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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.Refresh for updates.
Unwelcome Americans Cross Iraqi Bridge First -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
...As we stood to move to the ribbon cutting and bridge crossing there was an announcement. A couple of the religious leaders wanted to make statements. Everyone obliged and returned to their seats.
Sunni and Shia both stood and made the same claims. My translator began to speak, "A day of brotherhood, unity, and security. There was to be only one people; Iraqi Muslims. No more Sunni, no more Shia....."
My translator stopped speaking.
"What are they saying?" I asked.
"You don't want to know."
"Okay, sir. Coalition Forces and Terrorists are no longer welcome in this country." my translator stated.
I sat there boiling.
US Adviser's Blunt Memo on Iraq: Time 'to Go Home' -- [New York Times]
A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi government, and that it is time "for the US to declare victory and go home." The memo offers a look at tensions that emerged between Iraqi and American military officers at a sensitive moment when American combat troops met a June 30 deadline to withdraw from Iraq's cities, the first step toward an advisory role. The Iraqi government's forceful moves to assert authority have concerned some American officers, though senior American officials insisted that cooperation had improved. Prepared by Col. Timothy R. Reese, an adviser to the Iraqi military's Baghdad command, the memorandum details Iraqi military weaknesses in scathing language, including corruption, poor management and the inability to resist Shiite political pressure. Extending the American military presence beyond August 2010, he argues, will do little to improve the Iraqis' military performance while fueling growing resentment of Americans. Those conclusions are not shared by the senior American commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, and his recommendation for an accelerated troop withdrawal is at odds with the timetable approved by President Obama. A spokeswoman for General Odierno said that the memo did not reflect the official stance of the United States military and was not intended for a broad audience, ...
Time to Leave Iraq? -- [War, the military, COIN and stuff]
Ah, the joys of being scooped. I've been trying to get confirmation on an internal Army memo that has been making the rounds the past couple weeks, and have been unable to move the story much--but apparently the NY Times' Michael Gordon has. Written in early July, the memo by Col. Timothy Reese, a senior adviser to Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, titled "It's Time For The U.S. To Declare Victory And Go Home," is a whopper. While it represents the opinion of one (albeit a senior, well respected) officer, the piece is a scathing indictment of the Iraqi government and military, saying that "we aren't making the [Iraqi government] and the [Iraqi Security Forces] better in any significant ways with our current approach.
University Of Combat -- [Jules Crittenden]
The University of Alaska J-school is embedding student journalists with an Alaska-based Stryker battalion in Diyala province, one of those parts of Iraq where al-Qaeda remains a problem, posing a reasonable likelihood that the three students and their professor could be exposed to fire. Chronicle of Higher Education:
Photos From Mission Part 2 -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
This is the second set of pictures from my platoon conducting missions. These show more of my platoon and the people in my units AO (Area of Operation). I picked 5 to show below. Click here to see the entire set. There's about 50 pics total.
No kidding... -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
...Yes, the Iraqis are complaining about the dust. That's how bad it is.
The bad weather may suck for the aviators, but for the lonely Air Force Staff Weather Officer (SWO)--the lone Air Force guy among all of us Army dudes--the constant dust storms make his life easy. All the aviators just look outside, whereupon they realize that they can't see their hand in front of their face, causing everyone to give up on bugging the weather guy to argue over the weather forecast. Ah, the few perks of being the SWO.
A Really Orange Day -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
It's baaaa-aaaaack. The dust, that is. Yes, it really is this orange. Damn stuff is coming in my air conditioner in my hooch as I write this, getting all over everything - desk, computer, bed, munchies, clean clothes
Iraqi Troops Blocked by Iranian Exiles -- [Wall Street Journal]
Members of an Iranian dissidents' group formed a human blockade to successfully prevent Iraqi troops from seizing more territory in their camp north of Baghdad, in the third day of a confrontation that showed no sign of ending soon. Hundreds of Iraqi forces occupy just a sliver of territory within the sprawling camp, which is home to over 3,000 members of Mujahedin e-Khalq, or MEK. The Iraqi government said Wednesday it had asserted sovereignty over the entire camp following Tuesday's raid. But camp residents have blocked soldiers from patrolling beyond the land around an Iraqi police station established in an administrative building next to the camp's water-treatment plant. The government appears wary of trying to push deeper into the camp after the initial assault triggered deadly clashes. "If we try to leave this area without permission from the MEK they will block us, lie in front of our vehicles," said Col. Saady Husseini, the commander of the police station.
Britain Initiates Iraq War Inquiry -- [Washington Post]
Britain launched an independent inquiry into its role in the Iraq war, with the panel's chairman confirming that former prime minister Tony Blair will be among the witnesses and that it would not "shy away from making criticism." John Chilcot said at a news conference Thursday that the panel would scrutinize the period from 2001 until the present, making its investigation Britain's widest-ranging inquiry yet into the Iraq war. He also said that "the Anglo-American relationship is one of the most central parts of this inquiry" and that the panel hoped to have "discussions" with Americans involved in the war.
Taliban Vows to Disrupt Afghan Election -- [Voice of America]
The Taliban says it intends to disrupt next month's presidential elections in Afghanistan, and has urged Afghans to stay away from the polls and attack foreigners. In a statement Thursday, the extremist group called the August 20 vote an "American process" designed to deceive the Afghan people. The group said that, instead of going to what it called "fake election centers," Afghans should fight to free their country from foreign invaders.
Taliban Actions Speak Louder Than Words, General Says -- [Defense Link]
Although the Taliban recently issued a "code of conduct" booklet aimed at projecting a more positive image to the Afghan people, their actions directly contradict this goal, the spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said yesterday. Canadian Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay told reporters in Afghanistan the Taliban are falling far short of the goals prescribed in their new "Taliban 2009 Rules and Regulations Booklet." ISAF forces seized a copy of the booklet, dated May 9 on its blue cover, earlier this month in southern Afghanistan. Believed to be the first of its kind, the booklet preaches a style of warfare based on Islamic law and aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Among its guidelines,...
Army pictures highlight Welsh soldiers' battle in Afghanistan -- [Helmand Blog - Afghanistan]
THESE incredible pictures shot by a British Army photographer chronicle the bloody fighting involving soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh during Operation Panther's Claw.
Sergeant Daniel Harmer, who serves with the Royal Logistics Corps, was embedded with the battalion's men as they took on insurgents in a five-week drive to rid Helmand Province of the Taliban ahead of next month's presidential elections in Afghanistan.
The Strange Contradictions of Andrew Exum's Afghanistan Trip -- [Registan]
So, Andrew "Abu Muqawama" Exum is doing the interview circuit about his experience as a part of General McChrystal's 60-Day re-review of the Afghan War. It's interesting to try to make sense of what he said beforehand and what he's saying afterward--I'll be the first to admit that going there can significantly change one's perspective (I, for one, came home convinced the Army is incapable of fighting the war properly)--but some of these changes in attitude, or temperament, or even just word choice are really interesting.
...Exum has this to say about how the Army understands counterinsurgency:
Nowhere that I went was I able to get a really coherent definition of what it means to hold and what it means to build, and how you do that. And I don't think we've cracked the nut operationally on how we do those things.
On The Police -- [The Canada-Afghanistan Blog]
While the Afghan National Army is generally regarded as effective and trustworthy, the police have been almost universally condemned as corrupt and shady. However, it should also be acknowledged that signing up as an Afghan police officer is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world right now. Police substations are magnets for Taliban attacks, and to work in one is a seriously ballsy job to take on."
Anti-Taliban tribal militia leader assassinated in Pakistan's northwest -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Taliban assaulted the home of a tribal leader who opposed the Taliban presence in Shangla. The tribal leader is the latest to be killed for supporting the government.
Weapons, vehicles, Afghan elections ... and donkeys? -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour]
This morning's tasking was to inspect our HMMVW vehicle fleet. The Army uses the acronym PMCS for Preventive Maintenance Checks. This can be confusing to Air Force personnel because we use the same acronym to identify an aircraft that is Partial Mission Capable for Supply. This means the aircraft is waiting for a part from the supply channels. Anyhow, our fleet of armored vehicles are always inspected, cleaned, and maintained so should a mission come up, they are ready to go.
In Afghanistan, U.S. May Shift Strategy -- [Washington Post]
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is preparing a new strategy that calls for major changes in the way U.S. and other NATO troops there operate, a vast increase in the size of Afghan security forces and an intensified military effort to root out corruption among local government officials, according to several people familiar with the contents of an assessment report that outlines his approach to the war.
Follow and Kill Every Single Taliban -- [Captain's Journal]
While there is much to be said for the protection of the population in the development and deployment of the new revisions to the ROE, we have observed that there are operations that wouldn't have been conducted under the recent revisions, including the highly successful operations by the 24th MEU in Helmand in 2008 (and including certain tactics in the Anbar Province of Iraq). Their highly kinetic assault on Garmsir would not have occurred due to the fact that it could not be proven that non-combatants were not still resident in the town.
Fall of President Ahmadinejad Seems Likely after Brutal Acts -- [The Times]
Making forecasts about Iran is a foolish occupation. Few predicted the surge of support for Mir Hossein Mousavi before the June election, or the regime's egregious rigging of the result, or the vast protests that followed. Even fewer would have predicted that six weeks later it would be the opposition rebounding and the regime in disarray. A Government that claims to be the champion of Islamic values has been hit by its own version of America's Abu Ghraib scandal. It has been caught perpetrating some of the very horrors for which the Shah was overthrown. President Ahmadinejad also enraged his fellow conservatives by defying Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his patron and Supreme Leader, when he selected a relative as his deputy.
United Nations Peacekeeping Force Under Severe Strain -- [Voice of America]
The US Ambassador to the United Nations says the UN peacekeeping force is stretched to the limit, and needs more support and supervision. Ambassador Susan Rice told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that peacekeeping helps protect the United States and other nations. Rice is urging Congress to support peacekeeping, despite sexual misconduct by a few members of the force. From the civil war in Congo, to the conflict in Haiti, United Nations peacekeepers are deployed to protect people caught in conflict and promote peace. These troops come from UN member nations and serve under the United Nations' command.
US Judge Orders Release of Guantanamo Bay Detainee - [Voice of America]
A US federal judge in Washington, DC on Thursday ordered the release of Mohammed Jawad, one of the youngest detainees at the US military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government will have until late August to send Jawad back to Afghanistan or file civilian criminal charges against him. He was appended in Afghanistan for allegedly attacking US forces with a grenade in 2002. US District Judge Ellen Huvelle said she has concluded that Mohammed Jawad has been held illegally by the United States for 6.5 years. In earlier court filings, the US government alleged that Jawad threw a grenade into a vehicle in December 2002, seriously injuring two US Special Forces soldiers and their Afghan interpreter. He was taken into custody in Afghanistan, where he says Afghan officials coerced him into confessing, and then sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2003. One of Jawad's attorneys, US Air Force Major David Frakt, says the ruling is a victory for the rule of law in the United States."
Rockets for Terrorists -- [Washington Post]
When the Colombian government last year unveiled extensive evidence that the government of Venezuela had collaborated with a Colombian rebel movement known for terrorism and drug trafficking, other Latin American governments and the United States mostly chose to look the other way.
Shadows of the War -- [Acute Politics]
...George was a private man. He was the sort to get married to a woman, and only tell his best friends, the ones he had rejoined the Army with, when they noticed the ring he was wearing. Everyone who deploys overseas has a contact number on file, so if the worst happens, the military can begin the process of alerting loved ones of their service member's death or injury. George gave the Army a number that he knew his wife wouldn't answer, trusting his friends to tell her before the Army found her. In the end, that was exactly how it happened.
He arrived from Germany at Walter Reed Army Medical Center just after the neglect scandal broke there. There wasn't enough room for him; the administration there wanted to send him home to continue his rehabilitation therapy. He was on canes then- his house was in the woods of Idaho and definitely not handicap accessible. Instead, he was housed in one of the old hotels nearby that the Army had rented out to house the overflow of wounded warriors from Walter Reed. A cab took him to his temporary home- another wounded veteran helped him carry his meager belongings upstairs. He ate from care packages rather than trust the meal service. He finally came home to Boise on July 4th, 2008. Fast forward to July 28th, 2009. Boise's finest are running towards the sound of guns, and at the end they find George, still running toward the sound of his own guns.
Military May Ban Twitter, Facebook as Security 'Headaches' -- [Danger Room]
The U.S. military is strongly considering a near-total ban on Twitter, Facebook, and all other social networking sites throughout the Department of Defense, multiple sources within the armed forces tell Danger Room.
It's the latest twist in the Defense Department's tangled relationship with so-called "Web 2.0″ sites. But while earlier social media blockades have been thrown up over bandwidth and secrecy concerns, this fresh ban stems from fears that Facebook and the like make it far too easy for hackers and cybercrooks to gain access to the military's networks.
Paypal is asshats -- [From My Position]
Paypal is owned by eBay. Their PR department is at (408) 376-7458. Please be polite.
This is turning into a big PR mess for them, and a couple thousand voice messages suggesting that, while we don't think they hate wounded soldiers, we'd love it if they could, you know, confirm that.//
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished From Kevin @ The smallest minority
As most of you know, the fourth annual Gun Blogger's Rendezvous is fast approaching (43 days away as I write this), and this year I planned to make a special contribution to support Project Valour-IT - a gun giveaway that would be for even those unable to attend. But I'm not a 501(c)(3) organization, or any other kind of tax-free charity, so I couldn't actually run a charity raffle. Besides, I'm not really set up for it and wouldn't know how. So, with the aid of Rendezvous organizer Mr. Completely, arrangements were made with Soldiers' Angels to provide on-line ticket sales. Tickets went on sale Friday, July 17. We were ON!
Warship Honors Marine Who Died Protecting Comrades -- [AP / Breitbart]
The Navy's newest destroyer bears a name that's familiar to Marines. The ship that'll be christened on Saturday at Bath Iron Works bears the name of Cpl. Jason Dunham, a Marine who jumped on a grenade to save his comrades in 2004 in Iraq.
Dunham's parents, Deb and Dan Dunham, will be at the Maine shipyard along with other Marines who served with him in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.
Walking Away From A Billion Dollar Boondoggle -- [Strategy Page]
U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has abandoned ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery Systems, a small sub for getting SEALs to the beach), after it discovered that recent fire damage would cost $237 million, and take three years, to repair. Last November, the sole ASDS caught fire, and burned for six hours. SOCOM was reluctant to repair the vessel, and now has decided to just walk away. Originally, the entire program (including six ASDS) was to have cost $527 million, but it ended up costing nearly twice that to only produce one.
Redeployment Notes -- [Notes from Iraq - home from Iraq]
My team arrived at Fort Riley, Kansas a few days ago. We will fly home tomorrow to our families, as we are in the unique situation of not being stationed at the base from which we deployed.
Dan Rather Proposes Federal Media Commission -- [Jawa Report]
Former mainstream media (MSM) stalwart Dan Rather was quite emotional in a speech Tuesday before the Aspen Institute as he called on President Obama to save the press.
"I personally encourage the president to establish a White House commission on public media," the legendary newsman said. [...]
"A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom," Rather said in an interview yesterday afternoon. "This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, and the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press' traditional role of being the watchdog on power."
Hail the conquering heroes -- [Times Online]
Does The Hurt Locker herald a new era for war movies? Our reporter reports from the front line.
Others, such as Sergeant Toby Nunn, 34, a National Guardsman based in California, who has multiple Iraq tours under his belt, are not entirely convinced. Nunn, who acted as his own cameraman in another Iraq war documentary, Bad Voodoo's War, admires The Hurt Locker's lack of political sermonising but worries that it glamorises warfare.
House Backs $636 Billion Defense Bill -- [Washington Post]
The House approved a $636 billion defense spending bill Thursday after voting to strip money for the controversial F-22 fighter. However, it left funding in place for several other military programs that the Obama administration said it does not want. The defense measure, which passed 400 to 30, was the last of 12 appropriations bills for 2010 to clear the House. Lawmakers bowed to a threat by President Obama to veto the spending bill if the F-22 funding remained. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who sponsored the legislation, also sponsored an amendment to cut the funding, which passed 269 to 165. The White House also hinted that a veto might occur if the bill included funding for the VH-71 presidential helicopter and for an alternative engine program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But money for both programs remained,
Army caught up in reservist's Obama conspiracy theory -- [Stars and Stripes]
Army Maj. Stefan Cook sought out a notorious lawyer in February, formally volunteered for an Afghan deployment in May and was granted orders to deploy in June.
But the Army reservist's intention appeared not so much to fight for America as to fight against President Barack Obama, in furtherance of a bizarre conspiracy theory
...William F. Buckley recounted the way he, Sen. Barry Goldwater and a handful of other top conservatives worked to stigmatize the John Birch Society, whose founder, Robert Welch, maintained, among other things, that President Eisenhower was a "dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy," and that the U.S. government was "under operational control of the Communist Party." The Birchers, like the birthers, made respectable conservatives look like kooks, and in preparation for a prospective Goldwater presidential campaign, Buckley and his associates "thought it best to do a little conspiratorial organizing of their own against it."
They succeeded in "excommunicating" the Birchers. It's probably impossible to do the same to the birthers, because today the right wing is too vast to mount much of a conspiracy. The birthers are likely to be with us for as long as Obama is president--and because of them, it is more likely that this will be for the next 7½ rather than just 3½ years.
Suborned in the U.S.A. -- [NRO]
McCarthy goes on to clarify to his readers the difference between a certificate and a certification of birth. And he takes the media to task for not going after this story:
...The information in the certification may be identical as far as it goes to what's in the complete state records, but there are evidently many more details in the state records than are set forth in the certification. Contrary to the editors' description, those who want to see the full state record -- the certificate or the so-called "vault copy" -- are not on a wild-goose chase for a "secondary document cloaked in darkness." That confuses their motives (which vary) with what they've actually requested (which is entirely reasonable). Regardless of why people may want to see the vault copy, what's been requested is a primary document that is materially more detailed than what Obama has thus far provided.
Now, let's address motives for a moment. Are some of those demanding the full state records engaged in a futile quest to prove Obama is not a U.S. citizen? Are they on what the editors call "the hunt for a magic bullet that will make all the unpleasant complications of [Obama's] election and presidency disappear"? Sure they are. But not everyone who wants to see the full state records falls into that category. I, for one, have very different reasons for being curious.
(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.Refresh for updates.
Iraqi Troops Raid Iranian Dissident Camp, in Nod to Tehran - [Wall Street Journal]
Iraqi forces stormed a camp of more than 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group that until recently had been protected by the US military, in the biggest unilateral operation since American forces withdrew from Iraq's cities a month ago. Iran has long demanded that Iraq take action against the group, the Mujahedin e-Khalq, or MEK, but the US had stood in its way. The willingness to go ahead with the raid appears to point to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's balancing act between his two most important allies, as the US gradually pulls out of the country and neighboring Iran seeks to expand its influence.
The Other Iraq War - [Stars and Stripes]
The undeclared war, pitting Turkish and Iranian armed forces against Kurdish separatist fighters based in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, has been waged for years with tacit approval from the US, which supplies the Turkish military with intelligence on the guerrillas. And when the Turkish military plans an artillery barrage in the area, officers give American troops advance notice, according to US soldiers working in the region. Local villagers are not so lucky and, while no solid numbers are available, there have been many reports of civilian deaths and injuries.
NEFA Foundation: Hamas Celebrates U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Iraqi Cities -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained and translated a statement from the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement) regarding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraqi cities. According to the communiqué, "it is because that they drowned in Iraq's mud"--and furthermore, "the victory of the Iraqi resistance is an episode in an integrative series; it is a service to the Islamic project that stands, in every area of Earth, in the face of the neo-imperialistic project(s) and the rogue Zionist-American plans." The statement concludes by noting that " The American project in the region will fall resoundingly, and committing any new stupidity in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or others will be a disaster for America and her armies, and all of their schemes will shatter atop the rock of the [Islamic] nation's awareness, Jihad and steadfastness."
US Defense Secretary Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq -- [Voice of America]
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Iraq on a previously unannounced visit. Gates and the top US commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad Tuesday. The three were expected to discuss the US military's evolving role in Iraqi security, and also arms sales to supply Iraq with security equipment after the departure of US troops. Gates also was scheduled to hold talks with the Iraqi minister of defense, Abd al-Qadir Mohammed Jassem. It is the defense secretary's first trip to Iraq since US combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities last month as part of an agreement that requires US troops to pull out entirely by the end of 2011.
Three months with Fawzi -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
One of the unique things about being on my particular MiTT (Military Transition Team) is that I work with some of the top people in Iraq. To me, it is interesting to sit in these meetings with these generals and watch them make decisions that affect how the history books in Iraq will be written. One of these people is a man by the name of Gen (Ret.) Fawsi al-Ali. He is a US citizen that was hired by the government to provide advice to MiTTs and their Iraqi counter-parts. What makes this man interesting is how he became as US Citizen.
He was one of the top generals in Iraq, working directly for Saddam Hussein. He was in charge of nine divisions with over 250,000 soldiers under his command, and he was in the middle of fighting the Iraq/Iran War (1980-1988).
Workin' like a Dawg -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
... We're moving from the IZ in Baghdad, which is now controlled exclusively by Iraqis, to the American military bases out at the airport. We're being uprooted from our comfortable living quarters in shipping containers (where some have lived for three or four years) to something new and unknown. Many people are being sent home, sometimes on just a few days' notice. Meanwhile, the schedule for the move keeps changing, which means additional adjustments have to be made. The Army Colonel in charge of my division, who just recently arrived, came in to work one morning a few days ago at 8 a.m., found out at 9 that she was being bumped up to Deputy Commander, and at 1 p.m. was on the road to the new base to assume her new duties.
Winding Down -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
With the end of our deployment drawing to a close, mission wise things have really calmed down. ...Effective June 30th was a withdraw from Baghdad. We further lessened the US presence and handed more control over to the Iraqis. Many units were pulled from their JSS and others lost land coverage. The security agreement itself changed little with my company but it did help the Iraqis declare national sovereignty. Basically they didn't want to work with us any more. Since most missions require Iraqi Army to be present, we can only really run one type of mission and its pretty quick and mundane. One could say the Iraqis are finally really stepping up to the plate.
Worth reading -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
I know that all of us troops, and all of the folks who like troops, are supposed to disapprove of John Murtha and automatically categorize anything he says about our involvement in Iraq as utter defeatist tripe.
But, as the southern people say, even a blind hog roots up an acorn from time to time. Murtha is calling for closer scrutiny of how the Commander's Emergency Response Program has been used.
Mind on My Money -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
In post 30 June Iraq we are relying more and more on our Joint Communication Centers (JCCs) in order to stay clued in to what is going on. Having IA, IP, GOI, and CF under one roof helps us coordinate response to events in the area, offer advice, training, and access to our assets-air support, explosive ordnance disposal etc...As we rely more heavily on these and have a permanent presence at them we are making an effort to improve them. The problem is, the budgets we draw from are divided into three categories: ICERP is Iraqi money reserved for ISF, CERP is U.S. money and can only be spent on the civilian populace, and OMA is U.S. money and can only be spent on U.S. forces. So what money do we use to fund refurbishment and improvements to a facility that all three categories use? This is another situation in which the operational environment has changed more rapidly that the military's support capabilities and puts those responsible for putting the projects together in the position of either being totally incapable of accomplishing his Commander's(and his Commander's and his Commander's) mission or having to bend the rules.
Odierno Says Iraq Won't be Able to Defend Own Airspace by End of 2011 -- [Stars and Stripes]
The top US commander in Iraq said on Tuesday that the country would not be able to fully defend its airspace by the end of 2011, when all U.S. forces must leave, according to the standing security agreement. Gen. Raymond Odierno said a US Air Force team would soon begin a full assessment of Iraq's air patrol and defense needs. "In order to protect your airspace, you've got to have radars, you've got to have some sort of an aircraft if someone penetrates your airspace - you have some way to protect it," he said. "I mean, we're going to have to come up with some solution to this over time."
No Brainer -- [Sorority Soldier - in Iraq]
Cassinos and I went to a conference today for Iraqi Women Business-Owners. It was basically about getting hooked up with contracts and being competitive in the market place. We were there for over 5 hours and a lot of info got lost in translation.
Night Into Day -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
...The camera was nearly useless (as the shot above will attest), but in fact the enhancement below shows the eerie apparition of the soldier as we headed into the battlefield. ...This is an active battlefield--even as I write these words on 27 July an Apache is firing down with its 30mm (killing four Taliban) nearby and combat occurs many times per day--and so this mission can only be described in general terms. In broad strokes, the mission on 24 July was to bait the enemy to take certain actions, and there were multiple moving parts to our side, making it difficult for the enemy to keep track of our combat elements. Though we would leave obvious boot tracks through fields and neighborhoods, our units split and went here and there, and so despite that the enemy had home field advantage, we could still achieve relative surprise for at least short periods. As the soldiers quietly sweated and moved through the darkness, dogs barked in the night; the canines sometimes go nuts at quiet but high-pitched emanations from the metal detectors.
