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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 ISX Phenomenon -- [IRAQ THE MODEL - Iraqi Blog]
I saw this graph on Iraq Stock Exchange and thought I should share. It represents the ISX index monthly closing figures between November 2004 and February 2009. The picture speaks for itself.
Given the direction of developments in Iraq over the last two years there is no irony at all. In fact I see that the image quite accurately reflects the ups and downs of the period represented in the graph—not just in the economy, but in every aspect of life. The irony, however, is striking if we are to compare this with markets elsewhere under the global economic crisis!
Iraqi forces arrest four kids recruited by Al Qaeda -- [The Peninsula, HT: Jawa Report]
Kirkuk, Iraq: Iraqi security forces have arrested four children who were recruited by Al Qaeda to carry out suicide attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, an army general said yesterday.
“Special forces units have arrested an organisation of children consisting of four individuals under the age of 14 who call themselves the ‘Birds of Paradise’,” General Abdelamir Al Zaidi said. “The group relies on children and is connected to Al Qaeda.
How the Spartans Were Conquered -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
Been on deck nearly 10 days and this deployment may prove to be darkest night as compared to last year’s glorious days of ruggedness.
...Lean, hardened Marines exited friendly lines multiple times a day looking to take the fight to the forces of jihad. It was hot, miserable, sucky work and I remember it fondly. We were totally ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.
This year I am completely disgusted with myself.
I have Headquarters and Service Company and we live on an air base that looks more like a small town. (Que Mr. Rogers theme music)
Sitting Around a Map -- [Bullet Wisdom - in Iraq]
Another crowded, smoke-filled room with forty or so people gathered around another long table with a projector at the end throw up a picture of a map on a too-small screen. From my position, the whiny fan on the aged Canon digital projector obscures the voices coming from the other end of the long, rectangular room.
Today at the command center, many of the provincial players from nearby Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) gathered at our weekly meeting.
All’s Quiet on the Western Front… -- [The Writings of a Man’s Man -- in Iraq]
Well not the Western Front really but all has been pretty quiet in Baghdad lately. Mind numbingly quiet actually, which makes it quite the challenge to keep twenty paratroopers from going stir crazy, however it speaks of US success here.
Combat Camera Video: 591st Engineer Route Clearance in Mosul, Part 2 of 3 -- [THE TENSION]
Dispatches from the Front:
Embedded above is a b-roll video of a route clearance operation in Mosul. Scenes include footage from inside an armored vehicle driving through the market and footage of U.S. soldiers viewing Iraqi soldiers search a car. (Video: 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. Length: 5:30. Part 2 of 3.)
Sandstorm…a different perspective -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I posted a photo a little while ago taken during a sandstorm. Today I managed to get a picture of an approaching sandstorm minutes before it hit. Some have expressed doubt but this is a 100% real picture. It
Left Seat Right Seat -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
With the company reorganized, I found myself in a new platoon and new squad. I think I lucked out as I’ve known my squad leader, Beard, for several years now and we even did PLDC (Sergeant’s school) together. On top of that my fellow team leader, Reese, is a long time army friend. We not only did PLDC but deployed to Germany together. Back then, we were also in the same squad too.
Leave, R&R, EML...Whatever You Call It...I'm There -- [My Point of View - in Iraq]
Today is the day that a lot of service members look forward to when they're deployed. Well, actually, it's when you get home...but today is the day I leave Baghdad for home.
The process that gets us from here in Baghdad to home is something that we don't look forward to. It's long, it drains you mentally, it leaves you exhausted after traversing eight time zones...but it is sooooo worth it.
Double, Double, Toil and Trouble -- [AFGHANISTAN SHRUGGED - in Afghanistan]
The white flash splits the Afghan night and I see the world in reverse color for several moments. Then the concussion hits me and I feel it through chest into my heart and lungs. KARUMPH!
...Three of us are kneeling around a map our ACHs touching; actually putting our heads together to stave off the enemy. Pools of red, green and blue light spill from our headlamps lighting the map in a mosaic of color. Two armored vehicles are parked to our front, their doors standing open and red light oozing from them. The radios they contain barking and hissing information.
One Step Forward Two Steps Back -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
...I have pointed out time and time again that there is no need for armored vehicles in the north - or in most of Afghanistan. It is safer for all concerned to be in unarmored vehicles with lots of dispersion and preferable locals mixed in amongst your vehicles. But that is not what bothers me about this article it is the cavalier way something that was obviously important (or why even fly up from Kabul) was dismissed. Here is why:
We have not been dumping the money, resources or attention in the north like we have in the south. The south is populated with Pastun people, the north (with the exception of Kunduz City) has no significant Pashtun population - they are Uzbeks, Hazara and Tajik’s. They have for the most part cooperated in the disarmament programs, stopped growing poppy, and cooperated with the central government. And we treat them like a bunch of irrelevant rubes.
Afghan minister sees hope in travels -- [National Post ]
Mr. Zia, who has a master's degree in war recovery studies from Britain's York University, has no time for those learned publications that have recently predicted that the Taliban are winning the insurgency.
"The reason I travel so much is so that I can come face-to-face with the hope and determination of our people," he said during an hour-long discussion in his office. "They want to play a role in the development of our villages, which constitute our identity.
"The tide is still in favour of our people. This is my strong belief. It is based upon what I see in rural Afghanistan where the population speaks confidently about tomorrow and does not think the war is lost."
U.S. Troops Helping to Secure Afghan Capital
Winning the War in Afghanistan -- [Small Wars Journal - Dr. Karl A. Slaikeu]
An Oil Spot Plus Strategy for Coalition Forces
While granting that Afghanistan is centuries behind Iraq in terms of infrastructure, the central question remains: can we build on the successes and lessons learned in Iraq and a half century of other counterinsurgency (COIN) wars to emerge victorious over the Taliban and al Qaeda? Or, will we go the way of Great Britain and Russia, who left Afghanistan in defeat? This paper offers a plan for victory that builds on classic COIN--the oil spot or ink spot strategy--customized to address the unique challenges of the Afghan area of operations
The Chase Is On, And On, And On -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. has told the Afghans to prepare for more violence, as the U.S. brings in three additional brigades this year, increasing American troops strength in Afghanistan by 55 percent. The Taliban and drug gangs control many valleys and villages in areas where they grow poppies and manufacture heroin. These are the targets, and the Taliban are paid to defend them. The drug gangs cannot afford to lose control of many of these places, and will fight hard to hold on.
I want to talk some more about Afghanistan today -- [Sgt Stryker]
...Afghanistan has a long history of being used as a sort of mudroom in the region. In the past, even technology hasn’t been able to totally calm extremists in the country. If you recall, not even the Russians at their peak could manage to hold and control Afghanistan from the rebels. (Although, some Afghans got a lot of help in the 1980s from the US and other countries covertly… from what I hear…)
Today, though, the most technologically capable country in the history of the world has sent under 100,000 troops to try to tame the area so that it can thrive as an Islamic Republic, a cornerstone of modern life in the region. So far, things have been a little shaky. It’s a lot safer than it was under the Taliban and
Women -- [Adventures in Jalalabad, Afghanistan -- in Afghanistan]
...We asked Wahida if her sister's husband is strict with her. Wahida said yes, very. I asked about abuse of women -if it occurs and how it is handled. She said yes, that her sister's husband is very abusive. Just recently he took a kitchen pan or pot and struck her on the head with it, causing her to receive several stitches. I asked Wahida what women can do when that happens - and basically, if you say anything; report it to the police (oh who by the way can be very easily bribed and the husband has relatives that are in the police force) it is considered extremely shameful.
A Blast, an Ambush and a Sprint Out of a Taliban Kill Zone -- [NY Times]
The two Army lieutenants crouched against boulders beside the Korangal River. Taliban gunfire poured down from villages and cliffs above, hitting tree branches and rocks and snapping as the bullets passed over the officers' helmets.
US airstrike targets Taliban training camp in South Waziristan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Eight terrorists are reported to have been killed in a Predator attack on a training camp used by the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Number One with an F -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
Sat with linguists at lunch today and an Afghan gentleman stopped by the table. We all did the Salaam Alaikum shtick, I mean greeting. Once the pleasantries were exchanged, and the gentleman left, I told my lunch mates I had met this man a month or so ago, and that he had an interesting background.
Where Have All The Soldiers Gone -- [Strategy Page]
North Korea claims that its April 5th missile launch was not a violation of the 2006 UN Resolution 1718, threatening more punishment (after the North Korea nuclear test) if there were more missile launches or nuclear weapons tests. ...Trying to punish North Korea further serves no useful purpose, because North Korea is punishing itself so severely. Last month, North Korea tossed out the foreign aid groups that handled distribution of donated food. At the same time, the north said it would no longer accept food from the United States. This leaves nearly half the North Korean population malnourished, with several million in danger of starving to death. It's possible to monitor this, because of the increasing number of North Koreans escaping into China. South Korean and foreign aid groups can operate up there, and make contact with many of these refugees. Most of these people are malnourished and display stunted growth characteristic of lifelong poor diet. More importantly, the refugees describe conditions inside North Korea, and these confirm estimates of the extent of the famine that has lasted nearly two decades.
News roundup: NATO ships hunt down 7 pirates -- [USA Today]
International: A high-speed chase involving NATO warships, helicopters and Somali pirates ended with warning shots fired at the pirates' skiff. Seven pirates attempted to attack a Norwegian tanker late Saturday night. Pirates now hold at least 18 ships and more than 310 crewmembers hostage, according to an Associated Press count.
Napolitano: Veterans are Targets of Right-Wing Extremist Recruiters -- [FOX News]
The head of homeland security said Sunday she regrets that some people took offense over a report warning that right-wing extremist groups were trying to recruit disgruntled troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. But Secretary Janet Napolitano added that "a number of groups far too numerous to mention" want to commit domestic terrorism attacks and are looking for new recruits.
She told a cable news network the warning report that went out to American law enforcement agencies was consistent with reports that were issued before.
"Here is the important point. The report is not saying that veterans are extremists. Far from it. What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that," she said.
Napolitano: Returning vets too stupid to avoid extremists -- [Hot Air]
Janet Napolitano continues to thrash around for any rationalization she can find for the DHS report that painted political organizing on abortion, federalism, and immigration as potential national-security threats and called returining military vets a danger to the country they served. Yesterday on CNN, Napolitano tried explaining that the DHS doesn’t see these vets as threats. The DHS sees them as saps who don’t know any better than to fall into extremist traps...Yes, the poor dears are victims that obviously can’t decide themselves not to join violent groups
DHS Internal Threat Map -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
This map is displayed and updated in Secretary Napolitano's office, and others as seen in the linked picture from January 29, 2009 – "Secretary Napolitano meets with senior leadership from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Pictured are Secretary Napolitano; Acting Assistant Secretary John Torres; Marcy Forman, Director Office of Investigations; and Susan Lane, Director Office of Intelligence."
Al-Qaeda no.2 unimpressed by Obama -- [AKI]
Barack Obama's election as US president has failed to lift America's status in the Muslim and Arab world, and is a victory for Al-Qaeda, according to a new audio message allegedly from the terror network's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The video was posted on key jihadist websites on Monday.
The Memos Prove We Didn't Torture -- [WSJ]
The Red Cross was completely wrong about 'walling.'
The four memos on CIA interrogation released by the White House last week reveal a cautious and conservative Justice Department advising a CIA that cared deeply about staying within the law. Far from "green lighting" torture -- or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees -- the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.
Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC -- [CQ Politics]
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage …
A mission to focus on..... -- [Knottie's niche]
Ramblings of a Gold Star mom who still loves and supports the troops and their mission.
Sgt. Lewis, who knew my son well, told me just a couple days after we lost Micheal that is was easier in theater to loose a man because they had a mission to focus on. It would be some time before I told him that his word saved me from the deepest part of the depression I battled. I kept in touch with a lot of Pokey's brothers in arms. For a while they thought it was a gratitude thing. In some ways it was but in a larger much more important way they and all those who serve became my mission in life. I explained it to my son's brothers like this. My job was to be a mom and take care of Micheal as best I could while he was in Iraq. That meant being supportive, positive and sending the hugs in a box we call care packages. Micheal's job was to take care of the men he served with. when Micheal was killed he couldn't do his job anymore. Nor could I do mine. So I am now doing Micheal's job for him.
The Long Road Back -- [Weekly Standard]
A Texas bicycle ride helps wounded veterans rehabilitate and reconnect.
Fleming had been planning to make the journey on a hand-cycle, a vehicle that looks like the product of a one-night stand between a recumbent bike--the kind favored by fat, bearded men who like to tinker with things that come in kits--and the Green Machine big wheel that was popular in the 1970s. A hand-cycle has three wheels--two in back and one in front--and it is propelled forward when the cyclist repeatedly moves "pedals" in front of his chest in a circular motion, much as a traditional bicyclist does with his legs.
Stolen Valor... not so new a phenomenon -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
I was unaware of Mr. Salling, so I went looking. "General" Salling's family is still supportive, though Wikipedia and other sources are not so sure.
So, I went looking for other indicators of Stolen Valor in history - and ran across these.
Patriot's Day, 2009 -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Yes, I know, it was yesterday. Castle Argghhh! was in satellite defilade yesterday.
234 years ago...
Stand your ground! Don't fire unless fired upon! But if they want to have a war, let it begin here!
Captain John Parker's orders to his troops. Like many good quotes, probably apocryphal - but part of the mythos, regardless, and captures the spirit of the restive residents of Massachusetts.
Anti-Gay Sentiment That Smears the Military -- [Washington Post]
The four retired military men who shared their anti-gay prejudice ["Gays and the Military: A Bad Fit," op-ed, April 15] unfairly smeared all Americans who
Apple's iPod Touch is latest US military weapon -- [Computer Weekly]
Apple's iPod Touch is the latest piece of kit for members of the US military that is proving to be a valuable tool in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers need little training with the relatively low-cost consumer device, which can run useful applications in operational areas, according to Newsweek.
Marines return to warm welcome in Glenville -- [Schenectady Gazette]
About 200 people lined Freemans Bridge Road, many waving small American flags or holding banners that said, “Welcome Home,” or “We love you.
Returning warriors receive a hero's welcome -- [MiamiHerald]
Napolitano said friends and families of returning troops need only call his group or send an e-mail to muster a welcome home they will never forget.
CNN the Latest Corporate Thug to Use Copyright As a Weapon to Eliminate Embarrassing Clips from YouTube -- [Patterico Pontifications]
The latest culprit is CNN, a network that was recently embarrassed by a video of reporter Susan Roesgen cutting off tea-party protestors in Chicago, and assailing them with silly liberal talking points. The blog Founding Bloggers showed up on scene and caught her in further arguments with angry citizens who noted her biased coverage. I posted the Founding Bloggers video on Thursday.
Politico's understanding of journalistic anonymity -- [Salon]
In a Politico article discussing Obama's decision to release the OLC torture memos, Mike Allen granted anonymity to "a former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush" to enable that official to do nothing other than attack Obama's decision and accuse him of handing our critical secrets to Al Qaeda. Those anonymous quotes predictably attracted the only thing of value for Politico: a prominent, screaming Drudge link announcing that Bush officials accused Obama of helping the Terrorists.
Preposterous! -- [Villianous Co]
...Anonymity is dangerous. I mean, can you imagine if that kind of thing spread to the Internet? And anyway, it's not as though this so-called "source" were performing a valuable public service ... like, say, illegally releasing diagrams showing snipers how they can defeat Marine body armor! How dare he presume to criticize the leader of the free world?
