Prev | List | Random | Next
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.
At least 22 Taliban killed in Afghanistan: ministry -- [AFP]
More than 20 Taliban were killed in a massive operation in western Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Wednesday, as the United States considers sending more troops to battle a worsening insurgency.
Taliban activity has been intensifying in recent months as foreign troops and their Afghan counterparts concentrated efforts on insurgent hotspots such as southern Kandahar and Helmand provinces.
Suspected US Missile Strikes Kill 12 Militants in Pakistan -- [VOA News]
Two suspected U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan killed at least 12 militants Tuesday.
30 Afghan Civilians Killed as Packed Bus Hits Bomb Outside Kandahar -- [The Times]
At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed and 39 wounded yesterday when their packed bus hit a roadside bomb outside the southern city of Kandahar. The dead included ten women and seven children. Afghan authorities blamed the Taleban, and the bombing underscored the grave dangers faced by a civilian population as the eight-year-old conflict between the insurgents and the US-led NATO forces turns increasingly violent.
Top US Official at UN Afghan Mission Will Not Return to Post -- [VOA]
U.N. officials say the top American serving in the U.N. mission to Afghanistan will not return to his post, following a dispute over how to handle fraud allegations in the country's disputed presidential election. ... Afghan election officials are recounting a sample of the votes from the disputed
UN fires top US official at UN in Afghanistan -- [AP]
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fired the top American official at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday after a widely publicized dispute with his boss over how to deal with widespread fraud charges in the country's presidential election
Not Many ... but Much: ANGLICO Marines Help U.K. Hold Northern Post -- [DVIDS]
The evening began with a small group of U.S. Marines and U.K. soldiers gathered around a campfire of dimly-lit candles and a teapot boiling over a small fire.
They talked among themselves for a few hours about girlfriends and wives back home...Random explosions from IEDs and small arms fire attacks have become a part of life for those manning CP North.
"We wait to get shot at," said U.K. Lance Sgt. Lee Davis, a vehicle commander with Number IX Company of the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards. "We get shot at, then we wait some more until the next time."
Defense Dep't: Help for troops threatened by IEDs -- [AP]
The Defense Department says the U.S. military has started shipping new equipment to Afghanistan to help troops cope with the increasing threat of improvised explosive devices there....
US under Obama could slide into military dictatorship, says Gore Vidal -- [Times]
In an exclusive interview with The Times, Vidal, 83, reveals that he regrets switching his allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Mr Obama during last year's campaign to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.
"I was hopeful," he said of Mr Obama. "He was the most intelligent person we've had in that position for a long time. But he's inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He's acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism."
America should leave Afghanistan, Vidal said. "We've failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it."
Obama to meet high-powered aides for Afghan review -- [AFP]
US President Barack Obama gathers an array of high-powered advisors Wednesday to begin a sweeping Afghan strategy review that will culminate in a fateful decision on whether to escalate the war.
Obama has called his most formidable military, political and national security aides to the secure Situation Room of the White House, to brainstorm the way forward as he mulls sending thousands more US troops into battle.
Obama to NATO: Afghanistan is not just 'an American battle' -- [The Oval]
After meeting with the leader of NATO, President Obama said today it is "absolutely critical" to destroy al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan and that the job does not belong to the United States alone -- while volunteering nothing about when he might decide whether more U.S. troops are needed.
"This is not an American battle," Obama said. "This is a NATO mission as well."
It's up to Obama to decide on Afghanistan -- [Reuters]
If President Barack Obama decides to send 30,000 to 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, he will be doing it against the advice of some advisers and leading Democrats in Congress.
Obama's national security team launches a series of closed-door meetings on Tuesday to reassess U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Obama first wants to determine the proper way forward for U.S. forces in Afghanistan before considering whether more troops should be sent. Any decision is weeks away. "This isn't going to be finished in one meeting.It's not going to be finished in several meetings," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
What Obama won't say about the Afghan war today, at least publicly -- [LA Times]
"Here's the entire Obama transcript. But notice anything missing here? No more mention of the original 9/11 bad guys, the Taliban. No mention either of defeating them. And no more mention of making it safe for democracy to flourish in Afghanistan.
Bite of a Big Green Dill Pickle -- [The SandGram]
Last month I wrote about the challenges facing Afghanistan. It's not even the problems we face as a military over there, but what it will take to change that place. I hate to say it, but the Russians are probably sitting down each day, laughing at the U.S. because they are wearing the tee-shirt "Been there and done that" as they too tried to tame the wild wild west.
What Happened to Us? -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
"Blunt," "dire" and "gloomy" were words commonly used to describe General McChrystal's leaked assessment, which together with the resource recommendation submitted to defense officials Friday was interpreted largely as an effort to limit President Obama's strategic options to conducting an expanded counterinsurgency campaign.
Pedro Inspired the Vikings -- [Michael Yon]
"These things we do that others may live" is the current motto of the US Air Force combat search and rescue team, or Pedro as they are called when deployed to Afghanistan. They fly into the battlefield with their smooth Pave Hawk helicopters and evacuate the wounded infantry soldiers and Marines. On a recent evacuation of two Danish soldiers in the middle of a battle with the Taliban, the Viking ancestors made a memorable difference to the 129th American Air Force Pedros crew.
It was a hot day in June even though it was still early in the morning. The traditionally dry heat of the southern Afghan desert, combined with the humidity of the green vegetation known as the Green Zone around the Helmand River, made the Danish infantry soldiers from the Danish Royal Husars drip with sweat as they patrolled in the green fields with heavy equipment and body amour. The squad, also known as Charlie Coy, soon got engaged in a heavy battle with Taliban fighters.
Eid Mobarak 2009 -- [3rd Time, New Country - in Afghanistan]
As far as mentoring goes, it has been an easy week since I last posted to this blog. Ramadan ended on Sunday, with three days of Eid that started on Sunday. I have included some pictures from the Eid celebration at NMH on Sunday. My team of mentors met up with leadership of NMH, MPRI mentors, and a select few of the ANA leadership. After meeting up at NMH
Orphanage visit -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...Despite going to the orphanage, our security was paramount. We would have gunners in the armored HMMVWs along with security on the roof. The rest of the participants would stay armed and interact with the children.
Library ribbon cutting ceremony -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
It was another 0430 hrs wake up and we trudged our gear up to the parking lot and prepared our armored vehicles for today's mission. ...We met up with the rest of our team and walked over to ANA land. We had one small problem though. Several weeks ago my team submitted paperwork to have food furnished with the ceremony. My team was informed to pick up the food that morning. Apparently the contractor's supervisor did not sign off and approve the food distribution. So he denied the request. This sent my team scrambling for an alternative plan. We decided to use some project funds and the ANA went off the post to purchase some fresh fruit and drinks. This would have been embarrassing for our ANA colonel since the ANA General and guests would be attending.
A much-needed update -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
I've arranged for Good Morning America to come out and cover the battalion. I can't give exact dates, but I will be posting the dates that they will be shooting live the day or morning of the shoots. Keep an eye out for it, you'll probably see some Soldiers you know on the show!
Afghan Mi-35 Pilots Once Again Patrol the Skies -- [ISAF]
The Afghan National Army Air Corps recently reached a milestone with the completion of the Initial Operations Capability Mi-35 attack helicopter program.
Kunar government, PRT bringing education, development to province -- [PRT-Kunar - in Afghanistan]
In the hot Afghanistan sun beneath a UNICEF tent, Mara Wara District children are watching their future being built. Provincial Reconstruction Team-Kunar engineers visited the Lahor Dag School construction site Sept. 28 to evaluate the progress and craftsmanship of the school that will house hundreds of area children.
The school is part of the provincial government's plan to increase the number of schools in the province to educate their children, while providing an additional benefit of generating jobs.
The rules murdering our troops -- [Ralph Peters]
These ROE are a cave-in to the Taliban's shameless propaganda campaign that claimed innocents were massacred every time our aircraft appeared overhead. (Afghan President Mohammed Karzai and our establishment media backed the terrorists.)
The Taliban's goal was to level the playing field -- to deny our troops their technological edge. Our enemies more than succeeded.
And what has our concern for the lives of Taliban sympathizers accomplished?
Reason #36 why Americans don't understand anything anymore: Ralph Peters -- [Flit]
People are starting to notice Ralph Peters is an embarassment to the entire profession of arms, not to mention anyone who fancies themselves a military intelligence officer. I've been saying so for, oh, years.
Afghanistan and Obama -- [Abu Muqawama]
By the way, did any of you read this trash? Spencer says most of what needs to be said but not all. I'm not going to start hitting below the belt, and coming as I do from the field of strategic studies, I believe those who have never seen combat nonetheless might have a lot of intelligent things to say about conflict. But all I'm saying is that if you're going to write sentences like "Gen. Stan McChrystal conformed to the Obama Way of War by imposing rules of engagement that could have been concocted by Code Pink," you better, in light of Gen. McChrystal's own curriculum vitae, have a glittering combat resume of your own. If you have never, in fact, been to war yourself, you might want to be a bit more measured in your criticism.
FORCES AVAILABLE FOR AN AFGHAN TROOP INCREASE -- [ISW]
This document describes the American forces available for deployment to Afghanistan as ground-owning brigades in the coming year. It begins by detailing American brigades currently in Afghanistan, followed by brigades with orders to deploy and then provides details on brigades available for deployment in late 2009/early 2010.
You Don't ALWAYS Have to Escalate -- [Registan]
...I still believe that the war in Afghanistan remains worth fighting. And I share ISW's belief that it can and should be fought better. But I also want to fight it with an eye toward its end state--something missing from the ISW reports. Similarly, there are cases where escalating force simply does not make sense--for example, when the premise of all your reports is that soldiers are being deployed with no strategic intent, shouldn't that indicate that adding more soldiers is not, in fact, the solution?
And thus ...
It is Time to Lead, Follow, or get the hell out of the War -- [Bouhammer]
Back in April the Administration announced a strategy for Afghanistan . Nobody really knew what that meant except it was going to focus on giving $5 million dollars a year to Pakistan for 5 years, and was supposed to surge in civilian experts. Of course the surge of military that happened in the spring was already planned for by the previous administration. Also, the surge of civilian experts never happened. A few months later we see the General that had been in charge get fired and forced to retire because he was not the right man for the job. We then see GEN McChrystal and Rodriguez get put into place as the "best guys for the job". As soon as he was put into place, McChrystal was ordered to do a comprehensive 60 day review to define what is needed to succeed in Afghanistan . That review was sent to CENTCOM and the Pentagon on August 30th. Today is Sept 30th and now we are hearing a meeting will happen today with the President, VP, SecState, CJCS ADM Mullen, CENTCOM CDR GEN Petreaus, and of course GEN McChrystal via secure video.
Off To Afghanistan ! -- [Military Observer - Andrew Lubin]
It's actually quite simple; if you want to write accurately about what's happening in Afghanistan, you need to go there, spend some time, ask a lot of questions, and get out in the field with our Marines and soldiers as they're working all three blocks of the 3-Block War. Will that make me an expert? No, but it'll enable me to understand more of the shifting dynamics of a war where friends, enemies, and even our NATO have different perceptions and vastly different goals as to what "we" all want to accomplish.
And through the magic of the internet, I'll be able to share it with you.
I'll be spending the next five week in Afghanistan.
General Says Iraq Troop Reductions May Quicken -- [NY Times]
The senior American commander in Iraq said Tuesday that he could reduce American forces to 50,000 troops even before the end of next summer if the expected January elections in Iraq went smoothly.
...Gen. Ray Odierno, said he had already ordered some service members and equipment diverted from the Iraq mission to Afghanistan, in particular surveillance aircraft and units known as "combat enablers,"
US to send home 4,000 more troops from Iraq -- [AP]
...A Defense Department official confirmed Odierno planned to announce at the House hearing that he is reducing the number of brigades in Iraq, as has been long expected.
In his eight-page statement, Odierno cited data showing that the monthly number of attacks in Iraq have dramatically dropped over the last two years -- from more than 4,000 in August 2007 to about 600 last month. He also said that far fewer al-Qaida and foreign fighters remain in Iraq, and most of those who are left are criminals and disenfranchised Iraqis who have been recruited by what Odierno described as a "small ideological core" of insurgents. Despite cautious optimism, Odierno's outlook of the nation he called an enduring U.S. interest was far from rosy.
He predicted several looming problems as U.S. troops prepare to end combat missions by September 2010 and leave Iraq at the end of 2011. They include:...
War is economics by other means, part III -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
In a previous post, we discussed the difficulties which faced the fledgling Iraqi economy--one of the vital, yet underlooked, components of a secure Iraq. In that particular article, I noted that foreign investment in Iraq is minimal, that a good portion of the work force is part of the Iraqi police and Army (and thus, don't create revenue), and that oil prices have dropped considerably, which affects the amount of money available to fund the security forces (and thus, keep the insurgency at bay, and to employ potential insurgents in legitimate jobs).
Iraqi Journalists Fear for Safety as US Exit Nears -- [Stars and Stripes]
Muhammad Khalil looks warily to the quickly approaching day when US Strykers rumble out of his dust-blown desert compound for the last time. He fears it may be a deadly change. Khalil is neither a member of the Iraqi Security Forces nor a high-profile politician, but he works in one of the most dangerous professions in Iraq: journalism. "Right now if you write an article against someone powerful, he could send someone to come kill you in the night," said Khalil, the manager of the Diyala Media Center, an affiliate of al-Iraqiya, a national television network set up after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The Diyala Media Center's plight is repeated all over Iraq, as US forces draw down.
Who Fights This War? -- Flight Medic -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - "I am never nervous on the flight out," said Staff Sgt. Cynthia Dalton, describing her experience as a flight medic in Iraq . "I go over every possible scenario in my mind. But when we touch down, I just go." Dalton , who is assigned as a flight medic to the 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Brigade, part of Task Force Keystone, said her first rescue mission in Iraq was the hardest. It was a vehicle rollover in bad weather. One Soldier was dead at the scene, two more were badly injured. She and the other medics at the scene treated the Soldiers as much as they could and then loaded them on their Black Hawk helicopters for transport to the nearest emergency medical facility. "Both Soldiers made it," she said. "But after a mission like that I am really hard on myself. I can see why people burn out. I go over everything I could possibly have done differently. We did our jobs, but it always seems like there is something I could have done different or better."
Iraq's once restive Diyala enjoys uneventful Muslim feast for first time since U.S. invasion -- [Azzaman]
The once restive and violent province of Diyala, of which Baaquba is the capital, has enjoyed an uneventful Muslim feast for the first time since ... more 27/09/2009
FEMA, Guard rush to American Samoa to help victims -- [Washington Times]
A team of U.S. first-responders is speeding to American Samoa aboard a Coast Guard plane to help with the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 100 people in the South Pacific region, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday.
...The FEMA team will join National Guardsmen who will assist in rescue-and-recover efforts -- including restoring power and cleaning up the heavily damaged southern part of island, which is coated in mud and filled with debris, including boats and overturned cars.
Tsunami advisory map for the California coast -- [Los Angeles Times]
The National Weather Service has issued a tsunami advisory for California coastal areas after a 7.9 earthquake in American Samoa.
IRAN: Secret nuclear plant broke transparency law, says IAEA chief -- [Los Angeles Times]
The head of the United Nations nuclear enforcement agency said Wednesday that Iran violated transparency laws when it failed to notify international ...
In Dispute With Iran, Path to Iraq Is in Spotlight -- [New York Times]
To many Americans, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's February 2003 speech to the United Nations on Iraq's unconventional weapons was powerfully persuasive. It was a dazzling performance, featuring satellite images and intercepts of Iraqi communications, delivered by one of the most trusted figures in public life. Then a long and costly war began, and the country discovered that the assertions that Iraq possessed illicit weapons had been completely unfounded. Now the United States' confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program is heating up, with the disclosure last week that the Iranian government is building a second uranium enrichment complex it had not previously acknowledged. The question is inevitable: Is the uproar over the secret plant near Qum another rush to judgment,...
Swiss ambassador meets detained Americans in Iran -- [Xinhua]
Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran, was allowed on Wednesday to meet three Americans who were detained for straying across
OPEC supply cushion offsets Iran oil worry -Kuwait -- [Reuters]
OPEC's spare capacity would lessen the impact on oil prices of any disruption to Iran's oil supply if the dispute over Tehran's
US Concerned About China's Military Modernization -- [Voice of America]
October 1, 2009 is the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, and the nation's armed forces will take part in a massive program celebrating the Communist Party's takeover in 1949. US officials have carefully watched China's efforts to modernize its military in recent years and are concerned it could pose a threat to America's military power in the Pacific. For more than a decade, China has been rapidly modernizing the People's Liberation Army. And US officials have expressed concern about how Beijing might use its expanding military power.
China Preparing "Substantial" Economic Aid to North Korea -- [GI Korea]
Well so much for any claims that China is going to punish North Korea with real sanctions:
China Stabs Obama (and America) in the Back on North Korea -- [One Free Korea]
I've been skeptical of reports, most of them directly from the ChiCom propaganda mill, that China was cooperating with U.N. sanctions against North Korea. So after a brief flurry of displays of cooperation, here is what the statistical record tells us:
Must Read: North Korea Contingency Planning and U.S.-ROK Cooperation -- [One Free Korea]
Although it seems to have genetic origins in plenty of other things I've read by Lankov, Noland, etc., combining and updating some already excellent works only makes the Asia Society's / U.S.-Korea Institute's final product even better. I'll quote the executive summary and let you read the rest on your own
U.S. pulls out troops from Philippine project site -- [Reuters]
The United States pulled out its servicemen from a project site on a remote island in the southern Philippines on Wednesday, a day after two navy engineers were killed in a landmine attack.
Pirate Attacks on the Rise off Somalia -- [Defense Talk]
Pirate activity has increased recently off the coast of Somalia with four attempted attacks occurring on motor vessels in the Gulf of Aden since Sept. 19.
Success Against al-Qaeda Cited -- [Washington Post]
U.S. and international intelligence officials say that improved recruitment of spies inside the al-Qaeda network, along with increased use of targeted airstrikes and enhanced assistance from cooperative governments, has significantly reduced the terrorist organization's effectiveness.
Al Qaeda takes multiple hits from US forces -- [Christian Science Monitor]
In September, Al Qaeda took losses in Somalia, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
In Somalia, US Special Forces in attack helicopters swooped over a deserted track of land, targeting and killing a leading militant associated with Al Qaeda. Days later, an American-trained anti-terrorism squad in Indonesia corned and killed Southeast Asia's most wanted terrorist. And in recent days, American soldiers have waded deep inside the jungles of the Philippines alongside their Philippines counterparts, providing logistical support in a military operation that neutralized several bases of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.
Taken together, the incidents show how the US has stepped up the global fight it has been waging for the last eight years and is pairing its intelligence and special operations teams alongside the militaries of foreign governments. But...
...and rumors of war -- [Greyhawk]
There's certainly much good news in this report regarding our ability to infiltrate, track, target, and "surgically strike" al Qaeda (or other terrorist groups, we presume). Obviously such efforts should be carried on. But regardless of the degree of faith we want to put in those efforts (even if it's enough to overlook annoying and certainly explainable details like "Barrett's remarks stood in contrast with an assessment he made in June...") nothing here stands as an argument against full commitment to other concurrent efforts. Confidence is a good thing (I've learned not to underestimate American soldiers, for example) but the odds of looking back with regret on a decision to put all our eggs in any one basket remain high.
But what an amazing cultural shift is described here: ...
Al Qaeda Bombers Learn from Drug Smugglers -- [CBS News]
Al Qaeda has developed a new tactic that allows suicide bombers to breach even the tightest security, as CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports.
To get his bomb into this room, Abdullah Asieri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, avoided detection by two sets of airport security including metal detectors and palace security. He spent 30 hours in the close company of the prince's own secret service agents - all without anyone suspecting a thing.
How did he do it?
Taking a trick from the narcotics trade - which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities - Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum.
NY Terror Suspect Pleads Not Guilty -- [AP]
An Afghan immigrant pleaded not guilty Tuesday to planning a New York terrorist attack with bombs made from beauty-supply chemicals - a purported plot authorities say was assisted by at least three accomplices whose whereabouts and level of involvement haven't been revealed. "The conspiracy here is international in scope," Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Knox told a federal judge in Brooklyn. Najibullah Zazi, wearing a blue jail smock, never spoke and showed no emotion as his lawyer entered the plea in a packed courtroom. He was ordered held without bail. "You get the impression he's a nice guy, don't you?" defense attorney Michael Dowling told the reporters afterward.
Dear Soldiers' Angels... -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
I just wanted to say thank you. I was WIA on XX Sept 09. When I got to Bagram airfield in Afghanistan, there was a Purple Heart/ Soldiers Angels bag in my ICU room when I woke up.
It is so nice to know that after what I saw, what I did, and what me and my crew went through, there were people who already had us in mind. I sleep with the fleece blanket I got, the hygiene bag was wonderful, especially since mine burned to the ground with my vehicle.
Wounded in Afghanistan - Our Heroes Need Our Help! -- [Soldiers' Angels]
The work of Soldiers' Angels reaches all the way into one of the first places a wounded soldier stops on the way home. Receiving a backpack from Soldiers' Angels when they wake up at Bagram, Afghanistan means so much to them. Roger Godskesen, who does amazing work in support of the wounded and those who care for them, sent out a clarion call for help this week.
Beware the Partisan Organization which claims to speak for veterans -- [Burn Pit]
...Although Votevets claims to be the "leading progressive, pro-military organization of veterans" they are not actually a veterans organization as defined by Congress and set forth by the IRS. Even VoteVets themselves have admitted that only about 5 percent of their members are veterans of the GWOT. And even those are somewhat suspect. In fact, as Mothax discussed in his stolen valor piece, at least two VoteVets spokespeople used in television commercials have been proven to have either made up their military records entirely (Rick Duncan/ Strandlof) or vastly inflated their experiences (Josh Lansdale.) While every organization is capable of being infiltrated by phonies, it is unconscionable that an organization would use a guy in TV commercials who claimed to have had a finger shot off and a plate in his head when simple visual inspection revealed no scars.
A Message for the Troops from the FDNY -- [Daily News]
I just got this email from a dear friend of mine, Paul Brown, who is a New York City firefighter:
I was hoping you would pass along a message. Anytime you hear anything from the troops regarding public support, please remind them of the FDNY.
No matter what occurs, there is a group of over 12,000 firefighters who support our service people unwaveringly. Most of us view the military like our big brothers who went to take care of a bully who bloodied our noses. There is nothing we wouldn't do for them.
After 39 Years, Soldiers Cited for Heroism -- [NY Times]
A reunion of soldiers had a special meaning this year after their unit unveiled a presidential citation for a rescue mission in Vietnam in March 1970.
Maine neighbors honor Bush with Navy anchor -- [AP]
Former president and World II naval aviator George H.W. Bush has been honored by some of his neighbors in Kennebunkport. The group unveiled a Navy anchor and a plaque that thanks him for his service as president and for being a good neighbor....
Military to get mandatory swine flu shots soon -- [AP]
U.S. military troops will begin getting required swine flu shots in the next week to 10 days, with active duty forces deploying to war zones and other critical areas going to the front of the vaccine line, a top military commander said Tuesday.
What is a Milblog, and Why Should You Care? -- -- [BlogWorld 2009]
LaughingWolf Aside from being asked what a blog is, the next question that comes up in talking with people -- even other bloggers -- is "What is a milblog?" That's a good question.
Milblogs are blogs about the military, or topics of interest to the military, by those associated with the military. There are several "types" of milblog, most of which will be represented in the milblog track on Thursday at BWE.
No, Milblogs Are Not PAO or Propaganda -- [BlogWorld 2009]
In response to something offline, I wanted to add to what I said yesterday.
While some PAO's blog, and the Department of Defense is starting to blog and engage in social media, milblogs are not PAO operations. The milbloggers do have to register with their command, which can consist of telling their superior they are blogging to something a bit more formal in writing. That said, they do not have to get their content reviewed or approved by public affairs (PAO).
At Fort Bliss (it was better in Iraq) -- [Life at Joint Base Balad - home from Iraq]
...the days after our initial rest-day were spent at the SRP site (Soldier Readiness Processing). We were doing our out-processing and de-mobilizing. Basically this entails sitting through 4 hours of briefings, and then making sure our finances are correct, calculating final pay and our military separation date (as well as issuing DD 214's), being medically and dentally checked, and turning in body armor. Here is a view of the SRP site, which is in a big circus-style tent on Fort Bliss:
DELAWARE: Biden to welcome home soldiers, including son -- [Delmarva Daily Times]
AP • September 30, 2009 Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at a welcoming ceremony today in Dover for the roughly 110 soldiers of the Delaware
Biden to welcome son home from war -- [Richmond Times Dispatch]
Vice President Joe Biden will welcome home his son, and the other members of the 261st Signal Brigade, as they return to Delaware from Iraq.
Soldiers get big welcome home in Salina -- [KSN-TV]
SALINA, Kansas - Tuesday, 140 Kansas National Guard soldiers returned home after a year-long deployment in Iraq. The brigade is based in Wichita,
Welcome Home Troops! -- [Central Illinois Proud]
PONTIAC - Across the state, approximately 200 soldiers from the Illinois National Guard 33rd Infantry Combat Team returned home Monday.
Newly signed state bill establishes 'Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans ... -- [Lake County News]
Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 717, which establishes an annual "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" on March 30. Jose G. Ramos, who founded the Welcome
Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets -- [Washington Examiner]
Remember the controversy over the Pentagon policy of not allowing the press to take pictures of the flag-draped caskets of American war dead as they arrived in the United States?
...The situation was pretty much the same when caskets arrived on Sept. 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 23 and 26. There has been no television coverage at all in September.
The media can cover arrivals only when the family gives its permission.
...But these days, the press hordes that once descended on Dover are gone, and there's usually just one organization on hand. The Associated Press, which supplies photos to 1,500 U.S. newspapers and 4,000 Web sites, has had a photographer at every arrival for which permission was granted. "It's our belief that this is important, that surely somewhere there is a paper, an audience, a readership, a family and a community for whom this homecoming is indeed news," says Paul Colford, director of media relations for AP.
Iranian Commando Training For TV Reporter -- [MEMRI Blog]
Colonel: "Hello, welcome. How are you?"
Reporter: "Fine, thank you."
Colonel: "Please sit down."
Reporter: "To tell you the truth, I'd like to accompany the paratroopers and the special forces. You may find this funny, but I would like to hang out with the guys, to undergo a parachuting course, and to jump with a parachute."
Voice of reporter: "From the outset, I could see in the eyes of the Commander of the 65th Brigade - or the Commander of the Army Rangers - that I was probably on the wrong track."
Colonel: "It is difficult, but we will do our best so you can prepare your TV report."
[...] Voice of reporter: "We began the commando training under supervision of the master, Haghshenash. One could call Haghshenash the father of the Iranian commando."
Haghshenash: "Make an effort!"
Voice of reporter: "The self-defense training was just the beginning, but the beginning of the commando training became the end for me..."
Instructor: "Come forward!"
Reporter: "Alright, alright."
Instructor: "Come forward! Come on!"
Reporter gets knocked to the ground by the instructor
"Ow! I broke my leg, I broke my leg!"
Commander: "Everybody here has broken something a couple of times. We welcome you for joining us."
Ambulance leaves the scene, with the reporter on board
The Military's Overlooked Brain Trust -- [The American Prospect]
As the debate over the best course of action to take in Afghanistan heightened last week, I was in a unique setting to consider the implications. As part of a workshop on media and the military at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, I was one of about 25 journalists who were given the opportunity to experience the military, meet soldiers, and even get a taste of life "inside."
The resounding message from Army leadership? "We've changed."
Overlooked Brain Trust....No, Not At All! -- [A Major's Perspective]
Within the article, the author argues that the Military still has two distinct challenges facing it, and that we have neglected and are woefully missing the point on them. Ms. Martin, however, has completely missed the point as to how the Military functions.
She argues that Military Officers will not engage in public discourse about National Strategy and Policy. That we are still locked into our old mindset of not joining the debate on what the United States should do about situations like Afghanistan and Iraq.
...Ms. Martin, with all due respect...
