Prev | List | Random | Next
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.
Iraqi Elections -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
The Iraqi elections are only about 36 hours away. With over 14,400 candidates vying for 440 council seats, there are a lot of people looking for air time for their messages. I was watching an Iraqi channel on TV a little while ago and saw non-stop political ads. I mean non-stop: there wasn't any scheduled programming! Just ads for this candidate or that, with a bunch of "rock-the-vote" style ads in between.
...As you might expect, with this many people going out to monitor this important an election, the logistics are daunting. The US is taking the lead on providing transportation, support, and security for the monitors. I've watched the planning develop for several months now
Last Day of Coin -- [Whatever It Takes - in Iraq]
We have been living on the Iraqi side of Taji. Taji is split into two sections, the Iraqi and the American side. The barracks we have been living in are old Iraqi Army barracks. I can't complain, it was pretty nice digs except for not having privacy in an open bay environment. The food here is excellant, much better than last time.
The elections are tomorrow. We are not participating in security or operations, regardless of what has been written in the news.
Iraq's Upcoming Provincial Elections -- [FDD - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross]
Today I published an intelligence briefing for FDD that examines the implications of the upcoming provincial elections in Iraq.
When the Medevac Flies Directly Overhead... -- [Castle Argghhh - Bill T - in Iraq]
...it means it's bad. It means there's no need to rush survivors to the hospital pad.
It means the worst has happened.
Earlier this week, the medevacs flew directly overhead, sometime around midnight, or later -- all I knew then was that it was dark, and it was the worst. I didn't find out how bad it was until I went to work.
Fog of War -- [The Writings of a Man’s Man - in Iraq]
It has been said that war is 95% boredom and 5% sheer terror. I find the numbers closer to 99% boredom. It also has been noted that you’ll know something is wrong only when your soldiers stop complaining. Today these two principles merged as I sat around pulling security for some talking heads debating whether to first pave the road and then put in sewers and water lines or to put in sewers and warter lines before paving the road. My frustration of late has lied in the disturbing fact that no one can ever give me the full picture as to what is going on, there is always some missing information
Lieutenants -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
We were out and about today, introducing a new manuever unit to the AO. We hit a meeting, a couple of ICERP projects (school addition, complete; health clinic, progressing very nicely), drove past a couple of key points. Then we got to the part where the outgoing manuever unit wanted to introduce the incoming manuever unit to a local "sphere of influence."
The gentleman in question, a retired general from the old regime,
The First Mission -- [The Stone Report - in Iraq]
Tuesday I went on my first mission.
My day began early in the morning waiting for the helicopter of Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division, Major General Michael Oates. I got to be in his entourage, or posse, for the day. For those of you unfamiliar with the etiquette of flying with a General, here’s how it goes.
Will Hollywood come to Baghdad? -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
As most of you know, I’m currently assigned to the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad. I live (and will soon work) at Camp Prosperity — one of the places the U.S. military is located here. It’s an interesting camp with lots of trees and open space, large man-made pools, a bustling shopping area with restaurants and stores with a variety of goods, and, best of all, a former palace of Saddam Hussein. The palace was damaged in March 2003, but a large part of it is now occupied by U.S. military (despite the “air conditioning” that we added). Overall, the camp is a nice place to be, if you find yourself in a combat zone.
Obama’s Vietnam -- [Newsweek]
The analogy isn't exact. But the war in Afghanistan is starting to look disturbingly familiar.
Inside an Afghan battle gone wrong: What happened at Wanat? -- [FP - Tom Ricks]
Just before dawn last July 13, Taliban fighters attacked an outpost in eastern Afghanistan being established by U.S. Army soldiers and fought a short, sharp battle that left many American dead -- and many questions. But the U.S. military establishment, I've found after reviewing the Army investigation, dozens of statements given by soldiers to investigators, and interviews with knowledgeable sources, simply has not wanted to confront some bad mistakes on this obscure Afghan battlefield -- especially tragic because, as the interviews make clear, some of the doomed soldiers knew they were headed for potential disaster.
First, here's my account of what happened that day...
Planting The Seeds Of Stability -- [A Soldier's Mind]
When a National Guard unit deploys to a war torn country, they take with them, not only the skill set they were trained on in the military, but the often varied experiences and expertise from their civilian job as well. Some may be businessmen, students, doctors or nurses, lawyers or even farmers. The things that these Soldiers can bring to the table during a deployment, are often as varied as the personality of each Soldier. Members of agricultural development teams currently deployed to Afghanistan, are shining examples of what the National Guard stands for. Their emblem alone signifies this: A minuteman holding a musket in one hand and the other hand resting on a plow. At a recent media roundtable event, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and Army National Guard Chief,Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, spoke about the capabilities that these Soldiers bring to the development of the countries that they are deployed in. Joining them for the event ...
Thank God For Broken Planes... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Afghanistan]
We sat around all day in a holding tent waiting for these flights. Now over the years a lot of soldiers have cycled through this tent. And soldiers bore easily and then they do things to entertain themselves. One of the things they do is write on the walls. Yes, soldiers and children do have a lot in common. Some guys write their names and dates they were here, others write the classic, "So and so, was here", others write the name of their unit and their mottos, still others write dirty jokes, some are REALLY ambitious and they crawl up the side of the tent to about 20 feet up in the air and write their name and unit in VW bug sized letters. Then there was this guy...or girl. I don't know. Who wrote a little poem that caught my eye. It went like this...
WE ARE THE WILLING.
LED BY THE BLIND.
TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE.
FOR THE UNGRATEFUL.
To Win In Afghanistan -- [The Military Observer]
It might be easier to "win" in Afghanistan than the Pentagon thinks.
Afghanistan is the 3rd poorest country in the world. The average salary is about $ 1.50 @ day, and the nationwide literacy rate is approx 40 %, although out in the countryside, it’s closer to 90%. The Karzai Government is basically broke, so it’s kept alive by donations from the international community.
Laptops for Literacy -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
HM1 Charlotte G. Ward is stationed in Iraq on her 3rd tour of duty as a Navy Corpsman. She has taken the lead on a project called "Laptops for Literacy."
"We are working with the Marines on joint activities bringing educational resources to the local populations. We are rebuilding a school and working on literacy issues. We see the difference the availability of education has on improving lives and bringing stability and understanding to these areas." HM1 Charlotte Ward
Itch Free In The Mountains Of Afghanistan -- [Strategy Page]
January 29, 2009: As more U.S. troops head for Afghanistan, those who have already been there have one bit of good news; the new U.S. Army winter clothing (the "Generation III" set) really works. It keeps you warm, even if you are running around in freezing weather and working up a sweat. And it isn't bulky or itchy. It's good stuff.
Adviser: Ahmadinejad Will Seek Another Term as Iranian President -- [FOX News]
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will run for re-election in June, one of his advisors said.
Press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr told The Associated Press on Thursday that Ahmadinejad will run to complete the programs he has started since his election in 2005.
North Korea tears up agreements -- [BBC]
Communist North Korea has said it is scrapping all military and political agreements signed with the South, accusing Seoul of hostile intent. — South Korea's government had pushed relations “to the brink of a war”, the North's cross-border relations body said on state media.
TERRORISTS BUYING LATIN AMERICAN PASSPORTS TO ENTER THE US? -- [Center for Security Policy]
Last week, the San Antonio Express-News posted a story about three Afghani Muslim men caught carrying stolen Mexican passports with their pictures and data while en route to Europe. It was revealed by authorities that the documents were genuine and that these men had purchased them for $10,000 each. In light of this information, we at The Americas Report decided to investigate whether this modus operandi could be used by people who pose a real threat to U.S. national security and what we found is alarming.
Foreign Policy Pop Quiz -- [Jules Crittenden]
OK. Pop quiz. You’re Obama, in the first days of your presidency, and you’re being tested by a minor international crisis, the kind of North Korean tantrum you can set your watch by. Open book test, multiple choice. Please ignore this remarkably clear view from Reuters of why North Korea is doing this and what is at risk.
Al Qaeda and the plague: a follow-up -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
New information has surfaced in the past few days seeming to confirm that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb terrorists had died of plague.
I explored the different possibilities behind such an occurrence in an article in the Middle East Times.
...In the middle of the massive coverage of U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration, a rather troublesome news story emerged. Unfortunately, it failed to get the coverage it deserves. If confirmed, it deserves the full attention of the Obama administration: the story has to do with bio-terrorism.
The story began with a Jan. 6 report in the Algerian newspaper Echorouk that a number of terrorists had died of the plague in one of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) training camps in Tizi Ouzou. Another Algerian newspaper En-Nahar, affirmed that 50 terrorists have been diagnosed with the plague, 40 of whom have already died.
Best.Phone Call. Ever. -- And a Call for Action -- [Iraq War News]
A week ago, at lunchtime, my phone rang. It was my personal cell phone, and I was at work. Didn't recognize the area code, so I didn't answer. I did, however look up the area code.
'Waco, Texas?' I thought. 'Who the hell do I know in Waco, Texas?'
Only one other option I could think of - a Soldier.
...The caller had a mischievous tone in his voice as he asked me how I was doing, and whether I was in CT or travelling that day. 'OK, I'll play,' I thought. There were only a couple of people this could be. Not too many people had this number.
...It was my first Soldiers' Angels adoptee
Soldiers’ Angels Wounded First Response -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
With more heroes being sent into Afghanistan and spring time on the horizon, Soldier's Angels is gearing up for the support needed to our medical combat hospitals in country.
Donations are needed for the Soldiers' Angels Wounded First Response backpacks and the Vet Packs.
Driving Ms. Patti -- [Toby Nunn's Briefing Room]
My Good Friend Greta has mentioned to me several times that I need to do a TV Show on my Adventures with the Queen Angel and I believe that it would be great TV. I have been so fortunate to travel around the country with Patti and attend some pretty cool and amazing events but they all pale in comparison to the not so quiet moments in MVP 009 (my Tahoe).
Suicide Among The Ranks: What The Army Is Doing -- 1-800-273-TALK(8255) -- [A Soldier's Mind]
Suicide is a tough topic to discuss. In it’s wake, it leaves so many victims, who often blame themselves for what happened. With the death of the person who committed suicide, come many questions, often the survivors blame and beat themselves up, because they didn’t recognize the signs or discounted them. Over the past several years, suicides in the military services, especially in the Marine Corps and the Army have seen a dramatic increase. In the Army it’s become a huge concern, from the highest ranking officer, to the lowest enlisted servicemember. Just this past year alone, there have numerous suicides reported among the recruiting cadre in the Houston area. It’s a trend that’s become extremely alarming. The question has been asked over and over again … ‘What are we doing to prevent suicides amongst the ranks of the Army?’
Wounded heroes honored in D.C (Video). -- [IN - Iraq]
Staff Sergeant Dwayne Frost, 48, of Washington DC was hit by an IED in Baghdad in 2003. He has since gone through 18 surgeries and lost one of his legs below the knee. He was interviewed at the Heroes Ball on inauguration night.
'Scholarships for Military Children' application deadline nears -- [War on Terror News / AFNS]
1/29/2009 - FORT LEE, Va.-- For military parents who have children about to enter college or already attending, the opportunity to apply for a $1,500 scholarship through the Defense Commissary Agency's Scholarships for Military Children Program is ending Feb. 18.
Goodbyes -- [The New Normal - heading to Afghanistan]
Mildly autistic, he still is not aware that I’ll not be putting him on the bus again for some time to come. Or that I won’t even be home for dinner that night, or the next, or the next.
The bus driver and matron, seeing me in my ACUs, Army Combat Uniform, pick up right away that’s there’s something different about this morning. I put my son on the bus and tell them I’m going away. The driver asks, “yeah, but your not going over, are you?”
I shake my head and give them my one word answer, “Afghanistan.”
Football Greats Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell Host Angels and Heroes -- [PR Newswire - Beth]
Steelers star Franco Harris is hosting a golf tournament fundraiser for Soldiers’ Angels in Tampa (site of the Super Bowl) this week. He’s great guy and strong supporter of the troops, as he’s proving here. Milbloggers Chuck Z, Toby Nunn and Andi Hurley are among those representing SA at the event. Here’s an early report from a press release going out at 0430 Eastern (Friday):
2009 Grid Iron Golf Tournament in Tampa Spotlights Soldiers’ Angels
Led by football greats Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell, the 2009 Grid Iron Golf Tournament in support of the troops kicked off last night with the Immaculate Reception & Dinner at Timpano Italian Chophouse in Tampa. Military support non-profit Soldiers' Angels is this year’s beneficiary of an event that has been conducted concurrent with each Super Bowl since 1997 and has resulted in over $180,000 raised for a variety of charitable causes. The golf tournament itself is underway today at the renowned Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Tampa, Florida.
Body Armor Recalled -- [Threats Watch]
Over 18 months ago there was controversy over the procurement of body armor for our troops. Then, as now, the argument was over testing results between Dragon Skin Body Armor and the armor supplied by Pinnacle Armor. Except now,
It All Compounds -- [The Unlikely Short-Timer]
Reveille. TAPS. Taps just played. Last time I heard Taps? Burying friends. It isn't much of a Good Night to me. So Sorry, big army. I get it,there are all these traditions and whatnot. But has anyone ever stopped to think about how old and archaic some of these are?
...We're getting new guys almost every week it seems. Phasing us short-timers out with cherries. And that's great. But these cherries, I WANT them to know certain things. I WANT them to know NOT to let people get within 30 meter of you. I want them to NOT be a picture on the wall with KIA (date) stamped on it.
Public Affairs Killers... -- [My Point of View - training to go to Iraq]
After just about four months of training at College Station and here at Fort Dix, we're finally finished with our pre-mobilization training and are gearing up for a flight to the Middle East.
Yesterday was our last training event and we went out with lots of bangs...shooting to be exact. We had to participate in a base firing exercise which is basically a scenario where our camp or base is getting attacked and we have to defend. Now, if that scenario was real, that means the crap REALLY hit the fan. If public affairs Soldiers had to race to defend after the MPs and the QRF had their shot...let's say we would do well.
US heroes General Petraeus and US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger will be honored at the Super Bowl this weekend -- [Sports Illustrated] HT: Gateway Pundit
US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully'' Sullenberger and the crew from Flight 1549 will be honored by the NFL before the Super Bowl.
...Also being honored is Gen. David Petraeus, who heads the U.S. Central Command.
Deployed Dad Surprises Kindergartner Son -- [You Served]
I absolutely LOVE these stories. They always bring a tear to my eye as I see the look of joy and happiness in these kids’ faces.
DAYTON — Gabriel Hurles was so engrossed in the cupcakes his mom brought to class for his sixth birthday Wednesday that he didn’t notice the enormous wrapped box that came in shortly after.
Baylor Crowd Roars As President Bush & Laura Bush Announced at Ball Game (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
President Bush and Laura Bush made their first public appearance at a Baylor women's basketball game since he left office last week.
The Crowd Roared for the Texas Couple:
(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.
Near Miss -- [The Writings of a Man’s Man - in Iraq]
The night air was crisp and cool. The silence of the night was oppressive. Darkness reigned supreme. The tension was palpable. The muhala (Iraqi for neighborhood) was eerily queit. My men were quietly patrolling along a street looking for any suspicious activity. Suddenly in the periphery of the green fishbowl view of our night vision devices I caught a little bit of movement
A Responsible, Phased Withdrawal -- [White House website]
Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month -- which would remove all of them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 -- more than 7 years after the war began.
The Year of the Ballot Box Begins -- [The Ground Truth in Iraq]
Provincial council elections will be held in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces this week. The three provinces comprising the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government -- Irbil, Dohuk, and Sulaymaniyah -- and the disputed province of Kirkuk are not holding elections for their provincial councils at this time.
Today (January 28) Iraqi detainees, hospital patients, and nearly 600,000 members of Iraq's security services will cast the first ballots. Then on Saturday (January 31) polls will open for the general public.
Iraqi Troops Vote in Polls
More than 500,000 Iraqis are voting in provincial elections, three days before the majority of the country goes to the polls.
Early Iraq voting goes smoothly -- [UPI]
An early round of Iraqi provincial election voting concluded Wednesday with no major disturbances and only scattered violence, officials said.
Iraq elections: slideshow -- [Finacial Times]
Iraq this week holds its first elections since 2005 in a test of the country’s stability as it emerges from years of sectarian war. The provincial polls will determine the political landscape and provide momentum for parliamentary polls scheduled to take place later this year.
Divisions Threaten Fair Election in Iraqi Province -- [NY Times]
BAQUBA, Iraq — The provincial elections in four days have brought a certain excitement to the gray days of January — at least in most places. Campaign posters, with the candidates’ gleaming faces and party names emblazoned in red or black Arabic calligraphy, seem to shout at you from nearly every blast wall and lamppost.
Not so in Diyala Province. Cross the border there and the election signs thin out, a signal of the anger still simmering beneath the surface.
Big turnout as Iraqis vote in first stage of election -- [AFP]
The election is seen by Washington and Baghdad as a litmus test of Iraq's stability in the face of simmering unrest as US troops prepare to accelerate their ...
Gangsters Displacing Terrorists -- [Strategy Page]
January 26, 2009: There are several separate wars going on in Iraq. There are still a few groups of Sunni Arab terrorists going after Shia civilians. But most of the action has shifted to leaders. Shia terrorists target Sunni Arab leaders, believing them most responsible for the terror since 2003, and for supporting Saddam before that. Up north
Iraq War Update: Fight Shifts From AQI to Iran's Agents -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
We reported in the New York Daily News last weekend that some policymakers now see the Iraq war as simply one battlefront in a broader conflict -- no, not the “Global War on Terror” waged by ex-President Bush. A new war.
“This is rapidly becoming a regional proxy war with Iran,” argues Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens), chairman of a House Foreign Relations Committee’s panel on the Middle East and South Asia. “The big threat is, was and will remain in the future, Iran.”
“We’re definitely trying to fight Iran’s influence in Iraq,” agreed a U.S. intelligence official.
Today, violence in Iraq is way down compared to a year ago.
Sons of Iraq Transition: -- [MNC-I]
Sons of Iraq Transfer on Pace for April Completion.
BAGHDAD– The Government of Iraq and Coalition Forces are on pace to transfer all Sons of Iraq security volunteers to Iraqi control by April, and progress on finding jobs for the men is accelerating, representatives of the camps say. “This transfer is truly the leading edge of reconciliation in a nation that saw so much discord and distrust under its old regime,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Ferriter, deputy commanding general for operations, Multi-National Corps–Iraq,
U.S. Army, Multinational Division-Baghdad Col. Todd Mccaffrey -- [MNC-I]
...Over the last 14 months, we've seen a remarkable drop in violence, and a corresponding development of economic growth and Iraqi security force capabilities. And as you all are very much aware, we find ourselves poised on historic provincial elections later this week. In my mind, being here to watch the Iraqis conduct these elections is a perfect conclusion to this tour, and marks an important milestone on this nation's continuing development in democracy and freedom for its people.
While the upcoming elections are a culmination of our tour, there has been much progress that's brought us to this point. And I'd like to comment on a couple...
Counter Insurgency Academy -- [Whatever It Takes -in Iraq]
Today is my second day at the Counter Insurgency (COIN) Academy located at Camp Taji, Iraq. All of the company commanders, battalion commanders and key staff are in attendance from the brigade. You can tell how the Army feels about this course, we have been taught by one 3 star, two 2 star, and 1 one star general. COIN is the focus of what we will do in Iraq over the next year.
UAV Predator Engage A Group Of Insurgents With A Hellfire Missile In Iraq
CLOSE [X] A group of insurgent leaving an ambush on coalition forces is engaged by a MQ-1 Predator UAV with a Hellfire missile.
Some Thoughts -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
...So far I have had several routine transfers to the hospital north of here from units in the south. I also had a couple of trauma patients that the TMC here stabilized and then sent north as well. In fact, almost everything we take is headed north to one of two major hospitals in our area, and that brings about a different challenge I’ll talk about later. I did expect there to be more Point of Injury missions than there have been, but I guess that’s a good thing. It means our guys aren’t getting hurt out there as much anymore.
PC neophytes -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
...While Ali was in the lobby shaking hands and chatting up the media, the staff of the local Armed Forces Network was inside the room setting up microphones, connections to the Pentagon Channel, simultaneous translation, lighting and a slide show. ...
When the media had finally settled into their seats and were hooked up to earphones (thanks to SPCs Lee and Gardner), LTC Tim Houchei, the commander of the 126th PAOC, took a few minutes to thank all of the Iraqi media he had the pleasure to meet and serve during the year.
RIP/TOA -- [Bullet Wisdom - in Iraq]
We had an initial dinner with the IA (Iraqi Army) brigade executive officer. It was an informal sit down dinner where both teams had the opportunity to dine at the Iraqi officer's mess. Not all our IA counterparts were present. Mine was currently unavailable so I will have to wait until another time. Their manning is run different than ours. The either live with the unit, or with their family. Because of the danger to them and their family, the two do not mix. They will spend a few weeks living on the base, then quietly slip out to return to their family.
Iraqi Police, Marines upset insurgent activity in Lahib -- [Fightin' 6th Marines - in Iraq]
KARMAH, Iraq – In an effort to keep Karmah free of insurgent activity, Lahib Iraqi Police (IP) and Marines from 2nd Platoon, Company W, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, spent more than 12 hours searching Lahib for insurgents and weapons caches during an Iraqi Police-coordinated operation, Jan. 10. The effort resulted in the IP detaining 11 suspected insurgents and the discovery of a stockpile of materials normally used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Despite the Recent Mortars... -- [The Intrepid Reporter - in Iraq]
I've been really busy on the job, but have been trying to update and such. FINALLY though, I"VE GOT BANDWIDTH!!! Which means y'all get a few pictures, and later, hopefully if it works (not in this post mind you) but video too. The pic above is of a new 7 or 10 story building in the Baghdad area... It's a new business center, and as you can see, they want YOU to KNOW that they are, as the sign sez "OPEN." It's a sure-fire positive sign of things getting better. A picture that would NEVER be published in the states, but here it is, Brought to you by the letter "F", the number "69" and the World Famous Intrepid Reporter.This one here I just sort of snapped on the way home. What struck me is how the Media, Other Governments and Liberal Fucktard Assholes of the planet (and in our own country) try to make us out to being an "Army of Occupation." Let me ask thid: In World War Two: Did we allow the krauts to keep flying the Swastika when we won?