Sure, the New York Times published gazillions of anonymous criticisms of George Bush from acting government servants speaking on condition of anonymity because disclosing sensitive information to the media violated the terms of their employment contracts. But that was completely different because we agreed with them.
The Workshops Of Identity -- [Big Politics]
...There was a time when America broadcast its virtues to the world. Films like It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, even Star Wars and Spider-man, were films about common, decent people – Americans, obviously, for we all know that even Luke Skywalker was an Iowa farm boy – who find themselves in dangerous and evil places and whose fundamental decency corrected this wrong in the world and restored a sense of hope and optimism, a sense that we are masters of our own destiny. It is an idea so powerful that even French intellectuals, who seemed then and seem today to be incapable of a single positive or upbeat thought, could watch in wonder and contempt as legions of their countrymen flocked to see them.
Those days have gone. No longer does Hollywood broadcast America’s mythic virtues to the world. No, the flow is reversed now. Now the great creative driving force of Hollywood is to present to America the anti-American hatred of the intellectuals watching in impotent fury out in the rest of the world.
Of the six or seven war movies made during the last few years, all – save one – were spectacular failures. Many were the reasons given for this, but perhaps, someday, while sitting in a hammock in the Cayman Islands, even a studio executive might be just intellectually aware enough to catch a flash of what is obvious
Bright Idea Of The Day - Let's Close All The Service Academies To Save Money -- [BlackFive - McQ]
And while we're at it, let's close the War Colleges as well.
That's the prescription the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks puts out today as a great way to save federal funds.
Why is it the ideas these guys come up with to trim the federal budget are always aimed at the military and never at entitlements and the like?
Obama Poses With Marxist Hugo Chavez While Murderer Looks On(?) -- [Gateway Pundit]
"Having lived in Venezuela I recognize the man in the back ground between Obama and Chavez. He is Nicolas Maduro and is a murderer. I have seen, in person, the bullet wounds on people who survived his shots. Sadly, not all survived. It is so irritating when people pretend to know what they are opining on and have no true perspective at all!"
Scappleface: DHS to release left-wing group report via Twitter
After the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sparked a firestorm of protest from right-wing extremists over a nine-page report on the "resurgence in radicalization and recruitment" among right-wing extremist groups, DHS chief Janet Napolitano announced today that her department would soon release a similar report on leftist groups via Twitter.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and 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.
Medal of Honor recipients visit Soldiers in Iraq -- [Army.mil]
Presented by the President of the United States, the Medal of Honor is the highest and most distinguished award given to U.S. servicemembers for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."
Because of the level of criteria in a Medal of Honor citation, the award is often presented to servicemembers posthumously.
Iraq: Suicide bomber kills 15 Iraqi soldiers -- [The Associated Press]
BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi army officer says a suicide bomber walked into a base west of Baghdad and set off his explosives belt, killing 15 Iraqi soldiers and
Iraq FM expects more attacks with US pullout -- [Alsumaria]
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hosheyar Zebari expects further bombings as US Forces are preparing to withdraw from the country. He stressed that preparing Iraqi Army to take up responsibility by his own is an urgent matter as he said noting that there are some imminent security challenges ahead of crucial deadlines.
“As we get closer to June or July when US Forces are going to withdraw, from population centers, from cities to barracks outside, according to the agreement of troops withdrawal we signed at the end of year, the adversaries, the insurgents and some remnant cells of al-Qaeda will try to press on their case,"
The Dissidents' War -- [Michael Totten]
MJT: Do you think they basically got it right?
Ricks: Look. You have to back up. I think everything in Iraq is the fruit of a poisoned tree – invading a country pre-emptively on false premises. So the question isn’t whether they’re getting it right, it’s whether they’re getting it less wrong. I think it was the best of a lot of bad options. It worked tactically. It improved security. But it failed to achieve its goal. The surge is now over, and the purpose of the surge, as stated by the president and the secretary of defense, was to improve security to create breathing space where a political breakthrough could occur. Odierno says in the book that we did create a breathing space, but some Iraqi leaders – I think he meant [Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki – used it to move backwards.
MJT: How did Maliki move backwards?
Iraq: the legacy - Ill equipped, poorly trained, and mired in a 'bloody mess' -- [The Guardian]
In the fourth part of our series, Richard Norton-Taylor explains how the six-year conflict in Iraq tested the capacity and bravery of British troops to the limit - and how they were betrayed by the politicians
Battalion sent to Afghanistan after 2 weeks in Iraq -- [USA Today]
Usually when troops are shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan, the change occurs between regular rotations abroad, after they spend several months at their home ...
Afghan earthquakes kill 21, destroy homes -- [Breitbart]
Two earthquakes shook eastern Afghanistan early Friday, collapsing mud-brick homes on top of villagers while they slept and killing at least 21 people. The quakes hit four villages in...
Turning Tables, U.S. Troops Ambush Taliban With Swift and Lethal Results -- [NY Times]
...An American platoon surprised an armed Taliban column on a forested ridgeline at night, and killed at least 13 insurgents, and perhaps many more, with rifles, machine guns, Claymore mines, hand grenades and a knife.
Town by town: A new strategy in Afghanistan -- [OTTAW Citizen]
Deh-E-Bagh is Ground Zero for an Afghan-Canadian approach against the Taliban, reports Matthew Fisher.
A town south of Kandahar City is to become the focus of intense attention as part of a new Afghan-Canadian strategy to try to defeat the Taliban insurgency town by town.
The innovative approach is to start in the town of Deh-E-Bagh in Dand district, where the Taliban recently launched a major attack. Afghan-led, it's to involve targeted Canadian aid, technical assistance, and mentoring within a robust security bubble established by Afghan and Canadian forces.
Some Good News from Southeast Afghanistan (after another unfortunate event) -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Here is an assessment done in the not too distant past on Sharana: The dominate tribe in the region is the Suleimankhel who are Ghilzai Pashtuns and inhabit all of the eastern districts of the province, from Wor Momay up to Sharan district. According to former provincial Governor Ghulab Mangal, the Suleimankhel provide the majority of recruits for the Taliban in the province. As a result, the level of anti-coalition militia activities remains high in areas dominated by Suleimankhel. In most areas of Afghanistan the “Taliban” is a collection of indigenous narco-jihadi-tribal guerrilla forces. Around Sharana this is not the case – the Armed Opposition Groups (AOG) fighters are dedicated Taliban who are not motivated by financial gain, access to reconstruction projects, or narco money.
Czech PRT in Logar continues in Surkhab Dam reconstruction -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101 - in Afghanistan]
The Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar province recently entered another phase of the reconstruction of the Surkhab dam, the largest source of water in Logar province. The project, which will cost more than $1 million, will improve irrigation conditions ...
US UAVs in Pakistan/Coup averted? -- [The Torch]
With two senior American officials at his side, the Pakistani foreign minister unleashed a strong rebuke last week, saying that American drone strikes against militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas were eroding trust between the allies.
CNN Uses Graphic of Heavy-Caliber Machine Gun To Discuss "Assault Weapons Ban" -- [LT Nixon]
Obama's trip to Mexico has ignited debate about how to curb drug cartel violence. Along with tanks and nuclear warheads, the above pictured weaponry is not legally allowed to be possessed by your average U.S. citizen. However, it was the featured graphic on an article discussing the pros and cons of Obama reinstituting the Assault Weapons Ban to halt trafficking South of the Border. It goes to show how we're failing to address the root problems of the violence in Mexico.
...The Mexican drug cartels are often utilizing heavy weaponry that is only available to the military, and only about 17% of weapons seized in Mexico are being traced back to the states, but President Calderon of Mexico has been on a media blitz on American TV trying to drum up support for an Assault Weapons Ban in America.
Translating Russia’s Military Reform -- [SWJ]
Following Russia’s incursion into Georgia and its energy standoff with Ukraine, there has been a rising perception that Russia’s increased vigor is a stark reminder of the Cold War days of East-West competition. The BBC has exemplified this message running a special report titled “Resurgent Russia”. Even during the US presidential campaign, the situation took center stage as the candidates debated on how to deal with the awakening of the old beast. This “Resurgent Russia” – a term that has recently caught fire and has a line of rhetoric that has led the media to stroke old thoughts of the Soviet Union once again repainting the world red with its military might and autocratic agenda – incorrectly defines Russia’s actions as being irrational when, in fact, these actions are quite rational from the Russian perspective.
Easter in Baghdad -- [Canon Andrew White - in Iraq]
The church was packed to capacity, there was standing room only and hundreds and hundreds were present. Our Easter reading this year was from John. The three Marys were outside the tomb weeping. Where was their Jesus? It was the point all here identified with. There used to be only six men in our church and 1000+ women. The rest had been killed or kidnapped. There are now many more in our congregation - it has more than doubled in the past year. A thousand new members is not bad going in a year.
Right Wing Extremist Vets, Left Wing Extremist Puter Hacks, Oh My... -- [SWJ - Dave Dilegge]
The Department of Homeland Security recently disseminated two FOUO reports - Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment (7 April 09) and Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade (26 January 09) - that are now in the public domain. These two reports - which say absolutely nothing helpful to those on the frontlines of defending our nation - will most certainly stoke partisan bickering.
The Vet Threat -- [MilBlogs - Greyhawk]
For the record, I remain gruntled.
Here's one example from the government report of what might be happening, maybe:
DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.
Change!... FARC Killers--- Not Terrorists... US Veterans--- Terrorists -- [Gateway Pundit]
A. M. Mora y Leon at The American Thinker reported that the Obama Administration has reclassified the FARC killers in Colombia as insurgents and not terrorists:
Ex-CIA Chief Criticizes Release of Interrogation Memos -- [FOX News]
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says release of the memos will give terrorists a precise guide for what to expect in a CIA interrogation if those methods are ever approved for use again.
The President Ties His Own Hands on Terror -- [WSJ]
The point of interrogation is intelligence, not confession. — The Obama administration has declassified and released opinions of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) given in 2005 and earlier that analyze the legality …
Petition the VA to Give J.R. Salzman a New Prosthetic Arm -- [From My Position]
Chuck invited you to join the Facebook group "Petition the VA to Give J.R. Salzman a New Prosthetic Arm".
Chuck says, "I know this guy. A great soldier, and a very talented carpenter and lumberjack. Lost his Arm in Iraq.
Anyway, the VA is on it's collective ass getting him a replacement for his prosthetic, and the one he has now is falling apart. PLS Help.".
Pat McGee - "Come Back Home", a tribute to the troops
Come Back Home was written in the wake of me losing my longtime drummer and former Army soldier John C. Williams. But the song started off as a reflection of how a military couple deals with separation. After the release of Come Back Home, Johns little brother was killed by an IED in Iraq. His name was Blake Williams. His platoon used this track as the audio to a memorial slide show presentation they did in March of 2008.
8-year-old gives lessons on dealing with the deployment of a parent -- [SA Network]
In a crowded room at Grand Forks Air Force Base, 45 Grand Forks teachers listened attentively today to a briefing on military deployment. The young man doing the briefing was in uniform: jeans, a pullover shirt and sneakers.
"I want to talk to you about my dad's deployment," said Kevin Nedegaard, 8, earnest and composed as he read from notes assembled with his mom's help.
"This is how I felt when I found out my dad was going to leave: Sad. Bad. Mad. I felt sad like if a pet died. I felt bad for my dad that he was leaving. I felt mad and frustrated."
TWEET DREAMS!! Soldiers' Angels is dreaming of YOU tweeting in support of Soldiers' Angels -- [SA Network]
FIRST OFF-- FOLLOW US!! @soldiersangels
LONDON - 'Wolverine' actor Hugh Jackman is donating $100,000 to charity through a Twitter contest that encourages users to nominate their cause.
Users can tweet at Jackman's Twitter page, @RealHughJackman, naming their chosen charity and their reason for nominating it. SOLDIERS' ANGELS!!! and your reason.
Iraq Veteran and Walter Reed Officials Praise Advances in Smart ... -- [Washington Post]
Greg Gadson, who lost both his legs when he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, is the first person to try out the new Power Knees, the latest in
Soldiers' Angels flag for Camp Bucca Medics -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
I recently attended a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program put on by the Army reserve for soldiers who recently returned from deployment, along with their families. It's a great program, geared to help soldiers and loved ones readjust to the return to civilian life.
Gates: Pirates show my budget is right -- [Politico]
...As we saw last week, you don't necessarily need a billion-dollar ship to chase down a bunch of teenage pirates," Gates said at the Air Force War College, The Associated Press reported.
The Somali scenario fit perfectly into the narrative Gates has hammered away at for the past year. Gates’ budget proposal alters more than 50 Pentagon programs, and this week, he’s fanned out to military colleges to make his case.
Pentagon Chief to Troops: We Ain't Google (Updated) -- [Danger Room]
Last week, Defense Secretary announced that he wanted to junk the Army's $90 billion plan to build a new fleet of tanks, cannon, and troop transports. Today, he told the Army why.
Garden City Welcomes Home Marines -- [Garden City News]
... and tears of joy were evident in Garden City last Friday as troops with the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment returned from Iraq to a hero's welcome
Thousands line streets to welcome home soldiers from Afghanistan -- [Telegraph]
But the occasion was marked with sadness as the troops remembered two of their fallen comrades, Captain Tom Sawyer and Lieutenant Aaron Lewis,
A New, New Media Chief at Defense? -- [Gautham Nagesh]
Seems like the White House got the memo on the importance of social media to national security.
While I was discussing the National Defense University's report on social media and national defense with former Defense new media chief Jack Holt, he mentioned that his title recently changed to senior strategist for emerging media. The reason for the new business card? Apparently, the White House has a job description out for his former position as chief of new media operations at Defense. More interesting, the position will be politically appointed. So it looks like the Obama administration not only recognizes the strategic importance of social media at the Pentagon, but they view as politically sensitive enough to warrant having their own person in charge rather than a career official.
Third Annual “GI Film Festival” to Showcase World’s Best Military Filmsby G.I. Film Festival -- [Big Hollywood]
“Seven Days in May” to Highlight 48 Films Honoring American GIs
Arlington, Virginia - GI Film Festival co-founders Brandon Millett and Major Laura Law-Millett announced today the line-up for the Third Annual festival showcasing the world’s best military films. The festival will run from May 11-17, 2009 at the prestigious Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC and other DC area venues, including the Canadian Embassy and the Russell Senate Caucus Room. The award-winning GI Film Festival is the first and only film festival in the nation dedicated to honoring American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines through the medium of film.
Not Guilty! -- [Greyhawk]
Well, this will certainly further disgruntle those disgruntled vets*:
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Rep. John Murtha cannot be sued for accusing U.S. Marines of murdering Iraqi civilians ‘in cold blood,’ remarks that sparked outrage among conservative commentators. The appeals court in Washington dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Marine who led the squad in the attack. The judges agreed with Murtha that he was immune from the lawsuit because he was acting in his official role as a lawmaker when he made the comments to reporters.
Update on military voters in NY 20 District -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Hans von Spakovsky at NRO has this info about the number of military voters in NY 20 who got disenfranchised by the two Democrats on the Election Board.
DHS Unveils New Seal and Threat Table -- [America is an Obamanation!]
In light of recent revelations regarding the true nature of the threats to our way of life made clear in a recent report, we at the Department of Homeland Security have decided to change our focus from foreign terrorists to a menace of a decidedly more domestic nature. As a result, we felt some changes were in order.
....Right now, we remain at Threat Level Yellow, though please be advised that Fox News, talk radio and right wing blogs are considered to be at Threat Level Orange! Updated Threat Table...