The First Mission -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
After a month of hanging out on the FOB... SGT Danger and his gun crew was on their first mission in Afghanistan.
Pakistan free child-warriors from Taliban -- [This Ain't Hell...]
This morning the Washington Times reports that Pakistani security forces freed several children that had been sold to the Taliban, apparently by their parents, to serve as soldiers or suicide bombers;
Selling ammo -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
...It's true that we often get reports of ANA and ANP selling ammunition to the insurgents. This fact is probably one of the motivations for our changing them over to our weapons - different weapons/different ammunition and the insurgents don't (yet) have our weapons. I think in most cases it's probably the ANP doing the selling for the simple facts that the ANP has a reputation for corruption which is worse than that of even the ANA, has much less supervision, is much closer to the population, and is in general, less trained than the ANA. But it's always tempting to see the problem elsewhere than with your own. It's amusing to me that the ANP has heavy machine guns in their police stations and carries RPGs with them on patrol sometimes, and yet the ANA can't search houses under normal conditions. To draw such a legal distinction between the ANA and ANP when the country is so unstable that the police forces must use heavy guns and RPGs seems ridiculous, though I can see where they're going with it...the idea
Ups downs -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
There are plenty of ups and downs here, and not just when you're climbing around in the mountains. They tell you coming out here that you'll come out strong that first few months - all motivated to make the world a better place. And it's true. I think we all had a feeling of great optimism upon arrival - a feeling that gradually dissipated into disgust and disappointment about halfway through our nine-month deployment. Dealing with the ANA is hard sometimes.
Bits and Pieces around the Camp
...Yesterday we entertained an AF Senior Airman from Armed Forces Network (AFN). She is filming some non-kinetic stories about our ANA Kandak and other camp missions. My team leader assigned her to me. She showed an interest in the ANA DFAC and Bakery and filmed the dough making and baking of Nan bread. Her television camera really attracted a crowd and made it challenging for her to film without interruptions. One of the employees spoke fair English and she put him on camera. He was rather nervous in front of his boss and his coworkers. While she was filming, I took pictures of her in action and thus became the topic of my blog entry. Well she reciprocated and placed me in front of the camera for an interview.
rock and roll -- [Afghani Kush - in Afghanistan]
...I wish there was more to update, but nothing really going on here. We've been running missions like normal but it's been a weird week so not too much. We had one RPG get shot at us from a really long distance away, but after shooting at the spot it came from for a while we figured that nothing was going to come of it. Other than that nothing to report. I can't wait for winter time here. I'm thinking when the fighting season ends things will relax considerably.
짧은 타이머 -- [My trip to BAF - in Afghanistan]
Now I bet you all are wondering what THAT title means! The answer comes next month. I'll give you one point if you can tell me the language and two points if you can tell me what it says! :-...I had a pretty long day - got up at 0400 to be with the "Dirt Boys" to pour a concrete pad. I posted a couple pics in BAF11. By 0700, all the hard work was done! If you're wondering why we get up so early to pour concrete, it's because it's too hot during the day (113 today) and they can't seem to get the concrete where it belongs and finished before it sets up in the heat.
Winning in Afghanistan -- [Washington Times]
A starry-eyed exit strategy is no substitute for winning the war in Afghanistan. On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for talks with moderate Taliban elements to shore up the progress being made on the ground in southern Afghanistan. The Manchester Guardian reported that "there is even talk in London and Washington of a military 'exit strategy.' " Leaving so soon? The recent troop surge in Afghanistan has cleared the Taliban from some of the areas they previously occupied, and there has been less fighting than expected.
Talking About Negotiations First Is Exactly Backwards -- [Registan]
... my question to all the people talking about talking is the only way to end this war: If you were a Taliban commander... would you compromise all the progress you're been making to sit down for talks with the government? All they hear is "we're winning," which is an anti-reason to negotiate.
How We'll Win in Afghanistan -- [Wall Street Journal - Bing West]
More coalition soldiers have died in July than in any previous month in the nine-year war in Afghanistan. Last week, the soldier who slept on the cot next to me was killed. A rocket-propelled grenade fired from a snow-capped mountain in remote Nuristan Province killed Staff Sgt. Eric Lindstrom, a father of twin baby girls and the best squad leader in the platoon. Strangely, our military leaders rarely talk about the battles here. They urge shooting less and drinking more cups of tea with village elders. This is the new face of war
Angel of Operation Panther's Claw -- [Helmand Blog - Afghanistan]
Standing just five feet tall, Private Kerry Smith is one of the smallest soldiers in the British Army, but the challenges she has faced over the last three weeks have been enormous. 24-year-old combat medic Kerry has been at the very heart of Operation Panchai Palang or Panther's Claw, the British military operation to clear one of the last remaining Taliban strongholds in Helmand Province.
"Before I came here I'd never done this for real; only in training. Since I've been in Afghanistan I've dealt with shrapnel wounds, missing limbs, head injuries and shock. I'd never seen anything like this before and, if I'm honest, I thought I'd freeze. But I didn't. I just got stuck in and my training took over."
A Personal Account of the Latest Khost Suicide Attack, With Optimism -- [Registan]
Someone at FOB Salerno, who prefers to remain unnamed, contacted me about the latest Khost suicide attack. This someone was actually in downtown Khost when it happened. "Within 20 minutes" of the start of the gunfight, he says, "We were on the scene." Apparently the Afghan security forces had done all the work: "all that was left to do was look at bodies and talk to shopkeepers."
Richard Holbrooke Declares War on Taleban Bankrollers -- [The Times]
Barack Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan has declared war on the Taleban's bankrollers, announcing a campaign to interdict hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign funds flowing into the militants' coffers each year. Richard Holbrooke, the former Balkan peace enforcer now tasked with America's Afghanistan and Pakistan policy, said the volume of money reaching insurgents from sympathisers in the Gulf, exceeding even the profits of the lucrative opium trade.
Battle of Wanat: A Year Later Part 1 -- [A Battlefield Tourist]
It's hard to belive that the Battle at Wanat (Nuristan) happened a year ago. Time does fly. While this has been over some time, it isn't truly over. Virginia's senior Senator, Jim Webb, is pressing for more answers and he's citing a compiled report put together by the Combat Studies Institute based out of Ft. Leavenworth.
While I do not have the full report, below is one of many interviews conducted by historian Matt Matthews that make up the report.
This interview with Specialist Tyler Hanson who, at the time of the battle, was a soldier in 2nd Platoon, "Chosen" Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne) - part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, stationed in Vicenza, Italy.
Hanson recounts the battle from his perspective, first discussing the mood upon being given the mission to go to Wanat to establish a vehicle patrol base and an observation post.
New Rules let Germans in Afghanistan Stop Shouting and Start Shooting -- [The Times] Taleban insurgents fighting German forces in northern Afghanistan have often lived to fight another day thanks to trilingual warnings that have to be shouted out before the men from the Bundeswehr can squeeze their triggers. The seven-page pocket guide to combat tucked into the breast pocket of every German soldier offers such instructions as: "Before opening fire you are expected to declare loudly, in English, 'United Nations - stop, or I will fire," followed by a version in Pashtu - Melgaero Mellatuna- Dreesch, ka ne se dasee kawum!" The alert must also be issued in Dari, and the booklet, devised by a committee in some faraway ministerial office, adds: "If the situation allows, the warning should be repeated." The joke going round Nato mess tents poses the question: "How can you identify a German soldier?
Iran and the Taliban, allies against America -- [Long War Journal]
The testimony of a Guantánamo detainee confirms that cooperation between Iran and the Taliban began prior to the September 11 attacks. The one-time enemies came together to fight their common foe: America
It's Crunch Time for Israel on Iran - [Wall Street Journal - John Bolton]
Legions of senior American officials have descended on Jerusalem recently, but the most important of them has been Defense Secretary Robert Gates. His central objective was to dissuade Israel from carrying out military strikes against Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. Under the guise of counseling "patience," Mr. Gates again conveyed President Barack Obama's emphatic thumbs down on military force. The public outcome of Mr. Gates's visit appeared polite but inconclusive. Yet Iran's progress with nuclear weapons and air defenses means Israel's military option is declining over time.
Iranian Infighting Leaves Ahmadinejad Isolated -- [Daily Telegraph]
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was left dangerously isolated yesterday as factional infighting further divided the country's regime. He came under attack from the inner circle of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, who had given him their support after he won Iran's disputed presidential election six weeks ago. Officials announced that the ayatollah had ordered the closure of Kahrizak detention centre where, they said, hundreds of people had been detained outside the scope of the judiciary and in violation of their basic rights.
A Colder Ocean - [The Times]
Pakistan's denunciation of India's first nuclear submarine, launched on Sunday, was predictable. Islamabad yesterday called the vessel, now about to begin two years of sea trials, "detrimental to regional peace" and a matter of serious concern for all littoral states of the Indian Ocean. Seen from Pakistan, the Arihant - "Destroyer of Enemies" - certainly looks threatening. Armed with torpedoes and ballistic missiles, the submarine is the first of five that will be powered by an 85-megawatt nuclear reactor and will patrol the Indian Ocean shipping lanes. Its launch makes India only the sixth country in the world to deploy nuclear submarines and is a signal of Delhi's determination to play a greater global military role commensurate with its growing economic and political strength.
Obama Faces Court Test Over Detainee -- [New York Times]
The fate of one of the youngest detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison is emerging as a major test of whether the courts or the president has the final authority over when prisoners there are released. After a federal judge said earlier this month that the government's case for holding the detainee, Mohammed Jawad, was "riddled with holes," the Obama administration conceded defeat and agreed that Mr. Jawad would no longer be considered a military detainee. But the administration said it would still hold him at the prison in Cuba for possible prosecution in the United States
Jihadi's Facebook Account: I will kill you (Updated: Pics Added) -- [Jawa Report]
More on the banality of terror. You should read it for the context in understanding the federal indictments against Ziyad Yaghi, Mohammad Omar Aly Hussain, and six others.
At first glance Yaghi's Facebook account seemed so ordinary. Hence why all his friends are shocked, neighbors all describe the ringleader's family as nice people, and the "banality of evil" reference. But on a deeper analysis of "hidden" information, it becomes clear that Yaghi had jihadi aspirations for some time.
After Violence of Iraq, Finding Peace in Logrolling -- [NY Times]
Sgt. J. R. Salzman remembers reaching for his ballistic glasses just as the roadside bomb blew apart his right arm. He remembers being unable to reach the handle of the Humvee's passenger door and realizing that his arm was instantly shortened. He remembers the look on the face of the medic.
Just about everything from Dec. 19, 2006, when he was in the lead truck of a tanker convoy in northwest Baghdad, is lodged in Salzman's mind. That includes what he thought when he realized he would not die: I've still got my legs. I can still logroll.
And that explained why Salzman cried when he won his seventh men's logrolling title at the Lumberjack world championships on Sunday, his first with a prosthetic arm.
Wounded veteran wins seventh title at Lumberjack World Championships -- [FOX News]
..."Regardless of my injuries, I can still log roll, I can still win, I can still accomplish things and I'm alive, I'm still here, I'm going to enjoy life," said Salzman. It was a close competition between Salzman and Jaime Fischer as they went head to head but Salzman pulled through and became this year's Men's Log Rolling World Champion. "Entirely overwhelming and on top of everything I've gone through as well, it's just huge, it's great to be back on top and it's such a release to win," said Salzman.
Major Dan Gade - SYSK Follow Up -- [Blackfive]
Here are links to our stories on Major Dan Gade - first, second and third. Dan was wounded in Iraq and doctors had to remove his entire leg to save his life. Since his recovery, he's worked for the White House, now pursuing a PhD, he and his wife Wendy had TWINS!, and now he's competing in Triathlons.
97 days until Soldiers' Angels ship holidays to our heroes -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
We have 97 days to collect items for our soldiers holiday packages and ship overseas to our soldiers. We have a lot to do to get ready to meet our holiday goals. Get the word out that you are collecting holiday items for Soldiers' Angels holiday care packages.
Contact your local Walmart, grocery store, schools, churches, workplace, service group, ask to put out a donation collection box.
Monetary donations are always accepted as we need postage money to ship our holiday packages. Facebook has a paypal option or click donate on our site or mail a check to us We are sending every deployed service member in a combat zone a care package with holiday greetings, including goodies and a beautiful homemade blanket.
How Can You Help?...
Markey brings veteran support bill to House -- [The Examiner]
Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Fort Collins, today introduced the House version of the a bill that would expand mental health treatment options for service members, veterans and their families.
The HONOR Act would expand access for the active-duty military to veterans' mental health counseling centers. It would also create opportunities for combat veterans to help fellow service members with counseling. A Senate committee has heard the HONOR Act, but the House may now tackle the strangely polarizing issue of veterans' health care. In 2004, Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry joined a chorus of left-wing groups and politicians who attacked President George W. Bush for cutting veterans' benefits.
The claims were untrue, as noted by the non-partisan FactCheck.org. The misleading criticism partly stemmed from the Veterans' Administration decision in 2003 to start turning away new middle-income applicants because funding was stretched too thin.
This year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano generated a firestorm of criticism from veterans' groups and right-wing organizations for releasing a report that listed returning veterans as a domestic terrorist threat.
Markey is unlikely to generate such attacks with her statement regarding the HONOR Act.
IVAW; the peace movement's stalking horse -- [This Ain't Hell...]
All week we've been running a series about the prospective Board of Directors of the IVAW. As we documented, the IVAW is more interested in being a band of peace activists than a veterans' organization like Vote Vets worries more about Democrat legislative priorities than veterans' issue. Well, here's something I found last night in my usual perusal of the lunatic Left;
Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak -- [CNN]
The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.
The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
DOD to Modify its Two-war Strategy -- [Stars and Stripes]
The military won't completely abandon its long-held two-war strategy for force planning, but officials are shifting to a broader strategy with many smaller fighting forces around the globe, a top Pentagon policy planner said Tuesday.
Burial at Sea by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret) -- [Sandgram]
I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable.
Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps."
Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.
Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain. ...
Kewanee, Pontiac welcome home troops -- [Peoria Journal Star]
Thank you, and welcome home." Kewanee's Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry, was one of 30 units, totaling some 3000 soldiers,
Volunteers welcome home America's heroes -- [6abc.com]
It has since expanded into dozens of states and countries where American troops are stationed. He likes to say A Hero's Welcome provides the cheering and
Welcome home! -- [Chicago Tribune]
The 110 soldiers, with the Elgin-based Company B, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry, were greeted with a welcome home ceremony at Streamwood High School in the ...
One of Us -- [CJR]
A soldier chooses journalism, but his old boss won't let go
People often ask me why a former Army officer wanted to be a journalist. No answer ever seems adequate. "I've just always loved writing," I'll say. Or, "The whole 'war thing' wasn't working out." The truth is more complicated. I was drawn to journalism for many of the same reasons I joined the Army. The way I see it, journalism, like the military, isn't just a profession; it's a lifestyle and an invaluable American institution from which we derive our most cherished freedoms. Journalists, like soldiers, live by a code: honesty, accuracy, and self-discipline are the touchstones of any serious reporter.
Newsweek's Embedded Obama Campaign Reporter Joins Obama Administration -- [NewsBusters]
The revolving door between the media and Team Obama continues to rotate. Some journalists on the campaign trail were infatuated with Obama, and that's certainly true of the Newsweek reporter who covered Obama in-depth (with the promise that nothing he learned would be revealed until after the election).
Death of a Doctrine -- [Washington Post]
The Obama administration lacks a foreign policy ideology as a matter of ideology. Speaking recently at the Council on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted, "Rigid ideologies and old formulas don't apply." The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - tempered by pragmatism, proud of its ad hockery and willing to consider everything on a case-by-case basis. But even lacking an ideology, the administration does have a doctrine. The defining principle of President Obama's foreign policy is engagement with America's adversaries. Much of the president's public diplomacy has been designed to clear a path for such talks - expressing respect for legitimate grievances, apologizing for past wrongs and offering dialogue without preconditions. Six months on, how fares the Obama doctrine?
Will Obama Make Expanded Powers of the Military Permanent? -- [The Faster Times]
... memo making the case for domestic military deployment is in fact "one of the most significant events in American politics in the last several decades"
Don't Ask, Don't Tell to Get Senate Hearing -- [Politics Daily]
Late last week, the Senate passed the Defense Authorization bill that sets the Pentagon's budget and key policies for the year. It authorized $680 billion for the military in 2010, stopped production of the F-22 fighter jet, increased the size of the Army by 30,000 troops, and included hundreds of measures affecting the armed services.
One measure it did not include was an amendment to stop for 18 months all Pentagon investigations and discharges under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy passed by Congress in 1993 that bans openly gay service members from serving in the armed forces.
(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.Refresh for updates.
US released senior Iranian Qods Force commander -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
A senior Qods Force officer who led one of the three commands in Iraq assigned to attack US and Iraqi forces was one of five Iranians released by the US military on July 9.
Mahmud Farhadi, the leader of the Zafr Command, one of three units subordinate to the Qods Force's Ramazan Corps, was among five Iranians turned over to the Iraqi government and then subsequently turned over to the Iranians.
A spokesman from the Iranian foreign ministry identified Farhadi as one of the five men released on July 9, according to a report on Iranian state-run television.
The Future of Iraq, Part IV -- [Michael Totten]
Getting an accurate reading of Iraqi public opinion is hard. It might be impossible. I've seen Iraqis cheer American soldiers, and I've seen some Iraqis hug American soldiers in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. A few weeks ago, though, hundreds of thousands celebrated when Americans evacuated Iraqi cities as stipulated by the Status of Forces Agreement.
Progress And Engagement In Iraq -- [Voice of America]
The US has committed to withdraw all American combat brigades by the end of August 2010, and to remove all American troops from Iraq by the end of 2011
What do you mean he's at war? -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Last night I called home and was talking to my wife. It was about 11:30 pm her time and our 8 year old daughter was having a hard time falling to sleep. My wife handed the phone to her to talk to me. The first question she asked me was, "How are you doing at war?"
"I am fine. How are you?"
"I didn't know you were at war."
"I told you I was going to Iraq."
"What if you were driving and had to shoot a bazooka at a tank?"
"They aren't using bazookas here and the bad guys don't have tanks. We just catch bad guys now."
"What do they use?"
"Like atonic bombs?"
When Courage Is the Job -- [Mongo's Montreaux - in Iraq]
Last night, while I was flailing myself against the Tire of Woe, the Engineers that live across the "quad" from us were performing their PCI (Pre-Combat Checks and Inspections) before rolling out on a route clearance mission. Imagine having a job in which you go out and drive the routes US Forces frequently travel, looking for IEDs. And, of course, once you find them you have to reduce them.
The route clearance teams usually go out late at night, after "IED hour" when the insurgents use the cover of darkness to emplace their ordnance. Because IEDs have to be distinguished from the trash, rubble, and refuse that litter every main thoroughfare in Mosul, the route clearance teams travel under white light. Actually
Iraqi Officer Was 'Out of Line,' Maliki Says -- [Washington Post]
An Iraqi officer who ordered the detention of US soldiers last week after they killed three Iraqis while pursuing insurgents acted in error and was "out of line," Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday. The officer "did not understand the agreement" governing US military activities since American combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities last month, Maliki said in an interview, adding that it "clearly states that American forces have the right to defend themselves, and that's what they did."
The party never ends -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
We've been up at Big Base for a few days now, doing more preparing-to-leave stuff. There's also been some drama, since there was a very ugly collison of bad days between our admin workhorse and an overly sensitive senior NCO.
The Trailblazer from Hell -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
...Enter the Trailblazer from hell. This SUV resembles a white Trailblazer era 2007/2008. However, if it ever was such a vehicle, it has long ceased to be. I was amazed that it still blew cool air (not cold), although you have to get past the dust clouds coming from the vents and the loud screeching noise the belts make. Then it starts to beep at you - the seatbelt warning. So you don your seatbelt, but does the beeping stop? Sometimes, but most the time it just beeps incessantly making you want to pull your hair out. Its almost as if its taunting you to make it shut up.
Celebrity News--but it's relevant -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
Angelina Jolie stopped by the 1st Cavalry Division's headquarters in Baghdad the other day during her third visit to Iraq. The Tomb Raider star is a Goodwill Ambassador from the United Nations, and used the trip to draw attention to the plight of displaced persons within Iraq.
Today the Temp was 133 Before Lunch -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
...on the ride over to the PX the bike thermometer said 133 degrees. The air was very still just before I left, which may be why the temp was so high. As I left the motor pool, a wind kicked up and in a mile the temp reading had dropped to 127, a nice cooling breeze--from a blow dryer.
And here are photos of me with a gun on my GT Peace 9R bike.
Corrections -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Shem Bot and I rolled out to look at the tanker which was attacked last Thursday. It is important to get a sense of exactly what is happening in our AO so we often do our own BDA (battle damage assessment) this. Based on our observations I am most pleased to report that we do not believe the RPG mechanic had anything to do with this attack. Looks to be run of the mill fuel theft which is a booming Afghan industry.
Blood brothers scarred by war -- [Times Online]
In search of life as a war correspondent, Miles Amoore went to Afghanistan to report. Last week in Helmand, as he waited to fly to the front line, he learnt that his younger brother, an army officer, had been severely wounded by a Taliban bomb
'Dad, I'm sorry," were my brother's first intelligible words, whispered through swollen lips and an oxygen mask. Dad leant in close and told his son how proud he was of him
An Artery of Opium a Vein of Taliban -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
Sangin, Afghanistan - (Images)
The Taliban Plan To Force Foreign Troops To Go Away -- [Strategy Page]
...Playing the foreign media is something the Taliban learned, the hard way, while they ran the country in the late 90s. Al Qaeda has also honed their media manipulation skills. While local media can be bribed or bullied into cooperating, you have to manipulate the foreign journalists. This is not hard to do. The Western media largely consists of commercial operations that are very competitive in a crowded market place. A newsworthy story is one that attracts the most eyeballs, not the one that most accurately describes what is actually going on in Afghanistan. So the Taliban provides spectacular terrorist bombings. Great visuals, and tragic tales result from these operations. No one mentions that these tactics backfired in Iraq, and led to the defeat of the terrorists, and their Baath party supporters. This seemingly sudden turn of events was largely ignored by the Western media, who were busy hunting for the next hot headline.
Unlike Iraq, however, the drug gangs have steady cash flow, and a shot at buying enough government officials to get the foreign troops expelled.
SatComms for Soldiers -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
Have been out with British forces in the area of Sangin in northern Helmand Province. This area appears to be turning into the main effort of the current fight in Afghanistan, but this is unclear to me at the moment. I do know that air assets are heavy. During our mission yesterday, a B-1 could be seen overhead, though it was miles high. On the ground, this place is loaded with IEDs and there were many firefights during yesterday's mission.
Blamestorming on the Battle of Wanat -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Tom Ricks, the former WaPo military correspondent has added an eighth chapter to his piece on the Battle of Wanat. It features leaks about a study of the battle by historian Douglas Cubbison that is very critical of the leadership of the commander of 2nd of the 503rd LTC (now COL) Ostlund and 173rd Airborne commander COL Preysler. This is not an official military report and has not even been published yet, but apparently Ricks and some others have seen a draft and since it supports his contention that this incident was a command failure, he has leaked some info.
Taliban issues new code of conduct -- [Al Jazeera]
The Taliban in Afghanistan has issued a book laying down a code of conduct for its fighters. Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the book, which further indicates that Mullah Omar, the movement's leader, wants to centralise its operations.
Military Weighs Private Security on Front Lines -- [Washington Post]
The U.S. military command is considering contracting a private firm to manage security on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, even as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that the Pentagon intends to cut back on the use of private security contractors.
US Troops In Afghanistan Need New Rules: Karzai -- [Huffington Post]
President Hamid Karzai said Monday he wants new rules governing the conduct of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan and would be willing to talk with Taliban leaders who publicly renounce violence and endorse peace. But Karzai, acknowledging shaky relations with his international partners in the war on terror, told The Associated Press in an interview that he was not prepared at this time to discuss the key Taliban demand - a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops.
Afghanistan Secures First Local Taliban Cease-Fire -- [VOA]
The Afghan government says the country has struck its first-ever local cease-fire deal with Taliban insurgents. The truce was reached in northwestern Badghis province in a bid to improve security ahead of next month's presidential elections.
