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.)