Rather Case Against CBS Dismissed; Rather's Lawyers to Ask for Review -- [TVNewser]
The New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division has thrown out Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against his former employer, CBS Corp. "We find the complaint must be dismissed in its entirety," reads the decision. The Appellate court found that the motion court "erred in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty."
Military Facebook pages: Being there is not enough -- [Armed and Curious - in Iraq]
Today a growing number of military units and organizations have an official presence in social media and especially on Facebook. Unfortunately, it seems that most organizations just seem to think that being there is good enough. Their fan pages are nothing more than a place to push the same news releases and self congratulatory comments.
...A recent top 10 list by Federal Computer Week (http://bit.ly/2IbbUY) showed that the Marines come in number 2 with 83,000 fans and our Army page has over 49,000 fans. But with well over 300 million users on Facebook those numbers are quickly dwarfed as a measure of success. Even more so when you consider that the Chocolate Chip Cookies fan page weighs in with 1.46 million fans. (Dr. Mark Drapeau points out the fallacy of numbers of fans as a measure of success much better than I could in his excellent post http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/09/fallacious-celebrations-of-fac.html )
The entire US Army has well over 1 million members. ...
Hunt on for Facebook user after presidential death poll -- [Times]
Poster asked if Barack Obama should be killed, a federal crime, and attracted more than 700 responses before being pulled
New Facebook game lets you join Al Qaeda, commit terror acts -- [Infidels Are Cool]
You can also join the "counter-terrorists" and fight Al Qaeda, but still, this one's not going to go over so well...
US Congress quietly approves fast tracting Super Bunker Buster Bomb -- [Report on Arrakis]
Congress has quietly approved to fast track the deployment of the BGU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). The Pentagon plans to rush the deployment of 10 BGU-57A/B "bunker buster" bombs by June 2010.
Newsmax columnist: Military coup "to resolve the 'Obama problem' " is not "unrealistic" -- [Media Matters/Newsmax]
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.
America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.
Is today Military Dictatorship Day? -- [Hot Air]
Newsmax actually ran this as a column, not a blog post. It's a lunatic fantasy straight out of Greek theater. In those days, when mediocre tragedians wrote plots so complicated that they couldn't resolve them through character interaction, the Deus ex machina (loosely, the Flying God Machine) would deposit a new actor portraying one of the Greek pantheon onto the stage to sort out the mess. Perry fantasizes about a military takeover that would be the world's most powerful Deus ex machina, mainly out of political laziness:
Newsmax removes column that called for military coup to resolve the 'Obama problem.' -- [Think Progress]
In a column published on the right-wing site Newsmax yesterday, John L. Perry writes that a military coup against President Obama is possible. Newsmax appears to have taken down the column from its website this morning. Media Matters has archived it, however:
General Silence -- [ThreatsWatch - Steve Schippert]
In An Alternate Universe, Biden Is An Insurgency Expert and Petraeus & McChrystal Are Selling Snowcones
...Meanwhile, Vice President Biden's 'plan' from the Naval Observatory perches on how to prosecute the effort in Afghanistan gets more attention than the actual experienced military commander fighting the fight. Surely Biden gets more face time with the president than once in 70 days. I would much prefer he take another slow train ride to Deleware than attempt to craft a plan on an issue and conflict in which he is inept and thus unqualified to construct. no matter what office and title he holds.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.Refresh for updates.
U.S. Commander of Afghanistan only talked to Obama once -- [Washington Times]
The military general credited for capturing Saddam Hussein and killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq says he has only spoken to President Obama once since taking command of Afghanistan.
"I've talked to the president, since I've been here, once on a VTC [video teleconferece]," General Stanley McChrystal told CBS reporter David Martin in a television interview that aired Sunday.
"You've talked to him once in 70 days?" Mr. Martin followed up.
"That is correct," the general replied.
Withdrawal is not (Necessarily) Surrender -- [Registan]
It's finally being put into motion: the withdrawal from vast tracts of indefensible bases in places like Nuristan. This news comes right as General McChrystal goes on the teevee to notice that the country is actually worse off since he took over--a brave thing to do, considering the hagiography being built around him. So, will [...]
Moving Parts -- [Greyhawk]
I don't think anybody in the allied effort seriously thinks that there are any moving parts on this end. But "the challenges Obama faces in the Afghan war are more "complex" and "bigger than the surge" decision President George W. Bush faced in Iraq three years ago" is most definitely the message being sent here.
Hanky Panky -- [Greyhawk]
According to senior administration officials, the Afghan war plan that President Barack Obama announced in March -- which called for a comprehensive and manpower-intensive counterinsurgency strategy -- was built around the assumption that Mr. Karzai
Obama can't downsize to success in Afghanistan -- [Los Angeles Times - Max Boot]
He began to make good on his word on March 27 when he announced a "comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan" that included 21000 additional
Iran, Afghanistan Crises Test Obama -- [Washington Post]
...On ABC, Gates said the decision on whether to send more troops would be made in "a matter of a few weeks." But Jones told Bob Woodward that Obama had not set a deadline for the decision. As for Hamid Karzai, The Washington Post reports that the U.S. and its allies have told the Afghan president "that they expect him to remain in office for another five-year term and will work with him on an expanded campaign to turn insurgent fighters against the Taliban and other militant groups."
Afghans Protest New Rules of Engagement -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. is increasingly encountering angry Afghan civilians, who demand that the Americans act more decisively in pursuing and killing Taliban gunman. Even if it puts Afghan civilians at risk. This is an unexpected side effect of a change, three months ago, of the U.S. rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan. This was in response to popular (or at least media) anger at civilians killed by American smart bombs. As a result of the new ROE, it became much more difficult to get permission drop a smart bomb when there might be civilians nearby. Now American commanders have to decide who they shall respond too; Afghan civilians asking for relief from Taliban oppression, or Taliban influenced media condemning the U.S. for any Afghan civilians killed, or thought to be killed, by American firepower. What to do?
NATO chief on Afghanistan: We're not running from the fight -- [Christian Science Monitor]
The new head of NATO is set to argue today that the multilateral force is not running from the fight in Afghanistan.
Kandahar Air Field on a growth spurt -- [Afghan Journal]
The big summer push to increase U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan has turned this air field into a military boom town. Tent camps stretch for acre upon acre as construction crews dig the foundations of new buildings and place prefab container units of newly minted barracks. There are plans to improve sewage treatment, but for the moment there is a giant, waste pond that wafts an odor that is carried by the desert winds as it sweeps across this barren site. Even with all the construction, living conditions for many of the troops are cramped.
Shipping school supplies to Afghanistan - Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan Rex got back safely from his latest mission but was too exhausted to write anything. So instead I'm borrowing the space tonight to show you couple of encouraging photos from the school supplies drive. The first photo is the back of my car - filled with donated school supplies. The second photo is the back of Rex's car with donated supplies right before we headed out to Tampa's main post office to ship this car load to Afghanistan. We ran out of packing tape and customs forms so we only shipped 11 boxes today; 6 more boxes are sitting in my car and I will get a lot more tomorrow when I meet with some former students at University of South Florida who have been collecting supplies since the beginning of the fall semester. I hear our other locations are making great progress too.
Student meets the Master -- [There's sand in my... - in Afghanistan]
...It has been an eerily slow week this week. I guess it's because Ramadan has ended and everyone celebrates for 3 days of eating and relaxing. It certainly is appreciated here! It also has been a very sad week starting Monday with 4 guys that came in, one passing away. I was scrubbed in to the case when he passed and it hit pretty hard. The last time I cried was when Shayna and I exchanged vows, and I almost did again during the case,...
No News Broadcast About Iraq -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
As I rifled through the many reports, emails and hyperlinks that I am requested to go through each day, I came across one that linked me to a compilation of "major" news events coming out of Iraq.
As I scrolled through the pages, most of the stories were about the findings of a report where the British Army as a whole was blamed for the death of a group of Iraqis held in a detention facility. Scrolling further to the end were the final three sentences:
ABC News with Charles Gibson: No news broadcast about Iraq.
CBS News with Katie Couric: No news broadcast about Iraq.
NBC News with Brian Williams: No news broadcast about Iraq.
Yesterday, I went to a remote area just south of Baghdad where a ceremony was being held for the opening of a new health center, community center and farm bureau office all built within the last 6 months. Although it may sound small, it shows that there is a sense of community, pride and determination to a better life in this small village. Many Americans and Iraqis lost their lives over this piece of land and finally, after six years of war, a small local government, in conjunction with the United States, succeeded in securing their future. This is a victory; it's not sexy, it's not dangerous and it's not tragic, but it's still a victory.
Ask John Burns: Ending the War in Iraq -- [New York Times]
By The New York Times This week, John F. Burns, The Times's chief foreign correspondent, will be taking questions on the end of the American war in Iraq.
Iraq hit by deadly bomb attacks -- [BBC News]
At least 13 people have been killed in a series of bomb attacks across Iraq, local officials say. A lorry with explosives blew up at a police station near
Disunity Threatens Sunni Iraq -- [Wall Street Journal]
...Despite their electoral defeat in 2005, they participated in the second national elections that year and still retain a strong power base. Shiites, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, have courted them to win backing for key legislation and domestic-policy initiatives. After many Sunni groups made peace with Mr. Maliki's government, Sunni politicians looked forward to January's election as a way to ratchet up their political standing. Those hopes are now threatened by disunity. Several prominent politicians have recently left the biggest Sunni Arab political grouping, the Iraqi Islamic Party, or the IIP. After IIP losses to upstart rival Sunni groups in January elections, many bloc members said their political chances would improve outside the group.
Taliban to Germany: Leave Afghanistan or lose Oktoberfest -- [Christian Science Monitor]
The insurgents' threat to bomb the famous festival is apparently meant to weaken Germany's resolve for the fight in Afghanistan. It follows similar warnings issued by the Taliban and Al Qaeda ahead of Sunday's elections.
The Taliban have a new target: beer and bratwurst.
Welcome to the New Germany -- [SPIEGEL ONLINE]
After Sunday's election, Germany's political landscape has been shaken up, perhaps for ever. Angela Merkel's conservatives will be able to form a coalition government with the business-friendly FDP, but the balance of power between the two parties has fundamentally shifted. And the once-powerful Social Democrats may never recover from their defeat.
Iran Reported to Have Tested Long-Range Missiles -- [New York Times]
Locked in a deepening dispute with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired its longest-range missiles capable of striking Israel, parts of Europe and American bases ...
Iran 'to Test Long-range Missile Capable of Hitting Israel' -- [Daily Telegraph]
A defiant Iran pledged to test a long-range missile thought to be capable of hitting Israel as it ratcheted up the war of words over its nuclear ambitions. Tehran also tested a number of short- and medium-range missiles on Sunday and said its second uranium enrichment plant, revealed to the world last week, was ready to withstand any attack. The US, UK and others have said the plant was part of Iran's covert plans to build nuclear weapons in defiance of international agreements and contrary to Iran's assertion that its nuclear programme was for civilian purposes only.
World Powers Step Up Pressure on Iran -- [Voice of America]
Top Obama administration officials say Iran will come under extreme pressure to disclose its nuclear intentions when envoys from Tehran sit down on Thursday in Geneva with representatives of the United States and other world powers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Iran will have to prove without a doubt that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. "We don't believe that they can present convincing evidence it is only for peaceful purposes. But we are going to put them to the test on October 1," she said. She says the fact that Iran sought to hide the construction of a second uranium enrichment plant calls Tehran's claims into question. Clinton told the CBS television program, "Face the Nation" that the world is looking for hard evidence from Iran. "Words are not enough," she said. "They are going to have to come and demonstrate clearly to the international community what they are up to."
Kansas doctor has side practice: working to overthrow Iran regime
Saeid Sajadi is an expatriate Iranian who leads a comfortable life as a physician in suburban Kansas City, Kan.
Iran is never far from his thoughts, however.
He left his native land when he was 20 - nearly a quarter of a century ago - to escape the religious repression. He earned a medical degree from the University of Kansas and now operates three cosmetic medicine clinics in Kansas and Missouri. He practices emergency medicine as well.
Sajadi also probably logs several hundred air miles each week to help a group of Iranian dissidents devoted to toppling the Iranian regime.
'No Doubt' New Iranian Nuke Facility Is 'Illicit,' Gates Concludes -- [DVIDS]
Revelations that Iran has covertly been building an underground nuclear-fuel processing plant belie the Iranian-government's denials that it is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on the Sunday TV talk show circuit Sept. 27.
Salehi: Thousands of Centrifuges Will Be Installed in Qom Facility -- [MEMRI Blog]
Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Director Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Qom facility will serve as backup in case of an attack on Iran, and denied the claims of the Iranian opposition organization Mojahedeen Khalq regarding the existence of two additional nuclear facilities yet unknown to the West.
In an interview with the Iranian TV channel Al-Alam, Salehi said that thousands of centrifuges would be installed in Qom, in underground chambers, just as in Natanz, and that uranium enrichment would continue in both facilities.
The Pirates Are Down, But Still Victorious -- [Strategy Page]
The Somali pirates are having a bad year, but they are still winning. This month, attacks are down over 70 percent compared to last year. This year, only 20 percent of attacks have been successful, compared to 40 percent last year. While there have been more attacks this year (142 so far, compared to 122 for all of last year), the number of attacks per month has sharply fallen of late. Meanwhile
Al-Qaida No. 2 calls Obama a 'fraud' -- [Associated Press]
Germany has become a frequent target of Al-Qaida criticisms in the wake of the German contingent in Afghanistan calling in an airstrike that killed dozens
Barack Obama's Guantanamo Deadline Unlikely to be Met, Gates Concedes -- [Daily Telegraph]
Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defence, conceded "it's going to be tough" when asked if all detainees would be moved from the controversial facility by January 22. Senator John McCain of Arizona said "they are certainly not going to make that deadline". The defeated presidential candidate remains on good terms with fellow Republican Mr Gates, and is regularly consulted by the president for his foreign policy expertise. Mr Gates played down the importance of meeting the president's target date, which was set on his second full day in office amid much fanfare about overturning George W. Bush's "war on terror" policies. Admitting that he had supported setting a deadline in meetings held before Mr Obama's inauguration, Mr Gates told ABC:
Despicable: Barack Obama Orders Pensions Cut Off To WWII Veterans -- [Red State]
Once again, Barack Obama proves he is not fit to serve as commander-in-chief to our armed forces. In a continuing despicable act, Obama is refusing to honor WWII veterans who fought for our nation in it's darkest hours...
National Leaders Pay Tribute to Families of Fallen Service Members -- [DVIDS]
American service members who've perished in the nation's wars "died for the ones they loved," the U.S. military's top officer said Sept. 27 at a special ceremony held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
A time to remember... -- [Army Live]
Army Chief of Staff George W. Casey Jr. talks with one of the children honored during the 'Salute to Children of Our Fallen', portion of the fourth annual 'Time of Remembrance' ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 26, 2009. The Gold Medal of Remembrance she's wearing is given to children who have lost a parent in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ribbon's colors are significant with purple, representing the wounded heart of the child who has endured the loss of a parent; black, symbolizing remembrance; and the colors red, white, and blue, representing the United States.
Army Officer Who Refused Iraq Duty Is Allowed to Resign -- [New York Times]
The Army is allowing the resignation of the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq, his lawyer
Don't get pissed! Reenlist! -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
Something happens to the Marine who recommits himself for another hitch though. I'm not talking about the ones who do it for an outrageous bonus or other bribery that some feel they are entitled to for reenlisting. I'm talking about young Americans like Cpl Byrnes who sported a mustache and pushed the limits of regulation haircuts right up until the moment he signed his name for another four years of honorable service.
When pressed about his new motivated look he responded that since he reenlisted he figured it was time to grow up and start acting like a Marine.
Final Post. -- [My trip to BAF - home from Afghanistan]
This will be the final post in this blog
I'd like to start with a word of thanks. Many of you have thanked me both for my service and for this blog - but I assure you, the encouragement, thoughts and prayers I received from my family, friends, co-workers and many anonymous people and organizations helped to make this a very positive experience. With all my sincerity, thank you all for your support!
If you would have told me I'd lose about 40 lbs and weigh a mere 202 by the time this was over, I would have doubted that seriously. Nobody has called me "skinny" since high school - and I've heard that a few times since I've been back. I'm not sure I like it :-)
This journey started back in Jul, 2008 when I first found out our unit would be mobilized.
Welcoming home our heroes, 60+ years later -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
Myself and three other angels, (LeAnne Gardner, Kristey & Kayla Talley) were privileged last night to be in attendance in a receiving line for an Louisiana HonorAir flight in New Orleans. If you are unaware of this program, Louisiana HonorAir is an organization whose mission is to provide every WWII veteran, who is physically able to travel, the opportunity to view their World War II Memorial for the first time. As we walked towards the terminal in which the flight arrived, the Marine Corps band was playing God bless America; the crowd was cheering (lead by a group of local cheerleaders) "We are proud of You", and we were engulfed in a sea of red, white and blue. The energy in the air simply brought me to tears and almost a point of uncontrollable emotion.
As I walked around the room and shook the hands of so many who have served our country in theatre or on the home front, I couldn't help but wonder about their story. What have they seen, good and bad? What have they sacrificed? Then I begin to see
Young sons welcome home parents from Iraq -- [Chicago Tribune]
The couple spent a year on Iraq's Diyala province with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Arctic Wolves. For the past year,
No News Broadcast About Iraq -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
...And so, the honeymoon between the Main Stream Media and the war in Iraq is over. The marriage is now sexless and the MSM is turning its head to the younger, sexier stories like our faults in Afghanistan and our flawed political system, and storylines of political sexual deviants.
A War President? -- [NY Times]
...Throughout our discussion, Lieberman repeatedly cited Obama's own arguments ("as the president said the other day. ...") to buttress the case for sending more troops to Afghanistan. And he suggested, more than once, that the president's choice essentially amounts to deciding whether to abandon a strategy to which Obama has already committed himself.
I heard a similar theme, in public and private, from many counterinsurgency advocates last week. Having recently described Afghanistan as a "war of necessity," they asked, can the president really turn down a request for more troops from a general he himself appointed to support a campaign that he personally endorsed?
The answer is very likely no. However ...
Obama the Gambler -- [Washington Post]
At his United Nations debut, Barack Obama urged global cooperation to combat nuclear proliferation, climate change and other problems that go beyond the borders of any one country. The speech was well received around the world, except in one place - America's right-wing netherworld, which quickly began whipping people into a frenzy. For Michelle Malkin, the speech was evidence that Obama was "the great appeaser," though she went on to say, "From the sound of it, you'd think you were listening to Thomas Jefferson." (
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.Refresh for updates.
Aides: Mullen Likely to Sign Off on Afghanistan Troop Request -- [FOX News]
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is expected to request 30,000 to 40,000 additional troops, met with Mullen at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, FOX News has confirmed.
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is likely to sign off on any troop request the top commander in Afghanistan believes he needs, aides told FOX News.
What To Do? Part Two -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
There are no easy answers for Afghanistan. Take the recent elections for example. What are the viable options to fixing that mess? You can accept the results which is increasingly unpalatable, you can hold a run off which would probably be an even bigger farce; you could hold an emergency Loya Jirga and start over (could you imagine that?) There are a few more options available I suppose but none of them very attractive. President Obama appears to be "voting present" on the Afghan Campaign. Which is consistent with the way he has handled every tough decision during his entire political career. There has been much speculation about the impact of General McChrystal's leaked confidential report in Washington but little on the impact his report is having on the various formations fighting the war.
Never let them see you sweat -- [Greyhawk]
Some observations on General Petraeus, here, here and here - perhaps best read in reverse order. From my perspective, from this I conclude nothing more than that people are worried and watching, and as stated previously, everyone is having a wtf moment this week.
Foreign Policy: Petraeus Quiet On Afghanistan -- [NPR - Thomas E. Ricks]
David Petraeus, commander of the US Central Command, in Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on US policy for ...
Mullen, Petraeus Write To SecDef Gates Endorsing McChrystal's Afghan Views -- [NPR]
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of Central Command, have sent letters to Defense Secretary Robert Gates endorsing Gen. Stan McChrystal, NPR's Tom Bowman has learned from someone familiar with the letters.
Report: Obama told Petraeus and mcchrystal to "scrub" assessments -- [Foreign Policy]
David Petraeus and Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley mcchrystal to "scrub" their assessments because he "wasn't inclined to send troops over there.
Take Your Time, Mr. President -- [Villainous Company]
After all, they're not going anywhere:
House Armed Services ranking member Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that Gates told him on a July trip to Afghanistan that Obama "wasn't inclined to send troops over there." ...The Pentagon signaled Wednesday that it would be some time before McChrystal's troop request is passed from Gates to Obama, who wants more time to review the overall strategy for Afghanistan.
"I want to make it perfectly clear that, once [Gates] has it, he intends to hold onto it until such time as the president and his national security team are ready to consider it," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.
Obama, a mere 36 days ago:
... I announced a new, comprehensive strategy in March ...our new strategy has a clear mission and defined goals: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies.
Blame on You -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
In cases such as this, we need to understand the validity of the emotional need to blame without validating the judgments of the blamers. This was my reaction to Anne Scott Tyson's Washington Post article on the growing concern among military families and members of Congress over the tactical guidance issued by General McChrystal. The concern is understandable, but the blame is misplaced.
There are three problems with pointing to the current tactical guidance as a troop-killer in Afghanistan. The first is that the guidance doesn't deny troops the right of self-defense. It only clarifies the standards that ...
Tomorrow: Lest We Forget -- [SWJ]
Cross-posted from the Center for Defense Studies, Lest We Forget by Tom Donnelly.
One of the reasons that Gen. Stanley McChrystal can argue that victory in Afghanistan is achievable is that he counts on a force forged in the years since 9/11 into a superb instrument for irregular warfare. Indeed, Americans in uniform have done much to rescue American strategists from their mistakes.
Yet we in Washington take the quality of the force too much for granted.
In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors -- [The Examiner]
According to a detailed account in The Washington Post -- a story that has received too little attention in the ongoing debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan -- the local Afghan leaders told McChrystal to stop being so fussy and to go ahead and kill the enemy, which they said would help bring stability to the region.
Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran was given extraordinary access to the bombing investigation. According to his account, McChrystal began the meeting with a show of sympathy for those who had been killed or wounded. The general didn't get very far before he was interrupted by the provincial council chairman, Ahmadullah Wardak.
Montreal - Amputee soldier returns to Afghanistan -- [CBC News]
... A Canadian soldier who lost his leg in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan two years ago is returning to duty to do good.
Five US soldiers die in wave of attacks across southern Afghanistan -- [Times Online]
Five American soldiers have been killed in a wave of attacks across southern Afghanistan. They died during operations aimed at reversing insurgent gains in parts of the country that were beyond the reach of coalition forces before President Obama's ...
Yet Another "Bribe the Tribes" Pundit -- [Registan]
So first we had Fareed Zakaria saying that all we have to do to win in Afghanistan is bribe the tribes until we withdraw. Simple! Then Fred Kaplan had a curiously similar idea. It got me thinking: do these people all hang out and decide to write mass op-eds?
Karzai Backers Want Troops -- [Wall Street Journal]
Senior Afghan officials, alarmed by the Obama administration's reappraisal of its Afghanistan strategy, said an increased US military commitment is needed to roll back an emboldened insurgency. They also cautioned about what they said would be dire consequences of any US attempts to edge out President Hamid Karzai. Results from a presidential election last month gave Mr. Karzai a majority, but allegations of widespread ballot-stuffing have stalled the confirmation of his victory and undermined his credibility in the eyes of many Afghans.
Partial vote recount starts in Afghanistan -- [Reuters]
Afghan officials have started a partial vote recount from last month's presidential election in a long-awaited procedure due to bring to
Offsetting ANA illiteracy -- [Flit - in Afghanistan]
I'm now taking requests, apparently: I have been asked for my thoughts on this article.
Look, literacy of the Afghan soldier is a bit of a lame excuse, sure. It would help the fight, certainly. But we shouldn't feel that it is our responsibility to make them literate by ourselves.
The Afghan army does make allowances for literacy classes, in fact. They're run by the Religious and Education officers and their staff, a fixture at battalion level and above. This is a unique military position, one we don't quite grok. We often call them "mullahs," but they're not mullahs... although they can be. What they are is the officers whose job it is to look after the troops, their piety, and their education. In most circumstances, they book and host the mullahs, not act as them themselves.
Anti-US Wave Imperiling Efforts in Pakistan, Officials Say -- [Washington Post]
A new wave of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan has slowed the arrival of hundreds of US civilian and military officials charged with implementing assistance programs, undermined cooperation in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and put American lives at risk, according to officials from both countries. In recent weeks, Pakistan has rejected as "incomplete" at least 180 US government visa requests. Its own ambassador in Washington has criticized what he called a "blacklist" used by the Pakistani intelligence service to deny visas or to conduct "rigorous, intrusive and obviously crude surveillance" of journalists and nongovernmental aid organizations it dislikes, including the Congress-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute. "
Officials: Suspected US Drone Kills 12 in Pakistan -- [Washington Post]
A suspected US missile strike killed 12 people in northwestern Pakistan, intelligence officials said - the latest in a spate of attacks close to the Afghan border that have squeezed al-Qaida and the Taliban. Such strikes have killed high-ranking militant commanders, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, but have also killed civilians and drawn protest from Pakistani leaders.
Pakistan discovers 'village' of white German al-Qaeda insurgents -- [Telegraph]
Investigators have discovered a "Jihadi village" of white German al-Qaeda insurgents, including Muslim converts, in Pakistan's tribal areas close to the Afghan border.
What Really Happened in the Tagab Valley? -- [SWJ - Joshua Foust]
A Response to Second Lieutenant James Parker
I read with great interest the September 22 post on PSYOP in the Tagab Valley of Kapisa Province. As both the author of several articles on the province, including a study of counterinsurgency operations there, and considering that province was where I spent the majority of my deployment earlier this year, I was excited to hear a bit about how the area was doing.
What's Awesome? -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
So in an exaggerated attempt to find the joy in deployed living, I've been thinking about what's awesome around here.
....This whole deployment thing is not normal. Most people don't leave their families in their parent's basement (8,000 miles away) to play video games and work daily with guns and trucks. They graduate from high school, go on a mission, get married, go to college, get a job, and raise their 2.5 kids in a three-bedroom home with a dog. I still want all of those things, but I get more. War stories to tell the grandkids. Lessons learned in no other way. The chance to face fear in ways most can't imagine. The privilege of giving something, however small, to my country. And I've put my life in both my sergeants' and my God's hands and seen them lead me home safely.
Qaeda Members Escape Prison in Iraq -- [New York Times]
Sixteen prisoners, including leaders of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and other extremist groups who had been sentenced to death, escaped from a prison in northern Iraq, in what officials described as a brazen breach of security that prompted a manhunt across a large part of the country on Thursday. Iraqi officials imposed a curfew and, with American search dogs and aircraft, began a large-scale search after the prisoners slipped out of a detention center in the city of Tikrit just before midnight on Wednesday, officials said. One of the prisoners was captured Thursday in an orchard about 12 miles away, but the others remained at large, prompting tightened security at checkpoints as far away as Baghdad, roughly 90 miles to the south.
Iraq president presses UN for international tribunal to try bombing suspects -- [JURIST]
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Thursday urged the UN General Assembly [official website] to establish an independent international tribunal [statement, PDF] to investigate and try suspects in a recent series of deadly bombings. Talabani said that the scope and nature of the August 19 bombing of the foreign and finance ministries [BBC report] that left close to 100 dead necessitated an outside investigation. Despite noting progress in Iraqi security, foreign relations, and the economy, Talabani said: The real danger currently facing Iraq is outside interference in its internal affairs which has committed the worst crimes against innocent Iraqis from various segments of society, men, women, children, and the elderly.
Who Fights This War? -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) -- in Iraq]
...He is very animated when he talks about crossing the desert in an M1 and some of the battles he fought before that brief war ended. He has a look that is so happy that it shows through a helmet and sunglasses even when we are riding 18mph side by side when he talks about the Gulf War. "Our tanks were in charge of the battlefield," he said. "We could engage targets effectively at 3000 meters--they couldn't hit us at half that distance."