A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the cease-fire was established Saturday. It was arranged after negotiations between local tribal elders and Taliban leaders.
Cleric Who Negotiated Taliban-Pakistan Peace Deal is Arrested -- [Los Angeles Times] Pakistani police on Sunday arrested Sufi Mohammed, the Taliban-aligned cleric responsible for brokering a controversial peace deal between Swat Valley militants and the government this year. That deal eventually broke down, leading to the ongoing military offensive against Taliban fighters. Mohammed is the father-in-law of Maulana Qazi Fazlullah, the Taliban leader who fought Pakistani troops for two years before wresting control of the Swat Valley, once a tourist mecca. Mohammed negotiated a peace deal with the government in February that called for Fazlullah's fighters to lay down their arms in exchange for the imposition of Sharia, or Islamic law, in the region.
Taliban Resume Attacks in Swat Valley -- [Wall Street Journal]
Taliban militants driven from the Swat Valley by Pakistan's army in recent months are again infiltrating the region's towns and villages, kidnapping and beheading perceived enemies and ambushing soldiers, as hundreds of thousands of refugees return home. Whether the latest violence represents the last gasp of a dying insurgency or the first sign of the militants' recovery is hard to tell. But the renewed violence is a sharp reminder that the offensive for the strategic valley, which won effusive praise from the US and European nations, remains far from complete.
'You Can't Drive to this Fight. You Have to Fly.' -- [Stars and Stripes]
There are few good roads in southern Afghanistan. The dirt tracks that meander through the desert are easily mined, and by the time US and other NATO troops lumber out in heavily armored convoys to their destination, the insurgents have often melted away. US helicopters have become key to fighting the Taliban, restoring the element of surprise with less risk to troops, US commanders say.
Iraq Veterans Find Afghan Enemy Even Bolder -- [New York Times]
In three combat tours in Anbar Province, Marine Sgt. Jacob Tambunga fought the deadliest insurgents in Iraq. But he says he never encountered an enemy as tenacious as what he saw immediately after arriving at this outpost in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Helps US Search for Captured Soldier -- [Los Angeles Times]
Intelligence sharing and military cooperation have begun to increase between Pakistan and the United States, according to American officials, who say their efforts to cultivate key leaders in Islamabad may be beginning to pay dividends. Pakistan, they say, has stepped up its cooperation along its border with Afghanistan for the first time in recent years, informing Afghanistan and the US about operations it is conducting and seeking a coordinated response to trap Islamist militants.
Protests Continue... -- [Revolutionary Road...]
Ali Javadifar Langaroudi after his child death wrote:"Now and I am sending this letter they called me from Evin prison and said come and take your loved-one body.This has to be mentioned that my son was beaten up by plain-clothes around Amirabad area on July 9th and was bedridden in hospital , but after getting healed transferred to Evin prison and now they are delivering me my 24-year-old son's body.
What is Iran doing in Bolivia? -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Bolivians are starting to get jumpy about the presence of Iranians in their country according to the Washington Times' Martin Arostegui
Of course, the easiest answer is that Iran wants to mine uranium from Bolivia's rich deposits to fuel it's nuclear program.
Clinton Speaks Out on North Korea, Iran -- [VOA]
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a strong defense of Obama administration policy on North Korea and Iran during an extended interview Sunday on American television. Secretary of State Clinton is sending a joint message to Pyongyang and Tehran: give up your quest for nuclear weapons and return to negotiations. Clinton - just back from talks in Asia - told NBC television's Meet the Press that North Korea is more isolated than ever before. She said the North Korean government must realize that the world is united, and there will be no reward for bad behavior.
Korean conflict: The lesson from America's 'lost war' -- [The Examiner]
It was 56-years ago today that the U.S. and North Korea signed the armistice that ended active combat in America's forgotten war. More than 36,000 Americans gave their lives defending South Korea from invasion first by the communist North and then by the Red Chinese Army. While the war itself is not often recalled these days, battles such as the Inchon Landing, Chosin Reservoir and Pork Chop Hill became emblazoned in U.S. military history. The armistice established the 148 mile-long Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which runs north of the 38th parallel separating the two countries. Some 700,000 North Korean soldiers are arrayed along the DMZ, with thousands of artillery pieces, capable of destroying Seoul, the thriving South Korean capital that is just 25 miles away. The U.S. maintains a force of approximately 38,000 soldiers just south of the DMZ. Since the armistice was signed, 90 Americans have died in skirmishes along the DMZ.
Syrian Ambassador :Sanctions On Syria To Be Gradually Removed -- [MEMRI]
Syrian Ambassador to Washington Dr. 'Imad Mustapha has said that he has been officially told of the removal of the U.S. embargo on civilian aircraft parts and information and communications technology to Syria.
He said that the Americans understand that Syria is the key to the Middle East and that improving relations with it will alleviate the U.S.'s difficulties in the region, and therefore the Obama administration is acting to gradually remove the sections of the sanctions law in order to empty it of content - because revoking it requires Congressional approval.
Yemen - The Next Afghanistan? -- [MEMRI]
According to a report issued by Fund for Peace, Yemen is in the midst of a violent storm caused by the disappearance of the oil and gas reserves and the large flow of Somali refugees with connections to Al-Qaeda as well as the flow of extremists from Saudi Arabia.
Odds and Endgames -- [Waq al-Waq]
The first, of course, is that General David Petreaus visted San'a to discuss heightened co-operation between the US and Yemen, specifically in the field of combatting terrorism. Saba reports that the general supports "strongly" Yemeni unity.
Here is where the problem- or at least the potential problem- comes in. Unity and terrorism, although related, are seperate beasts. Qaeda doesn't pose an existential threat to Yemeni unity by itself. What it is capable of is exacerbating,
Is Nigeria the Next Somalia? -- [Jawa Report]
The Taliban in ..... Nigeria? Wow, I thought the fact that half of Nigeria was Muslim would insulate that country from evil groups like the Taliban. You know, since Islam is all about the love, peace, and harmony.
And just like the Afghan and Somali Taliban before them, this "Taliban" group has direct ties to al Qaeda and their propaganda machine.
I'm reading conflicting reports saying that the death toll is between a couple dozen all the way up to 150. The police say most of those killed are Taliban. The truth? Who knows.
Why are U.S.-allied refugees still branded as 'terrorists?' -- [McClatchy News]
...the DHS began recently sending some immigrants letters informing them that the agency intends to revoke their asylum. As a result, they'd be deported.
The cases include immigrants who were granted asylum after fleeing Zimbabwe as members of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opponent of autocrat Robert Mugabe. In June, President Obama met with the leader of the party, Morgan Tsvangirai, and praised him for his courage.
Some of the most startling stories involve Iraqis -- some of whom have worked for the U.S. government under threat of death and now could have even more to fear as U.S. troops are redeployed.
In one recent case, a middle-aged Iraqi mother...
Some Gitmo Detainees May Be Jailed in the US -- [AP/WSJ]
The Pentagon's top lawyer said Friday that the Obama administration has not abandoned the possibility of transferring some prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to a prison in the United States despite strong congressional concerns. Defense Department general counsel Jeh Charles Johnson told the House Armed Services Committee that some suspected terrorists might be transferred to the US for prosecution and others sent to a facility inside the U.S. for long-term incarceration. Administration officials had raised those possible moves before, but Congress in June passed a law that would allow Guantanamo detainees to be transferred to the US for prosecution only after lawmakers have had two months to read a White House report on how it plans to shut down the Guantanamo detention facility and disperse the inmates. The law is silent on...
Extremist group announces split from al-Qaeda -- [Telegraph]
A North African extremist group, whose senior leaders were crucial allies of Osama bin Laden, has denounced terrorism and become the first organisation ever to leave al-Qaeda.
Angels Call: Heros need adopted! -- [Mrs Greyhawk]
Will you adopt a hero? We need you- this LTC expresses how much it means....
...Instead of near instant contact through e-mail, texts or even video conference calls, families back home often have to rely on something that once was rare: hand-written letters. "Can you imagine we're going back to paper and pen. It's so weird to write an actual letter but that's what we have to do,"
'No one dies in my aircraft' -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Over the past three weeks the medevac crews from the 2nd Platoon "Gypsies" of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade have pulled dozens of wounded U.S., British and Afghan troops from the battlefields of the Helmand River valley. Here are some of their stories.
Humor can be best therapy for wounded GIs -- [MSNBC]
He knows they're going to stare. They always stare.
As soon as Pat Murray steps in the elevator, they'll notice his prosthetic leg and maybe accurately surmise that, yes, he is an Iraq war veteran, and, yes, he got blown up. Then the sadness will sink in, the pity, and they'll give him that look, which he can sense even if he doesn't see, and it will be an uncomfortable few floors up.
So as Murray approaches the elevator and the woman thrusts her hand between the closing doors for him, he says, "Careful, you can lose a limb that way."
PTSD: A Parent's Perspective -- [Soldier's Mom]
I am the parent of a child who was wounded in combat but who also bears the invisible scars that combat can bring. I know that there is a wide range of feeling and thought on combat-induced post-traumatic stress disorder. I know that we [mostly] all agree that it can exist and that there are varying degrees of it. There is wide disagreement on treatments and the efficacy of some of those treatments...
So much to say! -- [Hooah Wife]
...The purpose of this visit was to have a meeting on Friday, but let's just say - so much more came with it. Friday night we headed to Walter Reed and picked up some heroes to take out for dinner. The time I got to spend with some of these amazing men was so unbelievable. I won't talk about them or the conversations that went on, but there were some big hugs given out by yours truly. These great heroes reinforce why I work so hard for Soldiers' Angels - we can't do enough for them! Saturday, Lisa Dixon let me tag along to her monthly luncheon at Bethesda. There again, I was reminded how much the smallest efforts can mean. A sandwich and a soda can mean so much to a visiting parent of a wounded hero or a hero that may have missed lunch because he was in for a test.
No 'Net, No Phones, No Problem for Troops in Afghanistan -- [Danger Room]
In Iraq and Afghanistan, web cams, internet cafes and cell phones are a real morale boost: Troops can stay in touch with their families and loved ones in near-real time. That constant connectivity can have its minuses, though. Especially when the bad report cards and car repair bills follow you into a war zone.
...Corporal Max Nellis, an Army military policeman stationed here, said that, speaking for himself, he didn't mind working at such an austere location.
"This is great," he said. "No internet, no [cell] phones, one call a week to my wife. It's not sarcasm: It makes it a lot easier for me to focus on my job."
TINS!* A Dissertation on Time Dilation -- [Castle Argghhh!!! - Bill]
A while back, John mentioned that getting shot in the body armor while he was wearing it *hurt* and left a mark, then on Saturday, CPT Sin City admitted to having gotten a whack to the IBA while he was wearing it which *hurt* and left a mark, and now John does a post on testing body armor while you're wearing it.
Murphy's Law and the End Of Wars -- [A Major's Perspective]
Whether it was in favor of all conventional, or all un-conventional, putting all of your eggs in one basket is a bad thing. We do not have crystal balls in front of us, like the old gypsy women in the movies. A perfect vision of the future is impossible to obtain. Military forces must be structured to meet any threat that may emerge.
I'm Back!! -- [Afghanistan Shrugged]
Sorry for the long break in posts but I've been making my way back to the US for the last several weeks. My internet access was spotty and the irregular travel schedule messed with my chances to write.
I reached home yesterday and am currently spending time with the REAL VAMPIRE 06 trying to adjust to a world where not everyone wants to kill you and every car on the side of the road isn't a VBIED
A Hero's Welcome Home for National Guard Soldiers from Phillipsburg -- [WFMZ-TV Online]
MAJOR WALTER GILL: "I would like to say personally to every veteran here thank you and welcome home." >> REPORTER: They were honored with a special ceremony
'Thank you for being our heroes ... and welcome home' -- [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
Hundreds of Minnesota National Guard soldiers reunited for the official ceremony.
Two months after returning from Iraq, several hundred Minnesota National Guard soldiers were redeployed Saturday in downtown Minneapolis, where they took over the Convention Center and officially received the grateful thanks of their state and country.
Journalists' own hard luck tales help them tell those of others -- [Plain Dealer]
Bloggers like to depict veteran newspaper journalists as has-beens and never-gonna- be's. They call us "old media," as if we were dinosaurs wheezing toward extinction. -- Graves aren't dug yet, but shovels are standing by.
Information Operations and Morality -- [BlackFive - Grim]
It seems Congress has a problem with DOD's IO:
At face value, much of what is being produced appears to be United States military, and more alarmingly nonmilitary, propaganda, public relations and behavioral modification messaging. The committee questions the effectiveness of much of the material being produced with this funding[.]
Well, let's talk about that. Let's say there's a behavior you'd like to "modify" -- for example, the behavior of laying bombs by the side of the road at night.
The Danger of Bad Foreign Policies -- [Heritage Foundation - Peter Brookes]
Most Americans have noticed that President Obama's economic policies aren't getting the job done. Fewer, however, realize that the administration's foreign policies are flagging after ...
Clinton's leaky 'defense umbrella' -- [Small Wars Journal]
Iran's nuclear program is suddenly receiving a flurry of attention from top Obama administration officials. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Israel today to exchange views on the subject with Ehud Barak, his counterpart. National Security Advisor James Jones will soon arrive in Israel, presumably to discuss the same topic.
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed a U.S. "defense umbrella" over the entire Middle East should Iran fail to cease work on its nuclear complex. Other officials in the Obama administration soon attempted to repeal Clinton's remarks, while simultaneously implying that some kind of U.S. security umbrella has always been over the Middle East.
Pelosi unpopular? 'I don't care' -- [The Politico]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is one of the most despised political figures in the country. -- And, frankly, she doesn't give a damn. -- "No, I don't care," Pelosi told POLITICO last Thursday, laughing heartily as she walked beneath the Capitol dome and plunged into a crowd of tourists.
Defense Chief Strives to Change Pentagon's Ways -- [Washington Times]
Robert M. Gates is on a roll. Question is, how long will it last? The politically savvy defense secretary scored big legislative wins when the Senate voted convincingly to end production of the high-priced F-22 jet fighter and killed an aircraft engine project that he says is not needed. Mr. Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration, is on a campaign to change the way the Pentagon does business. In his sights are unnecessary or financially troubled weapons that siphon money away from the troops and gear required for irregular wars now being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet getting Capitol Hill to go along with further deep cuts to big-ticket programs remains a huge challenge as
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Iraqi Prime Minister Open to Renegotiating Withdrawal Timeline -- [The Washington Independent]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened the door for the first time Thursday to the prospect of a U.S. military presence in Iraq after the December 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal set by last year's bilateral accord -- something President Obama appeared to rule out during a joint appearance on Tuesday.
Never say Never -- [Greyhawk]
It's not the same as the Security Agreement (or SOFA), but some might recall the drawdown plan Obama actually described during the campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Exit Tragedies -- [Newsweek]
Will the final American pullout from Iraq be a parade, a retreat, or a rout?
Military historian Martin van Creveld said back in 2005 that the American-led invasion of Iraq was "the most foolish war since the Emperor Augustus sent his legions into Germany in 9 B.C. and lost them." Except to correct the date (A.D. 9, in fact), the influential Israeli scholar says his opinion of the Iraq adventure hasn't changed. And as it starts to wind down, with a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces due inside the next 30 months, van Creveld's vision of the U.S. military's final days in Iraq is, well, pretty grim.
"Several years ago I wrote an article in which I said the invasion would end exactly like Vietnam, with people hanging from the skids of helicopters," he told me over the phone this week. "I may have exaggerated a bit. But not much."
The Importance Of Looking Good -- [Strategy Page]
The Iraqi security forces have not, as Americans expected, called on U.S. troops for help, since U.S. forces pulled out of their urban bases by June 30th, and moved to new ones in the countryside. Moreover, the government issued new rules reminding American commanders that they could not run their own patrols or raids in urban areas, and most Iraqi commanders are no longer willing to run joint urban patrols.
Village Raid -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Late at night, we are summoned to roll with the Iraqi General and his special operations company. Our convoy, over 30 vehicles strong, rolls out onto the quiet streets of Baghdad, and maneuvers toward a small desert village.
The convoy links up with another of thirty or so vehicles, all loaded with soldiers and their weapons ready to do business. Several Americans dismount and find the Iraqi General. In the middle of his personal security detail, he is barking orders and waving his hands. His orders are to search every house, every closet (even drawers and refrigerators) and announces that we will be here all night and all day, until we find the bad guys. In minutes, vehicles start maneuvering around the village blocking roads, shining lights on houses and knocking on doors.
Changes in the IZ -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
In several posts recently, I've talked about changes that are taking place in Iraq, and especially here in Baghdad. They're being driven by the Security Agreement that was signed last fall, Iraqi eagerness to take control of their own country, and the improving security situation. There are a lot of things going on right here in the International Zone that are part of this.
Marines continue responsible drawdown in Al Anbar province -- [MNF-West]
"This is the first time the Marine Corps has conducted a responsible drawdown on this scale," said Sgt. Nelson Velazquez, the retrograde chief for II MHG (Fwd). "In the past, there was no standard operating procedure for removing all gear from forward operating bases."
With the end of the Marine mission in Iraq drawing closer, the gear has to find a new home. Some items will be sent back to the United States, while other equipment will be sent to aid Marine efforts in other operations around the world.
Wasit IP mobile training team trains their own -- [The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division : RailGunners - in Iraq]
Iraqi Police in Wasit province are now capable of sustaining their own training needs after Coalition forces leave Iraq thanks to a coordinated effort between the Iraqi Police Advisor Teams, 772nd Military Police Company and the Wasit IP Provincial Headquarters.
Taking out the trash, bringing in a new era in Basra -- [The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division : WarHorse - in Iraq]
"Our American friends comprehended the important priority of having a clean city and also the priorities of having water and electricity. They will help us in having these things as essential services," said the governor. "Today, we'll deliver to the people as a first step 12,000 trash cans," he continued. "At the end, the number will reach 350,000, with each house having one trash container. This is the starting point for a lot of other projects to follow."
In addition to the trash containers, the city plans on providing regular trash collection services for the citizens,
Surviving, but Hardly Thriving -- [WaPo]
Water Has Returned to Iraq's Marshes, but Their Revival Remains in Doubt
Water has begun flowing again through southern Iraq's fabled marshes, a vast reservoir in this arid region that had all but vanished by the time the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 gave it a lifeline.
Obama: 'Victory' Not Necessarily Goal in Afghanistan -- [FOX News]
President Obama has put securing Afghanistan near the top of his foreign policy agenda, but "victory" in the war-torn country isn't necessarily the United States' goal, he said Thursday in a TV interview.
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
Disgusted and Disappointed -- [Bouhammer]
Since when did the word "Victory" become a bad word? Is there something wrong with Victory? Didn't he like it when he we victorious in the Presidential campaign, didn't he like the sweet taste of victory when the Chicago Bulls won the many championships they won?
There are only two things that you can do in war, WIN or LOSE. There is no in-between. There is no gray area. You don't sorta win or almost lose. You either WIN or LOSE.
So if VICTORY is not the goal of the war in Afghanistan, then what is the goal?
Biden Warns of More 'Sacrifice' in Afghanistan -- [NY Times]
Entering a debate that has stirred political tumult in Britain, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in an interview broadcast Thursday that more coalition troops would die in Afghanistan but that the war was "worth the effort." Speaking during a tour of Ukraine and Georgia, Mr. Biden told the BBC that the lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was "a place that, if it doesn't get straightened out, will continue to wreak havoc on Europe and the United States." His remarks have a particular resonance in Britain at a time when the American-led coalition has recorded some of its worst casualties since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001.
US Stops Giving Militant Death Tolls in Afghanistan -- [LA Times]
US military officials in Afghanistan have halted the practice of releasing the number of militants killed in fighting with American-led forces as part of an overall strategy shift that emphasizes concern for the local civilian population's well-being rather than hunting insurgent groups. The decision has triggered a quiet but fierce debate among military officers comparing the current situation with the US experience in Vietnam, when military officials exaggerated body counts and used them as a measure of success. Under the order, issued last month by Navy Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, the military will not release specifics on how many insurgents are killed in fighting, and instead will give general estimates.
Some Photos and Captions -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
The Swedish C-130 landed at Chaghcharan "airport." Landmines still wait in ambush in the fields around the airstrip, and in fact a legacy mine (previous war) was found just about three feet off the road--just a minute from the base--while I was there. The mine has been next to the base for about five years and apparently nobody stepped on it. When soldiers say to you, "Sir, please don't step off the road," they mean "DON'T STEP OFF THE ROAD!" The director of the local hospital told me that mines strike about one person per month in this area.
Serious Challenger Emerges in Afghan Presidential Race -- [NY Times]
When Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the main election challenger to President Hamid Karzai, arrived here to campaign last weekend, thousands of supporters choked the six-mile drive from the airport. Cars were plastered with his posters. Motorbikes flew blue banners. Young men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his face leapt aboard his car to embrace him to ecstatic cheers.
Says Who? -- [Registan]
Not to knock Abdullah, but none of those qualities really indicate that Abdullah will challenge Karzai's popularity in the voting booth. In fact, the little bit of information I've been able to tease out of Afghanistan indicates that most people don't really care for Karzai all that much, but they're going to vote for him anyway because they think he'll win. What of Abdullah's appeal?
Afghan-International Security Forces Capture Key Haqqani Facilitator in Khowst -- [USFOR - Facebook]
KABUL, Afghanistan - A joint Afghan and international security force searched a compound in Khowst Province last night in an effort to interdict a key Haqqani facilitator responsible for multiple operations, including suicide attacks, against Afghan and international security forces in the region.
Danger Room with Afghanistan's Broke, Ammo-Starved Cops -- [Danger Room]
In Bamiyan Province, the Afghan National Police are supposed to be the first line of defense against insurgents. Problem is, they are often out of gas, short of ammunition and in need of basic supplies.
...Keeping the ANP properly equipped and supplied is one of the obstacles to maintaining security in Bamiyan Province. Warrant Officer Class One Ian Lawrence of the New Zealand Army described the some of the challenges the PRT encounters when working with the local police.
"We're supposed to train them, but they don't even have training rounds for the weapons," he said. "It's a bit frustrating. When we take them out on joint patrols, we have to feed them, give them water, provide the diesel. They give them nothing, they have no supply system."
M16 -- [Embedded in Afghanistan...- in Afghanistan]
The M16 transition is finally getting going in earnest. I'm still not sure I agree with the whole idea of replacing the venerable AK with the M16 for these guys. Seems I remember reading somewhere that we should train indigenous forces to mirror the enemy, not to mirror us. By giving them armored humvees and NATO weapons we're certainly making them look a lot like us, which would be great if the Afghan Army had any hope of supporting an army with such equipment.
...What we need more of are lightly loaded guys that can go up into the mountains and ambush the enemy. The basic load for the Americans makes moving around in the mountains difficult to say the least.
Army Brass Conduct Before Afghan Attack Is Questioned -- [WaPo]
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an Army historian are raising serious questions about the performance of Army commanders prior to an assault that killed nine US soldiers at a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan last July. Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said he has asked the Pentagon's inspector general to conduct a formal examination of the Taliban assault and suggested that the Army may have mishandled an investigation of the incident.
Wanat (VIII): An Army report finds a major COIN failure -- [Foreign Policy Blog]
The Army's study of what happened in the Wanat battle a year ago in eastern Afghanistan is even harder on senior U.S. military commanders than I was in my series on it back in February, saying that they didn't understand counterinsurgency doctrine and also that some of their statements about the fight were misleading at best.
The report, which is still in draft form, contradicts a few aspects of the accounts provided by some of the senior officers involved, implicitly raising integrity questions.
The Double-edged IO Sword -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
Tadd Sholtis at Quatto Zone raises an interesting COIN question. (Don't worry, At Park Place, I haven't forgotten that I owe you something.) He muses over what the Taliban are doing with their message about air strikes and CIVCAS (Civilian Casualties.) Everyone knows that GEN McChrystal has stated that our metrics will be centered around protecting civilians... including from us... and that he has moved a few things around the house. What the Taliban want is an intriguing question, though. Let's take a peek into what that clever manjammie-wearing Mao-trained thug may be thinking.
On Killing Civilians -- [Abu Muqawama - in Afghanistan]
While in Afghanistan over the past month, I found myself reading a lot of U.S. Civil War history. Despite the fact that I am from Chattanooga, Tennessee, I have never really been too interested in the U.S. Civil War. (And when I have read U.S. Civil War history, I have often found myself more drawn to heroes of the North like Buford and Grant and Reynolds -- and the more skeptical Southern generals like Longstreet. I am 100% East Tennessean in that way, I guess.) But I had been meaning to read Grant's memoirs for some time, and my friend Mike Sulmeyer gave me Shelby Foote's history of the Gettysburg Campaign for my birthday in June. As I was reading both books and with my mind on their protagonists, I found myself wondering whether Gen. McChrystal might be considered to be more like U.S. Grant or Robert E. Lee? ...Now there existed good moral reasons for Lee to have ordered his troops to behave in the way he ordered them to behave. But ...
