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Iraqis Uneasy at Idea of Early US Withdrawal -- [AP]
Unnerved by bombings that have killed hundreds this summer, many Iraqis are losing faith in their own security forces and fear the Americans are leaving too quickly. The misgivings about the US pullback from the cities, and even about the Dec. 31, 2011 deadline for a full withdrawal, come at a time when a senior US officer has suggested the Americans declare victory and leave even sooner. Iraqis, including military commanders, believe their security forces aren't ready to act alone. "We do not want a hasty withdrawal. The Americans have promised a responsible withdrawal in coordination with the Iraqi government and they should live up to their commitments," said Abbas al-Bayati, chairman of parliament's security committee.
More Troops Are Sought for Iraq's Restive North -- [New York Times]
BAGHDAD -- The commanding general of American forces in Iraq said Monday that he had proposed putting United States troops in disputed parts
Media people in Ninewa converge on "shortcomings" in blasts coverage -- [Aswat al-Iraq]
Several media people in Ninewa agreed that the recent suicide operations in several areas were only meant to "foment sedition among the sons of the one province," though admitting "shortcomings" in the coverage of certain details in these operations.
"The objectives sought by armed groups with these recent operations in Ninewa can be summed up as sheer attempts to rupture national unity and sow the seeds of discord among local residents of the province," Tawfeeq Saeed, the director of the Ashtar satellite channel office in Ninewa and the editor-in-chief of al-Karma magazine, told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Why Iraqis Still Fight Like Arabs -- [Strategy Page]
Iraqi troops are somewhat mystified that they are not as successful at dealing with roadside bombs, as they Americans. The Iraqis now have the same equipment, and training, yet the Americans were much more successful at finding bombs and keeping roads clear of them. The Iraqis asked their American mentors for help, and were given some bad news (along with the requested help.)
The bad news was that the Iraqis were the victims of their own bad habits.
A Few More Pictures -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
...Most of the T-walls in Baghdad are coming down. Not all, though: some around Iraqi bases look like they're going to be permanent. Nobody likes plain gray concrete, so the Iraqis hire locals to decorate them.
Iraqi protest at media censorship -- [BBC]
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki told reporters to be more co-operative and less critical of the government.
The BBC's Natalia Antelava in Baghdad says it was a disturbing statement for those who lived, for years, without any freedom of expression.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi media have flourished, and many journalists would often say that physical danger was a trade-off for their newly found freedom to report, our correspondent says.
They fear their freedom is now under threat, she adds.
The Iraqi Navy -- [Montrose Toast - DJ Elliott]
The Iraqi Navy and Marines are the smallest of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense armed forces. With only 68 kilometers (43 statute miles) of coastline and two oil terminals, Iraq does not require a large naval force. However, what Iraq has now and what is on order is insufficient for the duties assigned.
Pentagon Worries Led to Command Change -- [Washington Post]
In mid-March, as a White House assessment of the war in Afghanistan was nearing completion, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met in a secure Pentagon room for their fortnightly video conference with Gen. David D. McKiernan, the top US. commander in Kabul. There was no formal agenda. McKiernan, a silver-haired former armor officer, began with a brief battlefield update. Then Gates and Mullen began asking about reconstruction and counternarcotics operations. To Mullen, they were straightforward, relevant queries, but he thought McKiernan fumbled them. Gates and Mullen had been having doubts about McKiernan since the beginning of the year.
The intercontinental screwdriver -- [CDR Salamander]
McKiernan was the architect of the operations that are going on right now in Afghanistan. There was nothing old-school he was trying to do after taking over from Gen. McNeill.
Shape, clear, hold, and build? That is all McKiernan. The comprehensive and integrated approach? McKiernan. Trying to get European NATO to turn into the wind? McKiernan and Craddock.
The fact that it wasn't well known in the Pentagon, if RC's reporting is correct, just demonstrates how far removed those in DC were from Afghanistan and the operations there.
McKiernan was first and foremost the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
Ground Truth -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
As the elections approach there has been much in the news on Afghanistan and most of it is not terribly accurate. Yesterday's VBIED in Kabul is a good example. Most news outlets are connecting this attack to a countrywide effort by Taliban groups to interfere with the Presidential election scheduled for Thursday. I'm not buying that and I don't think the Taliban view this upcoming election as a significant event. Some groups have publicly stated they will not interfere, other groups say they will disrupt the process, but we are not seeing any real attempts to do that.