The other night he told me about on particular engagement when a company of Iraqi infantry were surrendering, moving toward his vehicles from a position a few hundred meters away. Suddenly the group of surrendering soldiers got...
Exiles Accuse Iran of Working On Detonators -- [Washington Post]
An Iranian exile group said Thursday that it has identified two previously unknown sites in and near Tehran where it says Iranian scientists are researching and trying to manufacture detonators for nuclear weapons.
West demands access to Iran's secret nuclear plant -- [AFP]
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- The United States, Britain, France and Germany on Friday demanded immediate access to a previously secret Iranian nuclear site
Iran admits building covert enrichment facility -- [Politico]
The UN nuclear watchdog agency has confirmed relevations coming out of the G-20 today that Iran has admitted that it has a second, covert pilot fuel
China Opposes Iran Sanctions Sought by US -- [New York Times]
China will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program, a government spokeswoman said Thursday. Although China has generally opposed the use of sanctions, the announcement is sure to complicate President Obama's efforts to impose tougher penalties on Iran, should international talks over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, scheduled for Oct. 1, fail to make headway.
US planning missile bases in Poland: report -- [AFP]
WARSAW -- The United States aims to establish missile bases in Poland, after having scrapped plans fiercely opposed by Russia to deploy a missile shield in
Yes morons, this video is 100 percent fake -- [This ain't Hell...]
Drudge's Easy Libel of the Military -- [Confederate Yankee]
Earlier today I noted that Drudge's link to the use of LRADs as "acoustic weapons" was over the top, which he would have easily recognized on his own if he had simply applied logic to the very video he linked. Put simply, if an LRAD is being used as a weapon, various people would not be walking or standing directly in front of it.
...You should have noticed right off the bat that neither of the uniforms shown in this clip by the men that jumped out of the Crown Victoria are those currently being worn by our military.
Full Text: "A Message from Shaykh Usama Bin Laden to the People of Europe." -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained a new audio recording of Usama Bin Laden produced by Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation and titled, "A Message from Shaykh Usama Bin Laden to the People of Europe." During his speech, Bin Laden called upon Europe to abandon its NATO partnership with the U.S. or face the consequences: "It won't be long until the dust of war clear in Afghanistan, at which point you won't find a trace of any American, because they will have gone away far beyond the Atlantic, Allah permitting, and just us and you will remain, for the oppressed to retaliate from his oppressor... how do you think you will fare after America pulls out--Allah permitting--for us to retaliate from the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed?" Bin Laden also mocked ...
An Afghan-Born Man Is Indicted For Possible Terrorist Acts -- [Voice of America]
A young Afghan-born man has been indicted in New York on a charge of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction against targets inside the United States. And two other Afghan-born men accused of making false statements to federal investigators investigating the case were ordered released under court supervision. A New York grand jury indicted 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi, a resident of the western state of Colorado, on a charge that he conspired with unnamed others to make and use improvised bombs inside the US. Federal prosecutors in New York and Colorado allege that Zazi received bomb-making instructions on a trip to Pakistan in 2008 and that he later searched out and purchased bomb components such as hydrogen peroxide and acetone.
Terror Case Called One of Most Serious in Years -- [New York Times]
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, senior government officials have announced dozens of terrorism cases that on closer examination seemed to diminish as legitimate threats. The accumulating evidence against a Denver airport shuttle driver suggests he may be different, with some investigators calling his case the most serious in years.
2 NC Men Now Accused Of Targeting US Military -- [Washington Post]
Two North Carolina men accused this summer of being at the center of a homegrown terrorism threat cased the US Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., with plans to kill U.S. military personnel, federal prosecutors alleged Thursday. A federal grand jury on Thursday filed an additional charge of conspiring to murder military personnel against Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, and Hysen Sherifi, 24, according to the US attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina. The indictment, which was not immediately available, alleges that Boyd obtained maps and undertook reconnaissance of the base and that Boyd owned armor piercing ammunition that he said was "to attack the Americans," US Attorney George E.B. Holding said in a statement.
19-year-old Man Arrested for Trying to Destroy Downtown Dallas Skyscraper -- [Chicago Tribune]
19-year-old Jordanian citizen was arrested this afternoon as he attempted to destroy an iconic downtown Dallas skyscraper with a car bomb, federal officials said.
Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, was arrested by FBI agents near the Fountain Place building at 1445 Ross Avenue. The FBI said he placed an inactive car bomb by the location.
NY man accused of seeking to kill U.S. troops -- [Reuters]
A New York man was indicted on Thursday for allegedly seeking training from Islamic militants to fight U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, authorities said.
The FBI said Betim Kaziu, a U.S. citizen and New York resident, sought to acquire weapons and training to fight U.S. troops abroad.
New video seeks al-Qaida recruits in Germany -- [AP]
The release of a third al-Qaida video message in German this week shows that Germany must remain on alert before weekend parliamentary elections, officials said.
Authorities are analyzing the third message, which was released Thursday and calls on Muslims in Germany to take part in jihad, or holy war, German Interior Ministry spokesman Stefan Paris told reporters.
German officials, however, denied that the video put the nation in any further danger.
White House Regroups on Guantanamo -- [Washington Post]
...As the process was getting underway in the spring, the administration began losing support for shutting the facility, in part, officials now say, because the White House did not present a concrete plan for what it would do with the remaining terrorism suspects.
After news reports that some detainees -- Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs -- were going to be moved to the Virginia suburbs, lawmakers balked.
Then in May, the Senate decided, by an overwhelming vote of 90 to 6, to block funding for shutting Guantanamo Bay -- Obama's first major legislative setback as president.
The Tip of the 9/11 GI Bill Iceberg -- [Nextgov]
Top officials of the Veterans Affairs Department revised the figures they put out yesterday on payments the agency has made to veterans under the post-9/11 GI bill, and said that as of today, only 24,186 vets have received checks -- or roughly 12 percent of the 200,000 claims it expected to receive by the end of the summer.
...Duckworth acknowledged that the VA faces problems and added the department is not trying to make excuses for its performance. To handle its backlog, Duckworth said the VA has put claims examiners on overtime, including weekend shifts.
Nelson said the VA is processing post-9/11 GI Bill claims in an average of days. That's not the experience of James Martin, a Marine Iraq war veteran at Boston College Law School who said it took the VA six weeks to process his request for a certificate of eligibility and he expects it will be another six weeks before he gets a check.
NEW G.I. BILL PAYMENTS LAG AS VA JUGGLES NUMBERS -- [VA Watchdog]
VA issues confusing numbers on G.I. Bill payments as veterans worry about how they will pay the rent. The VA is taking lots of heat because of the delays in getting out payments to veterans using the post-9/11 (or New) G.I. Bill.
On Thursday September 24, 2009, I was part of a conference call held for those who write about VA issues online. Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth (Public Affairs) and Lynn Nelson (#2 at VA's Education Services) took questions from a number of reporters.
A major concern was conflicting statistics about how many G.I. Bill claims have been paid. A recent VA press release said "over 61,000 payments." But, now we learn those could have been multiple payments to the same veteran. During the call Duckworth said only 24,186 veterans have received the new benefits.
Over half of vets still waiting for G.I. Bill money -- [USA Today]
Nearly a month into the fall college semester, the Department of Veterans Affairs has paid benefits for fewer than half the former Iraq and Afghanistan veterans requesting under the new post-9/11 G.I. Bill, according to a VA estimate.
Keith Wilson, director of the VA Education Service office, said about half of the 50,000 veterans owed money for tuition and expenses have been paid. Others are still waiting .
Another estimated 60,000 veterans are waiting for money under an older version of the G.I. Bill, Wilson says.
Veterans' promised tuition checks AWOL -- [Washington Times]
The U.S. government failed to send promised college tuition checks to tens of thousands of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars before they returned to school this fall, even after being warned that it was inadequately staffed for the job.
The Veterans Affairs Department blamed a backlog of claims filed for GI Bill education benefits that has left veterans who counted on the money for tuition and books scrambling to make ends meet.
Waging war with VA leaves veteran battle-weary -- [Chicago Tribune]
Juggling school and military service was difficult, but it didn't truly become a problem until he was deployed again last year, this time to Afghanistan.
In accordance with the GI Bill, UIC notified the Department of Veterans Affairs that Anderson again had been called to active duty. But instead of filing the deployment date as August 2008, the school mistakenly referenced his Decatur deployment and said he was called up in December 2006.
Based on the paperwork, the VA assumed Anderson had been on active duty the entire time and wanted its money back. Veterans Affairs reasoned that if Anderson had been deployed since December 2006, he could not have been in school, and he should not have received the $8,179.12 in benefits paid from late 2006 until mid-2008.
In February, the VA sent Anderson's parents a letter asking them to return the money.
Anti-gay church wins round in court -- [Baltimore Sun]
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a fundamentalist Kansas church's protest outside the funeral of a Westminster Marine killed in Iraq is protected speech and did not violate the privacy of the service member's family, reversing a lower court's $5 million award.
Gunbloggers Raise over $8000.00 for Project Valour-IT -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
A group of gun enthusiasts led by blogger "Mr. Completely" recently turned their love of firearms into laptop computers for wounded warriors. For the third straight year, the Gunblogger Rendezvous in Reno, NV has made Soldiers' Angels Project Valour-IT its fundraising focus. In addition to a raffle, the registration form for participants this year included an option of donating to Valour-IT while paying the registration fee.
COL. HOWARD\'S TROOPS WILL APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS, BUT MORE IS
NEEDED TO REACH OUR GOAL! -- [Move America Forward]
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division is stationed in some of the roughest parts of Afghanistan. They live in remote combat outposts, and their missions take them deep into enemy territory and perilously near the border region to Pakistan, where the Taliban are strongest.
Is the U.S. Military Close to Curing AIDS? -- [Faster Times]
All right, it's a sensationalistic headline, but this is pretty sensational news.
A collaboration between the US Military HIV Research Program and the Thai Ministry of Public Health announced that for the first time, a vaccine against HIV has actually been shown decrease your chances of catching HIV.
SPLC and their evidence of Neo-Nazis in the military -- [This Ain't Hell...]
TSO and I have been telling you for months that the Southern Poverty Law Center is just making stuff up in regards to military members joining white supremacist organizations - well, a few weeks ago, they jumped the shark. Sonia Scherr wrote an article on the "Hate Watch" web page entitled; Leaked Neo-Nazi E-mails Show Contacts With Military Personnel. Their article is based on 629 leaked private emails posted on WikiLeaks between the National Socialist Movement and some members.
So I checked on Military.com for a Kyle Wrobel in any military service and came up empty.
Del. Air Guard members return after 1 year in Iraq -- [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Guard officials said the soldiers will be reunited with their families Friday at Fort Dix., NJ, after a year in Iraq. The brigade was responsible for ...
The Road Home -- [Life at Joint Base Balad - heading home from Iraq]
Right now I am at Fort Bliss, Texas. When you leave Iraq, you don't just hop on a plane and go straight home. You must follow a de-mobilization process, which is similar to (but much shorter than) the mobilization that you go through before getting to Iraq. The basic way to demobilize is to fly from Iraq to Ali Al Salem (AAS) air base in Kuwait, and then
When Photographs Lie -- [Villainous Company]
A photograph is nothing more than a tiny sliver of stopped time, pressed onto a flat surface, utterly devoid of context or soul. An unretouched photograph is visual truth.
This is what SangerM. argues in defense of Julie Jacobson's decision to violate an embed agreement she voluntarily signed, and upon which the Marine Corps relied when deciding whether she could be trusted with embed status. Had she refused to sign the agreement, she would have had no chance to publish a graphic photo in which a fellow human bled to death from the stumps of two severed legs.
But Sanger's argument seems to be that agreements between human beings don't matter. Jacobson had the "right" to publish explicit photos of a young man's agony even though her access to his wounding was conditioned upon her agreement not to photograph it:
... it was Jacobson's right to do so, and given that she was as much a participant in that battle as the three Marines, I say her story is at least as important as theirs if honestly told.
There's only one problem with this argument. The Eddie Adams photo he so proudly points to as an example of "photographs that inform, not misinform" did not capture the facts. What it did do was evoke emotions so strong that they eclipsed the truth. Viewers saw a cringing victim in the instant before being brutally shot by a heartless aggressor. What the photo did not and could not convey was the "why" behind the shooting; the nuance that is far more common in real life than stark black and white depictions of the choices we make. But ...
Bullshit Bob -- [Michael Yon]
...My latest embed with British 2 Rifles, which began in July, was extended on at least two occasions. The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) had recently agreed that I would spend roughly one more month with 2 Rifles. My scheduled embeds with the United States Air Force and Marines were specifically arranged around the British schedule, and I was enjoying reporting on the excellent British troops.
However, on August 24th, with no warning, unseen faces of MoD discontinued my embed from 2 Rifles. The message that I was no longer embedded was emailed to me by Media Ops, just as I returned from an interesting firefight in the Green Zone. Luckily, none of our guys got hit, but I think the British soldiers may have killed some Taliban.
I do not know the reason for the embed termination. My best guess is that it relates to my sustained criticism that the British government is not properly resourcing its soldiers.
Before going further, it is essential to underscore the importance of the "Media Ops" in the war. When Media Ops fails to help correspondents report from the front, the public misses necessary information to make informed decisions about the war. Many soldiers in the British Media Ops are true professionals who strive constantly to improve at their tasks and work very well with correspondents. Their professionalism and understanding of the larger mission--ultimate victory--provide an invaluable service to the war effort.
But there are a few who should not be in uniform and it takes only one roach leg to spoil a perfect soup.
...I had a specific incident with this British Media Ops Major.
In the media II -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - recently home from Afghanistan]
The New York Times linked to this blog a couple of weeks ago, which explained for me why my site had taken such a jump in its number of visitors. Of course, the NYT discovered the blog and labeled it as a blog by a deployed soldier only after I'd returned. At any rate, I'm flattered by the exposure. One of the other affects of the NYT link was this blog was discovered by a reporter for NPR who then requested a phone interview with me for his story about blogging and social networking while deployed. I was happy to give him my two cents on the issue, though I wish he'd've made it more clear that I didn't want my name associated with the blog because I don't think it's right to use military service to publicize yourself. I did mention the fact that I'm going to be continuing my military service, but fear of reprisals or whatever is not why I don't put my name on the site (see below). At any rate, it was a good article and I'm glad to have been a contributor to it.
I think the blogging done by service members while on deployment is generally a good thing, and I was happy to have been put in a position where I could write about things that people would be interested in reading. I didn't see it as my duty to write positively. I just tried to be as honest with myself as I could be with it, while
In Poll, Public Wary of Obama on War and Health -- [New York Times]
President Obama is confronting declining support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan and an electorate confused and anxious about a health care overhaul as he prepares for pivotal battles over both issues, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. But Mr. Obama is going into the fall having retained considerable political strength. At 56 percent, his approval rating is down from earlier in the year but still reasonably strong at this point compared with recent presidents. More Americans are starting to credit his stimulus package with having helped to revive the economy.
Kirk To Obama: Withdraw Grants To Libyan Charities -- [CBS]
$400,000 Is To Be Split Between Charities Run By Gadhafi Family
The Obama Administration plans to give $400,000 in funding to a Libyan charity run by the Gadhafi family, and U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) wants the grant withdrawn.
The money would be divided between two foundations run by the family of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. A $200,000 share is set to go to the Gadhafi Development Foundation, which is run by Gadhafi's son, Saif, and another $200,000 are to go to Wa Attassimou, an organization run by Muammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated. Refresh for updates.
Roadside bombs kill 12 Afghan civilians -- [AP]
Twelve Afghan civilians died in roadside bomb blasts in the past 24 hours, officials said Wednesday.
Homemade bombs planted on roads or near government buildings have become a major killer in Afghanistan as the Taliban and other militants increasingly use guerrilla tactics to battle Afghan and international forces. The bombs usually target the military, but civilians are also frequent victims.
The smallest sparrow -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Take another good look at the face of this precious, innocent little angel. Being treated by a Canadian medic after eating gunpowder in his home. Gunpowder for roadside bombs used to kill said Canadian and other ISAF forces.
Remember to whom the family - likely working with the insurgents themselves - turned in their hour of need.
Remember this when asked why we fight.
Watchmen: Picking a Fight -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
The thing that annoyed me most about the dozen or so reporters who called today chasing stories on the assessment (aside from the fact that it was clear that only a couple had even bothered to skim the document before calling) is that most of them are intent on forcing this story into the tired journalistic formula of the military man versus the politician. Did McChrystal leak the assessment himself to force the President's hand? Will he resign if the President rejects the approach recommended in the assessment? Questions like these show a reflexive craving for controversy and a bewildering ignorance of the fact that civil-military relations in the United States have matured in the 58 years since General MacArthur's arrogant public confrontation with President Truman. More importantly, they show a blatant disregard for how such a narrative could be exploited by partisans who would accuse General McChrystal of exceeding his military authority or President Obama of not supporting American troops.
This story is not about an argument between two powerful men. It is about an argument between two or more sets of strategic assumptions concerning the mission and desired end state in Afghanistan. General McChrystal was asked to produce an assessment of how to implement the President's March 2009 strategy. He did that. Rather than peddle that assessment in public or private, he has remained appropriately quiet while U.S. and NATO leaders have reviewed it...
Ah... Pessimism -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
GEN McChrystal's assessment has now been "leaked." Now what? For some time now, it has seemed that the tide of public opinion has been turning against the "Good War." Why do you think that is?
Because suddenly everyone has realized that Afghanistan is a complex, dynamic situation. It is what analysts call a "wicked problem." Everyone thought that Iraq was complicated and that Afghanistan was more simple. Now that people have really taken a look at Afghanistan, they realize that it is not so simple. In many ways, it is more complex than Iraq. It makes people's heads hurt.
Not being able to make sense of the problem, they figure that nobody can, and that's when the pessimism of the public takes hold.
A few words of caution: ...
What To Do? Part One -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
....President Obama is on record as saying that Afghanistan is critical in order to prevent the return of the Taliban who will provide haven, support and bases to Al Qadea. The problem is that Al Qadea has all the support and bases it needs in Pakistan. I am on record as saying that Afghanistan would never allow Al Qadea back inside its borders no matter who was ruling and the truth is Al Qaeda has spent eight years reconstituting in the Northwest Frontier and doesn't need Afghanistan - they are fine where they are. In fact the ties with their hosts are stronger and their overall security much better than it was when they operated out of Eastern Afghanistan.
When the President throws down a marker that big it makes it very hard to set conditions under which we can leave. The Taliban are not going anywhere - they live here. Al Qadea isn't going anywhere either - they could not be more firmly entrenched in any other place on the globe.
Read the full unabridged version of General David H. Petraeus's keynote speech - [Gen David H. Petraeus - Policy Exchange]
...For the strategy to work, moreover, it's also necessary to find ways to identify reconcilable members of insurgent elements and to transform them from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution. That is not only important from a security standpoint in the local area, it's also important in generating the kind of momentum that can result in a spread of thinking that is time to reject resistance and embrace political participation.
The goal, of course, is to mobilise local opinion in opposition to violent ideologies, and on this point I might note that it was British deputy in Iraq, Lieutenant General Graeme Lamb, also a former 22 SAS, armed with lessons he'd learned in Northern Ireland, who was one of those who was in the development of the concepts of reconciliation that enabled us to capitalise on the so-called Anbar Awakening, and to help transform it into a broader Sunni Awakening in Iraq in 2007. I might note that Lieutenant General (retired) Sir Graeme Lamb is now in Kabul by the way, helping General Stan McChrystal develop concepts to guide the reintegration of reconcilables in Afghanistan.
Obama Is Considering Strategy Shift in Afghan War -- [New York Times]
President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday. The options under review are part of what administration officials described as a wholesale reconsideration of a strategy the president announced with fanfare just six months ago. Two new intelligence reports are being conducted to evaluate Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
Report: Pentagon Urges Top US General in Afghanistan to Delay Call for Troops -- [Voice of America]
A major US newspaper is reporting that the Pentagon has told its top commander in Afghanistan to delay submitting a request for additional troops. The Wall Street Journal quotes defense officials Tuesday saying the Obama administration asked for the delay so it can be sure the US is "using the right strategy" before looking into additional troop requests. The top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan has warned that the mission "will likely result in failure" if more troops are not sent within the next year. But General Stanley McChrystal also says that "while the situation is serious, success is still achievable" if the mission receives proper resources and support throughout the coalition. McChrystal's remarks are part of a strategic assessment that is still officially secret, but ...
US Pulls Back in New Afghan Strategy -- [The Australian]
The top US military officer in Afghanistan has ordered his forces out of sparsely populated areas where American troops have fought bloody battles with the Taliban for several years and is redeploying them to protecting major Afghan population centres, reports said yesterday. The strategy shift, which amounts to a retreat from some areas, has drawn resistance from senior Afghan officials who worry any pullback from Taliban-held territory will make the weak Afghan government appear even more powerless in the eyes of its people,...
Less Peril for Civilians, but More for Troops - [Washington Post]
Concern is rising in Congress and among military families over a sharp increase in US troop deaths in Afghanistan at a time when senior military officials acknowledge that American service members are facing greater risks under a new strategy that emphasizes protecting Afghan civilians.
Trying to figure it out -- [A World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
This message was sent by a soldier I knew in Iraq. He's in Afghanistan now.
I'm trying to figure out why this message grabbed me like it did. It starts with the rocket attack that killed the soldier. The fact that he had six children.
But it's the writer's observation that it happened while he was in the CONEX getting the goodies that Afghans prize as part of the war on "hearts and minds", that gets me most. "To give out to some of the same people who fire these rockets at us."
A lot of soldiers will tell you these kinds of things. These are...the same guys who fire at us, or in the case of Iraq, used to shoot at us and are now paid by us. Seeing as soldiers interact with locals daily, as both intelligence gatherers and ambassadors, it's hard to write off their statements to simple cynicism. They speak to deeper frustrations and survival instincts.
The Great Afghan Pile On -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. is pouring an unprecedented amount of intelligence gathering and analysis resources into Afghanistan operations. Not just the usual CIA and military intelligence personnel and equipment, but specialists and services from several different agencies. Because the main problem there is he global heroin trade (most heroin comes from Afghanistan), the wide array of intel resources are needed to identify and pick apart a global drug distribution and financing network, as well as how it is integrated with the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations. Among the many American intel agencies contributing their special skills to the undertaking there are;
Wicked Problems for Afghanistan's Civilian 'Surge' -- [Danger Room]
...The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the assessment states, "cannot succeed without a corresponding cadre of civilian experts to support the change in strategy." But read a bit closer, and you'll also find a critique of the way that civilian development experts have spent -- and sometimes squandered -- Afghanistan reconstruction funds.
"The international community must address its own corrupt or counter-productive practices, including reducing the amount of money that goes toward overhead and intermediaries rather than the Afghan people," the assessment states. "... ISAF must pay particular attention to how development projects are contracted and to whom. Too often these projects enrich power-brokers, corrupt officials or international contractors and serve only limited segments of the population."
Al-Qaida Declares New "Cabinet Roster" for its "Islamic State of Iraq" (ISI) -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq" (ISI) has issued an updated leadership "cabinet roster." The roster reads as follows
US-Iraqi Partnership Growing, General Says -- [Defense Link]
Service. Iraqi security forces continue to make progress in providing security for their own country, the deputy commander of Multinational Corps Iraq said today. Iraqi security forces are quickly improving as they train with American forces, Air Force Maj. Gen. James P. Hunt said during a videoconference from Baghdad with Pentagon reporters. "This is all about partnering," Hunt said. "We find that the closer we work with the Iraqi security forces, the better they are, the better they get and the faster they get better. "Whenever we, frankly, want to see them do better, our reaction is, let's get closer to them; let's hug them closer; let's teach them what we know." It has been three months since US forces withdrew from Iraq's cities and towns as part of the US-Iraq security agreement. Iraqi security forces are progressing well and continue
Ramadan -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) -- in Iraq]
I suppose most everyone in this ambiguous war thinks it would be a relief to fight as their grandfathers did in World War Two. They fought German or Japanese soldiers. The enemy wore uniforms and was always the enemy. Here we don't have an identifiable enemy. Once in a while a real enemy will fire a rocket or mortar at our base, but to very little effect and at very great danger to themselves--so it doesn't happen often.
September 11 and September 19 were both supposed to be days that we could be attacked. We weren't. Who knows why or why not.
Another Major to Major conversation -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Me: Maj. Gafney how may I help you?
Him: Yes, this is Maj. XXXX. I'm looking for a checkpoint.
Him: It's on XXXX Street.
Me: Well, Baghdad is a big city and I don't know all the streets. Do you know what area it is in?
Him: I'm not sure.
Me: Ok, well, let's narrow it down. Is it ...
US Closes Door on a Onetime Iraq Ally -- [Los Angeles Times]
The man who had fought Al Qaeda in Iraq sat in the waiting room of the immigration office. He watched others go up before him. After several hours, they called his name: Saad Oraibi Ghafoori. In a way, the waiting burned him. He had once led more than 600 men in Baghdad; Iraqi officials and US commanders came to him for help. Now he lived in a nondescript home in Jordan's capital with an upset wife and two restless children - a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl - who had been hoping for more than a year to get the call to go to America. He had sat in classes given by the International Organization for Migration, learning about US apartment rental prices and how to apply for food stamps. He was ready to do whatever the Americans wanted: If they wished him to train US forces heading to Iraq, he would do it; if they wanted him to fight in Afghanistan, he would go.
Making The Murder Money Go Missing -- [Strategy Page]
Terrorist attacks continue in the north (between Kurds and Arabs) and outside Baghdad (between Sunni and Shia Arabs.) But casualties from terror attacks are way down this month, after a spike in August. That's not just a fluke, it turns out to be all about gangsters and the cash that motivates them.
In response to the terrorist violence, a lot more police (and political) pressure was put on the towns and neighborhoods that tend to harbor terrorist gangs. That's part of the reason for the sharp reduction in terror attacks this month. Another reason is ...
Iraq PM Says Almost No Hope of Syrian 'Anti-terror' Help -- [AINA]
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Tuesday Iraq had almost no hope of receiving counter-terrorism cooperation from neighboring Syria and he unequivocally rejected Arab offers to mediate.
Maliki wants the United Nations to establish an independent commission into the August 19 bombings of its finance and foreign ministries, and has charged that 90 percent of foreign "terrorists" who infiltrate Iraq do so via Syria.
"From the beginning, we did not expect to receive a response from Syria to the Iraqi demands," Maliki said in a statement, referring to his request that a list of terror suspects said to be hiding in Syria be handed over.
"We have almost no hope that these efforts will succeed."
Monday Musings -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
...Last week, I wrote a post about our support contractors being sent home. The ones who are leaving have all left now. Yes, they can be sent home that quickly. Fortunately for us, some of them will be doing more or less the same jobs from back in the States. The difficulties we face are the 7 or 8 hour time difference, the fact that they're only working 40 hours a week instead of the 65+ that we are, and they're off on Saturdays and Sundays, which are regular workdays here. But at least we have some support. The reason for all this? Money. We don't have as many projects underway anymore, so we don't need as many people helping us.
No Country Would Dare Attack Iran, Says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- [AFP - The Australian]
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that no country would dare to launch aggressive actions against the Islamic republic and demanded that US-led foreign troops leave the region. "No power will ever dare to think of launching aggression against Iran. Today, Iran is experienced and powerful,'' the hardliner said in an address to the nation on the anniversary of the breakout of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980. "Our armed forces are ready to confront the forces of darkness. If anybody wants to shoot a bullet at us from anywhere, we will cut off his hands.''
Kuwaiti Daily: Europe Is Calling On Arab Countries To Defend Themselves Against Iran -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa, which is known for its criticism of Iran, reports that members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg have called on the Arab countries who fear Iran's expansion in the Middle East to establish a military-security organization, in order to defend themselves against Iran's aspirations and against Iran-supported terrorism.