Iraqi, Coalition Forces Arrest Would-be Bombers, Seize Munitions -- [Global Security]
Iraqi soldiers and police, “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group members and U.S. soldiers seized several weapons caches and arrested two suspected roadside bombers during raids conducted throughout the Baghdad area yesterday, military officials reported.
To our friends, families, and all those who support us... -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog - in Iraq]
Well everyone, our tour has come to an end. We, Regimental Combat Team 1, have accomplished a lot over the last year. Just see our last post to learn more about that. But none of it would have been possible without the great support of our friends, families and everyone else who has our backs there in the U.S. We have received countless care packages, letters, e-mails and other gestures of support throughout this tour and we owe our fondest gratitude to you all. We are on our way home now and we look forward to arriving back on U.S. soil. We have missed the everyday luxuries that we sometimes forget about until we don't have them anymore, especially spending time with our loved ones. Deployments are always difficult on everyone, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we are proud to serve you, the great citizens of the United States of America.
Going home.... -- [Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army - in Iraq and Afghanistan]
Well, again, thank you for all of your continued support that you keep showing my brother and I by reading our blog. Thank you for the comments as well. Well, this may be the last post for a couple weeks from me. My internet is paid for monthly and it doesn't always re-new on the 1st of each month. SO basically, my internet is about to shut off and I'm not going to pay $50 for a partial month. I can't say exactly when I'll be leaving here, but I will be leaving kinda soon. Soon enough for me not to want to pay for a whole month of internet. Blah blah blah, my internet is going to be shut off soon and I won't be able to post on here from the government computer in my office. SO the next post I make will probably mean that I'm back in the states. I that is something I'm REALLY looking forward to!! BUT, as promised, I will keep you updated. I will post when I get home. I'm not REALLY sure when that will be.
Afghan Presidential Election Delayed -- [NY Times]
Officials said they needed more time to prepare, but the decision appeared to contravene the constitution.
Green Berets get Bronze Stars for Afghan battles -- [Stars and Stripes]
10 honored for actions during 22-hour fight
BÖBLINGEN, Germany — You don’t know when they’re coming or going.
Their deployments aren’t public, and afterward the men from the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group are almost invisible in the Stuttgart military community, rarely talking about what they’ve seen or done.
Ladies & Gentlemen, We Now Return To Your Regularly Scheduled Program... -- [Embrace the Suck -- in Afghanistan]
...So how do you defeat an enemy that hides amongst the population? You take away their hiding place. Turn the civilians against them. I can tell you with a certain amount of certainty that the people of Afghanistan hate the Taliban with a passion, trouble is they hate us more.
How do you turn the civilians against them?
Smoking A Hookah, Riding A Camel, and 3 Beers A Day... -- [Embrace the Suck -- in Afghanistan]
So that was my day. I rode a camel, I smoked a hookah on the beach, and now I am sitting here writing to all of you right before I go and have my authorized 3 beers for the day. Fun for me. If you ever get out to Qatar, I recommend the grape flavored smoke it was wonderful. Anyways, moving on. Well I have come to several realizations while I have been here. What are they? Well allow me to enlighten you. 1. Indoor plumbing is the most wonderful thing that anyone, anywhere, has ever invented. 2. Award winning chow halls are not a good place for a fat guy to go. 3. Combat zone habits make you look like an absolute retard if you are not in a combat zone. The first two are self-explanatory. The third one may require some clarification. Then again, maybe it doesn't but I am going to do it anyways.
Swat Taliban summon government officials to sharia courts -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The leader of the Taliban-controlled district of Swat in Pakistan's northwest has ordered more than 50 political and tribal leaders to appear before a sharia court within a week or face "dangerous consequences."
Town that hit back -- [Bouhammer]
Even though they got smacked down by the Taliban, this type of bravery and personal accountability is commendable. This is something that needs to happen in villages everywhere in Pakistan and Afghanistan. If you read this story you will see that the villagers didn’t just defend themselves from an attack, they went after the Taliban and killed them after chasing them down. These brave villagers are true examples of Martyrs in the eyes of Allah
Major change in Canadian ground role in Kandahar province? -- [The Torch - in Afghanistan]
A very interesting nugget is buried near the end of this Globe and Mail story--I've seen no mention of it elsewhere:
The return of the Taliban...
Headed to Double K - pt.1 -- [The Torch - in Afghanistan]
I'd almost forgotten what oh-dark-thirty looked like, slack and idle civvie that I am now. And even when I was in, I was never the morning type. But I wanted to get some groceries in my gate before the 0600 O-group for the patrol Laroche and I had been attached to got started, so I dragged my carcass to the Camp Nathan Smith mess and scarfed something back. Guys complained about the monotony of the food, but I found it pretty tasty and the portions were more than ample. Back to the block for my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - helmet, ballistic eyewear, and flak vest with armour plate front and back. I paused just long enough on the gravel to look up at the sky for a moment.
Jerusalem -- [Michael Yon]
Recently I was invited to the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington D.C. to receive an award for journalism in Afghanistan. I was incredibly happy to receive this journalism award from the Lithuanian people, and the Lithuanian government, and would like to thank the Lithuanians for standing their ground in Afghanistan and other troubled places. Lithuanians stood up against the Soviets, so it's doubtful that they fear al Qaeda or the Taliban. The Lithuanians are concerned, however, that America will turn its back on Lithuania. We must assure Lithuania that we will stand with them.
Afghanistan: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics -- [Captain's Journal]
Even when significant U.S. casualties have been sustained as in the Battle of Wanat, the anti-Afghan forces have suffered greater losses. In fact, in one recent engagement with the Marines, the Taliban suffered 50 losses as compared to none by the U.S. Marines. This lends prima facie credibility to the notion that the Taliban are reverting to standoff tactics such as IEDs. DoD data indicates ...
Aides Say Obama’s Afghan Aims Elevate War -- [New York Times]
President Obama intends to adopt a tougher line toward Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, as part of a new American approach to Afghanistan that will put more emphasis on waging war than on development, senior administration officials said Tuesday.
Mr. Karzai is now seen as a potential impediment to American goals in Afghanistan,
Afghanistan and the Question of Force Restructuring -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
At the same time, the Obama administration is carefully considering how to define victory in Afghanistan in a way that will make it more attainable.
"One of the concepts we embraced in Iraq was recognition that you can't kill or capture your way out of a complex, industrial-strength insurgency," Petraeus said in an interview this month with Foreign Policy magazine. "The challenge in Afghanistan, as it was in Iraq, is to figure out how to reduce substantially the numbers of those who have to be killed or captured."
This debate is closely tied to the debate over the future of the military as we know-that is, what kind of military do we need to fight the wars of the future?
Gates: U.S. lacks strategic plan to win in Afghanistan -- [Baltimore Sun]
After more than seven years of combat, the United States still does not have a unified strategic plan for winning the war against radical Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged today.
THE Taliban has called on Barack Obama to close all "evil" US detention centres for militants, "completely withdraw" from Iraq and Afghanistan and "stop defending Israel". -- [The Australian/AFP]
The online message, a copy of which was obtained from the SITE Intelligence Group, called on the new US President to take these steps to reverse the “satanic policies” of his predecessor, George W Bush.
“Obama's move to close Guantanamo detention centre is a positive step for peace and stability in the region and the world,” said the message, which was posted on online jihadist forums.
“If Barack Obama sincerely wants real stability and peace in the world, he should not only close Guantanamo.
“Rather, he should void all those evil projects established in the light of Bush's satanic perspective of instability in the world.”
The Mother of All Quagmires -- [Michael Totten]
I've just returned from a week-long trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Israel's border with Gaza, and I'm reminded all over again of what has been beaten into me during my many visits to the Middle East: there is no solution to the problems that vex that region right now. Most Americans are inherently optimistic and think just about any problem in the world can be solved. We put a man on the moon before I was born, but that was easy compared with securing peace between Israelis and Arabs.
Saving the monastery of Mor Gabriel, to guarantee a multicultural Turkey -- [Asia News]
Muslim leaders are trying to destroy it, and have sued the monastery for alleged proselytism. A spiritual and cultural center for the Syriac Orthodox, it still uses ancient Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. During the 1960's, at least 130,000 Syriacs lived in Tur Abdin. Today, there are only 3,000. The minority community hopes that the European Union will come to its defense with an appeal to Ankara.
Ahmadinejad Demands U.S. Change -- [NY Times]
A day after President Obama struck a conciliatory tone toward Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged Washington on Wednesday to end its global military presence and said it was unclear whether the new American administration …
If Osama Bin Laden Is Captured Today… -- [Flopping Aces]
Will it be by American soldiers, Delta Force, CIA Special Activities Division, Afghan warlords, allies,
Will the FBI need to go along on the mission?
Will those sent after Bin Laden be sent as assassins?
Will those sent after Bin Laden go with the intent to capture?
Will they have to read him Miranda rights in the cave?
If Osama Bin Laden is captured today, and he is not read his Miranda rights immediately by Delta Force commandos (for example), can he still be tried?
Bomber's Martyrdom Tape Renews Fears Over Consequences of Closing Gitmo -- [Fox News]
As President Obama pushes for the closure of Guantanamo Bay ...
...An exclusive video of a former Gitmo detainee's martyrdom tape, obtained by FOX News, is a reminder of the concerns that terror suspects — who have been held but released from Guantanamo Bay — are increasingly returning to the fight against the United States and its allies.
The video can be watched on the NEFA Foundation website.
Prez Obama closing Gitmo: 9/11 families object; terrorist attacks in and near prisons likely -- [911 Families]
Relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks, who were at the base this week to observe pretrial hearings, told reporters they oppose any halt to the trials. “The safest place to have these trials is Guantanamo Bay. If they were to move to the homeland it would endanger all of us,” said Lorraine Arias Believeau of Barnegat, New Jersey, whose brother, Adam, was killed in the attacks.
NEFA Foundation: AQIM Denies Alleged Germ Warfare Experiment Gone Wrong -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a new communique from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) denying recent reports that a group of Al-Qaida fighters perished in Algeria after mistakenly contracting fatal doses of the plague during a biological warfare experiment gone wrong.
Taliban: closing Guantanamo 'a positive step' but insufficient -- [AFP]
The Taliban welcomed President Barack Obama's order to close Guantanamo but said peace would only come if he reverses the "satanic policies" of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In a message posted on online jihadist forums, the Taliban also called on Obama to close all "evil" US detention centers for militants, "completely withdraw" from Iraq and Afghanistan and "stop defending Israel."
"Obama's move to close Guantanamo detention center is a positive step for peace and stability in the region and the world," said the message, a copy of which was obtained from the US-based monitor, the SITE Intelligence Group.
The message also mentioned Obama's appointment of "peace envoys:" Richard Holbrooke as envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and George Mitchell as Middle East envoy.
Military Spouses of the Year for each Service Branch Announced -- [USAA/ The national 2009 Military Spouse of the Year]
Voting Underway to Select Overall Winner
Military Spouse magazine today announced the five military service branch winners for its 2009 Military Spouse of the Year award, presented by USAA. The winners were Air Force wife Susan Webb of Glasford, Ill.; Army wife Misti Stevens of Fort Campbell, Ky.; Coast Guard wife Patricia Pruett of Miami, Fla.; Marine Corps wife Tanya Queiro of Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Navy wife Christy Kuiatnyk of Ellerslie, Ga. The five women were selected through an online vote held during the last three months. Voting starts today to select one overall winner. All Americans are encouraged to vote online at www.msoy.milspouse.com, where you can find profiles of these amazing supporters of the Homefront. No registration, membership or fee is required to vote. This final phase of voting will continue through March 4.
The overall 2009 Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) will be announced and honored nationally in the June issue of Military Spouse magazine and at the second annual MSOY Awards Ceremony to be held during the week of May 4, 2009 in Washington, DC, in conjunction with National Military Spouse Appreciation Week.
The Best Job I've Ever Loved To Hate -- [Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
The “I Support Big Tobacco” shirt is available for pre-order from Ranger Up. I get none of this money. The profits from this shirt go to Fisher House so that they may continue to support wounded soldiers.
This is a collector’s item. Only 144 of these t-shirts were made.
U.S. Deserter 'Having Time of My Life' as He Seeks Asylum in Germany -- [WSJ]
KARLSRUHE, Germany -- Germany has been very good to Spec. André L. Shepherd since he deserted the U.S. Army. The 31-year-old former mechanic of the 601st Aviation Support Battalion is enjoying perks that eluded him back home in Ohio: a bed, a bank account, a cellphone and friends. Best of all from his standpoint, he isn't back in Iraq.
"I'm having the time of my life," says Mr. Shepherd, the only American bunking at a refugee-processing center in southern Germany.
The U.S. deserter enters uncharted legal territory on Wednesday, when Germany begins weighing his request for political asylum
8-Track Flashback -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
I think all officers, upon commissioning, somehow acquire a copy of the Army Officer's Guide, a book which inadvertently illustrates the vast differences in thinking between the peacetime Army and the wartime Army.
R.I.P. [The Corner- Kathryn Jean Lopez]
James Brady, a Korean war vet (Marine), N.Y. establishment, and father of our friend Susan Konig has died, at 80.
Field Trip: TANKS for the Memories -- [Milblogging Conference site - Andi]
The folks over at The National Museum of Americans in Wartime have organized an optional field trip for MilBlog Conference attendees. The trip is not part of the official conference, but attendees are invited. Anyone interested in attending will spend a couple of hours at a vintage Tank Farm. Below is a preview of the experience:
Over at the US Naval Institute Blog - Vice Admiral John C. Harvey, Jr. had the following to say in the commentary: -- [SWJ]
...With respect to your comment concerning participation in the blogosphere and the upcoming milbloggers conference, let me speak pretty plainly - most of the blogs I’ve dropped in on and read on a regular basis leave me pretty cold. Too many seem to be interested in scoring cheap, and anonymous, hits vice engaging in meaningful and professional exchanges. There is also a general lack of reverence for facts and an excess of emotion that, for me, really reduces the value of the blog. Incorrect/inaccurate data and lots of hype may be entertaining for some, but just doesn’t work for me.
We Are Not Entertained -- [Neptunus Lex]
[...] Harvey’s not entirely on board for that whole “milblog” program: With respect to your comment concerning participation
Responsible, Professional, Fact-Based, Emotion-Free Blogging -- [Jules Crittenden]
...I’d like to suggest there is a balance between the high degree of professionalism expected by the man charged with keeping the Navy’s nuts tight, and the exuberance, hype, anonymous hits and lack of reverence for facts one sometimes encounters out in the blogosphere. Even Reynolds sometimes fails to lack fire, and SWJ is not above an excess of emotion. Some of the best milblogs snark, fume and have a good rant every now and then. Man cannot live on cold squid-like professionalism alone.* He must have childish mockery. And …
Why Does The Media Always Play Up Military Affiliations Of People Who Get Arrested? -- [The Stupid Shall Be Punished ]
Have you ever noticed that whenever someone who has even the slightest connection to the military gets arrested, the press always plays up the military angle? You might see a story about a guy who was in the Navy for a year, got booted out, and has been working in town doing other jobs for years; when he gets arrested, the headline will inevitably be "Former Sailor (or just Sailor) Arrested on Charges". As an example, check out this story from yesterday's New London Day:
Useful Idiot: Joshua Key -- [GI Korea]
I walked into a book store today and happened to notice a book that was standing prominently on the main book rack with what looked like an American soldier on the cover. I picked up the book and it was titled, The Deserter’s Tale, by Joshua Key. I knew instantly that this book was a hit job of the likes of Jessie Macbeth and Jimmy Massey on our hands. Fortunately the other two were exposed before they could publish books, but this latest pawn of the left has a book out sitting prominently in the front of bookstores spreading probably the same lies and hate of Macbeth and Massey.
...Let’s hope more can be done to expose Key as the fraud he is.
The Deserter's Tale - Milbloggers deconstruct Joshua Key's lies -- [BlackFive]
When you have the LA Times proclaim...
Destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq War…a substantial contribution to history.
...about an anti-military book by uber-liar Joshua Key, you need the boys at This Ain't Hell (who are on fire) and other milblogs (like this excellent post from ROKDrop) to have a dose of truth.
New Silicon Graffiti Video: "Picture Kill" -- [Ed Driscoll]
...But if the jury is still out on that clip, let's take a video look at news from this decade that we know conclusively was botched, including:
The New Republic's Danger Man, Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
Reuters' Picture Kill fiasco.
Former CNN chief Eason Jordan claimed US (and Israeli) troops targeted journalists For assassination--but was surprisingly cool about working with Saddam Hussein.
Civilian journalist receives Navy’s second highest honor -- [MNF-I]
On Aug. 3, 2003, while traveling the dangerous roads of Afghanistan, a cameraman working for FOX News risked his life to save a U.S. Marine from a vehicle engulfed in flames. While embedded with 2nd Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, cameraman Chris Jackson’s vehicle hit 50 pounds of homemade explosives. The humvee occupants escaped the flaming vehicle, all but the vehicle commander, Sgt. Courtney Rauch.
Obama uses Arab TV to reach Muslims -- [Wa Times]
President Obama's choice of an Arab news channel for his first sit-down television interview since taking office jolted the Muslim world Tuesday, with Saudi Arabia voicing approval and Iran offering a tepid wait-and-see assessment. But...
Republicans Object to Stimulus Dollars for ACORN -- [Fox News]
Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that ACORN, the low-income advocacy group under investigation for voter registration fraud, could be eligible for billions in aid from the economic stimulus proposal working its way through the House.
(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.
U.S. Military Signs Over Camp Ramadi to Iraqis -- [Defense Link]
RAMADI, Iraq, Jan. 22, 2009 – U.S. military officials signed over Camp Ramadi to the Iraqi government Jan. 20, signifying another step toward increased Iraqi responsibility and control.
Iraqi army and U.S. military officials signed the memorandum of agreement at Camp Ali, an Iraqi segment of Camp Ramadi here in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. The memorandum outlined the areas of the camp that coalition forces will continue to use through 2011.
Obama Directs Military to Plan ‘Responsible’ Iraq Drawdown -- [Defense Link]
President Barack Obama directed key defense and military officials he met with yesterday to come up with plans for “a responsible military drawdown in Iraq.”
Obama declared yesterday’s meeting on Iraq productive and valuable. Participants in the late-afternoon session during his first day in office included Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command.
US Envoy Notes Risks of Earlier Withdrawal From Iraq - [WSJ - Gina Chon]
US Ambassador Ryan Crocker said that a precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Iraq could give al Qaeda in Iraq a chance to regenerate and leave the country vulnerable to possible negative interference from neighboring nations.
Hey Mr. President, What Do You Think Of This... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Iraq]
I am about to ask Barack Obama some questions and then I am going to answer them for him. Not to mention I am going to throw a little commentary at you about the conservatives in the military and I just love to say that to them. YOU’RE GOING TO BE FINE, YOU’RE GOING TO BE JUST FINE… To whom do I say this little gem? Pretty much everyone I know at one time or another.
Iraqis Demand Death And Taxes -- [Strategy Page]
The Iraqi government wants Iraqi employees, of the U.S. military in Iraq, to have income taxes deducted from their pay. Seems reasonable enough, although this practice is only a few generations old in the West. But in Iraq, this request has revealed some unpleasant realities of Iraqi life. For one thing
RHIP -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
When I went around and asked the young soldiers to give me their boarding passes, they did not know what was going on. However, when I came back and gave them their first class boarding passes, it was evident. It was only a two-hour flight, but it was enough to let them know they were just as important as everyone else.
Skip ahead six weeks to FOB Prosperity here in Iraq. This time, the perk was improved billeting. Although the rest of the unit was only given room in two tents (nice tents, but still very crowded tents), the commander and I were offered a trailer (see previous email about CHUs). The trailer was pretty spartan — a pair of single beds, two night stands, and two wall lockers (mine was even broken). As soon as it was offered, the commander and I began to talk about our possible courses of action. “Sergeant major,” he said, “I don’t feel right about having this while everyone else is in the tent.”
In less than two weeks, the Iraqis will vote again. -- [Free Republic]
And that desolate airport I arrived in five years ago is a bright, bustling hive of activity, with shops, cafes and restaurants, clean restrooms and comfortable gate waiting areas. Another 17 daily flights were recently added and more airlines are signing contracts to fly in and out of Baghdad. In just a few months, there will be direct flights to Europe by major carriers, soon to be followed by direct flights to the US.
Godspeed, Iraq and may you continue to go forward and embrace the bright light of liberty and peace.
Pieces of Flair -- [Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
...“Yea,” I say. “It’s a combat patch. You just kind of get one for showing up. I don’t wear it.”
“Why? Everybody else wears it.”
“Not really,” I said. “After we had our patch ceremony, when the first sergeant told us to fall out, all you heard was ripping Velcro. A lot of first deployment guys ripped them off their uniforms.”
“The men are upset about the mission. We got promised Area Security Operations and ended up standing at Entry Control Points watching the rest of our battalion leave the gate. The men ripped their patches off because we aren’t in combat. I don’t know where the hell we are, but it’s not combat. When signal units are out doing route clearance and infantry units are guarding the gate, you kind of become disillusioned quickly.”
