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. army asserts Iraqis ready to maintain security after withdrawal -- [Aswat Al Iraq]
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: U.S. military commanders asserted that the Iraqi security forces are ready to receive the security from the Multi-National Forces.
The Associated Press quoted a senior U.S. army officer as saying that he is optimistic regarding the success of the Iraqi forces in maintaining security.
Iraq Comeback -- [New York Post]
It wasn’t just troop levels that surged in Iraq — so have cellphones, Internet use and drinking water. Several indicators show the quality of life for the average Iraqi is on the rise as the sixth anniversary of the start of the war approaches.
US commanders hone battlefield diplomacy in Iraq -- [Seattle Times]
Sheik Sabah Mutasher appreciated the U.S. Army's efforts to build a school for his tribe. But he didn't embrace the American mission until Col. Walt Piatt showed up in a dusty pickup truck for a spur-of-the-moment courtesy call.
A Drawdown Of Contractors In Iraq -- [Christian Science Monitor]
American troops have a silent partner in Iraq: Tens of thousands of contractors who support their mission in unsung but critical ways, serving food, providing security, and cleaning bathrooms. But as President Obama reduces the American military presence there over the next year-and-a-half, US commanders face the challenge of weaning themselves off the contractors' services and sending them home.
Iraqi Islamic Party Denounces Rafsanjani’s Visit to Iraq -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Iraqi Islamic Party, headed by Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashemi, issued a statement declaring the current visit of Iranian Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani as "unwelcome," and asked the government of Iraq to review the documents pertaining to Iran’s intervention in Iraq which has almost led to “the disasters of a civil war.”
Obama Pulls Out, Polemically -- [Austin Bay]
President Barack Obama's military "pull-out" from Iraq as announced last week isn't what his campaign promised -- thank goodness.
AP count: Iraqi deaths hover near lowest level -- [AP]
Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces last month dropped to their second-lowest level in nearly four years with 283 deaths
Freedom Journal Iraq, March 4
PM says elections results suspend enemies’ plans to divide Iraq -- [Aswat al-Iraq]
BAGHDAD / Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday said that the results of the recent local elections suspended the plans of what he termed as ‘Iraq’s enemies’ to divide it.
This came during his meeting with a number of chieftains in Baghdad, according to a statement of his office.
“Al-Maliki said that the elections results stopped the destructive steps against Iraq,” said the statement received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Cracking Down On Corrupt Cops -- [Strategy Page]
The war is still being fought in Mosul. Here, Kurds and Sunni Arabs confront each other over who will control the region. Saddam Hussein sent hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arabs north and settled them on Kurd land, and in Kurd houses. The Kurds were forced further north, and now, a generation later, they are back.
Some more good stuff from the Combat Camera guys. -- [Castle Argghhh!]
Next, "Bang! Bang! I got you!" I remember some days early in my career where training similar to this (we did at least have weapons, if no blanks) was something of a norm. It takes some real small unit leadership (of course, in this case, a pending deadly work environment after training is concluded helps) to keep people focused on the task.
The Courtyard of a Great Sheikh: -- [Grims Hall - in Iraq]
I Hate My Job -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I spent the majority of the day today coordinating for chemical latrines (the previously mentioned port-o-pottys, to you silly civilians) and signs to put on our trucks announcing that our convoys are provincial approved, and that Iraqis are free to pass if its safe to do so (Note to Iraqis: “safe to do so” does not mean high speeds on the opposite side of the median into oncoming traffic). No day is complete, however, unless civilian contractors make it more difficult. The “port-o-pottys” I need are contracted by KBR. They clean and maintain them for us. I need to put them on the Iraqi Army portion of our FOB for about 5 days (the Iraqi Army portion of our FOB is connected to our side and just as safe as our side). But
Rough couple of weeks -- [Miserable Donuts - CSMBones - in Afghanistan]
The last two and a half weeks have been rough. The TF has suffered 6 KIA and a few injured. The mission continues as we train and fight alongside our Afghan brothers of the Afghan Army and Police. The 33rd is in the fight now. All of us. Keep these Soldiers, their Families, and their Comrades in your thoughts and prayers. We will Soldier on.
