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.
VBIED: Learning security the hard way -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
As many of you have seen in the news, there have been a string of Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs). The kinds of events tend to keep me and my team members busy with emails, phone calls, and meetings. Realistically, it doesn't take up all my time. However, because of security reasons, I can't always write in the moment.
The Big VBIED: The one that really made the news happened very close to where I work. On that particular day ...
We Have Met The Enemy, And It Looks Like Us -- [Strategy Page]
The government televised the confession of the man they say planned the twin truck bombings that killed over 100 people in the center of Baghdad. Police say they have arrested ten people involved in planning the attack. All of them have ties with the Baath Party ...
Sunnis and Shiites See an Omen for Reconciliation in Iraq -- [New York Times]
On Saturday, the holy month of Ramadan began on the same day in Iraq for both Sunnis and Shiites, the first time that has happened in 10 years. For a country riven by sectarian strife, and plagued by bombings aimed at provoking more such warfare, that was a welcome omen. That portent of a religious reconciliation does not include secular or Christian Iraqis, however, for whom this Ramadan does not augur so well. For the first time, the government has instituted a series of decrees closing nearly all restaurants for the next month during the daylight hours of the Ramadan fast.
Venice of the East -- [The Stone Report - in Iraq]
I had an opportunity to travel in to Basra proper this past week. I attended a meeting of a lot of Iraqi Security Force officials and American forces representatives. It's an important meeting because it's lead by Iraqis and it's for Iraqis. (Do I get points for incorporating a command message into my personal blog?) It did seem like real issues were talked about. I can't tell you for sure because the meeting is conducted in arabic and they had 15 of those translator ear thingy you see them using at the UN. I was somewhere around number 16 on the priority list.
An Iraqi fishing story -- [Short Timers - in Iraq]
The American captain from 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, was making his rounds, checking on developments in one Iraqi police lieutenant's corner of Muqdadiyah.
Capt. Tim Walton asked the police officer about how upcoming Ramadan fasting might affect his 50-member force. Walton wanted to know who made the call pulling police from many of the highway checkpoints. He and the Iraqi discussed the progress of local trials involving suspected terrorists.
Maintenance -- [Short Timers - in Iraq]
Last week, Sgt. Melvin Lamb of the 1-25th Stryker Brigade walked into his classroom with an unenviable task: He had to teach a group of Iraqi Army soldiers, many of whom had never picked up a wrench, how to maintain and repair their vehicles. It wasn't the responsibility that was onerous, it was the time frame.
Training in a Combat Zone -- [Short Timers - in Iraq]
War is often characterized by combat and fire power, what has often been referred out here as "kinetic" operations. But these days Alaska's soldiers serving in Iraq are finding themselves in less aggressive, supporting roles.
Soldiers provide goods, goodwill to Basra citizens -- [ThunderBolt - The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division - in Iraq]
...The mission was to assist the Iraqi Army in providing urgent humanitarian assistance to Iraqi citizens, thereby fostering a relationship and laying the groundwork for future success between the IA and its country's residents, said Lt. Col. Ross. C. Scott, 17th FB civil affairs officer. Scott said the IA delivered more than 400 packages, at an estimated cost of $90,000. Each package will feed a family of eight for 30 days.
A No-Wind Situation -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
For the last few days the wind died out almost completely here at Tallil Ali Air Base. The good news is I can ride the perimeter of the base faster than usual because I can ride a fairly steady speed slowing only for the across-the-road ditches, missing stretches of pavement and stop signs.
Livin' at Victory -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
...Life at Victory is very different than life in the IZ. There, we were in small compounds crammed into a city environment. We had lots of trees and paved streets and sidewalks. Didn't have to walk very far - the commute from my hooch to my desk was (by actual measurement) 1 minute 33 seconds. Being at Victory, though, is like being plopped down in the Arizona desert. It's flat, no trees, gravel roads and gravel walks. Dust everywhere. Everything is spread out, so we have 10-15 minute walks to get anywhere. The sun is brutal. I never had to wear my hat in the IZ, but it's always on my head here. And ...
After Operations Maintenance -- [Mungadai Days - in Iraq]
As you can see it's just a flurry of activity while we are conducting our inventory and some after ops maintenance getting all of our gear prepared for the next guys. So with the vehicles washed, weapons cleaned and all items accounted for and serviceable we are now preparing for
U.S. Military Says Its Force in Afghanistan Is Insufficient -- [NY Times]
American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama's chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders.