“What about you? “ Moshe Dayan asks. “What about 2004? You had that bombing…”
“I did nothing,” I say
Logistics is… -- [S4 at War]
…somehow getting 2000+ beers to my FOB in time for the Superbowl in a supply system that hasn’t ever had to supply beer to us before. Here is how it works: The people at the top said beer would be permitted only at Commanders’ discretion. Once Odierno said it was good then each MND Commander had to decide. Once they decided it trickled down to the Provincial level and finally reached us, about three days before I have to go and pick up 2000+ beers. It gets better. If, by chance
Baghdad…Finally -- [Stone Report - in Iraq]
By the time everyone reads this, I’ll be in my first day of work as a broadcaster. The unit we are replacing is ready to go and we get to hit the ground running. This is going to be a good 10 more months because I’m going to ensure it’s a good 10 months because I have good friends and confidence to know we can make anything happen.
Obama ready to cut Karzai adrift -- [The Independent]
As support for Afghan leader wanes, rivals go to Washington for meeting with new President — Barack Obama's arrival in the White House and the wind of change sweeping through Washington could lead to the ousting from power of Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, The Independent has learnt.
British Hated Because of Musa Qala -- [The Captain’s Journal]
...We have also covered the deal the British struck with one Mullah Abdul Salaam, a so-called mid-level Taliban commander who allegedly sided with the British, with the British thinking that Salaam would field fighters when the British and U.S. attacked Musa Qala to retake it from hard core Taliban fighters. As it turns out, Salaam was pretty much just a despicable and cowardly weasel.
Approaching the Tipping Point -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
He tells me that, despite the very mild winter we have had to date, that poverty is driving people to desperate measures. Frequently voices call out to him from the shadows at night “we are Taliban give us your wallet, watch and cell phone.” They are not Taliban but men he has known for years. I asked why this was happening because our understanding of Pashtun culture would prohibit such gross criminality inside one’s own community.
Nuristan PRT assists village with growth and development -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
The Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team recently visited Zirat village to assess the effectiveness of completed projects and work with villagers on solutions for overcoming hardships. Until February of last year, the main income for the villagers was earned
Make them taste the misery of horror: Al-Qaeda leader demands terror attacks in Britain to avenge Israel invasion of Gaza -- [Mail Online]
An Al Qaeda leader called yesterday for terror attacks on Britain in retaliation for Israel's offensive in Gaza.
Abu Yahya al-Libi urged the terror network's followers to rise up like 'angered lions' and declared: 'It is high time that this criminal country, I mean Britain, paid the price of its history.'
The rallying call came days after Al Qaeda's leader Osama Bin Laden broke nearly a year of silence to call for attacks against Israel and its supporters.
In the 31-minute video, al-Libi said 'infidel capitals' should be made to experience the same horrors as civilians in Gaza during the three-week Israeli offensive which was halted at the weekend.
'Make them taste the bitterness of war and the tragedies of homelessness and the misery of horror,' he said.
Has Obama Ended the "War on Terror"?Has President Barack Obama ended the "war on terror"? -- [MotherJones Blog]
On his second day in office, he signed an executive order that would prevent any officer of the US government from engaging in torture. As he placed his name on the order--keeping a prominent campaign promise--he declared that this move "effectively ensures that anyone detained by the United States for now" will be interrogated in a fashion consistent with the Army field manual, which notes that the use of force, threats, or inhumane treatment is prohibited by law. "We can abide by a rule that says we don't torture," Obama maintained. In other words, good-bye to waterboarding.
Freed by U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief -- [NY Times]
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.
A Promise Tucked In A Bag -- [A Soldier's Mind]
Death of a loved one is very hard for any of us to handle. Anytime one deals with the death of a loved one, it’s often difficult to find closure and move on with life, without that person. When a parent has to bury their child, it’s often very difficult, as under most circumstances, our children will outlive us. When our loved ones die as a result of a traumatic event, such as a traffic accident or in combat, we’re often left with many unanswered questions. For one Michigan woman, some of her answers were finally answered on Saturday, when she met the medic who was present when her son, 29 year old Carl Thomas was killed as a result of an IED in Iraq on September 13, 2004. While the pain of the loss of her son remains and will remain with her for the remainder of her life, and she’ll never have full closure, being able to have her questions answered about her son’s death, provided Alfeeria Johnson with some measure of comfort.
Are You Ready to Get Angry? -- [Thunder Run]
What? The Super Bowl won’t let the military color guard stay and watch the big game? Yes you read that right. Was I skeptical? At first, but after I contacted the Tampa Bay host Committee through their official website and spoke to Katie Wagner, I was assured that yes in fact her email inbox is full of emails from upset Marine Mom’s all asking for an explanation. To Ms. Wagner’s credit, who by the way was extremely gracious during my questions the Host Committee has no control over game day decisions; that authority rests solely with the NFL.
What has become a common yet gracious act of allowing a military color guard to stay and watch the game from the side lines, in honor of their service to our country, this time has them being treated as if they are the unwelcome guests, common servants to be whisked away as soon as their task is completed.
NFL Refuses to Let Honor Guard View Super Bowl -- [CJ - You Served]
The NFL has allowed the military troops presenting the national colors at the Super Bowl to stay and watch the game after the ceremony since 2002. The military plays a large role in most of the Super Bowls, providing color guards, fly-overs, and paratroopers that land on the field during opening ceremonies. But, this year, those troops are being snubbed by the NFL.
From Email: Fairness, Life, Secrecy, Caroline -- [The Anchoress]
...THANKING YOU for your prayers: This military family writes to tell me that Beloved is finally home, and doing well, with physical therapy to loosen up the muscles that have atrophied in recovery. His situation had been very grave. The family specifically thanked all of you for your prayers. Prayer works.
A Janitor's 10 Lessons in Leadership -- [Col. James Moschgat, 12th Operations Group Commander] HT BlackFive
Those who had before left a mess for the "janitor" to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He'd show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn't seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger "good morning" in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn't happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill's cadets and his squadron. As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, "Good luck, young man." With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town. A wise person once said, "It's not life that's important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference." Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven't seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years, he'd probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are ten I'd like to share with you.
Obama flashes irritation in press room -- [Politico]
...Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face.
"Ahh, see," he said, "I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."
Pressed further by the Politico reporter about his Pentagon nominee, William J. Lynn III, Obama turned more serious, putting his hand on the reporter's shoulder and staring him in the eye.
"Alright, come on" he said, with obvious irritation in his voice. "We will be having a press conference at which time you can feel free to [ask] questions. Right now, I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself to you guys - that's all I was trying to do."
Adam Kokesh; not feeling the hope -- [This Ain't hell]
The other day, in DuPont Circle at the Shoe Bush protest, the day before the Inauguration, I saw Adma Kokesh, poster child for everything that’s wrong with IVAW, threaten that he was throwing a combat boot at the 30-foot blow-up doll of George Bush on that day, but that he was saving the other boot for Obama.
...But the whole reason I video’d Kokesh was to catch him calling himself “Sergeant Kokesh”. To his credit, he has stopped that. Below is Kokesh’s DD214 which proves what I’ve been saying the last few years; he’s not a sergeant.
Obama blows off Medal of Honor recipients [Jonn] -- [This Ain't hell]
According to TSO who was at the “Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball”, this newly sworn-in President for the first time in 56 years blew off the ball (that’s 14 Inaugurations). Some background on the ball
Wounded vets walk out during inaugural ball concert -- [Wa Times]
An inaugural ball honoring U.S. military veterans ended in a kerfluffle as several veterans walked out when a musical act's attempt at humor backfired.
During the Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Ball honoring the nation's veterans, a vocalist with George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars held up a white towel with large block letters saying "[Expletive] GEORGE," perturbing many audience members who walked out after the display, interpreting it as a jab at the outgoing commander-in-chief, George W. Bush.
Obama Sworn In Again, With Right Words -- [WaPo]
After flubbing his one role on Inauguration Day -- administering the oath of office to Obama -- Roberts traveled to the White House to re-administer the oath.
Just to make sure. "We decided it was so much fun . . .," Obama joked while sitting on a couch in the Map Room. Obama stood and walked over to make small talk with pool reporters as Roberts donned his black robe.
...After a flawless recitation that included no Bible and took 25 seconds, Roberts smiled and said, "Congratulations, again."
Obama to Lift Ban on Funding for Groups Providing Abortions Overseas -- [FOX News]
President Obama will issue an executive order on Thursday reversing the Bush administration policy that bans the use of federal dollars by non-govermental organizations that discuss or provide abortions outside of the United States.
Obama will sign the executive order on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
A New Boss -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I just watched the inauguration in our DFAC (thats army for dining facility). It was full of Ugandan and Sri Lankan workers all glued to the television and about 10 Americans, one with his face buried in his plate of food.
Inaugural quote of the day:...
Damn I though it was too quiet... -- [The Intrepid Reporter -- in Iraq]
...lately, we've been under some INSANE level of incoming… like compared to 2004, not so much, but considering that when I got here, it'd been over 9-10 months since any, mind you, ANY rounds hit, and for like 3 days/nights in a row we've had between 2 to 4 incoming rounds.
...The reduction of forces has me nervous actually. They seem to be 'building up' towards 'something.' The word on the street is that they want to 'test' the new POTUS and what with everything I'm reading/hearing/seeing on the net/radio and TV, his talking about shutting down here in Iraq sooner is only going to provoke them into doing to us what Hamas is/has been doing to Israel. Meaning ...
Iraq willing to see US troops leave early -- [MY Way/AP]
Iraq is willing to have the U.S. withdraw all its troops and assume security for the country before the end of 2011, the departure date agreed to by former President George W. Bush, the spokesman of the Iraqi prime minister said.
Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh made the comment Tuesday, a day before President Barack Obama and his senior commanders were to meet in Washington to discuss the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama promised during the campaign to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. The new president said in his inaugural address Tuesday that he would "begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people."
Next Juba the Baghdad Sniper Film Delayed. Indefinitely. -- [MNF-I]
UR, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces thwarted an attack on a U.S. military patrol in northeast Baghdad Jan. 17.
Elements of the 1st National Police Division, and 42nd Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division, worked together to detain a suspected sniper team that was targeting an American forces on patrol in the Haay Ur neighborhood of northeast Baghdad. "The actions of our ISF partners saved at least one, and probably several, U.S. Soldiers lives,” said Col. John Hort, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad commander. “It’s events like these
Of peaceful transitions -- [Armed and Curious - in Iraq]
Nothing in my opinion depicts the strength of modern democracy like the peaceful transition of power. Today is the ultimate example to the world of how the most stable democracy in the world truly works. They get sucked into the rhetoric that flies on the hill, the harsh words in the blogosphere and the various exhortations of the candidates on the trail and believe our system is in disarray and they couldn't be more wrong.
Seminar discusses vision for women’s rights -- [Task Force Mountain - in Iraq]
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – As America celebrates its civil rights progress, Coalition and Iraqi leaders gathered for a Women’s Initiative Seminar on Camp Victory Jan. 17 bringing together assets from both national and provincial levels for the first time in its movement.
CGS: "Operation in southern Iraq has been a success" -- [Ministry of Defense]
Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Richard Dannatt, praised British troops for their part in what has "ultimately been a success" in southern Iraq, in ...
Most Iraqis Prefer Secular To Religious Leadership -- [MEMRI Blog]
A public opinion poll of 4,500 Iraqis, by the government’s National Center for Information, found that 42% of the respondents preferred secular political forces as being more capable than religious forces of managing affairs of the state in the near future, while 31% thought otherwise.
Fort Apache: -- [Grim's Hall - in Iraq]
I was out at what used to be PB Inchon the other day -- not too long ago a real "Fort Apache." It's been turned over to the Iraqi Army now. They cooked up some rice and chicken for the patrol, and then we went on elsewhere.
There are few of the real outposts left, already -- when I was here a year ago we were still laying them in. Now they're already being handed over, or already have been handed over.
it was pretty easy to make fun of the Fobbits griping about problems that the grunts in the field would love to have at the top of their complaint list.
Fobbits -- [Sorority Soldier - in Iraq]
This tour is a little different. I’m almost envious of the Fobbits… The ones who are safe from every worry except mortars which rarely hit their target. The ones who are always near a phone or computer to touch base at home, and who can get into a routine where they make time to workout and e-mail every day. Of course, I won’t be a Fobbit this tour. I’ll travel around, getting my stories like last time. But, I won’t make fun of them as much either. I don’t want anyone to be in danger ever, so I’ll just be grateful that these people are a few less on the battlefield.
The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team was live from Afghanistan at the President Obama’s Inaugural Ball -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
It is a privilege to honor our men and women in uniform during our inaugural festivities by continuing the tradition of the Commander in Chief's Ball
US Troops On Inauguration in Afghanistan
Megyn Kelly was at the CinC Inaugural Ball, and Megyn told us that quietly, several members of the military have relayed to her that they secretly hoped Obama would leave the "don't ask, don't tell" policy alone. They really don't want that to change. Then one troop told Megyn his only regret for the evening was that George Walker Bush was not there, because he wanted to tell him 'thank you,' More..that he appreciated everything he did for the troops. I think President Bush already knows this, and he did say it was the biggest thing he was going to miss - being the Commander in Chief of the finest military in the world
Andrew Lubin's Letter to President Obama on Afghanistan -- [SWJ]
Dear Mr. President:
...You’ve got an interesting four years ahead of you. Between the economy and two wars, your first day at work will be a long one…so having spent a fair amount of time in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, let me make a few suggestions that might make your first day a little easier:
1 – Pull the Marines out of Anbar – now. You have 23,000 Marines sitting in the desert doing nothing. General John Kelly, the Marine CG in Anbar, gave an interview last week where he said that he considers his year in Anbar a failure – because he couldn’t convince the Shia Government in Baghdad to fund normal reconstruction projects like schools, hospitals, or anything else that would improve the standard of living in this Sunni province. If Maleki and the GoI doesn’t care about Iraq, how can we ? And you can put your Marines to a far better use…
2 – Send 23,000 Marines to Afghanistan.
2A- Put the fight in Afghanistan under command of the Marine Corps.
Team spirit: creature comforts vs. a long haul -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
When our unit arrived at FOB Prosperity a couple weeks ago, we knew we would have to live in tents “for a while.” Originally, we thought that might be 2-3 weeks. So, we moved into two very large tents and made the best of it until we got those trailers (called Containerized Housing Units, or CHUs).
A couple days later, ...
CSM Bones Visits an Orphanage -- [Miserable Donuts]
Outside of Kabul. In 2004 I noticed that Afghan kids always seemed to "read" CSM Bones as safe/OK. We could be standing at a street corner in Charikar, and he would end up with the kids coming up to him. Good to see things haven't changed.
Khyber Pass closed 'indefinitely' after Taliban attacks -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
A new operation is launched in an attempt to clear the route to Afghanistan of marauding Taliban forces. The pass has been closed five times since September 2008.
US Secures New Supply Routes to Afghanistan -- [New York Times]
Faced with the risk that Taliban attacks could imperil the main supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan, the United States military has obtained permission to move troop supplies through Russia and Central Asia, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in the Middle East, said on Tuesday.
22 Militants Killed in Afghanistan Coalition Ground, Air Assaults -- [VOA]
The U.S. military says coalition forces in Afghanistan have killed 22 militants in a series of clashes throughout the country. Officials said the coalition's ground and air assaults took place Monday in southern and eastern Afghanistan. They said one operation targeted a Taliban network in Kapisa province, killing 18 insurgents and one Taliban commander
The winning percentage -- [The Torch - in Afghanistan]
Today, for the first time, I was given a briefing here at the Canadian HQ at Kandahar Air Field that began to deal with that issue when Capt Roy Ulrich, the 2IC (second in command) of the Task Force Kandahar Counter IED (C-IED) Squadron here gave us some first-hand insight into this secretive ongoing battle.
Countering the IED threat starts with intelligence. Where are the bomb-builders and those who plant them? Where are the detonators, switches, and explosives they use to produce the IED’s? Where are the devices planted? Very little surrounding that intelligence can be revealed to the public, and for good reason. But it’s no secret that ...
Mauritanian Groups: At Kuwaiti Summit, Arabs Should Resolve To Use Oil Weapon Against New U.S. Administration -- [MEMRI Blog]
Mauritanian political groups have called on Arab states to expel Israeli envoys and to use oil as a "weapon" against the new U.S. administration.
Kenyans hail election of saviour Barack Obama -- [Times Online]
“This man is Jesus,” shouted one man, spilling his Guinness as Barack Obama began his inaugural address. “When will he come to Kenya to save us?” If Barack Obama’s spin doctors have been trying to lower expectations since his election victory, the message clearly has not reached the land of his father.
...“Now he is president we will get food and jobs,” said Ben Ochieng, as he danced to the traditional music that replaced the planned show.
All week Kenya had been gearing up for Mr Obama’s moment of glory.
China, Naming Threats, Seeks Stronger Military -- [WSJ]
China's military said that it needs to be stronger to face containment abroad and separatist threats at home, even as it said that relations with longtime rival Taiwan had improved.
...China says its military budget is purely for defensive purposes and that while spending has accelerated in recent years, it's still a fraction of what the U.S. spends. Col. Hu said he hopes the U.S. and China can improve military relations, but called on Washington to "remove the obstacles to the growth" in military ties, a reference to U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, which Beijing opposes
Got Nukes? -- [Strategy Page]
NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Does Saudi Arabia have nuclear weapons? A combination of factors suggests the kingdom may have successfully gone shopping for nuclear weapons technology. It all began when Saudi Arabia, terrified by potential invasion from Saddam's Iraq in 1991, allowed U.S. armed forces unprecedented access to protect the kingdom and establish a staging ground for Desert Storm. Now,
Navy awaiting OK to capture pirates -- [Stars & Stripes]
“Once we get that authority, we’re going to change my orders,” said Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, which until now have been, “disrupt, deter, but do not capture.”
Mr. President, Think Like the Bad Guys [The Corner - Peter Robinson]
Today on Uncommon Knolwedge, the third segment of the interview with former CIA director James Woolsey. A stout advocate of the war on terror, what advice would Woolsey offer President Obama?
Gitmo trials halted by Obama order -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
Send to a Friend | Share on Facebook | printer-friendly Barack Obama didn’t take long to make an impact on the issue of Guantanamo Bay. Within hours of assuming office, President Obama issued an order suspending all military tribunals for 120 days. Today’s hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was among those delayed until May 20th, while Obama decides what to do
Iranian Regime All Fired Up With Hope & Change -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Iranian regime was all fired up to see Obama Inaugurated today
The protesters were so excited they screamed, "Death to Obama." (ISNA)
Osama's son coordinates call between Zawahiri and Iran's Qods Force -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Osama bin Laden's son coordinated communications between al Qaeda's second-in-command and Iran’s Qods Force, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sa'ad bin Laden facilitated communications between Ayman al Zawahiri and Qods Force, the notorious special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, in September 2008 after the deadly attack on the US embassy in Yemen.
What about us? -- [CDR Salamander]
There is one thing I didn't care for - thousands dead and wounded, right now, wouldn't have minded too much a shout out.
Need help with Finances and Getting out of Debt?? -- [Army Household6]
I get a lot of email from military fiancees and new spouses asking for resources on finances and debt management. So when I heard about this I knew I had to share it with you for several reasons.
My good friend , and US Air Force Veteran, Taffy Wagner contacted me about this upcoming financial workshop called Debt Stops At The Altar, I knew it would be perfect for those soon to be and new military spouses.
Operation Overseas Mardi Gras 2009 -- [
OK Louisianans and Mardi Gras enthusiasts everywhere - time tor spread the love! We have 320 Louisiana Guard Soldiers who have been in Iraq for a while and could use some Mardi Gras cheer. This effort was done in coordination with Soldiers’ Angels and the LA Family Readiness Support Assistant (Contractor) Anglia (Nikki) Ganey. The 244th Louisiana Guard unit out of Hammond will be the recipients. If we get a huge response, we have a second unit in the wings.
BDS rages in DuPont Circle -- [This ain’t Hell]
This guy was probably the looniest of the bunch though. His message was that the war is the troops’ fault. “It’s the damn troops that did it.” He went blathering about how they’re no different from the Nazis, that he doesn’t care if they’re homeless when they come home. After they get done cleaning up the depleted uranium, they can go to Vietnam and clean up the Agent Orange.
The Hell WIth The Troops 1-19-2009
US antiwar bloggers act like Hamas -- [This ain’t Hell]
I briefly mentioned earlier that Hamas was celebrating their “victory” over the IDF in Gaza. Then doing my nightly “stalking’ thing on the antiwar blogs, I found a perfect example of the same sort of mentality from the Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus;
Military Brass Joins Wired Troops: Admirals and generals hope to connect with soldiers via their own Facebook pages and blogs. But will they tweet? -- [CS Monitor]
Some of the US military’s top flag officers are becoming dedicated bloggers and attempting to change the military and extend their reach, one Facebook “friend” at a time.
They are using the Internet and social media to reach down within their own traditionally top-down organizations – and outside them, too – to do something the military isn’t known for: creating more transparency to empower young military leaders and the public.
Dave Petraeus added you as a friend on Facebook -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
Now, on one hand, this is slightly amusing, as I remember there being a running gag on collegehumor.com regarding ones' parents joining Facebook, as well as a recent NY Times article entitled "omg my mom joined facebook". The fact that generals might suddenly add me as their friend might have that same level of uneasiness. I was also reminded of this time back in Honduras when some rather mischevious aviators created a Myspace profile for their battalion commander as a joke. ...However, all joking aside, this is a great attempt to bridge a growing gap between generations, and more specifically...
Admiral, Do You Tweet Sir? -- [Information Dissemination]
As I have noted in the past, each military service has taken a unique approach to new media. The article highlights unique examples where our military leadership has found utility within new media to introduce and discuss their message. I follow all of these discussions, and they have all met the same challenge: the discussion is still one way and while there is a network, it is yet to become a truly interactive network of idea sharing, or just as relevant, idea shaping.