This Washington Post story is typical of the MSM reporting on the Kabul blast with the title of "Pre Vote Blast in Kabul Signal Taliban Intent." That is bullshit - what the blast signals is that somebody was able to bribe their way past the ANP check-posts and get right up to the U.S. Embassy checkpoint without being detected. This is the first successful Taliban attack in Kabul since last winter and although the execution was better than average the Taliban once again managed to kill or wound innocent Afghan civilians most of whom were undoubtedly children.
SVBIED -- [3rd Time, New Country - in Afghanistan]
I am guessing most of you have already seen and/or read the news from Saturday about the SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Born IED) that exploded here in Kabul, killing 7 and wounding 91. When it exploded, I was at the hospital. News travels fast. Most of the nurses in the OT received calls on their cell phones letting them know what happened. Where the explosion occurred is only a long stone's throw from here (NKC). We have driven through the gates where the explosion was. In fact, 4 members of our team were supposed to convoy a little later in the morning. Fortunately, they were not on the road when it happened. The Afghans at NMH had an awesome response. They were prepared to receive causalities within minutes of the explosion.
Undaunted -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
Less than 12 hours after a suicide bomber struck near ISAF headquarters in Kabul, the staff is back to business, and for most of us things are pretty much as they were. Not so for the Afghans killed and wounded in this attack. Here is the frustration, and maybe the hope, of the mission here. Insurgents execute a well planned attack, and their presumptive Western targets are largely unscathed while more Afghans suffer. The gamble of our counterinsurgency strategy is that the Afghan people--repulsed by insurgent violence--will support their government before they reject it for whatever peace they think they can achieve under the insurgents' sway. It's going to be damn difficult to succeed. But after working together to recover from today's blow, international forces and more than a few Afghans are only more committed to try.
The Attack on NATO HQ in Afghanistan -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Heartless Libertarian, who was there, has some thoughts on the subject
I was 2-300 meters, and 2 or 3 blast walls, away when it happened. In a solid building, and it rattled the place.
I haven't seen any of our own official reports, but the AP says we (we meaning NATO) had 3 soldiers from Macedonia slightly wounded. A whole bunch, close to 100 according to the AP story, of civilians wounded and some dead. Some of those are kids.
Those kids are at the gate every day, selling gum and such to people walking in and out. The bombers obviously did their reconnaissance, so they had to know it. And they did their bomb anyway. That's the kind of evil that you just can't negotiate with.
Abdullah and Ahmadzai come to Kandahar -- [Alex Strick van Linschoten - in Afghanistan]
With only four days to go before the elections, I thought it might be useful to comment on how the opposition candidates' rallies went this past week. Myself and my colleague were graced with the presence of a good half dozen members of the international press corps this week, and in all likeliness you'll read several pieces from Kandahar in the next few days. I've just seen Jon Boone did one for the Observer which isn't that bad. Give it a read. Wednesday the 12th was Abdullah's day in town. The old Communist governor of Kandahar, Noor ul-Haq Ulumi, who was responsible for buying off the mujahedeen in greater Kandahar at the end of the anti-Soviet war had come down a few days earlier to meet elders and prepare for the rally. He chose an empty patch of land next to his house as the site for the rally, and people began to arrive there early in the morning.
Elections -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
We were lucky enough to have our stay extended here to cover the election coming up on the 20th. I'd feel a little better about staying if they'd let me vote - I reckon I've done enough for this country by now that I've earned that right, but oh well. Given that I don't know much about the candidates or parties involved, I suppose it's just as well that I don't vote. What I do know is that 40 some odd persons are running for president. Such a large and divided field would seem to provide significant advantages for the incumbent, though there's to be a runoff if no one obtains a certain percentage during the first vote. It seems pretty certain that Karzai will remain in power. We obviously don't really concern ourselves with the candidates or politics involved. We're here to see that an election takes place with minimal chaos. The results are irrelevant to our purpose. I have no doubt that the people are reasonably well-informed about the candidates, but I ask myself how exactly an illiterate person votes.
The Return of Cut & Run- Afghan Exit Strategy -- [Ace - Uncle Jimbo]
We are about to enter an information battle almost identical to the one we fought about Iraq in 2006 & 2007. The cries then were that Iraq was lost and we should leave as soon as possible. They came from Harry Reid and Barack Obama in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha in the House among others. They were echoed and amplified by the media and led to a very pitched argument about whether to reinforce our new counterinsurgency strategy or to cut & run. Thankfully the arguments of Gen. Petraeus and the fortitude of President Bush prevailed and instead of defeat at the hands of al Qaeda and Iranian proxies, we won.
