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.
Conversation with a Tribal Elder -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
On one of our battlefield circulations out west, we followed our General to a tribal leader's house. We stood guard outside while the General went inside to talk and eat. As is typically cultural when someone important comes to visit, they have a lamb pull. There must have been a least a dozen lambs slaughtered for this feast.
...As we sat outside waiting for the meeting to end, one of the tribal elders was sitting two seats away from me. His young son of 6 years old made me think of my son.
I waived to his son and his son, being shy, turned toward the elder. My interpreter began translating for us:
Shiites in Iraq Show Restraint as Sunnis Keep Attacking -- [New York Times]
Shiite clerics and politicians have been successfully urging their followers not to retaliate against a fierce campaign of sectarian bombings, in which Shiites have accounted for most of the 566 Iraqis killed since American troops pulled out of Iraq's cities on June 30. "Let them kill us," said Sheik Khudair al-Allawi, the imam of a mosque bombed recently. "It's a waste of their time. The sectarian card is an old card and no one is going to play it anymore. We know what they want, and we'll just be patient. But they will all go to hell." The patience of the Shiites today is in extraordinary contrast to Iraq's recent past.
Sounds About Right -- [Mongo's Montreaux - in Iraq]
The Washington Times reports that the ingredients for a civil war in Iraq are present, and possibly starting to brew. The article focuses on a report by Najim Abed al-Jabouri, former Iraqi mayor and the Police Chief that "cleaned up" Tal Afar, who claims that the biggest contributor to a possible civil war right now in Iraq is the ethno-sectarian splits within the Iraqi Security Forces.
...My counterparts in the Iraqi Federal Police (until very recently known as the Iraqi National Police) have a vehement, visceral distrust of the Iraqi Army. The IA, far more robust in its training and logistics systems to date, have a multitude of capabilities that the IFP don't. American commanders constantly defer lending a hand with US capabilities to help my guys out, stating that we need to "coordinate" with the IA and have them come on over and help out. Here's the deal:
U.S. now a 'coalition of one' in Iraq -- [USA Today]
The war in Iraq was truly an American-only effort Saturday after Britain and Australia, the last of its international partners, pulled out.
Little attention was paid in Iraq to what effectively ended the so-called coalition of the willing, with the U.S. -- as the leader of Multi-National Force, Iraq -- letting the withdrawals pass without any public demonstration.
The quiet end of the coalition was a departure from its creation, which saw President George W. Bush court countries for support before and after the March 2003 invasion.
"We're grateful to those partners who contributed in the past and we look forward to working with them in the future," military spokesman Army Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
Another Day, Another Dollar -- [Afghani Kush - in Afghanistan]
Well, my posts have been few and far between lately because not a lot is going on here. We had a few missions but nothing came of them. Taliban hasn't wanted to play lately which is sort of disappointing but I think it means that we're doing our job right. Security has improved in the region and we're seeing real results form the locals. They trust us more and they're trying to come up with their own solutions to help us help them. Also we're getting ready for a change of responsibility here so we've been doing a lot of accountability stuff, which is time consuming.
Combat Hero SPC Lowe -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
It's not too often you get to meet a hero in person, but I've been fortunate to meet several of them since being here. You won't see this in the newspaper, because the media is narrowly focused on fatalities and this hero survived his wounds. But today you can read about a hero I would like to recognize. He is a friend and brother in arms. SPC Christopher Santiago Lowe hails from Savannah, Georgia and is a member of the Georgia Army National Guard's 108th BCT, 48th Brigade - he's one of the Alpha Troop and I call them the "Georgia Boys."
Agents of Wrath -- [Kudzu's Wandering - in Afghanistan]
The chaplain has lead prayers and the flag flies in the coming dusk. High above this mountain valley rests a browning horizon turning into blue. There is a calm over the airfield and all are rested it seems, but that is the lie on the surface. Inside we are a mix of emotions and thoughts. A volcano rumbles within our souls as we deal with what we witness.
This day, among all the others, is like so many before us. We want it to end quickly so our emotions will crash down and wash over us, quickly receding to the ocean of thought. We also want it to linger just one more minute, another second to watch it go down and finish our thoughts. You see on this day, we said good bye. Good bye to a comrade who gave the last full measure doing what was asked of him.