Iran loses its only AWACS as Ahmadinejad threatens the world -- [DEBKA]
Up above a big military parade in Tehran on Tuesday, Sept. 22, as Iranian president declared Iran's armed forces would "chop off the hands" of any power daring to attack his country, two air force jets collided in mid-air. One was Iran's only airborne warning and control system (AWACS) for coordinating long-distance aerial operations, DEBKAfile's military and Iranian sources disclose....DEBKAfile's military sources say the disaster was a serious blow to the Iranian Air Force not long after its first and only AWACS went into service in April 2008.
Obama Presses For Action During Talks with Israeli, Palestinian Leaders -- [Voice of America]
US President Barack Obama says it is critical Israeli and Palestinian leaders work together to resolve issues and restart stalled peace talks in the region. Mr. Obama spoke in New York Tuesday after hosting a joint meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Obama said despite all of the history, and mistrust between the two sides, they must find a way to move forward. At the start of the talks, Mr. Obama coaxed the two leaders into a handshake and stood back as they gripped hands.
The UN loves Barack Obama because he is weak -- [The Telegraph]
...It is not hard to see why a standing ovation awaits the president at Turtle Bay. Obama's popularity at the UN boils down essentially to his willingness to downplay American global power. He is the first American president who has made an art form out of apologizing for the United States, which he has done on numerous occasions on foreign soil, from Strasbourg to Cairo. The Obama mantra appears to be - ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do to atone for your country. This is a message that goes down very well in a world that is still seething with anti-Americanism.
Remarks: Obama at the U.N. General Assembly -- [TIME]
We have also re-engaged the United Nations. We have paid our bills. We have joined the Human Rights Council. We have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We have fully embraced the Millennium Development Goals. And we address our priorities here, in this institution - for instance, through the Security Council meeting that I will chair tomorrow on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and through the issues that I will discuss today.
This is what we have done. But this is just a beginning. Some of our actions have yielded progress. Some have laid the groundwork for progress in the future. But make no mistake: this cannot be solely America's endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought - in word and deed - a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.
RPT-Qaeda's Zawahri attacks Obama, Arabs in new video -- [Reuters]
Al Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahri appeared on Wednesday in a new video marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, attacking Arab leaders and Barack Obama for their policies on Israel.
The video, which was posted on an Islamist website used by al Qaeda supporters, was the second message from al Qaeda this month after leader Osama bin Laden issued an audiotape on Sept. 14 warning Americans over their government's ties with Israel.
The video appeared almost two weeks after the Sept. 11 events it was intended to mark.
Up to 24 More People Sought as NYC Tightens Security in Terror Probe -- [FOX News]
Police in New York City stepped up their patrols and increased their random searches on subways and buses Wednesday following reports that as many as 24 more people are being sought in a suspected cross-country terror plot.
Landstuhl Needs Your Help -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
You may not be hearing about it on the news, but the fighting in Afghanistan has been very heavy, with many wounded moving through the military medical system. Our wounded heroes, their families, and the doctors and nurses who care for them desperately need our love and support. Please consider how you can help.
Wounded Warrior's Spouse: "My husband is GI Joe in a National Guard uniform" -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...Engaged in a furious firefight with the enemy, his M4 Carbine was his rod; his staff was the group of troops he trained and led.
He never sensed the sniper's bullet, which split the air, pierced his armored helmet and penetrated his brain.
...The wounded warrior's father, the Rev. David Allen, is pastor of the New Vision Worship Center in Fort McCoy. "All I ask of God is to let me have my son back," he said.
Family members could use some help with items such as gift cards for gas, lodging and food. The military provides lodging for Mark's wife, Shannon.
If you would like to make a donation for SFC Mark Allen and his family, it can be made in his name to:
Mike Stokely Foundation
100 Fountainhead Way
Sharpsburg, GA. 30277
If you are on FaceBook, you are invited to join the prayer group for Mark.
Whatever Happens -- [Wife of a wounded warrior]
So there are times I just want to give up on everything but right now I am just going to keep moving.I do not know what happened but I guarantee I did not have anything to do with it. I honestly do not care anymore but it upsets me because people think otherwise. I know the truth and God knows the truth. That is all that matters. I think that my family whether distant or not are important. I would never do anything to damage someone's life. I have been called a bitch, fat ass (lol) i believe that would be calling the kettle black, um crazy ..... I do not want to talk about it anymore so I am leaving it at that. My husband applied for this insurance money for injured soldiers, active or retired.
Mr. Falvey -- [Knottie's niche -- Gold Star Mother]
While Micheal was in bootcamp he wrote Mr Falvey. And every time Micheal came home on leave he would head to the high school to visit Mr Falvey and another teacher he was close to. I'm not sure Mr Falvey realize what a great influence he was on Pokey. And to this day Micheal's letters and one of his dogtags are hanging on the wall in Mr Falvey's office.
The day after Micheal died the first person to knock on our door was Mr. Falvey, in tears. He told us that he had already had the flag lowered at the school and in his hand were the letters Micheal wrote him. Throughout the next few days Mr Falvey stood between us and the media who tried so hard to find us thru the school. He gave interviews , with our permission and blessings, about Micheal. He kept the media and others from intruding on our grief at that time. He also made the arrangements for our other children to be out of school for an extended time without it hurting their grades. He took care of us.
So today he asked me ...
Veterans' service groups cut 25% in Mich. budget -- [Chicago Tribune]
Michigan is poised to slash aid to groups that help military veterans get disability and pension benefits.
A legislative conference committee voted Tuesday to cut $1 million, or 25 percent, of funding for the American Legion and other veterans' service organizations in the state budget that starts Oct. 1. The groups help veterans file claims and navigate a maze of paperwork and federal bureaucracy.
Advocates are not surprised by the reduction because Gov. Jennifer Granholm already had cut $1 million in the fiscal year that ends next week. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and other organizations have been forced to lay off service officers.
Lawmakers say it is tough giving veterans less funding, but money is sparse.
McHugh Assumes Duties as 21st Army Secretary -- [Defense Link]
John McHugh was sworn in as the 21st secretary of the Army today following his nomination by President Barack Obama and confirmation by the US Senate. As secretary, McHugh has statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications and financial management. McHugh also is responsible for the Army's annual and supplemental budget, which this year was more than $200 billion. He leads a work force of more than 1.1 million active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers; 221,000 civilian employees; and 213,000 contracted workers. Also, he provides stewardship over 14 million acres of land.
Why won't the US Attorney for CO prosecute Stolen Valor Act cases? -- [Burn Pit]
Rick Duncan was a Marine with a compelling story to tell, and tell it he did, to anyone who would listen. A graduate of the Naval Academy, Rick had been in the Pentagon when the plane hit on September 11, 2001. Volunteering for duty in Iraq, Duncan rose to the rank of Captain, and although openly gay, was assigned to lead a Marine Battalion in the battle of Fallujah. During the house to house battles there he had a finger shot off and suffered a severe head injury that required a plate be put in his head. He returned to the states disillusioned with the war and became executive director of the Colorado Veterans Alliance.
...But Rick Duncan never existed. He was in fact Rick Strandlof,
Back In The States -- [Sour Swinger - home from Iraq]
Hard to believe but I'm finally back in the good old US. New Jersey never smelled so great! LoL. Will be spending a week going through the whole demobilization process. Involves a ton of briefings, medical screening, and loads of paper work. Then I'll finally be sitting at home enjoying some alcohol!!
Am gonna take a break from life and this blog for a bit. Have a lot of family and friends to see. But don't worry, I'll be back
At Pentagon's Request, Washington Post Delayed Story on Afghanistan Report -- [Washington Post]
To Bob Woodward, it was the modern-day equivalent of the Pentagon Papers. But to Obama administration officials, the classified assessment of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, if disclosed by The Washington Post
Inside Bob Gates' Overhaul of the Pentagon (Updated) -- [Danger Room]
Defense Secretary Bob Gates has made legions of fans - and almost as many enemies - in military circles with his no-holds-barred, no-expense-spared approach to waging today's conflicts. "My attitude [is]: If you're in a war, it's all in. I don't care what we have left over at the end," Gates told me for my WIRED magazine profile of him, out today. Since he entered the Pentagon almost three years ago, Gates has fired generals, spent hundreds of billions, deployed tends of thousands of extra troops, invented whole new segments of the defense industry, and radically reordered the Pentagon's arsenal - all in the name giving the U.S. an advantage over its current enemies, now. Never mind
McCain blasts 'disconnect' between WH and military leaders -- [CNN]
Sen. John McCain questioned the Obama administration's approach in Afghanistan Tuesday, saying he has never seen such a "disconnect" between the White House and leaders of the U.S. military.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure' -- [Greyhawk]
This is big: the day following President Obama's appearance on five Sunday news talk shows, in which he expressed his concerns over "mission creep" in Afghanistan, Bob Woodward publishes a declassified copy of General McChrystal's commander's assessment along with this report in the Washington Post...
The McChrystal Review: Yawn. -- [Registan]
Indeed, what I find most striking about this is just how thorough McChrystal's staff has been in leaking the report's most interesting portions beforehand. Much like the evolving narrative in which everything McChrystal does is genius and everything McKiernan did was EPIC FAIL, we can see here the power, or not, of an aggressive media campaign.
Also, wasn't the initial version classified in some way? Who made the decision to redact it for public consumption?
Anyway, some followup reporting by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Karen DeYoung reveals what we've known for a while now: the Obama administration is paralyzed, apparently because it's realizing Afghanistan is not, in fact, as simple as "destroy al Qaeda."
And here's the kicker...
The Importance of Local Relevance -- [Registan]
This makes for something of a followup of my critique of the Pentagon's refusal to consider Afghans on their own terms before designing policies for the country. Ann Jones, an activist who normally writes on women's rights, recently visited a training center for the Afghan National Army and found something striking...
CIA expanding presence in Afghanistan -- [LA Times]
The buildup coincides with new warnings that the Taliban has continued to gain territory and strength. McChrystal wants to improve intelligence on the Taliban and focus on reducing the number of bombings.
The CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence "surge" that will make its station there among the largest in the agency's history, U.S. officials say. When complete, the CIA's presence in the country is expected to rival the size of its massive stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. Precise numbers are classified, but one U.S. official said the agency already has nearly 700 employees in Afghanistan.
Double missions -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
So my 6-man team along with 2 other vehicles formed the convoy. We would have to travel through the capital city to get to our destination. In an attempt to avoid traffic and hoping the insurgents were still sleeping or preparing to celebrate Eid (holiday period signifying the end of Ramadan and fasting), we departed early. Some military personnel mispronounce E-i-d and say E-a-t. A common joke even among our interpreters is there is some truth to this. The Muslims no longer have to fast and can eat. Eid in the Muslim world is like our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year combined into one celebratory period lasting for 3-4 days.
As planned, there was very little traffic in Kabul. Our armored convoy thundered through the city in record time and arrived at Camp Phoenix without incident. Everything was going as planned until we encountered
Il italiano forte -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
After Thursday's suicide attack in Kabul that killed six Italian soldiers, the calls for withdrawal from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Northern League leader Umberto Bossi were the predictable reflexes of political survivors who have been through this dance before. ...now that Italy has suddenly been called on to pay a price in blood for this cause that other countries have already paid in abundance (51 US troops died in August alone, 830 have died in all, and 214 British troops have been killed to date), we virtually have no choice but to reconsider the pros and cons of our participation in what is no longer a peace mission but a full-fledged war. We are reminded of the words spoken 10 days ago by Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai's main adversary in the elections: "It is going to be difficult for the allied governments to justify their support for the result of an election on which hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent and for which many NATO soldiers have died, but which is turning into a tragic farce."
Afghan-International Security Force Stops Militants in Khowst, Kandahar -- [ISAF]
An Afghan and international security joint force detained several suspected militants today, after searching a series of buildings in Khowst province and compounds in Kandahar province.
NZ sends elite troops back to Afghanistan -- [ABC]
By New Zealand correspondent Kerrie Ritchie At a press conference this afternoon, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key confirmed 71 SAS troops had flown into
Saving Private Allen -- [News Of The World]
Minutes after this picture Andy was blown up. But medics dedicated themselves to..
Just 18 MINUTES LATER the young father-to-be is caught in the blast of a deadly improvised explosive device. His right leg is torn off, his left leg shredded and his eyes blinded. Terrified pals see the 19-year-old's British soldier's mangled body in a pool of blood and believe he is dead.
But he lets out a moan - and their frantic efforts to save him followed by months of intensive work by specialist doctors, nurses and therapists means he SURVIVES . . . and even gets to see his new baby.
Bloggin' catch-up - Trading covers... -- [3rd Time, New Country]
This will be a long-winded catch-up blog because it has been 2 weeks since my last entry. So much has happened yet I have been seriously slacking on updating this blog. Let me recap since I posted last... My first trip was to the Annex Hospital which is part of NMH but approximately 7 or 8 klicks away. It consists of a psych ward, a medical hold ward, and a TB ward. After our visit, we determined that it is mostly a redundant hospital and it would be better to transfer the majority of the staff back to NMH. NMH only has 1/3 of the nurses it needs to provide adequate care to the patients.
Eid and Range time -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
Today is the end of the month of Fasting- Ramadan. For the next 3 to 4 days families all over Afghanistan will be getting together to exchange presents and feast. No mentoring will be going on over this Holiday period. My team will be very busy once Eid is over, but the next three days will be our last leisurely ones for a while.
A Few Pictures -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
This last mission was a four day trip and my first one in the turret. Just me, the wind, an M240B, and Elmo.
PRT engineers get bird's eye view of Kunar roads, bridges -- [PRT-Kunar]
"Overall, we all were very happy with the progress on the various ongoing road and bridge projects we saw on the flight, and we're hoping they're finished before winter starts," he said. "These roads and bridges are connecting the people here to their local, provincial and national government."
According to Daniel Dunleavy, USACE liaison to PRT-Kunar and native of Winchester, Va., the roads and bridges are improving provincial development by promoting commerce and transportation. "If you give people mobility, you bring in prosperity. An example is the Bar Shultan Bridge in the Shigal Valley. They're now building a bazaar on the other side of the bridge where before there was nothing," he said about the recently completed PRT project.
Iraq arrests 52 al-Qaida members -- [Xinhua]
Iraqi authorities detained 52 members of the underground al-Qaida organization Monday in a town south of Baghdad,...
Copter Crash Kills U.S. Soldier in Iraq -- [NY Times]
The crash occurred Saturday night at the air base in Balad, the largest American airfield in Iraq. The helicopter, a UH-60 Black Hawk, is the one most widely used in Iraq, regularly ferrying troops between the country's major bases.
The statement provided no details of the cause of the crash. Since it occurred inside the sprawling base, it appeared unlikely to be a result of hostile fire.
At Camp Virginia, Kuwait -- [Life at Joint Base Balad - leaving Iraq]
We spent about 5 hours just sitting on buses after we arrived, which annoyed me greatly. We got on buses after getting off the C-17, then got off to clear weapons, and got back on. Then we got off for a silly briefing, then got back on. Then got off to load luggage, then got back on. Then got off for another silly briefing, and got back on. We finally arrived at our tents at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, around midnight.
The Planetarium -- [Far From Perfect - in Iraq]
Here I sit in the dark at almost 1am in my little 4 foot by 6 foot space. I am under 2 layers of cover due to the overactive ECU, and my somewhat stinky PT clothes dangle 12 inches over my head because thats the only hook I have in my spot. There are 8 other people in the newly dubbed "Planetarium" sleeping quietly in their own little 4x6 spaces on their own cots, probably freezing as well. Funny thing is, its probably in the mid-70s to low 80s in the tent, but we are so used to 120+ degrees that 80 feels more like an Alaskan winter than a Florida summer. There are low rise concrete barriers surrounding the tent, and we hope to get the insulating foam covering sometime this week.
Is the U.S. About to Dump Syria? -- [Michael Totten]
Hussain Abdul-Hussain reports in Kuwait's Arabic-language daily Al Rai that the Obama administration has quietly decided not to return an ambassador to Syria as promised. He quotes unnamed officials who say president Bashar Assad is blackmailing the United States and its neighbors while conceding nothing in negotiations.
Obama set to slash nuclear arsenal -- [The Guardian]
Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks -- Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal, the Guardian can reveal.
Israel Will Not Attack Iran, Says Kremlin -- [The Times]
Israel has promised the Kremlin that it will not launch an attack on Iran, according to President Medvedev. Publicly at least, Israeli leaders have always refused to rule out the possiblity of a military strike against Iran's nuclear programme if it refuses to stop enriching uranium. But Mr Medvedev said that Shimon Peres, his Israeli counterpart, gave such an assurance during a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi last month. In an interview with CNN aired today, Mr Medvedev said an Israeli assault would be "the worst thing that can be imagined", leading to "a humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well".
Obama Foreign Policy Advisor Calls For US to Shoot Down Israeli Jets -- [Gateway Pundit]
Last year Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to former US president Jimmy Carter, described the Bush administration's policy of maintaining the option of military action against Iran as "counterproductive."
Now Brzezinski, who advises Obama on foreign policy, is calling for the US to shoot down Israeli jets.
Our Missile-Defense Race Against Iran -- [Wall Street Journal]
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Obama administration's decision last Thursday to scrap missile-defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic is that it was so long in coming. The handwriting has been on the wall since February, when President Barack Obama sent Russian President Dmitry Medvedev a secret letter proffering a quid pro quo of sorts to the Kremlin. The deal was simple...
As Talks With US Near, Iran Denies Nuclear Arms Effort -- [Washington Post]
On the eve of a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United States, Iran's supreme leader charged Sunday that the United States is falsely accusing the Islamic republic of trying to develop nuclear weapons, state television reported. The remarks come after President Obama on Thursday canceled a plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe that was officially intended to thwart possible Iranian attacks. Earlier this month, the US representative to the United Nations nuclear watchdog said that Iran had enough low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon. "The US officials who claim that the Iranian missiles are dangerous or that we are seeking to produce atomic bombs know themselves that such statements are false," said Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Barack Obama in Diplomatic Dance to Avoid Gaddafi and Ahmadinejad at UN -- [The Times]
President Obama will get his much-sought photo opportunity with two Middle Eastern leaders when he makes his UN debut this week - but he will spend the rest of the time avoiding two others. The White House has announced that Mr Obama will host a meeting of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, tomorrow as he makes his first appearance at the annual UN General Assembly session. Mr Obama is performing a carefully choreographed diplomatic dance. American diplomats have been busy behind the scenes trying to ensure that his star turn on the world stage is not marred by any uncomfortable encounters with the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
Decapitation Terrorizes Al Qaeda -- [Strategy Page]
While the terrorist groups are concerned about the losses, especially among the leadership, what alarms them the most is how frequently the American UAVs are finding their key people. The real problem the terrorists have is that someone is ratting them out. Someone, or something, is helping the Americans find the terrorist leaders. It wasn't always that way. In 2007, there were only five UAV attacks, compared to three in 2006, one in 2005 and one in 2004. Back then, it wasn't just the lack of identified targets that kept the UAVs away, but fewer UAVs, and Pakistani resistance to American UAVs making attacks inside Pakistan (even though the targets were terrorists attacking Pakistanis, including senior leaders.) By 2008, the Pakistanis changed their mind
New York City Terror Plot and the Post-9/11 Catch-22 -- [PJM - Rusty Shackleford]
Do we arrest potential terrorists too early and allow them to plead to lesser charges? Or do we wait and risk an attack?
How seriously has law enforcement taken the plot? Serious enough for the FBI to have sent out warnings to local law enforcement to be on the lookout for bombs and bomb-making material.
Was a terrorist attack "imminent"? ...We may never know how close the alleged plotters were to actually carrying out their attacks. If this New York Post article is to be believed, sometime prior to the raid Zazi was warned that he was the subject of an FBI investigation. A friend of Zazi's apparently was questioned by the FBI about him. He then notified an imam who in turned warned Zazi's family.
Were the plotters then aware that the FBI was interested in them? That seems to be the implication. If so, one is left to wonder whether or not there was time for Zazi and his associates to get rid of important evidence.
The most troubling aspect of the story, if true, was the reaction by the imam to warn Zazi not to help the FBI or the NYPD root out a possible ring of terrorists among the local Muslim community.
Bank of America Removes American Flags Honoring Dead Marine -- [Captain's Journal]
The branch in Lexington [Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina, United States of America] refuses to fly the flag the tellers tell me they have on site. The flag pole has been naked for over 2 years now. It is a disgrace, and a poke in the eye."
So should BofA rename their corporation to bank of Russia? Is it Bank of America, or is it not? With whose offense were they worried? Really. Who, exactly, would have come into the bank and demanded that an American flag be removed for a Marine who perished in Afghanistan? And why would Bank of AMERICA have cared?
What corporate policy was in effect?
I lost my son -- let's save other returning warriors -- [A World Away]
From Kathy Rodrick of Racine.
Hello, I am a mother of a Marine who recently committed suicide.
I have a few ideas that I would like someone to listen to and maybe adapt. Let's do this so we can help our soldiers. First, according to the VFW NEWS WISCONSIN, the VA's Suicide Prevention Program Adds Chat Service. This is a wonderful idea but I think it is too hard for soldiers to access. How many people do not have a computer and how long will it take to begin talking to a live source. I think that a business card with the front of it saying something like, "SUICIDE IS NOT PAINLESS TO THE LOVE ONE LEFT BEHIND" with the phone number of someone they can speak to instantly. This is something they should be given at their debriefing, something they are told to put in their wallet. At this time, I would impress upon them ...
Get ready for Laughing Wolf's BBQ at Landstuhl! -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
We're very excited to be hosting Blackfive's Laughing Wolf, chef extraodinaire, while he cooks for our patients at the Landstuhl USO's Warrior Center on Sunday.
Gates breaks the ice -- [FlightLines]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates walked into the lions den and lived to tell about it. He understood he hadn't made many friends within the Air Force Association over the past year, especially after ending F-22 production.
There he was, though, at their annual conference on Sept. 16 addressing the same organization that has outspokenly criticized the defense secretary saying he has put the nation at risk against future Chinese and Russian threats. What sent the national media rushing to their laptops was his announcement that the Air Force would take back control of the new aerial refueling tanker contract.
Airmen Celebrate Air Force's Birthday in AOR -- [DVIDS - in Iraq]
More than 200 service members attended a ceremony celebrating the Air Force's 62nd birthday at Al Faw palace Sept. 18.
Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Force Central Command commander, was in attendance as well as Maj. Gen. Joseph Reynes Jr., Air Component Coordination Element director, who served as the keynote speaker for the evening.
Upon arrival at the palace, attendees mingled during a social time before proceeding to the ball room for the official ceremony.
Parade gives troops a belated welcome home -- [phillyBurbs.com]
A little more than a year ago, Pierce was patrolling the same streets of Burlington City that held a welcome home parade in honor of his Company C 1-114th ...
No place like home, Marseilles welcomes troops home from Afghan war -- [MyWebTimes]
Once dismissed, families, friends and troops rushed into each other's arms for long, lingering hugs and soft whispers of welcome home. ...
Soldiers Return To Heroes Welcome In Marion -- [WSIL TV]
From quality time with their wives, to kisses from their kids, the troops were finally at home. And truly amazed with the welcome they received.
Schofield soldiers back after year in Iraq -- [Honolulu Star-Bulletin]
The returning 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team "Bronco Brigade" soldiers were deployed in Sala ad Din province in northern Iraq.
Today's "That Crazy New Media" Moment -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
I think that everyone in the Army got an e-mail today regarding "MI Space" (Military Intelligence Space), the new social networking tool for military intelligence. The e-mail even advertises an MI-Space Twitter page--which means that the Army really has embraced Web 2.0, down to the annoying spam e-mails asking for web traffic. Will they be asking me to check out their hot webcam pics next?
Anyway, I heard someone open his e-mail and exclaim "MI Space! Is this a joke e-mail?"
As he read a little further, he screamed "Twitter!? Have these guys ever heard of OPSEC?!"
Skype! -- [In the Narmy - in Iraq]
Not sure if I have told everyone or anyone, but I have been able to communicate with Christina over here using a program called Skype. Not sure if it is very popular in the states or if anyone even knows what it is. For the sake of the blog, I'll just assume everyone is clueless about it.
Skype is a program you can download to your computer for free. Once on your computer, you can use Skype to make calls to other people who have Skype on their computers. These calls are completely free.
Obama open to newspaper bailout bill -- [The Hill]
The president said he is "happy to look at" bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.
"I haven't seen detailed proposals yet, but I'll be happy to look at them," Obama
Newspaper journalism gets words of praise Print media's role vital, Obama says -- [Toledo Blade]
Saying he is a "big newspaper junkie," President Obama expressed hope on Friday that newspapers can find their way through the financial crisis most are now mired in. -- In an Oval Office interview with editors...
Obama, in Media Blitz, Snubs 'Whining' Fox -- [ABC News]
President to Hit All Sunday News Talk Shows, Except Network That Skipped His Speech -- As President Barack Obama goes on an unprecedented presidential blitz of media appearances, the White House is in a war of words with the network that did not get an interview:
The Democrats' Hypocrisy -- [RealClear Politics]
When Obama picked Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, the left applauded because they liked the contrast with President George W. Bush. Shinseki was their hero because he had told Congress that the Bush administration should send "several hundred thousand"
U.S. troops to Iraq in 2003. Bush, Democrats used to argue, should have listened to the generals -- by which they meant Shinseki, not the other generals who suggested lower troop numbers -- and put smart military strategy before politics.
Now there is a push among top military personnel to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000 planned by the end of the year.
Funny. You don't hear many Democrats demanding now that Obama put aside politics and give top brass the extra troops they say they need to succeed in Afghanistan.
Democrats to Obama: Um, what exactly are we getting for selling out Poland to Russia? -- [Hot Air]
What are you getting? You're getting the same thing you got when he sold out Honduras to Chavez over that non-coup "coup" they staged: The warm fuzzy glow of knowing that George Bush would heartily disapprove.
And that's the way it is -- [Greyhawk]
We've been checking the White House video archive for the addition of the video of the Medal of Honor ceremony for Sergeant First Class Jared Monti held last Thursday - as yet it is not there. Obviously not everything the President says and does merits inclusion, and lag time should be expected for those events that do. Certainly the staff is to be commended for their ability to get video posted immediately (other events from that day and later are up) and forgiven for whatever unfortunate delay is evident in this case.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq, Afghanistan, War, Terrorism, Military, Politics, Media, MilBlogs, Dawn Patrol, Mudville
Gates Calls for Patience on Afghanistan Troop Decision -- [Defense Link]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today defended the president's plan to keep the recent Afghanistan assessment classified and said the decision to send more troops there should be weighed carefully. "There's been a lot of talk this week and the last two or three weeks about Afghanistan," Gates said during a briefing at the Pentagon. "And frankly, from my standpoint, everybody ought to take a deep breath."
General David Petraeus: Allied Failure 'Would Intoxicate Terrorists' -- [The Times]
The Taleban have grown in strength and influence as the fortunes of the coalition forces have deteriorated in Afghanistan, the overall commander of US forces in the Middle East said last night. General David Petraeus said that the challenges in Afghanistan were "serious", that they required a sustained and substantial commitment and that there were "no quick fixes". The new head of the British Army, General Sir David Richards, also warned last night that Nato had yet to find the right formula for success in Afghanistan.
General Sir David Richards: Afghans Losing Patience with NATO 'Failure' -- [Daily Telegraph]
General Sir David Richards, the new head of the British Army, has said that Afghans are losing patience with NATO's "failure" to deliver progress in the battle with the Taliban. Sir David insisted that the alliance can still succeed in Afghanistan, but warned that Western forces risk losing the support of the Afghan population.
Bullseye -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour]
Today we woke up before the sun rose to prepare for an important mission. We were returning to the shooting range. As I have mentioned before, working in the joint environment has its challenges. Today's mission was to resolve another one of those unique service peculiarities. Despite going through Army training at Fort Riley and being trained on crew serve weapons (.50 cal, M-240 Machine gun, etc); the Air Force does not recognize this type of training, even though the Army training is much harder and more realistic.
