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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.
Insurgents Turn Themselves In to U.S., Iraqi Troops -- [NPR]
Iraq's Salahuddin province has been known for years as a violent stronghold of Sunni insurgents, including al-Qaida. But lately it has been relatively quiet. U.S. military units there say that's because former rebel fighters are turning themselves in by the hundreds — including some who had been the most virulently anti-American leaders.
News from Iraq -- [Greyhawk]
Haider Ajina, via email:
Largest Public Works Substation Opens in Baghdad
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Security Forces, civic leaders, local townspeople and Coalition forces gathered in the Ameriyah community in Baghdad's Mansour district June 25 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to acknowledge the opening of the biggest public works substation in the Iraqi capital.
Trust -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
In Sadr City. - There are no words to express everything conveyed by this photo. To me, it represents the highest ideals of our country and our guys, and the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people.
This is why we fight.
General David H Petraeus: The general's knowledge -- [Times Online]
Since the ‘warrior scholar’ David Petraeus led the American military surge in Iraq last year, the body count has plummeted. Will he go down in history as the man who won the war, or is it all too little too late?
General David H Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq, looked exhausted. A competitive miler who loves to challenge young field commanders to five-mile running races and push-up contests (which he usually wins), he appears fit as ever. But there are dark circles under his eyes. Leading this war has begun to exact a visible toll.
Operation Look South
U.S. and coalition forces providing humanitarian aid to Iraqis and searching for insurgent activities.
On the Menu In Baghdad, Fresh Hopes -- [Wapo - Saad al-Izzi - an iraqi]
Restaurant Shattered by Bombing Reemerges as Symbol of Normalcy
...Hashim was back at work because the blast walls and body searches made him feel safer, although, he said, still "not 100 percent" safe. He also felt he could help Baghdad revive.
"If I quit and the others quit, then there will be no life," explained Hashim as he deftly assembled one makhlamah after another.
The restaurant's name is the nickname of its owner, Abdul Qadir Ahmed Hussein, a cheerful man with close-cropped gray hair, a mustache and unshaven cheeks who inherited his savory recipes from his grandmother. She sold bagila bil dihin, a traditional breakfast dish made of flat bread soaked in oil and beans topped with an omelet, in the narrow alleyways of old Baghdad.
Ramadi rebuilds as region recovers from violence -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog]
Ramadi was regarded by many to be one of the most violent cities in Iraq for much of the last five years. The thought of rebuilding the troubled city during that time was improbable, the risks were too high. Now, Ramadi is much safer and rebuilding the city is no longer just an impossible idea but an everyday reality in the recovering region. The country is now transitioning from violence and fighting, to healing and freedom. The focus in Ramadi, and all of al-Anbar Province, is no longer on warfare but on reconstructing the region’s damaged infrastructure.
Iraqi Security Forces Five Year Plan: An updated projection -- [LWJ - DJ Elliott]
In August 2007, the Projected Iraqi Security Forces Five Year Plan (end-2012), a rough estimate of the end-state for Iraqi forces, was published. Additional information and details have since become available to clarify Iraqi Security Force (ISF) development and probable plans, however, the same rule applies: What follows is heavy on speculation, estimation, and extrapolations. If sixty percent proves accurate, the estimate will be considered good. Many of the decisions that affect what is being projected here have not been made yet.
Relative peace in Baghdad remains fragile as troops carry out counterinsurgency plan -- [LWJ - Bill Murray - in Iraq]
It’s near noon on a Friday in Northeast Baghdad and the neighborhoods the U.S. military calls Muhallahs 535 and 734 are quiet. It’s the weekend, and many adults are at the local mosques for worship, leaving the streets filled with dozens of adolescent boys, yelling, kicking and raising minor havoc on bicycles, soccer balls and the unlucky stray dog.
As U.S. Army Specialist Luis Garza and 2nd Lieutenant Jonathon Logan patrol the neighborhoods, they remember these streets during a less docile time. Both men nearly died near here in the past two months, and the possibility of violence erupting in these environs remains in the front of their minds.
If this restive peace remains through the year, military and political developments that have caused attacks against Coalition troops to fall by 80 percent year-on-year will be viewed with success.
Soccer -- [Matel - Reconstruction Team Leader in Iraq]
The soccer field is in back of the kids. In Iraq, you don’t even get to watch the grass grow on the soccer fields. All they do is smooth out that dirt and put in a kind of a sub base. We are going to fix this soccer field up. The local kids are excited about it. When we got out of our cars, they all came running over.
Hazardous Work Sometimes -- [Matel - Reconstruction Team Leader in Iraq]
Recent deadly bombings around Iraq, one involving State colleagues, reminded us that this is still a dangerous place, despite the astonishing progress Iraq has made over recent months. I was reminded on a local level during a foot patrol.
...It is very important to go among the Iraqi people to show them we know they are not the enemy, that we are not afraid and that we want to hear what they have to say, sweet and bitter. I bet they will be talking about this particular engagement for a long time to come. The Iraqis present were also surprised and concerned over this man's anger. I believe our interpreter Sam and I did our duty representing our country in a favorable light and the Marines calmly addressed the situation. Nevertheless, this was a wake-up call about how fast a situation can deteriorate. We have reviewed our security procedures and our team members and I will be much more circumspect in the future.
Marines in Iraq as a special operation force.
Water, Water Everywhere but Not a Pipe to Link -- [Matel - Reconstruction Team Leader in Iraq]
The Regional Engineer of Rutbah is a modern man with little patience for religious extremists or excessive tribalism. He hates what Saddam Hussein did to his country. He told me that in some towns essentially no new schools were built between the end of the 1970s and the liberation, despite big population growth. As an engineer, he decries the general lack of maintenance. Instead of building infrastructure, Saddam bought expensive weapons systems from the Soviets, French & Chinese (the U.S. supplied only 0.47% of Saddam's stuff). The fruits of big buying spree litter the deserts around here, MiGs that never fired a shot in anger, tanks that never went anywhere. They decided it was better to abandon them than to fight a real enemy.
It was worst during the sanctions. When Saddam had less money, he spent what he had on palaces, but enough of the past.
Band of brothers in Samarra -- [IN Iraq - embed in Iraq]
...Brett Slaughter, 20, of Sullivan IN, shrugs when I ask him why he joined the infantry. He figured it would be the best way to be right up there in person. “It sounds cheesy,” he said, “but I always knew I wanted to come here (to the 101st Airborne) after watching Band of Brothers.”
But even in his most bad-a-- fantasies, it would have been difficult to imagine that he’d be fighting street to street in Samarra, a city that had been periodically cleared throughout the war, but never really taken from insurgents before Charlie Company of the 2nd/327th was able to stand up Sons of Iraq forces and erect T-Walls through out the city. Earlier this year Gen. David Petraeus called Samarra the most dangerous city in Iraq.
Makhmur Police Headquarters Visit -- [manrymission.com - in Iraq]
Today I visited one of our current projects rebuilding the police headquarters near the town of Makhmur. The original site was devasted by an SVBIED (car bomb) in May 2007.
...The quality of the construction and the professionalism of the contractors are very high in Erbil and Dahuk. I always appreciate the opportunity to visit their projects. Earlier this week, I went to a new project in the Sommer neighborhood of Mosul. We went early in the morning before the contractor had arrived to get a look at the foundation work. After we returned to FOB Marez, the contractor called Nazar, the project engineer, to tell him that the Iraqi Army wouldn’t let him work on the site that day. We had to make numerous calls to get things cleared up for the contractor to get back to work.
That’s why it’s so nice to visit Erbil and Dahuk. We generally don’t encounter the security problems there. But on the other hand, we do have to worry about picking out paint colors.
'Excalibur' owns the night -- [Regimental Combat Team 5 - in Iraq]
RUTBAH, Iraq - The Marines with Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 2nd Light Armored reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, own the night.
The battery, known as "Excalibur," entered the town at night and searched a house here for a weapons cache to ensure the safety of the people and to defeat the insurgency.
Iraq News (30 June) -- [LT Nixon]
The Good: The security responsibility of Diwaniyah province is set to be turned over today from Coalition Forces to the Iraqis, which will make it the tenth. The security has been mostly provided by the Poles and other members of the coalition, and has seen some level of Shi'ite extremist activity from the Mahdi Army. Interesting story about a chaplain at FOB Falcon in Baghdad at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ambassador Crocker is saying that more talks are possible with Iran, now that much of the illicit militia activity has subsided.
Iraq set for major oil deal
The world's oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP are set to return to Iraq more than 35 years after Saddam Hussein nationalised production in the country's biggest oil deal since the invasion.
Sand is an equalizer. -- [Courage Without Fear - in Iraq]
Sand is an equalizer. When there are storms, none of us can see. Good guys, bad guys and other guys.
The local peoples are used to the sand. It's part of them. Their clothing, their homes, their animals, their possessions are all "sand-proofed" in a way that makes it easier to deal with the sand storms. I hesitate to say "easier." But compared to us and all our technology, machinery and moisture-wicking-flame-resistant-high-speed-low-drag-clothing, the Kuwaitis and Iraqis have it easier when dealing with the weather.
We always worry that when we're not moving, troops aren't getting the supplies they need and the bad guys are getting time to plot against us. But no, not so much. Every FOB and Camp "Up North" has several days worth of supplies on hand. Everyone knows that, its how we do business. And the insurgents, they don't like going out in the storms any better than we do.
Running on Fumes -- [Doc in the Box - in Iraq]
One thing that is good about being out at war is that I don't have to fork over a large pile of money to fill up my gas tank. That's all going to change before too long and I'll be back in the land of pumping gold into that tank. In fact, I'll be paying more then most because I drive a diesel.
Stonehenge -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
When living at Basrah COB (Contingency Operating Base) one sleeps in a "Stonehenge". The Brits took so much rocket fire at this base, even the beds are surrounded by brick and steel and sandbags... And yeah, it can be disconcerting to sit up in the middle of the night and whack your head against a steel plate...
Crisis grows in Iraq over U.S. raid that killed Maliki relative -- [McClatchy Newspapers]
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq.
"I'm leaving...And I'm taking the rat with me!" -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
Finally, at long last, the end came.
It took a while though. My last few days seemed to slow to a crawl. My work had been parcelled out to my colleagues and I was shifted from the night shift to days. My boss told me he only needed to see me once a day to prove I was alive, and outside of that, I was free.
Free? What does that word mean? At least in Iraq, it really means little. There are precious few things you can do to enjoy your freedom, and since all your friends are still tied to work, you're not really free to do anything but wander around the base alone and think. And with the weather topping off around 120 degrees, wandering around just isn't a good idea.
Pakistan and its Anti-Taliban Actions -- -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
For the past few weeks I have been writing about insurgencies and what they need to be successful and to grow and prosper. Within the Taliban and Al-Qaeda movement in Afghanistan the absolute decisive point of their operation is to be able to move back and forth across the border regions with Pakistan and enjoy a safe haven there within Pakistan. This safe haven within Pakistan gives them the opportunity to rest, to train more fighters, to recruit, to receive weapons and equipment and to broadcast their message of hate and intolerance to the world. President Karzai and numerous other leaders have made this a point in the past about this issue with the ill-managed Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Province of Pakistan. It seems that Pakistan may finally be taking steps in the right direction to dealing with this issue though.
In Pictures: Extremist leaders in Pakistan’s Khyber agency -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
A look at the senior leaders of Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, and other groups operating in the tribal agency of Khyber, where the military is conducting an offensive.
No Afghan peace while Taliban have sanctuary: NATO -- [Reuters - Hamid Shalizi
KABUL - Afghanistan will not be secure as long as insurgents are allowed to operate freely in sanctuaries on the Pakistan side of the border, a NATO spokesman said on Sunday.
With international forces in Afghanistan struggling against what the U.S. Pentagon describes as a "resilient insurgency", Pakistan is coming under increasing pressure to stop militants operating out of remote enclaves in ethnic Pashtun border lands.
"We know that as long as the insurgents operate safely on the Pakistan side of the border, then there can not be security in Afghanistan,"
Islamabad blinks at Taliban threat -- [La Times - Syed Saleem Shahzad]
KARACHI - With grudging surprise, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has acknowledged the strength of the Taliban, illustrated by its repeated calls for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, notably for the two important provinces of Kandahar and Khost.
There has even been speculation that these provinces might fall, significantly increasing the pressure on the US-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
The NATO command reasoned the only response was joint operations with the Pakistani military along the Durand Line that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Islamabad, under
Washington's pressure, this year began preparations to cooperate.
But the Taliban's regional command was quick to show its muscle in the Pakistani tribal areas
Taliban Pushes, Gets Shoved Back -- [Strategy Page]
In Pakistan, banned Islamic radical groups are reforming, often under new names, in the cities, especially Karachi. This is a challenge to the new government, which hasn't yet decided how to respond. Meanwhile, up in the tribal territories, the army continues to push the Taliban out of the Peshawar suburbs. Officers mentioned that an advance against the Taliban in the Swat Valley would be next. Meanwhile, the Taliban has suspended peace talks with the government, if only because the Taliban never had any intention of honoring any agreements they negotiated.
Heroes Of Helmand 1/3
CA projects helps rebuild Kohe Safi -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101- in Afghanistan]
The Kapisa and Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team civil affairs leader visited a few local villages in the Kohe Safi District and met with Community Development Council representatives, June 24.
The CDC, a body of elected villagers, is given special training to learn how to allocate funds and pick projects that are needed in each village.
Projects are funded through the National Solidarity Program, which works through the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development. “The outreach that was involved in this mission was to get to meet some of the CDCs from nine of the targeted villages in the Kohe Safi District,” said Army Capt. Steve H. Kaiser, Kapisa’s and Parwan’s PRT CA leader. “With the information gathered we will start a Quick Impact Project.”
Diggers demand shoot-to-kill policy -- [Perth Now]
AUSTRALIA'S frontline troops are urging a new shoot-to-kill policy as they confront an increasingly hostile enemy in the war on terror.
Diggers in Afghanistan are facing a rising risk of casualties as they advance into enemy territory.
Defence chiefs have been urged to change the rules of engagement and allow frontline troops to take on the enemy instead of "waiting to be shot".
Heroes Of Helmand 2/3
Grim U.S. report sees Taliban getting stronger -- [SF Gate]
The Taliban have regrouped after their initial fall from power in Afghanistan, and the pace of their attacks is likely to increase this year, according to a Pentagon report that offers a dim view of progress in the nearly 7-year-old war.
Noting that insurgent violence has climbed, the report said that despite U.S. and coalition efforts to capture and kill key leaders, the Taliban are likely to "maintain or even increase the scope and pace of ... terrorist attacks and bombings in 2008."
The Taliban, it said, have "coalesced into a resilient insurgency." Meanwhile, the Afghan army and national police are progressing slowly and still lack the trainers they need.
Heroes Of Helmand 3/3
Taliban Set to Expand Violence -- [Captains Journal]
Army intelligence said that there would be no Afghanistan spring offensive by the Taliban not more than half a year ago. The Captain’s Journal said that there would be, and also claimed that it would be mostly asymmetric. In a stark admission and direct contradiction of the position of Army intelligence, the Department of Defense is saying that the insurgency will grow and expand the violence.
Taliban Aims to Control Rural Phones - [Washington Times - Sara Carter]
Taliban forces have discovered a novel tactic to move undetected through strongholds at night - blow up cellular telephone towers unless local officials turn off the networks from dusk to dawn. The strategy has been used widely in rural areas of Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan midwinter, said US officials, who estimate that at least 50 towers have been attacked in Helmand province alone.
3 Ways to Lower Gas Prices
Iran to ready thousands of graves for enemy soldiers -- [AFP]
TEHRAN — Iran is to dig 320,000 graves in border districts to allow for the burial of enemy soldiers in the event of any attack on its territory, a top commander said on Sunday.
"In implementation of the Geneva Conventions... the necessary measures are being taken to provide for the burial of enemy soldiers," the Mehr news agency quoted General Mir-Faisal Bagherzadeh as saying.
"We have plans to dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves in each of the border provinces or a total of 320,000," the general said, some of them mass graves if necessary.
Bagherzadeh said Iran was keen to "reduce the suffering of the families of the fallen in any attack against our country... and prevent any repetition of the long and bitter experience of the Vietnam War."
When It Comes to Nukes, Iran Is No North Korea -- [PJM]
In a surprise move, the North Koreans gave the US president what some believe is his second major achievement in his administration’s campaign against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
After having convinced Libya to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in 2003, North Korea, after many years of negotiations, has now also decided to come clean about its nuclear program. Under a new deal, Pyongyang will now declare its plutonium based materials and facilities, something which it has hidden for many years.
To demonstrate their goodwill, the North Korean authorities, publicly and dramatically blew up the cooling tower of their nuclear facility in Yungbyon. This was to show that the site which many have suspected of producing weapons grade plutonium, will no longer be active, as per Pyongyang’s promise. In return,...
Korean Nukes: Don't Get Giddy -- [Family Security Matters]
We should not be overly jubilant about the apparent progress in disassembling North Korea's nuclear program and facilities, because the regime still operates many threatening, clandestine programs that the U.S. must uncover and deal with.
Amid policy disputes, Qaeda grows in Pakistan -- [Herald Tribune]
Plan Allows Up to $400 Million for Activities Aimed at Destabilizing Government
Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to authorize the Pentagon's Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda.
Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden's terror network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies.
The new plan, outlined in a highly classified Pentagon order, was designed to eliminate some of those battles. And it was meant to pave an easier path into the tribal areas for American commandos, who for years have bristled at what they see as Washington's risk-averse attitude toward Special Operations missions inside Pakistan. They also argue that catching Bin Laden will come only by capturing some of his senior lieutenants alive.
Diploma Mills Could Enable Terrorist Infiltration -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Michael Cutler]
Today’s edition of the New York Times reports on the nefarious activities of a “diploma mill” that has been successfully operating for some time, amassing huge profits while conspiring with its customers to provide anyone with the money, a worthless diploma that provides the illusion of academic achievement. These diplomas undermine the integrity of our workforce and may even undermine national security. As the article notes, visas can be issued to aliens who are able to document that they have degrees that would qualify them for employment in the United States, when in fact they have no such education and may have no intention of securing the job they apply for but simply desire to enter our country for other purposes.
British Warn of Ambulance Bombs -- [Jawa Report]
Britain's FBI equivalent, MI5, has issued a warning that al-Qaeda terrorists are suspected of planning to buy used ambulances, fire trucks and police cars to launch suicide bomb attacks in Britain.
Marines need our help -- [Tanker Brothers]
Everybody knows that our Marines are very capable of handling anything they encounter in the frontlines of the current war efforts. Late last week though, a unit of Marines lost everything they own. Lima company camp was totally burned and the Marines now have only the clothes on their backs. A call has gone out, and yes, Soldiers' Angels is involved, to get the most basic supplies to the Marines in a hurry. The list of things these heroes need includes:
Pillows, running Shoes (Sizes 9-12) with the most common size being 10 1/2, socks, green pt short, green t-shirts (military) disposable razors, hygiene items, snacks, hydration of any sort....really just ANYTHING YOU CAN SPARE FOR THESE HEROES!!!
Bismarck Tribune - Bismarck News - Army wife stranded in Bismarck -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Lisa Lappi just wants to take her kids home. For now, she's stuck in Bismarck.
On May 5, she was on her way to meet her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Ronnie Lappi, at their home in Vilseck, Germany. She said her purse was stolen at Denver International Airport, effectively stranding her. Denver police are able to confirm that at approximately 8:30 a.m. MDT, Lappi was the victim of a stolen property incident there, although they are unable to determine any other details.
United Airlines is unable to confirm or deny the details of the incident.
"We're looking into the incident," said Jeff Kovick, United spokesperson.
Lappi's husband is stationed in Baghdad, and after nine months apart, he finally got some leave. With the two kids, Lisa Lappi had been in Bismarck for her grandfather's funeral and to support her family, she said.
Elucidating the Obvious -- [Villainous Company]
One of the things I have tried to do, over the many years I've been writing, is not to post in anger.
There are times when that is not easy, especially when I feel as strongly as I do about what I have to say today. Pent up emotions tend to increase rather than decrease in intensity, and each time an opportunity to respond is declined only makes the next time more difficult. Over the years there have been quite a few times when I have reluctantly decided not to weigh in at all on stories that interested me. I have done so primarily when I didn't think I could distance myself sufficiently from the subject to give it what (according to my own standards, if not in always in the judgment of others) amounted to fair treatment.
Let me begin by noting that in an era where so many time-honored traditions have fallen by the wayside, the military has consistently remained the most respected institution in American life. But why is this so?
On DoD blogging policy... and rash subordinates bloggers. -- [John of Argghhh!]
Last week I brought up KaboomwarJournal and its... tactical pause. In hindsight, I'd have taken a different approach to how I said what I said, as the conversation didn't quite take the tack I expected.
It was a good conversation, though. And one that has spread a bit, over to Cassandra's place, where she elucidates the obvious (her title, not my snark).
...Because the way I wrote my post allowed the conflation of my points that Cassie refers to in her post. I stand by my assessment of the leader's action in this singular event in question - as an example of how not to do things. As far as I know he's a fine combat leader otherwise. Don't continually mis-read your subordinates, bully them into a corner where they may react badly (and ill-advisedly) and then get petty in response.
The first deployment is the toughest -- [Jacksonville Daily News - Molly Dewitt - military spouse]
Although I’ve been a Marine wife for almost four years I am lucky enough to have only been subjected to one deployment thus far — albeit a 13-month one.
I learned a lot during those 13 months and I’ve narrowed it down to a top 10 list:
10. The trash does not take itself out. No matter how long I let it sit there and pile up, it never got up and walked its happy self out to the trash can. And the trash can doesn’t roll itself to and from the curb either, just in case you were wondering.
...3. Never be more than five feet from your phone or you WILL miss his call. Anyone who has experienced a military deployment knows that contact from the deployee is precious, no matter what form it comes in, but phone calls are the most treasured. Missing a call is the worst feeling because you never know when you’ll get another chance to hear their voice. Sleeping with a phone on the pillow is normal.
...1. I can do this and I’m stronger than I thought I was. I gained a sense of self and independence that I didn’t even know I had when I lived on my own for the first time and survived this deployment. And that’ s what every deployment is and will be — a survival. But now I know I can survive, and I will next time.
CJCS Podcast - Stop Loss policy
An update from Admiral Michael Mullen on his recent visit to troops at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Slow road home -- [Sergeant Grumpy]
Not sure if anyone is still following this, but....
I am still in the process of trying to get off active duty and back home to real life. The Army is sure taking it's time making sure we are healthy and sane enough to go home, but at least I am in my own State now. I have a few minor injuries I am waiting on Big Army to decide what they are going to do about, then I have to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Hah hah.
POV - Leaving the Wire -- [Tanker Brohers]
A professional soldier doing what he is called to do
Is hard to comprehend unless you are one of the few.
Some draftees felt the momentary flash of that desire
To save the world, help people, set an enemy on fire.
There is a young soldier, an old timer in that world,
Who is in the middle of a rush, fighting, all a-whirl,
Doing things he trained for, despite danger and all.
He lives a motto, to be all that he can, to stand tall.
Sacramento Host Breakfast -- [365 and a Wake Up]
...on October 27, 2005 Mike’s vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb and he was killed. In the face of such a stunning loss it is natural for your soul to grow weary, and for your mind to scream for what has been so violently ripped away. It would have been the easiest of things to let my heart turn as cold as death and pump my veins with venom. But Mike left me with parting gift, the realization that leadership is about being able to see beyond yourself and your own needs. So Mike’s legacy did not end there on that dusty ribbon of asphalt. Instead I took command of Alpha Company and spent the ensuing weeks and months leading my soldiers through those fire bright days. We started to adapt, leaving our armored HMMWVs behind and trudging through floodplains that were ancient when Abraham walked the earth. We paid visits to locals far removed from the road network and built on the foundation of trust Mike had crafted with the local tribes. By time we left the land of the two rivers we had slashed insurgent activity and laid the groundwork for local self government. Within a year of our departure the tribes we partnered with had formed the Hor Joeb Awakening Council, created their own police force, and forced Ansar Al Suna out of the region. What Mike started the council had finished.
I am proud of what my soldier’s accomplished in that small corner of Southern Baghdad, but when I think back to those sun bleached days my strongest memory was our first patrol after Mike’s death. As we pulled into the sandy village of Hor Joeb the local children rushed out of their school, surrounded the HMMWVs and asked "Where is Capt. Mike?". When they learned what happened they cried and wailed in that dusty street. It’s been more then two years now and sometimes I almost cry myself.
They Have Names - SSG Jason R. Arnette -- [A Soldier's Perspective - CJ]
I've got my mojo back. I'd like to introduce everyone to SSG Jason R. Arnette. Jason was killed on 1 April 2007 in Iraq and is the Hero of the Week on They Have Names. Please take the time to honor this young man's life and sacrifice by checking out his profile on They Have Names.
Welcome Home 680th -- [Soldiers Angels New York]
The 680th Engineer Co, Army Reserves returned home to flags, cheers, applause, the roar of motorcycles, and best of all, to the arms of their families today. This is absolutely the best part of troop support, and this one picture says it all for me:
Ouch!... Major Eric Egland Blasts Al-Qaeda Supporter Bill Delahunt -- [Gateway Pundit]
Major Eric Egland, the founder of Troops Need You, responded to the outrageous remarks by Representative Bill Delahunt (D-Mass), who said on CSPAN that he was "glad (Al Qaeda) can finally see" a certain White House official. Egland says, "Our troops are risking their lives around the world to fight Al Qaeda, so our government should support them by taking the threat seriously."
Remind Congress that Al Qaeda is our enemy
Some on left target McCain's war record -- [Politico]
The highest voltage third rail of this presidential campaign may not be race, sex, or age, but Senator John McCain's military service. McCain's campaign Sunday issued a pair of outraged statements after retired general and Barack Obama supporter Wesley Clark said he didn't think that McCain’s service as a fighter pilot and prisoner of war was relevant to running the country. Obama has consistently praised McCain's service, and called him "a genuine American hero." But farther to the left—and among some of McCain's conservative enemies as well—harsher attacks are circulating. Critics have accused McCain of war crimes for bombing targets in Hanoi in the 1960s. Sunday, a widely read liberal blog accused McCain of "disloyalty" during his captivity in Vietnam for his coerced participation in propaganda films and interviews after he’d been tortured.
Yet Another Obama Flip-Flop Flagged, This Time on Iraq -- [NewsBusters]
Given how fundamental Barack Obama's former position was to his credibility as a candidate during the Democratic primaries, I'd say it's yet another a full-fledged, full-throated flip-flop, accompanied by a fundamentally flawed reading of the Bush Administration's current policy -- both of which we can be confident Old Media will try to ignore.
Hegseth explains (link to transcript added by me; other links are in original; bolds are mine):
Recent reports and rumors have indicated that Senator Obama plans to aggressively move to the middle on Iraq in the coming months.
Band of Mothers Founder Takes on Congress, Again -- [Gathering of Eagles]
Our very own Blue Star mother, and Band of Mothers Founder Beverly Perlson, is heading back to the nation’s capital to turn up the heat on Speaker Pelosi and the rest of Congress. For several months now, she has stood on the corner in front of the Canon Office Building during high profile votes.
On 8, 9, and 10 July she will be back with patriotic music and signs telling Congress to do the right thing concerning our brave warriors in the desert. We are asking any of you in the D.C. area to consider giving up a few hours one of those days. We recognize that it is a Tuesday through Thursday, work days for those of us who pay for the machinery of the country. Bev will be out there from 0900 to 1700 hrs though come rain or come shine.
What will they do after Bush? -- [Stop The ACLU]
Update: Jonn Lilyea attended the event in Washington DC today…he has video and moonbat interviews. The event was scarce.
...The “GITMO = TORTURE!!!” meme is old and tired. I think I’ve stayed in motels crappier than Gitmo. What I really wondered about this story, though, had not a whole lot to do with yet another dumb protest of Guantanamo Bay. Yeah, yeah, we get it. We’re not treating the terrorist murderers nicely enough for you liberals. We should be welcoming them into the United States with open arms and absolve them of their crimes, no matter how horrible. Understood.
I saw the picture Van Helsing posted though, and the text gave me a thought. In case it’s tough for anyone to read, here’s what it says on the signs in the picture:
THE WORLD CAN’T WAIT! DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME!
I couldn’t help but read that and wonder… what are these people going to do after Bush?
PURPLE HEART SOLDIERS QUESTION WAR COVERAGE -- [MSNBC] - HT: A Soldiers Perspective
A few days after the New York Times published a story detailing network reporters’ concerns about war coverage, three soldiers wounded in Iraq expressed a dim view of how they see the war depicted on television.
"You always hear about the explosions or people being killed, but you never really hear about how the people are being helped, or how much they appreciate it," Spc. Hein Tran, 28, of Milpitas, Calif., said after receiving a Purple Heart today at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for wounds suffered May 10 in an explosion northeast of Baghdad.
Seymour Hersh: Getting People Killed, One Article At A Time -- [Castle Argghhh! - Kat]
CNN calls Seymour Hersh an "investigative journalist". I can't believe this guy actually gets printed in the New Yorker or interviewed by any legitimate news organization, much less called an "investigative journalist". This guy is nothing more than a gossip columnist. Worse than that, he may be the modern equivalent of Lord Haw-Haw. Today he repeats his idiotic and dangerous claims that the US is infiltrating Iran with special ops forces that are handing out money and support to anti-regime forces. Iran has used such excuses to crack down on dissidents, throw them in prison and issue death sentences for...
Media and the War -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
About a month ago I wrote a post, Wheres the News, discussing the serious decline in news coverage of the war. A couple days ago this same sentiment was echoed by reporters in an article from the NY Times. (Link to NY Times Article) Within the article there was some very fascinating quantitative facts about the coverage amounts:
A interesting little nuggget from Fort Riley Public Affairs... -- [Castle Argghhh! - Kat]
Study on military spouses’ relationship with media reveals likes and dislikes
About 83 percent of the spouses in the study reported they thought there should be more positive stories and fewer negative stories. “There are some reporting the good going on. I mean it’s frustrating as a military spouse to see all the negativity with the war.” Another spouse said, “We don’t get the whole picture. I hear failures more often than I hear success. That’s not what I hear from the military guys.”
More than half of the respondents said there was too much focus on casualties, both Soldier and civilian casualties. “All you hear about is death tolls, attacks and suicide bombers,” one spouse said. Another spouse said, “They always capitalize on casualties, always.” Two more spouses said, “There’s more to Iraq than a body count,” and, “It’s like they just want to cover the death toll.”
About a third of the respondents said consuming news coverage caused them to feel angry, frustrated, scared, worried or stressed. “It’s filled with depressing news and it’s hard for me to be encouraging for my husband,” a female spouse said.
NY TIMES HIGH TREASON: LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFO AGAIN -- [Atlas Shrugged]
It is increasingly clear the left would throw their mother in front of an oncoming train if it meant our defeat in the war on the jihad. The left feverishly works for our defeat in Iraq, in Iran, in Afghanistan, at home ....
Bush may be angry at the latest NY Times act of treason but he has only himself to blame. Bush and his Justice department never pursued the obvious leaker (s)at the Pentagon and/or CIA. They dropped the ball on Sandy Berger.On the FISA leak and the wiretapping leak. This is but the latest outrageous leak in a long list of classified info dumped in the lap of the willing whore of our enemies, The Times. Bush never went after the lawbreakers Why? We are at war. These leaks jeopardize American lives. They should have been persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Drudge is reporting:
SOURCES: BUSH ANGER AT COMING NEW YORK TIMES STORY DETAILING HUNT FOR BIN LADEN...
Patriotism in Time: -- [Grims Hall]
I have written more about patriotism in these pages than is easy even to link to; all of you know how to use Google if you are curious about what has been said. Still, I note with some pleasure this piece by Peter Beinart in Time Magazine. It attempts to compare what he calls liberal and conservative ideas about patriotism,
Neuharth: Raise Income Tax So Iraq War Hawks Will Become Doves -- -[Newsbuster]
Regretting that “few grownups are concerned about the $526 billion cost so far for the Iraq war without end” because “President Bush and his rich buddies have made sure most of the monetary burden will be borne by our children and grandchildren,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth, in his weekly column on Friday, recommended “a stiff income tax surcharge” to pay for the war. But Neuharth made clear his real motive is to turn those for the war against it: The surest way to jar us into realizing the unconscionable cost of the Iraq debacle is to
Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Sites on its Blogger Platform -- [Stop the ACLU]
Perhaps it isn’t google, but Obamaniacs taking advantage of google’s faulty sytem. A commenter explains:
The problem with blogger is that a group of people with an ax to grind can report any blog as spam and after enough complaints, it’s automatically suspended until a real live human being can get around to examining it. If enough complaints are registered with blogger, you might get a response within 5 days but it takes a concerted effort. This is a huge problem with blogger and something google needs to get a handle on.
Regardless who is at fault, this shutting down of free speech is disturbing.
-Edit by WTH: If I can find a link to prove that it was a concerted effort by Obama supporters, I’ll post it.
L'Affaire Enderlin -- [Weekly Standard]
Being a French journalist means never having to say you're sorry.
So, in the case of Muhammad al-Dura-a 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli fire during a skirmish in the Gaza strip on September 30, 2000-it was not really to be expected that the journalist who released the 59-second news report, Charles Enderlin, longtime Jerusalem correspondent for France 2 TV, would immediately admit having hastily slapped together sensational footage supplied by the channel's regular Palestinian stringer, and not checked whose bullets had, in fact, killed, or perhaps even not killed, the boy.
In the ensuing eight years, the small figure of Muhammad al-Dura cowering beside his crouching father became the defining image of the second Intifada. The "child martyr's" picture cropped up on posters, websites, postage stamps, and street names throughout the Muslim world from Mali to Indonesia, fueling lynchings and suicide bombings. The Israeli authorities at first took the French report more or less at face value and blandly deplored the child's death in a hasty release
The A Team Iraq - British Army - Basra
Soldiers in Iraq, Showing The A Team still live on!
(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.
Al-Qaeda networks keep decaying -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Coalition forces killed two terrorists, including an al-Qaeda in Iraq cell leader, during operations that netted 15 suspected terrorists in central and northern Iraq Thursday.
Coalition forces killed an al-Qaeda in Iraq cell leader near Sharqat, about 90 kilometers south of Mosul. Upon their arrival, Coalition forces observed two suspected terrorists from one targeted building move into another building. The force surrounded the building and called for them to come out, but the terrorists refused to comply with Coalition forces’ instructions. Perceiving them as a hostile threat, Coalition forces engaged and killed the two terrorists, who they discovered were armed with guns and grenades. One of them was identified as the targeted cell leader. Three additional suspects were detained for their alleged association with the cell, which conducts bombing operations targeting Iraqi and Coalition forces.
Released Guantanamo detainee behind March suicide truck bombing at Combat Outpost Inman in Mosul -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released its latest propaganda video on June 23. The video contains a montage of attacks throughout Iraq, and features two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted strikes in Mosul. One of the operatives was released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Islamic State of Iraq used footage taken at Combat Outpost Inman by this reporter in Mosul in March of this year.
The 38-minute-long video, titled "The Islamic State is Meant to Stay," was produced by Al Furqan, al Qaeda's media arm in Iraq. Al Furqan has released few videos over the past six weeks said Nibras Kazimi, a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, at his website, Talisman Gate.
...Al Furqan's output "has been reduced to a trickle," said Kazimi, noting that al Qaeda has not refuted reports on the death of senior leaders, including reports of the death of Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the purported leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, and Abu Ayyub al Masri, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader and the Islamic State's defense minister. Al Masri and Baghdadi, who the US military says is a fictitious character played by an actor, have not been confirmed killed. The US military said it killed al Qaeda's emir, or leader, in Mosul on June 23. Multiple senior al Qaeda leaders in Mosul have been killed or captured this year.
US names al Qaeda emir of Mosul killed during raid -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Abu Khalaf had close links with foreign terrorists. Al Qaeda conducts two successful attacks in Anbar and Mosul. Anbar is set to transfer to Iraqi control this weekend.
Multinational Forces Iraq named Abu Khalaf as al Qaeda's emir, or leader, of Mosul who was killed during a raid by Task Force 88, the hunter-killer teams assigned to disrupt terrorist command networks in Iraq and elsewhere. Khalaf was killed by US forces as he reached for a gun and his associate attempted to detonate his vest.
Sadr’s army dissolving? -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly According to the Middle East Times, Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia has begun to disintegrate after a series of confrontations with the Iraqi Army throughout the south of Iraq. The remnants of the Mahdi Army have gone underground, forming an armed network on a much smaller scale. How small? Think of the Spartans at Thermopylae, and cut that in half while removing the courage and the military skill:
National project to eliminate unemployment in Iraq – VP -- [Voices of Iraq - Baghdad]
Baghdad, Jun 27, (VOI) – Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi revealed on Friday a "big national project" to eliminate unemployment of youths, particularly in university graduates' circles, in association with academic economists.
"The current orientation by the government is to back citizens through providing services and jobs for all categories in different areas of the country," Hashimi told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
He pointed out that the project, to be bolstered by the Multi-National Force (MNF) for a period of three months, will be waiting for government financial appropriations.
Iraqi villagers ‘very happy’ as water project takes shape (pdf) -- [Army Corps of Engineers - in Iraq]
About 1500 residents live in Al Haboosh, located near Tallil Air Base and Sheik Razak says they had been pumping their water out of a canal. “It was very bad water. This project is important for the health of everyone who lives here. It’s a great sign of progress.” Al Haboosh, Iraq – For the first time ever, a small village in Dhi Qar province will soon have access to clean drinking water. Sheik Abdul Razak says his community is “very happy” about the ongoing work.
Apache Gunship Takes Out Insurgent Truck With 30mm In Iraq
Qudas electricity means life to Iraqis (pdf) -- [Army Corps of Engineers - in Iraq]
Baghdad, Iraq - “The impact of this project for the Iraqi people is that electricity means life, new life. This electricity brings more homes, more water, more laborers, more farming, more markets. It is life for Iraq,” says an Iraqi engineer at the Qudas electric power station.
Iraq sues UN over Oil-for-Food programme fraud-Justice Ministry -- [Voices of Iraq - Baghdad]
Iraqi judicial source said his country would lodge a lawsuit against the United Nations at a U.S court over corruption charges in the Oil-for-Food programme overseen by the International organisation for seven years.
“A Texas-based legal firm would lodge an Iraqi government lawsuit at state court in NewYork”, Iraqi Justice Ministry source, who requested anonmity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq(VOI).
The source noted “Iraq file the case to catch up with its deadline expiring by the end of June”.
The Oil-for-Food Programme, established by the United Nations in 1995, which started working on April16th 1996 and terminated in late 2003, was intended to allow Iraq to sell oil on the world market in exchange for food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs for ordinary Iraqi citizens without allowing Iraq to rebuild its military.
A Tactical Pause -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
Due to a rash posting on my part, and decisions made above my pay-grade, I have been ordered to stop posting on Kaboom, effective immediately. Though I committed no OPSEC violations, due to a series of extenuating circumstances – the least of which was me being on leave – my “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” post on May 28 did not go through the normal vetting channels. It’s totally on me, as it was too much unfiltered truth. I’m a soldier first, and orders are orders. So it is.
If you think, please think of us. If you pray, please pray for us. The second half of our deployment will be just as challenging and dangerous as the first half.
Do you expect them to learn forgiveness? -Tribal reconciliation in Balad -- [IN- Iraq - in Iraq]
Balad, Iraq- In a city that has become known across the province for more than 500 reconciliations of local men with U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces, a broader reconciliation has been ongoing between Shia tribes who dominate the city and Sunni tribes who ring the outlying towns.
...Lt. Scott Marler, 29, Baton Rouge, LA, of 1st Squad 32nd Cavarly Regiment which operates in the Balad area, said the city is now so safe it would be the one place Americans could walk around in the province without their body armor. Agricultural markets on the outskirts are teaming and city merchants said that they have overcome the losses incured during the 2006 violence.
Two weeks ago the mayor started taking down many concrete security barriers and selling them for capital to repave the city roads, according to a U.S. interpreter.
