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.
Far From Won & Done -- [Outside the Wire]
...If you put the Briggs Plan next to General Petraeus' counter insurgency manual, they are nearly identical. The accounts of the Briggs plan in action mirror the strategies and tactics employed by General Raymond Odierno when he was the Corps Commander in 2007.
The coalition is in a similar position to the British in 1956-1957.
The government of Iraq is becoming more capable. The Iraqi Police and military are more effective. The insurgency is waning and on the run. Many former insurgents, both Sunni and Shia, are being assimilated into mainstream.
But there is still a cadre of dedicated insurgents out there.
U.S. Banks and the Iraqi Dinar -- [American Contractor]
After the signing of the SOFA agreement between Iraq and the United States government, banks world wide will soon stop selling the Iraqi Dinar for good. Banks will be distancing themselves from any liability that they have been placing themselves in since the Iraqi law forbids Iraqi Dinar from leaving its borders.
The SOFA Agreement Article 20 also states in plain English that it is illegal to export Iraqi Dinar currency. The Iraqi government placed this in there because they are fully aware of how much dinar is outside the borders of Iraq.
Obama on troop withdrawal from Iraq
Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality -- [NY Times]
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.
...“I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.
Publicly at least, Mr. Obama has not set a firm number for that “residual force,” a phrase certain to become central to the debate on the way ahead in Iraq
The Red Pill (Part 1) -- [Greyhawk]
...The Tenth Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2/10) was in Iraq before the surge - but their tour was extended from 12 to 15 months. That's the reality of the surge, as all here should know - there were actually no additional Brigades sent to Iraq. The five "surge" Brigades were already scheduled to go. Some of their deployment dates were moved up. Their tour lengths were extended to 15 months, and all the Army units already in Iraq had their tours extended from 12 to 15 months. That is how the surge was accomplished - by tour extension, not by sending additional troops to Iraq.
Protecting Iraq's Money -- [American Contractor]
The next important thing that the Iraqi government has to accomplish which is vital to the people of Iraq and that is to protect their assets abroad. If they do not accomplish this in a timely fashion then Iraq will go back to the ways of the previous regime when they sold oil for cash and way below market value just like saddam did in the oil for food program.
The big "if" -- [Armed and Curious]
... I share my old bosses cautions with all things in Iraq, that progress there is often fragile. But, there is no denying that things are moving in the right direction over all. There is no question there are still bursts of spectacular attacks and the ISF is still struggling to grow and build a professional force. But, the Iraqis are motivated to be masters of their own destiny.
...Our endeavour has reached a point where I am comfortable to say we can talk openly about moving out and handing Iraq's fate to her people to decide who they want to be in the world.
From The Frontline 10
This edition features stories on Marines who are secureing a village, a tactical air control party shoot excercise and a joint badge operation. Provided by Regimental Combat Team 1.
Back In Iraq Major Eric Egland Fights Earmark Battle Here at Home -- [Gateway Pundit]
...Major Egland saw first hand in Iraq and Afghanistan that the troops are well equipped to engage in combat, but need the American people to equip them to engage communities. Soldiers and Marines have proven that providing tailored responses to local needs--whether medical supplies, water filtration systems or enough sports equipment to start a soccer league--builds trust and makes the people more willing to stand up, so our troops can stand down and come home--victorious.
Besides his important work in Iraq, Eric is focusing on national security reforms, including making sure wartime earmark abusers face consequences.
This is not a job... -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
Being CA types, we've found ourselves tasked with assisting a guy who has the super-fun assignment of finding all the water purification projects the US funded in the first five years here, and checking on their status.
(Well, I can tell you their status. 90% of them are broken. Because Iraqis don't do maintainance. And their budget process somehow doesn't allow for hiring people to keep things running. It's a bit of a problem here)
Government of Iraq takes control of Haditha Dam -- [The Fighting Fifth Marines Blog - in Iraq]
Marines with Regimental Combat Team 5 finished the final demilitarization of the Haditha Dam located along the Euphrates River.
Haditha Dam Hand Over
Small country, big mission; Azerbaijanis complete tour in Iraq -- [The Fighting Fifth Marines Blog - in Iraq]
For the past five years, service members from a small country approximately the size of South Carolina have been providing vital security for one of Iraq’s major source of power, the Haditha Dam
...Though Azerbaijan may not be well known by most Americans, the work they have done in Iraq for the past five years deserves special recognition worldwide.
“The Azerbaijanis provided security for an absolutely vital piece of infrastructure in the al-Anbar province, the Haditha Dam, which produces an excess of 25 percent of the entire power grid for the country of Iraq,” said Col. Patrick J. Malay, commanding officer of Camp Pendleton-based Regimental Combat Team 5, whose area of operation includes the Haditha Dam.
