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.
ISX index hits record high -- [Aswat Al Iraq]
Iraq’s Stock Exchange (ISX) index has risen dramatically by 8.390 percent to settle at a record high of 99.780 points during Sunday’s session, the first this week and the ninth this month.
Sons of Iraq -- [Bullet Wisdom - in Iraq]
Last week, my team travelled to Tikrit to sit in on a transition meeting between the Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces and contractors representing almost 10,000 Sons of Iraq contractors from our province. On March 1, the process for transition supervision and responsibility for Sons of Iraq (SOI) formally begins in the Salah ah Din province. There are over 2,000 alone in my area, and over the next several months, the Prime Minister ordered all to transition to the employ of either the Ministry of Defense or Interior (Army or Police) or to a position somewhere with the Government of Iraq. So who are these Sons of Iraq guys?
US Starts to Leave Key Iraq Bases - [Washington Times]
American troops in Iraq are beginning to pull back from bases and outposts that were linchpins in the US surge that helped reduce violence, prevent a civil war and allow peaceful elections.
Obama decision on Iraq troops 'soon': US military -- [AFP]
BAGHDAD (AFP) — The US military insisted on Sunday it would be out of Iraqi cities by the end of June and indicated that President Barack Obama would
Are generals disputing Iraq pullout?
U.S.-Iraqi Effort Targets Al-Qaeda's Last Stronghold -- [USA Today/AP]
U.S. and Iraqi forces have begun a new military offensive in northern Iraq aimed at rooting out al-Qaeda and other Sunni insurgents, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday.
Ditches and paranoia -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
....Why, said the young leader of the grunts, are the people not coming out to talk to us?
...Because you are scaring them, the terp explained. He says your Soldiers are running and it makes the people of the town nervous.
It's a hard thing for a tactical-level leader to grasp, this weird combination of war/not-war we've got going on. But it can't be ignored - although the war occasionally shows up and needs to be handled appropriately, that's not what's happening the majority of the time. The vast majority of what's going on right now is low-key. It's us, with our Iraqi Security Forces partners, hanging out in our towns, chatting with people not like interrogators and targets, but like neighbors with a language barrier. It's Soldiers not tromping through folks' vegetable gardens and startling them in their yards, but instead kicking a soccer ball around with the local urchins.
The Secrets Of Going From Iraq To Afghanistan -- [Strategy Page]
February 22, 2009: The message board and listservs American soldiers and marines use to share professional knowledge are lighting up as everyone headed for Afghanistan, tries to figure out how much of their Iraqi experience will be useful, or maybe even counterproductive, in Afghanistan.
The facts are these. Afghanistan is...
Troops Weigh in on Afghanistan Surge
Guardsman would rather face Taliban than U.S. economy -- [McClatchy News]
Around the barren military base, which sits at the crossroads of the Taliban's poppy trade route, news arrives slowly. A single issue of the U.S. military's newspaper arrives by airlift about every two weeks. While on patrol in remote villages, Afghans sometime shout at the Marines in Russian to go away, unaware that the troops are promoting democracy. Most Marines here said that they didn't know about President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet picks, including his decision to keep Robert Gates as their secretary of defense.
However, the domestic economic meltdown has reached even here
Reaction: More troops to Afghanistan - UPI
An Afghan Experience Part 1 -- [A Battlefield Tourist - in Afghanistan]
...It really is hard to explain the feeling you get when you immerse with the Afghans like this, but it is something that is tough to duplicate. These guys are just like anyone else; normal, young and believing in what they are doing.
I’ve had many Afghan “experiences”, but this one will stand out for many reasons, all listed above. For me, it’s nights like this that make leaving my family and spending thousands of dollars to do so, worth every cent and minute.
Griffons fly by night--and it's no big deal -- [The Torch - in Afghanistan]
Taking it to the Taliban--supposedly some sort of great scoop:
Air missions aim to defuse IED toll
Nighttime patrols by Canadian choppers target insurgents planting roadside bombs
Taliban exchange Swat official for prisoners -- [LWJ- Bill Roggio]
The Pakistani district official kidnapped yesterday was released in exchange for three Taliban prisoners; Taliban wanted to teach government a lesson.