It's Not Just Sandwiches -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
...The “take away” here is that two 40+ year old men have to play this little kindergarten game about telling the truth while at the same time saving face. My friend, who’s been kicking around the Arab world for years, is telling me that this happens on all levels, not just with sandwiches. Iran’s Ahmadinejad is doing it right now with the IAEA, Saddam Hussein did it with the United Nations, Hamas did it with Jimmy Carter. Lying to save face is endemic within the Arab culture. I realize that sounds terribly racist, but it's true and Arabs will be the first to tell you so. For my part, sadly I have to question everything that I’m being told by the guys whose hands I often have to put my life into. It makes for some very frustrating moments.
VBIED Factory Destroyed By EOD In Iraq "Huge Explosion"
We got called out with EOD to take care of an "IED". Turns out this IED wasnt an IED, but a VBIED (Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device) factory. With 1000lbs of explosives in the shed, and roughly half that amount in the truck parked in front of the shed, EOD decided to blow them both sky-high. the best explosion ive see yet while here. when the smoke clears, both the shed and the truck are gone, with one of the trucks axles sticking out of the ground.
We're Gonna do What They Said Can't Be Done -- [Matel - in Iraq]
...Success brings less soul searching than failure. We point to good results and are unenthusiastic about checking to see if they were deserved. But just as it is possible to fail for reasons beyond our control or factors unlikely to recur, we can succeed for the same bad reasons, so success should be as closely scrutinized as failure. There is no shortage of talk about failures in Iraq, although much of it is designed to fix the blame not the problem. As it becomes clearer that we are succeeding, we should learn from what went right and how it might be transferred elsewhere. I have a couple ideas from my own point of view. Keep in mind that I have personal knowledge only of events in Western Anbar and so I emphasize factors and people acting here. My list is not comprehensive.
...Today we have come out of the darkness into a new morning. It is still a little too dark to see clearly all the features and it is still full of challenge and fraught with dangers but also full of opportunities. For the last generation and arguably since the end of World War I or the Sykes-Picot accord, this region has been unstable and dangerous. Maybe we can help make the future better than the past.
Our Iraqi friends deserve it.
Hamman Al Alil Site Visit -- [manrymission - in Iraq]
Earlier this week, I visited a new project near the town of Hamman Al Alil with Mike Fellenz, the Project Engineer. Hamman Al Alil is a small town about 15 miles south of Mosul. The drive there was relatively pleasant and took a little less than 30 minutes. At Hamman Al Alil is an Iraqi Army Training Center. New Iraqi Privates, Jondis, attend a 5-week basic training course in Hamman Al Alil. The Iraqi Army also conducts advanced MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) training in Hamman Al Alil. When we arrived on site, a group of trainees was working on camouflage. Can you find the Jondis in the picture below?
Iraq News (27 June) -- [LT Nixon]
The Good: Major General Hertling has said that Al-Qaeda is defeated in northern Iraq, and U.S. forces are pursuing remaining elements into small towns and villages. This comes after news that the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq in Mosul has been killed in a U.S. airstrike. Long War Journal reports that the Mahdi Army has been decimated, while many young men in Sadr City (known to be the home base of JAM) are employed in the neighborhood guard to provide security. These employment opportunities are seen as crucial to provide alternatives to joining the militia, much like the Sons of Iraq program has kept many young Sunni men from joining the insurgency.
Water As A Weapon -- [Castle Argghhh! - BillT - in Iraq]
There isn’t much mention in Sun Tzu about the tactical and strategic use of water, other than its passive uses as a barrier. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be used as a weapon – or, more accurately, its denial can be used as a weapon.
Iran’s figured out that shelling Kurdish villages is expensive, and, when those villages are on the *Iraqi* side of the border, it raises the annoying question of violating international law. Note that it doesn’t raise that question in the Lib community – the ones who claim a naval blockade of Iran would be a war crime.
So Iran’s taking the cheap way out. They’re damming the rivers that flow out of Iran into the Kurdish part of Iraq. No water, no Kurds.
Sacrifice. Hardship. Heroes. -- [Tragically Famous - in Iraq]
A young soldier inadvertently steps through the crowd into the pavement, and rapidly corrects himself. As I peered through him I saw it. Nearly tangible, the discomfort writhed in my stomach.
1 wooden coffin.
The vehicle was carrying the remains of a United States service member - a soldier, a husband, a father. The streets of the base were lined up for a final farewell, a memorial, a testament to the honor for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
And the sun continued to beat upon my brow. The line between sweat and tears is now completely indistinguishable. Many cultures believe that there is no greater honor than giving your life for an ideal, a belief, a creed. Embodied with this feeling, thousands of years of principle and history swirled through my body.
As the helicopters flew in much like angels to take our brother home, we dispersed deplorably.
I let out a great sigh, and realized what this meant. Back to work… and we have much work to do.
Some Say Tent, I Say Box -- [Fraser from ? - in Iraq]
Lets talk about living in a Tent versus a Box.
A Box is small, about 120 square feet. It has its own air conditioner, room for two bunk beds, and two stand up lockers. It has a door. It is elevated above the ground, so not a lot of bugs crawling in your room, such as scorpions, camel spiders and ants. There are three Boxes made out of one trailer, so you share walls.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen -- [Matel - in Iraq]
The picture below is a fort built by the British in sometime around 1927. The British ran Iraq as a League of Nations Mandate until 1932, when Iraq became an independent monarchy under King Faisal, of Lawrence of Arabia fame. Even after independence, the British maintained bases here. I don't know if this was among them. In fact, most people don't think much re this fort, but it is still in use as a police HQ. The British built to last.
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Donate $1 Million to Kids Affected by War
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's foundation has donated $1 million to children affected by the Iraq war.
The Jolie-Pitt Foundation will provide $500,000 for school supplies and education programs for refugee children in Iraq and $500,000 for American children who either lost a parent deployed in Iraq or have a parent serving in that country.
The donations for American children will go to a tutoring initiative at the Armed Services YMCA Operation Hero Program.
Pakistani Taliban publicly execute two 'spies' -- [AFP]
KHAR, Pakistan- Pakistani Taliban rebels executed two Afghans in front of thousands of people Friday after accusing them of spying, while two other people died in clashes afterwards, officials said.
Militants beheaded one man and shot the other after telling the crowd in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal district that the pair had passed information to US forces in Afghanistan that led to a deadly missile strike in May.
An AFP correspondent who witnessed the executions said more than 5,000 people had gathered at a patch of open ground 10 kilometres (six miles) west of Khar, the main town in Bajaur, to watch.
From Whence Cometh Pakistan? -- [Captain's Journal]
The Captain’s Journal admires Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and he can consider us to be in his corner. But we would be willing to bet that his position on Pakistan is “swing and a miss - full count now.” So where are we? Gates said Thursday that he has “real concern” about a sharp rise in attacks by insurgent forces in eastern Afghanistan and says it reflects infiltration of fighters from Pakistan.
VFF Guest Authors- Women to the front -- [Uncle Jimbo - BlackFive]
Ms. Norley is someone who has impressed me, and she will grab you as well.
Women to the front - Kate Norley
...In order for this meeting to happen a willing, experienced female translator was essential, as well as perimeter security surrounding the University, the classroom, and also personal security providing safety for my presence once inside. I arrived in a classroom of 8 women (originally 20 had been in attendance, some left in fear of their own safety for purposely meeting with me) and felt like the Pope of Rome with the private security detail assigned me. Acting alone with solely my translator Layla (as she chose to be called while working alongside coalition forces), I stood before these women feeling blank.
...So I un-slung my M-16 from my shoulder, removed my Kevlar, OTV, and without hesitation let down my hair from a fixed bun and smiled. Instantly, I was encompassed by smiles all around as...
Another Anniversary -- [Afghanistan Without a Clue]
...Finally, this week marks my two-year anniversary of my arrival in Afghanistan. It is not a time I remember fondly, and I really don’t miss it. I’ve been pondering the future of AWAC. It seems like I’m getting close to a time to shut it down. I’ve not had much to add that is related to Afghanistan. Wali and Han have made it to America, and Hamid’s application is in the works. Drew got married, but Mother Nature kept me from the big reunion. I’ve lost touch with most everyone from Camp Phoenix, and the AWAC staff are all off living their lives, and posting here is the last thing on their mind (not that I blame them). I have at least one more Afghanime to post, and one more talk that I’ll be giving at the Unitarian Universalist Church. After that, I may just keep it on idle, posting only if significant news happens.
Several militants killed in Zabul province -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces killed several militants June 22 while on patrol in the Shinkay District, Zabul...
Several militants killed in Kandahar province -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security and Coalition forces killed several insurgents June 25 while on patrol in Maywand District, Kandahar...
SOF forces train new Afghan Commandos -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
...The Afghan warriors graduated from the elite Commando school in Kabul on May 8. By the end of May, they had tasted battle in western Afghanistan’s Farah province, with Americans assisting and advising.
Excelling during the battle, the Commandos showed the enemy a glimpse of the toughness and resiliency that they are increasingly known for. The advisors have since spent countless hours in Shindand, building upon the skills the Commandos already have, as well as exposing them to new soldiering skills.
“We’re assisting them with the basics, which is allowing us to create a foundation that we can continue to build upon,” said a U.S. Special Forces advisor. “We’re facilitating their ability to excel in small-unit tactics, and we’re familiarizing them with different weapons systems and honing their marksmanship skills. We’re building their communication skills, teaching them how to clear a room, how to react to an improvised explosive device. We’re also enhancing their night vision capabilities and getting them used to running limited-visibility operations.”
In addition to perfecting their battlefield skills, the Commando’s are operating under their own chain of command which resembles a U.S. Army Infantry battalion. A key element is distinguishing the roles of officers and non-commissioned officers. This is a relatively new concept to the Afghans.
Marines in Afghanistan Weigh In on a Life at War -- [NPR]
When compared to Iraq, the conflict in Afghanistan is often described as the forgotten war.
The U.S. military has 33,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan, and has lost 448 service members there since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001.
..."I do what I have to do," he says. "Signed the contract. … I'm fighting for these people's rights. And I can do that because these people deserve the same rights that we have in our country."
But many of the Marines worry that Americans back home don't know what they're doing in Afghanistan.
"People should know kinda what we're doing over here probably a little more than they are," says Mason Bennet, a Navy medic. "It seems like they're focusing a lot more on Iraq right now than they are on Afghanistan. People call this the forgotten war. They need to know what's going on here, I guess."
After Long Exile, Afghan Returns to Aid U.S. Marines -- [NPR]
At 53, Abdul Torabi is a soft-spoken man with gray hair, a short gray beard and a quiet chuckle. He was born in Afghanistan, but has lived most of his life in exile in America.
He is now in Afghanistan again, working as a Marine interpreter, or "terp."
"My regular job is truck driver. And right now I'm a terp for ... American soldiers. I'm here to help them," Torabi says. "That's my job right now."
This is his first time back to his home country since 1979, when he fled the Soviet invasion.
...For Torabi, this mission is also an intense personal experience. This is his first time back to Afghanistan in almost 30 years. "I'm surprised what I'm seeing. And this is sad, too," Torabi says, because of all the problems facing Afghans, and "the way the country been destroyed" by wars.
It was the presence of another foreign force that compelled Torabi to leave in 1979. But he says the American soldiers are much different from the Soviet soldiers he fled.
In the Province of Poppies and R.P.G.s -- [East Hampton Star Eric Rousell - in Afghanistan]
Every marine prepares for battle in his own way. These were the Marines of Alpha Company, Third Platoon, First Battalion of the Sixth Marines. They were preparing for a fight.
The Third Platoon is part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a 2,400-person-strong force sent to Afghanistan earlier this year to neutralize the Taliban’s influence in Helmand Province, where more opium poppies are grown than anyplace else in the world.
Word had just reached the platoon that United States reconnaissance aircraft had been observing Taliban militants bringing weapons into the local bazaar all day long. It was suspected that...
North Korea destroys nuclear reactor tower -- [AP]
YONGBYON, North Korea (AP) -- North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program Friday, blasting apart the cooling tower at its main atomic reactor in a sign of its commitment to stop making plutonium for atomic bombs.
An explosion at the base of the cylindrical structure sent the tower collapsing into debris and dust that billowed into blue skies at 5:10 p.m. local time as journalists and diplomats looked on,
North Korea destroys nuclear reactor tower
George W. Bush: A Uniter at Last! -- [One Free Korea]
For all the failings of his accord with Kim Jong Il, Bush has made remarkable progress in unwittingly brokering an accord between a liberal Democratic presidential nominee, the House’s most conservative Republicans, and the Republican presidential nominee. To various degrees, all have noted the inadequacy of Kim’s declaration and declared their opposition to de-listing North Korea as a state sponsor of terror unless it permits verfication.
Remembering the Korean War in Pictures - Part 3 -- [GI Korea]
Korean Service Corps members transport supplies for allied forces with A-frames on their backs:
Allied soldiers adopted and cared for many orphans during the Korean War to include these two adopted by the French Battalion...
How Kosovo Created its Own Liberal Islam -- [Michael Totten]
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Some are concerned about what NATO, the United Nations, and the European Union have nurtured there since the military and humanitarian intervention in 1999. James Jatras, a U.S.-based advocate for the Serbian Orthodox Community, put it bluntly last year when he said Kosovo was a “a beachhead into the rest of Europe” for “radical Muslims” and “terrorist elements.” It’s an assertion without evidence. “We’ve been here for so long,” said United States Army Sergeant Zachary Gore in Eastern Kosovo, “and not seen any evidence of it, that we’ve reached the assumption that it is not a viable threat.”
Nine in 10 of Kosovo’s citizens are ethnic Albanians, and more than 90 per cent of them are at least nominal Muslims.
Russia launches military satellite -- [The Press Association]
Russia has successfully launched a new military satellite into orbit, officials said. The Kosmos-series satellite was launched by a heavy Proton-K booster ...
Cheer up. We're winning this War on Terror -- [London Times]
Al-Qaeda and the Taleban are in retreat, the surge has worked in Iraq and Islamism is discredited. Not a bad haul
If only our political leaders and opinion-formers displayed even a hint of the defiant resilience that carried Marshal Foch to victory at the Battle of the Marne. But these days timorous defeatism is on the march. In Britain setbacks in the Afghan war are greeted as harbingers of inevitable defeat. In America, large swaths of the political class continues to insist Iraq is a lost cause. The consensus in much of the West is that the War on Terror is unwinnable.
And yet the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier's dictum: “Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let's retreat!”
Al Qaeda Seeks A Miracle -- [Strategy Page]
June 27, 2008: What shape is al Qaeda in? Both U.S. intelligence officials, and al Qaeda message board traffic seem to agree that the terror group was defeated in Iraq, and is now gathering for a last stand in Pakistan. But there have been no numbers released to back this up. There are numbers, but most of them are classified. The U.S. collects data on terrorist related message traffic on the Internet, via cell phones and so on. The military keeps track of all the known and suspected terrorists they capture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
More Evidence of the Criminal-Terrorist Nexus -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Those who are skeptical of the growing ties between drug trafficking organizations and terrorist groups-which I think will be the real war we will be fighting for many years, given the resources obtainable by drug trafficking organizations-should read the latest UN Office of Drugs and Crime report.
Among the many interesting findings is that the two areas of greatest increase in illicit production of drugs in the world are in the hands of designated terrorist groups: the Taliban in Afghanistan and the FARC in Colombia.
A third party involved ...
President Bush Removes North Korea from State Sponsors of Terrorism List -- [GI Korea]
I can’t say I’m not surprised by this announcement, but I still find it to be utterly unbelievable
...If dropping North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List according to President Bush is “largely symbolic” then so is North Korea’s nuclear declaration that is months late and totally incomplete because here is what is not in the declaration...
Removing North Korea from the Terrorism List Stirs Opposition -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
President Bush’s announcement of plans to remove North Korea from the terrorism list is the result of long negotiations that illustrate that the process is complicated and it is turning controversial.
Talks with North Korea about removal from the terrorism list have been going on for at least eight years. North Korean officials have been seeking removal as part of the price for being more forthcoming in the nuclear disarmament negotiations over dismantling that nation’s nuclear weapons program.
Get Ready for Kim Jong Il’s Incomplete, Incorrect, and Expensive Nuclear Declaration (Updated and Bumped) -- [One Free Korea]
...In a speech at the Heritage Foundation last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reported that North Korea’s nuclear declaration is imminent again.
Or not. North Korea was supposed to begin “discussing” the full disclosure of its nuclear programs and weapons by mid-April of 2007. The full written disclosure was due during a subsequent ”implementation phase,” though there was no deadline. In November, the North Koreans handed chief U.S. negotiator appeaser Chris Hill their idea of a declaration, but it was apparently so deficient that Hill told a little white lie and denied having received it. A deadline was set for the end of 2007, when the declaration was imminent until it wasn’t. It was briefly imminent again in January and in April.
This week, as Rice heads for Seoul and Tokyo, the declaration is rumored to be imminent again.
Abu Sayyaf Terrorists Reduced to "Plain Bandits" -- [Jawa Report]
(Manila, Philippines) Due to persistent pressure from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has been reduced to "plain bandits" experiencing a leadership vacuum, says AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander B. Yano.
Put Gitmo detainees where? -- [Hot Air]
Not Fort Leavenworth, as both Kansas Senators made plain yesterday in a letter to their colleagues. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts push back against the oft-repeated suggestion that the US can relocate the detainees at Guantanamo Bay to the detention barracks of Leavenworth, declaring the facility unfit for such a mission on several levels. The only place that meets security conditions won’t work because of its civilian mission:
An Internet first: From the Frontlines airs today! LIVE at 4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific; Update: Midnight $1,055,719!!!!!! -- [Michelle Malkin]
2 midnight. We heard from the White House and the office of Gen. David Petraeus and troops from Ft. Leavenworth.
Final tally: $1,055,719!!!!!!!!!
Thank you all!!!!!!
Iraq Vet Gets New Home
What Does Support Look Like? -- [SpouseBuzz - SemperFi Wife]
We hear a lot about "supporting the troops". It's easy to say but what exactly does it mean?
What does it look like?
...There are many, many, MANY different ways that one can support the troops. It can be as simple as writing a letter, knitting a cap, or mailing a care package to deployed servicemember who doesn't get mail. It can be as grand as running an organization of over 200,000 volunteers. It's about doing something for someone you may never meet. It's about thinking and caring about someone else. Troops support is focusing on others.
Andrew Breitbart Rails Against Hollywood For Dissing Troops -- [LT Nixon]
This is a video of Andrew Breitbart, a libertarian, West LA resident, Hollyweird insider, and all around-good guy taking about the media infrastructure seeking to portray the military in a negative light. He's chatting with the From The Front Lines drive, which is raising money to send care packages to our troops. Usually, I take these attacks against the left with a grain of salt, since it is politically convenient to drop the "Support The Troops" meme to bolster your partisan political position if you're conservative. But...
Cat’s out of the bag -- [Blog-ah - David Hardt]
...On the line below the provisional diagnosis, which is basically an interim statement of what he thinks I have, it read in uppercase letters as if it was slapping me in the face: ADJUSTMENT DISORDER WITH DISTURBANCE OF EMOTIONS AND CONDUCT.
In my mind, this is where the meeting ended and where the nice, gentle, and compassionate Dave needed to start flexing his disapproval of this lame, loose diagnosis. But before I could get into my business mode, Doctor E. quickly gave me insight. He completely disagreed with this diagnosis. Granted, he did admit that he didn’t have all of my information, but he knew this loose diagnosis was off.
...What this doctor didn’t realize is that all of these years I have fought this thing tooth and nail and while fighting this monster I have slightly lost who I am. When that explosion occurred on that hot, humid April in Iraq, I knew immediately something had changed. I wasn’t the only causality of that night. Many miles away in the good United States this issue would be affecting everyone around me. To this day, my rock is my wife and the fort I have made at home, where I find safety. I know who I am and who I was, and only God knows what is in store for me and who I will be on this road. I believe God has brought me to this point for something, and if it is just to raise hell and get health professionals to wake up and start treating every single warrior like he deserves, then I accept this mission. The next few weeks should be a good ride. Again, thanks to everyone for your support and another thank-you to my paralegal friend.
Toby Keith Recognized By Congress For His Dedication To Military -- [Newstalk 1010]
Toby Keith is being honored by Congress for his commitment to the U.S. troops. Congressman Tom Cole introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives on June 10th recognizing Keith for his six USO trips, among his other efforts on behalf of soldiers.
Cole said, "I believe Toby deserves to be acknowledged for his work. He's shown a unique understanding of the dedication and difficult work the members of the Armed Forces do and he has made it his priority to bring joy and entertainment back to them. I am proud to bring forth this resolution commending Toby Keith for all that he has done to boost the morale of the military. He has made Oklahoma very proud."
Keith said, "I appreciate Congressman Cole's recognition in introducing this resolution, and I have to say that the real glory belongs to those men and women I've met who leave their families and put it on the line for the rest of us. Getting to visit with them once a year is the biggest honor for me, and I will continue to encourage other artists and performers to make that USO trip."
Military children may get easier school transfers -- [Montgomery Advertiser]
Federal defense and education officials signed a formal memorandum Wednesday, agreeing to collaborate to make school transfers easier for military families, specifically in preparation of major force reorganizations coming up.
Department of Defense and Department of Education officials have been working on the agreement for several years, according to a DoD release. The agreement is aimed at preparing for the significant moves coming up as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.
In Alabama, 4,000 military, civilian and government personnel are expected throughout the state -- that doesn't include spouses or children.
Registration for the MilBlog Community Track -- [Andi - milblogging.com]
The MilBlog Registration Package includes admittance into the full MilBlog Conference Track (all panels) and the exhibit hall. This package will be free of charge for milblog attendees. The BWE staff is extending the MilBlog Registration Package to milbloggers, milblog supporters, members of the military community or those who work in the troop support, non-profit community, but you must plan to attend the MilBlog Community Track in order to take advantage of this offering. We'd like to thank BWE for putting this package together for our attendees. If you want to register for additional events at Blog World Expo, you'll need to pay the associated costs.
We Miss You, Nicole -- [LT Nixon]
A bit of sad news. Our friend, Nicole Suveges, was killed in action in Sadr City on Tuesday while working with the Human Terrain Systems attempting to bring order into one of Baghdad's poorest and most lawless districts. She worked with me my first few months in Baghdad and I always remember that she was incredibly intelligent, very outgoing, and had a good sense of humor. Her accomplishments in life are lengthy as she was an Army veteran of the Balkans conflict in the field of PsyOps, was working on her PhD at the prestigous Johns Hopkins School in political science, and was serving her second tour in Iraq. We miss you, Nicole!
New GI Bill Passes Senate (Again) -- [Greyhawk]
And oh by the way, funds for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, too.
Next: to the White House.
We've been tracking this one for a while now...
I told ya. -- [John of Argghhh!]
But I also said - the fight will now just go asymmetric.
And it will only take a two-judge shift on the court to reverse it.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: -- [Grim's Hall]
I was looking over Memeorandum this evening, and I see there's a whole knot of liberal blogs bent out of shape over something that happened on the floor of Congress today. It was during the hearings into the memos that had to do with the use of harsh interrogation techniques, some of which some people consider to be torture.
I believe that prohibitions on torture are wise, moral and correct. I think America benefits from a refusal to use torture. We should play this game fairly, though.
...I think we understand the game, yes. Congress should be trying to clarify the line between torture and 'harsh interrogation,' not fuzzing it up worse.
The New York Times on Heller -- [TigerHawk]
The editors of the New York Times predictably editorialize against yesterday's Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia v. Heller) overturning D.C.'s ban of handguns on the grounds that the Second Amendment describes an individual right. The editorial not only misstates the decisional history in this area, but it is astonishingly unprincipled in its reasoning:
Embedding a reporter -- [CDR Salamander]
Sexy CBS siren Lara Logan spent her days covering the heat of the Iraq war - but that was nothing compared to the heat of her nights.
The "60 Minutes" reporter and former swimsuit model apparently courted two beaus while she was in Baghdad, and has been labeled a homewrecker for allegedly destroying the marriage of a civilian contractor there, sources said. Passions got so hot in the combat zone that one of her lovers, Joe Burkett, brawled in a Baghdad "safe house" with her other paramour, CNN war reporter Michael Ware, a source said.
CBS, Military Court Face First Amendment Dispute -- [NY Times]
A First Amendment case is escalating between CBS News and a military court over a “60 Minutes” report about an attack at Haditha, Iraq. The network is trying to keep the government from getting hold of unaired portions of an interview with an officer who is being prosecuted over the incident.
So far, CBS is losing. Last week a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals ruled that the government should be allowed to view the material it wants, the parts of a CBS interview with Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich that were not broadcast. Staff Sgt. Wuterich faces charges that include voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of Iraqi civilians at Haditha in November 2005. A spokeswoman for CBS said the network is “planning to pursue an appeal”
On Joe Galloway -- [Michael Yon]
I read Joe Galloway’s columns and often disagree with him. But Joe usually makes points that deserve consideration. Joe is not weak or weak-minded; I’ve told him to his face that he’s a mean old man. But I respect Joe. He has fought in pitched combat side-by-side with our troops. Joe thinks we’re losing the Iraq War and I believe we’re winning. Even though we disagree about Iraq, Joe and I both believe that torture is wrong.
(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.
'Al-Quds Al-Arabi' Publishes Details Of Iraq-U.S. Agreement -- [MEMRI]
The London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi has published a document it says outlines the Iraq-U.S. long-term security agreement, signed by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and President Bush.
According to the document, both countries will act to reinforce Iraqi democracy and to fight terror groups, and Iraq will receive guarantees for its territorial integrity. Its international legal status will be restored to what it was before 1990, and it will enjoy absolute sovereignty over its territory.
Analysis: Bush pressed on Iraqi oil deals -- [Breitbart]
WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional leaders are pressing the Bush administration to block deals to be signed between the Iraqi federal government and the world's largest oil companies and to cancel deals between the Iraqi Kurdish region and smaller U.S. oil firms.
Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., want the United States to dam negotiations on contracts the senators claim will, in part, further sectarian fighting.
United Press International has also obtained a letter from Senate Committee on Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., to President Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley, asking the administration to press Hunt Oil and other U.S. companies to cancel their oil deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.
Bush: U.S. won't interfere with Iraqi oil deals -- [Houston Chronicle]
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration indicated today that it had no plans to interfere with negotiations between Iraq and several Western oil giants to boost crude production in that country, despite concerns by some Democrats that the deal could inflame anti-U.S. sentiments.
"Iraq is a sovereign country, and it can make decisions based on how it feels that it wants to move forward in its development of its oil resources," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.
US forces kill al Qaeda's leader in Mosul -- [LWJ]
US and Iraq forces continue to roll up al Qaeda in Iraq's network in what is considered the terror group's last urban stronghold in Iraq.
10 Iraqis You Should Know -- [Baghdad Bureau - FOX News]
After years of reporting from Iraq, viewers are familiar with some of the most common personalities connected with events here: from Saddam Hussein to Prime Minister Maliki; Moqtada al-Sadr to Ayatollah Sistani. But what about some other Iraqis making an impact in their chosen professions?
We put together a list of ten people we think you should know about. Click their name to learn more about them! ...
GAO Report Faults Post-'Surge' Planning -- [WaPo]
The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.
Majority Whip Dickless Dick Durbin Echoes Hussein: “The Surge Failed! We Failed!” - With Video -- [Pat Dollard]
Be ready to put your fist through something. I can’t believe these freaking…geez, I have no word other than Libtard…I can’t believe these idiotic, surrender monkey, cut and run, Libtards who will just cry “Failure in Iraq!” over and over and over again, despite the absolute opposite facts, in the hopes that their constituency will actually believe the lies that they spew forth so that they can win in November.
Iraqi forces to take over security in Anbar -- [Reuters]
The U.S. military will transfer control of security in Iraq's Anbar province to Iraqi forces this week, a remarkable turnaround given the vast western region was considered lost to insurgents less than two years ago.
Anbar will be the 10th of Iraq's 18 provinces returned to Iraqi security control since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but it will be the first Sunni Arab region handed back.
In Iraq, Al-Anbar Tribe Members Threaten Civil Rebellion -- [MEMRI]
A senior official of the Al-Anbar Rescue Council has threatened to declare a civil rebellion in the Al-Anbar province if the Iraqi government does not respond to the provincial council's decision to remove the province's police commander from his post.
Pointing and Shooting (II) -- [Greyhawk]
From the same report, a bit of an explanation of what Provincial Iraqi Control means:
...Transferring Security Responsibility
Currently, half of Iraq’s 18 provinces are under Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC). In support of the U.S. Government strategic objective to strengthen the Iraqi forces and transition primary security responsibility to the GoI, Anbar and Qadisiyah Provinces are scheduled to transition to PIC in June and July 2008, respectively. This will bring the total number of provinces for which the GoI has lead security responsibility to 11 of 18 provinces.
Taming Iraq's Triangle of Death -- [Times Online]
But after nearly four years of continuous fighting, the area is now one of the safest in the country as a result of increasingly sophisticated counterinsurgency techniques and close cooperation between the Iraqi and American armies. The success here may be a model for Iraqi-U.S. Army cooperation in the future, and many American commanders in the region attribute a large part of the success to "General Ali's" skill as a professional soldier. "He has been here from the beginning," says Lieutenant Colonel William Zemp, the U.S. commander of a unit that works daily with General Ali's men. "The pacification of this area is his struggle, it is his story."
MSNBC Confirms Pre-War Al Queda Camp in Iraq Tests Positive For Bio/Chem weapons
Positive test for terror toxins in Iraq Evidence of ricin, botulinum at Islamic militants’ camp By EXCLUSIVE By Preston Mendenhall - MSNBC
Now, let’s face it…Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews aren’t gonna change their minds and suddenly face the reality that Saddam’s regime was willing to work with AQ groups, did work with AQ groups and leaders, and the threat of the so-called “Nexus of Evil” connection even existed.
Captured members of Al Queda groups from this same camp claim that they were assisted, trained, supplied, and funded by Saddam’s IIS as well as taking orders from Saddam’s IIS.
Captured documents confirm their claims.
Catching women suicide bombers
The U.S. military is training Iraqi women to find female suicide bombers. CNN's Jill Dougherty sits in on a class.
The Green Zone -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
A little while back, I had the opportunity to travel to the International Zone - better known as "Green Zone" - in the heart of Baghdad.
The green zone has a lively, decisively non-war lifestyle. Civilians in suits walk around along with contractors in T-shirts and jeans. There are Iraqis everywhere - working and even living in the Green Zone.
British Troops Back On Basra's Streets.
Six months after scaling back patrols, British troops are back on the streets of Basra.
UK troops return to Basra streets -- [ITV.com]
Six months after scaling back patrols in Basra, British troops are back on the streets of Iraq's second city. The soldiers have left their base at the ...
Making a Video -- [Doc in the Box]
...I was the unit videographer my first trip out here in 2004 and had a bunch of spare time to make movies and post pictures on my fotopage and it was still a huge job. This time it’s a different story, I’m actually working pretty hard. Yes Anonymous Guy, I am at Camp Cupcake with a nice pool walking distance away but that doesn’t make my job any easier or change the distanc that I'm separated from my family. I'm just cleaner and a bit safer
US, Afghan forces kill 16 Taliban in eastern Afghanistan -- [LWJ]
Afghan police hold off attack by Afghan, Arab, and Chechen fighters on a district center in Paktia. US forces back up police, kill 16 Taliban fighters
MG Jeffrey Schloesser - Afghanistan Briefing
Attacks in east Afghanistan up 40 percent, US says -- [Reuters]
Insurgent attacks in eastern Afghanistan rose by 40 percent in the first five months of this year over the same period a year ago, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in the region said on Tuesday.
While insisting NATO was making progress in establishing stability, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser said he was "nowhere near" being able to state those efforts had achieved irreversible momentum.
Afghan Security Forces Lead Response to Taliban Prison Break -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2008 – Afghan national security forces led successful operations last week to counter the Taliban’s raid on a Kandahar city prison, a U.S. military official said yesterday.
“The Afghan National Army -- much to the surprise of the Taliban -- deployed quickly, deployed in large numbers and deployed effectively and attacked them effectively and defeated the [enemy] forces and pushed them out,” U.S. Army Col. Thomas McGrath, commander of NATO’s Afghanistan Regional Security Command South, said in a teleconference with online journalists and bloggers.
Afghan and coalition forces conducted aggressive operations in and around Kandahar after the Taliban raided Sarposa Prison on June 13.
“The Taliban attacked the prison in a commando raid, which began with a suicide-truck bomber blowing up … at the main gate in downtown Kandahar,” McGrath recalled. “Other Taliban terrorists followed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire.”
Surprise!... Taliban Peace Talks Fail Miserably in Pakistan -- [Gateway Pundit]
The "Obama Plan" on holding peace talks with any rogue regime leader or murderous thug does not appear to be working so well in Pakistan.
The Taliban just butchered 22 local pro-government leaders in a remote Pakistani region. Surprisingly, the peace pacts did not hold up too well with the local terrorists.
The AFP reported
A series of remarkable pictures from the Cedar Rapids 2008 Flood -- [1romad]
Thank you to the Iowa National Guard for their assistance during the Flood, and to all who have volunteered. But most of all, I want to thank the flood victims for their tremendous work ethic, unbelievably positive attitudes, unselfishness, and amazingly, gratefulness in spite of their own personal tragedy. It has been an honor to work among you.
Kosovo will not have army, says de Hoop Scheffer -- [SE Times]
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced on Monday (June 23rd) in Pristina that the new Kosovo Security Force, rather than being an army, will have "specific duties".
"NATO will lead the transformation of the current Kosovo Protection Corps and the creation of the Kosovo Security Force, which will have 2,500 members and some 800 reserve members with specific duties,"
L. Col. Lapthe Flora's Story
Sesame Street' unites Kosovo youngsters -- [AFP]
Belgrade and Kosovo Serbs reject the split, and the two communities scarcely interact across the landlocked Balkan territory, with youths attending separate ...
Dustorm in Kuwait
How Iran is avoiding international sanctions -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
While the European Union just announced new sanctions against Iran, including the freezing of the assets of Bank Melli, Iran had already anticipated this move.
In fact, I just wrote an article for the Middle East Times on Iran's ability to go around the international sanctions.
An Honor That Bush Is Unlikely to Embrace -- [NYT]
SAN FRANCISCO — Reagan has his highways. Lincoln has his memorial. Washington has the capital (and a state, too). But President Bush may soon be the sole president to have a memorial named after him that you can contribute to from the bathroom.
From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.
BREAKING: Bush Administration to Ask Congress on Thursday to REMOVE North Korea from TERROR WATCH LIST
— (Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia Christopher Hill) — Tonight, The Washington Note confirmed that the Bush administration will “ask Congress” to de-list North Korea from America's “terrorist watch list.”
Arab Nations Unite Against Al Qaeda -- [Strategy Page]
June 24, 2008: Most Arab nations have agreed on a new set of regulations to crack down on terrorist fund raising and money laundering in their countries. Until the recent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, it was considered too politically risky to go after wealthy donors to Islamic radical groups. Money laundering was another untouchable area, because corruption was so common, and money laundering was part of that. But "reform" has become increasingly popular in the Arab world over the past few years, and these new counter-terrorism efforts are part of it.
Day 24 - June 24, 2008 -- [Mended Wing]
...Kevin was in a NATO convoy driving through the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan on May 31. A suicide bomber filled a vehicle with explosives and drove it into my son's Humvee.
Breezy pretty much got the same response when she blew Kev a kiss tonight too. He pulled his head back and she just laughed. I really don't know if he is aware - I don't think so all the time anyway - but if he is, he is going to be mad at us for all the kisses. That's for sure, lol.
And if he is aware - he has got to be so bored. Some days I sit there and struggle with what to say.
If any of Kevin's friends have any ideas on something he might want to read, let me know. I know his favs are war stories and things like that, but under the circumstances I think something lighter is best.
Confuse the heck out of People... -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
...Anyway, I'm showing one of the officers something on the M-4 Carbine. And one of the dispatchers ask me: "How many people did you kill in Iraq?"
That caught me off guard. Then I realized that she, like most Americans have no idea what the troops (Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force) do in Iraq. They don't understand that the military is made up of a lot of jobs. Their are people from payroll clerks to mechanics. (although Kellogg Brown and Rot are taking a lot of these jobs on-- for a great profit)
I just looked at her and said: "Oh, I just repaired mess kits." and went back to showing the rookie officer how to shoot the darn weapon straight.
If you know a vet from one of the recent events, don't assume anything. For one thing, if they survived Iraq, they did something right...the rest of their lives will be a cake walk compared to that place. But, take the time to ask them what they did...don't be a dumbass and ask how many people they killed.
A new degree of freedom for one of our wounded vets? -- [View from the 8th Floor]
Maybe you'd like to help one of our wounded veteran's get one of these?
So he can do stuff like this?
He got to take one these "trikes" for a spin on day two of this year's Face of America Bike Ride from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, PA.
I can't really imagine what it's like to have an injury that permanently changes how one gets around in the world. The closest thing I've experienced would be a sprained foot, but, yeah, not even close.
Supreme Court to hear case involving Navy sonar and whales -- [LA Times]
The justices will examine a judge's ruling that limited military training when marine mammals are near.
...Navy said training exercises using sonar have been conducted for 40 years off California, and they "produced no evidence of sonar-related harm to any marine mammal." Of special note, there are no reports of dead whales after these exercises, they said.
In their appeal, administration lawyers argued that the judges in California had overstepped their authority by restricting the Navy's operations. They described "anti-submarine warfare [as] a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game" that requires days of carefully tracking sound waves. A requirement to suddenly shut down its sonar equipment "cripples the Navy's ability to conduct realistic" training exercises, they told the court.
DoD Announces Nomination of First Female Four-Star General -- [Defense Link]
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has nominated Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody of the Army for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commander, Army Materiel Command.
"Women continue to achieve great success and make invaluable contributions to the defense of this nation. This is an historic occasion for the Department of Defense and I am proud to nominate Lt. Gen. Ann Dunwoody for a fourth star,” said Secretary Gates. “Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position.”
National Guard misses recruiting goal! -- [Foreign and Domestic]
...So why isn't the current headline about the Guard being reported? Two reasons. First, the active Army and the Army reserve both made their recruiting goals. And second, the reason the Guard missed their monthly goal is that they are so far ahead of their yearly pace, that they had to slow down so they don't recruit too many soldiers!
All-Volunteer Army: An Ongoing Experiment -- [USA Today]
In 1973, the military draft ended, and our nation began the experiment of manning an Army exclusively with volunteers. A decade later, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger proclaimed, "To all the American people, I would say that the experiment is over. We know that an all-volunteer force can succeed, and we know what it takes to make it succeed." And yet, perhaps today we really don't know all it takes to make the all-volunteer force succeed.
European Interlude II -- [Kaboom]
...And then, after a rainy day spent bantering underneath umbrellas, I say to hell with it. I love her and I love her now and I know that will not change so what am I waiting for? No sane woman would ever put up with you or a deployment or a mixture of both.
Good thing I’m not attracted to the sane.
Today is so much better than yesterday. And tomorrow is no guarantee. We both know that now. So yeah. Umm. I’m taking a walk. I need … nail clippers. Yes. Nail clippers. Gah woman, I know it’s hailing water-bullets! I’ll be right back. Tell Demolition to mind the house, I’m hunting and gathering here.
Alright. Swiped an example from her jewelry bag to get the right size. Now I need to find a ring shop that takes me seriously, despite my terrorist mutton-chops, baggy plaid shorts, and plain white tee. And no, I don’t speak a lick of Italian. This should be interesting.
Coming to an end... -- [Eighty Deuce on the Loose]
Well, for a little update on where I am today, let me start by saying that I have less than 2 weeks until I sign out on terminal leave. Basically this is like regular leave, where you're not at work or anything, except this is tacked on to the end of your enlistment. Basically I'm taking a month of terminal leave, which means, I "leave" the Army and I still get paid for one for month, until I'm officially release from the Army.
Fallen Angel... -- [Collabman's Thoughts]
It's getting harder to find the right words. What are the right words? Please forgive me if I struggle to express my feelings. The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment...no, we...have lost another young, brave, courageous warrior...
Fallen Soldiers Tribute -- I Am Still Here
Unsung Glory, Lance Corporal Christopher Aldesperger -- [Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler]
...PFC Aldesperger rushed forward, engaging a concealed machine gun position while he helped Rogero and Sunnerville to the only cover available, the stairwell to the roof. Once secure in the realtive safety of the rooftop, Aldesperger single handed held off insurgents who tried to storm the stairway. With blood streaming down his shrapnel peppered face, he watching in silent rage while insurgents peppered the lifeless body of L/Cpl. Hodges with bullets, including two head shots. When one insurgent rushed forward to grab Hodges weapon, Aldesperger dropped him with one round.
