Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various 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.
The Slain Soldier of Salah Ad-Din. -- [Dum Spiro Spero]
“Also on Saturday, a U.S. soldier was killed during an attack on an American patrol in Salaheddin province in northern Iraq, the U.S. military announced. It was only the third combat fatality suffered by U.S. forces in Iraq this month.”
March 9 - [S4 at War - in Iraq]
Its hard to go into details about this story but I’m already working to pre-position supplies and set some of the guys who rely on me up for the possibility that they lose logistical support. I can’t, however, provide helicopters. Though maybe that would explain why one of my Companies has been trying to order parts for a Chinook engine.
The Pathetic Afghan Army & Will Obama Fumble Iraq? -- [Micahel Yon]
The disconnect between reporting and reality on Iraq was dramatic during 2005. Media stories about the incompetence and hopelessness of the Iraqi army and police were like the soup of the day, every day. Yet month by month, before my eyes, Iraqi security forces were improving. Reporting this truth earned the label of “stooge,” because the soup of the day was Failure. Millions of Americans and Europeans apparently wanted Iraqis to suffer because those same Americans and Europeans seemed to hate George Bush.
Today Iraq is succeeding, but as Generals Petraeus or Odierno might say, the situation remains fragile and reversible. Whereas the Bush-war ended in a new if messy democracy, this year we could see an Obama-war begin; the new President has sent a clear signal that we intend to mostly abandon Iraq during this crucial transition period. Today, the progress is obvious. But if Iraq descends back into chaos, the Obama-war, a newborn war, will not be a result of U.S. aggression, but of limp leadership intent on fulfilling campaign promises that were misinformed to begin with.
Al Qaeda in Iraq strikes for third time in Baghdad area -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
US military intelligence officials are concerned that al Qaeda in Iraq has established a deadly bombing cell in the Baghdad region, after two major suicide attacks over the past three days killed more than fifty Iraqis. The attacks do not indicate a resurgent al Qaeda insurgency, however, but a return to its terror roots.
Today's attack in the Abu Ghraib region on the western outskirts of Baghdad has sparked fears that a new terror campaign is underway in the nation's capital.
What ever happened to sleep being a 'force multiplier?' -- [FOB Tacoma - in Iraq]
MOSUL, Iraq – This is one tired country.
No matter where you are, folks always seem to be trying their damndest to catch up on sleep. As I type this, a dude is sprawled out on a wooden bench next to a runway, using his plate carrier as a pillow.
The passenger terminal at Contingency Operating Site Marez looks like a flophouse. Four soldiers from 1st Cav are sleeping against a wooden table. A junior officer is using four seats as a makeshift bed. And a contractor...
The Life [And Death] Of Erin Doyle -- [Legion Magazine]
“He died pulling the trigger. He died screaming into the face of the enemy.”
The first time I saw him, he was quite literally presiding over a meeting between two sets of patrol leaders—one captain and one sergeant—during a long and arduous hike in the deep outback of western Panjwai.
The captain and sergeant would make plans, then kind of quietly look up at Doyle. With a headshake and a grunt, he’d torpedo their idea and they’d go back to the map. This went on for half an hour or more, as gunfire and explosions rippled overhead. With his rank obscured by his gear—his battle rattle—I assumed he was a warrant officer or maybe the company sergeant major, based solely on the deference and respect he received from the other soldiers, many of whom I knew to be cynics of the first order.
When the planning conference broke up, ...
ETT: Mutt Soldiers -- [AFGHANISTANSHRUGGED - in Afghanistan]
I’m a mutt soldier. No if, ands or buts about it. I’m definitely a cross of breeds and variety. Before I get to my explanation let me illuminate how I arrived at this conclusion. Which by the way was inevitable. I’ll explain that too.
...ETTs are mutts because they just don’t fit anywhere.
We are not Special Forces soldiers though we execute a traditional SF mission. Foreign Internal Defense was the founding paradigm behind SF and they’ve now relinquished it to ETTs. They’d prefer the much sexier mission of direct action versus training foreign armies. An SF soldier gets about 18 months worth of training and goes through a special selection process to ensure that he’s the right fit for training foreign militaries which they don’t really do anymore.
Dispatches from FOBistan: Letting the Message Drive the Operation -- [Registan - in Afghanistan]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, AFGHANISTAN — The other night, I found myself on the south end of Bagram—past the Egyptian hospital, the “Hearts and Minds Gym,” Camp Blackjack, even the rotary wing terminal. I had wanted some air, something to break the psychotic monotony that is Bagram Air Base, and found myself near the base mosque.