Doubts raised over Swat sharia deal
Pelosi talking to Afghanistan -- [The Examiner]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is in Afghanistan today to press President Hamid Karzai on "the political and security situations," in the country, according to her aides.
Pelosi and seven House Democrats traveling with her are there to visit American troops, who are about to get some company now that President Barack Obama has pledged to increase their numbers by 17,000.
“While in Afghanistan, the delegation met with U.S. military leaders, and the U.S. Diplomatic team in Kabul to better assess the best course of action to further our national security interests in preparation for the completion of President Obama's strategic review of the Afghanistan policy," Pelosi said in a statement.
Taliban Strategy in Afghanistan is Smart Politics, So U.S. Needs to Wise Up -- [U.S. News]
Afghanistan's Logar province, just south of the capital Kabul, has seen relatively little fighting between coalition forces and the Taliban. Criminal activities there have decreased in recent months, so one could conclude that it makes more sense for President Barack Obama to deploy the 17,000 additional U.S. troops he has called for into the more restive southern and eastern territories. But the truth is that the military map in Afghanistan was never as important as the political map. The real story of Logar is more telling—and more worrying—about the trajectory of the war.
Mexico: A Narco-Insurgency At America's Border -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
Go to YouTube and watch this BBC report on protests organized at US/Mexico border crossings. It's important in order to get an opening grasp of the situation. In this BBC report, the journalist says that "the Mexican government says there's...
Officials: N. Korea Has Deployed New Ballistic Missile -- [Houston Chronicle/AP]
North Korea recently deployed a new type of medium-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Australia and the U.S. territory of Guam, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Monday.
Swiss party wants to punish U.S. for UBS probe -- [Reuters]
The right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) called on Saturday for retaliation against the United States over a U.S. tax probe into the country's biggest bank UBS that threatens prized banking secrecy.
The populist SVP, the country's biggest party, said Switzerland should not take in any detainees from the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which the Swiss government said last month it could consider to help shut the camp down.
Switzerland should also reconsider its policy of representing the United States in countries where it has no diplomatic presence, the parliamentary SVP said in a statement.
Opinion Could Dampen Zeal To Classify Government Information -- [WaPo]
If it is ultimately upheld, a memorandum opinion written by a federal judge in Virginia and released last week may limit the overclassification of information on national security grounds and prevent future prosecutions for leaking such information.
USG COIN Guide -- [SWJ]
Bravo! to the dedicated team of bureaucrats and thought leaders who toiled for 2 years to produce the new US Government Counterinsurgency Guide.
This guide, written in a collaborative "whole of government" process and endorsed at the highest levels of our diplomacy, development, and defense leadership, reflects the latest doctrine (FM 3-24 and also FM 3-07). It is not, however, a tactical or operational "how-to" guide. Rather it is intended to be a "COIN 101" for policy-makers contemplating US intervention abroad.
NEFA Foundation: New Zawahiri Audio - "From Kabul to Mogadishu" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new audio recording from Al-Qaida Deputy Commander Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri released on February 22 and titled, "From Kabul to Mogadishu." During the recording, Dr. al-Zawahiri congratulated the Shebaab al-Mujahideen Movement in Somalia on their recent victories against Ethiopian and AU peacekeeping forces, and warned them to avoid any negotiations sponsored by the United Nations or United States. Al-Zawahiri appealed,...
Al-Qaradhawi: Muslims Are Permitted to Have Nuclear Weapons -- [MEMRI Blog]
In a Friday sermon delivered on February 20, 2009, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, Chariman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, said that Islam promotes peace that comes from a position of strength and not weakness, and that it is permissible for Muslims to have nuclear weapons and WMDs for deterrence purposes.