Camp Eggers Volunteer Community Relations -- [Highland Sailor - in Afghanistan]
The Camp Eggers Volunteer Community Relations (VCR) program enhances the partnership with the people of Afghanistan while providing a venue for US and Coalition troops to assist others. Through this program, Camp Eggers VCR volunteers interact with local nationals at various locations in the Kabul area, including schools, orphanages, medical centers and Internally Displaced Persons camps. The Afghan people in these locations are not as fortunate as we are and could greatly benefit from your support to improve their quality of life. With winter coming, items like gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, coats, and blankets are critical. Conservative clothing for men, women, and children are also needed. Shoes, non-electronic toys, school supplies, and hygiene items are of great assistance too.
Two al Qaeda leaders reported killed in North Waziristan strike -- [LWJ - Matrix - Bill Roggio]
Two senior al Qaeda commanders are thought to have been killed in the most recent airstrike in Pakistan's tribal areas. Ilyas Kashmiri and Nazimuddin Khilalof (or Najmuddin Jalolov) are said to have been killed during the Sept. 14 airstrike in the village of Turikhel near the town of Mir Ali in Taliban-controlled North Waziristan, according to a report in Geo News. The report has not been confirmed, and US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on the status of Kashmiri and Nazimuddin. Ilyas Kashmiri is considered by US intelligence to be one of al Qaeda's most dangerous commanders. He is the operational chief of the Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HuJI), an al Qaeda-linked terror group that operates in Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Kashmiri was recently listed as the fourth most wanted terrorist by Pakistan's Interior Ministry.
Turkish Delight -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
Today was another banner day.
I went along to witness the turnover of a new Provincial Police Headquarters compound in a nearby area.
The ride was better than most in the back of an MRAP. I got to talk Afghan politics and learn some Dari from an interpreter who was in the back as well.
Bring Down the Government; They Don't, They Don't Speak for Us -- [Registan]
Ajmal Samadi is talking a lot of sense in RFE/RL: "In order to lift Afghanistan from its current political crisis and most effectively address the growing accusations of election fraud, the international community should pressure Karzai to transfer power to a transitional administration that would run the government until the election controversy is resolved and a new president is sworn in... But ironically, in addition to helping legitimize a tainted election, a well-designed transitional authority could help overcome the structural deficiencies in the Bonn arrangements that have endangered Afghanistan's development. For instance, the National Assembly - which has been effectively marginalized in recent years - can play a pivotal role in authorizing and organizing an emergency transitional administration in line with Afghan law.
Taliban militants 'can be turned' -- [BBC]
The British general tasked with persuading Taliban militants to stop fighting in Afghanistan has said the mission is "do-able".
Gen Sir Graeme Lamb was giving his first interview since taking up his new role after conducting similar negotiations with insurgents in Iraq.
Afghan mission becoming impossible task -- [Globe and Mail]
Canada's Afghanistan mission is falling short of its goals as violence and instability continue to worsen in Kandahar and across the country.
...The report notes that, rather than attempting to disrupt the Taliban in Kandahar province as a whole, Canada is shifting its focus to maintaining stability in the capital Kandahar city and its environs.
These scaled-back expectations make sense, said David Bercuson, director of the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, and Canada was foolish not to keep its ambitions more modest years ago when its Kandahar commitment began in earnest. "We never had the troops to cover the entire province. I understand people believed we did, but that was clearly a miscalculation..."
Sounds of Slippage -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
This afternoon's explosion in Kabul that killed Italian soldiers and Afghan civilians was a reminder that here -- unlike in other world capitals -- time is measured in human lives as well as days and hours. All the more reason to be concerned by media noise about America's loss of political momentum on Afghanistan, right? Well, yes, but probably not as much as the noisemakers think.
There are two general misperceptions about the current security situation in Afghanistan and the American response to it that are running amok at the moment. The volume at which multiple bloviators are repeating these misperceptions tends to drown out the more muted realities. Misperception #1. ....
Thursday Thoughts -- [Ramblings from a painter]
We continue to have internet problems here in our barracks. Apparently, our influx of new residents has overloaded their antique server. So for four of the past five nights, our internet has crashed hard. I've been very frustrated. Living in a war zone is such a bitch! I discovered this new brand of potato chips in our DFAC. The name says it all. Well, no, it doesn't. Yesterday was a big day for those of us who are Navy. It was the Chiefs' promotion. Unlike the other services, when an enlisted sailor is promoted to E7, he or she enters into a whole new realm of responsibility.
Blogger's Roundtable: COIN in Afghanistan -- [Grim - BlackFive]
We spoke with COL Daniel Roper, the director of the US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center at FT Leavenworth. He has been in this role since July 2007, when the Surge was really kicking off. The Colonel is nuclear-physicist smart -- literally, he has a Master's Degree in nuclear physics. If you want to know the long-term prognosis for our counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, then, this is one of the guys you should want to tap.
Biden Meets With Kurdish Leaders on Iraqi Oil -- [Voice of America]
US Vice President Joe Biden has traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to press Kurdish leaders to compromise on the controversial issue of sharing Iraq's oil wealth. Biden met Thursday in Irbil with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani. The vice president had been expected to urge passage of a hydrocarbon law that would define oil revenue sharing and clarify rules for foreign firms investing in Iraq's oil and gas fields.
Crossroads -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
Today I find myself at a crossroads. I have received my orders for my post deployment duty assignment. It's a sort of homecoming for me. Career minded soldiers in the military bounce from place to place hoping to return to that favorite base; a place where we have been two or three times before and identify it as somewhere we call home. I got what I wanted. What I also got was a guaranteed deployment next December to Afghanistan. The job I have will be cushy. No more patrolling the streets. I'll sit behind a computer in a fortified, air conditioned building, next to a giant mess hall with all the fixins, watching my weight slowly climb as I drink Diet Coke and eat little bags of Salt and Vinegar chips. My second deployment is wrapping up; the next one will be my third. It will only be 6 or 7 months (when I tell my civilian friends this they say, "Only?") depending on when I arrive, but it will be 6 or 7 more months, away from my wife and away from my kids.
Spinning Up -- [Far from Perfect - in Iraq]
What happens when we get an Urgent MEDEVAC request comes down? A lot of things happen in a very short amount of time to make sure that the call gets answered.
First, as the 9-line will come down one of two ways usually: by phone or by mIRC. when the mIRC goes off, The 9-line streams across the screen in red to alert Flight Operations to the call. They pick up the radio and announce "Mission, Mission Mission!" alerts the crews that a mission has come down. From the time the computer sounds off, we have 15 minutes to be in the air enroute, we usually d it in less than 10.
Eight Minutes and Gone -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
From the time the Medevac call comes in, the first pair of Blackhawks in the rotation have fifteen minutes to be airborne. Actually, the standard for our Medevac unit is eight minutes, the Army standard is 15. When I heard the call at the Medevac hangar I went straight out to where the birds sit in low blast walls waiting to take off. The crew chiefs of both birds were already getting the aircraft ready for flight. The medic ran to the Evac bird, the door gunner ran to the chase bird. Within three minutes the twin turbojet engines were screaming and the huge rotor blades were starting to turn. I walked along the revetment walls to the front of the aircraft so I could watch the takeoff from directly under their flight path. The main rotor turned faster and faster. I moved to a dead air spot where I was not being buffeted by the wind from the main rotors. The tail roters were spinning crazy fast looking like they might pick the whole aircraft up from the back.
Major Wisconsin Guard operation ends as last detainee leaves Bucca -- [A World Away]
The Army announced this afternoon that the final 186 detainees have been moved out of Camp Bucca today. Several units of Wisconsin National Guard soldiers had been operating Bucca's detention facilities.
Several Wisconsin units continue working on other missions at Bucca.
Iraqi Predicts Fraud in Election -- [Washington Times]
A leading Iraqi Sunni legislator said Thursday that parliamentary elections scheduled for January will likely be rife with fraud and intimidation unless the United Nations monitors the vote and Iraq changes its electoral laws. Saleh al-Mutlaq also warned editors and reporters of The Washington Times that another four years of what he called sectarian Shi'ite government would damage Iraq beyond the ability of anyone to repair it. Mr. al-Mutlaq, a secular Sunni who is aligned with former prime minister Iyad Allawi, accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Dawa party, of being too scared of Iran to oppose its influence and too sectarian to be a good leader of Iraq.
Move over Humvee! -- [In the NARMY now - in Iraq]
From what I've been seeing around here lately, It appears the Humvee may have fought its final battle. I'm seeing less and less Humvee's and more and more MRAPS (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected). These things are beasts. The only thing that I could see being a problem, although I've never driven one, is there shape and size. I can see it tipping over on uneven terrain more than a humvee would, and it may also be harder to navigate through an urban setting with one of these. But, that same size and shape is the likely reason they are mine resistant. I'm gonna have to do some poking around and see if I can score a ride on one of these!
Secrets don't make friends -- [Sorority Soldier - in Iraq]
When you're deployed, people think they're protecting you by not burdening you with the problems of home. Last deployment it was the threat of divorce, a family member getting a credit card in my name thinking they could pay it off before I knew. This week, divorce isn't a threat, but imminent and has been since May. I just found out.
I realize why people keep this stuff from me - they think I'm stressed out and don't want to put anything on my plate. What they don't understand is I want normalcy. I want to be treated as if I'm at home....
Frickin been there done that!! -- [One Marine's View]
Its known that we service members like to kinda flaunt our number of deployments at times. Perhaps it's a pride thing. Well, I've found a cool sticker that lets you show how many times you have deployed. Check it out here: http://www.yagamaga.com/ (Many to choose from)
Constitution Day -- [Greyhawk]
Most definitely noteworthy: "On September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history."
White House Scraps Bush's Approach to Missile Shield -- [New York Times]
President Obama scrapped his predecessor's proposed antiballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe on Thursday and ordered instead the development of a reconfigured system designed to shoot down short- and medium-range Iranian missiles. In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama canceled former President George W. Bush's plans to station a radar facility in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. Instead, he plans to deploy smaller SM-3 interceptors by 2011, first aboard ships and later in Europe, possibly even in Poland or the Czech Republic. Mr. Obama said that the new system "will provide stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies" to meet a changing threat from Iran. Administration officials cited what they called accumulating evidence that Iran had made more progress than anticipated in building short- and medium-range missiles that could threaten Israel and Europe than it had in developing the intercontinental missiles that the Bush system was more suited to counter.
Barack Obama Abandons European Missile Shield to Delight of Russians -- [Daily Telegraph]
President Barack Obama has abandoned plans for a missile defence system based in Eastern Europe in a move which angered allies but delighted Russia, which vehemently opposed the move. The White House claimed the decision was based on a new assessment that Iran's long-range missile programme was not as advanced as previously thought, thereby lessening the threat to Europe and the United States. In a major break with President George W. Bush's policies, Mr Obama opted not to deploy a sophisticated radar system in the Czech Republic or 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. The decision angered Czech and Polish allies but was welcomed in Moscow where leaders had publicly scoffed at the idea that Iran posed a serious threat to the US.
A Curious Justification -- [Weekly Standard]
During a press briefing on Thursday, President Obama explained his administration's decision to cancel the deployment of land-based missile defense systems in Eastern Europe this way:
"...we have updated our intelligence assessment of Iran's missile programs, which emphasizes the threat posed by Iran's short and medium range missiles, which are capable of reaching Europe."
In his own press briefing, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates elaborated. He explained that the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) believes Iran's long-range missile capability has been "slower to develop" than predicted and, therefore, the threat is "not as immediate as previously thought."
Does this mean that the threat of Iran deploying long-range missiles sometime in the next five to ten years has gone away? No. Instead, ...
Poland Reacts to Obama's Snubbing: Treason! The US Sold Us to Russia -- [Gateway Pundit]
Strategic ally? Mainstay of our security? End of illusions. United States of America, for which we have for each call, turned his back to us. U.S. President lightly tossed into the trash heap construction of the Poland and the Czech anti-missile shield.
Iran Lashes Out at France for Remarks on Nuclear Program -- [Voice of America]
Iran's Foreign Ministry has criticized French President Nicholas Sarkozy for saying Iran is working on creating nuclear weapons.
MASSIVE PROTESTS IN IRAN On Qods Day (Video) -- [Gateway Pundit]
It is the first mass demonstration in two months.
Here is video from Tehran-- Tens of thousands are marching:
People are screaming: OBAMA, OBAMA YOUR CONVERSATION SHOULD BE WITH US...in Farsi it rhymes. Banafsheh Zand Bonazzi is following the revolt against the regime.
Save Me Lord, But Not Just Yet -- [Strategy Page]
In Britain, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has now been investigating defense manufacturer BAE for six years, seeking to prosecute cases where the company used bribes to obtain contracts from foreign nations. The SFO has already been overruled, in some cases, by its own government, even though it had evidence of crimes committed. The government tried to keep all this secret. But last year, Britain's external intelligence agency, MI6, was forced to admit that they told British prosecutors that Saudi Arabia threatened to stop sharing information in Islamic terrorists, if an investigation of Saudi corruption went forward. This investigation involved over $100 million in bribes paid to Saudi officials to ensure that British firms got weapons contracts. The Saudis consider the bribes a part of their culture, and immune from British prosecution.
FBI Again Questions Immigrant in Terror Probe -- [Wall Street Journal]
An airport shuttle driver at the center of a federal terrorism investigation returned Thursday for further questioning by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Denver, a day after federal agents searched his apartment and interviewed him for eight hours. Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old immigrant from Afghanistan, provided a DNA swab, a handwriting sample and fingerprints during his eight-hour interrogation on Wednesday afternoon and evening, according to one of his attorneys, Armstrong Graham.
The Menace Of Murderous Militant Morons -- [Strategy Page]
In many parts of the world, especially among young Moslem men, Islamic terrorism has become fashionable. It's a coping mechanism for failure. More than half a century after the Arab world once more became free (first from centuries of Turkish rule in 1918, then a few decades of European supervision), the truth has sunk in. While the rest of the world prospered during the last half century, the Arabs are still uneducated, unproductive, poor and ruled by tyrants and kings. What are young Moslems to make of this?
1239 Heroes awaiting Adoption -- [Soldiers Angels]
When you adopt you are committing to sending a card or letter each week, and a minimum of 1 or 2 care packages a month. This is one of the most important things that can be done to help bring home a healthy hero; it is so very important for each of them to know they are loved and supported, and your letters and care packages prove just that. The length of each adoption depends on the branch of service your soldier is in and a number of other factors, but generally averages between six (6) months to twelve (12) months. On occasion, they can be extended, but this is the average.
Care packages do not have to be expensive: you can put together your own
'The greatest and most horrific experience' -- [Soldiers Angels Germany]
Opthamologist Dr. (Maj.) Matthew Hammond talks about his three-year experience serving at Landstuhl Hospital. He returned home to Logan, UT at the beginning of August.
..."Treating a soldier or civilian who has been injured by an IED is like treating a patient with multiple gunshot wounds, picking out each of the hundreds of fragments of metal, dirt granite, pebbles and grains of sands from a patient's eyes," Hammond said.
The Power of Seeking Help -- [A Soldiers Perspective]
...One of the things I wanted to do was convince troops out there that it's okay to seek help. The Army has made a very public plea to troops to get help without worrying about their jobs. I promised to document this here and I plan to do so honestly and openly.
Let me start by saying that my unit completely pissed me off after my announcement. After reading my post, my higher headquarters undermined my efforts to seek personal help and performed a command referral citing ONLY what I had written and not my job performance, actions, or leadership ability. How can I tell Soldiers about the self-referral process when I'm now being FORCED into counseling?
It's important to understand what a command referral is since it's not always negative.
Vets impatient with GI Bill payment delays -- [Army Times]
The Veterans Affairs Department is thanking colleges and universities for being patient about waiting for tuition payments for people using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, warning that it could take another six to eight weeks to completely catch up.
Presentation of Medal of Honor: Sergeant First Class Jared Monti -- [Greyhawk]
...A very low-key event, no front-page notice on the White House web site, little attention paid thus far beyond local (Boston area, in this case) and military media.
2009 National POW/MIA Recognition Day -- [Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office]
A Pentagon ceremony for National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be held on Friday, Sept.18, 2009. This ceremony will feature troops from each of the military services. The President is expected to issue a proclamation commemorating the observances and reminding the nation of those Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.
Army Camo Woes -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
I am beginning to think that the Army's selection of the current Universal Camouflage Pattern might be one of the most embarrassing scandals to hit the Army in recent years. In previous posts in this blog (located here and here), I've questioned the logic of picking a pattern which was proven to be the worst-performing of the patterns which made it to the final phase of testing. But who am I to question the decisions of Program Executive Office-Soldier ("PEO Soldier"), the organization which is responsible for equipping all Soldiers in the US Army?
Home at last -- [My trip to BAF - home from Afghanistan]
Pease Greeters welcome home returning troops -- [Seacoastonline.com]
PORTSMOUTH -- More than 200 Seacoast residents joined the Pease Greeters to welcome home troops from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard...
More soldiers return this weekend -- [Rockford Register Star]
Pfc. Ryan Krugjohann, of Rockford, salutes the flag while helping welcome home troops from the Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion ...
World War II veterans return to hero's welcome after Honor Flight -- [Herald & Review]
As if this wasn't enough to bear for old soldiers who returned home from their war as young men without much fanfare, a bagpiper in full regalia,
I was on the BBC World Service Last Sunday -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
On September 11, just after my blog was linked to the "At War" blog, a producer for the BBC World service called and asked if they could interview me for a story on military blogs and blogging. I agreed and the link blow is the result. It's a 6-minute interview and I am about the last four minutes.
This kind of war -- [Greyhawk]
You may have heard...
Witnesses said foreign troops swept into the town on helicopters, fired missiles from an attack helicopter, killed Nabhan and another terrorist, and captured two others after wounding them, Mareeg reported. Nabhan's body was recovered, ABC News later reported.
...or you may not have heard. Apparently Kanye West chose that moment to seize a microphone, prompting a brief quip from the president that was twittered to the public by a reporter while congress voted to censure a politician who called a politician a liar and expert panels were formed for on-camera discussions of racism in America as news of the suppression of the news about ACORN was... well, you get the picture.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq, Afghanistan, War, Terrorism, Military, Politics, Media, MilBlogs, Dawn Patrol, Mudville
Mullen Says More Forces 'Probably' Needed in Afghanistan -- [FOX News]
Adm. Mike Mullen was warmly received Tuesday at a confirmation hearing for his second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but there were sharp differences over further increasing a U.S. force in Afghanistan which President Obama nearly doubled this year.
Gates Weighs Need for More Troops in Afghanistan -- [Defense Link]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has yet to reach a final decision on the prospect of sending more troops to Afghanistan if additional forces are requested, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. While the Defense Department has yet to receive a formal appeal for more forces from Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, a request for resources from the general due in coming weeks could include such an appeal. "The secretary's thinking on this as a work in progress," Morrell said, speaking to Pentagon reporters about Gates' deliberation. "He is undecided on this issue and is still debating it himself, still analyzing it himself, and has yet to come to a final resolution." Gates' thinking on the prospect of a larger force in Afghanistan has evolved from his original position that an "increased footprint" could alienate the United States from the Afghan population, Morrell said.
Operational Design in Afghanistan -- [SWJ - Starbuck]
In the past two days, the debate has heated up at Small Wars Journal between two exceptionally brilliant officers regarding the future of NATO and ISAF in Afghanistan. On one side of the debate is Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, author of a critique of military organizational culture entitled "A Failure in Generalship". The other is noted "COINtra", Col. Gian Gentile, a history professor at West Point.
FOB Wilson -- [Desert Bound - in Afghanistan]
...I can't give too much information right now on our move to Wilson, but you'll be hearing more about it in the next week or two. For me, living here is a bit different than Ramrod. We have some Canadians here (for the time being), and thankfully they have wireless internet. Which, is what I'm using right now. Unfortunately, when they leave, so does the internet. Hopefully, we'll have something set up so that the Soldiers can communicate back home. They don't even have phones hooked up for most of the Soldiers yet.
This is a very tiny FOB and we are in the process of expanding it...
Are those chili peppers and Afghan election update -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour -- in Afghanistan]
Earlier in the day I went to ANA land to plan for some future projects. MSG Abdullah will be extremely happy after the security fence is erected. Right now, much of the area is open and vehicles drive freely to the warehouse. Despite having a guard on duty, I think MSG Abdullah wants to protect his Miracle Gro Garden. Since he was at a meeting, I used this opportunity to tour his garden some more.
In the media -- [Embedded in Afghanistan...]
....As for the why...why we'd be out of uniform and unshaven at times...well, there's more to it than simply being nasty and undisciplined. For one thing, the Afghan elders and people respect a man with a beard. In fact when we and our ANA would go to a village the ANA commander would always ask to talk to the "spin gheri" which translates as "white beard". Now I'm not sure if the literal translation in Pashtu for "village elder" is "white beard" but that's how my Afghan commanders got their point across, pretty much indicating that in the Pashtu language and culture a beard is synonymous with seniority and authority. We certainly never once spoke to a man of any stature whatsoever that had no beard. The elders I habitually dealt with were dismayed (nearly as much as I) when I shaved a two-month beard I had going. I'm not sure being clean-shaven was any real detriment at the end of the day, but adopting a local custom is not always a bad thing, despite what our pre-deployment training told us about "not going native". I say go native sometimes where it serves you..
A Good Day -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
We made a trip to visit our Afghan Police counterparts in their downtown clinic today. We had a good visit with them, making progress on several issues. I have hopes that several of these projects will even be completed before my time to return home arrives. If even one of these projects is completed it would be a astounding. It would be like melting a glacier with a lighter; possible but it rarely happens. Here in Afghanistan time is not measured with watches.
...After getting back to our office I had another nice suprise. Construction is about to start on a huge clinic which will be located about 5 miles out in the desert.
Hail to the Chiefs -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
There was no ocean, nor even any water visible other than the sweat of those in attendance. Nonetheless ships bells were rung, sideboys posted, and time honored rituals were performed.
I have seen these three fine Sailors perform their duties with the ANA hospital mentoring team. The Navy did very well in...
Kabul -- [Highland Sailor - in Afghanistan]
After a 4 hour C-17 ride, I landed at Bagram Airfield north of Kabul. 24 hours later, I was on a C-130 headed for Kabul and a short, eye opening convoy to my new home. Very limited photos due to OPSEC. More to follow...
EXCLUSIVE: Taliban makes IEDs deadlier -- [Washington Times]
The change in production from metal-dominated explosives to devices made of plastic is making it more difficult for ground troops to detect the buried IEDs with portable mine-detectors, creating an "urgent need" inside the Pentagon for better detection devices, the report said.
The new Taliban tactics are disclosed in a confidential report from the Pentagon's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, portions of which were obtained by The Washington Times.
Afghan Election Recount Begins Before Final, Preliminary Results Released -- [Voice of America]
Afghan election officials have begun recounting disputed ballots from the August 20 presidential election. The recount amid fraud allegations leaves open the possibility of a second round for the disputed election. The recount, ordered by the Election Complaints Commission, began this week and comes before the full, election results have been announced.
After son's death in Iraq, father embeds with unit to tell his story -- [CNN]
When the news came, Darrell Griffin hurled the phone.
...After the funeral, Griffin knew that he had to finish the book as a final gift to his son. He also knew that it would have to be radically different than the philosophical essays Skip had envisioned. It would have to focus on Skip's death.
From the military, Griffin had received skimpy incident reports and the results of an autopsy. The only way he could fully tell his son's story would be to travel to Iraq and spend time with Skip's unit.
"I had to do it," Griffin said. "My life was incomplete. My son's life was incomplete."
Biden meets Iraq leaders in Baghdad -- [AFP]
BAGHDAD -- US Vice President Joe Biden was on Wednesday meeting Iraqi leaders on the second day of a visit to Baghdad, where on his arrival he was greeted with a barrage of rocket fire that killed two people.
Biden was holding talks with Nuri al-Maliki and would later in the day issue a joint statement with the Iraqi premier, a US embassy spokeswoman told AFP. He would also meet with American troops.
Forces join for humanitarian mission -- [MNF-I]
...The 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers and IA Soldiers delivered pencils, backpacks, and books to dozens of school girls during the mission, while U.S. and Iraqi medical personnel evaluated several women through free medical screenings.
This mission was an outreach by both U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to revive the spirit of local residents. With the ISF in charge of Iraq's security, U.S. forces can focus on helping the local populace through civil and social services until required to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
"Although we are leaving, we really want to show them that we haven't forgotten about them,"
Condoms, Latex, 20 EA -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
...Through our interpreters the discussions livened. We told jokes, talked of family, how our careers began. Some of the staff talked about the old Iraqi regime and how they quit the Army just before the 2003 invasion. They said, "We knew you weren't coming for us, you were coming for Saddam".
...He told me that he knew we weren't coming for him, but for Saddam Hussein, a sentiment echoed by other officers not four hours prior. He went home with his family to begin his new life. After the invasion, the AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) attempted to recruit him as their trainer to fight the Americans, build bombs, and lead portions of the AQI but he refused. Because of his connections, religion and his refusal to fight against the United States, his uncle, brother, and several other family members were killed, to include his 4 year old son that was killed during violence in the street. After that he moved his family as far from his home as possible and started his new life as a shop owner.
The Old and the New Places to Eat -- [Life at Joint Base Balad - in Iraq]
Construction workers have started to tear down my beloved old DFAC #2. At the start of the job, the scene looked like this:
Med-Evac -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
...When they get a call, team one goes and team two goes on alert. Yesterday there were two calls almost simultaneously. I got to watch the preparation and take-off. The first pair were gone inside of eight minutes--jumping from the pad where they rest into the air one right after the other.
But there were only three Blackhawks on the ready line, not four. It turns out the fourth was on an instrument check flight--guns mounted and ready to go. I watched as the crew chief and pilots made final checks and started up the lone medic bird on the ground. Just as the rotor blades started spinning quickly, the chase bird came into view in the southern sky.
Black Monday -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
Our drawdown is gaining steam. Today, most of our support contractors were notified that their services will no longer be required and that they'll soon be sent home. Some will leave in as soon as two days, while others will be here for two or, at most, three weeks.
I don't know quite how to make the impact of this event clear to you. Many of these people have been here for two, three, or more years. Some arrived in the summer of 2003, when the war was still fresh in everybody's memory. These people have seen our presence ramp up, they lived through the insurgency, they survived mortar and rocket attacks, and all the while they built bridges and water treatment plants, schools and electrical substations, clinics and oil pipelines, and literally thousands of other projects. Their corporate memory is phenomenal. But now we're drawing down, with only a couple hundred projects still ongoing and very few left to start. Fewer projects means fewer people to monitor and manage them. So all these people with all this experience are going home.
Behind the Pakistan Predator strikes -- [LWJ - The Matrix - Bill Roggio]
Graphic from the Chicago Tribune on the Predator/Reaper strike program. Click image to enlarge.
...The civilian casualties attributed to the drone strikes that have been reported by the Pakistanis and repeated uncritically by counterinsurgency experts such as David Killcullen and Andrew Exum in The New York Times are highly exaggerated and taken out of context.
Alexander Mayer and I took a look at the data behind the strikes, back on July 21. Sifting through the press reports, it became clear that the vast majority of those killed are Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.
Russian President Hints at U-turn over Iran Sanctions -- [The Times]
President Medvedev gave the first hint yesterday that Russia was prepared to perform a significant policy U-turn and support US moves for sanctions against Iran. Speaking in Moscow, the Russian leader went out of his way to be more conciliatory with the West before his visit this month to the US where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York and the G20 summit of economic powers in Pittsburgh. A key issue on the agenda will be efforts by America, Britain and France to impose economic sanctions against Tehran if the regime does not agree to curb its nuclear programme. It is widely expected that President Ahmadinejad of Iran, who will also be in New York, will reject any pressure from the international community.
NY Terror Raid Update: al Qaeda Connection? -- [Jawa Report]
Brian Ross over at The Blotter updated the story late last night, but I thought it deserved it's own post. Here are the further details:
1) The man who's trip to NYC triggered the investigation is called "Najibullah" by his friends.
2) He is an Afghan living in Denver.
3) He recently returned from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
4) He must spend more than a passing amount of time in NYC because he apparently has a mosque there where he regularly attends.
It is perhaps this last fact which is fueling the fire of the notion that there may either be an al Qaeda or related group connected here.