...At a company formation on Thanksgiving weekend, PFC Aldesperger was meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal for his actions on the Marine Corps Birthday. He was also nominated for the Medal of Honor.
Less than two weeks later L/Cpl. Aldesperger was dead, killed in a sudden fusillade of bullets as he approached a non-descript house, the same way his close friend L/Cpl. Hodges had died. Hit by multiple rounds in his body armor, the impact had spun him around, exposing his unprotected side. A single round had penetrated to his heart.
Paying a soldier a visit -- [Miss LadyBug]
A couple of weeks ago, I had reason to be up in Killeen. I had a little bit of time before I had to head back towards home. I hadn't taken the time the other times I'd been in Killeen since last June to stop by, but I really wanted to pay Kile a visit. It was a quick stop, and I didn't bring anything for him.
Fort Lee soldiers due to return home today -- [Richmond Times Dispatch]
Fort Lee will welcome home about 50 soldiers who are due to return from overseas deployment today. The members of the Army's 54th Quartermaster Company,
120 Tri-Cities Soldiers Return Home After Serving In Iraq -- [TriCities.com]
She watched as others gave their loved ones a heroes welcome. “It feels like a dream that I’ve had for a year and now I’ve woke up from it and it’s all here
Obama Camp Requests Intelligence Briefing From Pentagon Brass -- [FOXNews]
Barack Obama’s Senate staff has requested an intelligence briefing on the latest in Iraq and Afghanistan from aides to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggesting the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate could be gearing up for a trip abroad.
According to the legislative affairs liaison of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this is the first time that Obama has requested a briefing from the Joint Staff on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Video: Non-satirical rebuttal to “Not Alex” -- [Hot Air]
Last week, MoveOn debuted its first general-election campaign ad, “Not Alex”, in which a young mother told John McCain that he couldn’t have her baby for his 100-year war.
...Today, Eric Egland’s family offers a straightforward rebuttal to MoveOn. His wife Ania appears with their two children to thank John McCain for his leadership against terrorism, and speaks about the pride she takes in this country, and in her husband’s service in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Ania Egland responds to MoveOn.org ad attacking Sen. McCain
Who we trust 2008 -- [Soldier's Angel Germany]
Gallup's annual update on confidence in institutions is out. Once again Americans have the highest confidence in the military and the lowest in Congress. In fact, the military gained two percentage points over 2007's results while Congress lost two. This Congress has earned itself the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution ever.
Obama under fire over Iraq troop pledge -- [FT]
US presidents have a history of abandoning campaign promises by pointing out that “the world looks different from here” when they reach the Oval Office. A growing number of Democratic foreign policy wonks are hoping that Barack Obama will do just that with his Iraq election promises if he wins the race for the White House in November.
Having stuck to the line that he would withdraw one to two brigades a month and remove all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office, Mr Obama’s promise is looking increasingly vulnerable to John McCain’s taunts of “surrender” as conditions in Iraq continue to improve.
John, Greyhawk, & Matt - Spidermen -- [CDR Salamander]
Go to the site and play around awhile, but below are the links for Argghhh!!! and BLACKFIVE. You assignment is to go to the site and look up Greyhawk's links. There is a trick, when you search cut off the "http://" part, ie; www.mudvillegazette.com.
CBS News.com Misrepresents Interview With Afghan Warlord, Alters Headline -- [Newsbusters]
On June 17, my colleague Kyle Drennen reported a CBS "Evening News" segment wherein "correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan."
CBS’s Lara Logan: ‘Tell me the last time you saw the body of a dead American soldier.’ -- [Think Progress]
Appearing on the Daily Show last night, CBS’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan crticized the lack of media attention to the Iraq war. She said she felt responsible for the fact that “no one really understands” what is happening in Iraq. She also said that the soldiers there “feel forgotten”
Iraqi military set to take over in Al Anbar. -- [CNN]
WONDERFUL NEWS to anyone who has been there.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's Anbar province -- once dominated by Sunni insurgents but now a bastion of tribal opposition against the militants -- will soon be run by the Iraqi military.
The U.S. military said it would transfer security responsibility for Anbar this week to the Iraqi military, a bellwether event that illustrates what Iraq and the United States describe as a profound stride in their efforts to foster stability.
Anbar is the 10th of the 18 provinces where Iraqi forces have taken charge of security control since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the first largely Sunni Arab province to do so. The other provinces to take charge are in the Shiite south and the Kurdish north.
"We have seen a dramatic increase in security there," said Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, Multi-National Forces spokesman, speaking to reporters in Baghdad on Sunday.
"I think that the trend now in Anbar is to move from the violent kinetic to the rebuilding process," he said.
Top Ten Angry On-Camera Meltdowns -- [Live Leak]
It's already been an exciting week for accidental on-air cursing, with New York broadcast institution Sue Simmons interrupting last night's Medium to ask what the FUCK New York is doing, but Sue and Bill O'Reilly just left us wanting more. So video guru Richard Blakeley (who's explored reportorial bloopers before) collected ten of our very favorite meltdowns by people whose job it is to not curse on TV. Some of these went out live, some were stolen from satellite feeds, but they're all golden. From Jim Ryan telling Dick Oliver that he'll explain how to be a reporter later to broadcast legend Bill Plante throwing a tantrum at the White House to vintage Sam Donaldson and Leslie Stahl, it's a cavalcade of rage and frustration. Like life.
Navy Carrier Squadron "Pump It"
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
The Battle for Basra -- [Institute for the Study of War]
Over the last year, operations by Coalition and Iraqi forces have made signifi cant gains against al-Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents. As the threat from these groups has decreased, Coalition Forces and the Iraqi government have focused their attention on the problem of Shi’a militias in central and southern Iraq. Nowhere was this threat more evident than in the southern city of Basra. In the wake of the premature British withdrawal from the city center and transition to an overwatch capacity in late 2007, Basra became a haven for militia and criminal activity. Rival Shi’a militias were engaged in a violent and protracted power struggle as drugs, weapons, and oil smuggling rings thrived. In late March 2008, the Iraqi government launched an offensive to reclaim the city from the militias. Iraq Report 9 offers a comprehensive look at the battle for Basra, Operation Knight’s Charge.
Back Channels: Iraqis now know al-Qaeda, not U.S., is the real enemy -- [Philadelphia Inquirer]
As I rewatched the movie Obsession - Radical Islam's War Against the West recently, a few things jumped out, including these quotes from various Arab media outlets:
"America is the foremost enemy of the Muslim nation . . ."
"They have come to fight the people of Iraq . . ."
...The film also showed propaganda videos from Iran, which included shots of U.S. forces kicking in doors, missiles being launched, Arab children crying, Muslims running with their wounded. Interspersed throughout were images of a smiling President Bush. None of this was particularly original. What stood out, though, was the realization that since this movie was released in 2006, the United States had actually increased troop levels in Iraq, had redoubled efforts to rout al-Qaeda there. If anything, Bush had given propagandists more fuel to inflame the anti-American Arab street.
Rather than our forces' driving Iraqis into the arms of the radicals, the reverse happened.
It seems Iraqis have decided that al-Qaeda, not America, is the "foremost enemy." That al-Qaeda, not America, had come to fight the people of Iraq. That al-Qaeda, not America, was the enemy of Muslims and their holy places.
U.S. Army Soldiers patrolling a public marketplace. Scenes include market shops, Iraqi people shopping and an interview.
President Bush Participates in Joint Press Availability with United Kingdom Prime Minister Brown -- [Whitehouse.gov]
PRESIDENT BUSH: We're withdrawing troops. We anticipate the 30,000 surge troops will be coming home by July -- more or less, 30,000. And so the plan is, bring them home based upon success. That's what we expect the British Prime Minister to do. That's what I'm doing -- that as the Iraqis are trained up, as they're taking more responsibility, as the security situations decline, as the economy is improved, as political reconciliation is taking place, we can bring more troops home. That's the whole purpose of the strategy. And so, give the Iraqis more responsibility. Let them take more -- be in more charge of their own security and their own government, and that's what's happening.
After The War Is Over -- [Strategy Page]
June 23, 2008: U.S. Army leaders don't have much time to celebrate their recent victory in Iraq, as they scramble to figure out what to prepare for next. By the end of July, the Iraq force will have been reduced from 20 combat brigades, to fifteen. Another five brigades may move in the next year or so.
The army brass are more concerned with morale, rather than readiness or the next war, at the moment. The troops who won the battles in Iraq did it by spending more time under fire, on average, than did their predecessors in Vietnam, Korea or World War II.
U.S. Army Soldiers Engage Multiple Insurgent Snipers That Were Shooting Civilians
Paratroopers engage snipers shooting civilians in a building in downtown Baghdad
Turnabout in Iraq a ‘Miracle’ -- [Amy Proctor]
When the New York Times reports on measurable progress in Iraq, you know it’s going well.
Violence across Iraq is at an all time, post-invasion low, Nouri al-Maliki’s opponents now see him from a position of strength rather than weakness and the Iraqi government viewed as legitimate.
One Basra businessman calls the turnabout in Iraq a miracle and says the Iraqi government, army and police are doing very well.
There is still work to be done, but we don’t need to look past our own government and military to see that problems exist.
BACK AGAIN -- [BAGHDADENTIST - Iraqi blogger]
Its been along time since my last post. many events occured and alot of things have been changed during this period. ...
...now mosul is much more better than before, im happy to see this and moreover the iraqi forces are taking control over the city.on the other side many roads are closed by concrete barriers and some by trash!!!.
...after that i went to baghdad for 11 days. the situation there is getting better to the best considering the same days last year.and i hope to see baghdad and iraq the perfect not without electicity im wondeing how the students are studying and examining in the hot wheather without electicity!!!! may god help them,but i believe they will challenge that and succeed,those are the iraqis.
Iraqi, U.S Soldiers Light Up Baghdad Neighborhood -- [MNF-I]
Levitt, along with Darryl Steadman, who is a civilian advisor, a translator and approximately ten IA soldiers, began to install the first four of 100 solar powered street lights June 19.
...Since the lights are solar powered, they do not place any burden on the Iraqi electrical grid.
“Right now, the infrastructure won’t support it (this many new lights). Although Iraq is working on the electrical grid and the infrastructure … it’s not quick enough; we need something now, and this seems to be a pretty good solution,” said Steadman,
...“We know this (project) is going to make a direct impact on the populace,” said Levitt. “It’s removing the darkness, the safe haven for the terrorists, for criminal activity.”
Site Visit in Nimrud -- [manrymission.com - Tiffany in Iraq]
Earlier this week, Tiffany, one of my Project Engineers in Mosul, went on a site visit with a team from 1-8 Infantry Battalion, including LTC Chris Johnson, the 1-8 Infantry Battalion Commander. Today, she sent out an email describing her trip.
...This trip was probably the highlight of my tour. It was absolutely awesome. I had the chance to see the inner-workings of the US army and local communities. I saw how US Army Leaders work with IA Commanders and village Sheiks to build relationships, and how they work together to rid communities of insurgency and enhance the lives of the people who live in their communities. The cultural experience was great. Honestly, I needed this trip. Before yesterday, my perspective of Operation Iraqi Freedom wasn’t very positive - actually, it wasn’t positive at all. This opportunity came at just the right time. It was great and I’m glad that I was invited.
Voices from Iraq, Soldiers Story
At the Iraq-Syria Border -- At the Iraq-Syria Border -- [manrymission.com - Dale in Iraq]
Earlier this month, I took a trip to the town of Rabiyya. Rabiyya is an Iraqi town on the Syrian border. We are involved in an upcoming project to improve the border crossing in that area, also known as the POE (point of entry). In the picture below, taken from Google Earth, you can see the stark contrast between the development on the Syrian side of the border compared to the lack of development on the Iraqi side of the border.
Our project is to build a new immigration building. So we drove up to Rabiyya in our REVAs to take a look at the project site. In the past, this same drive would take approximately 4 hours because we had to avoid most of the major routes heading west out of Mosul. But because the security situation has improved, we were able to take a much more direct route and arrived in Rabiyya after driving for only a little over 2 hours.
Ramadi citizens continue to sign up to defend their city -- [Regimental Combat Team 1 - in Iraq]
Ramadi citizens continue to sign up to defend their city
Over the last two years, Ramadi has seen a dramatic in the number of policemen as the city progressively moves toward the final steps in becoming fully independent.
In 2006, there were very few police in Ramadi when violence engulfed the city, the citizens lived in fear, and al-Qaeda had a firm grip on the region. In the first two weeks of 2007, the city experienced an unexpected surge of applicants seeking to join the force. During that two week span, more than 1,000 applicants sought law enforcement jobs in Ramadi, according to Army Maj. Thomas Shoffner, operations officer for the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The turning point for the boost in applicants was the murder of a well-known sheik in August 2006. The murderers hid his body for 3 days denying his family the right to bury him in accordance with Islamic tradition. After the killing, tribal leaders could not tolerate al Qaeda’s lawlessness and violence throughout their land and formed an alliance against the terrorist network called, Sahawa al-Anbar, or the “Awakening Council.”
Today, the number of Iraqis seeking to become policemen remains high. This is due in part to the professionalism of the Ramadi Training Center, which trains and mentors the newly recruited policemen, and the insight provided by the awakening.
OH-58 Kiowas Take Out Insurgent Car With Missiles And Rockets In Iraq
OH-58 Engage Insurgent Car With Missiles And Rockets In Iraq.
Iraq News (23 June) -- [LT Nixon]
The Good: The Christian Science Monitor talks about Sadr calling for restraint of his Mahdi Army during the Maysan province offensive; however, this could indicate they are trying to regroup. Parliamentary blocs are pushing for resolution on the Provincial Elections bill, which is viewed as a major step forward for political progress in Iraq. 6 more international oil companies have been added to develop Iraqi oil infrastructure. These companies are non-Western (Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Angola and Algeria), which kind of puts a hole in the "No Blood For Oil!" meme. Jordan has returned 2,500 antiquities which had been looted from Iraq. Looted artifacts are symbolic of the chaos and poor strategy of the initial invasion of Iraq, and returning antiquities can help make amends.
Making History -- [Greyhawk]
Joe Galloway, at Mike Yon's:
Taguba and his investigators sifted and probed and assessed the blame as high as they were permitted to go. Taguba believed — no, he KNEW — that the responsibility for this outrage went much higher. He knew it reached to the office of then Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and likely beyond to the lawyers who served President George W. Bush and perhaps even to the president himself.
But the brass, military and civilian, wanted Taguba and those who ran 16 other Army investigations of the Abu Ghraib scandal only to get to the bottom of the situation, not to the top.
Want actual facts on Abu Ghraib?
Exodus (V) -- [Greyhawk]
...The news media reported often on Iraqis leaving Iraq and Iraqis forced to leave their neighborhoods within Iraq. Note that surveys done by the Brooking Institute in March of 2007 asking 5,019 Iraqis: “Do you have members of your family that have moved away from their home over the previous four years as a result of the security situation?” To which only 24% replied YES and 72% replied NO. Now we do not hear much about Iraqis returning to their homes, within Iraq or from outside of Iraq. Iraqis are returning in large numbers and receiving compensation for damages and social services until they get back on their feet.
Doc welcomes girl back -- [Regimental Combat Team 5 - in Iraq]
HADITHA, Iraq – Basima Zalaan, 7, may be a young girl, but she knows she has Marines and a Navy doctor to thank for her new life.
Basima recently returned here after traveling to Jordan for heart surgery. Marines with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, and Iraqi Policemen escorted Navy Lt. Benjamin D. Wind, the surgeon with 3rd Bn., 4th Marines, to her residence to welcome her home June, 12.
“The purpose of the visit was to welcome her and her father back, to show our concern and respect for their well being and to establish a medical follow up,” Wind said. “It was also to pass word of her health to the many people back in the United States who helped raise funding needed for her surgery.”
Sunday, June 22, 2008 -- [Cheese's Blog - in Afghanistan]
As you can see, I'm back on my A-game. I can't believe how much a little flexorall can help. Looking at all of the pictures I have on here, you'd think that all I do is hang out with the Afghan youth, so I figured I'd explain a little tactic we use here. Whenever the Lt is getting swarmed by the little buggers so much that he can't do his job, we bust out the cameras to distract them. If there's anything that the Afghan-lits love...well, it's John Cena and pens...but getting pictures taken is a close third.
We're starting to have some fun with the missions now. Instead of sitting on mountain tops waiting until it's time to head back, we found out how much fun it can be to punt soccer balls to the kids in the foothill villages.
Meetings -- [The Satirist at War - in Afghanistan]
The inspiration for this post comes from several discussions I’ve had over the past ten days; some with co-workers, some with friends. The subject of these conversations—verbal, written, and in some cases play-acted—has been meetings. As redeployment is just around the corner, and I am an Executive Officer (responsible in garrison for the most boring, frustrating part of a Company’s life: coordination), I’ve been logging no less than four meetings a day for over a week, now.
War is hell.
A candid assessment of our situation -- [The Satirist at War - in Afghanistan]
Popped down to the bazaar yesterday for one of my last patrols (if not the last patrol), and when I got back, the FOB was abuzz with rumors of an impending visit from G1, to inspect living conditions. This on the heels of a visit from IG that had been prompted by someone who, according to rumor, had described living conditions on various FOBs and COPs in our AO as "deplorable," or something like that.
The first thing I'd like to point out is that I've seen deplorable living conditions a few times during my sojourn in the Army, and those instances have all had the following in common: ...
Rock Art -- [SandGram - in Afghanistan]
The country of Afghanistan can be beautiful with rolling hills and lots of color. It can change just as fast to arid desert area until you hit the next valley with a river running through which brings life to all the locals. On this particular day of travel, I was sort of daydreaming as I stared out the window of our vehicle and I started to notice all the “Rock Art” in the desert along the side of the highway. There were sections of white rocks piled up in little pyramids. I thought maybe this was the creation of bored kids while watching their herds of sheep.
I leaned forward to comment on this Afghan art. “Hey, Sgt first Class, what is up with all the rocks piled up in the little mounds out there? Is that some sort of artwork?” He chuckled and said, “Sir, that’s not art, those are land mines and the piles of rocks mark the area.
Afghan, US forces kill 55 Taliban after ambush -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
US and Afghan forces fought a major battle with the Taliban and "inflicted heavy casualties" on the force just miles from the Pakistani border on June 20, Combined Joint Task Force - 101 reported.
More than 55 Taliban fighters, including three senior leaders, were reported killed, 25 were wounded and three were captured by a combined air and ground counterattack after a Taliban force ambushed a patrol in Paktika province. "Patrols in the ambush area continue to report additional enemy casualties," the US military reported.
Stop killing the Taliban – they offer the best hope of beating Al-Qaeda -- [Time - Simon Jenkins]
The British expedition to Afghanistan is on the brink of something worse than defeat: a long, low-intensity war from which no government will dare to extricate itself. With the death toll mounting, battle is reportedly joined with the Taliban at the very gates of the second city, Kandahar. There is no justification for ministerial bombast that “we are winning the war, really”.
RM Commandos Apache Rescue
Pentagon Despair Over NATO and Afghanistan -- [The Captain’s Journal]
The Captain’s Journal doesn’t like to be negative, but it is necessary to engage in truth-telling. For more than half a year The Captain’s Journal has been in a state of near despair over the failure of NATO to deploy forces to Afghanistan, employ a realistic set of rules of engagement, and implement a coherent, consistent counterinsurgency strategy. There are seasons in counterinsurgency, and the campaign will soon suffer under the weight of U.S. and NATO being viewed as occupiers rather than liberators. Timeliness is everything in COIN.
The Pentagon is months behind us, but it appears that the sentiment is now mutual.
...So what do rules of engagement have to do with the campaign in Afghanistan? The Germans know full well what a restrictive set of ROE can do to efforts to militarily defeat the enemy. Not long ago they had to allow a Taliban commander to escape because he wasn’t brandishing a weapon while escaping. Troops can act in self defense, but many cannot conduct offensive operations.
Arghandab Operations - (Raw Footage)
Raw footage of recent operations involving Afghan and ISAF troops in the Arghandab valley following the prison break in Kandahar.
ISAF regional commander reports Arghandab, Kandahar as safe, secure -- [ISAF - in Afghanistan]
Operations in Kandahar city and Arghandab district continue to progress well as Afghan forces and ISAF work together to maintain security for the people of Afghanistan.
Overall, commanders in the area report the situation is not as the Taliban extremists claim. The population is calm, and the insurgents appear to have chosen to flee rather than fight.
In Kandahar city, Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF troops are ensuring security in Kandahar city and protecting against potential terrorist attacks.
Special forces find proof of Iran supplying Taliban with equipment to fight British -- [Guardian]
British special forces operating on the border between Afghanistan and Iran have uncovered fresh evidence that Tehran is actively backing insurgents fighting UK troops.
Documented proof that Iran is supplying the Taliban with devastating roadside bomb-making equipment has been passed by British officials to Tehran, prompting fears that the war in Afghanistan may escalate into a regional armed conflict.
The River - Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore -- [Michael Yon]
...I followed events in Myanmar through the news and my own sources. Then I got a call from Singapore, asking me to get to Thailand immediately -- a small relief/reconnaissance team was assembling to head into the Irrawaddy delta. There were unsubstantiated reports that the Myanmar government had warned that any foreigners heading into the delta would face a $3,000 fine, and five years in prison. A number of rumors circulated about arrests and a further clampdown on information from the region, as well as continued restriction of access to the cyclone-affected area. I have known the leader of the relief team for some twenty five years. He asked if I would take a chance and slip into the delta and bring the news home. Over the past couple years, my friend has been awarded about $100 million dollars worth of construction and other contracts in conflict zones. He had been traveling to Myanmar for nearly a decade, bringing back news of the junta, but also the simple and very friendly people who had won his respect and fondness. He had been in Myanmar just before Cyclone Nargis.
A day after getting the phone call, I was on a jet. Soon I was in Thailand. On 9 June, I went to the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok to apply for a visa, but when the government worker behind the glass learned I was American, he nearly slammed the window shut. The man would not consider issuing me a visa; he never looked at my application, even though others were getting visas.
Everything seemingly is spinning out of control -- [AP]
Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
...Residents of the nation's capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.
...Want to get away from it all? The weak U.S. dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage.
Want to escape on the couch? A writers' strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.
But there's always sports, right?
The moorings seem to be coming loose here, too.
Life in Putin's Russia -- [WaPo]
...Under Putin, the Russian businessman has been transformed into game being hunted by people in epaulets. Who was the first victim of this hunt? Oil company executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for tax evasion in 2005, and his company, Yukos, which the government dismantled and sold off after his arrest. Who was the hunter? Then-president Putin.
Flight 93 Memorial Blogburst: Who Broke The Circle? -- [Flopping Aces]
The Memorial Project claims to have an innocent explanation for why the central feature of the Flight 93 memorial is a giant Islamic shaped crescent. As architect Paul Murdoch has been saying since September 2005, the flight path breaks the circle, turning it into what was originally called the Crescent of Embrace.
But this isn’t a memorial to an airliner. It is a memorial to human beings. So just who is it that architect Paul Murdoch is depicting as breaking the circle?
As a secular symbol, the circle signifies peace and harmony. There is no way that the heroic passengers and crew can be charged with breaking the circle. It is the terrorists who broke the peace.
Think what that means thematically. The terrorists broke our peaceful circle and turned it into a giant Islamic shaped crescent that just happens to point to Mecca. You could not come up with a more blatant depiction of al Qaeda victory.
No Honor Among Thieves -- [Strategy Page]
June 23, 2008: The increasingly rebellious younger Iranians are fighting back by not getting married. Part of that reluctance is the poor state of the economy. Many, perhaps 20 percent of more, of young Iranians are unable to find a job. But the marriage rate has plummeted, and the government is fighting back by experimenting with a program where young, male, unmarried employees are threatened with loss of their jobs if they don't get married within a few months. Meanwhile, trying to play nice, the government has opened a "woman's only" park in the capital, where women can walk around without their veils. Newspapers critical of any of these government actions continue to be shut down, even if run by Islamic conservatives. The clerics who run the government are increasingly fighting among themselves, both openly and behind the scenes.
The Road to Kosovo, Part I -- [Michael Totten - in the Balkans]
A gigantic poster of genocidal Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic hung on the outside wall of a hideous communist-style apartment block.
“Get a picture of that,” I said to my friend and traveling companion Sean LaFreniere as I drove our rented car through the outer suburbs of Serbia's capital Belgrade. I had the wheel and he had the camera.
“Too late,” he said.
We were driving fast on a four-lane road and were almost out of the city. Our road trip from Serbia to Kosovo via Bosnia, Croatia, and Montenegro was just beginning.
...We both wondered, though, how well we’d be received if we sidled up to a bar in the Serbian countryside and asked for shots of slivovitz in American English. With only a single exception, everyone we met in Belgrade was perfectly friendly and pleasant despite Serbia's sometimes primitive anti-Americanism.
Sometimes I'm not sure what to make of even the primitive anti-Americanism, let alone the moderate variety.
BUSH tells Adam Boulton; "criticism has become slander"
In an interview with adam boulton of SkyNews, President Bush defends america's honor against the haters of the world. Even boulton's distracting red socks couldn't throw bush off his game as put things in perspective.
Anti-Americanism Is Mostly Hype -- [WSJ - FOUAD AJAMI]
So America is unloved in Istanbul and Cairo and Karachi: It is an annual ritual, the June release of the Pew global attitudes survey and the laments over the erosion of America's standing in foreign lands.
We were once loved in Anatolia, but now a mere 12% of Turks have a "favorable view" of the U.S. Only 22% of Egyptians think well of us. Pakistan is crucial to the war on terror, but we can only count on the goodwill of 19% of Pakistanis.
American liberalism is heavily invested in this narrative of U.S. isolation.
Venezuela Hosts Iranian Terrorists -- [Strategy Page]
June 22, 2008: A new battlefield for the war on terror has developed in Venezuela. There, leftist president Hugo Chavez has not only established close diplomatic relations with Iran (and Cuba, North Korea and radical groups throughout the region), but has allowed Iran to set up operations in South America. Regular commercial flights from Iran to Venezuela (via Syria, to accommodate Hizbollah) carry people, cash and whatever else Iran wants to move. No questions asked, no visas required. Several U.S. counter-terrorism operations have gone to work, trying to find out what Iran is up to, and how to block any terrorist activity. For example,
Brit High-Maintenance Al-Qaeda Preacher -- [Jawa Report]
(London, England) Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, hate preacher Abu Qatada, is living a life of luxury in London.
...47-year-old Abu Qatada has a sore back so he qualifies for £150 a week incapacity benefit. That amount, of course, will be added onto £45,000 a year in child benefit, income support, housing benefit and council tax credit.
The income allows Abu to live in an £800,000 four-bedroom Edwardian house which, unfortunately, he can't leave because he's on house arrest. And, by the way...
The Clock Ticks For The President -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
Why We Are Attacking al-Qaeda Before The Musharraf Window Closes, Not The Bush Window
A new accelerated ‘bin Laden hunt’ is reported by the UK’s Times Online. The British daily predictably characterizes the push as one vainly directed by President George W. Bush in a self-serving effort to ensure he can include the killing or capture of Usama bin Laden on his watch. Larry Kudlow noted the story and asked whether any “read any significance into it.” The answer is yes, but for none of the reasons the Times and its anonymous intelligence sources...
Hunt For Bin Laden: Getting The Right President -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
A week ago, the UK’s Times Online published an article in which the details were as shallow as the accompanying headline, which read, “Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office, orders George W. Bush.” The article was penned with...
Jihad against Freedom of Speech at the United Nations -- [Family Security Matters]
The United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has no problem with its members suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" perpetrated by the United States on itself. The human rights of America's 9/11 victims are not a priority for UNHRC's Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who engages in 9/11 conspiracy propaganda, while working for an organization headquartered in New York City funded by U.S. tax dollars. This is Richard Falk's protected freedom of speech.
‘Joint Venturers’ in Terror Support Trial Seek to Edit History -- [Family Security Matters]
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) want a Dallas federal judge to remove their names from a list of "unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers" in the terror support trial of a charity accused of supporting Hamas.
The petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of NAIT and ISNA states that the designation violates Fifth Amendment protections by casting a smear on the organizations without proof, and without the opportunity for a defense. This, they claim, has deeply tarnished the groups' reputations with government agencies and other religious organizations.
Foreign Fighters: How Are They Being Recruited? -- [SWJ]
Currently, debate focuses on two models of foreign fighter recruitment and transit to theaters of open conflict. The first model is one of top-down recruitment where al-Qa’ida recruits young men and coordinates their travel to an operational theater. The second model suggests the opposite where young men recruit themselves and find their way to open theaters of conflict joining a global Jihadi movement inspired but not necessarily led by al-Qa’ida.
Both models assign a role to the Internet in this process. ...
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? - [MilBlogs - Major Pain]
OMV Letters From Home....Support YOUR Marines!!
What would you say to a warrior deployed to Iraq if you could chat with him? You might say "Thanks for protecting us", or "We support you", if you were somewhere in passing. But what if you were sitting down, sharing your feelings over dinner? Then what would you say to him? Think about it, because you now have that opportunity.
Continue reading "WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? "
We have a large group of Marines currently located in a remote area of Iraq. Mail might arrive once a week if the fates are with them, and water is obtained from a well on site. These are your Marines, living on the edge of the empire, alone and determined to succeed. They don't live in Fallujah, they don't have a PX or a store. They operate with the bare bones and a can do attitude.
Joe Wierzbicki of Move America Forward here. -- [Move America Forward]
I want to put out a message to some in the MilBlogging community regarding the "From the Front Lines" 8-hour pro-troop web-a-thon that takes place this Thursday, June 26th. This broadcast is to support the push to send the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in history. "From the Front Lines" will be co-hosted by MAF's Melanie Morgan and HotAir.com's Michelle Malkin and feature some of the biggest patriotic leaders of our time including: Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, the Office of General David Petraeus, Lt. Col. Oliver North (Ret.), Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Monica Crowley, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Actor Kelsey Grammer, Comedian Jackie Mason, Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, G. Gordon Liddy, and many others…
I want to apologize for the short notice. To be honest with you, our program segments got filled with so many great celebrities and patriotic leaders wanting to take part in this -- they wanted to do something that would bring joy to our troops. But we at Move America Forward decided we wanted to hold some spaces for words and videos direct from our military men & women. So we've held a few short segments for the 8-hour broadcast that we would like to invite our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan to be featured in with a brief video message (anything from :30 seconds to 3:00 minutes in length). Our troops can do a shout out to loved ones back home, talk about why it's important to receive letters, cards, care packages from back home, and speak to their overall experiences as they've undertaken their missions in the war on terror. Videos can be .wmv or .mpg or other similar standard video formats.
Video messages can be sent to Danny Gonzalez, Communications Director at Move America Forward. Contact Danny at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete information on "From the Front Lines" can be found at: http://www.MoveAmericaForward.org
And - get those video messages emailed to Danny Gonzalez ASAP!
Despicable -- [Jawa Report]
The piece of trash in this video is well known for being a professional assmaggot and media whore, so we won't mention its name here, or post the vile video in which it seeks to justify spitting on the graves of veterans at the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery in Estell Manor, New Jersey.
What we'd like to know from our readers is this: does anyone know what constitutes "desecration" of graves in New Jersey.
Michael Crook spitting on the graves of veterans at the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery in Estell Manor
Blogger Michael Crook, known for Forsake the Troops and other such sites, pays veterans a little "visit", offering his opinions as only he can.
Scam Alert -- [MilBlogs - Greyhawk]
The lowest of the low:
Military families misled by Red Cross impostor
A scam using the American Red Cross brand is conning military families into believing that a loved one in the service has been injured overseas so that the perpetrators can steal personal data or ask for a donation to the charity.
Marines Recruiting Office Protest and Counter-Protest -- [Zombie Time]
Berkeley, June 21, 2008 - Yes, they're at it again. Supporters and detractors of the United States military battled it out in Berkeley for at least the sixth time this year: the latest in a relentless series of protests and counter-protests trying to seize the upper hand in the controversy over the "Marine Corps Officer Selection Office" on Shattuck Square.
Today's Summer Solstice showdown featured Move America Forward, the Marines Motorcycle Club, the Patriot Guard Riders and other veterans' and pro-America groups facing off against their traditional adversaries: World Can't Wait, Code Pink, the Revolutionary Communist Party, assorted 9/11 Truthers, far-left activists and their fellow travelers.
Let the battle commence!
Nazi salute by leftists during National Anthem in Berkeley
Gas Prices Hitting Troops Where it Hurts -- [Defense Link]
For the first time since the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began touring the world talking to troops, the increasing cost of gas is popping up on their list of concerns.
In didn’t come up when it was $2 per gallon, or $3, but now, with the cost of a gallon of gas topping out at more than $4 per gallon, the subject has come up in the last four of his “all-hands” meetings starting last week at Fort Stewart, Ga., and now at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, both in Washington.
“Every single session [now], the price of gas has come up,” Mullen said.
One soldier at Fort Lewis wanted to know if the Pentagon was considering a gas cost of living allowance, similar to a housing allowance. Not yet, said the chairman. Even if the idea were under consideration, he added, the process would take so long that it would be years before it would yield anything to put in the soldier’s wallet.
The USAF Absorbs A Wake-Up Call -- [Strategy Page]
June 22, 2008: Everyone is down on the U.S. Air Force these days. Long criticized as being dethatched, and obsessed with developing and buying the latest (and most expensive) aircraft and technology, the air force was largely a victim of its own success. Critics should not forget that the U.S. Air Force has been the main reason the U.S. has dominated the skies, worldwide, for the last 65 years. That was no accident, it took a lot of effort and imagination. A certain amount of myopia regarding jet fighters, and how to shoot down everyone elses, was necessary to obtain that air supremacy. Without it, winning on the ground is difficult, if not impossible. Let's not forget that the zoomies are, above all, winners.
The Ultimate Sacrifice -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Some of our warriors have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of America in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In the picture below (h/t Tony Perry, credit AP), the casket of Marine Sgt. Michael T. Washington arrived Thursday at a funeral home in Auburn, Washington. He was based out of Twentynine Palms, and died supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Monday, June 23, 2008 -- [The Unlikely Short-Timer - just home from Iraq]
...Last thing I ever said to old Vic, was something along these lines:
"Shit man, the house we took, there was some young chick living there, and the weird thing is....she looked a LOT like YOU dude. I was weirded out. And turned on at the same time. I know it doesn't make ME gay. I guess it just makes you.....femmy?"
...Til I escorted him to the Green Zone without even knowing who was hit. Smoked a half a pack within two hours once I got the official news. They announced his odds to be 50/50. Prayed for an excuse to kill someone once we found 0ut that he didn't make it. Next day, I got blown up. Outta commission for a few days.
George Carlin, Grammy-Winning Exponent of Black Humor, Dies -- [Bloomberg]
June 23 (Bloomberg) -- George Carlin, an American comedian who scrapped an early career as a variety-show humorist to become a Grammy-winning font of countercultural, profanity-filled black humor, died in California. He was 71.
Carlin went to St. John's Hospital, Santa Monica, yesterday after complaining of chest pain and died at 5:55 p.m. local time, publicist Jeff Abraham told the Associated Press. Abraham didn't immediately respond to a call requesting confirmation.
George Carlin - Life is Worth Losing - Warning Stong Language!
Soldier Sees Burned Down Home For The First Time -- [KLTV News]
It was an unexpected sight in more ways than one.
"I'm not really known around here, but just to know that these people are supporting me is a great feeling," said David Renteria, a sergeant in the US Army.
Silently, they stood, few in number, with flags waving proudly--volunteers with "Welcome Home Soldiers."
"It was a hard because it would not be appropriate for us to be screaming and yelling, 'welcome home' because it's not really a great 'welcome home' for him," said Anne DeLaet, the group's organizer. This homecoming was different.
Kin welcome medical soldiers home from Iraq -- [Boston Herald]
By Ira Kantor More than 70 medical soldiers received a hero’s welcome Thursday afternoon at Hanscom Air Force Base after spending the last year dispensing ...
Soldier welcomed home -- [Morris Daily Herald]
...“When he wanted to go into the Army, we discussed it for six months before he made the final decision, because he had a full scholarship in nuclear medicine to Benedictine University and we are a very close family,” Mrs. Dettmann recalled.
SSG Dettmann is not the only member of the family to choose to serve the country in the military. His younger brother, William, 22, and William's wife, Audrey, 20, are both currently in the Army.
William is a combat medic and will return home in October, while Audrey is a prison guard who recently returned from Iraq. Her military service will be finalized in July.
This welcome back event started at SSG Dettmann's home with the Patriot Guard Riders, Morris police, fire and emergency vehicles, Grundy County vehicles, American Legion Riders and Operation: MOMS (Men/Women Of Military Service) Cookies escorting the soldier to the Grundy County Courthouse lawn.
21 troops welcomed home after serving in Kosovo for nearly a year -- [Indianapolis Star]
... greeted at Indianapolis International Airport with American flags, welcome-home signs and homemade banana nut cookies. The troops were providing support ...
Someone Else’s Alex -- [NY Times]
The people at MoveOn.org have a new Iraq ad that is, if they do say so themselves, their most effective ever. Then again, for the group that brought us the “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?” ad last September, that might not be saying much.
I’m not persuaded. Having slandered a distinguished general officer, MoveOn has now moved on to express contempt for all who might choose to serve their country in uniform.
You Can't Have Alex! MoveOn.org (NTVNAT.com)
History will say that we misunderestimated George W Bush -- [Telegraph]
As he leaves the White House at the end of his second term, the President has a poll rating of only 23 per cent, and is widely disliked and even despised. His foreign policy has been judged a failure, especially in view of the long, painful, costly war that he declared, which is still not over.
Presidents are seldom remembered for more than one or two things; the rest slip away into a haze of historical amnesia. With Kennedy it was the Bay of Pigs and his own assassination, with Johnson the Great Society and Vietnam, with Nixon it was opening up China and the Watergate scandal, and so on.
George W Bush will be remembered for his responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, but since neither of those conflicts has yet ended in victory or defeat, it is far too early categorically to assume - as left-wingers, anti-war campaigners and almost all media commentators already do - that his historical reputation will be permanently down in the doldrums next to poor old Warren Harding's.
But once the decades have put the stirring events of those years into their proper historical context, four great facts will emerge that will place Bush in a far better light than he currently enjoys.
THIS IS BAD FOR THE COUNTRY: Poll -- [Instapundit]
Military approval beats Congress's 71-12. "Gallup's annual update on confidence in institutions finds just 12% of Americans expressing confidence in Congress, the lowest of the 16 institutions tested this year, and the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35-year history of this question."
Bush Lauds House Passage of War Funding, GI Bill Benefits -- [Defense Link]
President Bush praised the House of Representatives for passing a supplemental war spending bill that includes expanded Montgomery GI Bill benefits, and he urged the Senate to quickly do the same.
Life After... There Is... -- [SOME SOLDIER'S MOM]
...Now, for the GI Bill. First, every college should actually be sure that the person they designate the "Veterans' Liaison" or "Veterans' Coordinator" actually has some friggin' clue what the GI Bill covers, what documentation is required, and the benefits available. Noah has wasted more time "schooling" his college's coordinator in benefits. The guy didn't have any clue what a "kicker" is (this is the additional level of educational benefits "purchased" and contained in enlistment contracts), and he assured Noah the costs of the Wildlfire Academy would be covered: it wasn't... no college credit hours & no "certification" (see next paragraph) = no money.
Obama Gets Another Unwanted Endorsement -- [OneFreeKorea]
The Chosun Sinbo, the mouthpiece of North Korea’s Japanese front organization Chongryon and often for the North Korean regime itself, has announced its preference for Obama over McCain, whom it calls “a variant of Bush” and “nothing better than a scarecrow of neoconservatives,” which is a bit odd considering that the Bush Administration’s giveaway diplomacy is better for Kim Jong Il than even Clinton’s awful performance.
...I’m sure someone can improve on this translation:
We will see a better relationship between the U.S. and the Korean Peninsula with Obama, who sternly criticizes Bush and who would meet the leader of Chosun without pre-conditions, than with the “Bush clone” and scarecrow of the neocons McCain.