So are we, the men and women of the United States of America Armed Forces God's Agents of Wrath? That answer lies with the people and the government it chooses. We serve the foundation of the nation not its leaders. We serve ...
"It's never when you expect it" -- [A World of Troubles - Jim Foley]
The U.S. soldiers formed a line in the moon light as the helicopter descended. The Afghans carried the body of their comrade swathed in white cloth on a homemade stretcher. The line saluted as the stretcher passed. Then the body of Spc. Mohamed Hashim, 29, of Kunar Province lifted into the night.
He'd been shot through his armpit less than an hour before. The bullet had passed through and out the other side of his body. He'd been on a 12-hour patrol the Afghan Artillery team was conducting with 2nd-77 Field Artillery Regiment (4-4th ID). Hashim was shot while manning a gun in the back of a Ford Ranger the Afghan Army (ANA) typically uses on patrols.
..."I really think that was them," Maj. Southall repeated, "hopefully tomorrow we can track them by footprints. I wasn't sure it was humans and lo and behold, a dog appeared and they shushed it off. We saw them on infrared light, and the dog came, lord have mercy, I couldn't ID them for sure," the Major said rapid-fire, wracked with a combination of guilt and desire to go on the hunt.
But his guilt was nothing compared to what Marine Lieutenant Steven Murello, 25, was feeling. As an embedded trainer(of the E.T.T. 4/4 regional corps advisory command 201st), Lt. Murello had mentored and trained Hashim and 135 other Afghan artillery soldiers for the past nine months.
'There is No Refuge, No Place to Go to Deal with Your Grief' -- [The Indpendent]
My motivation is simple. Writing this helps vent off some of the frustration at what is happening out here in Afghanistan to those serving in the British Army, where death and serious injury are sickeningly common occurrences. Before coming here, I had done two tours in Iraq which saw fierce fighting against the enemy. But, sometimes out here I feel I might as well be on my first tour, as a novice second lieutenant instead of a so-called senior captain with over eight years experience in the Army, due to a shocking rate of attrition that I have never encountered before. Commentators keep citing previous figures for casualty rates in the Falkland's conflict, as well as the years in Northern Ireland, suggesting that, spread over the time we have been in Afghanistan, the figures here are not that bad.
Motivations -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
I certainly don't have all the answers. But I do have opinions, which albeit are based on a small part of the country and one particular unit. I'm quite certain what I've seen is representative of the country as a whole, but I could be wrong. At any rate, I'll throw my two cents out there and people can take it or leave it. If anyone has facts that refute what I have to say, I'd be interested to hear them. Frankly, I'm not sure there's anything I would enjoy more than having my opinions on the ANA attacked by someone who hasn't lived with them and been on the ground in combat with them.
I've actually asked various solders in the ANA why they joined, and they all without fail answered that they did it to fight the Taliban and because they like the soldier's life.
Pog-tastic -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
...I did go out for a couple days recently. Basically, we drove up and down a road and 'conducted foreign policy' by talking with different townspeople in villages we don't normally frequent. Meeting with local people in a non-formal setting, i.e. not involving sitting down with chai etc, is an enjoyable aspect of the job. I dislike meetings in formal settings for the simple fact that they tend to go the same way most of the time, with us being asked for different economic development projects or items and our asking information in return. Suffice to say we give more significantly more than we get in those settings - a fact which accounts for my antipathy to the process. The non-formal encounters on the street can involve much the same thing only on a smaller scale
...The results of these operations are hard to measure, but if nothing else they do give us the opportunity to 'showcase the ANA'.
Pave Hawks in Kandahar -- [Mil Times - Flightlines]
Yesterday we hung out with the 129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, a California Air National Guard unit deployed to Kandahar. They fly HH-60G Pave Hawks, which are Black Hawks modified for the Air Force's search and rescue mission.