War Conditions 'Deteriorating,' Mullen Says -- [Washington Post]
Joint Chiefs Chairman Expresses Concern About Declining Support for War in U.S.
The situation in Afghanistan is "serious and deteriorating," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday, as the Obama administration awaits an assessment by the new U.S. commander there and a possible request for more troops.
Election Mission Day 3-Return to Camp -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Although it was a painfully boring mission, that was a good sign because we didn't get attacked and we were all returning back safe. Tragically in other parts of the country, we lost 4 coalition forces on Election Day, 2 of them were US. This makes 57 lives lost this month with the majority of them being my US brothers in arms. The elections were still held and around 50% of the eligible population voted despite the threats from the Taliban. Of the 7,000 polling sites, 93% of them were open for voting. Several million people defied the Taliban threats and cast their votes. In a few days, we will find out the results.
Karzai Opponent Alleges 'Widespread' Voter Fraud -- [Washington Post]
The main challenger to Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that he has received "alarming" reports of "widespread rigging" in Thursday's presidential election by pro-government groups and officials, but he called on supporters to be patient and said he hopes the problem will be resolved through the official election review.
Election fraud observed in Kunar, Afghanistan - VIDEO -- [World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
Dewagal Valley- Election day here was marred by sustained Taliban attacks and underage teens voting; while round-the-clock efforts on part of Afghan and U.S. forces prevented any casualties.
Turnout Key To Revealing Afghan Election Fraud -- [PJ Tobia - in Afghanistan]
Yesterday I met with a high-level official from the UN backed Election Complaints Commission(ECC.) The ECC 's job is to look into allegations of fraud during last Thursday's vote and after resolving all of the complaints, certify the election as valid. Or not.
During our conversation, which covered everything from details on how complaints are investigated to the time line for getting all this sorted, he emphasized the importance of turnout in determining fraud.
Afghan Vote Results May Be Delayed -- [Voice of America]
Complaints about fraud in Thursday's presidential and provincial council elections in Afghanistan may further delay the announcement of official results. Officials continue to issue statments saying claims that anyone is leading the presidential contest are premature, inaccurate and unauthorized. Election officials here are cautioning that previously announced dates to post official returns in mid-September may be pushed back. The hitch lies with an anticipated large number of complaints, including ballot stuffing and voter intimidation. Many of these - and there are more than 225 and the number is growing - will have to be investigated on location in a country with rugged and hostile terrain. The Electoral Complaints Commission says 35 claims have been deemed "a high priority" since they could affect the outcome of election results.
One of the stories of the Afghan Election -- [Registan]
Security was much better than expected, though there are widespread indications of fraud.
Thomas Ruttig has a dispatch from Gardez:
Apparently, the Taliban were satisfied with their pre-election intimidation campaign, which clearly worked. But it also became obvious that they found it difficult to penetrate the security rings established around the major population centers. The rockets they [...]
Election -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
The election day certainly was interesting; quite a bit more violence around our area than normal, including our base getting attacked with rockets off and on all day, which is something we hadn't seen to that extent before. We spent most of the day driving around checking on polling stations.
Under Burqas, Afghan Women Voted in Protest -- [Christian Science Monitor]
Whether American troops can leave Afghanistan sooner rather than later depends on democracy's gains in that war-ravaged country - and the gains of women, too. Thursday's elections for president and local councils were such a gain - seen especially in the turnout of women to vote in defiance of Taliban threats of retaliation. In some places, women were 60 percent of voters - predictable in part because women far outnumber men in voter registration in many regions - although their presence at voting booths in the Taliban-infested south was low. Why such a large female turnout in some areas despite a low turnout overall?
Connecting -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
In travels to Logar and Wardak provinces this week, I was struck by one fact: even after a second national election, Afghans see coalition forces, not the central government, as the source of security and other essential services. This has to change if counterinsurgency efforts here are going to be successful.
Marines Fight Taliban With Little Aid From Afghans -- [New York Times]
American Marines secured this desolate village in southern Afghanistan nearly two months ago, and last week they were fortifying bases, on duty at checkpoints and patrolling in full body armor in 120-degree heat. Despite those efforts, only a few hundred Afghans were persuaded to come out here and vote for president on Thursday. In a region the Taliban have lorded over for six years, and where they remain a menacing presence, American officers say their troops alone are not enough to reassure Afghans. Something is missing that has left even the recently appointed district governor feeling dismayed. "I don't get any support from the government," said the governor, Massoud Ahmad Rassouli Balouch.