McChrystal's Tactical Directive for Afghanistan -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
NATO has released portions of the new tactical directive from Gen. McChrystal and his team...This change in policy has been controversial because it does place dangerous restrictions on the ability of our troops to hit the enemy in certain locations and situations, but it is necessary if we want to change the dynamic of that fight. The document is the outline for how coalition forces will operate in a manner consistent with both safeguarding the populace and engaging the enemy, a tightrope walk for certain. The portions released are unclassified and I will limit my commentary to these. I think that still provides a good look at the implications of this change without openly discussing how particular escalations of force would play out on the ground. Overall ...
What's new? -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
...we came across a civilian convoy that had just been ambushed. Five trucks had their tires shot out and then set on fire. Only one driver was injured. The Afghan drivers were taking U.S. supplies to the Marines in Helmand. Too bad they didn't make it there. Our battalion was able to help secure the area until we could safely remove the remaining two containers.
Taliban were firing at me and I just thought of my little girl, says Army's only female Jackal driver -- [Daily Mail] The only British woman soldier driving combat vehicles on patrol in Afghanistan has told how thinking of her daughter got her through the terror of an ambush.
N. Korea Escalates War of Words, Calls Clinton Vulgar, Unintelligent -- [WaPo]
The war of words between North Korea and the United States escalated Thursday, with North Korea's Foreign Ministry lashing out at Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in unusually personal terms for "vulgar remarks" that it said demonstrated "she is by no means intelligent."
A Word, Or Rather Not, In Defense of Mrs. Clinton: -- [Grim's Hall]
I would rise to the defense of our Secretary of State against baseless slander, but frankly, North Korean diplomats are hardly fit to speak to her. You can receive insult only from an equal; no free woman should bother even to snap her fingers at the insults of the slave diplomats of a regime of liars.
Biden Offers Georgia Solidarity -- [WaPo]
Biden Says Russia Used 'Pretext' to Invade Georgia in 2008
Breaking with the cautious tone the Obama administration has adopted toward the Kremlin, Vice President Biden told a room of Georgian children Thursday that Russia "used a pretext to invade your country" in the hope of wrecking its economy and persuading its people that "democracy doesn't work."
Officials: US-born al-Qaida Recruit is Now Top Informant in Terror Cases -- [Stars & Stripes]
An American-born al-Qaida recruit has become one of the counterterrorism world's most valuable informants, giving investigators a rare look at al-Qaida's day-to-day operations in a lawless region bordering Pakistan which US officials have struggled to infiltrate, investigators say. Bryant Neal Vinas, who grew up in the New York City suburbs of Long Island, was charged in New York court papers unsealed Wednesday with giving al-Qaida "expert advice and assistance" about New York's transit system and with a rocket attack on US forces in Afghanistan last year. The identity of the 26-year-old Vinas, nicknamed "Ibrahim" or "Bashir al-Ameriki," has been kept secret since his indictment late last year. Court papers show he pleaded guilty in January in a sealed courtroom in Brooklyn and remains in US custody in New York. A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity ...
US Recruit Reveals How Qaeda Trains Foreigners -- [NY Times]
Bryant Neal Vinas, the once-aimless young man who journeyed from Long Island to Pakistan to join Al Qaeda, agreed to carry out a suicide bomb attack last year. Later the young man, who went by the nom de guerre of Bashir al-Ameriki, took a side trip to a Pakistani city in search of a wife. It was there, in Peshawar, that Pakistani agents captured this American convert to Islam last November. These chapters in Mr. Vinas's unlikely odyssey, replete with details on how Al Qaeda uses applications and written evaluations of students, directs terrorist camp life, and trains recruits to handle silencers and build suicide bomb vests, are found in a Belgian defense lawyer's transcription of an official summary of parts of Mr. Vinas's FBI interrogation.
Al-Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid Talks About Using Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Against U.S -- [MEMRI Blog]
...Offers Americans 'Peace Plan': Convert to Islam, or Else Be Ruled by Islam and Pay Poll Tax to the Muslims
Bin Laden Son Reported Killed In Pakistan -- [NPR]
.S. officials believe Saad bin Laden -- a son of Osama bin Laden -- has been killed by an American missile in Pakistan.
Saad bin Laden reportedly spent years under house arrest in Iran before traveling last year to Pakistan, according to former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell.
It's believed he was killed by Hellfire missiles fired from a U.S. Predator drone sometime this year.
CNN article on how precious letter are to troops! -- [Soldiers Angels Network]
CNN reports on "Letters precious to U.S. troops in Afghan outposts." At Soldiers' Angels we know this and have been expressing this since 2003. Not just for Afghanistan, but for all of our deployed and wounded heroes.
Please take the time to adopt a hero today by going to www.SoldiersAngels.org. At the top of your screen, you will see the button ADOPT-A-SOLDIER. It is a simple process that will take a minute or two of your time. Once you hit send, expect your life to change. Supporting a hero has so many rewards. It allows us all to take a stand with our heroes for Freedom.
Landstuhl hospital offers new 8-week PTSD Treatment Program for Germany-based Soldiers -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
This is very good news for Soldiers based in Germany - and hopefully soon Europe-wide - whose PTSD symptoms require therapy of a duration and intensity offered only in the U.S. until the launch of this pilot program.
Gold Star Mom Angelia Phillips: Happy 100th Birthday Mr. John Finnby Gold Star Mothers -- [Big Hollywood]
You may not know who Mr. John Finn is, but you should. He is one of the true heroes who live among us. Today Mr. Finn turned 100-years-old. To simply live to that age may, to some, be an accomplishment in itself but to know who this man is and what he has done should amaze and humble you even more.
Elgin National Guard troops homecoming Monday -- [The Courier News]
"The signs could say 'We Support You,' 'Welcome Home' or whatever sentiment you'd like to show. Let's just get out there and let them know their year in ...
Las Vegas soldiers return home from Afghanistan -- [Las Vegas Sun]
...A handful of people were also at the airport to greet the soldiers even though they knew none of them personally.
"We're from Soldiers' Angels, and we're just here as a community to thank our heroes as they come in," said group member Barbara Eigner. "It's the least we can do as patriotic citizens to thank them for their service."
Troops Welcomed Home from Afghanistan -- [MyFox Washington DC]
The Maryland-based organization that sponsored this welcome home party says this sometimes happens two or three times a week. It's their way of thanking
Reservists take home the Bronze -- [Burlington County Times]
FORT DIX - Nearly 300 friends and family members packed the Bravo Company Chapel on Thursday night to welcome home Army reservists with the 157th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, most of whom landed at the base from Iraq early in the morning.
New GI Bill Transfer Options Take Effect Aug. 1 -- [Defense Link]
The Post-9/11 GI Bill takes effect Aug. 1, but in the meantime, servicemembers may submit a request to transfer benefits to their spouses and children now.
"Transferability of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits has been the most requested initiative we receive from our servicemembers," said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel policy, "and we believe it will assist us in retaining highly qualified military personnel."
Career servicemembers on active duty or in the selected reserve on Aug. 1 may be entitled to transfer all or a portion of their unused entitlement to one or more family members.
Domestic 'enemies' worry GOP hopeful -- [NWAnews]
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Conrad Reynolds warned Wednesday that Americans need to speak out against what he described as domestic enemies.
"When I joined the military I took an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic," Reynolds said. "I never thought it would be domestic, but in today's world I do believe we have enemies here. It's time for people to stand up. It's time for us to speak out."
Army's Top NCO Recommends TRICARE Review -- [Defense Link]
The Army's top non-commissioned officer recommended reviewing the standards of the military health-care program TRICARE during testimony on Capitol Hill.
Obama Wins Big Victory on Defence -- [Inter Press Service]
The 58-40 vote to delete 1.75 billion dollars in funding to order seven more F-22 "Raptor" jet fighters as part of the 534-billion-dollar 2010 military ..
U.S. Sen. Grassley: Continues efforts to ensure military families, overseas civilians have greater opportunities to vote -- [Iowa Politics]
Senator Chuck Grassley today said that legislation he has cosponsored that would ensure members of the military and overseas voters are aware of their voting rights and have greater opportunities to cast a ballot was included in the National Defense Authorization Act that is currently being debated before the U.S. Senate.
"Those who defend democracy should have every opportunity to participate in the democratic process," Grassley said. "There are simply too many barriers for people serving their country and working overseas to casting a ballot in our federal elections."
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18 Killed, 100 Wounded in Iraq Bombings -- [VOA]
Iraqi officials say a series of bombings killed at least 18 people in Baghdad and Ramadi Tuesday, three weeks after Iraqi forces formally assumed security responsibilities in urban areas. Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman General Abdul Karim Khalaf told VOA that Iraqi forces can handle their security duties without the assistance of the U.S. combat troops that withdrew from the cities on June 30.
Never Forget -- [Sorority Soldier - in Iraq]
Last night, Stone, TyTy, Vaughn and I covered the memorial service for the three soldiers killed here on the 16th. They were killed by indirect fire (used to refer to mortars, rockets, etc.) They were all attached to the 34th Military Police Company, 2 were MPs and 1 was a medic. Spc Carlos Wilcox was 27, Spc Daniel Drevnick was 22 and Spc James Wertish was just 20. They were all from Minnesota. The memorial was packed and if I had to guess, I'd say 700 people attended the service. I set up a stationary shot on the speakers and Stone roamed around to get crowd shots and cutaways. I couldn't keep my composure for the entire thing and ended up shedding more than a few tears. There are three parts of the ceremony that always get me:
ISI: It Was The Jihad Fighters in Iraq Who Defeated the U.S. Military and Made It Withdraw -- [MEMRI Blog]
In a July 19, 2009 communiqué, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) ridicules the Iraqi government and attributes the U.S. troop withdrawal from major Iraqi cities to the steadfastness of the jihad fighters, saying that they "have made the U.S. army taste death and the bitterness of defeat" and forced it to realize that a U.S. military victory in Iraq is now "an unattainable dream." The communiqué, which was posted on the Islamist website Al-Faluja, also again condemns the Sunni resistance organizations that did not join the ISI, for attempting to "harvest the fruits" of the jihad.
Specter of Give-and-Take Looms Over Maliki's Visit -- [WaPo]
Iraq would like the United States to provide more economic support, help resolve problems with some of its neighbors and - when asked - assist in combating the myriad security problems it still faces. Otherwise, it would like the Americans to leave it alone. For its part, the Obama administration wants Baghdad to stop the sectarian disagreements that continue to impede economic and political progress, show a little more public respect for US sacrifices on its behalf and start behaving like a normal, oil-rich democracy.
(Part 2) How is Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki connected to Saddam Hussein?
2009 July 21 -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, this was Maliki's cue to return to Iraq. In 2005, he was elected to the National Assembly during the transitional period of the Iraqi Government; as well as being the senior Shia member of the group that drafted the newest Iraqi Constitution. Subsequently, in 2006, he was elected Prime Minister of Iraq; In an interesting twist of fate, on the 30th of December, 2006, PM Maliki signed the death warrant for Saddam Hussein, stating "Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him".
For those of you reading this that have a tough time defining irony, this is a good example.
Iraqi Military: No Need for US Troops' Help in Security Mission -- [VOA]
The Iraqi military and security forces are saying they have not needed to call upon US troops, since their pullback from Iraqi cities on June 30, and they have also denied US requests to conduct raids. The Iraqi military is becoming increasingly self-reliant, in the words of its commanders, since the withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities and towns.
Afghanistan moves troops to south, clashes in north -- [Reuters]
Afghanistan is repositioning forces to the south after complaints too few are involved in major U.S. and British offensives against the Taliban, officials said on Wednesday, even as clashes erupted in the north.
URGENT- Live Reports from Gardez Bombings -- [Bouhammer]
PJ Tobia has talked to Scott Kesterson who as many of you know is in the Gardez area. Scott gave PJ a live description from on the ground of what happened in Gardez today.
Gardez was one of 3 cities in eastern Afghanistan where Government buildings were simultaneously attacked.
UPDATE of Gardez Situation from Scott Kesterson -- [Bouhammer]
...Eight suicide bombers attacked Gardez today. Two detonated themselves, four were killed by Afghan forces before being able to detonate their suicide vests, and two escaped. The Afghan forces performed brilliantly. They received intel early in the day and were able to minimize the damage from the attacks. Unfortunately, four Afghan soldiers were killed in the process, but civilian casualties were minimal to none. Following the attacks, ...
Fighting Back: Jawa vs Taliban Propaganda Machine Round 10 *sticky* (PWNED!) -- [Jawa Report]
Update: Both websites listed in this post have been removed!
Did you know the Taliban are online? Did you know that American corporations provide essential services to the Taliban? Did you also know that you can help fight the Taliban?
The following post documents several of the Taliban's official websites and the companies that illegally facilitate them. It then turns to a popular yet unofficial English language website that is used by Taliban supporters in the US and Canada to spread propaganda produced by the internationally outlawed organization. Finally, we instruct the reader on what they can do to help fight the Taliban online.
U.S. bombs poppy crop to cut Taliban drug ties -- [CNN]
The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday in a dramatic show of force designed to break up the Taliban's connection to heroin.
The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday. 1 of 2 The air strike occurred mid-day in Helmand province and was observed by CNN's Ivan Watson, who is embedded with the U.S. Marines operating in that province.
The military dropped a series of 1,000-pound bombs from planes on the mounds of poppy seeds and then followed with strikes from helicopters.
Pakistan: Now or Never? -- [Reuters - Joshua Foust]
The virtues of doing nothing: Why focusing on Afghanistan's opium makes the opium problem worse
What Is Going on in the Poppy Fields of Afghanistan? -- [Registan - Joshua Foust]
The U.S. Air Force just declared a major victory in the war on drugs in Afghanistan because it bombed a big pile of bagel toppings.
Afghan, US forces repel coordinated Taliban suicide assaults -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Afghan and US forces repelled coordinated Taliban assaults in two major cities in eastern Afghanistan. Suicide bombers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked government installations and a US base in the cities of Gardez and Jalalabad. Eight Taliban fighters and six Afghan security personnel were reported killed in the failed attacks.
Ordnance Expert on Taliban IEDs (VIDEO) -- U.S. Marines in Helmand province and coalition forces in many parts of Afghanistan face a growing threat from improvised explosive devices laid by Taliban fighters. An ordnance expert explains why the bombs are so lethal.
Success with First Mentoring Contact -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
I have been out at a nearby training facility for the past few days. Ostensibly we went there to provide follow on immunizations for ANP recruits, but I knew better.
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan -- [NY Times]
A sweeping United States military review calls for overhauling the troubled American-run prison here as well as the entire Afghan jail and judicial systems, a reaction to worries that abuses and militant recruiting within the prisons are helping to strengthen the Taliban.
Clearance Granted: Coming Clean -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
Today, I got a chance to have my "in-brief" with my new boss, a Colonel who is the Director of the CTC-A, or Counterinsurgency Training Center - Afghanistan. It took a week to catch fifteen minutes or so of his free time. He has none, and so what I got was stolen. The conversation went well. Among other things, I am clear to blog. One thing: Don't ever think that I speak for the CTC-A. I don't. I speak for myself and myself alone. See the disclaimer for details. CTC-A would fall under at least one of the covered entities that I do not speak for. That being said, I've got to say that I'm mui impressed with the curriculum here. I am surrounded by people who get it. Many are former advisors. Evangelists all, our job is to help my Army, and and armies of our allies and the Afghans, and governmental organizations of all of the above...
A Simple Question -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
if air strikes harm the chances for coalition success, why do the Taliban (not otherwise hesitant to harm civilians to further their ends) seem intent on ending those strikes rather than promoting more of them? For example, the Taliban group that claims to hold a recently captured American soldier is now demanding an end to "air strikes in Ghazni province's Giro district and Paktika province's Khoshamand district," according to the Associated Press. Why do this unless air power represents a significant threat to the organization? And while it's clear that the Taliban try to provoke strikes that will cause civilian casualties, it's unclear whether this tactic is designed to whip up popular rage or encourage restrictive rules of engagement that will grant insurgents more breathing room. The answer is probably both.
Pakistan Objects to US Expansion in Afghan War -- [NY Times]
Pakistan is objecting to expanded American combat operations in neighboring Afghanistan, creating new fissures in the alliance with Washington at a critical juncture when thousands of new American forces are arriving in the region. Pakistani officials have told the Obama administration that the Marines fighting the Taliban in southern Afghanistan will force militants across the border into Pakistan, with the potential to further inflame the troubled province of Baluchistan, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.
Exclusive: Missing US Soldier May Be in Pakistan -- [ABC News]
The US soldier kidnapped by Taliban forces in Afghanistan may have been taken across the border to Pakistan, complicating efforts to obtain
U.S. fears North Korea nuclear ties to Myanmar -- [Reuters]
The United States is concerned about the possible transfer of nuclear technology from North Korea to military-ruled Myanmar, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.
Noted NY Terror Supporter Harassing Family of American Hostage -- [Jawa Report]
The New York Taliban and Osama bin Laden supporter formerly known as Joseph Cohen, Yousef al-Khattab, claims he has called the family of American hostage Bowe Bergdahl.
Saudi Efforts to Combat Terrorist Financing -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
This past week, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for his first official visit to the Middle East since assuming his current position. Although in many respects the Obama administration is off to a bumpy start with Saudi Arabia, Geithner praised Saudi efforts in combating terrorist financing, which is a significant departure from statements made by senior Treasury officials in recent years. His remarks in Riyadh were more than just empty praise, reflecting the broader view in Washington that the Saudis are finally beginning to make progress on this important front.
Strong Partners Against Terrorism -- [Wall Street Journal - Eric H. Holder Jr., Janet Napolitano]
The threat of terrorism is still very much alive. All law enforcement agencies--and indeed all Americans--must remain vigilant. We recognize that within our
Terrorism is back in business -- [Jakarta Post]
It acquires international dimensions in which Indonesia needs to cooperate with other countries in combating terrorism.
Terrorism in Indonesia has nothing to do with Afghanistan -- [Crikey]
In other words, the solution of Islamist terrorism in Indonesia lies in Indonesia, rather than Afghanistan. How could it possibly be otherwise?
A Chance Encounter in Afghanistan -- [ABC News]
Three years ago ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff suffered a severe brain injury in a roadside IED attack in Iraq. He was flown to a military hospital in Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq, where the medical team there saved his life.
... change in schedule landed Woodruff at a military hospital at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. This hospital and others like it are seeing a growing number of doctors, nurses and medics who first served in Iraq and ended up to Afghanistan.
Coincidentally, two of the men who saved Woodruff's life in 2006 are now working in Afghanistan saving others.
New El Paso County court tailored to handle war fallout -- [The Denver Post]
Thousands of American combat troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious physical and mental injuries, and many of them run into trouble with the law. A new court that will open in El Paso County next month is designed to provide returning veterans accused of felonies with an alternative to the conventional justice system, which is not always sympathetic to combat-related brain injuries and stress disorders.
Maj. Cook On BTR show tonight Discussing his position/situation -- [American Infidel]
Rules of Engagement and the devastating effect they are having on our
military's ability to effectively gain their objectives with successful missions and defend our nation. Rule of Engagement issues are believed to have been the
reason for the 2005 deaths of 19 Navy SEALS in the Hindu Kush from which
Marcus Luttrell emerged as the only survivor.
What To Do With The Wild Men -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. Army, overwhelmed with new recruits, and existing troops wanting to stay in, is eliminating nearly all re-enlistment bonuses for the rest of the fiscal year (which ends in September). Earlier this year, the army sharply cut back on its enlistment, and re-enlistment bonus program, mainly because the economic recession reduced the competition recruiters get from civilian employers, the army still pays well for those with rare skills. In general,
California Soldiers Return Home -- [MADISON]
More than 270 soldiers with the 1498th Transportation Company received a big welcome home Saturday in Long Beach, Ca.
Twittering the War -- [Weekly Standard]
An AP story which ran Sunday covering the crash of an American jet in Afghanistan, apparently from mechanical causes, contained a significant detail about the way U.S. military spokesmen are doing business:
"As the Colonel said on his Twitter site" is not something you hear frequently in the armed forces, not yet, anyway. But it constitutes a potentially very positive development: harnessing the power of commonly available and popular communications technologies to speed the delivery and increase the audience of the military's message. Of course, al Qaeda and the Taliban have been doing this for years.
Senate Votes to Kill F-22 Fighter Program -- [BusinessWeek]
Military officials and some politicians warn of negative military implications, particularly a loss of US technological knowhow.
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Iraq Leader Plans to Visit Arlington -- [Los Angeles Times]
...Prime Minister Nouri Maliki plans to visit the graves of American soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery during a trip to Washington this week and to offer a personal "thank you" to the men and women who gave their lives for the sake of a new Iraq. It's a risky political move for a man who is facing a national election early next year.
Customers vs. Clients -- [Armed and Curious - in Iraq]
I have struggled since becoming a military public affairs officer to figure out how to balance the ideas and requests I am given from senior officers against what I believe to be the right mission or message of the command I represent.
...Who can forget the young Marine public affairs officer who went on CNN in October, 2004 to announce the re-taking of Fallujah had begun...when it hadn't? He was told to do it by his boss, his customer, so he did it. It ended up making him look like a liar. Did the Colonel get in trouble or the young officer who got in front of the camera? In the end, the entire military was painted with a broad brush as being liars from just that one incident. On a daily basis there are much smaller battles. For example,...
Heart-Broke (Hard-broke?) in Baghdad -- [Mongo's Montreaux - in Iraq]
This article from the Washington Post articulates the frustrations of senior commanders over the apparently shifting definitions of the tenets of the US/Iraqi security agreement. A classic example of an overly optimistic COA making ballistic contact with the cruel, real world. I guess Mosul isn't the only place where the Coalition feels like it had the rug jerked out from under its feet.
What flummoxes me, though, is the fact that no one saw this coming, or had detailed talks/planning sessions beforehand to "set conditions," or had bolstering, written, detailed agreements under the Security Agreement umbrella.
US Troops in Iraq Find Little Leeway -- [Washington Post]
The tip was as alarming as it was unusual. A Sunni insurgent cell was planning a mortar attack on a large US base adjacent to Baghdad's airport. A credible informant told US intelligence officials Tuesday morning that several mortars launching from nearby Amiriyah, a quiet neighborhood that had not been a staging ground for rocket or mortar attacks since 2007, would rain down shells on the base that night. Over the next few days, Capt. Dustin Navarro and his Iraqi army counterpart wrangled over the appropriate response.
Iraqi troops pass festival test -- [BBC]
Iraqi security forces have passed the first big test of their capabilities since US troops withdrew from towns and cities late last month.
A major religious festival in the capital, Baghdad, passed off with no large-scale violence. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from across Iraq and abroad visited for one of the most important dates in the Shia religious calendar.
Seeking 'normal life' in Iraq (Video) -- [BBC]
Two weeks since American forces pulled out of Iraq's towns and cities, and many Iraqis are now hoping they can look forward to a return to normal life
Farewell with Interpreters; Posturing for Redeployment -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Meanwhile, just as my 11-man team is maneuvering towards redeployment in sections back to the States, so will drawing down troop levels in Iraq. After all, we transported our team in sections to the airport in order to have enough space for bags, weapons, gear and our bodies. Imagine taking connexes, vehicles and parts.
On our last evening, we presented certificates of appreciation to our interpreters, who suddenly took our departure with heavy hearts. We had meaningful goodbyes together, and then each one came to our room last night to thank us and wish us safe travels individually.
Twiddling thumbs, time NOW -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
After a brief, two-hour frenzy of paperwork in which I built packets for sole sourcing construction of five six-room schools, we again found ourselves staring at the calendar.
Tainted Love -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
...There is not much good to report from Afghanistan at the moment. With armed criminality reaching epidemic proportions there is a flood of stories about the dismal state of the Afghan National Police (ANP). The Afghan police are not just ineffective - they are despised by rural people who will take the hard tyranny of the Taliban over being preyed upon by the police. This article puts the blame for Afghanistan's dysfunctional police force on the Germans but that is BS. The Department of State has spent over 10 BILLION on their cookie cutter law enforcement training program which I have written about before. There is only one way to get the police to perform and that is to live with them, mentor them daily, and make them perform.