...The mission we didn't go on turned out to be pretty exciting. As the two Pave Hawks landed in a river bed to rescue five seriously wounded Afghan National Army soldiers, they began taking fire from four different positions on the riverbanks. An RPG exploded in mid-air less than 20 meters from one of the helicopters. The American gunners pumped more than 1,100 rounds of machine gun ammo into the enemy positions, and they believe they killed multiple enemy fighters. Two of the guys we talked to said it was the hairiest rescue situation they had ever been in.
US troops enter Taliban stronghold -- [Aljazeera.net]
US troops backed by fighter jets have entered a strategic Taliban-held town in southern Afghanistan, to gain control of the area before next week's presidential elections.
...The new offensive, named Eastern Resolve 2, aims to gain control of strategic areas within the southern valley, where the Taliban are solidly entrenched.
By occupying Dahaneh, US forces hope to isolate the Taliban in woods and mountains, away from civilian centres.
Captain Zachary Martin, the US army commander leading the assault, said: "I think this has the potential to be a watershed".
He quoted by the Associated Press said the goal is to cut off the Taliban from a major rear base, and reclaim the area's main market district.
It is hoped this would have a ripple effect through neighbouring villages, making civilians more willing to co-operate with Nato forces.
Watching the Watchmen: (Mis)Leads -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen certainly sparked a minor news tsunami with an article entitled "Taliban Now Winning." Problem was, the putative source of that assessment, International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, didn't say that--which I know because I sat in on Dreazen's interview.
McChrystal didn't say Taliban were winning -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
I wrote yesterday about an article in the Wall Street Journal with the headline "Taliban now winning". The article was based on an interview w/ Gen. McChrystal and contained a number of direct quotes from him. It also contained several paraphrases purporting to represent his thoughts, such as.
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict...
I also sent an email to the Public Affairs team to see if this was an accurate representation. It doesn't sound like it was.
The Upper Hand -- [Greyhawk]
...Given that "victory" is on the bad word list, it's difficult to see how "winning" or "losing" are applicable terms.
...And speaking of hindsight, it's worth recalling that many thought the Iraq surge pointless, many others thought more troops were needed, and few (if any) thought the number "just right".
The Taliban are NOT winning -- [Foreign Policy Blog - PETER BERGEN]
"Taliban Now Winning" declared Monday's headline in the Wall Street Journal based on its interview with Gen. Stanley McChrystal. But the headline was a classic case of a editor hyping the substance of a story, which the reporters of the story themselves had already applied a little touch of their own gilding to when they characterized General McChrystal's position in their interview to be that the Taliban now had the "upper hand."
The Taliban are definitely winning -- [Foreign Policy Blog - MICHAEL F. SCHEUER]
I guess I would say that the Taliban are in the lead, but that overall the Muslim Afghan people are -- as always -- winning against foreign Christian-Pagan occupiers. As long as we are in Afghanistan to nation-build and "protect Afghans," we are losing. As long as we are senseless enough to deem all those who fight us as "takfiris" -- the most extreme of religious Muslims -- we are losing. As long as we are led by generals who prefer "shielding Afghans" at the cost of dead soldiers and Marines, we are losing.
In The Graveyard of Fuel Tankers -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
There is a problem with this whole scenario and that is how the hell do a squad of Taliban move over the Tor Ghar mountains, dig in and ambush a fuel tanker, break contact when the Americans show up and withdraw back over the mountains without being hit by 300 to 400 rounds of 30mm cannon fire by an Apache? I think I found out the answer inadvertently when I was down south with the Marines last week. The Marines are shooting rockets - a lot of them and I was chatting up the 3 who told me he has been meeting with spacemen. Pray tell why? I asked and he told me the new generation of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) goes so high that you have to de-conflict the missile track with satellites and other stuff hanging out in space. I then asked why shoot rockets and he said because we cannot get clearance to use Tac Air fast enough given the new ROE put in place by Gen McChrystal.