When I think about what surrounds me, the institutional corruption, the random violence, the fear and desperation. I feel the reasons why I am here more and more sharply. As we grow in our soldiers skills, surviving by finding the hidden dangers, seeing the secret motives and the shifting politics... we grow a set of skills that is unique and powerful in this situation
Wikileaks releases major RAND study into Iraq, Afghan intelligence, counterinsugency: Pentagon Papers? -- [Pak Alert]
This major November, 2008 RAND Corporation study on intelligence operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, conducted 300 interviews at all levels with US, UK and Dutch intelligence officers and diplomats.
The 318 page document could be described as part of the “Pentagon Papers” for Iraq and Afghanistan. It was confidentially prepared for the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command and focuses on intelligence and counterinsurgency operations.
Marked “For Official Use Only” study was distribution restricted to a select group of Coalition war partners and Israel.
Major RAND study with 300 interviews: Intelligence Operations and Metrics in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nov 2008 -- [Wikileaks]
...The intelligence on the military side was not tied in with the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], and the CIA was not listened to. . . . I had my most depressing discussions with the intelligence people who could see what this was leading to, and could see what the pop- ulation thought better than [then-director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq L. Paul] Bremer could. . . .
Taliban rivals unite to fight US troop surge -- [The Guardian]
Three rival Pakistani Taliban groups have agreed to form a united front against international forces in Afghanistan in a move likely to intensify the insurgency just as thousands of extra US soldiers begin pouring into the country as part of Barack Obama's surge plan.
US Takes Fight to Taliban Leader -- [Washington Times]
Unmanned aircraft have begun targeting Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, a shift in strategy by the Obama administration that may reflect efforts to pre-empt a Taliban spring offensive against US forces in Afghanistan.
Murtha: Um, we need 600,000 troops to pacify Afghanistan -- [Hot Air]
The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the powerful subcommittee that funds the military, said his figure was based on the country’s history of rigorous fighting and its size.
“That’s what I estimate it would take in a country that size to get it under control,” Murtha said in an interview…
Afghan children likely killed by Taliban -- [Globe and Mail]
The explosion that killed three Afghan children last week was the work of the Taliban and not Canada's fault, say military officials who admit they're still struggling to understand the outburst of anti-Canadian sentiment touched off by the tragedy. Forensic analysis of fragments from the bomb that killed the three young boys determined it was likely an old munition, perhaps left over from the Soviet occupation, that may have been fashioned into a booby trap, officials said.
Op Ed: A Surge or Not a Surge? -- [A Battlefield Tourist - David Tate - in Afghanistan]
Let us get this straight because history needs to know what is, and what isn’t, a military surge. God knows, the media is back with this darling of a word and I’m going to get them to make this right.
...The fact is, in regards to military surges, there have been three large scale surges, in either Afghanistan or Iraq, since either war began. What we face today in Afghanistan 2009, is actually an escalation and it needs to be recognized as such.
Combat video of Candian Army mentoring ANA and Afghan police -- [The Atlantic Monthly]
"Footage of combat in Afghanistan, filmed and with voiceover narration by Louie Palu".
Blast hits US base in Afghanistan, several wounded -- [AP]
A bomb blast exploded outside the main U.S. base in Afghanistan on Wednesday, wounding several people, a U.S. official said. An Afghan governor blamed the attack on a suicide car bomber, and the Taliban claimed responsibility.
Britain presses Karzai on polls -- [The Peninsula]
Britain pressed Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday not to go ahead with early elections in April, saying the original timetable of August was better for security reasons.
Northern Exposure Part Two -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Whilst passing through Chahar Bolak District, we encountered what appeared to look like two members of the Afghan National Police (ANP) standing on the road. We know this section of the route quite well and had never seen a checkpoint in this area before. There is really only one response in a situation like this – turning around and going back will expose you for several seconds well within rifle range as you’re turning (there are no fancy J turns on these crappy roads mate) it is best to hit the gas, get the weapon up and be ready to respond if the guys in the road attempt to bring their weapons to bear. Criminal gangs are known to wear ANP uniforms whilst performing their dastardly deeds which is a fact well known to the ANP who always run night time checkpoints in force with lots of ANP vehicles. The two men in front of us who were diving out of the way of my driver were definitely free lancing trouble makers.
