) bags.
These are plastic pouches that hold granular stuff like kitty litter and, well, everything you need when other facilities aren't available.
It all goes in a goof-proof zip-lock bag when you're done. And goes back in your rucksack. And you WILL carry it all out, Devil Dog.
It's kind to the environment, of course. But it's also sound tactics.
"Anything we take in, an MRE or a battery or anything, we take out,"
Army Wife Shares True Feelings -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
-I’m the one you walk past in Wal-Mart smelling a man’s brand of deodorant and buying the same brand of shower gel. I’m trying to remember his smell. I’m the one that sprays his cologne on his pillow so it seems like he is by me when I go to sleep.
-“I’m the one you see in the back of the church, a tear running down my face as the congregation prays for our country and our troops. He’s one of them. “I’m the one you beep at for sitting at a green light. I was looking at the flag blowing in the breeze at the corner gas station and thinking of all it means to me, to him, and to our life together.
-“I’m the one with a trunk full of flat rate boxes and customs forms, I know my local postal workers by name. The package I send him makes him seem close to me.
-“I’m the one you walk past as I completely fall apart and lose it because I left my cell phone at home. You might think ‘it’s just a phone,’ but it’s the life line of my marriage and it was his day to call.
-“I’m the one you have labeled as quiet or reserved, the one who is never really part of anything, you don’t know I wear the faraway look because my heart boarded the plane with his...
Home at last -- [Yellowhammering Afghanistan - home from Afghanistan]
After a day of bus rides and airplane flights we were finally reunited with our families for a very brief ceremony in Montgomery Tuesday night.
Family and friends cheered as our bus pulled in at the armory in Montgomery. After hugs, kisses and congratulations were passed around, all of us were just ready to get home.
As we neared home, signs, banners and balloons lined our street and were scattered on the roadways in McCalla. (Thank you, Grafix South for the great job on all the signs and the Collins and Wade families for the surprise balloon work.)
Back from Iraq, Army Strong Families, Reintegrating Balance -- [A Dog Faced Chaplin - home from Iraq]
I am happy to write tonight from the comfort of my own home! I have been home now a couple of weeks and our Soldiers are streaming in every day from Iraq upon our successful completion of the mission there.
I had the opportunity to return with the Advance Party in order to conduct a retreat for the Brigade. The 3 day retreat was sponsored by the Army Strong Bonds Program which is an initiative of the US Army Chaplain Corps to aid in building Families...Army Strong.
Ask the Candidates -- [MilBlogs - Andi]
Do you have a question about "military and veteran issues" that you'd like to pose to the Presidential candidates? Here's your chance:
Take part in this historic, online debate over military and veteran issues. You could be one of the 12 people chosen by our editors to have your question directly answered by Obama, Clinton and McCain. This is your chance to ask the candidates about the most important issues in the military community.
Click here to submit your video questions.
War Spending Part of Supplemental Bill Defeated -- [Defense News]
House Republicans rebelled against a Democratic leadership-crafted emergency war spending bill today by helping anti-war members of the majority party kill a provision that would have sent $162.5 billion to the Pentagon for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.
The move by a rebellious block of House Republicans sent ripple waves across Capitol Hill and cast doubt over when Congress will be able to send a final version of the measure to the White House.
...It is unclear when the House will vote again on the war funding measure.
Pentagon Endorses Transfer of GI Bill Benefits to Spouses, Children -- [DefenseLink]
WASHINGTON, May 15, 2008 – The Pentagon provided proposed legislation to Congress to make it easier for servicemembers to transfer GI Bill education benefits to their spouses or children and to increase the tuition ceiling amount paid by the program, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
The proposal was sent to Capitol Hill on April 21. It reflects departmental desire to improve education and job opportunities for servicemembers and military spouses that President Bush cited in his Jan. 28 State of the Union speech.
The ability for servicemembers to transfer their Montgomery GI Bill education benefits to spouses exists now, but it’s an either/or re-enlistment option, with most servicemembers choosing bonuses when they sign up for another “hitch,” Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said during a conference call with military analysts. Army spouses routinely say that obtaining education benefits is one of their top concerns, Carr noted.
I'm no fan of Senator Jim Webb -- [Signaleer]
That said, Senator Webb is not an armchair quarterback. He is a Vietnam Marine who received the Navy Cross for heroism. Under President Reagan, he resigned as the Secretary of the Navy as a protest because the Administration wouldn't increase his department's budget to handle the Cold War mission. His son is a Marine and OIF veteran. And yet he's still willing to throw the mission and us with it, under the bus.
Aside from that, His new bill, S22, a generous (too generous) restructuring of the GI Bill, is really another attempt to bleed the DoD budget.
Apparently ... -- [CounterColumn]
...we're NOT at war with Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Gary Hart: "If John McCain seriously believes we are at war with al Qaeda in Iraq, that alone is such a serious error in judgment as to rank him with George W. Bush at his worst and therefore disqualify him from any chance to govern this country."
I suspect Mr. Hart's viewpoint is news to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Apparently, David Bellavia imagined the whole thing.
Oh. Hart compares neoconservatives to Nazis for good measure.
McCain predicts 2013 Iraq exit8 hours ago -- [Times Union]
...McCain's comments quickly drew widespread condemnation from Democrats and questions about whether he was actually setting a timetable for withdrawal, something he has strenuously criticized.
"It's not a timetable; it's victory. It's victory, which I have always predicted," McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, told reporters.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who favors a withdrawal, said McCain offered no concrete proposals to back up his goal.
"This is not the first time Sen. McCain has predicted victory in Iraq," Clinton said. "He promises more of the same Bush policies that have weakened our military, our national security, and our standing in the world. Our country cannot afford more empty promises on Iraq."
ACLU Manufactures a Crisis With Iraqi Detainees -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The wags at the ACLU are attempting to make mountains of molehills with the issue of juvenile detainees at Camp Cropper in Baghdad. After Abu Ghraib, the U.S. military realized the urgent necessity to be more forthcoming with how Iraqi detainees were treated and the importance of rehabilitation to the overall counter-insurgency campaign as Small Wars Journal explains. The ACLU "broke" this earth-shattering news with a cornball press release yesterday, which made a big stink in the media.
...I guess the ACLU doesn't have "Teh Google" at work, because the issue of juvenile detainees in Iraq was already in the news...last year.
Similar to the ~100,000 juvenile prisoners in America, the juvenile detainees are taken off Iraq's streets because they are in urgent need of reform and rehabilitation.
Obama Moonbat... Another Strange Foreign Policy Gaffe -- [Gateway Pundit]
"Right now, we don't have enough troops, and NATO hasn't provided enough troops because they are still angry about us going into Iraq."
Hmm... Do you suppose Obama heard that at church?
This was one of those slips that reveals the Far Left core of the Obamessiah.
...Truly... Obama sees ending the Iraq "mistake" a key point in his foreign policy agenda. But, more than that, his statement shows that Obama believes our NATO allies act in mean spiteful ways and make foreign policy decisions based on emotion.
That seems a bit immature for the man who wants to be president of the United States, wouldn't you say?
And, where did Obama get this?... From Daily Kos or Trinity UCC?
Obama is wrong about NATO troops.
Obama's sniper tale? When he stood up to Detroit's 'cold' shoulder -- [LA Times]
Is this another Bosnian sniper incident, where a Democratic candidate for president describes a scene involving some personal courage, but later videotape shows that maybe perhaps it wasn't really quite all like that exactly?
Media victory in Iraq -- [From the Fronline]
Sociologist Andrew M. Lindner writes in the latest issue of the American Sociological Association’s Context magazine about his findings on how the media reported, and continue to report, the Iraq war. He says, the dearth of embedded reporting effectively gave an Iraq “media victory” for the Bush Administration,
Tribeca Film Festival: Lioness. -- [My American-Iraq Life]
a man with an Obama pin was behind me. He looked really excited...not for the film, he just seemed excited about life...really smiley and non-threatening. I asked him what brought him out to see the film... and he said, "it seemed interesting." He then asked me the same question, I told him I was a vet and was really excited to see a documentary that just focused on female Soldiers.
...I had no idea before seeing this that there were groups of females nicknamed "Lioness", who supported raids. They went out with male Soldiers to search female Iraqis and to ease them while their houses/husbands were being searched.
...Throughout the film, you learn about each females story and struggles. They all engaged in fire fights, some have killed, they had to prove themselves to the male Soldiers, and you get a glimpse into what war is like through a females eyes.
Silver Star Being Used as Feminist Symbol -- [The Tank - Elaine Donnelly]
A front-page May 1 story by Washington Post reporter Ann Scott Tyson, titled “Woman Gains Silver Star – And Removal from Combat; Case Shows Contradictions of Army Rules,” omitted much of the story in order to push a favorite feminist cause.
The Bloodless Bullets of Baghdad -- [Confederate Yankee]
I suspect that this is less a case of "fauxtography" than a curious physiological response, but Associated Press cameraman Karim Kadim captured this photo of a Sadr City woman having a bullet removed from her forearm.
Here is an enlarged and cropped version of the photo as tweaked in PhotoShop to focus on the wound. I got as close as I could without distorting the image significantly.
Matthews Rips Guest For Ignorance of History, Then Claims Cole Attack Happened Under Bush -- [NewsBusters]
Message to Chris Matthews: when ripping a guest for his lack of historical knowledge, try to avoid making a history mistake of your own in the same segment.
It happened on this afternoon's Hardball. After lambasting a guest for not knowing his Neville Chamberlain history, Matthews surmised that the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000 happened under . . . President Bush.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Girl, Eight, In Iraq Suicide Bombing -- [Sky News]
An eight-year-old girl strapped with explosives has blown up and killed an Iraqi army captain.
The bomb was detonated by remote control, injuring four soldiers in addition to the one who died, an Iraqi Army spokesman said.
Local authorities imposed a curfew in the area and American troops launched a search for those responsible.
US soldiers confirmed that a young girl was involved in the attack, which took place near Youssifiyah, south of the capital, Baghdad.
The horrific bombing came as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki flew to Mosul to take charge of a major offensive against al Qaeda.
Bush disappointed with intel before Iraq war -- [NPR]
President Bush said Tuesday he was disappointed in "flawed intelligence" before the Iraq war and was concerned that if a Democrat wins the presidency in November and withdrew troops prematurely it could "eventually lead to another attack on the United States."
...A question submitted from the online audience asked Bush whether he felt he had been misled about Iraq as he made the decision to go to war.
"`Misled' is a strong word," he said. "Not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was."
"Do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don't. I think it was just, you know, they analyzed the situation and came up with the wrong conclusion," he added.
The Daily Show - Douglas Feith Uncut
Hussayn's Story -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Iraq]
The visual-only sim can be a stomach-churner, but a couple of the IqAF Fling-Wing pilots who have come up here from Taji are pretty tough – the only thing that gets to them is my coffee.
Hussayn was recovering from a cup of my extra-strength double espresso with a bottle of tamarind soda (if you’re curious, take a can of Doctah Peppah and add a couple of ounces of OJ, then sip, cautiously). He gave me a bit of perspective on what it’s like to have Crusader Myrmidons roaming your neighborhood.
“After Baghdad falls to the US, I am cashiered out of the Air Force and take a job in one of the markets in my neighborhood. One night, some of my friends are visiting, and we have a barbecue and are watching videos of cowboy movies. There is a knock on my door. I open it and there is a US patrol. They ask if they can enter my house and I say, 'Sure, come in.' I offer them some barbecue, because we see them on patrol; we recognize them and know how long they are out before they return to base. They say, 'No, thank you. We have eaten recently.'
"Then they ask if I have weapons. One of my friends says to me in Arabic, 'Tell them "No" because they will take your guns and you will be defenseless.' I tell him in Arabic, 'I will not lie to them or they will not trust us.'
"So I say, 'Yes, I have a submachinegun, an AK and a pistol.' The patrol leader says, 'Bring them, please. We need to see them.' So, I bring them out.
Transformation of Yatheeb -- [IN Iraq - in Iraq]
The town children call him “Mister John”. He kneels to talk to them and they ask him when he’s bringing soccer balls. The local armed citizens know his face. Lt. Col. John Dunleavy and his Personal Security Detail regularly patrol these streets. They smile and wave. It wasn’t like this several months ago.
U.S. Aerial Weapons Team Kills Criminal, Destroys Mortar Tube
Footage of a Multi-National Division – Baghdad aerial weapons team that killed a criminal and destroyed a mortar tube being used by criminals to launch indirect-fire attacks in the Kadhamiyah district of Baghdad, May 14.
At approximately 10:50 a.m. May 14, a Multi-National Division – Baghdad unmanned aerial vehicle was conducting an aerial surveillance in the Kadhamiyah district of Baghdad and observed three criminals firing a mortar. An AWT engaged the criminals with two Hellfire missiles. One criminal was killed and the mortar tube was destroyed. Provided by Multi-National Division - Baghdad.
MG Lynch, Part III: Growth and Transtions -- [Castle Argghhh! - FBL]
In January when I interviewed the 3ID Chief of Staff, he was obviously concerned about getting help with rebuilding the economy and infrastructure. COL McKnight said, "we are very good at security operations, but other enablers can help us with the economy." He expressed the need for private investment and expertise, and help with building infrastructure.
...In January when I interviewed the 3ID Chief of Staff, he was obviously concerned about getting help with rebuilding the economy and infrastructure. COL McKnight said, "we are very good at security operations, but other enablers can help us with the economy." He expressed the need for private investment and expertise, and help with building infrastructure.
Commander Says Al-Qaida ‘Virtually Destroyed’ in Kirkuk -- [Pat Dollard]
WASHINGTON — Violence in Iraq’s Kirkuk province has dropped by 70 percent, and coalition and Iraqi forces have “virtually destroyed” al-Qaida in Iraq in the region, the commander of the U.S. brigade combat team in the area said May 12.
Army Col. David Paschal, commander of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, said that as security improves in the strategic northern province, changes are happening in the economy and in governance that help cement the security progress in place.
Four developments have helped the battle against insurgents in the Rhode Island-sized province of 1.5 million, Paschal told Pentagon reporters in a teleconference from his headquarters at Contingency Operating Base Speicher. The developments are: ...
UAV Predator Engage IED Emplacement Team With Hellfire In Iraq
Air Strike On Insurgents Who Planted An IED In Iraq.
Low level flying and last departure -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
A couple of days back I got the Tour of All Southern Iraq, inadvertantly. I was flying what I thought was a quick trip back to my usual digs. Instead, I was asked where I was going, and more than once I was told "oh, you're last off" in a rather ominous manner. But hey, I had never seen Um Qasr, Camp Bucca, etc...
The only constant is change -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
Looks like I will have some changes, again, coming down the road. I'll be moving again, and working with different Iraqis. Somewhere in there I get a couple of weeks leave too. When I got to Iraq I thought I would be at one location, doing a fairly interesting, but stable job. Boy was I wrong. So I have learned that in Iraq, the only constant thing about your deploymkent is change.
But for now ...
Demand for dollar soars up in daily auction-- [Iraq Updates - Voices of Iraq]
Demand for the dollar was up in the Iraqi Central Bank's auction on Tuesday, registering at$157.795 million compared to $69.120 million on Monday.
"The demand hit $6.315 million in cash and $151.480 million in money transfers outside the country, all covered by the bank at an exchange rate of 1,200 Iraqi dinars per dollar, stable for the fourth consecutive session" according to the central bank's daily bulletin which was received by Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI).
The 16 banks that participated in the auction offered to sell $1.200 million, which the bank bought at an exchange rate of 1,198 dinars per dollar.
Two al-Qaeda senior commanders captured east of Mosul -- [Iraq Updates - Voices of Iraq]
Iraqi Army forces on Tuesday arrested two al-Qaeda senior commanders east o Mosul while escaping the all-out offensive launched by joint troops in Ninewa since four days, a military source ...
Clashes continue in Sadr City -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Iraqi military said it killed eight “gunmen” inside Sadr City over the past 24 hours. The US military said it killed two Mahdi Army fighters from the night of May 12 to the morning of May 13 during five separate engagements. Three more Mahdi Army fighters were killed in the Mahdi-influenced neighborhood in New Baghdad and in northwestern Baghdad as they planted roadside bombs.
The attacks occurred during construction on the barrier along Qods Street, the main thoroughfare that divides the southern third of Sadr City from the northern neighborhoods. The US military used air weapons teams armed with Hellfire missiles, Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and infantry to beat back the attacks.
The US military does not believe the radical elements of the Mahdi Army will obey Sadr’s call for a ceasefire.
Iraq News (14 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: The Wall Street Journal editorial board says Prime Minister Maliki is a big winner for cracking down on Shi'ite militias within the last 2 months. Now, the Iraqi Security Forces have their sights on the terrorist threat in Mosul, in which the Prime Minister showed up today to supervise operations. The Kurds have offered their support for the operations in Mosul. However, American media is still focused on the ceasefire saying whether or not the truce negotiated between the UIA and Sadr Trend is holding in Sadr City. The superb Long War Journal reports some clashes that have left 10 militia fighters dead in Sadr City, mostly around the Al-Qods street security barrier. 3 new oil fields have been discovered in the Kurdish region containing 2 Billion barrels (worldwide demand is about 90 million barrels/day).
Iran’s Shifting Strategy -- [Talisman Gate - an iraqi journalist]
The healing in Iraq and the deterioration in Lebanon are not unrelated. In fact, Iraq will serve as both cause and effect to Lebanon’s misfortunes. Iran, eclipsed in Sadr City, had decided to allow its sectarian acolytes to put on a show of strength in Beirut. And the jihadists of Al Qaeda’s ilk, soon to be eclipsed in Mosul, will migrate to Beirut to meet Iran’s challenge.
Five years ago, there was a hope that held Iraq as a would-be beacon for democracy throughout the Middle East, but that vision had too many determined enemies both inside and outside Iraq.
Iran Not Just Hiding Their Nuke Program, They're Hiding Babes Too! -- [Lt Nixon - in Iraq]
21st century Iran usually brings up my own mental image of Hezbollah thugs in Lebanon, a secretive nuclear program, and rockets whizzing over my head as I scramble for cover. But did you know that they are hiding a wide variety of Persian babes as well? Iraqi Bloggers Central has a pretty good round up for those interested in checking out babes from other parts of the globe (I'm a sailor, so it's a requirement and part of our tradition). Although, I disagree with his statement that women shouldn't be "shielded" or "occulted" away. Because, who am I to say what is wrong and what is right with someone else's culture? Many Iraqi women are just as lovely looking no matter how they dress in public. Unfortunately, it is considered extremely offensive in Arabic culture for us infidel types to stare lustfully at a women or engage in small talk you would find at a club on Saturday night.
The Sliding Desert Scale -- [Fraser - in Iraq]
...The 1-10 Scale is a term used here in The Desert. We all know that guys (and more than likely women also) rate the opposite sex on a scale of one to ten. ...
...I live in a desert. I am in area of the world where everyone carries guns. I work with people that are made up primarily Type-A personalities and 98% male. Let’s do the math - that makes it somewhere around…. (I am going to consult with my editor about this one. He has many degrees, and scored very high on his SAT.) 100%-98%= 2%. Right? [Yes J- that is right -ed.]
Yes, it is somewhere around 2% female. So there are not very many women in my neck of the woods. I am not including the indigenous population. They wear burkas. Kind of like a surprise package. You don’t know what kind of horror story you have until you open the book. There is no scale for that!
Now you know the environment I am talking about.
THE SLIDING DESERT SCALE
This scale is much like the aforementioned 1-10 scale, but there is the difference. Any women willing to show up here in the desert, in this beautiful paradise, automatically receives an additional five points for the effort.
Taliban Moving At Half Speed This Year -- [Strategy Page]
May 14, 2008: Afghan and security forces waited, and waited, for the Taliban Spring Offensive, but it never came. Gun battles with the Taliban were down 50 percent so far, compared to last year. Roadside bomb attacks were about the same. But Taliban casualties were up, as more Afghan and NATO forces went looking for them. Last year, 8,000 people died in Taliban violence. So far this year, the death toll is 1,200, indicating casualties for the year will be about half what they were last year. This year, a higher proportion of the dead are Taliban and al Qaeda, and a lower proportion civilians. While some Taliban commanders have tried to develop new tactics to reduce casualties (smaller units of Taliban, and avoiding contact with police and troops), nothing has worked. The Afghan army is larger (76,000 troops) and better trained than last year, and there are more foreign troops. Worst of all, more tribal leaders have sided with the government this year,
Enemies securing U.S. night-vision gear -- [USA Today]
Thefts and illegal exports of advanced military night-vision gear are rising sharply and U.S. officials say some of the equipment has reached enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it could erode the advantage U.S. troops have in after-dark combat.