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and 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.
Easter MMIX -- [Grim's Hall - Grim in Iraq]
This is the second Easter in a row I've spent in Iraq. This morning's service at sunrise was nice, and it is good to spend part of the day in reflection. Just as at Christmas, there is a positive sense that we are doing good works here, and that faith is in harmony with those works.
Easter Sunrise Service -- Baghdad -- [DVIDS]
The Easter Bunny Was AWOL -- [My Point of View - in Iraq]
I get dressed and head out...to a cloud-covered day with rumblings in the distance. Thunder. No way. We don't get that here. It's really dark over by BIAP. Wow. It's really raining over there. Dang...I have to deliver the paper today all over VBC in the rain. No Easter chocolates or eggs hidden on the way to chow or to the media operations center. The chow hall was teasing people this morning because there was a huge, brightly decorated basket by the exit...with NOTHING in it.
U.S. continues to transfer responsibility to Iraqi government -- [Centcom]
American forces in Iraq continue to transfer more responsibilities to the Iraqi government and their security forces as part of the security agreement that went into effect on Jan. 1, a Multi-National Force - Iraq general said Wednesday. “Our combat forces will be out of the cities by June,”...
Partnership in Transistion SPOT -- [DVIDS]
Package on Iraqis taking the lead from US forces
FEPP -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
Part of closing a FOB is to inventory all the property you plan on leaving behind and giving to the ISF or GOI element moving in (FEPP Inventory=Foreign Excess Personal Property). On a small Patrol Base its a pain in the ass, on a big FOB its daunting at best. Before we get authorization to give the property to the IA it has to be offered up to any Coalition element that might want it. It makes sense, it seems imprudent to wantonly give away property simply because one unit no longer needs it.
Progress -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
We’re compiling a brief right now to show the progress we’ve made since the deployment started. Those of you who have been reading s4atwar for a while might recall that when I first started talking about closing/transitioning FOBs we were told that we might very well be ahead of Corps with our plans.
Easter in Afghanistan -- [DVIDS]
Easter services held for service members in Bagram, Afghanistan
Marines Prepare For Convoy
Motor transport Marines, with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, in southern Afghanistan discussing the dangers of their mission
Several Militants Killed in Failed Attacks -- [DVIDS]
Eight militants were killed April 11 in two unrelated incidents in Warak and Logar provinces.
22 militants killed in clash in Afghanistan -- [Winnipeg Press/AP]
The Interior Ministry said the gunbattle occurred Saturday evening when an Afghan army convoy came under attack. Police came to their aid and a clash ensued in which 22 militants died, it said in a statement.
The U.S. said the joint forces were attacked Saturday by gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades while patrolling in Shinkay. They fired back and called in close-air support, a U.S. statement said.
Deputy Commander of ISAF Lt.Gen. Jim Dutton gives his thoughts on the year ahead in Afghanistan
Al Qaeda's Shadow Army commander outlines Afghan strategy -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
LWJ exclusive: Abdullah Said, the new leader of al Qaeda's paramilitary organization, explained his plan to defeat the Coalition in Afghanistan.
Moving Beyond the Short Term -- [Registan - in Afghanistan]
The one good thing about the war dragging on this long is we actually have a good record now of failures (and far fewer successes). There was the British agreement to hand over security in Musa Qala, in Helmand Province, to a group of tribal elders and their tribal security forces. Even as Americans tended to criticize the deal, many Afghans at the time lauded the arrangement—Weesa, for example, a Pashto-language newspaper in Kabul, wrote, “such decisions benefit our people.” Yet within a few months, the Taliban had violently occupied the entire area, and despite the high-profile “reconciliation” of Mullah Abdul Saleem, who promised to partner with the British to provide security, there is almost no government security presence beyond the city limits. It was an abounding failure.
Afghan people must 'see a difference' in their lives, general says --
Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette was taken aback by the initial interactions he had with Afghans when he arrived in Kabul last summer as NATO's point man in the information war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
"I had some expectations as to what were going to be the questions that I was asked and ... they came with questions that were much more along the lines of conspiracy theories..."Things like, 'General Blanchette, you are not going to tell us that the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Germany all together are not able to get rid of a bunch of guys hiding in caves?
NATO Night Fever, Stayin Alive, Stayin Alive -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
Many linguists, hired as contractors, previously held important positions within Afghanistan before their families fled. Some were university professors, some were doctors, others were government officials; it runs the gamut. It's very interesting to hear about their past Afghan lives. From my observations, there is a subculture of linguist hierarchy on US bases, based on their prior Afghan status, and related to their present status. For example, translators who work for Generals, Colonels, or are considered the primary translators for high profile meetings with Afghan Ministers, Governors, etc., hold greater status than other linguists down the food chain. Think in terms of an unofficial military rank, civilian style. Makes sense right? Well,...
Catching Up, A Picture Post -- [A Year In The Sandbox - in Afghanistan]
I’ve been pretty bad about updating lately so I’m just going to put up pictures from the last month or so to catch back up, then I’ll start writing again. Click the pics for a bigger version.
Spartan route clearance team clears way to better commerce in Wardak -- [Combined Joint Task Force - 101- in Afghanistan]
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (April 11, 2009) -- The responsibility of making Afghan roads safe for civilian and military traffic is a daily reality for Soldiers of the route clearance team attached to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, known as Task Force Catamount.
Canadian soldier leads Islamic prayers during tour in Afghanistan -- [CANADA NEWS]
..."I'm far from being an expert on Islam, I only did your basic Islamic studies. This is purely a voluntary effort for the well-being of the community on the Kandahar base." ...ElMasri said he's not bothered that the prayers were held in a church building because in the end it's a house dedicated to the Creator, no matter the religion.
The AfPak Challenge - Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer opinion -- [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
When Gen. David Petraeus testified on Capitol Hill 11 days ago about the new US policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the story was relegated to the inside pages of major papers. What a contrast to the media circus when Petraeus testified on the Iraq war.
Taliban assassins gun down female provincial council member -- [LWJ]
The Taliban assassinated a female member of Kandahar's provincial council in a drive-by shooting in the insurgency-plagued southern province.
Tense situation here in the Horn of Africa. Action is imminent… -- [ - in HOA]
What began a few days ago has now reached epic proportions of unrest and danger here in Djibouti. Right now, we are heading into day 5 of this tragic situation and no resolution is in sight. I can not begin to tell you how many hours of sleep have been lost trying to get a resolution to this matter, but it may come down to Congressional Action, Presidential involvement - US Navy SEAL Teams, Army Delta Force. Hell, launch them all; planes, helo’s, get the destroyers involved. What ever needs to be done, it needs to be done NOW.
"Imminent Danger" -- [Greyhawk]
...Because, under orders, "If he was not in imminent danger, they were not to take this sort of action."
Seems to me Captain Phillips was in imminent danger from the moment armed pirates boarded his ship - but I'm no expert on the fine points of law of the sea. But the following point was stressed repeatedly throughout that press conference, too:
I think my interpretation is that there's a legal counsel somewhere just outside the picture who placed an awfully restrictive ROE on the folks involved in this effort. Into exactly what ear he whispered this advice I have no idea. But ...
Pirate Rescue -- [Greyhawk]
...For my part, I wonder if they'll consider arming crews now? Four pirates can overwhelm a ship crewed by 20+, grab a hostage, and keep the US Navy and two thousand Marines tied up for days? How many such victories can we expect in the future?
Not to discount the very real heroics involved here, and I love this story as much as anyone - but how about we don't hit the snooze button now?
Face of Defense: Guardsman Hopes to Make Difference in Africa -- [Defense Link]
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, April 13, 2009 – For U.S. Africa Command’s new deputy director of operations and logistics, the words “I can’t do it” won’t cut it.
...Barfield said he wants to make a difference while serving with Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
“There are maybe one or two moments in your life where you get an opportunity to make an impact that will be universal and historical,” he said. “And we’re here. It’s hard for me to contain my excitement just thinking about it — that I’m part of this. … History is being written, and we are the author. From private to the general, every one of us has a piece of that.”
The task force employs an “indirect approach” to counter violent extremism in the region by conducting operations to strengthen partner-nation and regional security capacity to enable long-term regional stability, prevent conflict and protect U.S. and coalition interests.
Pirates Beware: Next-Gen Snipers Could Get Guided Bullets, Super Scopes -- [Danger Room]
American snipers are already center-of-the-bullseye accurate - just look at the three shots that ended the Somali pirate standoff in the Indian Ocean. But tomorrow's sharpshooters could be even sharper still, if a slew of Pentagon research projects work out as planned.
Rescued U.S. Captain Aboard USS Boxer
Being Right Today For The Wrong Reasons Makes For Bad Tomorrows -- [Threats Watch - Steve Schippert]
There is something going very wrong in Washington, and you need to be aware of it. You don't have to be a Somalia expert or even a national security or counterterrorism expert to follow along here. And follow you must. For the thinking you are about to witness is hazardous to your - our - national security. The
U.S. Military Considers Attacks on Somali Pirates’ Land Bases -- [Bloomberg]
The U.S. military is considering attacks on pirate bases on land and aid for the Somali people to help stem ship hijackings off Africa’s east coast, defense officials said.
The military also is drawing up proposals to aid the fledgling Somalia government to train security forces and develop its own coast guard, said the officials,
Why The Pirates Are Immune From Attack -- [Strategy Page]
Somali pirates are now operating as far east as the Seychelles, which are a group of 115 islands 1,500 kilometers from the African coast. The islands have a total population of 85,000 and no military power to speak of. They are defenseless against pirates. So are many of the ships moving north and south off the East Coast of Africa. While ships making the Gulf of Aden run know they must take measures to deal with pirate attacks (posting lookouts 24/7, training the crew to use fire hoses and other measures to repel boarders, hanging barbed wire on the railings and over the side to deter boarders), this is not so common for ships operating a thousand kilometers or more off the east coast of Africa.
Captain Phillips is no hero -- [Daily Kos]
The pirates' modus operandi is that they hold the crew, ship, and cargo harmlessly until a lot of money is paid to them. Phillips "heroic" actions put his crew and himself at risk. If he'd done nothing except acquiesce to the pirates' demands, there would have been no risk, just possible discomfort until the extortion money was paid. Instead he put himself and the Seals at grave risk.
Arab Foreign Ministers In Letter To Obama On 'Two-States' Solution -- [MEMRI Blog]
At an April 11 meeting in Jordan, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan, as well as Arab League secretary-general 'Amr Moussa, wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on the "two-state" solution, to be delivered by Jordanian King 'Abdallah when the latter visits Washington next week.
Obama's Team vs Al-Qaeda Linked Al-Shabaab -- [Jawa Report]
Drudge links to this disturbing article regarding the arguments among Obama's team in regards to al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab. Some want to strike al-Shabaab's training camps while others want a non military, more patient approach. The reasoning for the later?
...What is most troubling is that it seems that the Obama administration isn't clear as to Shabaab's intentions. Not knowing the best response to terrorist groups is one thing, but not understanding intentions is quite another.
990 Heroes Awaiting Adoption -- [Soldiers' Angels]
Happy (belated) Easter!! -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...Over the long weekend we also picked up a truckload of freight from the APO, did our weekly shopping to stock up the kitchen for the outpatients, visited hospital inpatients on behalf of their families, made our weekly rounds to the nurses' stations with candy and coffee for them and supplies for their patients, and of course kept the donations shelves for the outpatients stocked with blankets, clothing, and personal care items.
Soldiers' Angels flag for Camp Bucca Medics -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
I recently attended a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program put on by the Army reserve for soldiers who recently returned from deployment, along with their families. It's a great program, geared to help soldiers and loved ones readjust to the return to civilian life.
Help a Soldiers' Angel give the gift of time to her returning soldier -- [Miss LadyBug]
A Soldiers Angel has planned a special gift for her Soldiers homecoming. She needs help in voting for him.
...I was wondering if you had a network of people that would be willing to help me out in this. It is VERY easy to vote. No personal info is required and it only takes a minute.
Here's how it works.
1. go to www.redhorsemountainranch.com
2. click on 'win a family dude ranch vacation' under Guest Story Contest
3. click on Roselle Portin and VOTE.
The contest ends April 15th.
I know it's a big favor. I just wanted a really special way to send a very big 'thank you' to Xxxx and his family (he is not aware of this). If you could help I would be so thankful.
Easter Baskets for Military Kids -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2009 - A California based troop-support group has collected and mailed more than 600 Easter baskets as part of April’s observance of the Month of the Military Child.
Flight Nurse Provides Care in the Air -- [DVIDS]
...Members of the 455th EAEF are on call 24-hours-per-day, seven-day-per-week, covering Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. The unit has three types of missions: an alpha alert with an hour response time for critically injured; bravo alert, with a two hour response time, for patients who do not need immediate evacuation; and a scheduled flight twice a week for patients who need care or treatment that cannot be provided at their deployed location.
Each alert, depending on the situation, requires a different amount of personnel. On an alpha alert there is a three person crew, consisting of one nurse and two medical technicians that allow the team to quickly respond and get airborne. A bravo alert crew has...
The Real Hollywood Supports Our Troops -- [Big Hollywood]
As a veteran, I want to say “Thanks” to Hollywood.
Too often, the only thing we hear about the Industry is that a new movie is coming out that portrays our soldiers as near mindless half-wits turned into raving murderers by America’s unjust wars. But that kind of nonsense is not the whole story. Recently, J.J. Abrams, the director of the new “Star Trek” re-boot packed up cast members like Chris Pine, Eric Bana, and the lovely Zoe Saldana and flew off to premiere their film. This premiere was not for a bunch of overpaid, over-pampered movie stars in some gaudy theater. Instead, it was in a dusty hangar in the Middle East, and the audience was made up of our troops. And that is not the exception.
My experience with Hollywood as a soldier for over 20 years has been entirely different from what one might think.
VA secretary embraces 'personal calling' of serving veterans -- [AFPN]
WASHINGTON -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki is a no-nonsense leader who wants veterans to measure his performance and that of the department he leads through concrete results, not rhetoric.
Catch-up picture post! -- [Bad Dogs and Such - home from Iraq]
So we got off the airplane in Dallas. You all know how godawful and long that trip is (and if you don't, imagine...well, don't imagine it). Anyway, we got off the plane shortly after 0700, trudged through immigration and customs, walked out, and...people were there. Nice people. People who were simply there to welcome us home.
Obama’s Potemkin Military Reception=No Scandal; Troops Plan Who Will Take What Questions From Bush=Huge Scandal -- [Flopping Aces]
Remember this headline from 2005: Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged
It dominated the headlines and the television news-analysis for days, and the fabricated scandal was utterly dishonest. The so-called “staging” involved no manipulation whatsoever. A group of soldiers who were scheduled for a televised chat with President Bush were “caught on tape” discussing ahead of time who would answer questions on what subjects. There was NO discussion of WHAT should be said.
Now there is evidence that Obama perpetrated an actual fraud right under the watching eyes of the press, handpicking Obama voters to represent on television the views of our soldiers, and the press reports nothing but the fraudulent story.
‘We Serve Too’: Some People Get Itby Bob Hamer -- [Big Hollywood]
I recently saw “Brothers at War,” a powerful new documentary by Jake Rademacher. As I exited the theater I quickly put on my sunglasses. I’m sure it was just allergies…macho undercover FBI agents don’t cry…but my eyes were misting up. What really moved me were the deployment scenes. This documentary “got it.” I’m not sure Hollywood has captured the impact of a combat deployment on our military men and women and their loved ones.