FBI unit set for more anti-terror raids in Queens; Fears of Madrid-style subway bombings - sources -- [Daily News]
Fearful of a Madrid-style subway train bombing, authorities are poised to make more raids to seize bomb-making materials at locations in Queens, sources said Wednesday.
The FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Squad arrived in New York in anticipation of the offensive to thwart a Denver-based terror cell with ties to Al Qaeda, police sources told the Daily News. Another source said an earlier raid uncovered nine backpacks and cell phones, raising memories of the March 2004 bombings in Madrid.
Video: "Martyrdom" Wills of Suicide Bombers Behind the Sept. 2008 Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The NEFA Foundation has obtained video-recorded "martyrdom" wills of the Al-Qaida suicide bombers responsible for the September 2008 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. In his address to the camera, assailant Lufti Bahr--a former cleric at a local mosque--mocked, "O' American aggressors, we have come to know cowards, but we have never found any people more cowardly than you. For this reason, only a few of us are needed to fight you, efficiently, at a minimum cost... To further clarify and explain these words, we have decided to teach you a practical lesson with our suitable methods--suitable methods for people such as you who are in our land, by Allah. And this lesson will also be demonstrated in your own homeland-and soon, Allah-willing."
Saudi Cleric To Al-Zawahiri: Renounce Extremist Ideology -- [MEMRI Blog]
During an MBC TV program marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, senior Saudi cleric Salman Al-'Oda called on Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri to reexamine his organization's ideology.
He said that there was a need for such reexamination because Al-Qaeda had caused the deaths of more Muslims than non-Muslims, and because its attacks in the West had been used for anti-Muslim incitement.
Spy Chief Says US Hunting al Qaeda More Effectively -- [Wall Street Journal]
US spy agencies are hunting al Qaeda and related groups more effectively because their understanding of Islamic extremists has improved significantly in recent years, the top U.S. spy chief said Tuesday as he released his first blueprint for US intelligence. Dennis Blair, director of national intelligence, sought to move past the vitriolic debates over the value of harsh interrogation methods, saying that "what has really made all the nations safer has been the accumulation of knowledge about al Qaeda and its affiliate groups, which enables us to be more aggressive in expanding that knowledge and stopping things before they happen.
US Should Simplify Terror Warning System, Panel Says -- [Washington Post]
A bipartisan task force recommended Tuesday that the Obama administration simplify and reset the US government's iconic color-coded terrorism warning system to the lowest of three new levels, if it keeps using levels at all. The findings, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she will share with the White House and national security officials, could lead to substantial changes to a widely panned but politically sensitive tool created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to alert the nation to threats. Since its inception, critics inside government and out have ridiculed the Homeland Security Advisory System - keyed to five colors running from green, or "low risk," to red, or "severe risk" - for being vague and unhelpful.
Who's Afraid of A Terrorist Haven? -- [Washington Post]
Rationales for maintaining the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan are varied and complex, but they all center on one key tenet: that Afghanistan must not be allowed to again become a haven for terrorist groups, especially al-Qaeda. Debate about Afghanistan has raised reasons to question that tenet, one of which is that the top al-Qaeda leadership is not even in Afghanistan, having decamped to Pakistan years ago. Another is that terrorists intent on establishing a haven can choose among several unstable countries besides Afghanistan, and US forces cannot secure them all. The debate has largely overlooked a more basic question: How important to terrorist groups is any physical haven? More to the point: How much does a haven affect the danger of terrorist attacks against US interests, especially the US homeland? The answer
The True Story on the Heroism of PFC Justin Casillas -- [Bouhammer]
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!
I am so humbled and honored when a family member of a fallen warrior reaches out to me via my blog. It has happened several times and I am always in awe that a family going through the tragedy of losing a loved one takes the time to reach out to me.
On July 6th, I wrote about two young paratroopers who were killed on the fourth of July whom were not old enough to even drink a beer.
I then wrote about this same incident again on September 2nd as there was a series of videos put together by the 4th BCT, 25th ID about the specific attack that happened on July 4th and these videos discuss the brave acts of one young man, PFC Justin Casillas.
Canines for Combat Vets -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
Canines for Combat Veterans (NEADS) was a once a Soldiers' Angels Charity of the Month. The program supplies assistance/service dogs to severely wounded veterans. Last month at the VFW National Convention, Soldiers' Angels New Media Director Greta Perry had the chance to meet NEADS/Canines for Combat Veterans personnel and find out what the organization has been up to.
'Operation: Hi Honey' Helps Deployed -- [Military.com]
Exchange Online Mall Partner to Provide Anniversary Surprise to 500 Spouses of Deployed Troops
DALLAS - Troops separated from loved ones due to deployment have the opportunity to surprise their spouse on their wedding anniversary with a personalized art canvas that will be given away as part of Canvas on Demand's "Operation: Hi Honey" campaign.
NY dad told soldier-son killed in war _ he wasn't -- [AP]
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An Army unit is reviewing how it delivers information to families after a call to a western New York couple led them to believe their son had been killed in combat.
Ray Jasper of Niagara Falls said he, his wife, Robin, and their extended family spent four hours Sunday mourning their son, Sgt. Jesse Jasper, before learning from his girlfriend that he was alive.
...Fickel said the unit is considering starting the scripts with "your son or daughter is fine." Internal jargon like "red line message" will probably go, he said.
More Abuse of Military Families -- [Knottie's niche -- Gold Star Mother]
...The Media, CBS News in this case, is reporting this hideous behavior as a mistake of the military. Well It wasn't! I know for a fact the military will not call a family to deliver this type of news. Even if the family is not home they will either stand guard until they return or find them and go to them. They tell the family by looking into their eyes. Telling the families is one of the most difficult jobs in the military and my heart goes out to the causality officers who perform it.. also my respect.
Mrs. Bouhammer Guest Post; FRGs are Priceless in the time of Crisis -- [Mrs Bouhammer]
Here is my review of the situation: The family who happens to be located near the town in which I live got a phone call from "a civilian liaison who they had spoken to before". This statement tells me that the person that they spoke with was their Family Readiness Group Contact Person with their son's unit because they had spoken to this person before. The family is quoted as saying that the liaison stated that "This is a red-line message. I have to read it to you exactly as it is written." This tells me that what the FRG Contact Person was communicating to the family was that a death had occurred in the unit and that fallen soldier's family had already been notified. I do not believe for one minute that the intent of the phone call was to inform the family of their soldier's death. I believe the phone call was to inform the family that there had been a death in their sons unit. This is a standard procedure that occurs through out every military Family Readiness Group. The intent of such notifications is to give the all deployed family members information about a combat death situation to keep the family members informed. Combat deaths affect not only the family of the soldier killed but also the soldiers in the unit which they are serving with and their families.
"America's Few" Awesomeness -- [Villainous Co.]
On September 19, 2009 the United States Marine Corps will debut a new advertising campaign titled 'America's Few'.
'America's Few' is the prequel to the 'America's Marines' campaign that was launched in January 2008. America's Marines reminded America of the purpose of service as a Marine - to defend our nation's freedom and the American way of life
...'America's Few' is an authentic portrayal of what it really takes for America's youth to answer the highest calling and earn their place in a line of Marines that stretches back over 233 years.
Families, friends, comrades welcome 258th MP's home -- [Leesville Daily Leader]
By Tammy Sharp Many a child was on hand Friday here to help officially welcome home a group of soldiers, aka daddies and mommies, from Iraq.
Troops glad to be home -- [Rockford Register Star]
14, 2009, during a welcome home celebration for the Headquarters Company, 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion at the Machesney Park Armory. ...
Local soldier welcomed home -- [Lebanon Daily News]
Tim Holden, right, talks to Sgt. Gary Wagner of the 56th Stryker Brigade during a welcome-home party for Wagner on Sunday at the Steitz Club in Lebanon
NPR Interview and Article -- [A Major's Perspective]
I was very honored to do an interview for an article NPR was working on regarding Social Media and the Military last week. Kevin Whitelaw did a great job writing the article and I wanted to pass it on to you.
In Today's Army, The GI Diary Is Written In Tweets -- [NPR]
When a U.S. Marine reservist decided to blog from his combat zone in eastern Afghanistan, he didn't even think to ask permission from his commanders.
Instead, the author of "Embedded in Afghanistan" offered up blog posts describing his efforts to help train and support the fledgling Afghan National Army.
...In fact, the Defense Department has taken something of a schizophrenic approach to the evolving world of online social media, from blogging to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even as commanders publicly embrace these tools -- Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, posts on his Twitter page almost daily -- the policy review is underway to determine whether restrictions should be applied and how.
The review is due to be completed in a matter of weeks. "It's my guess that it will give us a well-balanced approach," says Price Floyd, the principal deputy secretary of defense for public affairs. "We need to be out there, but we also need to understand the risks."
I don't read most pundits because they all say the same thing, they think in herds -- [Registan]
AHHHHHHH! What the hell is WRONG with these people? Afghanistan's government is illegitimate, so our solution is to bribe them? Who the fuck let that pass a basic "a, therefore b" test? How do these assholes get paid to write such crap?
And what do these celebrity pundits do anyway in their downtime? Do they sit down and jabber for a few minutes, and say, "hey, this seems like a great idea because we're really clever writers, so let's write the same fucking thing and get praised by Foreign Policy!" This shit happens all the time--an identical thought sweeps through the punditocracy in a horrible wave of groupthink, and everyone congratulates themselves for being clever and prescient.
In the media -- [Embedded in Afghanistan...]
You know it's been an interesting tour when during an hour-long layover in Alaska someone just happens to buy a Time magazine and thereby stumble across pictures of members of our team and one of our interpreters. Of course, our guys that had the pictures taken knew that eventually they'd might show up in the magazine, but none of the rest of us knew they'd be in there since we didn't pay attention to the fact that a reporter was with them. It might have been a nice surprise if not for the fact that two of our guys pictured were bearded and well out of uniform. Unlike the Special Forces, we're not permitted to dress and groom ourselves how we'd like.
Carter says Karzai has stolen the election -- [Town 9]
As Former US President Jimmy Carter, who has monitored elections in countries across the globe, Tuesday called the presidential elections in
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Only Decisive Force Can Prevail in Afghanistan -- [WSJ - Lindsey Graham, Joseph Lieberman, and John McCain]
We are confident that not only is it winnable, but that we have no choice. We must prevail in Afghanistan.
We went to war there because the 9/11 attacks were a direct consequence of the safe haven given to al Qaeda in that country under the Taliban. We remain at war because a resurgent Taliban, still allied with al Qaeda, is trying to restore its brutal regime and re-establish that country as a terrorist safe haven.
It remains a clear, vital national interest of the United States to prevent this from happening. Yet an increasing number of commentators, including some of the very same individuals who opposed the surge in Iraq and called for withdrawal there, now declare Afghanistan essentially unwinnable.
Dozens of Taliban Killed in Clash With US, Afghan Forces -- [VOA]
Details are emerging about an hours-long intense battle in western Afghanistan that has resulted in significant casualties for the Taliban. Two American service personnel and several Afghan soldiers also are reported to have been killed. A World Food Program convoy under Afghan military escort came under attack by insurgents Saturday in the Bala Baluk district in Farah province. The convoy, which included 14 contracted trucks carrying 500 metric tons of food rations, was targeted by roadside bombs and mortar fire. US Navy Lt. Commander Christine Sidenstricker tells VOA News that a US quick response force was called in, engaged in combat and then radioed for additional help. "As the engagement went on and the enemy continued with strong fire, air support was called for," said Commander Sidenstricker.
Deadly Afghan ambush shows perils of ill-supplied deployment (Audio/Slideshow) -- [McClatchy Newspapers]
McClatchy's Jonathan S. Landay talks about the ambush of U.S. and Afghan troops he was embedded with on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009
...The lack of timely air support -- it took about 80 minutes by a reporter's watch for helicopters to arrive, despite assurances that they'd be five minutes away -- was a consequence of the manpower and equipment shortages bequeathed by the Bush administration's failure to secure Afghanistan against a resurgence of the Taliban, al Qaida and allied groups before turning to invade Iraq.
There are a limited number of U.S. helicopters in Kunar, a stretch of craggy mountains and serpentine valleys bordering Pakistan where airpower gives a vital edge to overstretched U.S. troops fighting guerrillas who know every nook and trail of the area. Unbeknownst to those trapped in the Ganjgal kill zone, however, the available aircraft were tied up in the Shiryak Valley to the north in a battle in which two pilots were wounded, U.S. commanders said.
NATO Investigates Untimely Air Support -- [Bouhammer]
I wrote about this incident the other day right HERE. Now either NATO is feeling the heat from the bad press and they are saying they are investigating or they are truly concerned about this. Either way, ETTs have been left out hanging with little to no support long before Gen McChrystal ever came into country and implemented his new ROE policy.
Flailing About, Blindly -- [Registan]
Rajiv Chandrasekaran has another interesting dispatch from Kandahar. Most of it is fairly unsurprising to regular readers here: the troops were misplaced when they surged into Helmand, the Taliban operate mostly through intimidation rather than direct violence, there is a desperate need for more Security Force Assistance and Big Army troops but none is forthcoming.
Afghan Commission Says 30 Civilians Killed in NATO Strike -- [VOA]
An Afghan government-appointed commission says 30 Afghan civilians were killed and nine wounded in a NATO air strike earlier this month in the northern province of Kunduz.
Pedros -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
...These Air Force "Pedro" rescue helicopters have two miniguns each (total of four miniguns), and the PJs all carry M-4 rifles. They do fire those weapons in combat. In July, a helicopter swooped down during a rescue and picked up some wounded soldiers and then was shot down. The second Air Force helicopter had to get the U.S. Army patients off the bird that had been shot down. But there was not enough room in the second bird for the Pedro crew. (No injuries.) So the tiny Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopters flew out--Kiowas only seat two people and both seats were full--and some of the Pedro folks had to clip onto the skids and fly out like James Bond.
Some readers have gotten upset that I call them "Pedro," thinking the name is secret. The concern is welcome but not warranted in this case. The Pedros don't care and they even have a Pedro patch.
The Pararescue medics are often called "PJs." The SEALs, Delta, Rangers and Green Berets all hold the PJs in high regard. Firstly, the PJs are among the best medics in the U.S. military (we have incredible medics--so that's a significant statement).
5 U.S. troops killed in Afghan violence -- [MSNBC]
American shot over drink of water
In Kabul, the capital, an American service member and an Afghan police officer got into an argument because the American was drinking water in front of the Afghan police, who are not eating or drinking during the day because of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, said the district chief, Abdul Baqi Zemari.
The police officer shot the American and seriously wounded him, while other American troops responded and seriously wounded the police officer, Zemari said.
Lt. Robert Carr, a U.S. military spokesman, confirmed an incident between Afghan police officers and a U.S. police mentoring team.
In Kandahar, a Taliban on the Rise -- [Washington Post]
The slow and quiet fall of Kandahar, the country's second-largest city, poses a complex new challenge for the NATO effort to stabilize Afghanistan. It is factoring prominently into discussions between Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the overall U.S. and NATO commander, and his advisers about how many more troops to seek from Washington.
"Kandahar is at the top of the list," one senior U.S. military official in Afghanistan said. "We simply do not have enough resources to address the challenges there."
More troops boost Canada's Afghan mission -- [The Star]
Reporter rescued in dramatic raid Video: Soldiers' 'sacrifice resonates' Quarrel over deadly air strike Scores of Afghan votes voided More Afghanistan coverage Afghan casualties map Investigation: The War at Home Mental toll on soldiers skyrockets 'Three years ago we were covering this massive region with a single battalion and here today in 2009 we're covering this region with eight battalions'
Mushkil -- [OpFOR - Lt Col P - in Afghanistan]
The Dari word we advisers/mentors/trainers/LNOs hate to hear, the word we wince at, the one word we love to hate, is "Mushkil."
Mushkil rarely is the opening gambit. Mushkil creeps up on you. Mushkil is a sucker punch.
It goes like this... "Khoob!" ("Well!" or "OK!" as if to signal the end of an otherwise successful and pleasant meeting.) And then you hear what amounts to, "Dari dari dari dari dari dari. Dari dari. Dari dari dari,dari! Dari. Dari, dari, dari, dari, dari... Mushkil."
You shoot a glance at the interpreter, who knows very well that you know what word is floating in the air. Before you even speak, he's asking back, in effect, "What, pray tell, is the problem?"
It's usually something significant, on the verge of urgent. Like this example, from my meeting just this morning:
14 Hours of Blood Soaked Shoes -- [There's sand in my... - in Afghanistan]
The pics this week are of me in the Arabian Gulf enjoying the sun. The salt content of the water is very high, actually burned the eyes when water went in them. The water was also very warm, almost hot! Aaron was standing by me and he said that he found a cool spot, I told him that's the spot I just peed in and that my pee was cooler than the water! Just kidding! Haha. The second pic is of Shayna with her external fixators on, she sure is happy to have the right one off. She says that the left one is a little slimmer which makes her happy. She should be starting to work out again soon, that will make her feel great since she is a workout freak of nature! She's going to try swimming to see how that works out, she already has started the abdominal and upper body exercises, way to go gorgeous, I'm proud of you!
It was a long trip back to Kandahar
Watchmen: Who Killed Sultan Munadi? -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
The controversial rescue of New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell certainly makes for an engrossing read in Farrell's blog account of the ordeal. However, the toll of this operation has been tragic. Among the dead are Farrell's colleague, Afghan journalist Sultan Munadi (left), and a British commando, Corporal John Harrison (right). Afghan journalists have condemned the raid as the manifestation of Western double standards: Munadi was killed in the crossfire, and Farrell was not; Harrison's body was recovered at the scene, and Munadi's was not.
Munadi's father and youngest son were there and the older Munadi piled scorn on the coalition.
Afghans Say Times Fixer Killed On Purpose -- [Afghan Desk]
"Coalition forces never respect the Afghan people," Munadi's father said, according to my translator. "They behave like animals. They deliberately killed my son. I ask the assembled Afghan media to stand up and show strength against the government and foreign forces. Ask them why they behave in this way. don't be afraid. I am not afraid. I will retaliate. I will avenge my son's death and the Afghan people must avenge his death."
The view that Munadi was somehow purposely targeted, or at least that the commandos weren't also sent to rescue him, was prevalent at the meeting. The question, "Why did they kill this man?" was asked over and over again.
Western reporter freed, Afghan fixer killed, a troubling pattern -- [A World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
...If the story is to be believed, and there's no specific reason it shouldn't be, it brings up several points. Farrell said he was hustled off into a waiting chopper and that he yelled for the commandos to check on Munadi, who wasn't moving. They said they had his picture, but we probably won't ever know if he was checked on. If Munadi had been a Westerner, he most certainly would have been Medevac-d by chopper.
The Afghans say his death shows that NATO didn't value his life as much as it did Farrell's. "It shows a double standard between a foreign life and an Afghan life," said Fazul Rahim, an Afghan producer for CBS News.
The Price Of A Scoop: Two Dead -- [Forbes]
...Could one argue--as defenders of Farrell inevitably will--that there is another moral claim competing against the one that asserts that Farrell was responsible for the soldier's death? To wit: the need to get information of public value, for which journalists must--and do--take risks. And isn't the military always asking journalists not to go places, for what might indelicately be described as cover-your-ass reasons? Nobody wants to be blamed if something goes wrong, so it's always easier to exhort cautious behavior. Besides, the "dangerous war zone" argument can also be used by governments to hide all manner of beastly things.
Corporal John Harrison, The Parachute Regiment, killed in Afghanistan -- [Ministry of Defence]
Corporal Harrison, aged 29, was part of an operation to free hostages from Taliban captivity. Stephen Farrell, a journalist of dual British/Irish nationality, was freed in the operation, which was supported by the Afghan authorities and our NATO allies. Sadly, it was not possible to rescue Mr Farrell's Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi.
Exclusive: Corporal John Harrison - R.I.P. for Rescuing New York Times Reporter Stephen Farrell -- [Family Security Matters]
...Loss of life is an inherent risk in military life, and in our modern volunteer forces, is one which is accepted as part of the job. But any requirement for political clearance for individual tactical decisions, such as a go/no go on a rescue operation, imposes additional risks which most military personnel find unacceptable. They also undermine and reduce the effectiveness of military leaders who become risk averse when they are put under additional and unnecessary extraneous pressure. The political process should end at the decision to commit troops to risk their lives. Having amateurs tell the professionals how, when and where to conduct operations is a mistake learnt long ago, and repeated often throughout history. Apparently it needs to be re-learnt in the UK, once again at the cost of valuable lives.
Opposition Leader Abdullah Calls for Criminal Inquiry into Vote Rigging -- [The Times]
Afghanistan's opposition leader has called for a criminal investigation into allegations of massive vote rigging in last month's elections - and accused his rival, President Hamid Karzai, of treason in an exclusive interview with The Times. Abdullah Abdullah, the country's former foreign minister, charged Mr Karzai with "state-engineered fraud" in the August 20 polls. "It's worse than a crime, it's treason," he said, adding that Mr Karzai "doesn't think about the country, he thinks only of himself.
Iowa Air Guard to deploy to Iraq -- [Chicago Tribune]
The Iowa Air National Guard unit will send 300 airmen to Iraq this fall. They will spend three months flying and maintaining F-16 warplanes in support of US
Stormy Iraq-Syria Talks On Militants Issue -- [CBS]
The foreign ministers of Iraq and Syria had a heated exchange, trading accusations Wednesday in a failed attempt to resolve a deepening split over Iraqi claims that Syria is harboring Sunni militants behind a recent flareup in violence.
The Iraqi government says Syria-based loyalists of ousted leader Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida fighters were behind a bomb attack in Baghdad last month that killed more than 100 people.
Uh-oh -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
The end of a deployment carries with it certain inherent risks. Verily, the last few days of a deployment can sometimes be the most dangerous ones, with complacency and "get-home-itis" setting in. Trying to impress this point upon some Soldiers, I heard a leader say, "In the next few weeks, we face an incredible challenge ahead of us. Who can tell me what that challenge is"?
The answer he was begging was something along the lines of "complacency". Unfortunately, one Soldier wasn't thinking along those lines...
Man killed after firing on US helicopter in Iraq -- [AP]
US and Iraqi forces killed one fighter, captured another and seized a truck loaded with weapons in an area of northern Iraq that remains an
Many New American Citizens Are Foreign-Born Members of US Military -- [VOA]
Since the terrorist attacks on the United States eight years ago, 52,000 foreign-born members of the American military have become naturalized U.S. citizens. According to the Pentagon, more than 100 of these new Americans have been killed in action fighting for the United States.
...The service members were born in such countries as China, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Liberia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Some of the immigrants have served in the U.S. military for years, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others are new recruits.
Iran Agrees to Talks with Major Powers in October -- [VOA]
Chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili agrees to launch talks in phone conversation with EU foreign policy chief
Iran Snubs Barack Obama's Nuclear Talks -- [Daily Telegraph]
Iran has dealt a blow to one of President Barack Obama's most ambitious diplomatic initiatives by dismissing demands to put its nuclear programme at the heart of direct talks with the United States. Less than 48 hours after Washington and its allies reluctantly accepted an offer of face-to-face negotiations from Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, insisted that the topic of greatest interest to the West would not be on the table.
Russian Mystery Ship Suspected of Arms Shipment to Iran -- [Danger Room]
Questions continue to surround the Russian cargo ship that was hijacked in July, with some press reports claiming it was en route to Iran with advanced air defense missiles.
Flaming those allegations now are new reports of a secret trip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have taken to Russia this week to discuss the secret cargo.
EXCLUSIVE: US Launches Military Strike in Somalia Against al Qaeda Target -- [ABC News]
A US Official Confirms That Nabhan's Body Was Recovered By The Attacking US Forces.
A U.S. commando attack in Somalia has killed an al Qaeda operative who is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists, sources tell ABC News.
The dead terrorist, Saleh Ali Nabhan, is believed to have taken part in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He is also believed to have orchestrated the 2002 bombing of a resort hotel in Mombasa, Kenay, and a failed missile attack on an Israeli airliner leaving Mombasa airport.
Several sources tell ABC News at least one U.S. helicopter fired on a convoy carrying suspected al Qaeda targets in southern Somalia. An American official says a U.S. Navy ship was also nearby to monitor the situation and provide assistance if needed.
'Bin Laden' tape: Obama can't stop war -- [CNN]
An audio message purportedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has accused President Barack Obama of being unable to fulfil his election pledge to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. -- The tape emerged on radical Islamist Web sites ...
Still photo of bin Laden speaks! -- [Michelle Malkin]
Yes, al Qaeda's audio-visual team was overdue for another America-bashing, Israel-hating message from Osama bin Laden.
It's here: Still photo of bin Laden speaks, taunts Obama as "powerless."
British court sentences 3 terrorists to life in prison in foiled plot to bomb 7 U.S.-bound airliners -- [NY Daily News]
Three Muslim fanatics who hoped to kill more people than Osama Bin Laden did on 9/11 by simultaneously blowing up seven U.S.-bound airliners were sentenced Monday to life in prison. The plot played a big part in triggering restrictions on liquids passengers can bring on board planes.
...Calling it a "most grave and wicked conspiracy," Justice Richard Henriques said the terrorists' "intention was to perpetrate a terrorist outrage that would stand alongside the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in history."
Al-Qeada plot to kill Secretary Clinton in Kenya almost worked -- [The Examiner]
The State Department has yet to either confirm or deny reports that a terrorist group associated with Al-Qeada in Kenya attmepted to assassinate the Secretary of State on her official visit last month. However, continued sources are offering information, and the story seems credible. Why would it have fallen so far under the radar in the US?
Any Targets Will Do When You're Losing -- [Strategy Page]
Islamic terrorists have pretty much given up on industrial and military targets, and shifted most of their efforts to hotels and shopping malls. The main reason is security, and traffic. Military and industrial facilities have a lot less traffic, and that traffic can more easily be controlled (troops and employees are more disciplined). But hotels and malls encourage traffic, the more the better.
Evolution of US Global Confrontation with the Jihadists since 9/11-- [Counterterrorism Blog]
...Where is the US this year in the confrontation with the forces that caused harm on 9/11 and wants openly to defeat democracies? Are the West and particularly the United States making progress in the war against the "terror forces;" are they far from victory; in popular terms how much more sacrifice will it cost us to get to the other side?
Local Media Covers PTSD and Suicide Prevention -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
I was interviewed after a briefing with Major General Mark Graham about PTSD, depression, and suicide prevention. I'll have video up of his inspirational speech later, but for now, here's the story the local media ran.
AAR - Walter Reed Troop Support Rally 9-11-09 -- [Gathering of Eagles]
Wow! A ton of great American Patriots were out at Walter Reed on Friday night!
Several hundred lined the corners of Georgia Avenue! Folks came in early to be there before attending the Great American Tea Party March on Washington 9/12.
Here's a great video by one of our patriots!
"Inconvenienced" Doesn't Begin to Describe It -- [BlackFive]
It seems that Brian's funeral procession in St Louis county caused one motorist an "inconvenience". The motorist complained to the County Sheriff.
The original email below was sent to Sheriff Glenn Boyer on Thursday, August 27. Below is the citizen's email followed by Sheriff Boyer's response.
Louisiana Honor Air -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
Louisiana Honor Air takes Louisiana WWII Vets on a one day, all-expense paid trip to DC to visit the WWII Memorial. Everyone is invited to attend the upcoming 3 events.
WHEN: September 26
WHERE: New Orleans International Airport Main Terminal Building, ticketing level between Concourse A & B.
TIME: 7:45 PM
WHAT TO WEAR & BRING: Red white and blue, flags, signs
WHY: To help welcome them home to the victory parade they never had
NO RSVP Necessary
Do we LOOK excited? -- [My trip to BAF - home from Afghanistan]
Almost back on US soil. Next stop, Baltimore! :-)
Rules of Enragement -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
McClatchy reporter Jonathan Landay's harrowing account of an ambush of U.S. Marine and Army trainers outside the village of Ganjgal has raised some important questions about the operational approach in Afghanistan. In Landay's own analysis of the attack, he points to resources denied to troops on the ground - intelligence, artillery and air support - as a legacy of "the Bush administration's decision to divert resources to Iraq and the resulting stress on the U.S. military." Fair enough: few people (with the exception of the Washington Post) would argue with the fact that commitments to Iraq remain a distraction for any serious civil-military effort in Afghanistan.