The Terrifying Consequences of General McChrystal's New Rules -- [Registan]
Tim Lynch writes about a recent RPG ambush in Nangahar Province and notices: since McChrystal got put in charge, the militants have become much more violent:
Secure the cities first? -- [SWJ - Neil Smith]
Taking inspiration from Dave's "Back Off" post, I was disturbed to read this Huffington Post commentary highlighted at the always readable Abu Muqawama. The assessment comes from a human rights researcher in Kabul asserting the Taliban effectively control Kandahar outside the gates of our bases. It would be presumptuous to rule on the accuracy of the claim, but the assessment (echoed elsewhere) sparks an interesting set of questions about our potential courses of action in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan (or Any War): Situation Normal, All Fouled Up -- [Politics Daily - David Wood]
No wonder the military has so many -- and such unprintable -- words to describe how things can get royally screwed up. SNAFU really is normal.
When events go as planned, when nothing breaks, stuff happens on time, things come together, an action results in the predicted consequences . . . well, military folks lift their heads and look around uneasily. Uh-oh. FUBAR is about to happen.
On Drugs -- [Greyhawk]
If this news is actually new - it's certainly convenient that we chose Helmand Province (the world's largest opium-producing region, responsible for 42% of the world's total production) as the place to send in the Marines.
Two intertwined bumper-sticker type inaccuracies should be dispensed with immediately in this discussion. One...
U.S. Targets Taliban-Drug Trade Link In Afghanistan -- [NPR]
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, says the international community will need to work with the Afghan government to help develop the rule of law -- and with the country's justice system to punish drug traffickers who are financing the Taliban insurgency.
"Just arresting someone isn't the entire process. It's the entire cycle of, can we have a fair trial? Can we have appropriate incarceration or punishment? We're committed to supporting that process," McChrystal says during the second part of an interview with Renee Montagne.
How do you fix a problem like Afghanistan? -- [SandGram]
...We have a real problem with functional illiterates who are serving in the roles of the Government.
When a thing called "Rank and Reform" came out for the Army and Police, many generals and officers down the line were demoted because they couldn't pass a simple reading/writing test. There are programs in place to attempt to educate these officers but it's slow; resulting in lots of "pissed off" folks. In many cases, the officers who were demoted were actually outstanding leaders who compensated for their loss in office skills with great finesse in the "field."
By no means am I implying that they are stupid; in fact, they are very smart and savvy as demonstrated by the one eight-year-old boy I met in Kabul who could speak English, German, Russian and French all of which he learned working the famous "Chicken Street" district (dead chickens hanging from the shops).
...I am not a big fan of the UN because I view them as the folks who like to spend your money, and take all the credit while pissing all over the American efforts every chance they get. This example happens ALL the time; a plane drops a bomb on the bad guys in some village. The UN goes to investigate reports of mass civilian casualties. We pay Afghans $200 dollars a body if we make a mistake. I think we pay them money even if the death was caused by the Taliban. These folks aren't stupid. When they have the chance to fleece us, they do so by creating inflated body counts of the dead for the money. Their customs, which we abide by, don't allow us to dig up these mass graves to confirm the dead, so we pay. These graves might have a few bodies in them along with trash, but the UN reports to the world that we killed fifty folks when in truth, maybe four. The FBI is bringing out those machines that act like side scan radars to penetrate the ground and actually count the bodies. Until then, we'll continue to pay like idiots, and the UN will tell the world that we are the bad guys and in the same breath tell us that we aren't doing enough.
Afghan-International Security Force Detain Haqqani Militants in Khost -- [ISAF]
A joint Afghan and international security force searched a rural location on Aug. 11 in Khost Province thought to be frequented by a Haqqani facilitator responsible for financing and supplying weapons, foreign fighters and explosives in the region, as well as planning attacks against the upcoming elections.
Afghan-International Security Force Pursues Taliban in Ghazni -- [ISAF]
A joint Afghan and international security force searched a series of buildings in Ghazni Province on Aug. 11 in order to disrupt Taliban movement of weapons, supplies and militant elements into the region.
Rocking The Vote, Afghan-Style -- [NPR]
Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election has been looking increasingly American -- with posters, rallies, Web sites and music.
The country's biggest musical star is performing a series of concerts aimed at "rocking the vote." A concert Tuesday night in Kabul drew about 30,000 excited fans. They were divided, Afghan-style, between men and women.