Something Is Happening Down There -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. Marine advance into Helmand province is being slowed down by the new Rules Of Engagement (ROE), which forbid the use of bombs or missiles in any situation where there might be civilians. The Taliban will typically spend the night, or longer, in a village or walled compound, and that's where U.S. troops will typically trap them. But bombs and missiles cannot be used on these places, so U.S. troops have to besiege the place, or just move on, leaving the Taliban alone.
Marines, ANA conduct raid on insurgent stronghold -- [MEB-Afghanistan]
Afghan National Army soldiers and U.S. Marines from Regimental Combat Team 3, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, conducted a raid on a known insurgent stronghold July 18 in the town of Lakari, Garmsir District. The raid force uncovered several weapons caches - including supplies used in making improvised explosive devices - and a stockpile of Afghan National Army uniforms, used by insurgents in ambush attacks. The force also included members of the Afghan National Interdiction Unit supported by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and discovered a significant quantity of illegal drugs, which help fund the insurgents. There were no reports of ANA or civilian casualties, or damage to civilian property.
MEB-Afghanistan soldier establishes rapport with locals outside Bastion -- [MEB-Afghanistan]
"I was out here today to collect socio-cultural information on the people of Settlement Two," said Army Capt. Steven J. Lacy, a team leader with Human Terrain Team, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, and East Wenatchee, Wash., native. "My goal is to have enough information so someone can use it to make a positive result."
The team's objective is to listen to what villagers have to say to help build a positive rapport between the locals and the nearby bases of Camps Bastion and Leatherneck.
Taliban Pushed Out, U.S. Troops Turn to a More Civil Challenge -- [WaPo]
"This fight must not be focused on the Taliban but on the people," said Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, commander of the Marine expeditionary force in Helmand, speaking Thursday at a base near this provincial capital. As soon as an area is cleared of insurgents, he said, "the key is how to quickly reach into a community that has been terrorized, that is not sure whether the Taliban will come back and whether we will stay."
But while U.S. and British officials in Helmand told U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry during a day-long visit that the Khan Neshin operation could be a "model" for Washington's new counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan,
Americans won't back long Afghan war: Gates -- [WaPo]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said U.S.-led forces must gain ground against insurgents in Afghanistan by next summer to avoid a public perception the war is unwinnable,...
News video: "Camp Hell" in Helmand Province -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
From Liisa, SMSgt Temple's wife: Rex is out on a mission and asked me to post a video in his absence. This story ran over the weekend on ABC News and it takes you to Combat Outpost Lowell just a few miles from the Pakistan border; the COP has survived almost 100 Taliban attacks.
Hamid Karzai Says Bring Taliban to Table - -[The Times]
The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has urged the West to develop a new strategy for his country, warning that more troops will not necessarily improve security. "Military operations are no longer enough," he said as the deaths of British and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan reached their highest monthly total of the eight-year war. "We have to rethink the way we do things - without that there won't be any improvement." Karzai called for negotiations with the Taliban. Even Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, should be encouraged to attend talks, he said.
Afghan Villagers Attack Taliban -- [WSJ]
Villagers attacked the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan, a rare instance of locals turning on insurgents after being promised aid money and security by the government.
Friday's confrontation was welcome news for Afghan and U.S. authorities, in what is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest months for the U.S-led coalition since the start of the war. Tribesmen in Nangarhar, a province in the east, broke ties with the Taliban after being promised development money and security ...
Taken -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
Frankly, I view a lot of what we're doing as enabling. And if there's anything an Afghan is especially good at, it's letting another person do his work for him and clean up his mess should such a person prove so willing. Our being here enables the local forces (the ANA, Afghan National Police) to sit back and let us do most of the fighting.
I'm not saying the ANA don't know how to fight, because I know from experience when the times get tough they are more than capable of turning it on and getting down to business. But since I've been over here I've seen the US forces in the area take a good number of casualties and KIAs. And I've yet to see the ANA lose a single soldier. Part of this is because the people we're fighting against sometimes don't target the ANA because they're fellow Muslims, but it's mostly because the ANA don't really get out there and do the kind of operations that would put them in danger...and
Donkeys -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
To lengthen our stay in the mountains we decided to incorporate donkeys into a recent mission. We figured donkeys are a reasonable way for the ANA to sustain themselves...they can't exactly call on helicopter resupply the way we can. Donkeys come at a pretty reasonable rate around here - $5 a day for a donkey, with a bit extra tacked on for fodder.
This is what happens... -- [Afghan Quest - Old Blue in Afghanistan]
...Many things here are familiar, if a little more worn. The ghosts of the last deployment hover over old landmarks and haunt new developments. There are changes in Kabul, and in the camps my friends and I knew then. The new mosque that was under construction is finished and beautiful. The lot in front of the building with the big body builder sign on it is empty of the trash pile that choked it. Phoenix is a crowded ghetto. There is new construction here and there in the city. A gleaming new office building is nearly complete. It would fit right into any city in America... at least by looks if not by amenities. There has been some visible progress here.
Out in the provinces may be a completely different story. ...
South Korea pushes to restart nuclear talks with North -- [Reuters]
South Korea called on Monday for a new push to restart dialogue with North Korea on ending its nuclear arms program as Washington seeks to ...
N.Korean prison camps raise horror stories -- [United Press International]
About 200000 political prisoners are held in North Korea's prison camps but the outside world knows little about
Ayatollah warns against helping Iran's enemies -- [Washington Post /Reuters]
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned senior officials on Monday not to help Tehran's enemies after two...
Honduras Crisis Mediation at an Impasse -- [Los Angeles Times]
Talks to resolve the coup crisis in Honduras collapsed Sunday after the de facto government refused a mediator's proposal to reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The failure of negotiations under the direction of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias dashed the most promising diplomatic effort aimed at ending the crisis and raised the specter of more violence. "What is the alternative to dialogue?" a disappointed Arias said in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital. "Possibly ... there could be a civil war,...
The U.S. Steers Left on Honduras -- [WSJ]
When Hugo Chávez makes a personal appeal to Washington for help, as he did 11 days ago, it raises serious questions about the signals that President Barack Obama is sending to the hemisphere's most dangerous dictator.
Israel Rejects US Demand to Halt East Jerusalem Project -- [Voice of America]
Israel's right-wing government has reacted angrily to fresh American criticism of Jewish settlements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a demand by the United States to halt a project to build apartments for Jews in disputed East Jerusalem. "United Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel," Mr. Netanyahu told the Cabinet, and he said, "Israeli sovereignty in the city is indisputable." The Prime Minister spoke after Israel's ambassador to Washington was summoned to the State Department and told that an East Jerusalem project financed by an American millionaire must be stopped.
Official: US may create terror interrogation unit -- [Breitbart/AP]
The Obama administration is considering creating a special unit of professional interrogators to handle key terror suspects, focusing on intelligence-gathering rather than building criminal cases for prosecution, a government official said Saturday.
Investigation underway in Jakarta following terror strikes; Noordin Top suspected -- [LWJ]
The head of the JW Marriott hotel bomber, who was identified as Nurdin Aziz .
Suicide bombers carried out the dual attacks on the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta Friday morning. The nearly simultaneous blasts killed nine people and wounded scores more in Jakarta's upscale Mega Kuningan business district.
Injured soldier at Walter Reed; helped by Soldiers' Angels - [The Times-Herald]
"We're trying right away to reach out to that hero to let them know they are cared for and loved, and to help with that healing," Patton-Bader said. "It helps not only that hero, but the doctors, nurses, medics and their families."
The motto of the organization is "May No Soldier Go Unloved."
Defense Leaders Bid Farewell to Army Secretary -- [Defense Link]
Defense leaders bestowed honors on Army Secretary Pete Geren at his farewell ceremony and Geren turned the event into a paean of praise for soldiers and their families.
As wars' death toll nears 5,000, Dover shows quiet dignity -- [USA Today]
Tonight, as always, the passengers stop talking when the van makes a sharp left on the tarmac and rolls toward the rear hatch of the C-17 transport. Now they see its cargo: two gleaming, 7-foot-long aluminum cases, each covered with an American flag.
City out to welcome soldiers home -- [The Press Association]
Thousands of people have lined the streets of a cathedral city to welcome home soldiers who had returned from deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.
America's Iconic TV News Anchor Shaped the Medium and the Nation -- [Washington Post]
Walter Cronkite, America's preeminent television journalist of the 1960s and 1970s who as anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News" played a primary role in establishing television as the dominant national news medium of that era, died last night at age 92
The Big Decisions to Come -- [Washington Post]
Six months on, how is Barack Obama doing in foreign policy? Some leading experts give the new president high marks for improving America's battered image abroad, but they warn that the hard work is still ahead. Obama's first priority was boosting America's standing in a world angered by the Bush administration's arrogance and unilateralism. Obama rightly saw this as a major national security threat, and he used his charisma to change that image in a hurry. And to a large extent, Obama has succeeded. "We have taken off the table reflexive anti-Americanism as a reason not to deal with us," says Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff. "We're not shimmying in the end zone. But we are a long way from where we began."
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Arguing for Uncertainty -- [Michael Totten]
Andrew Bostom - pal of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller - bizarrely accuses me of being an uninformed dogmatist for publishing a "roseate view" of Iraq, even though my article in question was dedicated to quoting Iraqis and American soldiers with a gloomy view of Iraq. ...The Future of Iraq Part IV will be published here shortly. Everyone I'll quote in that piece is also pessimistic about what's likely to happen in Iraq now that American troops are withdrawing from urban areas.
3 US Soldiers Killed in Southern Iraq -- [New York Times]
BAGHDAD -- Three American soldiers were killed after insurgents fired mortar rounds into a United States military base in southern Iraq,
Transporting a child -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
I have been in emergency medicine a long time. I have seen a lot of things that would give most second thoughts about humanity as a whole. However, the patients that have bothered me most over they years have always been the children. I have witnessed some horrible things done to children in my tenure, including using them as shields.
Sadness! -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
That's what we call the meal experience here, as in Who wants to go to sadness?
We eat UGR-A (Unitized Group Ration - A) meals. By following the link and checking out the Table 1 and table 2 options at the bottom of the page, you can see exactly what the options are.
Iraqi soccer match defeats terrorists -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
...On June 30th, the Iraqis commemorated the first step in coalition forces leaving Iraq. Although never publicly spoken, the average Iraqi will tell you, "It is safe with the coalition forces here. We wish they would stay. They catch a lot of bad people."
But on July 14th, without the help of Coalition Forces, the Iraqi military stood on its own two feet, and prevented terrorist acts during a day of sportsmanship, celebrations and festivities.
Terrorist Dead: Another One Bites the Dust -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Once again, we mounted up for a late night mission to a small village in the middle of western Iraq. Through the darkness we moved, the engines of our Iron Camels roaring, unaware of what awaits us at our destination. Intermingled inside of an Iraqi convoy, nothing stopped us as we blazed down the highways. We sped past checkpoints, through towns, and watch as civilian vehicles pull over and keep their distance from us. Inside our Humvee, the radios are quiet. Everyone was tired and hot. It was a long day that parleyed into a longer evening.
An hour later, ...
Photos: Children Of Iraq Set 1 -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
I'm sure everyone has been really itching to see these. This is my first collection set of the children in Iraq. You'll see a mix of poverty and middle class. Many of the these kids, like Captain Achmed, we see on a regular basis.
Got information that Taliban may have acquired "fifty caliber machine guns" to shoot down helicopters. -- [Michael Yon - Twitter in Afghanistan]
Sangow Bar Village -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
One can only imagine how many days and nights Secretary Robert Gates and his advisors must have agonized over troop levels here. On the one hand, we have a fraction of the troops we need, but on the other, increasing troop levels increases hostility toward us. Secretary Gates has made it clear to me that his biggest concern is that we will lose the goodwill of the people and they will turn against us. This happens to be my own biggest concern. The agony is in knowing we need more medicine and the medicine can be highly toxic here. Many people have complained that the new restrictions on air strikes will hurt us, but from my boots, General McChrystal (the new boss here) has fulfilled the intent of his boss, and that the decision, though tough, was wise; if we lose the widespread assent of the Afghan people, it's all over but for the bleeding.
Twinkling City -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
I noticed tonight that Kabul twinkles at night. I don't know what it is, but the lights of Kabul twinkle much like stars embedded in a fabric that climbs up the mountains like a Christmas tree blanket over a tree stand. They are not all the same dull yellowish color or blue-tinted white of American city lights. There seem to be many colors, from bright white to bright red, muted greens and yellowish glares. It almost seems festive, and I ponder the many lives being lived next to the twinkling points; the children growing up in this dusty city heaving itself slowly out of the quagmire of war's rubble, barely daring to hope for a future with a bit of liberty.
Haqqani Network threatens to execute captured US soldier -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
A senior commander in the Haqqani Network has threatened to kill a captured US soldier unless Coalition forces end operations in two districts in Paktika and Ghazni provinces in eastern Afghanistan. Abdullah Jalali, a spokesman for Mullah Sangeen Zadran, who claimed to have captured the soldier in late June, said the US military must end the search operations in the Giro district in Ghazni province and the Khoshamand district in Paktika or the soldier would be killed.
Victory In Afghanistan-- [Strategy Page]
Having trouble sorting out who is trying to do what in Afghanistan? Wars can best be understood by examining the objectives of the various participants. In short, what does each side consider a victory. This is complicated by the fact that, as the fighting goes on, these definitions of victory tend to change.
Conventional Wisdom Won't Work in Afghanistan -- [WPR - Joshua Foust]
The cliché that you must "protect the population" in order to win a counterinsurgency has now become entrenched in conventional wisdom. This is especially so of the war in Afghanistan, where civilian casualties have become a deeply polarizing issue. It has become so important that, during a recent trip to Helmand Province, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, declared that Coalition forces must make a "cultural shift" in Afghanistan, away from their normal combat orientation and toward protecting civilians. But protecting the population requires knowing where it lives. Here, the Army's conventional wisdom fails.
Obama Administration Searching for an Exit Strategy in Afghanistan -- [Captain's Journal]
Report Raising expectations for scaling back military operations in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he hopes U.S. involvement can "transition to a different phase" after this summer's Afghan elections. The president said he is looking for an exit strategy where the Afghan security forces, courts and government take more responsibility for the country's security. That would enable U.S. and other...
Happy Talk About War Doesn't Fly With Troops on the Ground -- [Politics Daily - David Wood]
... If we learned anything from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is that war is uncontrollable. That it does not march to the drumbeats of rhetoric or the PowerPoint plans coming from Washington. That to some extent it is unpredictable - except for the seldom-heard prediction that war will take longer, cost more and resolve less than hoped for.
Russia Supports US War Effort in Afghanistan -- [VOA]
Russia has agreed to cooperate with the United States in Afghanistan. The agreement gives the United States the right to fly over Russian territory as it transports military equipment and personnel to support American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
How Serious is the Taliban's Cash Flow Problem? -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Several recent statements issued by such Al-Qaida luminaries as Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (Al-Qaida's former treasurer) have suggested that Al-Qaida and the Taliban may be suffering from at least a temporary shortfall in funding. In an audio recording released last month, Abu al-Yazid stated, "Jihad needs a lot of money, and the Jihad battlefields need much money." He continued, "Jihad with money is also an obligation. And here we, in the battlefield in Afghanistan, are lacking a lot of money and a weakness in operations because of lack of money, and many mujahideen are absent from Jihad because of lack or absence of money with which they can carry out Jihad. Even many brothers...who want to sacrifice themselves for the cause of Allah, we cannot prepare them because of lack of money."
Baptist and the Mullah Launch a Faith-Based Attack on the Taliban -- [WSJ]
Capt. Hill's faith-based mission is to counter the propaganda of Taliban fighters, who ride motorcycles through isolated villages spreading the word that the Afghan army is led by godless communists working to purge the country of Islam. Show the people that the army is a Muslim one, and they'll be more likely to support it against the insurgents, his theory goes. To that end, the captain supplies the army with prayer rugs to give out in villages. He requisitioned loudspeakers for 30 bases and checkpoints so locals can hear soldiers being called to prayer. And he spends long hours encouraging Afghan soldiers, particularly Lt. Col. Haq, to make a greater display of their faith.
New courthouses promote rule of law in Afghanistan -- [1st Lt. Lory Stevens]
It is impossible for the Afghan government to maintain legitimacy without a functioning justice system, noted Capt. Bruce Tyler, command judge advocate for Task Force Warrior. A system of checks and balances is needed to eliminate crime and corruption, provide suspects a fair and just trial, prosecute criminals, and establish correctional facilities, not only to house convicted criminals, but also to rehabilitate those capable of reintegrating back into society, he said.
US Remembers 40-Year Anniversary of Moon Landing -- [VOA]
Forty years ago, on July 20, 1969, the first person set foot on the moon, a monumental feat that captivated an audience of one billion people around the globe and heralded in the era of modern space flight.
Howling In The Moonlight -- [Strategy Page]
The government has shut down the street demonstrations, with a massive use of security forces, particularly the Basij (the reservists of the Revolutionary Guard, the separate armed forces of the clerics running the government.) But the opposition is still out there, as in many towns and cities, the opposition still has people getting on rooftops or out windows each night for 20 minutes, shouting "God is great." The government has tried to shut this down by...
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS Protest Killer Regime in Iran -- [Gateway Pundit]
There is a MASSIVE demonstration taking place in Tehran today.
One eyewitness estimates crowd more than a million, filling streets from Tehran University to Vali Square.
Ahmadinejad: Iran will "bring down" Western foes -- [Reuters]
Newly re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday his next government "would bring down the global arrogance," signaling a tougher approach by Tehran toward the West after last month's disputed election.
Israeli navy in Suez Canal prepares for potential attack on Iran -- [Times]
Two Israeli missile class warships have sailed through the Suez Canal ten days after a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike, in preparation for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. The deployment into the Red Sea, confirmed by Israeli officials, was a clear signal that Israel was able to put its strike force within range of Iran at short notice.
Honduras teeters on violence -- [This Ain't Hell... ]
...One is willing to resolve the situation while the other side is willing to spill Honduran blood. Nicaraguans are against Daniel Ortega's attempts to interfere in their neighbor's politics. Fidel Castro demands that the US withdraw their troops from Honduras;
The mistake of US military bases in Colombia -- [Columbia Reports]
Colombia's sovereignty will be blatantly violated by the United States very soon. This will officially take place when the militarization process, which is euphemistically called "cooperation agreements", allowing US troops to use Colombian bases, is signed. However, things have changed and this time the US has not invaded - or "liberated," as it has been known since 2003 - Colombia. This agreement was conducted with explicit approval and self-interest of the national government.
The Colombian ruling class and their supporters have readily embraced this cooperation agreement that would give Carte Blanche with total immunity (or impunity) to US troops and civilian contractors for the utilization of three Colombian bases -
SIGN the Petition-- STOP the Transfer of Terrorist Detainees From Gitmo -- [Gateway Pundit]
Yesterday, I spoke with Senator James Inhofe. Among other things, he encouraged me to help get the word out on his Gitmo petition. Next week, Senator Inhofe will push his amendment, S.Amdt.1559, to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010 (S.1390), which prohibits the transfer of detainees from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to any facility in the United States.
Jakarta bombings highlight importance of splinter group analysis and of Twitter -- [Counterterrrorism Blog]
The latest hotel bombings in Jakarta reflect the tragic reality that even when counter-terrorism policies are pursued systematically and pragmatically over an extended period by governments generally committed to doing the right thing by their people, small groups of people dedicated to destruction will, from time to time, succeed in killing innocents.
Want to help a platoon in Afghanistan? -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
Photographer Chad Hunt was recently with theses guys and says they could use a supply of quality hiking socks. Socks don't last long in this rugged terrain. If you're interested, email me for address and sock recommendations.
Pentagon won't ban war-zone smoking, despite study -- [AP]
Smoke 'em if you got 'em. The Pentagon reassured troops Wednesday that it won't ban tobacco products in war zones. Defense officials hadn't actually planned to eliminate smoking -- at least for now. But fear of a ban arose among some troops after the Defense Department received a study recommending the military move toward becoming tobacco-free -- perhaps in about 20 years.
Press secretary Geoff Morrell pointedly told a Pentagon news conference that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is not planning to prohibit the use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products by troops in combat.
991st Transportation Co. home from service in Iraq -- [Salisbury Post]
Members of the 991st Transportation Co. returned home Thursday, but there wasn't a grand celebration in Salisbury where they're stationed. Family members said they'd planned such a welcome home, but at the last minute the military decided to send soldiers from the 991st home via commercial jetliners.
Catrina Owens, head of the 991st's Family Readiness Group, picked her husband, Thomas, a staff sergeant with the company, up at mid-afternoon at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
"We'd had a big homecoming planned, but the Army decided at the last minute to do this," she said. "I'm just happy to have him home."
More than 100 troops return -- [Clarksville Leaf Chronicle]
About 120 soldiers with the 20th Quartermaster Company returned to Fort Campbell Thursday after spending more than a year in Iraq.
The company commander, Capt. Gabriel Howard, said bringing the entire company home together was a "No. 1 priority."
Is the Press Our Deadliest Foe In Afghanistan? -- [Matt Sanchez]
The media may just be the deadliest foe in Afghanistan, I know they were almost fatal in Iraq. As a war correspondent, I have covered somewhere between 50 to 75 military units from nations throughout the world. Army pilots, Air Force medics or Marine infantrymen, the variety of teams working in a war zone runs the gamut, but no matter how many different American troops I speak to, I'm asked the same question from the men and women serving overseas.
"Why is the media so biased against the military?"
I am not convinced the "media" as a group conspires to be biased against the military, but the troops overseas have a point, there is a media-military disconnect and there are couple of reasons why.
NYT: Swift Boat Vets Inspired Term for 'Smearing a Political Opponent with Lies' -- [Newsbusters]
In his Wednesday afternoon "Caucus" post on nytimes.com, "Conservative Ad Accuses Sotomayor of Supporting Terrorists," Times legal reporter Charlie Savage used a new anti-Sotomayor ad from the Committee for Justice to smear the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
Taking advantage of the fact that the new ad was written by someone also involved in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004, Savage applied the same "unsubstantiated charges" template the Times used to attack the Swift Boat Veterans but went even further, all but calling the group's charges "lies."
Was the Cook case a scam? -- [Greyhawk]
That decision has Cook's lawyer declaring victory. However, there are other indications that the entire case may be somewhat of a fraud.
OK, Now I am pissed -- [This ain't Hell...]
We all know about Plaintiff Cook.
I went to look at the other litigants. Not easy to do since Clown College Retard Esquire here spelled the fuggin name wrong, but one of them is MG Carroll D. Childers. He's my former Division Commander. In 1998 I had lunch alone with him prior to my Deployment to Bosnia when I accidentally ran into him at the AUSA convention. I always thought he was a bit odd, just not this odd.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
ABC's Bob Woodruff reports from Iraq -- [Bob Woodruff - in Iraq]
...For 3 hours we watched Navy F-14s launched from the deck headed to Afghanistan as we tried to reach Iraq by C-17. Entering from the North, we landed in Kirkuk but because of the sand, we could not even feed our video. I'm officially inside Iraq for the first time since I was hit and nearly killed by an IED near here 3 and a half years ago. For a long time I had been hoping to return to Iraq. Once the sand settles we will be able to see if and how Iraq has changed.
Iraq bombings kill 8 in capital, northern village -- [WaPo]
...In the Baghdad attack, a bomb was placed at the gate of a billiards hall in the central district of Karrada. Four civilians died and 15 were injured, all of them youths in the hall, a police officer and a hospital medic said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
A bomb in the same area wounded four police on patrol. In southwest Baghdad, a bomb planted on a car killed two people, including a junior Cabinet official, and injured 11 others, including the wife and child of the official, police and hospital officials said.
Violence remains at low levels in Iraq compared with previous years, but bombings continue to kill scores of people.
Security Agreement -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
We've had a Colonel from one of our higher headquarters here recently. As a result we've been getting a lot of interesting insight into Commander's intent and our higher's overall vision for the area. There have been a lot of nuances introduced to our mission with the implementation of the security agreement and each echelon of command has been issuing new guidance and intent. While I am regularly surprised at how far things have come over here there is still a great deal of impact we can have.
Tweeted Sunday, July 12, 2009 -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
Rock Throwing is now considered "reportable." Thats a marked change in the violence levels from when I was here in before.
MiTT Marines transform Iraqi soldiers into professional force -- [Lejeune Deployed]
There is an old adage that says, "There's always something more to be learned." On one particularly small military outpost, which dots Iraq's vast desert, American and Iraqi service members are learning the meaning of that adage each and every day.
As the Marines of Military Transition Team 0228, aboard Camp Hamza, Iraq, teach their Iraqi counterparts the finer points of modern soldiery, they find themselves stepping back and learning a few lessons of their own.