That is why I don't believe any of the services have a real new media strategy, and I include the Coast Guard who is the most proactive in their new media engagement. While I would love to be proven incorrect, I have not seen evidence that the military services believe public discussion can "help shape the public debate about national security policy" with new media. That is too bad, because if true the services fail to realize it already is by reaching Congress, the research communities, and the industry.
I'd like to see more military style from the Ministry of Defence's Twitter feed -- [Frontline - Daniel Bennett]
I’ve just come across @defencehq. It’s the official twitter feed of the Minstry of Defence and more or less exclusively links to Defence News articles.
I scrolled back to the first few updates which I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle at
...I particularly enjoyed the last of these three updates - classic military tone including time check. (I assume they realised pretty soon afterwards that Twitter time stamps everything for you. But worth a test when you’re learning.)
Prequalification -- [Jack Army]
So, I closed. "Do you want to join the Army?" I asked the girl. She looked at her parents, they looked at her, then to me, then back at their daughter... and they nodded. And she smiled slightly, looked back at me, and said, "yes, I do."
So, I went back to "Prequalification" to identify any possible issues before she tried to go to MEPS and enlist.
And that's when I experienced that "extreme embarrassment and disappointment" that I described on the slide. She had a rare blood disease. I don't recall the name, but I knew immediately ...
In Midland, Bush gets a warm welcome -- [Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX]
Former President George W. Bush arrives at a welcome-home rally in Midland. "I’m coming home with my head
Richardson/Far North Dallas: Girl Scouts welcome home troops -- [Dallas Morning News, TX]
The eighth-graders of Girl Scout Troop 3226 greeted soldiers arriving at the D-FWAirport for the holidays with cookies, cards, smiles and handshakes.
Son receives a warm welcome home -- [Cherry Hill Courier Post, NJ]
... Leslie Drummond of Marlton, decorated the neighborhood with yellow ribbons and made sure there was a crowd to welcome Bergman home shortly after noon. ...
'What Else Should a Reporter BE' But a Liberal? -- [Newsbusters]
Helen Thomas: I'm a liberal, I was born a liberal, I'll be one 'til I die, what else should a reporter be when you see so much and when we have such great privilege and access to the truth?
CBC Interviewer: Well, you know, it's interesting because I'm sure that if somebody from the right was sitting here they would say... if you ask the question what should a reporter be they will say, "Oh, I don't know, How about objective?"
Helen Thomas: You're not asking people not to think not to care are you?
Helen Thomas on 8 Years Of George W Bush
Goodbye, Mr. Bush -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
...A great president? Likely, no. But George Bush did a good job in a very difficult time, and I think history will eventually treat him with considerably more kindness than present-day media did, or at least fairness, which present-day media never bothered to use. He kept America safe, and whatever his flaws are, Bush had the interests of America in mind foremost.
Thank you, Mr. Bush. Enjoy your retirement.
Air Force One Pilot Calls It Quits -- [CBS News]
he’s got just one mission left for George W. Bush - to fly him home to Texas on Tuesday as the former president. The aircraft will be the familiar 747-400 that routinely serves as Air Force One, but that won’t be its radio call-sign on Tuesday afternoon, since Mr. Bush will be out of office. The flight home is a military courtesy to the former commander-in-chief. “It’ll end the president’s term in office and it’ll also end my tenure at Air Force One,” said Tillman in a radio interview with CBS News.
...Tillman has high regard for Mr. Bush, saying “he’s definitely a great man” for whom it’s been “truly an honor to fly.”
So change has come to America. And change has come to the White House website. -- [Frontline - Daniel Bennett]
The new administration has launched a Presidential blog. It will ’serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world’.
Obama’s New Whitehouse Website Slams Bush -- [Politico]
The new White House website unveiled by President Barack Obama’s team Tuesday includes a shot at former President Bush’s response to Hurricane ...
Millions Flock to D.C. for Historic VP Swearing-In -- [ScrappleFace]
Joe Biden, 66, is old enough to remember when Delaware residents were treated as second-class citizens, now millions of Americans have flooded into Washington D.C. to watch the historic swearing-in of the nation’s first Delawarian vice president.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq Set to Control ‘Sons of Iraq’ by April - Ashley Rowland, Stars and Stripes -- [Stars & Strpes]
The United States will transfer control of the "Sons of Iraq" to the Iraqi government by April, officials from both countries said Sunday.
The transfer appears to be going faster than expected.
Iraq: Peter Beinart and la phrase obligatoire -- [Roger Simon]
Peter Beinart has a new column in the Washington Post aimed at his fellow Democrats - Admit It: The Surge Worked. And it did. Beinart even cites supporting examples from the New York Times, in case you missed them months before on the Strategy Page. He wants Democrats to acknowledge the surge’s success for their own good, even though “[t]hat acknowledgment may not do much for Bush’s legacy.”
Training at Taji -- [Bullet Wisdom - in Iraq]
National election are coming up rapidly. The new Security Agreement between Iraq and the US is already in effect. The bottom line is things are continuously changing and we have arrived here at a challenging time. Regardless of what you see on the news, or how peaceful you might think things are at the moment, you must always be vigilant, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. So far, with the personnel we have on our team, I think ...
Thursday -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
I went to a meeting today at the Al Rasheed Hotel. This was once a 5-star hotel, now grown a bit shabby but still pretty nice, particularly for a place like Baghdad. The Al Rasheed is one of the places that all the news crews lived and worked during the war. These days, it's packed with businessmen from around the world, coming in to land contracts for rebuilding the country and providing any kind of services. It's also the prime meeting area for westerners and Iraqis.
The Iraqi Dream… -- [The Gun Line - in Iraq]
We’re still in a combat zone, against an enemy that uses deception and stealth (because they can’t face us in a stand up fight…) so access by local nationals is strictly controlled. Most of the folks on this base haven’t met an Iraqi, and certainy haven’t had the chance to sit down and talk with one…
Thoughts on helicopters -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
Although the birds come and go all day and all night, we still look when it’s light (my roomie, in fact, loves the helicopters and will occasionally throw on her night vision and go watch them in the dark. Strange woman). We glance up, throw the flight into a mental classification (the bird bringing the colonel to visit, the bird bringing the guys back from leave, the regular bird to Big Brigade Base, etc) and move on.
But one makes us stop and do the instant mental inventory of the Soldiers we own. The MEDEVAC bird.
Regimental Combat Team 1 completes third Iraq tour -- [Fearless 1st Marines’ blog - in Iraq]
Marines with Regimental Combat Team 1 turned another page in the history books, completing the regiment’s third tour in Iraq in only four years, Jan. 20.
...Iraq’s provincial elections are scheduled to take place Jan. 31, a short time after Marines with RCT-1 have made their way home to reunite with friends and family in the U.S.
Though they are leaving Iraq behind, possibly for the last time, their efforts and sacrifices will live on.
“While this deployment may be closing the Iraq chapter in RCT-1’s illustrious history there is much we can look back on and be proud of,” said Barrett. “We continue to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters we have lost on the battlefields and we can honestly say that they did not die in vain; the Marines and sailors of RCT-1 served their memory well and there are literally hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have their sacrifice to thank as they look towards a bright and prosperous future.”
War Reporting Conundrum -- [Fraser From Iraq - in Iraq]
We’re all wondering what the new boss, President-elect / Commander in Chief-elect Obama is going to do when he takes office. We see things happening all around us. The Sand Box has lost its sex appeal. The hot blonde around the corner with the double D’s has gone to Afghanistan. ...you can really see the press shifting from covering the Sand Box to covering Afghanistan and the search for Osama Bin Ladin
...Put a timer on the next sound bite you see on the Sand Box, and then compare it to the coverage of what Obama’s interior decorator is going to do with the White House living quarters, or the planning and cost of the inauguration, or what school the Obama kids are going to, or what breed the first dog is going to be…etc. etc. etc.
Sticky Mud -- [Fraser From Iraq - in Iraq]
The other night I flew with those disposable hand warmers in the toes of my boots. I shouldn’t bitch, because the door gunners in the back are hanging out of the aircraft in the slip stream dressed like Eskimos, but are still freezing their asses off. We have a heater in the aircraft, but with the doors and windows open at 130 knots, it doesn’t work very well. Correction. It makes you feel warmer by turning the switch on. But really doesn’t do anything.
I have friends that actually believe it’s 100 degrees here 12 months of the year. Have I ever mentioned that Americans are not very well versed in geography or climates outside their own city or town? I’ve had people send me suntan lotion. Thank you for sending it! But I haven’t seen the sun for almost two months now.
We’ve noticed that we usually don’t get mortared or shot at when it’s this miserable outside. So that’s a good thing.
A Little Bit of Labor -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I had to hire some labor for a few days to help out with some projects on our FOB. This is pretty standard practice. Instead of using our soldiers to do work-thereby taking what little down time they may have-we employ some locals for a week or so. I contacted one of the vendors I use and he said he’d have ten guys at my FOB the following morning. At 0800 ten individuals pulled up to our gate in a bongo truck. I quickly collected their IDs and then realized that I was looking at a group of 2 older males and 8 younger kids…I mean about 11 years old each. Their IDs were...
Sitting in Saddam’s former palace -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
Just an update for all family members — we are ALL here in Baghdad and doing fine. Most of us arrived yesterday afternoon (see yesterday’s blog about baggage handling) and one more of us — PFC Christine Bernat — followed behind us by a day as she completed some required medical appointments
Where it All Began -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
I have set foot on the place where civilization began. Where the Sumerians and Babylonian ruled. Where Hammurabi’s Code was written, and where the wheel was invented. The place is known as Ur, and you can even find it in the Bible. I might have mentioned this before, but I love history, especially practical history and anthropology. Screw the dates, show me the how. So you can imagine what a great experience this was for me, even in ACUs.
Rollin' in Hash -- [Michael Yon]
Our people in the fighting tell their stories better than anyone. This photo-essay just came to me from Afghanistan. Our soldiers are not professional writers, nor photographers, but they are very good at what they do. The rawness and simplicity of this powerful essay rings truer than any of us writers/photographers seem to be able to capture. It also reminds me of why I am so happy to be in the United States, away from the fighting, and how much I distress about not covering our people when they are in need.
Afghan foreign minister unhappy with Clinton -- [Associated Press]
Foreign Ministry Rangin Dadfar Spanta said Saturday that it is "absolutely wrong" to classify Afghanistan as such, though the minister readily admitted that
The Others -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban are shifting strategy in response to heavy losses fighting foreign troops. The Taliban has not been able to come up with a counterstrategy for the smart bomb and UAVs, which give foreign troops an unassailable advantage in battles. The word has gotten around, and Afghans are demanding more money to take up arms and join a bunch of Taliban.
Afghanistan: We Can Do Better -- [WaPo - Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (Nato)]
It has been seven years since Afghan forces supported by the United States toppled the Taliban and denied al-Qaeda the terrorist haven, training ground and launch pad that Afghanistan had become. Since then, there has been clear, substantial progress, including democratic elections, the liberation of many Afghan women to take their place in public life, and improvements in health care and education.
But an honest assessment of Afghanistan must conclude that we are not where we might have hoped to be by now
Danica Patrick Hates Me!! -- [AFGHANISTANSHRUGGED - in Afghanistan]
...I was reading through my blog the other day and came away with an interesting impression. Combat and Afghanistan sounds really cool and exciting. After reading I was thinking,” Dude; this is cool I want to be there” and then I realized I was there. It’s just not that cool and exciting. 95% of the time it’s pretty monotonous.
Much of my time gets spent on the mundane, trivial and downright boring
Two Soldiers In A Combat Zone, Watching A Musical...and Puppies... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Afghansitan]
...Lastly, above are pictured a couple of the puppies we found under one of the B-huts here at the FOB. AWWW, They're SOOOO Cute! The next few months are going to be interesting as I am trying to get one of these guys home, and the rest to an animal rescue place up in Kabul. Given our command policy regarding animals this is going to be entertaining to say the least. It is kind of funny though, throughout my time in the military I have been in trouble for drinking, for insubordination, for fighting, for...you get the idea. I find it a little funny that here in AssCrackIstan, I am going to get into trouble for smuggling puppies!
N. Korea toughens position on nukes -- [Wa Times]
Sees better ties with Obama
North Korea has hardened its stance on disarmament, saying it has "weaponized" plutonium into warheads, but hopes for better ties with President-elect Barack Obama, a U.S. researcher who visited the North said Saturday.
Officials say the weapons cannot be inspected, and Pyongyang might keep them even if it normalizes relations with Washington,...
North Korea threatens South with war -- [Telegragh]
On Saturday, a dour man in military uniform appeared on North Korean television, flanked by army flags, and read a statement saying the country was now on a war-footing. He said the North would take an "all-out confrontational posture" against its neighbour.
Although North Korea regularly issues threats against the South, a spokesman for the South Korea Unification ministry said it was the most serious threat since 1998.
The television broadcast accused the South of "opting for the road to confrontation with the help of outside powers, ignoring the call for conciliation and cooperation".
Russia strategy needed -- [Wa Times]
In rebuilding the trans-Atlantic alliance President Barack Obama will need to confront Moscow's ambitions to divide Europe into permanent "spheres of influence." Facing a belligerent Russia and a fractured European Union, Mr. Obama must combine practical engagement with the Kremlin on issues of mutual concern, such as anti-proliferation and counterterrorism, with a strategic assertiveness that strengthens the Atlantic community.
It's Official: War on Terror Is the Most Successful Military Campaign In US History -- [Gateway Pundit]
Before President George W. Bush leaves office it's only fitting to give credit to where credit it due. Although you would not know this from the anti-Bush media or democrats, the US military has waged the most successful major military campaign in American history these past 8 years.
Black Death... Al-Qaeda Catches Plague- 40 Dead -- [Gateway Pundit]
Apparently, rats must have infested their cave.
40 Al-Qaeda rebels died after catching the plague in Algeria.
The Sun reported: ...The victim was a terrorist in AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb), the largest and most powerful al-Qaeda group outside the Middle East.
It trains Muslim fighters to kill British and US troops.
Now al-Qaeda chiefs fear the plague has been passed to other terror cells — or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.
Bio-Weapon Gone Wrong Killed Algerian Terrorists? -- [Reil World View]
Hmm. The Washington Times cites a national security source who disputes the Sun report of the plague killing some al Qaeda members in Algeria.
Unleashed CIA Zapped 8 Qaeda Lieutenants Since July -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
In one of his final acts in office, President Bush has been trying to settle unfinished business in his internationally-unpopular “global war on terror.” No, he hasn’t killed Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri or Abu Ayyub al-Masri. No, he hasn’t pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq. No, he hasn’t closed Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib or Bagram’s prisons.
The Al Qaeda Version Of Hell -- [Strategy Page]
Pakistan has turned into a dangerous place for al Qaeda. The terrorist organization has been in the region since it moved to Afghanistan in the late 1990s. In late 2001, most surviving al Qaeda members fled to Pakistan. There, many of them married women from Pushtun tribes. While some of the newly married remained in the terrorism business (either in Pakistan or farther away), the rest sought to make a living locally.
Video Showing German al Qaeda Emerges -- [Jawa Report]
A video showing a German member of al Qaeda has been released by the terrorist group's media wing, as Sahab productions. The title of the video in German is "Das Rettungspaket fuer Deutschland", which translates as "The Rescue Package for Germany".
Niiiiiice: Canada Turns Bill Ayers Away at the Border -- [Jawa Report]
Friend of Barack Obama and unapologetic former terrorist Bill Ayers was scheduled to speak at the University of Toronto today in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Given King's commitment to non-violence, this is ironic, no?
But when he showed up at the border yesterday the Canadians wouldn't let him in.
All the President’s Warriors -- [Flopping Aces]
Last December 22nd was President Bush’s last trip to Walter Reed as commander-in-chief.
BDSers have raked President Bush over the coals with great cynicism in regards to his relationship to the troops. It drives them stir-crazy knowing that the majority of those in the military support their commander-in-chief just as strongly as he, them.
He has dramatically increased funding to support and care for those serving our nation.
Here are some accounts of President Bush and the wounded warriors and their family members…
Dear Sister Thistletwat’s Third Grade Class -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
Thank you so much for all of those drawings and letters from the class. I know that many of you think that the desert is hot, but it gets very cold at night. Our heater in the BDOC doesn’t work, so we break up forklift pallets and burn them in a barrel outside. Each of us takes turns going outside to warm up, and those drawings are very useful for starting the fire. Please send more drawings with construction paper. They tend to burn slower and hotter than notebook paper.
Order your Valentine Kits now for your hero.... -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
Send Care Packages to your Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coast Guardsman or Any hero!
For a donation of $39, A Red and White Care Package will be sent out to a new hero to Soldiers' Angels or your hero of choice. This is perfect for Valentines Day
This kit includes
The day I learned having 3 boys is almost as cool as having your own squad! -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
While at Landstuhl, Bill spent his time reading CTs and MRIs as well as giving some continuing education lectures for the Military radiologists.
Lisa and her sons volunteered with Soldiers' Angels. I can't believe how much we got done!
Linda Ferrara interview with AFN (Armed Forces Network) -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
AFN's TSgt Colleen Armstrong interviews Gold Star mom Linda Ferrara and patient SPC Stephen Stout during a Soldiers' Angels-sponsored visit to Landstuhl hospital in Germany.
Bill Faith - "Aim High" My Friend -- [Old War Dogs]
It is with a saddened heart that I just heard from another Old War Dog, Zero Ponsdorf, that Michelle Malkin reported the death of Old War Dog founder and webmaster Bill Faith. I missed a couple of opportunities this year as I traveled through Southern Illinois, to stop and meet Bill in person. This is a mistake I will regret for the rest of my life.
Bill Faith, R.I.P. -- [Malkin]
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of blogger Bill Faith. He died of a heart attack and had been in ill health.
Bill ran the blog Small Town Veteran and founded/contributed to Old War Dogs. I linked to his work many times over the years. He was also a valuable commenter here at mm.com.
Sheep by the Water, Qarghuli Tribal Region: -- [Grim's Hall - in Iraq]
It was with surprise that I read in my email that Bill Faith has died. Bill Faith was the blogger who wrote "Small Town Veteran," one of the early milblogs -- he was a Veteran of the Vietnam conflict. He also founded Old War Dogs, which is where the poetry of Russ Vaughn is first published. That fact shows the quality of the men who chose to associate with him.
On Faith -- [Castle Argghhh! - FbL]
Via Michelle Malkin and Uncle Jimbo, comes sad news.Last year I had fallen away from reading Bill Faith regularly and missed the good news about his finally sorting out the Social Security/VA thing. So, my image of him up until last Fall was the one he had shared previously on his blogs--a disabled veteran who was living on a financial shoestring... struggling, but never giving in to discouragement or self-pity, and always leading by example in faith and generosity.
Godspeed Bill Faith -- [BlackFive]
Jimbo put it into words first. I needed some time to figure out what to write. I had planned on sifting through some emails from 2004 when Bill and I were working on trying to stop "reverend" Phelps and his family/"church" from protesting at our Fallen funerals.
More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle -- [NY Times]
As the number of jobs across the nation dwindles, more Americans are joining the military, lured by a steady paycheck, benefits and training. — The last fiscal year was a banner one for the military, with all active-duty and reserve forces meeting …
The battle between small, heavy and hybrid wars rages on... -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
So the debate is heating up regarding "next-war-itis". A number of prominent military thinkers have taken sides in this debate which regards the future posture of the US military.
Seven movies later... -- [The Left Captain - home from Afghanistan]
When we touched down a huge cheer went up from the rows of Soldiers and Airmen.
We were back on US soil.
Big Hollywood -- [Andrew Breitbart]
I Pledge to Ridicule Celebrities Who Refuse to Recognize We Are At War With People Who Want to Kill Them, Too — Many of the celebrities that were central to demonizing and making life impossible for President Bush for eight loathsome years NOW want to help with the heavy lifting of bringing America …
Celebrity's The Presidential Pledge
MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst present The Presidential Pledge
The future of war reporting -- [Abu Muqawama]
Now, this is utter genius!
If you follow media issues, you'll know that newspapers, magazines and broadcasters are getting poorer. And the cash sink hole that they need to cut is foreign reporting. It costs loads to cover, and brings in little in the way of readership, viewers etc.
Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq -- [WSJ]
...perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.
Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.
Celebrating the Last Full Day of “43″ -- [Flopping Aces]
It’s been an amazing run!
Just like the Bush presidency, our Bush Thankathon steams into it’s last full day. It’s been a great look back at the man and the stories that haven’t always made the headlines, but give us a better measure of the man and how history may view him.
Unsung Hero Ryan Crocker Awarded Medal of Freedom -- [Gateway Pundit]
Before he left office President George W. Bush made sure to honor Ambassador Ryan Clark Crocker for his outstanding service to his country.
Crocker is the top US diplomat who delivered Iraq from chaos to democracy.
The Next War President -- [NY Times]
In synagogue on Saturday, before saying the customary prayer for our country, the rabbi asked us to reflect on the fact that a new president would be inaugurated on Tuesday, and urged us to focus a little more intently than usual on the prayer
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraqi Rollover -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Today the team went on a dismounted patrol through a neighborhood in order to visit an election center. As we arrived, an Iraqi HMMWV rolled over in a ditch outside. Our reconnaissance mission quickly became a rescue and recovery mission.
Cheney: "The Iraq Was Was Worth It... It Was a Difficult Situation But It Was Successful" (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
The Far Left was enraged today with Dick Cheney. The Vice President declared that the Iraq War was worth it.
He also announced that most of our objectives had been reached.
The Bush-bashers still feign outrage that the US lost 4,226 heroes liberating Iraq.
