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Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
US forces to hand over Anbar control to Iraqis -- [Middle East Online]
US forces will hand over control of Anbar province to Iraqi troops in the coming days, military officials said Wednesday, touting improved security in the region.
Eat ‘em and Smile -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
So are you sure, are you damn sure, that you want her on the gun?"
"I believe she can do the job," Specialist Fishbowl says.
"I do too," Applesauce's team leader says.
I’m reluctant to concede to this. The last truck in the convoy has the important job of warning off oncoming vehicles and acting as the liaison truck with other convoys at the halt. A reliable, experienced person has to be on that gun. But my platoon is fresh out of experienced people and we have to settle for just reliable, or even unreliable and only marginally motivated.
"All right,” I say. “I respect your decision. I don’t want to do this, but I’m fresh out of options. I guess we're done."
Later that day, I see Private Applesauce as I walk back from the dining facility. I stop her.
"You know you got the gun on Vic Six for the next convoy, roger?"
"I know, sarn't."
I want to give her some encouraging words, something that she would remember years from now as words that changed her life.
"Well, don't fuck it up," I say.
"I'll do my best sarn't."
"No, don't do your best. I'm not going to write your husband and tell him you did your best. Just watch your lane and don't fuck it up. Your squad leader must really believe in you."
"Roger sergeant, I won’t fuck it up."
The Littlest Indicator -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
I was answering a question for a friend last night on identifiable progress in Iraq, and I began thinking about the definition of "progress". In graduate school thirteen years ago the political science buzzword for progress was "development", and of course that meant various things to various people depending on what their viewpoint was. Some, including myself, approached development from an economic standpoint, others looked at social or political conditions, still more were concerned with infrastructure. All of these are good indicators to consider when determining the development or progress that is taking place in Iraq.
While there is not a catch-all indicator of development, there is one that is pretty close,
Suicide attack foiled in Talafar -- [Voices of Iraq]
NINEWA, Aug. 29 – Policemen in Talafar on Friday thwarted a suicide attack with an explosive belt that targeted a mosque in the district, the Talafar mayor said.
Iraqi forces take control of Diala’s disputed town-military -- [Voices of Iraq]
DIALA, Aug. 28 (VOI) –Iraqi army commander on Thursday said central government troops are wrestling control of most of Diala’s disputed town of Khanaqin from Kurdish peshmerga forces.
"Iraqi soldiers are totally controlling the areas of Qara-Tapa, Jalawlaa, and al-Saadiya of Khanaqin suburb (155 km northeastern Diala province)," Brigadier Muneim Ali, commander of the Iraqi army 5th division 4th brigade, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
"Senior figures of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK – President Jalal Talabani's party) in those areas received the Iraqi army troops with flowers," he said.
Kurdish forces refused Iraqi defence ministry orders to pull out of Kurdish-populated areas of ethnically divided Diala province where they have been deployed for the past two years.But then conceded Iraqi army deployment in some areas of the disputed town of Khanaqeen.
The deployment of Iraqi troops in Khanaqeen unleashed strong protest of Kurdish official, considering the measures as provocative and a political tool to influence Kurd’s stances in conroversial provincial polls law
Sting of Emeralds -- [Matel - in Iraq]
Plans to set up a string of oases were put on hold by the many conflicts Iraq suffered and provoked over the last generation. The old man I talked to got his agricultural education in Belgium a long time ago. He lamented the lost time and the encroaching desert, but what he felt most acutely was the isolation. Iraqi scientists lost contact with the rest of the world, during the Saddam tyranny and sanctions. They were unable to properly contribute to and benefit from the advance of knowledge in preserving arid lands, so their level of expertise is more than twenty years old. A lot has happened since then.
Contact -- [...feeling of absurdity... - in Iraq]
The vehicle in front of you is now replaced with a 100 meter dust cloud and your ears feel like they were just slapped all at the same time. What do you do?
Again with Anah -- [Matel - in Iraq]
Several members of the ePRT and representative of the RCT made a follow up visit to Anah, since I promised the mayor that I would come back with some experts to address particular things we had discussed. It is a follow up. Some of this entry will be similar to my entry re a couple weeks ago. Bear with me.
...After Al Qaim, Anah is the best run city in our AO. Some of the reasons are clear. Anah's mayor is someone who is competent, honest and who loves his city. The people of Anah mostly have come from someplace else, if for no other reason than that Anah physically moved around twenty years ago when the waters of Lake Qadisiya inundated the old city site. They are less tied to tribal loyalties and tradition than the inhabitants of most other areas in Anbar.
Grumpy Recommends: Hatch Gloves -- [Sgt Grumpy]
Before I deployed to Iraq, I looked at every tactical glove out on the market, but couldn't find what I was looking for. I needed a durable, functional glove, that would provide protection and comfort. We were often scrambling in and out of vehicles, and buildings, and even back in training my hands were getting hammered. But breathablity and comfort was as much of an issue - most gloves I tried made my hands sweat too much.
...If you have a Soldier or Marine going downrange who will be outside the wire, these make an excellent gift.
Hurricane Afghanistan -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
...Arriving at the Serena Hotel, my driver stopped at the front gate just as two armored vehicles with Turkish markings rolled up behind us. A hotel security guard came out excitedly, asking why we stopped. Meanwhile, heavily armed Turkish soldiers were piling out of their vehicles, guarding the armored car of a hotel visitor. The Turkish soldiers wore patches that say “ISAF,” or International Security Assistance Force. The soldiers were on high alert, and I wanted to be away from them in case of any drama, and so I unloaded the gear and headed to the front gate of the Serena Hotel. Earlier this year, according to an eyewitness who works as a waiter at a restaurant inside the hotel, two suicide bombers detonated themselves at the gate, killing four guards. The restaurant was a nearly perfect vantage point from which to see the attack unfold. The waiter told me that after the suicide bombers detonated at the gate, two men wearing police uniforms shot their way into the hotel, killing two people in the lobby, and then over to the health club where they killed two more before disappearing without a trace.
A Soldiers Story - Argylls in Afghanistan part 3
NEFA Foundation: Interview with Sirajuddin Haqqani, Latest Zawahiri Audio Transcript, Written Responses from KSM/Khallad, Taliban Biography of the Late Mullah Dadullah -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has published several new items on its website which will be of interest to counterterrorism researchers. First, the NEFA Foundation has obtained video of a conversation with Taliban Deputy Commander Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of the infamous Afghan mujahideen leader Jalaluddin Haqqani. Though only in his early thirties, Haqqani is considered one of the most powerful Taliban military commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has been rumored as a possible internal political rival to the current Taliban administration of Mullah Mohammed Omar. Haqqani has freely acknowledged his role in organizing recent terrorist attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul, and his partnership with foreign fighters arriving from elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Too close for comfort.... -- [Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army]
First and most important: please say a special prayer for the Soldiers and their families of those over here. I can't say why, but there are people in special need tonight. Thank you.
We are about to enter a "bad" time of the year. Forgive me if I spell this wrong....but Ramidad is about to start. It's a month long religious fasting period that means a lot to them...Forgive me, I'm a Southern Baptist/Contemporary Christian so I'm not too up on that particular religion. All I know is that it raises issues with the safety of our Soldiers over here. It's pretty dangerous time of the year from what I understand. So please keep us in your prayers.
Report From a Forgotten War (4th in a Series) -- [TownHall - Oliver North]
HERAT, Afghanistan -- A Taliban sentry fired the first shots shortly after 2:30 a.m. as Afghan commandos and U.S. Special Operations Command troops surrounded the compound at Aziz Abad. Though the Marine Special Operations Team had employed a daring deception to achieve surprise, they were engaged heavily by gunfire from AK-47s and machine guns almost immediately after deploying at the objective.
Another Mission -- [The Left Captain - in Afghanistan]
I rode in the relatively bombproof confines of an RG31 MRAP, second truck in a four vehicle convoy.
...On the way back I had a perspective shifting conversation with an interpreter who was riding in the MRAP with me. I asked him about himself and he shared that he had a wife and two small sons in another city. He had worked for NATO forces for seven years and before that lived in Pakistan, having fled the country during the Soviet occupation. He talked about growing up during the Soviet-Afghan war and how he wants his sons to grow up in peace. “I don’t care about my life, I do everything for my sons.”
Maybe I’ll post more on that later, but it put a human face on the war for me. Sometimes I feel myself slipping into an uncaring place, just wanting to get the hell out of here and leave this place behind. Listening to people’s stories gives color and meaning to the mission again.
Special visit -- [Staying in Touch - in Afghanistan]
The chief of the National Guard Bureau came to see his troops serving in Afghanistan during a very special visit on 26 and 27 August.
Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum was accompanied by National Guard Bureau Command Sgt. Major David Ray Hudson to see members of the New York National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and soldiers from other states serving in Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix VII.
Fighting intensifies in Pakistan's Northwest -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Nine killed in IED strike in Bannu; 50 Taliban reported killed in Bajaur; Taliban and military take additional casualties in South Waziristan.
Pentagon Reports US Airstrike Killed 5 Afghan Civilians, Not 90 -- [WaPo]
"We did not kill up to 90 civilians as has been alleged," one US military official said. The review "comports with our operational understanding" of the ...
Walking the walk in Georgia, part II -- [Castle Argghhh!]
Castle Argghhh! has a correspondent (literally, someone who emails, vice someone I sent over for the purpose) on the ground in Georgia providing humanitarian assistance and a little eye on the ground.
The second report from Dr. Trish Blair, who is providing on-the-ground humanitarian assistance in the Republic of Georgia
Joint Task Force - East prepares for continual presence in Romania, Bulgaria -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Some of you know my fellow SA Germany volunteer Jessica (seen, for example, in the top photo here). That's her husband Mike towards the back of this photo on the right. He's the only one awake and reading ;-)
Joint training exercises have been carried out in Romania and Bulgaria since the fall of the Soviet Union. But ten-year agreements signed in 2005 and 2006 allow for larger-scale deployments and a continual presence in both countries.
The agreements also permit ...
Russia 'could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes' -- [RIA Novosti]
Russia's Black Sea Fleet is capable of destroying NATO's naval strike group currently deployed in the sea within 20 minutes, a former fleet commander said on Friday.
Russia's General Staff said on Tuesday there were 10 NATO ships in the Black Sea - three U.S. warships, the Polish frigate General Pulaski, the German frigate FGS Lubeck, and the Spanish guided missile frigate Admiral Juan de Borbon, as well as four Turkish vessels. Eight more warships are expected to join the group.
"Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not battle-worthy," Admiral Eduard Baltin said. "If necessary, a single missile salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group."
Russia, Iran to discuss Bushehr NPP completion on Sept. 1 -- [RIA Novosti]
A delegation from a Russian nuclear power construction company Atomstroyexport will discuss the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran on September 1, a company spokesman said on Friday.
Putin Accuses U.S. Pushing Georgia Conflict to Influence Elections Back Home -- [FOX News]
The White House is rejecting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's claim that the United States pushed Georgia to war, calling the allegation "patently false."
Putin had suggested that U.S. involvement was intended to affect its own domestic politics.
...Putin Accuses US Pushing Georgia Conflict to Influence Elections Back Home
The Reason To Delay Air Force One... -- [BlackFive]
True story, via Seamus, about President Bush on his way to "Asia" (read Olympics):
I learned a big lesson on service Aug. 4, 2008, when Eielson had the rare honor of hosting President Bush on a refueling stop as he traveled to Asia .
An incredible amount of effort goes into presidential travel because of all of the logistics, security, protocol, etc ... so it was remarkable to see Air Force One land at Eielson on time at precisely 4:30 p.m.--however, when he left less than two hours later, the President was 15 minutes behind schedule.
That's a big slip for something so tightly choreographed, but very few people know why it happened. Here's why....
We need your help to continue supporting the medics and patients -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
It's night time, this injured soldier just arrived at the E/R after an medevac flight on a helicopter, where the dedicated medics will do their best for him. After that, he'll be transferred to a larger hospital, then probably evac'd to Germany and eventually back home. His recovery may be quick, or might take a life-time. And at every step, Soldiers Angels will be there to assist.
We support front-line medics, Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and Krzygstan. Soldiers Angels members volunteer at all the major US military hospitals, and we have extended our assistance to VA hospitals and Fisher Houses all over the US.
We need your help to continue our mission:
SA and Bikin on the Block -- [Soldiers’ Angels Louisiana]
I wanted to let everyone know what Acadiana SA’s have been doing. Every month we have a table setup at Cajun Harley Davidson in Scott. We do this to have cards made and signed for the troops. This month it is the 105th Birthday of Harley Davidson.
Road 2 Recovery -- [Thunder Run]
Road 2 Recovery is a program designed to help make a difference in the lives of vets by assisting with their mental and physical rehabilitation programs.
Longtime frined of this Blog Danjel Bout award winning author of the blog 365 Days and a Wake that cronicled his time in Iraq send this personal message about the validity of this program along with a plea for help.
28 August 2008 - David Hardt -- [Blog-ah]
...I often receive e-mails from soldiers struggling with PTSD. Many of the stories they share with me are similar to the one above. One young man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is still in his unit and is scared his chain of command will see him as weak, said, “I just got back from deployment, and I feel like I don’t belong here. People don’t understand me, and when I act out they think I am being disrespectful. That’s not the case. I just can’t get these emotions under control. I hate how I am; I just can’t turn off that switch.”
Some of you may be wondering what that switch is while others, namely combat troopers, know that terminology rather well. For some,...
My PTSD Catharsis Channel -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Roman General]
My writing here triggers me on a continuous basis with the issues of combat and war. I have had therapy for years to move beyond all of my core issues except my war experiences. It took me "growing" up through the cognitive-behavioral restructuring of my childhood to adulthood within the safe place of therapy. When I started writing within this blog I began the "therapy" and reintegration of my combat and wartime issues.
Order your Holiday Freedom Cake -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
Modeled on their successful and ongoing Freedom Calk effort that has sent 5,000 cakes to deployed troops, Bake Me a Wish and Soldiers' Angels are now offering the Holiday Freedom Cake. This is an opportunity to send a gourmet cake to family members, friends or clients while showing a service member that he or she is in also in our thoughts during the Holiday Season.
You Served - Military Blog and Podcast -- [Blogtalk Radio]
You Served is a popular military blog brought to you by VA MortgageCenter.com. Visit us for great posts from CJ Grisham, updates on your VA Benefits, and more! BTR is where we host our brand new podcast, hosted by CJ himself.
Federal jury acquits ex-Marine in Iraqis' deaths -- [MNBC]
Verdict is the first time a civilian jury has weighed in on the law of war
A former Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi detainees was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter Thursday in a first-of-its-kind federal trial.
The jury took six hours to find Jose Luis Nazario Jr. not guilty of charges that he killed or caused others to kill four unarmed detainees on Nov. 9, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
Fort Lewis love fest: 4-6 Air Cav regiment comes home -- [The News Tribune]
Almost the entire Stilwell family showed up to welcome home Capt. Jacqueline Stilwell. A 2004 West Point graduate, she was the fourth consecutive generation ...
City hosts its biggest 'welcome home' yet -- [Naperville Sun]
The troops were primarily from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines Reserve Unit made up of servicemen from Milwaukee and Chicago
CNN: How Can Sarah Palin Care for Her Chidren if She's Vice President? (Media Reax Thread) -- [Ace of Spades]
Women can do anything. Except if they're Republican women. In which case, how can they be so selfish as to put themselves in front of their children?
Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC... is decidedly funereal. Not feeling the excitement of this particular first.
NYT Buries Stadium-Filling Soccer Match in Iraq Inside Unrelated Bombing Story -- [NewsBusters]
What do you do if you're the New York Times and you're faced with having to report on an incident-free soccer match in Iraq that had 40,000 in attendance?
Why, you bury it in a totally unrelated story about a bombing, omit any mention of it in the headline, and hope against hope that only a few readers bother to reach the seventh paragraph.
Old Media Misses Rising Support for War in Iraq -- [NewsBusters]
Some how, the Old Media has missed the good news on Iraq. On August 27, the Rasmussen polling organization published a poll that showed American confidence is at its highest level ever in support of the War on Terror since they've begun tracking in January of 2004. This poll got little notice by the Old Media, of course
Matthews Insults Rice & Powell as 'Showcase Appointments' -- [NewsBusters]
Contrasting how Barack Obama won the nomination of the Democratic Party to how Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell achieved their successes, Chris Matthews insulted the aforementioned as "showcase appointments."
Happy Birthday Senator McCain -- [Redstate]
Happy Birthday to Senator McCain! Consider this your place to speculate wildly on VPs. Most recent updates: 1) Pawlenty is not going to be in Dayton; 2) Romney and Palin are; 3) No word on Cantor, Lieberman and other possibilities. ...
McCain-Palin ‘08: CNBC Reports McCain Has Picked Sarah Palin for Vice President -- [Blogs of War]
And now Fox News has confirmed Palin as well. It looks pretty certain now.
Charlie Wilson's Peace -- [WaPo - Charles Wilson]
...In a scene near the end of the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," after the mujaheddin victory over the invading Soviet military, congressional appropriators turn down my request for funds to rebuild Afghanistan's schools, roads and economy. If we had done the right thing in Afghanistan then -- following up our military support with the necessary investments in diplomacy and development assistance -- we would have better secured our own country's future, as well as peace and stability in the region.
In reality, this decision played out over several years and involved many people, but the scene makes clear what a mistake we made. Sure, the problems facing Afghanistan and the region were tough -- feuding warlords, the opium crop and the shift in our attention to the Persian Gulf War. But the Afghans, with our weapons, had done nothing less than help precipitate the collapse of the Soviet Union. And instead of intensifying our diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to help the Afghans meet their postwar challenges, we simply walked away -- leaving a destroyed country that lacked roads, schools, and any plan or hope for rebuilding.
Into this void marched the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and we all know what happened after that. Today, fledgling democracies -- be it Afghanistan or Georgia -- face similar danger. We simply cannot make the same mistake.
The lesson here is about more than the good manners of reciprocating a favor. It takes much more to make America safe than winning on the battlefield. Had we remained engaged in Afghanistan, investing in education, health and economic development, the world would be a very different place today.
Obama's Night -- [Real Clear Politics]
It was a remarkable scene last night. The mood of the crowd, the stagecraft, the pageantry and the sheer enormity of the stadium made the evening feel like a cross between Lollapalooza, The Oscars, and the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.
Obama's speech was brilliant: ...He made one mistake, though
King Georgia -- [Weekly Standard]
"You can't truly stand up for Georgia," Obama said tonight, "when you've strained our oldest alliances."
It's worth unpacking this statement. First, it's a clear indication that, despite what some bloggers say, Russia's invasion of Georgia truly is, yes, a world-historical event that has wormed its way into the presidential campaign and seriously troubles foreign-policy thinkers on both sides of the aisle.
Second, Obama makes no sense. The implication is twofold: that McCain, who speaks with Mikheil Saakashvili daily, has not "truly" stood "up for Georgia." Please. McCain has so stolidly backed our democratic ally during this crisis that some of Obama's cohorts accuse him of warmongering. How has Obama stood up for Georgia?
Their Brass Band -- [NRO - Jay Nordlinger]
At the Democratic convention in 2004 — Boston — the party stuffed the stage with every senior military person who supported Kerry. They no doubt rounded up every last one of them. And they all stood on the stage, saluting. Remember Adm. Stansfield Turner and that bunch? I think they were all there, except maybe Gene LaRoque.
Anyway, I said that if the Republicans pulled the same act — paraded all the military people who supported them — they would need a bigger room than Madison Square Garden.
Well, the same thing happened this year.
Do You know Enough to Elect Barrak Obama?
Virtual Patriotism -- [Vets for Freedom]
Denver — Having the opportunity to sit courtside at the Democratic National Convention the past few days has afforded me many opportunities to examine what is wrong with our national dialogue over the war.
...The complete disconnect to why we serve and why we volunteer to do what we do devastates me. I see the anger over the war in these delegates. I have tried desperately — and in vain, thus far — to connect with these angry protesters who, in the guise of passion for American greatness, violate the sanctity of those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If it were not for this political season, 80 days from a presidential election, would any of this be on display? This is a party whose leadership, for the first time in American history, is unified to stop a war in the midst of the fight. They have tried to defund, derail, and dissuade the American military from the strategy of the surge that has undeniably won the war in Iraq.
(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.
Fewer Marines needed in Iraq's western province -- [AP]
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Marine commandant said Wednesday that his forces in Iraq's once-volatile western Anbar province can be reduced, as the military moves to hand over control of the region to the Iraqis next week. Gen. James Conway, who visited Iraq this summer, told a Pentagon news conference that the two main ground combat units in Anbar, known as Marine regimental combat teams, represent more than enough force to maintain security once the Iraqis take over because violence has continued to drop.
2 Iraqi officials accused of aiding al-Qaida -- [AP]
BAGHDAD (AP) -- A university president and a top local official in a restive province north of Baghdad are suspected of giving weapons and government cars to al-Qaida in Iraq insurgents, according to arrest reports obtained Wednesday....
Soldiers Offer Microgrants, Security While Patrolling Streets of Sha’ab -- [MNF-I]
During a routine patrol around the area, he points to several areas that need improvements – a park here, a new store sign there; even Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) checkpoints are on his radar for upgrading.
“(We’re) showing the people that we care about them, and we care about the future and trying to put money into the environment – treating them with dignity and respect
Conference Focuses on Future of ISF -- [MNF-I]
As insurgent attacks have slowed dramatically in the past ten months, new IA units have stood up at a rapid pace. The coalition troop surge gave the ISF a chance to accelerate their growth, said Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of Multi-National Security Transition Corp - Iraq.
An ethical dilemma. -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
I have a small sum of money, collected by force from the US taxpayers, given to me for the expressed purpose of spending it on the Iraqi Army in order to improve their performance in some essential way. As General Petraus says, "money is bullets in Counter-insurgency."
No problem. I am all over that. There are lots of things I can spend this money on to make my IA unit more effective. They need everything.
Detainee Release -- [Something on the staff - in Iraq]
One of my many extra duties is to supervise detainee release. For whatever reason, we release individuals from Coalition custody after they’re deemed “no longer a threat to the Coalition or Iraqi people.” So, I get the call that around 50 detainees will land in my little slice of Iraqi heaven, and I need to be out there at fricking midnight to meet the helicopters. Why midnight? Because it’s inconvenient, nothing is ever easy in Iraq…and I hate helicopters. My Iraqi Army partner, and a dozen of his soldiers, sat out by the helicopter landing zone and waited for the detainees.
Child Brides -- [Zen Traveler - in Iraq]
One of our Iraqi security operators took the day off yesterday so that he could attend his brother's wedding in a nice hotel in Baghdad. I asked him how the event went and he said that it was great, even some of the western media showed up for whom his brother works. I asked him, out of curiosity how old his brother was, and he replied 27. Then I asked about the bride, "oh, she's 14". Huh?! This is normal here in the Middle East, and you hear stories all of the time of children even younger than that, some as young as 11-years old, being married off to older men. Our co-worker claims that she loves her new husband, his brother, very much. One of the guys retorted that only last week she loved The Magic Pony. In my opinion the entire practice of child brides is an extreme form of human rights abuse.
U.S. delegation in Falluja to meet officials -- [Voices of Iraq]
ANBAR, Aug. 27 (VOI) – A U.S. congressional delegation on Wednesday arrived in Falluja to meet with several officials over local issues, the head of the city's local council said.
Defense minister arrives in Diala to supervise security operation -- [Voices of Iraq]
DIALA, Aug. 27 (VOI) - Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Mohamed al-Ubeidi arrived in Diala on Wednesday to supervise Operation Bashaer al-Kheir (Promise of Good), the commander of the operations said.
Reservoir Dogs -- [Matel - in Iraq]
Tell those terrorists we're coming ... and hell's coming with us.
No further comment. We just liked the picture and it reminded everybody of that movie.
60 Minutes -- [Matel - in Iraq]
I understand the 60 Minutes episode I saw today about Hadithah originally aired in March 2007 and I suppose it reflected the situation at the time. But it is amazing how much things have changed and some mention of that in the follow up segment might have been nice.
The 60 Minutes segment shows the bad old days in Hadithah. They said that most people in Hadithah are hostile to coalition forces. Back then maybe; today things are different. I walk through Hadithah a lot.
Return from Iraq -- [Ventura County Star’s Scott Hadly, Ben Preston]
As the world has watched the Iraq War drama unfold over the past five years, public interest has dwindled. So too has the number of reporters covering the people whose lives are affected by war. In fact, the number of embedded reporters in Iraq has gone from more than 600 at the war’s outset to less than a dozen as of the end of July. With large newspapers sending fewer and fewer reporters to the Middle East, it is almost unheard of for a local paper to do so, but Ventura County Star reporter Scott Hadly just spent July embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq.
...The experience in Iraq opened his eyes to myriad issues, from the family problems experienced by soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen having to serve multiple tours, to the tenuous political situation in Iraq, to the challenges faced by the individuals whose country has been destroyed by war. “It would be presumptuous to go over there and say, ‘This is the situation in Iraq.’ What you’re really looking at are all these people.”
It may surprise some, perhaps, that Hadly said that being there did not make it any easier for him to understand the big picture in Iraq. But the dynamic between different kinds of people living life there was illuminating. “I think it’s a shame that we don’t do more stories.
Erik Swabb is interviewed about the Back to Iraq Program
Baghdad's misguided crackdown on Sahwa -- [LA Times]
Baghdad's misguided crackdown on the Sons of Iraq
Prime Minister Maliki's Shiite-dominated government risks security gains by taking on U.S.-backed Sunni forces.
Shawn Bryam with the 10th Mountain
The Taliban ‘Advance’: No Time To Wobble -- [RUSI]
This week’s violent encounter in Afghanistan’s Surobi district is a timely example of how a tactical event can have strategic impact. In this case, it brought a Head of State rushing to Kabul and it generated some unscheduled messages of France’s clear determination to support the ISAF mission, an outcome which some may say, cannot be seen as a Taliban victory.
UAV Predator Takes Out Taliban IED Emplacement Team With A Hellfire Missile In Afghanistan
UAV Predator Viporize IED Emplacement Team With A Hellfire Missile In Afghanistan.
Eight killed in Islamabad bombing -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Eight Pakistanis were killed and more than 20 were wounded in a bombing inIslamabad. The Taliban attempted to assassinate the senior US diplomat in Peshawar. Pakistani forces claimed to have killed a senior Taliban leader in Swat. The Taliban banned foreign media from visiting North Waziristan.
The Nangarhar Provincial
The Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team and how they bring supplies to the people in that area
Afghan Police Find Body of Japanese Aid Worker -- [VOA News]
Afghan officials say police have found the body of a Japanese aid worker, kidnapped Tuesday in eastern Nangarhar province.
Officials said Wednesday that it appeared Kazuya Ito was shot to death.
Redemption Song -- [Jules Crittenden]
Hero with a dark past makes good, in Afghanistan and back home. The decorated National Guardsman combat vet who saved a critically injured motorcyclist’s life is an ex-cop who did time for assaulting his girlfriend. Commenters at the Herald site think it’s unfair to note that past, but at least a couple seem to get there’s a bigger story here.
Dear Mom, -- [Embrace The Suck]
[First and foremost someone needs to make sure that my computer illiterate mother reads this entry, I don't really care who, just someone make sure that she sees this after I go...hint, hint, HINT]
I am sitting here across the hall from you worried about how you are going to deal with the next year with me being gone and in Afghanistan. There is really nothing that I can do to alleviate the fears that you have for the welfare of your eldest son. All I can really say that will mean much of anything is this...
Rules and Easy Step By Step Instructions -- [The Left Captain - in Afghanistan]
I thought this was amusing-- very specific guidelines on how to use the latrine. These are posted inside each toilet stall. This was taken seriously too-- no one wants to mess with the first sergeant there. He means business.
Aafia Siddiqui’s son in Afghan custody -- [Daily Times]
WASHINGTON: US authorities have confirmed that the 11-year old boy they claim to have captured with Dr Aafia Siddiqui in Kabul is her son Ahmed.
According to a report in the Washington Post, in a letter to Siddiqui’s family, US authorities said that photos and DNA tests strongly suggest that the youngster in Afghan custody is Siddiqui’s son Ahmed. The boy is claimed to have been detained on July 18 when Afghan police arrested Siddiqui near a government compound in Ghazni. Siddiqui and her three children disappeared in 2003 in Karachi. She had set out from her mother’s home on her way to the airport to take a flight to Islamabad, but she never arrived. Inexplicably, her family did not lodge a missing person report with the police. She is now in a federal prison in New York, charged with attempted murder.
World Trade Center Steel From NYC Arrives In Shanksville -- [9/11 Families]
At 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning, the Fire Family Transport Foundation launched from Floyd Bennett Field on Long Island to escort a cross of steel from the destroyed World Trade Center to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Company. The foundation provides medical transport to firefighters, family members, and wounded warriors.
...Hundreds of current and retired FDNY firefighters left Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field at about 7 a.m. to escort the girder on the 311-mile ride to Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed.
New York's 9/11 Site Needed Not a Moses but a Logue -- [WSJ]
As we approach the seventh anniversary of 9/11, it is clear that the rebuilding of Ground Zero has failed. A recent editorial column in this newspaper by Daniel Henninger made the sad and insightful observation that even the coming together inspired by that awful event came apart as the process itself unraveled. He called the rebuilding arguably the greatest political and bureaucratic fiasco in the history of the world.
The Truth About Russia in Georgia -- [Michael Totten - in Tbilisi, Georgia]
Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn't start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.
US, Russia anchor military ships in Georgian ports -- [AP]
BATUMI, Georgia (AP) - A U.S. military ship loaded with aid docked at a southern Georgian port Wednesday, and Russia sent three missile boats to another Georgian port as the standoff escalated over a nation devastated by war with Russia. The dockings came a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recognized two Georgian rebel territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, prompting harsh criticism from Western nations.
Russia threatens military response to US missiles -- [AP]
MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means.
Medvedev says that the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders "will of course create additional tensions."
Soldier's nonprofit group helps Georgian orphans -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
At the Tbilisi orphanage, Gozy wasn’t on official Army business during the Sunday night visit. Instead, the Hohenfels, Germany-based soldier was there as a volunteer to check up on how the children were doing since he last saw them a few days before the trouble started.
For Gozy, a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, the idea of helping out children began in 1994.
...his foundation donated $40,000 worth of school supplies to 20 schools, Gozy said.
Real Pravda About Russia in Georgia, Part II -- [BlackFive - Laughing_Wolf]
This is part two of Mzia's guest post on her experiences, and her family's experiences, with Russia in Georgia. Please read this, then go back and re-read Michael Totten's piece again. My thanks to Mzia, her husband, and her family for this.
Iran And the Paper Submarine -- [Strategy Page]
Iran has announced that is has begun production of a new class of submarines that can fire both torpedoes and missiles. Iran has, as far as anyone can tell, no submarine building capability. Over the last few years, Iran has announced several new submarine construction projects. But no one can find any evidence that any of these subs exist. But all this is nothing new for the Iranians.