We have over 700 soldiers waiting to be adopted. Would you like to see what that looks like? -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
ADOPT A HERO NOW! Help us check a name off the list... www.soldiersangels.org
Troops on Multiple Deployments
In their own words U.S. soldiers explain the hardships of multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq
Troupers Trump The Troops -- [Washington Times - Roger Simon]
For the last several years, a staple of the Academy Awards has been a ritualized salute to our troops. However, any halfway decent movies about them have not been in evidence.
Army Charity Hoards Millions -- [AP]
As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.
64 Years Ago Today - Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima - Flags of our fathers.
Soldiers Are Still Waiting For Tour Bonuses -- [USA Today]
The Pentagon has not started complying with a law requiring the payment of monthly bonuses of up to $500 to soldiers forced to remain on active duty beyond their enlistment period, military officials said.
Green Bay soldier: War is immoral and I won't go back to Iraq -- [Green Bay Gazette]
Lt. Col. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said Walker did not follow military procedure by filling out paperwork to list himself as a conscientious objector.
“His unit is counting on him,” Banks said. “He’s actually turning his back on his battle buddies. By just not reporting, you’re letting down your teammates. When you raise your right hand to defend the country, you knew there was a time you could possibly be deployed.”
Wisconsin soldier says he won't return to Iraq -- [MSNBC]
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A US Army spokesman says a Green Bay soldier stationed out of Minnesota is "letting his battle buddies down" by refusing to return to Iraq. Lt. Col. Nathan Banks says leave is granted on a rotational basis -- so if Army Reserve Spc. Kristoffer Walker doesn't go back, some other soldier could be denied leave.
Weather doesn't deter wife's welcome-home wardrobe -- [Killeen Daily Herald]
It took her a month to put the outfit together and she was going to wear it regardless of the weather, regardless of the three sons between 6 and 10 who kept her busy and regardless of the black high heels that kept sinking into the ground.
It was nothing for a woman who has endured six deployments and 11 years as an Army wife. Staff Sgt. Michael Moore returned to Fort Hood and his waiting family Saturday afternoon with about 85 others from the 4th Infantry Division's Special Troops Battalion.
This was the final large group from the battalion to return from Iraq. Flights of 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers are expected to begin arriving the first week of March.
Brave warriors of 109th get hearty welcome home -- [Wilkes Barre Times]
The troops returned last year from Afghanistan and Egypt. 1st Lt. Christopher Patchoski stands at attention and salutes while ‘Taps’ is played during
NY Times Leaks Classified Military Information... Again -- [Gateway Pundit]
The NY Times continues to do what it does best... Leak classified military information during wartime.
Rewarding excellence and effort -- [Blogs over Baghdad - in Iraq]
OK, it’s time to let everyone in on something our 314th Soldiers already know — this mission at the Combined Press Information is probably not the best one to test their Public Affairs skills. Yes, we do work directly with Western and Pan-Arab media, so in some ways it is important. For instance, the Soldiers can see all the things journalists do to collect a story — so they can emulate it or better facilitate it. Similarly, they sometimes talk to the journalists and share “war stories” — another way to learn the trade from people who are making a living at it. And, of course, our Soldiers are learning skills that will help them in any career — things like effective intercultural communication, operational security, leadership, and being a team player.
‘You’re his witness now’ -- [Marine Times]
HBO film chronicles Marine’s final journey through eyes of his escort
With the war in Iraq raging in 2004, Lt. Col. Mike Strobl found himself at Dover Air Force Base, Del., waiting to escort home the remains of a fallen Marine he had never met.
[UPDATED] Chance Phelps Last Stand - According to Major General Kelly -- [Blackfive]
Update: For Steve Cochran's listeners on WGN Radio, here is the link to the original story now on HBO - "Taking Chance".
Tactics? -- [Greyhawk]
The headline reads U.S. Marines find Iraq tactics don't work in Afghanistan, but the story says
...The Marines, weighted down with 60 pounds of body armor each, struggled to climb up Saradaka Mountain. Once at the top, it was clear to everyone that the Taliban would get away.
...Is excessive armor a "tactic"? The only tactic I see employed here - and it's brilliant in its obvious simplicity - is an enemy taking advantage of a congressionally-mandated weakness in their enemy.