Of course, they weren't too upset about military losses when the Clinton's were in charge.
Hoffman to McMaster: not so fast, Bub -- [FP _ Tom Ricks]
More troops doing the wrong thing wouldn't have helped in Iraq in 2003-2004, Marine Lt. Col. Frank Hoffman says in response to my post yesterday about Col. H.R. McMaster's new article. McMaster, a consigliere to Gen. Petraeus, argued that because commanders lacked sufficient troops, they were forced to blim-blam around Iraq conducting raids that alienated Iraqi civilians.
Commandos smash Taliban bomb factory -- [Telegraph]
A Taliban bomb-making factory has been shut down following an airborne assault by British commandos.
Canadian soldiers on patrol near Kandahar . Troops seized more than 130 detonators capable of setting off the types of lethal bomb that have killed dozens of coalition soldiers in the last year.
Commanders have hailed the raid as a major success in thwarting the Taliban's increasingly sophisticated bombing campaign.
Effects of War, III: Women, the Solution -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Previously, my writings have discussed the effects of war in Iraq. The focus was on the littered landscape and the orphaned children. There are other effects and the answer to the question: How do we deal with these effects?
NPR Fresh Air Transcript September 7th, 2009 -- [Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
...I expected a lot worse than what we got here. Most of our train up occurred at the end of the Army’s Surge. So we went to training with images in our head of street fighting and hours of convoys. When we actually got to Iraq the war had been won. It was like being part of the occupying force in Germany back in the late 40’s. We got some damn good training, probably some of the best training of my career. Then we got to Kuwait and out mission changed because the Army didn’t need us to that job any more. So we were sent to ----- ---- ----- to man entry control points.
Why Iraq Is Going To Take A Long Time -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
While sitting in the room today, listening to some long, involved negotiations over very minor stuff, it finally all started coming together for me, exactly why it will take Iraq so long to become a functional country.
...All of this was brought about by the repressive Hussein regime, the 8-year war with Iran in the 80's, two wars with the US, and years of international sanctions. This country has had the crap beat out of it for 30 years and the people learned to cope their own, dysfunctional, way.
So here we are, having a conference so that we can turn over a brand new facility to the Iraqis. But building it and having it be a success are two very different things. I won't divulge what this particular project is, and to illustrate the problems we're facing, I'll create an example. Let's use a hospital. First, we build a building. (Actually, that's a lot harder than it sounds ... remember, these people have an average 6th-grade education, and how comfortable are you with knowing that your house, wiring, plumbing, concrete, and everything else were built by crews whose supervisors hadn't even gone to the 7th grade?) Now we have to hook it up to the water system. Only ...
We’re off to Baghdad -- [Blogs Over Baghdad - heading to Iraq]
Yes, finally after more than a week at Camp Buehring, in the northeast corner of Kuwait (close to both Iraq and Iran), we are leaving tomorrow (Wednesday) for Baghdad. When the word came down, there was a sigh of relief in knowing we were moving on to our next phase of this deployment. After that, minds starting racing…thinking about their last minute “to do” list.
Attention K-Mart Shoppers--Fill your DBag -- [Back In the Army Now (at 54) - heading to Iraq]
My wife and I are going to K-Mart today to get the last few items recommended on my Army PowerPoint slide: eyeglasses cleaning and repair kits, fitted sheets, handheld mirror, locks for duffle bags, foot powder, talcum powder, surge protector, extension cord, battery-operated alarm clock, etc. All of these items go in the footlocker--the fifth of the five bags that go with me:
Waiting on a Plane -- [Bullet Wisdom - heading to Iraq]
We are back at Camp Buerhing after a few days in the field finishing what I would categorize as refresher. Last Thursday, we loaded up and drove out into the Kuwaiti desert with the intention of pulling into a placed called FOB Scimitar, a location set up by the Army and contractors with the purpose of preparing Soldier, Sailors and Marines for life in Iraq.
Something to tell my grandkids... -- [Peace and War Times - in Iraq]
The USO always tries to do the best they can, to keep up the moral of our soldiers or at least to give them something that reminds the comforts of home. I have to give it to then; they have done a good job. At times, I just wished I have the privilege that some Armed Forces had of see Bob Hope in person back in the days
Babylon Gets US Funding -- [HILLAS' HISTORIES - in Iraq]
We will be hosting visits in 2009 by officials from the World Monuments Fund and also from UNESCO, which is the entity that has the authority to designate a place a world heritage site. With that often comes UN funding for preservation.
All of this is important to many Iraqi officials who see toursim in the future as an important part of the areas economic development.
Newly established COP sees quick progress -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 -- in Afghanistan]
Members of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, are seeing positive results from their increased presence at the newly built Combat Outpost Terminator in Maywand District, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Within weeks
Raddatz: Journey to Bin Laden's Old Compound -- [ABC News - Martha Raddatz]
I have been traveling in Afghanistan for the past few days with the US military. But today producer Richard Coolidge and I left the military base and went into Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border, where we linked up with Dr. Dave Warner, a civilian doing humanitarian work here. He gave us three choices in terms of what we wanted to see today...
...On one of Warner's visits to the school in recent months an Afghan man asked him nonchalantly , "Do you want to go to Osama's house?"
Behind the lines with the Taliban -- [Paul Watson / Los Angeles Times]
A Taliban fighter's camouflage vest bulges with a bayonet and banana clips of ammunition for his AK-47.
A Times writer joins Taliban fighters in an especially dangerous part of Afghanistan. The men appear to have no fear of troops, and prove to be gracious hosts.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow -- [AfghanistanShrugged]
Ever seen what it’s like when a child gets their first winter coat, taste of chocolate or coloring book?
A child whose been exposed to rockets, artillery, gunfights and IEDs. Little girls who have violence visited upon them by their own families and neighbors for the crime of going to school or learning to read. Small boys who in very short years are recruited by the ACM to carry Kalashnikovs and launch suicide attacks not valued as people but as tools of warfare.
The Friendly Ghost's Monkey With A Typewriter Experiment... -- [Embrace The Suck - in Afghanistan]
-Guest post from a fellow member of my platoon.
...I figure I will start off this post with a rant about something at took place a couple of nights ago while on ECP, while guarding the FOB from non-existent attacks from the Taliban but mainly fighting off hypothermia. My team was doing one hour shifts, which means while one of us was defending the FOB, the other two were sleeping. However there is only one cot at ECP which means that while one person is sleeping on the cot, the other person can either sit on a chair or try to sleep on the floor for an hour then you switch out. It was about 3am
US mission in Afghanistan tougher than Iraq -- [AFP]
Send by e-mail Print The United States is hoping a strategy similar to the one it used to improve security in Iraq, including an influx of troops, will work in Afghanistan -- one of president-elect Barack Obama's priorities.
But US and Afghan officials say the mission will be more difficult here as Afghanistan is splintered by tribal rivalries and weakened by the existence of militant safe havens across the border in Pakistan.
"We cannot just take the tactics, techniques and procedures that worked in Iraq and employ them in Afghanistan," General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, recently told Foreign Affairs.
U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible -- [El Paso Times]
The report is one in a series focusing on Mexico's internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.
Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico." Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.
The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.
Iranian protesters burn Barack Obama pictures -- [Times Online]
Iranian demonstrators burned photographs of Barack Obama today as they protested against America’s inaction over Gaza.
...Iranian demonstrators have often burned effigies or pictures of US presidents in the past but this appeared to be the first time Mr Obama’s picture had been defaced, a week before his inauguration as president.
A Conversation with Nizar Rayyan -- [Michael Totten]
I’ve spoken to a handful of guerilla leaders, terrorist leaders, and members of terrorist organizations. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has spoken to more. He recalls one of those conversations with Nizar Rayyan, whom the Israelis just killed in Gaza, for a piece in the New York Times called Why Israel Can’t Make Peace with Hamas.
Bin Laden urges jihad against Israel -- [AP]
Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.
Bin Laden spoke in an audiotape posted Wednesday on Islamic militant Web sites where al-Qaida usually issues its messages. It was his first tape since May and came nearly three weeks after Israel started its campaign against Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.
Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official -- [WaPo]
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."
Defining Torture Down -- [Jawa Report]
The new definition of "torture:"
"For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators," said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani's interrogation records and other military documents. "Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister."...
Pentagon: 61 ex-Guantanamo Inmates Return to Terrorism - [Reuters]
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that 61 former detainees from its military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appear to have returned to terrorism since their release from custody.
US Bases Eyed as Gitmo Alternative - [Washington Times]
The Pentagon is looking at several military bases in the US as possible sites to hold terrorist suspects now at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including Camp Pendleton in San Diego and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Today's good news -- [FP]
Marine Cpl. Melroy Cort lost his legs fighting for his country in Iraq. He and his wife were driving to Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he was arrested on a felony possession of a firearm. He says an Ohio permit for his pistol, and had been told by his commanding officer to store the gun at the Walter Reed armory upon arrival. The public defender wanted him to plead guilty, but he refused because he was worried that a felony conviction would endanger his military benefits. So he defended himself
URGENT, address change -- [Bouhammer]
A while back I wrote a post about an ETT team that was not getting mail and needed some stuff. Many of you responded and are still responding to their plea. Well it appears some of the same people I talked about in this post are definitely in Afghanistan and are in charge.
Girl Scouts to Cav Scouts 2009 -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Well, the Girl Scouts are at it again and so am I. But, this year is even sweeter than past years. Yesterday, I picked up nearly 100 pounds of free Starbucks coffee donated by Americans for the troops from the local Starbucks Coffee on Airport Road in Huntsville (plug, plug). This is the second time they've collected and donated Coffee For The Troops. Last year was over 100 pounds of coffee. Many of these bags have personal messages of support for the troops written on them in black marker.
Here's what you can do to help.
MILITARY FAMILIES UNITED ON OBAMA NATIONAL SECURITY APPOINTMENTS -- [Military Families United]
“President-elect Obama’s national security appointments signal new hope for military families that his administration will sustain policies that support our troops and allow them to continue making America safe and secure. With this team, he will have the counsel of those who understand the important work of our military, and who support our troops and their families.”
Next-War-itis, This-War-itis, and the American Military -- [FPRI]
In a recent CBS News story, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway stated—for at least the second time publicly—that it was time for the Marine Corps to leave Iraq and focus on Afghanistan. In the Commandant’s view, the Marine Corps is a “fighting machine,” Iraq has turned into “nation building,” and “[t]hat’s not what we do…. Where there’s a fight, that’s where the Marine Corps is needed.” The subtext of this seems clear enough. General Conway feels that his Marines should focus on “real war,” where their martial skills of air and artillery strikes and violent maneuver to close with and destroy the enemy are employed to effect. The extended current counterinsurgency and nation-building campaign in Iraq is seen as a misapplication of the Corps’ core competencies and soften the force, or at least emphasize the wrong skills sets and lessons that will cause the United States to pay a steep tax in blood and treasure on some future battlefield.
These comments caused a stir in some circles. Some argue that his comments misread the source of success in Al Anbar, where patient “nation-building” by the Army and the Marine Corps was crucial. It also arguably misreads what will be most useful in Afghanistan, where U.S. strategy emphasizes more than just conventional brawn. But this is not just solely an issue of debate amongst the Marine Corps.
Strategic Collapse at the Army War College -- [PJM]
This famous maxim by the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu is familiar to every student of military science and strategy. His counsel is simple: understand your enemy, understand yourself. Nearly eight years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, however, important segments of our military infrastructure dedicated to training and educating the next generation of military leaders have woefully failed to heed Sun Tzu’s advice. Two recent blog posts by Washington Post military correspondent Tom Ricks related to policies and publications by the U.S. Army War College give evidence to this strategic collapse in the War on Terror.
Top Officer Urges Limit on Mission of Military -- [NY Times]
WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that senior officers must work to prevent the militarization of American foreign policy, and he urged generals and admirals to tell civilian leaders when they believed the armed forces should not take the lead in carrying out policies overseas.
Now They Tell Us: WaPo, Setting Bar Lower for Obama, Tells Us that US "Will Never Have Enough Troops" to Elminate Taliban -- [Ace]
Securing a country with so much space, so many mountains, and so many people is a difficult thing, it turns out. And bringing genuine democracy to such a backwards place might be impossible.
Please do note that all of this was equally true a year ago -- but the media then was busy telling us that Afghanistan could be secured fairly easily if only we "hadn't taken our eyes off the ball" and fought the War in Iraq. Now that Obama's President, the media are falling over themselves to repeat his expectations-lowering spin and impress us all as to how terribly difficult this mission really is.
Agendas -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
The response to my posting about the venerable Lizette Alvarez and her attempts to start a meme concerning combat veterans of the Global War On Terror has been tremendous. A quick look at the subjects that Alvarez has written about in the past few years shows a definite trend. Below I have listed the titles and a brief description (taken from the NYT,) of her articles.
These articles regard the Army, occasionally the Marine Corps, and trend towards a focus on combat veterans and their misadventures following the their combat experiences. There is also a tendency to focus on violence committed by combat veterans.
Big Media Distorts Bush Economic Record -- [US News - James Pethokoukis]
His presidency is almost over. But what is the true George W. Bush economic record? (Hint: It's not what most of the MSM are telling you.) First, here is a look at the President's own somewhat defiant (and, yes, a smidge self-serving) take on the matter during his final press conference:
Joe the Plumber--Out of His Depth -- [Outside the Wire - JD Johannes]
Previously in this space I remarked that PJTV's sending Joe The Plumber to Israel felt like a shark-jumping publicity stunt and it was a risk that could put PJTV's credibility at risk.
After watching a few reports , I felt Joe was fine, when he related things as the average Joe that he is. When he expereinces a rocket attack, then walks past a playground, he thinks in terms of a suburban father. This is a very good angle and plays to his strengths.
Where Joe gets into trouble is every time he moves beyond that angle, specifically in a long report where he says reporters should not be out in the battle with the troops.
That means Joe thinks Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio & his team, myself and others should not be running around with infantry units.
Citizen Joe Stands His Ground -- [PJM - Bill Wittle]
Those elitist criticisms are understandable and easily dismissed for obvious reasons. What was more distressing to me was that some extremely patriotic men — J.D. Johannes for example — construed that to mean that Joe was referring to people like him, and Michael Yon, and Michael Totten; people who, at great risk to their lives and on their own dime, have for years now been placing themselves in harm’s way in order to get out the story that is not getting out any other way.
Commander-in-Chief, meet your 314th PAOC -- [Blogs over Baghdad - heading to Iraq]
From a “big picture” point of view, the Soldiers are interested in the inauguration because that is their job: spreading the word about the Army and all things that affect it, including a new commander-in-chief. But, on a more personal level, the 314th Soldiers see the upcoming inauguration as a turning point and a challenge, expressing a feeling of optimism ranging from cautious to exuberant. Unit members, especially African-American ones, are not waiting until January 20 to throw their support behind President-elect Obama. The excitement of 1LT John Brimley, press desk officer, on election day was only hampered by his location ....
Change!... Biden Says Obama Will Stick to Bush Iraq Plan -- [Gateway Pundit]
After the months of put downs, fabrications, waffling, misrepresentations of progress, attacks, etc...
The far left cut-&-runner has decided to stick with the Bush Iraq Plan after all.
SecNav to stay after Obama takes office -- [Marine Corps News]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Winter, the secretaries of the Army and the Air Force, and a number of other top Defense Department officials to stay on with him into the Obama administration, Winter said, but he would not comment on reports about any other official staying or going.
Shinseki’s VA confirmation looks likely -- [Marine Corps News]
No major obstacles appear to block the path of former Army chief of staff Eric Shinseki’s nomination to be secretary of veterans affairs, but he and the Obama administration face a long list of challenges.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
U.S. Troops Uneasy as Rules Shift in Iraq -- [WaPo]
...Americans Must Coordinate With Sometimes Unreliable Local Counterparts
American combat troops depend more heavily than ever on their often-bungling Iraqi counterparts. Sometimes that means dragging one or two along on patrol.
American troops, who for years were the ultimate and only unquestioned authority in Iraq, have lost the right to detain Iraqis without warrants and are being asked to coordinate all missions with Iraqi security forces.
Interview w/ MAJ Wilson- Training Iraqi troops -- [Uncle Jimbo]
I had the pleasure of speaking by telephone with MAJ Kenneth Wilson who is on his second tour training Iraqi forces to operate as a professional army. He reports excellent progress and
Tightening the Belts -- [Greyhawk]
"Thickening the lines: Sons of Iraq, a combat multiplier" (pdf), Major Andrew W. Koloski, U.S. Army, and Lieutenant Colonel John S. Kolasheski, U.S. Army.
SoI: Diyala -- [Greyhawk]
As 2008 drew to a close, Adam Weinstein, MNC-I Public Affairs, sent us the following update on the transfer of the Sons of Iraq program to Government of Iraq control.
The Coolest Foot Patrol EVVA -- [The Intrepid Reporter - in Iraq]
Yeah, things here are quiet, and rather than go into how boring it is, I'll make mention of some of the wacked out weirdness that I'm so fond of reporting. Now, granted, the Intrepid Reporter of Fame and Legend (if only in my own mind) does his 'morning abulutions' like any other dude, but this morning was a real shall we say interesting experience on the way to the throne.
Iraqi forces develop engineering capabilities -- [LWJ - DJ Elliott]
The development of engineering units is crucial in allowing the Iraqi Security Forces to independently support operations and clear roadside bombs.
The Bus Stops Here -- [Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
I beckon Private Ross [OPSEC] to sit in the chair across from me....
What’s wrong?” I ask Private Ross.
“It’s about me getting sent home.”
“What’d the CSH say?”
“Well, they said they can’t fix my knee here, so they want to send me to Germany. The Commander got all pissed off and was like ‘can’t you just suck it up and all,’ and I’m like ‘no, cause I want to get this fixed.’ and The Commander’s like-“
“Dude. In one sentence. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Baghdad to sweep beggars off its streets -- [AFP]
"We aim to put an end to this phenomenon that has spread in the past years," Iraqi labour and social affairs ministry spokesman Abdullah al-Lami said in a statement. "Some have turned begging into a profession, as a way of making easy money and exploiting the children and the disabled."
Anyone caught begging would be detained by police and dealt with according to their needs, Lami said. "The old will be sent to old-age homes, while those who don't have parents will be sent to the orphanages and juvenile delinquents to correction facilities.
Good lord -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
It was a cold and rainy day. Perfect at home for curling up on the couch with snacks and good company, but perfect here for...well, hating.
A couple minutes after 1700 I wandered over and collected up the Boss. We grabbed Elderly Sergeant and headed over to the chowhall for what we've come to call the Evening Sadness.
Waiting -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
I have been waiting now for 12 days. Waiting for what? Anything. I have gotten a few flight hours, but I have no real mission here. I am supposed to move forward to another FOB, but we keep getting weathered out, or something else happens and I can’t go. I feel so completely useless and its starting to get to me I think.
US VP-elect Biden in Iraq -- [AFP]
US vice president-elect Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on Monday and held talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP.
"President Talabani and I have met with him," Zebari said.
"We discussed the latest developments in Iraq and the good progress that has been made. He is aware that his new administration is facing a new reality. He was encouraging us to continue our efforts," Zebari said.
Missions Leave No Soldier Behind In Afghanistan -- [NPR]
Bagram, Parvan, Afghanistan - The war in Afghanistan is the first in American history in which no soldiers have been listed as missing in action. One reason for that can be attributed to people like Air Force Capt. Ed Blanchet, who flies a rescue-and-recovery helicopter.
Dubious News Reports from Afghanistan --- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
There were two interesting articles in the news concerning Afghanistan today which illustrate (to me) the dire straits we now face. One article reported on the clever use of Viagra by CIA case officers; the other was a mildly negative critique of the US AID reconstruction efforts made by a senior US AID officer. Both stories represent a total lack of situational awareness as 2008 draws to a close.
When you have lived in a poorly understood, distant country like Afghanistan as long as I have it is easy to find mistakes in the international press. I am not nitpicking two main stream news reports because they report as fact things I know to be completely untrue. You get that a lot from the press these days. What I find alarming is that at least one of these two articles is obviously an entry into the discussion taking place amongst our national leadership.
Bouhammer Podcast: Interview with Scott Kesterson -- [Bouhammer]
Here is my first one-on-one interview podcast featured on bouhammer.com. This interview was conducted with freelance journalist, embedded reporter and filmmaker, Scott Kesterson. We talk almost exclusively about his film, AT WAR, but we also dive into the current state of the war in Afghanistan.
Biden Visits Afghanistan, Meets Karzai, US Officials -- [WaPo]
Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made a heavily guarded visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, meeting with top Afghan and U.S. military leaders after a quick stop in Pakistan to stress continued US support in the fight against terrorism across South Asia.
...Biden also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whom he has deemed weak and ineffective.
Your Questions, Answered...I Think... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Afghanistan]
Alright, In my last post I asked you guys to ask me some questions.
1. What is the morale of my unit? Depends on when you catch us and what members of our leadership is around....
3. Would I do it again? Yep, in a nano second. Matter of fact after all I have seen here and all I could be doing and we as a military could be doing that we are not I think I am going to have some unfinished business here. So I think I might have to go on home and get me a little bit of rank so that the next time I come here I can actually make some kind of a difference in not only the Afghani's lives, but also that of the soldiers around me...
Fast Rides For The ANP -- [Little Drops..... Into the pool of life]
How cool is this? With the ANP having the most members of their forces being killed or wounded in fights with the Taliban and others, I think this will be especially helpful getting them to a medical center P.D.Q. And if more of those who are wounded get there in a timely manner, they will have a better chance of survival. We've known for years that there is a small window of opportunity to deal with severe trauma. These ambulances will enable more of them to achieve that window, especially with Afghan drivers
You'd Think We Could Do This At Home... -- [Little Drops..... Into the pool of life]
Fourteen journalists and cameramen from Afghan news agencies gained a better understanding of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing's close-air-support mission during an Afghan media day here.