'When John McCain was my captive' -- [BBC]
Tran Trong Duyet - a sprightly retiree and amateur ballroom dancer - must rank as one of John McCain's more unlikely supporters. Mr Duyet reminisces instead about how he often summoned the future US presidential candidate to his private office for informal chats.
"We used to argue about the war - about whether it was right or wrong," he says.
"He is a very frank man - very conservative, and very loyal to his country and the American ideal.
"He had a very interesting accent and sometimes he taught me words in English and corrected my accent. I have followed his career since he left prison."
..."So now I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties."
How to Read A Far Left Political Hack Like Frank Rich -- [Gateway Pundit]
This past week Obama did finally admit that the surge was a success.
However, his website still has this posted: ...
Obama's website is wrong about the violence in Iraq-- US fatalities are at an all-time low in Iraq. Violence is down throughout Iraq. In Anbar Province alone it's down 80-90%.
Obama said the military surge would never work-- Then he repeated it wasn't working . He often squirmed when asked about it at the Democratic debates.
The problem is-- The surge did work and now he's forced to admit it.
Obama was wrong.
Mitchell: Powell & Nunn 'Shoved Down [Clinton's] Throat' 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' -- [NewsBusters]
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993.
Tortured Interpretation -- [Matt Sanchez]
Simply tasteless, Rolling Stones has decided that John McCain is a figure to be mocked with this depiction of the former POW and current Republican presidential candidate.
...Abercrombie and Fitch came under fire for stereotyping Asians as...
Pointing and Shooting -- [Greyhawk]
Some recent photos from markets in Basra, Iraq
...There's something for everyone in Basra (and Baghdad, London, Detroit and DC, too). You can get photos that show stark reality, and others that are suitable for viewing by readers of the NY Times. Gloomy grim and black and white or in vibrant living color - unless you're actually there how you see Iraq depends on lenses and filters. Not necessarily those used by photographers - some are selected for you by helpful editors or political leaders - while others might be of your own choosing.
Reporters Say Networks Put Wars on Back Burner -- [NY Times]
Getting a story on the evening news isn't easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network.
Obtaining Information From Iraq -- [LT Nixon]
Hilzoy at ObWi cites the NYT article on the declining coverage by traditional media for the war in Iraq. The decline of adequate American media coverage in Iraq has been a problem since around the Petraeus/Crocker testimony in September 2007. Lucky for us, there's a host of international media outlets and blogs still devoted to one of the most important issues of the decade (see the sidebar to your right).
Of course, television is so 20th century. Blogging, Youtube, and other forms of web media have become the new Videodrome.
Petraeus Guidance And Application in the Punditsphere -- [LT Nixon]
Multi-National Force Iraq has released COIN guidance from General Petraeus. The directives are nothing new to people who follow counter-insurgency doctrine or soldiers with boots on ground. But two bullets of interest are applicable to bloggers following events while in our underwear back stateside:
-Be first with the truth. Get accurate information of significant activities to your chain of command, to Iraqi leaders, and to the press as soon as is possible. Beat the insurgents, extremists, and criminals to the headlines, and pre-empt rumors.
-Fight the information war relentlessly....Develop and sustain a narrative that works and continually drive the themes home through all forms of media.
IRAQ FAIRY TALES - THE NEED TO BELIEVE WE'LL FAIL - [New York Post - Ralph Peters]
I heard a campaign flunky on TV insist that progress in Iraq is an illusion. "The war isn't over until all of the troops come home!" she grumped.
Guess we're still at war with Germany. And Japan. Even Italy. Oh, and let's not forget all of our military bases occupying the Confederacy.
The poor woman knew nothing about warfare, history - or Iraq. She just wanted to see her candidate win in November and wasn't going to let reality get in the way.
And one look told you she didn't even know any "troops."
Babalu Blog Bombshell: Obama Personally Told Campaign Volunteer to Shut Up About Che Guevara Flag -- [NewsBusters]
If there were ever a reason that illustrates why newspapers are dying and the mainstream media isn't trusted by many people, this story from the Babalu Blog is a perfect example. Last February, your humble correspondent posted a Newsbusters blog about the studied incuriosity of the MSM over the Che Guevara flag hanging in the office of Barack Obama campaign volunteer, Maria Isabel. This flag was discovered when Houston Fox News 26 reported on the opening of an Obama campaign office as you can see in this video.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraqis Publish More Proof Of Saddam Links To Al-Qaeda Leadership -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Iraqi newspaper Kurdistani Nwe published a letter today on the front page from Saddam Hussein requesting a meeting with Al-Qaeda second in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri:
Why Iraqis Back McCain -- [WSJ]
However it turns out for John McCain this fall -- and so far he's running his general election campaign the way Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ran counterinsurgency ops -- the Arizona Republican is sure to carry at least one battleground state by a landslide. That state is called Iraq.
Last week, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey of more than 24,000 people in 24 countries. Result: From Japan to Tanzania to Germany to Russia, the world has "more confidence" in Barack Obama than in his Republican rival to "do the right thing regarding world affairs."
But Pew did not poll Iraqis, whose opinions about the choice America makes should weigh at least as heavily with us as the collective wisdom of, say, Brazil. Whom would they prefer as the next U.S. president?
The Promise of Peace -- [Abu Muqawama]
Approximately 1,200 Iraqi forces (with U.S. troops and warplanes supporting them) have launched the government's fourth major operation in recent months (dubbed "Promise of Peace") in the southern border city of Amara (the capital of Maysan province). As a consequence of negotiations with local leaders prior to the offensive, reports suggest that Iraqi troops faced little resistance. (Members of the Sadr movement also traveled to Amara to monitor the sweep in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the escalation following the Basra operation).
Amara has not been particularly violent in recent years, but control of the city is seen as important to reduce the flow of weapons and Iranian-trained fighters into Iraq.
Iraq News (20 June) -- [LT Nixon]
The Good: Iraqi Spec Ops have captured a militia leader in Baghdad. Col Ferrell talks about tactics in preventing extremists from re-entering the Sunni areas south of Baghdad during a press conference. Australian News is more optimistic about new development of Iraqi oil infrastructure stabilizing crude prices than the "no blood for oil" crowd in the states. This comes at a time when the Iraqi Finance Minister has announced plans for Iraqi natural gas to be transferred to Jordan from Anbar province via pipeline. The Iraqi-led "Promise of Peace" operation continues with big successes in Maysan province.
Baghdad car bomb blamed on Iranian backed Shias -- [Time - James Hider in Baghdad]
The US military has accused Iranian-backed Shia groups of setting off a car bomb that killed more than 60 people in a mainly Shia area of Baghdad, hinting at yet another new twist in the complex web of violence gripping the capital.
“We believe the attack was not conducted by AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq],” said Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover, a US army spokesman, said. “Though vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices are a trademark of AQI, our intelligence, corroborated through multiple sources, is this atrocity was committed by a Special Groups cell led by Haydar Mehdi Khadum al-Fawadi.” The Special Groups are rogue elements of al-Mahdi Army, the Shia militia of the anti-American cleric Hojatoleslam Moqtada al-Sadr, which have allegedly been co-opted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards overseas division, the al-Quds Force. Colonel Stover said that the aim of the bombing was to discourage Sunnis from returning to the predominantly Shia area of al-Hurriyah in northwestern Baghdad and sow sectarian strife as the levels of violence drop in the divided city.
People Actually Think We Tried to Kidnap Ahmadinejad, Sigh -- [LT Nixon]
Juan Cole posts an article from the Iranian propaganda apparatus about Ahmadinejad thinking that the U.S. tried to abduct him while he visited Baghdad in March
Success in Iraq: Thinking about our Team -- [Matel-in-Iraq - in Iraq]
Below is our team member Allen Gifford meeting with farmers in the Rawah area north of the Euphrates
Sometimes they expect more than we can give. Usually we can do something.
Our ePRT was part of the diplomatic surge that went in soon after the change in strategy that produced the military surge in early 2007. The initial team was hastily assembled with short term contractors. My predecessor was a senior State Department officer, but he staying in country only six months. The last of the original crew is set to leave in a couple of weeks, which made me think about how much had changed in the last year.
Change: Real & Imaginary -- [Matel-in-Iraq - in Iraq]
Below - Separating the wheat from the chaff the old fashioned way near Rawah on the Euphrates. Some things chage faster than others.
...Change is constant and inevitable. Being "for change" is meaningless and childish w/o explaining what change you want & exactly how you hope to achieve it. Some people don't understand that society is a complex system. Disturbing one thing, even a bad thing, will have unexpected consequences throughout the system.
Take a concrete example of a man dying of thirst. If you just give him as much water as he wants to drink, you probably will kill him. His body can process about a liter, maybe little more, every hour, no more. You can make changes but not on your timetable. And the most direct and "obvious" action may not be the most appropriate.
The general rules are that abrupt changes create strong reactions. There are many things you cannot have, at least at the same time, and the time lags are important in any decision.
Story Update: IRAQI JUDGE: Alsammarae Will Go to Prison if He Steps Onto Iraqi Soil -- [Talisman Gate - Iraqi blog]
In a fascinating update to my story of a few days ago regarding Aiham Alsammarae, the slimy pro-Obama Iraqi-American ex-convict who called for more insurgent attacks on American soldiers, the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council has declared today that Alsammarae will face prison time and more charges should he return to Iraq.
Iraqi security forces detain senior Sadrist during Maysan operation -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Iraqi security forces detained the Sadrist mayor of Amarah. US troops captured four Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad. Iraqi soldiers detained nine al Qaeda operatives in Mosul. The Sharqat Emergency Response Unit captured three al Qaeda fighters.
A report from the Provincial Reconstruction Team Front. -- [Castle Argghhh! - Joe in Iraq]
...Sorry again for the delay in updating, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks for me here. With security in the province getting better, we’ve been able to really take a long term look at the country around us. That means rather than just responding to crisis (like the emergency sheep feed program I’m working) we are really trying to get a handle on the whole agricultural system, what the needs are to make some quick fixes before the fall planting season and what the long term solutions are. That means I’ve been out most of the days these past weeks having meetings with various Iraqi officials district councils and farmers trying to get “the lay of the land.”
This edition features stories on Soliders assisting Iraq forces in securing neighborhoods and on Flash Traffic Control Points.
Baghdad Base's New Generators Run on Trash -- [Danger Room]
At the U.S. military's headquarters in Iraq, it's garbage in, power out.
Two prototype generators -- running on food slop, shredded documents and ammunition wrappers -- have helped supply power to Camp Victory, near Baghdad, since early May.
About 50 percent of the diesel that the military burns in Iraq is devoted to transporting more fuel. And about of that gets poured into generators and stoves. Which is not just a huge waste of time, money, and effort. It's also a security issue. "Those convoys that carry fuel are also known as targets," Army biotech scientist Dr. James Valdes tells a group of bloggers. "So our logic was that at a forward operating base, could we use the garbage to make fuel and thereby get rid of the garbage and help to keep the convoys off the streets."
MNC-I -- [The Marching Camp - in Iraq]
Yeah, so I'm in Iraq, finally. I'm disgusted six ways to Sunday already, but this is a Corps headquarters. I don't know what else I could expect. Echelons above Reality. . .
Three Beers Till Deployment -- [A Cigar Lover Delpoys to Iraq - on his way to Iraq]
...Some of my soldiers are scared. I can see it in the way that they talk to their parents. They sequester themselves in nooks and crannies of the armory, holding on to their parent’s hands until they absolutely have to let them go. I occasionally walk in on them when I stomp through the Armory, unlit cigar in my mouth, yelling that I need to see so-and-so. They usually turn and look at me while giving me a peevish smile. I raise my hand and back out of the room, happy that I didn’t curse at them in front of their parents.
I’m all about milk and cookies when the parents are around anyway.
I’m not scared. “Ha!” You prior service guys say. “You’ll be scared when that mortar round lands on your head.”
June 19, 2008- Dear Interested Readers, -- [Troop Scoop]
A suspected AQI cell member captured in Balad, and a suspected ISI cell leader captured in Mosul. 4 suspected criminals detained in Rashid, while huge weapons and munition caches are seized. We are also witness to the heroism of 2 U.S. Army air crews.
Army Kiowa Chopper Engages Insurgent Planting IED In Iraq
British Army gunners pack a punch in Iraq -- [Ministry of Defence]
When coalition forces came under heavy attacks from insurgents in Iraq, the flames of the British Army gunners' 155mm AS90s proved to be the showstopper.
NBC interviews Kirk Johnson, founder of the List Project -- [Refugee Resettlement Watch]
Johnson seems to be trying to find personal help for the Iraqis rather than the kind of bureaucratic solutions the resettlement agencies usually use.
Is it true that some recent refugees have even gone back to Iraq?
Some have signed up to go back to Iraq as interpreters…When they’re being offered $130,000 to do that, they go against all reason, but there is desperation to make ends meet. Titan L3 was doing a lot of recruiting — this is the main firm finding interpreters for our troops. So we’re going to bring different NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) to help these highly educated refugees so they don’t make “panicked” decisions.
Maybe they think it’s worth it to go back. Maybe it isn’t as dangerous. It seems presumptious to assume these are “panicked” decisions.Our position has always been that the goal should be for the U.S. to help the Iraqis who helped us and are endangered, with the goal of their returning home when it is safe.
Life-Saving Surgeries in Boston Await Iraqi Child -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
This was originally written by Army Sgt. 1st Class Stacy Niles and is a great story of the differences American troops are making in the lives of every day Iraqis - one by one.
More Cultural Tidbits -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
Here’s a little stumbling block westerners have when trying to work within the Arab culture; Arabs lie. At first I thought that was a terribly racist observation until someone pointed out that it’s in the Qur’an. Muslims, not only have permission, but rather have a duty to lie to non-believers; it’s called, “taqiyya”. Wrap your head around that little tidbit.
When talking to the throngs of Iraqis and other Arabs that we have working for us it’s all but impossible to get a straight, reliable answer to your question.
Maai -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
There’s a concept in Japanese martial arts called, “Maai”, and it has to do with the distance between yourself and your opponent...
...Standing in the Green Zone Post Exchange (PX) today I saw a young PSD that could use a little attention to maai. Keep in mind that the PX is considered to be very secure as it’s located behind several layers of security, safe to the point where I would have no problem letting my 4-year old son run around. The three-man PSD was looking after two junior diplomats from one of the western embassies as they attempted to do their shopping. All “kitted out” with radios, ballistic vests, ear pieces, knives, pistols, sun glasses, 5.11 pants and matching polo shirts the team remained within feet of it’s client as they walked up and down the isles.
This is the one huge mistake that young protectors always make....
Samarra- from infamous to just plain famous -- [IN-Iraq - in Iraq]
When Charlie Company of 2nd Battalion/327th Infantry or "No Slack" as they're known, rolled into Samarra on their first patrol this past October, it felt like they'd entered the jaws of hell.
They caught machine gun fire from several directions at once, and chased insurgents straight into an IED trap, according to SFC Joseph Rain, of Hennessey, Oklahoma.
“I loved the first four months,” Sgt. Andrew Hayes of Alpena, MI said. “We got shot at everyday. Granted someone could get hurt, but it went by quick.”
“I didn’t fire a single shot in Kirkuk (last deployment),” Hayes said. “Here, I fired my weapon the first week.”
But the shooting has since declined precipitously.
Military working dogs performing routine training
Who is in Control? -- [Up Country Iraq - in Iraq]
...Both the Sunni Al Qaeda and the Shiite Mahdi Army (with their Iranian counterparts) are facing a slight dilemma at the moment. While both groups continue to declare that the US is the great enemy, these same groups keep killing their own civilians to prove that the US and Iraqi governments are not maintaining security. People in the north and in the south are starting to figure out that when the Americans are in their neighborhoods, they are not being shot and killed or blown up. When AQI and Mahdi elements are around, people get killed. AQI is beginning to try to target Iraqi police and military forces more than civilians, and they are trying to hit US forces in the north. Down in Baghdad, the Mahdi are directly confronting US troops, and they are loosing a lot of their own fighters by doing that. Iraqi citizens generally do not get a good feeling when they hear that Iranian agents are in their country influencing events, so Muqtada Al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi bunch, went on TV to announce that there was absolutely no Iranian influence over him or the Mahdi army at all. Of course, he broadcast that speech from Iran, and everyone on the streets knew it.
The CRSP -- [Brad's Excellent Adventure - in Iraq]
...Once my duffel bag and footlocker were packed and the inventory sheets filled out, I went to the CRSP. Our unit had an appointment, so I was there with the other people who are getting close to leaving. We had to wait around while the supply section got the paperwork straight, and then our shipments were inspected by MP Customs.
That is a very rigorous procedure – they basically dump everything out and look through every nook and cranny. So my neatly-packed bag is not quite as neatly packed as it had been. More of a problem is that since there have been almost constant dust storms since my return, there was dust everywhere in the CRSP tent. So now my gear is all covered in dust.
How Do You Solve A Problem Like the Pashtun? -- [Abu Muqawama]
Against the backdrop of the joint Afghan & Canadian operations against Taliban fighters near Kandahar it seems appropriate to take a look at the current issue of International Security which has two articles on Afghanistan. Each takes a look at a different aspect of the roots of the security challenges there and provides some competing policy recommendations for the US and its allies.
Durand Line Dichotomy: Afghan-Pak Contrasting Developments -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Life straddling the Durand Line is as interesting today as it has ever been. The imaginary line — drawn straight through indigenous Pashtun lands — separates present-day Afghanistan from present-day Pakistan. (Notice the map at the above link dissolves the border and incorporates the whole of current Pakistani FATA, the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan into Afghanistan.)
On one side of the line, former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif is busy whipping crowds into a frenzy in Islamabad, calling for the hanging execution of president Pervez Musharraf. Do not underestimate the depths of Sharif's drive for revenge on the former general who toppled the Sharif government and sent him into exile.
F-16 Fighting Falcon Destroys Taliban Hideout
Taliban Stumble and Fail -- [Strategy Page]
June 20, 2008: Afghanistan continues to be a low risk war, with American combat deaths, after nearly seven years of combat, reaching 310. If you include non-combat deaths (from accidents and disease), the deaths have been 447. Until recently, the loss rate in Afghanistan was about 30 percent of that in Iraq. But with the defeat of the Sunni Arab terrorists in Iraq this year, the casualty rates in Iraq are getting as low as those in Afghanistan have always been. Note that the casualty rates in Iraq, overall, are less than half what they were in Vietnam or World War II. Afghanistan is basically a low intensity war against a minority (the Taliban) of a minority (the Pushtun tribes). Such pointless conflicts are all too common in Afghanistan, where centuries of such nonsense have left the country the poorest in Asia.
Taliban forced back in Kandahar offensive -- [Live Leak]
Taliban forced back in Kandahar offensive - Afghan military: More than 100 Taliban fighters were killed or wounded. Dozens die as battle rages for control of KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan and NATO forces have pushed the Taliban out of several villages in southern Afghanistan they claimed to have seized, the governor of Kandahar province said Thursday.
British troops conducting operations against Taliban forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
1 of 4 More than 100 Taliban fighters were killed or wounded in the operation, said Gov. Assadullah Khalid, and many others have fled.
Hundreds of Taliban militants streamed into several villages in Kandahar days ago, after 400 militants escaped from prison in a daring and well-executed jailbreak.
In response, NATO aircraft dropped hundreds of leaflets advising residents to stay inside and saying that troops were "coming to remove the enemies of Afghanistan." Then military convoys rolled into the district.
Afghan, NATO troops 'clean-up' in Arghandab.
US Ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood said Arghandab will not fall to the Taliban because the latter lack support from the region, where Afghan and NATO troops embarked in a "clean-up" operation on Wednesday.
Iran: We'll hit back with 'strong blow' -- [Jerusalem Post]
Iran on Friday warned Israel it would retaliate to an attack with a "strong blow," after the New York Times reported that the IAF had conducted a drill, apparently for a strike against the Islamic republic.
Slideshow: Pictures of the week "If enemies, especially Israelis and their supporters in the United States, would want to use a language of force, they should rest assured that they will receive a strong blow in the mouth," senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami was quoted by AFP as saying during a Friday prayers sermon, which was also broadcast live on state radio.
Pentagon's 9/11 Memorial Puzzle -- [WaPo]
Public Access to Solemn Site Balanced Against Security Needs
When the nation's first major 9/11 memorial is dedicated on the grounds of the Pentagon's western side this September, it will change the iconic building into something it was not intended to be: a tourist destination.
Africa Security Roundup -- [Threats Watch]
A number of significant developments have taken place on the African continent of late that deserve attention due to their ramifications beyond the mere locale in which they were perpetrated. Instead of focusing on just one issue as usual with the RapidRecon format, I will address and offer analysis on two important events.
First, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the Nigerian insurgent group that has been battling security forces and foreign oil companies for redistribution of oil revenues, successfully launched what may prove to be a watershed attack over the night of June 19. MEND assaulted Royal Dutch Shell’s Bonga oil platform, the group’s first attack on Nigeria’s primary offshore oil field. What is notable about this attack is the fact that the oil platform lies 75 miles off the Nigerian coast. Previously, the majority of MEND’s attacks have focused on oil installations in the Niger Delta, a tangled maze of creeks and swamps, an environment like the Louisiana bayou, that affords the group safe haven. The ability to attack this oil platform such a distance offshore demonstrates that the group has developed a frightening sophistication and maritime capability. The attack has halted Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore production, chopping off a full 10% of Nigeria’s production.
China admits taking, burying US POW from Korea -- [AP]
After decades of denials, the Chinese have acknowledged burying an American prisoner of war in China, telling the U.S. that a teenage soldier captured in the Korean War died a week after he "became mentally ill," according to documents provided to The Associated Press.
China had long insisted that all POW questions were answered at the conclusion of the war in 1953 and that no Americans were moved to Chinese territory from North Korea. The little-known case of Army Sgt. Richard G. Desautels, of Shoreham, Vt., opens another chapter in this story and raises the possibility that new details concerning the fate of other POWs may eventually surface.
War Policy with Douglas Feith: Chapter 5 of 5 -- [NRO]
Is the U.S. equipped to deal with national-security problems around the world? Feith says no, pointing out the antiquated organization of our entire security community as well as the ineffective mess that is the CIA. Of course, our national security ultimately depends on the people in charge. Feith rates a few of the bigger names.
Kill Osama bin Laden (Updated: McCain vows to kill him) -- (911 Families)
...the real question to both Barack Obama and John McCain is whether they, if elected President, would order Osama bin Laden killed or attempt to capture him and only kill him as a last resort.
John McCain: I Will Deliver Justice
Senator Obama is obviously confused about what the United States Supreme Court decided and what he is calling for. After enthusiastically embracing the Supreme Court decision granting habeas in U.S. civilian courts to dangerous terrorist detainees, he is now running away from the consequences of that decision and what it would mean if Osama bin Laden were captured. Senator Obama refuses to clarify whether he believes habeas should be granted to Osama bin Laden, and instead cites the precedent of the Nuremburg war trials. Unfortunately, it is clear Senator Obama does not understand what happened at the Nuremburg trials and what procedures were followed. There was no habeas at Nuremburg and there should be no habeas for Osama bin Laden. Senator Obama cannot have it both ways. In one breath he endorses habeas for terrorists like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and in the next he denies its logical conclusion of habeas for Osama bin Laden. By citing a historical precedent that does not include habeas, he sends a signal of confusion and indecision to our allies and adversaries and the American people.
Let me be clear, under my administration Osama bin Laden will either be killed on the battlefield or executed.
British Al-Qaeda Leader Celebrates Freedom By Calling For Violent Jihad -- [Gateway Pundit]
British Terrorist Celebrates Freedom By Promoting Terror--
Al-Qaeda leader Abu Qatada celebrated his release from prison this week by uploading a 71 page book on the internet urging Muslims to commit terror attacks in the West.
His family is paid £1,000 a month in benefits from the British government.
Abu Qatada is thought to be Osama Bin Laden's right hand man in Europe.
Terror Alerts for Canada, UAE (UPDATED) -- [Jawa Report]
ABC is calling it an exclusive, so I guess we'll give them credit and a link. Hizbollah, it is said, has activated sleeper cells to attack Jewish civilian targets in the West, most likely Canada.
This is ominous in its timing: ...
Watch Lists Gone Wild -- [Strategy Page]
June 19, 2008: A growing problem in the counter-terrorism community is dirty data. That is, information on suspects, or potential terrorists, that is wrong, or unreliable. "Watch lists" (of terrorism suspects) have long been a problem for air travelers, as names are easier to put on the list, than to get off. And a growing percentage of those names are of innocent people. This not only causes extra work for security personnel, but is bad PR for the counter-terror effort.
Treasury Designates Major Saudi Charity -- Al Haramain - - For Financing Terrorists -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Following several years of wrangling with Saudi Arabia over Al Haramain Islamic Foundation’s continuing international role in facilitating terrorism financing, the US Treasury Department has finally acted unilaterally to designate its whole world-wide operation, including Al Haramain's headquarter offices, structure and operations in Saudi Arabia. Previous designation actions had been directed only against certain Al Haramain branches.
Jihad Against Freedom of Speech at the United Nations -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The United Nations' Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has no problem with its members suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job" perpetrated by the United States on itself. The human rights of America's 9/11 victims are not a priority for UNHRC's Richard Falk, the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, who engages in 9/11 conspiracy propaganda, while working for an organization headquartered in New York City funded by U.S. tax dollars. This is Richard Falk's protected freedom of speech.
From the Soldiers' Angels mailbox -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
To one of the quiet teams at Soldiers' Angels, the Living Legends team:
Comments/Question: Regarding the passing of SFC Jason F. Dene
I just wanted to say "Thank You"... a million times over, for the special care you have provided during this difficult time. The cards and gifts were absolutely lovely. The outpouring of sympathy... overwhelming.
You have a fantastic program not only for deployed soldiers, but for the families who have lost their loved ones as well. I can't even begin to express how comforting it has been being embraced by all of your "angels".
Please continue your good work!
NASA flight directors and astronauts team up with Soldiers' Angels to support wounded service members -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
The "Failure is Not an Option" blanket, signed by NASA astronauts and flight directors.
Readers of this blog are familiar with Soldiers' Angel Joan Kranz who works at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Her father is retired Flight Director Eugene Kranz, best known for his role in directing the successful Mission Control team efforts to save the crew of Apollo 13, during which he coined the famous "failure is not an option" motto.
SOLDIERS’ ANGELS AND BAKE ME A WISH! SEND FREEDOM CAKES -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Pasadena, CA June 20, 2008 - With thousands of U.S. troops deployed overseas, the Soldiers' Angels and BakeMeAWish.com, are offering a unique opportunity for consumers to send a message of hope and love to a hero. Administered by Soldiers' Angels, America's largest non-profit troop support organization, BakeMeAWish.com will deliver a gourmet birthday cake to a soldier serving overseas, or wherever our Veterans are in the USA, with the purchase of the new Freedom Cake.
Nuristan COP named after fallen paratrooper SPC Jacob Lowell -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, renamed their combat outpost, located in a remote area of Nuristan province, Afghanistan, to remember a fallen comrade on May 12.
Combat Outpost Kamu was renamed to Combat Outpost Lowell to remember Spc. Jacob Lowell, who was killed in action June 2, 2007.
The USAF Tanker Nightmare Continues -- [Dude, where's the beach?]
We all just received the news that the Defense Department Acquisition apparatus shot itself in the foot again, and many of us in the Air Force couldn't be more disappointed.
A few months ago the USAF made the right decision to select the Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker to replace our ancient and rapidly diminishing tanker capability. This tanker beat the Boeing tanker because it was bigger, held more fuel and cargo, and could roll off the assembly line faster to meet our urgent war fighter needs. It was a fair and open selection.
First, understand that without the ability to refuel anywhere around the world, our air force would lose a majority of its global reach/capability. We depend on air refueling to protect our nation and the free world.
7 of 8 -- [Foreign and Domestic]
Seven of eight marines have been found innocent of the charges brought against them by Rep John Murtha.
Okay, the actual charges were brought by the government, but only because a US Congressmen said in public to the whole world that 'A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.'
That's right, John Murtha, one of the few, the not so proud, the ex-marines, whose biography is thus on Wikipedia-
Prosecution Turns Into Persecution -- [Let Freedom Ring]
Yesterday afternoon, the military filed its appeal of Col. Steven Folsom’s ruling that charges be dropped against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. The specific charges being refiled against Col. Chessani are violation of a lawful general order and dereliction of duty. This morning, the Thomas More Law Center issued a statement critical of the military’s decision. Here’s what it says:
DOD Inspector General Should Inspect JAG -- [Democracy Project]
...Now, with the runamock trials of the Haditha Marines, their present and future effect on combat operations and morale, as well as the concentration of the military upon developing better counterinsurgency doctrine and tactics, the role of JAG urgently requires in-depth investigation.
One would think the Defense Department’s Inspector General might be a good place to start. It says its mission is “Promote integrity, accountability, and improvement of Department of Defense personnel, programs and operations to support the Department's mission and serve the public interest.” And, the Inspector General Act of 1978 doesn’t restrict the IG’s scope.
Army to test new moisture-wicking, no-melt T-shirt -- [Stars & Stripes]
Fibers won’t burn skin when exposed to flash fire
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army is getting ready to wear-test a new moisture-wicking T-shirt that eliminates the flaw that got its predecessors banned by the Marine Corps: the clothes won’t melt into skin when exposed to flash-fire conditions.
Hiatus -- [The Unlikely Short-Timer - home from Iraq]
It's time for one.
Lots of shrugging of the shoulders and grunts of indifference, playing along, going with the grind because the alternative just isn't worth the heartache and punishment. Cog in the system kinda thing. I got a whole lotta nothing to say. Same story over and over again: we're back, it's strange, it's pretty easy, it's odd and weird, some things are annoying as hell, but all in all, it can all fuck right off, because we're home and we aren't armed and clad in ridiculous equipment. The neighborhoods are civilized and now we are too. Honest.
Bummer. Obama Caught In a Major Lie In Very First Election Ad -- [Gateway Pundit]
Obama says that he "extended healthcare for wounded troops that had been neglected" and cited Public Law 110-181 as proof of this.
The problem is: Obama didn't show up to vote. Only 9 senators voted the bill down or did not show up to vote.
Obama was one of the 9. The bill passed the senate 91 to 3... without Obama's vote.
Barack Obama - "The Country I Love" - First General Election Ad
Dead Bill Walking -- [Greyhawk]
Update: The bill has now passed the House 412-12 - details below.
A rare statement - perhaps especially in an election year:
"This is an agreement that has been worked out in a bipartisan way that I think is acceptable to both most Democrats and most Republicans and to the White House," Boehner said.
He's talking about the war funding bill - that includes a much needed (and long past due) overhaul of veteran's education benefits.
...This bill is a compromise - which means there's plenty in it to piss of partisans of any stripe. (Fiscal conservatives will be especially outraged.)
There are a few "face saving" games being played...
Boehner: "It also does not include billions in unrelated wasteful Washington pork that was added by Senate Democrats."
Veterans Rebut ‘Swift Boat’ Charges Against Kerry in Answer to Challenge -- [NYT]
On Friday, the group, who served with Mr. Kerry in Vietnam, sent a letter to T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire Texas oilman who helped finance the 2004 attack advertisements, taking him up on a challenge he issued last November: that he would give $1 million to anyone who could disprove a single charge the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth made against Mr. Kerry.
...The group is working with Mr. Kerry, who himself seized on the challenge soon after Mr. Pickens made it at an American Spectator dinner. In a letter, he offered to meet with Mr. Pickens to rebut the charges. Mr. Pickens wrote back to say that he was good for his money, but that Mr. Kerry would have to provide his military record, the journal he kept in Vietnam and movies and tapes made in his tours there.
Mr. Pickens also qualified his challenge, saying he meant that someone would have to prove false things in the group’s television advertisements — putting aside a best-selling book and extensive news media interviews that attracted the bulk of the attention. He challenged Mr. Kerry back: if you cannot prove anything inaccurate, give $1 million to the Medal of Honor Foundation, a charity.
Wait a minute, Mr. Kerry wrote back, you said nothing at the dinner about just the ads.
Spirit of Judas (UPDATED) -- [Baldilocks]
...Senator Bob Dole--a World War II veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart--feels the same way about the spineless and the traitorous as I do, the way such a man might--one who has had to depend on superiors, peers and subordinates for his very life. A couple of weeks back Dole lit into McClellan in response to the latter's public treachery toward his benefactor. (McClellan's new book, unimaginatively titled What Happened, is said to contained innuendo--but nothing concrete--about the Bush White House regarding the Plame/CIA/Armitage affair.) But Dole's reaction and rebuke of McClellan and devastating summation of his character isn't surprising. People who have been called into military service or volunteer for it seem to have a more visceral understanding of what disloyalty indicates--whether life and limb are at stake or not. (Aside: McClellan seems such a pathetic figure--he always appeared hapless before the Washington press corps and it appears that he was duped by a Democrat leaning publisher into marketing his book as some sort of indictment against the president. So, in short, he’ has already received his due earthly reward, outside of an a**-kicking.)
Scott McClellan testimony to the House Judiciary Committee
Republicans Take Obama's Shady Political Director to Task -- [Gateway Pundit]
More Hope, or Change, or something...
The people in Ohio are calling out Barack Obama on his controversial new staff member.
Patrick Gaspard's liberal organization was hiring murderers and rapists in Missouri to go door to door and sign up the vote. His organization was later fined $750,000 for their crimes. This obviously didn't matter to Obama.
Chocolate City -- [Baldilocks]
Spike Lee's got his mouth open again.
And, as a result, the Washington Examiner runs this headline, "Obama would make D.C. a ‘chocolate city,’
Folks, don't you think that you're being a little misleading? DC is already a "Chocolate City."
But when I read Glenn's blurb and the WT headline, I got visions of white people being turned out of Our Nation's Capitol en masse, like thousands of Adams and Eves from the Garden of Eden.
R&B singers, bands and black people in general have been referring to DC as "CC" for quite some time--due to the racial composition of the city's population, outside of most of the politicians. And while I think that Spike Lee is a mediocre director and, generally, a poor excuse for a human being, I don't think he means anything by this other than the probability that even more black people would arrive in the city as a result of an Obama presidency.
McCain on Obama and Terrorism -- [Weekly Standard]
John McCain's campaign sent out this statement from the candidate this afternoon. "Senator Obama is obviously confused about what the United States Supreme Court decided and what he is calling for. After enthusiastically embracing the Supreme Court decision granting habeas in U.S. civilian courts to dangerous terrorist detainees, he is now running away from the consequences of that decision and what it would mean if Osama bin Laden were captured. Senator Obama refuses to clarify whether he believes habeas should be granted to Osama bin Laden, and instead cites the precedent of the Nuremburg war trials. Unfortunately, it is clear Senator Obama does not understand what happened at the Nuremburg trials and what procedures were followed. There was no habeas at Nuremburg and there should be no habeas for Osama bin Laden. Senator Obama cannot have it both ways. In one breath he endorses habeas for terrorists like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and in the next he denies its logical conclusion of habeas for Osama bin Laden. By citing a historical precedent that does not include habeas, he sends a signal of confusion and indecision to our allies and adversaries and the American people.
Shocker!... Obama Headscarf "Victims" Are Friends & Radical Activists... CAIR Is Outraged! ...Update: Obama Concedes -- [Gateway Pundit]
Yesterday, it was reported by The Politico that two Muslim women in separate incidents were banned from sitting behind the platform where Obama and Al Gore were going to talk because they were wearing Muslim headscarves.
The two women said they were told it was because they would be in view of the cameras. The Obama campaign called each of the individuals yesterday and apologized for the incident.
But, the story does not end there. Both of the women are still upset.
And now... US Muslim leaders (CAIR) Thursday urged Barack Obama to personally apologize to two supporters.
The United States of Obama -- [The Hill]
The Barack Obama campaign unveiled a new campaign symbol Friday during a meeting of Democratic Governors in Chicago.
Instead of the presidential seal's "E pluribus unum" which means "Out of many, one" the Obama sign says "Vero possumus," a rough translation for "Yes, we can."
NYT reveals name of KSM’s chief interrogator — against CIA’s wishes -- [Hot Air]
Read the piece and you’ll see that credibility and completeness have nothing to do with it. It’s not a story about him; he’s just the springboard to explore the themes I mentioned earlier. They could have as easily used his initials, an alias, or no name at all and the article wouldn’t suffer a bit. As for credibility, that’s easy: Just make a deal with Hayden that in return for withholding the name he’d agree to go on record and vouch for the fact that the identity of the agent as known to the Times was correct. Did they even offer? Doesn’t sound like it. The real motive here in disclosing his name, quite obviously, is to avoid setting a precedent by which they’d feel obligated to withhold names every time a government agency asked them to. That’s fine in the abstract, but it can be handled on a case by case basis. If your subject is known to be an antagonist of some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and his former boss is telling you he has reason to believe it’d be better if his name wasn’t divulged, why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
Deceptive Ad From MoveOn, AFSCME -- [JustOneMinute] HT: Glenn
The NYTimes fact-checks a new MoveOn/AFSCME ad:
The Times duly notes that McCain was contemplating a peace-time occupation similar to the extended presence of USA troops in Germany or South Korea and adds this:
Because advertisement fact-checking reports like this one are never viewed as widely as the spots themselves, a good many people may take from this advertisement that Mr. McCain is supporting 100 years of an overwhelmingly unpopular war.
That's the hope, anyway.
Liberal Media Frenzy Builds Against US Troops -- [Gateway Pundit]
...Here we go again - our American military men & women are once again coming under attack from foreign critics and U.S. media outlets. It's a pattern that keeps repeating itself with the news media constantly working to undermine the missions of American military men and women - driven out of their contempt for the War on Terror. It's got to stop!
You need to read the hateful attacks against our troops below.
Lou Dobbs: Bush Should Be Impeached for Salmonella Outbreak -- [Business & Media Inst.]
CNN host says leadership in 'sorry condition' and inability to 'protect the American consumer' is 'sufficient reason to impeach a president.'
CNN’s Lou Dobbs has been on a tear about the recent tainted-tomato salmonella outbreak, but this time he’s taken it a step further and is calling for the ultimate political punishment.
The “Lou Dobbs Tonight” host placed the blame for the recent salmonella outbreak squarely on President George W. Bush, calling for his impeachment on the June 19 broadcast.
Jeff Jarvis Gets It — Plus, You Got Any AP Articles That Need Fisking? -- [Patterico’s Pontifications]
What the AP and The New York Times’ Hansell don’t seem to realize is how hostile an act it is to send lawyer letters to individuals. They have armies of attorneys. We bloggers don’t. The mere act of sending us a letter can cost us money out of our own pockets. Sending a lawyer letter is an assault.
...Meanwhile, Robert Cox defends the Media Bloggers Association’s representation of Rogers Cadenhead.
Me, I’m tempted to start fisking AP articles that merit it.
War Inc. Not Looking Too Promising -- [LT Nixon]
Did you guys know that there was this thing called the Iraq war and some stuff didn't go well but they have a ton of oil so some rich people who dress like cowboys could make a lot of money? I wouldn't have known unless John Cusack's latest movie War Inc. was made!
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Bosnia to send more troops to Iraq -- [The Guardian]
Bosnia will send more troops to serve in Iraq, Bosnian media reports said today.
In addition to the 36 Bosnian ordnance experts already in the country, the army will send an additional 49 soldiers from the 6th Infantry Division in August.
The Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz newspaper reported that the army commander, General Sifet Podzic - who is visiting Bosnian troops in Iraq - said infantry troops had been training for the last three months.
The contingent includes soldiers from all three Bosnian ethnic groups, Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs, the report quoted Podzic as saying.
Foreign firms investing in Iraq -- [USA Today]
WASHINGTON — European and Asian companies are beating their American rivals into Iraq now that security has improved the investment climate, Iraq and U.S. officials say.
"It's starting to turn … and the people who are getting in on the ground floor are not American," said Paul Brinkley, the Pentagon official who is leading U.S. efforts to help Iraq rebuild its economy. "It's ironic."
Foreign companies, including U.S. investors, have committed to deals worth about $500 million so far this year and Brinkley expects at least $1 billion in foreign investment by the end of the year.
Al-Qaeda foreign network disabled (Bi'aj) -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD – Coalition forces killed one terrorist and detained 15 suspected terrorists while targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq operatives in northern Iraq Wednesday.