Bad Day to be a Terrorist -- [Jawa Report]
Yesterday was a bad for terrorists worldwide. 110 MILF terrorists killed in the Philippines, clashes between the taliban and Afghan security forces left 40 taliban dead after air-strikes were called in. And almost 50 taliban were killedby Pakistani security forces near the Pakistan-Afghan border.
Belliraj: I Delivered Bin Laden’s Letters -- [MEMRI Blog]
Abdelkader Belliraj, the Moroccan suspected of being terror cell leader, has acknowledged holding talks with Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri before 9/11 on a new strategy for operating sleeper cells.
He also said that he had met with an Al-Qaeda emissary in Europe and given him letters from bin Laden on structural change in Al-Qaeda and on the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) joining Al-Qaeda.
Terrorism Financing Is Still Big Business Even If Terrorist Attacks Sometimes Are Carried Out on the Cheap -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
There is a common misperception that terrorism can be carried out on the cheap and that small terrorist cells simply raise their funds locally making it extremely difficult to detect. This seems to be the thesis of a number of recent articles, including one a few days ago in the Washington Post. They maintain that terrorist groups simply avoid bank transactions, making current financial controls inutile. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Al Qaeda Media Massacre -- [Strategy Page]
August 27, 2008: Over the last few months, al Qaedas Internet propaganda department has been virtually destroyed. The most visible evidence of that is the sharp decline in al Qaeda press releases (often accompanied by vids of attacks on U.S. or Iraqi troops). Last year, there were as many as 200 of these items a month. Over the past few months, this fell over 90 percent.
Google Earth Maps & Terrorism -- [ROFA Six]
Google Earth has been a boon for the average person who wants to take a look at some place in the world. When something newsworthy happens in the world, there is nothing that lets one get a feel for the ground quicker than a closer look using Google Earth. For instance, when the Russian-Georgia Conflict kicked off, one blogger mapped the conflict using Goggle Earth. It put tactical aspects of the conflict and challenges to relief efforts into perspective so much faster than reading about it.
But Google Earth also has a potential darkside. It provides a means for a terrorist to have free overhead surveillance of a place they want to attack. Surprisingly, it took until 2006 before it was confirmed that Al-Qaeda terrorists were using Google Earth for attack planning in Iraq and Yemen.
Vietnam Vet honors families of those serving today -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...by learning to sew and making Blue Star and Gold Star Service Banners which he sends to the families. He's former Marine Rod Robeson who was chosen by ABC News as Person of the Week back in March.
...I would also like to give a big shout out to this chapter of the Blue Star Mothers, for their generous, enthusiastic, and ongoing support of our mission at Soldiers' Angels Germany. Thank you Tina, Treasurer Linda Tackett, Vice President Rosemarie Annese, President Sharon Bouchard, and all of the members of this wonderful chapter. You rock!!
Nominate an Outstanding Military Spouse to Be 2009 Honoree -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
PITTSBURGH, August 18, 2008 - Military Spouse magazine (MSM) today announced that it is now accepting nominations for its 2009 Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) award, sponsored by USAA. The MSOY honoree represents the millions of military spouses who are unsung heroes maintaining the homefront, giving back selflessly to their communities, and providing support to our nation's troops. Often, these spouses also have full-time jobs and raise families.
In recognition of their countless contributions, MSM will honor one exemplary military spouse from each service branch and also select one overall winner.
Deomgraphics in the Military: If You're Uncomfortable, You're the Problem -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Via The Armorer at Argghhh!!!, a bit of truth about exactly who serves, dispelling the commonly held and media-driven myth that we are more often than not just barefoot hicks unable to find work elsewhere or poor saps just looking for college money. From the Heritage Foundation's latest report, "Who Serves In The U.S. Military: The Demographics of Enlisted Troops And Officers":
Ranking All Armed Forces -- [Strategy Page]
August 25, 2008: We recently updated the Armed Forces of the World database. The regional charts there give evaluations of the quantity and quality of each nation's armed forces in that region. The quantity of each combat unit has been derived from various open sources. Quality has been determined by evaluating historical performance. All armed forces are not equal, and this inequality has been expressed numerically.
Kid Rock, Earnhardt featured in Army Guard advertising campaign
The National Guard has enlisted two superstars to attract new members and remind those already serving what the Guard is all about through a new nationwide theater advertising campaign that debuts today.
The new “Warrior” campaign includes music from Kid Rock and features Dale Earnhardt Jr., the National Guard-sponsored NASCAR Sprint Cup driver.
Over the next two months, the “Warrior” video will appear in more than 3,000 theaters and on over 27,000 screens around the country.
Kid Rock song for the Army National Guard.
Army opens prep school for dropouts to fill ranks -- [AP]
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - Austin Swarner left high school to care for his mother while she fought a losing battle with cancer. Tony Brown wanted to begin supporting himself and left two classes shy of a diploma. Haelee Holden got tired of trying to make it through school while flipping burgers until 1 a.m.
But the U.S. Army, eager to fill its ranks amid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn't see them as dropouts. They are recruits who only need a GED before they're ready to begin basic training.
Retirement Party for the MH-53J PAVE LOW -- [Blackfive]
While we like to kid about the USAF at times, you will not get away with bad mouthing the 20th in our presence. The pilots, crew chiefs, and operators have pulled our men off of mountains, jungles, deserts - mostly at night during stressful conditions.
Cav Coming Home -- [Blog-ah]
Fort Lewis release – The 4th Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment will return from a 15-month deployment to Iraq on Tuesday, Aug. 26. About 270 Soldiers from the unit will be reunited with their families, at a ceremony currently scheduled for approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon in hangar 3063 at Gray Army Airfield.
In the U.S.A.!!!!! -- [Vince's experiences in Iraq]
He called at 1 a.m. to say he had landed in Baltimore! Yeah!!!!! A group of 15 to 20 people from a local organization meet every plane carrying returning troops. They take pictures, have posters and cheer. Vince was very moved and had a chance to talk with several of the folks there about what they do. He mentioned how all the Iraqis he had worked with were so appreciative of U.S. efforts there. They said they hear the same thing from all the soldiers returning. We don't get that report here!
Abrams Overlooks Ayers's Terrorism and Connection to Obama -- [NewsBusters]
During the 11 a.m. EDT hour of Tuesday’s MSNBC “News Live,” host Dan Abrams interviewed Reuters Washington correspondent John Decker about Senator Obama’s campaign seeking a criminal investigation against the American Issues Project over an ad which links Obama to terrorist Bill Ayers.
Boil Over at MSNBC Surrounding Iraq Timetable
Andrew Sullivan Mints a New Swift Vet -- [Patterico’s Pontifications]
Two-tour Green Beret Ted Sampley of the 2004 “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” is now targeting the Republican nominee with the group “Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.” For some reason, Fox News is less eager to have him on the air than they were four years ago.
Ted Sampley was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?? That’s news to me!!
I followed the link, and I think Excitable Andy misread the following passage:
Two-tour Green Beret Ted Sampley, who helped “Swift Boat” Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, is now gunning for the GOP White House hopeful.
That’s hardly the same as saying that Sampley is a member of the Swift Vets.
Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
Bush steps up fight over congressional authority -- [AP]
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is raising the stakes in a court fight that could change the balance of power between the White House and Congress....
Petraeus For VP? -- [Dean's World - Dave Price]
I hadn’t thought that was even a remote possibility, but apparently his name is being bandied about.
Perhaps coupled with a one-term pledge from McCain, essentially making this a Petraeus for President campaign, he would certainly be a potent VP choice, especially given the current exceptionally high regard for the military among the public — if he accepted it.
Charlie Wilson's Slip -- [Real Clear Politics] HT: Glenn
Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson -- yes, that Charlie Wilson -- was speaking at an anti-war rally when he, um, flubbed a line: "We should be led by Osama bin Laden," he said, then quickly corrected himself. "I mean Obama and Biden."
John McCain on Leno
Attacking McCain on the P.O.W. Issue -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
The latest you hear from the Left is that John McCain is using his P.O.W. story as a crutch to answer every attack, for example, when he used the line on Leno last night when asked about his houses:
...John McCain reminds voters that there are harder things to endure than scraping ice.
McCain: Vietnam and suicide
CNN's John King reports on Sen. John McCain's time as a POW in a Vietnamese prison camp. August 19, 2008
Ayers Unrepentant for Radical Group’s Violence in 1960s, 1970s -- [FOX News]
In the interview, conducted three years after the September 11 attacks, Ayers argued the U.S. government had carried out “many other acts of terror … even recently, that are comparable,” and claimed he and his bomb-planting comrades were “restrained” in their actions.
Ayers, now a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, served with Barack Obama on the board of the charitable Woods Fund of Chicago for three years and helped launch Obama’s political career in Illinois by hosting in his Hyde Park home an informal campaign event for the future state senator in 1995.
Ayers claimed the Weathermen were driven by “hope and love,” not despair, and said he did not think the group’s violent acts, targeting federal officials and local law enforcement officers, were “a big deal.”
Obama Camp Threatens TV Stations For Showing Obama-Ayers Ad (Updated) -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Obama Camp is threatening television stations for airing an anti-Obama ad that links the Chicago politician to his associate and friend of 20 years, terrorist Bill Ayers.
Do You know Enough to Elect Barrak Obama?
Bill Ayers: Unrepentant LYING Terrorist -- [The Corner - Andy McCarthy]
As I noted back in April in this article about Obama's motley collection of radical friends, at the Weatherman “War Council” meeting in 1969, Ayers' fellow terrorist and now-wife, Bernadine Dohrn, famously gushed over the barbaric Manson Family murders of the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, and three others: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!” And as Jonah recalled yesterday, "In appreciation, her Weather Underground cell made a threefingered “fork” gesture its official salute." They weren't talking about scratching up the wall-paper.
BREAKING NEWS: ‘I Am The Surge’ Debuts at Democrat Convention -- [FSM - Pete Hegseth]
David Bellavia and I are at the Democratic National Convention informing delegates and the media about the dramatic success we witnessed in Iraq, and the need for victory on all fronts of the Global War on Terrorism.
Today we released a new television advertisement as part of our grassroots and media effort to educate the American public about the success of the surge in Iraq. The ad--"I am the Surge"--hits airwaves tomorrow and will run in the Denver media market this week,
I AM THE SURGE:
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
Iraq violence calms, but is the war over? -- [Baltimore Sun]
Violence has largely subsided in Iraq. American casualties are at their lowest levels since 2003, and Iraqi forces are maintaining security in most of the country.
Is the war in Iraq over?
Iraq is a hot issue out on the presidential campaign trail, where Barack Obama and John McCain are squabbling over the genesis of the war and where to go from here.
But from the battlefield, U.S. combat commanders are giving some surprising answers.
Iraq football final before sellout crowd -- [AP]
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Baghdad football fans cheered on their club in the top league's final game, the largest sports crowd the city has seen since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003....
Iraq PM Wants Changes to U.S. Military Deal: Ally -- [Defense News]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is demanding changes to a draft deal on the status of U.S. forces beyond this year, a key Shiite ally in the governing coalition said on August 24.
"There are points in the agreement that are still pending and they can't be approved without changes in order to preserve the complete sovereignty of Iraq," the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) quoted Maliki as telling fellow Shiite politicians at a meeting on Saturday.
Talabani Watch II -- [The Corner - Michael Rubin]
Talabani still has not been seen in public since August 2, when he flew to the Mayo Clinic. Reuters reported almost two weeks ago that he had had emergency heart surgery. Three days ago, Agence France Presse had reported that Talabani had yet to return to Iraq. Today was the day that initial reports were to have Talabani in Iran, but he is not there, and the Iranian foreign ministry now says that the visit will only happen in the 'future.' No recent photos of Talabani have appeared in his own party's newspaper,
Maliki To Sunni Fighters: You're Done, Thanks -- [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Iraq's government is grateful to U.S.-allied Sunni fighters, but won't allow them to keep their weapons indefinitely, the prime minister said yesterday, hinting at a more intense crackdown on the Sunni groups.
In recent weeks, the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has gone after Sunni fighters despite their alliances with the Americans. Some leaders have been arrested, while scores of others have been disarmed and banned from manning checkpoints except alongside security forces.
Maliki's government has mixed feelings about Sunni tribes that rose up against al-Qaeda in Iraq, starting in 2007, and joined the Americans in the fight against the terror network.
Black and white in a grey land -- [Armed and Curious - in Iraq]
I am often amazed at how we like to see the world in black and white here in the United States. There is good and evil, sweet and sour, right and wrong. We tend to too easily categorize people and we do it in short sighted ways. You see much of the world is grey and Iraq is a place of many shades of grey. Often the bad guys are really bad and the good guys aren’t perfectly good. We have to figure out those distinctions to do business the right way there but often those distinctions are much blurrier than our American minds can see.
Female suicide bomber detained in Baqubah -- [MNF-I]
An unwilling female suicide bomber was detained in Baqubah Aug. 24 by Iraqi Police.
The unwilling suicide bomber surrendered to the IPs rather than detonating herself and potentially killing or wounding bystanders. After identifying the suicide vest on the 13-year-old female, IPs requested Iraqi and Coalition force Explosive Ordnance Disposal units to remove the vest.
After her detainment, the girl led IPs to a second suicide vest. The IPs secured the vest and detained the girl.
Officials reopen refurbished Jadriya Lake Park in Karadah -- [MNF-I]
An estimated 2,250 Iraqi citizens witnessed a step toward normalcy as local officials reopened Jadriya Lake Park in the Karadah district of eastern Baghdad Aug. 22. Joining those citizens at the reopening were the government officials, security force leaders, contractors and Soldiers who worked together to restore the lake and surrounding grounds.
Security Scene -- [VFF' Back to Iraq - Erik Swabb - in Iraq]
It was easy to be skeptical when Brig. Gen. Raheem, a Shia police chief in Baghdad, declared that his district was welcoming back Sunnis driven from their homes during the previous sectarian strife. Reconciliation between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq was supposedly nonexistent. When I pointed out to the general that it seemed easier to maintain security in one-sect districts, he dismissed the suggestion. If the original residents again lived in the neighborhood, he explained, they could identify any strangers and terrorists entering the area.
Bridge re-opens over Thar Thar Canal -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog] - in Iraq]
Iraqi Army soldiers operating in an area shared by Regimental Combat Team 1, escorted local sheiks and tribal leaders across a newly constructed bridge in the Bagharra region of Iraq, Aug. 19. The passage marked the re-opening of the Salem Bridge, an important link in connecting local citizens with cities on the other side of the Thar Thar Canal. Insurgents had demolished the original bridge with improvised explosive devices more than a year ago, forcing locals to travel nearly five hours to cross the canal. “Before this bridge opened, the people were suffering,” said 2nd Lt. Nasser Kazzoy, scout platoon commander with the Iraqi Army. “Now that the bridge is open, people can cross the bridge and get to the other side in five minutes.”
Rocks in a Hard Place Episode 6 (Mature)
The sixth of a weekly series of videos following the RAF Regiment on the frontline in Basra. II Squadron receives intelligence that insurgents are hiding rockets within range of the base and sends the...
Three senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders captured in Baghdad -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
A senior al Qaeda adviser, a district commander, and an adviser to Obu Omar al Baghdadi were captured during raids over the past two weeks. Both played a crucial part in al Qaeda's terror campaign in 2007.
Oil windfall, so why can't Iraq shoulder its own reconstruction burden? -- [IN-Iraq - Jim Foley - in Iraq]
Sunni tribesmen are being paid to not blow up critical northern pipelines. The Basrah oil fields in the south aren't being siphoned nearly as often. So now that Iraq is flush in oil profits, why can't it cover the full costs of its own reconstruction?
Rocks in a Hard Place Episode 7
A Flight enters into hostile territory to visit an Iraqi army post and gather intelligence. Close to a symbolic Shia shrine, the site was heavily bombed during the first Iraq war. Wary of local militias, the lads visit a nearby village bearing gifts for the school children.
Muntheria -- [Up Country Iraq - in Iraq]
As part of my ongoing collection effort, I spent some time out east on the Iraq-Iran border gathering information on Port of Entry Transition Teams (POETT). Closely related, but not quite the same, is the Border Transition Team (BTT). The BTT works with the Iraqi version of our Border Patrol, and the POETT works with the customs, passport, and immigration people at the (legal) border crossings (as my wife asked, "Do they really have people immigrating to Iraq?). The Port of Entry (POE) which I visited is called the Muntheria POE, which sits near a city called Khanaqin.
Command And Staff -- [THIS WE'LL DEFEND - in Iraq]
Well on to WHAT I DID TODAY. Right now I am sitting on the back ramp of an MRAP (I told you to look it up) in the parking lot of a National Police Battalion headquarters somewhere in Baghdad. Our team chief, the Major is trying real hard to get the Iraqi battalion leadership to be as excited about his project, adviser wise, as he is. His idea is that they hold a "Command and Staff" meeting once a week. Now this is a grand tradition in our Army, because we have learned over two centuries of mostly kicking ass that the way to do it more effectively is by having a bunch of officers locked in a room together,...
...what? -- [Somethign on the Staff - in Iraq]
Every so often I have these “…what?” moments with the Iraqi Army. Case in point, I went to find an Iraqi officer who was supposed to meet me for dinner. I sat down in his office and used my rudimentary Arabic on one of his brother officers. Then an Iraqi lieutenant colonel walks in and they talk amongst themselves. The first officer proceeds to whip out a tazer, and turn it on for his boss. It sparked and made a series of unfriendly cracking noises. I’ve never had a normal conversation that ended with someone whipping out a tazer. So there’s my first “…what?” moment of the day. I don’t speak that much Arabic, but I’m pretty sure the LTC said “Dude, that totally reeks of awesomeness, let me try.” The LTC grabs the tazer, turns it on and jokingly jabs the active tazer at his buddy. Ha ha! What fun.
My Long War -- [New York Times - Dexter Filkins]
I pulled on my running shoes and stepped into the sweltering streets. It was a Thursday in July 2003, twilight, and well over 100 degrees. I was feeling a little reckless. If this ended badly, the only thing anyone would remember was how stupid I was.
We had set up the New York Times office on Abu Nawas Street. We lived and worked there: an Ottoman-style house with a gated yard and a veranda on the second floor that looked out on a boulevard that tracked the eastern bank of the Tigris River. In those first days, we didn’t fortify the place; no razor wire or blast walls, no watchtowers or machine guns mounted on the roof. Cars motored past our front yard on their way to the Jumhuriya Bridge a couple of miles up the road.
In the beginning, Baghdad wasn’t that threatening.
Ironic -- [Playing in the Sandbox - in Iraq]
Whenever we do foot patrols around towns and I attract my usual entourage of Iraqi kids, the most common question they ask is whether or not I'm married and if I have a baby. Their method of inquiry transcends any possible language barrier - they point at my ring finger (or theirs) and say, "Madame? You, madame? Baby?" and then smile upwards at me with an irrational sense of hope and wonder in their eyes. At first I thought maybe they had picked up a few other English words besides "Give me" and "MisTAR!" and were able to get a reaction out of many soldiers who in fact do have wives and children and are likely more than happy to show off pictures of their families back home. But this happens everywhere I go. Everywhere
Birds Eye View -- [Another Adventure - in Iraq]
Here are a few pictures from the Med Evac. I took them in June. I had forgotten I had them.
We are the lead helicopter. The crumpled up baggy on the right of the picture is what we wrap patients in for transport. It's called a burrito wrap. Nothing like Taco Bell...
No News is Good News -- [Soldier's Mom]
No news lately - which to me is good news as I am sure it is to everyone else. Things are quiet as they are nearing the end of their deployment - it appears that they have made great strides in Diyala Province - something to be so proud of. It has been a long, long year for all of us at home, waiting, worrying and a lot of praying. I can't even begin to fathom how hard it has been on our soldiers and others to be so far from home and their loved ones. I do believe I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel though the prayers and the worrying will not stop until they all come home safely.
Too Much Time On Their Hands -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
That is what someone must have. Well, that and access to a whole bunch of stickers from their daughter or such.
Pakistan Bans Taliban -- [ROA]
Pakistan Bans Taliban
After a series of deadly suicide attacks by the taliban last week, the Pakistani government has banned the terrorist group. The ban will allow the Pakistani government to freeze the taliban's bank accounts and assests.
The last kiss, a Canadian wife shares her thoughts HT: SpouseBuzz
I found this a few months ago, and I really need to share it.
Govt rejects Taliban truce offer in Bajaur -- [TIN]
The government on Sunday rejected the offer of the Bajaur chapter of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to unilaterally cease fire in the agency where fierce fighting between the security forces and militants has been raging for over two weeks, claiming scores of lives.
1-6 FA Patrols Nuristan Province (Mature)
U.S. Army Soldiers patrolling villages in the Nuristan Province. Scenes include Soldiers meeting with village leaders and administering aid to locals.
Sacrifices at home appreciated -- [Afghanistan Unfiltered - in Afghanistan]
The past couple of days have been pretty hard mentally. My mind is finally starting to grasp the severity of my situation. I am realizing exactly how long a year can seem when you are gone from your home.
I have spent a lot of time filtering through the memories that my wife and I have shared together. It seems like she has been the one monopolizing my thoughts.
Report From a Forgotten War: Third in a Series -- [Oliver North]
In Khost, 400 miles east of here, near the border with Pakistan, Taliban terrorists observed the anniversary by killing 11 of their countrymen in a suicide car bomb attack against a U.S. base and followed up with a human wave of suicide bombers unsuccessfully storming Camp Salerno.
Taliban Threat 'Underestimated' -- [Financial Times]
A senior French general in Afghanistan has admitted that the international security force has underestimated the threat posed by the resurgent Taliban.
Creating a $table Afghan future to bank on -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
U.S. forces here will now utilize commercial Afghan banking services, which will bolster Afghanistan’s economy by putting approximately $100 million worth of monthly-business transactions into private banks’ hands.
Omar Abdel Rahman Mans Anti-Aircraft Gun -- [Jawa Report]
Or: Why the Taliban are such shitty shots.
Yeah, that's Omar Abdel-Rahman the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing. Aka, the Blind Sheikh. And FYI: he lost his sight in childhood.
Mission 1 -- [The Left Captain - in Afghanistan]
On a sudden mission, so my posting may be sparse until I get back to my "home". I'm at a small outpost about 10 miles from Pakistan (no worries, a quiet location in 2008). I'll take some photos. It is VERY small. I was asked to visit this location to see a few soldiers who have been blown up by IEDs over the past two months. Going to assess their current status and make a treatment reccommendation which may include leaving here. At such a small location I need to be sure, because every person counts.
Rohullah Nekpa, the first ever Afghan Olympic medal winner -- [Deedenow Cinema Production - Afghan blog]
Congratulations to Rohullah Nikpa for his winning a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games on Wednesday. Rohullah beat the current world champion in the Tae Kwon Do martial arts contest, which made him the first Afghan ever to win an Olympic Medal. President Karzai phoned him with congratulations and offered him a free house in Kabul. Afghan Wireless awarded him a cash prize.
In an interview after the award ceremony, it is reported that Rohullah hoped above all that bringing a bronze medal back to Kabul will help guide his country to a peaceful future
Another Trip to Kabul and WHO is FREEDOM -- [Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army - in Afghanistan]
I finally go to take another trip to Kabul. I was really excited to go again. It was a last minute trip. I had been trying to find someone to support us so we get down there and get some medals picked up and the guys that I usually ride with came through for me on Wed. We left later in the day than I am used to leaving. It ended up being an easy ride to get there. We took the normal route to get there. Once I was there I made contact with my guy down there to let him know I was there would meet him at the warehouse when it opened to get the medals. That became a problem real quick. It was my third trip down there and you would think I would know where the heck the warehouse is.
Meanwhile, half a world away...
U.S. servicemembers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command arrive on the flight line in Tbilisi, Georgia, Aug. 18, 2008. The 21st is part of European Command's Joint Humanitarian Assistance Assessment Team which works closely with other elements of the federal government, international governments, aid agencies and Georgia to alleviate the suffering of the Georgian people affected by the conflict.
Raw: Another US vessel passes through Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait
Military Exercises Spur Warning -- [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
North Korea claimed Sunday that joint military exercises by South Korea and the U.S. last week were a rehearsal for an attack against it and warned it would repel any aggression and “mercilessly wipe out the aggressors to the last man.”
President Assad Wants a Cold War -- [PJM - Meir Javedanfar]
The guns have barely fallen silent in the conflict between Georgia and Russia. The two sides are still squabbling over the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. Yet that didn’t stop President Bashar Al Assad of Syria from becoming the first head of state to visit Russia, where he declared his unyielding support for Moscow’s position regarding Georgia. “We understand Russia’s stance regarding the breakaway regions and understand that it came in retaliation to Georgian provocation,” he said.
VFW-Veteran's for Welfare? -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Roman General ]
I was reading an article on the website VA Watchdog dot org, where it's founder Larry Scott slams an unknown supposedly "active duty military officer with multiple Iraq deployments and continuing active duty career." The anonymous author of the posting goes on to trash our veterans benefits, specifically the new Web GI Bill.
Here is the comment:
I am an active duty military officer with multiple Iraq deployments and continuing an active duty career.
It is time for veterans to be intellectually and philosophically honest and oppose this new brand of federal welfare sweeping through Congress in the name of patriotism and “serving those who have served” and all the other platitudes that are greasing the skids of the rapidly expanding welfare state.
A Film Guides War Widows on the Hard Road Ahead - [NYTimes]
When your husband dies at war, the things he carried show up in six black boxes.
Each pair of socks, each T-shirt, each love letter is inventoried on 20 sheets of paper. Everything has been washed, so when you breathe in the scent of a shirt, it doesn’t smell like him.
When a soldier dies, grief is followed by immersion in the somber routines and protocols of a military death.
African American Representation in Officer Corps Declines. -- [John of Argghhh!!!]
EXSUM: This report finds that:
1. U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Previous Heritage Foundation research demonstrated that the quality of enlisted troops has increased since the start of the Iraq war. This report demonstrates that the same is true of the officer corps.
A Day in the Life of a Guard at Guantanamo Bay -- [Villianous Co]
Courtesy of Brig. Gen. Gregory Zanetti, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force-GTMO. His summary of a typical daily brief
Blackwater -- [WOC - Armed Liberal]
Was just part of a junket which culminated in a meeting with the president of Blackwater (yes, that Blackwater...). I'm still digesting a lot of it, and will have more comments. But one thing he said really hit me - that with 300 of his troops (the news story says 250, but his comment was for 300) and 600 elite troops they would pick and mentor from the AU forces, they could shut down the genocide in Darfur.
I didn't ask what he charges for his forces, but imagine that it's $50,000/month/pair of boots.
I'M HOME -- [One Marine's View - home from Iraq]
After a long trip I’m home. Beginning on the 8th, we departed our company out post and headed south. Traveling from northern Iraq, to Baghdad, to Kuwait, then to Ireland, then to Maine in the US then to California and finally back across to the east coast.
Farewell to an American hero -- [Joseph L. Galloway - McClatchy Newspapers]
Their story was told in a book my buddy Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and I wrote 15 years ago titled "We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young" and in the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," released in the spring of 2002. Too Tall and Old Snake were ably portrayed in the movie.
Their argument over which of them is the Best Pilot in the Whole World sadly came to an end this week when our friend and comrade-in-arms Maj. Ed (Too Tall to Fly) Freeman slipped the surly bonds of earth and headed off to Fiddler’s Green, where the souls of departed cavalrymen gather by dispensation of God Himself.
Too Tall Ed was 80 years old when he died in a hospital in Boise, Idaho, after long being ill with Parkinson’s disease. He turned down a full dress hero’s funeral in Arlington National Cemetery in favor of a hometown service and burial in the National Cemetery in Boise, close to the rivers he loved to fish and the mountains he flew through in his second career flying for the U.S. Forest Service.
Mystery surrounds Medal of Honor recipient -- [Vets for Politics - Mike (Beetle) Bailey]
"There's nothing named after him (in Farmington), which is really unfortunate. Most Medal of Honor recipients have highways or buildings named in honor of them, but there was no public dedication made in honor of him," Barrett said
Any Nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure... -- [BlackFive - The Wolf ]
Since the Congressional Medal of Honor Society is having its annual convention here in Denver next month, they are kicking off the tour here in conjunction with it. They expect over 60 recipients to attend this year; if the information
Military Friends versus Civilians -- [SpouseBuzz]
Last year, my sister innocently asked, "So what do you get out of this blogging thing, anyway?"
I explained to her that blogging and connecting with other bloggers makes me feel like I'm understood; most of the people that read my site are other military wives, which means I don't have to explain a lot of the details that I think seem obvious. Other military wives understand the daily grind of having a husband in the military. They don't say, "What a shame," when they find out my husband is deployed.
Milblogs in the News: German Military Concerned About Soldier Blogs -- [Milblogging.com]
(Deutsche Welle) Weblogs have become very popular among soldiers, but military strategists worry that the Internet diaries won't just damage the troops' reputation. They're also concerned that they might threaten soldiers' lives.
The view from the front lines -- [Hampton Roads]
Two years ago, Doonesbury.com added a military blog to its site on Slate. Called The Sandbox, its editors sought, collected and lightly edited dispatches from men and women serving overseas and their friends and family back home.
New Pentagon Media Agency Seeks to Fill Top Job -- [WaPo]
The Defense Department is looking for an "energetic and imaginative executive" to run its newly formed Defense Media Activity, according to an advertisement on the agency's Web site.
The executive would earn as much as $172,200 a year overseeing DMA, which since its establishment in January combines formerly separate Pentagon media organizations, such as the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, the Stars and Stripes newspaper, and the Pentagon Channel on television. It also includes the DefenseLink Web site and the military services' Web sites, the Bloggers Roundtable, and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine magazines.
Fox Reporter Assaulted By Anti-war Protestors In Denver -- [NewsBusters]
The Democratic National Convention hasn't even begun, and the protestors are out trying to Recreate 68.
For those unfamiliar, the group "was created for all the grassroots people who are tired of being sold out by the Democratic Party," and are gathering in Denver to "resist a two-party system that allows imperialism and racism to continue unrestrained."
F*ck Fox News
Lou Dobbs: 'My Colleagues in the Media Are Absolutely Biased' -- [NewsBusters]
An astonishing thing happened on CNN Sunday evening: Lou Dobbs told his guests, "My colleagues in the national media are absolutely biased, in the tank supporting the Obama candidacy while claiming the mantle of objectivity," and they agreed.
Images of War -- [Powerline]
This is a post that I meant to do several weeks ago, when the Public Editor of the New York Times, Clark Hoyt, wrote a column titled "The Painful Images of War". The column addressed the issue of whether news outlets like the Times should publish pictures of dead or wounded American soldiers, even over the objections of the military and the soldiers' families. Hoyt quoted a Times photographer whose graphic images of a dead U.S. serviceman were controversial:
Biden on Haditha -- [David Harsanyi's Blog]
In June 2006, straight-talking Joe Biden went on Meet the Press and demanded accountability from the administration for the so-called Haditha massacre. Biden spoke about the incident as if the accused marines were guilty (before a trial) and called on the administration to proceed — and to be treated — as if there were a cover-up at the highest levels of government.