...In at least five cases, prosecutors linked shipments to terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. A few others were headed to Iran and Taliban forces in Afghanistan, court records show; several were destined for China and Japan.
Coalition Forces Kill Taliban Militants in Afghanistan -- [DefenseLink]
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2008 – About a dozen militant extremists were killed yesterday during a coalition forces operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand province to disrupt Taliban weapons supply operations, military officials reported.
Coalition forces searched compounds in the province’s Garmser district, targeting a Taliban commander conducting weapons supply operations in the area. While conducting their search, coalition forces saw militants setting up an ambush and responded with small-arms fire and air strikes.
Coalition troops discovered rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, assault rifles, cases of ammunition, and two mortars. The troops destroyed the weapons to prevent their use, officials said.
Dutch F-16 bombing taliban compound in Afghanistan
The video shows the footage from the cockpit of two Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s as they drop GBU-12 laser guided bombs on taliban positions.
There is some Dutch talking in the background but I couldn't filter it out. An Air Force spokesperson is basicly explaining how they operate.
"Machinegun fire came from a compound a couple of hundred meters away from a British position. We [the F-16] were called in to destroy the compound. The forward air controller reported that there was no risk of collateral damage, the pilot confirmed this over the radio. A laser guided bomb was then dropped on the compound and stopped the machinegun fire."
Australian Army turns over Camp Lyddiard
A new Afghan National Army (ANA) patrol base in Oruzgan Province that was constructed by Reconstruction Task Force Three (RTF-3) has been left with a lasting Aussie connection.
The Afghan troops now occupying the base and their Dutch counterparts have agreed that Patrol Base Khyber will now carry the local name of Camp Lyddiard, in honour of Sergeant Michael Lyddiard who was seriously wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device last year.
Karzai Urges Farmers to Grow Wheat Instead of Poppies -- [Daily Outlook Afghanistan]
KABUL - Urging farmers to grow wheat instead of poppies, President Hamid Karzai Tuesday announced that the government will seek $2.5 billions of aid from the world community to promote agricultural products and overcome the current food shortage.
Addressing a farmers' conference here the president said he will ask international donors in the Paris Conference next month to grant $2.5 billions in aid to promoting Afghanistan’s agriculture.
We want from the international community promise of supporting the Afghan farmers, in building irrigation system, providing supplements and developing
Signs of success in Surobi - 08-05-2008:
Signs of success in Surobi District as remarkable amounts of weapons and drugs are handed over to international forces.
U.S. delegation visits RC-West, discusses civil and military cooperation -- [ISAF News Release]
...Lt. Gen. Lute discussed RC-West’s mission, focusing on ISAF support and cooperation with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), as well as civil and military cooperation in Herat province.
The delegation also visited the home of Hussain Anwary, Herat governor, where they received an introduction to the local environment, depicting the current state of economics and politics, focusing on development plans.
ISAF PRT discusses Zabul development with United Nations -- [ISAF News Release]
In order to raise support for local development, the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team discussed projects and issues in Zabul province with United Nations representatives during their visit Thursday.
Church helps Iraqi family in Kentucky -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
The couple decided to leave Iraq after Haithem's friend was shot dead while they were driving home from work together one evening. Haithem had worked as an interpreter with Iraqi and US security forces.
...When they first arrived, they slept on the carpeted floor of a completely empty apartment with blankets lent by a friend.
Haithem imagined he would get support from the local mosque in Lexington. They never returned his calls.
The family have now moved to a two-bedroom apartment, which is fully furnished and decorated with gifts from the local ecumenical church
Limited Options in Burma -- [Austin Bay]
How many people have died in Burma (Myanmar) since Cyclone Zargis struck the South Asian nation on May 3? Last Tuesday, Burma's dictatorship officially put the death toll at 34,000, with another 30,000 missing. The United Nations estimated 60,000 dead. Western governments and media argued 100,000 dead might be a better figure, once the statisticians account for casualties caused by disease and displacement.
Add "delay" to the disease and displacement -- in the case of Burma, delay caused by a dictatorship resisting aid efforts (most from Western nations) and emergency supplies.
South Korea to become accompanied deployment -- [Opfor]
With the strains of the Iraq war, and repeated deployments, this seems like a good idea. Just keep the families out of artillery range:
The U.S. government is likely to accept a request by the top American commander in South Korea to extend the length of tours by U.S. troops here and have their families accompany them, a report said Thursday.
A Super Secret Sub Base? -- [Defense Tech]
Has China "secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region"? Thomas Harding, writing in the London Daily Telegraph early this month, has declared that it is.
How “Arab” Are the Sunnis of Beirut? -- [Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم - an iraqi blog]
There’s a book by an Iraqi author from Basra, who fancifully renders his name as ‘Dr. Yusuf bin Ahmad bin Ali al-Husseini al-Hashimi’. I pulled it off the shelf to check something when the fighting began in Beirut, and I got myself re-acquainted with it. It was first published in 1971 under the title, Beirut wa ‘aa’ilatiha al-sab’a wa ‘useriha al-hadhira ['Beirut and its Seven Families and its Current Families'], and reprinted in Amman, in 2003. The author identifies himself as a historian (PhD 1958) and the head of the ‘Archive and Research Division in Al-Majd University’ of Baghdad—an institution I’ve never heard of. He also cites several other publications that he’d authored about Abbasid history. Al-Hashimi states that his father was a high-standing diplomat stationed in Damascus and Beirut while serving the Iraqi monarchy and that as a consequence he had been raised in Beirut and attended its schools. For this present work, he cites several generic resources on Beirut as well as the Ottoman Archive and the Yildiz Palace Archive in Istanbul.
Lebanese TV Presenter Al-Khatib Blasts Opposition Leaders
Qatar Examines Nuclear Reactor Project -- [MEMRI Blog]
The head of Qatar's Supreme Council for Ecology's Nuclear Implementation apparatus, Dr. Ahmad Jamil Al-Khataybe, has revealed that a project is underway to build a nuclear research reactor in the country, for peaceful purposes, with the full cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
U.S. House Makes It Tougher to Remove North Korea From "State Sponsors" List -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The U.S. House of Representatives will approve a bill with a special section that reinforces the conditions governing North Korea’s potential removal from the list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism." Sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Section 306 of the Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Reform Act of 2008 requires that before removal, the President must first certify that North Korea has ceased to provide nuclear assistance to Syria, Iran, and other "state sponsors"; has provided a verifiable list of all of its nuclear programs; and allowed the IAEA to monitor and verify the monitoring and verification of the shutdown and sealing of the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
As I write this, I do not know the Administration's position on this section, but as a matter of principle it usually opposes any Congresional action designed to mandate or limit Executive Branch discretion in foreign policy.
878 soldiers waiting to be adopted... How You Can Help - [Soldiers' Angels]
There are three different ways to help Soldiers' Angels carry out its vital mission:
Join a Soldiers' Angels Team
Adopt a Soldier
Donating to Soldiers' Angels: If want to help Soldiers' Angels but are unable to adopt a soldier or join a team at this time, please consider helping us out financially. Each donation, no matter the size, helps provide aid and comfort to the troops through our many projects and activities. You can also donate stock, old electronics, air miles, care package items and much more. Click to donate or learn more!
Operation Love From Home -- [Mama Kat]
Our mission at Operation Love From Home is to bring light to those who suffer and combat the darkness for us. We can never fully comprehend the hardships that our enlisted men and women endure while deployed to ensure our safety and freedom...but we can offer them the classic comfort of compassion, the simple gift of gratitude, and the knowledge that their countrymen at home are behind them, and that they will never be forgotten or taken for granted.
America Supports You: USO Dedicates New Lounge at Reagan National Airport -- [Defenselink]
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2008 – Servicemembers transiting through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, near Washington, D.C., now have a new area to spend time between flights after the recent dedication of a new United Service Organizations lounge.
This newly relocated lounge, which began offering services in March, provides a home away from home for traveling servicemembers and their families. It offers active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, reservists, Merchant Marines, and their families a variety of free amenities.
Brave Marine Mark Gets Medal -- [The Sun Online]
A BRAVE marine who lost both his legs and an arm in a landmine blast in Afghanistan will WALK to receive his campaign medal today.
Mark Ormrod, who trained alongside Prince Harry, lost his limbs after stepping on the mine on Christmas Eve while serving with 40 Commando in Helmand Province.
The 24-year-old has spent the last three months in intensive training learning to walk again unaided using new bionic legs.
Now he says he has won his "toughest battle yet" and will be able to take part in today's ceremony with his fellow Royal Marines as they receive their campaign medals at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset.
Mne Ormrod, from Plymouth, Devon, only stood for the first time two weeks ago but now hopes to be able to walk in his wedding to fiancee Becky Hayes next year and return to work for the Royal Marines.
He said: "When I first stood up, being 6ft tall again brought a lump to my throat - and I felt a bit dizzy standing after such a long time."
DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for April 2008 -- [DefenseLink]
The Department of Defense announced today its recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for the month of April.
Active Duty Recruiting.
April Monthly. All services met or exceeded recruiting goals for the month of April (below) and have surpassed goals for fiscal year 2008 to date.
April 2008 Accessions Goal Percent
Army 5,681 5,650 101
Navy 2,905 2,905 100
Marine Corps 2,233 1,577 142
Air Force 2,435 2,435 100
Active Duty Retention. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps met or exceeded their active duty retention objectives.
COL (RET) George Day's POW Experience with McCain -- [Amy Proctor]
COL (RET) George Day is the most decorated serviceman since Douglas McCarther. He was also a POW at the Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam with John McCain and has more than 70 military medals representing his service. Here Day talks about his experiences and torture in captivity with McCain.
'Next-War-itis' Rampant in US Military -- [Defense Tech]
Oh guys, you're gonna love this one.
From today's front page of Military.com:
Gates Cautions Against 'Next-war-itis'
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Pentagon must focus on current war demands, even if it means straining the U.S. armed forces and devoting less time and money on future threats, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.
Meeting the war-fighting needs of the troops now and taking care of them properly when they get home must be the priority, Gates said in a speech to a journalists at a seminar here sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
"I have noticed too much of a tendency towards what might be called Next-War-itis - the propensity of much of the defense establishment to be in favor of what might be needed in a future conflict," Gates said.
Little Baby Reagan -- [Stop the ACLU]
Welcome to the world, little baby Reagan Dailene Stephenson. She was born on May 12, 2008. She weighed 8 lbs and 4 ounces. She is 21 inches long. She opens her eyes a lot for a newborn. She was born at 3 p.m. So far she is very calm, and not fussy at all.
A Hero Who Now Belongs to the Nation -- [GOE]
In a driving downpour, with wind gusts up to 60 mph, 8 motorcycles, 65 private vehicles and a 54 passenger bus departed suburban Pennsylvania to transit a true American hero home to Arlington . Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz, Medal of Honor recipient, was escorted by three hundred of us. There were a couple minor glitches. Two members of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club went down at 50 mph, but were only banged up and bruised. One of them even got back on the bike and finished the ride. At another point 5 vehicles and the bus were separated from the pack by inconsiderate drivers who cut in on the funeral procession. Everyone made it to the grave site in time though.
...Tony is a Vietnam vet who told me a couple weeks ago that nothing would stop him from helping to take Mike home. He is a man of his word and I personally wish to offer him my thanks. As the rain poured down on us just seeing the lights flashing on that bike, with the guidon flapping in the wind, caused my chest to pound with excitement. Mike belongs to the nation as a whole now, as is fitting. Sleep well brother. You are finally home.
Army sergeant had 'heart the size of the entire state' -- [Sign on San Diego] HT: CJ
“He was always pulling something,” said Stone, Vaughn's football and wrestling coach at Serra High School in San Diego. “I could run the living crud out of him and I could never get rid of that smile.”
Last month, Vaughn came home from Iraq in the uniform of an Army sergeant, his coffin draped with an American flag. He died April 7 on the first patrol of his second tour in Iraq. He was leading members of his platoon into hostile fire after an attack on his convoy in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood.
Vaughn was 22.
“He wasn't a stellar athlete, but he had a heart the size of the entire state,” Stone said.
...“He moved forward to cover his brothers,” Izzo said. “He advanced into hostile fire. Sometimes, even when you do everything right, the enemy slips one by.”
Barely a week later, Vaughn's parents and his brother, Clifford, drove from their home in Santee to Gillespie Field to meet his coffin. The family held a memorial service with full military honors April 17.
Vaughn's parents plan to scatter his ashes in the surf at La Jolla on his birthday, July 19.
Vaughn had no illusions about the dangerous work he chose. He told his parents what he wanted for them if he died in combat.
“He made us promise it wouldn't ruin our lives,” James Vaughn said. “I don't know how that's going to work out.”
Mystery Blogs Engage in Heated Debate -- [Greyhawk]
The Wall Street Journal:
The Pentagon says it isn't formally considering a change in policy at this point, but Mr. Gates's comments sparked a heated debate on military blogs, message boards and email lists.
That caught me by surprise - I rarely discover something "military blogs" are engaged in "heated debate" on via the Wall Street Journal - usually I hear of the debate on actual military blogs first (and I never see those debates migrate to the mainsteam media).
So I checked the invaluable blog search engine technorati, in hopes of discovering these military blogs I hadn't discovered yet. To my surprise, I found the only citations of this particular topic were from blogs referencing this Wall Street Journal article - I could find none that preceded it, and couldn't find any milblogs among those that followed.
But I suppose that "military blogs" offering "heated debate" on a topic somehow validate it as significant, so the line appears in the article.
By the way, here's the topic: ...
Nurses and Milblogs -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
I put out the question on why there were so many nurses interested in milblogs (Ms. Robin and Ms. Sisu come to mind). Cathy B., a friendly face around here, responds:
Welcome to BlogWorld & New Media Expo -- [BlogWorld]
The 2008 BlogWorld & New Media Expo will take place September 20-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the exclusive "Executive & Entrepreneur" conference beginning September 19th. The first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference, and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media. In addition to the only industry-wide exhibition, BlogWorld features the largest blogging conference in the world including more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities on the leading-edge of online technology and internet-savvy business. If you are currently blogging, vlogging, podcasting, producing other forms of new media content, entering the new media industry, or just want to know what the blogosphere is all about, then you need to be at the most comprehensive blogging convention--BlogWorld & New Media Expo. Located in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at: 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Milblogs at Columbia University -- [Matt Sanchez]
Today, I was at Columbia University to take care of some paper work for the upcoming semester. At the home of the Pulitizer Prize, I stopped by to do an interview with members of the Columbia Journalism School.
Mainstream journalism has a reluctant relationship with bloggers, but the situation becomes even more ambiguous when military bloggers or milbloggers give the depictions and details that the mainstream either misses or neglects. At the Columbia Journalism School, this afternoon, we covered life as an embed, censure, bias, freedom of speech, perception and objectivity. As both a war correspondent and a military blogger, I straddled the line between two worlds. Journalism students have much theory, but there really is no substitute for actually reporting from the frontlines.
Olbermann Accuses Bush of 'Murderous Deceit,' Should 'Shut the Hell Up' -- [NewsBusters]
On Wednesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann's latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush accused the President of "panoramic and murderous deceit," and of "creating" an America that "includes 'cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives,'" contending that "they are those in, or formerly in, your employ, who may yet be charged some day with war crimes." He further accused Bush, whom he referred to as having an "addled brain," of "laying waste to Iraq to achieve your political objectives" in an "insurance-scam, profiteering, morally bankrupting war."
Stephen King’s Third Explanation Still Unapologetic to Military -- [NewsBusters]
It appears three times isn't a charm for horror author Stephen King, who in his third attempt at explaining his peculiar remarks about people who can't read ending up in the Army still couldn't muster the strength to apologize to those he's offended.
I guess in his world, literacy means never having to say you're sorry.
Unbelievable Spin in Time Article on al-Sadr's 'Cease Fire' -- [American Thinker - Rick Moran]
It just doesn't get any more blatantly biased than this. Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has agreed to a cease fire in Sadr city and correspondent Mark Kukis writes the story as if al-Sadr is "the winner."
More Military Doom and Gloom from AP -- [NewsBusters]
Amid talk among the mainstream media of a sinking economy in which the elderly must live in vans and others cannot afford to drive 35 miles to church on Sundays, the Associated Press did note a drop in unemployment from 2006 to 2007. But even that news was buried in a story about the military and was used to explain trouble had in meeting recruiting goals.
World Premiere -- [Outside the Wire]
Danger Close', the documentary that grew from my filming of a fire-fight between U.S. Army Paratroopers and Al Qaida is having its film festival debut this Friday in Washington, D.C.
The GI Film Festival, at the Carnegie Institute, will screen 'Danger Close' at 3:30pm Friday .
David and I will be there to take part in a discussion after the screening.
Be warned, 'Danger Close' is not for the faint of heart. It is real live combat that I filmed--the bullets, blood and bad guys are all real.
'Danger Close' is also one of the most pure forms of documentary you may ever see. I captured the fire-fight as it erupted around me and conducted the interviews with the Paratroopers who won the fight the next day. No studio inteviews. No re-enactments. No script. No pre-determined plot. And no idea if I would even live through it.
Just the story of a group the Paratroopers who literally stood on the wall and fought the enemies of Western Civilization
McCain: U.S. can win Iraq war within four years -- [Reuters]
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he believes the Iraq war can be won within four years, leaving a functioning democracy there and allowing most U.S. troops to come home.
Chelsea Clinton Can't Campaign On Base -- [Fox News]
The U.S. Navy has denied Chelsea Clinton permission to campaign for her mother on a former bombing range on a small Puerto Rican island.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign wanted to use the land Wednesday as a setting to discuss the candidate’s clean up plan for the region and call to give some areas to local residents.
But Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lara Bollinger said no one is allowed to campaign on federal property.
Chelsea Clinton is making her second campaign visit to Puerto Rico in the last three weeks. The U.S. territory has 55 delegates at stake in its June 1 Democratic primary.
The Navy closed the range in Vieques in April 2003 following years of protests after two errant bombs killed a security guard.
Obama Gaffes on Iraq and Afghanistan -- [ABC News blog]
Barack Obama spent yesterday trying not to think of West Virginia, making an appearance instead in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where Obama won the primary in February. He also forgot a couple of facts about Iraq and Afghanistan, making two large factual errors and setting off a dispute between his campaign and ABC News. Unfortunately, their rebuttals raised even more questions about Obama’s grasp on facts in the wars (via Memeorandum):
Obama posited — incorrectly — that Arabic translators deployed in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan — forgetting, momentarily, that Afghans don’t speak Arabic.
“We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan,” Obama said. ….
No sooner did Obama realize his mistake — and correct himself — but he immediately made another.
“We need agricultural specialists in Afghanistan, people who can help them develop other crops than heroin poppies, because the drug trade in Afghanistan is what is driving and financing these terrorist networks. So we need agricultural specialists,” he said.
So far, so good.
“But if we are sending them to Baghdad, they’re not in Afghanistan,” Obama said.
Iraq has many problems, but encouraging farmers to grow food instead of opium poppies isn’t one of them. In Iraq, oil fields not poppy fields are a major source of U.S. technical assistance.
...UPDATE: Bill Burton, Obama campaign spokesperson, disputes this report, writing in to say,...
Obama stumbles on Iraq, Afghanistan -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
...David Wright responds by noting a couple of other points that seem to escape Camp Obama. One, the only people speaking Arabic in Afghanistan are the people shooting at NATO troops. The people whom we want to engage to rebuild Afghanistan don’t speak Arabic. Second, the US usually uses locals as translators, so we didn’t rob Peter to pay Paul in translators by invading Iraq, despite Obama’s spurious claims.
...Obama’s rhetoric calls into question whether he has any real knowledge of the issues in either Iraq or Afghanistan in any depth beyond that of the latest MoveOn talking points.