Five Iranians Detained by US in Iraq for 2 Years Return Home - [Voice of America]
Five Iranians released from U.S. custody three days ago in Iraq, received a warm welcome Sunday at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. The United States insists the five were not released as part of a political gesture to Iran. The five Iranians released Thursday in Iraq, were given a hero's welcome at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport, as a crowd of well-wishers and family members greeted them on the tarmac.
DVIDS Joint Patrol In Abu Ghraib -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
These pictures are from a patrol conducted in Abu Ghraib by my platoon. The Iraqi Police were there to assist. Unlike my previous DVIDs posts, I remember this mission well. It was here that SPC Chad Edmundson died the very next day due to wounds from an IED explosion.
Iraq - Fantasies To Die For -- [Strategy Page]
...Pacifying the country is not only a political and humanitarian goal for the government, but a financial one as well. Only about half the nation's oil (in the far south) is considered safe enough for foreign oil companies to work. Iraq needs the foreign oil companies, because Iraqi oil production has been stuck at 2.5 million barrels a day for nearly two decades. Iraqi has 9 percent of the world's oil reserves, but decades of war and mismanagement have prevented necessary maintenance and construction in the oil fields. But to get the work done, the oil regions have to be safe for foreign oil production companies to bring in their experts, and cash, in to get the job done, so Iraq can export over five million barrels a day.
A Fight for Ordinary Peace -- [WaPo]
U.S. Marines deployed across an Afghan river valley are waging war on insurgents not by targeting their bases but, rather, by protecting communities.
Most of the mud-brick stalls that line the street in this sweltering town on the Helmand River closed down a year ago when Taliban fighters began swaggering through the bazaar, levying taxes on merchants and seeding the roads with homemade bombs. Shopkeepers placed their wares behind padlocked tin doors, teachers shuttered the school, the doctor abandoned the health clinic and residents with means fled to other parts of southern Afghanistan.
This town does not merit a dot on most maps of Afghanistan. But U.S. civilian and military officials believe what happens to the chockablock market here will be a key indicator of whether President Obama can salvage a war the United States has been losing.
Mounting Casualties in Afghanistan Spur Concern -- [Wall Street Journal] A series of attacks in Afghanistan has left four US Marines and eight British soldiers dead in recent days, stoking concern among US and allied forces over a surge in battlefield deaths, as thousands of troops pour into the country. The mounting deaths have contributed to harsh criticism of the war in a handful of NATO countries that have lost soldiers in recent months, including Canada, Germany and France.
Afghanistan: David Miliband claims war is making Britain safer -- [
Mr Miliband was forced to defend the Government's strategy after severe criticism of the bloody escalation in the conflict. There has been mounting public concern about the way the campaign is being conducted following the deaths of 15 British soldiers since the start of July. Speaking on GMTV, Mr Miliband said: "This is a mission that's been developed with a very clear strategy: above all, to make us safer here because we know these areas of Afghanistan and its neighbour Pakistan are used to launch terrorism around the world. "So the mission for us is clear."
UK Generals Rebuffed in Plea for More Helmand Forces - [The Times]
Gordon Brown will try to rally faltering public support for the war against the Taleban today, as ministers insist that sending more troops would not cut British casualties in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister said yesterday that the offensive was gaining ground, despite the loss of eight soldiers in one 24-hour period last week. While the Government promised that money would be found for equipment, ministers denied that a lack of troops was behind the growing death toll.There are 9,000 servicemen in Afghanistan but that will drop to 8,300 after the presidential elections next month. A senior government source said: "We are losing more men because we are taking the fight to the Taleban and more troops are being put in harm's way. But it is just not true to say that fewer would be killed if more were there.
Craddock: NATO Must Find Better Ways for Nations to Participate -- [DVIDS]
Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, who served as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and as commander of U.S. European Command until this month, spoke to the Reserve Officers Association as part of a presentation by the Heritage Foundation titled "NATO and Afghanistan: Equitable Burden Sharing."
The general addressed concerns that some nations weren't as active in the alliance as others, particularly when it came to NATO commitments in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: a war we cannot win -- [Telegraph]
...Afghans are weary of the war but the Afghan chiefs are not approaching us, seeking a deal. Since the political players and state structures in Afghanistan are much more fragile than those in Iraq, they are less likely to play a strong role in ending the insurgency. Meanwhile, the Taliban can exploit the ideology of religious resistance that the West fostered in the 1980s to defeat the Russians. They can portray the Kabul government as US slaves, Nato as an infidel occupying force and its own insurgency as a jihad. Its complaints about corruption, human rights abuses and aerial bombardments appeal to a large audience. It is attracting Afghans to its rural courts by giving quicker and more predictable rulings than government judges.
The Kuchis and Lizards -- [Michael Yon -- in Afghanistan]
Am stuck in Ghor Province while trying to get down with British combat forces in Helmand. ...Unfortunately, the British unit I am to go with, 2 Rifles, has been taking serious casualties. I was with 2 Rifles in Iraq and they are good fighters in an excellent outfit. In total, British units have taken dozens killed and wounded in the first 10 days of this month, including 8 killed on Friday. I anticipate seeing much combat with them.
U.S. and British forces believe provincial Gov. Gulab Mangal will be key to progress in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province, where Marines are trying to support the struggling Afghan government.
Soldier Develops Relationships With Locals Outside Bastion (facebook) -- [USFOR - in Afghanistan]
The team's objective is to listen to what villagers have to say to help build a positive rapport between the locals and the nearby bases of Camps Bastion and Leatherneck.
Lacy's mission, in particular, includes gathering accurate information and understanding the population's point of view.
"I'm more into the perspective of the people," Lacy said. "You must dedicate yourself to trying to understand them."
Two Newnan Guardsmen among three wounded in Afghanistan -- [Times Herald]
Two members of the National Guard Unit operating out of Newnan's Jackson-Pless Armory were wounded in action in Afghanistan Wednesday; also wounded was a California National Guard solider attached to the unit.
Update -- [My Thoughts - in Afghanistan]
A few days ago I witnessed a man shot in the neck, another shot, fatally, in the head, and another died from unknown wounds. These were not US or NATO forces, thank god. However, one of our soldiers from this outpost succumbed to his injuries during the same firefight, and two others were injured. They ambushed a convoy while it was rolling through a very dangerous area. The MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) caught fire and was ultimately destroyed. It was a smoldering shell of a vehicle.
Heavy Weather --[Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Yesterday the three things which popped up on our radar in the east were an ANP ambush which killed four police and dozens of civilians, the loss of Bargi Matal district in Nuristan - the Taliban flag went up over the District Administrative Center (DAC) at 1412 on the 9th of July, and a one round "Tinian shot" into the American combat outpost (COP) located around the Sirkanay DAC which blew up all their fuel stores and half of their vehicles. These incidents are part of a disturbing set of storm clouds on the horizon; we are heading into heavy weather when the storm breaks we are going to start losing people and losing them fast.
The ANP ambush in Logar Province was noteworthy because it involved a ruse which added to the destructiveness of the bomb creating a very high body count.
New guys -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
We've had a new US Army unit in charge of the area for a couple of weeks now. New units bring different things to the table, mostly good in this case. The guys that left had already been here for awhile when we arrived in November, and we could tell. This new unit has that optimism I remember having when we first showed up...not that we've completely lost it, but it's hard not to be a bit jaded after nearly eight months. It's been very refreshing working with them and seeing how they do business. They're much more willing to work with us and the ANA than their predecessors. They also are happy to get out of their trucks and get up into the mountains, which is nice to see. We're happy to be here to help with the transition and provide some continuity.
Predators and Civilians -- [WSJ]
Several Taliban training camps in the Pakistan hinterland were hit last week by missiles fired from American unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, reportedly killing some 20 terrorists. Remarkably, some people think these strikes are a bad idea.
Toppling Saddam Set an Example for Iranian Rebellion -- [The Australian - Christopher Hitchens]
The most exciting and under-reported news of the past few weeks in Iran has been that the emerging challenger to the increasingly frantic and isolated "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. And Rafsanjani has recently made a visit to the city of Najaf in Iraq to confer with Ayatollah Ali Husaini Sistani, a long-standing opponent of the Khamenei doctrines, as well as meeting in the city of Qum with Jawad al-Shahristani, who is Sistani's representative in Iran. It is this dialectic between Iraqi and Iranian Shi'ites that underlies the flabbergasting statement issued from Qum last weekend to the effect that the Ahmadinejad government has no claim to be the representative of the Iranian people.
Inside the Iranian Crackdown -- [WSJ]
The mass uprising against the results of the June 12 election by supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad's challengers has largely died down. Demonstrations this Thursday, though heated, drew thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. Iranian officials have said between 17 and 20 people have died in the monthlong protests. Independent organizations tracking human-rights violations in Iran put the death toll closer to several dozen.
If Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei succeeds in stamping out the unrest, it will be in large part because of Mr. Moradani and his colleagues in the Basij militia, the Islamic Republic's most loyal foot soldiers.
Honduran Rivals See US Intervention as Crucial in Resolving Political Crisis -- [New York Times]
When President Óscar Arias of Costa Rica set out to find a negotiated solution to the Honduran political crisis, he hailed it as an opportunity for Central Americans to show they could resolve their own problems, and he established some simple ground rules. The ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the man who leads the de facto government that replaced him, Roberto Micheletti, were each to show up at his house with just four of their closest Honduran advisers. On Thursday morning, Mr. Micheletti showed up with six, adding an American public relations specialist who has done work for former President Bill Clinton and the American's interpreter, and an official close to the talks said the team rarely made a move without consulting him. Then on Friday, with the negotiations seemingly going nowhere, Mr. Arias reached out for American support of his own, telling Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that pressure from the United States was crucial to ending the stalemate.
China, South Korea Discuss North in Seoul -- [AP]
Top nuclear negotiators for China and South Korea held discussions Monday on how to break the impasse in negotiations over North Korea's atomic program, as South Korea's president called for a get-tough approach on Pyongyang. North Korea quit the six-nation nuclear negotiations in April in anger over a UN rebuke of its long-range rocket launch.
CIA Had Secret Al Qaeda Plan -- [WSJ]
A secret Central Intelligence Agency initiative terminated by Director Leon Panetta was an attempt to carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives, according to former intelligence officials familiar with the matter.
US Legislators Decry Secret Bush-Era Program -- [Voice of America]
Senate Democrats are denouncing the former Bush administration's handling of a secret US counter-terrorism program and its failure to inform Congress about the project for nearly eight years, allegedly on orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein says she learned of the Central Intelligence Agency program last month from CIA Director Leon Panetta. "Congress should have been told," said Dianne Feinstein. "We should have been briefed before the commencement of this kind of sensitive program. Director Panetta did brief us two weeks ago, [and] said he had just learned about the program, described it to us and indicated he had canceled it. And, as had been reported [he] did tell us that he was told that the [former] vice president had ordered that the program not be briefed to Congress."
War: Is it getting more hellish, or less? -- [AP]
War is hell, it's long been said. But just how hellish it can be is a more difficult question, judging from disputes among researchers at several highly respected international peace institutes. They cannot agree on whether war is becoming more or less deadly -- or even on how to count the dead.
These experts snipe at each other in academic journals and papers and are engaged in a statistical arms race of their own, sampling, adding and modifying databases to try to shed light on questions that have implications beyond the academic world. The disagreements begin with how fatalities are counted and then diverge more widely.
Remembering the Heroes of Wanat -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
"I just hope these guys' wives and their children understand how courageous their husbands and dads were. They fought like warriors."
Army Guard On Course to Reach End-strength Goal -- [Defense Link]
The Army National Guard is changing recruiting policies to lower its end strength by the end of the fiscal year, Guard officials said today.
These changes will enable the Army Guard to decrease its end strength from 362,493 soldiers to a congressionally mandated force of 358,200 by Sept. 30.
Phony soldier is sorry -- [This Ain't Hell...]
I guess "SGM" Charlie Bass had an attack of conscience finally after 40 years of telling bogus war stories and being honored in a museum.
Onward, Home! -- [DVIDS]
After the barbeque grills were put away and the fireworks had died down, Soldiers from the 679th Movement Control Team crept into Camp Atterbury in the middle of the night Sunday. The nation had just finished celebrating the anniversary of America's freedom and these Soldiers had a hand in maintaining that civil liberty.
The Implicit Threats of Philip Smucker -- [Registan]
First, the background: Last week, I posted about Major Cory Schulz, who alleged that freelancer journalist Philip Smucker misquoted statements he had made. Major Schulz sought me out for the post, complaining that Smucker had misquoted him because of a personal conflict with a PAO. In the course of trying to verify the story, I reached out to Smucker, asking him about the charges and noting that he disputed Major Schulz's version of events. He put me in touch with one of his contacts within the military, and said he could explain (I sent that contact an email, but heard nothing back). It's all at the link above, which I thought was a fairly open-and-closed affair.
Now: A week has passed, and Smucker sent me a rather surprising email:
...This is the third war Philip Smucker is being accused of either exaggerating or outright lying about. In 1998, he was caught lying about a supposed massacre of Kosovars near the city of Orahovac.
IVAW filmmakers don't like Oath of Enlistment; unilaterally change it to make a point -- [This Ain't Hell...]
According to the filmmakers that are pimping Winter Soldier Fantasies, the Oath of Enlistment reads thusly:
...Of course, those of us who took the oath may note some alterations. It would seem that IVAW and their brethren forgot to consult with 10 USC 502, which has the actual Oath.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq's Premier Maliki Says He Plans to Thank US for Sacrifices -- [Wall Street Journal]
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki struck a conciliatory tone ahead of his trip to Washington, talking about his gratitude for US sacrifices in Iraq, and offering to negotiate a settlement between Iraq's federal government and the country's Kurdish enclave as tensions heighten between the two. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal as he prepared for a visit to the US on July 21, Mr. Maliki said he planned to thank America for its shared sacrifice with the Iraqi people in the tumultuous post-Saddam Hussein years since the US-led invasion in 2003. "We have [achieved] a combined victory against terrorism, and there have been sacrifices from both sides that brought fruitful results and democracy to Iraq," Mr. Maliki said.
The Future of Iraq, Part III -- [Michael Totten]
...American soldiers have since withdrawn from most of Iraq's urban areas. We'll have a better idea soon enough whether the optimists or the pessimists turn out to be right.
"On the surface everyone will tell you Sunnis, Shias, we don't care, we're all Iraqis," Sergeant Pennartz continued. "But talk to them for a while and they'll tell you what they really think. Do you know what those Shias did? Et cetera. Some Sunnis say Shias were never in Iraq until the Iran-Iraq war. Some are totally ignorant and say they'll never live next to Shias. It's worse among the older generations, like back in the States."
I joined Lieutenant Eric Kuylman and his men on a foot patrol in Adhamiyah. Our convoy of Humvees parked near a traffic circle and we stepped out to talk to people who lived in the neighborhood.
US releases Iranian Qods Force agents -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The US military recently released five Iranian Qods Force agents who had posed as diplomats and were detained in northern Iraq in late 2006. The Iranian agents were released to the Iraqi government, which is expected to promptly turn them back over to Iran. In January 2007, the five Iranian agents were detained by US forces in the Kurdish city of Irbil. Iran claimed the men were part of a diplomatic mission in Irbil, and protested the arrest. The men were operating from a liaison office that did not enjoy diplomatic privileges, however. The US military accused the five Iranians of being Qods Force agents assigned to help support Shia terror groups inside Iraq. "The five detainees are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - Qods Force (IRGC-QF), an organization known for providing funds, weapons, improvised explosive device technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilize the Government of Iraq and attack Coalition forces"
Betraying America's Soldiers: Iranian War Criminals Go Free -- [American Thinker]
...A few months later Qais Qazali, Laith Qazali and Ali Mussa Daqduq were captured, along with documents that confirmed they were agents of Iran responsible for organizing and directing terror cells in Iraq. Hundreds of US servicemen and women and thousands of innocent Iraqis died horribly because of them. What these Iranians did were war crimes, from the killing of civilians to the execution of prisoners. They likely took part in operations themselves; in fact the attackers in Karbala were so expertly disguised as American soldiers their equipment and vehicles were very likely supplied directly by Iran.
On the Ground: Detainee Transfer, Renaming Ceremonies Mark Progress -- [Defense Link
..."Today we are witnessing a transition that does not divide us, but further unifies us in our combined vision to protect and serve the Iraqi people and specifically the people of Samarra," he said. "This ceremony is recognition of a new mission for the battalion. The battalion is now focused on reconstruction and support to local government, not combat operations in the city."
Signs" of the Security Agreement -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq-- Residents of Kirkuk city can expect to see a new addition to the U.S. military vehicles that sometimes drive through their city. Since the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraqi cities, in accordance with the Security Agreement, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, has begun adding signs reading "Iraqi partnership provincial approved convoy. Thank you for your patience and support" to the sides of their vehicles.
More Vids With Iraqi Kids -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
Another round of videos. This time with more personal interactions of me with the kids. There's a couple cute ones here, a couple demonstrating the gathering phenomena, and one that a child took himself. Once again thank you to my step mom for taking the time to upload these...
Enough With the Dust and Heat Already -- [Down Range 46 - in Iraq]
...On the day I took this picture of the temperature the temp in the shade was 122, the temperature in direct sunlight was 126. When the dust comes in it can drop 10 - 15 degrees. I know, that still makes the temp in the low 100s, but it feels good. Heat is all relative here.
Girl with no Future -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
It's not the troops; it's not the economy; it's not that it's mountainous and landlocked like Austria and Switzerland. It's the society. I write these words from Ghor province, and it's like the Jurassic Park in Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Nangahar ... keep going. A person can tool around in towns like Kabul, Jalalabad or Mazar-i-Sharif and build up hopes, but to extrapolate beyond the tangible is folly. Iraq is 1,000 years more advanced than Afghanistan. Nepal is far more connected to and cognizant of the outside world.
Truck Blast in Afghanistan Leaves at Least 24 Dead -- [New York Times]
A huge truck explosion Thursday killed 24 people, including 16 children, in a town south of Kabul, local officials said, and Afghan news media reported that a district along the border with Pakistan had fallen to the Taliban. The truck had overturned several hours before and the children, ages 8 to 12, had stopped on their way to school to watch police officers investigate the crash when the truck exploded, according to the provincial governor. The vehicle, loaded with firewood, had been headed toward Kabul before it rolled into a ditch, and it was unclear if insurgents had originally planned to detonate the explosives in the capital or elsewhere...
Commander to Seek Expansion of Afghan Forces, Officials Say -- [WaPo]
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the newly arrived top commander in Afghanistan, has concluded that Afghan security forces will have to expand far beyond currently planned levels if President Obama's strategy for winning the war there is to succeed, according to senior military officials. Such an expansion would require additional billions beyond the $7.5 billion the administration has budgeted
Insurgents begin to feel the pinch of British and American ops -- [Helmand Blog - Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
As the British-led Operation Panther's Claw and US-led Operation River Liberty pushed on across tough terrain, strewn with IEDs, Governor Mangal reassured the Afghan people that very definite progress was being made: "The places that were underneath the insurgents are now with the government. We can now look to the future and reconstruction projects, where the people can have a say in rebuilding their own villages."
Life with the Marines in Helmand -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...U.S. Marines from the 2nd MEB, 1st Battalion 5th Marines sleep in their fighting holes inside a compound where they stayed for the night, in the Nawa district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, Wednesday July 8, 2009. Photo: AP.
So. How was your day?
On the Frontlines -- [ABC News]
Nigthline goes on patrol in Afghanistan
Winning this war with education -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...I keep reflecting back on the words of a brave 8-year-old boy I met during my travels. He risked his life just to talk to me. The Taliban threatened to cut off anyone's head and parade it around the village if they gave information to the Americans. It's as if he was destined to deliver his message to me. For his age, he was pretty direct with his delivery and it caught me off guard. He said, "Some people in my village support the Americans, but most of them support the Taliban out of fear."
Where is the Afghan National Army? -- [The Captain's Journal]
General Nicholson asks what is apparently the popular and salient question. Where is the Afghan National Army?
Here is the latest DoD report to Congress on Afghanistan, and a graph of ANA readiness. The following description attends the pictorial metric.
The Afghan Army And The Missing Sergeants -- [Strategy Page]
Coalition forces continue to face massive challenges in creating a modern, dependable, loyal Afghan army. It's also becoming evident, and frustrating, that the magnitude of the task is greater than it was in Iraq. That's because Afghanistan and Iraq have different military traditions and histories that have made it easier to build stable security forces in Iraq.
Ramrod Q's of the week -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
So, I'm opening up my blog to any questions you might have about FOB Ramrod, the surrounding area, the 1-12th Infantry Regiment or just about daily life in general. I have to take a quick trip up to Kandahar AirField for a few days, but I'll answer any questions while I'm away. I know a lot of Soldiers families and friends are keeping up with this blog; and they just might have some questions about this place that I haven't thought to cover.
Afghans' Attitude Will Be Measure of Success, Vice Chairman Says -- [Defense Link]
A key measurement of success in Afghanistan will be the attitude of Afghans affected by U.S.-led operations, the military's second-ranking military officer said.
VIDEO: UK, US and Afghan commanders unite as Taliban flee -- [Ministry of Defense]
As the British-led Operation Panther's Claw and US-led Operation River Liberty continue across Helmand the Commanders of British, American and Afghan Forces have joined the Provincial Governor to promise the people of Afghanistan that they would prevail against the insurgents.
Dangerous Delusions -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. and Russia have agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals from the current target of 2,200 warheads each, to 1,500-1,675, within the next seven years. There will also be a reduction of "delivery systems" (silos, SSBNs, heavy bombers), which was promptly criticized in the U.S. because of heavy use of the bombers for delivering non-nuclear weapons. But there are plenty of fighter-bombers to do this, although at a greater cost per bomb dropped.
There was no deal made to limit Russian high tech weapons sales to Iran in return for the U.S.
CRACKDOWN IN IRAN- Police Clash With Protesters On 18th of Tir Anniversary (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
Today is the 10 Year Anniversary of The Iranian Student Protests of July, 1999 also known as 18th of Tir and the Kuye Daneshgah Disaster.
The regime launched a preemptive war against the protesters.
The regime promised to crack down on protests today on this anniversary of the 1999 student uprising.
Watchdog group: Dozens of active-duty troops found on neo-Nazi site -- [Stars and Stripes]
It is the Facebook for the fascist set, and the typical online profiles of its members reveal expected tastes. ...On the newsaxon.org website, which Potok termed "a racist version of Facebook run by the National Socialist Movement," many participants list their branch of service, base location and hometown on colorful pages festooned with Nazi art and Confederate battle flags. Some say they have served or will soon be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Several include pictures of themselves in camouflage combat uniforms.
They Walk Among Us -- [Greyhawk]
Every base/post newspaper has an at least once a week "blotter" section that lists the names of the small (but unacceptable!) percentage of the population busted for one infraction or another (many unique to the military, others not) that week, along side stories of those getting medals and other recognition for achievement, courage, or a job well done. The vast majority never made the paper at all.
Some had blogs (I swear, it's true!) Some uploaded pictures of themselves to "Hot or Not". Others had pictures of themselves crawling drunk in the streets on their MySpace page. I know the last two for certain because they proudly showed me. (Bad judgement, says I - but at least they weren't in uniform, though I've heard of others who were...)
I don't know if I ever met any Nazis or not.
Keeping the Military Free of Hate Groups -- [BlackFive - Grim]
...The Raw Story asks "Gays not welcome; White Supremacists 'OK'"? The truth is the opposite of that, though the Stripes article is written in a way that may be confusing.
I don't share Stripes' view that this is conflicting information; I suspect, rather, that the people they interviewed thought they were answering different questions.
... if a particular servicemember is thought to be a member of a racist organization, that is a question for his unit, just as disciplinary measures normally are. If it is suspected that a racist organization has a plot to infiltrate the ranks, that is a service-wide issue that needs to be handled at higher levels, because both military and civilian law may need to be brought to bear
Obama's books objectionable -- [MSNBC]
Inmate who joined al-Qaida is denied request to read the works
Cyber-Terrorism and How We Should Respond -- [ABC News]
When does a cyber attack by another nation cross the line and become an official act of war? I suspect that I wasn't the only person who asked himself that question this week -- and I hope that some of those people were at the highest levels of the federal government.
SKorea says attackers used IP address in 5 nations -- [AP]
South Korean and American officials have said they believe North Korea was behind the attacks, but none of the blocked Internet Protocol addresses -- the Web equivalent of a street address or phone number -- were for computers in North Korea.