Loving the Troops, Hating Their Mission -- [NRO - Pete Hegseth]
Obama wants to have it both ways on Iraq.
Denver — Yesterday, I once again watched Speaker Nancy Pelosi stubbornly deny the success of the surge. Under questioning from Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, Pelosi insisted that — despite dramatic improvements on the ground — the surge has not been successful because “the Iraqi government has not stepped up to the plate. . . . ” Her opposition, in the interview and elsewhere, is built on naming three pieces of stalled Iraqi legislation. (Hmm, can you name three pieces of stalled U.S. legislation?)
This remains the only anti-surge talking point on the Left. One problem, though: it’s no longer true
Calling Jack Murtha -- [J. D. Pendry] HT : CJ
The Russians invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia, a free country with a democratically elected government. Where in the hell are Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, Congress and 99 percent of Hollywood? Code Pink is probably still standing on the streets in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center harassing wounded American Warriors and their families. The remainder is probably too busy admiring the great show put on by the communist Chinese.
GIVE US TROOPS A VOTE THAT COUNTS. -- [NY Post Newsletter-- JOHN P. AVLON]
Overseas soldiers' November votes often don't get counted - and they can't vote in the caucuses that often decide the nominees. SHOULD the political parties' rules prohibit US
You Can Die for Your Country But Don't Drink in My Bar -- [Abu Muqawama]
Kip has watched recently the emerging debate over whether the 21-Year-Old drinking age in the USA causes binge drinking on college campuses with interest.
...Kips not even asking for a wholesale change in drinking laws, just an addition that says 21 unless you present a valid military ID.
But then my namesake said it much better than I:
The Story the MSM is Missing -- [Media Blog - Greg Pollowitz]
The Obama-Biden ticket is the first one I can think of in modern memory where neither candidate has any military experience, and I have yet to hear one of the MSM talking heads mention this.
It certainly was an issue in 2000 and 2004 when President Bush's National Guard service was disparaged on a nightly basis, but this year, nothing.
Fundraising, Part Deux. This time, you get more than a Thank You. -- [Chris Muir]
You all know I have continued DBD through some tough times, but I cannot escape economics. And to be honest, I am glad to be doing DBD fulltime for you, however grimly arrived at. But a fulltime DBD requires that other $15,336 be found somewhere (DBD is at 8 months right now).
You didn't sign on to this. You met what was asked for in 24 hours flat. You met a goal that I said would carry DBD for a year. And now, not only do I have to ask again, but there must be a Fundraiser every year. In a time of free content, DBD will live or die by its value to its readers every day, every month, every year.
1031 people came through in the last Fundraiser; according to 'The Long Tail' theory of internet readers, there's usually a core 1% that come through for internet publishers. All donations are critical, and I also ask again of that '1000'. Look what Leonidas did with the 300-except I don't have a 6-pack, I'm not a leader, and the thought of all of you in G-strings frankly worries me a bit.
But we share the same beliefs, I think.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Exit Petraeus, Without Fanfare -- [WSJ]
General David Petraeus's tenure in Iraq draws to a close at the end of the month, and it's a measure of his success that he is departing to far less political fanfare than when his tour began. In September 2007, MoveOn.org called him General "Betray-Us," and Hillary Clinton said his claims of progress weren't credible. Now those critics are silent.
Exiting Iraq, Petraeus Says Gains Are Fragile -- [NY Times]
The surge, clearly, has worked, at least for now: violence, measured in the number of attacks against Americans and Iraqis each week, has dropped by 80 percent in the country since early 2007, according to figures the general provided. Civilian deaths, which peaked at more than 100 a day in late 2006, have also plunged. Car and suicide bombings, which stoked sectarian violence, have fallen from a total of 130 in March 2007 to fewer than 40 last month. In July, fewer Americans were killed in Iraq — 13 — than in any month since the war began.
The result, now visible in the streets, is a calm unlike any the country has seen since the American invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003. The signs — Iraqi families flooding into parks at sundown, merchants throwing open long-shuttered shops — are stunning to anyone who witnessed the country’s implosion in 2005 and 2006.
You've Got To Be Kidding Me: Or, Yeah, Let's Courtmartial Petraeus -- [BlackFive - Grim]
What is the purpose of the US military -- to win the wars its nation sends it to fight, or to make sure they don't say anything that anyone might possibly construe as an insult?
[E]ven if Petraeus offered his comments personally, that's a distinction without a difference. "Privately he's denigrating 21 percent of troops," Weinstein said. Suppose he privately denigrated women, African-Americans or Jews? Weinstein asked.
"He should still be relieved of duty and court martialed," he said.
U.S., Iraqi Negotiators Agree on 2011 Withdrawal -- [WaPo]
U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from the country by the end of 2011, and Iraqi officials said they are "very close" to resolving the remaining issues blocking a final accord that governs the future American military presence here.
Former PM criticizes Iraqi politicians’ stances regarding long-term agreement -- [Voices of Iraq]
BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 - Former Iraqi Prime Minister and Leader of al-Islah (Reform) party Ibrahim al-Jaafari criticized the Iraqi politicians’ stances regarding the long-term Iraqi-U.S. agreement, according to a statement released from his office on Friday
Marines And Iraqi Army In Final Stage Of Negotiations
Day 63. The Iraqi Army Supply System -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
The Iraqi Supply System.
This is perhaps the largest remaining challenge keeping US forces in Iraq. The Enemy is defeated. The Iraqi Army is strong and willing to fight. The population supports their government against the insurgents. But the IA supply system is a source of frustration for all who encounter it.
Questions about U.S.-Iraq agreement - [Wa Times]
... a number of provisions that are being talked about raise troubling questions. For example, there is the question of whether American contractors would be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Bush administration "dropped its insistence that American contractors remain immune from Iraqi law." If that is true, it would be disturbing news indeed. Contractors like Blackwater International have played a critical role in providing security for Miss Rice and other State Department officials. While Iraq has made remarkable progress in many areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein, we have seen too many situations where Iraqi politicians have attempted to score easy political points by criticizing US contractors.
Failed myths and those who sell them -- [Armed and Curious]
Sometimes the truth comes out and nobody notices because a myth has been sold for so long. The truth about the Mehdi Army, or Jaesh Al Mehdi (JAM) as we soldiers call them, is finally coming out but it seems everyone is too busy to care now. The Olympics are in full swing, Georgia is fighting for its survival and the clock has moved on it seems. I thought of this because I caught a gut wrenching story on CNN from a terrific reporter named Arwa Damon yesterday. She is one of a crop of young journalists who have truly figured out Iraq and work hard to tell the stories no one else is telling.
The inside story on the night-to-day transformation in Iraq -- [Star Tribune - VFF's Pete Hegseth - in Iraq]
...Moreover, Samarra's Sunni residents have discovered that Al-Qaida is in their city, not to help them, but to exploit them, says Hegseth. They have seen Al-Qaida operatives behead children in front of their parents, chop off people's fingers to punish them for smoking, and carry out indiscriminate bombings in market places, he says.
In 2007, local leaders -- many of them former Sunni insurgents -- started the Samarra Rescue Council to expel the terrorists who had infiltrated their neighborhoods. But they got nowhere until months later, after the U.S. troop surge, when they found a U.S. battalion willing to collaborate in bold new counter-insurgency tactics.
Soldier becoming "Barbie" for a local Iraqi family. Scenes include "Barbie" passing out pizza slices and playing with the children.
Black And Blue -- [The War on Big Tobacco: Black And Blue - in Iraq]
The referee stands between us: “No Armbars. No punching. If this guy taps out, you stop.”
“Wait a minute,” I think. “The referee pointed to me when he said that.”
The referee already knows that the outcome of this match is predetermined. It’s not a question of if Sergeant Rocksalt will win, it’s a question of how long before he chokes me out.
...I fought Sergeant Rocksalt because leadership should always stand up first, even if failure is imminent, because it proves to your soldiers that you are willing to face fear and adversity in front of them.
A REAL LEADER!!! -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
...As most of my readers know one of my favorite topics has to do with leadership. Do you know what a good leader is? I think I do.
Anyway, this dude was a Master Sergeant (E-8.) He was high enough in the NCO food chain to have stayed on the camp with all the other E-8's. But, he was a TEAM LEADER for one of our teams. He could have gone out (they went out 6-7 days a week) and rode inside the Up armored Humvee...but he didn't. He rode out in the gun turret.
The first time I saw him standing in the gun turret, I thought he was just joking around...but I found out he went out into Baghdad and back and stood in the gun turret the entire time....every day.
Jihadis shift attention to war in Afghanistan -- [CS Monitor]
... jihadi websites affiliated with Al Qaeda have been giving renewed emphasis to the war in Afghanistan, especially in recruitment advertisements, after years of highlighting the battle against US forces in Iraq, says Brian Glyn Williams, associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
"The perception on many Al Qaeda websites is that the momentum has come around to the side of the insurgency and that Afghanistan is winnable" as opposed to the war in Iraq, which is "no longer seen as a sure thing," says Mr. Williams.
Hidden Battles And Secret Victories -- [Strategy Page]
August 22, 2008: The Taliban are taking advantage of the unwillingness of many NATO contingents to fight. Groups of Taliban gunmen are being sent to the vicinity of Kabul, where many of these less warlike NATO operate, and have launched attacks. They got lucky and killed ten French troops in one of these operations, in an action that highlighted the degree to which these troops, and their leaders, were unprepared for combat. By attacking, and inflicting losses, on these troops, the Taliban stir up political controversy back in Europe, leading, the Taliban hope, to withdrawal of the NATO troops from Afghanistan.
Embedded Transition Team in Zabul Works Hard to Root Out Taliban -- [First Lt. Amy Bonanno - in Afghansitan]
Zabul Province (August 3) — Ever since they gave wheat seed to the local community in February, the Taliban have relentlessly been after them. Does that stop this hardened group of U.S. Army Embedded Trainers who mentor and advise the Afghan National Army (ANA)? Never.
Why we are losing Afghanistan -- [Captain's Journal]
Completely aside from any political point or campaign (TCJ is conservative), and in spite of having lost readers and links because of our stand, The Captain’s Journal has made it clear for more than half a year that the security situation in Afghanistan is degrading. We have pointed out that many NATO troops operate under rules of engagement that prevent them from participating in any offensive operations, that NATO has no coherent strategy of engagement with and provision of security for the population, and that the Taliban, once restricted primarily to asymmetric operations, have been able to field hundreds of fighters in heavily conventional operations such as the battle of Wanat, in a raging battle that U.S. soldiers describe as pure chaos.
While U.S. Army intelligence and senior command in Afghanistan was denying that there would be a spring offensive, we were describing the dual front strategy of the Taliban
bad decisions -- [Cheese's MilBlog - in Afghansitan]
If you're ever considering parking your gaudy SUV in an infantry company's already meager parking lot while they're out on mission, remember this:
Russia says ready to supply Syria with defensive weapons -- [Russian News & Information]
Russia is ready to supply Syria with defensive weapons, the Russian foreign minister said on Thursday following a meeting between the two countries leaders in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in Russia Wednesday on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral relations and regional developments, in particular the situation in the Middle East and Iraq.
"We are ready, and Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed this, to review a Syrian request to purchase new types of weapons," Sergei Lavrov said following the meeting between Medvedev and Assad.
Report from Tbilisi -- [Michael Totten - in Tbilisi]
Fleeing Russian brutality, Georgians look to the West for support.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia has unleashed a refugee crisis all over the country and especially in its capital. Every school here in Tbilisi is jammed with civilians who fled aerial bombardment and shootings by the Russian military—or massacres, looting, and arson by irregular Cossack paramilitary units swarming across the border. Russia has seized and effectively annexed two breakaway Georgian provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has also invaded the region of Gori, which unlike them had been under Georgia’s control.
A view from inside Georgia... -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
...during the invasion of Georgia by Russia. Written by a student at the University of Missouri - Columbia. David is Georgian himself, as he notes in his note, reprinted here with permission.
Here at Castle Argghhh!, we found ourselves in the midst of the Russian InfoOps campaign almost immediately, with the email that prompted this post apparently from a retired russian Lieutenant Colonel, named Vadim.
A Nasty Piece Of Work -- [Strategy Page]
August 21, 2008: Iran continues to ignore threats of sanctions from the West, and keeps its nuclear power (and suspected nuclear weapons) program going. Iran is getting around the sanctions by increasingly going to China for materials, and access to financial services. Russia and China continue to run interference for Iran in the UN.
Dem Mantra of More Deaths By Terror Under Bush Disproven -- [NewsBusters]
A new independent study shows that deaths from terrorism have actually declined by more than 40 percent since 2001. This flies in the face of the constant Democrat mantra that states the opposite, that terrorism has increased since Bush initiated the War on Terror. It is a mantra that the media have helpfully spread for their friends at the DNC.
New Zawahiri Video Released -- [Jawa Report]
As promised two days ago, al Qaeda's as-Sahab production arm has released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The video shows Zawahiri eulogizing Abu Khabab al-Masri (aka, Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar) and Abu Abdullah al-Shami.
Al-Qaeda bombing, propaganda networks degraded -- [Jawa Report]
BAGHDAD – Coalition forces detained 16 suspected terrorists during operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq bombing and propaganda networks Thursday and Friday in the central and northern parts of the country.
General Calls for International Effort in Combating Terrorism -- [FSM]
Faced with threats from al Qaeda and similar groups, as well as a nonspecific “malign Iranian influence,” U.S. and allied strategic planners are expanding their toolkits beyond military force to include diplomacy, communication, humanitarian assistance and other civilian-oriented tools, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert H. Holmes, deputy director of operations for US Central Command.
Holmes said his role at CentCom includes oversight of “irregular warfare, the nonkinetic solutions, some whole-of-government approaches, but particularly ...
Religion, Radicalization and the future of Terrorism -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The UK's Guardian today published details of a report produced by Britain's Security Service (MI5) entitled, 'Understanding radicalization and violent extremism in the UK'. The report is from MI5's internal behavioral analysis unit and contains within it some interesting and surprising conclusions. The Guardian report covers many of these in depth (so no need to go over here) but one point, which is worth highlighting is the claim made within the report that religion is and was not a contributory factor in the radicalization of the home-grown terrorist threat that the UK faces. In fact, the report goes on to state that a strong religious faith protects individuals from the effects of extremism.
Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pets -- [Far from Perfect]
Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pets is a wonderful organization that helps find foster families for soldier’s pets. A lot of times family pets end up in pounds when soldier’s deploy because they can’t find anyone to take care of them, or don’t have the funds to send them to a family member. I have even heard of pets being set free to roam or locked in their now empty houses. I wanted to bring this organization to attention here, because until a few days ago I had never heard of them
A welcome home -- [Woodbury Bulletin]
Non-profit organization "Homes for Our Troops" raised funds to construct the home, which is specially-equipped for Kuboy, who was wounded while serving in Iraq.
AZ Vet Cemetery Under Attack -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
Vandals are stealing headstones, ripping down signs and plastering graffiti on pillars at the Valley's Veteran's National Memorial Cemetery, Phoenix police said."Well, they tried to pry this off the wall,' said Wayne Ellis, cemetery director. Ellis was pointing to a spot where vandals tried to pry open a memorial marker where the remains of one of Arizona's U.S. war veterans is enshrined.Ellis said it's the latest incident in string of crimes targeting the cemetery off Cave Creek Road in north Phoenix.
What's in a suit? -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Do clothes make the man? The warrior? Of course not. It's what's *in* the suit that matters - but...
Admittedly, the only uniform that truly matters is the combat uniform.
...Who'da thunk it could get *worse*?
So, now we're going to wear our dress blues as our everyday uniform.
The Sergeant Major of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army have decided. Almost every Chief makes some tweak to the uniform - the nature of the beast is such that it's about the only change a Chief can initiate and see through to completion during his term. Can't blame 'em for the frustration inherent in that.
Military to select firm for ‘info ops’ initiative in Iraq -- [Cannoneer4]
MNF-I RFP here.
counter misinformation spread by hostile parties. Stopping rumors
You know. Stuff milblogs and civilian irregular information operators do for free.
Who Serves in the US Military? The Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers. -- [Heritage Foundation]
- US military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officers who do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods.
- American soldiers are more educated than their peers.
- Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service.
Leaked Data on Radicalization in the UK -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Guardian newspaper made public today parts of a classified internal research document produced by Britain's MI-5. As someone who has worked in intelligence and law enforcement, I do not condone the unauthorized release of classified material. While it is important to keep the public informed, prematurely releasing classified matieral can put (human) sources and (technical) methods at risk. I wonder how much such considerations factored into the Guardian's decision to publish its "exclusive" report on this report.
LATimes Brooks Thinks Russia/Georgia War is Funny -- [NewsBusters]
The L.A. Times' Rosa Brooks has done it again, taken a serious subject and made an uninformed romp of it. One wonders how the old Georgian lady seen in news photos standing wounded among the ruins of her apartment building, or the Georgian Mother running down the street, infant in her arms, trying to escape Russian tanks might feel about the humor with which Brooks brings to bear upon their plight?
Vets not victims, part 4 -- [Foreign and Domestic]
Al Franken repeats a promise made last week to Veterans if he gets elected-free health care for life.
Now most WWII and Korea vets will no doubt be happy with this, as many of them were promised free health care and the government has made an annual spectacle of putting off that promise until next year. For about 30 years now, Congress decides to figure out how to pay for it next year. And the next. And the next year. And so on. Most WWII vets will give you a stern lecture with lots of four letter words when it comes to government promises of free health care for life.
Yikes! Obama-Ayers Ad Released -- [Gateway Pundit]
American Issues Project released the first Obama-Ayers ad of the season today.
This ad is devastating:
EXPLOSIVE AUDIO!... Obama Argues For Death Of Babies Born Live After Attempted Abortion (2002) -- [Gateway Punfit]
Infidels are Cool discovered this shocking audio from 2002:
Military mistakes accidents and crashes :) -- [HT: LT Nixon]
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Day 59. Pomposity -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
Shamania is over. The walkers have all gone home. Nothing bad happened.
We expected some women suicide bombers to disrupt things. This is no secret, they were interviewed on the news. They were a no show.
I have been here for almost 2 months now. In that time, I have not heard a shot fired, a bomb explode or anyone being attacked. Granted all that may change at any time. I just say so so that you will know the current conditions here.
A Return to Normalcy in Kirkuk -- [MNF-I]
Already accustomed to seclusion, the village residents were surprised when Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division showed up in their community in February. The residents were more surprised when they announced that they would set up operations there; living and working with the residents for the next two months.
A Lot Changes in a Year -- [Matel - in Iraq]
I did a telephone interview today and some of the journalist’s questions made me think – again – about this year has meant. A lot happens in a year. As I think about what I have accomplished and what I still can do in my last month here, I understand that the inquiry is meaningless unless it is put into context. I need to think about what WE - my team, the Marines, the people of Anbar and our country generally - have accomplished.
Balance -- [Playing in the Sandbox - in Iraq]
Reading through the various musings I've written over the last several months, I've noticed that a good majority of them have dealt with the darker side of this life under the unrelenting sun. Eternal optimist that I am, there is - of course - a sprinkling of more comedic observations that I've managed to dig out of the sand (e.g., suicidal donkeys and Mohammed Cobain). Today I caught myself wondering if the pervading darkness in my writing is more a reflection of the author or the environment. I have a preference, but the thought remains.
WTF: Diyala Edition (Updated) -- [Abu Muqawama]
McClatchy has news of a chaotic raid in Diyala by a "special unit" of Iraqi forces (which, if the account is correct, sounds like Iraqi Special Operations Forces/ISOF -- the LA Times describes them as "counter-terrorism" forces). The raid hit the provincial government compound, killing the governor's secretary. Hussein al Zubaidi, a provincial council member and head of the provincial security committee, was arrested and the Iraqi forces involved in the raid seized computers and cars. Oh yeah, the raid also triggered a two-hour gun battle with Iraqi police.
Chain wrapped around 'old man's body' found in mosque -- [CNN]
There are the bloodstains on the wall, and here it is dried on the floor," Abu Muhanad said as he walked through a torture chamber in a Baghdad mosque where more than two dozen bodies have been found.
Two women clutch photographs of loved ones believed killed by the Mehdi Army.
"And here, a woman's shoes. She was a victim of the militia. We found her corpse in the grave."
Chunks of hair waft lazily across the floor in the hot Baghdad breeze.
"This was the torture room," said Muhanad, the leader of a U.S.-backed armed group that now controls the mosque.
"This is what they used for hanging," he said, pointing to a cord dangling from the ceiling. "Here is a chain we found tied to an old man's body."
New Special Groups splinter emerges on Iraqi scene -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Asaib al Haq, or League of the Righteous, a terror group backed by Iran’s Qods Force, is being targeted by Coalition forces in the Baghdad region and the South.
Iraqi forces take over Georgians’ missions in Wasit -- [MNF-I]
Already accustomed to seclusion, the village residents were surprised when Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division showed up in their community in February. The residents were more surprised when they announced that they would set up operations there; living and working with the residents for the next two months.
What I Did Today -- [THIS WE'LL DEFEND - in Iraq]
Yesterday one of the Shurta in one of the companies we advise killed his friend in the same company. He fired four rounds point blank. One round was stopped by his armor vest, and another was stopped by his helmet. The other two were stopped by his, well, between his vest and helmet. It speaks very well for the armor capabilities of the vest and helmet he was wearing, unfortunately, no armor on the face.
That much is the truth.
Sons of Iraq patrol recon – building relationships one night at a time -- [LWJ]
Specialist Jarrod Ming of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division accompanied by two Sons of Iraq members, escorts a local resident to his home during a recent mission in downtown Tarmiyah.
Basrah Children's Hospital
The significance of the new Basrah Children's Hospital.
Iraqi Security Forces Arrive -- [Strategy Page]
...After five years of effort, the Iraqi government has managed to produce a force of over half a million armed men. Saddam had at his disposal about twice as many. How do the two forces compare?
Stubbornly Violent... -- [Collabman's Thoughts]
The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, in partnership with the Iraqi forces, continues operations in the Diyala province as they track, find and apprehend insurgents. More and more U.S. commanders are putting the onus on the Iraqi military to take the lead...
Give the following story a read for insight on how the 2nd SCR is working...umm, pushing the Iraqis to step up and lead on the battlefield. I like what I see in this article and trust more of this will continue. Tell me what you think...
Afghanistan's first ever Olympic Medal: Nikpai hopes his medal can serve as message of peace -- [Associated Press/ESPN]
Rohullah Nikpai defeated world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain on Wednesday to earn the bronze medal in the men's under 58-kilogram taekwondo competition, sparking applause, wide smiles and laughter in homes, restaurants and ice cream parlors around the country.
Afghan forces defeat insurgents in Khowst -- [ISAF]
20 Aug. - Afghan National Security Forces fought off several insurgents in the Bak district of Khowst province.
Six suicide bombers die in unsuccessful attack on U.S. base in Khowst Province -- [ISAF]
KABUL, Afghanistan - Seven insurgents, six of which were suicide bombers, are dead after an unsuccessful second attack on a U.S. base in Khowst Province on August 19. Forces from the base interdicted the insurgent attack approximately 1,000 meters outside of the base perimeter.
...Helicopters arrived on station soon after and engaged these insurgents as they attempted to flee from the scene.
Three of the insurgents killed themselves by detonating their suicide vests. ISAF forces killed three other suicide bombers before they could detonate their vests.
Describing Taliban assault
France 'determined' to stay in Afghanistan after attack kills 10 soldiers
Already unpopular in France, the attack could threaten President Sarkozy's plan to send hundreds more to fight in Afghanistan by the end of this month.
Pledging that his "determination remains intact", the French president is flying to Kabul to support his troops.
Afghanistan: Rumors of War -- [Castle Argghhh!!! - Kat]
The truth of the attack on the French is not complete, but original information indicates that the attack was a completely separate event. In fact, a far distance from the original attack on Salerno. The French were on a security convoy with Afghanistan troops and were attacked by an estimated 100 (?) Taliban. The French and ANP were supported by American air assets that eventually drove the attackers off. Sarkozy is on his way to Afghanistan to meet the wounded and support the French troops.
Insurgents Launch Brazen Attacks in Afghanistan -- [AP]
attacks in Afghanistan in years, culminating early Tuesday with six suicide bombers charging the second-largest US base ... Heavily armed fighters launched two of the biggest insurgent attacks in Afghanistan in years, culminating early Tuesday with six suicide bombers charging the second-largest U.S. base
French TV From Tag Ab -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
Our very own LTC Stone Cold, BSMV, emailed me a link today to a story that was produced by France 24 about Tag Ab and the neighboring district of Ala Say.
...It takes time, patience, and unfailing commitment.
Our media is still missing the boat. While the French report is not entirely accurate, they did the best that they could. Most of it is either accurate or close to the truth, but it is by far the best piece I've seen on Tag Ab. There are a thousand stories that are ongoing in Afghanistan where Americans are doing things that would make people here proud, but they are not being reported. The stories are not being told. America is being ripped off.
We're being scooped by the French.
ah the French… -- [Misuchan’s Milblog - in Afghanistan]
So here we are now, surrounded by mountains and the faint smell of feces in the air all around us. The Americans handed over this base to the French a week ago in a ceremony that you would normally see for promotions. Their presence here disgusts me, but only because of their attitude towards us.
Shocker: NY Times Decries Laughably Incompetent Taliban Rout As "Complex Attack" -- [Confederate Yankee]
...Suicide bombers mull about while preparing for an attack against a fortified U.S./Afghan position, receive minimal support in the form of small arms cover fire from a small band of untrained militant irregulars before helicopters chop them to bits, and this is what the Times considers a "complex attack?"
Scary Monsters -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban have embarked on what amounts to a large scale suicide strategy. In addition to dozens of individual suicide bombers, they have dozens of field units, each of about a hundred gunmen, looking to score spectacular (from a media, not a military, standpoint) victories. Such attacks are being deliberately made against foreign troops from specific countries. France and Canada are particular targets. Month by month, the Taliban lose far more troops than they kill,
Aussie troops kill Taliban commander -- [NEWS.com.au]
Australian special forces soldiers have killed a senior Taliban commander responsible for ... Aussie troops kill Taliban commander.
Breaking: 12000 More Troops to Afghanistan - [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman]
Barack Obama has been calling for extra troops in Afghanistan. But the Pentagon brass said it couldn't be done, until forces were pulled out of Iraq. Does that mean a partial withdrawal from Iraq is coming?
Afghans doubt U.S. intentions: report -- [Reuters]
Afghans believe the United States knows about al Qaeda bases in Pakistan, but does not hit them because it wants an unstable Afghanistan to justify its presence for wider regional goals, a state newspaper said on Wednesday.
While many Afghans have vented such thoughts for some time, it was the first time a state newspaper which generally reflects the government's view has expressed them, and may point to a souring of relations between Afghanistan and its biggest backer.
Poland, Nuance and Understanding Russian Media Strategy -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
As the United States and Poland sign a new missile shield agreement under the shadow of recent Russian aggression against Georgia, it is important for the American public and policy makers alike to see clearly the Russian reaction and understand...
Georgia: Update and Considerations -- [BlackFive - Laughing_Wolf]
Status: No significant changes to report. The Humvees (and possible other equipment according to some reports) stolen by the Russians has not been returned. There remain no signs of pull out by the Russians, or even any obvious preparations for same.
Analysis of Todays Events 18 August 08 -- [A Major's Perspective]
There was three critical events that transpired today, that should be discussed. The first I will be very brief on. As I talked about last night, regarding Iran's declaration that they had sent a dummy satellite into orbit, now they have admitted they didn't quite do that. First the story was they had sent a missile into space with a satellite, then without a satellite, then it didn't reach space but it would have, then well it just became it didn't but we are going to very soon. I don't know who is blowing more hot air right now, the Iranians or the Russian's stating that they are withdrawing from Georgia.
The Gang That Can't Kill Straight -- [Strategy Page]
August 19, 2008: Many Arabs now consider al Qaeda as the gang that can't kill straight. Consider some current events in Yemen. Thirty months ago, 23 Islamic terrorists broke out of a jail there. Since then, fifteen of those escapees have been recaptured, and five were killed.
Combat Medics and SSG Matt Sims -- [A Major's Perspective]
I have been remiss in not talking about a crucial element of our Military, and that is the Combat Medic. Within the Navy and Marine Corps they are called Corpsman or Independent Corpsman and within the Army they are Combat Medics. These young men, in every war that our nation has fought, have been on the frontline beside our Infantrymen taking care of them, and saving their lives. Within the Infantry they reside in our Rifle Platoons, Companies and Battalions, and the Marine Corps is quite similar.
They are friends and brothers to their fellow, "grunts", but they are also saving angels on the battlefield. They put aside their personal safety under enemy fire to save the lives of our young men on the battlefield, and many times are the one that holds their hand as they die. They take a great burden upon themselves, mending the wounded, and comforting the dying.
...SSG Sims was wounded three times during that second deployment. Once being blown up in an IED Blast, once being wounded in a mortar attack, and the third being a gun shot wound. Each and every time he refused evacuation out of Iraq. When asked why...
How it All Started, Part II -- [FBL]
I'm scheduled to be on a panel called "Milblogging as Community" at the upcoming MilBlog Conference--I'm obviously the token civilian, haha! This has gotten me to thinking once again about how I ended up a civilian among milbloggers.
I scoffed (remember, this was January 2005; FbL hadn't even been "born," yet). I thought [Sgt. B] was kind but utterly absurd, especially for having based his comments on nothing more than my two emails. And yes, I told him he was. I didn't even know any soldiers outside the Internet and the letters I sent to units in Afghanistan and Iraq! How could an ignorant civilian like me with no direct connection to veterans possibly be part of a warfighter's emotional and physical recovery? As if a combat vet would even care to talk to me... Silly man.
Actually... Silly me.
Paula Deen Cries with America's Military Wives -- [momlogic.com]
Most women worry when their husbands are late getting home from the office--but these women worry about their husbands coming home at all.
Momlogic.com contributor and Food Network star Paula Deen wanted to know exactly what it's like to be married to some of this country's finest and bravest, so she sat down with three military wives during a recent visit to Norfolk, Va.
MilBlogger Roundtable: The Army Family Action Plan -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Want to hear more about how the Army family cares for Soldiers and their families?
What: A blogger's roundtable on Thursday, August 21st at 1:30 PM with MG John Macdonald, commander of the U.S. Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, and Mrs. Becky Pillsbury, spouse of MG James Pillsbury, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and Operations, Army Materiel Command. They will discuss the 25th Anniversary of the Army Family Action Plan and how AFAP has improved quality of life for Soldiers and their families.
When: Thursday, August 21st at 1:30 PM
A World Without The American Soldier
What I did to battle PTSD -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
The identification and reinforcement of values, social skills and anger management techniques along with realizing warning signs and stress management training enables veterans to realize a better life. Without integrating these skill sets into the neurological pathways, the heavily imprinted traumatic axonal entrenchment supersedes conscious thinking processes and the mind seeks behavior reminiscent of the initial trauma. The hyper states of PTSD once engaged result in the continuation of the dominate neurological processes.