Reservists in Afghanistan -- [The Torch]
Ian Elliot of the Kingston Whig-Standard - one of the MSM reporters who participated in the same trip I took to Afghanistan earlier this year - has had his pieces released bit by bit in his newspaper, and his latest deals with local reservists. Specifically, it focuses on Cpl Sean Jump of the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment, who was working at the KPRT when we were there, and then broadens out into a bigger discussion of reserve involvement in Afghanistan.
Ian's angle is a local one by necessity, but I find that wider discussion of the role of our CF reserves quite of interest.
Embed in Pictures -- [Battlefeild Tourist - in Afghanistan]
Ok, I’m going to try something new, because frankly, it is more time efficient and I have little time. So I’ll be posting my embed pictures on Facebook. I’m still going to put them in SoundSlides… just when I get more time.
Here’s the first group of pictures I put together. Most are from Musa Qala, some from Kabul and the rest Farah.
Task Force Takes Troubled Valley -- [On Location in Afghanistan - Fred Baker in Afghanistan]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE AIRBORNE, Afghanistan, March 9, 2009 – Coalition forces along Afghanistan's Logar River are sending a forceful message to insurgent fighters that the coalition will go wherever, whenever it wants
CT/COIN in Afghanistan -- [Abu Muqawama]
...I asked a highly respected retired U.S. Army general a year ago what the appropriate role for direct action special operations forces was in a population-centric COIN campaign. His answer was that direct action SOF is highly valuable because "it's the way you play offense." At the same time, though, it absolutely has to be tied into a greater COIN strategy. The cool kids cannot be allowed to just run amok, no matter how much they may want to. It appears as if -- after several long years where "the task force" had carte blanche -- officers are getting this.
U.S. Halts SOF Raids in Afghanistan -- [Captain's Journal]
...SOF are not supermen. They are (or should be, or started out) as soldiers with specialized billets. Language, training, and cultural knowledge not typically found in the balance of the Army or Corps should mark SOF. For SEALs, they must do things that require specialized training, such as underwater demolition requiring use of the closed circuit oxygen system rebreather, and so on. Airmen who use satellite uplink equipment need specialized training. To pretend that kinetics is performed by SOF while the “big Army” does something else is both elitist and insulting.
Officials: Afghanistan Taliban leader was at Gitmo -- [AP]
U.S. officials say the Taliban's new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan is a former prisoner at the Guantanamo detention center. Pentagon and CIA officials say Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul was among 13 prisoners released to the Afghan government in December 2007. He is now known as Mullah Abdullah Zakir, a name officials say is used by the Taliban leader in charge of operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan.
One intelligence official told The Associated Press that Rasoul's stated mission is to counter the growing U.S. troop surge.
The Pathetic Afghan Army & Will Obama Fumble Iraq? -- [Michael Yon]
...Going into Iraq was a decision made by many. Pulling out so quickly is a decision made by one man.
Yet the Afghanistan situation was nearly opposite. Most westerners seem to want to see Afghanistan succeed, and they veritably chant about poverty and women’s rights, though few people actually are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to achieve dreamy visions. Whatever the case, the public and the media gave a free pass to dozens of nations in Afghanistan, and today about 40 nations are directly involved. Some of the military bases look like a carnival of uniforms, and the soldiers behave under a carnival of rules. By the time you add in all the contractors, aid workers, “friendly” spies and deadly enemies, it’s likely that people from a hundred countries are inside Afghanistan at this moment. Despite the broad representation, until recently we called it “The Forgotten War.”
Today we have an American President and Secretary of Defense who have essentially kicked, prodded and begged our allies to get more serious about Afghanistan, but mostly to no avail. And so 17,000 more American troops are kissing their loved ones goodbye, many of them for the last time in their lives, and heading into Afghanistan. Per capita combat deaths probably will be higher in Afghanistan this year than for any year in Iraq. The situation is very serious for the relatively few soldiers fighting there. Some are in combat every day and night.
Afghanistan Fight Turns to Economy + Governance -- [On Location in Afghanistan - Fred Baker in Afghanistan]
It’s hard to find a good, old-fashioned combat fight in Afghanistan right now -- even here, surrounded by the battle-hardened, well-armed infantry and artillery troops of the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
That’s partly because it is still winter and most insurgent fighters are holed up waiting for warmer weather, but also because the fight has changed across this rural landscape.