...In conclusion, I would have to say that the stance on security measures and operations within Afghanistan has always been of a ’reactive’ nature. And by stating this, I am including the collective effort, military and civilian organizations combined. As opposed to knee jerk reactions which are usually a result of mitigating incidents well after they have occurred, a proactive posture can actually be assumed and become an effective tool for achieving goals and missions.
Freedom Watch Afghanistan
Bonecrusher seeks out IEDs -- [From the Stan - in Afghanistan]
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – He sat and pondered the question, “What is the best part of your job?”
Displaying a big grin he responded, “knowing that we’ve ruined the enemies’ plans as they’re observing.”
Sgt. Mario L. Spencer, a combat engineer with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion and the vehicle commander of “Bonecrusher,” a Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle, was satisfied with his answer.
Afghanistan diary: A hobbled march to victory as French forces prevail -- [The Guardian blog]
From the air, the Morales-Frazier firebase looks like it has been etched on to the bare rock. It sits at the bottom of a long, deep valley full of insurgents and stands between them and a new road being built under the Taliban's nose.
Needlessly Sensationalistic -- [Registan]
Reading these accounts describes a country and a people I have never visited or met… and I am there right now, spending time outside the wire. As a case in point: where has The Guardian’s Julian Borger been?
...Point: “a single US rifle company that had made no progress in uprooting the Taliban”
Counter-point: Don’t tell Old Blue. This badly mischaracterizes the challenges of operating there.
Why? Sources matter, and doing one’s homework is hard.
Point: “The building of the road… would not have been possible before the French arrived”
Counter-point: Right. The U.S. started the road in 2007, more than a year before the French took over.
Why? Who can tell any more? I would guess Borger probably sole-sourced his background, and this is what happens when you’re lazy.
How was your SNOW DAY? -- [What's Haole up to Now?]
The snow starts early in the evening, and the official word comes soon after dark. “SNOW DAY, no school” Yeah, we all get to sleep in tomorrow. That's what we heard all over the east coast today. READ ON
Not so for our young and not so young warriors in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. For them, it means pulling out the layers of clothes, and getting ready for the patrol through the “wet cold stuff”.
What follows is a pictorial record of one of their “Snow Days”. A day filled with snowball fights, snow angels, or snow ice cream treats? Not exactly ‼‼ Real contact with the enemy, trudging along paths as show falls, MRE’s or other pre-packaged foods. Another day on the battlefields of Eastern Afghanistan.
Welcome Back To The Suck, My Friend -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
Months ago, I read my first post by Vampire 6. I commented, and he emailed me back to tell me that he had read my posts while preparing to deploy. As Bouhammer pointed out, we are links in a chain. Vampire 6 is the current baton-carrier for the embedded trainer types in Afghanistan. He's done some fantastic posts, sharing the experience and the frustrations wonderfully. His "Illum, Illum, Where Art Thou?" should be required reading for battalion commanders deploying to Afghanistan.
Afghan tech boom: Mullah embraces iPhone -- [AP]
KABUL (AP) — Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef is a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. He spent almost four years in Guantanamo. He wears a black turban, has a thick beard — and is never without his Apple iPhone.
France has No Plans to Increase Forces in Afghanistan: -- [Daily Outlook Afghanistan]
PARIS, France - Despite the degenerating security situation in Afghanistan, France has no plans to send more troops to the conflict- torn country, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Tuesday in Paris. "We do not have the intent (to send more troops). We have just increased the number of soldiers in the region," Kouchner told reporters.
However, Paris wants to increase its commitment to the.
Iranian IRGC Commander: Israel's Nuclear Installations Are Within Reach of Our Missiles -- [MEMRI Blog]
At a conference being held in Tehran in support of the Palestinians, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Aziz Jafari, said that if Iran is attacked it will deliver a forceful response, and added that the entirety of Israeli territory, including its nuclear installations, are within the range of Iranian missiles.