A deeper apprehension and awareness has to come forward for our veterans to get the help they need.
I have learned that I do not have to let PTSD define me
Local marine receives hero's welcome home -- [Bakersfield Now]
A local marine who was severely injured in Afghanistan is back home tonight with his family. But not after an amazing show of generosity from strangers and friends alike.
Sgt. Justin Clenard lost both of his legs seven weeks when he stepped on a landmine while on duty in Afghanistan. Almost immediately the Bear Valley Buckaroos club decided to give all of the money from their annual golf tournament to the Clenard family. And Sunday they presented him with a check, a small token of the community's gratitude they said.
Clenard has only been walking on prosthetics for the last two weeks. He's still getting used to them but decided to walk in instead of being driven.
Which to trust: Media or vets? -- [Matt Sanchez]
Vets for Freedom has sent the "mainstream media" into a tizzy fit, since journalists, commentators and talking heads are convinced the only stories out of Iraq and Afghanistan that matter are theirs.
Salon.com "journalist" Alex Koppelman complains that eight members of Vets for Freedom traveled to Iraq on the government's dime and wondered about the group possibly coming home to "proselytize for the Republican presidential candidate's position on the war"
What Koppelman failed to mention is that he, too, could have gone to Iraq under the embed program.
Huffington Post blowhards Dave Johnson and James Boyce have created a website to monitor Vets for Freedom. Dave and James also complained about the lack of dispatches from Afghanistan on the Vets for Freedom website.
Hey, Dave and James: The military has an embed program for Afghanistan, too! If you want more info, write me.
It is shameful that newsmen who have created a cottage industry of criticizing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have never been there, and are not bothered by that fact.
It used to be that you had to experience war to have any credibility. Ernest Hemmingway, Edward Murrow, Winston Churchill, these men all worked as war correspondents.
Electric legs, Chris Matthews, and the professionally indignant Andrew Sullivan comment on the war from air-conditioned offices stateside.
An American Carol [HT: Grim]
Empty Seats Welcome Empty Suit Obama at VFW Convention -- [Gateway Pundit]
This is one of those speeches that makes you want to spit out your lunch...
Obama whines, moans about patriotism, attacks McCain, and says he's not a waffler.
It's no wonder he faced so many empty seats and only polite applause at the VFW Convention today in Orlando.
Barack Obama SLAMS McCain for his negative campaign to VFW
We Chat With Senator Barack Obama Following His VFW Address! -- [The National Defense]
Why should I vote for you as a veteran?
Toby Keith Praises Obama, Says He's A Democrat -- [Huffington Post]
Toby Keith, perhaps best known to non-country audiences for his post-Sept. 11 song "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," says he's a Democrat
Tell Sen. Obama To Avoid the C.H.U.D. Blood Money -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
Location of Outbreak: Alternet, Highlighted by RNC (h/t McClatchy Watch)
Description of Attack: A bundler from Code Pink, who was gotten her mitts on $50-$100K for the Obama campaign, is a full blown C.H.U.D. She attended the World Tribunal on Iraq, which gave us such ideological abortions as the brutal insurgency in Iraq was justified and that we humble Americans should support the Iraqi resistance that actively kills our troops. Her whole wretched statement can be seen on this 2005 Alternet article:
We Join Senator McCain Aboard Straight Talk Express at the VFW National Convention in Orlando! -- [The National Defense]
Parasites, Vandals, and Thugs Win $2M From NYC Lawsuit -- [LT Nixon Rants]
...Is this $2M going to come out of the pool of money that Rep. Weiner wanted the military to give New York because public servants were being called onto active duty? Glad to know that the NYC authorities know that the real "sacrifices" being made are by filthy, unemployed urchins who rival European soccer hooligans in wreaking havoc.
Obama To Conceal VP Pick Until VP is Needed -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-08-19) — Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama said today that he would reveal the name of his running mate “when, and if, we ever actually need a vice president.”
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Never type in an MRAP -- [THIS WE'LL DEFEND - in Iraq]
Bagdad is at it's lowest level of violence in years, shops are open, kids go to school, there are political posters up and down the streets advertising for the upcoming elections this fall. Yes, there is still violence, sectarian and otherwise. People are still getting blown up. But not as many as before. And it's declining. AQI is considered kind of a joke.
What do we do as advisors? Our team is broker into sections and each one has a counterpart in the Iraqi battalion. For instance ...
US Army creates non-lethal platoon to handle reconstruction as violence subsides -- [LWJ - Bill Murray]
A Stryker platoon is assigned to administer reconstruction and security projects in northern Diyala province.
Shabaniyah -- [LT Nixon Rants]
Al-Jazeera English says that the pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq to commemorate the birth of the Imam Mahdi has been a success. They quote Ministry of Interior Bolani saying "The day will come soon when we will announce that al-Qaeda's coffin has been thrown in the garbage of history." This is in stark contrast to last year's pilgrimage where Sadr's band of thugs fought with the Iraqi Security Forces in Karbala (many of them Badr corps)...dozens of civilians were killed in the cross-fire. No word yet from Sadr's enablers in the American media about this event,
Iraq moves against some US-backed Sunni fighters -- [AP]
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Shiite-led government is cracking down on U.S.-backed Sunni Arab fighters in one of Iraq's most turbulent regions, arresting some leaders, disarming dozens of men and banning them from manning checkpoints except alongside official security forces....
Raid Report Aug. 17
This edition features stories on Iraqi Army Soldiers detain four citizens who are suspected of planning a attack, Iraqi Soldiers who discover a weapons cache and a Sons of Iraq member who lead coalition forces to a weapons cache.
Marine Corps’ top enlisted visits Marines on Camp Baharia -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog - in Iraq]
...“You know, it means a lot that he’s out here,” said Sgt. Scott Patterson, a section leader with Wpns. Co., 3rd Bn., 6th Marines. “Most of the stuff that he talked about answered questions that Marines had going into the meeting. It took a lot of stuff off people’s minds, which is important, especially out here. He really drilled home the fact that the Marine Corps isn’t (pulling out of Iraq) anytime soon.”
Rigging the Game? -- [Abu Muqawama]
The failure to pass a provincial election law is not the only dark cloud on the election front. On Dr. iRack's recent Iraq voyage, many U.S. commanders, coalition officials, and Iraqis expressed growing concerns that the "Powers That Be" (Dawa, ISCI, the IIP, PUK, and KDP) will use their monopoly on official power--including their dominance of governors, provincial councils, and the Iraqi Security forces
Iraqis blame US for increasing Iran influence -- [Middle East Online - Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail]
Chaos in Iraq as pro-Iran US-backed militias clash with anti-Iran US-baked militants.
...The Badr militia has itself been blamed for carrying out several attacks against Sahwa forces in some areas of Iraq. Many anti-occupation militants are now members of the primarily Sunni Sahwa forces – also backed by the US
"The militants believe that the Shiite officials are from the Badr militia, who are trained and strongly directed by Iran, with of course the knowledge of the Americans," said a Sahwa leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A Young Commander's Uneasy Assurances -- [Soldier's Home]
...The Americans knew the residents of this area had legitimate cause to be nervous. Prior U.S. Army operations into the region were comparatively short, and resulted in the arrests of Iraqis suspected of aiding the insurgency. Now, citizens like the school teacher had no assurances that if they gave the Army intelligence, the soldiers would remain to ensure they were protected from retribution by hostile forces.
McDonald later observed that perhaps his greatest asset during the opening moments of these types of conversations is the ability of his Iraq-born translator to observe the mannerisms of a subject that may be imperceptible to the non-Arabic speaker. While the person may appear to the American as welcoming and hospitable, the translator can usually tell whether there is there is a nervousness or anger in the speaker’s voice.
Presents For Patients
Members of the 416th Civil Affairs Bn. delivering toys and textbooks to the Ibn Al Atheer Pediactric Hospital.
A Little Ain't Enough -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
Hey Joe, I just want you to know that I had three cups of chocalate... FOR BREAKFAST! And it was delicious! This one is for you, kid. Keep your chin up. One day you too you will be a corporal and you will fuck things up in your own way.
Yes, you too can be deployed without ever leaving the USA!
Iraqi Falafel -- [Matel - in Iraq]
The ordinary is the extraordinary in a place like Anbar. I was reminded of that during a recent visit to a falafel stand in Hadithah. Instead of the usual chow hall fare, we decided to go out for lunch. It was a big deal, requiring a convoy, but I think it was worth it. The shop owner was delighted to have us come in and I think we contributed to the general feeling that peace and normality is returning to this recently-war-torn city. Reports of these kinds of gestures pass by word of mouth and have strong impact on local attitudes. Of course, we are not the first. The Marines at the nearby camp are the ones who told us about the shop, so they presumably have eaten here too.
Day off -- [Fobbits need ice cream too - in Iraq]
En route to the truck today, I was stopped by the convoy commander (and my squad leader) and told our mission was canceled. I'm not sure why missions randomly get canceled; we're not that high in the food chain. I'm glad to not go, the pilgrimage to Karbala is going on right now and the other night while coming back south, we passed thousands of cars packed full of people from Iran. We usually deal with maybe 10 cars a night normally. These guys were coming at us across all 6 lanes and since they're from Iran, they have no idea how we run the show on the road. Pretty crazy stuff.
The old colonialism of reconstruction -- [IN-Iraq - embed in Iraq]
I know I'm a naive American. But the Iraq reconstruction provides all manner of eye-opening observations on how raw economics and power really work. Private contractors handle everything in Iraq from smorgasbord super cafeterias to security for diplomats and USAID workers in Baghdad.
China begins work on $900 million power plant and agrees to develop oil field in southern Iraq -- [Azzaman]
The Chinese firm, Shanghai, has started constructing a major thermal power plant in the southern Province of Wasit, the Ministry of electricity said.
Electricity Minister Kareem Waheed attended the laying down of the foundation stone for the plant, the largest ever project a foreign firm begins constructing in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
US oil company says it has ended talks with Iraq -- [AP]
A major independent U.S. oil producer said Wednesday that it has ended negotiations with Iraq to develop an oil field. A spokeswoman for Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Paula Beasley, gave no reason for the decision but said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that "we do not intend to pursue additional interests at this time."
Wheee! -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
I had jumped into the Blackhawk with my helmet sliding around - chinstrap askew, goggles knocked about - when a passenger ...
International: "Foul Ball: Muslim Women Banned from Sports Participation" -- [WLUML]
14/08/2008: In this essay, Rochelle Terman considers the role of Muslim women in sports on the global scene, especially in light of the current Olympic Games.
"Mehboba Ahdyar, a 19-year-old sprinter from Kabul, has been an inspiration and role model to many Muslim women with a passion for sports. As the only woman representing her team from Afghanistan in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Ahdyar was considered by many to be the poster-child for everything the Olympics stood for. Not only did she symbolize the hope and resurgence of a country devastated by war, but her presence was meant to demonstrate a new, post-Taliban gender equality. But just three weeks before the Games, Mehboba Ahdyar fled from an Italian training camp, giving up her dream to compete in Beijing to apply for asylum in Europe. She said she was too scared of reprisals from those disapproving of her sports career, and feared for her life.
More Afghan women attending Shuras shows progress -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101]
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (August 13, 2008) — More than 100 local women attended the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team Woman's Shura in Anaba District, Aug. 4, participated in the welfare of their villages and addressed ongoing issues. Air Force Capt. Jillian
Attack on Afghan Independence Day kills 10 -- [AP]
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The top U.S. general in Afghanistan issued a rare public warning Monday to Afghans celebrating Independence Day that militants planned to attack civilian, military and government targets. Only hours earlier, a suicide bomber killed 10 Afghans outside a U.S. base....
Afghan Commandos, Coalition forces disrupt Taliban stronghold in Zeriko Valley -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101]
A team of Afghan National Army Commandos, advised by U.S. Special Operations Forces, attacked a Taliban sanctuary in western Afghanistan’s Zeriko Valley recently.
The combined forces sought to liberate locals in the stronghold established by a Taliban commander, who is coordinating both the acquisition and movement of weapons and supplies, and the movement and employment of Taliban fighters within Farah province.
Task Force 2/7 raids Taliban headquarters -- [From the Stan]
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Marines conducted their first major assault on a Taliban headquarters in NowZad, Afghanistan.
The Marines’ major accomplishments of the raid were the destruction of several enemy buildings, fighting positions, IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and the capture of a Taliban fighter.
NEFA Foundation: Focus on the Taliban's Official Al-Somood Magazine -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
In reflection of the growing intensity of Taliban activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan, over the coming weeks, the NEFA Foundation will be releasing a stream of content drawn from Al-Somood, a monthly Islamic magazine published by the Taliban’s media center.
Welcome to Camp Phoenix, where morale and intitiative go to die... -- [Cheese's MilBlog - in Afghanistan]
Well it's finally happened. They've broken me. We've been waiting around for the other shoe to drop for some time now, and the official word came today. Soon, my company will be taking over towers and the front gate. Let me repeat that...the company that has set the standard since mobilization training began has been assigned to GATES and TOWERS! Not only that, but we're getting 32 of our people back from all over the country and are completely reorganizing our platoons to include them.
More C-130s leave Ramstein AB for Georgia with aid, relief personnel -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
115 Soldiers from Immediate Response 2008 exercise remain in Tblisi, medical team on stand-by in Germany. Flights to continue until further notice, Naval expansion planned.
U.S. aid lands in Georgia
U.S.' Gates scoffs at Russian warnings to Poland -- [Reuters]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pentagon chief Robert Gates dismissed as "empty rhetoric" on Sunday Russian warnings that Moscow would target Poland for a possible military strike because Warsaw agreed to host part of a U.S. missile shield
Don't stop U.S. broadcasts to Russia and Georgia -- [The Examiner]
Ten days before Russian tanks and infantry invaded the democratic and pro-Western Republic of Georgia, the federal government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) terminated all Voice of America (VoA) radio broadcasts to Russia, The Washington Examiner has learned. This means that throughout the still unfolding international crisis, a key communications tool that helped win the Cold War for the United States has been mute
South Ossetia, a hummer-top AAR. -- [John of Argghhh!!!]
...It's a clear victory, short term, for the Russians. Long term, maybe not so much. The Poles, who were playing cute over missile defense - and the recipient of warnings themselves about things like that - suddenly developed an intense interest in the subject - and no doubt Ukraine and Byelorussia are taking notes - as clearly the Baltic states are. NATO and the Europeans have been reminded that the Russian bully they have feared and despised for so long - is no longer the drunken bully who is staggering around, more a danger to himself than others.
On Georgia and NATO -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
It is a relief that Georgia was not permitted into NATO ahead of Russia's clearly orchestrated invasion. Yes, you heard correctly, a relief.
Why? Here's why: Is there anyone who thinks for a second that any of the NATO members would have risen to the occasion to defend a newly admitted Georgia against "mighty Russia"?
President resigns, leaves Aiwan-e-Sadr -- [GEO TV]
ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has vacated Aiwan-e-Sadr after stepping down from the office of President.
He was accorded a 'guard of honour' before leaving the President’s House.
Before departing, the former president met with many important figures including the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal
President Pervez Musharraf resigns
British anti-Americanism ‘based on misconceptions’ -- [Telegraph]
British attitudes towards the United States are governed by ignorance of the facts on key issues such as crime, health care and foreign policy, according to a new survey. — A poll of nearly 2,000 Britons by YouGov/PHI found that 70 per cent …
USA Gold Medalists that You should know -- [Blackfive]
A few of you have sent stories about our military Olympians.
I believe that the first gold medal won by the USA was not by a swimmer or gymnast. It was a US Army Specialist shooting double trap.
BEIJING BEAT: Embattled nations savor Olympics -- [AP]
BEIJING (AP) — An Iraqi sprinter whose coach had to bribe militiamen so she could train. A Palestinian swimmer unable to use the Olympic-size pool nearest her home. A pioneering runner from war-wracked Afghanistan who placed last in the 100 meters.
No medals await athletes like these, from beleaguered nations with scant sports resources. In some cases, their compatriots back home received only sketchy accounts — if any — about their performances.
Space Today Online - Iran space satellite launch -- [Space Today]
Iran is planning to modify one of its powerful Shahab-3 ballistic missiles and use it to blast a satellite to space, according to news reports from the ...
Al Qaeda At 20: Some Thoughts -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
I think Peter Bergen's Outlook section piece in the Washington Post was very useful in looking at al Qaeda at 20. It is hard to believe they have been around that long.
Al-Sahab Distributes Al-Zawahiri's Audio Message to Pakistani Army and People -- [MEMRI]
On August 16, 2008, the Islamist forum Al-Ikhlas posted an audio message by Al-Zawahiri, titled "To the Pakistan Army and the People of Pakistan."
In the message, Al-Zawahiri urged the soldiers and officers of the Pakistani army and the people of Pakistan to rise up against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Dear Private Tobacco, -- [War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
just letting you you know that you've outdone yourself with your most recent 'update'. i gotta let you know that when i was celebrating Itzahk’s birthday...you remember him don't you? Have you told [THE TCN] about what a spunky little guy he is? Ah...i digress. So back to the party. the one image that i'm unable to let go of is that of Ariel Haddar clinging helplessly to a cheap little neck pillow with an image of you attached. [My wife got one of those “Daddy Dolls”] I guess that's his surrogate daddy. Either way, I can't hold back from telling you that i'm so sick of seeing that pathetic smile/grimace on your face everytime you feel the need to update us on your GI Joe mission. You can already see where i'm going with this can't you? Just remember, you are not a hero, nor will you ever be one. you are a deserter...plain and simple.
take us off your mailing list.
Dave Bellavia from Iraq -- [BlackFive]
Big Wave Dave cut a video for all you here at Blackfive while he was in Iraq. He talks about the current situation there and points out what looks like some BS from AT&T about supposed 300 minute phone cards that yield less than an hour of actual talk time.
Do You Knit, Sew or Crochet? -- [SOLDIERS' ANGELS TEXAS]
Soldiers' Angels Crochet and Craft team is in need of those willing to sew, crochet and knit items for our VA Nursing Homes and VA Hospitals across the country.
Blankets & Soccer Balls -- [Soldiers’ Angels Louisiana]
SOCCER BALLS: I just got a request for soccer balls to give to the Iraqi children during Ramadan. If you can contribute, contact me email@example.com
Fringe Group on the Streets of NYC Says Fuck the Marines -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
The 90s-era Giuliani purge of all things undesirable on Times Square apparently forgot to ship off the Black Israelites to Jersey. A NY Times article from a decade ago notes how they have continued to set up shop in NYC, advocating for the enslavement of white people. This bit must've gotten old, because now they are ...
Parents of the National Guard -- [Parent Zone]
National Guard Parents – more on the invisible portion of the OnePercenters.
As a military parent, you become more and more aware of the gap between the military and the civilian worlds. Mostly, because you are trying to straddle it – and the gap grows and grows, as your child becomes a soldier, as they go for more training and become a Marine, as the ship farewells become a fact of life. But even in this little clan, there is a sub clan, that has a whole different and unique set of problems.
A Day In The Life -- [War & Health]
If I could convey one message to the general public about the USS Kearsarge’s mission, it would be this: Off the coast of Nicaragua 1500 Americans, Canadians, Dutch, and even a German are working 18+ hour per day, seven days a week, to provide health care and a better life to the residents of Puerto Cabezas. The Kearsarge is parked three miles off the coast of Puerto Cabezas. For the 100+ medical and humanitarian professions who go ashore each day, this means one hell of a commute. The following is a multimedia time line of an average day in the life of someone on board the USS Kearsarge, using all my own videos and photos:
Learning to Fly -- [Jason's Iraq Vacation - home from Iraq]
...There are still residual effects from the deployment. I think anyone who returns from a deployment has to deal with things they never thought would bother them. Don’t know what I mean? Let's just say the 4th of July has gone from 1st to worst in my holiday list.
This is going to be the last post I enter into this blog. I guess it’s like the happy ending I always hoped for during my deployment. I know I am lucky - there are many more who return without any support and struggle to cope with re-adjustment into society.
Chasing Ghosts -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
From the Soldier side: I just read a good book- Chasing Ghosts. LT Rieckhoff writes so well that I thought I had actually been there...oh, I was.
Now, keep in mind that each solider, Marine, Sailor and Airmen will have a different point of view from this war....oh, not too much unlike some of our last wars. The LT did what
...If you have a weak stomach, don't read the book. If you want to know the crap some troops had to put up with, read the book.
Mitchell Also Circulated Obama's Conspiracy Theory Over Cancelled Troop Visit -- [NewsBusters]
In asserting a "pattern" of such behavior by Mitchell, what did Davis have in mind? Almost surely it included a very similar stunt that Mitchell pulled in connection with Obama's cancellation of his planned visit to injured troops while in Germany for his speech in Berlin. As I noted here at the time, Mitchell passed along the Obama camp's unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that McCain had pulled strings with Pentagon buddies to have them withdraw permission for the visit.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell Floats Idea McCain Cheated -- [NewsBusters]
Think John McCain did pretty well in last evening's Saddleback Civil Forum on Presidency hosted by the Rev. Rick Warren? You're not the only one. The Obama campaign thinks he did well too -- so good, in fact, that they think he might have cheated. And on this morning's "Meet the Press," Andrea Mitchell wasted no time floating the Obama campaign's "private" concern:
McCain Camp Blasts NBC's Cone of Liberal Bias -- [Gateway Pundit]
The McCain Camp sent a letter to NBC confronting the network on its liberal bias and unsubstantiated attacks--
Aftrer the outrageous attacks on John McCain by NBC hack Andrea Mitchell yesterday- saying that McCain did so well in the Faith Forum because he was able to hear the questions- the McCain Camp responded with a letter to NBC.
McCain on Iraq war: 'I intend to win it' -- [The Swamp]
Republican John McCain, addressing fellow veterans of foreign wars in Orlando today, is telling them that both he and Democratic rival Barack Obama plan to bring U.S. forces home from the war in Iraq - "the great difference is that I intend to win it first.''
McCain 1 - Obama 0 -- [Cajun Tiger's Rants and Raves]
Last night's Saddleback forum was the first time McCain and Obama have "met" on the same stage. If you didn't watch it, try to see the repeats over the next couple of days b/c it was very informative. It is very clear why Obama is avoiding debates as much as possible, especially the town hall type forum. McCain was clearly the winner last night and it wasn't even close.
McCain needs to get his stories out more about his time in the prison camp. The two stories he told last night about sacrificing his freedom for his code of conduct and friends as well as his story about the Christian guard say so much about the man he is and everyone needs to know that side of him.
Swiftboating: Not a Big Deal to Obama -- [LGF]
You know that “swiftboating” thing Barack Obama’s campaign is always moaning about? Apparently it’s all behind them now: Obama deflects Swift Boat question.
NBC’s Mitchell Reveals How McCain Breached Cone -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-08-18) — NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell today explained how Sen. John McCain may have violated the ‘cone of silence’ at Saturday night’s forum with Pastor Rick Warren, allowing him to get a sneak preview of questions posed to Barack Obama before he took the stage to answer the same questions.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Awkward in Hadithah -- [Matel - in Iraq]
An awkward moment came when Hadithah Mayor Hakim announced that he hoped the Republicans would win in the fall elections. He obfuscated a little when the Democratic Codel leader reminded him that three out of the four members of the visiting Codel were Democrats, but he didn’t back down. His point was that he wanted America to stay in Iraq until the country was secure and he was spooked by the talk of precipitous withdrawal he heard from the U.S.
Stuck in limbo -- [Fobbits need ice cream too - in Iraq]
...A group from our company "found" an "IED" last night while securing a bridge along our route (we provide our own route clearance and MSR bridge security since the 82nd Airborne turned over our AO to the 1st Cav who suck greatly at this job) which turned out to be a headdress with mud on it. A local shiehk came over and grabbed it, dumped the mud out and waved to our guys, who flex cuffed him and brought him back to this FOB to interrogate him. Nice work dudes, now we're going to get a real IED.
The expansion of the Bazrah International Airport to support the increase in tourism and broaden the international capability of the facility.
Getting Our Money’s Worth in Iraq -- [PJM - Greyhawk]
The AP reports that the Congressional Budget Office is worried about the cost of the war in Iraq; more specifically, they don’t think our government is getting a good deal for our money.
...So now we know that according to the CBO report security contractors –about whom the Washington Post dedicated so much article space they ran out of room to tell us where our money is actually spent– make up a small percentage of the total contractors in Iraq and represent a savings of taxpayer dollars. (We could have saved much time if only the WaPo hadn’t been so confusing in that opening paragraph ... So let’s re-write it for them
Basrah Airport Part 2
The expansion of the Basrah International Airport to support the increase in tourism and broaden the international capability of the facility
Interview with an Iraqi Translator -- [VFF - Back to Iraq - Ben Hayden - in Iraq]
Iraqis feel for the position of the United States. In an interview with an interpreter for the U.S. Marine unit, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, one Iraqi says that the US is in a “bad situation, no matter what route they take.” Nick, the name the interpreter uses because he doesn’t want the terrorist to know his real name, tells a different story about Iraq. “If the US stays, the Americans will hate their own government. If the US leaves, they (the terrorist) will kill us.”
Arsenal for Iraq-racy -- [VFF - Back to Iraq - Pete Hegseth - in Iraq]
With security improved, reconstruction and good governance pose the next strategic challenges.
Long Days... -- [Collabman's Thoughts - son in Iraq]
Our warriors from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment continue to work long hours hunting insurgents and taking care of business in the Diyala province. Chris indicated the other day in the virtual world that he had just finished 26 straight hours. Another parent shared today that their warrior had just finished 30 hours straight. All while wearing full combat gear in oppressive heat...can you say wow? I can and did...
Fukuyama’s Wrong -- [Peter Wehner]
Francis Fukuyama has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to argue that while virtually all the trend lines in Iraq have been moving in a positive direction for the past year, the war was still a grave mistake.
Let’s examine some of the arguments Fukuyama makes to support his case.
1. Fukuyama writes, “By invading Iraq in the manner it did, the U.S. exacerbated all of the threats it faced prior to 2003. Recruitment into terrorist cells shot up all over the world.”
That was true for a time–but it’s not true any more. Professor Fukuyama writes as if we’re still in 2006 instead of 2008.
More time lost… -- [Notes from Tommie - in Iraq]
...Another piece of information is that my platoon finally got some credit for everything that we’ve done so far with this deployment. 98% of the time whenever we try to put in for an award of any kind we get responded to with “they’re just doing there jobs.” To me that is absurd, we save lives and track down enemy targets but aren’t in the running because we’re “just doing our jobs.” How is that any different then an infantrymen or scout shooting down the enemy, after all that IS there job. Alas, the army too (like so many other things in our society) is more politics then actual war. Here’s a pic of my certificate of achievement, each of the shadow operators was given one…
Day 55. Shamania -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
Lots of interesting things going one here. None of them violent.
First, as the title suggests, the celebration of shamania is going on. This is a religious observance by Shi-it Moslems.
Ghost of Babylon, part Wahed -- [Sgt Grumpy]
The story of how I hurt my shoulder, the reason for my still being on active duty, starts with an attempt on an Iraqi General's life.
In Xanadu, er...Baghdad -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
did Kublai Khan... um, Saddam decree a...uh, mediocre pleasure dome decree:
Where Tigris the, waste filled river, ran through qanats dug by man. Down to a sun baked sea.
So twice five meters of trash strewn ground. With T-walls and checkpoints were girdled round:
Taliban leader in Bajaur rumored killed in Pakistani strikes -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Taliban emir Faqir Mohammed rumor killed in fighting, but the reports are unconfirmed. Thirty-two Taliban killed in helicopter strikes.
HMM-365 Aces Afghanistan Tests
Marines from HMM-365, the "Blue Knights" provide support for Marines on the ground in Helmand province.
U.S. Troops Train Afghans To Take Their Place -- [NPR]
U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan are involved in an ambitious project to turn thousands of Afghan soldiers into commandos. The effort to create an elite fighting force is part of the broader counterinsurgency strategy that U.S. military officials say is key in helping stabilize Afghanistan.
Financing the Taliban -- [Captain's Journal]
Some Taliban and al Qaeda support comes from radical Salafists in Saudi Arabia, but the Taliban also harvest their own support. Regular readers of The Captain’s Journal know that we’re not particularly fond of the notion of mixing the war on drugs with Operation Enduring Freedom, since the idea of destruction of a farmer’s means of income does not comport with the need to win the population.
Highway to Hell -- [Lt Nixon]
...It is obvious that the NATO-built highway between Kandahar and Kabul is essential to maintaining governance in the southern portion of Afghanistan, but does anyone have any ideas on how to secure it? More UAVs to monitor for bad dude activity? Enlisting support from the tribes around the highway? It is probably the result of the mission being "under-resourced" that the ISAF commander noted a few weeks ago. Why are we and our NATO allies allowing Afghanistan to be forgotten?
Helping the Afghan people -- [Staying in Touch - in Afghanistan]
Ever since the first Task Force Phoenix, we have conducted outreach efforts to help the people in the region and also show the Afghan Army and police to do it, as well. All around the country, U.S. commanders are working locally and using federal dollars to plan, support and construct projects that will help ordinary Afghans.
Policing the world sometimes strains troops -- [Afghanistan Unfiltered - heading to Afghanistan]
America is one of the richest and most powerful countries in all the world. We live lives here that people in other countries can only dream of. But with great power comes great responsibility. In Afghanistan we are going to be working to give the people a better life - a life free of fear and oppression from terrorists.
In essence, we are going to be the police that they don't have. I've heard it said many times before, that America is the police of the world, but today I questioned how long American soldiers can keep up that responsibility.
This deployment of the Illinois National Guard is going to be the largest of its kind since WWII. This just solidifies to me that the Active Army is straining to keep its ranks filled.
I personally believe that it is America's responsibility to police the world. We are one of very few nations that is up to such a task. ... This is why I am so excited to be participating in this deployment to Afghanistan.
Vaguely Romantic Notions -- [The Left Captain - in Afghanistan]
I was speaking with an interpreter-- an Afghan man in his 40's-- listening to the tale of the downfall of his family, and I realized that Afghans my age (36) have grown up with constant war and worsening poverty. One million Afghans were killed during the Soviet-Afghan war and the country dropped from being almost the least developed in the world to, now, being the least developed in the world, just behind Angola. Some of his family managed to flee to the US, himself included, but now he has returned, trying to give something back to his native country by working as an interpreter for NATO.
Farewell Musharraf, Farewell Pakistan? -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
At FrontPage Magazine today, they have chosen to run Farewell Musharraf, Farewell Pakistan? as their feature article. It’s a look at the current difficulties for both the United States and Pakistan as the new government seeks to impeach president Pervez...
If Musharraf Goes: Assessments and Opportunities -- [CTB - Aaron Mannes]
There are reports that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be stepping down in the next few days in order to avoid impeachment. Musharraf has denied these reports, but the prominence of the rumors indicates strongly that the political balance of power has shifting against Musharraf - he will almost certainly be reduced to a figurehead. It is difficult to say how history will judge Musharraf. From the American perspective
Armed Negotiations: It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Russian Lady Sings -- [Kat - Castle Argghhh!!!]