...If those Afghan journalist's can understand that a small part of our mission is to help rebuild their country and eliminate some very bad guys as well, WHY can't our very own journalist understand the same?
Taliban assault military base in Mohmand -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Taliban attacked a Frontier Corps base in battalion strength; 40 Taliban fighters and 15 Frontier Corps troops reported killed; more than 25 troops reported missing. Four soldiers were mutilated in Bajaur.
Nothing About Afghanistan Is Easy -- [A Battlefield Tourist - heading to Afghanistan]
Second, I have to make my way to ISAF headquarters in Kabul so they can fingerprint me and give me a retinal scan. You can only do this Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10 and 11am, so timing is everything. Obviously, this all means I will likely have to spend a few days in Kabul waiting for a flight to Kandahar, which means more money. At least I will be able to add Kabul to my HD archive, so there is a silver lining.
Finally, I have to get a visa. ...
Embedded Training Team strengthens ANA healthcare systems -- [Combined Security Transition Command - in Afghanistan]
GARDEZ, Afghanistan – Located high in the mountains at an elevation of 8,000 feet, the Paktia Regional Military Hospital, where the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan Medical Embedded Training Team has spent the last year, boasts an in-patient capability of 50 beds which will soon to expand to a 100-bed facility. The hospital serves the Afghan National Army assigned to the region which includes approximately 3,000 troops and several thousand family members.
Red Flag -- [Michael Yon]
The words imply that the US-UK relationship is fraying. This is untrue as seen from the foxholes I am constantly in. I have embedded with numerous British units in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have seen combat with all of those units. Maybe five or so.
...When the question comes up about what Americans think about our closest ally, I ask MANY American soldiers what they think of the British. There are mixed opinions of course, but the bottom line is that American combat veterans greatly respect British soldiers. ...This message was sent to me from a British officer:
The U.S. Votes 'Present' at the U.N. -- [WSJ - JOHN R. BOLTON]
...He said publicly Ms. Rice told him just before the vote that she had "been given new instructions" (certainly from President George W. Bush) not to support the draft.
In the past, both Democratic and Republican administrations reacted to one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions by vetoing them. And if the real issue here was timing, the U.S. could have delayed the vote by threatening a veto until it was satisfied that the Egyptian mediation attempt had run its course.
'Biden given top honour for role in getting Musharraf shed uniform' -- [The Hindu]
Karachi (PTI): US President-elect Joseph Biden had played a major role in getting former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to doff his uniform, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Monday.
A swell story -- [Greyhawk]
I want the ending of this story to be true. That's just one reason I don't think it is.
...Other reasons I question the veracity of the report: the only claim that they were drowned in "weather ...so terrible that it blew the boat over" is from "an associate of the gang".
And this picture...
Cheney: Bin Laden No Longer Effective Leader -- [Defense Link]
Vice President Richard B. Cheney said Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida chief who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is no longer an effective leader.
Cheney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview that aired today the Bush Administration would like to capture or kill the terrorist leader in the waning days of President George W. Bush’s tenure, but suggested that bin Laden’s role has been reduced.
Bin Laden's Former Driver Freed From Yemeni Prison -- [FOX News]
Usama bin Laden's former driver has been released from a Yemeni prison after serving out his sentence, according to his lawyer.
In-Depth Report on Shabab Al-Mujahideen in Somalia -- [MEMRI]
Activists Demolish Churches: "We Will Establish Islamic Rule From Alaska & Chile to South Africa, & From Japan to Russia – Beware, We Are Coming"
Reporter: "In March 2008, the Shabab Al-Mujahideen group appeared in Somalia. Its members have managed to take the dynamics of war to a new level. This extremely secret group has been placed by the U.S. on its list of so-called terrorist groups. Members of this movement conceal their identity."
Abu Mansour: "We are fighting to remove oppression and colonialism from our country. We are defending ourselves against those who attacked us. Once we succeed, we will fight to end oppression in other places in the world."
Linda's Visit to Landstuhl -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
...Ferrara, of Torrance, Calif., has been interacting with soldiers and handing out donated items at Landstuhl all week during a Soldiers’ Angels-sponsored trip to Landstuhl. Soldiers’ Angels is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting U.S. troops.
"I’ll hone my operation to suit what [Soldiers’ Angels] needs," Ferrara said. "Every day we come down here, talk to the guys and see what they need."
LT. GENERAL HARRY KINNARD--A MAN OF FEW WORDS -- [Third Wave Dave]
With each day's passing, we lose more and more of our great warriors from WWII. Today is no exception.
Today it was announced that Lt. General Harry W. O. Kinnard has died. He was 93.
A Yellow Star For Self-Pity -- [Villianous Co]
The subject line made me laugh: "We're all victims and we're all getting ponies". The link inside, to the usual whiny, self-indulgent drivel I've come to expect from Obama supporters in the military, grated on my last nerve:
...This is, without a doubt, the biggest load of horse hockey I've ever heard in my life. ...
Ms. Picard goes on (and on... and on.... and on at great length) about her suffering and misery as the wife of a Blackhawk pilot. To fully experience the mind-numbing horror of living on officer's pay, augmented by pilot's pay, augmented yet again by the many extra allowances paid to dependents whose servicemember deploys to a combat zone compounded by the unbelievable horror of an adult female forced to stand on her own two feet and care for two unaborted lumps of post-fetal tissue without [gasp!] her husband's assistance
Top Army recruiter weighs fat camp for recruits -- [AP] HT: Michael Yore
The Army has been dismissing so many overweight applicants that its top recruiter, trying to keep troop numbers up in wartime, is considering starting a fat farm to transform chubby trainees into svelte soldiers.
Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, head of the Army Recruiting Command, said he wants to see a formal diet and fitness regimen running alongside a new school at Fort Jackson that helps aspiring troops earn their GEDs.
Bostick told The Associated Press that obesity looms as "a bigger challenge for us in the years ahead" than any other problem that keeps young people from entering the military,
Aircraft Carrier Honors Elder Bush -- [WaPo]
President Bush Attends Commissioning Ceremony Of The USS George H.W. Bush. "In a final presidential journey rife with pomp and nostalgia, President Bush joined family and friends here Saturday to commission a new aircraft carrier named for another U.S. president: his father.
What’s French for “Arrrrh!”? -- [The Tank - Fred Schwarz]
The U.S. Navy has announced the formation of Combined Task Force 151, whose mission will be to combat piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden. (Thanks to NRO’s Greg Pollowitz for sending the link.) CTF-151 was spun off from CTF-150, which was established shortly after the September 11 attacks to combat a variety of regional problems, including drug and weapons trafficking.
Jones Renews Effort To Rename Dept. of Navy -- [WaPo]
What's in a name? In Washington, almost everything.
This town is obsessed with names, ranks, titles, organizational flow charts and preserving one's turf. And now there's a renewed effort by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) to rename the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.
The MilBlog Conference Moves Back to Washington -- [Andi]
As you know, we experimented with moving our annual conference to Vegas in 2008. We had a great time in Vegas - how could you not have a great time in Vegas - but, Washington is a better venue for our official conference, so the 2009 MilBlog Conference will be held in Washington, DC. Milbloggers will continue to have a presence in Vegas at the annual Blog World Expo, which recently made some news, but the big conference will move back to Washington.
Ruminations of a Small Town Mountain Boy: Kaboom To Be a Book? -- [Small Town Mountain Boy]
One of My favorite Milblogs, Kaboom; A Soldier’s War Journal, shut down by the authors command structure not too long ago, is rumored to have a book deal in progress. The author, Matt Gallagher AKA Lt. G. or Capt G.
Back home -- [Staying in Touch - home from Afghanistan]
Soldiers from the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have returned home from a year of service with Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Paul Fanning has been blogging from Afghanistan pretty much from the time he arrived.
Fanning has now returned home, and to wrap up the blog, we offer Gazette report Jill Bryce's profile of Fanning, as well as some final photos by Fanning of the return home. You can view the final photos in the gallery Pictures from the Front by clicking HERE or view the entire gallery by clicking HERE.
“Mommy, Did Daddy Rape People in the War?”by J.R. Head -- [Big Hollywood]
I imagine this question will be heard in homes across America in years to come. And why not? We’ve been told by Hollywood that members of our military are rapists, cold blooded killers, and more. They are taking part in an illegal war, bombing villages and torturing innocents. I mean, why would they make movies about such things if they weren’t true?
I’m constantly amazed by the attitudes of some in our industry toward the military. Personally, the fact that I’m a former Marine is often met with incredulity.
No-Joe: Wurzelbacher Is Not Edward R. Murrow -- [PJM - Jazz Shaw]
He should have thought twice about launching a new career as a war correspondent. (Watch Joe's first report here)
A Media Ban Would Do Average Joes A Disservice -- [Bill Roggio]
There has been no shortage of coverage of Joe the Plumber's foray into reporting on the Israeli military operation in Gaza. As someone who started reporting on the war as an independent reporter, I could understand PJTV's decision to support citizen journalism by sending Joe to Israel. Sure, the decision was clearly made to generate publicity for the conservative, web-based news service, but PJTV's decision to expend their resources is theirs to make. After a few days of watching Joe fumble through interviews and issues his awkward opinions, it’s clear the guy is in over his head. Here's what Joe has to say about the media and their coverage of the war:
Joe the Plumber is here, and he ain't happy -- [Jerusalem Post]
Samuel Wurzelbacher of Ohio, aka Joe the Plumber, arrived in Sderot at noon Sunday to show local and foreign reporters how to do it right.
"You should be ashamed of yourself," he told foreign reporters.
"You should be patriotic, protect your family and children, not report like you have been doing for the past two weeks since this war has started," he said.
Another Leftist/Islamist Lie Up In Smoke -- [Confederate Yankee]
...Such apologist claims, almost without exception, based upon either radical politics, gross ignorance, or a combination of the two. In either event, these shrill claims are decidedly false.
A typical case of ignorance is the one I cited several days ago in the Pacific Free Press where the headline called the use of White Phosphorus by Israeli forces in Gaza the " War Crime du Jour."
Likewise, "Cernig," posting at Crooks & Liars, posted an equally inflammatory, fact-free and generally unhinged rant on the subject:
Anatomy of a Media Hoax -- [Confederate Yankee]
As the IDF campaign in Gaza continues, so do attempts by Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to use the western media as an often willing propaganda tool.
Yesterday, media critic Charles Johnson commented on Little Green Footballs about a 2-minute CNN story that purported to show the death of a Palestinian child in Gaza that was captured on film by his brother.
...what marks this story as a hoax, and what elements point to media collusion in promoting this video as propaganda? Please watch the video above again, and we'll go through those elements step-by-step.
CNN Tricked Into Running Anti-Israel Propaganda? -- [Weekly Standard- Mary Katharine Ham ]
It was an irresistible story for Western media. A Gazan cameraman was working valiantly to bring the images of war's brutality to the world from a war zone blocked to media access by the Israeli government. While he was performing his heroic task, violence hit home with a deadly blow. Ashraf Mashharawi got a call that his family's home had been hit by a rocket, and he rushed to the hospital to find doctors trying to save his 12-year-old brother's life.
Freeland: No Waterboarding—Even To Save Planeloads of People -- [NewsBusters]
Would you waterboard an al Qaeda member for three minutes to get information to save the lives of nine passenger-loads of innocent civilians? Chrystia Freeland wouldn't. The US managing editor of the Financial Times made the stunning statement during the course of a classic Morning Joe dust-up today.
President George W. Bush - courage of convictions over political expediency -- [Flopping Aces]
When Mike’s A suggested a Bush Thankathon starting today, I thought it was high time. For six years, our sitting President has endured more personal insults and media venom than I’ve known in my history. Positives were deliberately ignored. Flaws gleefully exaggerated and misrepresented.
My first contribution to the Bush Thankathon is to honor a man who governed this country
In Interview, Obama Talks of ‘New Approach’ to Iran -- [NY Times]
Speaking on the ABC News program “This Week,” Mr. Obama reiterated that he wanted to work directly with Iran — a country whose president has called for Israel’s destruction — to improve relations and halt a nuclear program that Tehran describes as peaceful, but that the West believes is not.
Brit Hume Discusses Leaks and Tell-all Books With Presidents Bush -- [NewsBusters]
if you forward to minute 3:00 of the video embedded below the fold, you'll witness an absolutely marvelous discussion about why they believe former presidents should keep their opposing views of the current executive to themselves, as well as what they think of administration leakers and those that write tell-all books for financial gain
NYT reporter warns of one-term Obama -- [Politico]
White House reporters for The New York Times predict that the market collapse will force President-elect Barack Obama to abandon for now many of his campaign promises.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Sadr: Attack US forces, avenge Gaza -- [alJazeera]
Moqtada al-Sadr has called for attacks on US troops in Iraq as a response to Washington's support for the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
"I call on the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy,'' the influential leader of the Sadrist movement said in a Wednesday statement issued by his office in the city of Najaf.
US General: Anbar lacks support of Iraq government -- [Salon/ AP]
The top American commander in the former insurgent stronghold of Anbar said Wednesday the Shiite-led government should have poured reconstruction money into the Sunni region after Sunni fighters joined forces with U.S. troops to chase al-Qaida out of the western province.
Marine Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly told The Associated Press that his greatest "mission failure" was his inability to bring together the government in Baghdad and the Sunnis in Anbar to take advantage of the steep decline in violence.
"What the Iraqi government in Baghdad should have done is said Anbar is getting peaceful, let's commit," Kelly told the AP in a telephone interview from his headquarters southwest of Baghdad, as he begins to make preparations to hand over command of 23,000 Marines next month to Maj. Gen. Richard T. Tyron.
"It drives me to distraction," he said. "I would count it as a mission failure."
New Iraq Emerges from Tyranny and War -- [IRaq the Model - Iraqi bloggers]
Iraq has started to reap the benefits of the status of forces agreement with the United States. The United Nations Security Council voted to set the ground for relieving Iraq from the restrictions of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.
Colors… The Bleg… -- [The Gun Line - in Iraq]
There are many folks who ask “Is there anything I can do for you?” when they find out that I’m in Iraq…
Up until a few hours ago, my honest answer was, “No, not really, other than send prayers and good feelings to The Big Guy on our behalf…” because, truth be told, they take very good care of us here. We have all the food we could ever want, we have a well-stocked PX, some fast food places, gym and fitness centers, even a theater that runs first run movies…
Now, however, I am learning about a need that (you’d think) our supply system could stay on the top of, but ...
Life Imitates Art -- [Wings of Iraq - in Iraq]
While reading up on Martin van Crewald's paradox, I came across a statement on the Iraqi insurgency which reminded me of something amusing.
While we often refer to "an insurgency" in Iraq, there have actually been multiple insurgent groups, criminal organizations and militias which made up "the insurgency". Each of these groups had its own political goals, organization, and sometimes even fought against one another.
Yes, much like ...
The Deepest Battlefield -- [Outside the Wire]
"How do you defeat an idea? How do you defeat a dream?" Colonel Bob Chase asked rhetorically.
It was the Summer of 2005, a period of stasis in Iraq before the wheels came off in 2006.
I was interviewing him on the side porch of the Saddam era palace in Ramadi that was now the headquarters of the 2nd Marine Division.
Egyptian field hospital re-opens -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (January 7, 2009) – The El Salam Egyptian Field Hospital, which sees more than 7,200 Afghan patients a month, reopened here Jan. 5, after almost a month of closure due to a staff transition. During the closure, the hospital staff added a gastroenterology clinic, day-care unit and a...
Afghan Security Guards receive specialized training -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
Members of the Afghan Security Guard recently underwent specialized training from U.S. Army Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Fenty in northeastern Afghanistan.
Soldiers from Alpha Company, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division taught the ASG tactics, techniques and procedures for working traffic control points and conducting body searches.
Not ready to run -- [Bouhammer]
I said this in 2006 when I first got to Afghanistan. Too many Generals and State Dept. yukkity yucks were in Kabul whispering into the ears of the leaders in the Afghanistan government. They were telling them things like habeas corpus and illegal search and seizure, and other protections that we as a matured country have. They are influencing these Afghan leaders to implement the same concepts in a country that is maybe 2 weeks out of the stone age. What third-world country do you know that has a completely separate police and army? Not many, if any. They have a paramilitary, which is a force that protects the borders and the country from outsides and protects the people on the inside from themselves. A budding country that is just learning how to stand up and take its first steps as a free democratic society is not capable of running the 100yd dash a day later.
Yet this is what is happening in Afghanistan as the “great minds” of US civilian and military leadership try to shove 200+ years of government and democratic progression down the throats of these leaders who are eager to mimic our country as it makes them feel and look better.
Major Push Is Needed to Save Afghanistan, General Says - [Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times]
The top American commander responsible for Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, said Thursday that the country would require a “sustained, substantial” commitment from the United States and other nations to stop a downward spiral of violence and a resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Soldier back from Afghanistan duty -- [Daily Gazette]
...During his deployment, Fanning wrote a blog for The Daily Gazette. In 30 entries, he shared his impressions of daily life in Afghanistan and told stories about the soldiers. He said it’s difficult for people in the Capital Region to understand what’s going on in Afghanistan or how the U.S. military and National Guard are trying to rebuild the country, which is about the size of Texas.
Warning orders: prepare to move... -- [The Torch - Canadian Military]
This has been in the works for awhile. Years, in fact. Memos went up the chain of command, and back down again. Never any luck. And then, just recently, approval.
I'm going to Afghanistan.
Pakistanis Cheer Bin Laden At Anti-Israel Rally -- [Morning Star]
Thousands of people rallied Friday in southwest Pakistan, near the Afghan border, against Israel's strikes on the Gaza Strip, cheering support for Al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, police said.
EXCLUSIVE MEMRI VIRAL VIDEO RELEASE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD: "HAMAS IN THEIR OWN VOICES" -- [MEMRI Blog]
MEMRI is today releasing a new and exclusive viral video, titled "Hamas: In Their Own Voices." The video, a compilation of MEMRI TV clips that aired prior to the current Gaza crisis, includes statements by Hamas leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel and of all Jews, for death to America, and for the Islamic conquest of the world.
Mumbai handlers in Pakistan cheer after ordering murders over phone -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Pakistan-based handlers of the Mumbai terrorists ordered the murders of civilians over the phone and cheered after hearing the gunfire, according to the dossier of evidence India provided to the Pakistani government.
The documents, obtained by the Indian newspaper The Hindu, provides a cold, calculating, and chilling look at the masterminds behind the late November military-style assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. More than 170 people were killed and hundreds wounded during the 60 hour terror spree that shut down the city. The Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda and supported by powerful elements within Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency and the military, carried out the attack.
Multinational Task Force Targets Pirates - American Forces Press Service -- [Defense Link]
A new multinational task force is focusing solely on counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, the commander of the combined maritime forces in the region said. The force created the Maritime Security Patrol Area in the Gulf of Aden in August to support international efforts to combat piracy. Coalition efforts included Combined Task Force 150, which conducted maritime security operations - such as the deterrence of drug smuggling and weapons trafficking.
NEFA Foundation: Zawahiri Issues Orders to “Strike Everywhere” in Revenge For Gaza -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a new audio recording from Al-Qaida Deputy Commander Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri released on January 6 and titled, “The Massacre of Gaza and the Siege of the Traitors.” During his address, Dr. al-Zawahiri condemned the ongoing Israeli raids in Gaza and blamed the actions of Israel on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and incoming U.S. President Barack Obama: “These attacks are the gift of Obama to you,...
Al Qaeda's operations chief in Pakistan killed in New Year's strike -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Veteran al Qaeda leaders Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan were killed in the attack. The operatives were behind several major suicide attacks in Pakistan over the past two years.
Obama Camp to Legitimize Terrorist Group -- [Jawa Report]
Hug a terrorist time!
The incoming Obama administration is prepared to abandon George Bush's doctrine of isolating Hamas by establishing a channel to the Islamist (designated terrorist) organization, sources close to the transition team say.
The Most Dangerous Thought This Week -- [ThreatsWatch]
In a Thursday testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly revealed that his department is seeking technology that can disrupt cell phone and other wireless communications in the event...
Disney Parks Celebrate U.S. Military With Free, Multi-day Admission to Theme Parks in 2009 -- [Disneyland Resort Public Affairs]
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. / ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 5, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — As Disney Parks ask "What Will You Celebrate?" and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America's military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney's U.S. theme parks.
Soldier Receives 400,000th Care Package on Christmas Day -- [OP Gratitude]
Surrounded by cheering comrades on Christmas Day, Specialist Harry Colon of the the 133rd Transportation Battalion out of Brooklyn, New York was surprised to learn that he was the recipient of Operation Gratitude's 400,000th Care Package.
Preventing Combat Fatigue -- [Strategy Page]
While the U.S. Army has done much to detect, and treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), it has also made a determined effort to prevent it in the first place. From the beginning of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the army took many measures to ease the impact of combat stress. That's why combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan often sleep in air conditioned quarters, have Internet access, lots of amenities, and a two week vacation (anywhere) in the middle of their combat tour. But now there's now a more ...
B-Tshirts -- [Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
For those of you who are new to this blog, Ranger Up graciously designed a t-shirt to help support Fisher House through Big Tobacco. Fisher House is a nonprofit that provides housing for wounded vets that are in outpatient treatment. More on that if you read my Ward 69 post. All of the profits from the sales of these t-shirts will go to Fisher House.