Boots on the Ground -- The Taliban Surge -- [Defense Tech]
A quick hit live podcast with The Long War Journal's Bill Roggio and DoD Buzz contributor Greg Grant on the upcoming Taliban surge and the terrorist attacks in Lahore.
All-Female Marine Team Conducts First Mission in Southern Afghanistan -- [Defense Link]
Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment -- the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan -- now have a special group of people to help them complete their mission in Afghanistan. The task force’s all-female Marine team is interacting with the Afghan female population in southern Afghanistan -- a task considered culturally unacceptable for the male Marines operating there.
The Great American Influence -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
I know I've mentioned my Polish friends before (pic attached). They are based here and maintain the Polish helicopters. Their soldiers are also based in Ghazni where they have a larger presence, along with greater military responsibility for that region.
F-22s to Darfur? Not So Fast … -- [War is Boring]
U.N. officials and aid workers are gathering in eastern Chad to discuss preparations for an alarming contingency. With the recent arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Bashir and his subsequent ejection of foreign aid groups from Darfur, the U.N. and Chad’s humanitarian community are worried that thousands of Darfuri refugees currently living in camps in western Darfur might flee to eastern Chad.
Eurasia Critic: From Enemies to Friends in Just 180 Days: the Curious, Rapid Thaw of U.S.-Russian Relations -- [War is Boring]
What a difference six months can make. In just half a year, U.S-Russian relations have risen from their a 15-year nadir, up through waning degrees of discomfort, all the way to the level of a genuine strategic partnership.
In August, many in American media, academia and government genuinely feared the resumption of the Cold War. In February, Russian and American diplomats forged an alliance that will prove critical to U.S. goals in Central Asia.
There are several potential explanations for the change: ...
The North Korean Tangle -- [Austin Bay]
...North Korea's major export, however, is the threat of war magnified by potential nuclear holocaust. It's an international version of an alley bully's extortion game. Pay me off, the punk waving the pistol says, or I'll burn down your store. The analogy, however, only goes so far. North Korea's Kim waves a nuclear weapon, and if he uses it, he kills himself.
Why Is the Military Commission Releasing 9/11 Prisoners’ Statements? -- [The Washington Independent]
You’ve probably heard by now that the five alleged plotters of the 9/11 terrorist attacks have not only admitted to the deed once again, but cackled and boasted about it. As soon as the U.S. military commission approved for release their statement, titled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations,” it was featured in newspapers, on TV and online all over the world.
But wait, weren’t those military commissions proceedings supposed to be stopped, pursuant to President Obama’s executive order? So why were the five men allowed to even file a statement in the case, let alone have it released to media around the world, particularly when many other legal filings have been kept under seal? What’s more, the commission hasn’t even determined the competency of two of the men, and their lawyers didn’t know about or approve the filing or its release.
Those are some of the questions being asked by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has helped many of the Guantanamo detainees get legal counsel.
Officials: Taliban's New Top Operations Officer Is Former Guantanamo Bay Detainee -- [FOX /AP]
The Taliban's new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication for the Obama administration's efforts to close the prison.
The War Is Over -- [NRO - Andrew C. McCarthy]
Federal courts have just surrendered in the war against radical Islam.
The war is over. Our peerless armed forces took Tora Bora and, when we finally let them, Fallujah. But al-Qaeda won in Washington, and that has made all the difference.
The War on Terror has radically altered the compact between the American people and their government by dramatically changing the nature of the U.S. courts. Until this new, unaccountable monster is caged, it will continue to devour our political community’s capacity to wage war and to defend itself.
And that caging had better happen soon, because the word “war” in this context refers only to our nation’s forcible military response after the 9/11 attacks finally made the atrocities of radical Islam impossible to ignore any longer. Our response did not start the war. That war, radical Islam’s jihad against the United States and the West, continues — and ever more perilously. As we hollow ourselves out by the day, we become a much softer target.
The ACLU Discovers the Merits of Military Chain of Command [The Corner - Andy McCarthy]
Al Qaeda's lawyers at the ACLU are in a froth because the military judge presiding over the war-crimes commission case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other terrorists accepted and made public their "Islamic Response" to the government's allegations — a diatribe in which they proudly admit that they carried out the 9/11 atrocities.
Greene and Kilcullen on Terrorism -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
...At this point, I have to stress how critical it is that we, as military leaders, study grand strategy. In the day-to-day life of the military, even in combat, our view of the world can be somewhat myopic--if you're not careful, you can find yourself focusing too much on inane topics like property accountability, what percentage of your soldiers have completed their mandatory EO training for the quarter, evaluations, the endless string of reports that are sent up, and so forth.