...A quick overview of how the situation currently stands in Georgia (from open sources). "0" represents the jumping off point for the Russians' two divisions of heavy and light armor (appx 150 vehicles and 10,000 men). As a reminder, the numbering of these locations is simply based on an east to west accounting, not the order of battle. The exact location of the Georgians at the time of the beginning of hostilities is not 100% clear. Somewhere...
Russians use Cluster Munitions Against Civilians -- [Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia]
The authorities of Georgia possess comprehensive evidence, proving that different types of heavy conventional weapons, including cluster munitions, Rocket Complex 9M72 Iskander (SS-26 Stone) etc., have been indiscriminately used against civilian population and infrastructure of Georgia. The utilization of such weapons against peaceful population and civilian objects vividly reveals the inhuman brutality of Russian troops acting on the territory of Georgia.
Can Russia actually, legitimately, really, claim "genocide"? -- [Danger Room]
Russia asserts that Georgia was committing "genocide" against it in South Ossetia, a claim ridiculed by most everyone. But, actually, under the fuzzy international law of genocide, the country might have a case---if only because almost anyone, in any conflict, has a case.
Bush Toughens Up -- [WSJ]
President Bush strengthened his response to Russia's invasion of Georgia yesterday, sending his Secretary of State to Paris and then on to Tbilisi, and dispatching C-17 transport aircraft with medicine and other humanitarian supplies to the besieged Georgian capital.
South Ossetia: The perfect wrong war -- [CTB - Walid Phares]
I am posting an article I titled "South Ossetia, the Perfect Wrong War." In the current hot debate about the South Ossetia-Georgia conflict there are two main trends in the West:
1. Western frustration: To consider Russia's aggressive response as part of a renewed Cold war and thus a signal for the West to mobilize against the Russians, again.
2. Anti-American Critics: To consider US policy as responsible for this and other crises and thus the need to change this policy.
Our New Running Joke -- [Acute Politics]
...The current government of Georgia is done. Russia will call for "regime change", although they will not use that word. If they get a new government outright, Georgia will become the newest old Russian puppet state. If the current government survives Russian demands for replacement, they will not last long at home and the end state may well be the same.
Other western-friendly former bloc countries have to be sweating buckets right now. Looking at you, Ukraine.
Little Green Footballs Mentioned In Denver Cyanide Death Investigation -- [Gateway Pundit]
Somalia Man Saleman Abdirahman Dirie Found Dead, Large Amount Of Possible Cyanide Found, possible links to Somalia al-Shabaab Terror Group
Good News: Austria to Fund al Qaeda Terrorism -- [Jawa Report]
Not a joke. AKI [which provides, by far, the best terrorism related reporting] notes that Austria has agreed to pay al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb up to $5 million for the release of two civilian hostages, Andrea Kloiber and Wolfgang Ebner.
Bali Bombers Nearing Execution -- [Jawa Report]
(Jakarta, Indonesia) The murdering scum Bali bombers, Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra, have exhausted all avenues, presumably, for appeal of their convictions and are set to be executed before the start of Ramadan on September 1st.
Al-Jazeera Deputy Editor: We Didn't Apologize For Kuntar Festivities -- [MEMRI Blog]
The release of a MEMRI TV clip of festivities held by Al-Jazeera TV for released Lebanese prisoner Samir Al-Kuntar triggered criticism of the channel's lack of objectivity and reports that it had apologized for the celebrations.
However, Al-Jazeera deputy chief editor Ahmad Jadallah denied that the channel had apologized ...
American Airlines Narrowly Avoids the C.H.U.D. Label -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
Wek dropped C.H.U.D. Busters a tip about American Airlines charging too much for servicemember bags headed for the front, but AA decided to implement new policy to waive the fee.
Boxes From "Step Up for Soldiers"
Care packages being delivered to service members. Scenes include boxes stacked on floor, service members carrying them out, and opening boxes, and a service member saying thank you
Recruit your friends and family to join IAVA.
99,000 Americans have joined IAVA in less than four years. 99,000 Americans have shown their support for our newest generation of veterans.
With your help, we can make it 100,000.
IAVA continues to achieve victories for our nation's veterans because of the growing number of Americans, like you, who support us and our work.
Because of your generosity, we raised $20,000 for Scott Winkler and Carlos Leon, two wounded veterans who are competing in the Paralympics next month.
MEMORANDUM FOR U.S. JOINT FORCES COMMAND -- [SWJ]
Subject: Assessment of Effects Based Operations
1. Attached are my thoughts and Commander’s guidance regarding Effects Based Operations (EBO). The paper is designed to provide the JFCOM staff with clear guidance and a new direction on how EBO will be addressed in joint doctrine and used in joint training, concept development, and experimentation. I am convinced that the various interpretations of EBO have caused confusion throughout the joint force and amongst our multinational partners that we must correct. It is my view that EBO has been misapplied and overextended to the point that it actually hinders rather than helps joint operations.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: From A Combat Veteran's Perspective -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Returning Combat Veterans have a difficult time reintegrating back into society and family life. The scope of this paper explains these issues as they relate to the hindrance of Veterans from attaining a meaningful and productive life.
Coming home and helping those who helped us -- [Armed and Curious - home from Iraq]
I have finally sat down at my computer after a remarkable two weeks that has taken me from 18 hour work days in Baghdad all the way to my living room in Virginia. I am still sort of shaking off the shock of the transition. It is always so strange coming home from combat even though my combat is hardly the dangerous kind it once was.
Soldiers get a patriotic welcome -- [So Md News]
By ERICA MITRANO Summer is the traditional time for barbecues, but the party at a Huntingtown home last Saturday, Aug. 9, was a bit different.
Crowds welcome bodies home -- [Edmonton Sun - Canada]
Normally the conversation is about the need to remain in Afghanistan, or about grief over the loss of life.
But yesterday as the bodies of Master Cpl. Joshua Brian Roberts and Master Cpl. Erin Doyle were repatriated, there was a hint - subtle and small, but still noticeable - of the hope for peace.
"All those people in war stand up and fight and try to get peace, but they give their lives for it," said Rachel Milani, 7, of Niagara Falls.
Blog World Expo Joins The Military (Noon Pacific time 3:00 PM Eastern time) -- [Blog World Radio]
We are joining up with our military bloggers this week to talk about their conference which will be held in Las Vegas along with Blog World and New Media Expo. We are joined by Andi Hurly full time Mom and founder of Spouse Buzz, organizer of the Milblogging Conference, Greyhawk of the Mudville Gazette and Mrs. Greyhawk, and Bill Roggio of the Editor of the Long War Journal and President of Public Mulitmedia, Inc. We have a very full plate and our show is going to be packed with info about military blogging and about their conference taking place in Las Vegas.
Blogworld Expo / MilBlog Conference (BUMPED W/ MANY UPDATES) - [Mrs Greyhawk]
...UPDATE 1 - SURPRISE! Andi has pulled it off again with big names at the MilBlog Conference. Pete Geren, Secretary of the U.S. Army, and General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, join us via phone for the Blogger's Roundtable panel.
And I here there are more surprises ahead.
MANY MORE UPDATES SEE ...
New Rap Song Advocates Killing Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin -- [NewsBusters]
Although the hatred for conservative media members by leftists in this nation knows no bounds, a new "song" by the rap group East Coast Avengers represents a new low in vitriolic musical expression.
John McCain and the POW church riot -- [Chicago Tribune]
They called it the church riot. — Sen. John McCain, who is known for his reticence and even discomfort invoking faith on the campaign trail, was once dubbed a “Hell's Angel” for rioting against his captors in Vietnam in order to hold Sunday church services.
U.S. Troops Deployed Abroad Reject McCain’s Iraq Plans, Donate 6:1 To Obama -- [Think Progress]
“… Not only is Obama’s withdrawal plan — redeployment within 16 months — seemingly more popular amongst U.S. troops, but is also favored by Iraqi government officials. Even many wealthy donors in the United States who contributed to Bush in 2004 have been reluctant to donate to McCain because of his Iraq policies.”
Deployed Troops Give To Obama 6 to 1 - [Donklephant]
“… I think we’ve always been led to believe that people in the military will overwhelmingly support the Republican candidate, but that doesn’t seem to be the case…
Troops stationed abroad donating to Obama by six to one margin -- [Hot Air]
Beyond that, the would-be McCain soldier-donor has a hurdle to clear on his way to his checkbook that the Paul and Obama donor doesn’t. By kicking in to Maverick, he’s making it marginally more likely that he’ll continue to be deployed in the field and away from his family in the future. Even if he agrees with McCain’s foreign policy, thinks we ought to finish the job in Iraq, and is willing to continue serving bravely and well to that end, it’s asking a lot to ask him to pay for the privilege.
NOT The “Shocker” Most Americans Would Believe: -- [Gun Totin Liberal]
Barack Obama Receives Six Times MORE In Campaign Controbutions Than Panama John McCain Does From Deployed U.S. Troops
Yep — SHOCKER, indeed — although, I’ve been trying to tell America for years “The Troops” are anything BUT a bunch of Bush-Cheney-McCain backers (Lots of good stuff there, by the way) but you’d never know it if you have never served in the U.S. military and had never been exposed to the HIGHLY limited “Freedom of Speech” standards our troops must adhere to under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (”UCMJ” for our acronym fans).
During the Bush-Cheney Oligarchical “Big Oil And Nation Buildin’ Bidness” in Iraq, far-right, neconservative, Pro-Bush, Pro-Cheney, Pro-Mccain U.S. military member sites such as the ones represented by my brothers and sisters over at the MilBlogs have FLOURISHED — while we “military lefties” have had to either bite our tongues or blog anonymously, as I have done HERE since early 2004.
OK... -- [Grim]
An AP photo appears to show Obama's school registration in Indonesia, listing his religion as Islam. I see that Obama's Fight the Smears page doesn't mention it, though it denies that he was "raised as a Muslim."
So: is the photo real?
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
A Quick Look Around Western Anbar -- [Matel-in-Iraq - in Iraq]
We discussed the state of our districts at our recent team meeting. The good news is that progress across Western Al Anbar has been astonishing, but it is still uneven and each of the sub-districts has its own particular conditions.
MilBlogs TV: The Surge -- [Greyhawk]
The trailer for the next MilBlogs TV production (which I think makes an interesting short video by itself - but obviously I'm biased...)
The actual Surge series won't focus on the war on the home front depicted in this trailer, by the way. But with newly declassified documents, a green light to share some first-hand knowledge, and a large video collection to draw from I think many of the folks involved in that debate would benefit from viewing the final product.
Embed code for the video:
<embed src="http://blip.tv/play/AcfeQY3NKg" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" height="240" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true">
As always, adjust size to your specs.
Visit & Foot Patrol in Kubaysah -- [Matel-in-Iraq - in Iraq]
I always enjoy the foot patrols in any case and request that we do them whenever possible. I try to keep some Iraqi Dinars in my pockets and buy something at a local market. It also gives us a chance to see and be seen, as well as check the pulse of the neighborhood. I understand that this is not a scientific survey, but I also would say that I don’t trust the scientific surveys very much in Iraq.
Polling in Iraq is problematic and unusually susceptible to bias. Furthermore, I think some of those sponsoring some of the polls positively demand it. The people of the town know who their benefactor is the U.S. and the atmospherics were great. Everyone was willing to talk to us; all were smiling and friendly. When our interpreter apologized to a driver delayed by our foot patrol, he commented that is was no trouble and thanked us for what we were doing.
Georgia buries Iraq victims
The War in Iraq Is Over. What Next? -- [WSJ - Bing West]
For the first time in 15 trips across the country, I didn't hear one shot or a single blast from a roadside bomb. In Anbar Province, scene of the fiercest fighting during the war, the tribal sheiks insisted to Barack Obama on his recent visit that the U.S. Marines had to stay because they were the most trusted force.
...The threat in Iraq has changed from a full-scale insurgency into an antiterror campaign. Al Qaeda in Iraq is entrenched in northern Mosul, where it may take 18 months to completely defeat them.
A time with warriors -- [One Marine's View - in Iraq]
Although we are continuing to do great work in country our time here is limited. We continue to disrupt the enemy and keep the area safe. At some point we will begin the hurry up and wait procedure out of country and make the transition towards home. We ran into a few Georgian soldiers that were making their way back home due to the situations in their country. With broken english, Marines talked with them about what was happening in their home land.
Update -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
...We eat two or three times a week with the Iraqis. Their food is really quite good. Chicken, rice, vegetables, and fruit for dessert. They are a generous and hospitable people. The US Army has rules that prevent me from being equally generous and hospitable. I have not had any of the expected intestinal problems as a result of eating with them. I guess it is kind of like new mothers with their children. The first child has to live in a plastic bubble. Child 3+ dropped food gets brushed off and served again.
There is nothing bad going on around here. The threat is very low. I have already been accused of "complacency" because I see the threat as low and try to change my team's behavior to conform to that.
Back to Iraq - Kate Norley in Iraq - [BlackFive TV]
Back to Iraq- Return to Taji / Look what I found -- [BlackFive - Kate Norley - in Iraq]
...While security continues to be a priority across Iraq, a substantial shift has occurred in the methods used to create it. Coalition forces had been swinging from attack to defense, partly in response to the styles of terrorist warfare, but we now operate with a greater depth of understanding and rapport. 2nd Platoon showed me just that as the sun rose this morning. Armed with intelligence gathered from locals, and our own intuitions of notable area suspects, we patrolled through Bennezaid seeking out men of ‘military age.’ Not surprisingly, there were none to be found,...
Back to Iraq- Videos & Round Up -- [BlackFive TV]
The embeds are all heading back to Baghdad for exfil. They got all kinds of good video and interviews etc, there just wasn't enough bandwidth in country to get it back here. They get back to America on Thursday and I will begin compiling the video.
Up and Over the Palm Tree - [IraqStatusReport - Pete Hegseth - in Iraq]
Our foot patrol approaches the end of the street, where a dozen men seek shade from the midday sun. Some 20 meters away, young men in fluorescent-yellow reflective vests stand enduring the full force of the scorching heat. The local boys look like heavily armed school crossing-guards as they check cars entering the neighborhood. We walk past them and the giant barriers they guard to engage a group sitting around a corner convenience store.
Shop owner Abdul Kadir, a resident of Samarra for 20 years, breaks from the group to greet us. “Fogun Nouhal,” he says casually. I turn to the interpreter immediately, as this is a greeting I never heard in my eight months in Samarra. He laughs and says it means he is “excellent,” and can “finally breathe the fresh air.” Literally, it translates to “up and over the palm tree.”
Back to Iraq- Pete Hegseth at the Golden Mosque -- -- [BlackFive TV- Pete Hegseth - in Iraq]
Chaos... -- [Collabman's Thoughts - son in Iraq]
Another suicide bomber. Unspeakable injuries...death and destruction...sites and smells that will never leave you. Regardless, our warriors from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment respond with security and medical assistance.
Chris, check in when you can buddy - we continue to pray for the safety of you and the entire 2nd SCR...don't give up! I love you! Be safe!
Scania Burn Clinic -- [ubdumb]
An Iraqi burn victim receiving treatment from the Scania burn clinic. Scenes include military doctors treating the patient and interviews of the doctors.
Military volunteers run burn clinic in Iraq, providing "tenderness and Tylenol" -- [
SGT Joseph Barzeski of 3rd Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division is the current NCOIC, but the clinic was started by 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, 34th Brigade Combat Team, Minnesota National Guard. It began as a Family Practice clinic for the local Iraqis, but as time went on the medics saw more and more burn victims due to the high number of cooking and heating accidents common in Iraq.
...If you'd like to help, the top video has contact information included near the end.
The Estonian soldiers completing military operations, assisting Iraqi forces with patrols and interviews.
Apologies, and a quick note -- [Talisman Gate بـاب الطلــسم - Iraqi blogger]
...The Iraq story is getting boring, and that's a good thing. The 'analysts' and 'experts' who staked their reputations on the idea that Iraq is a failed state are feverishly hoping that the embers of violence would catch fire anew so that a certain presidential candidate may win and they'd get to keep their fake status of self-styled 'expertise'. My own reading of the situation is that is futile to go delving into the ashes of a failed insurgency that hasn't got the wherewithal to burst aflame again.
Veterans Helping Iraqi Refugees -- [A Soldier's Mind]
As a result of the war in Iraq, many citizens of that country fled their homes, often going to different countries, to escape the threats of violence from insurgents, who demanded their cooperation, or would threaten they and their families if they thought they were cooperating with coalition forces. Many, who’ve chosen to immigrate to the United States, have found difficulties with the process, which is often very lengthy. One such refugee, Ali Salah fled with his family to Jordan. Several months after the invasion of Iraq, by coalition forces, Salah volunteered to work with US Troops as an interpreter. By doing so, he put his life and that of his family in danger. Some Iraqis, especially those siding with the insurgency, branded him a traitor who was collaborating with his enemy.
The Thieves of Baghdad -- [Iraqi Mojo - Iraqi blogger]
It was the biggest gathering of close relatives since last summer, when my cousin’s (mom’s side) wife declared that America brought Al Qaeda to Iraq, and warned me with great sternness that it is blasphemous to defend infidels.
...The next morning, after E served us breakfast, she told us her story, which I will summarize here. E, like so many Iraqis, escaped Iraq long before 2003. The current conflict in Iraq may have eclipsed what happened to Iraqis during Saddam’s long reign of terror and intimidation, and certainly the media’s coverage of Iraq in the last five years has been much greater than all the media's coverage of Saddam’s atrocities.
High Diver -- [Thunder Run]
A young Iraqi boy performs a back flip off the diving board following the grand reopening of the Mesbah pool in the Karadah district of southeastern Baghdad, Aug. 7, 2008. (pic)
General Petraeus Beats Iraqi Kid -- [Blackfive]
You know, sometimes you just gotta show 'em who's boss. Photo of the General after the Jump:
For the Boys -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
It's Itzahk's fifth birthday today. I scroll through his pictures on my laptop.
...It's almost time. I pick up my smartphone and dial.
"Hello?" Itzahk says.
"Hey, sheli yeled gadol!"
I’d like to say that I do this job so that my kids won’t have to. But that would be a lie. I’m not going to win the war on terror. There will always be war. There will always be parents separated from their children. There will always be children who never see their parents again. There will always be pictures of birthdays and holidays shoved away on old hard drives and forgotten memory cards. There will always be fathers who are afraid that one day their kid will pick up Moshe Dayan’s “The Story of My Life” and dream of setting foot on a rifle range instead of a university.
I miss you, my beautiful boys, I’m sorry that I have this disease, this sickness that makes me reenlist every four years.
Afghans pay heavy price in war -- [NZ Herald]
British defence officials are refusing to compensate the families of hundreds of Afghans killed, wounded or left homeless in fighting involving British troops.
Despite pledges to reduce collateral damage in Afghanistan, the number of legal claims lodged by Afghan civilians against the British Government has grown more than five-fold during the past 12 months to almost 1300, suggesting a dramatic increase in innocent victims.
Marines Reach Out To Afghans
Marines who are positively affecting relations with the Afghan people.
Family Values -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban are increasing their terrorism in the countryside. They do not kill indiscriminately, but select victims who are behaving in an "un-Islamic" (according to their very conservative rules) manner, or working with the infidels (non-Moslems). This approach gives the terrified population a survival option. Simply live a strict Islamic life, and stay away from non-Moslems, and you may survive.
Highway 1 - IED Prevention
The increase in improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks brings with it the need for new measures to counter incidents along the highway connecting Kabul to Kandahar.
Al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan rumored killed in Pakistan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Unconfirmed reports indicates Mustafa Abu Yazid was killed during the fighting in the Bajaur tribal agency. US intelligence officials and al Qaeda have yet to confirm his death.
Bombing on Pakistani Air Force bus kills 13 in Peshawar -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Taliban took credit for the strike, announcing it was in response to military operations in Swat and Bajaur.
Estonians fortify position in southern Afghanistan - 1 Aug 2008
Afghan Commandos, Special Forces, Free Captives -- [Northshore Journal]
An Afghan commando works to release the chains on a hostage held by the Taliban in the Zerkoh Valley near Parmakan, Afghanistan, Herat province. A team of Afghan national army commandos, advised by U.S. Special Operations Forces, attacked a Taliban sanctuary in western Afghanistan’s Zeriko Valley recently.
President Bush Discusses Situation in Georgia -- [Whitehouse.gov]
THE PRESIDENT: I just met with my national security team to discuss the situation in Georgia.
I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori, and are threatening the Georgia's -- Georgia's capital of Tbilisi. There's evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city.
If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia.
Russia U.S. request not behind Russian ceasefire in S.Ossetia -- [RIA Novosti - Russia]
MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday that Russia had ended its operation in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia after fulfilling tasks set by its president, not at the request of the United States.
After Mixed U.S. Messages, a War Erupted in Georgia -- [NY Times]
In the five days since the simmering conflict between Russia and Georgia erupted into war, Bush administration officials have been adamant in asserting that they warned the government in Tbilisi not to let Moscow provoke it into a fight — and that they were surprised when their advice went unheeded. Right up until the hours before Georgia launched its attack late last week in South Ossetia, Washington’s top envoy for the region, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, and other administration officials were warning the Georgians not to allow the conflict to escalate. But as Ms. Rice’s two-pronged visit to Tbilisi demonstrates, the accumulation of years of mixed messages may have made the American warnings fall on deaf ears.
The United States took a series of steps that emboldened Georgia:
Georgia Says Russian Troops Still Advancing Despite Accord -- [NY Times]
MOSCOW — Georgia on Wednesday accused Russia of attacking and occupying the central Georgian city of Gori and effectively severing the country in two. Georgia said Russia’s actions were in flagrant defiance of an agreement struck only hours earlier to end the war that flared up last week.
Russian-Backed Separatist Leader Mocks US (Democrats): "Georgian Troops Received American Training in Running Away" -- [Gateway Pundit]
A separatist leader mocked Georgian soldiers today for running away-- just like the Americans.
Thank you, US Democrats!
American Troops Help Defend Georgia -- [Strategy Page]
August 13, 2008: As Russian troops invade, from bases in southern Russia, 127 American military trainers remain in Georgia (the one in the Caucasus). They weren't the only foreign troops around, as at the end of July, a thousand Ukrainian, Azeri, Armenian and U.S. troops departed after holding joint training exercises with their Georgian counterparts.
Castro Blames Bush For War in Georgia-- Pravda Gives Bush the Finger -- [Gateway Pundit]
I thought he was dead?
Yesterday, the Russian press blamed Republicans and Jews for the war in Georgia.
Today, Castro blamed Bush.
Georgia turns to Blogger -- [Sergeant Grumpy]
Here's one for the blogging books. From the onset of fighting between Russia and Georgia, Georgian servers have been under sustained attacks from abroad. Mainy of their website were taken down or defaced. This is a capability the Russians (and the Chinese) are famous for developing
...But here's where it get's interesting, unable to fight off the attacks, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started a blog right here on Blogger.
Apparently, the cyberattacks began well before the shooting, raising the possibility that the fighting was either foreseen, or perhaps provoked by Russia itself.
Raw : Georgia's President Runs For Cover
Whilst being interviewed by a reporter,Georgia's President Bodyguards hit panic button after believing they saw the enemy.
Cyber Thugs March Through Georgia -- [Strategy Page]
August 13, 2008: Georgia is not just being invaded by Russian troops, it is also being hammered on the Internet, with the same Cyber War techniques Russia used against Estonia last year.
Republic of Georgia Cyber Attacks "Part Deux" -- [Jawa Report]
...To clarify a few points Shadowserver's "Mike Johnson" has updated the wiki with a post titled "Georgian Websites Under Attack - Don't Believe the Hype". It warrants reading as it lays out a bit more historical information on the botnets involved.
Georgia on my mind -- [From my position... On the way!]
Now, if it was all about "reacting to Georgian aggression" I'd have to wonder how they happened to have all that Armor, Infantry, Artillery and their Navy all spun up and ready to invade. After all, it takes time--lots of time, in fact--to put tanks, artillery, and equipment on trains and move it across a continent. It takes even longer to get a naval force launched, as the ships must be fueled and provisioned, they must complete dockside repairs, shore leaves must recall, and the boats have to leave port. If it's about "regime change" is Georgia a breakaway republic, hell bent on Nuclear terrorism (like, say... Iran)? Or are they just a wealthy state with vast natural resources and infrastructure and a democratically elected gummint?
So what should we do?
Beijing Is All Dressed Up, But No One Is Going -- [Washington Post]
BEIJING, Aug. 13 -- Chinese Olympic organizers acknowledged Tuesday they were struggling to handle an unforeseen and baffling problem inside Summer Games venues and at the showpiece Olympic Park.
Not enough people.
Two weeks after announcing they had sold every one of the record 6.8 million tickets offered for the Games, Olympics officials expressed dismay at the large numbers of empty seats at nearly every event and the lack of pedestrian traffic throughout the park, the 2,800-acre centerpiece of the competition.
Olympics: Child singer revealed as fake -- [Guardian]
When nine-year-old Lin Miaoke launched into Ode to the Motherland at the Olympic opening ceremony, she became an instant star. "Tiny singer wins heart of nation," China Daily sighed; "Little girl sings, impresses the world," gushed another headline, perhaps in reference to Lin's appearance on the front of the New York Times.
...But now it emerges that Lin was lent someone else's voice, following high-level discussions - which included a member of the Politburo - on the relative photogenicity of small children. The recording to which Lin mouthed along on Friday was by the even younger Yang Peiyi. It seems that Yang's uneven teeth, while unremarkable in a seven-year-old, were considered potentially damaging to China's international image. "This is in the national interest. It is the image of our national music, national culture. Especially the entrance of our national flag; this is an extremely important, extremely serious matter," Chen Qigang, the event's general music designer, explained to a Beijing radio station.
Feds Catch Terrorist Treasure Trove -- [Stop the ACLU]
How long will it take before we hear about the ACLU defending this one? Hope they get a lot of info from her before they step in. Hope it helps catch some other big fish to fry too.
Captured Terrorist: We slaughtered the body, cut his guts out and filled it with explosives
Assessing the Fight against al Qaeda -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
This afternoon, the Washington Institute hosted Ted Gistaro, the National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats as part of its 2007-2008 lecture series with senior US government counterterrorism officials. Mr. Gistaro provided a comprehensive assessment on how the US and its allies are doing, nearly seven years after the September 11 attacks, in its efforts to defeat al Qaeda.
The UN Refuses to Define TERRORISM?
Islamist Forum Member Proposes Poisoning Water Systems of Major European Cities -- [MEMRI Blog]
On August 9, 2008 a member of the Islamist forum Al-Boraq proposed poisoning the water systems of major European cities. The forum member began his message by reminding "monotheists [i.e. Muslims] who yearn to support the Prophet" that Ramadan is coming, and explained that poisoning the water systems of major European cities is just one of many options – some of them "more powerful and more damaging" – but that his posting is meant to "prompt the mind [to generate] innovative [ideas]."
Good News: al Qaeda Inspiring AMERICANS to Terrorism in America -- [Jawa Report]
Ted Gistaro, the National Intelligence Officer (NIO), spoke at The Washington Institute today. His speech reiterated what we all know: al Qaeda still wants to commit acts of terror in the US, they are recruiting Europeans for the job, and they are having a much easier time doing it now that Pakistan has essentially given up sovereignty to their Taliban allies in the so-called "tribal" areas.
Also a few things I didn't know, such as al Qaeda has developed an order of succession.
Getting Dressed -- [FBL]
The wonderful charity Sew Much Comfort provides clothes adapted to the needs of wounded warfighters while they are recovering. For example, T-shirts with velcro in the sides so that they can be easily donned even if the wearer can't lift or bend his arms, or extra-wide pant legs that can accommodate the wire frames that old broken bones together.
Soldiers pay bag fee on travel to war -- [Washington Times]
American Airlines is charging troops for their extra baggage, a practice that forces soldiers heading for a war zone in Iraq to try to get reimbursement from the military. One of the country's largest veterans groups is asking the aviation industry to drop the practice immediately
“Run For The Fallen” Nears Arlington -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
Starting on June 14 at Ft. Irwin, California, a team of ten young people began a journey of remembrance for the American men and women who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. On August 12, the team made their way into southwestern Virginia, stopping in Christiansburg. Coincidentally, or not, the team’s August 12 stop is in the same hometown as OIF’s latest US serviceman killed in Iraq, Sgt. Kenny Gibson
Marines Get Beat Up in NYC Brawl -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
Our beloved Marine Corps is probably the last branch of service low-class CHUDs would want to tango with. However, when two marines tried to help a damsel in distress out in Coney Island, a mob of 50 thugs clearly outnumbers them. The NY Post reports on this violence against our service members:
DOD Retention/Recruiting Numbers in for July 2008 -- [Amy Proctor]
Whether the war is a hot button issue or not, Americans continue to enlist and re-enlist in the United States military, meeting and exceeding retention and recruitment numbers. Here are the charts:
Welcome Back -- [Winston-Salem Journal]
Wounded soldier returns to find he has a town full of supporters
THOMASVILLE - In the midst of the celebration over Sgt. Matthew Gobble's return home, retired Col. Dave Ulmer brought some pathos to the proceedings.
Ulmer told Gobble, who was injured July 13 while serving in Afghanistan, to ask for help if he needed it, for the memories of his time overseas, both good and bad, will stay with him for the rest of his life.
Wounded vet gets hero’s welcome -- [AndersonValleyPost]
A former Anderson man seriously wounded in Iraq arrived home Friday, Aug. 8, to a hero’s welcome, thanks to nearly 100 veterans and local service club
Is Iraq War Over But Media Aren't Telling Us? -- [NewsBusters]
Besides a complete withdrawal of American troops, what would have to occur for the media to think the war in Iraq is over?
Such seems an important question as hostilities in the embattled nation continue to decline, as do American casualties.
Exclusive: Warning To MSM: The Public May Be Smarter Than You Think! -- [FSM]
Be it the Iraq war, the actions of some conservative politician or ignoring negative stories about favored liberals, the MSM now shapes the news into their preferred shape before distributing the information to the masses. Unfortunately for these pseudo-journalists, the public is as informed, curious and cynical as ever. Such a public is sickened by MSM attempts to fashion and shape objective reality into their subjective fables.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Ted Rall. Telling Lies. -- [Registan.net]
...His treatment of Afghanistan is similar. In fact, flipping through one of his three tedious books on the country, I could turn almost at random to any page and point out factual inaccuracies about the place. It is telling he never quotes western or American interviewees by name—only semi-anonymous Afghans and officials quoted from news wires have real identities. This is because Rall cannot risk being fact-checked by a real publication. His entire presence would fall to pieces (see, for example, how Gary Groth complained about Rall’s poor quotation ettiquette, or his own admission of recklessly defaming the dead when he assumes
CNN's Schneider: McCain May 'Frighten' Voters By...Believing CNN -- [NewsBusters]
At the top of the first hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, fill-in anchor Suzanne Malveaux led with Russia's invasion of Georgia and she cited how “Moscow responded with a show of military muscle that was reminiscent of the Cold War era.” But 40 minutes later, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider contended that raising the very “Cold War” specter CNN had reported could “frighten” voters.