Look Ma, No Thumbs -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
The military relies on computers for a lot of its day to day activities. Battalion Staff Officers rely on a lot of Power Point slides to brief anything that could possibly be briefed, we use excel trackers to track all of our excel trackers. All of these things get passed back and forth on thumb drives. Thumb drives have become such a staple that we actually issue them to the staff and Company Commanders. Unfortunately, with thumb drives going back and forth across the military it was facilitating the spread of viruses. The solution? We are no longer allowed to use thumb drives.
Coalition forces target Iranian-backed Hezbollah Brigades in Baghdad -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Seven Hezbollah Brigades terrorists have been captured or killed during raids over the past three days.
Saddam’s cousin , “Chemical Ali,” Sentenced to Death -- [VOA]
...Al-Majid’s co-conspirator in this latest trial, Abdelghani Abdul Ghaffour al-Ani, who headed Saddam Hussein’s Baath party in the southern region of Basrah in the early 1990s, was also sentenced to death for war crimes in the 1991 Shi’ite uprising, following Iraq’s defeat in the 1991 Gulf War.
Al-Ani remained defiant until the end, shouting at the judge, insulting what he called the “U.S. occupiers,” and proclaiming to God that he will “die as a martyr to the nation.”
Saddam's Spies Survive In America -- [Strategy Page]
December 4, 2008: As U.S. troops became more familiar with Iraq, and the details of Saddam's foreign espionage efforts came to light, it became known that Saddam had some U.S. citizens on the payroll. Over a dozen suspects were uncovered, and most were charged, if not prosecuted, for espionage.
Barefoot Movers and a Female Soldier -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
We arrived at the Iraqi base, and and I saw the the Iraqis carrying Hesco barriers across the road to abandoned buildings. I spent a lot of time discussing their plans. Afterwards, I noted how Iraqis interact with a female soldier and take to instruction on maintaining a truck.
British Brass Defends Basra Campaign -- [Captain's Journal]
The Captain’s Journal has a history on the one hand of defending the bravery of the enlisted British soldier, and on the other of criticizing the strategy that the British brass brought to the campaign in Southern Iraq. Without a doubt the British enlisted man wanted to participate in counterinsurgency in Basra, and also quite without a doubt, his chain of command effectively prevented him from doing so.
Now comes Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup who vigorously defends the British campaign, and more particularly, we note, the decisions by the military brass.
Inside a U.S. hostage rescue -- [Army Times]
Spec ops soldiers conduct night raid in Afghanistan mountains
The American businessman lay in a mud hut 8,000 feet up a remote mountainside in Afghanistan, armed captors posted inside and outside to prevent any escape attempt.
Earlier in his captivity, he had made a run for it, but
Taliban Leader: Reinforcing U.S. and NATO Forces In Afghanistan Will Only Lead To More Casualties Among Them -- [MEMRI Blog]
On December 2, 2008, the Islamist forum Al-Faluja posted the latest issue of the Taliban monthly e-journal Al-Sumoud, which contained a message from Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
In the message, Mullah Omar stated that reinforcing U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan would only cause them to suffer more casualties. He also stated...
A Tale of Two Wars -- [AFGHANISTAN SHRUGGED - in Afghanistan]
...CJTF-P is the headquarters for the ETTs here in Afghanistan. I could understand a marked difference between conventional coalition forces and ETTs; but there's such a huge dichotomy from us and our headquarters.
The difference came to light recently when we received some replacements through Camp Phoenix.. We were briefing them on our day to day activities and they were telling us about what they were told at Phoenix. What they were told was shocking and if you followed their guidance it would ensure that you were universally disliked by the ANA and would accomplish nothing here.
Panicked Solutions -- [From the Frontline - Alex Strick van Linschoten - in Afghanistan]
...Despite this situation, on Tuesday Afghan parliamentarians emphatically spoke out against President Karzai’s own plan to arm local tribes against the Taliban drawn up by the Tribal Commission. MPs argued that the Afghan army and police force should be strengthened instead.
The authors’ own incidental experience talking to people from all kinds of backgrounds in Kandahar also offers overwhelming evidence that people fear the return of the militias. “If the militia comes, they will do everything,” explained one friend. “They will rape my boys and my wife. There will be no more government. Now we have maybe thirty percent law in the city. With the militia there will be none. It will be the end.”
The Soviets tried funding militias before they left
The Mumbai attack may escalate the Afghan conflict -- [Weekly Standard]
Beyond the possibility of a war breaking out between India and Pakistan over the Mumbai terror siege, how might this event impact the security situation in South Asia? The short answer is the security situation in Pakistan’s northwest could spiral out of control, impacting NATO’s ability to resupply its forces in Afghanistan.