Soldiers fight off Taliban ambush -- [Helmand Blog - in Afghanistan]
British troops have revealed how they fought off a Taliban ambush near an Afghan polling station. They sped to the rescue of Afghan police who came under attack while providing election security south of Gereskh in Helmand Province on Thursday.
Bad Medicine -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
...We had the A-10s for only a few minutes when a radio call from a different net came to Axle to release the A-10s for a TIC (troops in contact) somewhere in South Helmand. Axle radioed the pilots to switch freqs, and I recall a pilot apologizing and saying he looked forward to getting back up here. Axle put down the radio and looked straight at me, saying, "That's such a bummer," as if his fishing buddy had to go home early, then Axle finished with, "However, the guys that get them will be well happy," and started shutting down his gear as the sounds of the A-10s faded into the darkness. While Axle worked, I asked about times when he "smashed" the Taliban. British soldiers like to use the word "smashed" when talking about the Taliban. When Axle would finish talking about one fight, I would ask about another. Finally, Axle said, "You Yanks are great. You like to hear stories about us smashin' the Taliban but people at home want to know how much we miss our families." We both chuckled, and I asked, "Really? They don't ask you about smashing the Taliban?" "That's right," then Axle said something like, "They only want to hear how sad we are."
Taking Census, Afghanistan Style -- [Bouhammer]
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. William Medina, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman, provides security during a census patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 18, 2009. Delta Company, 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion and civil affairs group Marines, deployed with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, are talking with the local populace in order to understand their conditions and concerns and identify possible reconstruction and development projects.
Danger Room in Afghanistan: Echo Company in the Eye of the Storm -- [Danger Room - in Afghanistan]
For three days, the Marines of Echo Company wondered when the next one would come. Since they got here at the beginning of July, Echo has been in a near-constant serie s of battles with the local Taliban, making this one of the most violent flashpoints in America's renewed war in Afghanistan. On Thursday,
election day, militants woke Echo up by firing rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifle rounds into the school compound these Marines now use as an outpost. It was the 39th day out of 50 that the Taliban and Echo had exchanged lead.
And then, silence. ...
Camp Bastion Airfield in Helmand is now the fifth-busiest UK-operated airport. -- [Helmand Blog - in Afghanistan]
Today, combat operation, medical evacuations and logistics sustainment flights all operate from what has become a vital military hub, and the air traffic controllers based at Camp Bastion are integral to the support of the Army's operations in southern Afghanistan.
Obama's Plan to Desecrate 9/11 -- [The American Spectator]
The Obama White House is behind a cynical, coldly calculated political effort to erase the meaning of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks from the American psyche and convert Sept. 11 into a day of leftist celebration and statist idolatry.
Iranians Seek Out Abuses By U.S.
Iranian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Sunday for a bill creating a $20 million fund intended in part to expose human rights violations by the United States, the ILNA news agency reported.
Passage of the bill suggests the depth of mistrust that remains between the nations as Iran faces a September deadline to respond to President Obama's offer for talks
Saudis Set Stage for Mid-East Nuke Race -- [The Australian]
The scene has been set for a race between several Middle Eastern countries to develop a nuclear program after Saudi Arabia yesterday revealed its intention to push ahead with a nuclear industry. Saudi Arabian Minister for Water and Electricity Abdullah al-Hosain revealed that the country was developing its first nuclear power plant. The comment was made to local newspaper Al-Watan. Because newspapers in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia are under state control, the comment was seen as an official acknowledgement of what has been speculated about in the region for some time - that Saudi Arabia was moving into the nuclear power industry.
Red Cross given access to secret US detainees: report -- [Washington Post]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The US military has begun to share with the International Committee of the Red Cross the identities of militants held in secret camps
New Unit to Question Key Terror Suspects -- [Washington Post]
President Obama has approved the creation of an elite team of interrogators to question key terrorism suspects, part of a broader effort to revamp U.S. policy on detention and interrogation, senior administration officials said Sunday.