Obama wants vets to pay for treatment -- [Blackfive]
On CNN's Political Tracker:
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance, but was told by lawmakers that it would be "dead on arrival" if sent to Congress...
Spring Training and the Wounded Marines -- [BlackFive]
Received this report on how some wounded Marines were treated at a pre-season game on Sunday.
...In case you were wondering, the above email is from Rich W. and Jim P. who helped get 17 wounded Marines out to Phoenix for Spring Training. Rich and Jim are former Marines and are, not surprisingly, always faithful.
The USAF gave them vans to transport the wounded Marines.
So who was the email of thanks directed to?
It was sent to the man who personally paid for airfare and hotels for the 17 wounded Marines.
His name is Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants.
Their Hope Is That Their Experiences Will Help Soldiers To Heal -- [A Soldier’s Mind]
In the military, a General is consider a strong and stoic leader. They lead their Soldiers with a firm hand, most lead by example. The decisions that they make can affect the thousands of Troops in their command. They don’t achieve their rank by mistake, but instead by their actions both on and off the battlefield. They command respect from the Soldiers that they lead and their very presence can make the lowest rank Soldier shake in their boots. They are expected to be in charge, firmly making sound decisions without hesitation, with the hope that the decisions they make is the correct one. They serve as an example of what a Soldier should be, and they definately don’t talk about their feelings. Especially when doing so might make them appear to be weak.
Survivorship: An Emotional and Financial Primer -- [Military.com - Ask June]
Everyone deals with the death of a loved one in an individual way, but it’s difficult to cope when society does little to prepare us for grief – and even sets a timetable for mourning.
“Most companies expect you back at work after three days if a close relative dies, and often give no paid time off if you’ve lost a close friend or even someone as emotionally important as a grandparent,” said Larry Bordovsky, a USAA financial planner who manages a team of certified financial planners TM practitioners who have helped dozens of families through the estate-settlement process.
Walter Reed to Mark Centennial in April -- [Household6]
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) turns 100 years old next month. WRAMC was our previous duty station and it was an awesome place, despite certain news headlines. There was so much commitment and dedication to not only our wounded warriors but family members and retirees as well.
White House Puts Tankers, Bombers on Hit List -- [Danger Room]
The Obama administration recently released a $533.7 billion Pentagon budget that gives the basic outline of the military's spending priorities for the next fiscal year. That budget proposal, however, gave few details on what big-ticket items the services may need to cut in order to bring their procurement accounts in line.
Obama to Kill New Bombers, Delay Tankers? (Updated) -- [War is Boring]
Update: Some folks are convinced that the tanker delay is ploy by the administration to get Congress to add funds for a program that everyone knows we need. Or maybe not, according to Stephen Trimble, who quotes John Young, the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief, saying:
Wounded sergeant greets his soldiers -- [Killeen Daily Herald]
Help welcome 4th Infantry Division troops home. The 4th Infantry wants the public's help to welcome its soldiers today through Monday. Officials urge members of the local communities to gather at Victory Corner and Fort Hood's Cameron ...
Muslim losers protest return of Brit troops -- [Uncle Jimbo - BlackFive]
This is really reprehensible and deserving of scorn and outrage and all that as theses scum protest the return of the troops who give them the right to show what ass clowns they are (there were baby killer signs as well). But seriously, look at these pathetic losers they suck Hoover.
Muslim Protesters At Parade Hurl Abuse At British Troops Returning From Iraq
Welcome Home -- [Blue Springs Examiner]
James Frazier meets in a family hug with son Joe and wife Sarah after the welcome home ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Independence Tuesday morning
A hero's welcome home -- [Geneva Sun]
He jumped a couple of roofs and made me chase him down," he said. " ... This welcome is for all of the troops. I am happy to be the representative."
Concluding the Recommendations -- [Soldiers in the Blogosphere]
New media is being increasingly used by citizens and businesses. Blogs are numerous and regularly read by many. YouTube is among today’s most popular websites. Businesses use new media to better engage with their customers. The military has incorporated several capabilities of new media in service portals to improve communication and facilitate professional dialogue. When blogs first surfaced in large numbers at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Army reacted first by banning posts but quickly modified that policy to provide oversight of Soldiers blogging. Since this time,
Educate Soldiers to be Effective Communicators -- [Soldiers in the Blogosphere]
Just as important as ensuring they understand the application of OPSEC to the web, Soldiers must be educated to be effective communicators. They must be able to clearly articulate the story they have to tell, make it readable and interesting, and be aware of the best ways to get that story out to the most people possible. This is where the Army should focus the bulk of its education and training efforts concerning new media.