The Dreadful Treatment of Military Interpreters -- [Registan]
Earlier this year, I was going out on a patrol through central Afghanistan with some colleagues. We were hitching a ride with the local PRT. As is normal, the night before the patrol, we all gathered near the PRT operations center for a briefing on what to encounter. The colonel running the PRT saw us
That Day -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
If the definition of a "good day" in Afghanistan is a day that you don't get shot at, then Thursday was, well, let's just say it wasn't a good day.
I'll let that line sink in a little. It's OK. Go back and reread it.
Yep, that's what I'm sayin'. Today, for the first time since I've been here (almost six months now) I got shot at. And not in a minor way either.
Morning Tea -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
So, I'm sitting in the shade trying to absorb the distinction between a "system of states" and "the international system" when I hear the Whump! of a large bomb going off. My first thought was a hand grenade in the street outside, but the sound was much larger and more distant than that. In true Afghan fashion, the scattering of people having breakfast around me look up, smile nervously at each other and then go back to eating. Takes a lot to get people to react in this town.
This is why one doesn't make appointments in the morning in Kabul. Give the bad guys a few hours to get it out of their system before you venture into the high-threat areas.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force has been allowed to change its tactics -- [Strategy Page]
As part of a move to reduce civilian casualties, air force fighters must now, whenever possible, buzz the target (at high speed) before dropping a smart bomb. It's long been known that the A-10 ground attack aircraft, which often comes in low (except when the new version is dropping smart bombs). This scares the Afghans a great deal. It's believed that these pre-bombing buzzing of the target, will often cause the enemy to flee
Reporter's Notebook: In Afghanistan, Itching for a Fight that Never Comes -- [World Politics Review]
...The men of 4/25 are almost all "13 Bravos," the U.S. Army's designation for heavy artillery -- but there won't be any artillery fire tonight. In fact, their "tubes" are all packed away in storage, and have been since the 10th Mountain's arrival in Afghanistan eight months ago at the head of the "Afghanistan surge." What these artillery soldiers are doing here, on a dismounted infantry patrol through one of Afghanistan's most IED-laden provinces, illustrates the flexibility and patience that this new breed of warfare demands.
Afghan troops capture Helmand's Naw Zad district -- [Dawn]
Afghan forces backed by Nato-led troops have wrested a district in the troubled south of the country from Taliban control days ahead of landmark elections, authorities said Sunday. The Afghan national flag was hoisted over the centre of Naw Zad district in Helmand province, which had long been controlled by Taliban-linked militia, a defence ministry spokesman said.
The Pirates of Pogadishu -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
Due to the recent trip to the provinces, we had to pass through the space/time portal known as Bagram, which has been dubbed by some of those who operate outside the wire but have frequent brushes with it, "Pogadishu." As many others have noted, it is a world separated from the war by a million miles of cultural and tactical vacuum. A rocket attack on the base in the recent past brought home to the denizens of this burgeoning city of tens of thousands that there is a war on... but on a daily basis you couldn't tell it from Disney Drive.
Fire fights punctuate bouts of boredom at Kunar outpost -- [A World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
..."The elders nearby always say the same thing," SSgt. Demler said, "we're glad you're here, we feel safer, but we can't tell you where they (Taliban) are, we're afraid."
The outpost has disrupted some of their distribution networks. One indication is the price of a black market AK-47 has jumped drastically. Security has improved, but at the same time they've attracted attention,...
In Helmand, Caught Between U.S., Taliban -- [Washington Post]
...Weeks after Meador and his company fought to occupy an old school whose walls displayed Taliban slogans, he estimates that slightly more than half of the residents have returned. The bazaar, which lies just outside the gate of the Marine outpost and is under watch 24 hours a day, remains vacant. Indeed, shopkeepers emptied their shelves of food and other goods after the Taliban threatened execution for anyone who went to the marketplace, according to several Afghan residents.
"The Taliban told us not to go to the market or we will be killed," a white-bearded elder in a nearby village told a passing patrol led by Marine Sgt. Christopher MacDonald, 22, of Woodbridge. Hooded Taliban "spies" come into the village at night to issue such warnings, he said.
Taliban Threats May Sway Vote in Afghanistan -- [New York Times]
A group of Taliban fighters made their announcement in the bazaar of a nearby village a few days ago, and the word spread fast: anyone caught voting in the presidential election will have his finger - the one inked for the ballot - cut off.