Using information from associates within the network, Coalition forces continue to target al-Qaeda in Iraq’s foreign terrorist facilitators, responsible for bringing foreigners into Iraq to conduct terrorist attacks. When the force arrived at a location near Bi’aj, about 130 kilometers southwest of Mosul, they came under attack by small arms fire. Responding in self-defense, Coalition forces returned fire, killing one armed terrorist and wounding one suspect. The wounded man was treated on site and taken to a military medical facility. Six other suspected terrorists were detained in operations in the area.
Emergency Response Unit captures suspected AQI cell member -- [MNF-I]
BALAD, Iraq – Emergency Response Unit captured a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq cell member in Baghdad June 17.
The ERU conducted an operation to arrest a suspected AQI cell member on a Ministry of Interior warrant reportedly responsible for extra-judicial killings, improvised explosive device and small arms fire attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces and local intimidation.
“The successful execution of this operation demonstrates the capabilities of the ERU as a proficient security force, committed to providing a secure and stable Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Neil Harper, a spokesman for MNC-I.
MG Bergner Briefing
Iraqi violence down; war's root causes unresolved -- [AP]
Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.
Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war's supporters.
‘The U.S. Doesn’t Do Military Occupations’ -- [Amy Proctor]
With violence down by 90% in Anbar Province, assistant intelligence officer for 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jim Roussell says the Iraqi economy is booming and Iraqis understand we aren’t there to occupy their country but to help them become self-sufficient. Iraq’s spending budget increased nearly $30 billion in 2008 from $41 billion in 2007 to $70 billion for 2008.
The U.S. death toll is also at an all time low with 19 U.S. soldiers killed in May 2008, the lowest of the war.
...Sgt. Billy J. Benskin, a team leader with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines. Noticed the dramatic change in Anbar since two years ago saying...
Iraq Ain't No Insurgency, Say Former Petraeus Aides -- [Danger Room]
...But in Iraq, "the bulk" of what used to be the insurgents have "now realign[ed] themselves with the American forces" against "the nihilistic-Islamist terrorist Al Qaeda in Iraq," Lt. Col. Douglass Ollivant notes in the latest edition of Perspectives on Politics, which is devoted to a critique of the now-famous counterinsurgency manual. "With the Sunni nationalists at least temporarily allied and AQI deprived of its sanctuary among the Sunni population, just who are the insurgents in Iraq against whom a counterinsurgency might be conducted?"
Video from Aerostat Surveillance Balloon of Apache Insurgent Attack
Combat Logistics Battalion-1 Marines Train Sisters of Ferris -- [DVIDS]
FERRIS, Iraq – Five women graduated a female searchers training course June 5, which prepared them to work alongside Iraqi policemen at entry control points.
The Sisters of Ferris, trained by Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, with support from Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, will inspect women for weapons, suicide vests, large amounts of cash and contraband at ECPs.
Stay In Touch -- ["Because We're Here Boy, No One Else; Just Us." - in Iraq]
...I met an interpreter who was coming back also. He had moved to the United States from this country in his teens and had been working over here as an interpreter with the American military since 2005. He is civilian contractor and he loves his job. All the things the troops do, raids, searches, interviews and interrogations, he is there to assist them. Sometimes they go out for days and days at a time. It can be extremely interesting and he likes the action; but not too much action. He didn't care to be ambushed again but raids are great fun.
We were talking about various things to do with the conflict here and he said something very revealing about how cultural differences can have an effect upon the war.
Guardian Angels: Security Platoon protects rebuilding of Rutbah -- [Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson, Regimental Combat Team 5 - in Iraq]
RUTBAH, Iraq - Over the course of two years, the city of Rutbah has encountered change towards its people and government. With Coalition forces support, the town has been able to rebuild its structure and remain safe from insurgency.
Life on Mars -- [Up Country Iraq - in Iraq]
...I am based out of COB Speicher mear Tikrit, Iraq. I am attached to Multi-National Division North (MND-MN), and our main insurgency problem up here is a Sunni problem. Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is the largest and most vicious of the groups, but none are afraid to kill. There is some Shiite activity down around Diyala Province, which is in the southeast sector of MND-N. AQI is fighting hard for its last stronghold up here, which is in Mosul.
After the Charge -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
Back in late March, I was preparing for something quite different than what I have done the past 2 ½ months. I was called into the colonel’s office and told “things in Basrah have really heated up and everything has changed.” I was then informed that I was to be sent to Basrah to assist a US team in the area, and I would also be working with the Iraqi Army’s 14th Division.
Important Sheik Meeting
A Reconciliation Conference being held the governor the the Diyala province.
Another fear for the enemy... -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
The flying beast came into the world of the dirt people. The Osprey (V-22). Although we weren’t use to seeing controlled flying objects, we welcomed its arrival. It brought me back to the early 2000s where I was at the command that conducted “exiting” research for the Osprey. Fast roping, rappelling and other “exiting” techniques had to be tested and with experimental apparatuses’ that fastened onto the aircraft.
Thank You -- [Vince's experiences - in Iraq]
I am thankful for the millions of Iraqis who are grateful to our country for the freedoms and prosperity they now enjoy. I am thankful for the fact I have had no trouble breathing in the dust, hazy air of Baghdad. I am thankful for the great support everyone has provided my wife and family. I am thankful that I was protected during intense indirect fire starting Easter Sunday and several weeks following.
...This past week, I had the opportunity to visit and talk with a young soldier. He was recovering in the Combat Hospital adjacent to our compound. He was injured in the lower legs an attack. During our conversation he was grateful to be alive and was committed to the mission he was on. He was proud of the role his unit played to support the Iraqi Army and together, with the Iraqis in the lead, win the battle of Sadr City.
Iraq at a Crossroads -- [Goodies2Choose]
It’s hard to believe good news from Iraq.
For five years, the drumbeat of insurgency, terrorism, and civil war was relentless, while successes were few and far between. Even when there was good news, it was reported by an Administration that had little credibility. People felt manipulated by the way the war was sold, and the Administration did little to win back trust after the war began. Until the Republican losses in the 2006 election, the Administration delivered only rosy pronouncements, as if seeing only success in Iraq would make it so. But since the mission was not accomplished and the insurgency was not in its last throes, skepticism was not only appropriate but necessary.
Iraqi security forces ramp up for Maysan operation -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Iraqi troops replace border guards. Local police forces are raised. Maliki gives deadline for Mahdi Army to disarm. Sadrists fear being targeted.
Genesis (VI) -- [Greyhawk]
Deja vu - the Washington Post's story from September 2004:
U.S.-Led Forces Retake Northern Iraqi City
About 2,000 men -- two battalions from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and a battalion from the Iraqi National Guard -- pushed into Tall Afar at 3:15 a.m. to confront what U.S. military officials had expected would be about 200 insurgents who had taken over the local government.
... seemed eerily similar to this one from September 2005: 5,000 U.S. And Iraqi Troops Sweep Into City Of Tall Afar
Jonathan Finer - in the city with the 3d ACR - would produce a fine series of reports on the 2005 battle over the following weeks. But those who discovered and read those stories - consigned to the Post's back pages - could be forgiven if they experienced a sense of deja vu, along with outrage.
Mahdi Army cell leader behind deadly Baghdad bombing -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
US military intelligence indicates Haydar Mahdi Khadum al Fawadi executed car bombing attack in the Hurriyah neighborhood.
Iraq's political parties wrangle over the status of forces agreement -- [LWJ - Omar Fadhil - Iraqi blogger]
The signing of a long-term security agreement between the US and Iraq has been contentiously debated within Iraq. The status of forces agreement (or SOFA) is a proposed deal between the US and Iraq that is designed to establish the principles for a continued US military presence in Iraq beyond the expiration of the UN mandate at the end of 2008. Among the most debated points in the deal are the number and location of US bases, the legal status of US troops and private contractors, and the jurisdictions and freedom of US military to carry out counterterrorism operations and arrests without consulting the Iraqi government.
U.S. trainers have key mission in Afghanistan -- [LA Times]
FARAH, AFGHANISTAN -- There were two good reasons why Army Capt. Dave Panian made a perilous journey across the desert to this dusty provincial capital.
He wanted to check on his close friend, a district police chief whose family had been threatened by the Taliban. He also wanted to pry loose salaries for the chief's police officers, who were owed two months' pay.
...Khudaydad provides the Americans entree into the tribal power structure, an important component of the fight against the Taliban. He also in effect acts as the district sub-governor because the appointed official rarely shows up for work, Panian said.
And because of his tribal ties and lifelong connections to local elders, Khudaydad provides valuable intelligence. His information was instrumental in operations last month that killed 72 to 115 Taliban fighters, trainers said.
But there are tensions among police units over equipment and authority, and between some police and Afghan army units. Khudaydad's policemen got into a shootout with an army unit that tried to push past a checkpoint this month.
The next morning, Panian brought the police and army unit commanders together; it was the first time they had met.
"We need to be brothers here, not split up into separate little groups," the captain told the officers, who sat cross-legged on the floor of Khudaydad's cramped office. Other commanders should rely on Khudaydad to bridge differences between the police and army, he said.
"He might look like Taliban, but he has the heart of a lion," Panian said. "I trust him with my life."
Taliban Take District - Or Not -- [America's North Shore Journal]
Curiously, the Taliban are running rampant, everywhere but where Coalition troops can see them. I wonder who is telling the truth?
Is the Taliban Making a Comeback? - Time ...
Afghanistan : Taliban Gearing Up?
Hundreds Of Taliban may be preparing for a major battle near Kandahar,including many from the recent major prison break reports say.
Taliban Suicide Squad 'Ready To Strike' -- [Sky News]
A Taliban commander in Afghanistan has told Sky News there are dozens of suicide bombers ready to launch new attacks.
A Taliban fighter in AfghanistanThe militant leader, who said his name was Hazar Gul, mounted the recent attempted assassination against President Karzai. He claimed insurgents are finding it increasingly easy to launch attacks because they have infiltrated the Afghan National Army.
Taliban Commander Speaks.
A day after Gordon Brown pledged to send more British troops to Afghanistan a Taliban commander says there are dozens of suicide bombers ready to launch attacks.
Taliban Mass Around Kandahar -- [The Captain’s Journal]
We recently covered the break of approximately 400 low- and mid-level Taliban fighters from prison by motorcyclists and suicide bombers. The families of these fighters were said to be slaughtering sheep in anticipation of their return. Now for the consequences of the laxity in prison and judicial operations. The freed Taliban fighters are massing in villages around Kandahar and digging in anticipating a fight with the Afghan Army or ISAF.
The Problems with Afghan Army Doctrine -- [SWJ]
...So a few critical questions one must ask is; are we on track with the current doctrine development program? Do we have the right formula for developing doctrine on behalf of the ANA? Is developing doctrine for the ANA the right approach?
Joint Pub 1-02 defines doctrine as the “Fundamental principles by which the military forces or elements thereof guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative but requires judgment in application.” It is important to note that this definition of doctrine does not describe doctrine as how the Army wishes to fight, or how it may be able to fight at some point in the distant future. Obviously, doctrine profoundly affects a nation’s military development, but it should not be used too heavily as the catalyst for change in terms of simultaneously trying to quickly modernize an immature force. In the writing of Afghan doctrine we fail to account for Afghanistan’s history, technology, social constructs, and the nature of the threats that its armed forces face.
Afghans Defend Corruption -- [Strategy Page]
June 18, 2008: Foreign nations have pledged some $25 billion, since September 11, 2001, to help rebuild Afghanistan. The U.S. pledged about 40 percent of that, and has already spent about half the money promised. Overall, only about half the money pledged has been spent (or applied to long term projects). Many nations, including the U.S., are holding off on turning over the rest until Afghanistan does something about the corruption. Some government officials are pretty shameless with the theft of public funds, which is largely made up of donations from foreign nations. Pressuring senior Afghans about the corruption often just brings forth earnest pleas for patience, and admissions that the corruption is considered a traditional way to keep the peace among powerful factions in the country
Afghans start anti-Taliban offensive in south -- [Reuters]
ARGHANDAB, Afghanistan - Helicopter gunships and troops with small and heavy arms blasted a valley in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday as local and NATO forces launched a huge offensive against hundreds of Taliban insurgents, many of whom broke out of jail last week.
Afghanistan : On Patrol With Para Pathfinders.
Taliban fighters have claimed the lives of five British servicemen in the past 10 days in Helmand province.This video shows first hand evidence of the risks members of the Parachute Regiment are facing.
Afghan, NATO troops kill 36 Taliban near Kandahar -- [AP]
ARGHANDAB, Afghanistan - Afghan and Canadian forces moved into villages outside Kandahar on Wednesday to root out Taliban militants, killing at least 36 insurgents, while an explosion elsewhere killed four British soldiers, officials said. Troops in Arghandab district just outside of Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's largest city, exchanged fire with militants during "a few minor contacts," NATO spokesman Mark Laity said.
Battle Against The Mighty Mississippi Continues In Clarksville -- [FOX]
Clarksville, Missouri is one town fighting back against the rising river. There could be a record breaking Mississippi River crest later this week. The Missouri National Guard spent all night Monday building a sandbag wall and the work did not stop Tuesday Morning. More than two dozen levees on the Mississippi river could overflow during the next week. A federal government analysis shows that massive sandbagging efforts are needed to raise the level of those levees.
Bush to call for offshore oil drilling -- [CNN]
WASHINGTON — President Bush will ask Congress Wednesday to lift the ban on off-shore drilling, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday. The request will come a day after presumed Republican presidential candidate John McCain issued the same call.
Around the Services
War Shifting To Afghanistan -- [Strategy Page]
June 18, 2008: The war on terror is shifting from Iraq to Afghanistan, as al Qaeda members have been doing for most of this year. Last month, more foreign (U.S. and NATO) troops died in Afghanistan (19) than in Iraq (17, according to the official count, unofficially, 19 troops died). And that's with twice as many foreign troops in Iraq. It's part of a trend. Foreign troops, especially Americans, are operating more as peacekeepers in Iraq this year. This is because Iraqi security forces are completing the process of building a Kurdish and Shia force that can match the abilities of Saddam's Sunni Arab thugs that controlled the country for decades. The new force does not use all the barbaric techniques Saddam's butchers employed. But the new guys can be pretty nasty, and will provide foreign journalists with much breathless copy in the next few years.
NEFA Exclusive: Interview with Pakistani Taliban Commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad -- [NEFA]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained an exclusive video-recorded interview with Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, a senior commander of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and an acknowledged deputy of notorious Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. When asked during the interview whether the TTP would host Usama Bin Laden and fugitive Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar as guests in northwestern Pakistan, Faqir responded, "Throughout the world, a war is being fought under the leadership of Sheikh Usama and Amir al-Mumineen Mullah Mohammad Omar. The war against America and its allies has being going on under the leadership of these two personalities. We have stated that if we were given the honor of hosting these guests, it would be a great privilege for us… We consider them as our leaders. They are Muslim heroes. The activities of both these leaders are against the U.S. and its allies." Faqir also boasted of having personally met with both Usama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar inside Afghanistan, and confirmed that the TTP has been providing logistical support for foreign nationals traveling through Pakistan to the jihad in Afghanistan: "Traditionally, we do cooperate fully with our guests. The tribals are providing assistance and hospitality to all those guests who are fighting against America."
Richard Clarke: Osama Bin Laden Has Habeas Rights -- [Weekly Standard]
I noted earlier that John Kerry seemed to say that Osama bin Laden has the constitutional right of habeas corpus. ABC News reports (something that I missed) that Richard Clarke directly said that bin Laden would have habeas rights:
Ceding To Terrorists Through Incoherent Courts -- [Threats Watch - Steve Shippert]
So you think the United States has problems with its courts, namely the Supreme Court, when it comes to dealing with terrorism and terrorists?
Step aside, SCOTUS. Britain just saw your habeas corpus and raised you one bail and threw in government subsidies for good measure when it awarded bail to Abu Qatada today and was then freed at 10PM London time.
What an Incredible Smell You've Discovered! Britain Releases al Qaeda's #1 Man in Europe -- [Jawa Report]
Abu Qatada al-Filisṭînî is out of jail. I only have a few thoughts to add to APs commentary here.
Abu Qatada is a specially designated foreign terrorist. When Mohammad Atta's apartment in Germany was searched after 9/11, police found 19 video tapes of Qatada's preaching violent jihad against the US.
305 Heroes waiting for adoption -- [Soldiers' Angels - Adopt a Soldier]
Sure you might not be here on the front line covered in filth, smelling like hell, your heart going a mile a min not knowing what's coming next. If your next step is on that TRP or if your going to be the latest recruiting tool for some insurgent's new video while they take pot shots at you. But what you all do with those cards, care packages, cookies is just as important...
I don't know it this makes any sense to you but, when I get a box or anyone else gets a box its hard to describe. You find a nice quiet corner and everyone knows not to bother you. You sit there and look over the box as if you had never seen anything like it before. You read who it's from and a smile crosses your face, you recognize the name. You might already know what's inside, but it does not matter. Some tear it open as fast as they can, others take their time and enjoy every second of it. Once inside, you go through it, every little item once, twice, sometimes three times, it's a very delicate process. You breathe it in and you think of the person who sent it to you. You think of home, family, cars, summer.....everything all at once and for a very short time, you are there away from this SH*T hole. You are grateful. Then you look around and there's always a buddy who is down or having a bad day. You share your box--sometimes just with the one guy, sometimes with everyone, and it's electric. Everyone catches that feeling and we start talking about home, about things we miss, things we are going to do when we get back and the heaviness of the day lifts and it's not so bad.
...It's not the "things" that are sent that matter to us, it's the thought. That's the power ALL of you have who take the time to send things. You can change the worst day into the best day, in a split second. - MP in Iraq
Silver Star Recipient Honored
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED RE: 4TH OF JULY CARDS! -- [Yikes]
Total cards gathered and shipped: 5,916 (this number includes 330 cards that were shipped early, on June 2, to a remotely-stationed group of Marines with very slow mail delivery times!)
Total Cost of Shipping Supplies: $60.33
Total Cost of actual shipping: $10.95 from early shipment on June 2 of 330 cards; today's shipping cost $241.19, for a combined total shipping cost of $252.14
Grand total of Supplies & Postage: $312.47
GREAT JOB EVERYONE!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!
Another Miracle on the Way -- [BlackFive]
If you're wondering who the baby in the ultrasound photo belongs to, go here. If you're a long time Blackfive reader, you'll be very happy to know an SYSK who's gonna be a Daddy. Great news!
Purple Heart Message
A message from Maj. Gen. Hammond honoring service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Healing, hope, and restoration for our courageous troops -- [Vets for Freedom]
Physicians and nurses are a part of the surgical teams that bring our troops hope and healing. They are proud to serve awesomely brave men and women of America's armed services who fight the war against terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. With skilled, trained hands they help our wounded warriors heal both physically and emotionally. Dedicated medical teams with heart and soul provide our troops a faster return to a well and productive life. They help improve the quality of life of our injured service men and women.
"Jealous Wives Threaten Military Spouse Over Calendar" -- [SpouseBuzz]
Their headline, not mine. A couple of weeks ago, I received a press advisory about an Army wife/model who is selling a sexy calendar to help "boost troop morale." Her name is Alessandra Bosco and she is incredibly beautiful.
Well, it seems that Alessandra and her soldier husband are having a rough go of it out in Germany.
...The veteran of deployments to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, who works as the 12th CAB operations sergeant major, said Army leaders have told him his wife is a disgrace.
"I’ve never been in this situation but I’ve been told my career is on the line," he said. "I’m probably going to be relocated because my wife is a disruption to the community and it is affecting wives’ morale and they can’t have that in [the 12th CAB] rear detachment at this point."
President Signs Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 -- [Whitehouse.gov]
President Bush yesterday signed H.R. 6081, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, which was unanimously approved by both the House and the Senate:
"From the Front Lines." -- [MoveAmericaForward]
More big name celebrities have signed on to support Move America Forward's pro-troop push to send the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in history - and will be joining the June 26th Internet web-a-thon broadcast of "From the Front Lines."
Actor Kelsey Grammer, singer John Ondrasik (of Five for Fighting), comedian Jackie Mason, radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, Townhall.com's Matt Lewis, and former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, are among the latest celebrities to confirm their participation in this patriotic effort!
Americans have so far sponsored just over $200,000 worth of care packages for this effort
The above-named celebrities join this star-studded list of A-Listers and patriots who are supporting this effort and participating in the June 26th "From the Front Lines" telethon that will be broadcast on U-Stream.tv here
USA Olymbic Shooting -- [Nat'l Governing Body for Olypic Shooting]
1) Staff Sgt. Libby Callahan, age 56, will be the oldest U.S. female Olympian when she competes at the Summer Games in Beijing. This three-time U.S. Olympian also has a shot at becoming the oldest female Olympic medalist in history. Competing in women's sport pistol, this South Carolina native learned to shoot as a member of the D.C. police force.
Army World Class Athletes & Olympians
'I love her now and always' - husband's tribute to Sarah Bryant, first female soldier killed in Afghanistan -- [Time]
The husband of the first British woman soldier to be killed in Afghanistan said today that his wife had died doing the job she loved.
Corporal Sarah Bryant, 26, was killed on Tuesday together with three reservists with the Special Air Service when their Land Rover hit a mine in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan.
This is important. Moreso than many of you will realize. -- [John of Aegghhh!]
Important for shaping the future leadership of the Army and for capturing and holding the lessons hard-learned this time around. And for many of you who don't realize the importance of this message... you're probably reading it and going, "D-uh, no brainer, what's the big deal?"
Let's go into that, shall we?
Soundtracks for torture -- [The Guardian]
What is Barney the Dinosaur doing on Mother Jones's US military Torture Playlist?
It might not be that surprising that Deicide's Fuck Your God (even if its message was anti-Christian) topped Mother Jones's US military Torture Playlist (listen below), but just what was Barney the Dinosaur doing there?
Welcome to 'the disco' -- [The Guardian]
For US interrogators seeking to disorientate and break Iraqi prisoners it's 'torture lite' - rock music played at excruciating volumes. But while the song choices may sometimes verge on the unintentionally funny, this appropriation of music by the military is anything but a joke
Update - Marine Jailed for Exercising 5th Amendment -- [BlackFive]
Tomorrow, Wednesday (June 18th), Sergeant Jermaine Nelson will, once again, take the stand in the US District Court in Los Angeles.
The details are found at this post. Essentially, the US civilian courts can try our military for war crimes with no limitation. So, California courts could prosecute soldiers from WWII if they wanted to...here are some facts from the case in the original post:
US Soldier Refuses To Deploy In Iraq
A month after US army reservist Matthis Chiroux publicly refused to deploy to Iraq, the former sergeant on Sunday set himself up for possible prosecution by failing to report for active duty with his unit in South Carolina. If Matthis is prosecuted in court, he faces either jail time or the Death Penalty for his actions.
Women Of The Military. -- [My American-Iraq Life]
say hello to ten intelligent, amazing, women who are serving or have served in the military or have dedicated their time to make female soldiers voices heard. some have went to Iraq, some have spent years traveling around the world, some have paved the way for other females...we have all given years of our life to be apart of something bigger than ourselves...now its your turn to pay attention
Gift from Riza in Dahuk -- [manrymission - in Iraq]
...Roza heard that this was COL Pfenning’s last visit to Dahuk, so he wanted to give him a gift. As we were standing in the office after dinner, I told COL Pfenning that he was getting a gift from Riza. COL Pfenning tried to decline, but soon came to realize that Riza is persistent.
As I went up to get my present from Riza, I gave him a big hug, which he was not expecting. He smiled and laughed. Then I had him move him pistol from the back to the front for the dramatic effect in the picture. As you can see, the gift was a small rug decorated with the Kurdish Flag.
ASP Banned on Military Computers -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
About ten days ago, I noticed a disturbing trend: our readership had dropped dramatically; almost overnight. Then, I got an email from a friend in Afghanistan that he could no longer access ASP. Then, I got an email from a friend in Iraq that he could no longer access ASP. Then, I got an email from Terri and a few other buddies at Fort Hood that ASP was blocked on their computers. So, it occurred to me to check the backend to see what was going on. It used to be that .mil extensions would account for upwards of 30% of our traffic. Now, it's down to about 1%.
Waterloo -- [Jules Crittenden]
The following was produced at the request of Norm Geras and originally ran at his site in November 2006 as a book review, though it was as much an ode to war and an exploration of the experience as anything. Today, on the 193rd anniversary, here’s ”The Battle,” with some art and links added:
Great News -- [Greyhawk]
The White House and leading House Democrats agreed yesterday on a massive emergency spending bill that would provide more than $162 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and create an education benefit for veterans of those battlefields.
...The veterans benefit, drafted by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), won overwhelming support in previous votes in the House and the Senate. Making the benefit transferable to family members raised the 10-year cost of the plan from $52 billion to $62 billion.
No More Gazas -- [Michael Totten]
Robert Dujarric and Andy Zelleke challenge Senator John McCain in the Christian Science Monitor. They ask three important questions that everyone in the United States ought to have answered before casting a vote in the November election.
...I am not affiliated with the McCain campaign in any way and cannot be considered one of its spokesmen. These are important questions, however, and Senator McCain shouldn’t be the only one with some answers.
First let’s get something out of the way. Not every war is fought for the purpose of achieving something good or creating something new that has never existed--an Arab democracy in Iraq, for example. Wars are also fought to maintain a status quo and to prevent a bad outcome.
There Is Much to be Won in Iraq -- [Grim]
In The Christian Science Monitor, Robert Dujarric and Andy Zelleke declare that there is nothing left to be won in Iraq.
...I am also not affiliated with the McCain campaign, and in fact am a Southern Democrat by political leaning. I agree with Mr. Totten that we all ought to respond to this question.
So I'll point to three things, each of which individually justifies the cost in my opinion.
Remember Those Iraqi Benchmarks? Well, Guess What… -- [PJM]
Way back in the dark days of 2007, when the only popular question about the Iraq war concerned the degree of tragedy, Congress’s Iraq “benchmarks” were all the rage among Democrats. Every argument against a continued U.S. presence in Iraq was constructed around the Maliki administration’s apparent inability to meet the political and security-based milestones as outlined by America’s Democratic-majority Congress.
Then something happened. The gains of the troop surge allowed the Iraqi government and citizenry to implement the security measures and legislative acts called for by the U.S. The benchmark line of argument quietly died. Here, then, is the brief life and glorious death of the great benchmark trope.
Muslims barred from picture at Obama event -- [The Politico]
Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.
The campaign has apologized to the women, all Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
Obama v. Iraqi Foreign Minister -- [Weekly Standard]
Barack Obama spoke earlier this past week with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Their accounts of the conversation differ in politically convenient ways for the junior senator. Obama's version:
Iraqi FM Zebairi contradicts Obama's version of discussion -- [Air Force Pundit]
"I speculated that something seemed odd about Barack Obama’s account of his conversation with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshay Zebari. Obama said that Zebari didn’t express any concern about Obama’s immediate withdrawal plans. Well, according to Zebari that is a lie.
Washington Post editors sat down with Zebari and this is what he said: The foreign minister said “my message” to Mr. Obama “was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress.” He said he was reassured by the candidate’s response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain.
Obama on response to a terrorist attack
OBAMA SUPPORTS AND HAILS MILITARY TRIBUNALS -- [The Astute Bloggers]
Democrat Barack Obama said today he would bring bin Laden to account in a way that wouldn't allow the Sept. 11 mastermind to become a martyr.
At a Washington news conference after meeting his security advisers, he acknowledged that bin Laden might not be taken alive, but suggested that the Nazi war crime trials at Nuremberg after World War II would be a good model if he is. -The Nurebmberg Trials were Military Tribunals
-Defendents were not reaf their Miranda Rights or allowed to sue to get their cases heard by a Federal Court.
-Most convicted were executed.
Something tells me we should expect Obama to backrack from this statement in a day or so as usual.
Pro-Obama Iraqi-American Ex-Convict Supports Increased Attacks on U.S. Troops -- [Talisman Gate - Iraqi blogger]
There’s so much vileness here that I really don’t know what to mop up first.
Ayham Alsammarae, Iraq’s slimy ex-Minister of Electricity under the Bremer and Allawi administrations, who had escaped from an Iraqi prison by hiring an American security company to break him out back in December 2006, has resurfaced in the Jordanian capital Amman where he gave a press conference today saying, among other things, that he hoped that the insurgency in Iraq “would continue [against U.S. occupation] and avenges the Iraqi people.”
In another vein, Alsammarrae also tells Radio Sawa that he’s contributed money to the Obama campaign. I wonder how Obama would react to a paycheck and an endorsement from ex-con buddy of Rezko’s who is now braying for more American soldiers to be killed.
Obama's Shifting Positions on Iraq: A Rezko Connection? -- [PJM]
The time line of Obama's flip-flops on Iraq just happens to correlate to his friend's business dealings in that country.
Barack Obama's position on Iraq has shifted significantly over the last six years. What is interesting is how his position on Iraq matches up with developments in Chicago. Specifically, there appears to be a direct correlation between the rising and falling prospects of his longtime friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko's attempts to secure multi-million-dollar contracts to build and operate a power plant in Kurdish Iraq and the senator's Iraq flip-flops.
The partisan theory of Osama bin Laden's freedom -- [TigerHawk]
The wire service that shall not be named is reporting that Barack Obama said that Osama bin Laden is still free because of Republican "failed strategies." Perhaps. But that is no different than saying he was both free and able to attack the United States in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001 because of Democatic "failed strategies." Free he may be to live in his cave under constant fear of betrayal, but for the last six years -- since Bali, really -- the only targets he has been able to hit are unarmed Muslims or hardened Western military targets that are ready to face him. That is one rather large difference between Republican "failed strategies" and Democratic. I mean, if we're going to be partisan about it.
Stuck on Stupid -- [Hot Air]
Barack Obama suggested that we return to the posture we took in 1993 of simply arresting people after they commit terrorist attacks, blithely ignorant of the series of escalating attacks al-Qaeda committed during the 1990s after the conviction of the Blind Sheikh and his henchment for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Apparently, Americans need to die before Obama will take action to stop terrorists rather than stop them before they attack.
The Final Purge and a Jackass of the Day Award -- [Knee Deep in the Hooah!]
Posted on June 14th, 2008 , In my own particular idiom, Claire
So that I do not dwell on this any further, I feel the need to do a “final purge” of the happenings the past few days on this blog. Some of you know of the huge dump that the Washington Post’s blog “IntelDump” took on my blog the other day. We were an easy target for the blog author Phillip Carter, so we were thrown under the bus and he got noticed. Nice, eh? The funny thing is, Carter claimed in his article that the real issue at hand was the fact that “Stand To” linked to an article that was clearly an anti-Obama piece, but the problem is he did not really make that the focus of the entry.
AP vs. Bloggers Update -- [Bill Hobbs]
Patterico catches the Associated Press doing what the AP threatened to sue bloggers for doing. Meanwhile, now that the AP is proposing that bloggers should pay it per-word for excerpting as few as five words from AP content, some folks are suggesting bloggers charge the AP for using content from blogs. Like I said when I first noted the AP's attack on bloggers: Bet on the bloggers.
By the time this fight is over, the AP may well be offering to pay bloggers to link to AP stories. And it will be too late.
Media Snoozing Through Another Haditha Development -- [NewsBusters]
Jeffrey Chessani is the latest Marine to turn out not to be a "cold-blooded killer" that the media and Democratic politicians painted Marines charged with the Haditha "massacre" to be. This two weeks after another Marine was acquitted ...
AP Explains Why It Will Ignore Iraq Now That News Is Better -- [NewsBusters]
An unbylined Associated Press report yesterday, at least as carried at MSNBC, acknowledges improvement, and then explains why it's not going to get much future coverage from the wire service as long as things stay that way:
Olbermann Hypocritically Linked McCain to Bin Laden, Decried Anti-Cleland Ad -- [NewsBusters]
...Olbermann himself recently employed a photograph of Osama bin Laden as he introduced a story contending that "John McCain's top guy [Phil Gramm] on the economy made it easier for bin Laden," and charging that Gramm was "on the side of the terrorists' bankers before and after 9/11." The MSNBC host has also accused McCain of "betraying" U.S. troops, and has suggested that McCain does not "understand risk and sacrifice" of U.S. troops serving in Iraq, and has "abandoned" them. He even went so far as the suggest that McCain had ulterior motives for supporting an extended U.S. presence in Iraq because he supports "war-profiteering" by U.S. firms who would benefit. And Olbermann once mocked McCain as "awol" during as Senate vote because he was at a fund-raiser "supporting himself instead of the troops."
The Marines Vs. Haditha Smear Merchants -- [Real Clear Politics - Michelle Malkin]
Yet another U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, had charges dropped Tuesday in the so-called Haditha massacre -- bringing the total number of Marines who've been cleared or won case dismissals in the Iraq war incident to seven. "Undue command influence" on the prosecution led to the outcome in Chessani's case. Bottom line: That's zero for seven for military prosecutors, with one trial left to go.
I repeat: Haditha prosecution goes 0-7. But you won't see that headline in the same Armageddon-sized font The New York Times used repeatedly when the story first broke.
Media: Worse for military than terrorists -- [Matt Sanchez]
Anyone who believes unfair and biased press on Iraq is a recent phenomenon has a short memory.
In 2003, following the fastest advance in the history of warfare, the media began to wring their collective hands, as one microphone holder after the next cautioned of Marines and soldiers outrunning their support in the charge to Baghdad.
Reporters, editors and producers really love to play follow the sound byte.
In April 2003, the buzzwords "stretched thin" and "unprotected" got a lot more attention than "Iraqis are surrendering by the thousands." As the troops cut into uncharted territory, the media played up the strength of Saddam's "dedicated" Republican Guard, while openly discussing the weaknesses of American troops.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
No burnt toast in bed -- [Bob Krum - in Iraq]
BAGHDAD - It’s Father’s Day, so at the end of the service this evening the Chaplain asked all the fathers to stand for a blessing. Of the 50 people there, I counted only four still in their seats. Granted, I serve in a headquarters, so we’re an older bunch–meaning that there are probably more Dads here than in most units. But the truth is that while wars past were fought by sons, many of today’s Soldiers are Dads.
This is a tough day for a lot of deployed Dads. But I think that it’s tougher still on the kids back home. We volunteered for this mission. The kids, however, did not.
Lowered Violence in Iraq Gives Hope to Marines, Iraqis -- [MNF-I]
wo years ago, al-Anbar was said to be the most violent province in Iraq. It was a place where the insurgency in Iraq had begun and where the bloodiest battles took place. Today, thanks to the hard work and sacrifices made by the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen who served in the area, it has become a model for the rest of Iraq.
State Rep. & USMC Staff Sergeant Jim Watson from Iraq -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Illinois State Representative Jim Watson addresses the 2008 Illinois Republican State Convention in Decatur via phone from Iraq. He is a staff sergeant with the United States Marine Corps and is currently serving as a liasion to the Anbar Provincial Council in Ramadi, Iraq.
CJCS Mullen Hails Iraqi Political Debate
Bush never lied to us about Iraq -- [LA Times]
...Nearly every prominent Democrat in the country has repeated some version of this charge, and the notion that the Bush administration deceived the American people has become the accepted narrative of how we went to war.
Yet in spite of all the accusations of White House "manipulation" -- that it pressured intelligence analysts into connecting Hussein and Al Qaeda and concocted evidence about weapons of mass destruction -- administration critics continually demonstrate an inability to distinguish making claims based on flawed intelligence from knowingly propagating falsehoods.
Sadrist movement withdraws from political process -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Muqtada-Sadr-image.jpgOne day after demobilizing the Mahdi Army, Muqtada al Sadr has ordered the Sadrist political movement to boycott the upcoming provincial elections.
Quick Cultural Rant -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
We spent the better part of the day today driving around the city of Baghdad on various tasks. My Scottish partner was commenting that the nature of the Arab culture is so terribly fatalist. You can see this simply by they way that they drive; blasting through intersections, cutting off everyone else on the road, no regard what so ever for traffic laws or even norms. It’s as if no one else exists but them, as if they don't care what happens to them or anybody else.
Return to Action -- [Michael Yon]
I have left the United States and am heading back to the war.
Heavy promotion of Moment of Truth in Iraq is over. I conducted approximately 100 radio, television, magazine and newspaper interviews, therefore was unable to do much more than track the war from afar. There are more radio interviews scheduled, but I’ll be talking from downrange.
Al-Rashid Electrical Substation (pdf) -- [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed construction of the Al-Rasid electrical substation in southwest Baghdad. The project to install state-of-the-art, gas-insulated switchgear began in the late 1990s under the U.N. Oil for Food Program and was completed in May 2008 with a final $38 million push from USACE. The substation connects the area to a more reliable power grid and will result in more hours of electricity per day to residents.
Iraqi Soccer, cheerleaders and the Civil War -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
It's been very quiet in recent days. So quiet, in fact, that one would hardly think there's a war on. At least around these parts. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean the place has gotten entirely safe. Forget the insurgency, an entirely new danger faces us: Iraqi Soccer.
Last night, the Iraqi national Soccer team faced its biggest challenge yet. The team, whose dramatic rise to greatness despite the war and violence, faced a team that on paper should have destroyed them
Im Suden Nichts Neues -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
All Quiet on the Southern Front...
I was checking the SIGACTS (Significant Activities) for the last 24 hours and was surprised to see nothing posted. I thought to myself "c'mon you lazy #$%&, get the site updated!"
So I dug a little deeper and saw a summary that basically said that nothing happened for a 24 hour period.
Relaxing in Erbil -- [manrymission.com - in Iraq]
I spent a few days this week visiting projects in Dahuk and Erbil. COL Pfenning, my boss, is due to return to the US next month. So he is making his last visit to all of the USACE offices in GRN, which he commands. On Thursday, we had lunch with Governor Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil. I was intrigued by the invitation he extended because he told us to bring our swim trunks if we were interested in swimming.
Package about female Marines with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing working with female Marines from other forward operating units to learn culture sensitive methods for searching female Iraqis at security checkpoints.
Combat Showers -- [Cajun Tiger's Rants and Raves - in Iraq]
When it was first announced that we should all start using this showering method, I at first thought it meant to just get in and out as quick as possible, no lingering around under a hot or cold shower to relax or cool off. That however is not the case.
A combat shower for you non-initiated like myself is even more involved and saves even more water than that method. The basic idea is ...
European Interlude I -- [Kaboom - R&R from Iraq]
...If and when people find out I’m away from Iraq on holiday, I sort of become an instant celebrity. At first it was cool, until I realized it was the bearded woman type of celebrity, not the Hollywood brand. It’s no one’s fault, of course; normal people just don’t know how to react to things like that. Like that – being – as in – as in being – “Uhh. Yeah. I’m in Iraq. No. I don’t want to talk about it. Does the techno music ever stop here?”
Afghanistan Campaign Headed in Wrong Direction -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Six months agoThe Captain’s Journal was issuing warnings about Operation Enduring Freedom being headed in the wrong direction, while General Rodriguez (and U.S. intelligence in Afghanistan) were denying that there would be any such thing as a spring Taliban offensive. The only offensive, they claimed, would be the U.S. offensive to route the Taliban. True, the Marines have had tremendous success in and around Garmser, but this is only localized success at the hands of a few companies of Marines. If there is any current doubt about the need for force projection - a recurring theme as our readers know - May’s combat deaths in Afghanistan outnumbered Iraq.
GEN Dan McNeill
Pentagon Briefing - 13 June 2008
Army Gen. Dan McNeill, recently returned commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, discussing stability and security operations in Afghanistan, June 13, 2008
Report: Strike targets Baitullah Mehsud's hideout in Pakistan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The US military may have targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in the town of Makeen in South Waziristan.
Insurgents killed, detained in Kandahar -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
More than 15 insurgents were killed by Afghan National Army and Coalition forces in a farming compound west of Rawonay, Kandahar province, Saturday, during a search for escaped prisoners from Kandahar City.
A large cache of munitions and IED components were discovered during the search. The combined forces used precision air strikes to destroy the compound after insurgents attacked with small-arms fire.
More than 15 insurgents were killed and five suspects were taken into custody by the ANA.
It has not been confirmed whether the insurgents or the five suspects in custody are escaped prisoners.
No civilian, Afghan or Coalition casualties were reported.