Dispatches from FOBistan: The Army’s Woeful IT Policies Poison the War Effort -- [Registan - in Afghanistan]
In January, when I first arrived here, I made an alarming discovery about the state of IT in the Army. Practically all of the blogs and other online tools I use to stay informed and connected to my colleagues (see here, for example) did not work. More accurately, they are deliberately blocked by a series of web filters, both automatically and manually constructed, in an effort to restrict inappropriate uses of the Internet from Army computers.
Number of Military Blogs Blocked on DoD Computers in Afghanistan -- [Captain's Journal]
...Pressing him for more data and information, Josh responded with an article of his own. The results of his little investigation are striking.
Blackfive is blocked, as is Abu Muqawama, Global Guerrillas, and our very own The Captain’s Journal. This list is not comprehensive. Allowed are Small Wars Journal, The Long War Journal, and rather interestingly, Bouhammer, whose URL has the word ‘blog’ in it. I use Wordpress to create articles, but I am not associated with Wordpress and the Army would have no way of knowing what software I use.
Regarding Proxy Servers and Blocked Websites -- [Wings over Irag - in Iraq]
David Axe at War is Boring has notified us all that the US military has just now blocked his blog from their servers. Add this to a long list of milblogs that are on the US military's ban list,
War Is Boring, Blocked! -- [War is Boring]
I won’t lie: I’m a little hurt. Emotions aside, I agree with Josh that blocking blogs such as War Is Boring only hurts the military’s efforts to reach the public with important messages and impedes the free exchange of ideas that is vital to our war efforts. Consider my recent contributions to the national-security process, all anchored in this blog:
* War Is Boring was an important player in the evolution of the Army’s “MilSpace” forums, where soldiers can freely exchange tips and tactics outside the normal, glacial bricks-and-mortar processes
* My reporting is now included in the National Security Space Office’s handouts for promoting its squad space transport concept
... It’s dumb for the Army to block this Website, and others. That’s like prohibiting soldiers from subscribing to The New York Times. Not that this humble blog is as big and well-resourced as NYT. They are, however, equally valid sources of information and equally powerful forums for debate on national security.
Sensationalizing from the Other Direction -- [Registan - in Afghanistan]
...despite the good news coming from provinces like Bamian, it is just ridiculous to argue that the bad news journalists, whom I sometimes skewer, are completely disconnected. Max Boot does his best anyway:
...Boot goes on to repeat the same old tired numbers story we’ve spoken of at great length here—going back into 2007, when Boot actually felt it necessary to express concern for the state of the country. There are other tropes in his piece, like placing blame for low troop numbers only on NATO when the U.S.’s own lazy management of the conflict from 2002-2007 bears considerable responsibility, that are hardly worth mentioning.
President Obama @ work. -- [The Armorer]
Steve Schippert of Threatswatch, Matt of Blackfive, John of Op-For, and Ace (of Spades) and I have been chatting in email regarding the fallout of Secretary Shinseki's testimony before Congress that ignited the shite-storm that is spreading around. Steve made a nice "wrap-it-all-up" observation (and I don't like it just because it opens so well...):
Freeman speaks out on his exit -- [The Cable]
Retired Amb. Chas Freeman, who said today that he no longer accepts an offer to chair the National Intelligence Council, has just sent this message:
A Turning Tide? -- [Newsweek]
Obama still has the approval of the people, but the establishment is beginning to mumble that the president may not have what it takes. — Surfer that he is, President Obama should know a riptide when he's in one. The center usually is the safest, most productive place in politics …
Judicial Watch Uncovers Documents Detailing Pelosi's Repeated Requests for Military Travel -- [Judicial Watch]
House Speaker Issued Unprecedented Demands for Military Aircraft and Wasted Taxpayer Resources with Last Minute Cancellations — Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates …
Pelosi Air: We Fly While Tax Payers Pay! -- [Flopping Aces]
Take a look at the passenger manifests for March 2007 trip to Ireland and Great Britain (PDF page 31). And another to Great Britain, Italy and Spain in March 2008 (PDF page 29)
The chart below is for House travel for May 2007 (PDF page 78):
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