Senate Seeks 3.9% Military Pay Boost -- [Military.com]
Senate lawmakers proposed a higher-than-requested 3.9 percent pay raise for all military personnel in their first draft of the fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill. The 3.9 percent pay raise, 0.5 percent above what defense officials requested, is designed to further close the gap between military and civilian pay. If passed, the pay raise would be the highest for troops since 2004. For an E-4 with four years military service, the Senate plan would mean an increase of $79.86 a month, about $10 more than the Pentagon plan. For an O-4 with four years, it would be $189.25 a month, about $24 more monthly.
Obama Goes for Joe -- [Greyhawk]
That's G.I. Joe - but who knows where Joe goes come November?
Barack Obama's brief appearance in West Virginia should serve as a warning to John McCain. The Charleston, West Virginia Gazette headlines their story on his appearance there "Obama pushes for new GI Bill":
Gaza's Obama campaign
When Good Comments Go Bad -- [Jawa Report]
It seems I went off my rocker today.
It started with a bad mood caused by learning of a Pally-Rally to be held in my hometown tomorrow, and culminated in a severe case of blogarrhea in the comment on one of Howie's posts.
I just couldn't stop myself.
After apologizing to Howie for going ape-sh** in his comments, it was suggested by a couple of my fellow Jawa co-bloggers that I should post my commentary on the front page, rather than consigning it to Haloscan comments on an already forgotten thread.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Mother's Day Shoutouts -- [Task Force Marne - in Iraq]
Task Force Marne Soldiers' Mother's Day Greetings
View Download: MSG Marca Triggs, SSG Jusin Espinosa, SSG Matthew Love, MAJ Alayne Conway, CPL Pedro Muriel, CPL Pedro Muriel 2, MSG Reginald Creech, MSG Raney Young, MSG Rietta Owens, CPT Valerie Foddrill, CPT Pete Christake, LTC Ross Flavel, LTC Ross Flavel 2, MAJ Gail Evans, MAJ Gail Evans 2, MAJ Vinston Porter, MAJ Vinston Porter 2, MAJ Vinston Porter 3, SPC Amie McClintic, SSG Gerald Vance , SGT Carl Cueliar, MSG Laura Paz, SPC Waldemar Madsen, SPC Jessica Stockton-Nugent , MAJ Portia Benson, MAJ Randy Edwards, SGT Cole Hawkins, SGT Cole Hawkins 2, SPC Tazanyia Mouton, MAJ Jay Hearn, SFC Gregory Dorsey, SFC Kito Queen, SPL Thomas Toomey, SSG David Ortiz, SSG Enrico Mascino, SSG Timothy Eye
One Deep Breath -- [Toby Nunn - in Kuwait]
There has always been something weighing very heavy on my heart from the second I walked off the Bus at Camp Roberts in California. I looked at the motley crew of men that were potentially going to be under my charge and wondered who wouldn’t make it. I tried harder than ever before to truly look into the eyes of each soldier so that if I lost them or I should perish my memory and what I could have or would have said would be presented in one form or another. The awesome responsibility perhaps held me down sometimes while others it helped me soar above and fight harder for them and or what I thought was right by them.
Yesterday, I looked at the sun that fittingly was setting over the chain linked and razor wire fence that separates Iraq and Kuwait. As the sun was lowering itself in the sky I watched the remaining Bad Voodoo members still in combat leave the enemy territory for the last time. It was like an Old Western with the good guys riding off into the sunset. I was proud and found myself in a moment similar to LTG (ret) Hal Moore on that fateful day in Vietnam who hit the battlefield first and was the last to leave.
Live from Iraq: MG Rick Lynch -- [Castle Argghhh! - FBL]
I’m convinced, more than ever, that the people of Iraq want what you and I want.
Last Thursday I spoke by phone with Major General Rick Lynch, Commanding General, 3rd Infantry Division (Multi-National Division - Central), currently in Iraq. He answered questions for about 35 minutes, discussing the current security situation, redevelopment efforts, the strains of long/repeated deployments and his attitude toward media outreach. I did not bring up the issue of Iranian influence in Iraq, as he recently spoke about that in great detail here. 3ID is headquarters for MND-C, with an area of operations beginning on the southern edge of Baghdad province and continuing south through Karbala and Najaf, stretching from Iraq's eastern to western border.
MG Lynch, Part II: Security -- [Castle Argghhh! - FBL]
As outlined in Part I, the shift in security in 3ID's Area of Operations since they arrived has been startling. The biggest reason attacks are down to less than two per day is that there are simply fewer hardliners left to cause problems. In the last year, reports MG Lynch, 3ID has killed or captured over 6,000 al Qaeda terrorists and insurgents in the AO. But though attacks are down sharply, Lynch refers to the security situation as "tenuous" because he considers the enemy still capable of isolated spectacular attacks such as lethal bombings.
...I also asked MG Lynch if he believes the AO has "turned a corner," that if current troop levels and Iraqi capabilities were unchanged there would be no going back to the violence and chaos of the past. He declined to use such language, but he is obviously optimistic. "We’re working towards irreversible momentum," he replied. "And we’re close to that."
ISF, SOI Presence Allows Families to Begin Moving Home -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Two years ago, al-Qaeda destroyed the Chalabi village in the Sayafiyah region. A Shia tribe in a predominately Sunni area, the Chalabis fled to Mahmudiyah, Baghdad and other surrounding areas.
About four months ago, Coalition forces entered the area and set up Sons of Iraq security and Iraqi Army checkpoints. Soon after, Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), discovered residents had returned to the area.
“These families had heard from word of mouth that the area was now secure so now they are back,” said Capt. Joe Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-187th Inf. Regt.
Small town values help in Iraq -- [Regimental Combat Team 5 - in Iraq]
CAMP RIPPER, Iraq — Hometown values are prominent in these two Schuylkill County, Penn., natives.
The odds of two people from the same small county near Philadelphia working side by side in a foreign country are odds many people wouldn’t bet on.
Iraqi lawmakers, Sadrists sign four-day cease-fire -- [AP]
Mahdis sign over Sadr City to Maliki, victory celebrations in media pending
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Representatives of firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and lawmakers from Iraq's main Shiite political bloc signed a four-day cease-fire Monday in an effort to end seven weeks of fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City slum.
It was unclear if the agreement would be respected by all the extremists who have been fighting in Sadr City. Al-Sadr is thought to have influence over some of the militants, but not all of them. Many of those fighting Iraqi and U.S. forces are thought to have splintered away from al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
Iraq Briefing - 12 May 2008
And The Rockets Red Glare.... -- [False Motivation - in Iraq]
The bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night.... So, as those of you who read Suspect's blog already know: we endured another indirect fire attack here on our FOB. Al Qaeda does not care that I'm going home soon, those insensitive bastards. Of course my friends and I all joke about it. What else do you do? You drive on, sure it's scary as all hell and as you hear the first whizz and whistle, followed by the boom, all you envision is it hitting your location. You vividly see the explosion, your reaction, your friends' injuries all in your mind. Again, screw you AQI, I hate you.
U.S. and Iraqi Troops Take Fire in Sadr City -- [DVIDS]
Living the Dream -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
So we got a break from the 110 temps. Last night a kick in the butt sand storm hit and visibility was slim. The enemy is frustrated and can't stand that every time they turn around there is a Marine there. We thwarted a complex ambush last week as we patrolled with the Iraqi's. They are getting stronger by the day and before you know it, they will ask us to leave. They have become so much stronger since my last deployment here it would truly astonish you. We had a young Marine get informed that he is now a dad. Proud and a bit different now that he knows he is a dad shows the true caliber of these studs over here. They too should make you proud.
They continue to put in long days, bear the difficult environment and continue to accomplish the mission. All are in good spirits because they see first hand the difference they are making.
Bradley Crushes Insurgent Car - Iraq
Day Trip to Sadr City -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
...Some of the cops are "eager to learn" but many "won't say" where they live, added 1-91 MP Sergeant Travis Sand. He describes his unit's mission as "trying to build up the local area, to make a better workspace for [the Iraqi Police] and us."
The busy surrounding area is urban residential, with a few shops and other businesses. The streets have been closed to vehicle traffic, spurring interaction between walking citizens and patrolling American units.
"They seem interested to meet you, to get to know us," said Sand. "Not a lot of frowns or anything, a lot of smiles. When I talked to a few of the people, they want peace, and they are more glad we're here and that we're trying to work on a solution."
He said the locals studiously avoid mentioning the Mahdi Army, which continues to take heavy losses in daily conflict with US and Iraqi forces.
After Al-Qaeda Life Returns to Hawr Rajab -- [Live Leak]
Please visit http://aliveinbaghdad.org for new videos from Iraq each week!
Hawr Rajab, Iraq - If you’ve ever wondered what its like to live in a village under the sway of insurgents, criminals, or Al-Qa’eda, today you’ll hear about it from the survivors themselves. The criminal and terrorist gangs controlling Hawr Rajab imposed tight curfews and “justice” based on their regressive interpretation of Islam.
Civilians told horror stories of being afraid to leave their homes for fear of retribution. According to one member of the Sahwa, those who smoked regularly could have their fingers amputated or their tongue burned. Many other residents, Sunni and Shi’a alike, fled the neighborhood to other nearby areas, such as Abu Dsheer and Mahmoudiya. Shekih Al-Ma’eini told Nabeel Kamal that the residents of Abu Dsheer and other areas deserved great thanks for their willingness to support the residents of Hawr Rajab with shelter and food.
Once the situation had calmed, Sheikh Malik, the district representative of Hawr Rajab worked with Sheikh Al-Ma’eini and others to begin implementing a reconstruction plan for the area. Young men who formally fought against the United States or terrorized their neighbors are finding work clearing wreckage and paving main roads in the village. Many of the men working for the Sahwa Councils, or “Concerned Local Citizens” as the United States military often calls them, openly admit they once fought the United States and Coalition Forces. One of the most interesting things happening in Hawr Rajab is that animosity against the United States appears to have been subsumed by a desire to attain real reconciliation within their communities.
Operations continue in Sadr City -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
US and Iraqi forces continue to strike at the Mahdi Army in Baghdad despite the agreement reached between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army late Friday. Seventeen Mahdi Army fighters were killed in northeastern Baghdad over the past 24 hours.
Multinational Forces Iraq indicates the building of the wall and operations against the "Special Groups" will continue despite the cease-fire. EFPs are "the number one killer of our soldiers" in Baghdad.
Iraqi Army desecrates Mahdi bodies (graphic video) -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Many like to smear the US and our troops as jack-booted thugs who routinely torture, kill and mutilate innocents; there could hardly be a more inaccurate portrayal. I have seen far too many examples of man's inhumanity to man and shockingly it was always someone other than our folks. This footage is revolting and the Iraqi government needs to take control of their troops. Parading the bodies of your enemies around may be a disgusting, ages-old tradition but we are destroying any number of ages-old traditions in Iraq.
The Montagues and the Capulets -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
Evenings spent at Sheik Stack-On-Me’s compound never fail to entertain. The old man, despite his questionable loyalties and general creepiness, has that fatalistic flair for melodrama many of his countrymen share. In addition to his Thighmaster fetish, his Sheikliness has a weakness for all things caramel, regales us with old soldier stories from the Iran-Iraq War in the eighties, and blames all violence in history on feminine wiles. (Normally, I’m all for sweeping misogynistic rants, but considering the Arab tradition of not allowing their women outside of the house, I don’t follow his logic. It’s not like war is crashing the party here in Mesopotamia, two hours after the keg got tapped.) Perhaps not so coincidentally, his place is a standard stop during the Gravediggers’ evening patrols of Anu al-Verona.
With the stated intent of discussing rumored weapons traffickers working in a rival group of Sons of Iraq, and the implied intent of securing SSG Boondock his own chai set to bring home to his fiancée, we dropped by Sheik Stack-On-Me’s headquarters on a dry spring night.
Usually, I banter with local leaders for a few minutes, easing them into the uncomfortable specifics that generated the meeting in the first place. Tonight though, Sheik Stack-On-Me skipped over these niceties, deferring to his very own Frago.
“I just receive a call from my men!” he said, as soon as we sat down on his immaculately clean couches of gold. “They say they capture someone trying to run over here from Sunni side of town in the dark. Maybe they trying to plant IED!”
From The Frontline - May 2, Part 1
Iraq News (12 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: Iraqi media is reporting that the Iraqi Army has killed one and detained 36 suspected terrorists in new operations in Mosul. The LA Times Mosul correspondent cites the inconvenience for the citizens due to the operations (the curfew and what not), but that Iraqis were tired of living with insecurity. Operations in Sadr City (Long War Journal has all the details) continue to construct the security barrier, which has been reported as 80% complete. This comes at a time when the Mahdi Army has backed off, but according to the WSJ, the decline in hostilities between the Mahdi Army and US/Iraqi forces was brokered by Iran last week! Shows the complexities of the US-Iraq-Iran tap dance. Kuwaiti officials have busted a drug smuggler coming from Iraq into Kuwait.
Drive in Basra by Iraqi Army Makes Gains -- [NY Times - STEPHEN FARRELL and AMMAR KARIM]
BASRA, Iraq — Three hundred miles south of Baghdad, the oil-saturated city of Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old.
In a rare success, forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have largely quieted the city, to the initial surprise and growing delight of many inhabitants who only a month ago shuddered under deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and Shiite militias.
Back to Busy -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
I have had to switch from working on incorporating lessons learned from the battle for Basrah, back to current operations.
The bad guys are trying to harrass us outside of the city of Basrah, from which they have been chased. A place as important to the Jaish al Mahdi for revenue (smuggling, extorsion, theft and ransoms) and refuge won't be ignored by them - or us. If we can keep the malign Iranian influence out of the area, things will stay calm. When they manage to smuggle rockets or such into the area, we see innocents killed or wounded.
Camp Renamed -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
One of the locations I work is a camp used by the Iraqi 14th Division HQ. It is called Mahmud Al Kasim (or as the British call it "Camp MAK"). Or rather, I should say it was called Mahmud Al Kasim. It has now been renamed after the commander of the 51st Brigade, S/BG Wassem, who died of injuries sustained in an IED attack in Basrah.
Checking in on the 'Sons' in the dark -- [IN Iraq - in Iraq]
...It was time to disembark the MRAP into darkness. The route, more Western desert than village, was known for recent trouble, which is why Alpha Battery was out to support several brand new SOI (Sons of Iraq) checkpoints that had been staked down with little more than a tent and some AK-47s.
“The reason we’re coming out here is to show the good and bad guys that we support this checkpoint," said Lt. Brian Reynolds, 24, to the armed citizens who gathered around him. The Iraqis nodded in agreement.
What Does A Firefight Feel Like - Iraq
"Colonel Matthew Dougherty describes what it feels like to command during a firefight.
Intended for the Marine Corps Documentary called Green Monster by Ben Feibleman."
This is Baghdadhi -- [Tales from the Sandbox - in Iraq]
Al Anbar is pretty quiet now. Good job, everyone. Keep it up.
Still with the wires -- [Tales from the Sandbox - in Iraq]
Same as last year - wires everywhere. The lack-of-power issues seem to be about the same.
We have heard some Iraqis ask “Why don’t you share with us? You have plenty of light (and water) on your bases - why can’t you send some our way?”Here’s a close-up of a home-made splice. I am only 5′2″, so you can see how low these wires hang. Not safe for children, and definitely a problem for big American vehicles trying to make it through the streets.
Ready! Fire! Aim! -- [Something on the staff - in Iraq]
Last week I was at my desk, minding my own business, when the shop sergeant asks me “Hey, sir. You know you’re moving to a new unit in three days?” This was news to me! I immediately hunted down one of the many colonels I work for and confirmed that yes, I was moving in three days.
A number of questions came up:
Who am I replacing? Who’s replacing me? What will I be doing? Will this affect my leave? How do I get down there?
...The reason for the sudden officer shuffle is genitalia. Female soldiers are not allowed to fill certain positions in combat units. The battalion I moved to had a female officer in a position she shouldn’t have been in (but was doing a fine job). Someone somewhere raised a stink about a female soldier in a position she wasn’t supposed to be in. Once the dreaded words “15-6 Investigation” start circulating, suddenly every unit realizes they may have someone in a position they shouldn’t be, and there’s a race to fix everything. So, here I am.
Helicopters and things -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
It is a rare moment when there aren't helicopters flying overhead over here. If I'm outside for any more than five minutes, I'll see one. Since we're close to the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), I see lots of transports taking off as well. Heck, I even saw an Iraqi Airways 737 the other day, complete with Iraqi flag on the tail.
...Most American helicopters are named after American Indian tribes. Blackhawk, for example, refers to the Blackhawk Tribe. Apache is obvious. The Cobra's official name is actually the Iroquois. We also have the Bell D-255 "Iroquios Warrior", the Bell 207 "Sioux Scout", the OH-58 Kiowa, the CH-21 Shawnee, RAH-66 Comanche, the AH-56 Cheyenne, the UH-19 Chickasaw, the CH-37 Mojave, the H-34 Choctaw, and the workhorse heavy-lift helicopter, the CH-47 Chinook.
But here at Camp Victory, it's pretty much the Blackhawk show,
Big Morning -- [Pearl in the Desert - in Iraq]
I had a great morning today! This might take a while to write up so you might want a cold drink to keep you company.
I received my end-of-tour award from the Regiment this morning. During the presentation the Colonel said a number of humbling things about the work I've done here (really the work my people have done) and added that he'd found my blog and was reading it last night! In addition to my work with the Regiment, he added that this blog was worth a read because it was insight from a man who was doing something completely out-of-normal and yet managed to keep the focus on the important people in the fight here - the average Soldiers. Like I said, very humbling. My audience for this blog was family and friends back home but it turns out I have incoming EWOs, desperate for information, as well as Regimental leadership reading my thoughts about being a stranger in a strange land.
Happy Mothers Day from Afghanistan -- [SandGram]
Greeting from, Afghanistan. First of all I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all you gals out there in Cyberland!! I can say that this is going to be a long tour. We travel around our city in armored Military vehicles and it’s a bit nerve racking, as we have to attend meetings in different spots. Crazy stuff.
A Mother’s Day message from Lt. Col. Ricky Brownposted by Jennifer Hlad on May 11 -- [From the ’stan - in Afghanistan]
Lt. Col. Brown (the commanding officer of CLB-24) sent this to me to share with y’all. Happy Mother’s Day!
I have been married to a wonderful woman for over twenty years. I was married before I entered the military and my wife and mother of my three children has lived the entire military spouse experience; base housing, moving from coast to coast and overseas, extended deployments, and trying to stretch a paycheck from one payday to the next. It didn’t go far when I was a Lance Corporal and a young Marine’s pay still doesn’t go very far today.
The global war on terrorism has made the job of a military spouse and mother even more trying. We are deployed much more often, for longer periods of time, and there are many, many more variables. Most deployments are to places where there are people whose sole ambition in life is to kill Americans.
Pakistani Taliban, Iraqi al Qaeda operatives killed in Afghanistan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Mullah Nazir's deputy and the former leader of Islamic State of Iraq killed during recent clashes in eastern Afghanistan.
Two Sides of the Afghan Spring Offensive
NEFA Foundation: Al-Qaida Reports "Martyrdom" of Senior Saudi Terrorist Abu Sulaiman al-Otaibi in Afghanistan -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a copy of new letter from Al-Qaida leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid confirming the death of Al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Sulaiman al-Otaibi (a.k.a. Mohammed al-Thibaiti) during clashes with the "crusaders and apostates" in the Paktika province of Afghanistan. According to Saudi media, Abu Sulaiman was a former student at Imam Mohammed bin Saud University and had close contacts with influential Muslim clerics in Saudi Arabia. Upon leaving Saudi Arabia and arriving in neighboring Iraq, he was appointed by Al-Qaida to be the ‘Justice Minister’ of its so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (ISI)--even making rare personal appearances in Al-Qaida propaganda videos.
Allies Take Control of Vital Bridge in Nuristan -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
More than 200 American paratroopers and their Afghan allies air assaulted into the mountains overlooking Gowardesh Bridge, Nuristan Province, firmly reclaiming full control of the area following nearly a year of fighting.
...Beginning this week, the Americans will start withdrawing in stages, slowly weaning the Afghans off the American presence as confidence among the Afghans builds. The Americans say a majority of local and provincial tribal leaders are supporting the operation, which is raising hope that the desertion problems of the past will not be repeated here.