Obama Team Seeks to Redefine Russia Ties -- [Washington Post]
The Obama administration is preparing a wide-ranging set of initiatives designed to put shaky relations between the United States and Russia on a more solid footing, including resumption of strategic arms control talks as early as this spring, reactivation of the moribund NATO-Russia Council and possible US reconsideration of plans to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, senior administration officials said.
Russian Welcomes Letter From Obama -- [NY Times]
The Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, said Tuesday that his administration was open to overtures from the United States on its proposed missile defense plan, but he dismissed the notion of a deal in which the United States would shelve the plan in exchange for Russia’s help on Iran.
New NEFA Chart: "Prominent Jihad Media Organizations in Central Asia"-- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has released a new roster I have created charting the eight most prominent jihad media organizations active in Central Asia--namely, Al-Qaida's "As-Sahab Media Foundation", "Labayk Media Productions", "Ummat Studios", the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's "Jundullah Media", the Islamic Jihad Union's "Badr at-Tawheed Media", the Turkestan Islamic Party's "Islam Awazi Information Center", "Manba al-Jihad Media", and the official media wing of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban). Taken together, these various underground organizations are responsible for producing the vast majority of mujahideen propaganda videos that have originated from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and western China over the past five years.
Islamists advancing their agenda through Sharia -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Pakistan recently gave in to the pressure of Islamist militants. Indeed to buy off peace, Pakistani authorities allowed the imposition of Sharia (Islamic law) in the Swat valley.
How long the cease-fire will last is anyone's guess. But in any case, Pakistan has allowed a precedent that could extend to other provinces; in fact the Swat valley is only about 100 miles away from Islamabad, the capital. But Sharia is not just making inroads in Pakistan but actually creeping in the West and in particular in Europe.
Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices -- [Army Times]
A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money
First Lady Urges Support For U.S. Service Families -- [Washington Times]
First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday observed women's history month by touring a memorial for women in the military. She said the country must do all it can to support not just the servicemembers on active duty, but their families, too.
VAMPIRE ETT Wants YOU! -- [Afghanistan Shrugged - in Afghanistan]
Vision has agreed to sell our shirts on their website and donate $5 to Soldiers Angels/ Web of Support for each and every VAMPIRE shirt they sell. Soldiers Angels/ Web of Support is an outstanding organization supporting deployed troops. Check out their site at soldiersangels.org to see the great work that they’re doing.
So here comes the close. Now you can own a T-shirt, designed by a Veteran, made by Veterans and sold to support and organization doing incredible things for Veterans. You just can’t beat that deal, joint warfare at it's finest! Become an honorary VAMPIRE and support the fine organization that support us. We really appreciate everything they’ve done for us and this is just a small thing we can do to show our gratitude.
New Legislation by Sen. Claire McCaskill, and The Dover Controversy -- [VFW Talk Radio]
Just days ago, Sen. Claire McCaskill introduced new legislation that would overhaul substance abuse treatment programs throughout the military. We'll speak with her on this issue and the toll the current economic state is taking on America's veterans.
Catch F-22 for Obama - [Christian Science Monitor]
The most advanced warplane in history, the F-22 Raptor, is on Barack Obama's chopping block. Yet the president faces a no-win situation. If somehow he gets Congress to stop paying for more of the stealthy jets – whose full cost is $354 million a plane – thousands of defense workers will quickly lose their jobs in a recession. As a Democrat more interested in spending money on butter than guns, Mr. Obama does not see guns as butter. His priorities are healthcare, energy, and education. Some Democrats even want a 25 percent cut in defense spending.
INTELLIGENCE: EA-18G Smokes An F-22 -- [Strategy Page]
When pressed, navy personnel watching over the aircraft would only reveal that the EA-18G had "virtually" shot down an F-22 in a training exercise.
F-22 and USAF pilots… -- [All our Might]
One military aviator has written into AOM and provided interesting insights on the F-22’s capabilities. He also has a few substantial comparisons between the USAF and USN mindset and attitudes - the USN adapts, the USAF doesn’t.