CIA Accountability -- [Washington Post]
The CIA inspector general's report on "enhanced interrogation techniques," scheduled to be released today, is said to provide disturbing details about interrogations CIA officers conducted from 2002 to 2004. It will be painful reading. Although the Obama administration has banned the techniques, Attorney General Eric Holder is reportedly considering prosecuting some of the officers who conducted the interrogations
Investigate Everyone Who Knew? -- [Washington Times]
We have the media, the Obama administration and members of Congress all using the word "torture" but skipping over the real issue: whether what actually was approved, what actually was reported to Congress or what actually happened was really torture as the word is defined by applicable law.
Support the troops AND help cure breast cancer at the same time -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
A short time ago, I received an e-mail from a female captain currently stationed at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Iraq. She writes...
Mail heads up -- [Mail heads up - in Iraq]
They will be in Al Asad for quite a bit of time after mail cut off...at least a month so if you are interested in getting some stuff out to him let me know via email@example.com and I'll send you his addy.
I'm only pulling this since he can't get online to see the blog, but I know the mail would bring a smile, things have been fairly stressful lately. I also know he shares everything, so it goes quick. He sure looks after his guys. I'm pretty sure he'd rather be only patrol taking fire than slaying paper dragons, but everyone has to take their turn in the Corps including America's 1st Sgt.
Negligence Suits Likely Over VA Procedures -- [Washington Post]
Army veteran Juan Rivera reported to the veterans hospital in Miami for a routine colonoscopy in May 2008. Almost a year later, the 55-year-old father of two learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs had not properly sterilized the equipment used for the procedure. A test then revealed that he had been infected with HIV. "The VA has issued me a death sentence," Rivera said, according to his attorney.
VA workers given millions in bonuses as vets await checks -- [CNN]
While hundreds of thousands of disability claims lay backlogged at the Department of Veterans Affairs, thousands of technology employees at the department received $24 million in bonuses, a new report says.
Petraeus to Open Intel Training Center -- [Washington Times]
Gen. David H. Petraeus plans to open an in-house intelligence organization at US Central Command this week that will train military officers, covert agents and analysts who agree to focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan for up to a decade. The organization, to be called the Center for Afghanistan Pakistan Excellence, will be led by Derek Harvey, a retired colonel in the Defense Intelligence Agency who became one of the Gen. Petraeus' most trusted analysts during the 2007-08 counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq.
Makers of Military Drones Take Off -- [WSJ]
Unmanned U.S. aircraft have not only transformed the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now are altering the defense-industry landscape, as well
Let Us Try Again To Turn The 747 Into A Bomber -- [Strategy Page]
For the third time in the last decade, the U.S. Air Force is looking at using commercial aircraft as bombers. This time around, it's mainly a matter of cost, with the next generation heavy bomber likely to cost over a billion dollars each, and only carry 30 tons of bombs or missiles. The idea of militarizing 747s first started gaining traction three decades ago, as cruise missiles showed up and many air force analysts did the math and realized that it would be a lot cheaper to launch these missiles from a militarized Boeing 747.
Fort Worth to welcome back true hometown hero tonight -- [North Texas e-News]
He's just one of the countless heroes who arrive at DFW Airport each year on their way home from the front line battles in the Middle East.
Bouhammer at Blog World Expo -- [Bouhammer]
I am so glad to announce that again this year I will be a panelist at the main blogging conference in the country. It is called Blog World Expo. Last year the annual milblog conference was held in conjunction with the expo, and I was afforded the opportunity to be a panelist then. Just to give you an idea on the numbers that attend this conference, in 2008 there were over 280 speakers, over 15,000 in attendance and over 92 million people that watched on the internet.
Newspaper execs held media strategy seminar for extremist Ohio mosque in Rifqa Bary case -- [The Jawa Report]
The purpose of the workshop is to train and motivate all community members to effectively communicate with the print/broadcast media as well as community at large to voice the concerns of Muslim Community.
Leadership 101 -- [Washington Post]
It's crunch time for the Obama administration on two of its toughest foreign policy challenges - the Arab-Israeli peace process and the war in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, these tests are coming at a moment when Obama is weakened by the health-care debate and has less political capital to spend. Obama and his aides understood long ago that they would have only a limited window of opportunity.
Retired Marine at Rep Baird's Town Hall: "If Nancy Pelosi Wants to Find a Swastika Maybe She Should Look On the Sleeve of Her Own Arm." -- [Gateway Pundit]
"I will remind you. A little history lesson. The Nazis were the National Socialist Party. They were leftists. They took over the finances. They took over the car industry. They took over health care in their country. If Nancy Pelosi wants to find a Swastika maybe the first place she should look is the sleeve of her own arm."
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