Marines Success In Afghanistan
The Taliban Spring Offensive: Pointless Bickering -- [Captain's Journal]
Enemy activity appears to be increasing in Afghanistan according to ISAF medical personnel.
...But according to U.S. personnel, its all just a myth.
But what difference does this make? This argument has become rather passé. The Taliban know that any “fire and maneuver” engagement of U.S. forces brings a disadvantageous kill ratio. They tried it again in Garmser with the Marines, and lost. This is why The Captain’s Journal had previously clarified the issue of a “spring offensive” in the context of distributed operations and what it does or doesn’t mean. “When NATO speaks of a spring offensive, they are talking tactical maneuvers and larger scale kinetic fights. When we speak of a spring offensive, we are talking about guerrilla tactics - small teams, fire and melt away, etc.”
"Bronx Girl" Drives 120 Convoys in Afghanistan -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
As a member of the most elite Air Force in history, today’s Airmen often get the news that Senior Airman Vanessa Velez received when she was first notified of her 365-day deployment.
“I was told, ‘you won’t be working vehicle maintenance; you will be a driver,’” said Airman Velez, who took the news in stride. “At Fort Bragg, I found out I wouldn’t be driving shuttles, distinguished visitors, or commanders around in a car or bus like I was mistakenly told at my duty station. I would be driving a fully-loaded Humvee outside the wire in enemy territory at least five times a week.”
General Electric and Iran: CEO Jeffrey Immelt is killing American troops in Iraq -- [Boot In Baghdad]
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt admits General Electric is doing business with Iran.
Iran has been sending platter charge improvisational explosive devices, also known as Explosively Formed Penetrators, into Iraq that have been maiming and killing American soldiers and marines since I was there in 2005. They have also made continuing and substantial fiscal contributions in support of anti-American and anti-Iraqi forces.
President Bush's Daughters Wedding.
President Bush's daughter Jenna has married the former White House aide Henry Hager. The couple tied the knot at the President's ranch in Texas in front of some 200 guests.
Victory over Nazi Germany -- [News We're Not Getting From MSM]
May 11, 2008 - It is an important day today... 63 years ago Nazi Germany was defeated, and with this defeat the current state of word affairs was born. I am not going to write about politics on Math Pages, but I will note two facts about this date.
First of all, the victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated on the 9/5 in Russia and some other countries. In the west 8/5 is the official date of the war end. This is simply because different time zones. The end of war was announced at 8/5 11:30 PM at Germany - for Moscow that was 9/5 2:30 AM.
Secondly, this day is not celebrated or mentioned in Israel. It is a sad fact, but because of political issues with Russia this date is totally forgotten. People who were born in Israel don't know a thing about this date and don't celebrate it in anyway.
Study Shows 25 Percent Of L.A.'s Welfare Goes To Illegal Aliens -- [KHTS AM-1220 HT: Murdoc]
Supervisor says county spends more than $1 billion a year on benefits to illegals.
According to new data from the Department of Public Social Services, nearly twenty five percent of Los Angeles County ’s welfare and food stamp benefits goes directly to the children of illegal aliens, at a cost of $36 million a month -- for a projected annual cost of $432 million.
“The total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers far exceeds $1 billion a year – not including the millions of dollars for education,” said Antonovich. “With $220 million for public safety, $400 million for healthcare, and $432 million in welfare allocations, illegal immigration continues to have a devastating impact on Los Angeles County taxpayers.”
Will Media Cover Historic Hearing on Democrats Violating House Rules? -- [NewsBusters]
An historic hearing will be conducted on Tuesday to determine whether House Democrats in August 2007 violated parliamentary procedure in defeating a motion to deny illegal aliens welfare benefits.
Invasion Burma -- [Belmont Club]
Time Magazine has an article entitled "Is it time to invade Burma?" In it, they argue that "with as many as 1 million people at risk" from the leaders of this Chinese-allied country, "it's time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma." In a very clever phrase the author says, "we still haven't figured out when to give war a chance". There are probably any number of people who are now rhetorically asking 'if we will go to war for oil, then why not go to war for humanitarian reasons?' But anyone who examines this sentence carefully soon notices it contains a number of assumptions, none of which are true. First of all the United States does not acquire oil by conquest. It buys it on the open market. If America actually made war to seize oil it would be lifted without paying the invaded country a dime or at artificially low prices. That's the definition of "seize". Not a single barrel of oil in Iraq has been "seized". It's all being sold at world market prices.
U.S. Flies Cyclone Aid To 'Outpost Of Tyranny' -- [Reuters]
...Admiral Timothy Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, is also on the flight, which is landing in the midst of a massive humanitarian disaster that could get much worse unless the military government approves a huge international aid effort within days.
Jumblatt's Men Set Back Iran's Militia in Lebanon -- [Michael Totten - Lee Smith - in Lebanon]
Our friend and colleague in Lebanon Elie Fawaz writes in to remind us that The War for Lebanon has not even begun yet in earnest and Hezbollah's “victory” in Beirut is not all it seems:
“So, we know that Hezbollah's well-trained fighters are in control of most of west Beirut. The decision taken by Walid Jumblat and Saad al-Hariri not to fight back in Beirut, but rather hand most of their positions to the army ended any illusion regarding the sanctity of the “resistance” – that it would never turn its weapons inward, for now its hands are dripping with the blood of innocent Lebanese. But it's different in the Chouf where Jumblatt's forces bloodied Hezbollah.
FROM MEMRI'S Islamist Website Monitor Project: Islamist Forum Member: Bush To Be Targeted During Visit To Saudi Arabia -- [MEMRI Blog]
On May 10, 2008, a member of the Islamist forum Al-Ikhlas (hosted by Piradius Net, Malaysia) posted a message claiming that an "official in the Jihadi Intelligence Organization" has learnt about a plan to assassinate President Bush. According to the posting, members of a pro-Al-Qaeda cell from a Gulf country have undergone sniper training in a Western country, and "will lie in wait during [Bush's] upcoming visit [to Saudi Arabia]."
FITNA, the movie
Counterfeiting – A Matter of National Security -- [Threats Watch]
No matter how you look at the problem, counterfeiting is a serious issue. Counterfeiting affects companies, it serves as a means of funding of terrorist activities and it preys on the unknowing customer who is victimized by faulty products, phony documents or worse, substitute ingredients or parts of products whose quality is assumed and depended upon by the purchaser. The strange thing is that there are really no products that are immune to the counterfeiter.
Market globalization and the spread of technology have combined to create an environment where piracy is widespread and highly sophisticated. In this environment, manufacturers and intellectual property owners face increasing threats of counterfeiting, product diversion, licensing/royalty fraud and intellectual property theft.
According to the International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition, U.S. corporations alone lose approximately $200 billion annually. The breadth and danger created by counterfeiting is described in the IACC White Paper, ”Facts on Fakes.” If there is any doubt about the connection of counterfeiting to terrorism, here are a few important points:
"The World Will Be Dominated By The Sharia Law".
GOLD STAR MOTHERS -- [Trying to Grok]
If you have a quiet moment today, please reflect for a second on our dear internet friend Debey. Think of her and all the other mothers who have lost their children in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe take a minute to go tell her that you're thinking of her today, that we are grateful that there are mothers out there who raised sons like Gunnar.
1000 882 deployed service members waiting for adoption -- [Soldiers' Angels]
We might have to close the submissions page if we don't catch up with adoptions.
Please consider standing up and becoming a Soldiers' Angel, or help spread the word.
To adopt a soldier you must commit to sending a card or letter each week and a minimum of 1 or 2 care packages a month. This is one of the most important things we can do to help bring home a healthy hero. It is so very important for each of them to know that we care and support them, and your letters and care packages will do just that.
Face of America 2008 -- [BlackFive - Laughing_Wolf ]
The Face of America 2008 Bicycle Ride from Bethesda to Gettysburg was full of such moments. A mix of wounded or ill service members and "regular" riders, it was a collision of roads, a test of wills, and a testament to courage and tenacity. The "bikes" ranged from advanced racing bikes to specialized recumbents that were adapted to a variety of needs. Indeed, about the only means of motion not seen was through the use of teeth and biting, though I wouldn't put such past some taking part as there was that level of determination present.
ESPN Walter Reed Interview 1 -- [jrsalzman - injured in Iraq]
ESPN Walter Reed Interview 1
More ESPN Interviews from Walter Reed. Normally these videos would never see the light of day. I think that is a total waste, so why not put them up on here? This was shot last summer.
Inspiring Wounded Warriors To Excel -- [Soldier's Mind]
Hearts & Minds, Life, Motivation, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, Military Medical Issues
I’ve published stories here at A Soldier’s Mind in the past about the great things that have been accomplished by some of our Wounded Warriors. I’ve introduced you to two very special wounded veterans, both in this story and this one. Bob Kunkle and Joe Beimfohr have demonstrated time and time again, that with the desire to excel, even our Wounded Warriors can achieve whatever they set their mind to. Both of them were wounded in different wars, Bob in Viet Nam and Joe in Iraq. Both of them have overcome their injuries to lead full and productive lives and both of them have dedicated themselves to showing fellow wounded warriors, that being disabled, doesn’t mean they can’t protect themselves and it doesn’t mean that they can’t achieve their goals. I can’t say enough about the many lives that these two men have touched, especially the lives of other Wounded Warriors. They’re both inspirational and both have accomplished so much, despite the injuries they have fought to overcome.
Vanguard Brigade receives Valorous Unit Award -- [Task Force Marne - in Iraq]
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was presented with the Valorous Unit Award and streamer during a presentation ceremony here May 7 for their accomplishments throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom III.
“As I look back to those colors right there I think back to 26 May, 2004 and I think back to when the brigade started with about 20 Soldiers and at its peak in Baghdad it had about 8,000 Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Cardon, deputy commanding general for support, Multi-National Division – Center.
The award’s citation read, “For extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom during the period of 15 January, 2005 to 14 January, 2006. The unit’s dedication and professionalism went beyond the call of duty and contributed greatly to the advancement of political, economic and security objectives throughout the region.”
RAF doctor honoured for Iraq bravery -- [Ministry of Defence]
An RAF doctor has won a prestigious award at a ceremony in Glasgow in recognition of his bravery and skill while he was working as part of an emergency medical response team in Iraq.
...Sqn Ldr Potter served in Iraq in 2007, at a time when attacks by rogue militias on UK troops had increased dramatically resulting in significant casualties. As the Medical Officer with the helicopter borne Immediate Response Team (IRT), he was regularly tasked to attend incidents in Basra City which involved delivering his life-saving care under hostile fire and a constant threat of surface to air missile and Rocket Propelled Grenade attack.
Cremation: Deceased Members Of U.S. Military Need To Be Treated With Dignity -- [Jawa Report]
When I came across this article it made me sick and damn mad. Our finest and bravest deserve better than this.
It has since been rectified but that doesn't undo the insensitivities done.
The U.S. military has, since 2001, cremated some of the remains of U.S. service members killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in a Delaware facility that also cremates pets, a practice that ended Friday when the Pentagon banned the arrangement.
The facililty, in an industrial park near Dover Air Force Base, has cremated about 200 service members, manager David Bose said Friday night. It uses separate crematories a few feet apart to cremate humans and animals, he added.
Pentagon officials said they do not think any humans were cremated in the pet crematory. "We have absolutely no evidence whatsoever at this point that any human remains were at all ever mistreated,"
Soldiers, pets cremated at same facility
Injured Vets' Medical Bills Could Cost $59B Yearly -- [Arizona Daily Star]
Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, an ever-larger pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions for decades to come — even as the total population of America's vets shrinks.
Bad Boys Make Better Soldiers -- [Strategy Page]
May 12, 2008: Recently, there were a number of media stories about how the U.S. Army has been recruiting more men with criminal records. When pressed about this, the army released a report showing that recruits let in via "moral waivers" made better combat soldiers. That is, they got promoted faster, re-enlisted at a higher rate, got more awards for valor and were noted for superior combat performance. They were also better educated, and more likely to talk back. A slightly higher percentage of them got punished for that.
All this is nothing new. It was noted as far back as World War II, when detailed records of troop performance were first compiled and analyzed.
Roundtables: Life of the Mind -- [BlackFive - Grim]
Last week, there were two roundtables on two different projects that both have something in common. Both point to the way that the US military serves to harness the minds of America's true "best and brightest" to create good in the world.
The first was with Dr. Thomas Mahnken, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning, on the Minerva Project. This project offers to rebuild some of the ties between the military and academia.
...The other was on regenerative medicine.
The People You Meet -- [Badgers Forward - recently redeployed from Iraq]
...The other young man I met was when I arrived at the Saint Louis airport. He was waiting for me at the end of the jetway, but had evidently just got off the same plane. He had seen me in uniform and was looking for direction to the "military place." He was in fact on his way to Basic Combat Training. We talked for a few minutes as we walked down the concourse. I explained I was returning from Iraq and he was excited to be on the way to becoming a Soldier.
Show us your tats -- [Murdoc Online]
Kyle Cassidy is working on a new book of veterans tattoos called "War Paint". You can see some of it on his website at www.kylecassidy.com/warpaint.
At the moment, he's specifically looking for WWII and Korean war vets with military tats. If you work with a VFW post or know a group of vets with ink, Kyle's interested in coming out and spending a weekend taking photographs and recording stories.
Murdoc interviewed Mr. Cassidy and discussed his book Armed America recently.
Fallen American -- [Jules Crittenden]
Doesn’t really look like the kind of guy who would be killed in the lead Humvee of a four-vehicle combat patrol, riding with the 101st Airborne’s Task Force Currahee in Khowst Province, does he? A little bookish, maybe. But it maybe there’s something there in the eyes. Hard to tell from a snapshot. Easy to read it in, after you find out a little about how he lived, how he died, and the company he died in.
Local boy goes out into the world, makes good, makes a sacrifice. Michael Vinay Bhatia, 31, of Medway, Massachusetts, magna cum laude Brown University, Oxford University doctoral candidate, didn’t have to be in Afghanistan, but he wanted to make a difference, and he did.
One Of Last Marines Out Of Saigon Dead At 66 -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
Kean Commanded Vietnam Embassy Evacuation
One of the last men on the roof of the United States Embassy at the Fall of Saigon has died on Cape Cod, according to his family.
Lt. Col. Jim Kean was in command of the embassy evacuation on April 30, 1975. The U.S. signed a peace agreement ending its involvement in the Divisive Southeast Asian conflict in January 1973. By 1975, with North Vietnamese forces moving in, Americans fled the South Vietnamese capital as throngs of Vietnamese civilians scrambled to escape with them.
SERGEANT GRUMPY IS BACK IN THE USA! -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
I just got an e-mail from Sgt Grumpy's mom....Sgt Grumpy is back in the USA. I suspect he'll be busy going through the "De-Mob" stuff that National Guard pukes like us have to go through. The Army likes to make us go through a long slow torture process when we get home...before they'll give us a DD 214.... prepare for Power Point slide shows, Stress talks, physicals, hearing checks, dental checks, VA briefings, BS briefings, people telling you "I'm proud of the great job you did in Iraq...bla bla bla bla, welcome home, now wait" turn in that gear you humped all around the world and didn't even use (like bug nets?)
Sgt Grumpy at http://sgtgrumpy.blogspot.com/
National Guard Returns Home To Welcome Celebration -- [NewsChannel 5]
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Sunday was a day of celebration for the friends and families of 300 Tennessee National Guardsmen and women. The 1175th Transportation Company was away from home for a year.
The 1175th transportation company returned home Sunday after a one year tour of duty in Iraq. They left for Iraq in May of 2007. Friends, family and supporters welcomed the soldiers as they flew in to the guard's flight facility in Smyrna. Soldiers got a hero's welcome as they stepped off the plane, and loved ones say perhaps best of all, every member of the company returned home safely.
Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship -- [NY Times]
The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.
Obama Campaign Introduces Customized Lapel Pins -- [Suitably Flip]
In celebration of his having traveled to an impressive 57 states in his bid for the Presidency (and to finally put to rest the notion that he abhors patriotic accessories), Barack Obama's campaign has introduced a custom line of American flag lapel pins.
BUSTED!... Obama Can't Rewrite History When It's Still Posted On His Website! -- [Gateway Pundit]
Charles Johnson caught this attempt by the Obama Campaign and The New York Times to rewrite history today:
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”Charles points out that Obama did announce he would meet with Iran unconditionally, in front of a lot of people, at the CNN/YouTube Democratic debate last July. And, Charles even found the video .
Is This Legal? Obama Activity in Polling Place
Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain -- [LA Times]
Virtually all the nation's political attention in recent weeks has focused on the compelling state-by-state presidential nomination struggle between two Democrats and the potential for party-splitting strife over there.
Code Pink Holds a DC Mother's Day Protest -- [This ain’t Hell,... ]
I went to the Code Pink Mothers’ Day protest in front of the White House two years ago and they were able to scrape together a few hundred people;
But those heady days of yore are gone. Today, they couldn’t even get in front of the White House. The closest they could get was about twelve blocks away up Connecticut Avenue at DuPont Circle. On their website, they called it a Mother’s Day “Peace-nik” and they urged people to bring their children for fun and games. I expected a hundred or so, but, by my count they were a little over thirty; They started begging as soon as they got there. Apparently they thought the thirty or so people there were flush with cash.
Time Magazine Declares Sadr Capitualition as "Win[ning] Another Round" -- [Ace of Spades]
jI had oked that the media would portray Sadr's latest defeat as a victory . I have to tell you I didn't really believe that. I was being hyperbolic. There was no way they could spin a near-complete surrender as a victory.
I was wrong.
The Difference -- [Outside the Wire]
As a producer (among other titles) of the Outside the Wire documentary series, people often ask me the difference between our documentaries about Iraq and other documentaries.
I tell people that JD embeds long term with our troops...he never just goes in, gets some soundbites and goes somewhere else. I usually add the story about the News Director who told me, after we sent him a tape, that JD's footage should have been shot using a tripod...yeah, like JD's going to set up a tri-pod in the middle shootout in Nasser wa Saalam. The News Director didn't get the whole 'this is actual combat in Iraq' thing.
But, just the other day, I found another answer to that question people often ask me. The difference is neatly summed up in a quote from this GQ article about Errol Morris' documentary about Abu Ghraib prison, Standard Operating Procedure .
Child 'Forrest Gump' actor leaving Army -- [AP]
FORT RILEY, Kan. (AP) -- As a boy, Michael Conner Humphreys made a splash on the silver screen as "Young Forrest Gump." As an adult, he somewhat mirrored the life of his movie character: He joined the Army and fought in an unpopular war.
Humphreys' enlistment ends June 4 and Hollywood is already calling. He's landed a role in an independent film, playing, of course, a soldier.
...He joined the Army in 2005, fulfilling a deep-seated desire to serve his country.
...After a year deployed to Iraq in its dangerous Anbar Province, Spc. Humphreys was transferred to Fort Riley. His unit is training to go to Iraq after he gets out.
"It was a good experience and you saw a lot of bad things, a lot of people got hurt over there," he said. "There was definitely a lot of violence. I just hope that we did some good. In the end, I learned a lot and I hope it made me a better person."
Malkin's Offensive New Feature: 'Stuff Muslims Don’t Like' -- [Amy Proctor]
Michelle Malkin’s appalling new series on her blog, Stuff Muslims Don’t Like: A new feature, is inflammatory, insulting and ignorant. My husband is a MSG in the Army and a Religious Leader Engagement subject matter expert in the war on terror, particularly relating to Iraq, and he is equally appalled. She justifies her series by comparing it to a blog called Stuff White People Like:
...Unbelievable. It goes on with comments of blathering ignorance of proportions that make me shudder. Do Malkin readers hold those views toward this man and his son? Or these Muslim women who are laying down their lives for their country? How about this man? Or these blind children and their amazing teacher?
Newsweek: Republicans Are Successful Because They Scare Voters -- [Gateway Pundit]
If any conservative still buys Newsweek or TIME they ought to be taken out back and pistol whipped.
The media has the serious hots for the Messiah and this year they will not let any bit of God d*mn truth get in the way of pushing their own personal Jesus through the front doors of the White House in '09.
Look out Republicans and John McCain- It's on!