Iraq: The Land of Lennox? -- [NewsBusters]
In case you were hungry for really, really bad news from Iraq, one set of stations is still pumping it out: radical Pacifica Radio, subsidized by millions from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
On April 9, the sixth anniversary of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, their flagship program "Democracy Now!" renounced its own name by decrying the imperialistic American transformation from a dictatorship into a parliamentary democracy. The headline was "We Didn't Create a Paradise In Iraq; We Created a Hell."
AP:'Mad as Hell' About Bloggers, Google, Aggregators -- [NewsBusters]
The Chairman of the Associated Press had some sharp words for those darned ol' Internet interlopers out there. He said he's "mad as hell" over those who "walk off with our work." Though Chairman Dean Singleton didn't exactly specify who he was talking about, according to Politico, the wire agency has been targeting Google, Bloggers and news aggregator sites such as Huffington Post of late.
Unreal!... US Media Ignores Story Of President Obama's Brother Molesting Young Teen Girl -- [Gateway Pundit]
The British media is all over this story.
The US media?... Not a peep.
Could you even imagine if a Republican president's brother had been refused entry to Britain after reportedly being accused of an attempted sex attack on a 13-year-old girl?
Could you even imagine?
You asked, I’m telling -- [Hooah Wife]
This past Saturday on my radio show, I tackled the very complex and controversial topic of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).” Rep Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in March that would repeal DADT and ultimately change military rules to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military. Rep Patrick Murphy (D-PA) has since replaced Ellen Tauscher and his background as the first Iraq War Veteran to serve in Congress has given more credibility to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
General Ray Odierno: we may miss Iraq deadline to halt al-Qaeda terror -- [Times Online]
The activities of al-Qaeda in two of Iraq’s most troubled cities could keep US combat troops engaged beyond the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, the top US commander in the country has warned
Dedication -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
A MEDEVAC mission comes down, and Urgent litter. A C-Spine fracture related to a rollover MVC. The weather is bad, but MEDEVAC is still Amber. Thunderstorms and blowing dust are all over the area. Nothing else is flying because of the weather, but we take the patient. We load the patient on my bird and eight people risk their lives to make sure he gets to the best care available.
Clear, Hold and Build in Shulla, Baghdad -- [First Lieutenant Matthew Valkovic - SWJ]
If there's one word to describe what is going here in Iraq right now, between all the parties involved--US forces, the Iraqi security forces, the government of Iraq, the insurgents/militias, and--lest we forget--the Iraqi people--it is transition. What makes it difficult is that while each these groups are going through their own separate transition, each of these transitions are inextricably linked together.
RAINY DAY -- [Mark Gunther]
Our Iraqi border battalion is doing fine. We have begun implementing a training program in which we are in the crawl phase of training their trainers on basic soldier tasks as well as U.S. border patrol operation techniques. It has taken longer than we would have liked to set this up due to the way the Iraqis work their shifts. If miss a key person one week they will be off the next week and then you have to come back the third week. I know this sounds like they get a ton of time off but you’ve got to remember that they live at these border forts 24/7 when they are at work.
Military: Iraqi truck bombing kills 5 US soldiers -- [Breitbart]
A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden truck into a wall around a police headquarters in northern Iraq on Friday, killing five American soldiers and two Iraqi policemen in the single...
President Obama Visits Baghdad -- [My Point of View - in Iraq]
Something pretty cool happened yesterday.
Our First Sergeant comes into our office, "OK! The man is here, who wants to go see him?" We all stared at him; silence engulfed the room. "Well?" he said. "You better decide now because you don't have much time."
I was by the main entrance when President Obama walked in, staff and media pool in tow. Everyone started clapping and yelling. Everyone's personal camera was up taking in video or taking pictures. He walked up to us and shook hands...making his way around
... I've attached a short snippet of video of the President speaking to the bottom of the blog. It's been compressed too so it's a little low res.
Iraq to receive airspace from U.S. side -- [Aswat Al Iraq]
BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: The Iraqi cabinet authorized the minister of transport to sign a deal with the U.S. side to receive the national airspace, according to a cabinet press release on Thursday.
“Receiving the Iraqi airspace was one of several civil and military responsibilities conveyed by the U.S. forces to the Iraqi side,” read the release as received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Trying To Bring Back The Good Old Days -- [Strategy Page]
...Iraqi Airways has, after 19 years, resumed regular flights to Europe. The economy continues to experience exuberant growth, despite the crime and corruption. In the 1990s, Saddam had used the UN embargo as an excuse to loot and ruin the national economy. In the 1970s, before Saddam took over and launched two ruinous wars, Iraq was a prosperous country with a vibrant economy and culture. Most older Iraqis want to get back to that, and so do their children, who were born after the good times ended.
The Ninth of April -- [Greyhawk]
April 9th, 2003: The U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division is fighting a battle of rapidly diminishing ferocity in the streets of Baghdad. A few blocks away from where the final shots echo a made-for-TV moment unfolds - United States Marines pull up in front of the hotel where reporters have gathered in hopes of a CNN in '91-style view of the war and topple a statue of Saddam Hussein while a small knot of Baghdad dwellers looks on...
War Games -- [Army of Dude]
So imagine my excitement over the announcement of a videogame based on actual events in the Battle of Fallujah. Six Days of Fallujah, a third person tactical shooter (more Full Spectrum Warrior than Call of Duty) is set to release next year, with the narrative lifted from the experiences, pictures and diaries from the Marines in the battle.
Corruption is still a major enemy -- [Bouhammer]
Click that link and read that article to see how today in 2009 we are still fighting corruption as a major enemy and obstacle to achieving goals in Afghanistan. Granted we have been there since 2001 and embedded with the Army since 2002, but we have only been mentoring the police since 2007. Prior to TF Phoenix being made to embed with the police, we usually fought the police in battle. Yes, they were our enemy and it was not uncommon for us to kill them. Then one day a General or two decided we would not embed with out “friends”.
We are only two years into mentoring them and it is going slow. Anyone who reads this blog regularly or has in the past knows that I consider corruption one of the 3 main reasons why we are struggling in Afghanistan.
Handling Civilian Casualties and their Aftermath Is a Critical Failure -- [ Registan]
While air strikes in Afghanistan—recently lauded as the most accurate ever—are a major problem, they are not the entirety of the problem with regards to American strategy and tactics. Another glaring problem in how the U.S. conducts operations is the continued use of so-called “night raids.”
Taliban Goes Green -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
I'm not talking US dollar green, nor wearing St Patrick's Day green to avoid being pinched, or in the case of the Taliban, murdered. Murder being the extreme St Paddy's day version of being pinched. They haven't turned wacko environmentalist on us either, unless you consider opium exporters participants in the "green" movement.
No, the Taliban have gone green, as in... emerald green. Its a beautiful gemstone soldiers and contractors covet and purchase at the base bazaars, in large sized carats,
Torkham Gate Border towards Afghanistan -- [fablabamy]
"... NO PASSPORT CHECKING?'
I'm at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the foot of the Khyber Pass, filming towards Pakistani side. I am standing about 6 feet from the Durand Line where there is a low concrete wall and large metal gate but there isn't much difficulty for people to go back and forth. The green building on the right is the the Pakistan Border Guard post and the gringo with the rifle has his right foot just about on the Durand Line. The blurry green sign in the distance on the left says "Welcome to Pakistan". Many people hire a shared taxi car to bring them to the border on one side, walk across, then get into another shared taxi car on the other side. It's between a 0.5 to 1km walk and you can hire men to push you, your children, and cargo across the border area in those wagons.
Violence threatens aid in remote Afghan mountains -- [AFP]
...Years of isolation mean the basics are not there. There are no roads to reach many villages, there are not enough experienced contractors, materials and building equipment are scarce.
At the same time, security remains tenuous, with attacks by militants and criminals on foreign and local troops increasing in the area by 120 percent in February and March compared with the previous year.
Hajji Gul Zamon, governor of Kunar's Naray district, said the proximity of Pakistan was fuelling unrest and holding back reconstruction as insurgents cross the porous border and stage attacks.
"For security... I really request that my government send more Afghan forces so we can put them at the border and stop the bad guys coming over from Pakistan," he said.
One step forward... -- [Greyhawk]
Next step: explain to the Pakistani government that all the Obama admin "tough talk" about "blank checks" and "exit strategies" is really just a regurgitation of key Party talking points from 2006/2007 and intended solely for the placation of the rubes back in the States, and we're actually a reliable partner. (No, this will not make the papers.)
But if we have to yield on the drones for our part of the bargain we're screwed. They're central to our plan, which acknowledges Pakistan is more important than Afghanistan but is no place for soldiers:
Pakistani, Afghan envoys say Obama plan not enough -- [DAWN]
...‘Why does Afghanistan or Pakistan get less resources allocated to solving a bigger problem ... than say for example some failed insurance company or some car company whose real achievement is that they couldn't make cars that they could sell?’ Afghan ambassador Said Jawad, speaking alongside Haqqani at a forum organised by Washington's Atlantic Council think-tank, also said Obama's new strategy marked a welcome reorganization of US goals.
But he stressed that Afghanistan needed more help for a major expansion of its security forces, from the 134,000 army troops and 82,000 police personnel foreseen in the Obama plan.
To counter the resurgent Taliban, the Afghan army should number at least 250,000 and the police 150,000, the envoy said. ‘Right now you are paying with your blood and treasure in Afghanistan by sending your sons to fight for us,’ Jawad said.
Swat peace agreement collapses -- [LWJ- Bill Roggio]
...Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the radical pro-Taliban Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed [TNSM or the Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammed's Law], recently called off the peace agreement and ended all peace camps in the region. Sufi blamed President Asif Ali Zardari for failing to sign into federal law the legislation to establish sharia courts and blamed Zardari for any repercussions.
"From now on, President Zardari will be responsible for any situation in Swat," Sufi said, according to Dawn. "The provincial government is sincere and our agreement with the provincial government is intact, but we are ending our peace camp."
It Is Time To Call Or Write Your Congressman -- [Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure]
Something ugly is going on in Afghanistan. I don't know who the perpetrator is, but that's up to your Congressman to find out. Here's what I can tell you; at FOB Gardez and Camp Phoenix (and I'm checking to see if this has happened elsewhere as well) there used to be MWR internet facilities, complete with computers for the Soldiers to use. "Permanent" residents of the FOB could buy monthly internet access for a fee from a private provider, usually a bunch of Indians with a satellite dish. The fee varied, and while it was high, it just got higher.
What is Iran up to in Afghanistan? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Now that Iran has been invited back to the table of negotiations on Afghanistan, I decided to revisit Iran's role in Afghanistan for the Middle East Times.
You can read the whole piece here.
The Pirates Game -- [Outside the Wire]
Something strange is happening in the situation of the captain being held hostage by Somali pirates.
... As person who travels through a lot of foreign countries I know the U.S. position rather well--if you are taken hostage or kidnapped and held for ransom, you are pretty much on your own.
So, this situation has interesting components. Lets start with what we know about the pirates:
Started operating more frequently in 1990s
They are in it mostly for the money
Usually do not harm crew
Hold cargo for ransom
Made about $150m last year
Some Pirates linked to terror groups
This particular group is thought to be linked to AQI
The other party to this situation is President Obama.
China Has A Secret Plan -- [Strategy Page - James Dunnigan]
China forcefully protested the recent publication of a U.S. Department of Defense report on Chinese military power. The Pentagon study pointed out that Chinese defense spending had doubled in the last decade, and that even this number was deceptive. China, like all other communist nations, regularly hides most of its defense spending elsewhere. Thus while the current official Chinese defense budget is about $59 billion, the actual spending is about twice that The U.S. report pointed out that the Chinese have no military threats along its borders, and the only justification for a major military buildup is to provide sufficient force to take over Taiwan quickly (before American forces could intervene), or impose its will on various offshore territorial disputes.
China insists that its military spending is purely for defensive purposes. What China does not comment on is
Al-Qaeda terror plot to bomb Easter shoppers -- [Telegraph]
An al-Qaeda cell was days away from carrying out an "Easter spectacular" of co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks on shopping centres in Manchester, police believe.
NEFA Foundation: Jihad Website Financing 101 -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a new post from online jihadi discussion forums about how to finance jihad-related websites without being "ensnared" in a trap by law enforcement: “If you [have] not gotten arrested yet, that does not mean you are not being monitored, and if your use of the electronic payments method has not brought you woes, then that does not mean it is safe...And
Jawa on CNN and Some Sage Advice -- [Jawa Report]
This morning Nick Thompson from Wired was on CNN discussing jihadi websites, specifically our recent takedown of several Taliban websites illegally hosted in the US. I hear that there were screenshots of The Jawa Report and mention of our little blog by name.
Trace Adkins and the USMA Glee Club -- [HT:Bouhammer]
DON'T FORGET TO GO TO i-TUNES AND DOWNLOAD THIS LIVE PERFORMANCE TO SUPPOERT THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
Las Vegas, 5 April 2009. Trace Adkins sings Till the Last Shot's Fired with the West Point Cadet Glee Club
DEFEND OUR MARINES: - THE FALLUJAH CASE
Sgt Ryan Weemer has been acquitted of all charges. Only one defendant remains to be cleared.
The iSoldier -- [Nick M. Masellis - SWJ]
How the Army Can Capitalize on Technologically Savvy Troops Upon arriving in Iraq as a stout 18 year old in March 2003, I was well-versed in the tactics associated with being a Military Police (MP) soldier. I knew how to respond to ambushes and perform evasive maneuvers if caught in a skirmish. I could instantaneously react to any potential nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. And I knew the Rules of Engagement directed by the Army through and through.
Yet, I had no knowledge of Islam nor understood the difference between Shi’a, Sunnis and Kurds.
Biden Welcomes Home Soldiers At Fort Bragg -- [CBS News]
Vice President Joe Biden visited North Carolina’s Fort Bragg Wednesday to welcome home members of the 18th Airborne Corps after a 15-month deployment in ...
Biden Welcomes Troops Home From Iraq
‘Welcome Home’ -- [Waynesville Daily Guide]
Giving the final welcome home, Martin encouraged troops to relax and enjoy their time. That was an easy command to follow for many
Dutch TV Finds Bin Laden Not Guilty of 9-11 Attacks -- [Gateway Pundit]
A Dutch TV show has found Osama Bin Laden not guilty of the 9-11 attacks.
How many times does Osama Bin Laden have to take credit for the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 before people get it?
Oops! Obama's press office has an e-mail snafu -- [CNN]
...In another exchange, one staffer recommended nixing a line about Obama meeting with leaders from the Veterans Service Organizations and Military Service Organizations since the president was now meeting with them before his remarks in an event closed to the media.
"Can we keep it and just change it to say before. Its good for us to say we are meeting with them," another replied.
Ode to Obama: First Movie About ‘The One’ On the Way -- [Big Hollywood]
Hang on to your keesters: the first movie to celebrate the ascension of Barack “The One” Obama to the
throne Oval Office is on its way to a theater near you:
Sony Pictures tells Whispers that it has acquired the rights to distribute the HBO documentary “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.” In describing the film, the media giants say that the previously untitled flick won’t be just a collage of biographical and campaign video. Added will be interviews with staffers and campaign aides to give us a behind-the-scenes look at life in Obamaland. It ought to be pretty polished: Ed Nortons Class 5 Films did the work.
Obama the rationalist -- [Politico]
...All these ideas represent mainstream thinking within Democratic foreign policy circles. None of Obama’s announcements come as a particular surprise, having been promised or foreshadowed by his 2008 campaign. But the steps are cumulatively striking — especially when taken in such rapid succession — showing Obama’s willingness to quickly walk across onetime political red lines. And they eliminate any doubt that a sharply different philosophy now guides Washington’s approach to the world.