He characterized John McCain's assessment, about how Vladimir Putin's "ambitions are to restore the old Russian empire,” as “ominous” and warned that such language may hurt McCain
John McCain’s long war on Russia -- [The Politico]
While virtually every other world leader called for calm in Georgia last Thursday morning, John McCain did something he’s done many times over his career in public life: He condemned Russia.
McCain’s confrontational stance on the Caucasus crisis stems from a long, personal skepticism of Russian intentions, one that dates back to the Cold War and which eased only briefly in the early 1990s.
...Indeed, McCain, who publicly confronted Putin in Munich last year, may be the most visible — and now potentially influential — American antagonist of Russia. What remains to be seen is whether the endgame to the Georgia crisis makes McCain seem prophetic or headstrong and whether his muscular rhetoric plays a role in defining for voters the kind of commander in chief he would be.
Obama Releases Exxon Ad & Hopes That Nobody Notices It's a Lie -- [Gateway Pundit]
You just can't make this stuff up...
Despite his new TV ad, Barack Obama has received more money from Exxon and Mobil employees than Senator John McCain.
Comes another dishonest "John McCain is the The Exxon Candidate" ad.
...Never mind that Barack Obama took more donations from Exxon employees this year than John McCain:
Last Thoughts on Former Obama Muslim Advisor and His Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood -- [FSM]
Now that the furor has died down over the  resignation of Mazen Asbahi, the former Obama campaign Muslim outreach coordinator, it may be instructive to take an overall view of the question of his ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Unfortunately, the larger question of these ties has gotten lost in the media focus only on his membership on the board of a Brotherhood organization where an imam of a mosque implicated in Brotherhood/Hamas support activities also served.
...It should also be repeated that Mr. Asbahi went on to join four other organizations with connections to the U.S. Brotherhood.
*BREAKING* Barry Soetoro’s Birth Certificate in Republican Hands [UPDATE] -- [TexasDarlin]
Two sources, including Larry Johnson of No Quarter (who’s been in Hawaii on business), have independently told me that Republicans have in their possession Barack Obama’s Hawaiian Birth Certificate.
The sources confirm that the theory first presented here — see Obama Hides Indonesian Identity, Fake Birth Certificate Explained — nearly 2 weeks ago, IS TRUE:
...What does this mean? It means that Barack Obama has been hiding his Indonesian identity and citizenship, as we’ve been trying to shout from the rooftops. He may still have Indonesian citizenship;
The Birth Certificate published by Obama on his campaign website (still there, by the way) and distributed to the media was forged because the real BC on file is in the name Soetoro, an identity he apparently wanted to hide from the American people. I am getting reports from different sources that Obama traveled to Pakistan in ‘81 with an Indonesian passport.
Chinese President Revealed as Lip-Syncing Fake -- [ScrappleFace]
Just days after China revealed that a cute little girl pretended to sing a patriotic song at the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics because the real singer is buck-toothed and chubby, authorities in the People’s Republic today admitted that the man the world knows as President Hu Jintao, is also a lip-syncing impostor.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
For Iraq, getting to Beijing a monumental test of endurance -- [USA Today]
Four years ago, the rag-tag Iraq Olympic team was the darling of Athens.
...Last summer, 13 members of the national taekwondo team were found dead, more than a year after they vanished while traveling to a training site in Jordan. That horror followed the murders of the Olympic cycling and wrestling coaches.
This year, Iraq nearly missed the Olympics entirely when allegations of government interference with the National Olympic Committee led to the team's suspension.
But when Iraq's four athletes marched into National Stadium on Friday night to loud applause, they also did so without the team's inspirational leader.
...The team of four athletes is tiny compared to the nearly 600 sent by the USA. And as in Athens, there are modest expectations. But Fatah said there still is hope. There also are efforts to keep al-Samarrai's memory alive.
"Iraqi Olympics" (July 2008)
The Toughest Tribe in Anbar -- [Matel-in-Iraq - in Iraq]
Western Anbar is a place of tribes and extended families. Each group and sub-group has a reputation as do each of the sheiks. These groups are constantly vying for advantage and position. The Anbaris have come to see the Marines in terms they understand - as a tribe with a history and a reputation, although outside the tribal system. They have come to see the Marines as the toughest tribe in Anbar, the tribe with the longest memory and the one that will pay back in the terms used by the ancient Roman Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Felix) "No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full."(BTW - a good biography of Sulla is Sulla the Fortunate. It was published in 1927, but I don't know of a newer one. You could also go back to Plutarch, which is available in full text translation on Google. Sorry, I can never resist the digression.) This is good. The Marines have won respect in Anbar in their own terms.
Running... -- [Collabman's Thoughts]
I have been away and just returned tonight to some pretty ugly photos. As a father of a warrior on the ground with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, it is never easy to look the face of war straight up...but that is what these pictures have challenged me to do.
...I thought quite a while about whether to show the photos that tell the story of what happened in the Diyala province on 8 August and the response of the 2nd SCR to a "turn your head and don't look" situation. I decided that to understand what our men and women are experiencing we need to, at times, look at the ugliness of it all so we understand just a little.
3rd Iraqi Infantry Division
Package about the 4th birthday celebration for the 3rd Iraqi Infantry Division
Moving Forward -- [Up Country Iraq - in Iraq]
There is obviously still plenty going on in Iraq in general. Although the government was hoping to hold provincial elections on October 1st, that timeline won’t be kept. The sticking point is the failure of the Parliament to pass a Provincial Elections Law before adjourning for the remainder of August. One of the major stumbling blocks has been the status of Kirkuk Province up here in the north. Kirkuk is heavily Kurdish, and there is a lot of oil coming from the province. The Parliament has been trying to figure out how to frame the elections in Kirkuk. The Kurds want Kirkuk to be a part of the autonomous Kurdistan region, while the national government ...
Iraq to be handed People’s Mujahideen camp -- [Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network - iraqi TV]
Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Abdul Karim Khalaf revealed that an agreement with US Forces will be reached to hand over within two months Ashraf Camp in which anti-government People’s Mujahideen of Iraq is stationed. Khalaf announced that the agreement comes as part of ascertaining the power of law around the country noting that this organization is the only one inside Iraq to include 3,500 armed men. He revealed that measures will be taken to arrange the legal status of the organization noting that Iraqi Constitution and law do not allow for any organization to launch attacks on neighboring countries from Iraqi territories.
The chopper fiend -- [IN - Iraq - embed in Iraq]
...Overhearing the radio transmissions of some Medivac choppers rushing into the Theater Hospital at Balad for several minutes was enough to give me and some Indiana soldiers I was riding with one night, the idea it would be better not to knows the details of some of the wounded these birds were carrying.
Living in Armored Vehicles -- [Zoriah - War Photograher - embed in Iraq]
The vast majority of my time in Iraq has been spent in vehicle convoys. Often packed in with supplies, munitions and other soldiers, it is an uncomfortable form of transportation, especially for five, ten or more hours daily. Soldiers and Marines spend as much as seven days a week in these cramped conditions, often wondering when the wheels may come in contact with a roadside bomb.
Medevac Summary -- [Marching Camp - in Iraq]
As those of you who follow the LJ know, I was medevaced from theater this week. Not for anything serious. My left eye clouded over, developing a haze which an optometrist and three ophthalmologists believe is a complication relating to the PRK I had last September. .
...I've been reading a bit in the news accusing the Army of continued shortfalls in care of Warriors in Transition (the buzz word du jour for folks evacuated from theater). I don't know what's going on the US, but I can definitively say that I have not experienced any problems that were not addressed immediately by the capable and dedicated staff, whether in Al Asad, Balad, or Landstuhl.
Arab Music -- [Something on the staff]
During my daily dealings with the Iraqi Army, we spend quality time watching TV. TV, especially satellite TV, is something of a miracle for the Iraqis, as Saddam forbade all satellite dishes. Before 2003, Iraqis could only watch government TV channels.
Back in 2002, an Iraqi took his broken TV to a repair man. The repair man wanted
Dumb Asses -- [Playing in the Sandbox - in Iraq]
...Perhaps not quite as funny overall, but undoubtedly more frequent, are what I call the suicidal donkeys. With every mounted patrol come encounters with the local donkey population, perhaps only slightly smaller in numbers than the local people population. For reasons completely beyond my understanding these donkeys will invariably run directly in front of our vehicles and come to a halt. I have seen donkeys lying peacefully on the side of the road a quarter mile from us, and then just as we reach them they stand up and move right into the path of our oncoming trucks. And stand there.
Memories of Babylon -- [Sergeant Grumpy]
I remember seeing a bus full of Georgian Soldiers, who had deployed to Iraq to cover down on an area the Poles had pulled out of. They are all apparently leaving Iraq, as they are needed back home. God speed to them as they go to battle the Russians. Seems to me the Georgians ...
Breastmilk, KBR'd and ranges oh my -- [Fobbits need ice cream too - in Iraq]
So we rolled up north and got in up there around 0400. Around 0500 I awoke, vomiting all over and with a splitting headache. This is normal; I grabbed some skank KBR bottled water from the big bin in the transient area and was feeling the pain once again. This has happened before; they put 100% fine bottled water into a big bin with non-potable ice and when they chuck the water in, it breaks some of the seals. Eventually the ice melts and seeps into the bottles, and now you're drinking "black" water.
This is how we take the boredom out of 8 hr Patrols
Man, I am glad the late afternoon... -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
Pakistan intelligence helping Taliban: NATO general -- [AFP]
Pakistan's intelligence agency is helping the Taliban to pursue an insurgency in Afghanistan that has seen a 50 percent hike in attacks in some areas this year, the NATO commander here told AFP.
The number of foreign fighters, including Europeans, is also increasing here while NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) still lacks the soldiers it needs, US General David D. McKiernan said in a weekend interview.
Afghanistan hopes to end Olympic medal drought -- [chinaview.cn]
Runner Mehboba Andyar, the only female Afghan athlete in Beijing, will compete in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters events. Ahdyar spent years training for her chance on the world supreme athletic stage. In spite of the change in Afghanistan's political fortunes, the only female Olympian has faced daily taunts from her more conservative neighbors, vicious rumors about her character, and even death threats from extremists.
"Afghan Olympic Runner" - is a female (May 2008)
"Six years after the Taliban were overthrown, Afghanistan is starting to evolve. Mehbooba, a 19-year-old female athlete, is the living proof of the changes happening in the country."
"A Welcome Milestone ..." -- [Afghansitan]
Progress can always be seen best by looking at the youth of the country. Afghanistan is certainly no exception to the rule. Yesterday, we met with an impressive young lady working for a government organization best resembling the secretary of state back home.
To be clear, she was in no burka ... in fact she was quite the fireball! Very sharp and committed to the bright future of Afghanistan, she spent time telling us about her battle against the corruption amid other governmental branches. As I thought about it this morning, I began to realize the implications of the role we get to play here in Afghanistan.
Pakistani troops retreat after Taliban onslaught in Bajaur -- [LWJ- Bill Roggio]
The Frontier Corps retreated from the Loisam region after three days of heavy fighting. Taliban forces dig in around Khar.
Taliban “shadow” governor for Uruzgan province arrested -- [LWJ - Matt Dupee]
Australian special forces captured Mullah Bari Ghul, a key Taliban commander in the province. Ghul is the latest in a series of key Taliban leaders killed or captured in the South.
Afghanistan: We Don’t Have That Much Time! -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...The Captain’s Journal has been arguing for more than half a year for focus and force projection in Afghanistan. Somewhat belatedly, the U.S. force command and NATO might have had a similar moment to Apollo 13. “How long does traditional COIN takes? Why, ten to twelve years by the book, sir! We don’t have that much time!”
We helped in Iraq - now help us, beg Georgians -- [London Times]
As Russia forces its neighbour to retreat from South Ossetia, the people of Gori tell our correspondent of betrayal by the West — As a Russian jet bombed fields around his village, Djimali Avago, a Georgian farmer, asked me: “Why won't America and Nato help us?
American troops found amongst Georgian dead?
The War in Georgia Is a War for the West -- [WSJ - MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI]
As I write, Russia is waging war on my country.
On Friday, hundreds of Russian tanks crossed into Georgian territory, and Russian air force jets bombed Georgian airports, bases, ports and public markets. Many are dead, many more wounded. This invasion, which echoes Afghanistan in 1979 and the Prague Spring of 1968, threatens to undermine the stability of the international security system.
The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West's jugular -- [Mail Online]
...Their claims came after Russian jets struck deep into the territory of its tiny neighbour, killing civilians and completely devastating' the strategic Black Sea port of Poti, a staging post for oil and other energy supplies. Reports last night also said that Russia had bombed the international airport in Tbilisi. Georgian economic development minister Ekaterina Sharashidzne said: This clearly shows that Russia has targeted not just Georgian economic outlets but international economic outlets as well.'
The return of history -- [Neptunus Lex]
This was not so much a failure of Georgian strategy so much as it was a failure of worldwide imagination. Tanks do not roll overnight, and fleets do not move in a week’s time. Putin is not acting out of petulance but calculation, and the game he’s playing is as long as Russian history itself.
Raping Georgia - [Ralph Peters]
...What just happened? The Kremlin decided it was time to act, since Georgia was only growing stronger under its democratically elected government. Although NATO has been hemming and hawing about admitting Georgia, the Russians didn't want to take any chances. (Just last month, 1,000 US troops were in Georgia for an exercise.)
Calculating that the media and world leaders would be partying in Beijing, the Russians ordered North Ossetian militiamen, backed by Russian "peacekeepers" and mercenaries, to provoke the Georgians earlier this month.
Why Not Ossetian Independence? -- [Castle Argghhh - Kat]
AFSis and a few others, I imagine, are wondering why the Republic of Georgia would fight to keep a recalcitrant little spit of land? Even to the point of taking on a much bigger adversary to keep it. It is a good question. Another good question is why would Russia want it? In fact, by recoginizing South Ossetia as joined to North Ossetia, a Russian territory, it brings that territory into Russia proper and gives them a territory where they can "legally" station thousands of more troops than they currently have under a "peace keeping" agreement. What good are those troops?
First, we need a map.
Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia -- [Greyhawk]
...Ponder the situation in this manner: Georgia is already an American ally in time of war, and they've now been attacked on the homefront. The obvious question: how far will the US go to back a consistent ally in Iraq? The answer will send a message to the world.
True colors: Where's the "anti-war" movement on the Russo-German war? -- [TigerHawk]
...Of course, the Russians have no meaningful justification under international law, far less than the imperfect case the United States and its coalition built to justify regime change in Iraq.
That caused me to wonder, where are the anti-war groups?
Well, as of this morning, you can find no mention of the war on A.N.S.W.E.R.'s home page. The group is addressing many other pressing matters, but apparently not the unremitting attack on Georgia. Code Pink? Nyet. Democracy Now!, which is a left-wing media group, has lots of news about American wars on its web page but nothing about Russia or Georgia.
Saudi Women's Activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider’s New YouTube Video: On the Saudi Ban of Women Competing in the Beijing Olympics - [MEMRI Blog]
The following are screen shots from the new YouTube video by Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider titled "No to Women’s Oppression," on the Saudi ban on women competing in the Beijing Olympics. In the video, Wajeha Al-Huwaider writes, "participating in the Olympics is the impossible dream for Saudi women, until they lift the ban on sports for women in public schools and government universities."
It's Sunday in China-- President Bush Speaks Out On Religious Freedom (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
...Standing with the Kuanjie Summer Vacation School Choir and Pastor Meng Maoru, President George W. Bush delivers a statement outside Beijing Kuanjie Protestant Christian Church in Beijing Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008. Said the President, "Laura and I just had the great joy and privilege of worshiping here in Beijing, China. You know, it just goes to show that God is universal, and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion."
MILFs Attack, 130,000 Flee Southern Philippines -- [Jawa Report]
(Mindanao Island, Philippines) The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has attacked and occupied the North Cotabato Province of central Mindanao causing 130,000 majority Christian citizens to flee. Fifteen villages have been occupied
New Zawahri Tape; He Speaks English -- [Jawa Report]
This is a first... an audiotape from an Al Qaeda leader in.... English no less.... yeah all those days and nights in a safehouse were put to good use....he learned a language.
A Soldier’s Angel Keeps Him Warm -- [Lawn Darts]
Soooooo.. this one is pretty much a nod to Soldiers’ Angels, more specifically Blankets of Hope, but also Blankets of Belief and Blankets of Gratitude. If there’s anyone from Soldiers’ Angels reading this, and you want to use the art for advertising your programs online or something, that would be fine.
The event was rowing - the Olympic Eights more specifically. -- [EagleSpeak]
The team members were not sons of great, wealthy families. They were not sons of Harvard or Yale. They were midshipmen at the Naval Academy. Some of the crew came from land-locked states. Their coach was a former fisherman and sparring partner of John L. Sullivan who happened to have a knack for coaching rowing. For sixteen years he worked to establish the Naval Academy as a force in rowing.
This time, tears of joy -- [The Voice in My Head]
We covered the heartbreaking news from Afghanistan last month in which 9 US troops were killed in an attack on a US held base, including local soldier Pruitt Rainey.
Today we come across the heartwarming news that another local soldier, who survived that attack, is coming home:
The Donut of Misery -- [Something on the staff - home from Iraq]
After the 15th month of a 12 month tour, the phone rang and told us to head to Kuwait. Sheeah, right. We’ll get to Kuwait and promptly turn around for Mosul. But, we went to Kuwait, turned over our equipment and remained skeptical about ever going home. Then we got on the aircraft, still no guarantee! Folks made it to the US of A before the extension, and were called back to Iraq. Landed in Germany, marveled at the green grass but still didn’t think we were home free. Once the plane took off and we were sure it was heading West, we relaxed a bit more.
We landed in Maine.
Russia Claims Reuters Is Playing Fauxtography Games In Georgia -- [Gateway Pundit]
Russian News noviny.narod.ru claims that Reuters is involved in another fauxtography scandal.
These photos were taken in Gori, Georgia after the Russian attack yesterday:
George Clooney to Make Film About Bin Laden's Driver -- [NewsBusters]
With all the topics out there to make a movie about, would you ever want to spend money on and appear in a film focusing on Osama bin Laden's personal driver and bodyguard?
Obama: “America is no longer what it once was”; Update: Rush reacts -- [Hot Air]
...Everyone feels that we can improve ourselves, but we don’t usually cast it in terms of the country no longer being what it once was. Coming from the Obamas, that doesn’t even make sense. They have talked about how difficult it was to break through barriers, not without some justification, to reach this point in their lives and American history.
Doesn’t that speak to the point that we continue to grow and to learn? And if not, ...
Barack Obama To Little Girl: America's Not So Great
“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”
Obama Dumps Stars & Stripes for Campaign Symbol -- [Jawa Report]
Presumptive Democrat candidate Barack Obama recently remodeled his campaign airplane at a cost of $500,000. Changes included new paint and removal of the Stars and Stripes from the tail.
Obama and the Born-Alive Act -- [The Corner - Yuval Levin]
Six years ago, Congress passed the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act,” making it illegal to kill a child who is fully born during an attempted abortion. The bill passed without a single opposing vote in either house, and was signed into law by President Bush on August 5, 2002. When he was a state senator at that same time, Barack Obama opposed a state version of the bill in Illinois. His explanation for the vote since then has been that the state version did not include a so-called “neutrality clause” which says explicitly that the bill is not meant to influence the legal standing of a fetus before birth one way or another.
Georgia Started the War to Help McCain -- [Greg Pollowitz]
Is this just a bad parody or is HuffPo blogger Blake Fleetwood serious about this?
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraqis Say Deal Near On Troop Departure -- [Boston Globe]
Iraq and the United States are near an agreement on all American combat troops leaving Iraq by October 2010, with the last soldiers out three years after that, two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press yesterday. US officials, however, insisted no dates had been agreed upon.
Austin Bay - Conversation with General Petraeus
Prominent city leader gives state of Fallujah address -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog - in Iraq]
Sheikh Hamid Ahmed Al-Hashim, city council chairman, delivered his speech to the people of Fallujah through the local media. He addressed the progress the city has made in the past year, and focused on various quality of life projects and security improvements.
The city of Fallujah is rebuilding, Hamid mentioned. “We have a bright future ahead of us. Everyday, improvements are being made.”
...Security is only getting better, he said.
Iranian EFPs Disappear -- [Strategy Page]
August 8, 2008: Iran has been shipping far fewer Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) into Iraq this year compared to last, and there are fewer Iraqis willing to use them. This time last year, about a hundred a month were being used to attack U.S. troops. That's down over 80 percent this Summer.
Jamillia Market of Sadr City.
Happenings in the Jamillia Market of Sadr City.
In Iraq, Regional Politics Heats Up -- [WaPo]
Jockeying Grows Among Groups, and Within Them, as Violence Gradually Gives Way to Power Sharing
A growing number of Iraqi groups are choosing to pursue their agendas through politics instead of bloodshed, a trend that has helped bring down levels of violence. But as Iraqis leave behind the sectarian cataclysms of recent years, ethnic and regional political disputes in several parts of Iraq are becoming more pronounced.
Meeting With Iraqi Sheiks
U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division attend a meeting with Iraqi sheiks to discuss provincial unity in the Muthanna Province, Iraq,
Kirkuk row scuppers chance of Iraq elections next year -- [London Times]
The chances of key local polls taking place in Iraq this year all but vanished yesterday after Parliament failed to pass an law on elections because of a row over the contested city of Kirkuk, which threatens to heighten Arab-Kurdish tensions. Lawmakers will meet again after a month-long summer break to continue the debate, to the disappointment of the United Nations, Britain and the United States.
Rocks in a Hard Place -- Episode 6 -- Death Threats -- [Royal airforce]
The sixth of a weekly series of videos following the RAF Regiment on the frontline in Basra. II Squadron receives intelligence that insurgents are hiding rockets within range of the base and sends the Support Weapons Flight to investigate. It's not easy to get information from the local villagers as they frequently receive death threats from the local militias.
The last 10 yards in Anbar -- [Military Watch]
I spoke for an hour this afternoon with Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly, who commands U.S. and coalition forces in western Iraq. His take on winding down the war: "We are in the last 10 yards of this thing and we can't close that because it's economic, jobs ... the kind of things the government of Iraq needs to do.''
Rocks in a Hard Place - Episode 7 - Peace in a hostile territory - [Royal airforce]
A Flight enters into hostile territory to visit an Iraqi army post and gather intelligence. Close to a symbolic Shia shrine, the site was heavily bombed during the first Iraq war. Wary of local militias, the lads visit a nearby village bearing gifts for the school children.
Iraqis Work to Restore Essential Services After Bombing, Vow Terrorists Will Not Win -- [MNF-I]
A car bombing in northern Baghdad killed four residents and injured seven more shortly before 9 a.m., Aug. 3, 2008. Nearby business, buildings and power lines were also damaged in the attack.
“I think people that attack the innocent people are not real human beings. They are like animals,” said Omar Haddam, an electrician, who was working to help restore power to the residents of Suleikh, a neighborhood in the Adhamiyah District of Baghdad.
Coalition forces capture alleged terrorist leader -- [MNF-I]
Coalition forces detained 25 suspected terrorists Thursday during sweeps targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq operations and facilitation in central and northern Iraq. The alleged leader of an AQI network within Baghdad and one of his suspected associates are in Coalition custody after two precision operations in the city. The man is believed to be associated with the terrorist network in the Karkh neighborhood. The associate is also reportedly involved with AQI’s foreign terrorist network, helping to bring facilitation agents to Baghdad. Another
The end of Rakan's war -- Iraqi Mojo - Iraqi blog]
...Rakan Hassan, the boy whose life Larry Ronan saved, the boy I sat with most days for five months, the boy who became my sons' friend, the boy who touched anybody and everybody he met, was killed in June when a bomb exploded at his family's home in Mosul. He was 14 years old. Two of his sisters - an infant and a teenager - were injured in the attack but are expected to recover.
Transportation -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
I have no idea what the price of gas is in the USA. Here it is free.
...This is a typical Iraqi army vehicle. Made in the USA. This one is converted to the commander's vehicle and has a light machine gun on the back. I also see a lot of Ford F-350's here. By far though, the preferred vehicle for the Iraqi army is the HMMWV. They love those things. They love the horsepower and the armored sides and all the room inside to carry stuff. There is nothing comparable in their military history of vehicles. They are hoping
Interview With Army Gen. David McKiernan Barbara Starr -- [CNN]
STARR (voice-over): In an exclusive interview with CNN, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan warns Pakistan's continued harboring of al Qaeda and the Taliban could put the war in Afghanistan at risk.
GEN. DAVID MCKIERNAN, NATO COMMANDER, AFGHANISTAN: I don't believe we can get to the right outcome in Afghanistan as long as these militant sanctuaries exist across the border.
STARR: U.S. Army Four Star General David McKiernan is blunt about one of America's closest allies and the role of its intelligence service, the ISI.
MCKIERNAN: Do I believe that the Pakistani government must do more? I absolutely do.
Do I believe that there has been some complicity on the part of organizations such as the ISI, over time, in Pakistan? I believe there has been.
Pakistani forces clash with Taliban in Bajaur -- [LWJ- Bill Roggio]
The Pakistani military and the Taliban battled in the northern tribal agency of Bajaur after security forces launched an attack. More than 25 extremists were reported killed and 30 wounded after Pakistani forces targeted Taliban hideouts in the Loisam region in Bajaur with helicopter gunships and artillery, Geo News reported.
Wounded Warrior Returns
Package about Cpl. Garrett Jones, a Marine, who is an avid snowboarder, in spite of the fact that he lost a leg due to an improvised explosive device. Provided by American Forces Network Afghanistan.
Insurgencies and Politics -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
I briefly touched on this last night in the article about Pakistan and the Taliban forces (More On Afghanistan and Pakistan). I received a lot of emails asking about it, so I wanted to elaborate a little more. The original insurgency design of a Maoist type insurgent is one in which they attack the government along three lines of operation. These lines of operation are broken down into Political, Guerrilla, and Conventional War. The decisive effort (or most important) is ...
The Forgotten War -- [The Washington Independent]
Four-star General Calls Afghanistan Conflict "Generational"
As U.S. military casualties mount in Afghanistan, a retired four-star Army general, who just returned from reviewing the six-plus-year war effort, said the country "is in misery" and describes the war as "a 25-year campaign." In a memo written for the Social Sciences Dept. at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on July 30, Barry McCaffrey, a division commander during the 1991 Gulf War and drug czar under President Bill Clinton, writes that there is "no unity of command" -- either among U.S. and foreign coalition troops, or even among U.S. troops.
Ingress to Afghanistan -- [The Captain’s Journal]
India has long been very wary of the Taliban, having fought Islamic extremists in the Kashmir region for years. Hence, they knew long before the U.S. did that political and security problems would cast doubt on the supply of arms and other military materiel to NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Sea-Borne SCUD Threat to US? -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
This UPI article carried in today’s Washington Times will no doubt get the reader’s attention: “Threat of scud attacks a reality”. The threat is real, the technology exists, and it is available and incredibly cheap; at least a half-dozen rogue...
President visits Korea, thanks troops -- [Army News]
The president arrived to the enthusiastic cheers of more than a thousand Americans who serve, live and work on the Korean peninsula along with their Republic of Korea military counterparts. Bush thanked the service members for their dedicated service, lauded military families and commended the U.S. alliance with the Republic of Korea, which has endured for 55 years.
...Applause erupted from the crowd as the president discussed working with U.S. allies in Asia to deter the North Korean nuclear program. “We are going to stand united with South Korea and China and Japan and Russia until we reach our ultimate goal -- and that is a Korean peninsula where people are free from nuclear weapons and free from oppression.” Bush said.
Saudi Women's Activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider’s New YouTube Video: -- [MEMRI Blog]
On the Saudi Ban of Women Competing in the Beijing Olympics, Special Dispatch #2016
The following are screen shots from the new YouTube video by Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider titled "No to Women’s Oppression," on the Saudi ban on women competing in the Beijing Olympics. In the video, Wajeha Al-Huwaider writes, "participating in the Olympics is the impossible dream for Saudi women, until they lift the ban on sports for women in public schools and government universities."
Russia Threatens Retaliation After Georgia Says It Fired on Planes -- -[NY Times]
The sharpest fighting since the early 1990s in the disputed Caucasian enclave of South Ossetia threatened to draw Russia and the American-backed former Soviet republic of Georgia into direct military conflict on Friday.
...Speaking in Beijing, where he traveled to attend the opening of the Olympic Games, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said Georgia’s actions "will certainly lead to retaliatory actions.”
Russia sends forces into Georgian rebel conflict -- [Reuters]
A senior Georgian security official said Russian jets had bombed the Vaziani military airbase outside the Georgian capital Tbilisi, and President Mikheil Saakashvili said 150 Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles had entered South Ossetia from neighboring Russia.
Israel warns Russia: We'll neutralize S-300 if sold to Iran -- [Jerusalem Post]
If Russia goes through with the sale of its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Israel will use an electronic warfare device now under development to neutralize it and as a result present Russia as vulnerable to air infiltrations, a top defense official has told The Jerusalem Post.
Islamic Group Warns Muslims to Keep Children Away From Olympics (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) issued a new threat on August 6, 2008 against the Beijing Olympics, and urged Muslims not to attend the games or be within the vicinity, reported SITE Institute.
China discovers al Qaeda in its backyard -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
In a video accusing China’s Communist Government of “mistreating Muslims” a Jihadi group threatened to attack the Summer Games in Beijin. A spokesman of the Turkistan Islamic Party accuses China of “forcing Muslims into atheism and destroying Islamic schools. The “Turkistan Islamic Party” is most likely based across the border in Pakistan, where sources affirm it received training from Al Qaeda.
Disgraceful Hamdan Sentence Calls Military Commissions Into Question -- [NRO - Andrew C. McCarthy]
In an astounding finale to the first military-commission trial, Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s personal aide, has been sentenced by a military commission to five-and-a-half years in prison — five-and-a-half years — upon conviction for the war crime of providing material support to al-Qaeda.
It gets worse.
About right -- [Neptunas Lex]
This is fair. The whole point of putting Hamdan on trial first was to validate the military commissions process. The case against him was strong enough to ensure a conviction on at least one count so long as no procedural show stoppers emerged and he was an insignificant enough a player in his own right that a procedural miscarriage carried with it little real security risk to the republic.
It offends the notion of justice to send an simpleton to prison for life merely for the crime of having been borne stupid, and it seems relatively clear that ...
Al Jazeera Hosts Party for a Terrorist -- [CNS News]
An Israeli official has accused the Arabic satellite television channel Al Jazeera of “unprofessional” behavior in hosting a party at its Beirut office for newly freed arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar. As a result, it may face sanctions from Israel’s Government Press Office.
Companions Of Wounded Warriors Share Pain -- [CBS]
When a soldier goes off to war, an entire family sacrifices as well. According to some experts, eight relatives are directly affected by every deployment. Much has been written about America’s wounded warriors. Less familiar are the challenges their spouses face when they become caregivers.