...Here's some news for Newsweek--
Republicans don't have to "paint" anything-- Obama's done a fine job all by himself.
Fisking Newsweek: It's The CIA, Not The KGB -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Newsweek is trying to kick up dust in a paved parking lot with an article by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball titled "Keeping Secrets From The CIA". The subject is serious—and deadly—business. Yet reading it at times feels like watching the closing scenes of a "Rocky & Bullwinkle" episode, complete with hints of ominous conspiratorial scores playing suggestively in the background.
...This conclusion is not simply conjecture that I alone ascribe to this Newsweek article. Read the authors' ending and such a conclusion is self-evident:
If the committee's criticism of the administration's performance is as mild as advance reports suggest, critics who felt the Rome meetings could unravel deeper Bush scandals about the selling of the Iraq War are likely to be disappointed.
Why disappointed? Because no one will call the 2001 intelligence meetings on Iran and Afghanistan illegal. And yet somehow it's about 2003 and the Iraq War.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
First Iraqi Comedy in Wasit since 2003 -- [MNF-I]
Actors from the popular Iraqi sitcom, “Mud House,” performed the first comedic play May 4 in Wasit Province since 2003.
“People and People” conveyed Iraqi life from a comedic perspective to entertain the Wasit audience and give them hope and optimism for the future, as described by the actors, An’am al-Rubay’ai, Ali Dakhil and Majid Yasin.
Fifteen hundred people filled the Municipality Hall in al-Kut to see the play, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in coordination with the 214th Fires Brigade and the Iraqi Police.
Peaceful interaction between US Troops on patrol and Iraqi Civilians
Holy shit...This sorta thing really happens...You mean when we arent getting blown up, and sniped out we are trying to solve everyday Iraqi citizens problems and interacting with the local population, to include the children in an effort to to win the hearts and minds. Thats just plain crazy huh
4th Bde Establishes School -- [Blog-ah]
BAQUBAH, Iraq – As the situation in Diyala continues to improve, the mission is changing from clearing the province of al-Qaida in Iraq, to ensuring it remains secure and free of criminal elements. The improved security has allowed the Iraqi police to focus on other issues. One of the larger issues the force is addressing is the training of newly hired policemen that have not received the schooling required by the Ministry of Interior.
The solution to this training issue is a temporary academy that recently opened on Forward Operating Base Grizzly, near Ashraf, Iraq.
MND-B soldiers foil criminal rocket teams -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Multi-National Division – Baghdad soldiers engaged two criminal rocket teams and fended off an attack by armed criminals during night operations against in Baghdad May 8.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., MND-B soldiers monitoring an aerial surveillance system witnessed two Special Groups criminals gathering around a rocket rail that had been used for an indirect fire attack earlier in Sadr City.
The criminals then loaded two carts and pushed them down a street. An aerial weapons team was called in, engaged the individuals with one Hellfire missile and killed both criminals.
UAV Predator Fires A Missile At Five Insurgents in Iraq
UAV Predator Takes Out Five Insurgents In Iraq.
Too Short For This Shit -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - in Iraq]
It was a whiz, a zooming, a whistling, kind of like a low flying jet. You know, until it exploded.
[Sgt DolphLundgren] locked eyes in a moment of idiotic disbelief, just as that adrenaline ice-water-in-the-face feeling took over. We were taking incoming. And close.
We stumbled out of his trailer and outside was complete insanity, everyone running in different directions. One of the impacts was DAMN close.
Criminals Killed After Indiscriminate Rocket Attack Against Iraqi Citizens
Footage of a Multi-National Division – Baghdad aerial weapons team that killed two criminals and wounded four who were hiding in a building in the Sadr City district of Baghdad at approximately 2 p.m. May 8, after the criminals had earlier launched a rocket attack.
The criminals launched an indiscriminant rocket attack at approximately 1:30 p.m. that killed two Iraqi citizens, injured eight more and damaged a house in central Baghdad.
An unmanned-aerial vehicle conducting a surveillance mission in the area of the point of origin observed the criminals moving rocket rails from the rocket site to an alley near a building. It then maintained positive identification as the criminals entered a building, where six criminals were observed on the rooftop. Provided by Multi-National Division Baghdad.
An aerial weapons team was dispatched to the area and engaged the criminals. The AWT fired three Hellfire missiles into the building, one at the first floor, one at the second floor and one at a shack on the roof, and killed and wounded the criminals.
I'M NOT ANTI-WAR -- [Trying to Grok]
Dragonfly found an interesting opinion piece called Anti-War Wounds. I don't relate to every opinion in the article, but it's well-written and makes a good point about "being the 'we.'" And about how it feels when people don't get that.
My husband fights this war. He risks his life every day. We have both made sacrifices for it. And to hear them say that it’s “a waste of time,” that it “will never make a difference,” that “we should call the whole thing off” — well, if that’s true, I’m not sure I’ll get out of bed tomorrow morning. There has to be a reason that our family — and thousands of others — are enduring this.
Yesterday someone called to say goodbye to my husband before he left, not knowing that he'd been bumped forward. And in the conversation, this person asked if my husband thinks that being in Iraq is worth it, if his job means anything, and if he thinks we should've gone there in the first place. How do you answer that question 1) politely and 2) succinctly? And then what do you do when that person says, "Well, I don't think it was the right idea in the first place"?
ISF detain criminal cell leader, three al-Qaeda in Iraq -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces detained a Special Groups cell leader and three al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists in two separate operations, May 8.
Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted an operation in Baghdad and detained an al-Bayaa district Special Groups cell leader believed to be responsible for kidnapping operations and indirect fire attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces. Two additional suspects were detained.
Numb -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
The days bleed into nights and the nights bleed into days and there’s really no point in acknowledging the difference anymore. The sun just means we drink more water, the night just means we live in the green world of night vision rather than the grey world of day vision. Patrol. Eat. Sleep. Patrol. Go to meeting. Patrol. Eat. Make phone calls home and ignore the strain in their voices since they're doing the same. Patrol. Sleep. Get woken up in a panic, it’s time for a new and Fragolicious. Patrol.
Huge Firefight in Sadr City, Night.
US and Iraqi Special Operations Forces conduct a combat operation inside Sadr city, Baghdad
Iraq News (9 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: 6 militia thugs have been killed in Sadr City after firing at US soldiers. You'd think these guys would change their behavioral patterns as every time they shoot, they usually get greeted with retaliatory fire from US ground forces or hellfires from the air. The cell that launched a mortar attack last afternoon in Baghdad that killed civilians met an non-triumphant end from 3 hellfires shortly after the launch. Colin Powell is backing the GI-Bill sponsored by Sen. Webb, which is a pretty high-level endorsement.
U.S. Soldiers Operating UAV Destroy Rocket Rail in Sadr City District of Baghdad
Footage of a Multi-National Division – Baghdad unmanned aerial vehicle that destroyed two rocket rails in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on May 6.
MND-B Soldiers operating an unmanned aerial vehicle launched a hellfire missile and destroyed two rocket rails in the Sadr City district of Baghdad that had been used earlier to launch a rocket attack that landed in residential areas of central Baghdad.
Like parole officers, but with better 'intelligence' -- [IN Iraq]
Shehabi, a town in Salah Ad Din province, used to be crawling with insurgent activity, but this week soldiers of Archangel Platoon of the 2/320th battalion rode in with boxes of school supplies instead of battering rams.
Shiites maintain strong nationalistic ties to Iraq, says amb. -- [Voices of Iraq]
Baghdad, May 7, (VOI)- Iraqi ambassador in Washington said on Wednesday that the majority of Iraqi Shiites maintain strong nationalistic ties to Iraq, noting that they in fact present a threat to the Iranian state rather than the other way around.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri Reportedly Captured (UPDATE :FALSE ALARM) -- [Jawa Report]
We're hearing all over that the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been captured. He also holds the position of Minister of War in the fictional Islamic State of Iraq. This guy has been reported dead or captured more times than a dog has fleas. I'd take it with a grain of salt until confirmed.
...Update by Vinnie Since some are skeptical of our skepticism, here's what we received from our sources on the subject:
From a buddy over there hunting that dipshit right now:
By the way...wrong guy. The stupid Iraqi General screwed up the guys kunya (Abu name). Oops. Looks like an Iraqi General has hummous on his face.
Iraq: Al-Qaeda used 6,000 suicide bombers, say documents [AKI]
Baghdad, 6 May (AKI) - Al-Qaeda has used 6,000 suicide bombers in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, according to records discovered in a terrorist training camp in Diyala, northeast of Baghdad. ...
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi Revealed? -- [Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم - an Iraqi blog]
This is a response I posted to a comment earlier today about whether Abu Omar al-Baghdadi's true identity has been revealed:
...This account has credibility in so far as the Zawis of Haditha and Anah claim descent from Al-Hussein [much disputed by genealogists], and AOB in his last speech singled out the Jughaifis in his last speech and seemed to be knowledgeable about the tribes in that area above Haditha. He even mentioned the Zawiyeen even though they are a very small clan.
In fact, I remember reading a year ago, around the time when Muharib al-Juburi was killed, that someone on a jihadist chatroom made the assertion that al-Zawi was AOB.
So it could be Hamid al-Zawi afterall. However, ...
U.S. forces did not take part in closing Sadr's radio station-army -- [Voices of Iraq]
Baghdad, May 9, (VOI) – A U.S. army's media advisor on Friday denied the participation of its troops in the raid that took place yesterday on the Sadr's al-Ahad Radio Station to enforce orders to close the radio.
"U.S. forces did not participate in the raid that closed Al-Ahad Radio Station on Thursday," U.S. army media advisor Abdellatif Rayan told aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq- (VOI) on the phone.
On Thursday, Al-Ahad (Pledge) Radio manager Abid Abu-Zahra told VOI that U.S. and Iraqi forces closed his station's office, and stopped its broadcast, at orders from the Iraqi government.
"An Iraqi-U.S. force stopped al-Ahad radio station's broadcast, according to a memo that carried Premier Nouri al-Maliki's signature," Abu-Zahra told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
"The force did not show a legal memo to stop the station," he said.
"This step made by the government is a dangerous measure that deprives people from the voice that represents their pains," he added.
How the Outcome in Sadr City Led to Today’s Clashes in Beirut -- [Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم - an Iraqi blog]
...I believe Iran needed to show the United States and its Arab allies that it can humiliate them by overrunning the government they back in Beirut and that they’d be unable to do anything about it, and I believe that Iran needed to make this point now because the Mahdi Army in Iraq has collapsed.
Baghdad, Iraq: Camp Cropper
A look at a theater internment facility in Baghdad, Iraq
Congressional Action Request -- [Fraiser - in Iraq]
Lets talk about steak! As Americans we all LOVE steak. We love to BBQ steak, broil steak, cut it up and make shish Kabob steak. We have “Steak Night” here once a week, and as much as I love steak, I take a pass on it every week. The steak here is ungodly horrible. I really believe they BOIL their steak before they heat it up. (I know, I know. “Shut up! You’re getting steak! You should be happy!”)
BUT THIS STEAK SUCKS! I have never seen anybody do what these people do to a steak. It looks and tastes like shoe leather. There is no pink anywhere. It’s brown and dry all the way through. The first time you get it you think: “This steak is horrible. It must just be a bad night for steak.” But it is a bad night for steak anytime they serve steak! You can drown it in A-1, Ketchup, soy sauce, or formaldehyde, and it will taste exactly the same - like boiled steak.
It may be part of a weight-loss program secretly initiated by the military.
Rapid Reaction Force(RRF) -- [Cheese's Milblog - in Afghanistan]
I just got off of Rapid Reaction Force(RRF) and am surprised to not be heading right back outside the wire, for once! RRF was much more interesting this time, mainly because we just got a Wii in the mail. For those who are unaware, RRF is where we get all of our stuff ready to roll out the gate, then we sit around and wait for something to happen. Think firefighter...with guns. Normally the RRF shack is a place to watch old DVDs...but not this time. One by one, each guy who made fun of us as we whacked away at digital tennis balls ended up joining in. Seeing guys in ACUs swatting WiiMotes around in an under-sized RRF shack is beyond hilarious.
Paras Return to Afghanistan
Two years on from the fierce fighting in 2006, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment return to Afghanistan.
Gates: No extension of 1/6 in Afghanistan -- [Military Watch]
Marines in Afghanistan, due to rotate home this fall, will not be extended, Defense Secretary Gates indicated this afternoon.
"There is no plan to extend the Marine deployment beyond this winter, November," Gates said Friday at a Pentagon news briefing.
"We are still going to be looking at what the options are in terms of augmenting our presence" in Afghanistan beyond 2008, Gates added. "As this point at least, as far as I know there is no specific planning going on along those lines.''
The 2,500 Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which includes the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, were diverted from a planned deployment in Iraq to Afghanistan, where they arrived ini March.
Marines ignore Taliban cash crop to not upset Afghan locals -- [From the ’stan - AP journalist in Afghanistan]
...The Taliban, whose fighters are exchanging daily fire with the Marines in Garmser, derives up to $100 million a year from the poppy harvest by taxing farmers and charging safe passage fees — money that will buy weapons for use against U.S., NATO and Afghan troops.
Yet the Marines are not destroying the plants. In fact, they are reassuring villagers the poppies won’t be touched. American commanders say the Marines would only alienate people and drive them to take up arms if they eliminated the impoverished Afghans’ only source of income.
Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation.
“It’s kind of weird. We’re coming over here to fight the Taliban. We see this. We know it’s bad. But at the same time we know it’s the only way locals can make money,” said 1st Lt. Adam Lynch, 27, of Barnstable, Mass.
Hezbollah's Endgame? Pt. 2 -- [Michael Totten - in Lebanon]
“Iran has suffered some pretty serious defeats in Iraq, foremost is that the Shiites there kind of turned on Iran. May they not need to pull back and focus on their role as the champion of the Shiites right now, even at the cost of compromising their efforts to jump the Sunni-Shiite divide? They may actually be in no better a shape among Lebanon's Shiites as they are among Iraq's. Second, there were these really odd nasty exchanges between Zawahiri and Iran, which may have been born of Iran's desire right now to solidify its own role as Shiite champion.
Civilization ends: 10-year-old gives birth after being raped by suspected illegal immigrant -- [Hot Air]
Emphasis on suspected: Early reports claim that he’s here illegally but cops are still investigating. My deepest apologies to amnesty shills everywhere for even bringing his status up. Hopefully it’ll turn out he’s a citizen so we can all breathe a sigh of relief and be comfortably outraged by the crime; otherwise this is destined to end up on “Geraldo At Large” as one of those segments in which our fearless host spends six of the seven minutes devoted to it explaining why immigration politics have absolutely, positively nothing whatsoever to do with the matter — even though in theory stronger enforcement would have kept this guy out of the country in the first place. Click the image to watch.
Jihad and U.S. Intelligence Resources -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
...On May 8, Congressman Peter Hoekstra attempted to strike a blow for reason and sanity in the war against global jihadism, by making the rational and consistent definition of our enemy a priority in allocating budget resources for U.S. intelligence programs. Specifically, Congressman Hoekstra was seeking an amendment that "would prohibit the intelligence community from adopting speech codes that encumber accurately describing the radical jihadist terrorists that attacked America and continue to threaten the homeland."
Freed Gitmo detainee, struggling to adapt to life on the outside, blows himself up in Iraq -- [The Monkey Tennis Centre]
Politicians, anti-war groups and the mainstream media complain ceaselessly that America should close Guantanamo Bay, and either return the terror suspects being held at the camp to their home countries or put them on trial in civilian courts in the US. More than 400 detainees have indeed been returned to their countries, where they’ve either been tried for offences committed there, kept under some form of supervision or freed without charge.
One such detainee was Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who was repatriated in 2005 and subsequently acquitted of terrorism charges.
Nice Boy Update -- [Greyhawk]
CBS/AP: Ex-Guantanamo Prisoner ID'd As Iraq Bomber. The story includes a picture borrowed from this link (wonder how they found it?) along with this amazing spin:
Wilner called the alleged suicide attack a "tragedy" that could have been avoided with court hearings for prisoners held at Guananamo [sic], where the U.S. now holds about 270 men.
"The lack of a process results in tragic mistakes on both sides," the lawyer said.
Gitmo’s Guerrilla Lawyers -- [9/11 Families...]
...Mr. Mutairi was among 12 Kuwaitis picked up in Afghanistan and detained at Guantanamo Bay in 2002. Their families retained Tom Wilner and the prestigious law firm of Shearman & Sterling early that same year. Arguably, it is Mr. Wilner’s aggressive representation, along with the determined efforts of the Kuwait government, that has had the greatest influence in the outcome of all the enemy combatant cases, in the court of law and in the court of public opinion. The lawsuit filed on their behalf, renamed Rasul v. Bush when three cases were joined, is credited with opening the door for the blizzard of litigation that followed.
Update from Afghanistan -- [Jake's Life - in Afghanistan]
I just received an email from Jake. He is unable to post to this blog for the reasons he explained earlier.
He has asked me to pass this on to all who have asked how they can help.
Dad- could you put up on the blog that we could use- jerky, sunflower seeds, gum, drink mixes, AAA/AA batteries, old books/magazines, protein powder packets (individual packets), copenhagen (not for me obviously), crossword/word game books, boot socks.
Giving ’til it hurts -- [Neptunus Lex]
Sometimes it hurts right away.
Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Matt Damon collaborated to make “Saving Private Ryan” a few years back, the World War II blockbuster featuring the costly and heroic rescue of a “sole survivor” deep behind enemy lines. Devin Nunes, a California congressman, asked them to throw their star power behind legislation codifying the rights of actual sole survivors, since one of his constituents, having lost two brothers in Iraq, requested and was granted a return to the US. Upon his return, Army Specialist Jason Hubbard got exactly what he was entitled to by law: Nothing. No benefits, no GI Bill, no separation counseling. He was asked to pay back his enlistment bonus.
Would the Hollywood power trio care to lend a hand?
They would not:
Occupational Therapy -- [jrsalzman - injured in Iraq]
...The little blip of me was taken when I was learning how to write left handed.
The Occupational Therapy Department at Walter Reed Army Medical Center has produced a 90 second video to showcase some of the many rehabilitation services that are provided to wounded soldiers. As advances in battlefield medicine save more soldiers' lives than ever before, the science of occupational therapy is providing rehabilitation that allows America's wounded warriors to return to full participation in life. The video is the latest educational tool that the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is promoting in support of Occupational Therapy Month 2007.
"Critical work for our nation is being conducted by hundreds of therapists in Veterans Administration Hospitals, military facilities, private practices and community re-entry programs, says AOTA President M. Carolyn Baum PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. "This video produced by the practitioners at Walter Reed will help focus attention on the important work being performed there, and the innovations in rehabilitation that will benefit all of society."
A few things out of San Antonio -- [Miss Ladybug]
...Our Lady of the Lake University, in appreciation of our military, was offering tuition assistance to qualifying personnel. I'd been too busy with other things to write up a post about it. In checking their website this evening, it's a "Military Scholarship Program" that will cover the difference between the government tuition assistance of up to $250 per semester hour (I assume this is the GI Bill?) and OLLU's rate of $628 per semester hour, so a military member can go to school (for either a Bachelor's or Master's degree) for free (not counting books & fees). The scholarship of $378 per hour is also open to military spouses. Our Lady of the Lake University should be applauded for their generosity to our military and their spouses.
Soldiers tell their Alive Day story from Iraq - Brian Williams & James Gandolfini
Soldiers tell their Alive Day story from Iraq on this HBO special by James Gandolfini. Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News interviews Gandolfini.
Witches to Attack Troops in Berkeley -- [Move America Forward]
You're not going to believe this - well, actually you just might - but the anti-military organization, Code Pink, is bringing witches out to the Berkeley Marine Recruiting Center this Friday to:
"cast spells, weave magic, invoke the foremothers, share wisdom, lead rituals to banish war and violence and to bring peace to the MRS, to protect our youth from the powerful spells of pro-war forces, to lead the men of the marine recruiting station off into the oceans of peace!"
So we here at Move America Forward decided to have a counter-event. We're calling it a "Witch-Hunt" and we at MAF will be out in front of the Marine Recruiting Center this FRIDAY, May 9th from 8:00 AM - 12:00 Noon.