The addresses point to the computers that distributed the virus that triggered so-called denial of service attacks in which floods of computers try to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server. They were in Austria, Georgia, Germany, South Korea and the U.S., an official from the state-run Korea Communications Commission said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media on the record.
Al Qaeda-Linked American Terrorist Condemns, Mocks Obama in New Audio Tape -- [Fox News]
An American who left the United States to join an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia is strongly condemning President Obama's efforts to seek "a new beginning" with the Muslim world
Face of Defense: Soldier Honored for Valor, Recalls Ambush -- [Castle Argghhh!]
Well Done, Specialist Hutchinson. From the anecdotal evidence of my friends who have been deployed from the Army Reserve, you beat the odds and the sometimes not-so-subtle preconceptions of the Regulars.And that's a Regular talking.By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby Special to American Forces Press Service and Castle Argghhh! WASHINGTON, July 9, 2009 - The fifth Army Reserve soldier to earn the Silver Star since the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 spoke about his experience in a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable July 6.
Hate Group SPLC to smear troops in Congress -- [This Ain't Hell]
On the heels of the Salon rush job report on racists in the military, the Southern Poverty Law Center is up to it's old tricks again. They've determined that the military is rife with racists (they found 40 out of how many people serving?) so they're marching their hate-filled asses to Congress today to tattle according to Stars and Stripes;
The Protection Racket -- [Greyhawk]
...or: "How the 'Helping Families Save Their Homes Act' screws the Troops"
...military families now won't be forced to vacate until their lease expires, therefore their move may be delayed a bit - but they will no longer be reimbursed for the expenses of that move because it's due to a normal lease expiration - not a foreclosure action. They'll still have to move - maybe with a bit more advance notice but no reduction in hassles - only once again they'll be the ones writing the checks.
PTSD: a Marine vet on cure vs. management -- [FP - Tom Ricks]
I am posting this interesting note from a Marine veteran with his permission. I think there is something to consider here about his report of going through PTSD and coming out smarter, calmer and happier:
Regarding your new post on PTSD I'm glad that you posted the great link and, on a purely confidential basis, I believe the fairly common idea (certainly on the shrink side) that "PTSD...cannot be cured, only managed", may turn out to be a pile of horse manure in the long run. How society defines its illnesses has a huge impact on their treatment. ...
More Soldiers Commit Suicide Under Obama -- [Gateway Pundit]
Remember how the state-run media would pound George W. Bush every few months over soldier suicides to score political points?
The state-run media didn't tell you that more soldiers committed suicide during the Clinton years than during the Bush years:
On Courage and Soldier Suicide -- [P.J. Tobia]
In January 2009, the number of soldiers who committed suicide was greater than the number killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. In that month, 24 soldiers took their own lives, compared with just 4 in January 2008. Soldier suicides have reached a greater number than any time in the last 30 years.
The Army is killing itself.
...But one soldier has come out of the closet with his PTSD struggle. CJ, a blogger at "A Soldier's Perspective," wrote an incredibly moving essay about the battle that still rages within him, long after his combat service ended.
The Afghan Shakedown -- [ABC News]
An Army official from Chicago was given a military medal for valor while pulling off a Chicago-style bribery scheme in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is about 7,000 miles from Chicago. At the bull's eye in the war on terror, it is the last place you would expect to hear about contractor bribes and graft - the kind we usually associate with City Hall, not a foreign battlefield. But the I-Team has learned that the officer behind those schemes was given the army's Bronze Star, even as the corruption investigation is said to have been underway.
...But West's fellow soldiers question whether he was entitled to the Bronze Star and whether it should be taken back.
Dishonor -- [Miserable Donuts]
I just happened to have been in the same Task Force as this admitted criminal. For the first 5 months in country, I was the Task Force XO, and he was the S-4. Really, I was an XO in name only, as my real responsibilities were dealing with the massive influx and departure of thousands of troops through BAF. I clashed with West many times, and thought very little of him - but never got into a position to do anything substantive about him.
Ban on tobacco urged in military -- [USA TODAY]
Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.
Premier U.S. Fighter Jet Has Major Shortcomings -- [WaPo]
...Sensitive information about troubles with the nation's foremost air-defense fighter is emerging in the midst of a fight between the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress over whether the program should be halted next year at 187 planes, far short of what the Air Force and the F-22's contractors around the country had anticipated.
"It is a disgrace that you can fly a plane [an average of] only 1.7 hours before it gets a critical failure" that jeopardizes success of the aircraft's mission, said a Defense Department critic of the plane who is not authorized to speak on the record.
Local Soldiers with 679th Movement Control Team Return from Deployment -- [News Blaze]
...The nation had just finished celebrating the anniversary of America's freedom and these Soldiers had a hand in maintaining that civil liberty.
The 679th MCT, which is out-processing here, recently returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq where they were responsible for the planning, routing, scheduling, controlling, coordination, and in-transit visibility of personnel, units, equipment, and supplies in the Joint Base Balad area of operations.
SM's homecoming -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Today's heart warming moment is some pictures of our own Sporkmaster's homecoming from his tour in Iraq.
Air Force combat camera team discusses role of media in military -- [Air Force News]
The media has played a major role in every American military conflict, from the use of newspapers and pamphlets to stoke the American Revolution to embedded journalists in the Middle East.
But a story often lost in the mix is that of the military journalists; those men and women in uniform whose weapon of choice isn't an M4 carbine with a laser sight, but a D3 camera with a 17 to 200 mm lens.
New Social Media Study: Facebook Trumps Other Social Media as Most Valuable. -- [PR Web (press release)]
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) July 10, 2009 -- Facebook far exceeds the other major social networking sites in popularity and value, according to a new social media
Lies Wide Shut -- [Hot Air]
all eight accusers coyly refuse to say exactly what the CIA is supposed to have misled them about; they just allow the nation to draw the "obvious," but not necessarily accurate, conclusion.
...Meanwhile, Pelosi herself is busy ducking questions and pretending she had no knowledge of the leaked letters and didn't orchestrate them to save her own shaky reputation and increasingly untenable tenure as Squeaker of the House:
Watch Who You're Calling a Liar -- [NewsWeek]
Panetta orders internal probe of secret spy program after some members of Congress say CIA misled them.
...The political storm over allegations that the CIA "misled" Congress has so far overshadowed what may be a significant political development: President Obama again appears to be siding with the CIA in resisting demands by human-rights groups and liberal Democrats in Congress for closer scrutiny of covert programs.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq group calls for further attacks on US troops -- [Reuters]
An insurgent group linked to al-Qaeda of Iraq urged militants to continue attacks against US forces even after combat troops ...
Coalition Transfers Maysan Base to IA -- [MNF-I]
U.S. Soldiers recently transferred a military base to Iraqi Security Forces near Majaar Al Kabir in a ceremony attended by key U.S. and Iraqi leaders in the Maysan province. "This is a historic event for the citizens of the Maysan province and for all Soldiers operating in Iraq," said Lt. Col. William Walski, commander, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment. "We are proud of the relationships we have built with the Iraqi Security Forces and are confident of their ability to protect the citizens of Maysan province."
Iraqi liaison officers new addition to U.S. brigade in Kirkuk -- [MNF-I]
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - A group of Iraqi liaison officers have begun working side-by-side with Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, to improve security and coordination. The liaison officers come from the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Kurdish Army and Iraqi Oil Police, who work together on Forward Operating Base Warrior in Kirkuk, Iraq to share information and coordinate key assets with the U.S. military and one another.
Big Lie Propaganda -- [Montrose Toast - DJ Elliott]
...What is being furthered in the caption is the big lie that the United States armed Saddam.
The closest the US came to providing weapons to Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War was when the US Department of Agriculture built a pesticides plant in Iraq in 1980. When it became known that Iraq had converted that plant to a chemical weapons plant, the program was terminated.
On the other hand, the US did provide weapons to Iran during 1986 (Iran-Contra).
The Big Lie that the US armed Saddam is just that, A LIE.
Update From Baghdad -- [The Writings of a Man's Man - in Iraq]
National Sovereignty Day for Iraq was just a little over a week ago, when the Iraqi government took back operational control over their cities and the US troops were ordered out of their cities. Well, as I reported a week ago, we aren't all out of the cities however things have changed a lot. The Iraqis truly have taken responsibility for security in Baghdad. We have nearly completely scaled back operations and frozen our movement in the cities.
Iraqi Oil Goes To China -- [Forbes]
A week after China was granted a license to develop Iraq's largest known oilfield, the three largest Chinese oil companies are already gearing up to bid for 11 other oil and gas field contracts in Iraq that will be auctioned off later this year.
Random Day -- [Bad Dogs and Such - in Iraq]
There's some word on the street that the Powers That Be have nefarious plans to enact a military-wide smoking ban in the middle-future. I will, of course, not say rude things about any plans coming down from On High. I will merely point out that back when we used to actually win wars, the Powers That Be actually put cigarettes in our ration packs.
Things Some Iraqis Believe -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
1. Scorpions eat sand.
2. Ssand storms are caused by Americans driving their vehicles in the desert to kick up the dust.
3. We take pills in order to be able to walk around with all of our equipment on.
Iraqis vs. Yellow Gold -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
...Iraqis believe that "scientists have proven" that wearing yellow gold allows the gold to break down red blood cells, which then die. The gold affects the blood, causing conditions, like Alzheimer's disease. Women are able to release this bad blood through menstruation, so they can wear gold. Men, however, would need to be pricked and bled from certain places on the body, such as the upper shoulder, in order to get rid of the bad blood.
Iraq bans school groups from Saddam's grave -- [Reuters]
Iraq's government has ordered authorities in Saddam Hussein's home town to ban schoolchildren from visiting the grave of the former
Taliban Website: Mujahideen Assassinated American Soldier In Sayed Abad District -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Taliban website reported yesterday: "Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan assassinated an American soldier in the Tangi area of Sayed Abad district...."
Soldiers Assess Afghan Polling Sites to Ensure Security -- [Defense Link]
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Soldiers from the 554th Military Police Company out of Stuttgart, Germany, are assessing polling sites here for next month's Afghan elections. Army Sgt. 1st Class John Moyle, a platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, 554th Military Police Company who hails from Sunbury, Pa., said the purpose of the missions is to assess local security posture
Former Gitmo Inmate Leading Fight Against U.S. in Helmand -- [FOX News]
As U.S. forces are pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern Afghanistan province of Helmand, Mullah Zakir is leading the Taliban fight against them. A former Guantanamo Bay inmate ...
New US battle rule: No fighting near Afghan homes
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan will soon order U.S. and NATO forces to break away from fights with militants hiding among villagers, an official said Monday, announcing one of the strongest measures yet to protect Afghan civilians.
...McChrystal will issue orders within days saying troops may attack insurgents hiding in Afghan houses if U.S. or NATO forces are in imminent danger, said U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Greg Smith. "But if there is a compound they're taking fire from and...
Good job Gen McChrystal, NOT! -- [Bouhammer]
Good job in instituting new rules and regulations to force the most feared Army in the world fight a war like spineless wussies. Oh I am so glad that a few lives may have been saved, but not at the cost of allowing our enemy to walk right past our Marines.
Taliban sneak past troops -- [Seattle Times]
U.S. Marines trapped Taliban fighters in a residential compound and persuaded the insurgents to allow women and children to leave. The troops then moved in -- only to discover that the militants had slipped out, dressed in burqas, the loose enveloping robes some Muslim women wear.
The fighters, who may owe their lives to the new U.S. commander's emphasis on limiting civilian casualties, were among hundreds of militants who have fled the offensive the Marines launched last week in southern Helmand province.
US Predator strike on Taliban camp kills 8 in South Waziristan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
US Predator strike aircraft attacked a Taliban training camp run by Baitullah Mehsud in the mountains of South Waziristan.
A swarm of Predators fire at least six missiles at the training camp in Karwan Manza early in the morning. Eight Taliban fighters were killed during the airstrike, according to reports.The Karwan Manza camp was featured in a Taliban propaganda video obtained by AfPax Insider. In the video, Taliban fighters are seen conducting various firing drills with assault rifles.
Things Some Afghans Believe -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
Inspired by a similar post by S4 at War, here are a few things some Afghans believe:
1. US and ISAF forces are here to conquer Afghanistan and steal the oil.
2. The ICRC is actually a front for Christian crusaders, and they force locals to convert to Christianity in order to receive medical treatment.
3. There is a brothel on every US base, staffed by local girls kidnapped by US forces.
Pakistani Taliban leader in Swat wounded: military -- [Reuters]
The leader of Pakistani Taliban fighters in the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, has been wounded in fighting, a military spokesman said on Wednesday citing "credible" information. The Taliban leader, Fazlullah, has been on the run since the military launched an offensive in the region in late April.
Taliban kill 8 police, surround east Afghan office -- [Reuters]
A district in Afghanistan's restive east was in danger of falling into Taliban hands after pitched gunbattles with insurgents killed at least eight police, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Lithuanians on the Moon -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
The fight in the southern Philippines varies in intensity and technique. Commanders in the AFP (Armed Forces Philippines) will say that the fight consists of about 80% carrot and 20% stick. The relationship between U.S. and AFP forces seems good but there are differences of opinion. Our folks fully understand the 80% part, but on the 20% we often know the whereabouts of the enemy and would like to see faster action. Nevertheless, my gut instinct after having a tour about the place is that progress is being made. A guerrilla commander told me that he had been fighting since 1976, but came out of the jungles with 34 fighters on 20 April this year. Publicly it's called a "surrender," but on the ground it seemed more like a mutual agreement to stop fighting and do something constructive.
What Now Zad Can Teach Us About Counterinsurgency -- [Captain's Journal]
We have been covering and analyzing U.S. Marine Corps operations in Now Zad, Afghanistan, for nine months, ever since our friend Major Cliff Gilmore (USMC) sent us a direct and unpublished report on his visit to Now Zad.
...Can anyone say stolid - dense - or stupid? Let's be clear. The campaign sees the Marines without enough troops. The chain of command has made the decision to under-resource that part of the fight. Everyone up chain of command, who can make a difference in the resourcing of the campaign, is responsible for Cpl. Matthew Lembke having lost his legs, beginning with the President of the U.S., and going down to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and CENTCOM. This includes the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Calling on National Security Advisor James L. Jones to Resign -- [Captain's Journal]
...Worse still, even though Jones knows that the Colonels need more troops and that economic revitalization won't occur without security, his narrative is that some economic development can "turn this thing around in reasonably short order."
If we have learned anything from the experience in Iraq, it is that there must be national and institutional patience.
Women in combat -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Our assigned mission was to travel to an Afghan logistics depot and inventory weapons. Our convoy commander was a recently promoted female Air Force MSgt. This Hartford, CT resident currently stationed at Langley AFB, VA is not only a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, but also a wife and mom to 3 kids. She's been in the Air Force for 12 years and was promoted to the rank of MSgt (e-7) on 1 July. Today she would lead the convoy to our destination.
Is Kim Jong Il Dying? -- [One Free Korea]
Kim Jong Il emerged from his seclusion, reportedly from one of his seaside palaces where he'd been recovering from a stroke, to attend a memorial for his late god-king father. ...
Mousavi Promises To Continue Protests -- [WaPo]
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, appearing in public for the first time in nearly three weeks, vowed Monday that protests against the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "will not end" and predicted that the new government would encounter problems because it lacks legitimacy.
Government Web sites attacked; N. Korea suspected -- [AP]
A widespread computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and other U.S. government agencies, according to officials inside and outside the government.
Sites in South Korea were also affected, and South Korean intelligence officials believe the attack was carried out by North Korean or pro-Pyongyang forces
U.S. May Not Free Acquitted Detainees -- [WSJ]
The Obama administration said Tuesday it may continue to imprison non-U.S. citizens indefinitely even if they have been acquitted of terrorism charges by a U.S. military commission. -- Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's chief lawyer ...
Johnson Opens the Door to Post-Acquittal Detentions -- [Spencer Ackerman]
Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson moved the Obama administration into new territory from a civil liberties perspective. Asked by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) the politically difficult but entirely fair question about whether terrorism detainees acquitted in courts could be released in the United States, Johnson said that "as a matter of legal authority," the administration's powers to detain someone under the law of war don't expire for a detainee after he's acquitted in court. "If you have authority under the law of war to detain someone" under the Supreme Court's Hamdi ruling, "that is true irrespective of what happens on the prosecution side."
Martinez looked surprised. "So the prosecution is moot?" he asked.
Radical preacher sent back to jail -- [The Independent]
Abu Izzadeen: recalled to jail after breaking the terms of his release
The radical Islamic preacher Abu Izzadeen has been recalled to jail after breaking the terms of his release, prison sources said today.
Izzadeen, who is otherwise known as Trevor Brooks, was jailed last year for four and a half years for inciting terrorism but released in May this year after his sentence was cut on appeal.
Mr. Jackson died- no, not THAT one... read about the IMPORTANT ones that did not get media. American troops-- named JACKSON -- [Soldier's Angels' Shellie Michaels]
Instead, as we head toward Independence Day, I found a few other Jacksons whose deaths didn't receive the attention they should have.
Let's start with Army Spec. Marlon P. Jackson, who was the first American soldier named Jackson to be killed in Iraq. It was Nov 11, 2003 that Spec. Jackson's vehicle rolled over the detonator on an improvised explosive device, better known as an IED. Nobody called 911. It just blew up and ripped him apart.
CNN didn't break in. The Internet didn't report that a 25-year-old named Jackson was headed to a field hospital. Teary-eyed fans and supporters didn't deliver flowers to his boyhood home in New Jersey.
He just died while serving our country. A while later, his family found out.
Flyleaf -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
...I'd like to personally thank Flyleaf for coming out here. For two hours no one thought of fighting, or worried about their next patrol; they just stood their smiling and singing along with a band who wanted to show their appreciation for all the military does. Thanks Flyleaf!
Number of US military kids seeking mental care has doubled since Iraq war began -- [Fort Worth Star Telegram]
WASHINGTON -- Children of US military troops sought outpatient mental healthcare 2 million times last year, double the number at the start of the Iraq war.
A Perfect Fit -- ACLU Joins With Westboro Baptist Church... Sue For Right to Protest at Soldier's Funerals -- [Gateway Pundit]
Two notorious anti-American groups joined up in Missouri to sue for the right to hold disgusting protests at the funerals of US soldiers who died in combat.
St. Louis Today reported:
NV phony soldier bows out of parade -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Every small town wants to have a decorated hero to be the grand marshal of their Independence Day Parade. That's what the Fernley, NV parade committee was thinking when they asked Arthur York to be their grand marshall. York is supposedly a veteran of the recent war in Iraq and claimed to have been awarded the Navy Cross. This being the age of the internet and access to vital information in seconds, the choice of York set off alarm bells among veteran organizations;
Soldier could face death penalty over Iraq slaying -- [AP]
An Army sergeant accused of slaying his superior and another US soldier in Iraq will face a court-martial and could be sentenced to death if
The Return of Sporkmaster -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Some of you may have noticed that Sporkmaster has been pretty quiet lately. Mainly it's because he's been slowly moving towards the US from his deployment to Iraq.
He emailed me today to let me know that he's safely back in the loving arms of his family and he has all of his body parts attached as they were before he left.
How Much Does It Cost To Control The Press? -- [Stop the ACLU]
...Barack Obama's White House is spending more than $80,000 a week to staff its old and new media offices. Add the price of speechwriters and the White House communications tab reaches nearly $100,000 a week, or nearly $5 million a year-and that is for salaries alone.
Based on the coverage the President has garnered so far, it is money well spent.
Accuracy In Media gathered the data from the White House's annual salary report to Congress, which was released last week.
NATO discusses digital media -- [Frontline Blogger]
NATO Review discusses the effects of new media and blogging upon the amount and quality of information coming out of warzones today. The video discussion includes contributions from the founder of liveleak.com - a haven for bomb blasts, humvee crashes and the like. The discussion accompanies an article by our very own Vaughan Smith about how he got into journalism, military minders and the importance of independent reporting,
Fun With Selection Bias -- [Registan]
Carlotta Gall, reporting from Lashkar Gah:..LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan -- The mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan, presenting incoming American forces with an even harder job than expected in reversing military losses to the Taliban and winning over the population.
Villagers in some districts have taken up arms against foreign troops to protect their homes or in anger after losing relatives in airstrikes, several community representatives interviewed said. Others have been moved to join the insurgents out of poverty or simply because the Taliban's influence is so pervasive here.
The Associated Press, reporting from the Marine offensive in Nawa:
The difference? Carlotta Gall is not embedded with any troops. Amazing how that changes one's perspective, isn't it? Meanwhile, here is an interesting 5,000-ft. view of how other Afghans view the war's prospects:
DC comic superheros to team up with muslim superheros -- [Jawa Report]
DC comic book superheros, Superman, Batman, and the Flash are to team up with muslim superheros the 99....The 99 are a group of muslims who acquired superhuman abilities after coming in contact with mystical gems. IMO the funniest character is Batina The Hidden, who has powers of invisibility and camouflage, she is the only female character who wears a burqa. Fitting that the character who is invisible wears a burqa.
Review: 'Hurt Locker' the Iraq war film we've been waiting for -- [San Jose Mercury News]
... ADMIRABLE intentions and acclaimed names on both sides of the camera, the vast majority of movies made about the Iraq war have failed to hit the mark.
Michael Jackson is still... oh look! It's Sarah Palin! -- [Greyhawk]
Securing Victory: No doubt those who voted against Obama/Biden last November did so in part because they remember the sorts of quotes from the first half of this video...
but while likely disgusted with the outright hypocrisy revealed in the second half, they can't possibly be as disgusted as the folks who voted for Obama/Biden based in large part on the same sorts of comments from the first half. The sense of betrayal among authentic members of the latter group must be consuming, I'm not sure how it could be otherwise.
Interview with Robert Chiroux -- [This Ain't Hell...]
I guess now that IVAW member Matthis Chiroux is home in Alabama, the folks down there don't much like him. My inbox was chocked full of Chiroux-related material this morning. I wish they'd been this upset with him before he'd come home. A local TV station in Huntsville interviewed Dr. Chiroux;
Chiroux says his son continues making the rounds spewing anti-war messages while collecting money.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
05JUL09--Iraqis Celebrate Independence -- [Notes from Iraq - in Iraq]
Since June 30th, men and women across Iraq have celebrated their national sovereignty. Some Americans see their celebration as an act of ungratefulness, but instead, we ought to be celebrating along side them.
Largely, Iraqis are not celebrating the departure of American troops in a "Yeah, we beat you guys" fashion.
American troops no longer patrol the cities of Iraq or conduct missions without the cooperation of Iraqi agencies, because they are simply not necessary. The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police are able to patrol their own sectors, keep the peace, and run successful operations. Iraqis are celebrating, saying: "We beat the insurgents!"
Soldiers Say Goodbye to Iraqi Orphans With Party, Gifts -- [Defense Link]
The 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, 2nd Battalion, couldn't leave here without a special goodbye to some local children they likely will never forget.
..."Before we met with Lieutenant Colonel Bush, we had a bad picture of American forces because of the media," Raoof said. "Before, they used to say the Americans were invaders and occupation forces. But after we met with them and talked with them, we found out that they have big hearts and are very human, especially Lieutenant Colonel Bush. He has a big heart and he has helped us a lot. ..."Right now, we have stability and we have good security in this province with the help of the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police. Right now, thanks to God, we are living free, and living in a democracy. We will always remember the Americans for helping us to set up the country like this."
Things Some Iraqis Believe -- [S4 at War]
1. Scorpions eat sand.
2. Sand storms are caused by Americans driving their vehicles in the desert to kick up the dust.
3. We take pills in order to be able to walk around with all of our equipment on.
1-12th's first operation -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
The battalion moved out at night using night vision goggles to guide their way. The goal of the mission was to disrupt insurgent activity and to uncover any enemy caches. We also met with village elders to discuss their needs and help determine we can help them stabilize the area they live in.
"Held Down" Under Heavy Fire: Echo Company Marines From 2/8 Battle To Hold Position -- [Pat Dollard] Troops from a US Marine company in Afghanistan have been under almost constant fire since entering the country with 4,000 other troops during the week. Since flying in by helicopter to Mian Poshteh in Helmand province, troops from the 2/8 infantry battalion have been held down by insurgents. The 200 Marines are still fighting to hold position and have had to call in helicopter gunships for assistance.
Taliban threaten collaborators in North Waziristan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Hafiz Gul Bahadar issued night letters warning tribesmen he would use suicide bombers against anyone cooperating with the government.
Targets On Their Backs, Marines Enter Afghan Town -- [NPR]
A lock slides open and a man answers. His name is Daoud, and he's obviously nervous. The Marines are, too -- some are taking bets on when they'll get shot at.