A Film to Watch: "Warriors... in their own words" -- [View from the 8th Floor]
I first wrote about the film when I got an email with a link to the trailer clip back in the spring.
This film isn’t about Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s about those who step up to serve as warriors - as our “sheepdogs” - who do not only their best, “but what’s necessary”.
In my opinion, this film is a reminder of why we need to respect what our warriors volunteer to do, regardless of our political persuasions.
USS Kearsarge’s Doctor Brigade -- [War is Boring]
There are more doctors aboard this ship than you can shake a tongue depressor at. Huddled in USS Kearsarge’s wardroom together, the dozens of physicians from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the Canadian army, the Dutch navy and even the Brazilian military look like a bag of M&Ms that someone picked all the reds out of. And sprinkled among the browns, blues, tans and greens are the solid dark blue uniforms of the federal government’s seventh uniformed service, which I didn’t even know existed until this week. These belong to doctors and nurses from the U.S. Public Health Service. (In case you’re wondering, the sixth uniformed service is the oceanographic agency.)
...They’re not the kind of force you’d send en masse into a warzone, but for Kearsarge’s “soft power” deployment to deliver humanitarian aid to South America, the USPHS is perhaps just right. They’re highly skilled medical personnel with deep and diverse real-world experience … and they’re used to working far from home in austere conditions.
Adventures in Blogging: Early Impressions -- [Information Dissemination]
The three embedded bloggers who departed with the USS Kearsarge yesterday have spoken. We intend to follow the adventures of David Axe, Chris Albon, and Boston Maggie because they represent exactly what the Navy is trying to do here. David Axe is a veteran reporter, so his perspective will be big picture. Chris Albon discusses war and health, so we should expect some insight from the humanitarian angle from him. Boston Maggie is, well, representative of most Americans
Every penny counts. -- [Blog-ah]
In October I will have severed five years in the military, and during those years the only time I was financially stable was while I was deployed. When you come back from your tour there is a certain reflex that tells you: “You deserve something.”
...married soldiers as well single soldiers who have come to his office all have seemingly the same issues; they just can’t keep up with the ever-changing economics, such as the rise in gas and food and, for some, rent prices as well as mortgages. His advice to soldiers is
Interesting news from the Coast Guard - and Homeland Defense -- [Castle Argghhh!]
From an email: Not sure what this means but it seems that very shortly Coasties will be able to apply to serve with the SEALS.My thoughts? Heh. It sounds to me like HLD wants to have an in-house, non-DoD SpecOps ability not subject to Posse Comitatus. It could just be the Coast Guard wants SpecOps trained ship-boarders for some of those feistier drug runners and pirates, too.
Hannah’s “Army Angels” inspire deployed soldiers -- [Crossville Chronicle]
This courageous little girl who, throughout her difficult ordeal thought about others more than herself, finally got to welcome home "her soldiers.
...After successful surgery to remove the tumor, Hannah had a lot to think about and a lot to give thanks for. After much thought and many prayers she knew she wanted to "give something back" and decided to start a support group for deployed soldiers and their families here at home. She called it "Army Angels" and it eventually came to encompass the children of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Megathlin: Every soldier deserves hug -- [Savannah Morning News]
...She said that before the soldiers arrived, she had been talking to another soldier in the unit's rear detachment. He was there to greet his returning buddies.
He told her that he had been to Iraq twice. When he came home, he didn't have anyone waiting for him. He had told himself it was no big deal, but as he watched his friends embrace their families, a silenced part of him found its voice. He collected his belongings, went back to his barracks, and cried.
The 3rd Infantry Division soldiers still in Iraq won't be home until January. Hundreds of them signed up to be adopted by patriotic Americans before they got on the plane at Hunter. To adopt a soldier, write to me.
Survivor Baghdad -- [Jane Stillwater - journalist in Iraq]
...She is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. She’s a war correspondent, a mother of two pre-teens and looks like she might still be in high school (a sophomore at most).
“Have you ever been to Iraq before?” I naively asked. She had. And also to Somalia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, etc.
...“The only thing wrong with this life,” she added, “is the PTSD. Sometimes I’m just not in complete control of my behavior. That’s why I’m not voting for John McCain. After seven years in a prison camp, he’s bound to have PTSD — and occasionally slip out of control.” That’s a sobering thought — especially since McCain would be having his finger on the red button if he won.
NYT Can't Wait: 'Deadly U.S. Milestone' of 500 Deaths in Afghanistan -- [NewsBusters]
The New York Times's front-page report Thursday marking the 500th death in Afghanistan (most but not all in combat) tracks through the same muddy ruts as the paper's previous four stories marking each 1,000 fatality mark in Iraq. It's taken almost seven years of combat in Afghanistan to reach the plateau of 500, which
Selective Editing? -- [Confederate Yankee]
A man has be arrested for making threats against Barack Obama.
Notice any difference in how the story is told, however?
CNN's version: - AP Version:
The suspect also hated President Bush and is quoted as wanting to put a bullet in his head, so he's an equal opportunity assassination fantasist. Why CNN didn't think that detail was newsworthy?
Olbermann: Bin Laden’s Driver Is ‘Victim’ of Bush Admin ‘Urinating’ on Constitution -- [NewsBusters]
On Thursday’s Countdown show, one night after accusing President Bush of not doing enough to protect America from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization before the September 11th attacks, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed sympathetic to the plight of bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Hamdan, during
Seven-year-old to Michelle Obama: Let’s finish what we started in Iraq -- [Hot Air]
I’ll say this much for the Obamas: No one has more interesting political conversations with second-graders than they do. Something for everyone here — for the righties, some easy snark that the correct way to proceed in Iraq is obvious even to grade-school kids; for the lefties, some even easier snark that it takes someone with the mindset of a grade-school kid to think this is the correct way to proceed; and for the nonpolitical among us, a warm and fuzzy moment at the end. A good time was had by all.
Federal Officers to Obama: We’re No Terrorists -- [Stop the ACLU]
The president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association has sent a blistering letter to Barack Obama castigating him for a remark he made that the organization says equates its members with “terrorists.”
...The letter from the Association’s National President Art Gordon states: “On behalf of the 26,000 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), I take great exception to your disparaging remark, `.communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids.’
“While the dedicated men and women of ICE endeavor to carry out their dangerous and noble missions, you somehow felt compelled to characterize their efforts as something akin to terrorizing.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Terror Connects to Crime In Iraq: Analysis by General David Petraeus -- [Austin Bay]
...This particular question (terror and crime in Iraq) and its extensive answer are an example of the Internet’s real contribution to serious discussion – space for the expert to elaborate, for concepts to evolve, for significant facts to receive due emphasis, for the experts and the audience to explore. And General Petraeus explores many dimensions of terror and crime, as well as the civilizing force of the Rule of Law. He acknowledges theory –that’s the scholar– as he speaks from crucible — the soldier at war.
Brigade Commander Cites ‘Phenomenal Progress’ in Rashid District -- [Iraq War News]
...“For the first time, I've seen Iraqi Security Forces that can plan, prepare and execute first-class offensive operations,” Martin said via video teleconference from Camp Falcon. “I've also seen a high level of trust and respect by the people of Rashid for their own army and police forces.”
The Strongest Tribe -- [SWJ - Bing West]
Small Wars Journal has received an advance copy of Bing West’s newest book The Strongest Tribe. We will be posting a review and SWJ interview with Bing
What does your title, The Strongest Tribe, mean? During the battle for Fallujah, I asked an Iraqi colonel why the terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had fled, disguised as a woman. The colonel pointed to the Marines rushing past us and said, “Because Americans are the strongest tribe.”
'Make It Happen' Reaches 3,000 Missions -- [DVIDS]
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - The 168th Brigade Support Battalion has reached a significant milestone in its quest to being the best support battalion in the Army. Since arriving in Iraq less than a year ago, the battalion has conducted more than 3,000 Deliberate Combat Logistics Patrols as part of its efforts to sustain units located at eight forward operating bases across Multi-National Division - Baghdad and Multi-National Division - Central.
Driving more than 1.7 million miles, the Soldiers of the 168th BSB have spent countless hours on the road providing support that directly impacts more than 80,000 Soldiers each day.
Ice Water in Their Veins... -- [Collabman's Thoughts]
...The info hounds did tip a video on Outlaw Troop, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment as they work to dispose of an unexploded ordnance in the Diyala province. I found it to be a good look at our warriors as they decide not to wait on the EOD team to arrive. It is an unflinching look at the process they work through...and makes me think they must have ice water in their veins.
Will I Lead if you follow? Will you Follow If I Lead? -- [Big Tobacco]
That's right. I fired one of my E5 team leaders today and replaced him with an E4 corporal. If I did the right thing, why do I feel less like Machiavelli and more like a dirtbag?
...Sergeant Lambchop (OPSEC) was one of the "Marginal" NCOs from "Crazy From the Heat." He has his advantages. He's an infantryman. He makes sound tactical decisions. He does what he is told to do. He also can't pass the PT test and has shown no desire to do so. He complains about the mission and the leadership. His attitude eats away at the core of his team.
Radical Iraq Cleric in Retreat -- [WSJ]
BAGHDAD -- Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- long a thorn in the side of the U.S. military and Iraqi government -- intends to disarm his once-dominant Mahdi Army militia and remake it as a social-services organization.
The transformation would represent a significant turnabout for a group that, as recently as earlier this year, was seen as one of the most destabilizing anti-American forces in Iraq. For much of the past several years, the Mahdi Army, headed by Mr. Sadr, a Shiite cleric, controlled sizable chunks of Baghdad and other cities. Its brand of pro-Shiite activism had the side effect of pitting Iraqis against each other, helping to stir worries of civil war.
Browne's Deal with the Mahdi Army (Updated) -- [Standpoint - James Scott Linville]
Monday’s Times contains an extraordinary revelation by Deborah Haynes, about a deal between UK Defense Secretary Des Browne and Motada al Sadr’s Mahdia militia.
Haynes’s report is unlikely to be read widely in the US; but for those involved in military planning the facts she details must have been shocking when they came to light. She writes:
“A secret deal between Britain and the notorious al-Mahdi militia prevented British Forces from coming to the aid of their US and Iraqi allies for nearly a week during the battle for Basra this year.
Mahdi Army to Disarm in Iraq -- [LT Nixon Rants]
New Sadrist literature calls for the Mahdi Army to use no arms at all. This has been confirmed by a Sadr spokesman and is not some rumor. Crash and Burn for the Mahdi Army.
Raw Deal -- [Greyhawk]
London Times: Secret deal kept British Army out of battle for Basra.
Many unnamed MOD officials quoted. ("While we had a strategy of evasion, the Americans just went in and addressed the problem.")
... Whether the larger claims are accurate or not, none of this should reflect on the British soldiers, who've risked much and suffered more with far less support from their government and folks back home than the Americans...
British Commanders Wanted To Storm Basra But The Iraqi Leader Sent For US Marines -- [London Times]
British and Iraqi commanders in Basra had their own troop-surge plan to rid the city of Shia militia extremists but it was vetoed by the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
Basra the changed city
Iraqis continue to see improvements in Basra -- [Ministry of Defence News]
The opening of a new pumping station, bringing water to an estimated 2,000 homes in the Hyyaniyah area of Basra, is another sign of the improved security situation in and around the city.
The British Deal with the Mahdi Militia -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Let’s observe at the outset what we have observed before in British Rules of Engagement and Brave Warriors. The British armed forces contains some of the best grunts on earth. It’s the leadership that’s the problem, as it has always been.
Capturing Saddam -- [Iraqi Mojo - iraqi blogger]
Looks like Discovery Channel has made a re-enactment of the historic event. I found a clip:
Ministry to resume oil exploration after 20 year pause -- [Aswat Aliraq]
BAGHDAD, Aug. 6 (VOI) – The Iraqi Ministry of Oil will continue its oil exploration in the coming few days, ending a two-decade pause, an official ministerial spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Iraq Requests to Buy $11 Billion Worth of American Arms -- [Iraq the Model - iraqi blogger]
The memos state that these proposed deals will “not alter the basic military balance in the region”. But clearly the deals-when executed-will definitely change the military balance between the state of Iraq and its allies on the one hand and the terrorists and outlaws on the other…It will be another milestone on the road to build a true strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States as two nations fighting terrorism and building democracy in the middle east.
U.S. Building Iraqi Army Bases -- [Strategy Page]
August 6, 2008: Iraq is hiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to supervise a $1.6 billion construction effort that will build bases (housing, storage, training and maintenance facilities) for the Iraqi armed forces. The Corps of Engineers has long experience in running large scale military and civilian construction projects, and supervised the construction of U.S. bases and logistical facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. But the Iraqis also want the Corps of Engineers to oversee this project because the American officials can be expected to minimize the extent of corruption.
Team Iraq arrive in Beijing for 2008 Olympics
Buenos Dias -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
That is how you say “Good Day” in Iraq. At least that is how you say it around here. There are a bunch of Colombians on my post guarding the gates, so US troops don't have to.
Somehow, no one told them that this was George Bush's unilateral operation and they were not invited.
George is going to be steamed when he finds out there are party crashers here in Iraq.
Back to Iraq- Dispatch from Kuwait -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo/Shawn Bryan]
...Back to the Anbar. Back to Haditha, the same place that is always in my nightmares. Back to Hit and all of the other little bumps in the road that make this province. I am going back to give a perspective on progress.
Amputee Marine returns to combat duty -- [LA Times]
Afghanistan: Mapping the rising violence -- [Chris Radin and Bill Roggio]
Afghanistan has seen its worst bout of violence since the US overthrew the Taliban government in 2002. Taliban-related attacks and incidents have skyrocketed as the Taliban seeks to destabilize and de-legitimize the weak Afghan government and break NATO's will to fight a protracted counterinsurgency campaign.
On Patrol With the ANA
Asad Abad ‘presses’ to Get News to Afghan Citizens -- [DVIDS]
Today’s ceremony marked the opening of a new printing press facility in downtown Asad Abad, Afghanistan.
Prior to this facility all print material including Asad Abad’s weekly newspaper was printed in Jalalabad, Kabul or in Pakistan. The Konar Provincial Reconstruction Team funded this facility to provide a locally-produced, independent print media capacity in Konar.
Before deployment, an introduction -- [Afghanistan Unfiltered]
I contacted the Northwest Herald and they have provided me a great opportunity to clear up some of this confusion. While I am deployed in Afghanistan, I am going to continually send letters home that will be transcribed onto this blog allowing people an unfiltered look into what kind of impact we are actually making in Afghanistan.
I also want to share the emotional side to a deployment. I will share with you personally what I feel as I go through the entire deployment proccess. In all, I want this to be a place where people can get a more personal look into what we are doing in Afghanistan and hopefully spark some quality conversations for or against the war on terror.
Child Marriage in Afghanistan: 7-y-old bride, 40-y-old groom
The Arrangement -- [Stratrgy Page]
August 6, 2008: India's success at containing Islamic terrorists from entering northwest India (Kashmir), has caused some of those terrorists to shift operations to Afghanistan. These Pakistanis are not border tribesmen (Pushtuns) but men recruited from more populous parts of the country (like the Punjab). They are being found among the dead and captured Taliban in those few parts of Afghanistan that are sort of at war.
Anti-Bush Protests Fizzle, Pro-U.S. Rallies Sizzle as Bush Visits Korea -- [Amy Proctor]
As President Bush arrived in Seoul, Korea today, the media predicted that Bush’s visit would be met with “large protests”. The “progressives” and anti-U.S. civic groups thought the turn out opposing Bush would be huge:
“We predict more than 10,000 citizens will participate. We’ll show Korean people’s voice to Bush,”’ one member of the coalition said. However, 374 conservative groups planned pro-American demonstrations welcoming Bush in Seoul Plaza, just a short distance from the progressive’s rally site. Turns out, only a couple hundred protesters came out while 15,000 pro-U.S. Koreans came out to welcome Bush into the capital city of Seoul.
Why Every American Should Care About China -- [ABC News - Bob Woodruff]
The Emerging Superpower Is Forging Relationships Where the U.S. Isn't
..."The rise of China is the single most important geopolitical event of the 21st century," said John Thornton, professor and director of Global Leadership at Tsingua University in Beijing. "And the implications of that rise are enormous."
Watch "China: Inside Out" tonight on a special edition of "Primetime" at 10 p.m. ET
After 300 years of relative isolation, China has decided an integral factor in its success will be its strategic relationships around the world.
Rafsanjani: Iran Beginning Work On Nuclear Fusion -- [MEMRI Blog]
Iranian Expediency Council chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has announced that Iran is at the beginning of the first stage of nuclear fusion.
He said, "Nuclear fusion is more important and healthier than the nuclear fission presently in use."
An Israeli in Kosovo -- [Michael Totten - in Kosovo]
...“Nobody cares?” I said.
“On the contrary,” he said, “people like it. They come to speak to us. They want to be in contact. Here I didn’t see anybody that was negative. On the contrary the people are very warm, very nice. They take Islam to a beautiful place. Not a violent place. When they hear I am from Israel they react very warmly.”
Lots of Kosovar Albanians confirmed what Caspi is saying.
Wow! Not So Fast! -- [BlackFive - Subsunk]
The Wall Street Journal today has an article by a former UNSCOM weapons Inspector that is the clearest assertion I've read yet, that the Anthrax attacks of 2001 were likely the act of a foreign government or, at least, a very sophisticated terrorist organization. The headline screams:
Setting the Record Straight On Terror Watch Lists -- [PJM]
Pajamas Media recently posted a story in which CNN reporter Drew Griffin claimed that he was put on a TSA watch list as retaliation for a story he did on TSA. A lot of readers found it credible, judging by the comments. That’s unfortunate, since the story is quite simply false.
Let’s start with the notion that TSA can just put people on the watch list on a whim. In fact...
MIT Educated Al-Qaeda Wench Moved to New York to Face Charges -- [Gateway Pundit]
Aafia Siddiqui (DOB used: March 2, 1972) is an MIT alumna in biology, originally from Pakistan. She went missing in 2003 and has three children. Last month she was captured outside an Afghan government building with documents giving recipes for explosives and chemical weapons. During questioning by FBI agents and U.S. military officers she grabbed a gun and started shooting at the officials. She was shot in the gut by a soldier and started screaming that she wanted to kill Americans.
The Grey lady of Bagram Caught!! -- [The SandGram - in Afghanistan]
This little piece is interesting, especially since the press has told the world that the US Government had this woman, Aafia Siddiqui, in a jail cell on the base up at Bagram for four years. If you Google “The Grey lady of Bagram prisoner 650” you’ll find pages upon pages of stories of how for the last four years, we, the Military have held this woman under guard, molested her and beat her, yada, yada, yada. Now here is a case where for years, she has been running around doing who knows what, training who knows where and the press was just flat out wrong.
And So the Lies About Aafia Siddiqui Begin ... -- [Jawa Report]
...Recently several "human rights groups" began to associate "Prisoner 650" with Aaifia Siddiqqui. Based on what? Nothing other than believing that "Prisoner 650" exists, that Siddiqqui was missing and wanted by the FBI, and one of Siddiqqui's uncles claiming he thought she had been picked up by the ISI for questioning.
If you looked closely at these "human rights groups" you'd see that they were not so much interested in, say, the rights of Tibetans for self-government as they are
Bin Laden's Driver Convicted -- [LGF]
Osama bin Laden’s driver has been acquitted of conspiracy charges, but convicted of providing material support to terrorism.
Filmmaker Shares Profits with Soldiers' Angels -- [PR Web Press Release]
Pasadena, CA (PRWEB) August 5, 2008 -- Photojournalist and Hollywood producer Edward Nachtrieb will donate a portion of DVD sales of his powerful new documentary film, "All the Way Home" to non-profit Soldiers' Angels. The film follows a group of recovering wounded veterans, many of whom have been assisted by Soldiers' Angels, as they take a trip down Montana's remote Smith River.
Stories of Valor -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
The United States Army has a website dedicated to honoring those of our soldiers that have displayed heroic courage in the face of the enemy. I highly recommend visiting the site. It is absolutely awe-inspiring. STORIES OF VALOR
GI Bill Rate Increase Available Now -- [Military.com]
The GI Bill rate is now $47,556 -- a total increase of nearly $8,000 over last year's rate. This total is based on the new monthly full-time student payment rate of $1,321 multiplied by the 36-month limit. If you are GI Bill eligible and have benefits remaining, you get this increase no matter when you became eligible or begin using it. This new rate is now in affect. Get more information.
Nuance Announces Winners of Second Annual -- [From my position... On the way!]
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Story Contest
Speak Dragon to Improve My Life
...While serving in Iraq, Chuck Ziegenfuss chronicled his thoughts and experiences in a blog. He gained a readership that appreciated the details and openness in which he told his insightful stories with self-deprecating humor. In June of 2005, Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company. During the recovery from his injury, his wife continued blogging for him. Soon he wanted to get back to authoring the blog himself, but his typing was impaired due to the damage done to his hands by the IED.
A Happy Note -- [Greyhawk]
Wish I'd heard about this when I was in Baghdad:
...I wouldn't have had to wait til I got home to actually record... (but then again, I didn't have much time to write even without a guitar to distract me.)
WWII Heroes as "Suckers" -- [C.H.U.D. Busters]
Frank Weltner is an unsavory character....his website reminds cyber denizens of the early days of the internet when everything was midget porn, Star Trek fan fiction , and bizarre conspiracy sites. But he took a break on Memorial Day from bashing our Jewish friends to bashing the troops.
Finally, the Army is promoting the right officers -- [Slate - Fred Kaplan]
Last November, when Gen. David Petraeus was named to chair the promotion board that picks the Army's new one-star generals, the move was seen as, potentially, the first rumble of a seismic shift in the core of the military establishment.
2008 National Defense Strategy (pdf) - [DefenseLink]
The strategy contained in this document is the result of an assessment of the current and future strategic environment. The United States, and particularly the Department of Defense, will not win the Long War or successfully address other security challenges alone. Forging a new consensus for a livable world requires
constant effort and unity of purpose with our Allies and partners. The Department stands ready to fulfill its mission.
Reunion on the Aviano flight line -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Spc. Jesse A. Murphree, Destined Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), greets his 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team comrades returning from deployment in Afghanistan, on the flight line at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 22. Murphree lost his legs in an improvised explosive device attack in the Korengal Valley, near Ali Abad, Afghanistan, Dec. 27, 2007, and has been undergoing treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Photo: Dave Melancon.
While America Slept (Part five) -- [Greyhawk]
The last of the surge brigades returns home
While the 3d ID's 2nd Brigade Combat Team - who completed their return a few days prior - was the last of the ground units of "the surge", the Aviation Brigade was actually the last of the surge units to return home. They are all back now - having spent 14-15 months in the thick of things (usually flying within small arms reach of the surface) - while suffering zero combat fatalities.
The end of the Surge -- [MilBlogs TV]
Back Home, at Last -- [The Post-Standard]
Thank-You Troops!" A few children had yellow ribbons painted on their hands. A toddler wore a T-shirt with words "Welcome Home Daddy!" written on it.
Dozens of 173rd GIs get warm welcome -- [Stars and Stripes]
Troops in Vicenza, Schweinfurt and Bamberg also will be feted in welcome home/soldier appreciation celebrations in September. On Monday, that all seemed
Dozvedania, Alexander -- [Dadmanly]
A most remarkable man has died, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, famed dissident, writer, and philosopher. Hero against communism and communist evil, and significantly responsible for the fall of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.
...The world has lost not only a literary treasure, but a true champion for freedom and liberty
Online Interview with Milblogs TV Producer and Military Blogger, Greyhawk -- [Milblogging.com - JP]
I recently did an interview with Greyhawk of the Milblog The Mudville Gazette. The Mudville Gazette now has a online show called Milblogs TV, that is very informative. After watching Milblogs TV, I was reminded of the ingenuity of the Greyhawks, who were one of the first milblogs online, and also started the Milblogs Web Ring which brought together the community of milboggers (and helped spark my idea for Milblogging.com).
MilBlogger Video: Anbar Rising, A History -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
Greyhawk — whom I refer to as the Godfather of Milblogging — has created a series of videos depicting the historical context (and media misrepresentations) of what happened in Anbar province in Iraq, and how "The Surge"® enabled the tides to change. Click below to see Part II in its entirety, a documentary that could never have been created by our major media outlets.
My new gig -- [Homefront Six]
In addition, we will be featuring a different milblog twice a month as a way to spread the word about milblogs as well as MilitaryConnection. Our first featured milblog is Armed and Curious. If you haven't already heard of it,
Administration Fights Back Against Book Claiming It Knowingly Lied About Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection -- [FOX News]
The White House is strongly fighting back against a new book by a Bush administration critic who claims that the CIA forged a letter from Saddam Hussein's intelligence chief that gave credence to claims Iraq had links to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Ron Suskind, the former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of two highly critical books on the Bush administration, claims in his new book out Tuesday that the administration falsified a letter by then-director of the Iraqi intelligence service, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, to Saddam, describing the activities of Sept. 11 conspirators in Iraq.
Setting the Record Straight On Terror Watch Lists -- [PJM]
Pajamas Media recently posted a story in which CNN reporter Drew Griffin claimed that he was put on a TSA watch list as retaliation for a story he did on TSA. A lot of readers found it credible, judging by the comments. That’s unfortunate, since the story is quite simply false.
Let’s start with the notion that TSA can just put people on the watch list on a whim. In fact...
Nets Lend Credibility to 'Bombshell' Iraq Deception Allegations -- [NewsBusters]
CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN all jumped Tuesday to publicize the claims in a new book by a left-wing journalist, Ron Suskind, that President Bush knew before the war Iraq had no WMD and that to justify the war the administration forged a letter to prove a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. The journalists were unfazed by denials from former CIA Director George Tenet, which they dutifully cited, nor the fact the letter couldn't have impacted the public before the war since it didn't become public until nine months into the war.
[UPDATE] If You Want to Move, Push (A Book Review) -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
I will not be Broken
When I'm finished writing this review, I'm going to email every General I've ever talked to, emailed, or can find a contact number for and ask them to give this book as a gift for EVERY Soldier injured in combat and to every family who has lost lost someone in Iraq or Afghanistan.
<strong>Baffling Process Suppresses Military Voting Turnout -- [USA Today]
...Eight years after mess in Florida, hurdles hamper overseas balloting.
Democratic strategists were determined to challenge late-arriving ballots that lacked postmarks — until Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said on Meet the Press that ballots from military personnel (presumed to favor the Republican ticket) should be given the "benefit of the doubt."
That cut the legs out under the Democrats' efforts, but the controversy highlighted a problem that lingers two presidential cycles later: It is too difficult for Americans abroad, particularly the 1.4 million military personnel deployed overseas, to participate in the basic rite of democracy.
Changes to U.S. Military Personnel Absentee Ballots for November? -- [The National Defense]
Opposing view: We're proud of our efforts -- [USA Today]
Pentagon unit makes voting easier than ever for Americans abroad
The Department of Defense (DoD) is doing right by its servicemembers and all overseas U.S. citizens by ensuring easy access to the information and resources they need to vote.
DoD has implemented all recommendations in the March 2007 Inspector General report on absentee voting. Our directive regarding voting was revised to include authorization to appoint civilian personnel as Voting Assistance Officers and directed the services to establish links to service voting websites containing all necessary voting information.
The Wounded Warriors Workplace Initiative -- [Bob Straniere]
Today I launched The Wounded Warriors Workplace Initiative pledging to hire at least one-third of my Congressional staff and one-third of my campaign staff from the ranks of our wounded military veterans and their immediate families. The purpose is to not only recognize the tremendous sacrifices of these brave American families and to employ them, but to empower them by getting them directly involved in the political process and working within governmental institutions. My goal is have the Halls of Congress staffed with wounded warriors and their families by asking every candidate for Congress to make The Straniere Pledge to hire at least one-third of their staff from the ranks of our bravest.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraqis no longer ask, 'Are you Sunni or Shiite?' -- [McClatchy - Nancy A. Youssef]
...When a relative used it recently, a soldier admonished the driver and the passengers. "'We are Iraqis, and you shouldn't say such a thing,' " recalled Hashim.
The 35-year-old mother of three said that for her and countless other Iraqis, the fact that soldiers are now using nationalist rather than sectarian language is a significant change. Being a Shiite is no longer key to her survival.
Sons of Iraq -- [Greyhawk]
The sub-headline - "The US military is trying to transition 103,000 Iraqi neighborhood guards into steady work" - seems like the right answer to me*.
Continue reading "Sons of Iraq "
But the careful reader will see a subtle difference between that statement and this one from within the story:
Abu Ahmed and the Fight for Anbar -- [The Captain’s Journal]
There are many (sometimes competing) versions of the campaign for Anbar, which is why The Captain’s Journal has a category for The Anbar Narrative. We hope to bring some clarity to this part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While we have covered many nuances of the campaign in Western Iraq, one theme is irrefutable, consistent and prominent. It is that security trumps everything else in counterinsurgency. An important account from the very Western reaches of Anbar was recently published by AFP entitled Abu Ahmed, a ’sheriff’ in Iraq’s far west.
Variety of Factors Contribute to Progress in Iraq, General Says -- [MNF-I]
The surge did much to improve security in Baghdad and other regions, he said, and “Sons of Iraq” citizen groups have assisted Coalition and Iraqi forces in the security effort. At the same time, he said, Iraq’s army and police forces have continued to mature.
Coalition Forces Transfer Security Responsibility in Diyala to ISF -- [MNF-I]
A transfer of responsibility from Multi-National Division – North Soldiers to Iraqi Security Forces was finalized in the southern Balad Ruz area of the Diyala province of Iraq Aug. 2.
The volatile area of Diyala, where two operations are currently being conducted, has seen success with security for the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police and local residents.
Raw: Iraq forces arrest 189 Al-Qaeda suspects in Diyala, Iraq
Iraq forces, supported by US troops, arrested 189 al-Qaeda suspects during the fourth day of military operations against insurgents in the Diyala province Friday.
History Repeats Itself -- [Strategy Page]
...Iraq is a model worth emulating. While many Iraqis are not sure that this democracy thing will work for them (and many in the West agree with this), the majority of Iraqis are united in fighting the violent Sunni Arab minority groups trying to regain control of the country, and for negotiating new arrangements to rule in a democratic fashion.
AP IMPACT: Long haul starts in Iraq for Minn. GIs -- [AP]
In the end, Chad Malmberg put his framed Silver Star on the wall and stowed away his helmet, some old uniforms and the dusty combat boots he had worn in the Iraqi desert.
He was a hero, now, and proud of it. Malmberg had quickly entered his last semester of college, blending easily into the anonymity of campus life. Within months, he had his degree.
It took months, too, to break some habits. Such as hugging the center line when he drove and swerving whenever he saw anything on the road, fearing hidden bombs. And ticking off a check list — gun, ammo, food — every time he went outside.
He was home, he was safe, he was whole.
So many others could not say as much:
Part II: Welcome to Iraq, and a long separation -- [AP - International Herald Tribune]
National Guard troops reach their stations in Iraq while family members back home begin a hard adjustment. Second of a seven-part series on the longest deployment of the war.