Obama’s moves have launched a debate. Conservatives are calling Obama naïve, arguing that his belief in rationalism and community is hardly realistic in a world driven by murderous hatreds and all manner of nations angling remorselessly for military and economic advantage.
Obama seeks $83.4 billion in special war money -- [Breitbart/AP]
President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.
Obama's request, including money to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.
Obama is also requesting $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan.
Karl Rove Slams Joe Biden On Meeting With Bush
"He's a serial exaggerator. If I was being unkind I'd say he was a liar. It's a habit he ought to drop... It's a made up fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality. He's making these things up out of whole cloth. You should not exaggerate and lie like this when you are the Vice President of the United States."
Breeder regrets dog sale to Biden -- [Daily Local News]
After the story about the puppy sale ran in the newspapers and on TV newscasts, three dog wardens from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture showed up on Brown's doorstep for a kennel inspection.
And they showed up again and again for four visits over four months.
She said she has also received death threats from animal activists against her and Biden, which were reported to the Secret Service and the FBI. Bob Slama, special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Philadelphia field office, said the agency "cannot comment on an ongoing investigation."
J.J. Klaver, special agent at the Philadelphia field office of the FBI, said his agency is not investigating the matter at this time.
...While the First Family was shopping for a Portuguese water dog, Brown said those breeders were getting in touch with her to find out what her experience had been like.
Brown has a few words for them.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq Trip Footage Gets Lost on Way -- [WaPo]
Some of the most important video of the Obama presidency went missing yesterday.
When President Obama made his surprise visit to Iraq, a CBS News crew acting as the pool for the networks shot footage of him meeting with U.S. troops. A CBS executive said Pentagon officials required the network to hand the tape to a military courier, who was to ferry it to a CBS representative outside the secure military zone so it could be transmitted to all the networks.
Hours went by; no tape. No one seems to know what happened. There was talk of sandstorms and a bungled handoff. The networks had to make do with Defense Department footage of less-than-top quality. The tape was finally located and belatedly handed off to CBS -- minutes before the 6:30 newscasts.
President Obama in Baghdad (Part two) -- [Greyhawk]
Here's the unedited video coverage of the President in Baghdad.
...Okay - as consolation for those who expected boos to greet the CinC - from the opening of video part one, guess what's on that card (I guess the teleprompter doesn't work on 220 circuits) he's reading?
That would be the names of the commands in Baghdad - "Multi-National Force-Iraq, Multi-National Corps-Iraq..." Seriously, those shouldn't be that unfamiliar to their commander.
Iraq - We’re Winning!!! -- [A Second Hand Conjecture]
A funny thing happened on the way to Iraq, President Obama declared that we’re winning.
Anyone who’s been keeping up to date knows we’ve been making great progress, and I say, winning in Iraq. President Obama acknowledges the courage and sacrifice of our troops, while ignoring the sacrifice of the Iraqis, and the choices President Bush made to enable progress to be made.
Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq, Sees ‘Progress’ (Update5) -- [Bloomberg]
...The president met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the base and said he pledged “an orderly, responsible transition” to Iraqi control during the planned withdrawal. Low clouds and dust prevented Obama from traveling into Baghdad by helicopter for the meeting.
“I communicated to the prime minister that we are strongly committed to an Iraq that is sovereign, stable and self- reliant,” Obama told reporters.
Biden: US will stick to Iraq pullout timetable -- [IC Pub./AFP]
The United States will stick to its timetable for pulling troops out of Iraq despite recent violence, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday as President Barack Obama visited Baghdad.
"I'm not worried about that at all. We will draw down along the timeline we suggested," Biden said in an interview with CNN, asked if an upsurge in attacks blamed on Al-Qaeda might derail the US timetable.
The Vicar of Baghdad. -- [Dum Spiro Spero]
Canon Andrew White has been working in Iraq, which he considers to be the most dangerous place in the world for Christians.
A video from the AFTH, summer '07 -- [Made A Difference For That One]
The author is Matt Blonde, a respiratory therapist and member of the critical care air transport team.
I think the video is incredible because it shows the journey into and back out of the hospital, step by step for an injured troop. What is amazing to see is how many different dedicated people have a hand in the care of each and every patient.
•April 5, 2009 -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
Onto my favorite topic, the Sons of Iraq. Juan Cole has a guest post today talking about the Sons of Iraq being transitioned to Iraqi government control. Key quote:
And Tom Ricks (whats an s4atwar post without a Ricks link?) has some insight straight from the source, Col. Monsoor (Gen Petraeus’ Executive Officer during the surge), which at least gives me the confidence that people in the chain of command have considered the issue-even if there isn’t a surefire solution. He has something of a unique take on how the security agreement could exacerbate the problem.
Iraqi Court Reduces Sentence For Bush Shoe-Thrower -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Iraqi appeals court has decided to reduce the prison sentence of Muntazar Al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at U.S. president George W. Bush in December 2008, from three years to one year, including the time he served prior to sentencing.
COIN: The Flipside -- [Afghanistan Shrugged - in Afghanistan]
There are always two sides to every fight. Often the side that’s most neglected here in Afghanistan is the battle we fight within our own forces. Overcoming the fear and xenophobic tendencies that quite a few of the soldiers deploying here posses is a decisive point in the fight that not many discuss.
...Some of the soldiers that have arrived here have previous experience working with indigenous forces. That experience is with the Iraqi Security Forces and I’ll borrow a line from my friend Troy at Bouhammer, “Afghanistan isn’t Iraq”. The Afghans are much different than the Iraqis. Troy, I’ll give the royalty check to Kesterson.
These preconceived notions get in the way...
Talking to the Taliban & Other Enemies -- [Outside the Wire - JD Johannes ]
...Warburton and others used the same technique Lt. Col. Steve Russell used in Tikrit--I can come here with the hand of friendship or with a pistol, the choice is yours. Or, as in the message Marine General Mattis is reputed to have sent to Iraqi tribal leaders: "I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all." But, you must be willing to use the pistol. You have to back up your position of strength with lethality and effective COIN operations.
The Soldiers and Marines know how to do this, they have done it before. The component required for the President to fulfill is to employ enough combat forces on the ground and to back up the Soldiers and Marines with the same metal they display while outside the wire.
The enemy reads the New York Times, they watch CNN. They will take the President's measure and if it is lacking, if they think he will blink first, ...
'The war that has to be won': but will our soldiers be given the chance to win it? -- [National Review - Bing West]
...Progress? Our troops won in Iraq, al-Qaeda lost, and a democratic government emerged. That merits more than a nod toward "progress." The Marines respectfully listening were primed for the fight; they intend to kill Taliban, not to be killed. Warriors want to be praised for winning, not consoled for being battered. Asked after the speech what he expected the troops to accomplish, Obama replied that our goals were not clear and that a strategy was being devised: "We've seen a sense of drift in the mission in Afghanistan ... what kinds of strategies and tactics we need to put in place. I don't think we've thought it through."
...For the time being, Obama's leadership in foreign policy will revolve around Afghanistan--what he has called "the war that has to be won." Troops have been dispatched and a minimalist budget has been proposed. Obama has promised to unveil his strategy at the NATO meeting in April. What does Obama think "winning" means in this context? The ghost of Vince Lombardi will be listening with interest, as will 90,000 U.S. and NATO European soldiers.
Couple of "thank yous" from Afghanistan -- [Soldiers' Angel Germany]
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting all of us serving our country. My heart stirs with pride each time I look at the U.S. flag flying right next to the Afghan flag here at our base and I am proud to be doing my part in helping to give these wonderful people the basic liberties and essentials that I took for granted in the United States.
These young kids, these soldiers, setting aside their X-boxes and college parties, sleeping in on Saturday mornings and designer clothes, these soldiers have traded them in for exhausting and dangerous duty,
Somewhere near Pakistan -- [Miserable Donuts - CSMBones - in Afghanistan]
Pouring a cup of coffee and I heard the distinct sound of incoming 107mm rockets. Couple in the FOB. Nobody hurt. Missed me again.
Listening In Kabul -- [RealClearPolitics - David Ignatius]
Try to picture the unlikely scene here Monday: A brash U.S. diplomat and America's top military officer are sitting at a conference table with a ferocious-looking delegation of bearded and turbaned Afghan tribal leaders, including one man who spent two years as a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. And they are soliciting the tribal chieftains' advice on U.S. policy options in the Afghanistan war.
Poland to boost military presence in Afghanistan -- [Trend News]
Visiting Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Wednesday promised to send more troops to Afghanistan. "Yes, we are going to increase our troops to Afghanistan," Kaczynski told newsmen at a press conference after holding meeting with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai here
We Told You: Taliban Decide Not to Kill Pro-Taliban Canadian Traitor -- [Jawa Report]
Seriously, what moron didn't see this one coming from a mile away? After "holding" the woman behind the pro-terror Jihad Unspun website for months and threatening to behead her if ransom wasn't paid, the Taliban have decided that maybe they won't kill Beverly Giesbrecht after all.
Thank you Canada for not caving in to the obvious ruse for Beverly, who calls herself Khadija Abdul Qahaar online, to help raise money for the Taliban.
Send in the SEALS -- [A Second Hand Conjecture]
Well, here’s a true foreign crisis to test the President with.
My response is noted in the title. And we should kill the pirates. In fact, after rescued the hostages, and killed the pirates, we should get all Jeffersonian with the rest of them.
...Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk confirmed that the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama had been attacked by pirates about 500 km (300 miles) off Somalia and had probably been hijacked. The company said it had 20 American crew on board.
U.S. Official: Hijacked Crew Free -- [NPR]
Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the American crew of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship had retaken control from Somali pirates who hijacked the vessel far off the Horn of Africa.
...The U.S. Navy said that the ship was hijacked early Wednesday about 280 miles (450 kilometers) southeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.
U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the closest U.S. ship at the time of the hijacking was 345 miles (555 kilometers)away.
Trust Is Issue, Pakistan Tells U.S. -- [New York Times]
Two senior American officials came under withering public criticism from Pakistan on Tuesday, with the Pakistani foreign minister saying that “trust” between the countries was in question, particularly over the issue of American missile attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Pakistan Asks U.S. For 30 Billion Dollar 'Marshall Plan' To Stabilize Region -- [Washington Times]
Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani called Tuesday for a $30 billion "Marshall Plan" for Pakistan and Afghanistan over the next five years to fight al Qaeda, blunt anti-American sentiment and secure Pakistan from extremists bent on destabilizing its civilian government.
Taliban advance on Buner -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The local tribes in Buner gathered to devise a strategy to deal with the Taliban and formed a tribal lashkar, or militia, to halt the advance. More than 1,000 civilians and policemen are said to have taken positions to oppose the Taliban advance into Buner. The tribal leaders ordered the Taliban to leave the district or be forcibly ejected.
The Taliban claimed they are on a peaceful mission. "The Taliban said they meant no harm to the people of Buner, adding that they had come to make a peace deal with the people," Daily Times reported.
But just one day after moving into Buner, the Taliban attacked the tribal militia.
Iranian nuke plot vaporized in the city: NY banks unwittingly aided in material transfers, says DA -- [Daily News]
Chinese financier Le Fang Wei indicted in plot to send nuclear materials to Iran.
The Manhattan district attorney's office has smashed a sinister plot to smuggle nuclear weapons materials to Iran through unwitting New York banks, the Daily News has learned.
Reconciling The State Secrets Doctrine with Due Process in Terrorism Related Cases -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
A few weeks ago I wrote a short piece for Jurist commenting on US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's recent ruling in the Al-Haramain Oregon NSA wiretapping case. That ruling held that the court be allowed to review classified information relevant to the case in order to determine whether its availability for review by counsel is critical to due process and fairness in the proceedings. If so, Judge Walker ruled, opposing counsel must be afforded a conditional opportunity to view such evidence (see below).
Bad News: Fat Bastard Traitor Adam Gadahn in New Video -- [Jawa Report]
Word from IntelCenter that a new al Qaeda video featuring America's only indicted traitor, Adam Gadahn, is going to be aired on al Jazeera. The name of the video is, "So That the Gaza Holocaust is Not Repeated."
Video: Psychotically angry military veterans and the academics who must tolerate them -- [Hot Air]
A special treat from Penn State’s instructional series on how to cope with “Worrisome Student Behaviors.” It seems our heroine’s been saddled with one of those ill-educated military types and, try as she might to reason with him, his bestial rage keeps getting in the way. Whatever is she to do? Watch and learn, my friends, in case you too are confronted by one of these menacing ne’er-do-wells.
"I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD" -- [Salon]
Unfortunately," McNinch told Sgt. X, "yours has not been the only case ... I and other [doctors] are under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD. It's not fair. I think it's a horrible way to treat soldiers, but unfortunately, you know, now the V.A. is jumping on board, saying, 'Well, these people don't have PTSD,' and stuff like that."
Contacted recently by Salon, McNinch seemed surprised that reporters had obtained the tape, but answered questions about the statements captured by the recording. McNinch told Salon that the pressure to misdiagnose came from the former head of Fort Carson's Department of Behavioral Health. That colonel, an Army psychiatrist, is now at Fort Lewis in Washington state. "This was pressure that the commander of my Department of Behavioral Health put on me at that time," he said. Since McNinch is a civilian employed by the Army, the colonel could not order him to give a specific, lesser diagnosis to soldiers. Instead, McNinch said, the colonel would "refuse to concur with me, or argue with me, or berate me" when McNinch diagnosed soldiers with PTSD. "It is just very difficult being a civilian in a military setting." McNinch added that he also received pressure not to properly diagnose traumatic brain injury, Sgt. X's other medical problem.
Unicorn 6 this is COB6, WTF? Over. -- [BlackFive - Cob6]
This is what happens when your President is more interested in being a “citizen of the world” than being a G**Damn American! Naturally the MSM ignored the story but the Telegraph picked up:
White House officials travelled to France at the start of March to discuss a visit by Mr Obama to Omaha Beach, the site of the American Cemetery, established in 1944 just after D-Day and where 9,387 American personnel are buried. ..."It wasn't going to happen," said an American official in Washington. "We went through the motions to placate President Sarkozy but giving special treatment to France was not on our agenda.
...Mr. President, honoring our dead is not giving special treatment to anyone other than those men who earned it. As far as...
"LONE SURVIVOR'S" DOG EXECUTED BY TEXAS THUGS; SUSPECT ON THE RUN - UPDATED - [Third Wave Dave]
Last week, Edmonds and three of his buddies decided they needed to have a little fun. Fun for these assholes consists of killing dogs. That was their first mistake.
...One night last week at about 1:00 am, the four arrived at a private ranch. After exiting their vehicle and locating a dog, they executed it with a .357 handgun. Just for fun. The dog's name was DASY, and she belonged to Marcus Luttrell. (Editors Note: War Hero)
Marcus Luttrell's Dog Murdered by Punks in Texas
Today on Glenn Beck's show, he had former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell on to talk about what happened to him last week. You see it seems some dumb-ass punks were driving the Texas countryside, summarily executing dogs.
HEALING FIELD WILL REMEMBER OUR FALLEN MILITARY MEMBERS -- [Healing Feild]
Mikes Guardian Eagle Foundation and the Gold Star Families of Utah are excited to announce plans to present the largest Healing Field in history honoring our country's fallen military members. This event will include nearly 5,000 flags, displayed in the shape of the United States of America, in perfect rows spread across five acres of lawn. Each flag represents a military service man or woman killed during the current conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan and will bear the name and rank of the serviceman or woman, branch of service,and country of incident.