Just Build the F-22, Okay? -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Over at Abu Muqawama, Abu M. is telling us about his lamentable bent towards socialistic jobs programs by finally advocating the F-22 program. Well, not quite. The kind of people who will continue to work - engineers, highly skilled
We Need More Icebreakers! -- [Rear Admiral Norm Venzke, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)] Via Michael Yon
The United States icebreaker fleet is absolutely inadequate. That opinion is supported by the fact that the fleet is incapable of meeting mission requirements without a chartered foreign icebreaker.
Are We Ready to Welcome the Soldiers That Obama's Bringing Home -- [AlterNet]
No matter how you feel about the war, you can help support our veterans. If you want to help your community welcome home our troops,
Fort Carson Soldiers Return Home -- [KKTV 11 News]
Outside the Mountain Post, a few kids played hooky, so they can be the first to say "welcome home" to their hero. They waited Sergeant First Class Troy ...
Small group receives a big welcome ceremony at Fort Hood -- [Killeen Daily Herald]
His wife Shelia Bagley, and children Nathan, 11, Jasmine, 4, and Joseph, 3, waited patiently for James to get home. As troops flowed back to Fort Hood by ...
A Hundred Flowers Bloom, A Hundred Schools Of Thought Contend -- [Terry Galvin - freelance journalist recently returned from Afghanistan]
Sometimes, the gulf between what you read in the newspapers and the stuff that actually happens in the real world turns out to be a gaping, yawning chasm. Such is the case in the matter of what Great Helmsman Stephen Harper is reported to have said and meant on the subject of Afghanistan just lately, and what he really said and obviously meant.
New Post Proposed At Pentagon -- [Washington Post]
A bill to end cost overruns in major weapons systems would create a powerful new Pentagon position -- director of independent cost assessments -- to review cost analyses and estimates, separately from the military branch requesting the program.
A Moderate Manifesto -- [NY Times - David Brooks]
“Those of us who consider ourselves moderates are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.”
We're Sorry" -- Obama voters express their regrets -- [Doug Ross]
The drones Obama voters have begun sending me photos expressing their sorrow in voting for the Won.
Obama Linked To Anti-Limbaugh TV Spot -- [Riehl World]
I was linked in this post which in turn was linked by Glenn tonight. My point then was that an attack on Limbaugh would fail. But tonight I saw this on a new anti-Rush television spot. That led me to these folks who produced the ad and ultimately to this name: Brad Woodhouse - President
And that name brings you here - and spare me the - well, he's actually here, or there now .... if they haven't updated the site. That really doesn't matter much in the end.
The takeover of the Democratic National Committee by Barack Obama's campaign continues apace with the hiring of communications operative Brad Woodhouse at the national party committee.
First I was wondering why is Obama so hell bent on attacking, he won? True. But
Bush Knew How to Lift the US From Recession... Obama Doesn't -- [Gateway Pundit]
When President Bush came into office he inherited a recession, the internet bubble bust, scandal on Wall Street, and the attacks on 9-11 all in his first year. The budget surplus of $128.2 billion he inherited evaporated.
In 2002 the budget deficit climbed to $157.8 billion, an increase of $286 billion.
In response to the economic recession, President Bush reduced taxes and gave money back to American workers, business owners and entrepreneurs. From 2004 to 2007 there was a steady decline in the budget deficit from $412.7 billion in 2004 to $162 billion in 2007. The tax cuts also reduced unemployment to 5.2% during the Bush years. The Bush years saw the strongest productivity growth in 4 decades and witnessed robust GDP growth.
Then America was hit by the mortgage crisis that President Bush warned the Democratic Congress about 17 times in 2008 alone.
Team Obama is already blaming Bush for their record $1.75 trillion budget deficit. -- [Gateway Pundit]
And, just like how Obama and the democrats lied about the the last 8 years of economic growth, they are hoping that the media will play along with them and blame Bush for the dangerous deficit they have already racked up in Obama's first 40 days on the job.
To be clear-- those failed Bush policies dropped the deficit 4 of 8 years, held an average unemployment at 5.2%, saw the strongest productivity growth in 4 decades and witnessed robust GDP growth.
Bush was able to do this despite the recession he inherited, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As you can see from this chart,...
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)