The view from the back -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
The elections are close at hand in Afghanistan so everyone is a little tense and dreading a potential increase in violence. Ramadan will start after that. For these reasons I have been out recently a few times to meet, mentor and interact with ANP medical personnel. Luckily I have been able to get out and do what I was sent to do.
Trip to Kabul -- [306 days - in Afghanistan]
Well as many of you heard on the news the Taliban had 2 suicide bombers blow themselves up killing 10 civilians and 3 police officers in the nearby town of Herat which was really tragic and sad. Some of the people I work with know those killed and its always a somber day to hear of innocent lives being lost. The Taliban are desperate for ways of interrupting the upcoming elections which the police and army are hoping to secure.
The Kopp-Etchells Effect -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
Members of the U.S. 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment closed space with the enemy, apparently killing at least ten. Corporal Benjamin Kopp was shot and evacuated to Germany, then back to the United States, where he died just over a week later on 18 July. Benjamin was 21 years old and at the very tip of the spear. If not for such men, we would be at the mercy of every demon.
Benjamin Kopp and his comrades were delivering the latest bad news to the sort of people who harbored the terrorists who attack innocent people around the world every day, and who attacked us at home on 9/11. Ranger Kopp was a veteran with three combat tours. He knew the risks, yet continued to fight.
...Yet the effect of Corporal Kopp did not end on the battlefields of Afghanistan; he only regrouped and continued to serve. Corporal Kopp had volunteered as an organ donor and his heart was transplanted. Two days after most people would have died, Benjamin Kopp's heart was transplanted into Judy Meikle. According to the Washington Post, Meikle said, "How can you have a better heart?" said a grateful Judy Meikle, 57, of Winnetka, Ill., who is still recovering from the surgery. "I have the heart of a 21-year-old Army Ranger war hero beating in me."
Benjamin Kopp's case is reminiscent of so many others whose names are and faces will forever remain unfamiliar to most of us. The Angels Among Us are nearly always invisible to our eyes until it's too late to say "thank you," and "farewell."
US Plans a Mission Against Taliban's Propaganda -- [New York Times]
The Obama administration is establishing a new unit within the State Department for countering militant propaganda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, engaging more fully than ever in a war of words and ideas that it acknowledges the United States has been losing. Proposals are being considered to give the team up to $150 million a year to spend on local FM radio stations, to counter illegal militant broadcasting, and on expanded cellphone service across Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Inside the Taliban: 'The More Troops They Send, the More Targets We Have' -- [The Guardian]
The provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika in south-eastern Afghanistan are dominated by one name: Jalaluddin Haqqani. A famous commander, tribal chief and cleric, Haqqani came to prominence during the war against the Soviets. In more than 20 years of fighting, he built an extensive network of influence that covered eastern Afghanistan and the tribal area of Waziristan in Pakistan, and reached as far abroad as the Gulf states, which he visited often.
Clerics' Call for Removal Challenges Iran Leader -- [New York Times]
A group of Iranian clerics has issued an anonymous letter calling Iran's supreme leader a dictator and demanding his removal, the latest and perhaps strongest rhetorical attack on him yet in the country's post-election turmoil. While the impact of the clerics' letter, posted late Saturday on opposition Web sites, may have been diluted by the withholding of their signatures, two Iranian experts vouched for its authenticity. Its publication followed other unusual verbal attacks on the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in recent days. Last week a group of former lawmakers issued their own letter calling his qualifications into question.
Anti-American Amigos -- [Wall Street Journal]
Hugo Chávez took a break last week from lobbying Washington on behalf of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to travel to Quito, Ecuador, for a meeting of South American heads of state. There he launched a virulent assault on the US military, reiterated his commitment to spreading revolution in the region, and threatened the continent with war. Mr. Zelaya was by his side. The Venezuelan's tirade against the US and its ally Colombia raised the question yet again of what the US could possibly be thinking in pushing Honduras to reinstate Mr. Zelaya.
Mubarak: We Won't Be Part Of U.S. 'Defensive Umbrella' -- [MEMRI]
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has said that during his upcoming visit to Washington, he will present the Americans with Egypt's vision of attaining peace in the Middle East, and will participate in laying the foundations of the American peace plan.
In an interview, he said that his country would never participate in the U.S.'s "defensive umbrella" in the region, because doing so would require the stationing of foreign experts on its territory, as well as recognition of an Iran and an Israel with nuclear weapons
Swimmers Are Told to Wear Burkinis at Public British Pools -- [Telegragh]
Under the rules, swimmers - including non-Muslims - are barred from entering the pool in normal swimming attire.