Provincial Council Meeting
An inside look at the meetings in Bagram that lead towards the rebuilding of Afghanistan
Roads between district capitals -- [A Year in Afghanistan - International Development in Afghanistan]
...over the next 2 years, there will be a program throughout the south and east to build roads that connect the district capitals, including several in Uruzgan. He was happy to hear, of course, and wants the construction to start as soon as possible. But in which areas will the construction actually be able to take place, and how will they build it in areas that have been insecure for years? Well, they'll be working with communities along the roads in order to make this possible. If people remain as enthusiastic about roads as they did when the advance survey team was here, then there is a good chance that they'll help to provide security for construction in some places.
Coalition Forces Repel Militant Attack in Afghanistan
Pictures From the 'Stan -- [Jake's Life - in Afghanistan]
Jake sent us some pictures and I asked him if I could post them, so here they are. Jake has also said he has received many packages from friends known and unknown and he and the platoon are grateful.
Flood Fundraiser -- [Liberty Pundit]
I know I said the other day that my family and I are in no danger with the flood, but I forgot one thing: my place of employment.
At around 8 am this morning, a dam holding back a somewhat large creek near where I work let go and now the place is surrounded by several feet of water. Within a few hours, it will be totally swamped and, temporarily, out of business. Which means, basically, that I’m out of a job until the water goes back down and they clean/fix the place back up.
New York To Now Lower Flags When Its Warriors Killed -- [Pat Dollard]
Gov. David Paterson has ordered flags on state buildings across New York flown at half-staff to honor service members from New York who are killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A spokesman for the governor says the new policy began Wednesday, when the flag was lowered for three Fort Drum soldiers killed in Iraq on June 4 near Sharqat. On Monday, flags will be lowered again for Staff Sgt. Tyler Pickett, who was killed in action in Kirkuk Province in Iraq on June 8.
Bush, Sarkozy Warn Iran, Syria -- [Washington Times]
President Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in lockstep on a number of Middle East issues, issued warnings Saturday against Iran and Syria and reaffirmed their support for a united and independent Lebanon. "Iran getting a nuclear bomb is unacceptable," Mr. Bush said at a press conference at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris. "It´s an unacceptable threat for the stability of the world." Mr. Bush's warning against Tehran, coming hours after Iran appeared to reject a new European Union offer to end the standoff over its nuclear program, was echoed by Mr. Sarkozy, who described a nuclear-armed Iran as "totally unacceptable."
Thousands of of Iranians Rise Up & Protest Corrupt Regime -- [Gateway Pundit]
Azarmehr and Spirit of Man are reporting on a massive protest in Mashad, Iran againt the corrupt regime in control of Iran. Up to 10,000 people were reported to have taken part in the Mashad demonstration.
Azarmehr has video from the massive protest.
Iran Rejects Six-Nation Proposal -- [Washington Post]
Iran said Saturday that a package of incentives offered by six countries was "out of the question" because it includes a demand for the country to suspend uranium enrichment activities. The European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, presented the proposal to Iranian authorities Saturday on behalf of the United States, China, France, Germany, Britain and Russia. He told reporters in Tehran, the Iranian capital, that the offer was "generous and comprehensive and a starting point for real negotiations" on the country's nuclear program.
US Navy Hospital Grapples With Risks But Wins Hearts In RP -- [Philippine Star]
...The Mercy’s gentle diplomacy has won hearts in the Philippines, where the US military has been providing combat training and weapons to the under-funded military since 2002 to stop the poor Southeast Asian country from continuing to be a breeding ground for terrorists and extremist ideologies.
Push to Find Bin Laden, Mehsud -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
The premier American commando unit, Delta Force, is teaming up with Britian’s Special Boat Service (SBS) which has resulted in an escalation in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
An unnamed source within British special forces claims the regular forays into Pakistan are “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government.
The report claims US and British ground forces, backed up by unmanned drones and the Pakistani army, are operating within Pakistan in a renewed effort to flush bin Laden toward US troops who are massing on the border.
Best Father's Day Ever -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Meet an incredible Army couple, Alycia and James Hackemer, in their latest television interview (please watch!).
...The summary above doesn't even begin to tell the whole story. The fact is that James' initial diagnosis was grim. Very early on, when James was still in a comatose state, the family was told his progress had already plateaued and he would remain that way.
In spite of that devastating blow the family never gave up hope. And against all odds James began to become responsive in the following days. Since then, his recovery has been one miracle after another. The doctors originally said James would stay at Spaulding rehabilitation center for 6 - 12 months before moving to Walter Reed to receive his prosthetics. Now it looks like he'll be leaving in 6 weeks.
And thanks to his miraculous recovery, he'll be spending this Father's Day with his wife and two little girls, Kaelynn and Addison.
Give the Gift that makes a difference! Make a donation to Soldiers' Angels in honor of friends and family! -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Soldiers' Angels accepts Honorary and Memorial Gifts throughout the year. This is a great way to show you care at birthdays, anniversaries, births and other special occasions. Donations in lieu of flowers or other memorial gifts are also humbly accepted.
Father's Day -- [Foreign and Domestic]
Today is the 1st Father's Day in the seven and a half years since my son was born that I have been home on Father's Day.
2007 and 2006 were in Iraq.
2005 was in Camp Ripley for annual training.
2004 was in Kosovo.
2003 was in Camp Ripley.
2001 and 2002 were in Fort Chafee, Arkansas, for annual training.
I started the morning on the lake fishing. They didn't cooperate, but I didn't really mind.
May Recruiting -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Just in case anyone get confronted with how the military "is not meeting recruiting goals" because of the Iraq War, I want to provide you with the just-released recruitment numbers:
Marine Corps - 122% of requirement
Army - 101% of requirement
Navy - 100% of requirement
Air Force - 100% of requirement
Air National Guard - 131% of requirement
Army Reserve - 107% of requirement
Marine Corps Reserve - 100% of requirement
Navy Reserve - 100% of requirement
Air Force Reserve - 100% of requirement
Army National Guard - 94% of requirement (there's one for the anti-war folks to cling to!)
"Home" -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - home from Iraq]
We're back now. Back in the states.
Back to the booze. Back to the insanity of normal living. Fresh introduction to ridiculous gas prices. Great guys coming home to disastrous situations. The most unexpected, failed marriaged, and thankya very much Uncle Sam. Seeing as ol' Unc gives such a shit about fixing these quiet problems. Cheating wives. And who can blame who? Gone for over a year, what is a human being to do?
Home -- [Toby Nunn - home from Iraq]
I am at HOME for the first time since October. It really is not my home but it is where my heart is so thats all that matters. I had to elect to forgo a couple week wait to talk to a medical professional but it is worth it. We are in a transitional period here and will be on vacation for a couple of weeks then will settle into our new house. I will try to keep everyone up to date but for the next week or two I am going to focus less on this screen and more on some faces. If you are in the bay and want to get together please let me know and I will make time to do it.
Obama to Visit Europe, Not Iraq -- [Weekly Standard]
This is typical thinking on the part of left-wing European tabloids, but what the Guardian (and apparently Obama) doesn't understand about U.S. politics is that Americans could care less whether our president knows how to hold the cup properly while sipping tea with the Queen. Instead of mixing it up with the landed gentry, Obama would learn more about being commander-in-chief from a trip to meet American and Iraqi military leaders. Or is he so afraid of what he might learn that traveling to Iraq is to become just another empty promise from the Democratic demagogue?
Hmm... Tennessee Democratic Leaders Wonder If Obama Is a Terrorist (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
Tennessee Dem Leaders Question If Obama Is a Terrorist
N.Y. Times Magazine Publishes Charge That McCain's a Phony POW -- [NewsBusters]
Liberals were outraged in 2004 when they nominated Sen. John Kerry, who by the way, served in Vietnam, and some veterans who served with him on Swift Boats had the audacity to challenge his war heroism. So how will they greet cranky old leftist author Gore Vidal who does some "swift boating" of his own in the Sunday New York Times Magazine? Interviewer Deborah Solomon talked to the "literary lion" about John McCain, and Vidal suggested the "rumor" of McCain’s heroism should be so questioned, we might even doubt he actually served time as a POW:
ABC Lies -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
Good Morning America has a piece up on Michelle Obama. The lie:
Google "Michelle Obama" and the term "whitey" and you'll find conservative bloggers claiming a video shows her using the racially tinged term at Trinity Church. No tape has ever surfaced. But the claim helped prompt the Obama campaign to launch its own Web site, FighttheSmears.com.
The tape rumor, as everyone other than ABC knows, was started by Clinton supporter Larry Johnson on his blog. And since Obama will now "Fight the Smears", Johnshon has 6 new ones for the Obama team to answer:
Media Reports Distort Reality of Generous Treatment Toward Gitmo Detainees, JAG Says -- [NewsBusters]
Contrary to what has been widely reported and suggested in the domestic and foreign media outlets the U.S. actually exceeds Geneva Convention requirements for detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, a former U.S. Army JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corps. captain informs readers in a recently released book.
AP Will Set Guidelines For Bloggers -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Associated Press announced this weekend that it is going to set clear guidelines for bloggers quoting their articles.
Last week, the Associated Press sent a letter to the Drudge Retort warning them to take down quotes from AP articles on their website. This caused quite a stir on the blogosphere and several bloggers decided to ban the AP from their websites. The AP then decided to meet with a bloggers group this week to define its rules for using their news stories.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
“They call us ‘Saddam’s Soldiers...” -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Iraq]
“Because we were in the Army before -- during the war.”
When most of the Iraqi RW pilots talk about “the war,” they’re referring to the Iran-Iraq dustup -- they call OIF “the fight.” Most of them do, anyway…
“So, they call us Saddam’s Soldiers. Feh. We did not fight for Saddam. American soldiers do not fight for Bush. Soldiers fight for the land, the country, the people! Not for the leader! The leader always changes and the land remains! But they call us ‘Saddam’s Soldiers and look down on us.
"They don’t know. ...
More than 500 insurgents have laid down their weapons in Balad -- [IN-Iraq]
Since May 22, a total of 506 suspected insurgents in Balad, a mixed Sunni-Shia area of over a 100,000 about an hour north of Baghdad, have reconciled with U.S. forces.
On May 22, and the following two days, there was a mass surrender of over 200 men to coalition forces at Patrol Base Palawoda. The U.S. and Iraqi forces were taken by surprise at the amount of once wanted men turning themselves in at the heed of several key tribal leaders.
Papers give peek inside al Qaeda in Iraq -- [CNN]
...n all, these Anbar files form the largest collection of al Qaeda in Iraq materials to ever fall into civilian hands, giving an insight into the organization that few but its members or Western intelligence agents have ever seen.
Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, the American military's spokesman in Baghdad, says the document trove is unique, "a kind of comprehensive snapshot" of al-Qaeda during its peak.
"It reveals," Driscoll said, "first of all, a pretty robust command and control system, if you will. I was kind of surprised when I saw the degree of documentation for everything -- pay records, those kind of things -- and that [al Qaeda in Iraq] was obviously a well-established network."
...So, what do these captured documents from 2006 tell us about al Qaeda in Iraq today? A lot, according to a senior U.S. intelligence analyst in Iraq, who cannot be named because of the sensitivity of his position.
Cnn Headline news / The Al-Qaeda files / - !!WARNING GRAPHIC !!
Anbar Iraqis Share Al-Qaeda Intelligence -- [Threats Watch]
The documents and digital footage reveal the true nature of al-Qaeda in Iraq, specifically its Anbar province manifestation, and Ware and CNN share the tip of the iceberg of what they were provided by our Iraqi anti-al-Qaeda allies. It is proof of what can be learned when journalists actually venture beyond the wire and leave the Green Zone and their hotels behind. Ware should be commended for that.
That said, he still gets it wrong in the sense that he concludes that al-Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi terrorist organization. It is true that the vast majority of the AQI footsoldiers are and were Iraqis recruited locally. However, it cannot be discounted that leadership and strategic direction comes from and came from al-Qaeda Arabs originally from other countries. The current leader’s nom de guerre, al-Masri, means ‘the Egyptian,’ while Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was from Zarqa, Jordan. Furthermore, there were ‘Iraqis’ who had been with al-Qaeda since pre-9/11 who were sent in and elevated to leadership roles.
CNN's Story on al-Qaeda in Iraq Falls Flat -- [Threats Watch - Steve Shippert]
Yesterday, we told you about how the Anbar leaders of the Iraq Awakening shared al-Qaeda intelligence with Michael Ware and CNN. As well, we urged readers to tune in last night and watch the full report. Knowing what Ware had stumbled onto,it is needless to say that we expected something wholly more substantial in his report than that which it actually included. The analysis was flat and at some points even self-contradictory.
Readers can make their own judgment after viewing the segment in its entirety below.
... considering the amount and nature of the data provided to him by the Iraq Awakening in Anbar province, the report was a huge disappointment, not only in length and depth, but also in the overall tone and conclusions. Most viewers to whom such information is new probably walked away not so much with the impression that al-Qaeda in Iraq is a murderous and bloodthirsty group of terrorists who made sport of killing Iraqi civilians. Rather, the overriding sense left with the viewer is probably that Washington and the Bush Administration have still got it wrong.
Being left with merely six minutes is not on Michael Ware’s shoulders. His weak analysis, however, most certainly is.
Interview with mayor of Ad Dwar, Iraq -- [IN-Iraq]
-How do you feel about the Americans staying in Iraq?
“Americans are working hard on service projects. From their visits to Ad Dwar they know things even the mayor doesn’t know, but they bring it to me.
“Together we collaborate. We consider them our friends. We go to them with things we can’t do ourselves concerning electricity, water, health. I feel and I know they want to help us, but with the general situation in Iraq, it’s not clear from the citizens (viewpoint). They (Americans) carry guns, but they have feelings, love. I appreciate it.”
“If you ask me I don’t want the Americans to go. Until today there’s no government that can rule the country. Some other countries might come and tell us what to do. In Iraq people live in chaos. If the Americans pull out, it will be a jungle. People will be eating each other, other countries will invade.”
Iraqi police detain three Special Groups operative behind 2007 Karbala attack -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Iraqi police have captured three Iranian-backed Special Groups operatives behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers at the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in January 2007. Meanwhile, US troops captured another Special Groups leader in the Al Kut region.
The Iraqi police captured the three "key criminals" behind the 2007 Karbala attack in Musayyib, just south of Baghdad, on June 5. The three Special Groups operatives are "suspected of trafficking and emplacing explosively formed projectiles." Explosively formed projectiles are the signature weapon of Shia terrorists with links to Iran.
Guardian: AQ all but defeated in Iraq -- [Hot Air]
The Guardian, not known for its support of the war in Iraq or the Bush administration’s policies there, admits two crucial points today: al-Qaeda has lost Iraq, and the surge of American troops provided the means for their defeat. The paper couches this in fears of a new front for AQ, in reality the potential on two existing fronts, but cannot escape the conclusion that the forward strategy against the terrorist network in both Iraq and Afghanistan has worked
Jamilla Market in the Sadr City
A U.S. Army Soldier gets a lift from an Iraqi boy and his mule on Route Douglas in the Jamilla Market in the Sadr City district of Baghdad, June 9, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young.
Propaganda Videos Show al Qaeda in Iraq Defeated -- [Jawa Report]
The Guardian admitting al Qaeda in Iraq defeated? File under: pigs fly.
We've been noting the incredible decline in the number of al Qaeda propaganda videos coming out of Iraq over the past six months. In fact, many of the "new" videos are simply repackaged footage of old attacks. New video did appear to be coming out of Mosul, but after the arrest of an al Qaeda propagandist there the stream of jihad videos has all but vanished.
Now The Guardian cites the drying up of propaganda as part of a larger body of evidence that al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated
Barriers Removed, BridgeOpens Road to Market District -- [MNF-I]
BAGHDAD — Packed cars, meandering pedestrians and the occasional donkey pulling a cart fill the busy streets of Baghdad daily.
Couple this with roads blocked off by Iraqi security and coalition forces to lessen special groups militants and extremists ability to prey on citizens and you have the makings of a traffic jam in Baghdad.
In Abu Ghuraib leaders from the 24th “Muthana” Brigade decided to close Leaders Bridge more than three years ago to impede the movement of various militant and extremist elements.
Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers with 1st “Top Guns” Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, along with Iraqi army soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 24th “Muthana” Brigade, 6th Iraqi army division, worked together to open the bridge over a three day period ending, June 6.
Hundreds of Former Iraqi Insurgents Reconcile With Government -- [MNF-I]
BALAD — Since May 22, more than 500 former insurgents in the Balad area have reconciled with the Iraqi government, choosing a different path for their lives.
Engaging the Enemy in Iraq
I Can See Clearly Now The Sand is Gone.... -- [Courage Without Fear - in Iraq]
After almost a steady week of blinding sandstorms, the weather has finally quieted down here.
Sandstorms bring us all kinds of pain and misery.
First of all, they effect the mission. When the sandstorms are so bad that aircraft can't fly, the roads get shut down. Thats actually a good thing. The A sand storm passes through Cav Country at Camp Virginia.powers that be don't want us out running the roads unless they can get a MEDEVAC chopper or a couple APaches gun ships to us if we need them. So in a way, I'm okay with that.
Concerning the Peril of Negotiating with the Taliban -- [The Captain’s Journal]
In Competing Strategies in Afghanistan we documented the push by Hamid Karzai, Secretary Miliband and Secretary Des Browne to negotiate with the Taliban. The Canadian liberal Senators have now put their weight behind the same plan, with the Tory Senators waffling over the idea.
Coalition Forces Repel Militant Attack in Afghanistan
The Drug-Terrorist Link Means Wars can Last Indefinitely -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Brits are finally willing to lay out some of the truths about the war in Afghanistan, truths that apply in many other parts of the world, in a pattern that we continue to see growing.
According to the Daily Telegraph, a confidential report to the prime minister concludes that the drug trade will prolong the Taliban insurgency idenfinitely
Largest ever narcotics haul in Afghanistan -- [Afghanistan Sun]
A record amount of hashish has been seized by Afghan police in the southern province of Kandahar.
Police found 237 tons of hashish in hidden trenches close to Spin Boldak, near the Pakistan border.
NATO says it is probably the largest narcotics find in the history of drug enforcement.
The drugs were destroyed.
NATO says the seizure is proof that Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of drugs, is making a serious effort to combat the trade.
COMARSIC Participates in DOD Bloggers Roundtable -- [Afghan Regional Security Integration Command - in Afghanistan]
"... the Afghan people are looking for security ...they want the Taliban to go away ..." - Col. McGrath
U.S. Army Col. Thomas J. McGrath, Commander, Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command - South, joined us for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable this morning. Col. McGrath spoke with Troy Steward of Bouhammer and Boston Maggie about the progress in training the Afghan National Army and Police, the 2-7 Marines as embedded trainers, the building of the Ministry of Defense hospital for the ANA 205th Hero Corps, and the economic development as the market price of wheat now exceeds the price of poppy. Hey, the also have a brand new blog linked above.
U.S. Airstrike in Pakistan - June 08 - DoD Video
The Taliban - An Organizational Analysis (pdf) -- [Afghan Regional Security Integration Command - in Afghanistan]
...The Taliban did not grow out of the dark overnight, nor was it unknown inthe Middle East, the region of the world most severely affected after 9/11. Following
its emergence in 1994 from madrassas, the Taliban achieved surprising
victories over its enemies and assumed rule over much of Afghanistan.2 Simultaneously hailed as saviors and feared as oppressors, the were an almost mythical phenomenon that seemed to embody the very essence of Afghan cultural beliefs, especially revenge for transgression, hospitality for enemies, and readiness to die for honor. The Taliban knew the people and their ways and embedded themselves in the complex web of tribalism, religion, and ethnicity.
Despite their quick overthrow in 2002 by a small coalition of U.S. forces and anti-Taliban groups, the has not gone away. In fact, today, in the face of thousands of NATO and U.troops, a growing Afghan National Army (ANA), and a popularly elected government, the movement’s influence
in Afghanistan is increasing. It continues to wage an insurgency that has prevented the new government from establishing legitimacy, and it has created massive unrest in Pakistan. Clearly, it behooves us to know something more about this archaic but formidable enemy.
HSC Soldiers multitask, foster new relationships -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101- in Afghanistan]
“Maintaining security is not all just about the defensive posture,” said Capt. Stan Goligoski, 101st HSC commander. “We go out beyond the ECPs to interact and build relationships with the people in the local villages around us.”
As part of their Bagram Outreach Program, the HSC works to provide local villages with water, power, security fences and anything else that may help.
The Soldiers went to the village of Gulam Ali, June 7, and brought fuel for service generators, which they acquired for the village six weeks ago.
Later that day, on invitation from the village elder, they went to the opening of a new all-girl’s school.
Afghanistan - "A Survivor's Tale" (June 2008)
"Internationally acclaimed photographer Stephen Dupont narrowly escaped a suicide blast in Afghanistan. After 20 years of recording the plight of others, he was now turning the lens on himself.
Just after the explosion, Dupont pulled out his camera and began capturing the chaos. He filmed himself, blood running down his face, as he searched for his lost colleague, not knowing if he was dead or alive. With such media-targeted attacks increasing, what will happen if journalists stop covering conflict-zones? "We wont be able to bring back the message or tell both sides of the story...there'll be no story to cover"." journeymanpictures
Garmser Grows Silent -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
After 35 straight days of combat, Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are beginning to push ahead with civil affairs projects, as combat in Garmser has been on hold since June 1st. The Marines report more than 150 engagements since the fighting began
Back on the injured reserve... -- [Cheese's Blog - in Afghansitan]
Well, my spine is acting up again. For those that don't know, I messed my back up pretty bad in Iraq. The main injury was from falling in a mud pit while carrying a stretcher, and I've been on a pretty even rotation of dull aches and back strains since. I had been doing pretty well, but a combination of dead-lifts and rocky roads in body armor have benched me once again.
It's not all that bad, the docs say that the muscles around my sciatic nerve are spasming.
Agricultural Extension Training -- [A Year in Afghanistan - developer in Afghanistan]
One project that I'm excited about is a training course for agricultural extension workers. This is a course we're funding in several provinces, and it just recently began in Uruzgan. Here is the class out in the field. I smudged the faces to avoid trouble for them.
The Undeclared War On The Afghan Border -- [Strategy Page]
June 12, 2008: Pakistanis have a their own view of what's going on in their tribal areas, and along the Afghan border. This frontier, still called the "Durand Line" (an impromptu, pre-independence invention of British colonial authorities) was always considered artificial by locals, because the line often went right Pushtun tribal territories. However, the Afghans are more inclined to accept the Durand Line, and fight to maintain it. The Pakistanis believe absolute control of the border is impossible, and attempts to stop illegal crossings cause additional trouble (as tribesmen do not like excessive attention at border crossing posts on roads). The majority of politicians just want to ignore the tribal areas. Most Pakistanis have more immediate problems than the threat of terrorists in the back country.
F-16 Dropped 1000 Pound Bomb On Taliban Position In Afghanistan
JDAM 1000lbs Bomb Dropped On Taliban Hide Out In Musa q'leh, Afghanistan.
The Easy Way Out -- [Strategy Page]
June 11, 2008: There are several wars going on in Afghanistan, and that's a big part of the problem. There is the war between independent minded tribes and provincial governors. That's because central government was never a popular idea in the region called Afghanistan. Fans of central government are still a minority, and many of those simply want to get their hands on more loot for their family and tribe by controlling part of the government.
The last picture show -- [Yellowhammering Afghansitan]
As I head back to my job at The Birmingham News, my days as a blogger are coming to an end (though there will be a couple of postings I want to make before calling it quits, so stay tuned).
This is my final slideshow with images from my fourth quarter in Afghanistan. You can view it here.
If you missed the first three quarterly slideshows, you can view them here, here and here.
Officials chop trees inscribed by US soldiers who fought for France -- [Times Online]
he beech trees of Saint Pierre de Varengeville-Duclair forest bore a poignant testimony to the D-Day landings for more than six decades. Thousands of American soldiers stationed there after the liberation of Normandy spent their spare hours with a knife or bayonet creating a lasting reminder of their presence.
Although the trees grew and the graffiti swelled and twisted, this most peculiar memory of one of the 20th century’s defining moments remained visible - until now. Amid bureaucratic indifference and a dispute between officials and the forest owner, most of the trees have been felled, chopped up and turned into paper.
Boys Scouts praised as heroes after twister kills 4 -- [Breitbart]
BLENCOE, Iowa (AP) - When the howling winds finally died down, the Boy Scouts—true to their motto, "Be Prepared"—sprang into action.
Putting their first-aid training to use, they applied tourniquets and gauze to the injured. Some began digging victims from the rubble of a collapsed fireplace. And others broke into an equipment shed, seized chainsaws and other tools, and began clearing fallen trees from a road.
Dozens of the boys, ages 13 to 18, were hailed for their bravery and resourcefulness Thursday, the morning after a twister flattened their camp in Iowa and killed four of their comrades.
"There were some real heroes at this Scout camp," Gov. Chet Culver said, adding that he believes the Scouts saved lives while they waited for paramedics to cut through the trees and reach the camp a mile into the woods.
The Education of George W. Bush -- [WaPo]
President Bush's slow and painful schooling in constitutional law continued today as the Supreme Court ruled for the third time in four years that he had violated a basic precept of the American legal system.
The court ruled 5-4 that Bush cannot deny prisoners at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions in federal district court. Some of them have been held already -- without charges -- for more than six years.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, determined that the prisoners in the U.S.-run facility "have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. . . ."
Russia rebuilding Superpower Military -- [THE AIR FORCE PUNDIT]
Martin Sieff UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL Gen. Nikolai Makarov has replaced tough, old Gen. Yury Baluyevsky as the chief of staff of Russia's armed forces and has been tasked with rapidly modernizing them. Despite all the stories of a run-down and demoralized military that regularly appear in the Western media, Russia's armed forces remain the most powerful and effective land force across all of Eurasia. They don't have enough modern equipment. But what they do have is state-of-the-art, especially in main battle tanks, heavy artillery and close ground tactical air support. Their multiple-launch rocket mortar forces are without parallel in any other armed force in the world. However, modernization has not been going remotely as fast as former Russian president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would like.
The End of Intervention [MADELEINE ALBRIGHT - NY Times]
THE Burmese government’s criminally neglectful response to last month’s cyclone, and the world’s response to that response, illustrate three grim realities today: totalitarian governments are alive and well; their neighbors are reluctant to pressure them to change; and the notion of national sovereignty as sacred is gaining ground, helped in no small part by the disastrous results of the American invasion of Iraq. Indeed, many of the world’s necessary interventions in the decade before the invasion — in places like Haiti and the Balkans — would seem impossible in today’s climate.
The first and most obvious reality is the survival of totalitarian government in an age of global communications and democratic progress.
CNN Debunks AQI's Status as a Bit Player in the Insurgency -- [Weekly Standard]
CNN's Michael Ware has a must-read piece on Al Qaeda in Iraq and its organization. Ware obtained captured documents from the Anbar Awakening that outline Al Qaeda in Iraq's organization, planning, operations, recruiting, shadow legal system, and targeted propaganda campaign, as well as the outright brutality that the terror group inflicted on the Iraqi people in Anbar. Al Qaeda's senior leadership is largely foreign but filled out the middle ranks with Iraqis. The group is highly bureaucratic, and kept records on everything from operational planning to administration.
[UPDATE: Zawahiri Killed?] U.S. Missile Hits Pakistani Target -- [Jawa Report]
I'm not nearly as optimistic as AJ Strata about what's going on in Pakistan, but I am happy to report that we've taken out another Taliban/al Qaeda target inside the territory of our "ally" in the region. Whoever designed the Predator drone should be given a medal and a big hefty bonus.
UPDATE: I've gotten a few memos from some insiders that this could be a big fish. How big?
Another AQ Leader Targeted In Pakistan Tribal Areas - Updated! -- [The Strata-Sphere]
Major Update At The End
As I noted in the earlier post below, al-Qaeda has been retreating from a range of defeats in Iraq, Lebanon (and I forgot to mention Afghanistan which is over 75% pacified) and is being surrounded by allied forces. This has allowed allied forces to use intelligence to take out 3 key leaders in surgical strikes within Pakistan’s FATA region, with the permission of the Pakistan government.
Well today it seems we targeted another AQ Leader in the area
Update: I have posts from months past on the agreement between the US and Pakistan for targeted air strikes (see here and here for some examples). In addition I noted there were plans for increased CIA presence in Pakistan. These hints are being confirmed in the Iranian press - which tells me there is more going on behind the scenes than meets the public eye ... The fact is these secret arrangements represent the latest, hidden actions to decapitate al-Qaeda. We have two very courageous and determined leaders to thank for this, leaders who have been unfairly maligned in the media because these actions remain classified to maximize their results.
Pakistan and the Growing Threat of a Sharia Mini-State -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Pakistan Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) is in the process of gaining territory and power within Pakistan, as a result of numerous "peace treaties" and agreements to empower the Taliban to enforce an anti-freedom theocracy based on Sharia law in Pakistan. This is a critical American national security issue that requires revisiting the very ideologies that provide the foundation for jihadist action itself, and answering difficult questions regarding the role of Sharia law and the reliability of Islamic republics in a global war against jihad.
PM 'hit the roof' over bungling spy who left secret files on a train -- [Daily Mail]
The bungling spy who left top-secret al Qaeda files on a train was suspended after Gordon Brown hit the roof about the security breach.
Sources revealed that the Prime Minister was only told about the lost files yesterday at 5.30pm - a day after the incident and shortly before it broke as a story.
Mr Brown was furious and the decision was taken by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell to suspend the intelligence official.
A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The decision was taken by his senior management.'
It emerged today that the hapless spy was breaking security rules just by reading the papers on a train.
The senior civil servant - who has not been identified - was suspended after a member of public found the yellow folder on a train from Waterloo marked, 'For UK, US, Canadian and Australian eyes only'.
Justices Rule Terror Suspects Can Appeal in Civilian Courts -- [NY Times]
WASHINGTON — Foreign terrorism suspects held at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba have constitutional rights to challenge their detention there in United States courts, the Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, on Thursday in a historic decision on the balance between personal liberties and national security.
“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court.
The ruling came in the latest battle between the executive branch, Congress and the courts over how to cope with dangers to the country in the post-9/11 world.
Supreme Court Creates Killing -- [Stop the ACLU]
In a 5 to 4 decision, the idiots on the Supreme Court have decided that terrorists are covered by our Constitution, no matter where they are captured and held.
This is as wrong headed a decision as can be imagined and two of the Justices, Scalia and Roberts, were scathing in their dissent.
But, here is the real result of this ruling. No, it doesn't "help" the murderers and terrorists get habeas corpus, or find rights, it will kill them on the battlefield. What battlefield commander will waste his time trying to figure out what rights the terrorist he is facing has or doesn't have?
Boumediene v. Bush a Strategic Victory for al Qaeda -- [911 Families]
...Something else the lawyers won’t tell the public. Dealing with terrorists in the criminal justice system means that only the most clear-cut cases will result in convictions. Terrorists like Mohammed Atta, Hani Hanjour, Ziad Jarrah and Marwan al-Shehhi, the men who piloted those planes into the WTC, the Pentagon and the ground on 9/11 would have stood a very good chance of acquittal if they were captured in an Al Qaeda training camp in the summer of 2001. The burden of proof in the civil criminal system — beyond a reasonable doubt — is extraordinarily high. Their lawyers back then would have argued that that they have no criminal history, had committed no hostile acts against the U.S. governmnent and in fact were simply religious Muslims doing charity work on holiday, the very claims Gitmo lawyers made about Abdullah Al-Ajmi and hundreds of other detainees. Al-Ajmi was released from Guantanamo in 2005. In April, he blew himself up in Iraq, killing 7 Iraqi security forces and maiming 28 others.
The War They Still Fight -- [Parade]
...Three men in the vehicle were killed. Harris suffered burns over 30 percent of his body. Even after multiple surgeries and more than a year as an outpatient at the center, he still may need at least one more operation for the burns to his face. “For a long time,” Harris says, “I couldn’t feed myself, couldn’t blow my nose, couldn’t go to the bathroom alone. My wife, Kathreyn, had to help me do almost everything.” Harris pauses briefly and then looks straight at me. “My wife is my hero.”
...Like Waggoner, Harris expresses no ambiguity over serving in a confusing and increasingly unpopular war. “I was trying to get the job done,” he says. Harris goes silent for a moment. “I’m determined,” he says quietly. “I might want to stay a soldier.”
According to Col. Jennifer Menetrez, an Army physician and the center’s director, such resolve is not uncommon. “
Paul Rieckhoff talks About His Efforts To Help American Veterans On Tavis Smiley June 13! -- [PBS]
Executive Director-Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Iraq War Veteran Paul Rieckhoff talks About His Efforts To Help American Veterans On Tavis Smiley!
"It doesn't matter where you stand on the war it doesn't matter if your for it or against it, we have all got to unite as Americans to take care of the people who serve."
The Show Will Air Friday June 13
Do you have a moment to send an email to the Sailors of the USS Russell? -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
Jim from Thinking Right has an ongoing project called Letters from Home. The "letters" are actually emails, which he collects and forwards to a specific unit of deployed service members.
This time the emails are for the men and women serving aboard the USS Russell, a guided missile destroyer deployed in the Middle East.
Fox News interviews Mark Dice on Sending the troops letters to ask questions -- [Live Leak]
A political activist group is sending letters and DVDs to U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq telling them 9/11 was an inside job
San Diego, CA -- A group of over three thousand political activists are planning to send letters to soldiers stationed in Iraq telling them that America is largely to blame for the 9/11 attacks.
"We support the troops in their efforts to protect the Iraqi people, but want them to know the real reason they have put themselves in harms way," explains Mark Dice, founder of The Resistance, a Christian media watch dog group based in San Diego. Dice is urging people in his organization and others to write letters to soldiers in Iraq and explain the evidence that the 9/11 attacks were aided by corrupt U.S. officials for political purposes. According to a 2006 Scripts Howard News Service poll, 36 percent of Americans believe that elements within the U.S. government purposely allowed the attacks to happen, or aided the terrorists to ensure the attacks.
"I personally know U.S. Marines who believe 9/11 was an inside job, and they tell me that many Marines suspect that this is the case but are afraid to speak up out of fear of punishment," says Dice.
"I don't want the soldiers who are risking their lives in Iraq to be used as pawns in the creation of the New World Order." "We want U.S. troops to know that we care about them and are doing our best to make sure that they don't have to risk their lives based on false pretenses," concludes Dice.
9/11 "Truthers" harassing deployed Soldiers and Marines
The Santa Ana River has Stories, and Secrets, If Only We Are Observant -- [Musings of a Mad Macedonian]
...This story is about the little things, the things that you might not notice or, if you do, you don't have, or take, the time, to look more closely at what you see.
You don't know what you are missing. ;-D
..Yesterday morning, as I rode on that side, I encountered something quite unexpected....I had noticed a bicycle next to the concrete rive barrier that spanned the river, and didn't, immediately, see anything, or anyone else, from my spot on Chapman, so rode over to look. I noticed 3 things, the 2nd of which caused me to return over 2 hours later with my camera. The first was that the bike was old, and beat up, with a torn seat. The second was a memorial planted in a hole in the dirt, and kept upright by a tiny ledge, and some rocks. The third was a man sitting, barely noticeable from my new spot on the trail, on the concrete in the center of the river.
Fair winds and a following sea, Sailor and Scouts. -- [John of Argghhh!]
AOC Eberhart passed away last Saturday. The note I got from the Goat Locker was:
"...a life well lived, but cut too short."
I don't know if Sailors go to Fiddler's Green, or somewhere else, but I'm sure they'll pull him up a stool at the bar.
Tear down this wall - HT: The Corner
19 years ago today.
Marine expelled, another punished over puppy video -- [Breitbart]
HONOLULU (AP) - The Marine Corps is expelling one Marine and disciplining another for their roles in a video showing a Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff while on patrol in Iraq.
The 17-second video posted on YouTube drew sharp condemnation from animal rights groups when it came to light in March.
The clip shows two Marines joking before one hurls the puppy into a rocky gully. A yelping sound is heard as it flips through the air.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii said in a news release Wednesday that Lance Cpl. David Motari received unspecified "non-judicial punishment" and "is being processed for separation" from the Marine Corps.
The second Marine, Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion also received unspecified "non-judicial" punishment.
Geren Book Reading
Celebrating the Army birthday every year is a big part of the Esprit de Corps of our military, and offers the opportunity to celebrate the honor, dedication and commitment that has characterized the U.S. Army across centuries of service.
Secretary of the Army Pete Geren kicked-off the week’s festivities with a celebration at the Fort Myer Child Development Center
USAF Downsizing Halted -- [Strategy Page]
June 11, 2008: In the wake of a major leadership shakeup in the United States Air Force (the top military and civilian leaders were fired, and the new military leader is not a fighter pilot), the U.S. Secretary of Defense ordered that the air force halt its downsizing program.
SECDEF gets chilly reception from USAF -- [THE AIR FORCE PUNDIT]
Gates gets chilly reception on Air Force tour PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates stood alone on an empty stage in an Air Force auditorium, two spotlights throwing odd diminutive shadows of the Pentagon chief on the curtain draped behind him. Looking tired and worn out, he faced another cold crowd of officers whose force has fallen from grace and whose leaders Gates swept aside last week in a stinging rebuke of their management of nuclear weapons. He glanced over the gathering of uniformed personnel at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, took a breath and plodded slowly into a speech explaining his actions and reiterating the Air Force's nuclear standards had eroded.
The Return -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
I took this photo at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina as a group of U.S. marines were returning home from the war in Iraq. As soon as they arrived, it began to downpour. I was lucky enough to capture the joy they were all feeling as they were getting drenched in the rain (which most of them hadn't seen in months), coupled with finally getting to see their families again. The two people walking and embracing are brother and sister.
Bush: No regrets over Iraq invasion -- [CNN]
MESEBERG, Germany (CNN) -- U.S. President Bush claimed Wednesday that he had no regrets about the decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein in 2003 and reiterated his determination to force Iran to halt its nuclear program.
... "Removing Saddam Hussein made the world a safer place," Bush said. But he admitted once again that he regretted the tough rhetoric he had used in the run-up to the conflict which had made it appear he was eager to go to war.
In an interview with UK's Times newspaper Wednesday, Bush said that using phrases such as "dead or alive" and "bring them on" had not created an impression of a man of peace.
He also said he had found it painful "to put youngsters in harm's way," adding that he had an obligation to make sure lives had not been lost in vain. "One of the lessons of Iraq is that in order for a democracy to develop or for an economy to develop there has to be a measure of security, which is now happening," he said.
Oh Baby, Oh Baby, Oh Baby... -- [Villianous Co.]
Not too shabby...
For Immediate Release June 11, 2008
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
President George W. Bush today announced recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civil award. Established by Executive Order 11085 in 1963, the Medal may be awarded by the President “to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” President Bush will honor these recipients at a White House ceremony on Thursday, June 19, 2008.
Son of bin Laden Associate Raising Funds for Obama -- [Jawa Report]
It's a lengthy post by Debbie Schlussel, but worth the read. The gist of it is that a former associate of Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, the theologian who helped form al Qaeda, now lives in Michigan where he faces deportation for a second time. Mohamed Imad Al-Churbaji, claims Schlussel, not only was associated with key members of al Qaeda but also worked for a sham charity which used the money it collected to fund the global jihad.
Barack Obama Says He Is Not Experienced Enough to Be President (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
Thanks to Michael in Michigan for digging this one up out of the YouTube archives.
Barack Obama says he is not experienced enough to be president:
Barack Obama Makes Shocking confession!! 2004
John McCain: 'Not too important' when troops leave Iraq -- [LA Times - Blog]
If politics were a baseball game, then John McCain just lobbed a pitch that he may wish he could have back.
In a TV interview this morning on NBC's "Today" show, McCain was asked whether he could estimate when U.S. troops could leave post-surge Iraq. "No, but that's not too important," McCain said. "What's important is casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea. Americans are in Japan. American troops are in Germany. That's all fine. American casualties, and the ability to withdraw. We will be able to withdraw. ... But the key to it is we don't want any more Americans in harm's way."
Sen. McCain Discusses U.S. Presence In Iraq
Go ahead, impeach Bush; try him -- [The Anchoress]
So, Dennis Kucinich has introduced articles of Impeachment against President Bush.
I think he tried this once before, didn’t he? (Ah, I see that was about Cheney.)