9/11/9 With Colonel Buzz Patterson -- [THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS]
9/11/9 has come and gone, and for many, it is in the rear view mirror until next year.
I asked a question of Colonel Patterson.
"Colonel, thank you for your service. Besides you, Colonel Ralph Peters, and Colonel David Hunt, who are some other voices that we have to know about to get accurate military information?"
Colonel Patterson was very helpful in this regard.
"Michael Yon is very good. So is Ollie North. The military blog BlackFive is another one. The Mudville Gazette is another. Read as many military blogs as you can. We can't depend on the Katie Courics of this world."
Colonel Patterson then continued, as the crowd listened intently.
Poll: News media's credibility plunges to new low -- [AP]
Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the news stories they read, hear and watch are frequently inaccurate, according to a poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
...The budget squeeze "means facts don't get checked as carefully as they should," according to Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times.
But he still believes many media outlets still go to great lengths to get the facts right and own up to their mistakes when the information is wrong.
"The great flood that goes under the heading `news media' has been poisoned by junk blogs, gossip sheets, shout radio and cable-TV partisans that don't deserve to be trusted," Keller told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
The Internet also has made it easier to research information and find errors in news stories, said Kathleen Carroll, the AP's executive editor. And the Web's discussion boards and community forums spread word of mistakes when they're found.
Carroll hopes the increased scrutiny and accountability fostered by the Internet will lead to better journalism.
T'was Accountability That Led the Mainstream Media to Suicide -- [Big Hollywood]
...The Dinosaur Media is losing money, viewers and readers hand over fist. The reason they're folding or on life support isn't because there aren't enough left-of-center Americans to keep them in business, it's because, like everyone else, liberals don't want to sit in a choir and be preached to. They want information. They want to know what's going on in the world.
Positive view of Fox News among Democrats drops significantly. -- [Think Progress]
In a new survey of how the public views the news media, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that "partisan differences in views of Fox News have increased substantially since 2007." Though the percentage of Republicans who view Fox News positively is virtually the same (73 percent in 2007 and 72 percent in 2009), positive views of Fox News have dropped significantly amongst Democrats from 61 percent in 2007 to 43 percent in 2009.
Fareed Zakaria's Insidious Ignorance -- [Registan]
It's time to get real about Afghanistan.
Oh boy. Not only has it been time to "get real" about Afghanistan for several years now, and certainly since Newsweek began declaring the place "Obama's Vietnam," but he should be aware of what happens when keeping it real goes wrong.
This is the challenge of Fareed Zakaria: he has almost as much knowledge as Tom Friedman. But, despite ending his books with "this is all just my opinion so who cares," he still carries the illusion of erudition--and his ideas get taken seriously.
The 'Forgotten War' -- [Washington Post]
Five years ago, Sen. John F. Kerry argued during his presidential campaign that the United States had dangerously neglected the war in Afghanistan. On Thursday, when he convened a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hear a status report on Iraq from US Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, only five of the panel's 19 members showed up long enough to ask a question. "Iraq today ... has become the now-forgotten war," Mr. Kerry rather ruefully concluded.
Senate Armed Services Chairman: No More US Troops to Afghanistan -- [FOXNews]
The debate whether to send more combat troops to Afghanistan took a twist reminiscent of the Iraq conflict when the head of the Senate Armed Services
Murtha to Obama: No more troops -- [Foreign Policy Blog]
House defense spending cardinal John Murtha, an early bellwether of congressional opposition to the Iraq war, has made his strongest comments yet opposing more U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan. -- The Pennsylvania lawmaker and Vietnam veteran ...
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Today is a day we will never forget. Always remembering those lost that fateful day, always remembering our heroic Firefighters, Police and Military.
Has America Forgotten 9/11? -- [Army Live - LTC Kevin Arata]
I was at Bethesda Naval Hospital this morning, just north of Washington, D.C. Up on the TV in the lobby, at 9 am on CNN Live, a 9/11 Remembrance ceremony was taking place outside the Pentagon.
... a young service member, who probably could not hear the TV, was standing just below and in front of the TV, with his mom. He looked to be about 20 or 22 years old, with a deep scar across his shaved head, and a cane to aid in walking. From a distance, it appeared he had vision issues as well, and might have been blind. His mom was leading him out of the waiting area. I don't know if this service member was injured while supporting the war on terror, but it made me think about all the service members who are fighting for our freedom.
This whole scene - which took place inside of less than two minutes - got me to thinking, do we really remember this day and what happened eight years ago? Then I hear later from a friend that a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports indicates that 49% of Americans have forgotten about the 9/11 attacks.
Thoughts on 9/11 -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
I am an American fighting man who has pledged his professional service to his nation and will say this: if anyone or any group cares to make themselves a threat to the society I have sworn to protect then I am more than ready to eliminate that threat in any clime or place.
The heroes and victims of 9/11 - 2,976 men, women, and children -- [911 Families]
Please take whatever time you need to remember them all.
In addition to our list, we invite you to view and listen to an 'In Memoriam' tribute provided by Robert Shurbet
911 Remembered: Rick Rescorla was a soldier -- [Greyhawk]
Rescorla's office was on the forty-fourth floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. The firm occupied twenty-two floors in the south tower, and several floors in a building nearby. ...However, over 2600 employees walked out of the south tower and in to the rest of their lives that morning.
Incredibly, you can "meet" Rick Rescorla via this video
FDNY operating in the South Tower on 9/11 -- [911 Families]
At 9:03 a.m., on 9/11, terrorists crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the World Trade Center's South Tower. Four minutes later, the FDNY's Battalion 7 Chief, his aide, and five firefighters from Ladder 15 -- led by my wife's brother -- arrived in that tower's lobby. While a FDNY City-Wide Tour Commander set up the command post there, a Deputy Chief (4 Bravo) moved from there to Tower 2's staging area at West and Liberty Streets and the Battalion 7 Chief attempted to establish communications with the Battalion 1 Chief at the command post in the North Tower.
Battalion 7, his aide, and the five members of Ladder 15 then used a working service elevator that they had found and proceeded to the 40th floor. Their mission was to reach the fire floor, report on the situation there, and begin to direct the deployment of the additional units.
Matthew Lancelot Ryan - Someone You Should Know -- [BlackFive]
Battalion 1 Chief Matthew "Matty" Lancelot Ryan was not assigned to me in due course of the project. There were two reasons I requested to cover Chief Ryan for the project:  As I researched the fire chief, I discovered that we have a lot of similiarities (reading newspapers, hockey, and classic rock) and  someone that was originally assigned to cover Chief Ryan would have tried to hurt the Ryan family and tarnish the Chief's memory.
...Matthew Ryan was recognized as always being the team's rock in the storm of a fire. And because of his unflappable nature, he rose through the ranks in the Fire Department first as a fire fighter in Engine 280 in Brooklyn before becoming a lieutenant in Engine 43 in the Bronx among other assignments before becoming chief of Battalion 1 in Manhattan.
Thoughts on 9-11 from Afghanistan -- [Soldiers Angels Germany - LTC Steve Osterholzer]
Some of you have asked what my thoughts are of fighting in Afghanistan today, the anniversary of 9-11. It was one thing to mark the anniversary of that horrific day when I was in the states, perhaps going to a memorial ceremony or simply for a walk in the woods. To remember, to reflect on how I felt, to reflect on the state of our world then and now, to reflect on the morals, love, and evil of mankind. Well, it is all of that and more... so MUCH more, actually being HERE in Afghanistan, where those attacks all started. Serving here, the origin and the genesis of those attacks, where they plotted and trained for the attack that killed over 3,000 innocent Americans on our own soil, truly does feel like I am at "Ground Zero."
Eight Years Later by Clara Hart -- [From Our Perspective; some thoughts]
As my vision began to blur I scanned the names for one in particular. Unable to find it I clutched the flowers to my chest and began to cry in earnest. I remembered hearing the words "We can't find him" that day and in the days that followed. I smelled the jet fuel and saw the flames and black clouds of smoke rising from the destroyed building. I heard the "evacuate" orders and in my mind I watched people running. Pain blindsided me and sobs buried deep within clawed their way out. I wanted to fall to my knees, wrap my arms around my body and scream with the absolute agony of the hurt inside me. The sorrow overflowed and I was helpless. My friends, on either side of me, wrapped their arms around me and protected me from the onlookers witnessing this very private hell.
TWIN TOWERS 9-11: A First Hand Account -- [StormBringer] HT: Jimbo
I never felt like I had enemies but that changed on September 11, 2001. I was on a coffee break from training at Morgan Stanley's offices on the 61st floor of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. The morning was beautiful, sunny, and crystal clear as I looked out the window toward the Statue of Liberty. The view was grand and I was happy to be in Manhattan again. "Yep, things were looking good."
Where were you September 11th? -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
September 11th, 2001: I was stationed at Camp Humphreys, Korea, it was late in the evening. Football was on TV and I had fallen asleep. Something on the TV had awakened me. Just before I turned it off, I caught the live news coverage.
...As I stared in amazement, another plane hit the second tower. This time I knew it was on purpose; I called my commander. "Sir, sorry to wake you, turn on the news."
"What am I watching?"
"Two jets just flew into the twin towers in New York."
"Start the alert roster, get everyone in."
"Absent Companions" -- [Thunder Run]
What will you do to commemorate September 11th? I know I for one won't be watching any television that day, for September 11th has become a circus for the networks and I can't stand to see the images and voices on the screen that I still see in my memories. Feel free and join me in going to work and doing your job in the memory of those men who did their job and paid the ultimate price. Or join me in honoring those ordinary citizens who also paid the ultimate price for being at their job on that day. Or join me in honoring those American's who finally saw clearly what they had to do, and became citizen's in defense of their country. Just don't be surprised if you see me stop and say two short prayers to the men of Rescue 1 and Rescue 3.
In the military we have a toast for "Absent Companions" it's a simple toast to advise us to remember those of our brotherhood that are either not with us or no longer with us. So I admonish you all to raise a glass and toast our "Absent Companions" those 2996 lives lost on September 11, 2001
Brothers this one is for you.
September 11th And Have We Forgotten? -- [A Major's Perspective]
...You see, over the last 48 hours, I have heard a phrase over and over again, and it has really begun burning me up inside. Maybe it's because since September 11th, 2001, I have lost more good Friends and Soldiers then I care to count anymore. Maybe because many those times I was there as they breathed their last breath. Maybe it's because in the Military our families have given so much, that it will take years to catch up with one another. Maybe it's all of the above.
9.11.01 - Father Mychal Judge 00001 -- [HomeFront Six]
My life has two parts to it. The part up through September 10, 2001 and the part from September 11, 2001 to the present. A defining moment. My life as an Army wife also has two parts. The first part was where the biggest drawback or downside of military life was a hardship tour to Korea. The second part is life as I know it right now.
Special 9/11 Tribute show on You Served Radio -- [You Served Radio]
On tonight's show we are so honored to welcome as a guest Mr. Garry Trudeau. Garry is the acclaimed satirist and comic artist of Doonesbury. We are going to talk to Garry about his strip and some of the characters he has developed since 9/11. We will discuss BD's role mentoring Toggle and the creation of Toggle himself. We will also talk with Garry about his creation and The Sandbox milblog website and book featuring milblogs from many popular bloggers and the efforts he has put forth in raising money for The Fisher House foundation. Last but not least we will talk with him about what it was like for him as a resident of NYC to live through the day of 9/11/01 and how he has seen the city change.
September 11th Eight Years Later -- [Bouhammer]
...My fear is that if we don't feel the pain, if we don't look at the images, if we try to ignore or hide that the terrible day ever happened then we will forget what that day was really like just like most of this country forgot what December 7th, 1941 was like.
Where Were You? (Thoughts from Robert Stokely) - Gold Star Father
Robert Stokely has sent out another very moving tribute and thoughts about September 11...... Get your tissues, and say a few prayers for all our heroes.....
August 16, 2005, at approximately 0700 hours, news came to our home in Sharpsburg, news we did not want to hear. Mike Stokely was dead from wounds sustained in a powerful IED blast while on dismounted patrol near Yusufiyah, south of Baghdad. Eight days later, I was at Hartsfield International Airport to meet my boy coming in from Dover and watched them drape a flag over his casket. I look back now and I can only say thank God there are those willing to make the sacrifice that yields a flag draped casket. As long as we engage in battle, soldiers will die for this country.
Where were you... -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
I opened up CNN's website, and there was a picture of the Pentagon. My blood ran cold. I had been in exactly that part of the Pentagon the Friday before. Exactly that part. As in, I'd been briefing LTG Maude in the very same conference room he just (though I didn't know it at the time) died in. And because I'd been working a project for the Army G1, I knew several people in that part of the building. In the event, I knew 13 who never went home that day.
My last job on active duty had been as the Plans, Operations and Training Officer for the 5th Army WMD Response Task Force - West. Our job was to coordinate the DoD support to a large-scale attack (usually envisioned as being by a WMD of some variety) against the United States west of the MIssissippi.
It's 9-11. Patriots' Day. A Day of Remembering. -- [SOME SOLDIER'S MOM]
I will be attending a 9-11 Memorial this evening in our town. This is the t-shirt I'll be wearing.
...And if anyone has the audacity to tell me that my shirt conveys the wrong message (as had been suggested to one of my sons who wore his shirt earlier this week), I will tell them that not only is it my right to wear it, but they'd be wearing this shirt, too, if they bothered to educate themselves about the enemy.
Lt. Col. Robert J. Hymel ~ I Remember -- [Gazing at the Flag]
Lt Col Robert Joseph Hymel, United States Air Force, Retired, was murdered in the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. He worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a senior management officer in the Office of the Comptroller, Deputy Comptroller for Force Structure and Management. He was responsible for DIA joint manpower issues that focused on military human intelligence management and organization.
...During the course of his 24-year military career, Bob was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal, among others. He was a veteran of two campaigns, Vietnam and Desert Shield/ Desert Storm.
Eight Years Later: What 9/11 Means To Me Now -- [Kitchen Dispatch]
I remember when the planes flew into the twin towers. I went online and found my friends in India, Australia, Switzerland, Israel and France. We speculated about what this meant, how it would change things.
...Now, eight years later, we are sending a husband and father to war. Not just anyone. Ours. Mine.
And like I ought to be, we are all scared but keep going. After all, life is filled with uncertainty. I have no idea what the outcome will be, but then again, I never did before, either. But one thing: this is a time for kindness within our own walls, and outside.
Project 2,996: Op-For Remembers -- [OPFOR]
We willingly signed up with Project 2,996 to remember our two fellow alumni who were murdered in cold blood on the 11th day of September in the Year of Our Lord 2001. We remember:
Mr Charles William Mathers, VMI '62
Lieutenant Commander David Lucian Williams, VMI '91
N E V E R F O R G E T. Never forget them, and their families, and never forget why we're fighting. Never forget that the war was brought to us. Never forget that there is a time and place for cold, hard vengeance. Never forget that victory in this war is not a mere theoretical possibility, but an absolute requirement for a Nation that wishes to remain free and sovereign.
9/11 as a Lesson, Not a Memory -- [Washington Post]
" He reminded the high school juniors and seniors that he would be grading their notes. Then he dimmed the lights and played a video on the classroom TV.
...Eight years later, this is an example of what Sept. 11, 2001, has become for a generation that's too young to remember much, if anything, about that day: It is an educational DVD, a 167-page textbook, a black binder of class handouts titled "A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum." In Room C215 at Lincoln High School, images of the collapsing Manhattan skyline are now a classroom "warm-up exercise." "Militant," "imploding" and "rubble" are boldfaced vocabulary words for students to memorize. Homework assignments and essay questions ensure that Sept. 11 will indeed be remembered by millions of schoolchildren, if with a new sense of detachment.
Riots in Ghazni City as the Province Falls -- [Registan]
Ghazni Province is falling to the Taliban. There's no two ways around it: Radio Shariat is transmitting in the area again, and security forces are having a hard time tracking it down because apparently it is being broadcast on a mobile transmitter. Now Tim Lynch reports on a riot in Ghazni City itself:
...But here's an interesting angle to consider as well. Alex Strick van Linschoten tweets of a growing incidence of men getting killed by "Afghans dressed like Americans and pretending to speak in English" in Kandahar. While that sounds bizarre, it might also be more than simple mimicry-of-whomever-seems-scariest: if you as the Taliban can start credibly blaming all bad things on the foreigners, then you are that much closer to kicking them out of your country for good.
You buy the Ticket You Get the Full Ride -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
...Tonight LtCol Kenny is in the Kunar Province taking over for one of his team leaders who was wounded during an ambush at a small little shit hole called Ganjagal yesterday morning. Four of his Marines were killed in that fight. That is grim work for a commander and I feel for my friend Jeff. There was a reporter (Jonathan Landy) from McClatchy news service embedded for this mission and his story is here. It seems that indirect and air delivered fires were denied to the men in contact because the Taliban had ambushed them using a village as cover and that would fall outside the newest use of force guidelines.
Darulaman mission-Part One -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Today we would be part of an 8 vehicle convoy. Only 2 of my ETT teammates would accompany me as I was their HMMVW chauffeur. The twist in today's mission was we would travel a route that had never been driven before. After departing the camp, we later turned down a dirt side road through the market area. The locals stared at us as we passed by.
Darulaman mission-Part 2 -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...After the Soviets departed the country, a power vacuum existed and warlords and alliances fought over territory.
These tribal feuds permitted the Taliban their opening to seize power and occupy various structures and governmental positions. In 2001, the alliances with the help of coalition forces engaged the Taliban and removed the Taliban from power.
Darulaman mission-Part 3 -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
After a grueling two hours and twenty minute ride we parked our armored vehicles and walked through the pedestrian gate of Camp Dubs. This camp was named after US Ambassador Adolph Dubs. On 14 February 1979, Ambassador Dubs was kidnapped by opponents of the Afghan Marxist government. The local police tried to rescue him, but in the process, his kidnappers executed him and riddled his body with bullets. Due to that incident, the US did not have an ambassador in Afghanistan until 2002 after the Taliban were rooted out from power.
Arming Counterinsurgents -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
The Counterinsurgency Training Center - Afghanistan is growing, and its role in propagating the doctrine of counterinsurgency, or COIN, across many organizations is growing. Students of counterinsurgency from every branch of the United States Military, all of our NATO and Coalition allies, and most importantly Afghans from government, the Afghan Military, Afghan National Police and even non-governmental organizations (NGO's) are being trained in counterinsurgency every week. Some of this training is conducted on site at the CTC-A, while other training is carried directly to the units and organizations in the field.
Anatomy of a Rift -- [The Quatto Zone]
...national differences in the military's relationship with the press appeared to be in play. For Germans, the standard approach to events like Kunduz -- a plea for time to gather the facts, followed by a quiescent and ultimately anticlimatic period of investigation -- was an acceptable, orderly norm. Such a muted response was consistent with the mores of a nation whose embedded reporters are largely content to cover operations from official interviews at forward operating bases, and whose leading news magazine (Der Spiegel) submits its interviews with senior officials for review. For Americans, a commitment to press transparency was a grudging acceptance of the kind of Wild West atmosphere that produced the Post article. What may have appeared to Americans an effective way to emphasize a new approach in Afghanistan by inviting unfettered criticism of questionable actions was perceived by Germans as an unconscionable breach of decorum and trust.
There are signs that we may get past this. Although the political timing of the Kunduz attack was unfortunate, there are signs that it is forcing a conversation on German commitment that probably was inevitable.
Pete's Place -- [My trip to BAF - in Afghanistan]
Soon I will make my last post to this blog and this chapter in my life will be complete. I want to thank you all for everything that was done to support me, my family and the entire team here for the last 8+ months since going on orders back in JAN. Through CST in FEB and 6 months at Bagram, I have really appreciated all the cards, letters, packages, etc - but again, most importantly, your prayers.
We are very fortunate that nobody was seriously injured during our time and nobody got into any major trouble. We accomplished a significant amount of work and as a team, we made a vast improvement to the enduring operations on Bagram.
Warning of Further Kidnappings Issued in Afghanistan -- [Voice of America]
Security experts are warning more abductions of reporters and other foreign personnel are likely in the war-torn country, following the kidnapping and controversial rescue of a British journalist in Afghanistan. The alert was issued after the kidnapping and rescue of a New York Times reporter in Kunduz province. Another correspondent for the same newspaper was kidnapped outside Kabul last December and escaped his captors seven months later, after being taken to Pakistan.
NATO Losing The War Of Words -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban continue to have more success on the Information War front, than in actual combat. A recent incident, where German troops called in a U.S. air strike on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban, has become a Taliban victory. The German colonel who authorized the strike is being criticized for not making sure there were no civilians around the tankers, which were stuck in the sand.
Who Fights This War? -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
... She went off to basic at the end of the school year, trying to fit basic and advanced training into the summer break. Training did not quite fit her school schedule and she was just about done with training when the 9-11 attacks hit.
At that point she just wanted to serve and was jealous of the regular Army soldiers who were whisked away to airborne schools and other assignments. She served as an MP until 2004 when she trained to be a drill sergeant. Every summer after that she would "push troops" through Fort Knox, Kentucky, during the 11-week summer break at her school district. Her experience as a drill sergeant and an MP lead her to convoy training here in Iraq.
Envoy Says US on Track for 2010 Combat Force Withdrawal from Iraq -- [Voice of America]
US Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, says the United States remains on track to withdraw all of its combat forces by August of next year. Lawmakers on the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked Hill about the schedule and the upsurge in violence in Iraq. Appearing first before the House panel, Ambassador Hill said bomb attacks in Iraq are an effort to undermine the Iraqi people at a time US forces are gradually withdrawing under a timetable established by President Obama. "The violence represents an effort to undermine Iraqi authorities, to undermine them at a time when it is widely understood that US forces are beginning a departure.
Iraq Needs a Real Air Force -- [WSJ - Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi and Austin Bay]
The US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement says American combat units will depart Iraq by December 2011. At that point, Iraq's armed forces must provide for defense against internal and external threats. While Iraqi forces have improved remarkably, progress has not been even across all services. This imbalance is particularly acute in the case of the Iraqi Air Force. It's clear that Iraqi air defense forces will not be ready to handle the mission by 2011.
Russia Says No to Iran Nuclear Sanctions -- [WSJ]
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear Thursday that Moscow wouldn't back any new rounds of tough sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Security Council, and he dismissed a US timetable for securing progress from Iran on ending its nuclear-fuel program. Mr. Lavrov's comments in Moscow cast doubt over the ability of the US to succeed in an effort to secure international backing for new sanctions. They also appeared to end any hopes that the Obama administration's "reset" of troubled relations with Russia would lead to Moscow's support for one of the top US foreign policy priorities. Just a day after US officials warned that Iran may already have enough enriched uranium to make a bomb if processed further, Mr. Lavrov said negotiations should begin without any imposed timetable. He also said that even if Iran tried to make weapons-grade fuel it would be detected and there would be time to respond.
A Succession Saga Goes Silent -- [Washington Post]
The murky process of hereditary succession in North Korea appears to have been suspended, at least for now, and the rise to power of Kim Jong Il's third son may be on hold, according to South Korean analysts and three organizations with informants inside the secretive state. Kim Jong Un, 26, is the likely heir to the dynasty that rules North Korea, South Korean intelligence officials told lawmakers here in June. His nomination was apparently triggered by the ill health of his 67-year-old father, who suffered a stroke 13 months ago and looked sickly in television footage in the spring. But Kim Jong Il has since shown signs of improved health.
US Risks Being Sucked into Yemen Civil War - [Daily Telegraph]
Tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing a vicious civil war that threatens to turn the key Arab peninsula state of Yemen into a terrorist stronghold and to suck the US into another sensitive conflict zone. The Yemeni government is to try to subdue a rebel Shia army in the north of the country. But its assault is meeting fierce resistance, with the Yemeni air force staging desperate forays to pound the rebels into submission. International observers fear that even if the US, a long-term ally, can stay aloof, the conflict might be subsumed in a regional war by proxy.
Al Qaeda 'Determined' Foe Despite Losses -- [Washington Times]
Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, current and former top U.S. intelligence officials say US and allied forces have decimated al Qaeda's leadership but that the organization remains a "determined adversary." Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, called the US record against al Qaeda "mixed." While al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri remain at large, the organization has been forced to "perpetually rebuild," he said. Still, al Qaeda remains a "determined adversary" and has had success in recruiting Americans to fight with it, he said.
A Date That Will Live In Infamy -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. CIA is taking a lot of heat in the American Moslem community for arranging a dinner, and speech by the CIA director, for 150 prominent Arab (and Moslem in general) leaders in Michigan on September 16th. Unfortunately, this is the Moslem equivalent of Christmas Day. It's the 27th night of Ramadan, "The Night of Power." You get the idea.
...The CIA, like the FBI, is trying to recruit more Arabs, and Moslems in general, for work as field agents and analysts.
Firefighters to wear, sell red shirts to support troops -- [Sheboygan Press]
Starting today, Sheboygan firefighters will be wearing red shirts every Friday to show support for the US Armed Forces. The red T-shirts, emblazoned with ...
Support for troops at all-time low -- [News-Herald.com]
Anyone hoping to support the troops can help in simple ways. "We need candy and beef jerky," Miller said. "Beef jerky is their gold!
Support the troops rally -- [Toledo On The Move]
AP Video By Kelly Ruszkiewicz TOLEDO -- The community made atribute to our troops at the 5th annual support the troops rally on Wednesday
Edgewater airman gets hero's welcome home from Iraq -- [Annapolis Capital]
Since 2007, Operation Welcome Home Maryland has greeted over 40000 troops returning home from overseas deployment. The organization said it greeted more
Rockford's News LeaderVietnam vet passes down Purple ... -- [WREX-TV]
Families held up their welcome home signs and waited for their hugs and kisses. It's been over a year now since many of them last saw their family member.
Wounded troops recover as US war coverage wanes -- [Stars& Stripes/AP]
A year after Capt. Sam Brown was set ablaze when a bomb blew up his Humvee in Afghanistan, the 25-year-old West Point graduate endures a steady schedule of painful surgery and stretching to break up knotty burn scars.
He also has another routine: checking a Web site that counts U.S. and coalition troop deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For Brown, it's one more regular reminder that the wars have not ended - something he says many Americans seem to have forgotten.
With the timetable set for withdrawal from Iraq and the fighting in Afghanistan nearing its ninth year, U.S. war coverage has waned, often pushed off the front page by the economy, health care and celebrity deaths.
REMEMBRANCE, 2009 -- BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -- [WhiteHouse.gov Blog]
Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon, and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania ...
EXCLUSIVE: President Barack Obama on 9/11 anniversary: Every year on this day, we are all New Yorkers -- [NY Daily]
Eight years ago, on an ordinary Tuesday morning, nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the deadliest attack on American soil in our history.
It was an event that forever changed the life of this city. And it was a tragedy that will be forever seared in the consciousness of our nation.
Every year on this day, we are all New Yorkers.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq, Afghanistan, War, Terrorism, Military, Politics, Media, MilBlogs, Dawn Patrol, Mudville
'We're pinned down:' 4 U.S. Marines die in Afghan ambush -- [McClatchy News]
We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.
The enemy has figured us out -- [Bouhammer]
...I realize some Americans may read this with awe and disgust that our Sons and Daughters could be left out like this flapping in the breeze, but so is the life of our embedded army and police trainers since 2003. Since 2003 the National Guard has been been mentoring Afghan Army Forces. Starting in 2007 we started mentoring the Afghan Police also, to include the Border Police with no increase in forces. In teams of 5-15 Americans with Afghan units numbering up to the several hundred. All with little to no support from higher HQ and always counting on the good graces of active duty units that may be located nearby.
Airborne EMTs Shave Seconds to Save Lives in Afghanistan -- [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman - in Afghanistan]
After they helped save the soldier's life, the rescue team was pissed. Yeah, they were able to roll out from their plywood hooch, jump on their helicopters, fly to the middle of minefield, do a quick medical and security assessment, get the soldier on a stretcher, and bring the guy into a military trauma center - all in less than half an hour. But the members of the team, part of the Air Force's 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, couldn't believe the save had taken that long. If they were really on their game, they figured, they could've cut that time by five, ten minutes, maybe more. "I'm gonna take a lot of heat for this one," said Staff Sergeant Scott Dowd. "That was dogsh*t. We could've gone a lot faster. That was dogsh*t on me."