..."Please plan to join us from July 23- August 3 at the Weber County Fairgrounds, as we show our respect to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom,states Bob Lehmiller, chairman of the event.
Why Do Soldiers and Veterans Seem Reluctant to Seek Help? -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Roman General]
I have thought about this for a couple of days and did not know what to say for a minute. But then I started thinking about why I was not persistent with receiving help. My initial help seeking came from the insistence from ex-wives, on a conscious level I did not believe that I needed help even in the face of my insanity. It took many years of my flailing about to become convinced of my need for assistance.
I believe the reason for many veterans reluctance to receive help, on the internet or in the office has to do with
Secretary Gates' Defense Budget Proposals -- [Austin Bay]
...Gates understands the importance of perseverance in war -- the weapon of spine, determination, will.
Osama bin Laden committed many strategic blunders, but one of his greatest was underestimating American will. References to America "fleeing" from Somalia litter captured al-Qaida documents.
Credibility of commitment -- the will to win -- is the psychological backbone of deterrence. A determined foe will scorn advanced weapons with near-magic capabilities if he believes you won't use them or that he can force you to fight on a battlefield where the weapons are not decisive. He wagers his will to win far exceeds your comfy, bourgeois fecklessness.
Credible commitment, Gates wrote, extends beyond winning the war of bullets to winning the war for long-term security, which requires
Gates: Champion Of Our Troops -- [NY Post - Ralph Peters]
God bless Bob Gates: Our secretary of defense can't be bought, can't be bullied and can't be fooled. And he values our men and women in uniform.
"This is a reform budget," the SecDef stated yesterday as he unveiled the Pentagon's new priorities. He insisted that we must "critically and ruthlessly separate appetites from real requirements."
Gates appears to have made the right call on every single issue. And, instead of beginning with a focus on big-ticket weapons, he started by highlighting the needs of those who serve.
This SecDef wants to stop cutting troops to "save" money, only to funnel the funding to well-connected contractors. The Army and Marines will get their promised end-strength increases, while the Navy and Air Force won't cut more sailors and airmen.
Bob Gates vs. the Congress: Who You Gonna Pick? -- [Abu Muqawama]
James Inhofe should be ashamed of himself -- not for saying the new budget is "gutting" our military and "disarming America" but for traveling all the way to Afghanistan on the tax-payer's dime and failing to discover that the kinds of weapons systems and skillsets needed for Afghanistan are exactly the kinds of weapons systems and skillsets privileged in the budget. Don't use the war in Afghanistan a cheap prop, Senator, if you're not even going to study the nature of the war itself.
But I am struck by something Thom Shanker of the New York Times said on the Diane Rehm Show a few weeks back. He said that if he had to place a bet on Bob Gates or the Congress winning the fight over the budget that he would put his money on Bob Gates. The great Bob Work of CSBA agreed.
From Afghanistan, Inhofe Responds to Obama's Defense Cuts Saying Obama Will "Disarm America"
Man portable "pain ray" under development -- [Ace of Spades - Purple Avenger]
Raytheon is working on downsizing the tractor trailer sized "pain ray" device the military has developed.
WTF? Home? Iraq had less problems... -- [The Intrepid Reporter - home from Iraq]
OK Dear and Gentle Reader, The Intrepid Reporter is back and has all sorts of 'fun from the home front' stuff going on. Needless to say, I made it home for my well deserved R&R (Rest and Relaxation to you civvies) or my historical fave, I&I (Intercourse and Intoxication) both of which I've been attempting at a new land-speed record. Household Six and the Chilluns have been thrilled to have me home, but nonetheless, there have been a few 'wrinkles' in an otherwise pristine time.
New York Times Front-Page Celebrates the Absolute Moral Political Authority of Our Troops in Iraq -- [Ace of Spades - Ace]
There are quite a few reasons to knock this as bias. The New York Times never seemed to think it was worthy of prominent announcement that The Demon Bush was warmly received by troops being the most obvious.
Another obvious bit of bias is the claim that Obama "won" the cheers of troops. Did he? In what manner? By what action? It seems more likely that Obama didn't "win" anything from the troops, rather that the troops had, as patriotic Americans and sworn defenders of the Constitution, given the commander in chief the reception they extended to all of their superiors. ... the NYT does not identify with the troops. The troops are not heroes in the NYT's narrative, making their own decisions based on their own psychologies and agendas and drives and wants. No, in the NYT's narrative, the troops are objects of the hero Obama's actions, chips for him to win in a high-stakes game of geopolitical poker. And in their headline, he wins them.
Who’s using the military as a “global propaganda machine” now, AP? -- [Michelle Malkin]
The Associated Press has really outdone itself. Just look at this headline:
Analysis: Obama achieves defining TV shot in Iraq
It’s a drool-drenched piece on Obama’s masterful “achievement” — manipulating a politically expedient photo op with the troops in Baghdad. The AP “analysis” — or rather, adjunct public relations release — praises Obama for creating an image that will help him politically:
O’Reilly Reports Anti-Bush Lawyer’s Terror Connection as Olbermann Ignores -- [NewsBusters]
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists,"
US Senator McCain returns to wartime Vietnam jail -- [France 24]
US Senator John McCain leaned over a miniature mock-up on of the Vietnamese prison where he was held for years as a wartime prisoner.
"I'm trying to figure it out," he said, studying the scale model on a return visit to the prison site that is now a museum.
Then he found the spot.
"I was in this block here... which we called the 'Thunderbird'," he told fellow Senator Amy Klobuchar. "And I lived in this block, which we called 'Desert Inn'."
McCain, who lost his bid for the White House to Democrat Barack Obama in November, made the museum his last stop before flying to Beijing, his next destination on an official Asian tour.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Being There is Easy, Not Being There is Hard -- [Bullet Wisdom - in Iraq]
We sat in a long conference room staring at a projection of our counterparts' planned mission.
...It would be best if interested parties synchronized both plans, but they did not. One was to occur with 72 hours of the other. The Iraqi Army’s plan jeopardized the Coalitions hard-won partnerships of the previous five months. Our team made many attempts to bring the sides to a common table to delay the Iraqi mission and synchronize the two efforts, but for a variety of reason, it failed to happen. The Coalition made in clear to our Iraqi counterparts:
This mission jeopardizes the bigger picture. We will not stand in your way, but if you go, this time you go it alone.
First Impressions -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
After almost one month of sitting around, I finally saw Iraq first hand. Not from within the base or from within a helicopter but via a convoy. Our move from Camp Taji to Camp Liberty made this happen. With all our gear, equipment, and possessions packed we left the wire. Our hymen finally broke…sorta speak. Granted many soldiers here are already combat veterans; as a company it was a first.
In all my military experience, nothing ever goes right the first time. Thankfully, this was not the case and our convoy went perfect. Not one wrong turn. Not one communication problem. Not one IED going off or bullet being fired. We arrived just as we left with not one iota of surprise.
Farewell 2nd Platoon Paladins -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
I returned from EOD to find my company had completely restructured to be more like a front line infantry company. Being AT (Anti-armor) we originally had an abnormal set up. We only have enough people to make a HQ platoon and one additional platoon. We jokingly refer to ourselves as Delta platoon now. This restructuring meant we would have some extra NCO’s and officers. Two of our platoon sergeants, and two of our platoon leaders were handed off to the battalion to fill in somewhere else.
Land Bridge Patrol
Iraqi Flight Surgeons Speak on World Stage -- [MNF-I]
After years of sanctions and forced isolation, two Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) officers recently stepped on the world stage to present their study at a NATO conference in Germany.
Iraqi Contractors Provide Base Security -- [MNF-I]
More than 100 Iraqis were recently contracted to secure the outer perimeter of this base to help protect the men and women serving here.
“This contract is a first of its kind,” said Lt. Col. Raymond Reyes, Joint Base Balad (JBB) Regional Contracting Center commander. “Putting a requirement to employ 80 percent of the contractor’s workforce from the local area is an innovative contracting solution to implementing the Joint Campaign Plan.
Al Sadr calls for million men march in Iraq -- [Alsumaria Iraqi Satellite TV Network]
Al Sadr Front led by Sayyed Moqtada Al Sadr called for a Million Men March on Baghdad on April 9, the anniversary of the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, to protest the continued US military occupation in Iraq, Al Sadr said.
Friday prayer Imam in Sadr City Sheikh Jasem Al Mtairi urged Iraqis in general and Sadrists in particular to head to Al Firdaws Square and denounce occupation.
Lt. Gen. Austin talks about the mission
Airman Helps Iraqis Bury Past, Rebuild Future -- [DVIDS]
It has been said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But a group of Iraqi contractors, with the help of an Airmen, are taking a different approach. They are burying the past to rebuild a new future.
Iraq is Offering Newlyweds the Chance to Spend Their Wedding Night in Saddam’s Bed -- [Doctor Bulldog & Ronin]
From the “you just can’t make this stuff up” file:
Spend your wedding night in Saddam’s bed for 150 pounds!
Looking for an exotic honeymoon destination? Well, try out war-ravaged Iraq where you can have sex in Saddam Hussein’s bed for just 150 pounds [$220 U.S.] per night.
Yes, it may sound a little awkward, but Iraq is offering newlyweds the chance to spend their wedding night in the former dictator’s bedroom in his palatial boudoir in the town of Hillah, some 60 miles south of capital Baghdad.
Lt. Col. Yingling on Leadership -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
Another article on military leadership from Lt. Col. Paul Yingling
Lt. Col. Paul Yingling—then stationed at Fort Hood, Texas--made a name for himself when he published “A Failure in Generalship” in Armed Forces Journal in the spring of 2007. Shortly thereafter, a general brought in every single captain in the division and began to verbally berate Lt. Col. Yingling and his article. Yingling was then put in charge of a prison project in Iraq, but there was a bit of a twist: the assignment was to reform the detainee system in Iraq, and Yingling performed superbly, largely as a result of his unconventional thinking.
There are those who use civilians as human shields -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...and there are those who give their lives to shield them.
Railroad politicking -- [Regstan - in Afghanistan]
Ahmadinejad is due in Kazakhstan this week. Besides fishing rights in the Caspian and energy policy talks, I imagine the old railroad plan might come up. There are a number of infrastructure plans in progress across Central Eurasia, though how many are permanently ‘in planning’ and how many are soon to be made reality is not easy to definitively ascertain. From the ridiculously unrealistic ideas to the more practical, there is quite a wide gradient
Taliban Door Bell -- [Miserable Donuts - CSMBones - in Afghanistan]
I was walking into an ECP of one of our very small unit locations and I looked up into a not so friendly welcome sign. "Front Towards Enemy".
Some Troops Embrace Afghan War -- [Wa Post]
Ties to 9/11 Build Enthusiasm for the Fight, but Deployments Have Taken a Toll
Leave Turkey’s bid to join EU to us, Nicolas Sarkozy warns Barack Obama -- [TIMES Online]
The love-in between Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama proved short-lived after the French President warned his US counterpart yesterday to keep his nose out of the issue of Turkey’s membership of the European Union.
Troops pledged as NATO shows support for Afghanistan strategy -- [Stars and Stripes]
Words of support for a new Afghanistan strategy translated into pledges of more NATO troops Saturday at the alliance’s 60th anniversary summit. But, despite their pleasure with a new U.S. administration and tone, European allies were still hesitant to greatly escalate their involvement in the war.
Military Term of the Day: International Peace Keeping Force -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
Since the NATO summit this week, during which America's awesome diplomatic supremacy was able to rally a whopping 35 Belgians. 150 French Gendarmes and a battalion of British troops for operations in Afghanistan, I think we've lost track of what a true International Peace Keeping Force really is.
"We totally endorse and support America’s new strategy in Afghanistan, But...
"We totally endorse and support America’s new strategy in Afghanistan," Sarkozy said at a joint news conference with Obama on Friday at the Palais des Rohan. But, he said, there will be no extra French combat troop commitment, as "France’s troop increase was taken last year."
Wahida's Home -- [Adventures in Jalalabad, Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
When we first arrived in Jalalabad, Wahida extended an invitation out to Kate and me to visit her home.
...Her mother and father at separate times told Kate and me that we were their daughters, and to please feel at home. Her father came and spoke with us for a few minutes. He is the Department Head of the Veterinary School, and talked about Afghanistan, that it used to be a beautiful country when he was a boy, that there were 'bad' men now, the Taliban, that make life difficult, and that Americans are very kind. He, along with the rest of his daughters and family, are considered to be very educated compared to the average Afghan. Wahida had explained to us that some professors who have relationships with the Taliban question her father as to why he sends his daughters to the university. Apparently their home was fire-bombed two years ago. He also received threatening letters ...
Afghan/Coalition Force Kills Militant Involved in IED Attack That Killed 4 Canadian Troops [DVIDS]
One militant was killed and eight suspected militants were detained in Kandahar province, April 4, during a joint operation to bring down a Taliban cell directly linked to the March improvised explosive device strikes that killed four Canadian troops.
Change!... Protesters in Turkey Carry Anti-Obama Signs- Chant "Obama Go Home!" -- [Gateway Pundit]
If this were Bush they were protesting it would have dominated the news today.
The protesters say Obama's visit will bring more turmoil to the Middle East.
Warnings on Iran -- [WSJ]
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the nuclear threat from Tehran.
...Americans in key positions have noticed this Israeli message. In a meeting Thursday at the Journal, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told us that "there is a leadership in Israel that is not going to tolerate" a nuclear Iran. Tehran's atomic designs, he said, were a matter of "life or death" for the Jewish state. "The operative word is 'existential.'" When we asked him whether Israel was capable of inflicting meaningful damage to Iran's nuclear installations, his answer was a simple "Yes."
What President Obama Should (But Won’t) Do About North Korea’s Missile Test -- [One Free Korea]
...Obviously, Kim Jong Il would not have ordered this test if previous resolutions had been effective at deterring him. The resolutions themselves were not the problem; implementation was. UNSCR 1718 in particular contained some tough and potentially effective provisions. But the term “United Nations” has become an oxymoron, and several of its member states found it convenient to undermine those resolutions. As a result, they had no measurable effect on the North Korean economy, such as it is.
...The great irony here is ...
Speaking of Missiles... [Greyhawk]
The Obama administration has signaled it wants to scale back the deployment of a missile defense system that was initiated by former President George W. Bush. The White House is also talking about dropping plans for missile defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Obama to Lift Travel Restrictions to Cuba, Impose Travel Restrictions to Antarctica -- [Amy Proctor]
President Obama plans to lift restrictions on Cuban-American families so they can travel to Cuba and send unlimited funds to relatives. This is seen as a move to begin normalization of diplomatic endeavors with the communist regime of Fidel Castro.
At Least 90 Dead in Italian Earthquake -- [Gateway Pundit]
At least 90 people were killed in an earthquake in Italy today.
As many as 50,000 may be homeless from the worst earthquake in 30 years.
Sky News has video:
Obama: U.S. Is Not At War With Islam -- [CBS News] What is sure to be most closely watched in this speech is Mr. Obama's message to the Muslim world, saying that although "binds are strained," the U.S. is "not at war with Islam."
"Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not and will never be at war and with Islam," Mr. Obama said. "In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject." Mr. Obama continued by adding that the U.S. relationship will not only be "based on opposition to terrorism."