"I guarantee that within three to four hours, we'll get shot at," Mays says.
Sun notes that there are a lot of kids now in the area. He says the company needs to set up an outpost, to "get a place, get patrols happening, get them before they get us."
U.S. troops remember beloved Afghan worker -- [Washington Times]
Abdul met the same fate last month at the hands of the Taliban, who accused him of being an American sympathizer.
...The pain of Abdul's death has resonated deep within the unit. The soldiers' friendship with Abdul underlined for them that even in war, all people are the same, seeking food, shelter, safety and hoping for peace.
International Security Assistance Force releases battle damage assessment photos following insurgent attack in Paktika -- [USFOR - (facebook)]
Militants attacked the outpost with multiple rockets and mortars, at least one of which contained white phosphorous. They also used small-arms fire and a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
Afghan National Army and ISAF responded with counter fire, close air support and attack helicopters, killing at least 10 of the attackers and detaining one.
ISAF commander gives troops new guidance for conducting Afghanistan operations -- [USFOR - (facebook)]
Although the Tactical Directive has been classified for the protection of our own forces, portions of the directive are being made public in order to ensure a broader awareness of the intent and scope of General McChrystal's guidance to ISAF and USFOR-A forces.
What follows are the releasable portions of the Tactical Directive
Shake And Bake -- [Strategy Page]
While the Afghan Army is kicking the crap out of the Taliban, corrupt officers and NCOs are weakening the discipline and resolve of the troops, and those leaders who are not on the take. The biggest problem is pay, which is delivered, each month, in the form of cash payments. Some units go months without pay, or don't get the full amount. The money is being stolen by corrupt officers, who turn around and blame "bandits" or "Taliban" or the government for the missing money.
Days wind down, but not the tension, for Illinois Guard in Afghanistan -- [Chicago Tribune]
The reception for the U.S. troops became a little chillier in this village Sunday when the topic turned from the offer of construction assistance to whether the locals might volunteer to join the Afghan police.
Added U.S. Troops Enable Afghanistan Strategy, Mullen Says -- [Defense Link]
..."There's been some pretty tough fighting, but it really ties into the expectations that we had," Mullen said. "This has been a significant Taliban stronghold for a long period of time. It's grown over the past two or three years. What the Marines are there for is to really concentrate on that defeat the Taliban, clear it, hold it so we can start to build."
The fight will be tough for "a fair amount of time - weeks or months," he said.
Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran -- [The Sunday Times]
Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on IranUzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv and Sarah Baxter
The head of Mossad, Israel's overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran's nuclear sites.
Israel denies Saudi green light for Iran attack -- [PRESS TV]
Tel Aviv has denied reports that suggest Israeli bombers have been allowed to use Saudi airspace for an attack on Iran's nuclear sites
Israel free to strike nuclear sites: Biden -- [Brisbane Times]
THE US Vice-President, Joe Biden, says America will not stand in the way of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Mr Biden's comments seem ...
Obama Seeks New Start In Sagging U.S.-Russia Ties -- [NPR]
Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev end a seven-year hiatus in U.S.-Russian summitry on Monday, with each declaring his determination to further cut nuclear arsenals and repair a badly damaged relationship.
China says 140 dead in Xinjiang riot, blames separatists -- [Reuters]
At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the Muslim area's worst case of unrest in years.
U.S. pledges increased military support to Somalia -- [Xinhua]
The United States said on Saturday it would increase its military assistance to Somalia to help the transitional government restore sanity and the rule of law in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.
Labor wages war on language of terrorism -- [The Age]
THE phrase "war on terrorism" is set to be expunged from the official lexicon.
Nearly eight years after the September 11 attacks, the Federal Government is reviewing the official language used to discuss terrorism.
"Experience has shown that the language used to describe terrorism can be counter-productive," Attorney-General Robert McClelland said.
Palau agrees to take Uighurs from Guantanamo -- [Canada.com]
It said the Palau government hoped the Uighurs, who have been cleared of terrorism allegations, would be able to restart their lives "in as normal a fashion
WWII Veteran Brings Comfort To Soldiers At Bagram's SSG Heath N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital -- [Tankerbabe]
...At this point I had no idea that Mr. Gist had served in the Air Force during WWII.
I returned the following day and Mr. Gist hooked me up big time with a really pretty guitar, a tuner, extra strings and some pics. I promised Mr. Gist that I would keep him apprised of the journey of the guitar. ...As I was reading along I saw the following picture and I gasp. That's Mr. Gist's guitar! I had NO doubt that was it. And as luck would have it the Soldier I sent it to (who is with the 10th Mtn, 1-32 and was out at a remote base) was on line. I sent him a quick email and he confirmed that is Mr. Gist's guitar! Holy smokes!
Then I read the caption for the photo and the remainder of the story and the tears wouldn't stop falling down my face.
Christmas in July -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
Filed under: Christmas, heroes, soldiers angels -- admin @ 9:30 pm
It's winter in July! In the middle of the heat of summer... it's time to think of winter holidays and Christmas! The centerpiece of this year's holiday care package will be the wonderful Soldiers' Angels travel mugs, and Soldiers' Angels has until July 8th to raise $138,000 to make get enough mugs for our heroes!
Roush Racing Supports the Troops -- [You Served]
In May, Roush Racing visited Redstone Arsenal. The purpose of the visit was to talk about the meshing of racing technology with the needs of the Army. Many safety features used in NASCAR have been incorporated into Army equipment and vice versa. Roush landed on the base in his own P-51D Mustang plane.
While at the Arsenal, he set aside some time to have lunch with the troops, sign autographs and answer questions. Many of the troops are avid NASCAR fans and ecstatic about the opportunity.
Chew On This -- [You Served]
GumRunners LLC is proud to support our troops and their families by donating a portion of its proceeds to organizations that support them.
"We really believe everyone should understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by the individuals of the armed forces and their families. Over the years we've gotten a lot of emails and actual letters from servicemen and women and their families. Since we're a gum maker, the letters are usually about gum - and to tell us how Jolt Energy Gum helped them or how much they enjoy it," said Kevin Gass, co-founder of GumRunners, LLC. "With every letter, it humbles us to realize what they achieve and endure in support of our nation.
USO Girl Training- TSO v. Uncle J -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
TSO from This Aint Hell and I are in Dallas fundraising for Warrior Legacy Foundation well actually on personal biz but I will have a post on the excellent fundraiser we went to yesterday soon. We were set against each other in the USO Girl training challenge at DFW and it was brutal.
"Show me the money" -- [SandGram]
...There are numerous "non-profits" in existence throughout the US and with the war going on for so many years now, some have been created that help out our men and women in uniform which is a good thing. Some unfortunately have succumbed to outright dishonesty like this article from the Washington Post written by Ann Tyson.
WHO'S SUPPORTING THE TROOPS NOW? -- [MSNBC]
Pegged to the upcoming July 4 holiday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it will begin airing radio ads against some targeted House Republicans -- including GOP Reps. Ken Calvert (CA), Charlie Dent (PA), and Lee Terry (NE) -- for voting against the recent war supplemental bill.
Robert McNamara, Architect of Vietnam War, Dies at 93
Robert Strange McNamara, the former secretary of defense whose record as a leading executive of industry and a chieftain of foreign financial aid was all but erased from public memory by his reputation as the primary architect of U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, died early this morning at age 93.
Now That's Cool -- [Building Peace]
The Army has just announced something that I consider a major breakthrough for the way the military does business: they are putting several field manuals online in wiki format and allowing anybody with an AKO account to propose changes. Manuals that have a 3-to-5 year writing and updating timeline could soon become living, organic documents that harness the brainpower of every soldier in the Army willing to contribute. The pilot program includes 7 manuals, but over 200 are scheduled to go online eventually. I've already raved more than once about Lt General Caldwell on this blog (commanding general of the Combined Arms Center), but now he's officially on my hero list. This is a big, gutsy move that I think will bring immense benefit to the Army.
Soldiers welcomed home -- [Cherry Hill Courier Post]
To celebrate the recent return of New Jersey National Guard members who had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan -- the largest deployment of the state National Guard since World War II -- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3020 hosted a day of activities for the troops.
Reuters Runs Staged Photo Of Bloody Honduran Protester -- [Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion]
Reuters has run photo of a bloodied Honduran protester (below) dramatizing the bloodshed at protests for Manuel Zelaya. (h/t) Problem is, this photo appears to be staged.
New disturbing comments from Chairman of Joint Chiefs on DADT -- [AMERICAblog]
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, was asked about Don't Ask Don't Tell today. His response? Read it for yourself.
Mullen appeared to be distancing himself from Obama and the possible repeal of the policy. He talked about the impact lifting the ban would have on military families - and not in a good way. This is a new excuse, and doesn't even make any sense. Mullen also talked about "changing" the policy (again that word), rather than repealing it.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Surreal -- [The Writings of a Man's Man - in Iraq]
Yesterday was quite the experience, sitting in a room surrounded by my Iraqi National Police counterparts tuned into CNN watching reports saying that there were no more US troops in any of Iraq's cities, towns and villages. We watched the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki, give a speech declaring that this is truly a great day for Iraq, National Sovereignty Day. It was hailed as VI day (Victory in Iraq) by the international media. I am pretty sure they may have their story wrong. I can look around from my Joint Security Station, and still see plenty of built up areas, factories, houses, and markets surrounding us. Thus it was quite surreal to read and watch numerous reports declaring all US forces are out of the Iraqi villages and towns and wonder exactly where I am.
Nothing New Here.... -- [Mungadai Days - in Iraq]
The June 30th deadline has no major effect on us, we're doing the same thing for the next few months as we have done for the past several months. Our role hasn't changed but every kid on the block with an MRAP is trying to muscle into our action. In order for them to roll they need the Mungadai to partner them up with our Iraqis.
A Family's Valor, a Nation's Freedom -- [WSJ]
Why would a 61-year-old civilian surgeon volunteer for Iraq?
When stories had been told, tears wept, and grief expressed, Mr. Bush asked if he could do anything. At that, Bill Krissoff spoke.
"Yes," he said. "I'm a pretty good orthopedic surgeon. When my younger son is deployed to Iraq next March, I would like to be working as a Navy medical officer, but they won't let me because I am 61 years old. Will you give me an age waiver, Mr. President?" ...
July 1, 2009 -- [S4 at War - in Iraq]
As we've been conducting our withdrawal from the cities the phrase of the month has been "holistic change in mindset," meaning we need to entirely shift the way we approach our mission. By in large my unit has been doing this since we got here. We've been doing all we can to try and return some semblance of normalcy to the area throughout our deployment. Part of that has been adjusting the way in which we interact with our Iraqi counterparts, the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police.
DVIDS Patrol In Abu Ghraib -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq]
These pictures are from a patrol conducted in Abu Ghraib by my platoon. The Iraqi Army was there to assist. We run so many of these missions they all blur together. The Army has been occasionally embedding Combat Camera in our missions.
Hussein Pointed to Iranian Threat -- [Washington Post]
Saddam Hussein told an FBI interviewer before he was hanged that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he was worried about appearing weak to Iran, according to declassified accounts of the interviews released yesterday. The former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda.
Saddam Hussein Considered 'Security Agreement' With U.S. To Counter Threat From 'Fanatics' In Iran -- [Think Progress]
ThinkProgress relied on the Washington Post's interpretation of the recently-declassified FBI files on Saddam Hussein's interviews with the Bureau to make the claim in this post that Saddam "let the world believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he feared appearing weak to what he considered his country's real threat, Iran." However, ThinkProgress has since reviewed the actual documents, and they do not explicitly state that Saddam wanted Iran to think Iraq had WMD. A document dated June 11, 2004 states that Saddam did not want to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq because he was "concerned about Iran discovering Iraq's weaknesses." According to the document, Saddam describes those weaknesses in conventional military terms, such as specific targets in Iraq open to attack. Therefore, at best, the documents only suggest that Saddam wanted Iran to think Iraq had WMD because another fair interpretation of the "weaknesses" Saddam refers to could be the fact that Iraq did not have WMD.
And then the clouds parted and a single ray of sunshine broke through... -- [Greyhawk]
Hello from Camp Victory just outside of Baghdad. I landed about an hour ago on Vice President Biden's C-17 for what will be the most extensive visit to Iraq by a president or vice president since the war began in 2003. Before we landed Biden called a few of us traveling with him into his aluminum sided airstream trailer strapped to the floor of the C-17.
"This is the moment," he told us, "we have to make sure the Iraqis don't take their eyes off the ultimate prize."
He then explained the latest job President Obama has given him. A few weeks ago he was talking to the president about the challenges Iraq would face after US troops began to withdraw from Iraqi cities on June 30th and what the US needed to do about it. The president got right the point, Biden said, "Quote: Joe, go do it."
Do what exactly?
"Help the Iraqis resolve what they have to resolve."
Anti-US protest marks start of Biden's Iraq trip -- [AFP]
A fiery protest marked the start on Friday of US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Iraq, with supporters of the Shiite anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burning the Stars and Stripes.
Biden met General Ray Odierno, the top US officer in Iraq, and Christopher Hill, Washington's ambassador in Baghdad, who briefed him on the military and political situation, three days after a major US troop pullback.
VP interviewed on Iraq status -- [Politico44]
FAIR TO SAY WHITE HOUSE NOT SATISFIED WITH POLITICAL PROGRESS? "Well, look, I think the Iraqis are not satisfied."...There's a lot left on the agenda and I think all Iraqis acknowledge that."
Missing Soldier in Eastern Afghanistan -- [Afghanistan Shrugged - in Afghanistan]
As many of you may now know from news reports a soldier is missing in
Eastern Afghanistan. No one from Team VAMPIRE is missing and we are
conducting operations in an attempt to locate the missing soldier.
Missing Soldier Update -- [Greyhawk]
I've added multiple updates with quotes from news reports as they become available to the original story below. As you read, bear in mind that first reports are always wrong. Rumors and scuttlebutt are frequently passed on as news - they may or may not turn out to be completely (rare) or partly (often) true. I'll add only that a soldier can't just accidentally wander off a military installation in Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, one shouldn't be able to exit without authorization for a specific mission. Determination or duress could overcome that obstacle. But any speculation as to how one apparently did get "outside the wire" in this case is just that - purely speculation at this point.
Operation KHANJAR -- [SWJ - Brig. Gen. Larry D. Nicholson, USMC]
Our focus is now and will remain the Afghan people. We have worked closely with local Helmand government officials and many tribal and local leaders in the detailed planning of this major offensive. While the initial focus will be on security, the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) working with Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Coalition Forces will rapidly move to introduce the initial essential aspects of governance and economic development into these newly secured areas. These efforts will be focused upon providing immediate assistance to the population, and in setting the conditions for successful elections in August. Today's operation is designed to separate and isolate the Taliban from the population who has long suffered the effects of their presence.
This large scale operation is not without risk to the many thousands of brave and dedicated Afghan and coalition troops participating.
Op Khanjar photos -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...A U.S. Marine from 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. takes up a fighting position after off loading from a helicopter during the start of Operation Khanjari on July 2, 2009 in Main Poshteh, Afghanistan.
Russia Opens Route for US to Fly Arms to Afghanistan -- [New York Times]
MOSCOW - The Russian government has agreed to allow American troops and weapons bound for Afghanistan to fly over Russian territory, providing an important new corridor for the United States military as it escalates efforts to win the
US Troops Push Further into Southern Afghanistan -- [Voice of America]
US Marines pushed further into southern Afghanistan Friday, meeting little resistance as they moved to capture villages and population centers controlled by Taliban militants. The US offensive is being led by 4,000 Marines who poured into southern Helmand province on Thursday. The operation is aimed at driving out militants and securing the area ahead of presidential elections August 20. Marine spokesman Bill Pelletier says US troops have engaged in only sporadic fighting, but he warned that could change. He said the US is focused one keeping the Taliban militants out and winning the people's trust.
US marines face a 'hell of a fight' in Helmand surge -- [Telegraph]
United States Marines storming into southern Afghanistan are facing a "hell of a fight" in some districts while others are "suspiciously" quiet,
The Uprising Changes Everything, Part III: Exposing Iranian Treachery In Afghanistan -- [Terry Galvin]
"The Iranian government has finally exposed itself as a theocratic, totalitarian regime," says Afghan student leader Mohammed Faqiri, at Herat University. That's fast becoming the mainstream view among young Afghans, says Faqiri, 23. "Iranian leaders are trying to hang onto power by killing people and destroying their free media." In Kabul, meanwhile, Tehran's malignancy has been coming under increasing fire in mainstream Afghan society, owing to the operations of the sinister cleric in the photograph, Mohammed Asif Mosehni, Tehran's ayatollah in Kabul.
U.S. Uses False Taliban Aid Charge to Pressure Iran -- [IPS]
The Barack Obama administration has given new prominence to a Bush administration charge that Iran is providing military training and assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, for which no evidence has ever been produced, and which has been discredited by data obtained by IPS from the Pentagon itself.
The new twist in the charge is that it is being made in the context of serious talks between NATO officials and Iran involving possible Iranian cooperation in NATO's logistical support for the war against the insurgents in Afghanistan.
Saying bye to those finishing their deployments -- [Afghanistan my Last Tour -- in Afghanistan]
We said goodbye to the four Air Force individuals in the picture. They were here for almost one year. We and some of the new Air Force personnel who recently arrived are their replacements. During the past year, their ETT team only encountered one IED. But one IED experience is too many. Apparently one of their HMMVWs rolled over the IED and then it activated when the ANA truck passed over it.
U.S. Faces Resentment in Afghan Region -- [NY Times]
The mood of the Afghan people has tipped into a popular revolt in some parts of southern Afghanistan, presenting incoming American forces with an even harder job than expected in reversing military losses to the Taliban and winning over the population.
On mentoring and the ANA -- [Flit]
..."Putting the Afghan face", not vase, on military operations, is pretty much a cliche in Afghan security force mentoring efforts at this point. The chronic lack of Afghan security personnel, for reasons which I will get to downrange, compared to the numbers of Western troops means what is on the books a go/no-go requirement of all kinetic operations has too often reduced in practice to grabbing a couple of Afghan soldiers or police at the last possible minute and throwing them on the helicopter so that it could be said in the press release that Afghan forces were involved in the operation. In 2008-09 in Kandahar Province, any time we on the ANA mentoring side heard someone talking about Afghan faces, we knew we could safely assume ANSF capacity-building, meaning the effort to bring them closer to the day when they won't need us anymore, had long ceased to be a deliverable of the operation in question.
EXCLUSIVE: Taliban buying children for suicide bombers -- [Washington Post] Pakistan's top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is buying children as young as 7 to serve as suicide bombers in the growing spate of attacks against Pakistani, Afghan and U.S. targets, U.S. Defense Department and Pakistani officials say.
China babies 'sold for adoption' -- [BBC]
Dozens of baby girls in southern China have reportedly been taken from parents who broke family-planning laws, and then sold for adoption overseas.
North Korea Fires Four More Test Missiles: Should US Be Worried? -- [FOXNews]
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Four more missiles -- North Korea just shot off four more missiles. They are short-range missiles, but is this a preview
Honduran Democracy Protesters Bash Obama & CNN -- [Gateway Pundit]
Thousands of Hondurans protested in support of democracy, the military and the Micheletti government this week in Honduras. The US media has been ignoring these protests.
Honduras and the Bolivarian Revolution -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Make no mistake. Giving the military a leading role in a political drama in Honduras may be akin to giving a pyromaniac matches and can of kerosene. It can end badly. I covered Honduras for 20 years and reported extensively both on the military's egregious human rights abuses and voracious economic appetite that sucked the national coffers dry, although the troops have stayed in the barracks for more than two decades. But look at the alternatives. Zelaya was illegally attempting the same political move successfully executed by Chávez and Morales-a constitutional change that would allow him to stay in power indefinitely-always among the first actions of the Bolivarian leaders.
A 'coup' in Honduras? Nonsense. -- [Christian Science Monitor]
Don't believe the myth. The arrest of President Zelaya represents the triumph of the rule of law.
Report: U.S. to block Iran sanctions at G8 summit -- [Haaretz]
The United States is opposed to enacting a new set of financial sanctions against Iran that are due to be discussed in the G8 summit next week, diplomatic officials in New York reported Friday. -- According to officials, sanctions against Iran are expected to top the G8's agenda.
Terror from the Right -- [SPLC News]
75 plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since Oklahoma City
What follows is a detailed listing of major terrorist plots and racist rampages that have emerged from the American radical right in the years since Oklahoma City. These have included plans to bomb government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives and biological and chemical weapons. Each of these plots aimed to make changes in America through the use of political violence.
Decade of domestic terror documented by Center (2005) -- -- [SPLC News]
A pre-publication copy of the Intelligence Report's list was provided to the office of Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security. Thompson included many of the incidents compiled in the Intelligence Report into his staff's report, 10 Years After the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Department of Homeland Security Must Do More To Fight Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists, which he released on the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Signed by all of the Democratic members of the committee, Thompson's report credited the Southern Poverty Law Center for its expertise in monitoring right wing domestic terrorist groups. Thompson's report also called on the Department of Homeland Security to establish an advisory council that would include the Center.
Terrorist Watch: 23 Plots Foiled Since 9/11 -- [Heritage Foundation]
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 23 terrorist plots against the United States have been foiled. This report updates a November 2007 report from the Heritage Foundation that described 19 plots that had been foiled to date since 9/11. Less than two years later, the U.S. has foiled four more plots aimed at Americans. While some trials have ended in mistrial and charges against some suspects were dropped, significantly more individuals have been convicted and sentenced for their crimes.
These victories make the case for continued U.S. vigilance against terrorism around the globe. While these particular attacks have been disrupted, the threat remains.
NEFA Foundation: AQIM Threatens Attacks on France over Veil Controversy -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new communique from Al-Qaida Committee in the Islamic Maghreb threatening to carry out terrorist attacks against France in revenge for the recent decision by the French government to ban the niqab (a full body veil worn by some conservative Muslim women).
SecDef at Landstuhl -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Nice writeup of the SecDef's visit to Landstuhl with a lot of other interesting background information, so I'm posting the whole thing. Just one quibble: the person the writer calls Dr. Raymond Funk is actually Dr. Fang. And a big shout out to SFC Lawrence, who has been on staff at the MTD as long as I can remember. Good to see him mentioned here. And how cool that Secretary Gates brought two patients back to the US on his plane!
Heartfelt thanks -- [Misuchan's Milblog - in Afghanistan]
Misuchan and the Soldiers in her unit would like to send out a heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all the things that Soldiers Angels, Operation Shoebox, Adopt-a-Soldier, GI Woodshop, Stacy, Mr. Nordloff and family members of the Soldiers for helping us get through very difficult times by sending us the comforts of home. Without your wonderful caring and support, I know quite a few Soldiers who would have some pretty low morale.
Thank you so much for what you do and it will never be forgotten.
Sailors In A Bad Mood Over New Uniforms -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. Navy, bowing to loud and sustained complaints, now allows sailors living off base, on their way home from work, to get out of their vehicles to perform short errands (picking up dry cleaning, groceries, day care, and so on), while wearing the new navy work uniform (shirt and pants in a gray, blue and black camouflage pattern). Prior to this, navy personnel were forbidden from leaving their vehicles while outside the base, and wearing the work uniform.
Melbourne soldiers back from Afghanistan -- [Florida Today]
Family members and friends waved American flags and held up welcome home banners as the soldiers arrived about 10:30 am to the Melbourne Armory
Coming home from war is no Independence Day picnic for Iraq soliders -- [NJ.com - Paul Rieckhoff]
For Americans, this means that more troops will be coming home, and for that, we should be thankful. But we must be ready to welcome them.
Early Word: A Snafu at The Washington Post -- [NY Times]
Official Washington business may be closed for the holiday weekend, but the city is still buzzing about the news that The Washington Post made, and then had to cancel, plans to charge lobbyists and trade groups as much as $250,000 off-the-record access to "those powerful few" - a group that included the paper's top reporters and editors as well as members of President Obama's administration and Congress.
Media Swing from Protests in Iran to the Passing of the King of Pop -- [Journalism.org]
...So many Google users searched for information about the dead singer that the popular search engine mistook the interest as a potential malware attack. For a short period of time, Google users were greeted with a message that read, "We're sorry, but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application."
The popular communication site Twitter crashed, and Wikipedia experienced more than 500 edits to Jackson's profile in less than 24 hours. AOL's popular instant messenger service went down for approximately 40 minutes and the company released a statement that read, "Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth."
...There were other stories in the news last week. The fourth largest, at 7%, was health care reform, largely focused on negotiations in Congress over President Obama's proposals. The fifth story (also at 7%) was the U.S. economy,
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