US Ambassador Seeks More Money for Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
The United States will not meet its goals in Afghanistan without a major increase in planned spending on development and civilian reconstruction next year, the US ambassador in Kabul has told the State Department.
US to use funds for aid on 'super embassy' project -- [DAWN]
Under a programme to strengthen its presence in Pakistan, the US will bring here about 1,000 personnel, including a large number of Marines.
It has already undertaken a project to rebuild and refurbish the embassy building and construct accommodation for the new staff and a massive complex for the Marines to be stationed in the capital.
The US plan to reinforce its presence has already created ripples here and, according to a senior official, it would mean stationing of 'more American military and intelligence personnel in diplomatic guise.
Iran Exiles Accuse US Of Ignoring Its Pledges -- [Washington Post]
An Iranian exile group accused the Obama administration Tuesday of betraying written US promises to protect several thousand of its members confined in a camp north of Baghdad that was recently stormed by Iraqi forces. The group, the Paris-based Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK, demanded that the US military immediately reassert control over the facility, Camp Ashraf, until it can be replaced by an international force under the aegis of the United Nations or at least a UN-commanded observer team to monitor the Iraqis.
China Quietly Defends Iran -- [Strategy Page]
While Iran has been unable to get modern Russian S300 surface-to-air missiles (yet), they have gone ahead and built a nationwide air defense network using Chinese HQ2 missiles. These were first purchased in the 1980s, but since then, Iran progressed to the point where they are now building HQ2 missiles and radar stations under license. It's believed that China has quietly allowed Iran to build the latest versions of the HQ2 as well.
DHS "Rightwing Extremists" Report is Exactly What We Thought It Was
Plus: Where Did DHS Get The Idea to Call Veterans "Potential Terrorists" -- [Ace of Spades]
The Department of Homeland Security had no particular groups or individuals under investigation and used no collected data on "right-wing extremists" threatening national security to create the report. Rather, they just read news articles from the main stream media like MSNBC and CNN (and sometimes not-so-mainstream media like the "Vernon County Broadcaster"). However, by far the most frequent source for the report was articles and blog posts from the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to a FOIA response obtained by Americans for Limited Government.
2 US Architects of Harsh Tactics in 9/11's Wake -- [New York Times]
Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were military retirees and psychologists, on the lookout for business opportunities. They found an excellent customer in the Central Intelligence Agency, where in 2002 they became the architects of the most important interrogation program in the history of American counterterrorism. They had never carried out a real interrogation, only mock sessions in the military training they had overseen. They had no relevant scholarship; their Ph.D. dissertations were on high blood pressure and family therapy. They had no language skills and no expertise on Al Qaeda. But they had psychology credentials and an intimate knowledge of a brutal treatment regimen used decades ago by Chinese Communists. For an administration eager to get tough on those who had killed 3,000 Americans, that was enough. So "Doc Mitchell" and "Doc Jessen," as they had been known in the Air Force, helped lead the United States into a wrenching conflict over torture, terror and values that seven years later has not run its course.
Kuwait Says al-Qaida-Linked Plot Foiled -- [Voice of America]
Kuwaiti authorities say they have foiled a plot by al-Qaida-linked militants to attack a US military base and other locations in the Gulf state. A Kuwaiti Interior Ministry statement issued Tuesday says six Kuwaitis who make up an al-Qaida-linked terror cell have been arrested and confessed to the plot. The ministry says they planned to bomb US military camp Arifjan, Kuwait's state security headquarters and other important buildings and facilities.
Hunt for Most Wanted Indonesian Terrorist Resumes -- [New York Times]
The hunt for one of Asia's most wanted terrorists resumed on Wednesday after Indonesian officials said that DNA tests showed a man killed in a 16-hour shootout with the police last week was not a suspected terrorist leader with links to Al Qaeda. The terrorist leader, Noordin Muhammad Top, is suspected of masterminding the deadliest attacks to plague Indonesia in recent years, including the twin suicide bombings last month at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.