Departing Dancing with the Stars Celeb Tips Hat to Military -- [Amy Proctor]
Mario, the 21 year old multi-platinum selling R&B /Pop singer on Dancing with the Stars, made a point during final remarks as he left the show last night to thank the men and women serving in our Armed Forces overseas as he reflected on comments by a Dancing with the Stars judge that he was an inspiration to young people.
Shelia Ross - Texas State Manager Says Goodbye After 5 Years -- [SOLDIERS' ANGELS TEXAS]
It is with much sadness that I am resigning my position as the State Manager of Texas. I have been involved in all areas of Soldiers’ Angels for nearly five years and I have loved every minute.
As many of you know, my precious mother passed away in January and I’m having a hard time disposing of her personal effects and making sure all the bills are paid. Also, last fall my husband of nearly 37 years, was diagnosed with alzheimer’s disease. Due to the stress of going through his own grieving process and work issues, his alzheimer’s has worsened to the point of retiring now. We will be in the D/FW area for a while, but we will be moving out of state to be closer to our children.
I am still doing things for SA, so if any of you have questions or need help anything, please do not hesitate to ask.
Milestones -- [Neptunus Lex]
There are two sets of paperwork sitting on my desk just now. One is a packet of documents formalizing an offer of post-naval employment. The other is a packet of documents that will end my active service. I can’t seem to make a start on either of them.
I rationalize to myself that my last day in the uniform of the country I have served for the last 30 years is not yet certain - my approved retirement date is 1 AUG 2008, but I’ve requested a modification to those orders moving it up to 1 JUL 2008. It’ll be approved of course. No reason for them not to approve it. Probably on the way. But it’s not here yet, and so I dither.
Retirement -- Full Circle -- [The Gunner's World]
1 March 2008 the day I was retired from the Marine Corps after 25 years. I spent my first 8 years on active duty and the last 17 as a reservist. I have come a long way since I first set foot on Parris Island back in Jan of 1983. I still remember asking myself "What have I done" as a Sgt jumped on the bus I was on and proceeded to scream obscenities at us and to get off his @#$$% bus, Hell I did not know he owned the bus!
In the end, I could not have made a better choice. What the USMC has done for me is immeasurable.
`Miracle' Marine dies; badly burned in 2005 Iraq blast -- [AP]
A Marine sergeant who became a symbol of resilience as he strove to recover from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq that blanketed 97 percent of his body with burns has died, the Defense Department said. He was 22.
Sgt. Merlin German died April 11 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he was continuing treatment for the injuries he suffered in combat on Feb. 22, 2005, the Pentagon said Thursday.
The former turret gunner was dubbed the "Miracle Man" for his determination in facing his wounds, which cost the former saxophone player his fingers and rippled his face with scars. He endured more than 40 surgeries, spent 17 months in a hospital and had to learn to walk again.
Meanwhile, he started a charity, Merlin's Miracles, to aid child burn victims and considered college and a career.
"Sometimes I do think I can't do it," he told The Associated Press last year. "Then I think: Why not? I can do whatever I want. ... Nobody has ever been 97 percent dead and survived, and lived to walk."
...German had been stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the state Capitol's flags would be flown at half-staff in German's honor, saying the sergeant's "courage and unfailing loyalty serve as an inspiration to Americans everywhere."
Safe In the Arms Of Love -- [Badger Forward - home from Iraq]
Update -- [Sgt Hook - homeward bound from Iraq for R&R]
Just checking in and wanted to send a very big THANK YOU to all of those who have shown tremendous support to the Soldiers serving over here. My unit recently received a ton of Girl Scout Cookies from three troops in Texas with the help of the local firefighter’s union and longtime supporter Anthony.
I also want to thank all those who sent birhday wishes and checked up on my well being. My apologies for not replying to your comments and emails, but thank you so very much.
In a few hours I’ll be heading home for a little R&R leave.
Homeward bound -- [Yellowhammering Afghanistan -- coming home from Afghanistan]
If all has gone according to plan, as you read this we should be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.
We are on our way to Fort Riley, Kansas, where we will spend the next five days or so turning in equipment, clearing paperwork and sitting in on briefings designed to make sure our heads are on straight and our expectations about going home are realistic.
It won't be home, but it will be in the greatest country in the world. That counts for a lot.
Campbell County Guard unit back from Iraq -- [Knox News]
Members of three Tennessee National Guard units are back in the United States from Iraq.
About 300 soldiers of the 1175th Transportation Co. from Jacksboro, Tullahoma and Brownsville left a year ago for duty in Iraq. They returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., this week.
Plans call for the soldiers to come home next week.
The units spent most of the past year hauling equipment through Iraq. They covered more than 1.6 million miles, according to the National Guard - all without a single casualty.
'Blue Dog' Democrats Join GOP in Opposing War Bill -- [WaPo]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday postponed consideration of a bill that would continue funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bloc of conservative Democrats balked at the high cost of including several of Pelosi's favored domestic spending programs.
Pelosi (D-Calif.), who also faces Republican stalling tactics in protest of unusual parliamentary procedures, predicted that the complaints of "Blue Dog" Democrats would be addressed and that the bill eventually would receive unanimous support from Democrats.
"I am very confident that, next week, we will come to the floor with a bill that has the full consensus of the Democrats and hopefully can attract a large number of Republicans, as well," she told reporters.
White House renews veto threat against troop funding bill -- [My Way News]
...Most significantly, Jim Nussle, director of the White House budget office, said House Democrats' plan to add unrelated legislation extending unemployment benefits, at a cost of $16 billion over two years, and boosting education benefits under the GI Bill, at a cost that could reach $51 billion over the next decade, would provoke a veto even though they are popular politically.
Nussle also issued a more predictable veto promise against a Senate bill that adds spending in excess of Bush's $108 billion request.
"To just pile them into the troop funding bill because the troop funding bill is necessary is a cynical process that the president has already been very clear about - the fact that he would veto," Nussle told the Associated Press.
GI Bill Update -- [Greyhawk]
Another attempt on my part to get the early facts straight - before the spin machine hits overdrive. I find it amazing that Democrats could destroy any chance for a new GI Bill, then get 80-90 percent of the military/veteran vote (Note veterans - that's a BIG number) this fall for doing so - but it's a likely outcome.
This Will Be The #1 Issue in the 2008 Elections-- And, It Goes to Republicans -- [Gateway Pundit]
Over the past 30 years:
Which party blocked the development of new sources of petroleum?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling in ANWR?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off the coast of Florida?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off of the east coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off of the west coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off the Alaskan coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked building oil refineries?-- Democrat
Which party blocked clean nuclear energy production?-- Democrat
Which party blocked clean coal production?-- Democrat
...Democrats like to attack evil American oil companies and block them from drilling off our coasts.
But, it doesn't seem to bother them when China starts drilling for oil in these same areas 50 miles from Key West.
McClatchy News Agency Purposely Distorts Quotes, Publishes Unattributed Gossip -- [Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم - an Iraqi blog]
McClatchy Newspapers put out a news wire on April 29 under the byline of Hannah Allam (McClatchy’s Middle East bureau chief in Cairo, who traveled to Iraq for this story), with Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel—two reporters known for their sources within U.S. intelligence, specifically the CIA—reporting from the United States. Landay and Strobel are also known as two activist reporters with a strong bias against the Iraq war.
The report tried, with plenty of hyperbole, to paint General Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, as the most influential man in Iraq.
Insurgency, the Media and the Propaganda of the Deed -- [Insurgency Research Group]
IRG member Neville Bolt, who is completing a PhD on the Propaganda of the Deed in the War Studies department at King’s, has added the following to the debate regarding the role played by the media in facilitating insurgent exploitation of the POTD strategy, and the difficult question of how best to respond.
CNN.com Needs to Brush Up on Its Military Hardware -- [Newsbusters]
CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.
In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):
Iraqi activist in Time's 100 most influential people list -- [Iraq Updates]
Iraqi activist Madeeha Hasan Odhaib has been named among Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.
Odhaib arrived for the gala in New York on Thursday, carrying an Iraqi flag. She got the 32nd slot in Time's list.
The 37-year-old seamstress has devoted much of her time helping the poor and homeless in Iraq. Some people have begun calling her the Mother Teresa of Baghdad.
Pulling Punches: WaPo Cancels Article for Being 'Too Critical' of Islam -- [Newsbusters]
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
Dan Rather: No One Likes Me Anymore -- [Newsbusters]
The bloodletting from Dan Rather's ongoing lawsuit at CBS continues, although this time, Rather is going after himself saying that no one wants to hire him after his forged document scandal:
Obama Cites McCain War Record as Key Weakness -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-05-08) — Sen. Barack Obama bolstered his standing as the Democrat presidential contender best able to defeat Republican rival Sen. John McCain today with what progressive pundits agree was a crippling attack on the Vietnam P.O.W.’s military service record.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Update 3 from the Castle's Sailor-in-Iraq, Joe Honan. -- [Castle Argghhh! - Joe Honan - in Iraq]
...Moral of the story is: help the guys that know what they are doing. A few small projects for the poultry farmer goes farther in stabilizing the economy and creating jobs than does building stuff from scratch because someone asks you to. The only way to do this is to get out and about and see as much as you can. So we now have a list of five farmers who buy fish food from the Al Anbar poultry king. We figure since they buy feed, they have to have fish, and will track those guys down to see ground truth. Well anyway, the book for “Post-Combat Operations” hasn’t really been written yet, and its a lot of fun trying to build this airplane while its flying.
Iraq Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths (link coming soon) -- [Whitehouse.gov]
MYTH: The American people are footing the bill for Iraq’s security and reconstruction while Iraqis sit on large windfall oil profits.
· FACT: The Iraqi government is taking over the funding of reconstruction. In 2008, Iraq’s budget for large-scale reconstruction projects exceeds that proposed by the U.S. by more than 10 to 1, and the U.S. military expects that Iraq will soon cover 100 percent of such expenses.
· FACT: Iraq's security ministries are now spending more on their security forces than the U.S., and Iraq’s 2008 budget provides for more than 75% of the total annual cost for Iraq’s military and police.
· FACT: The government of Iraq has committed to footing approximately half the bill for the “Sons of Iraq” community watch program—which was originally 100% U.S.-funded.
· FACT: Iraq’s Ambassador to the U.S. Samir Sumaida'ie says that Iraq still has to import gasoline, and argues that “some people are going a little bit too far looking at the Iraqi surplus and the gigantic American deficit and putting two and two together … The windfall from the oil will not cover a fraction of what we need to provide clean water, electricity and the most rudimentary services for our people.”
Mission Accomplished? -- [BlackFive]
Via Seamus, comes this email from a Navy Lieutenant who was aboard the USS Lincoln during the visit from President Bush. Yesterday was the anniversary of President Bush's speech about the end of major combat operations, and it was covered by some the media as the infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech.
Here is what Lieutenant Paul Updike has to say about it:
I thought you might like to hear the rest of the story that the media misinformed the nation about on what "Mission Accomplished" was all about.
'Everything Is Fine Now': The Story of an Iraqi's Return to His Neighborhood -- [Amy Proctor]
“You can now return, and do not worry. Everything is fine now.”
This is the story of Mohamed Hussein, who fled Iraq for Syria on New Year’s Day in 2007 to escape the sectarian violence in his Baghdad neighborhood. He tolerated the unimaginable horror of indiscriminate killings by al-Qaeda and rogue militias until he feared he might become a statistic, a dead corpse on the side of the road no one would be brave enough to remove and bury him for fear of their own safety. He took with him his wife and children, leaving behind his parents.
A year later, Hussein received a phone call from his parents saying it was safe to come home. Now he describes the conditions under which he left and returned to Iraq.
Iraq News (6 May) -- [LT Nixon Rants - in Iraq]
The Good: More militants killed in Sadr City. Our forces have been fighting round the clock to get the security barrier in the southern part of the city up, and air strikes against thugs launching mortars and rockets all over Baghdad have been frequent. The superb Long War Journal has some more details on these ops. Boeing is going to sell a bunch of planes to the Iraqi government to upgrade Iraqi Airways to boost commercial flights. A brigade of 3,500 troops is set to withdraw from Iraq without backfill in accordance with the force reduction plan to go back down to 15 Brigade combat teams in Iraq. This will be followed by a 45-day pause, and then there will be more troop reductions from this country (an' shallah).
U.S. Forces Kill Three Criminals and Destroy Rocket Rail -- [DVIDS]
Footage of a Multi-National Division – Baghdad aerial weapons team that killed three criminals and destroyed a rocket rail being used by criminals to launch indirect-fire attacks in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, May 4.
An aerial weapons team conducting surveillance identified a group of criminals preparing to launch an indirect-fire attack in the Sadr City district of Baghdad at approximately 9:50 p.m. May 4. An earlier indirect-fire attack occurred form the same location.
The AWT engaged and killed three criminals with two hellfire missiles. A 240mm rocket rail was also destroyed.
Provided by Multi-National Division - Baghdad.
Iraqi troops showing "incredible maturity" in Basra operation -- [Minisitry of Defense News]
Major General Barney White-Spunner, the UK's senior military officer in southern Iraq, has been talking about his pride in the success of Iraqi troops during the ongoing operation in Basra which has seen them rid the city of a number of militia elements.
In Iraq, a storm before the calm -- [NY Daily - Michael Yon]
April saw 49 U.S. casualties in Iraq, the highest total in seven months. Does this mean, as some insist, that the enormous progress we have made since the start of the military surge is being lost?
As one who has spent nearly two years with American soldiers and Marines and British Army troops in Iraq - having returned from my last trip a month ago - here's my short answer: no.
We are taking more casualties now, just as we did in the first part of 2007, because we have taken up the next crucial challenge of this war: confronting the Shia militias.
Al-Sadr Refuses to Meet With Iraqi Delegation... In Tehran -- [Gateway Pundit]
If you still had any doubts that Iran was fomenting terrorism in Iraq, this ought to settle it...
Mookie is definitely in Iran.
Condoleezza Rice was correct in calling him a coward.
A delegation of Iraqi officials traveled to Tehran to meet with Mookie Al-Sadr but he refused to see them.
U.S. Troops Engage Insurgents in Fire Fight -- [DVIDS]
Footage of Iraqi and U.S. Army Soldiers in Tharwa 1 in Sadr City engaging special groups in a fire fight. Provided by 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs.
Baghdad police show progress, but challenges remain -- [LWJ - Bill Ardolino - in Iraq]
Bill Ardolino interviews an Iraqi Police general in the Rusafa district in central Baghdad. The general discusses the state of the police, the security situation, integration of the Sons of Iraq into the security forces, and problems with the militias.
Few things are simple in Iraq, and that maxim is no more evident than when evaluating Iraqi security forces. Relevant answers to important questions are always a matter of degree. These questions include:
Progress In Sadr City
Do Iraqis Want an Arab Nuclear Bomb? -- [Iraq the Model]
The change that took place in Iraq was not only a political one but also, and more importantly, a change in awareness; something that isn't easy to detect.
This is what I see clear in the nature of Iraqi dialogue among the public, and I'm always pleased by the degree of awareness and open-mindedness that emerged in the years that followed the change. I believe it is an important indication about the future.
Hezbollah training Iraqis in Tehran -- [AP]
Iraqi Shiite extremists are being trained by members of Hezbollah in camps near Tehran, a US military spokesman said yesterday.
Iraqis are receiving the training at camps operated by the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps that has been accused of training and funnelling weapons to Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Iraq Al Rafidein TV Airs Anti-American Fillers -- [Jawa Report]
Here is a small sampling of the fillers being used by Al Rafidein between programs in Iraq.
Freedom of the press is a good thing for Iraqi's. Unfortunately we have to take the good with the bad.
Al Rafidain TV is a Sunni endorsed satellite station. I presume some are still mourning Saddam ...
A Tuskan Raider or an Iraqi Jundi with a Sense of Humor? -- [Miserable Donuts]
The jundi in the picture was putting on everything he could while his buddies laughed and egged him on. I simply couldn't not take a picture. He was good humored enough to pose for it too.
Cut the Cord? -- [Intel Dump - Phil Carter]
On the op-ed page of Sunday's New York Times, former Defense Department official and high priest of neo-conservative foreign policy Richard Perle takes disingenuousness to new heights with this short essay:
...Ah yes, the "mistakes were made" defense. We seem to be hearing this one a lot lately from Perle's crew -- Bremer, Feith and Wolfowitz, to name a few.
Unfortunately for these men, history will record these mistakes as theirs. It was Perle's neocons who pushed the war. It was his cabal that believed a) we would be greeted as liberators, b) freedom and democracy would bloom once Saddam was toppled, and c) no sustained occupation or counterinsurgency effort would be necessary. Thus, in many ways, the thinking of Perle and his confederates was the original sin in Iraq (or the second sin if you think the invasion itself was wrong) -- it set up the U.S. effort for failure.
Report: Saddam Feared Getting 'Venereal Diseases' From U.S. Guards-- [Fox News]
The London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat published excerpts of what it described as Saddam's prison dairies which it said its correspondent obtained from U.S. authorities.
The U.S. military confirmed that pages of Saddam's writings have been released. When the former Iraqi leader found out that his U.S. military guards were also using his laundry line to dry clothes, he wrote that he demanded they stop.
"I explained to them that they are young and they could have young people's diseases," Saddam wrote. "My main concern was to not catch a venereal disease, an HIV disease, in this place." He said that some of the soldiers ignored his request.
U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Matthew Morgan declined to describe the writings as a 'diary,' saying that thousands of pages having been produced by the former leader while he was in custody.
Brother Accidentally Calls Home During Firefight - Afghanistan -- [Live Leak]
21 April 2008 - "Stephen Phillips and other soldiers in his Army MP company were battling insurgents when his phone was pressed against his Humvee. It redialed and called his parents in the small Oregon town of Otis."
From the brother:
"My brother is an MP over in Afghanistan. He was out in the field today on April 21st. He decided to give us a call, just to let us know how he was doing.
Nobody was home so he got the answering machine, and hung up. Just then, they started getting shot at. Somehow, his phone re-dialed, and we got this on our answering machine. He is okay."
Afghanistan, the beautiful -- [Cheese's Blog - in Afghanistan]
I know, I know...I've been insanely busy, but I hope that there won't be this kind of break in my postings for a while. They're really stepping up the tempo here, but at least it keeps me busy.
I'm starting to get a pretty good handle on this place, due in no small part to our having visited every village in our sector! Thankfully, our leadership makes a point to visit with all the local elders to ask what they need and drop off some basic supplies. You'd think that the South Carolina boys we replaced had been doing this all along...and you'd be wrong. Some of these people hadn't SEEN American troops in years! How is that even possible? But that's neither here nor their, the important part is that we're doing it now, and the people love us for it. It makes me feel a lot safer knowing that all the villages are on our side.
Canada reaches out to Taliban -- [Globe and Mail]
After years of refusing to negotiate with insurgents, soldiers in Kandahar put word out they want to talk
KHENJAKAK, AFGHANISTAN -- Canadian troops are reaching out to the Taliban for the first time, military and diplomatic officials say, as Canada softens its ban on speaking with the insurgents.
After years of rejecting any contact with the insurgents, Canadian officials say those involved with the mission are now rethinking the policy in hopes of helping peace efforts led by the Afghan government.
The Canadian work on political solutions follows two separate tracks: tactical discussions at a local level in Kandahar, and strategic talks through the Kabul government and its allies.
MacKay dismisses reports of Canada-Taliban talks in Afghanistan -- [The Canadian Press]
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Defence Minister Peter MacKay is denying reports from Afghanistan that Canadian soldiers are reaching out to members of the Taliban in order to establish peace in the war-torn country.
Canadian military officials in Afghanistan have been quoted as saying they're trying to engage in a dialogue with insurgents - a move that federal New Democrat Leader Jack Layton has long supported.
Support Troops Vital in Afghanistan - Afghanistan war’s unsung heroes
May 4: They get none of the glory and eat all of the dust. Report on the unsung heroes of the war in Afghanistan, the soldiers who deliver food, water and ammunition to combat troops.
The Disaggregation of the Taliban -- [The Captain’s Journal]
David Ignatius has a very positive analysis in his latest commentary at the Washington Post.
But this analysis is far too positve. Hamid Karzai is so concerned about the resurgence of the Taliban and future departure of U.S. troops (and consequent Taliban violence) that he has warned the U.S. against arresting Taliban. It’s time to talk and negotiate, Karzai believes.