The Soft Side of Airpower -- [SWJ - Major John W. Bellflower]
We are quite good at killing, we Americans. We have melded technology and the taking of life to such an extent that the process can be, for us, a quite antiseptic experience. This is especially true in the realm of airpower. However, the next, i.e. post-Iraq, phase in the war on terror will more closely resemble humanitarian-style interventions in fragile, failing, and failed (F3) states than Iraq-style invasions. Consequently, operations are likely to call less for the elimination of life than for the preservation and facilitation of life. As we begin to contemplate this next phase in the war on terror, which will likely call for heavy involvement in Africa, we should heed the words of Lieutenant General Stephen Lorenz, who counsels airmen to "challenge accepted paradigms to propose new ways of fighting from air, space, and cyberspace." To that end, we should be mindful of the fact that kinetic effects are not always the most desired effects when intervening in F3 states. Indeed, if the Air Force seeks to play a more meaningful role in any post-Iraq engagement, it must look for novel ways of contributing to the global counterinsurgency fight. It must, as former Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne indicated, "offer the nation a flexible mix of capabilities that allow it to act in a world of growing strategic uncertainty."
Army Launching 'Future Combat' P.R. Blitz -- [Danger Room]
Future Combat Systems, the Army's vision of a networked, robot-heavy force, is facing an uncertain future. The new administration has promised to review lavishly funded military modernization projects, and the $200-billion-plus program presents a tempting target for cuts.
Godspeed to Paula Lloyd -- [Michael Yon]
Word just came to me that Paula Lloyd died. The word came from a close mutual friend who currently is in Afghanistan. Godspeed to Paula. Those who knew Paula said many great things. I was told she was engaged to be married. Now Paula is with God.
Ed Freeman... A True Hero -- [One Marine's View]
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.
He's coming anyway. And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times..... and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died last Wednesday at the age of 80
Happy Birthday Elvis -- [Wiki]
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977; middle name sometimes written Aron)a was an American singer, actor, and musician. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as "Elvis", and is also sometimes referred to as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" or "The King".
...Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley's wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame, and to his generosity while in the service. To supplement meager under-clothing supplies, Presley bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit. He also donated his Army pay to charity, and purchased all the TV sets for personnel on the base at that time
Home sweet home -- [Leesville Daily Leader, LA]
"Chloe planned to pack her bags two weeks ago," said Sean's stepmother, Regina, of Sean's little sister, who is four years old. "She was going to Iraq to get her brother."
But the wait continued at the gym and kept some on the edge of their seats as they watched a video of the 270 soldiers disembarking from their plane in Alexandria.
Then, the double doors opened and there they were in the flesh; upright, strong and unharmed, soldiers of the 4th Brigade 10th Mountain Division filed into the gym and lined up opposite their family members.
Public Invited to Welcome Home Soldiers -- [KCEN-TV, TX]
McDonald also said Fort Hood is inviting the community to take part in welcome home ceremonies for soldiers on post. The first welcome home ceremony for the ...
For Fighting 69th, coming home alive a victory -- [Newsday, NY]
He said he had no desire for a welcome-home dinner, nor a night on the town, nor a visit with the in-laws. He just wanted to take her home.
She's At It Again! -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
Right on time. It's January, folks; time for Lizette Alvarez to get back on her horse and back to demonizing combat veterans. In her latest public disservice announcement, Lizette has now focused on the narrow population of Fort Carson, Colorado. No doubt still smarting from the general lambasting that she took last year at the hands of numerous bloggers and journalists after her multiple installment series that sought to depict returning combat veterans as a pitiable yet oh-so-dangerous contingent, our heroine takes a remarkably similar tack in this scary little piece in the New York Times. It took me days to catch it because I consider the NYT to be a less than adequate source of any information, and so I do not generally seek my news or opinion reporting there.
Seattle P-I May Fold -- [Ace]
Quoting an unnamed source, KING TV reported Thursday night that the newspaper's owner, The Hearst Corp., planned to put the P-I up for sale soon, setting the stage for its closure in the next few months.
...Read on. The Times is in trouble, too. And the extinction of its chief rival may not even be enough to save the Seattle Times
Shark Jumping? And why I'm Rooting for Joe -- [Outside the Wire]
Joe has a Publicity agent, endorsement deals, book deal and who knows what else--truly a storyline that could only happen in the USA. Now Joe is headed to Israel as a correspondent for PJTV and I find myself asking, why not wall-to-wall Michael Totten instead? Why not Michael Yon, who, if he could sneak into sector for a few hours, would be able to give a thorough prognosis of the battle. Because, even after years of grinding work in the middle-east, churning out brilliant essays and original reporting, Michael Totten is not a media celebrity. Same with Michael Yon, who, despite being one of, if not the most prolific chronicler of war in this young century, lacks the celebrity status of Joe The Plumber.
Announcing that Totten will be the point man and Yon will be providing battle-field updates does not warrant a splash of media coverage. By opting for celebrity over substance, PJTV is following the well-worn path of other news media--and we know how that has turned out.
As one who left a normal career to become a war correspondent, I'm all for Joe and anyone else getting in the trenches. And I'm all for anyone making a few bucks and travelling to Israel on someone else's dime--that is the American dream.
Who’s afraid of Joe the Journalist? -- [Michelle Malkin]
My syndicated column today looks at the MSM sneering over Joe Wurzelbacher’s trip to Israel sponsored by PJTV, recounts how The Fraternal Order of the Professional Journalist has squandered its own credibility, and exposes how liberal media elites have attempted to shut out conservatives from membership in the journalism club by redefining their craft based on ideological content.
In Search of the Afghan Maliki - Amir Taheri, National Review opinion -- [NRO]
Early in 2007, as the American presidential campaign started to gather momentum, critics of Pres. George W. Bush’s War on Terror invented a scheme that allowed them to oppose the administration’s strategy while dodging charges of appeasement. Under that scheme, Iraq was presented as “the bad war” or, according to Sen. Barack Obama, “the wrong war, at the wrong time, and in the wrong place.” In contrast, Afghanistan was presented as “the good war,” the “just war,” or even “the necessary war.”
The argument was that the war in Iraq was wrong because it had not been explicitly approved by the United Nations, while the invasion of Afghanistan had been. That argument ignored the fact that the UN Security Council had passed 14 resolutions about Iraq, all of them implicitly allowing the use of force against the Baathist regime. The fact that
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Top Ten Reasons The War Is Over In Iraq -- [Fraser in **** - in **** ]
Monday, January 5, 2009
1. Because CNN says it is.
2. KBR employees (subcontractor of TCNs for Haliburton) are looking for new jobs.
3. We have stopped pouring cement for sidewalks.
4. We spend more time in staff meetings than actually flying.
5. We classify insurgents shooting at aircraft as “Celebratory Fire” instead of “Hostile Fire”.
This Time, Iraqis Hear and See Candidates -- [NY Times]
...The nation’s provincial elections on Jan. 31 are the first in which the government has deemed it safe enough for the names, instead of simply the political affiliations, of officeseekers to appear on the ballot.
It is also the first time that large numbers of candidates like Mr. Kareem have decided for themselves that Iraq is sufficiently safe to campaign publicly and put their oversize pictures on posters and banners around the city.
Marines Raise Flag on New U.S. Embassy in Baghdad -- [Defense Link]
WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2009 – U.S. Marines raised the American flag yesterday during the dedication ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker declared “a new era” for Iraq and the Iraqi-U.S. relationship.
One Answer, And A Request... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Afghanistan]
...I would like to ask all of you to send me your questions. Ask me about the Army, Afghanistan, deployment, or whatever you want. The more the better. I WILL answer them all.
Two Balls Following A COCK... -- [Embrace the Suck - in Afghanistan]
I love this because now I figured out a way to bitch and be funny at the same time, so come along with me won't you. Like I told you we are the platoon that has to guard this joint now. So we only have to really work like 8 hours a day. Which is pretty much heavenly. I mean after the shit we have been through, only working 8 hours is paramount to being off.
Taliban Learns All the Right Lessons from Iraq: Now Demanding Tribes Hand Over Young Women to Be Their "Fighters'" Wives/Rape-Slaves -- [Ace]
The Taliban are their own worst enemy. Despite the pressure from the Pakistani army along the Afghan border, some Taliban leaders are demanding that tribes hand over young women to be wives for Taliban fighters. This is very unpopular with the tribes, and was one of the major complaints that led to tribes going to war with al Qaeda groups. In addition to burning down schools for girls and killing those who teach girls, the Taliban are also ordering women to stay away from markets, or working outside the home, unless they have a male escort from their family.
Pakistani, Afghan Leaders Vow Joint Terrorism Fight - [Washington Post]
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, whose government has been accused by India of supporting a major terrorist attack there, vowed Tuesday to work closely with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to combat terrorism, saying it had become a menace to all countries in the region.
Playing for keeps -- [USA Today]
Collapse especially burdens those who serve
...As I witnessed during a trip last month to Afghanistan with the Canadian military, basic concepts of counterinsurgency are being applied well in Afghanistan, at least in parts of the country. Afghan army and police forces are receiving basic training as well as ongoing mentoring by embedded advisers. NATO and Afghan commanders are avoiding the temptation to clear key cities and towns of insurgents until they have enough forces to hold onto them afterward. High-level players in the Afghan government, including the ministers of defense and the interior, are reforming their institutions. And while living conditions in much of Afghanistan remain poor, there are a few hopeful signs: The economy is growing 10% a year, half of all school-age children are attending class, 5 million cellphones are in the hands of Afghan citizens and about 70% of the children are receiving vaccinations (with corresponding reductions in still sky-high child mortality rates).
NATO and Afghan leaders are also learning how to cooperate with tribal structures more effectively, and even to reconcile with some former insurgents when possible.
Counterinsurgency Field Manual: Afghanistan Edition -- [Foreign Policy Blog]
For the past five years, the fight in Afghanistan has been hobbled by strategic drift, conflicting tactics, and too few troops. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, got it right when he bluntly told the U.S. Congress in 2007, “In Iraq, we do what we must.” Of America’s other war, he said, “In Afghanistan, we do what we can.”
It is time this neglect is replaced with a more creative and aggressive strategy.
The FP Interview with Gen. David H. Petraeus -- [Foreign Policy Blog]
FP: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that U.S. efforts in Afghanistan were really on the verge of failure. What’s your incoming assessment?
DP: I told [then] Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in September 2005 that Afghanistan would be the longest campaign in the so-called ‘long war.’ That judgment was based on an assessment I conducted in Afghanistan on my way home from my second tour in Iraq. And having been back to Afghanistan twice in recent months, I still see it that way. Progress there will require a sustained, substantial commitment. That commitment needs to be extended to Pakistan as well, though Pakistan does have large, well-developed security institutions and its leaders are determined to employ their own forces in dealing with the significant extremist challenges that threaten their country.
Culture -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
As I stumbled through the internet, uncomfortable with not one but two postings which sat still steaming in my "POSTS" archive with the red-lettered Draft next to them, I was led by my Irish nose to this gem in Baltic Security and Defense Review by LTC (Dr) Robert Cassidy entitled "Counterinsurgency and Military Culture: State Regulars versus Non-State Irregulars." While this scholarly paper addresses the military command culture of the Army, it is this culture that permeates down to the soldier level and which I found to be unsupportive of our objectives in Afghanistan (and by extension Iraq, which I am unqualified to address specifically.)
Afghans Rediscover The Lee-Enfield -- [Strategy Page]
Afghan traditionalists are changing the way the Taliban fight. This can be seen by the increase in the use of sniping by the Taliban. In the last year, NATO units in southern Afghanistan estimate there has been a 25 percent increase in sniping incidents. This is not seen as a major danger.
The Merchants of Misery -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban are a lot of things, but the one thing that annoys most Afghans is the Taliban hostility to education. Since the Taliban were drive out of power eight years ago, the number of children in schools has gone from 900,000 to over six million.
It’s Ashura Time Again - Joy! Photos -- [Sweetness & Light]
The joyous event as celebrated around the Muslim world, via the wire services
Afghan Shiites flagellate themselves with knives during the Ashura procession in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Ashura marks the Shiite Muslims commemoration of the 7th century killing of their most revered Saint Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, a symbol of martyrdom for Shiites
...A Shi’ite Muslim taps the head of a baby with a razor to draw blood during a ceremony marking Ashura in Nabatieh, south Lebanon, January 7, 2009.
Joe the Plumber heads to Israel -- [Michelle Malkin]
Joe The Plumber will cover the Gaza conflict for PJTV. He’ll be there for 10 days. Stay safe, Joe!
Joe the Plumber is taking on a new job.
The Ohio man, who became famous during the U.S. presidential campaign after asking Barack Obama about his tax plan, is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for a conservative Web site called pjtv.com.
Would Israel attack Gaza if Saddam ruled? -- [Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network]
Iraqi Former Vice President Izzat Ibrahim Al Douri announced that Israel wouldn’t have dared to attack Gaza if former President Saddam Hussein was ruling. Al Douri evoked the internal situation in Iraq addressing US-elect President Barack Obama. He affirmed his willingness to enter into talks with the coming US Administration and establish strategic relations with the US if it withdraws fully from Iraq.
In Ukraine dispute, Russia cuts gas supplies to Europe -- [CS Monitor]
Europeans suddenly saw gas supplies shrink Tuesday as Russia raised the stakes in its gas war with Ukraine by slashing deliveries through the main export pipeline.
Several European countries, including Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia reported a complete cutoff of Russian gas as a result of the escalating row, while others, such as Austria and the Czech Republic, said their deliveries have slowed significantly.
Top US Islamic Cleric Threatens Destruction of America On Egyptian TV -- [Gateway Pundit]
"America, which gave [Israel] everything it needed in these battles, will suffer economic stagnation, ruin, destruction, and crime, which will surpass what is happening in Gaza. One of these days, the U.S. will suffer more deaths than all those killed in this third Gaza holocaust. This will happen soon."
Osama bin Laden is dead -- [Wizbang - Baron Von Ottomatic]
Yes indeedy, OBL is taking the long dirt nap. We'll never find his remains so it can be verified beyond a shadow of a doubt, but nonetheless he's a corpse. How can I be so sure? He never taunts the US anymore. All high level communications from Al Qaeda are now issued by al-Zawahiri. We can stop the charade of calling him Al Qaeda's No. 2, he has now inherited the No. 1 spot.
MI5's spymaster Jonathan Evans comes out of the shadows -- [Times Online]
In the first interview given by a serving head of MI5 Jonathan Evans claims terrorists are being forced 'to keep their heads down'
Targeting Terrorists' Financial Networks: A Moving Target -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
As Michael Jacobson and I wrote in The Jerusalem Post, despite being under geographic siege and financial sanction, Hamas was still able to smuggle some 80 tons of explosives, roadside bombs and longer-range rockets into Gaza over the course of the past cease-fire.
It is ironic, then, that ...
Gates, Mullen Thank Bush for Commitment to Troops -- [Defense Link]
The top Defense Department leaders honored President George W. Bush today at a farewell ceremony for his deep commitment to the men and women in uniform and their families and the trust he instilled as he led them through challenging times.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in praising Bush during the armed forces farewell ceremony at Fort Myer, Va.
“In my 44 years of wearing this uniform, I have never seen the American public and our military as bonded in understanding, purpose and spirit as I do right now,” Mullen told Bush. “For this, Mr. President, we owe you our greatest gratitude.”
Gates said Bush fostered that close relationship throughout his presidency.
Omitted: Soldier Tells Bush 'Next Time, Pick Up the Shoe and Throw It Back' -- [NewsBusters]
The armed forces held their traditional ceremony honoring the departing Commander-in-Chief Tuesday morning at Fort Myer in Arlington. President Bush received a standing ovation of gratitude. A big laugh came when Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
An End for the F-22? -- [WaPo]
It may not be a happy start to the new year for Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor, according to a story this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Japan has said it won't buy Lockheed's fighter jet because it believes the factory lines in Texas and Georgia could eventually be shut down.
Lockheed could see an end to its F-22 production, as the U.S. Air Force has cut back the number of planes it wants. The expensive fighter jet could also come under more budgetary scrutiny in the Obama administration.
PTSD and the Purple Heart: Troops, Vets, Families Weigh In -- [Susan Katz Keating]
Yesterday, I wrote about the Pentagon's announcement that it will not award the Purple Heart for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. At the end of the post, I wrote:
I don't pretend to know what's best in terms of a PTSD award. I never have served in combat, and I never have been faced with the question of whether to announce my injuries to the world at large. The PTSD-award decision is best left to the troops themselves. I'd very much like to see their thoughts on this matter.
I am gratified to report that many responded. I also was honored to have my thoughts discussed at two highly prestigious milblogs
Obama era expected to end taboo on gays in US military -- [Yahoo! News]
Sixteen years after Bill Clinton tried to end restrictions on gays in the military, the US armed forces under Barack Obama may be forced to give homosexuals
'Thankful to be home': Fort Polk soldiers return from duty in Iraq -- [Alexandria Town Talk, LA]
The soldiers were taken to Fort Polk for a welcome-home ceremony with their families Monday afternoon. "Soldiers will have two weeks of processing,
Airmen return to PAFB from Afghanistan -- [Florida Today, FL]
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE — Nine-year-old Jimmy Turman unfurled his “Welcome Home Daddy” sign from high up
The Images they Show... -- [A Soldier's Mother]
There are images that break your heart. The news is filled with them today and they can easily sway you to think that all of the situation in the Middle East comes down to a picture. How horrible, truly tragic, unacceptable and wrong it is to have a child die.
...So, beyond the tragic pictures from yesterday, I offer a deeper image of what life is like in the Middle East. There are the tragic pictures - but please take a moment to look beyond...and below.
These are the images they show: .. These are the images they DON'T show:
End Times -- [The Atlantiic] HT: The Corner
Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print—the moment when, amid a panoply of flashing lights, press conferences, and elegiac reminiscences, the newspaper presses stop rolling and news goes entirely digital. Most of these scenarios assume a gradual crossing-over, almost like the migration of dunes, as behaviors change, paradigms shift, and the digital future heaves fully into view. The thinking goes that the existing brands—The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal—will be the ones making that transition, challenged but still dominant as sources of original reporting.
But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if TheNew York Times goes out of business—like, this May?
Reuters: In the Service of Hamas -- [PJM - Bob Owens]
The news giant is once again blatantly mislabeling defensive measures from Israeli aircraft as offensive weapons.
A series of captioned photos from Reuters over the past few days in the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip proves that the news organization employs editors that are either as politically biased or as technically incompetent as those they fired after Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj was exposed for Photoshopping images during the 2006 Israeli conflict with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
At least four Reuters photos released over the weekend purported to show Israeli aircraft deploying weapons against Hamas targets, when the photos clearly show that the helicopters and fighter aircraft were actually dropping flares to thwart possible surface-to-air missile attacks.
Journalistic Malpractice -- [Michael Totten]
My friend and colleague Noah Pollak on the journalistic malpractice of some of our other colleagues:
A responsible journalist might also add that what Hamas did is a war crime under international law, and that Hamas is responsible for every civilian killed at that school. Rigging a school with explosives and using it as a base in a war zone is a crime precisely because it endangers the lives of civilians, and in this case of children.
Taking Chance - HBO Movie To Air in February -- [Blackfive]
Four and a half years ago, I was asked to post "Taking Chance" by LtCol Michael Strobl. It evoked one of the strongest reactions on BlackFive that I have seen since starting the blog in mid-2003. The story also gave me the honor to get to know some of the friends and family and Marine brothers of Chance.
I included Taking Chance in the Blog of War (Chance is one of the men that the book is dedicated to) and ...
Taking Chance -- [Charlie Foxtrot]
On Feb 21, HBO will premier its new film "Taking Chance", starring Kevin Bacon as LtCol Strobl.
It is also an "Official Selection" for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Given this, and the record of Hollywood films on portraying anything to do with the war in Iraq, I was at first wary. However, a viewing of the trailer for this film would seem to show a production that is true to the intent of Strobl's original writing. In the words of the Sundance Festival programmer, "...its potency comes not from melodramatic or political statements but simply from its reality and execution." Let us hope this is true.
CIA Man: Spies' Reaction to Panetta 'Overwhelmingly Negative' -- [CQ Politics]
A retired senior CIA operations officer who quit last summer after 20 years tracking terrorists says the rank-and-file reaction to President-elect Obama's choice of Leon E.Panetta to run the spy agency has been "overwhelmingly negative."
Talking Joe: Biden makes news -- [Politico]
In fewer than five minutes on Tuesday, Biden criticized his own incoming Obama administration and disclosed information his aides have kept secret for security reasons.
And on Monday, Biden declared, “We’re at war!” and compared the economic turmoil to 9/11.
Team Obama kept Biden under wraps immediately after the election, but with his Senate swearing-in and upcoming Iraq trip, he’s back in front of the microphones.
A Rare Gathering: Bush, Obama and 3 Ex-Presidents -- [FOX News]
An entire generation has gone by since the nation last saw this tableau of American history: every living U.S. president together at the White House.
Consider it time for a reunion among the members of one of the world's most elite clubs, plus the one man about to join it -- Barack Obama.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Meanwhile, back at to the Front -- [Greyhawk]
Adam Ashton of the Modesto Bee reports on a California Guard unit's return to Iraq:
...three years later, in defiance of the also-current narrative that there are no stories left to tell from Iraq, reporter Adam Ashton is with the Battalion for their return.
Record US deaths in Afghanistan in 2008, lowest in Iraq -- [AFP]
WASHINGTON (AFP) — American troops suffered the most losses in 2008 since the start of the Afghanistan war due to a resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda, while witnessing the lowest US death toll in six years in Iraq, which saw a relatively improved security.
MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you about the war in Iraq. In April of 2007, this is what you said: "I believe myself that ... this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything." Were you wrong?
SEN. REID: David, I first met General David Petraeus in Iraq. He was training the Iraqi forces at that time. At that time, he knew it wasn't working. After he became the commander in Iraq, he and I sat down and talked. He said to me, and he said within the sound of everyone's voice, "The war cannot be won militarily." I said it differently than he did. But it needed a change in direction. Petraeus brought that about. He brought it about—the surge helped, of course it helped. But in addition to that, the urging of me and other people in Congress and the country dictated a change, and that took place. So...