The blogs are ablaze with it, of course, Fausta may have been first out of the gate, and both Thomas Lifson and Rick Moran are looking closely at Obama’s remarks about trying people for “war crimes.”
Gadhafi: Obama fears Israel will assassinate him like it did JFK -- [Haarretz / Reuters]
Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi said on Wednesday that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's expressed support for Israel stems from his fear that the Mossad would assassinate him, just as it did President John F. Kennedy.
"We suspect he may fear being killed by Israeli agents and meet the same fate as Kennedy when he promised to look into Israel's nuclear program," Gadhafi said.
Dems Hire Radical Muslim Group In Latest Dead Voter Drive -- [Gateway Pundit]
Democrat's Latest Dead Voter Drive Involves Radical Muslim Group
Louisiana officials are being inundated with bogus voter registrations. Surprisingly, the group behind the effort is a radical Muslim group.
'Hottest Ring in Hell' for Messing with Michelle -- [NewsBusters]
My late father, who worked with the toughest kids in a Brooklyn high school, used to say that when a person's reaction is disproportionate to the stimulus, something else is causing it. So when Obama campaign co-chair Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) dramatically reserved the "hottest ring in hell" for those who would go after Michelle Obama, my antennae went up. Interviewing him, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell also seemed a bit taken aback by the forcefulness of Durbin's response.
Obama site confronts rumors -- [Breitbart]
"It is a destructive aspect of our politics right now," Obama told journalists. "And simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. And you know, presumably the job of the press is to not go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there's actually anything, one iota of substance or evidence that would substantiate it."
At the same time, his campaign was preparing the site to help stop lies that are spreading online.
Obama campaign: Wife never used the word 'Whitey' -- [AP]
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama's campaign said Thursday that Michelle Obama never used the word "whitey" in a speech from the church pulpit as he launched a Web site to debunk rumors about himself and his wife.
Obama: I’d like higher gas prices, just not so quickly -- [Hot Air]
According to Barack Obama, high gas prices don’t really constitute a problem for Americans. He stated yesterday that the reason for our anger is the rapid increase in prices, not the prices themselves. Obama claimed that Americans would have accepted a “gradual adjustment” to the current cost:
NBC's Tim Russert dies at 58 of heart attack -- [AP]
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tim Russert, a political lifer who made a TV career of his passion with unrelenting questioning of the powerful and influential, died of a heart attack Friday in the midst of a presidential campaign he'd covered with trademark intensity. Praise poured in from the biggest names in politics, some recalling their own meltdown moments on his hot seat.
Tim Russert: One of a Kind; One of 300,000 -- [WSJ]
Tim Russert’s death from a heart attack at age 58 is a potent reminder of our vulnerability to the ravages of cardiovascular disease even in the face of major advances in understanding its causes and how to prevent its consequences.
Tim Russert, 58, died from a sudden heart attack. (AP Photo/NBC, Virginia Sherwood)
Some 300,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year, according to the American Heart Association. Russert was one of those who at least was aware that he was at risk.
Russert’s doctor Michael Newman said the tough-questioning but congenial host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” had been under treatment for asymptomatic coronary disease, but that it was under control with medication. He was carrying excess weight, Newman observed, but he got regular exercise and he performed well on an exercise stress test in April.
Army Shows Its Colors -- [Intel Dump]
The Army's public affairs office publishes a daily roundup of Army-related news called "Stand To" -- named for the set of procedures combat units do just prior to dawn, when they go to full alert for a possible enemy attack. The daily wrapup contains links to mainstream media articles, Army press releases, foreign media stories and blogs. It's similar to the Defense Department's Early Bird -- but much briefer, and obviously more focused on the Army.
Military expertise on display at the Times: -- [Media Blog]
Because of an editing error, an article and a headline in some editions on Tuesday about a successful effort by Company C of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to pacify a Taliban-infested area of southern Afghanistan misidentified the foreign forces that failed to achieve the same result in that area earlier. They were soldiers from NATO and the United States Army — not the Marines
UPDATE on the 2008 Milblog Conference -- [Milblogging.com]
Some new updates on the 2008 Milblog Conference being held in Las Vegas will be coming out later this week. Including, information about the BWE online registration specifically for Milblog Conference attendees.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraqi Sheik Offers To Take Fight to Bin Laden - Hero of Anbar Would Stir a Revolt in Afghanistan -- [NY Sun]
WASHINGTON — The leader of the tribal confederation that has fought to expel Al Qaeda from most of Iraq's Anbar province is offering his men to help gin up a rebellion against Osama bin Laden's organization along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
Eat Crow, Iraq War Skeptics -- [New York Post - Arthur Herman]
America has won, or is about to win, the Iraq war.
The latest proof came last month, as the Iraqi army - just a few months ago the target of scorn and abuse from Democratic politicians and journalists - forcefully reoccupied three cities that had served as key insurgency bases (Basra, Sadr City and Mosul). Sunnis and Shias alike applauded as their nation's army compelled insurgent militias to lay down their arms. The country's leading opposition newspaper, Azzaman, led the applause for the move into Mosul - a sign that national reconciliation in Iraq is under way and probably irreversible.
US combat deaths in May also were down to 20, the lowest monthly total since February 2004. The toll for May 2007 was 121. In a Washington Post interview, CIA Director Michael Hayden said we're witnessing the "near strategic defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq."
The Bush administration has taken heaps of abuse for its Iraq policy, including its decision to launch the "surge" last December. Now the strategy, which our nation's "best and brightest" regularly dismissed as a failure, has cleared the way for the establishment of a secure democracy in Iraq and a lasting peace
Kill Them All, Please -- [Stratrgy Page]
June 9, 2008: U.S. combat deaths (19) hit an all time low last month. This is the continuation of a trend that began a year ago. Iraqi deaths (532 civilians and security forces) were also the lowest this year, but indicate that the Iraqis have taken over most of the fighting, and were suffering over 96 percent of the combat deaths. The nature of the fighting has fundamentally changed in the last year, with the Iraqi security forces finally coming into their own, after years of recruiting, training and weeding out those who were inept, unwilling or disloyal.
Magnificent Seven! -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
We have been conducting several operations in the area.
...Last week there we were on a patrol, following some warm foot prints on the trail, sweat salt in the eyes, body armor pulling at your muscles in your back, thin layer of dirt covering all of your exposed skin and we got a nice calling card from Mr Scumbag. A nice IED that scratched our truck. OK maybe a bit more than scratched but every one was good to go but pissed. Not the kind of pissed when you step in a pile dog shit that your neighbors dog left but the “I’m gonna enjoy gutting you boy” (From the Movie - The Rock) kind of pissed, with an evil smile. I’m sure Mr Scum bag got a cheap ass chuckle from watching a black cloud engulf the armored truck but I bet he wasn’t laughing when the attack helos showed up. What? Ahhhh you didn’t like that so much my little scumbag buddy? Meet Mr Hellfire rocket. That’s right you got a couple thousand dollars of hate and discontent filled with military grade explosive pointed at you. Oh look at that we have 8 rockets in the air today.
Changes in Sadr City
With help, Sadr City market is regrouping -- [Stars and Stripes]
...When Task Force 1-6 took control of the area in early May, they entered a cesspool of violence. For the Baumholder, Germany-based infantrymen, much of the fighting centered around the construction of a three mile security wall that separates Jamilla from Sadr City’s main residential areas to the north.
The wall was constructed in response to the fighting that erupted in March in Sadr City, which functioned as a launching point for mortar assaults on the nearby Green Zone.
The First Forty Seconds -- [Castle Argghhh! - CW4BillT - in Iraq]
The Iraqi helicopter pilots I’ve been training in the sim are a fairly mixed group, but they all have two things in common: they’re older (most of them are Iran-Iraq War vets) and they’ve had some training in instrument flight.
...So, one of the things I teach *all* the guys who come up here from Taji is How To Survive the First Forty Seconds -- because if they can level the aircraft and get their airspeed under control within that time, they’ll probably live through the rest of the flight, even though it’ll still be pretty -- ummmmm -- exciting. The main problem ...
Perspective -- [Navy Gal-Off To IRAQ - in Iraq]
...I have started volunteering at the base hospital. I have been really apprehensive to do this, because a couple of the guys in my unit have been over several times to help on the pad. They came back one night after helping out and told the horrific tale of assisting with two of our boys that didn't fare so well that night. Kinda messed my guys up for a couple of days. I really want to do my part over here and help out in any way I can, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to be taken out of my protective bubble that I live in every day. Yes, I'm in Iraq and yes, I'm part of the war, but since I have been here nothing has really put the whole ordeal into perspective for me.
Operation Muthana Strike destroys major al-Qaeda in Iraq cell -- [MNF-I]
TIKRIT, Iraq – Coalition forces detained more than 20 suspected terrorists and killed four during an operation targeting a major al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network along the Tigris River Valley in the western portion of the Ta’mim province June 4. Among the dead were a suspected cell leader and his top lieutenants who were part of a network that is responsible for car bomb attacks and weapons smuggling in the province, as well as surrounding areas in northern Iraq.
The operation was conducted by elements of 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, along with other Coalition forces, and was a result of information gained from previous successful operations and tips from local citizens. “The result of this operation will severely impact the enemy’s ability to threaten the lives of innocent Iraqi citizens, as well as Iraqi Security and Coalition forces for some time, and was the result of the hard work of a lot of brave Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Vanek, commander of 1st Bn., 87th Infantry Regiment,10th Mountain Division.
Special Groups leader, aide captured in Baghdad -- [Voices of Iraq]
Baghdad, Jun 8, (VOI) – The U.S. army in Iraq said on Sunday that it arrested a leader of the Special Groups for committing criminal acts in the port city of Basra, 590 km south of Baghdad.
"Coalition forces captured a suspected Basra-based Special Groups criminal and his associate late Saturday night during operations in the Rusafa district of Baghdad," according to a U.S. army statement received by Aswat al-Iraq
Iraqi Premier Tells Iran Not to Fear U.S. Presence -- [NY Times]
The Iraq prime minister said he would not allow his country to become a platform for harming the security of Iran and its neighbors.
Military Analyst Sees Signs of Progress in Arab Jabour -- [MNF-I]
COMBAT OUTPOST MURRAY — The battlefield in Iraq has become a classroom for military analyst Steven Biddle and several associates, who visited 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers on June 4 to get a sense of progress in the area.
...“Information in the (U.S.) is limited,” said Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Here, I get to see things with my own eyes. Nothing is filtered.”
...Biddle spoke with key leaders, reviewed charts and maps documenting the decrease in attacks in the area.
He also spoke with key leaders such as Capt. Nassim, operations officer for the 6th battalion, 25th brigade, 6th IA division.
Exodus (IV) -- [Greyhawk]
...And there's the real concern for State - because if they can't get 12,000 Iraqi refugees to enter America this fiscal year they're in for some heavy criticism - and reasons are also called excuses in an election year.
But they're confident that they can do
...Because even with only 70 coming from Iraq (so far) and Iraq's neighbors preventing departures the search for refugees is widening
Return Of The Purple Fingers -- [Washington Post]
Within the next few months, Iraqis will once again wave purple fingers in the air as they cast ballots for provincial governments. As Iraq's parliament debates a law to govern the elections, U.S. diplomats and international experts have an opportunity, if not to correct past mistakes, then to help put local government on the right footing.
Apache Takes Out 8 Armed Insurgents With Hellfire And 30mm In Iraq
Dennis Can't Find a Date -- [Matel-in-Iraq]
Below are the date palms at our oasis. We have been having a little dust lately. This picture was taken at the middle of the day.
Iraq has 12-16 million date palms. This is down from 30 million in the pre-Saddam times but it still makes Iraq the world’s largest producer of dates. In Western Anbar, however, dates are not producing properly this year. Dennis and I did a local check out in the grove in our oasis and could not find even one producing tree. We are trying to figure out how the extent of the problem why it is happening and what Iraqis can do about it. Last year’s crop was good. Even a partial failure of the date crop would be a big problem, so we are very interested is making accurate assessments.
In the longer term, there is a lot Iraqis can do to improve their date production. Some of the techniques they currently use go back to Babylonian times. They are not wrong, but could use some adjustments.
Mrs. Bush showcases progress in Afghanistan -- [AP]
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan -- Rallying international aid for Afghanistan, first lady Laura Bush on Sunday showcased projects to better the lives of war-weary Afghans. Yet at each stop, an eerie reminder of the country's violent past was just a glance away....
Media Talk: Assassination and Insurgency - Are the Taliban Winning? -- [Frontline Club]
The British death toll in Afghanistan has now reached 100 as the cost of the war spirals ever higher. Suicide attacks are on the rise and President Karzai narrowly escaped a recent suicide attempt as the security situation continues to deteriorate. As the insurgency appears to be spreading from the south to the central and northern regions we ask if the Taliban are gaining the upper hand?
LIVE FEED Wed 11th June, 7.30pm - A discussion with Alastair Leithead (BBC), James Fergusson (journalist and author), James Appathurai (NATO), John D McHugh (photojournalist) and Mawlavi Abdulsalam Zaeef (Taliban) -- [Frontline Club]
Live Streaming by Ustream.TV
Wed 11th June, 7.30pm Price: £7.00
Moderated by Nazanine Moshiri (Al Jazeera) With Alastair Leithead (BBC), James Fergusson (journalist and author), James Appathurai (NATO), John D McHugh (photojournalist) and Mawlavi Abdulsalam Zaeef (Taliban)
Location: 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ
This event will be webcast live - you can view it for free via the link on our homepage - www.frontlineclub.com
For bloggers and blog readers interested in the topic, you can embed the live feed of the video and the interactive chatbox into your blog :) We'll relay any questions you have to participants in the debate.
Cultural lesson 101 -- [Sandgram - in Afghanistan]
The other day, I had the opportunity to visit a police station in Kandahar that we built for the local Afghan National Police. Here is some background; in the past five years, the US has built up the Afghan Army to a point where they can truly fight the bad guys and kick some butt. In 2002, during the Bonn agreement, it was decided that the US would train the Army, the Germans would train the police, and the Italians would teach them law and justice.
Well after 80 million dollars spent, and no action on their behalf, the Afghan police force remained untrained, unequipped and highly corrupted. The onus then fell on the US to take over the Police portfolio from the Germans (who you think would be good cops) and do what we did with the Army. Hence, we have now what we call Focused District Development program, and we go into a District to recruit new policemen, build a safe and secure police station for them, and turn them away from the their former life as a corrupt, toll-taking scumbag, and make them the model of Police Departments world-wide.
North Waziristan peace agreement allows Al Qaeda to remain -- [LWJ]
The Pakistani government has worked to suppress all reporting of the peace agreement, which was signed in February. Al Qaeda can remain in North Waziristan "as long as they pledge to remain peaceful."
Competing Strategies in Afghanistan -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...The narrative is nonsensical, since the sanctuaries to which Karzai refers are the very places to which the Afghan Taliban flee for safe haven. Karzai wants them targeted in Pakistan, but not in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the narrative is given additional weight by the British. Once eager to get back into the “good war” in Afghanistan after the Basra disaster, the British are weary and reeling from the defections of high level generals to the civilian world. Miliband turned up the rhetoric on the campaign, reiterating the tripe that there is no military solution to the problem, and the same notions were pushed by Des Browne, who not only endorsed talks with the Afghan Taliban, but also the negotiations with the Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan.
The final act in this sorry play involves British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Seeing the elephant
National Guard, embedded with Afghan army as advicers and translators.
Battle Buddies are more than comrades -- [27th Brigade Combat Team]
...There is a vast difference between the Army's combat operations in World War II and the mission we have today as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. We don't have that kind of action here. There is an insurgency over here -- not major warfare with large maneuvering forces. But I have to say that the Battle Buddies that I know over here follow the established American model well -- sort of upholding the tradition even though clad in modern uniforms and carrying the latest personal body armor, weaponry and other gear.
Artillerymen Secure the Border
American and Afghan forces controlling the traffic at border patrol points.
CHINA STARTS OIL DRILLING OFF FLORIDA -- [Live Leak]
WHILE AMERICA TWIDDLES THUMBS, CHINESE TAP BILLIONS OF BARRELS While Washington dithers over exploiting oil and gas reserves off the coast of Florida, China has seized the opportunity to gobble up ...
The Chinese have forged a deal with Cuban leader Fidel Castro to explore and tap into massive oil reserves almost within sight of Key West, Florida. At the same time, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who controls the largest oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere, is making deals to sell his country’s oil to China, oil that is currently coming to the United States.
Meanwhile, a new left-wing populist regime in Bolivia has nationalized the natural gas industry, threatening to cut off supplies to the United States.
Some of Iran's New Weapons
Report: Al-Qaeda Maghreb Commander Turns Self In -- [MEMRI Blog]
Abu Hadhifa, Al-Qaeda Maghreb commander in charge of the forces in eastern Algeria, has turned himself in to authorities.
Hadhifa's family said that he had become convinced that the jihad in Algeria was not legitimate, and that he was acting to bring his subordinates to do likewise.
There Are No Waiting Lines for Payphones with The Maine Troop Greeters of Bangor, Maine -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
...The Maine Troop Greeters of Bangor, Maine are a non-profit group of veterans and men and women supporting our armed forces serving overseas by making sure that every troop flight is greeted at the Bangor International Airport. Day or night, rain or shine, it is The Maine Troop Greeters' commitment to welcome each troop home from war or give a proper sendoff to each of the young men and women heading overseas. They accomplish this by being there for them and offering them free cell phones to call a loved one, a snack to keep them going, and lots of hugs and handshakes to let them know we care.
Since the start of greeting flights in May of 2003, The Maine Troop Greeters have greeted over 400,000 service members and 35 military dogs. To view more information about The Maine Troop Greeters, please access their website www.themainetroopgreeters.com
Update: Rick White's Trike for the Troops -- [Miss Ladybug]
Since I first posted about Rick White's troop support effort back in February, he's raised over $9000 more to benefit Soldier's Angels' Project Valour-IT. Since the original goal for this year's Trike for the Troops was $8000 to buy voice-activated laptops for 10 of our injured troops. Since he's now surpassed that goal ($9750 as of today), the goal of this year has been increased to $12000 to help 15 of our wounded. Since I last visited his site, he's added a video about this year's Bike to Work Day, which is coming up on June 25th, and this year's Trike for the Troops beneficiary. It's not too late to help out: to make a donation, just fill out the form at the bottom of the Trikes for Troops page.
The Way We Get By - Trailer
Bush Prods Hill On Troop Funding -- [Washington Times]
President Bush, seeking to better his negotiating position ahead of votes on a huge Iraq war-funding bill, said Saturday that US troops “deserve better” than the treatment they are getting from the Democratic-led Congress.
Bob Connelly on Lou Dobbs' radio show today -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
So, I am supposed to be interviewed on Lou Dobbs’ radio program this afternoon at 4:15-4:30. I guess he (or someone working for him) read something online about what we were doing here, and he thinks it is worth some air time. I was perfectly content to be well known among a small set of infantry in eastern Afghanistan. I guess the time might have come to speak for all who are deployed in harm’s way.
Make sure to listen live between 4:15 and 4:30pm ET. Read this post if you don't know Bob yet.
Actor Rupert Everett brands British soldiers 'pathetic, whining wimps' -- [Daily Mail]
Controversial actor Rupert Everett has accused British soldiers risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan of being "whining wimps", it emerged today.
..."The whole point of being in the Army is wanting to get killed, wanting to test yourself to the limits. Now you have to fly 15,000ft above the war zone to avoid getting hit.
“I don't think there is any point in having wars if that's how you're going to behave. It's pathetic. All this whining!"
And risking further fury from veterans, the actor who once worked as a rent boy after running away from boarding school at age 15, told the Sunday Telegraph: “The whole point of being in the Army is going to war and getting yourself blown up.
Tougher than leather -- [From the Halls to the Shores - in Iraq]
Take your pick: throw yourself on a grenade - OR - jump out of a plane and have both your parachutes fail.
Now imagine doing both. And living.
Fair winds and following seas to Jack Lucas, Marine/Airborne, and one tough S.O.B.
WWII vet who earned Medal of Honor at 17 dies
D-DAY JUNE 6, 1944 -- [Third Wave Dave]
...Many of the GIs you see wading through the water didn't live but a few moments after that picture was taken. All of them had to be sick with fear; their minds racing with thoughts of loved ones back home and of the job ahead of them.
Everything we have and hold dear today was bought and paid for by the brave GIs in that picture. Think about it.
Remembering America’s new friends -- [Westhawk]
This decade, a million American soldiers have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have had a chance to develop relationships with Iraqi and Afghan soldiers, civil servants, and businessmen. Summed together, these relations are now forming bonds that will endure beyond whatever decisions statesmen in these countries decide to take. The personal relationships between Americans and their counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan will influence the strategic balance in the region. These relationships are also likely too numerous and too deep for any statesmen to control.
Rob Thornton is a U.S. Army officer and combat veteran of the Iraq war. He spent a year as an advisor to an Iraqi battalion and now works at the U.S. Army school house at Fort Leavenworth improving the U.S. military’s foreign military advisory efforts. Thornton recently wrote a comment at Small Wars Journal Blog that illustrated the bonds that are strengthening at the personal level between Americans, Iraqis, and, presumably, Afghans
Aegis Missile Defense Test FTM-13
Proving Missile Defense -- [Washington Times]
...Today, Navy ships have shown they can reach targets on the edge of space, almost anywhere within the atmosphere, and down close to the ground. These ships equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system have shown they could destroy a North Korean ballistic missile headed for Japan, the United States or any number of targets in the Pacific region.
Obama plans to destroy America's military!
The Air Force Purge -- [TWS - John Noonan]
word on today's purging of USAF leadership. Official line is that Air Force brass let the nuclear mission slip in the years since the Berlin wall fell. That's true, for a variety of reasons. Standing down Strategic Air Command, the post-Vietnam leadership handoff from nuclear bomber pilots to fighter pilots, the odd square peg that is the kinetic-effects-based Air Force in the round hole of the low-intensity war on terrorism, and the end of the Cold War... all contributed to an overall deemphasis on strategic operations.
Anything Not To Go Back -- [Newsweek]
...Such cases of self-harm are a "rising trend" that military doctors are watching closely, says Col. Kathy Platoni, an Army Reserve psychologist who has worked with veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Don’t Take My Word For It… -- [Texas Rainmaker]
So is the new Democrat Presidential nominee qualified to become the President of the United States?
Just ask the Democrats…
Obama's Plan for Iraq: Prosecute War Criminals -- [LGF]
Discovered in the directory left wide open by the Obama site designers: a PDF file containing Obama’s plan to “hold accountable any perpetrators of war crimes” in Iraq.
And something tells me they don’t mean Al Qaeda.
Filthy Jew-Hating On the Obama Website -- [Gateway Pundit]
Here's a look at Obama's latest Jew-hating webpage:
Israel Matsav and Doug Ross discovered the latest Jew-hating page on the Obama website that has been around since at least last April.
UPDATE: The Obama "Jews Are Corrupting" webpage was just taken down. The Obama New Black Panther page is still up.
Democrat Nelson Wants to End the Electoral College -- [Ace of Spades]
It must be an election year...Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has proposed an amendment to do away with the Electoral College. He argues (PDF) that the Electoral College "permits a candidate with fewer votes nationally to win the presidency by capturing narrow victories in big states."
Huh. It's almost as if it had been designed that way...
The effect of moving to a popular vote system would be to shift the attention of candidates from swing states to the largest media markets. Which is hardly an improvement over "narrow victories in big states." Rural voters and low-population states would be even more neglected than they are under the Electoral College.
More than that, one of the hallmarks of American federalism would be discarded.
War Injuries? What War Injuries? [The Corner - Mark Hemingway]
If you thought we hit bottom when Kos went after McCain's teeth, another popular liberal blog has picked up the shovel and is going after McCain's war injuries:
First off, I find it fascinating that John McCain, who is refusing to vote for the GI Bill for our troops because "it's too generous," is himself getting $58,000 a year, tax-free, from the US government for his military service. Had McCain been getting that amount every year since Vietnam, that would total $2,000,000 for the man who isn't into overgenerous government. I just find that interesting.
AmericaBlog... missing the point. -- [John of Argghhh!]
Why is John McCain getting $58,000 a year in disability income?
The same reason I'm getting $15,120 a year.
He earned it.
Mocking the Troops at The Onion -- [The Captain’s Journal]
The sentiment where one opposes the war but supports the troops has evolved into mocking the troops regardless of any war. The Onion (famous for satirical or fake news) released a report entitled Love Letters from U.S. Troops Increasingly Gruesome. ...The authors are engaged in heartless, remorseless cruelty in the mocking of the pain and sacrifice of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines on their behalf. To be able to benefit from the pain of others, and then to mock their benefactors, is a sadistic skill that only the darkest of souls is able to master. The warriors who fight for America, however, stand in marked contrast to this. The physical pain, the deprivation, the loneliness and time away from family all testify to the commitment and indomitable spirit of the American warrior.
'Bush Lied' Argument Doesn't Match Facts -- Democrats Say -- [NewsBusters]
Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt will no doubt upset liberal bloggers with his Monday column underscoring something the rest of the national media elite hasn't exactly underscored: that the "Bush lied, people died" line doesn't match what Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee found:
There's no question that the administration, and particularly Vice President Cheney, spoke with too much certainty at times and failed to anticipate or prepare the American people for the enormous undertaking in Iraq.
But dive into [Sen. Jay] Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find. On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."
One of the Most Dishonest Headlines Ever Printed? -- [Castle Argghhh! - Kat]
Let's just start with the headline:
War bill helps Iraqis, may ignore Katrina victims
Let's get this straight. This is a WAR bill. Not a Hurricane Recovery bill. The Republicans and Democrats have been adding on tons of ear marks to these bills since the war began. Finally, the President, under pressure from the anti-pork folks decided that he wasn't going to sign this bill if it came along with all the usual trappings of pork, more pork and even more pork along with the usual attempts to set time lines for withdrawal or limits on US forces activities in Iraq.
If more money is required to assist the victims of Katrina, why doesn't someone in congress get that bill together and request it?
U.S. Web services misused by oppressors -- [Washington Times]
Congress yesterday considered how to resolve the dilemma of U.S. Internet companies that try to serve their customers but end up serving repressive foreign governments.
Witnesses at a congressional hearing talked about dissidents in China, Syria and Russia who were imprisoned after posting their political thoughts on the Internet.
Routers, e-mail and other Internet services of U.S. companies helped the foreign governments track down the dissidents in some cases, the witnesses told members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on human rights and the law.
American School Books Redefine 'Jihad' to Exclude Violence -- Where is Media? -- [NewsBusters]
In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic "Jihad." Now, our children will not be taught what "Jihad" truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
Nelson: Replace Electoral College with Middle School -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-06-08) — If legislation introduced this week by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, becomes law, the nation will never again elect a candidate like George W. Bush, who has served as president for seven years after losing the popular vote in 2000 to former Vice President Al Gore.
YMCA - Afghanistan HT: John of Argghhh
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Operational Update: Maj. Gen. Bergner, Maj. Gen. Atta, June 4 -- [MNF-I]
For the third week in a row security incidents in Iraq are at the lowest levels in four years. These numbers reflect fewer attacks on Iraqi civilians, fewer attacks on Iraqi and Coalition Forces, and fewer attacks on the Government’s infrastructure. These security gains follow the coordinated offensive operations over the past year, and the recent security operations in Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra. They are being achieved today even as the fourth of five Brigade Combat Teams is returning home, and that includes two Marine battalions and a Marine Expeditionary Unit have already returned home.
A key factor in these joint operations has been the steadily increasing capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces. Iraqi military leaders have planned, led, and executed recent operations in Iraq’s largest cities. Iraqi soldiers and police have shown their capacity to clear neighborhoods of thugs and criminals, and at the same time distribute emergency aid and take care of the local citizens. Iraqi pilots have increased the number of sorties flown to support ground operations. Iraqi sailors have re-established security at Iraq’s vital ports. As a whole, the Iraqi Security Forces have made great strides in expanding their capability.
Genesis (II) -- [Greyhawk]
On reasons for success in Iraq - from part one
In reality both the increase in US troops and the development of "awakening councils" were crucial. For example, recall that with no safe havens in Anbar, al Qaeda fled to Baqubah in Diyala Province. Months would pass before that could be addressed, but as Mike Yon would report, the combination of US surge forces and the 1920's Revolution Brigades (who like the Anbar tribes had turned on al Qaeda) were able to secure the area.
Like most Americans, Barack Obama knows very little about Iraq.
In fact embracing (or perhaps outright creating) the "Awakening" movement did prove to be the lynchpin in the success of "the surge" - without which the Awakening Movement would have failed.
Here I must acknowledge what some may perceive as a bias. I was part of the surge. In the Winter of 2007, as I explained the surge and discussed tipping points I was also preparing to go. By Spring I was in Iraq with a unit in Multi National Division-Center, the division formed as part of the surge.
Exodus (II) -- [Greyhawk]
As the rest of the world debates the "progress" in Iraq, displaced Iraqis are returning home. One might think that would be cause for hope leading to calls for support. If so, one would be wrong.
Back in October I attempted to explain what was going on in Iraq in as few words as possible. I was busy - there was a war still going on ("we've won" not being the same as "it's over") so it wasn't until November that I had time to offer further details. But around that time American media sources essentially confirmed what I was saying - they stopped covering Iraq in all but a cursory fashion. (The news coverage we'll be examining below comes from foreign sources.)
I'd actually had the sense that we'd tipped the scales a few weeks earlier, but was waiting for a non-violent end of Ramadan (generally a period of increasingly violent al Qaeda attacks in Iraq - if the group has any capability) to express the thought "out loud". It's likely that Iraqi refugees were awaiting the same signal - because at that point they began to return.
Mahdi Army Commanders Captured - [Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal]
Iraqi police announced the arrest of five senior leaders of the Mahdi Army in the city of Karbala as assassination attempts were made on three police commanders in Baghdad and southern Iraq. The largest attack occurred in a Shia neighborhood in Baghdad, and resulted in more than 13 killed and 50 wounded. The Karbala police announced the captureof Mahdi Army commanders Ali Abd Taan, Sayyid Munadil, Muhsin Sharea, Haidar Jouri, and Razzaq al Samma. The five men lead a Mahdi Army unit in Karbala that was behind attacks on Iraqi police forces during a religious festival in August 2007. The attacks led to the closing down of the festival and a declaration of a unilateral cease-fire by Mahdi Army and Sadrist movement leader Muqtada al Sadr.
10th Mountain Division assumes MND-C mission -- [Task Force Marne]
A bright red and white flag with the words “Climb to Glory” now flies above Multi-National Division - Center headquarters, symbolizing the transfer of authority from the 3rd Infantry Division to the 10th Mountain Division, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Apache Takes Out Insurgent With 30mm In Iraq
Apache Takes Out Insurgent With 30mm In Iraq "Insurgent Body Flying"
AH-64 Followed An Insurgent Who Is Carrying Ak-47 And He Was Shooting At Iraqi Army Check Point, 2 Of His Insurgent Team Has Been Taken Out By Apache At Begining And The 3rd Insurgent Escaped, But Later The Second Apache Found Him And Taken Him Out By 30mm While He Is On The Way Back Home.
US Marines FireFight With Insurgents In Iraq
US Marines Engage Insurgents With Small Arms In Iraq.
Can the U.S. and Iraq Have a Long-Term Relationship? -- [Iraq the Model - Mohammed Fadhil, iraqi blogger]
Iraqi society and the broader Muslim world are debating a proposed long-term security arrangement between Iraq and the U.S. But will Tehran's allies smother it?
...The national scope of this debate goes beyond the talk of politicians –who are trying to use their position on the agreement for electoral campaigning– and people’s talk in the streets to Friday prayer sermons. Interestingly, the issue has also attracted curiously broad attention from Arab and regional leaders and media.
From The Frontline - June 3
This edition features stories from U.S. Marines and Sailors serving under the Regimental Combat Team 1 in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. Provided by Regimental Combat Team 1.
NSN-No Shit News -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
Local Sheiks in our area have continued to tell of stories about how life was with Al-Qaida present. The evil that existed and now, its not a new way of life, it’s a new era. Economy growing, shops opening, insurgents are now the outcast, not the shop owner, not the Iraqi Policeman, the insurgents. I remember how it was on my previous deployments; it was not a good way of life for any of the above, except for the enemy. Now things are back in the peoples hands. Why can’t some Americans see this? Why can’t they see the growth of the Iraq’s, their leadership taking steps, their cohesion? May be those that deny it see it but ignore it. The insurgents see this, and they hate it. Maybe a letter from one insurgent to another would read like this.
Apache Engage Insurgent Sniper Hideout With 30mm In Iraq "Close Air Support"
AH-64 Takes Out Insurgent Sniper Hide Out In Iraq.
U.S. spokesman suggests further troop withdrawal from Iraq -- [Voices of Iraq]
Baghdad, Jun 4, (VOI) – A spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq on Wednesday said that a further withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is on the cards, reiterating his country's assertions that negotiations with Iraq on the long-term security agreement are moving forward. "Four of the five brigades, which were added to the Multi-National Force (MNF) in Iraq in June 2007, have pulled out. In July 2008, the remaining brigade, along with two Marine battalions, will follow suit," General Kevin Bergner said during a Baghdad-based press conference today.
Bergner said that a further troop withdrawal will be possible after commanders submit their reports about the progress of the security situation to the top commander.
10-Year-Old Al-Qaeda Girl Carries Out Suicide Bombing In Iraq -- [MEMRI Blog]
An Iraqi security source reports that Al-Qaeda sent a 10-year-old girl to carry out a suicide bombing at an Al-Sahwa (Awakening) forces building in a village north of Ba'aqubah, Iraq.
The girl blew herself up near the building but no one else was wounded.
Iraq in real time P.1-- [Washington Times]
Avid news readers may have a hard time visualizing the surge in Iraq, or even understanding just what the new strategy has meant for troops in harm's way.
Filmmaker J.D. Johannes is here to help. Johannes went to Iraq, video camera in hand, and captured key elements of the surge. Now, his findings are part of a three-episode documentary called “Outside the Wire.”
Even viewers who consider themselves up to speed on the latest news from Iraq will appreciate the clarity, and context, delivered by the episodes. Viewers can see the benefits of U.S. soldiers getting to know their Iraqi counterparts, the struggle citizens had in deciding between embracing the insurgency or the occupiers and the cultural norms that fed into the raging violence that struck the country post-Saddam Hussein.
It’s all about context, and it’s one reason why Johannes, a former Marine, is frustrated by many news accounts flooding out of Iraq. “I really paid attention to larger themes. What is the surge? What is the Anbar awakening?” he says of his documentary.
Hannah - Iraq
"This is a little girl that was kind of like the Battery Mascot while in Iraq..."
Soldiers Operate Out of Former Seminary
Middle Eastern Night at the MWR -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
The MWR is where soldiers and others on base go to relax, sit on real, authentic couches, use computers, play pool and watch television. Although the television's almost always tuned into wrestling, so I don't think you could call it relaxing. MWR stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and every base has one of these places that ostensibly gives us a chance to unwind and take our minds off the war.
Marines in Afghanistan: Garmsir finally quiet -- [Military Watch]
After more than a month of fighting, as in this Associated Press file photo, Marines in southern Afghanistan are reporting that the Helmand Province town of Garmsir is finally subdued.
The operation, planned to last up to 12 days when it was launched April 28, was aimed at eradicating an insurgent command center in Garmsir and seizing control of the region, which was used as a major insurgent staging center and smuggling route for opium and weapons.
During Operation Asada Wosa, the Marines reported about 150 enemy engagements, mostly involving small arms, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Marines discovered just under 50 insurgent caches of bomb-making materiel, RPGs, mines and other explosives.
24th MARINE EXPEDITIONARY
Fighting the evil of the Taliban, Afghanistan.
Progress stems from key Afghan meeting -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101]
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (June 2, 2008) — Parliament Leaders, Village Elders and other government officials attend a meeting at the Governor's Compound in the district of Mahmood Raqi, located in the Kapisa province, Afghanistan, to discuss recent issues that have arisen with construction contractors,
Soldiering On - 30-05-2008:
After suffering their first casualty, the Lithuanians serving in Afghanistan have no choice but to soldier on.
Confined to Afghan outpost by rocket attacks, unit finds ways to pass the time -- [Stars and Stripes]
Zerok Combat Outpost, at the edge of a plateau about 7,700 feet above sea level, is surrounded by mountain ridges rising several hundred feet higher. Enemies love to climb on the far side of those ridges and lob rockets and missiles toward the soldiers below.
...Soldiers admit that the days can run together. "I don’t know what date it is," Spc. Corey McRae admits. "I don’t know what day of the week it is." Attacks serve to break up the monotony, according to Thornburg. "It’s about 95, 96 percent boredom with about 5 percent excitement," he said.
This Is Insane, But Normal -- [Strategy Page]
June 3, 2008: The ceasefire across the border in Pakistan has led to a resumption of Taliban recruiting over there, and sending the gunmen into Afghanistan to terrorize people into supporting the Taliban. In Pakistan, the Taliban have 10,000-20,000 armed tribesmen at their disposal. The Pakistani has about 100,000 soldiers and locally recruited (and thus of dubious loyalty) border guards who are withdrawing from tribal territory as part of a peace deal (that will, hopefully, reduce Islamic terror attacks inside Pakistan). The Pakistani Taliban get paid for fighting in Afghanistan, mainly to protect the heroin production and shipping operations.
fire fight in Afghanistan
History Lesson 101 -- [The SandGram - in Afghansitan]
This came from our XO, a fine young Air Force Officer who gave us a short brief on the Hazara. If you have read “Kite Runner” then you already have an idea of who the Hazara are and how they are treated. Here is a little background on them. This whole country is based off of tribes and clans, which makes putting them all together very difficult. We had a group of Police Recruits get into a fight last week because one group was Pashtu and the other Dari. They took to each other with metal pipes and caused some injuries but no deaths. See, there is the problem, they hate each other and it could be something that dates back to a bad business deal a century ago. Almost like the Hatfield and McCoys. Anyway, enjoy your first History lesson.
Sarkani Key Leader Engagement
A leader engagement to advance agriculture, education and infrastructure to the people of Sarkani, Afghanistan.
Rezko Guilty on 16 Counts -- [PJM - Rick Moran]
Obama friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko has been convicted of being deeply involved in criminal activity connected to powerful politicians. Will he now make a deal with prosecutors and begin implicating others?
New From MEMRI TV: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: The Countdown for the Decline of America's Demonic Power Has Begun. Zionist Germ of Corruption Will Be Wiped off the Face of the Earth -- [MEMRI Blog]
(transcript): Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Our beloved Imam [Khomeini], you commanded that the arrogant [powers] of the world must be destroyed. You commanded that the global rule of hegemony must be removed. I'd like to say that thanks to you illuminating presence, thanks to your guidance, thanks to your ardent and divine words, thanks to the continuance of your illuminating rule, and thanks to the steadfastness of the Iranian people, today, the cruel and arrogant [powers] have reached a total dead end, and thanks to God, the countdown for the decline of America's demonic power has begun.
Obama: Kenyans react
(CNN)- David McKenzie gets local reaction in Kenya to Sen. Barack Obama's victory.
Good news: Hamas unendorses Obama -- [Hot Air]
The Illinois senator was ridiculed, criticized and generally harassed back in April when a top Hamas adviser, Ahmed Yousef, told a radio interviewer that the Palestinian militant group — considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government — liked Obama and hoped he would win the U.S. presidential election…
That may have changed Wednesday, when Obama went before American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington a day after clinching the Democratic nomination and declared his strong support for Israel…
“Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.
...That’s one mighty thorough unendorsement, which is curious given that they only “endorsed” him in the first place six weeks ago, after he’d spent the past year telling anyone who’d listen how much he loves Israel.
On the 40th Anniversary of His Assassination: Robert Kennedy's 1948 Reports from Palestine
"The Jews informed the British government that 600 Iraqi troops were going to cross into Palestine from Trans-Jordan by the Allenby Bridge on a certain date and requested the British to take appropriate action to prevent this passage. The troops crossed unmolested....I saw several thousand non-Palestinian Arab troops in Palestine, including many of the famed British-trained and equipped Arab legionnaires of King Abdullah [of Trans-Jordan]. There were also soldiers from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq."