'Qaida-Taliban combo has chemical weapon formula' -- [Times of India]
NEW DELHI: The al-Qaida-Taliban combo plans to use parts of the Middle East as launch pads for attacks against the west. Not only so, the groups
have also developed some expertise in making bio-chemical weapons, NWFP police chief Malik Navid told a Pakistan National Assembly’s standing committee.
Notorious terrorist indicted in US eludes capture in Iraq, slips into Syria -- [LA Times]
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Ibrahim had managed to elude coalition forces — possibly while aiding the Sunni insurgency — before he recently crossed into Syria, federal law enforcement and former CIA officials believe.
The FBI is eager to catch Ibrahim, whose real name is Husayn al-Umari, and has ramped up efforts to find him, releasing an age-enhanced sketch of Ibrahim to the AP, the first known picture of him ever made public.
But time is running out.
As American forces draw down in Iraq, the FBI worries that locating Ibrahim could become harder if he slips back into the country
Another Soldier Has Been Given the Haditha Treatment! -- [Do the Right Thing]
Government withholds evidence to imprison another soldier. The forensic findings alone doesn't support 1st Lt. Behanna's conviction. This is more evidence of the eviscerated JAG corp using rules from the Saul Alinsky "play book". Persecute, prosecute, demonize, demoralize, and falsely convict citizens, in this case an Army Officer.
Smoke on the Water -- [Greyhawk]
At least, not enough time to visit wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan (wow - deja vu). Here's an email exchange with an unnamed Mudville informant near Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany:
...No, seriously. He didn't come by.
I assume they flew into Ramstein on AF1 and then by helo to the NATO conf. If they weren't going to come to LRMC I'm not sure why they didn't land at Spang instead, which would have been closer to Strasbourg.
Something like 4 hotels were set ablaze by protesters in Strasbourg.
OUR TROOPS NEED YOU -- [Operation Love]
...they ARE very much in need of basic hygiene items, snacks, and the like. I've created a page on our website (along with a clickable, downloadable and printable flyer on that page) to get the word out about their needs. Please click here to view:
MacBeth continues exposing IVAW -- [This ain’t Hell]
Our favorite IVAW member has brought out his third and fourth videos in a series in which he claims he’ll expose IVAW for the fake organization that it is. He claims it took so long to bring out this video because he’s been in the hospital with heart problems. In case you haven’t seen them, his other two videos along with our commentary are here and here.
Thanks for your support! -- [Afghanistan Shrugged - in Afghanistan]
A while ago I complained that the food here at the FOB was almost non-existent and of extremely poor quality. Crap would be a generous term to describe its consistency, quality and desirability. My buddy Troy, from Bouhammer, put out the call for support. On top of that Soldiers Angels, Web of Support and Operation Cookiejar picked up the gauntlet to support us. Let’s put it this way, tons and I mean tons of people started sending us stuff.
April is Month of the Military Child -- [You Served - Claire]
April is designated as the month when the children of our warriors are acknowledged and appreciated for their sacrifices as their father or mother spend months and years away from the home fighting for our Country.
Are you listening? Those Key Spouses are getting tired ... -- [SpouseBuzz - MaintToad1]
Commanders -- First Sergeants ... what's up with your support of YOUR Key Spouse programs? Some seem to be working wonderfully, but more often than not, it seems that your Key Spouse may be getting what little time you have left at the end of the week or even the end of the month ... so ... are you giving it the time it deserves, this Key Spouse program?
Defense stocks off ahead of spending plans -- [Reuters]
WASHINGTON/ATLANTA - Stocks of defense contractors moved mostly lower in late morning trading on Monday as Wall Street waited for word on the Pentagon's recommendations for arms programs in the fiscal 2010 budget.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is scheduled to announce his spending proposals for the 2010 budget that begins October 1, at a news conference later on Monday, after making a series of phone calls to key lawmakers. But congressional aides said details were unlikely to emerge before his briefing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EDT.
I Give Up -- [Villianous Co]
Here is the list of the 20 largest militaries in the world today:
How many stable democracies do you see on that list? How many that are friendly to the United States?
Now, how many flagrant violators of both human and civil rights are there? This is the context in which Robert Gates wants to slash military spending:
...It is axiomatic within military circles that we're always fighting the last war and never ready for the current one. During the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, we were resource constrained in both people and weapons. So it is frankly astonishing to me that the Secretary of Defense would blithely assume the only future conflicts we need to be prepared for are counterinsurgencies, or that he thinks it's good strategy to hamstring the military for decades simply to ensure current spending aligns with this administration's priorities.
Concerning Military Contractors -- [The Captain’s Journal]
Regardless of what one might think, the use of military contractors is still ongoing in Iraq, and increasing in Afghanistan to the point that they are being used to conduct force protection at some Forward Operating Bases. This all raises several important observations.
What is the best part of being a military wife? -- [SpouseBuzz - AWTM]
Above Spider-Man or the Hulk -- [The Voice in My Head]
WALKERTOWN -- Young Matthew Armstrong knew that Saturday would be a big day, since it was the first day of the season for his Little League team. But Matthew, 8, of Walkertown, didn't know how big the day would be until an announcer called him up to the microphone during the opening ceremony. She asked him where his dad, Frank Marques, was.
"In Iraq," he replied shyly.
And what message would he like to send to Marques?
"That I love him," Matthew said.
Coming or going, she's there for the Marines -- [Los Angeles Times]
As always, Froehlich wanted to give each Marine a handshake, a hug and a word of welcome and appreciation. She was there when the battalion left for Iraq in
Bragg commander back on home soil -- [FayObserver]
Before the plane landed, some eager families held welcome home signs while others clutched balloons and flowers.
Lt. Gen. Austin returns from Iraq (w/video) -- [FayObserver]
Fort Bragg’s commanding general returned home Sunday after a 15-month deployment in which he was in charge of the ground forces in Iraq.
Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III and about 40 members of the 18th Airborne Corps Headquarters landed at Green Ramp on Sunday at 1:26 p.m.
Editorial: Welcome home, 846th -- [Salisbury Post]
... the folks back home have been very aware that the 846th and thousands of other troops have been doing their duty in Iraq. Welcome back, 846th.
Solemn media witness arrival of fallen troop -- [USA Today]
Cameras were flashing when the remains of Phillip Myers, an Air Force staff sergeant killed in Afghanistan, returned "home" to Delaware's Dover Air Force Base late last night
No live filming was allowed, nor were "stand-ups," in which a commentator speaks into a camera as the action unfolds in the background. Photographing family members is banned. "Movement required to perform duties should be conducted in a slow and deliberate manner in an effort to not distract from the event," the rules state.
Arrival of fallen troops at Dover no longer secret -- [Delaware Online]
Late Sunday night, the arrival of Myers' body at Dover Air Force Base in a flag-draped transfer case became a powerful reminder to his nation and the world of the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces and the high cost of war.
His return also marked an early watershed in the administration of President Barack Obama, a nod in favor of transparency and away from secrecy favored by prior administrations.
Airmen Cover the Fallen with American Flags for Families -- [Air Force Link]
...The shipping specialists are part of the final process for fallen heroes prior to beginning their journey home to their loved ones. The mortuary staff prepares the remains of fallen U.S. servicemembers, as well as government officials and their families stationed abroad in Europe and Southwest Asia. Since 1955, the remains of more than 50,000 servicemembers have arrived at Dover AFB for identification and funeral preparations
Euro-Troops in Afghanistan: The U.S. Perception -- [Abu Muqawama]
Yesterday we noted the difference between the Times and the Guardian over European commitments to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The two big Sunday newspapers in the United States, meanwhile, were more downbeat. Headlines from The New York Times and The Washington Post were, respectively, "Europeans Offer Few New Troops for Afghanistan" (online) and "NATO Backs Obama's Afghan Plan but Pledges Few New Troops" (A12).
Good News: First U.S. Based Pro-al Qaeda Magazine Released -- [Jawa Report]
It's called Jihad Recollections and is a production of Charlotte, NC al Qaeda supporter Samir Khan's self-styled jihad media company, as-Fursan. You can download a PDF version at the links provided by Sammy here.
The magazine is 70 pages of the same kind of garbage that you'd expect from al Qaeda itself, and certainly not from an American living in North Carolina.
Can Obama shut down the Internet? -- [Hot Air]
When Mother Jones and Jules Crittenden agree, isn’t that a sign of the apocalypse? Both take a hard look at the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, S.773 sponsored by Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The bill addresses the need to protect vital networks from cyber attack, but it gives a lot of power to the executive branch — perhaps too much power.
Action Alert: Senate Could Grow Army End-Strengh -- [The Corner - Pete Hegseth]
Senate Could Grow Army End-Strengh
Just received word of this very important amendment to the fiscal year 2010 Budget Resolution, sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R., Tex.) and Lieberman (D., Conn.).
Senate Amendment #904 would allow for the U.S. Army to increase the active duty force by 30,000 soldiers, a good first step toward alleviating some of the strain placed on the force and giving Army leaders the strategic maneuvering space needed to address personnel needs and aggressively plan for future requirements. In addition, the amendment aims to do so without increasing the federal deficit (breath of fresh air).
Details of the Amendment show that, by creating a deficit-neutral reserve fund, Congress could allocate monies not otherwise spent during the budget year towards funding an end-strength increase to the U.S. Army from 547,400 to 577,400.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Pentagon report: Economy could hamper training of Iraqis -- [Stars and Stripes]
While security improvements in Iraq are continuing, the training and equipping of Iraqi forces could be hampered by the global economic crisis and drop in oil prices. According to the Pentagon’s latest quarterly report on the Iraq war, the economic challenges could "curtail the rate at which Iraqi forces can become fully modernized, self sufficient, and ...
Transfer of Authority -- [The Stone Report - in Iraq]
Yesterday I covered the military area of operations transfer of authority Basra Provence. The British have had a presence in this area since the original coalition of the willing in 2003.
When Gordon Brown become the UK Prime Minister he pledged to withdraw from Iraq. Yesterday, as the BBC put it, was the beginning of the end for British forces in Iraq.
Basra Offensive Was ‘Turning Point’ for Iraq, General Says -- [Defense Link]
Last spring’s Iraqi-planned and Iraqi-led military campaign that successfully subdued insurgents in and around Iraq’s southern city of Basra was a turning point in the conflict, a senior U.S. officer posted in Iraq said today.
When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided in March 2008 to attack insurgents and criminals lodged in Basra, Multinational Corps Iraq “had its first opportunity to gain the initiative in the south,” Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III told reporters at a Baghdad news conference.
“We didn’t hesitate in partnering with the Iraqi security forces,” Austin, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, recalled. “And while it was an Iraqi-conceived and an Iraqi-planned operation, we took the opportunity to provide our combat enablers through our military transition teams with the Iraqi units.”
Wicked Problems, Creative Thinking, and the Transcendentalist -- [Major Michael Few, Small Wars Journal]
Eighteen months ago, I embarked on a journey to pursue an academic solution for Iraq. After redeploying from the Surge, I wanted to merge the gap between counter-insurgency and stabilization and reconstruction. I wanted to figure out how WE could fix Iraq’s problems. I wanted to find a way to win. In truth, it was never simply about Iraq. I was trying to reconcile the world I knew as a boy with the world that I know as a man.
Iraqi Army Reacts to Suicide -- [Notes From Iraq - in Iraq]
Recently, the Iraqi Army suffered a loss, and my team gained cultural insight. One of the Iraqi Soldiers in the brigade that my team advises suffered a fatal shot to the head. The investigating officer scrambled to determine what happened. The situation unfolded when investigators discovered that the Soldier had left a voice recording on his cell phone. The Soldier had taken his own life. An Iraqi officer played the recording for my team. Naturally, the tearful message was saddening to hear, even though it was in another language. With a basic knowledge of the language, key phrases painted a picture of what was on the Soldier's mind--no car, hard life, no money, no wife. After the recording, our interpreters loosely translated the message.
Experience of Influence -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Today, my team was called to an Iraqi base, where the Iraqis stored a recently-captured suicide vest. Apparently, the Iraqi Army had declined to allow an US explosive ordinance team to dispose of the item. Our task was to uncover more information about the vest and to approach the topic of its disposal.
A Quick Synopsis -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
So what is it like to do a MEDEVAC? You rush out to the helicopter after receiving a 9-line and get i the air within 15 minutes. Depending on the situation, you are either going to a hospital or out to the point of injury. The mission doesn’t really matter, you still have to be in the air in 15 minutes, and depending on weather, you might be flying through some less than ideal conditions.
Iraqi Special Ops Forces, Iraqi Air Force Conduct First Joint Medevac Mission -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
This is a huge step towards full operational independence
Iraqi Special Ops Forces, Air Force Conduct Joint Medevac Mission
Iraqi special operations forces and their air force partners teamed up recently to conduct their first joint medical evacuation from the Iraqi capital.
In a Desolate Iraqi Village, War Is Far From Over -- [New York Times]
Around a mostly peaceful Iraq, Americans are withdrawing from the cities, doing less soldiering and more social welfare, like establishing factories and engaging in civics lessons.
But this corner of Diyala Province, north of Baghdad and near the Iranian border, is one of those pockets across northern and eastern Iraq where the war is still being fought much as it was two years ago, when the “surge” of American troops began.
Hate to say I told you so…really, in this case I do -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I’ve been saying for quite some time (most recently on this blog here) that while the Sons of Iraq program has gone a long way towards bringing peace to the country, it is a tenuous peace. As mentioned in the linked post, a few of us have taken to referring to it as “the big assumption.” Check out this article on recent violence in Baghdad, combine it with the key point in this post I linked to earlier from Kings of War, and you understand my conclusion that this will be a “big issue in the next year or so, if not sooner.” Sooner might be winning.
More Iraqi Vendor Shenanigans -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
I’m renting some chemical toilets for 15 days (does it seem like I spend an overwhelming amount of time dealing with chemical toilets?). The Iraqi company I am using asked me for a contract. Easy enough, I typed up a quick one page contract clearly stating what I needed and sent it off. A few hours later I found out I actually needed two of the toilets located at a different place. I e-mailed the guy and let him know the problem. His response? “I’m sorry but I have to deliver all the latrines at XYZ as the contract says.”
Australian Special Forces Kill Taliban Commander in Afghanistan -- [Bloomberg]
Australian special forces killed a senior Taliban insurgent involved in organizing suicide attacks and training foreign fighters in Afghanistan, the Department of Defence said today.
Mullah Abdul Bari coordinated bomb attacks on international and Afghan forces in the southern province of Uruzgan, the department said in a statement. Bari was killed in a recent operation by Australian and Afghan National Army troops, it said, without elaborating.
“His weapons of choice were roadside bombs and suicide bombers, and his death means that Taliban insurgents operating in the region have lost one of their key facilitators,” Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Mark Evans said.
More than 240 graduates of the first Afghan Public Protection Program were welcomed home by their community -- [DVIDS]
Tuesday during a ceremony at the Jalrez District Center in Wardak province. Hundreds of citizens waited eagerly to witness the historic event as the graduates sat sharply in their crisp, new uniforms.
Guest speaker Muhammad Halim Fidai, the Wardak provincial governor, began the ceremony by welcoming home the first class of graduates from the APPP Training Academy in Laghman province.
The graduates successfully completed five training courses over a three-week period covering checkpoint procedures, radio operations, improvised explosive device neutralization, driver’s training and first-aid, teaching them the five basic fundamentals of being security personnel.
Afghan Commandos Provide for the Needs of Kabul Villagers -- [DVIDS]
Afghan national army commandos from the 6th Kandak, assisted by coalition forces, delivered humanitarian assistance items to villagers in Kabul District, Kabul province...