More news -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
It's been a busy week in Iraq. Not because the US has been chasing down insurgents, but because so many bases are being handed over to the Iraqi Army, it's almost difficult to keep track of them. Whearas just two years ago, Army helicopters were burning thousands of blade hours taking troops to the battle, now they're scurrying back and forth just to accomodate bases that seem to be closing every day.
Security Agreement -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
One of the biggest impacts of the security agreement for me is related to our attempt to return the roads to normalcy. Our large supply convoys are new restricted to night movements. That means I can only go to the large supply hub in our region in the middle of the night. This works fine for most situations as our support Battalion can prepare most of our supplies for us to pick up. A lot of the things I do, however, ...
A New Year Brings Changes to Iraq -- [Soldiering On - in Iraq]
Today is January 1st, 2009. Last night at 2359 the United Nations Security Council Resolution authorizing MNF-I's presence in Iraq expired. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States and her coalition allies (Poland, Great Britain, Australia, South Korea, and many others) have operated under a United Nations Mandate.
As Iraqi Security improved, the need for that mandate and the corresponding operational abilities it provided were seen as less necessary.
Baghdad area rocked by second large suicide attack in three days -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
An attack at a checkpoint in Baghdad comes two days after an attack at a tribal reconciliation meeting in Yusafiyah and as Iraqi security forces are asserting control.
So there I was... -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
in deepest, darkest Eye-Rak. Sure, some folks were worried about IEDs, suicide bombers, and random small arms fire. But I knew we were in trouble when, standing in a quiet village, I turned and saw...
Iraqis hope to sue U.S. troops under new accord -- [McClatchy]
The families of three men who were killed last week during a search of a grain warehouse want to press charges against American soldiers under the terms of a new security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.
Troops in Iraq Allowed Two Beers During the Superbowl -- [Stars & Stripes]
Multi-National Division–Baghdad has received permission to let its units enjoy an honest-to-goodness beer on game day instead of the near-beer soldiers usually quaff in downrange DFACs. The approval comes with plenty of time for the beer to be shipped into theater. This Super Bowl will be a strictly controlled exception to the long-standing policy
Illumination -- [Greyhawk]
This story includes no links to or citations of mainstream media reports from Afghanistan. It's a pure-milblogger look at elements of counter-insurgency warfare there. The key piece: a report of denial of an illumination round, and its impact on one mission (failure). Said denial apparently (from what I gather from one side of the story and some personal experience) based on fear that the (parachute-equipped) round could potentially damage the area (perhaps the fire threat?) and therefore do more harm than good.
"High Time" To Move Marines To Afghanistan -- [CBS News]
The Commandant of the US Marine Corps says it's "high time" his troops leave Iraq and take their battle skills to Afghanistan. "We are a fighting machine," Gen. James Conway tells CBS News, and the fight is now in Afghanistan... Their role in Iraq, he says, has been reduced to nation building...
"That’s not what we do," Conway told Marines in Afghanistan. "Where there’s a fight, that’s where the Marine Corps is needed."
Snipers and Asymmetric Warfare in Afghanistan -- [Captain's Journal]
In January of 2008 The Captain’s Journal predicted that the so-called spring offensive by the Taliban would be more asymmetric than conventional and kinetic. True, there have been stark reminders that the Taliban, in this case the Tehrik-i-Taliban, were capable of highly conventional and kinetic engagements, such as with the battle of Wanat. But there have also been reminders of just how badly the Taliban lose when they choose to go head-to-head in kinetic engagements with U.S.
The Road to Success is not Paved at ALL! -- [AFGHANISTAN SHRUGGED - in Afghanistan]
...The Taliban’s offensive against the road was a miserable failure for them. Not because they didn’t destroy many parts of it, they did, but because the populace questioned why they were attacking it. Attacking the ring road impacts US, NATO and ANA forces very little. We have helicopters and aircraft to resupply and get around. The Afghans living here don’t have these; so impinging on the ring road affects them greatly. The question they were starting to ask, “Why are you destroying that which helps us”. The Taliban had no answer.
Have You Ever Felt Truly Helpless... -- [Embrace The Suck - in Afghanistan]
Some of these rules prevent movement. Movement of any kind, vehicle, helicopter, plane or LPC is prohibited. (LPC=leather personnel carrier AKA Boots) Usually these rules about movement work out in our favor. If the rules say we cannot move for whatever reason then we don't have anything to do and we get to go back to sleep, any day when you get to go back to sleep is a glorious day in the military.
Sometimes, like today, these rules really bite you in the ass. Sometimes your buddies are outside the wire and you can't go and get them and bring them home. So there will be no sleep had today,
Blurred edges -- [Frontline - Alex Strick van Linschoten - in Afghanistan]
Back out in the desert, people started to arrive as word had spread that some musicians had come to perform at Ibrahim Khalifa Baba, the shrine of an old ’saint’. I sat next to the head of one of Kandahar’s government administrations, who had also come out to the shrine. He received a call from one of the police checkpoints further north of where we were.
“I have 8 Taliban with weapons in a car who say that they want to come to Ibrahim Khalifa Baba. What should we do with them?” the policeman asked. “Let them come!” my friend replied. “They’re probably just coming to enjoy the music. Who are we to stop them?”
And so they came. The reader should note at this point that nobody sitting out there in the desert was worried. In Kandahar, the Taliban are a fact of life; not necessarily liked, but there nonetheless.
Brits Take Key Taleb Positions in December Offensive -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
Details are just surfacing regarding a major coalition pre-Christmas offensive, led by the British, to take areas close to Helmand’s provincial capital long controlled by the Taliban. The three week long battle, which culminated Christmas Day, targeted four heavily defended positions in Nad-e-Ali, which lies just northwest of Lashkar Gah and to the southwest of Greshk and Highway 1.
Taliban bomber in bloody revenge on defiant villageDaud Khattak in Shal Bandai, North West Frontier -- [London Times]
FOUR months after a local militia stood up to the Taliban and threw them out of their village, killing six of them in the process, the Taliban wreaked their revenge. Last week they cold-bloodedly murdered 40 locals, many of them children, in a car bomb blast.
Shal Bandai, a remote settlement in the lawless North West Frontier province, about 175 miles north of Peshawar, was targeted because its citizens had dared to challenge the insurgents,
Pakistan arrests senior Taliban aide -- [LA Times]
Ustad Yasar, a sometime spokesman for Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, is captured in a rare instance of cross-border cooperation with Afghanistan.
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan -- In an unusual instance of cross-border cooperation, Pakistani authorities arrested a ranking figure in Afghanistan's Taliban movement after receiving a tip that he had entered Pakistan, officials disclosed Saturday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki visits Iran -- [LA Times]
Reporting from Baghdad -- Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Maliki arrived in Iran on Saturday for a two-day visit with top leaders, during which he is expected to allay Tehran's concerns about the United States' continuing influence in Iraq. The visit is Maliki's fourth since he was elected and comes just days after the U.S. handed over military control of the capital's Green Zone to Iraq and began a drawdown that is to lead to all American troops leaving the country by the end of 2011.
'Lethal Warriors' In Iraq Linked To String Of Crimes In U.S. -- [LA Times]
Men from the Army's 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry regiment have been accused or convicted in a string of alleged robberies and domestic violence and random murder. Official denies any war link.
Possible Oil Embargo -- [NewsBusters]
Reuters is reporting: "An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel's supporters in response to the Jewish state's offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday."
Readers should recall that this is similar to what happened in late 1973 in response to the Yom Kippur War thereby causing our first energy crisis.
The Israeli Way of War -- [Michael Totten]
Two years ago I interviewed Yaacov Lozowick, then-chief archivist at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, and he characterized Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon as stupid and indefensible. I agreed with him at the time, and I still do, as least about that war being stupid. (I do not believe Israel has no right to hit back at Hezbollah.)
Despite Lozowick’s criticism of the 2006 war, he is hardly a pacifist or an Israel-hater. He’s the author, after all, of Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars.
Muslim Brotherhood Reacts Defensively As Israel Takes On Hamas -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Muslim Brotherhood leaders are already engaging in something akin to “damage control” as they rationalize Hamas' breach of the ceasefire with Israel, and condemn Israel, Egypt and the West for Israel’s incursion into Gaza. The Brotherhood is also trying to tell its members and followers that Israel’s defeat of Hamas in Gaza, and the possible re-establishment of Fatah control in that Palestinian territory, is a reversible set-back, and that it will provide the Muslim Brotherhood a golden opportunity to strengthen their movement in Egypt, the Middle East, Europe, and around the Muslim world. The Brotherhood is already busy turning these events into a major recruitment tool, and for proselytizing and broadening its support base. They have targeted Egypt and other moderate Arab leadership as well as the Israelis. But, it is also clear that they were caught short by Europe's reaction to the conflict and to the degree of understanding and sympathy expressed by European leaders with regard to Israel’s actions. This represents a real setback for them.
KNITTING MATH -- [Trying to Grok]
...I am always the first to pipe up with my knitting algebra whenever people repeat the dumb "wisdom" that once we get out of school we never have to use that math stuff again.
So when AWTM told me that Chuck Z wondered if I could make him gloves, it was just a matter of doing a little glorious math.
The backstory on Chuck is that an IED took part of his left hand. He lives in cold climes and can no longer wear store-bought gloves. What he needed was custom-made ones to fit his injured left hand.
You can be an "Angel" -- [Capital News]
Jeremy Slaybaugh is teaching his friends and neighbors how to be angels. Because the need is great.
"Currently, when I checked yesterday there were close to 800 soldiers who had signed up with Soldier's Angels waiting to be adopted," said Slaybaugh. "The numbers are unbelievable of soldiers who simply feel they've been forgotten. There are a lot of soldiers who could do with just simply receiving a card, just a note saying 'hey, we remember you, we care about you.' Their reactions are humbling."
Wounded Warriors -- [Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army - John at Landstuhl]
I wanted to make sure that all of you are aware of the different organizations and people that help to take care of our wounded Warriors here in Germany. I was contacted by MaryAnn Phillips, Vice President, Warrior Medical Support Europe from www.soldiersangels.org while I was here in Landstuhl for my recovery. She is someone that follows the blog and found out that I was here in Germany and made an effort to say hello. The people from www.soldiersangels.org are helping here in the building that I am living by stocking and supplying a small kitchen with food and drinks that help to break the norm around here. We are very thankful for what they do.
Let's Be Worthy of Their Sacrifice -- [WSJ - Karl Rove]
'The wounds I received I got in a job I love.'
During my White House years, I came to know of the heroic actions of the Seals and other special operators in the global war on terror. These men willingly follow evil into dark and perilous places. They volunteered to be on the front edge of the conflict whose outcome will shape this century.
The highlight of the NSWF dinner was a video of "snatch and grab" operations in Afghanistan. It showed helicopters lifting off to pounding music, night footage of Seals jumping onto roofs and rappelling into dusty fields, the breathtakingly destructive power of American missiles and machine guns, and compound doors blowing open and terrorist suspects being rounded up.
The Seals who prepared the video had carefully mined President Bush's speeches, using his voice and words as narration. I was touched by this and knew the president would be, too.
2009 Freedom Award Nominations -- [Soldier's Mom]
Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the National Guard and Reserve.... and the military services share these citizen soldiers with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. Those employers should be recognized for their support.
OPERATION LOVE FROM HOME -- [MamaKat in GA, founder]
VALENTINE'S CARD DRIVE FOR DEPLOYED TROOPS
It's that time again, folks! Christmas is over with, New Year's celebrations are through (and hopefully recovered from!)... so now is the time to chase away those "after-holiday blahs" for our heroes! (Not to mention, the day-to-day "regular" blahs that come from being so far away from home!) Check out the info below to see how you can help -- and please do forward this on to others, post on your blogs, message boards, etc -- we need a lot of people working together to reach our goal by Jan 31! (We also have a nice, printable flyer that you can hand out to folks - just email me and I'll get it to you!) ~ Thanks for your support of our HEROES!
My Son the Doctor is Drowning -- [The War on Big Tobacco - in Iraq]
...I anger my parents so much that I only receive two letters from my family while I attend basic training. My father stops talking about me to his friends, but my neighbors continue to mention me in hushed whispers. The word “Army” takes on the same gravity as “cancer” amongst the friends of my parents.
I end up humping that damn M-47 Dragon anti-tank missile from one German hill to another. I carry extra machine gun belts and anti-tank landmines. There are times when I am so cold and wet that I just want to cry. Sometimes I did cry and I gnash my teeth and wish I had never made such a stupid decision. But I work hard at my job. Even though I am a little 150 pound Jew, my squad knew they could count on me to have that Dragon position dug to standard, the range card prepared and the missile clean and ready for the Russian horde. In my off-duty time I pulled in German women by the truckload and there were always plenty of Aryan blonds to go around.
I get my college money and the National Guard offers to waive tuition at any state school. How could you turn a deal like that down? I think of majoring in English or Theater. I mention this to my father at dinner. He envelops my arm with his hand in a vice-like grip and says:
“You’ve fucked up your life enough.
Jesse MacBeth trashes IVAW [Jonn] -- [This Ain't Hell]
Jesse MacBeth, the poster child of the phony soldier movement, and I find common ground. I’ll admit I know what MacBeth says in this video isn’t completely true, because it’s Jesse MacBeth, for Pete’s sake.
However, he admits that IVAW had his DD214 and they helped him forge the DD214 he tried to pass off as proof of his combat experience.
On Purple Hearts and PTSDhttp://susankatzkeating.blogspot.com/2009/01/on-purple-hearts-and-ptsd-pentagon-says.html: -- [PJM - Susan Keating]
Pentagon Says Stress Injury Does Not Merit Award; Defense Department Language Betrays a Preconceived Mindset to Dismiss
The Pentagon confirmed yesterday that it will not award the Purple Heart for combat-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez announced that the affliction, which even struck Achilles, is "not a qualifying Purple Heart wound.”
Changes in Body Armor for Marines -- [Captain's Journal]
In New Body Armor for the Marines we detailed the interim, ad hoc changes to the Modular Tactical Vest resulting from complaints about various issues associated with performance of the vest in combat.
Fear the Military Takeover -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
The CATO Institute has a paper out bemoaning the fact that the military is planning and training for a possible nuclear, chemical or bio attack or a natural disaster large enough that our police and the Guard would be unable to handle it on their own. They throw up so many straw man arguments that I went ahead and made my own with the title, although they state they do not fear a coup. Just the sight of active duty troops helping America in an emergency.
No Fanfare -- [Neptunus Lex]
January 4th, 2009 · 12 Comments · Navy
Roy Boehm passed into the clearing at the end of the path Tuesday night. He was 84 years old.
Boehm had served his country in three wars, including service in the largest surface-only engagement of World War II, the Battle of Cape Esperance. His ship - the USS Duncan - took multiple hits from 6″ and 8″ guns before going under the waves. Although wounded by shrapnel in his head and body, he managed to save another shipmate before the ship went down. While in the ocean he was forced to fight sharks off for his own life. For 13 hours.
80 Guardsmen return home -- [Buffalo News,NY]
Loved ones embrace Afghan tour veterans
Families of some 80 New York Army National Guard soldiers started their first week of the New Year on a sunny note Sunday, waving “Welcome Home” signs.
Their loved ones returned to Buffalo in the afternoon sunshine from nearly a year in Afghanistan, training, among other tasks, the Afghan army.
45 soldiers return from Afghanistan -- [Clarksville Leaf Chronicle,TN]
Taylor's wife, Diana, drove 22 hours from Houston to attend the Welcome Home ceremony for her husband and watch the first meeting between father and ...
CVA welcomes soldiers home from war -- [Leesville Daily Leader,LA]
“Some of us are here at every welcome home ceremony,” said Steve Chappell, CVA Louisiana Chapter secretary. “We have been in their shoes and we just want to let them know that we thank them for their service...
Continental welcomes home local troops -- [LimaOhio.com, OH]
CONTINENAL - Local members of I-148 Infantry Regiment recently home from Iraq were honored Saturday night with a special party.
Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008http://patterico.com/2008/12/31/patterico%e2%80%99s-los-angeles-dog-trainer-year-in-review-2008/ -- [Patterico’s Pontifications]
This year, L.A. Times editors slammed Sarah Palin, John McCain, and McCain’s ally Joe the Plumber — while they protected Barack Obama and his allies, including unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and radical Palestinian Rashid Khalidi. The paper described a 19-point margin in opposition to gay marriage as a “narrow margin,” and displayed the usual politically correct attitudes on race, abortion, and crime. We watched the paper overreach on the story about Judge Alex Kozinski’s porn collection that wasn’t. And the paper retracted a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips, in one of the most embarrassing incidents in the paper’s history. This year saw a campaign of relentless distortions on DNA evidence; the bankruptcy of Tribune Company; and a collection of errors like none we’ve ever seen before.
Yup, it was a fun year for liberal bias and incompetence at the local rag. So without further ado
So What’s Up In Iraq? -- [Fraser in **** - in ****]
So there’s not much news reporting from Iraq. The costs and restrictions to reporting have pushed the American population’s ability to understand the war into the background. Basically, back home we don’t know WTF is going on. It’s not any better for Afghanistan. It was the “Battle of the Surge” argument between the presidential candidates until the global financial meltdown in September.
Film Critic: USA Is Nazi Germany, Iraqi Insurgents Are Defiant Jews -- [NewsBusters]
How would you like to wake up New Year's day to read an opinion piece in your paper's entertainment section equating the United States of America to Nazi Germany and depicting Iraqi insurgents as being akin to a little known group of Polish Jews who rescued over a thousand people from Hitler's concentration camps?
Book review for the most ridiculous piece of shite ever written [TSO] -- [This Ain't Hell]
“I remember one woman walking by,” said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the US Marines who served three tours in Iraq. “She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realized that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces.”
If I need to even tell you how ridiculous the story is above, you probably shouldn’t be here. Hey Jason, if you blew up the woman, and her groceries, who is the guy who did the post mortem and figured out she was delivering them to you? And if she was bringing it to you, why was she walking “by”? What day did this happen on? Who else was there? AND WHY THE F WOULD YOU USE A MK19 ON AN UNARMED LADY?
CNN’s Terrorist Sympathizing War-Whore Blatantly Lies In Broadcast - With Video -- [Pat Dollard]
On CNN a few moments ago, Christiane Amanpour, in the midst of an otherwise completely warped report on the Gaza war, said that over the past year only two Israelis were killed by Hamas rocket fire. Her point in the segment was to insinuate that Israel is overreacting to Hamas attacks that have been largely harmless. In order to do that, she had to abstain from mentioning important facts and context, such as that Hamas’ attacks in 2008 more than doubled — to 3,278 — from the 2007 number. And this figures in the six-month “lull” period, during which “only” around 100 rockets were fired. She also did not mention that the range and deadliness of Hamas’ rockets increased as well, putting around 15 percent of the Israeli population under Hamas’ missile umbrella. (The “disproportionality” fetishists also never get around to noting that Israel has conducted less than a thousand air strikes in response to over 7,000 Hamas rocket attacks since 2005.)
Gaza Bromide: "Tweet, Tweet" Is Better Than "War, War" -- [All That Is Necessary...] HT: Castle Argghhh!!!
In an earlier post ("Israel Turns to Social Media in Fight against Hamas") I described how the Israeli Consulate in New York is using Twitter in the battle for public opinion regarding the conflict that partisans on both sides seem to be calling the "War on Gaza."
It turns out there's some social media savvy on the Palestinian side as well.
‘The Corporal’s Diary’: Fallen soldier’s journal and videotapes inspire documentary -- [Stars & Stripes]
On Oct. 10, 2004, Army Spc. Jonathan Santos wrote in his diary that he planned to catch up on his reading while deployed to Iraq.
"I will read ‘The Principles of Writing,’ and then I will write the Great American novel and get hired as a professor at a prestigious university," he joked in the government-issued green log book he carried with him wherever he went.
"But first, I have to make it out of this war alive."
2008 Military Times poll: Wary about Obama -- [Army Times]
When asked how they feel about President-elect Barack Obama as commander in chief, six out of 10 active-duty service members say they are uncertain or pessimistic, according to a Military Times survey.
Incoming -- [Greyhawk]
The survey results are from just under 1,400 respondents. From personal experience I'd speculate that if there's any difference between these results and those from a hypothetical survey of every man, woman and child in the US military today it would be a larger percentage of "uncertain" responses at the expense of the optimistic and pessimistic crowds in this result. But uncertainty is anathema to the military mind;
Obama vs. Osama -- [TNR]
Around the time of the November election, John Nagl, a retired Army Colonel, took a helicopter ride across Afghanistan. What he saw below worried him. Nagl, who is 42 with trim brown hair and academic eyeglasses, spent three years in Iraq, including as part of a tank battalion in the Sunni Triangle, where he witnessed brutal combat in the war's worst years. A West Point graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Nagl applied the lessons of his Iraq experience to the Army-Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which he helped write and which was published last year. He currently specializes in the study of war and counterinsurgency at the Center for a New American Security, a center-left Washington think tank, and it is in this capacity that he recently traveled to the Afghan war zone. As his military chopper swooped over high mountain ridges and plunging valleys, he grimly surveyed the size and the inhospitality of the Afghan terrain. Winning in Afghanistan, he realized, would take more than "a little tweak," as he put it to me from back in Washington a few weeks later, when he was still shaking off the gritty "Kabul crud" that afflicts traveler's lungs. It would take time, money, and blood. "It's a doubling of the U.S. commitment," Nagl said. "It's a doubling of the Afghan army, maybe a tripling. It's going to require a tax increase and a bigger army."
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)