Instead they are told that they must comply with the "modest" code of dress required by Islamic custom, with women covered from the neck to the ankles and men, who swim separately, covered from the navel to the knees.
Bin Laden's driver talks -- [The Star]
Salim Ahmed Hamdan opens up to the Star about putting his past lives -- as an Al Qaeda insider and Guantanamo's most famous detainee -- behind him and starting over as a taxi driver raising two young..
Barbecuein' and cigar smoking at WRAMC -- [This Ain't Helll...]
Concretebob and Gunn Nutt put together a great barbeque for the troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center yesterday. I was lucky enough to get an invitation - but I was so lazy, that my designated driver took the pictures for me.
Portraits of Love -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
Volunteering to Help Send a Piece of Home to Soldiers Abroad
The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) along with Soldiers' Angels, a grassroots volunteer organization, revealed the Portraits of Love Project, a volunteer effort aimed at sending family portraits to soldiers around the globe this holiday season.
DoD vs EMAC? -- [Miserable Donuts]
This little article from The Hill got me to thinking. Are the Governors right to be skeptical?
I am quite sure these folks would say "@#$% yes!"
I have to be very careful when I look at my past experience with Domestic emergencies - it was lousy and embittering. Well, I should say Katrina was, the Mississippi Floods of 1993 were not.
The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is an agreement between States (and DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Guam) to provide assistance to each other - National Guard, police, and the like.
Army Screening NCOs to Rid Service of Marginal Leaders -- [Stars and Stripes]
The Army is reviewing personnel records of nearly 19,000 noncommissioned officers as it seeks to purge the senior enlisted ranks of underperforming, or even criminal, leaders. The records are being checked for courts-martial, negative evaluations, failed leadership courses, removals for cause, reprimands and other disciplinary actions incurred since these sergeants made their current ranks. Among the reasons for records of reprimands and disciplinary actions are driving under the influence, sexual harassment charges, drug abuse and alcohol problems. If such sergeants do not voluntarily retire, they will, for the most part, be discharged within six months. "We're trying to target those NCOs who don't understand by looking in the mirror that they are not what the Army needs,"
Till Death Do Us Part -- [Washington Post]
"Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die," William Manchester wrote of his time as a Marine in World War II, "is not a man at all. He is truly damned." ...Their spirit lives whenever wounded soldiers ask to return to their units rather than rotate home or sentries rest their chins on the point of a bayonet to stay awake so others sleep safely.
More Army Training - YIPPEEE! -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
PTSD is a fact of life for all humans. It's even more of an issue with Soldiers. And it's even more of an issue when those Soldiers go to combat. However, PTSD is not a given. Even the most liberal estimates put the number of PTSD cases at a little above a third of troops that are affected.
In the Army, the time we spend in classes has increased exponentially in recent years. We sit through classes on lawnmower safety, suicide prevention, motorcycle safety, equal opportunity, BBQ safety, trafficking in humans, reintegration training, travel card training, OPSEC training, anti-terrorism training, sexual assault training, risk assessment training, hot/cold weather training, etc. Seriously, I could literally keep going for a few paragraphs.
Now, the Army is adding even more training to help us cope with our emotions.
Don't tell me I need to buy ANOTHER uniform... -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
...all the services now have their own distinct utility uniforms. The Army has its ACUs,
the Marines have desert and forest uniforms, the Air Force has a pixelated uniform which looks surprisingly Army-like, and the Navy even ditched its classic khaki uniform for a Navy blue pixelated monstrosity which helps Sailors blend into...a ship...or something.
...the one gripe that a lot of Soldiers have had with the new uniform is the pattern--what is this uniform designed to blend into? In desert environments, the uniform is okay, but it
certainly doesn't blend in to foliage well at all
GI Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier -- [New York Times]
Gervasio Sanchez/AP Sgt. Theresa Lynn Flannery during an attack in April 2004 near Najaf, Iraq, as other soldiers used a wall for cover.
I must simply state -- [Bad Dogs and Such - home from Iraq]
That the most awesome plane ride in the world is the one that takes you OUT of Iraq. We're not back on American soil yet, but I've now checked off the second tour where I got out of that country with all MY fingers and toes, and all my Joes are healthy and riding the plane home with me. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is a win.
Day 423: The End -- [452 Days - home from Afghanistan]
The journey is finally over. After 48 straight hours of planes or waiting for planes, I finally touched down in Reno Wednesday and was reunited with Sue and the kids. It is such a great feeling to finally have this deployment over with. In some ways it feels hard to believe that it is over, while in other ways it feels like forever has passed since I left.
