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.
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