"I am where I need to be," he answered cryptically, not wanting to disclose his exact location in Iraq. He probably would have waited to call home to Minnesota, but April 8, 2006, was special
Elections Bill In Iraq Stalls On Kirkuk -- [Washington Post]
...Sudarsan Raghavan and Qais Mizher
...Several Iraqi lawmakers said U.S. pressure could throw Iraq into further political chaos. "The Americans are pushing for the elections at any price, and that is incorrect," said Mahdi al-Hafidh, a Community Party lawmaker. "The country is not quiet, and there is not a good climate for this election."
USAF Eyes For Iraqis -- [Strategy Page]
August 3, 2008: The U.S. Air Force sees itself becoming a larger player as Iraqi troops increasingly take over combat chores from American ground forces. For example, it will be a decade or more before Iraq can provide the kind of air support U.S. troops now get. Thus the U.S. Air Force is planning on being in Iraq for a long time.
Reporting from Iraq: War steals comforts, sometimes tears families apart -- [Ventura County News - Scott Hadly - embed in Iraq]
...I stayed hidden, waiting for something to happen.
Stepp and Griffy bet on whether they'd make it back to the base by lunchtime or whether this patrol would be another "12-hour cluster."
As Capt. Ryan Johnson scurried along the lines in a low crouch, making sure everyone in the squad remained alert, I wondered if I should be nervous.
"Do you have a gun?" Stepp asked me.
I didn't bother explaining the rules concerning noncombatants and reporters remaining unarmed.
"They don't care if you're a reporter, you know."
..."So did they say you had to come here?" he asked, speaking about my editors back in Ventura County.
"I didn't have to, no."
And then Stepp asked the one question I kept hearing since the moment I arrived in Iraq.
"So why, exactly, are you here?"
In Pictures: US and Iraqis in Tarmiyah -- [LWJ -Nathan Webster]
The Sons of Iraq, US soldiers, and Iraqi troops work together to secure Tarmiyah, a former al Qaeda stronghold in Salahadin province.
$1 million lottery winner says third tour is his 'duty' -- [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
...When the 81st got call-up orders in October, he was told he didn't have to go but volunteered anyway.
Although he won a $1 million Washington Lottery scratch ticket prize in February, Leyde says he has no regrets.
"We each have a duty," Leyde said as he and the rest of 1st Platoon, Delta Company, prepared to practice loading stretchers into a UH-1N Huey Medivac helicopter. "This is my duty. I chose it."
Barrier Art -- [ThunderRun]
A T-barrier wall provides security for residents of the Sadr City District of Baghdad, Aug. 2, 2008. The walls, which are typically a dull, gray color, were painted by residents to illustrate national themes of hope and unity.
Moving day -- [Fobbits need ice cream - in Iraq]
This morning (actually around 2300 or 11pm for you civilian types), we got the ok from the platoon daddy (platoon sergeant or PSG) to move a good friend and fellow joe in the platoon (we'll call him Jim) into our tent. Jim's new spot was previously occupied by the driver of my truck, who went AWOL while on his 12 day R&R. Let me tell you about this guy...
Another day another dollar -- [Fobbits need ice cream - in Iraq]
So today (this morning) we had what we call a somo run. This involves us prepping trucks as normal and escorting them to the Kuwait/Iraq border to customs. However, once through customs, instead of suiting up and riding out, we turn them over at the border to a private security firm run by Iraqis
Securing Iraq -- [ubdumb|
U.S. Soldiers teaching the Iraqi police how to search females. Scenes include female Iraq soldiers receiving search procedures.
Posing, with weapons -- [Miserable Donuts - in Iraq]
I have noticed that no matter where I go, and which army I encounter - everyone wants to check out each others weapons. And once they get ahold of it - they want a photo...
Day 43 -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
Went out for another night mission. The purpose was to discourage bad guys from shooting mortars at our camps. The mechanism for accomplishing this is just to drive around in the dark and intimidate the bad guys with our very presence.
Day 44. -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
We went out today to destroy some old captured bombs, rockets, mortar shells and other explosives.
How NOT to load a truck with old rusty high explosives:
Iraqi Kid's give us a Song
Afghans Making Strides in Ability to Plan and Execute Operations, Colonel Says - Audio(Mp3) -- [DefenseLink Blogger's Roundtable]
The Afghan National Army has made great strides in their ability to plan and execute operations, Army Col. Thomas McGrath, commander of Afghanistan Regional Security Integration Command South, told bloggers and online journalists. McGrath came on the bloggers roundtable to reflect on his 14 months in southern Afghanistan, as he prepares to return home to the United States, and the mission to build the capacity and capability of the Afghan army and police. “Through the efforts of very many brave men and women, tough men and women – soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines – we’re completing our mission,” he said. “And we’re setting the stages for the future operations and for the future of the Afghan army and police and bringing stability to this country.”
The Wars inside the War: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan -- [Castle Argghhh! - Kat]
...Pakistani Intelligence Like Woman With Many Lovers [Or, why they play footsie with America while trying to maintain their terrorist friends - we're in a global war while they are still subject to regional realities. Realities, apparently, we have yet to determine how to alleviate
Degrading Afghanistan Security Situation Points to Pakistan -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...Fighters are coming across the Pakistani border in increasing numbers, but the problem runs far deeper than cross border operations. In what is finally a good report about the depth of the problem in the Pakistani ISI, we are hearing that the involvement with the Taliban is by more than just rogue elements of the ISI.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas Supports Africa Partnership Station Audio(Mp3) -- [DefenseLink Blogger's Roundtable]
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Robert Wagner, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, talked with bloggers about the cutter’s various efforts throughout West and Central Africa in support of Africa Partnership Station. One effort the captain discussed in detail was a joint law enforcement exercise with the Cape Verde coast guard. “This is the first time a foreign law enforcement detachment has been deployed from a U.S. military ship to exercise another nation’s sovereignty over their waters,” Wagner said. “We spent ten days patrolling Cape Verdes’ exclusive economic zone with a law enforcement detachment of Cape Verdes’ coast guard aboard.”
Tyson Foods Replaces American Holiday with Muslim Holiday -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
I have no problem with companies giving Muslim employees time off to celebrate their religious holidays. After all, the biggest holiday (and day off) in this country is Christmas - a Christian Holiday (though it's been bastardized into obscurity by political correctness and non-Christians). But, I DO have a problem when Muslim holidays REPLACE American holidays that have been around since 1894
Keep in mind that Tyson Foods isn't ADDING another day for Muslims to take off work, instead of REPLACING an already existing holiday. So the issue isn't that Tyson catering to providing Muslims with more days off than non-Muslims but replacing Islamic celebrations with American ones.
Al Qaeda confirms death of top bomb maker Masri -- [Jawa Report]
Confirmed... Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical weapons expert DEAD
And we are left with a bit of a mystery...
Terrorist Attack in China -- [Jawa Report]
(Xinjiang Province, China) Early this morning, at least 16 police officers were killed and 16 others were injured in a terrorist attack at a Chinese border patrol station.
Two trucks smashed through fences into a camp compound as terrorists tossed grenades among troops and then hacked policemen with knives.
THANK YOU FROM THE MARINES (By Kat) -- [ThunderRun]
I arrived home after a funeral today to find a special treat (and much needed smile) in my mailbox. Seeing that "free mail" always does the trick! This letter was received in response to our recent Operation Love From Home 4th of July card drive. Y'all truly made a great difference for this bunch of Marines (and several others, as well!).
Darryll Sharratt Haditha Marines
Wounded Soldier Returns Home From Iraq -- [WPBF]
People held "Welcome Home" signs, American flags and balloons to show their appreciation for the soldier. They lined the concourse cheering and crying at
Mokena woman on mission to welcome home troops -- [Joliet Herald News]
Up to 150 people have attended the Angels' welcome-home parties. The group relies solely on volunteers and donations. Barr, 50, is a three-time cancer ...
Update: 871st Troop Command Receives Heroes Welcome -- [Today's THV]
More than 30 soldiers from the 871 Troop Command received a soldier's welcome home. The Freedom Salute Ceremony at Camp Robinson also recognizes the heroes
The Deployed Gentleman's Guide (continued) -- [Castle Argghhh!]
In the interest of maintaining the Castle’s reputation as an asylum run by the inmates a bastion of calm and decorum in the midst of a somewhat chaotic and freewheeling internet, I sensed John’s usual grumble to get the damned lead out and post something the gentle call of the Muse urging me to – once again – add a chapter to The Deployed Gentleman’s Guide.Lesson the Second: A Recognition Guide to the Armed ForcesThe first thing the Deployed Gentleman will note upon recovering from incipient heatstroke his composure after moving into his new sewer pipe with windows demesne is...
Rape in the Military -- [Villainous Company]
I am having a real problem with this:
...This is where I start to lose it.
Get your story straight, people. Which is it? Is is 15 percent? 40 percent? Or is it some inspecified, "jaw-dropping" number that is "possibly far higher"?
...This whole scenario doesn't really make much sense; especially when one looks at studies of job satisfaction in the military and learns that women in general (and black women in particular) are more satisfied with their military careers than their civilian counterparts. Are we really to believe there is an "epidemic of rape in the military" that is worse than what exists in the civilian sector
Training For The Worst -- [Strategy Page]
August 2, 2008: The U.S. Army developed a simulator to show troops how to escape from an overturned vehicle. This has saved hundreds of lives. A major cause of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan has been vehicle accidents.
Blogging from a war zone -- [Fraser From Iraq]
Allison Batdorff in a Stars and Stripes article “Blogging rules by branch” on July 8, 2008 summarized the variations of rules for each branch of the service. I republish this article here to allow our readers to understand why this blog can't read like an action film script.
B.C.-born soldier in U.S. Army lauded for film on Iraq war -- [Vancover Sun]
Growing up in B.C., Toby Nunn never imagined he'd join the army, go to war, or become a celebrity -- let alone one of the most famous non-commissioned soldiers to serve with American forces in Iraq.
"I was just a scrawny kid from the bush up in Canada," he says.
Nunn, 33, shot to fame in the U.S. this year as the star of Bad Voodoo's War, a groundbreaking film from Iraq, broadcast to wide acclaim on PBS Television's Frontline documentary program in April.
Bill Would Open Military Funerals To Media -- [AP / Fayetteville (NC) Observer]
A North Carolina congressman says the news media should be allowed to cover military ceremonies honoring troops who died while on active duty as well as the arrival of remains at military bases.
Should We See Dead Americans -- [Abu Muqawama]
Today, Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor of the New York Times, wrote a well-thought-ought piece on the debate over whether journalists ought publish and be allowed to publish images of dead Americans on the battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This was sparked by the uproar over the decision of an embedded freelance reporter, Zoriah Miller, to publish the image of a dead Marine after his family was notified of his death--and the Marines subsequent decision to bar Miller from covering the Marines in Iraq.
The Obama campaign's continuing denial of reconciliation in Iraq -- [TigerHawk]
With the great statistical improvement in violence in Iraq, the response from the left has been to claim that sectarian violence has only declined because the massive amount of it that has already occurred has greatly diminished the opportunity for more of it (because Iraqis have segregated along sectarian lines, for example). Well, if this is not a great sign of the subsantive "national reconciliation" that critics of the Petraeus strategy have been claiming has not happened, I do not know what would be:
Exclusive: Obama Unfit to Hold Supreme Command of the American Military -- [Family Security Matters]
Let's boil it down even simpler: If you were flying with an experienced commercial-airline pilot who poorly flew the aircraft in which you were traveling, would you next time hope to fly in the same type of aircraft with a pilot whose experience was limited to a flight-simulator? Of course not. But that is exactly the kind of thinking the O-crowd wants us to buy into.
TWO TRACKS OF "UNFITNESS"
Fact is: Obama is not fit to be CIC. Someone else may argue the case of his fitness -- or lack thereof - as regards the other executive duties of an American president. But my focus here - and in subsequent pieces we will be publishing over the next weeks and months leading up to the November elections - is his unfitness for supreme command of the American military.
The Looming US Invasion of Darfur -- [ROFA Six]
Under President Obama, there is only one question regarding his order to US forces to invade Darfur in order to end the horror there. It is, "How long will it be after he takes office before he issues the order?"
Since we're talking Africa, someone will doubtlessly call me a racist for suggesting that lies ahead, ignoring completely that I too might be of African heritage. But, the US invasion of Sudan has nothing to do with race and has everything to do with the modern liberal worldview of socialists like Barack Obama.
The North Carolina Coalition to Stop War on Iran -- [GOE]
As part of a nationwide campaign sponsored by StopWarOnIran.org, the local chapter of F.I.S.T. staged an anti-war protest around the capital. ...Numbers: It seems everyone always wants to know about the numbers. Head counts are something I never remember to do, but others tell me it was 42 to 31. That's 42 commie moonbats, and 31 patriots. So my original estimate of 30 from mid-last-week appears to have been more accurate than the RPD's prediction of 300. But that's the way it always goes, we never know what's going to happen till it happens. I'm happy to report that Rolling Thunder accounted for a substantial portion of that number.
BREAKING: Zawahiri Dead, Global Warming Suspected -- [ScrappleFace]
(2008-08-02) — CBS News foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan, in an exclusive, Friday reported that al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri may be dead, and a local Taliban leader blames global warming.
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Al-Qaeda In Iraq Splintering: Elvis Has Left The Building -- [Threats Watch - Steve Shippert]
This Washington Post report that Abu Ayyub al-Masri has, according to the Iraqi interrogation of captured al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders, fled Iraq for Afghanistan is perhaps the most significant report to come out of Iraq since the fall of Baghdad. It may not readily jump out at readers as such, but trust me when I stress that it is, and will prove such without doubt in due time for those who may question or doubt. Read it all and read it carefully.
...Pay close attention to the following excerpt from the leader of one of the splintered groups...
U.S. official: Iraqis told me WMDs sent to Syria -- [WND - Ryan Mauro]
Former head of prisons says incarcerated ex-Saddam forces disclosed move
A former American overseer of Iraqi prisons says several dozen inmates who were members of Saddam Hussein's military and intelligence forces boasted of helping transport weapons of mass destruction to Syria and Lebanon in the three months prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Don Bordenkircher – who served two years as national director of prison and jail operations in Iraq– told WND that about 40 prisoners he spoke with "boasted of being involved in the transport of WMD warheads to Syria."
U.S. Deaths In Iraq Fall To Lowest Of the War -- [WaPo]
Five American troops died in July as a result of combat in Iraq, by far the lowest monthly U.S. death toll of the five-year war.
The decline in American deaths highlights improvements in security that are widely attributed to three factors: a cease-fire by the country's largest Shiite militia, the decision of former Sunni insurgents to join with U.S. troops, and the buildup of American forces.
October 28, 2007 - Change in the Weather -- [Greyhawk]
...The narrative on Iraq - the one you see in the media, that is - is changing. Claims that "we've lost" and that American soldiers have been beaten by opponents who are righteous heroes or nine-foot tall and bullet proof are being quite subtly shifted to arguments that no potential victory (if even grudgingly acknowledged) could be worth the price. This argument may prove irresistible to those who've invested heavily in defeat.
What If Iraq Works? -- [RealClearPolitics]
There is a growing confidence among officers, diplomats and politicians that a constitutional Iraq is going to make it. We don't hear much anymore of trisecting the country, much less pulling all American troops out in defeat.
Critics of the war now argue that a victory in Iraq was not worth the costs, not that victory was always impossible. The worst terrorist leaders, like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Muqtada al-Sadr, are either dead or in hiding.
The Future of Iraq -- [A Soldier's Perspective - CJ]
This is commercial being shown on Iraqi television - you know, the kind of television that was banned under Saddam Hussein. For me, this makes what I and my fellow Soldiers did totally worth it.
Day 41. Catch and release -- [Rocinante's Burdens - in Iraq]
We watched a prisoner release today.
There is a program of reconciliation. It recognizes that not all the people detained as insurgents are guilty of doing anything really bad. If they have not killed anyone, they can be released. Their local sheik has to take responsibility for their future actions and conduct.
Partial solar eclipse in Iraq today -- [Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network]
Arab countries including Iraq will witness a partial solar eclipse today. Experts noted that light will darken in regions covered by the eclipse as a black spot will appear in the sun being the moon’s umbra. They warned people not to look directly into the sun for it harms their vision. To view the video report of this article, click on play movie
Your Filthy Little Mouth -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
Every platoon has one. He is that private or specialist who always has that one sarcastic sidebar comment. He is the kid who agrees to do a detail and then complains about why he was picked afterwards. He is the one who could be such a good soldier if only he would keep his mouth shut.
Mine is Private Jell-O. [OPSEC]
Apparently I Can Be Trusted - [Brad's Excellent Adventure - in Iraq]
...So it turns out that the whole exercise of extending for another tour was unnecessary, and I could be on my way home for good instead of just going on leave before coming back for another year. But hindsight is 20:20, and there was no way to know that at the time the decision had to be made. Now I’m way past the point of no return. And just a couple of days ago I got a recruiting email advertising a Senior ROTC instructor position at Montana State University in Bozeman....*sigh*.
U.S. Troops Winning Hearts and Minds in Iraq
Iraq warns Iran of interfering in its internal affairs -- [Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network]
A number of lawmakers welcomed Iraq’s Foreign Ministry warning to the Iranian Consulate calling not to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs. To view the video report of this article,
Iraqi women call for eviction of Iranian regime from Iraq,
Dozens of Iraqi women associations and organizations including the Women branch of the National Accord Movement and women branch of the National Dialogue Front in a session held in Ashraf City declared their support for the Iranian Resistance and called for eviction of Iranian regime from Iraq.
Just Plain Wrong -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
In his latest column published in the NY Times he starts off like normal, making a great deal of sense. But, then towards the end he goes off into almost a tangent that is just plain wrong and down-right incorrect. (NY TIMES) :
First off I cant even begin to comprehend his comment about not enough Afghans wanting to fight and die for their country. I have watched the groups of Afghan Citizens sign up for basic training and advanced training to go off and fight and die for their country. In addition I have also met large numbers of well-to-do Afghans that returned from Europe and the United States to fight and die for their country. So in this area, this is just not a true statement.
MOD Police see progress in Afghanistan -- [ROGUE GUNNER]
The first visit to Afghanistan by the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) has seen officers help train newly-qualified local police in some of the most dangerous locations in Helmand Province
Al Qaeda says Bagram escapee killed in U.S. bombing -- [Reuters]
An al Qaeda field commander who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan in 2005 was killed in a recent U.S. bombing, an al Qaeda leader said in a statement posted on the Internet on Thursday.
US: Pakistani intelligence behind attack on Indian embassy -- [Hot Air]
According to American intelligence services, the July bombing of India’s embassy in Afghanistan was masterminded by the ISI, Pakistan’s own intel service which many suspect of aiding radical Islamist terrorists in the FATA. The attacks killed 54 people, and the news puts more pressure on the Gilani government to take action against its own spy service:
ISI [hearts] Haqqani -- [Abu Muqawama]
That the ISI maintains relationships with some rather unsavory folks in the tribal areas is old news. What does seem to be new is the intensity of American pressure and an implied suggestion that ISI elements may have been involved in the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul earlier this month. To Charlie's mind, it seems rather implausible that ISI actions are fully sanctioned by the new Pakistani government and more likely that it's going off the reservation
General (R) McCaffrey's latest AAR - this one from Afghanistan -- [John of Argghhh!]
...If anything - as GEN(R) McCaffrey sees it - there is at least as hard a slog ahead in Afstan as we've seen in Iraq, and we're going to need our friends and allies to step up with money, guns, and people, and the intent to use them. That provides the security environment for the most important piece - establishing a functional civil government, and that is going to take more people, more money, and more time. Which will probably ...
American Interpreter Returns to Homeland -- [ubdumb]
American interpreter returning to his homeland. Scenes include the interpreter speaking with local citizens, Soldiers speaking with the locals through the interpreter
Hyperventilating Hystorians II: The Truth About Afghanistan -- [Castle Argghhh! - Kat]
I caught this post by Eric Margolis at Huffington Post via Hot Air. The Truth About Afghanistan. The problem is that Mr. Margolis, for all his purported expertise, started spouting long debunked myths about the importance of a concept oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Until then, he was noting some important points about Afghanistan's tribal nature and its impact on fighting "the war on terror". The same idea expounded on by Strategy Page about the Real Enemy Stays in the Shadows
Contested Nation Building -- [SWJ - Colonel John Frewen]
The Challenge of Countering Insurgency in Afghanistan in 2007
In a military sense, 2007 was the coalition's year in Afghanistan. The coalition defeated the Taliban tactically at every turn, forcing them to resort to indiscriminate attacks with explosives and suicide bombers — tactics which risk alienating the local population. The Taliban's much-vaunted 'Spring offensive' failed to materialise and they suffered substantial losses, including the death of key leaders such as Mullah Dadullah by coalition actions. They lost freedom of action in former sanctuaries such as the Upper Garesh and Chora valleys, and had Musa Qala — a town the Taliban vowed they would never surrender — seized from them as the 2007 fighting season drew to a close. While international media reports have played up the headline-grabbing "coalition's deadliest year", only one side of the ledger has been considered.
After Action Report (AAR) -- [SWJ - General Barry R McCaffrey]
...The battle will be won in Afghanistan when there is an operational Afghan police presence in the nation’s 34 provinces and 398 Districts. The battle will be won when the current Afghan National Army expands from 80,000 troops to 200,000 troops with appropriate equipment, training, and leadership and embedded NATO LNO teams. (Afghanistan is 50% larger than Iraq and has a larger population.) The battle will be won when we deploy a five battalion US Army engineer brigade with attached Stryker security elements to lead a five year road building effort employing Afghan contractors and training and mentoring Afghan engineers.
...Many of these troops and their leaders through general officer level are on their 4th or more combat deployments since "911." We have suffered 36,000 US killed and wounded. Their families are getting tired. The country is not at war. The Armed Forces and the CIA are at war. We are at the point of breaking faith with our troops.
We cannot allow ourselves to fail in Afghanistan.
NATO is central to achieving our purpose.
This is a generational war to build an Afghan state and prevent the creation of a lawless, extremist region which will host and sustain enduring threats to the vital national security interests of the United States and our key allies.
Another Disappointing RAND Counterinsurgency Study -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...But they fundamentally fail to understand the nature of the enemy, and so it’s not surprising that the study reaches the wrong conclusions. In Why is there Jihad, we linked a recent report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point that studied the internet interview of Ayman al-Zawahiri. They noted many interesting things, but one crucial point to understanding their global movement.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq Leader May Be in Afghanistan -- [WaPo]
The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan, according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and U.S. officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization.
First mission back -- [Cheese's Milblog - in Afghanistan]
I did a couple of convoys as soon as I got back to Phoenix, but yesterday I got to interact with the locals again. We were recon-ing an area that we may return to and, as usual, I was on kiddie-watch as I guarded my truck.
Man stabbed and beheaded on Greyhound bus: Chilling witness account -- [The Calgary Sun]
Manitoba RCMP had no answers Thursday as to what prompted a man on a Greyhound bus to suddenly stand up and repeatedly stab his seatmate, behead him and carve up his body in front of horrified passengers.
Iran: We have started nuclear fusion -- [Hot Air]
Internationally, the Iranians insist that they pursue nuclear technology as a means to produce energy, despite the fact that they sit on a sea of oil. They categorically deny attempts to build nuclear weapons and scoff at opposition to their efforts. Internally, though, they apparently have some other uses in mind, as this comment — reported by Iran’s official news agency — reveals
Total eclipse of sun as seen from plane at 27 000ft
Raw video:August 01/08:The total eclipse of the Sun, seen over the Canadian Arctic, August 1, 2008. Photographed from altitude of 27,000 feet from a location 140 km east of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Report: Al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri Dead!?! -- [Jawa Report]
Stratfor reports that the United States is attempting to verify rumors coming out of Pakistan that al Qaeda's #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a July 28 Predator airstrike.
Where Al Qaeda Excels -- [Strategy Page]
August 1, 2008: The movement of al Qaeda's main effort from Iraq to Pakistan does not involve large numbers, and the numbers have declined since the terrorists began urging new recruits to head for Pakistan. For several years, about a hundred foreign volunteers (usually for suicide type attacks) entered Iraq each month, brought in via an al Qaeda network in some Arab and European countries.
Anthrax suspect commits suicide -- [Hot Air]
...they knew they had the right source for the anthrax. Genetic testing determined that the spores could only have come from USARMID, where the nation’s best biodefense scientists work to negate such attacks. Ivins became a suspect early, within months of the first attack, when he claimed to have cleaned up a lab contamination without informing his superiors — and without testing again to ensure that the area was clear. Ivins lived about 200 miles from the New Jersey mailbox where the letters were first posted. However, for some reason the FBI failed to follow up on Ivins until just recently.
Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1 -- [WaPo]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the "Long War" against violent extremism and that the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists should be the nation's top military priority over coming decades, according to a new National Defense Strategy he approved last month.
What Pakistan's Intelligence Ties Say About Ending the War on Terrorism -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The International Herald Tribune today reports on a recent CIA mission to Pakistan to confront leaders of the ISI there about the ties ISI members retain to the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Landstuhl clarifies press rules for aborted Obama visit -- [Stars and Stripes - Steve Mraz]
LANDSTUHL, Germany â€" Although news outlets have reported charges that Sen. Barack Obama canceled his trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany because the media werenâ€™t allowed to cover the event, U.S. European Command officials say plans were in place to allow limited press coverage.
All media, including local press and the more than 40 journalists accompanying the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on his eight-day international trip last week, would have been able to photograph the Illinois senator entering and leaving the hospital, said Air Force Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a U.S. European Command spokesman.
If you know one, ask them to tell a story.... -- [THE CI-ROLLER DUDE]
From the Soldier side: Our WWII Vets are passing on at a very fast rate...so if you know one, have him sit down and tell you some stories.... I can almost guarantee that it will be a good one.
Moment of Thanks -- [A Soldier's Perspective - CJ]
A website called Moment of Thanks was recently launched into the vast World Wide Web! The site is designed to showcase messages of appreciation and support for military personnel. Viewers can post thank you messages in video, photos or text. There are videos from every day Americans as well as some celebrities. This one is my favorite:
Fort Lewis equipment from Iraq unloaded at Tacoma -- [The Olympian]
...More than 900 vehicles and hundreds of cargo containers are being returned to the fort for the 4-2 Brigade, the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The ship, the Brittin, arrived Tuesday at the port.
When the equipment was shipped out in March of 2007, anti-war protests led to the arrests of 37 people while police agencies spent $1 million for security.
The News Tribune of Tacoma reports a handful of protesters from the Port Militarization Resistance group showed up Wednesday night and one was arrested for obstructing a police officer and two others were given trespassing warnings.
Troops welcome R&R program, which offers free travel and the ... -- [Ventura County Star]
The program, called "Welcome Home a Hero," is similar to one in Maine, where more than 500000 troops have passed through as their planes are refueled and
Cambridge Who's Who Supports the Troops -- [Cambridge Who's Who]
New York, NY, July 31, 2008 - Cambridge Who's Who is dedicated to supporting the men and women who serve our country so when CWW received a request to support a "Welcome Home" festival for the soldiers of the United States Army, Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment who were deployed to East Baghdad, Iraq for 16 months, they immediately accepted. This special giving opportunity was brought to the company's attention by employee, Michele LeFurgy whose brother, Specialist Roberto LeFurgy, was among the soldiers returning from Iraq. The Apache Company, now stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany was deployed to Iraq from July 2006 until November 2007.
The festival included the presentation of a memorial to honor the lives of the 43 soldiers of Apache Company lost at war in Baghdad.
National Guard unit returns from Iraq to heroes welcome -- [Quartzsite Times]
"It is occasions like this when we can welcome home our troops and show them our support that makes all the work worthwhile, especially knowing how much it
If you don’t believe in something… -- [Neptunas Lex]
You’ll fall for anything
The fever swamp rats are drinking their own bathwater again:
During the journalism conference event, I asked (Sy) Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals (sic) as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected.
I really don’t know what’s more absurd. That Sy Hersh could make up yet another of his ridiculuous, unsourced and unsubstantiated claims, or that so many people minimally clever enough to earn the folding cash required to pay internet access bills could so eagerly believe him.
How Rotten Is the American Media?... Only Half of US Believe Bush Surge Was Successful -- [Gateway Pundit]
Gallop today announced that only half of Americans now believe the Bush Surge of troops in Iraq was successful.
Only ABC Runs Full Iraq Status Story After Fewest U.S. Deaths Ever -- [NewsBusters]
Thursday, only ABC's World News devoted a full story to the fewest Americans killed in Iraq in any month since the war began. CBS and NBC gave the great news a few seconds before pivoting to full stories on the rise of female suicide bombers and the sexual assault problem in the military.
Senator Obama's Netwarriors go over to the offensive. -- [The Armorer]
It would appear free speech isn't a goal of the Golden Horde of Attila-the-Net-Huns that supports Senator Obama. No, I don't think that the campaign is sponsoring this.
But yesterday anti-Obama bloggers and Hillary bloggers who blog on websites controlled by Google started finding themselves locked out of their blogs.
Google and the Anti-Obama Bloggers -- [NT Time Bits - Miguel Helft]
Did Google use its network of online services to silence critics of Barack Obama? That was the question buzzing on a corner of the blogosphere over the last few days, after several anti-Obama bloggers were unable to update their sites, which are hosted on Google’s Blogger service.
This one's for... -- [The Armorer]
Since he's been coping with that whole "hanging up the spurs" thing. I will add a caveat - there are civilians, like AFSis, Princess Crabby, Brab, Bad Cat Robot, Ry, Boquisucio, MaryAnn to name a few, who will act like veterans will act. And people like Cassandra, HF6, Carrie and others, who, if they hang with us warriors long enough, are just as much a veteran as we are.
No Credit Where Credit Is Due -- [Town Hall]
...President Bush came into office promising he would govern with his own style of compassionate conservatism. And he's largely lived up to that promise, but he gets little or no credit. Aid to Africa is only one aspect of that compassion. This week, an annual report to Congress on homelessness in the United States reports a historic drop in the number of chronically homeless people over a two-year period: a 30 percent decline between 2005 and 2007.
FINALLY! Wartime Opposition to War Is Explained Clearly -- [Flopping Aces]
Ok, for those of you playing the home game, let’s recap: President Bush invaded Iraq and ended America’s 13 year war with Saddam with the authorization of Congress, and support of Democrats. Even before the war started, Gov Howard Dean ran for President on an anti-war theme (in addition to governor of Vermont, doctor, maple syrup king, and Presidential Candidate, he’s secretly been a middle eastern intelligence operative and the only man in the world who could accurately assess the threat from Saddam…or…so people were led to believe). As soon as Coalition forces crossed the border, Democrats en masse changed their tune, opposed the war like candidate Dean, and they themselves either tested the Presidential campaign waters, or just jumped right in. And so
Apologies for all my friends -- [Neptunas Lex]
I guess 360,000 dead yankees didn’t quite make the point:
The House yesterday apologized to black Americans, more than 140 years after slavery was abolished, for the “fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow” segregation.
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