As I have neared the end of this deployment and have prepared to come home, people often have asked me if I had a good experience and if I would want to do it again. The answers to these questions are "good" and "no"...but let me elaborate a little bit.
Fort Campbell welcomes home Vietnam vets -- [AP]
"Never in the history of the military have I known of any division or any military installation providing a specific welcome home for Vietnam veterans,"
Last Guard Soldiers to Return From Iraq Today -- [Kitsap Sun]
The last planeload of soldiers from the National Guard's 81st Brigade Combat Team are scheduled to arrive home today.
The 81st, which includes citizen soldiers from units based in Kitsap County, entered active duty on Aug. 18, 2008. After serving missions in Iraq focused on convoy security, force protection and reconstruction and base operations, members of the combat team began returning home in July.
Tears, cheers as soldiers return home in Aurora -- [Daily Herald]
Illinois National Guard soldier Benjamin Soloff of Sandwich, meets two-week-old Ryley as his wife Brittany, right, looks on after returning from Afghanistan to a homecoming at East Aurora High School on Friday.
Wave of Soldiers Return Home -- [KKTV 11 News]
"My dad is coming home," said Anastazia Cortez who made many welcome home signs for her dad who was returning from Iraq. Once everyone was in each other's
Donny Deutsch: Pro-American Movies a "Turn-Off" -- [NewsReal Blog]
Donny blasted out of the gate with non-sequiturs, mangled metaphors, factual misstatements and bloviating worthy of Keith Olbermann, reacting to Miller's observation on National Review Online that G.I. Joe is no longer an American, and that "Joe and his friends look like heroes without a country."
10 Blogs That Could Be Movies -- [Film School Rejects]
Blog: Michael Yon Online
Genre: War Drama
The Pitch: In perhaps the only serious pitch of this entire article, Michael Yon braves the heat and instability of Afghanistan in order to uncover the reality behind the war being waged there. Shot documentary style, the camera follows his exploits as he traverses the landscape, taking pictures and noting the epic visual poetry of a part of the world that most have forgotten even in the cultural shock of war. We see the soldiers, the civilians, and the harsh reality of the Taliban's opium-funded reign in the gritty realism that can't be found on the 10 o'clock news.
Blue Dogs and VSOs saved vet health care in House -- [This Ain't Helll...]
For those of you skeptics (namely Brandon Friedman, formerly of VoteVets) who said that Democrats wouldn't harm veteran health care, take a look at this morning's Wall Street Journal;...
Obama shifts focus to Iraq, Afghanistan wars -- [CNN]
Obama will address the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix, Arizona, where he'll talk about where the United States stands in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the impact the men and women of the Armed Forces have had in those countries and the United States' responsibilities to maintain the world's finest military, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Nearly 13,000 VFW and ladies auxiliary delegates are expected to be at the convention, where veterans have high expectations for the president.
Four American vets -- two who voted for Obama and two for Arizona Sen. John McCain -- share a feeling that many Americans do not appreciate the sacrifice of U.S. troops dying in two wars.
Obama: U.S. can't afford military pet projects -- [Houston Chronicle]
President Barack Obama on Monday lashed special interests and their "exotic projects" that he said drain the defense budget of money needed for U.S. military forces battling everything from nuclear weapons to "18th century style piracy and 21st century cyber threats."
Going after lawmakers as well, he said, "If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with that kind of waste, I will veto it."
President Obama @ the VFW National Convention -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
I did it for President Bush, I'll do it for President Obama - publish their major speeches on issues of interest to our readership without editorializing in the post - though you are welcome to editorialize in the comments, pro or con. Be warned though, the President was long-winded this morning.
The netroots agenda: War? What war? -- [Washington Examiner]
What's truly striking in Greenberg's poll is the degree to which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have fallen off the progressive radar. I attended the first YearlyKos convention, in 2006, and have kept up with later ones, and it's safe to say that while people who attended those gatherings couldn't stand George W. Bush in general, their feelings were particularly intense when it came to opposing the war in Iraq. It animated their activism; they hated the war, and they hated Bush for starting it. They weren't that fond of the fighting in Afghanistan, either.
Now, with Obama in the White House, all that has changed. Greenberg presented respondents with a list of policy priorities and asked, "Please indicate which two you think progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most." The winner was passing comprehensive health care reform, with 60 percent, and number two was passing "green energy policies that address environmental concerns," with 22 percent. Tied for eighth place, named by just eight percent of respondents, was "working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan."
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