Ghazni needs some troops -- [The Gouge - Troy Steward]
Ghazni province has always been a hotbed of activity. It was where numerous attacks have happened and also the place where the Koreans were kidnapped, in addition to being the place where the two Afghan women were executed on a reporter's video. I know this area well as I spent a lot of time there. However there seems to be a surge of activity there lately and I am wondering what is happening or being planned by the enemy in this area. I point to the following that just happened.
Another Sunset Over The Barrel Of A Gun... -- [Embrace The Suck - in Afghanistan]
...After all that entertainment we settled in for what would become an exceedingly long shift. Now normally, being stuck in a tower looking out over the landscape in a country where there are people you know are trying to kill you, is a maddening job. First, its incredibly boring looking at the same thing over and over again. Second, its incredibly hard to keep your guns up for that long and do a good job of watching. But every time something moves, or you hear a sound, your awareness rises to levels I haven't felt in a long time. You tune in to everything. You hear everything, you see everything, your eyes narrow, your ears come flying wide open, your brain loses all superfluous activity and concentrates completely on everything in front of you. Your palms start to sweat, you lean forward on your haunches and your eyes start to dart from side to side and up and down. Your forehead scrunches up so hard that you start to get a headache, and then ...
Beerwehr -- [Jules Crittenden]
The German soldier in Afghanistan downs 25 bottles of wine and 485 pints of beer a year.* This follows news that your average goose-stepper is too fat and lazy, sausage-addicted, and his mission to train Afghan cops is a “miserable failure.”
Pashtunistan -- [Outside the Wire]
...In today's Washington Post, Robert Kagan poses the variant on my Pashtunistan scenario writing, "Have the international community declare that parts of Pakistan have become ungovernable and a menace to international security. Establish an international force to work with the Pakistanis to root out terrorist camps in Kashmir as well as in the tribal areas."
The idea of Pashtunistan is nothing new. Since the partition of India into Pakistan there has been an effort to formalize Pashtunistan. The effort has waxed and waned over the decades, but maybe its time has come.
Afghanistan is not a country, it is an amalgamation whose borders were drawn by Russia, Iran (Persia) and Britain. Historically to be an Afghan meant to be a Pathan, a Pashtun to the extent that ...
Silly idea to make Portland a sanctuary for AWOL troops -- [Mike Francis, The Oregonian]
Sometimes all this blogging gets kind of circular -- yesterday, because I was doing some research about anticompetitive behavior in the grocery business, my colleague Mary Kitch wrote an item about the effort by some antiwar activists to make Portland a "sanctuary" city for war resisters ... in other words, they were asking the city council to not enforce federal law about arresting deserting or AWOL troops.
UK Report: School Cancels Traditional Christmas Play for Muslim Eid Celebrations -- [FOX News]
British parents looking to see their children in a traditional Christmas play are fuming after a school decided to cancel the performance because it conflicts with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.
Small ISI Kashmir Op Morphed into LeT Mumbai Massacre -- [The Tank - Steve Schippert]
I strongly recommend you read the following: Syed Saleem Shahzad, a source I generally trust in Pakistan, writes that an al-Qaeda "hijack" of a smaller ISI operation intended for Kashmir led to the Mumbai attack. After a concise (and required) historical recap of the al-Qaeda/India/LeT dynamic, he gets to the meat and potatoes...
...keep in mind that the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) was an original signatory to bin Laden's International Islamic Front in 1998, which formally created al-Qaeda as "the base" organization for international Islamic terror groups.
Mumbai Style Attack in the US: A Skeptical Analysis -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The Mumbai massacre may not be a “new” terror tactic. The mass firearms attack riveted the world in 1972 when the Japanese Red Army gunned down 27 people at Ben Gurion Airport. Since then the annals of terrorism have included innumerable other examples, most notably al-Gamaa Islamiya’s 1997 Luxor Massacre in which 59 tourists were murdered.
Congressional Commission Warns of Bio and Nuclear Terrorism threats in 5 years. -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Greater government efforts and adequate follow-up budgets are needed to head off the threat of major biological terrorist attacks in the United State or overseas within the next five years, leaders of a congressionally mandated Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction warned today.
Chutzpah: Terrorists Behind Mumbai Massacre Have U.S. Hosted Website, Register Using Actual Terrorist Name! -- [Jawa Report]
...Howie just noticed that the U.S. State Department lists the Jamaat ud Daawa "charity" as a terrorist organization front for the LeT:
Holiday mail for deployed and wounded troops -- [Mike Francis, The Oregonian]
A friend pointed out to me that a well-intended email is circulating with a faulty address for wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. I've rounded up a few places you can send mail to wounded or deployed servicepersons and I believe these are all correct. Please note that many of these groups have rules about whether they forward cards, packages or whatnot. It's always best to go right to the source about how to deliver your good wishes.