"The Arabs in command believe that eventually victory must be theirs. It is against all law and nature that this Jewish state should exist. They...promise that if it does become a reality it will never have as neighbors anything but hostile countries, which will continue the fight militarily and economically until victory is achieved."
How to measure al Qaeda's defeat -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
In an article published in the Washington Post on Friday May 30, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden is quoted as portraying al Qaeda movement as
"essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."
The article said Hayden asserts that
"Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents." More importantly, the article quotes the chief intelligence declaring a "near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq; near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia; significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam."
Wael Julaidan, Founder of al Qaeda, Back in Action in Saudi Arabia? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Is Wael Julaidan, founder of al Qaeda and one of only two Saudis ever designated as terrorist financiers by the Saudi regime and supposedly out of circulation, back in the public spotlight? It would seem so.
According to the English language Saudi paper, the the Arab News Julaidan was a featured speaker at a recent conference hosted by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).
...This would mean, in essence, that one of the very few actions the Saudis claimed to have taken against the financiers and sympathizers of al Qaeda, was a bogus as almost every other step the Kingdom has claimed to have taken.
UPDATED (w/complete text of statement): Al-Qaida Claims Attack on Danish Embassy in Islamabad -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a copy of a communiqué issued by senior Al-Qaida commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claiming responsibility for the June 2 suicide bombing attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. According to al-Yazid, “one of the courageous heroes from Al-Qaida executed a martyrdom operation… targeting the Danish Embassy in Islamabad… We will soon publish more information…
That's Bob in the middle... but who the heck are those other two guys? -- [Soldiers Angels' Germany]
In typical fashion, Bob calls himself nothing but a "conduit" and gives all the credit to others. Not just to the generous donors in and around the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, but also to his contacts downrange.
...I had the pleasure of seeing Bob again recently - this time during a trip to Germany with some of his students. He made a point of adding Landstuhl to the group's agenda giving me and Chris, a fellow Soldiers' Angel and nurse at Landstuhl, the opportunity to tell his students about our Heroes and their caregivers.
What a role model. Don't you wish America had more professors like Bob?
A big BZ and many thanks to Bob, his wife Cindy, the good folks at Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC - Chapel Hill, CPT Guthrie, and everyone else who supported this effort to show the Soldiers of the 173rd how much we care for them. Airborne! Sky Soldiers!
Vindication For Marine Charged in Haditha Cover-up -- [PJM - Bob Owens]
Lt. Andrew Grayson has been acquitted of charges that he helped cover up the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha. With charges dropped against five of the eight Marines involved the incident and only two more trials to go - apologies may soon be in order.
The Possible Failure of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in the Armed Services -- [TownHall]
...This is believed to be the opening salvo in an effort to repeal the 1993 law which relates to eligibility for military service. The intent of some is to repeal the measure passed in 1993 by a strongly Democratic Congress. That measure became, thanks to President William J. (Bill) Clinton, what is known as the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy about homosexuality for the Armed Forces.
Repeal of that policy would likely not fly in this Congress. But liberals anticipate strong gains in the 2008 elections, possibly as many as 40 Senate and House of Representatives seats. With that margin there would be little doubt that the policy would change,
Families Welcome Home 185th Airmen From Active Duty -- [KTIV, IA]
Fifty airmen from the 185th Air Refueling Wing are home safe after serving six weeks on active duty in Afghanistan supporting "Operation: Enduring Freedom.
Homecoming from Iraq 'a wonderful day' -- [The News Journal]
.."It's a wonderful day," she said while waiting for her nephew, Michael Emmell, "but I just feel like crying right now."
She and her husband, Danny, who live in Glasgow, joined more than 2,000 others who were waiting for the Delaware Army National Guard's 153rd Military Police Company to get home from more than a year's deployment in Iraq.
Welcome home for Iraq herores (UK) -- [ Leyland Guardian]
A heroes welcome awaited Leyland soldiers who returned home from Iraq after a gruelling six month tour.
Hundreds of family and friends gathered at TA Kimberley Barracks in Preston on Friday for the homecoming of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, including two Leyland soldiers who stepped off the bus to a rapture of applause.
...The soldier, who had served in Iraq before, added: "It is great to have everybody here to welcome us home but it is strange because we didn't have any of this the first time around.
"Bipartisan GI bill excludes GOP leadership " -- [Washington Times]
Democratic Sen. Jim Webb outflanked top Republicans by courting veterans groups to create a "21st Century GI Bill," a legislative gambit that has again put GOP lawmakers at odds with President Bush and the party's presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.
Most major veterans groups, who generally have been supportive of the Bush administration, are solidly behind the measure to expand college aid for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and they want Mr. Bush to reconsider his promised veto.
"This was clearly a cooperative operation, bipartisan and with involvement with the veterans service organizations," said Steve Robertson, legislative affairs director with the American Legion. "That's why I think everyone's pretty much in sync with it... it was a group effort."
Veterans groups say that wasn't the case with a competing and less-costly Republican proposal sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina and Mr. McCain of Arizona.
"We didn't have that much input into [the Republican version] - there was no dialogue to my knowledge other than 'this is it,'" Mr. Robertson said.
Barack Obama: Wrong On Iraq- Wrong On Haditha -- [Gateway Pundit]
If it were up to Barack Obama America would have surrendered Iraq, a violent bloodbath would have ensued. Not event the possibility of a genocide was reason enough for Obama to keep US troops in Iraq.
Thank goodness Barack Obama did not get his way.
Today Iraq is a great success story thanks to the Bush Surge:
** Al-Qaeda in Iraq is at its weakest state since the US invasion in 2003.
** US fatalities continue to decline to all-time lows
** Sectarian attacks and deaths in Baghdad have decreased by more than 90%
** Al-Qaeda in Iraq is even reporting a 94% drop in attacks.
When asked about the Haditha incident in June 2006 on Hannity and Colmes, Barack Obama joined with rat John Murtha who said that US troops had killed innocents "in cold blood."
Michelle Obama Initiates Black Militant "Pound" Salute.
.. then Barack pats her behind. Very presidential. PhsheeAww!
An Open Offer to U.S. Senators -- [Michael Yon]
Whatever we do in Iraq from here forward, we must strive to make better decisions than those made between 2003 and 2006. And one way to achieve that is by making certain that our civilian leaders are fully informed. All three candidates for President are extremely intelligent, but that doesn't mean that all three are tracking the truth on the ground in Iraq. Anyone who wants to be President of the United States needs to see Iraq without the distorting lenses of the media or partisan politics. I would be honored to visit Iraq with Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, Senator McCain or any of their Senate colleagues.
I hereby offer to accompany any Senator to Iraq, whether they are pro-or anti-war, Democrat or Republican. I will make this offer personally to a few select Senators as well. Our conversations during the visit would be on- or off-record, as they wish. Touring Iraq with me, as well as briefings by U.S. officers and meetings with Iraqis, would provide an accurate and nuanced account of the progress and challenges ahead, so that the Senators might have a highly informed perspective on this most critical issue. Our civilian leaders need to make decisions based on the best information available. The only way to learn what is really going on in Iraq is to go there and listen to our ground commanders, who know what they are doing.
Obama's Evolving Position on Iran. -- [ABC News]
Don’t call Barack Obama an appeaser.
In his speech Wednesday before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama sounded a bit like the more hawkish officials in the Bush administration.
He said the military option is “on the table” for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, and in stark contrast to earlier statements, he said he would meet with Iranian leaders “if and only if it can advance the interest of the United States.”
Obama’s tone was strikingly different from it has been in the past
During a debate last summer, he said he would be willing to meet with Iranian leaders and other American adversaries “without preconditions” during the first year of his presidency. Today, he made it clear that we should not expect a President Obama to be sitting down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad any time soon
Obama-mania lost on paratroopers -- [BlackFive]
Got this email from a paratrooper
(By the way... I watched this on CNN being aired on AFN as I sat down to eat chow the other night at 0200 hours... In Iraq)
..During this speech he mentioned how he was going to get all the troops out of Iraq...
He also stated how there were no Al Qaida in Iraq...
Note: My friends and I would like nothing more than to come home!
Now if you think we are going to be able to just pick up at the stroke of a pen and get all the troops out of these wars... you are sadly mistaken.
...There is a reason why - if you watched the news over the past few days that the overall majority of places in the mostly muslim populated countries think Obama being nominated is a good thing... figure it out. Appeasement - The theory of "if we suck up to these guys and give them countless millions in funds, they will like us... Hate to tell you - it doesn't work. The people in AQ are committed and patient and what they are committed and patient to doing is killing your infidel asses.
As for the no AQ in Iraq...
The well trained paratroopers are working hard on that!
Trust me - there are a lot less...
Why Obama Must Go to Iraq -- [WSJ - PETE HEGSETH]
Earlier this year, I spent five days in Iraq, walking the same streets in Baghdad where I had served two years earlier as an infantry platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division.
The visit reinforced for me not only the immense complexity of the war – so often lost in our domestic political debate – but also the importance of taking the time to visit Iraq to talk with the soldiers and Marines serving on the front lines in order to grasp the changing dynamics of a fluid battlefield.
Obama has traveled to Iraq just once – in January 2006. This was more than a year before Gen. David Petraeus took command and the surge began. It was also several months before Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government came into office. Although Mr. Obama frequently criticizes the Iraqi leader on the campaign trail, he has never actually met him.
...Mr. Obama has dismissed the value of such trips, suggesting they are stage-managed productions designated to obfuscate, not illuminate, the truth. This has become an all-too-common sentiment within the Democratic Party
Obama vs. McCain: The Gloves Come Off -- [PJM - Rick Moran]
Barack Obama's historic nomination victory was only the first step. Now the election campaign begins in earnest. Fasten your seatbelts: as Tuesday night's speeches demonstrated, the coming battle will be rough.
Michelle Obama to be guest host on ‘The View’ -- [CNN]
NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama will be a guest host on “The View” on June 18. — The popular ABC daytime talk show had invited her to be a guest this month, but she sent back word that she would like to be a host like Cindy McCain did in April …
Blogger Conference Calls: McCain Invites Critics From Right & Left -- [NewsBusters]
With the traditional media admitting they find it hard to curb their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, John McCain demonstrated again today that he is reaching out to the new media, giving blogging critics from the right and left the opportunity to participate in the blogger conference calls he has been regularly conducting. The Washington Times noted the phenomenon in an article of May 16, McCain widens dialogue on blogs, reporting that three of the seven questions in the May 15 conference call were posed by liberal-leaning bloggers.
Ban on Iraq war propaganda faces fight -- [Washington Times]
Current law doesn't regulate retired officers
Congressional Democrats want to ban Pentagon propaganda on the Iraq war, but they are likely to find that enforcement is easier said than done.
An existing legal prohibition, for example, didn't deter a Pentagon program aimed at influencing retired military officers frequently interviewed by the news media. It also didn't prevent a culture within the Bush administration that former White House spokesman Scott McClellan claims favored propaganda over honesty in selling the war to the public. And what is propaganda anyway? Nearly every press briefing involves a military or civilian official trying to influence the interpretation of events.
...On April 20, the New York Times uncovered a six-year Pentagon program that cultivated several dozen military analysts to generate favorable news coverage of the war. These retired military generals were given talking points, taken on trips to Guantanamo Bay prison and Iraq, given access to classified intelligence and briefed personally by senior defense officials, including then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to e-mails, transcripts and other records provided to the Times and eventually released by the Defense Department.
That the officers maintained extensive ties to the Pentagon after retirement wasn't surprising, as is custom among military's senior ranks. But the program seemed to unfairly reward these new media personalities and the defense companies that employed them as lobbyists with plum access to the department as long as the retired officers spoke in favor of the war.
TNR's James Kirchick: Pat Buchanan is a Nazi Because His Father Was? -- [NewsBusters]
The New Republic has a rather interesting "book review" penned by James Kirchick on its website. It is a piece of work that really takes the cake for name calling, guilt by association, sins of the Father being visited on the son and serves as an all around typical example of a piece that lacks seriousness. It begins well enough, yet ends devolving into simple name calling with Kirchick basically saying author Pat Buchanan is a nazi lover and in sympathy with "authoritarians" because Pat's father liked "General Franco."
McClellan's Bush-Bashing Book to be Made Into a Movie? -- [NewsBusters]
Honestly, do Hollywoodans have no shame?
If rumors swirling around Tinseltown about a movie being made about Scott McClellan's new Bush-bashing book "What Happened" are true, the answer to that question is a resounding "No."
American troops having fun in Iraq
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
No Greater Honor -- [Robert D. Kaplan]
Over the decades, the Medal of Honor—the highest award for valor—has evolved into the U.S. military equivalent of sainthood. Only eight Medals of Honor have been awarded since the Vietnam War, all posthumously. “You don’t have to die to win it, but it helps,” says Army Colonel Thomas P. Smith. A West Point graduate from the Bronx, Smith has a unique perspective. He was a battalion commander in Iraq when one of his men performed actions that resulted in the Medal of Honor. It was then-Lieutenant Colonel Smith who pushed the paperwork for the award through the Pentagon bureaucracy, a two-year process.
Transformation (pdf) - [Task Force Marne - in Iraq]
Before and After (pics) - SALMAN PAK, FIRE STATION, KET, BRR CANAL, 4 CORNERS MARKET, IRAQI POLICE STATION, NISSAN ROAD, NISSAN SCHOOL, NISSAN GOVERNMENT, BRIDGING RELATIONSHIPS, GOVERNMENT BUILDING, 3rd HBCT BREAKS BREAD, BUILDS CAMARADERIE, JISR DIYALA MARKET, ADWANIYAH, HEALTH CLINIC, ARAB JABOUR GOVERNMENT, YUSUFIYAH PUMP, MADARIYAH, HAWR RAJAB, RAJAB SCHOOL, SECURITY PROVIDES ELECTRICITY, OPPORTUNITY, PILEDRIVING IN PROGRESS...
IRAQ IN THE NEWS........NAAAAA C'MON -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
Iraq in the news? Cant be, no say it isn’t so, are we still in Iraq , Is there a war on??? WAKE UP PEOPLE!! The Washington Post has actually done a story about success.
...The Iraqi Upturn
Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.
From Maj Pain In Iraq - [MilBlogs - Major Pain in Iraq]
Missions are going very well for us. We have detained several bad guys and corresponded warrants for them. The weather has been hot, then full of sand as the movie like sandstorms roll into our area. As we conduct our partnered American and Iraqi missions, we compliment one another as they can notice things we cant and we can bring a hell storm to the scene in a blink of an eye. I know you arnt hearing anything about how well the Iraqi’s are doing but they are doing great things, every day. They are listening to us, learning and when we see them make several small strides we know we are on the right path. Some working for free, only to make a difference. They are making a difference!
Bill Ardolino, writer for The Long War Journal speaks with Dennis Miller
Our Friends the Iraqis -- [The Corner - John Derbyshire]
Radio Derb listeners may recall my segment two weeks ago on the murder of a 17-year-old girl in Basra, stomped and stabbed to death by her father and brothers after she had been seen talking to a British soldier. The father and brothers are now local heroes. The police detained the father for a short time, then sent him on his way with their congratulations. The mother, Leila Hussein, in a singular act of courage, left her husband, telling a British newspaper that: "I would prefer to be killed than sleep in the same bed as a man who was able to do what he did to his own daughter."
Now comes the news that Leila Hussein was murdered while trying to arrange an escape from Iraq.
Indiana soldiers secure one of Iraq’s biggest money makers (part 1) -- [IN-Iraq - journalist embed in Iraq]
Bayji Oil Refinery (BOR), Iraq - It produces more oil than any other refinery in Iraq. A handful of Indiana soldiers from Higher Headquarters Company of the 1st/327th Infantry live under the flaming tower that burns off excess gas. They help police a refinery operation that yields millions in liquid currency 24-hours a day.
And there are plenty of people besides the Iraqi government who would like to take their cut from an operation that serves eight provinces and ships heavy fuel to three other nations. “If Iraq could stop all corruption, within five years this could be a wealthy nation,” said Sgt. Brian Taylor, 27, of Greenwood IN.
M1A1 Abrams Destroys Sniper Hideout
The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage -- [Kaboom - in Iraq]
I’d brushed aside the informal inquiries for months now. No, not me. Not interested. Keep me on the line. I want nothing to do with a lateral promotion to XO (Executive Officer) that involves becoming a logistical whipping boy and terminal scapegoat for all things
...No Sir, this isn’t just because I want to stay with my platoon. (Maintain eye contact so he doesn’t think you’re lying, for the love of God, maintain eye contact!) I won’t lie though, Sir – it was a factor. Just not my motivation.
Nice work, liar.
Another reason? Well, Sir, two of my best friends in the world are LT Virginia Slim and LT Demolition. If I were to become their XO, I would be extremely uncomfortable with possibly having to order them and their men to their deaths. As their peer, I should be right there next to them. Hell, I probably would insist on it.
Aussie Troops leaving Iraq
Merit in Iraq Effort -- [The Australian]
The lowering of the Australian flag in southern Iraq marks the end of our largest and most important troop deployment since the Vietnam War. Australia's 550 combat troops will leave Dhi Qar and Al Muthanna provinces with a sense of achievement that should make us all proud. Their deployment to protect Japanese reconstruction teams and train about 33,000 Iraqi forces in basic military skills largely achieved what it set out to do, without any Australians killed in action. The withdrawal, however, should not be seen as "mission accomplished". Indeed, as the Australian Defence Association argues, Iraqi forces could have benefited from more training than was undertaken, particularly in mentoring them in a combat role.
Australia's Rudd Defends Redeployment - Ernesto Londoño -- [Washington Post]
On a day when a suicide bomber killed at least three Iraqi policemen, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defended Monday his decision to end his country's combat role in Iraq and accused his predecessor of misusing weak intelligence to join the US-led coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003.
Iraqi Army interdicting Iranian operations in the South -- [LWJ]
Recent operations in Abu Al Khasib on the Iranian border, Az Zubayr, and Al Qurnah are along Iranian Qods Forces' supply lines into southern Iraq. Operations against the Mahdi Army continue in Baghdad.
Maliki to Raise Iran's Role in Iraq in Tehran Talks - Wisam Mohammed - [Reuters]
Iraq wants to discuss evidence of Iranian intervention in Iraq and the two countries' overall relationship during a visit to Tehran this week by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a government spokesman said on Monday. It will be Maliki's second visit to Tehran after he traveled to Iran in August last year and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a visit to Baghdad in March.
US Soldier Firing SMAW At Insurgent Sniper Hiding In Balcony In Baghdad, Iraq
Final Words From the Emerald City -- [LT Nixon - in Iraq]
This deployment has certainly been more interesting than the last two (albeit a lot longer). Primarily because I had access to the internet, and I worked on a staff with many senior officers, which allowed me to fly low on the radar with my relative unimportance. Although, important people frequently counted on me for various pieces of the puzzle in their decision making, and I'll miss that aspect of my existence having a purpose. I also worked with some wonderful people both civilian and military and I wish them the best in their future endeavors. Since I don't have a girlfriend, wife/kids, or any of that other bullshit, I thought it would be interesting to spend all of my free time frantically engaging in an experiment of how America was going about its business while a war went on in Iraq.
DUMBO MUST DIE! -- [James Aalan Bernsen - in Iraq]
The whole palace compound here is full of some pretty strange art. There are these life-sized stone chickens over by one of the buildings, but there's a photography ban over there, and I can't show them. Over in another palace, with a similar ban, there's a large bas relief of a kind of sylized Iraqi eagle and a battle scene.
But the weirdest piece of art is on a small side building along the lake. I call the piece "Dumbo Must Die!" Picturing an idealized Arab hunting scene, it shows several brave, courageous, tough Iraqi warriors taking down what is obviously merely a baby elephant.
The Anbar Web Report
My brain has stopped adding words together -- [Doc in the Box - in Iraq]
...The Dear John’s or Jane’s have started trickling in one party, here or there is shocked and can’t believe it’s happening to them. It’s that season of the deployment, between the middle till right before we get home. I’ve been here before and most of the Staff NCO’s I work with are on their second or third marriage, it’s the junior guys that worry me. Right now is where relationships crumble, one party realizes that they really don’t like being alone or that their significant other isn’t the “One” or meets someone special who isn’t far away and don’t know how to break it off with someone on the other side of the world then waits till right before they get home. There is no easy way to break off a serious relationship.
Taliban Flee US Marine Onslaught in Afghanistan - Jon Hemming -- [Reuters]
Taliban insurgents are fleeing south towards the Afghan border with Pakistan in the face of a US Marines offensive in volatile Helmand province, the NATO commander in Afghanistan said on Monday. US Marines have been pushing south from the former Taliban stronghold of Garmsir in Helmand for a month in an operation meant to cut off insurgent infiltration routes from Pakistan.
Victory Coming To Afghanistan? [The Strata-Sphere] HT: Jawa
Reader Frogg noted a story where the UK Commander in Afghanistan is asserting that our efforts in the War on Terror in that country have put us on the brink of victory:
...This is an amazing claim, one I doubt is being made in haste or from too much exuberence (the British military is known for being low key). What a stunning turn around from the doom and gloom eminating from the news media last year, when all seemed lost (at least that was the snow job they were selling. America is going to wonder what happened with all this success breaking out in the War on Terror.
Two Afghani police are honored for bravery
two Afghani police are honored for bravery for disarming a suicide bomber. Col Forman meets with Afghan police leader.
Why The War in Afghanistan Cannot be Won -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Under current conditions, the NATO-led war against the Taliban in Afghanistan cannot be won. The most graphic reason is described in New York Times article on the reality of the Taliban control in Tribal Territories.
While the Pakistani army goes for show, flying journalists in for a brief visit to demonstrate how the Taliban is in retreat, the Taliban goes for a far different tactic.
Baitullah Mehsud, the head of Pakistani Taliban, called a news conference in the same area, drove up in a new Toyota SUV full of security carrying new AK-47 assault rifles, and holds court, unmolested, for an extended period of time.
Mehsud was not bashful about acknowledging his role in combating U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and promised to intensify those attacks. Articulating the standard _jihadi-Islamist_ view, he stated that "Islam does not recognize boundaries. There can be no deal with the United States."
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Return to the Afghan Insurgency -- [Muhammad Tahir]
The Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (Islamic Party of Afghanistan, or HIA), sidelined from Afghan politics since the fall of the mujahideen regime to the Taliban in the mid-1990s, has recently reemerged as an aggressive militant group, claiming responsibility for many bloody attacks against Coalition forces and the administration of President Hamid Karzai.
Afghans retake town overrun by Taliban; no word on fate of captured official, police -- [Newser]
Afghan security forces recaptured a remote town Friday that the Taliban had overtaken the previous day, officials said.
Taliban militants attacked and captured Rashidan in Ghazni province late Thursday, taking captive the district's government leader and eight police, militants and officials said.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said Afghan security forces regained control of the town Friday evening. Radmanish, who goes by one name, said the fate of the nine captured men wasn't immediately clear.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, 1st Lt. Nathan Perry, said reports indicated the Afghan forces encountered no resistance in Rashidan on Friday.
Taliban militants have in the past briefly overrun remote district centers before Afghan or NATO forces again push the militants out. But insurgents also control several areas in southern Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand province.
'I Wish I Had the Taliban as My Soldiers' -- [Miserable Donuts]
President Hamid Karzai has come under fire for not doing enough to stem corruption in Afghanistan. He speaks to DER SPIEGEL about the coalition forces' ties with warlords, rumors about his family's influence and why he believes dirty deals are sometimes necessary.
Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 -- [9/11 Families...]
While many staggered through smoke, rising heat, and shockwave-strewn wreckage in search of an exit, it took the sheer valor of troops, civilians, and first responders to save the lives of hundreds — some died in the attempt. Firefighters from far and near came running, found a vortex of chaos, sucked rancid smoke, and fought the ‘big one’ fire of their careers. Even as carbon monoxide levels rose in the national command center, our nation’s senior military leadership refused to evacuate, the fire was spreading, and the entire Pentagon was at risk of burning down.
A Dark Corner of Europe, Part I -- [Michael Tottrn - in Serbia]
“You bombed my country.” These were the nearly first words I heard after clearing passport control on arrival in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, from a taxi driver who flagged me down inside the airport. “Fifteen countries bombed my country.”
I didn't know what to say. Neither did my American friend and traveling companion Sean LaFreniere.
“Why are you here in Serbia?” the driver said.
“We're tourists,” I lied. I didn't want to say I was an American journalist on a trip through the former Yugoslavia with an end destination in Kosovo. Serbia's last war of ethnic-cleansing was fought there, and it only ended when NATO, led by the United States, bombed Belgrade's tyrant Slobodan Milosevic into submission. That was nine years ago, but just three months ago Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
Iran's Supreme Leader Says Nuke Work to Continue, Calls Bush 'Mentally Ill' -- [Fox News]
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday his country will continue with its controversial nuclear program, but rejected nuclear weapons.
The country's supreme leader also said U.S. President George W. Bush and his advisers are acting erratically and sound mentally ill.
"Sometimes they threaten, sometimes they order assassinations ... and sometimes they ask for help — it's like mad people staggering to and fro," he said.
Khamenei, who has final say in all matters in Iran, spoke at a ceremony Tuesday honoring the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"Iran is after the peaceful use of nuclear energy and we will strongly pursue and reach it despite the envy of our enemies," he said.
US steps up search for American traitor Adam Gadahn -- [Hot Air]
Amidst plenty of speculation that the issue became moot a few months ago, the US has begun to increase its efforts to capture Adam Gadahn, AKA “Azzam al-Amriki”, the Garden Grove hirabi who joined al-Qaeda years ago. Gadahn became the first American charged with treason since World War II, and the State Department would love to get him alive for trial. A massive ad campaign will be launched in Afghanistan to find AQ’s translator:
Sanctions Against Iran: A Promising Struggle -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
I had an article in the Summer 2008 edition of The Washington Quarterly on Iran sanctions. In the piece, I look the development of the US government's Iran strategy, evaluate its effectiveness, and make recommendations for how to improve the current approach.
Al-Qaida on Ropes: Bin Laden Losing -- [NH Union-Leader]
"According to Pew polls, support for Al Qaeda has been dropping around the Muslim world in recent years," wrote Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank. "The numbers supporting suicide bombings in Indonesia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh, for instance, have dropped by half or more in the last five years. In Saudi Arabia, only 10 percent now have a favorable view of Al Qaeda, according to a December poll by Terror Free Tomorrow, a Washington-based think tank. Following a wave of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year, support for suicide operations amongst Pakistanis has dropped to 9 percent (it was 33 percent five years ago), while favorable views of bin Laden in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, around where he is believed to be hiding, have plummeted to 4 percent from 70 percent since August 2007."
NEFA Foundation: Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) Interview with German Convert "Eric B." -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new interview published by the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) with “Abdul Gaffar al-Almani”—better known as “Eric B.”, a 20-year old German convert to Islam from Neuenkirchen in Saarland who traveled to Pakistan in 2007 and joined the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). According to “Abdul Gaffar”, as long as European governments continue to participate in the NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, “Germany—along with every other nation taking part in the occupation [of Afghanistan]—should expect attacks by Muslims. The one who goes searching for war will surely find it.” He further boasted that the IJU has recently “assembled a group of recruits who are ready to conduct martyrdom operations.” Separately during his interview, “Abdul Gaffar” also indicated that the IJU is currently suffering from a serious financial crisis, acknowledging, “Truthfully, we have a shortage of money, but generous Allah is supplying us with all of our necessities.”
“He lived out what he wanted to do and that is to be a Marine.” -- [Michelle Malkin]
On leave from the violence he had survived in the war in Iraq, a young Marine was so wary of crime on the streets of his own home town that he carried only $8 to avoid becoming a robbery target.
Despite his caution, Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield, 21, was shot point-blank in the neck during a robbery at a bus stop.
Feeding and breathing tubes kept him alive 41/2 months, until he died of an infection on May 18.
...“They took it, turned his pockets inside out, took what he had and told him since he was a Marine and didn’t have any money he didn’t deserve to live. They put the gun to his neck and shot him,” Holt told The Associated Press.
Calling all Angels (pdf) - [Soldiers Angels Newsletter]
Verification and Recommendation Team
...Soldiers' Angels receives a lot of requests for help and assistance from soldiers, veterans and their families. We get phone calls, emails or referrals from social workers, counselors, superiors, FRG Leaders and other sources.
The Verification and Recommendation Team (VAR) tries to find out what kind of help is needed and if Soldiers' Angels is able to provide assistance. The VAR Team contacts the soldier or family and asks about their needs. Sometimes it is assistance with rent to prevent eviction, or payment of an electricity/gas bill to keep the lights on or the house warm. It can be that the only car in the household needs a set of tires or a broken down washing machine needs to be replaced, or it may be that a family needs to buy groceries. The reason for needing assistance is different in each case. Often the soldiers and veterans are waiting for their pay, as there was a change in pay status or the paperwork for disability at the VA will not be ready for a few months. The members of the VAR Team verify the information that Soldiers‘ Angels receives.
AT&T Supports Cell Phones for Soldiers -- [AT&T]
A long-standing mission of AT&T is helping connect military families. Cell Phones for Soldiers, initiated in 2004 by then 14-year-old Brittany Bergquist and her 13-year-old brother Robbie, uses funds from recycled cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members – to help connect them with their families.
Through generous donations and the recycling of used cell phones from drop-off sites across the country, Cell Phones for Soldiers has already raised more than $1 million and distributed more than 75 thousand phone cards to soldiers overseas.
AT&T and Cell Phone for Soldiers Celebrate Fleet Week
4TH OF JULY CARD DRIVE FOR DEPLOYED TROOPS -- [Thunder Run]
To collect at least 5,000 "thank you" cards for troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of the cards collected will go to a unit currently stationed in an extremely harsh and remote area of Afghanistan.
Being away from home and living in harsh conditions with combat & constant danger is difficult ~ our troops need to know we have not forgotten them!!! Mail from home helps to keep our troops' morale strong, making a very real difference in their lives. It keeps them motivated and focused when they know we care about them!
Garrison Keillor... clueless in Lake Woebegon -- [John of Argghhh!]
...So, Mr. Keillor was inconvenienced in DC this Memorial Day by an annual protest ride by some bikers, who were interested in the POW/MIA issue... One wonders if he would have felt as inconvenienced had it been, or the "Million Man March" the "Million Mom March" or something like the protest SWWBO and I attended in DC last year... One suspects rather he would have been waxing rhapsodic.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN PRESENTATION OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR POSTHUMOUSLY TO PRIVATE FIRST CLASS ROSS ANDREW MCGINNIS -- [White House.gov]
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Welcome to the White House.
A week ago on Memorial Day, the flag of the United States flew in half-staff in tribute to those who fell in service to our country. Today we pay special homage to one of those heroes: Private First Class Ross Andrew McGinnis of the U.S. Army. Private McGinnis died in a combat zone in Iraq on December the 4th, 2006 –- and for his heroism that day, he now receives the Medal of Honor.
No one outside this man's family can know the true weight of their loss. But in words spoken long ago, we are told how to measure the kind of devotion that Ross McGinnis showed on his last day: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Gospel also gives this assurance: "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." May the deep respect of our whole nation be a comfort to the family of this fallen soldier. May God always watch over the country he served, and keep us ever grateful for the life of Ross Andrew McGinnis.
Garrison Keillor... Still a Colossal Asshat -- [Cassandra]
Why is it some people are never all that keen on taking their own advice? If only Garrison Keillor had honored the fallen in the manner he seems determined to impose on others - with a moment of silence:
MY FAVORITE HERO -- [Pettifog]
“When Ross McGinnis was in kindergarten, the teacher asked him to draw a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up,” Mr. Bush said. “He drew a soldier. Four men are alive because this soldier embodied our Army values and gave his life.”
A man with a sense of humor: “In high school and in the Army, Ross became known for his ability to do impersonations. A buddy from boot camp said that Ross was the only man there who could make the drill sergeant laugh,” President Bush said.
Should the Marines Have Special Operations Forces? -- [The Captain’s Journal]
By now it isn’t news that the MARSOC Marines who were deployed to Afghanistan and accused of wrongdoing will not be charged.
...But there is a 900 pound gorilla in the room, and The Captain’s Journal will point it out if no one else will. We still aren’t convinced that the Marine Corps should have Marines dedicated to special operations. Force Recon? Sure. Someone needs to be qualified to perform reconnaissance operations (jump qualifications, etc.). Someone in a company must be qualified as the DM, and someone must be qualified as a combat lifesaver, and so on.
But the notion of special operations has morphed
The Grand Fucking Finale -- [Iraq: The Purgatorium - home from Iraq]
Kuwait. Nightmare of customs.
Waiting. Sleep deprivation. True sand. Dangling freedom right in front of us.
One flight after another. Layovers. Sitting in a bus in the middle of nowhere in Kuwait.
...Then we arrived at Fort Lewis. It was weird. It was the same, and different at the same time. I didn't know WHAT the hell to think. They had us form up, big mass formation, complete idiocy if you asked me. Finally we marched in, in columns of twos, to a live military band.
Cheers. Like we were fucking rock gods or something. We were heralded, and for who know's what reasons, and dammit, who cares? It was without a doubt the one and only cool part about the redeployment process. The Beatles couldn't generate this much cheering. The families looked like they were ready to tear the gym apart. Ravenous for their American Boys.
Barack Obama His Pro-Palestinian Background
Nan's Kampf -- [MilBlogs -Greyhawk]
Ms. Pelosi: What I hope we don’t hear from General Petraeus next week is any glorification of what has just happened in Basra and a presentation that says that the Iraqi forces went in there, did the job, violence is diminished, mission accomplished, because the fact is there are many questions that arise in relationship to Basra.
...they [Iraqi troops] weren’t winning this engagement on their own. It wasn’t until the U.S. came in to help that the resolution came about.
Poor Nan didn't realize at the time she'd credited US troops and validated the need for the surge and their continued presence - so here's the retraction:
Obama Must Face Iraq’s Truth -- [Peter Wehner]
The Post rightly echoes the caution repeatedly issued by General Petraeus; it is of course too early to celebrate. Among other things, the Post cautions, Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army can still regroup and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence. Beyond that, Iraq, while far less violent and less fractured than in the past, is still a broken society in many respects –and rebuilding it will not be an easy or quick undertaking. We are, with the Iraqis, engaged in an enormous, long-term nation-building effort, one that was delayed for far longer than it should have been because we had in place the wrong counter-insurgency strategy.
...Senator Obama doesn’t need a plan for success; that is already in place. He merely needs to demonstrate the intellectual honesty and political courage to embrace it and say, publicly, that he will stay with it.
Obama Leaves His Church -- [TIme]
... just as the RBC committee was coming back into session a ripple of surprise ripped through the crowd as the news spread that Obama had left Trinity church on Chicago’s Southside after more than 20 years of worship there. The move comes after months of controversial Jeremiah Wright footage and appearances and a week after a video of a visiting pastor, Rev. Michael Pfleger, surfaced where he mocked Hillary Clinton for being a white elitist who felt entitled to the nomination.
The Danger of False Assumptions -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Today's edition of the New York Times includes a column from its Public Editor Clark Hoyt regarding a recent Op-Ed published in the Times written by Edward Luttwak and titled "President Apostate?" In his original piece, Mr. Luttwak argued that under Islamic Shariah law "as it is universally understood,” were Barack Obama to be elected president, he would be spurned by countries in the Muslim world as an "apostate" who had converted to Christianity. Luttwak went as far as to argue that Obama's act of apostasy would be considered by Muslims to be "the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit." He might, according to Luttwak, even face possible capital punishment were he to visit the Muslim world. In his reply, I believe the NYT's Mr. Hoyt adroitly responded to the arguments raised by Luttwak. Hoyt interviewed at least five Islamic scholars before issuing his response, though I sincerely doubt that it takes an expert in Islam to realize Luttwak's arguments are offensive and ridiculous.
TIME Mag Reporter: Trinity UCC Is Typical Black Church (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
This won't bring the flock of white voters back to the church of Obama...
It also won't calm the fears of Americans who are still absolutely shocked by the video clips of Reverend Wright g*ddaming America from the pulpit...
These same Americans won't likely vote for a politician who they think will bring those same sick beliefs to the White House.
...The fact that Barack Obama would not denounce his church says that he still approves of this racist faith community. In fact it was this anti-white racism that drew Obama to the church in the first place.
This won't go over well with most levelheaded Americans in November.
American-Iranian Council founder meets with Ahmadinejad. -- [Gateway Pundit]
This photo was taken recently and released today by Iranian human rights activists:
** This photo is of Ahmadinejad and one of the regime's U.S.-based brokers.
Ahmadinejad recently told a group of Basiji, as reported by the Iranian news, that he did not know this individual (Amir-Ahmadi).
This photo released today by Iranian activists follows the news from yesterday that Trita Parsi from the American Iranian Council is thought to be an advisor to Barack Obama on Iranian foreign policy.
Salazar says senators didn't agree on endorsement -- [Rocky Mountain News]
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ken Salazar joined a small group of fellow undecided Democratic superdelegates on Capitol Hill today, but said they reached no agreement on whether to endorse a presidential candidate as a group.
Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan Campaigning at the Steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. -- [The San Francisco Citizen] HT: Glenn
Cindy Sheehan and an intrepid supporter today at the main entrance of City Hall during today’s primary election:
The Media Are the Enemy -- [LGF]
One of the most outrageous and disgusting examples yet of the Associated Press using “news” directly from terrorists: an unnamed Associated Press photographer hangs out with Taliban terrorists as they transfer ammunition in the dark of night.
"...the larger truth..." -- [Miss LadyBug]
I wanted to skim through the article about the Texas baseball team.When I did so, a large (9x7) negative of the infamous image of the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner jumped out on the front of the "Insight" section of the Sunday Austin American-Statesman.
In a piece titled "Seen, Unseen", Statesman staff writer Jody Seaborn writes about a new film by Errol Morris, Standard Operating Procedure. Morris is a documentary filmmaker who also blogs about photography for the New York Times. This movie, which apparently opens here in Austin (and elsewhere?) on Friday, "seeks to determine whether the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib were merely the work of a few 'bad apples', as the military and the Bush administration publicly maintained, or the result of policies sanctioned and encouraged by civilian and military leaders."
Liberal Media Cover Up Speaker Pelosi's Slander of American Troops -- [Newsbusters]
The following is from an MRC press release calling out the liberal mainstream media for covering up House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) recent remarks chalking up the success of the U.S. military in Iraq to the "goodwill of the Iranians."
...At the 62-minute mark, Pelosi slandered and demeaned the hard-won successes of our armed forces in Iraq, saying "Whatever the military success and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians -- they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities -- the Iranians."
NBC Nightly News Spikes News About Fewest Troop Deaths of War -- [Newsbusters]
As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that “because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind,” and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.
Scott McClellan Originally Planned to Attack Media, Defend Bush -- [Newsbusters]
Although today his book is being touted by left-wing reporters and pundits, his initial plans for the project show former White House press secretary Scott McClellan intended to take a much different approach, one that was more sympathetic to President Bush but also quite hard on the "liberal elites" of the Washington press corps and their "hostility" toward the administration.
War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism -- [AmeriCAN-DO Attitude]
So, everyone, by now, has probably heard allllll about Scott McClellan, President Bush's former Press Secretary, releasing a book which bashes President Bush.
...However, you are probably not aware of another book released recently, which did not get the adoring, orgasmic coverage of the mass media: Douglas Feith's War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. For those of you who do not know who is Douglas Feith, he served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from July 2001 until August 2005.
Now, whom do you think has more credible information when it comes to the details of the war effort: an incompetent Press Secretary who was fired (whose book was funded by Leftist, America-hater George Soros) or a respected former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Well, unless you are suffering from BDS, you chose the latter.
The New York Times Lies For Obama on Dictators... Again -- [Gateway Pundit]
In its report on John McCain's speech to AIPAC today, The New York Times said this about Barack Obama:
Mr. Obama and his campaign have stressed that while the Democrat would depart from the Bush administration’s policy of refusing to meet with certain nations that fail to meet preconditions, he would not necessarily engage in presidential-level talks with them.
Of course, that is not what Barack Obama said during the CNN YouTube Debate last year:
Even If Hillary Quits, Bill Clinton Vows to Fight On -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-06-03) — Former President Bill Clinton told a rally in Billings, Montana, today that even if his wife drops out of the race for the Democrat presidential nomination, he will take his historic fight to be First Gent “all the way to Denver in August.”
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)