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.
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.
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