An Attempt to Vent -- [From Our Perspective; some thoughts:]
I've wanted to write, to vent, but everytime I sit down to regurgitate this stuff I can't. It's too much of an effort to put words to these emotions. I feel as if I've lost one of my most valuable outlets for these work stressors. Last week I started having nightmares of disasters and dead bodies laying everywhere. This week isolation is the name of game and I don't talk to anyone. Mental health red flags waving I call the shrink and make an appointment.
It often seems when I am ready to talk there's no one to listen. When I need a shoulder to cry on or a hug everyone is busy doing other things. I'm tired and I wish every once in awhile someone was there for me.
Tooth Fairy and Mail (Two things that don't exsist) -- [AFGHANISTAN SHRUGGED - in Afghansitan]
...MAIL: And therein lays the rub! Our mail is broken.
Now when I say broken I mean really broken. Not like; hey this letter got bent-but this letter never got here broken. Maybe broken isn't the right word, broken implies that there was a system that work at one point and now it doesn't. We have no indication that that it ever worked. Here are a couple of examples:
CPT W assigned to Camp We Have Everything in the World (Phoenix) is reassigend to FOB Where the Hell. So that he doesn't have to hump his equipment over hells half acre ships his non-essential equipment to himself at his new FOB. Mail between FOBs is free; so I guess you get what you pay for. This initial transaction took place 27days ago. We know this because keep a running tally on our white board. No boxes.
...And now the coup de grace. I don't speak French so if I mis-spelled that then write me and tell me in a letter; which I'll never get. We just received mail for a soldier that rotated out of here five months ago, the postmark on the box showed December. I thought that was amazing, three days. Until I looked again and saw it was December of last year. Even Marco Polo got to Afghanistan faster than that.
CASF Airmen of the 332nd AEW Move Warriors Out of Theater -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
...The CASF is a medical facility for patients who have been cleared from the nearby CSH or Combat Support Hospital for medevac to Germany. As you can see by the second photo, the patients are loaded on to the aircraft at night - somewhere around 0200 local time. That's midnight in Germany, and that's when the Missions Team at Landstuhl receives the final flight manifest which contains all relevant patient information.
Linda's donations for Landstuhl patients stolen -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
Sad news - I posted recently about the Blankets of Hope Linda Ferrara and her friends made for the patients at Landstuhl. She's also been working with the West Point Parent Club collecting other donations for the warriors here.
New Social Media Platform Helps Troops Relocate -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2008 – From a civilian perspective, it may be hard to understand the challenge of constant relocation that comes with military service. Finding new schools, identifying new organizations to join and tracking down a safe neighborhood can be an overwhelming process. As a result, many military families turn to others in the military community for information and resources.
Joseph L. Galloway: The Times drags an honorable soldier through the mud -- [Michael Yon]
McClatchy Newspapers - This week, I'm writing in defense of an old friend, retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who was dragged through the mud this week in a 5,000-word article by David Barstow in The New York Times.
Several months ago, Barstow wrote a story on a Pentagon program undertaken on orders of then-defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that offered hand-feeding and special treatment to a motley crew of television's military talking heads.
...The article noted that after the war got underway, McCaffrey, almost alone among the 50-plus analysts, was an unrelenting critic of Rumsfeld's misconduct of it and his gross interference in matters of strategy and tactics that are better left to professionals.
I found it curious, then, that Barstow chose McCaffrey, who didn't feed at Rumsfeld's trough, as the target of his allegations of conflict of interest and self-dealing, especially when he offered no proof that the general ever tailored his analysis of the war and other military matters to smooth the way into Rumsfeld's Pentagon for the defense companies for whom he was consulting.
So what's up with Transformation? -- [A Major's Perspective]
The military of the future has been the subject of a great deal of talk lately from political pundits, defense experts, and even the President-Elect. It seems everyone has their own ideas about it. Some say we should strike a happy medium between counter-insurgency and major conventional warfare. Others say we should forsake major conventional warfare all-together and concentrate on only counter-insurgency. Our own President-Elect has said a number of times he thinks FCS and programs such as the F22 Raptor need to be rethought or cancelled all together.
So where does this leave us?
$166 Million Gap in Obama Campaign Donation Credibility? -- [Jawa Report]
This should raise a few eyebrows, assuming it's credible. A team of PUMAs has been digging through Obama's campaign contributions via FEC information, and they've found some, er, interesting
money laundering accounting.
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