Exclusive: Helen Thomas On "So Called Terrorists"
Dear Mr. President -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
I do not wish for the press to have access to the repatriation of my remains, Sir. I do not wish for the image of my returning casket to made available to anyone. I wish to maintain the privacy and dignity that my return to my native soil has been promised to this point in my service. I will not be able to defend myself from predation for the use of others, Sir. Please protect me when and if I cannot protect myself; when I cannot open my own mouth in protest, when I will not have breath in my body to form the words, "Please, leave me in peace. I just want to go home."
It Is About Family -- [BlackFive - MCQ]
For that reason, I pray that Secretary Gates and President Obama will continue the ban on the media at Dover. All families, to include the military family, need the room and time to grieve and say goodbye in their own special way to those they've lost.
Dover is ours.
Sorry, But My Husband Is Not A "Tool of the Nation-State" -- [Villainous Company]
Your feeling that this war would feel so much more "immediate"; that you'd "understand" if you're allowed to trample on the sensibilities of those who defend your freedoms. It's not difficult to track the growing cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every major news outlet features its own roll call of the dead complete with pictures. Many mention the cumulative death toll during each and every broadcast.
Since the beginning of the war the military has bent over backwards to allow the press to embed with combat units, though the press seem strangely uninterested in availing themselves of the freedom they demanded so vociferously:
Our view on honoring the fallen: Lift the veil on the return of nation’s war dead -- [USA Today]
Respectful news coverage would serve both nation and families.
...Those who want to keep the ban argue that overturning it could invade the privacy of families and the sanctity of the event, and that families might feel obliged to attend despite financial and emotional hardship.
Both concerns should be addressed, but they miss a larger picture. By banning coverage, and even the release of photos, officials deny military families and the nation the opportunity to better honor young men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Respectful ceremonies are so meaningful that the Pentagon has at times lifted the 18-year ban. It did so, for example, when CIA operative Johnny "Mike" Spann was killed in Afghanistan in 2001 in the raw aftermath of 9/11. Before the ban was in place, President Reagan attended ceremonies for the victims of the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut and for military personnel killed in El Salvador in 1985.
Opposing view: Don't overturn the ban -- [USA Today - John Ellsworth]
When my son, Lance Cpl. Justin Ellsworth, was brought home in a flag-draped casket, there were no news media or protesters waiting to take pictures or yell anti-war slogans. No reporters hounding my family for a comment on our feelings as our son's casket emerged from the plane. It was with the solemnity and dignity that he deserved.
That is why this ban should not be overturned. If the president demands a change and overturns the ban, at the very least the families of the fallen should have the right to request that the news media not be present at the dignified transfer ceremony.
Gitmo Guard Speaks Out -- [CJ - A Soldier's Pwerspective]
t's all over the news now, of course. Former Guantanamo Bay prison guard, Specialist Brandon Neely, has come forward to speak out about abuse at the camp.
"The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong," the disgraceful Texan told the Associated Press.
brandon neelyIf you ask me, this is going to be another McBeth case. First of all, I find it interested that not ONE media story mentions the fact that Neely is a member of IVAW. Not only is he a member, but he's president of the Houston Chapter of the shameful organization ("Army Sergeant" excluded).
Brandon Neely Is A Moron -- [CJ - A Soldier's Pwerspective]
Again, instead of turning himself in to the military, he waits until six years after the fact, three years after leaving active duty service, and after he's been released from IRR status to come forward. Brandon Neely is a complete coward! He waited until he thought it was safe to speak up and couldn't be sucked back into the Army system to answer for his war crimes.
Cut the Military Budget--II Comment -- [The Nation - Barney Frank]
I am a great believer in freedom of expression and am proud of those times when I have been one of a few members of Congress to oppose censorship. I still hold close to an absolutist position, but I have been tempted recently to make an exception, not by banning speech but by requiring it. I would be very happy if there was some way to make it a misdemeanor for people to talk about reducing the budget deficit without including a recommendation that we substantially cut military spending.
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