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.
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."
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