But there is more to this problem than meets the eye.
The Taliban Plays Defense This Year -- [Strategy Page]
May 5, 2008: In Afghanistan, grabbing your gun, and going off with your buddies to try and get rich by any means available, is an ancient custom. Right now, the best opportunities are in the heroin trade. Guarding the crop, or smuggling the stuff out of the country, pays well. Kidnapping is risky, but can have a big payoff. General banditry is a possibility, as is becoming a cop (where you get a uniform to wear while you shake down civilians and steal). Then there is the Taliban. Better pay than the army or police, but much more dangerous. To that end, some Taliban leaders are changing tactics.
Afghan Govt Workers Arrested Over Karzai Attack.
2 Afghan gov't workers arrested over Karzai attack
The images of the Taliban -- [Deedenow Cinema - afghan blog]
...The Taliban as the extremist forces in Afghanistan, as the soldiers of God for the other extremists, as an unresolved enigma for the people of the western world so far have been very well known features of insurgence, terror and intimidations to almost every one in the world.
The power of media has had a major role in their introduction to the world.
Artists, writers, painters, photographers, cartoonists and caricaturists have all written, drawn, painted or depicted them some how in their own ways.
If you go to Google search you find different sizes of Taliban’s' images and if you want to read about, then there are many links in the internet about them.
FROM THAT FLAME -- [MaryAnn T. Beverly - author]
He was a man of peace who became Afghanistan's most brilliant military leader. He was America's best Afghan ally who warned about the attacks of 9-11. He fought for democracy until he was assassinated by Osama bin Laden.
He was…Ahmed Shah Massoud
Because the story this book tells is so important, you are invited to download an e-book of From That Flame free of charge.
The Taliban’s Propaganda of the Deed Strategy -- [Insurgency Research Group]
...In his yet to be published paper “Hearts and Minds: Time to Think Differently” Steve Tatham (researching at UK’s Defence Academy) shows convincingly that Taliban moved to a much more sophisticated propaganda approach in 2006 when it became the “key component in their campaign”. It is also possible that Taliban were increasingly aware that their previous efforts fell far short of the expectations of a potential audience that was multilingual and routinely exposed to the best television products in the world and therefore educated and very demanding in a visual sense. This point is also made in Nicholas O’Shaughnessy and Paul Baines about to be published 2008 paper “British Muslim Susceptibility to Islamist Propaganda: An Exploratory Study”. According to Steve Tatham Taliban’s re-branding project began by sending a start up team as interns to Al Qaeda’s video production unit Al Sahab in 2006 and very soon afterwards in early 2007 their own production standards visibly improved. In April 2007 the new, media savvy Taliban began to promote themselves as “the people’s movement” thanks to a five part series screened by Al Jazeera and compiled by their credulously enthusiastic Pakistan reporter.
For The First Time: Blogging Workshop in Kabul -- [Afghan Lord - afghan blog]
For the first time in Afghanistan, a two days Blogging workshop was organized by the Afghan Association of Blog Writers. The participants were an Afghan journalist, a University teacher, a poet and writers from different provinces and of various ethnic backgrounds.
The main goals of this workshop are better access of journalists to weblogs and other digital media. Since Afghan print and internet media are of a very low quality, blogs could help the Afghan print media and become a milestone in the media situation in Afghanistan.
...For the first time in Afghanistan, a two days Blogging workshop was organized by the Afghan Association of Blog Writers. The participants were an Afghan journalist, a University teacher, a poet and writers from different provinces and of various ethnic backgrounds.
The main goals of this workshop are better access of journalists to weblogs and other digital media. Since Afghan print and internet media are of a very low quality, blogs could help the Afghan print media and become a milestone in the media situation in Afghanistan.
The Road MoreTraveled By -- [Belmont Club]
A video captured from the Taliban in Afghanistan illustrates the power of electronic warfare. The enemy is using a cell phone to trigger an IED on American convoys. But the Americans have their own wizardry. Their vehicles are blanketed by an electronic jamming bubble. Watch as the Taliban try to blow up American vehicles traveling along the strategic Pech River road without success. Not even praying to Allah helps.
Pech Valley Dco 1-32 10th Mountain
Georgia says "very close" to war with Russia -- [Reuters]
BRUSSELS- Russia's deployment of extra troops in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia has brought the prospect of war "very close", a minister of ex-Soviet Georgia said on Tuesday.
Separately, in comments certain to fan rising tension between Moscow and Tbilisi, the "foreign minister" of the breakaway Black Sea region was quoted as saying it was ready to hand over military control to Russia.
Russia, US to sign commercial nuclear pact -- [Hot Air]
Who knew Vladimir Putin worried about his legacy? On his last day as Russian president, the US and Russia will sign an agreement which will open their commercial nuclear markets to each other after months of negotiation. Some in Congress oppose the deal, but will they have enough votes to reverse it?
With 22000 dead in cyclone, Myanmar isolated as Bush offers Navy ships -- [International Herald Tribune]
AP YANGON, Myanmar: Myanmar's Irrawaddy delta, where nearly 22000 people perished, remained largely cut off from the rest of the world Tuesday, four days after a cyclone unleashed winds, floods and high tidal waves on the densely populated region.
Former Iranian President Accuses Regime of Exporting Terrorism -- [Gateway Pundit]
Former Iranian President Khatami says the hardliner regime is exporting terror in the Middle East!
Khatami said the Iranian Republic is using terrorists to "sabotage" the region.
...Khatami said that exporting violence to other countries is "treason" against Islam.
The former president of Iran, Mohamad Khatami, accused the hardliner regime of sponsoring terrorists in the Middle East in a recent university speech.
Iran Focus and AFP reported:...
The internal debate over Iran's proxy war -- [TigerHawk]
Lest you think that American allegations that Iran is waging a proxy war in Iraq and elsewhere are an invention of the BusHitler neocons or David Petraeus, consider that Mohammad Khatami, Iran's former president, is leveling the same charge:
Interpol Confirms Authenticity Of Raul Reyes's Computer Files -- [Gateway Pundit]
...The Colombian National Ministry of Defense reported last month that authorities had seized 60 pounds of uranium that belonged to FARC after computers were captured.
but, , the fact that the information has now been confirmed as authentic is horrible news for Colombia's FARC supporting neighbors and US Democrats.
Here is a partial list of what Colombian investigators found on the FARC terror leader's computer:
Morocco under high alert after a probable dry run -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
A few weeks ago, Algeria warned its Tunisian and Moroccan neighbors of a possible mega terror attack prepared by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Interestingly the newsletter The Croissant (subscriptions available for a small fee) reported a few days ago that an Algerian, aboard a powerful 4X4, sped on the esplanade of the Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca. He managed to overcome all obstacles limiting traffic, causing a real panic
Islamist Forum Member Proposes Attacks On Saudi Royal Family -- [MEMRI]
On May 4, 2008, a member of the Islamist forum Al-Hesbah (hosted by ThePlanet.com Internet Services Inc., in Houston, TX) calling himself Al-Ashqar proposed attacks on Saudi royal palaces and the abducting and killing of members of the royal family.
NEFA Exclusive: Selected Responses From the Second Round of Q&A with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a copy of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s second round of answers to some of the hundreds of questions recently submitted on extremist web forums by Al-Qaida supporters and other interested parties. Exclusive English translations of selected questions and answers are now available for download. When asked by one critic, “Is jihad only about killing and spilling blood, or are there other ways and means to reach the goals of jihad, without being repulsive”, al-Zawahiri demanded in reply, “if a criminal were to break into your house, hurt your family and kill them, steal your furniture, burn down your home, and then moved on to wreck the houses of your neighbors, would you deal with him gently in order to avoid becoming a member of a band of people who only seek revenge through bloodshed?”
Operation Gratitude Celebrates Military Appreciation Month With Shipment of 350,000th Care Package -- [Operation Gratitude]
Operation Gratitude founder, Carolyn Blashek, and Director of Operations, Charlie Othold, traveled 9,000 miles to surprise an unknowing Soldier with the keys to a 2008 Jeep(R) Liberty at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Iraq on January 22. The gift of the Liberty was in celebration of Operation Gratitude's shipment of 300,000 care packages to troops deployed overseas.
Spc. Michael Gallagher, of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, Washington, was the recipient of Operation Gratitude's special care package.
The Jeep(R) was donated by the Jeep brand. In a letter addressed to an "American Hero", John Plecha, Director -Jeep Marketing and Global Communications, said it was an honor to do something special for both a great organization and for the troops in
“The Sedition Report” -- [GOE]
Dear Pro-Troop Supporters:
I have some great news to share with you!! Please also pass along this information to others who will appreciate the good news.
As you know there has sadly been an increasing campaign of violence against military recruiting centers across the nation - conducted by anti-military radicals (who are erroneously referred to as “peace activists” by a sympathetic media). We at Move America Forward researched the vast array of these incidents and compiled them together in “The Sedition Report” which we provided to members of Congress and law enforcement.
Today Move America Forward’s legal team received an official response from the U.S. Department of Justice criminal division:
The Soldiers’ Angels Sewing Team Announces BLANKETS OF BELIEF -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Making sure America's deployed servicemen and women know...
We Believe in You!
Our goal is to send 180,000 HOMEMADE BLANKETS made with “love and belief in you” to our service members spending another holiday season in the war zones.
Will you please make just ONE?
Soldiers and Kids - We Need Toys -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
One thing our medics love to do is help care for the local kids. In many cases, the American military provides the only health care available for these people. And being American soldiers, they love to have small toys to give to the kids. These are a great ice-breaker, and every toy our soldiers pass out buys a lot of good-will among the local people.
We are looking for small toys to send to our medics. Hit the garage sales, get your kids' to clean out their closets, have a "toy drive" at your school - gently used items are fine.
President Bush Commemorates Military Spouse Day -- [Whitehouse.gov]
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Phil. I appreciate -- appreciate you and your band members being here today. Thanks for entertaining us here on the South Lawn of the White House. (Applause.) We are so glad you have come. We're honoring six recipients of the President's Volunteer Service Awards. And as we do so, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of our military spouses all across the country.
Sufferin' Sanchez -- [Intel Dump - Phil Carter]
DoD PhotoThis week's Time has an excerpt from retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's new book, "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story." Not surprisingly, given his past public speeches, Sanchez points a lot of fingers -- up at Rumsfeld and the White House, over at other generals, and even down at his subordinates. Guess he missed the part of general school where they teach command responsibility -- the principle that a commander is responsible for all his unit does or fails to do, period. (He's also ignoring Gen. Douglas MacArthur's dictum that old soldiers should just fade away.)
Suicidal GI Meme -- [Jules Crittenden]
Keeps marching on. U.S. government shrink reports that Iraq/Afghan war vets’ suicides may outstrip the death rate.
...It’s worth noting that for any group of 1.6 million American men, at the annual rate of 17.9:100,000, there are going to be nearly 300 suicides a year. Rates vary for different age groups and the women’s rate is significantly lower at 4.2:100,000. But I’d suggest that it’s beyond “quite possible” that the suicides will outstrip the combat deaths. Under normal circumstances, within the next 20 or 30 years or so, it sounds like a statistical certainty. This guy’s not offering a time frame, and in fairness, he’s probably suggesting deaths above and beyond the background noise of suicides any group this size can look forward to. Though, as we’ll see below, any group this size is subject to a good deal of PTSD, traumatic stress being a simple fact of life.
Unfortunately, the reporting on this issue, and apparently the word being put out by professionals, has been a tad tautological, if not sloppy.
Purple Hearts For Combat Fatigue -- [Strategy Page]
May 6, 2008: There are a growing number of U.S. military psychologists and medical officials that want to award troops who get PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) the Purple Heart medal. This is an award for physical wounds, and replaced earlier recognition (in the form of wound badges and such) in the 1930s.
Fort McCoy, Wisconsin -- [Badgers Forward - home from Iraq]
After a long trip, I am safely at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin going through the demobilization process. Home soon.
Welcome Home "the ROCK!" - A Homecoming that SFC Matthew Blaskowski Would Be Proud Of -- [Blackfive]
Leta at From Cow Pastures to Kosovo has been working with Cheryl and Terry Blaskowski to set up a Welcome Home Party for the paratroopers of 2/503rd when they return from Afghanistan to their home base in Vicenza, Italy.
War protesters frustrated by apathy -- [Pittsburg Post Gazette]
...At the grassroots level, anti-war activists are also trying to keep the war in the public eye. Last month, nine protesters gathered in front of the Regional Enterprise Tower, Downtown, where U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey have offices.
"Please think about this. It's important," Lynne Flavin, 60, of Lawrenceville, told passersby. She held a blood red sign that said, "Support the Troops. End the War."
Few people gave more than a glance.
...Mr. O'Malley stood outside Mr. Doyle's Downtown office, wearing a Vietnam veteran hat and seven Obama buttons. He blamed last-minute organization efforts for the poor turnout.
As he and two other protesters waited, Maddie Smith, a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, approached Mr. O'Malley and asked for a sign for her lawn in Brookline.
He gladly gave her one. He also gave her instructions: "Put it so it's facing traffic. Otherwise no one will see it."
Democrats Set To Defy Bush On War Bill -- [New York Times]
Defying President Bush, House Democrats are preparing to forge ahead with a war spending measure that would include extended unemployment assistance and new educational benefits for returning veterans.
More "White Hate" Discovered in Obama's Church Newsletters -- [Gateway Pundit]
Barack Obama announced yesterday on Meet the Press that he intends to continue attending Trinity United Church of Christ services after Reverend Wright retires in June.
So far, the media has not payed any attention to the racist America-hating literature distributed at the church.
But, that has not kept BizzyBlog from exposing the outrageous hateful articles included in the church newsletters.
Here is an article that appeared in the July 2005 newsletter.
Are We Getting Two for One? - Is Michelle Obama responsible for the Jeremiah Wright fiasco? -- [Salon.com]
...I direct your attention to Mrs. Obama's 1985 thesis at Princeton University. Its title (rather limited in scope, given the author and the campus) is "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community." To describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be "read" at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is because it wasn't written in any known language. Anyway, at quite an early stage in the text, Michelle Obama announces that she's much influenced by the definition of black "separationism" offered by Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton in their 1967 screed Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.
McCain on Judges -- [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
See "Bench Memos" for more. And McCainiac Sam Brownback spoke to the "Campaign Spot" about the speech yesterday.
What McCain is presumably addressing, of course, is not just differences between him and the Democrats, but conservative concerns. Like the Gang of 14, about which Mark Levin & Andy McCarthy wrote earlier this year:
Stephen King At Odds With Army Over Suggestion That "Only Illiterates Join the Service" -- [WUSA9.com] HT: Mark Seavey
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - A recent comment by Stephen King during a lecture to high school seniors suggesting that those who can't read can join the Army has riled up the military.
King told a group of high schoolers at a recent Library of Congress lecture "If you can read you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got the Army, Iraq - I don't know"
His depiction of army soldiers as illiterate drew a strongly worded response from the U.S. Army.
"America?s Soldiers are proudly serving and fighting for us all. We can be proud of our Soldiers? selfless service, their skill and their ingenuity. They certainly are role models for every high-school student in America considering a noble career ? and many book authors."
Local soldiers were also offended by the comments, calling them elitist and insensitive.
Writer Stephen King: If You Can't Read, You'll End Up in the Army or Iraq -- [NewsBusters]
Remember shortly before Election Day 2006 when Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) suggested that if you don't get a good education, "you get stuck in Iraq" (video available here)?
Well, last month, famed horror author Stephen King was speaking in front of a group of high school students at the Library of Congress, and he virtually made the exact same statement.
For those that can bear it, what follows is another in a long line of liberal media members bashing the military
E-mail Instructions: 'Hi, Noel—Stephen King Says to Shut Up and I Agree' -- [NewsBusters]
You really can't make this stuff up!
Early Monday morning, NewsBusters informed readers about a truly disgraceful comment made last month by famed horror author Stephen King concerning people that can't read having to enter the Army (video embedded right).
Hours later, I mentioned in the comments section that I was receiving a lot of strange e-mail messages.
Well, it turns out King wrote about my piece at his website, and instructed readers to "find Sheppard on the internet"
Squealing Like Castrated Boars -- [Cannoneer No. 4]
From MSM giant Gannett’s Q-ship Navy Times a USA Today piece: New DoD Web sites counter enemy rhetoric. Listen to the the oxen loudly protest being gored.
“This is about trying to control the message, either by bypassing the media or putting your version of the message out before others (and) … there’s a heavy responsibility to let people know where you’re coming from,” said Amy Mitchell, deputy director at the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Senator Blasts Sponsorship of Anti-American Radio -- [Danger Room]
Oh, what a mess. The U.S. can't get good publicity in Iran -- even when it's footing the bill. Or at least that's the main point in a scathing letter written by Tom Coburn, a Republican Senator from Oklahoma, to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs, among other things, Voice of America. In an detailed five-page letter obtained by Mountain Runner, Coburn runs through a litany of problems with VOA's Farsi service:
Petraeus: Man of No Influence... -- [Outside the Wire]
....at least according to TIME magazine.
In the magazine's list of the 100 "Most Influential People" in the world we find Moqtada al Sadr and Vladimir Putin in the category of leaders and revolutionaries.
Terrorist mastermind Baitullah Mehsud also makes the list of leaders and revolutionaries.
(In defense of TIME, Secretary of Defense Gates makes the list--and rightfully so.)
But it struck me that once again, the author and implementer of what could be the greatest strategic turn-around of the war in Iraq ignored.
Once again, TIME has ignored General Petraeus.
Rosie on Wright: “I listened to him and, frankly, it made sense to me” -- [NewsBusters]
Rosie O'Donnell appeared on the May 5 "Today" show in its fourth hour, claiming that many have confused her "passion for rage" much in the same way as they've misunderstood Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Indeed, claimed the former "The View" co-host, Obama's former pastor "made sense to me."
Obama Feared Bill Ayers Would Step on Flag Lapel Pin -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-05-05) — Sen. Barack Obama admitted today that he stopped wearing an American flag lapel pin out of fear that friend and domestic terror group founder William Ayers would “step on my chest.”
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Enemies Become Allies at Iraq's Camp Bucca -- [Amy Proctor]
Last year when U.S. Marine Major General Doug Stone took over Camp Bucca, the largest detainee facility in Iraq, it was literally going up in flames. The 20,000 detainees were essentially inmates running the asylum. U.S. guards were at the point of shooting prisoners to regain control. Consequently Major General Stone said he feared this camp would earn a reputation that would out-do Abu Ghraib and cause an international scandal.
Enter: great counterinsurgency strategy.
...It’s working. Not only is the camp under control, but the turn over rate is remarkable. Of the 7,000 detainees who have been reformed and released, only 7 have been detained again. In fact many go on to help Coalition Forces gather intelligence against al-Qaeda.
Marine Major General Doug Stone
Seeds Sow Progress in Busayefi -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — U.S. Soldiers delivered seeds and plastic to farmers in the town of Busayefi recently, in an effort to revitalize agriculture in the area 10 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.
Success not just a big-fish tale --[Task Force Marne - in Iraq]
Members of the Baghdad-7 embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team visited a fish farm south of Baghdad April 26, to assess progress in its development.
...Kasim’s farm lies in the al-Buaytha loop of the Tigris River, an area with a long history of fish farming. Currently, many farms do not produce enough fish to make it a commercially robust business. However, with increased involvement in the local agricultural union and the assistance of micro grants, some farmers are getting the help they need to grow.
Faces of Al-Awaiya Hospital
Clean Environment for Al Sadr Teaching Hospital (pdf)-- [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - in Iraq]
BASRAH, Iraq – After years of neglect, Al- Sadr Teaching Hospital will soon witness a significant improvement.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in southern Iraq is refurbishing the existing sewage network system and constructing a new 40 cubic meter / hour sewage treatment plant at the only hospital within a 30 mile radius in Basrah province.
The $1.9 million project includes installation, testing and commissioning of two manholes, replacement of eight inch PVC conduit in the ground and main grids, said the Basrah Area Engineer Daniel Foltz. The rehabilitation of the sewage network and a new waste water treatment plant will mean that doctors can operate and see patients in a cleaner environment, said Quality Assurance Inspector John Morgan from the Basrah Area Office, Gulf Region South district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
...Deputy Administrator of Al-Sadr Teaching Hospital, Talib Saleem, who has been working in this hospital for more than ten years, said, “The old waste water treatment plant located in the grounds of this hospital has been nonoperational for about 15 years and a large amount of waste and waste water just sat in the unit,” he said.