NEFA "Target: America" Report: The Plot to Attack Jewish Centers in the Bronx and a Military Facility in Newburgh, New York -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Four Newburgh, New York men were arrested in the Riverdale section of the Bronx on the night of May 20, 2009 for attempting to bomb a Jewish community center with, what they believed to be, a 30-pound plastic explosive device, which they placed in a car positioned outside of the center. The conspirators also intended to attack the National Guard air base in Newburgh with a surface-to-air-missile, which they acquired from a dealer they believed to be affiliated with the Pakistani terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed.
In this 20th report in the "Target: America" series, the NEFA Foundation explores...
Bouhammer Poll: What precludes you from buying at the Bouhammer Gear Store? -- [Bouhammer]
I have seen a lot of traffic on the Bouhammer Gear Store but I have not see a lot of purchases. This is quite disappointing because for all the T-shirts (except for the #militarymon Twitter shirt), 100% of the proceeds go directly to four great charities.
Not Alone, www.notalone.com
Fisher House, www.fisherhouse.org
Soldier's Angels, www.soldiersangels.org
Books For Soldiers, www.booksforsoldiers.com
The #militarymon Twitter shirt has all proceeds go directly to Soldier's Angels Project Valour-IT
True Irish welcome for U.S. troops at wedding party -- [Irish Central]
Happy couple invite stranded G.I.'s to join wedding celebrations
U.S. soldiers were given a true Irish welcome at a wedding in Co Clare this week.
The 300 troops were stranded in Shannon last weekend after their Iraq-bound plane was grounded. As luck would have it, they were booked into the same hotel as the wedding party for Amelia Walsh and Sean O'Neill.
And so the 300 troops were invited to join the festivities at the Clare Inn in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
A Soldier's Eye in the Sky -- [New York Times]
The soldiers crouched beneath the blazing desert sun, waiting to burst into the villages in conditions similar to those they have encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this time, they got some high-tech help in an exercise intended to prove that new devices operated by the soldiers themselves can make those harrowing missions less dangerous in the future.
Welcome Home Soldiers -- [KOKC]
More troops from a unit of the Oklahoma Army National Guard that has been deployed for 10 months in Kuwait and Iraq are set to return home.
Phila.-based Guard brigade coming home -- [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The largest Pennsylvania National Guard contingent sent into combat since World War II will stream home from Iraq, one planeload at a time
Benning to welcome home 988th MP Company tonight -- [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]
A redeployment ceremony for the troops will be held at Freedom Hall on Fort Benning. While deployed, the 988th mentored and trained Iraqi police.
Time to Ask Tough Questions -- [Foreign Policy Blog - MORTON ABRAMOWITZ]
Over the last few years, castigating the media for its failure to examine the case for war in Iraq, simply accepting the Bush administration's facts and rationales, has become something of a cottage industry. You might think, given the fuss over Iraq, that the media and its critics would be zealously examining our stepped-up efforts in Afghanistan -- one of the most extraordinary, difficult, and costly ventures of American foreign policy. But, for the most part, they are not.
Blame the military! -- [The Press Machine]
Congress caught wasting a bunch of our tax payer money luxuriating and buying themselves some spiffy new jets - at the time they are hammering the private sector and accusing their executives of excessive largesse for not flying commercial, no less - the democrats decide the best way to avoid anger is to blame the military for the whole thing.
Why not privatize the military? -- [US Message Board]
Those against healthcare reform that includes any type of government offering say that what ever the government is involved with they will make it worse.
If that is the case why are these same individuals not advocating privatizing the military?
Why are the congressman who do not want the government involved in healthcare insurance have a government healthcare program.
These congressman should work to convert their healthcare to the private sector.
Why does conservative commentator William Crystal say the VA healthcare system is superior to the healthcare program offered by the private sector. The VA is a government run healthcare program.
When the Right Protests, It Must Be Wrong -- [NewsBusters]
For eight years in America, protest was in and all the cool kids did it. We had flamboyantly dressed Code Pinkers demonstrating at conventions and in sessions of Congress, calling Marine recruiters "traitors" and protesting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Then there were the crazies from Acorn stalking Wall Street executives at their homes. And anti-war lefty Cindy Sheehan got so much news coverage from the major networks and top newspapers that they practically had to create a bureau to handle her antics.
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