ANA Commandos engage in firefight in Herat -- [Castle Argghhh]
...Afghan National Army Commandos of the 207th Corps accompanied by Coalition Forces advance on the enemy Monday after receiving small-arms and rocket propelled-grenade fire during a routine combat reconnaissance patrol in Herat Province.
Taking the Fight to the Taliban, Part 5
Final part of a five part series where journalist Josh Fortune travels along with Coalition Forces in Afghanistan in search of Taliban militants. Provided by NATO TV
Drone Attack Kills 12 After Taliban Threatens D.C -- [Danger Room]
An American drone once again struck a suspected militant camp in Pakistan. 12 people are dead, and 13 more are wounded, residents of Khadizai village tell Reuters.
It's the first known attack since President Obama announced his new war strategy for the region -- one that places heavy emphasis on destroying jihadist networks in Pakistan. The President pledged that no ground troops would be sent into Pakistan, to take out the terrorists. So the unmanned strikes are likely to increase, Pentagon officials tell Danger Room.
Afghan National Army, Coalition Forces Discover Improvised Explosive Device Facility in Helmand -- [DVIDS]
Afghan national army soldiers, assisted by coalition forces, discovered an improvised explosive device-manufacturing facility in the Kajaki District, Helmand province, Tuesday.
NATO Mentoring the Afghan Army
This story looks at the work and challenges of the 1 Rifles, a British Operational Mentor Liaison Team, known as an OMLT, operating out of Garmsir in South Helmand province.
Military Wants More Troops for Afghan War
Gen. David H. Petraeus disclosed yesterday that American commanders have requested the deployment of an additional 10,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he said the request awaits a final decision by President Obama this fall.
General: Afghan-Pakistan Insurgents Get Stronger
Afghanistan Update -- [Wings Over Iraq]
...While I respect General Petreaus' policy guidance, and indeed, it would be the exemplary way to go about the war if we lived in a perfect world and America had unlimited resources and time, he falls into the trap that John Nagl has also been accused of falling into. ...Counter-terrorism against Al Qaeda and counter-insurgency against the Taliban, blended with heavy doses of counter-narcotic warfare, leads to "hybrid war".
Senior US, Iranian Officials Meet at Afghanistan Conference -- [Wall Street Journal]
The Obama administration held its first high-level contact with Iran's government here, marking what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said could become closer cooperation between Washington and Tehran on Afghanistan and other global hot spots.
Jingle Bombs, Jingle Bombs -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
Soldiers call these colorful beasts “jingo trucks” because of all the chains and bells that make them sound like road chimes. Jingle trucks ply the roads of places like Nepal, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, often dangerously overloaded with just about anything imaginable. Like explosives and blasting caps, for instance.
This fella was steaming into Afghanistan last night. Complete with hidden compartments.
Obama plan for Afghanistan, Pakistan short on bold -- [Michael Yon - Wa Times - in Afghanistan]
...The AfPak speech was Mr. Obama's first chance to demonstrate that from his new perch he can see and more clearly understand the challenges of Iraq and AfPak. In fact, immediately after the March 27 speech, some pundits inaugurated Mr. Obama's new strategy with plaudits such as "bold."
Where's the bold?
Taliban say U.S. reconciliation offer "lunatic idea" -- [Reuters]
Taliban insurgents rejected on Wednesday a U.S. offer of "honourable reconciliation" as a "lunatic idea" and said the withdrawal of foreign troops was the only way to end the war in Afghanistan.
...President Barack Obama is redoubling U.S. efforts with more troops, more diplomatic effort and more economic assistance, but he has also already spoken of the need for an "exit strategy."
If the U.S. plan fails to show results, analysts say, time is on the Taliban side.
An April Fool -- [Deployed Teacher - in Afghanistan]
Who says the Afghans don't have a sense of humor? When I went for my tea fix this afternoon in the translators' office, I scanned their board for the latest news, interpreted from various Afghan Dari/Pashto websites. As I was reading, one of the translators motioned me over to look at his computer screen.
A Dari language news site was displayed and as usual, he started interpreting, in a serious, somber tone, what the website was reporting. He said the news just came in that there was a coup in Pakistan, and that the Pakistani president was under house arrest!
War aims and misogyny -- [Globe and Mail]
...While the emancipation of women in Afghanistan was one happy byproduct of the war, it was not the reason for it. The Taliban's murderous, fundamentalist regime played host to al-Qaeda, which used Afghanistan as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against Western countries. It was not for the advancement of Afghan women that the war was launched. The effort to rid the world of the Taliban was a matter of self-interest.
There is no doubt that this piece of family law, directed at the minority Shia population of Afghanistan, will diminish the perceived differences between the Taliban, with their grotesque misogyny and human-rights record, and the government of President Hamid Karzai. Canada and its allies must use their influence to discourage Mr. Karzai, who signed the legislation into law in February.
Helmand Parents Face Unenviable Dilemma -- [IWPR]
Kept at home their sons may join the Taleban, but if sent to study in Pakistan there’s a risk they’ll become suicide bombers. ...A high-ranking official in the education ministry told IWPR that Pakistani madrassas had been preparing radicals since at least the 1990s.
“It is true that jihadists are being recruited in Pakistan,” he said. “I was a madrassa student in Karachi in the mid-1990s, and there were foreign students – Arabs, Chechens – who were training in martial arts.”
The curriculum in Pakistan’s religious schools has remained unchanged for hundreds of years, added the official, which was a large part of the problem.
“There has been no renewal, no change,” he said. “This gives rise to radical Islam.”
Taliban fear the "Dragon" -- [Ministry of Defense]
This role was originally designed for destroying tanks, up to a distance of around 2km away, but the Gunners now manning it are accurately striking targets up to 3km away. They are able to acquire, engage and hit a target at 3km within five seconds.
More Canadians in Afghanistan -- [Castle Argghhh]
As we've discussed the Canadian use of tanks (in both positive and negative senses) in these pages, let's have a shot of some Canadian Leos, shall we? Combined with the kind of village construction that prompted the Canadians to use them.
“Winning in Afghanistan” [Belmont Club]
That’s why I think the crucial problem in the Afghanistan/Pakistan theater is to decide on the ends or goals of the mission. If we are out to defeat the Pashtuns, then the means are such and such. Actually I think it is worse than that:
British soldiers train new Afghan Army combat unit -- [Ministry of Defense]
Soldiers from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) have been working in Helmand to develop and train a new unit of the Afghan National Army
Defense Department Designs 'Baby MRAP' for War in Afghanistan -- [FOX News]
Ask any soldier who's been to both countries: Afghanistan is not Iraq. It's a different war against a different enemy in a different country with an entirely different terrain and altitude.
Historic US-Russian agreement on nuclear weapons -- [New Scientist]
The US and Russia have today agreed to allow nuclear weapons inspections between the two top nuclear powers to continue. Without the breakthrough agreement,
G-20: Obama - Medvedev to renew US-Russia relationship
G-20 Protest Turns Violent -- [ABC News]
Some 4000 anarchists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists and others clogged the streets of London's financial district ahead of the G-20 leaders' summit in
Assessing Prospects for U.S.-China-Afghanistan Cooperation -- [SWJ]
The Cold War ended almost twenty years ago but American policymakers and national security strategists continue to apply a transatlantic centric model for complex global engagements. This is particularly true in regards to Afghanistan where combat operations and reconstruction assistance are primarily driven by Western actors. Clearly, it would be foolish to dismiss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – after all, it is the most integrated and militarily capable organization in the world – or the European Union which represents the pinnacle of a successful liberal regional order.
Spy Agencies Believe North Korea Has Nuclear Warheads -- [VOA]
A well-known international research group says intelligence agencies believe North Korea has developed and deployed nuclear warheads theoretically capable of being placed on missiles. The assessment, to be explained in more detail in a report due out this week, is certain to fuel concerns about the North's planned long-range rocket launch this month.
North Korea Fuels Up for Launch -- [Danger Room]
North Korea's planned launch of a long-range missile may now be only hours away. CNN, quoting U.S. military sources, says North Korea has begun fueling the rocket on the launch pad; the missile be ready for blast-off as early as this weekend.
Some Healthy Developments in Mexico's "Narco-Insurgency" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
While the military is playing a lead role in Mexico, it is a role that is dangerous to the state. The necessity of replacing the corrupted police force is akin to what Colombia faced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Medellin and then the Cali cartels systematically bought the political protection and police cooperation that was needed. Colombia cleaned up the police because, at that time, the military was an even worse bet. The Mexican government is betting that the military is less corruptible than the police. A dicey proposition, and we won't know if that is the correct decision for some time.
Jihadist Assaults America... With Raps -- [Danger Room]
They tried suicide bombers. They tried hijacked planes. They even tried to get a hold of biological weapons. But now, an al-Qaeda-affiliate has unleashed the most diabolical plot of all: A rapping jihadist, busting rhymes in English. No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke.
Shabaab: New HQ Video Shows American Leading al Qaeda in Somalia Attacks [Who is Abu Mansoor al-Amriki?] -- [Jawa Report]
A new high quality video released by the media wing (GIMF) of the al-Shabaab Youth Mujahideen Movement shows an American leading al Qaeda aligned troops in Somalia. Previous videos and statements from al-Shabaab have shown Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, but only with his face covered.
Here is a close up.
My Written Statement for Congress on Credit Card Use by Terrorists -- [Counterterrorism Blog - Andrew Cochran]
Yesterday, the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled, "Do the Payment Card Industry Data Standards Reduce Cybercrime?" The subject of the hearing was to examine whether data security requirements for businesses that store, process, or transmit personal information during Internet payments provide sufficient protection against data breaches, fraud, and terrorism. The subcommittee invited me to submit a written statement on the use of credit cards by terrorists.
2-503 Chosen Few Remember & Honored for Their Actions on 13 July 2009 at the Battle at Wanat -- [Tankerbabe]
This past weekend was about all of the above and so much more. It will be impossible for me to find words to fully describe the events. It will be equally as impossible for me to be able to describe the privilege of being able to sit back and watch the men of 2-503 and, more specifically of Chosen Company, interact with each other. I was privileged to sit for hours and listen to them remember all of their Fallen Brothers and to talk about the memories they have of them and about how much they miss them. When it came to the Awards of Valor for those who survived the Battle at Wanat EVERY SINGLE SOLDIER could have cared less about receiving an award.
Gates Signs Policy Change for Dignified Transfer Operations at Dover -- [Defense Link]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has approved a policy change that, under strictly delineated conditions, allows media filming of dignified transfer operations of fallen service members' remains at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
The new policy is slated to be implemented, April 6, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today. If immediate family members consent to media coverage, Whitman said, reporters would be provided the basic information on the servicemember and the expected time of arrival of the flight bearing the remains.
"The core of the policy," Whitman said, "is built around the desires of the family members, and it will be the families that decide whether or not media have access to any of these dignified transfers."
Recruited to Serve and Sniff -- Again -- [Washington Post]
Ace Bomb and Weapons Detectives, More Military Dogs Being Sent Overseas
...Timi has always been the oddball of the kennel in Southwest Washington, "the quirky one," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Evans, his trainer. The dog is also an Iraq war veteran, and according to his medical file, he has nightmares "characterized by violent kicking." His veterinarian says he has had "readjustment issues" since coming home -- although not severe enough to prevent him from returning to the field.
Inside the New Military Working Dog Hospital -- [Military Times]
Extra! Hebrew Hollywood Hottie Risks Life for U.S. Troops -- [Big Hollywood]
In 1918, Theda Bara was one of three great stars in Hollywood. Leading in popularity and box office appeal was Mary Pickford. Charlie Chaplin came second. And not far behind these two giants of the silver screen, Theda Bara.
My brain is working overtime.... -- [SGT Wormy - Two Brothers, Two Countries, One Army]
Ok, so to the brain....what I really am referring to is the mental adjustment that I'm trying to make from a war zone mind frame to a civilian mind frame. It's not been as easy as I thought it would be or as easy as I wanted it to be. There have been times that have been pretty hard. It's weird. I understand how the mind gets trained and associates certain things with certain other things....I'll give you an example. In Iraq when something blew up close to the base or in maybe in the city it would shake our building. Imagine this with me: BOOM! Building shakes. Look at watch for time check. Go outside to see where explosion was. Go back inside and wait for call. Get call. Run to hospital front area. Unload casualties - not pretty most of the time. Treat injuries. Go back to office....and wait to do it again. Follow me here for a second....I'm in Ohio, at a "picking and grinning" dinner with my grandparents. The building shakes....someone slammed an outer door....my mind kind of jitters...check watch....tell self, "I'm in Ohio, not Iraq".....
Oldest U.S. Army vet is WWII WAC -- [UPI]
MILFORD, Conn., April 1 (UPI) -- The oldest surviving veteran of the U.S. Army is believed to be a Connecticut woman who was 45 when she joined the Woman's Army Corps in World War II.
Army Secretary Pete Geren visited Gertrude Noone at the Carriage Green nursing home Tuesday, The Hartford Courant reported. Seven new recruits were sworn in at a ceremony honoring the 110-year-old vet.
Contest: Best Milblog You've Never Heard Of -- [Laughing Wolf - BlackFive]
This year's Blog World and New Media Expo is doing something different. What we want to do is try to get some of the best milblogs most people have never heard of to take part. To do that, we need your help.
So, we're having a contest. In the comments to this post, list one or more milblogs -- downrange, home, retired -- that you feel are good and that people should know about.
SA helps welcome Florida Army Reserve Soldiers home (Video)-- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Well done and welcome home to the Soldiers of the 576th Army Reserve Transportation Detachment!
Wanted to mention that this month month we celebrate the 101st anniversary of the United States Army Reserve. It was established by Congress April 23, 1908 as the Medical Reserve Corps and comprised a group of 360 doctors formed to provide the nation with a reservoir of trained medical officers in a time of war.
Airmen given a hero's welcome home -- [KVBC]
A hero's welcome was given to over 100 airmen at Nellis Air Force Base after they returned from a tour of duty in Iraq Wednesday
400 soldiers return Thursday to Campbell -- [Army Times]
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — More Fort Campbell soldiers are expected to return Thursday to the Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Hot News- CNN is not your friend -- [Bouhammer]
Here is some hot news from the ground in Afghanistan….Apparently CNN now has setup a bureau in Kabul. This is probably the first time since 2002 I am sure.
Anyway, the word on the (dirt) street is that CNN does not care to cover any Humanitarian Assistance stories. All they want is direct action (kinetic) operation stories.
Run Away, Run Away -- [Armchair Generalist]
Everyone but Bill Maher is running away from this "white powder" hoax in Palm Springs, CA.
An average day in Los Angeles, and Bill Maher is dealing with yet another death threat. A personally addressed hate package, containing sinister powder, potentially anthrax, has been discovered at the Palm Springs auditorium where the 53-year-old comedian, chat show host and scourge of America's Right and Left was to perform his stand-up routine. The venue has, naturally, been shut down, the gigs before and after have been cancelled while the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating.
Military strained by Obama trip -- [Wa Times]
President Obama's European visit this week has strained Air Force heavy-airlift capabilities and obliged the military to hire more foreign contractors to help resupply U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, according to military sources.
Forget the Queen... Obama Bows to Saudi Leader? --- [Gateway Pundit]
Proper protocol is to bow before the Queen of England.
Barack didn't do that... And, he shook her hand with 2 hands- another gaffe.
But, did he just bow to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah?
The President's Date with the Queen -- [Greyhawk]
Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 United States visit to Richmond, Jamestown and Williamsburg in Virginia. In return,
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