Basra Weapons Found
The Iraqi military commander in Basra announced the discovery of a massive weapons cache containing roadside bombs, mortar launchers and suspected Iranian-made weapons.
PZ Clean -- [Badger Forward - heading home from Iraq]
We have slapped high-fives on the OBJ; I have tossed out an HC smoke grenade; EXFIL is underway.
In other words . . .
I am out of Iraq and on my way home.
The Ringing -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - in Iraq]
The grenade explodes, throwing up the big cloud of dust, not the fireball you see in movies. A 105mm tank round blasts its target with another deafening roar. 5.56mm shell casings are bouncing off of my helmet from the guy next to me, and my shell casings are hitting the guy on my right. We're spitting lead with apocalyptic fury. The .50 cals are rocking, the 240Bravos are chattering, the shotguns, the pistols, the mortars. It's an orgy of firepower.
The best part of it all, is that no one is shooting back at us.
Up in the tower -- [IN Iraq - in Iraq]
You thought your job was tedious. Try pulling a guard duty shift in one of the perimeter towers at LSA Anaconda.
After scaling a steel ladder 20 feet up, you’ll emerge into a cramped turret. There’s just enough room for two soldier’s stools and the trap door. And it's a sweat box.
Even though we felt a few rain drops today, the inside of the tower is steaming. Flies are buzzing about the heads of the two specialists on duty. The full body armor and Kevlar helmet they’re required to wear doesn’t help any.
Specialist Sean Miller, 20, of Rosedale, IN, said they're supposed to be scanning for insurgent threats, but mostly end up watching locals working on the expansive green fields that are directly across the fence from their tower.
A Recentralized War -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
There is the war I trained for. Studied. And sweated over. The powers-that-be call it decentralized warfare. It is a theory that has succeeded before in practice; the most cited modern example being the involvement of the British in Malaysia.
...Then there is the war I fight.
The Gravediggers were conducting a vehicle maintenance refit back at the FOB when I got the word from CPT Whiteback to prepare for an impromptu mission. Frago-licious. We think we have one of our top targets isolated, he said. Abu Mustafa, a high-ranking member of an extreme JAM cell network. He’s visiting his family in another village, but that doesn’t matter. He’s our priority since he operates in Anu al-Verona.
Where in the ... (Update, FOB Loyalty & JSS Babalsheikh) -- [INDC Journal - in Iraq]
The JSS is an Iraqi Police station in the southern Rusafa District in Central Baghdad. So far, my platoon has conducted one nighttime presence patrol in Muhaloa 107, "a neighborhood (in the relatively calm district) with the most potential to become violent because of the JAM (Jaish al-Mahdi) special groups networks that are known to operate in that area," according to 2nd Lieutenant Mike Herbert. The patrol was uneventful, except for the fact that a shopkeeper's voice dropped to a fearful, glance-punctuated whisper when I asked him what he thought of the Mahdi Army.
Sadr City barrier “a magnet” for Mahdi Army attacks -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The large majority of the direct attacks on US and Iraqi forces by the Mahdi Army are occurring on Qods Street, where the barrier is being erected to separate the Iraqi Army and US controlled sections of Sadr City from the northern portion of the district.
...One of the largest battles in Sadr City occurred along Al Qods street on April 28. The Mahdi Army took advantage of the lack of US air cover due to a sand storm to launch an ambush against US forces as they were patrolling along the road while other soldiers were constructing the barrier. Mahdi Army forces launched the complex attack from the region north of Al Qods Street. The US soldiers counterattacked and killed 28 Mahdi Army fighters while taking six wounded.
The next day, The Associated Press ran an article on the engagement titled “Militiamen ambush drives back US patrol in Sadr City.” But Stover said the ambush failed to force the US soldiers to withdraw. “The barrier emplacement never stopped,” Stover told The Long War Journal.
Iraq PM sends team to Iran to discuss militias -- [Iraq Updates]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has sent a delegation to tell Iran to stop backing Shi'ite militias, officials said on Thursday, underscoring Iraq's unease over the influence of its powerful neighbour.
Iraq News (2 May) -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The Good: The Turkish delegation is meeting with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to discuss political, diplomatic, and economic ties. Turkey is a powerful, secular country in the region and has the potential to help Iraq with oil exploration and infrastructure development. There decision to conduct airstrikes on PKK rebels in northern Iraq during the talks makes for a big, fat question mark, but I guess that's how they do business. The Iraqi delegation to Iran is taking evidence of Iranian weapons and involvement straight to the Quds force commander, General Suleimani, and even Ayatollah Khamenei himself.
Arab Leaders Do Not Support Iraq Because They Fear the Iraqi Model Will Be Implemented in Their Countries
Interviewer: What is the real reason that no Arab leader has visited Iraq? Why are there no [Arab] diplomatic missions in Baghdad? This question is being asked by people in cafés as well.
Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh: You are making me answer in a non-diplomatic manner. Brother, they are not happy about what happened in Iraq. One of them [Qadhafi] declared this in the Arab summit. He expressed sorrow over the execution of Saddam, and said: "Your turn will come." Of course, he forgot to mention that his own turn would come too. This reflects the position of the Arabs. The Arabs are not happy about what happened in Iraq, because this constitutes no less than an earthquake.
’ Batting’ a thousand -- [3rd Marine Aircraft Wing - in Iraq]
...Should MNF-West deem detainment necessary, the Marines have 24 hours to deliver the detainee to Camp Korean Village, and 48 hours to transport them to Al Asad Air Base.
“I think our job is very important,” said Cpl. Kevin Davis, a member of the team and Dallas native. “The transition teams here are enforcing rules and training the Iraqis, but we are the only team dedicated to finding and eliminating terrorists from entering the country.”
The team goes out at different times to avert possible threats and suicide bombers from planning any operation against the BATS Marines. Once they patrol to the port, the group stops all vehicles and begins scanning the irises of each passenger.
The Marines “BAT” thousands of individuals each week, ensuring no terrorist crosses through the border by hiding in the realms of innocent citizens.
White House admits Mission Unaccomplished in Iraq -- [Iraq Updates]
The White House said Wednesday that it had "paid a price" for the "Mission Accomplished" backdrop to US President George W. Bush's May 1, 2003 Iraq speech, saying it left the wrong impression.
"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific, and said, 'Mission Accomplished For These Sailors Who Are On This Ship On Their Mission,'" said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
"We have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year," she said.
Marines launch assault in Helmand province -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Marines stormed into a Taliban-held town before daybreak Tuesday, trading gunfire with insurgents on the ground and using helicopter gunships to destroy a militant compound in one of Afghanistan's most violent regions.
Several hundred Marines, many of whom have fought in Iraq, reportedly met light resistance in the assault, which is the farthest south in years that American troops have operated in Helmand province.
Rules of engagement -- [Military Watch - in Afghanistan]
When the Alpha Company’s position here in Garmsir came under RPG (rocket propelled grenade) and small arms fire, the effect was like thwacking a beehive with a baseball bat. Angry Marines boiled up in a swarm, weapons up, ready for revenge.
I mean, one Marine wondered, who’d be dumb enough to fire at a bunch of Marines … and MISS???
The attackers appeared to be two young men on a motor bike. A couple of Marines who’d been on watch, on the roof of a mud-walled farmer’s compound, had seen them a quarter mile away, riding back and forth, eyeing the Marines. One Marine said he thought one had something on his back that looked like an RPG but he couldn’t be sure.
Over the next few hours, the two men were seen several more times, but at no time could the Marines be certain these two men were the attackers.
The incident could be emblematic of this kind of war.
F-16 Air Strike On A Building In Afghanistan
Airstrike on buildings outside of Kandahar where Taliban troops had reportedly taken refuge. According to DoD, a US ground forward air controller, in coordination with opposition group forces, called the strike in. The facility was heavily damaged while sparing the civilian facilities around it.
Changing of the Guard -- [Voices from the War - in Afghanistan]
A BUFFALO CONNECTION: At left accepting a flag during a recent transition of authority ceremony in Afghanistan is Col. Brian K. Bafle of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade Combat Team in Kabul.
In the center background, to the right of the flag pole and standing at attention, is Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski of Buffalo. At right, presenting the flag to Bafle is Major General Robert Cone, departing commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII.
The activated New York Guard members, with hundreds of them from Buffalo Niagara, are training members of the Afghan army and national police force.
Marine operations in Afghanistan that were launched to deter taliban
Goodbye, Ghazni -- [Yellowhammering Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
The Alabama State flag no longer flies over FOB Vulcan.
All of my Diet Mountain Dews are gone.
I am in Camp Phoenix in Kabul starting the process of clearing all of the paperwork and turning in all of the equipment before heading home.
We interrupted class at the orphanage's school.I have left Ghazni. Ghazni will never leave me.
...We visited the orphanage and women's center one last time, delivering some humanitarian assistance packages, including many of those sent to us from many of you.
After seeing Afghans shoot at them and try to blow them up earlier this week, hopefully those visits helped the new guys see Afghan people in a different light. I also hope the visits encourage the new guys to keep up their support of these organizations.
F/A-18 Air Strike on Al Qaeda Arrayed In A Trench System In Afghanistan
F/A-18 Airstrike on AlQaeda arrayed in a trench system south of Kandahar.
Two militants detained in Khowst province -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Afghan and Coalition forces detained two militants Thursday during a joint operation to degrade militant operations in Khowst province.
Afghan and Coalition forces performed a search of compounds in Khowst District targeting a Haqqani network militant known to finance and facilitate attacks against the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. During the course of the operation, they detained the targeted militant and an associate suspected of being a member of his cell.
Economy grew by 0.6 percent in first quarter -- [MSNBC]
Gross domestic product data show economy still avoiding downturn
WASHINGTON - The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.
The country’s economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider a definition of a recession, which is a contraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if slightly.
Oops: Employment Numbers Better Than Expected, Unemployment Drops -- [NewsBusters]
Despite all the gloom and doom, the employment picture in April was much better than economists had expected, and, maybe more important, quite different than the Hooveresque, Depression Era picture media members have been painting for months.
"Hostile" Iran Sparks U.S. Attack Plan -- [CBS]
Pentagon Wary Of Tehran's Expanding Nuclear Program And Support Of Iraqi Insurgents
A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.
"What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and -women inside Iraq," said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
U.S. officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran's still growing nuclear program. New pictures of Iran's uranium enrichment plant show the country's defense minister in the background, as if deliberately mocking a recent finding by U.S. intelligence that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon.
No attacks are imminent and the last thing the Pentagon wants is another war, but Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has warned Iran not to assume the U.S. military can't strike.
"I have reserve capability, in particular our Navy and our Air Force so it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability," Mullen said.
Targets would include everything from the plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq. Later this week Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to confront the Iranians with evidence of their meddling and demand a halt.
If that doesn't produce results, the State Department has begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off - or else.
Congressional Democrats continue to hold up a free-trade deal with Colombia. -- [The Current]
All the debate about Colombian free trade has obscured something important: Colombia is far safer now than it was five years ago. In fact, if Iraq were reclaiming terrorist-controlled areas as effectively as Colombia is, even the most die-hard opponents of the Iraq War would admit error. Colombia is, after Iraq and Afghanistan, our third-biggest nation-building project, and it is by far our most successful.
Colombia demonstrates the value of the indirect approach in our overseas military deployments. Our military role there, started by Bill Clinton and continued by George W. Bush, has been significant: Army Special Forces have trained elite Colombian units, who have in turn engaged the narco-terrorists.
Good Turn Returned -- [Jules Crittenden]
A Boy Scout’s good deed returning a wallet with $800 in it brings his own missing wallet back to him. Sounds like a Saturday Evening Post cover, but it’s true. Grand Rapids Press:
U.S. Kills Bin Laden's Man in Somalia -- [Times Online]
The U.S. missile strike that killed Somalia's most notorious Islamist insurgent, Aden Hashi Ayro, has dealt a major blow to al-Qaeda's allies operating in East Africa. The deaths of Ayro and up to 10 others were announced early Thursday by spokesman for his al-Shabab militia, while the U.S. military confirmed it had struck what it called an al-Qaeda target in Somalia, but offered no details. Al-Shabab spokesmen said the men were killed early Thursday by a U.S. air strike on a house in Dusamareeb, a few hundred miles north of Mogadishu. "Infidel planes bombed Dhusamareb," Shabab spokesman Mukhtar Ali Robow told Reuters. "Two of our important people, including Ayro, were killed." Other reports said the attack was not carried out by warplanes, but involved four Tomahawk cruise missiles. The strike marks the fifth such attack targeting Islamists in Somalia in the 16 months since the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in December 2006, which toppled the Islamist regime that had seized power in Mogadishu.
Airstrike Takes Out Leader of Somali Terrorist Group -- [The Tank - J. Peter Pham]
The Associated Press reports that an airstrike overnight on the town of Dusamareeb, some 300 miles north of Mogadishu, killed Adan Hashi Ayro, one of the top commanders of al-Shabaab, the Somali Islamist group that was designated a "foreign terrorist organization" by the U.S. State Department two months ago. Ayro, who was trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan before 9/11, was a kinsman of Hassan Dahir Aweys, the chairman of the shura council of the Islamic Courts Union, and was the original al-Shabaab leader in its violent insurgency against the internationally recognized (but otherwise ineffective) Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
For my green-suited readers -- [The Marching Camp]
...GO DONATE SOME DAMN BLOOD
Blood has a shelf-life of 42 days. How long does it take to get to the aid stations and forward support hospitals?
If you are a leader, encourage your Soldiers (Marines, Airman, Sailors, Coasties) to donate some damn blood. By encourage, I mean "do everything but hold a gun to their heads, because that isn't technically legal." Support this shit, because some fucked up kid in a hospital in Iraq is depending on you.
You can donate one unit every 56 days.
Civilian blood must be PURCHASED in order to go into the military pool. It costs the taxpayers between $250 and $500 a unit. There is a limited supply. It cannot enter the blood supply as quickly as blood donated in a an ASBP donation center.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks at Fort Bliss, TX.
Two Schweinfurt soldiers receive Silver Star -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Two infantrymen were awarded the nation’s third-highest medal for wartime valor on Tuesday in a short ceremony on Ledward Barracks.
Staff Sgt. Octavio Nuñez, 28, and Spc. Jarrod Taylor, 22, were decorated with the Silver Star by Col. Jeffrey Sinclair, commander of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, for heroic actions in Iraq on May 14, 2007.
Telling of how the two heroes chose their friends over themselves, Sinclair said people who have never served may not understand how someone will repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way to save a fellow soldier.
HEROES WALK AMONG US -- [Random Thoughts From An Idle Mind]
To see him in a normal social setting, the casual observer would note only the college student, dressed in a plaid flannel shirt and blue jeans. Of average height, you might notice that he had an above average muscular build, but nothing to make him stand out in a crowd. The very slight limp, as he crossed the room, would be hard for most people to detect.
Train the Troops - [Soldiers Angels Network]
"Train The Troops" program is a free program offered to recently discharged military service personnel to train them for careers in the low voltage industry.
Ballad of the Patriot Guard by Greg (MOGVET) Alderete -- [Live Leak]
There are few actions more patriotic and moving than attending a funeral for one of America's fallen service men and women. There are few organizations which personify patriotism and respect for our service men and women more than The Patriot Guard. Never again will a fallen service member come home to the sound of silence from an ungrateful nation thanks to the Patriot Guard…what a profound honor to be a small part of this magnificent process. I rode my first mission in 2006 and knew immediately this is an organization I wanted to be a part of. As a musician, I felt a calling to write words and music to capture the essence of The Patriot Guard. This Ballad commemorates our service men and women we ride for and the dedicated
Riders of the Patriot Guard. MOGVET
One Step Forward -- [Some Soldier's Mom]
One of the reasons some soldiers suffering PTSD or other mental health condition (depression, for example) do not seek treatment is their concern for the effect it could have on obtaining or retaining a security clearance. Now treatment "strictly related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment" will not be counted against the applicant (i.e., you can answer "no" to the mental health treatment question.)
From the DoD today:
Virginia Guard sees record troop levels -- [Washington Times]
RICHMOND (AP) — More recruiters and incentive programs have led to the Virginia Army National Guard's highest troop levels in 14 years, officials said.
The Guard will end April with more than 8,000 soldiers, numbers last seen in 1994.
"The concept of the National Guardsman is still alive and well in America," Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman Jr., the adjutant general of Virginia, said in a telephone interview after a swearing-in ceremony of five new recruits at Fort Lee in Petersburg, Va.
Bragg Barracks Scandal -- [BlackFive]
...There is no excuse for this kind of treatment of our troops. Peeling paint is one thing, the other items like raw sewage and mold, however, are unconscionable.
Those who wish to lay these issues at the feet of our President are wrong. This is an Army problem and has nothing to do with the Bush Administration or even the DoD (no matter what the Presidential candidates are saying about it). It has everything to do with the chain of command, and, most likely, a rear detachment that wasn't aware of what they should be doing to ensure that the barracks was in working order.
Soldier Forgoes Iraq For NFL, Lions Draft Caleb Campbell
Ignoring The Chiefs -- [Strategy Page]
May 2, 2008: The U.S. Navy has suddenly discovered that its officers and NCOs have dropped the ball and allowed the readiness of warships to deteriorate to an alarming degree. Admirals and staff officers are scrambling to discover what went wrong. Asking the chiefs (Chief Petty Officers, the senior NCOs who supervise the sailors) might provide some illumination. Except that, over the last decade, officers have been less inclined to ask their chiefs much. The "zero tolerance" atmosphere that has permeated the navy since the end of the Cold War, has led officers to take direct control of supervisory duties the chiefs used to handle.
Aviation Soldiers Return Home Safely -- [Newsblaze]
Indiana National Guard Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation, flew medical evacuation missions over Iraq for nearly a year. Now that they're back in the U.S.A., their emotions are flying higher.
"I'm flying higher now that I'm home," said Capt. Timothy D. Stoner, the unit's commander. "It's wonderful to be back home."
The members of the 2-238th returned Tuesday to the 38th Division armory amid tears, cheers, U.S. flags waving, and patriotic songs.
Blog with a Political Agenda Decries Media with a Political Agenda -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
The NY Times ran an article on the Pentagon co-opting retired military analysts to push the administration's message a couple of weeks ago. It's a fair and well-researched article, IMHO, as public affairs from a military-standpoint should be transparent as to avoid any Goebbels-like scenarios stateside. Since the NY Times article ran on 20 April, the Pentagon has shut down the program. But that's not enough for Arianna Huffington. She's on a witch hunt, saying the story hasn't gotten enough attention (I guess front page of the NY Times doesn't cut it for media attention these days):
Hillary Is Schooled By O'Reilly- Shows Weakness on National Security -- [Gateway Pundit]
Hillary: There is no military solution in Iraq-- But, there is in Afghanistan(?)
Hillary Clinton was a guest on the The Factor tonight for the second part of an interview with Bill O'Reilly.
Longshoremen Close ALL West Coast Ports in Antiwar Protest ...Update: Cynthia McKinney Congratulates Unions -- [Gateway Pundit]
Dock workers shut down all West Coast Ports today in protest against the War in Iraq.
All 29 West Coast Ports are shut down.
War, Inc, Yet Another Anti-Iraq War Movie -- [NewsBusters]
The obsession continues. Yet another Hollywood leftist is coming out with an anti-Iraq war movie. This time, it's "Sixteen Candles" star John Cusack who is begging us to take his political views seriously with his new film, "War, Inc," styled as a "dark, political satire," which seems basically to mean ham-fisted film à clef set around the fictional country of Turaqistan.
Dangerous Places for Journalists -- [Media Blog - Kevin D. Williamson]
The Committee to Protect Journalists has released a new report:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Thirteen countries are the worst offenders in letting killers of journalists get away with murder — from war-torn Iraq and Somalia to peaceful democracies including Mexico, Russia and India, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
The committee said governments in the 13 countries have consistently failed to solve murders where journalists were targeted from 1998 through 2007.
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