As the war in Afghanistan intensifies, the pressure on military rescue teams is mounting.
This wasn't supposed to happen -- [Flit]
"U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines -- despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.
"'We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We've lost today,' Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter's repeated demands for helicopters."
That translator was among the KIA, along with 4 Americans and 8 ANSF. God rest them all.
NATO commandos free NYT reporter -- [LWJ - Threat Matrix]
The New York Times attempted to suppress reporting of Farrell's kidnapping. Local Afghan newspapers, as well as by DPA, the German wire service, reported on the kidnapping, but did not name Farrell. Farrell's kidnapping was reported here at Threat Matrix.
Last weekend The New York Times requested the report of Farrell's kidnapping be removed from Threat Matrix. We did not honor the request.
The New York Times was able to successfully suppress media reports of reporter David Rohde's kidnapping for more than seven months. The newspaper was even successful in getting Wikipedia to suppress the reports of Rohde's kidnapping
Reporter freed, captivity reported -- [Greyhawk]
NY Times: Seized Times Reporter Is Freed in Afghan Raid That Kills Aide
Stephen Farrell, whose captivity Western media refused to acknowledge, was rescued today by men whose deaths must be photographed and displayed worldwide to show Americans the true cost of war.
Farrell told the times "he had been "extracted" by a commando raid carried out by "a lot of soldiers" in a fierce firefight with his captors."
...Even in reporting the rescue of a reporter whose captivity they'd helped cover up they couldn't resist announcing the death of one of the rescuers before the families had been notified. I guess they know a "scoop" when they see one; it's been repeated, with credit to the AP, in every other report on this story - including the New York Times.
BBC Podcast -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Here's the Podcast of the debate Uncle Jimbo and I had with some fellows from across the pond. Podcast We come in about 25 minutes into the broadcast.
I guess what really made me angry was when Jimbo made the point that AP had proven themselves a dishonest broker in the information business when they released the picture of LCPL Joshua Bernard against his family's wishes. The interviewer declared Jimbo's point moot by proclaiming that they'd already talked about that on Monday. WTF?
And one of the bangers and mash aficionados said that Farrell didn't expect to be rescued so that somehow made him better than the military who hadn't bothered to tell leaky-ass New York Times they were going to rescue him. Another WTF?
On air: Should soldiers risk their lives for journalists? -- [World Have Your Say]
Should soldiers rescue journalists who find themselves kidnapped or endangered in a warzone?
Stephen Farrell wasn't 'embedded' - attached to a particular army unit. He and his follow journalist had gone of their own volition, and under their own steam to Kunduz where they were investigating an air strike on two hijcked fuel tankers.
Most people would agree that journalists serving in war zones serve a very useful purpose. They risk their lives to bring the truth of war to those of us who want to know what goes on, but can't go there ourselves. But when things go awry, should soldiers be risking their lives to pick up the pieces?
Many people posting on this discussion forum say no.
Another New York Times Reporter Freed in Afghanistan -- [Patterico's Pontifications]
I wondered before about a media double-standard in comparing the months of secrecy the media afforded the Rohde abduction with the immediate coverage about the capture of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier whose story the BBC and other media published within days.
Is there a double-standard that leads the media to protect their own reporters when they are taken hostage, but not others? I'm not the only one asking that question:
Excellent News -- [Registan]
Steve Farrell, a New York Times reporter who had been abducted while covering the bombing incident at Kunduz, has been rescued. His interpreter, tragically, died, along with an unknown number of civilians. Apparently his rescue was the result of an Afghan-led effort, and ended in a brutal firefight.
Insurgent suicide attack causes civilian casualties in Helmand Province -- [DVIDS]
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (September 9) - At least two Afghan civilians were killed and several International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel and Afghan civilians were injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest near the entrance to Camp Bastion today.
Firepower Trumps 'Soft Power' in This Afghan Town -- [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman - in Afghanistan]
Any fight against insurgents is going to involve some shooting, of course; there are guerrillas who can't be reconciled, and militants who won't be pushed out by mere public pressure. But Meador is using a very different tactic. He's deliberately sending his Marines out to provoke fights with the Taliban, in order to keep the militants off-balance - and give some of the pro-government villages a chance to rebuild. "I call it the eye gouge," Meador says. "To keep the good areas here relatively calm, you have to go to the enemy and punch him in the chest, punch him in the face."
US Learned Its Lesson, Won't Abandon Afghanistan, Gates Says -- [Washington Post]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview broadcast this week that the United States would not repeat the mistake of abandoning Afghanistan, vowing that "both Afghanistan and Pakistan can count on us for the long term." In his first interview with the al-Jazeera television network, Gates said the United States made a "serious strategic mistake" by turning its focus away from Afghanistan after Soviet occupation forces were defeated there two decades ago. "As soon as the Soviets left Afghanistan, we turned our backs on Afghanistan and we did not cultivate our relationship with the Pakistanis properly," he said, noting that US decisions at the time sparked doubts about Americans' commitment to the region.
ISAF Commander Appoints Board to Lead Investigation into Kunduz Air Strike -- [ISAF]
ISAF Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal has appointed Maj. Gen. C.S. Sullivan to lead the Joint Investigation Board conducting a formal investigation into the Sept. 3 air strike in Kunduz.
Quick response - and otherwise -- [Greyhawk]
...I had to read this twice to make sure I understood it: "Regardless of whether most of those killed in the bombing were civilians or Taliban fighters, there was genuine shock among many Germans that one of their military commanders could have been responsible for an attack that killed so many people."
What "Protecting the People" Actually Means. -- [Registan]
I have a new essay up at World Politics Review, examining what it means to get serious about "protecting the people" of Afghanistan. It's risky, difficult work, but not impossible.
Instead, Gen. McChrystal should replace the huge FOBs with smaller community outposts spread through villages and town centers. One lesson that should be imported from Iraq,
Angela Merkel on Defensive After Afghan Tanker Attack Blunder by German Forces -- [The Times]
It was the end of Germany's "Don't Mention the War" election campaign. In an impassioned parliamentary session yesterday Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, was forced to fight off her critics and try to persuade a sceptical nation that German troops should stay in Afghanistan. The bombardment of two fuel trucks, hijacked by Taleban geuerrillas last Friday, led to the death of over 59 people. Many were likely to have been civilians from a nearby village wanting to siphon petrol from the containers.
A Rock and a Hard Place -- [This Ain't Hell...]
In talking to Jonn and others in the secret cabal last week, there was a ton of discussion about this:
A Swedish charity has accused American troops of storming through a hospital in Afghanistan, breaking down doors and tying up staff. The U.S. military says it is investigating.
...The only reason I am weighing in is that I have been to that hospital, or rather, been outside it. Back in late 2004 I was part of a group that went to meet a woman who was involved with the Hospital. I don't even remember what we were doing there, it was outside my lane. But, the CO and I and a few others went to talk to this woman. Only we had to go through a local elder to get to her, and when we showed up she was pissed, and waved us on. We would later meet her down the road....
Massoud Day -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
9 September is a National Holiday in Afghanistan. It is dedicated in the memory of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud Day (roz e Massoud) is the only National Holiday dedicated to one person. He is remembered as the most charismatic and effective leader of the mujahideen during the struggle against Soviet occupation and control. He was an articulate man who served as a rally point and focus for the western press during the Afghan-Soviet war. ...Massoud warned European and other Western leaders of the dangers of the Taliban, to no avail.
Afghanistan's Version of Cook County? -- [Outside the Wire - JD Johannes - in Afghanistan]
UPDATE: Afghanistan's Electoral Complaint Commission has ordered an audit/recount in response to "Clear and convincing evidence of fraud."
In the lore of American elections, Cook county, Illinois looms large. Cook county, according the legends, if not in fact, always reported the returns of elections last--despite being in the City of Chicago. Rural backwaters and the suburbs would report the returns and then after every other vote was counted, Cook county would report returns giving the winning margin to whatever candidate the machine favored.
I have a concern that Afghanistan's version of Cook county is in the provinces of Farah, Nimroz, Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Khost and Paktika.
What causes this concern of mine...
US to Karzai: Accept Vote Recount -- [Washington Times]
The Obama administration, debating whether to send thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, has intensified pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai not to declare victory and to agree to a partial recount of votes in an election tainted by massive fraud. Administration officials said the US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, pressed Mr. Karzai in meetings Monday and Tuesday to allow the fraud investigation to play out before claiming publicly that he has been re-elected. An Afghan-run election commission said that with more than 90 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Karzai had 54 percent, enough to avoid a runoff. At the same time, the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) - an independent body with the power to investigate and nullify fraudulent votes - ordered a recount at hundreds of polling stations where it said it had found "clear and convincing evidence of fraud" during the Aug. 20 election.
Senior U.S. Official: Iraq Is Embarrassed -- [MEMRI Blog]
A U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, told the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that Iraq's demand for an international tribunal "reflects a real embarrassment about the sad and painful terrorist attacks."
Iraqi Government Uses Satellites to Identify Infiltrators From Syria -- [MEMRI Blog]
The Iraqi government, with the help of the U.S. government, will use advanced technology and satellites to identify cross-border infiltrators into Iraq from Syria.
Attacks Muddle American Plans to Draw Down in Iraq -- [New York Times]
In the worst day of violence against American soldiers in Iraq since combat troops moved out of the cities this year, two bombings left four Americans dead, underscoring the dangers troops here still face even as they prepare for their exit from this country. The American military provided little detail about the attacks, saying only that one soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Baghdad and that three more were killed in another roadside bombing in northern Iraq. While the American presence here has been greatly diminished, with Iraqis and Americans rarely conducting joint patrols and Iraqis eager to appear in control of their own security, there are still thousands of American soldiers working as advisers inside cities and towns across Iraq.
Four American Soldiers Killed in Iraq -- [Voice of America]
The US military says four American soldiers have been killed in roadside bombings in Iraq. A military statement says three of the soldiers died in an attack in northern Iraq Tuesday. Earlier in the day, another soldier was killed when a bomb hit a US patrol in southern Baghdad. Monthly death tolls for US troops have fallen sharply this year, as forces shift to a mainly support and training role in accordance with a security pact that took effect January 1. US troops pulled out of Iraqi urban centers in July of this year.
September 11 Ceremony -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
Now I may or may not actually talk about my reaction to 9-11 and joining the Army years later, because they may shorten the program or my talk may not pass review. I'll post it after the event whether I give the talk or not.
...Just when I forget that 30% of America believes 9-11 was an inside job, someone pops out his view that there was indeed a conspiracy.
Awards write ups take their toll... -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
As we prepare for our return, award write ups become a focus of effort for the company. When it is time to do awards, a number of things happen:
Restored water plant serves millions -- [MNF-I]
Some citizens of Basrah lived without clean, running water for cooking and hygiene. Following a recent inspection of the Hartha Water Treatment Plant here, the 17th Fires Brigade aimed to change that
A law against "idiots" interfering in world affairs by visiting failed states or their vicinity? -- [MoStFab]
The French foreign ministry is proposing a new law (at this stage it is a projet de loi) part of which is about giving the French state the opportunity to make people who get into trouble in danger zones around the world liable for their actions - should this become law, they may have to pay back all or a part of the costs of their rescue, should the French state demand that (in the Bloomberg article they call this a "stupidity tax"). Rescuing citizens in trouble after travelling into dangerous areas despite proper warning against this is something the French had to do on three occasions off the coast of Somalia in the past two years.
Al-Qaeda Targeting Germany for 'Next 9/11' - Within Weeks -- [Israel News]
Jihadists close to al-Qaeda explicitly warned in new communications that Germany will be the target of the next 9/11-scale terrorist attack. The timing of the strike, they say, will be within the next few weeks.
Former CIA Agent's Eight Years Hunting bin Laden in Pakistani Badlands -- [The Times]
Art Keller, a blond, blue-eyed CIA agent, sits inside a decrepit building deep inside al-Qaeda territory, staring at his computer screen. He is forbidden by his Pakistani minders from venturing out into the badlands of Waziristan to help to find and kill the world's most wanted man. He is sick and exhausted, and suffering from food poisoning. Back home in the US his father is dying of cancer. The plumbing is basic, the heat intense - the generator has failed again. He pores over cables looking for any scrap of information - an intercepted phone call, an aerial photograph - that might finally end the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
The greatest threat -- [SWJ - Robert Haddick]
What is the greatest threat to U.S. security? The greatest threat to U.S. security is something that would upset the usefulness of the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the consolidated U.S. government database of terrorist suspects around the world. The government uses that database to establish watch lists, no-fly lists, screen visa applicants at U.S. consulates, conduct surveillance, coordinate investigations with foreign and local partners, etc. It was the lack of such a database and its applications that permitted 9/11 to happen. Today, the TIDE database and the activities it supports is the U.S. government's most important counterterrorism tool.
Terrorists Shift Focus to Hotels and 'Soft' Targets, Study Says -- [AP]
Terrorists are aiming for hotels and other easier-to-hit targets as security measures at military and government facilities continue to improve, said a global intelligence company. Al Qaeda is changing from a centralized organization with global goals to regional "franchises" with more parochial aims and strong grass-roots support, according to a report Tuesday from STRATFOR. These smaller cells get less training and less money, so they set their sights lower. That doesn't mean they aren't dangerous, "particularly if they are attempting to prove their value or if they are able to link up with someone who is highly tactically skilled," the report said.
Al Qaeda Mole in New York UN Headquarters? -- [Jawa Report]
A Canadian diplomat who was held hostage by al Qaeda's North African affiliate believes he was betrayed. Robert Fowler, who was taken hostage by al Qaeda in the Islmic Maghreb, believes the circumstances leading to his capture is evidence that someone with knowledge of his diplomatic mission gave that information to the terrorist network.
A letter from Afghanistan -- [Soldiers Angels LA - Greta]
Update: There are over 1200 deployed heroes waiting to be adopted by you, your office or your group. Please consider adopting a hero today. A letter a week and 1-2 small packages a month is all it takes. Go to Soldiers' Angels for all the information.
Generosity of total strangers -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
From Liisa, SMSgt Temple's wife: Rex is safely back from his mission but the camp has no Internet access right now. But I know he has a couple of really great stories to tell in the next few days from this latest mission. While he was away, I checked his in-coming e-mails and was amazed by how many total strangers across the country are signing up to help with his school supplies campaign for Afghan children. The response has been wonderful and we have so far people promising to collect supplies all over Central Florida and in California, Mississippi, Georgia, Washington (State - not DC) and South Carolina. There is one particular family that deserves a major "thank you."
Connecting With People Who "Get It" -- [SpouseBuzz - Andi]
If you're not a member of military.com, you should be. Over ten million people are! Registration is free and there are numerous benefits. You can find friends, make friends, find job postings and get career advice, find information on duty stations, receive special discounts and much, much more. This is probably a good time to remind you that you can sign up to receive the Family and Spouse Newsletter, a great newsletter which compiles the best news and items of interest to military spouses families twice monthly, and sends it straight to your inbox.
Military.com has revamped their community offerings to include fresh, creative ways to connect with even more people who understand the unique military experience.
Marines LtCol David Odom re: Spirit of America support in Afghanistan -- [SoA]
Following our initial SoA - 3/8 & SPMAGTF-A meeting in 29 Palms,CA; we established email as the primary method for requesting support from SoA to the mission in southern Afghanistan.
...Upon getting oriented in the early fall, we sent a "wish list" of items to SoA that would enable "snap-Humanitarian Assistance (Snap-HA)" in support of our mission. The intent was to utilize SoA resources to provide items that would 1) better enable and professionalize the ANP ; and 2)provide our Marines with a variety of goods that good be distributed to local Afghans (usually through the local Afghan gov't as this further enables the perception and reality of the Afghan gov't providing for the people; and also for general distribution during both motorized and foot patrols in the populated areas).
Military spends $10M to build Web sites aimed at squelching anti-US messages -- [Network World]
Can a series of customized Web sites written in specific, strategic foreign languages actually influence how the world perceives our government's policies? And by-the-way help fight the war on terror? Sounds like a stretch but that is indeed the goal of the project known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative.
General Dynamics Information Technology said it was awarded a $10.1 million contract to start the project the officials hope would quell any anti-US communications out on the Web. Specifically the project requires "the capability to posture for rapid, on-order global dissemination of Web-based influence products and tools in support of strategic and long-term US Government goals and objectives."
A More Exclusive Club -- [Strategy Page]
Two years ago, the U.S. Army National Guard (NG) had fixed its recruiting problems and restored itself to its authorized strength of 358,000. But now the National Guard has been ordered to cut its strength nine percent. At the same time, the recession, and fewer NG units being sent overseas, has brought even more business for recruiters. The NG has long been seen as a good part time job, and these days, any kind of job, in some parts of the country, is a good job. So now the NG recruiters have been ordered to take a lot fewer people and be a lot more picky.
This Gig Sucks -- [Strategy Page]
One of the less discussed reasons for flawed, over-budget and behind schedule new weapons is that defense industries are no longer considered sexy. Young engineers and scientists would rather work on consumer electronics, or Internet based companies, than design and build new warships, missiles or weapons in general. NASA is having an equally difficult time because space operations are not nearly as attractive as they used to be. Moreover, many of those enthusiastic baby boomer (born between 1946-64) engineers are starting to retire. And there are few people with equal skills to replace them.
Home At Last...Camp Patriot? -- [Sour Swinger - in Iraq/Kuwait]
The fresh Pennsylvania air. The green grass. Seeing family for a first time in 8 months. Delta company finally has come back and is relaxing in their homes. Done with deployment...finally. Wish I could say the same. Meanwhile, back in Kuwait I find myself on the worst detail ever. With me are over 200 soldiers from the rest of the 56th SBCT. Our mission, wash all the vehicles in order to clear customs before sending them back to the states. Before I continue with my Kuwait talk, I'd like to mention more about Delta's reunion with family but since I wasn't there, I don't anything to say.
160 soldiers back home -- [Honolulu Star-Bulletin]
The last welcome-home ceremony is expected to take place in November after Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen turns over the command of Task Force Lightning to Maj. ...
Local Soldiers Coming Home From Afghanistan This Week -- [WIFR]
More than a hundred stateline soldiers will be greeted with a heroes welcome home when they return from a year-long mission in Afghanistan later this week.
Another round of Strykers returns to Fort Wainwright -- [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner]
Children position their handmade "Welcome Home" signs. Moms prop babies on their hips, ready to greet husbands with a free arm. Within minutes the electric ...
Pentagon Keeps Wary Watch as Troops Blog -- [NY Times]
There are two sides to the military's foray into the freewheeling world of the interactive Web. At the highest echelons of the Pentagon, civilian officials and four-star generals are newly hailing the power of social networking to make members of the American military more empathetic, entice recruits and shape public opinion on the war.
...The Web, however, is a big place. And the many thousands of troops who use blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to communicate with the outside world are not always in tune with the Pentagon's official voice. Policing their daily flood of posts, videos and photographs is virtually impossible -- but that has not stopped some in the military from trying.
...Still, even as they consider restricting the troops' access to social media, the most senior Pentagon officials have clearly come to view Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging as crucial elements of their public information operations.
Trust squandered for a photo -- [Armed and Curious]
I learned long ago the old saying that where you stand on an issue relates directly to where you sit. I am an Army officer with 4 combat tours and now serve as a public affairs officer. A big part of the job of a PAO is to serve as the liaison between the media and our military units. With that perspective the AP decision to publish the photo of the dying Marine last week was a foolish mistake with second and third order effects that won't be seen in Washington or the Pulitzer Prize committee room.
...On the military side passions have been high seeing the whole episode as a betrayal of our service men and women and their families. To make matters worse, the photo is being used by anti-war activists and even jihadist websites to trumpet the failure of our mission and in many cases celebrate the death of one of our own. Yet another one of those pesky second and third order effects I mentioned above.
Media Covered Up 2nd NYT Captive -- [Sweetness&Light]
Lest we forget, The Times and the rest of our media masters flat out refuse to honor the requests of other military families who request that their the capture of their sons not be reported.
Indeed, the Associated Press would not even refrain from publishing the photograph of a dying Marine, even after being begged by his relatives and the Secretary Of Defense, Mr. Gates himself.
Just as the New York Times delighted in showing in publishing a video and photos of a us soldier dying back in January 2007.
But when it's one of their own (who are usually only there to hurt our troops and their mission) no effort is spared to suppress the news.
The Times even bragged about their months long collaboration with Wikipedia to keep news of Mr. Rohde's kidnapping out of Wikipedia's pages.
But any secret that can hurt our soldiers or our national security in general gets front page above the fold treatment from the Treason Times.
And speaking of gross hypocrisy:
Carl Dix and IVAW's Communist connections -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Carl Dix was a soldier in the US Army until he refused to go to Vietnam. After a stint in jail, he came out and joined the Black Workers Congress (remember Darnell Stephens Summers? Links here and here.) From the Black Workers Congress, Dix went to the Revolutionary Communist Party which was co-founded by his friend Bob Avakian. Here's Avakian a few days ago
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
US-German Rift Emerges over Afghan Deaths Case -- [Associated Press]
An airstrike by US fighter jets that appears to have killed Afghan civilians could turn into a major dispute for NATO allies Germany and the United States, with tensions rising over Germany's role in ordering the attack. Violence continued in Afghanistan's war with Taliban insurgents, with a rocket attack on the capital killing three civilians overnight, police said Monday. Afghan officials say up to 70 people were killed in the early morning airstrike Friday in the northern province of Kunduz after Taliban militants stole two tanker trucks of fuel and villagers gathered to siphon off gas.
Decision on Airstrike in Afghanistan Was Based Largely on Sole Informant's Assessment -- [Washington Post]
To the German commander, it seemed to be a fortuitous target: More than 100 Taliban insurgents were gathering around two hijacked fuel tankers that had become stuck in the mud near this small farming village.
Echoes from the blast -- [Greyhawk]
...How long was it? According to the Washington Post, "Instead of sending troops to the scene for an assessment of casualties -- as McChrystal's directive requires -- the Germans waited until morning to send an unmanned aircraft over the site to take photographs. The first German troops did not arrive at the scene until noon Friday. By then, all the bodies had been removed. "
Germany Is ISAF's Weakest Link -- [Registan]
The subtext to Rajiv Chandrasekaran's dispatch from Kunduz (partially discussed already here) is the stupefying negligence of the German Army.
As Péter Marton puts it, "So German KSK SFs cannot shoot a known Taliban commander, responsible for a veritable carnage in New Baghlan back in 2007, when they have a clear shot at him, but it is alright for German troops to call in an F-15 to bomb stolen fuel tankers with lots of people around? This doesn't make sense." Indeed, it doesn't. As Chandrasekaran reports:
Yes, you did! You invaded Poland! -- [Abu Muqawama]
A rift has opened up between the Germans and the United States over what happened in Kunduz. Given how smug the Germans were about the job they had been doing in the north, this is perhaps not surprising. Josh Foust has been sounding the alarm on Germany's contingent for literally two years, but the German scholar Thomas Rid thinks General McChrystal has made a political error in the way he has handled Kunduz. I would write more on this, but Thomas and I are having breakfast in 45 minutes
Achtung, Gen McChrystal -- [Kings of War]
...But McChrystal is playing a dangerous game here. He might be handing a huge political present to the far-left Die Linke. But more than that. The new German government will have to reauthorize the ISAF mandate on 15 December in Berlin's parliament.
A Fat Chicken Does Not Lay Eggs -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
The place I've been calling Mudville, vaguely in the eastern part of Jalalabad, is known as Base Eckmunblahblah. It means "military logistics area" and is owned by the Department of Defense. I've forgotten the word exactly - today's new vocabulary includes reshwat (bribe), tofa (gift), bakshish (tip, alms, gift-for-something-you-did-or-'cause-you're-poor) - but just like the name implies, the residential population are considered squatters and not welcome to rebuild.
Animal House: The Real Story (Updated) -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
You have to admit that the current guard force at the U.S. Embassy Kabul know how to get attention. The rash of stories which broke last Wednesday were amusing to say the least. The story broke with a news release from a group called "Project on Government Oversight" (POGO) who had received pictures and written complaints from a group of contractors at the embassy and given the nature of the pictures it went viral.
I was the project manager for the first group of civilian contractors who relieved the Marines (weapons company 2/6) at that embassy in 2005. At the time ...
New Afghan war: Frontline correspondent says fight has morphed - but we still can't afford to lose -- [Michael Yon]
The West is losing this war. This has been obvious for more than three years. Less obvious is that in 2009, we are down to the wire. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others will soon recommend to President Obama the latest treatment for a dying patient.
Meanwhile, allies and Americans are asking themselves why we are here. Some are saying that Al Qaeda is still here or is waiting in the wings to return to its home. Yet Afghanistan was never Al Qaeda's permanent home to begin with. Al Qaeda was just renting a little space here, just as it was renting space in places like Germany and Florida.
We must face reality: Our reasons for continuing are not the reasons we came for. We are fighting a different war now than the one that began in 2001.
Ends, Ways, and Means... -- [A Major's Perspective]
...What is our end-state? That is an answer that needs to be examined. People like to throw out words like stabile, secure, and prosperous. Well, tell me what those mean for the Afghans. In other words, "Tell Me How This Ends." We must be much more specific in our discussions of the end-state. We must firmly say what is our desired and tolerated end-states, and we must be very precise. We must also understand that any end-state that we desire must be in accordance with what the Afghans themselves want and is within the propensity of their system to achieve.
Non-reasons for failure -- [Kings of War]
For what its worth, I think on balance that the war in Afghanistan is a misconceived, wildly over-ambitious project and that there are good reasons to believe it cannot work and is unnecessary. Equally, there are sophisticated counter-arguments that are not easily dismissed. Sample Rory Stewart's case against, and Stephen Biddle's case in favour, to see the arguments at their most refined. But that's for a different post.
hile as there are good reasons to doubt the war, there are also facile and glib arguments that need to be pricked. Here's just three:
Fake Afghan Poll Sites Favored Karzai, Officials Assert -- [NY Times]
Afghans loyal to President Hamid Karzai set up hundreds of fictitious polling sites where no one voted but where hundreds of thousands of ballots were still recorded toward the president's re-election, according to senior Western and Afghan officials here.
The fake sites, as many as 800, existed only on paper, said a senior Western diplomat in Afghanistan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity...
Afghan Officials Disqualify Votes from 450 Polling Places -- [Los Angeles Times]
Afghan election officials on Sunday announced their first mass disqualification of votes because of possible fraud in the bitterly contested presidential race, even as President Hamid Karzai edged closer to the majority he needs for a first-round victory.
Karzai to talk with Taliban within 100 days: media -- [AFP]
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai hopes to hold peace talks with the Taliban within 100 days if he is re-elected, he told the French daily Le Figaro in an interview published on Monday.
But Karzai insisted he would not sit down with any faction that refuses to cut its links with Al-Qaeda or fails to respect the Afghan constitution.
Afghan-International Security Force Detains Militants in Kandahar -- [ISAF]
A joint Afghan and international security force searched a compound in Kandahar Province on Aug. 6 in pursuit of a Taliban sub-commander responsible for attacks in the area and linked to several senior Taliban leaders.
Wounded RAF corporal vows to return to Afghanistan -- [Ministry of Defence]
"I was winded by the impact and thought the round had struck my body armour. Then I put my hand on my stomach and there was a lot of blood.
"The 'man down' call went out and the medics were with me pretty fast. I was down on the ground as they stopped the bleeding, while all hell was being let loose around me."
"I like America," says thrice-deployed soldier -- [A World of Troubles - in Afghanistan]
...There's something ironic about a group of soliders who want nothing better than to go home and stay home, but would never volunteer to leave early if it meant ditching their buddies or their mission, and a U.S. population that now wakes from its recession stupor and remembers them, a flicker across the screen that more are dying in Afghanistan than ever before, and decides it wants to bring them home, regardless of what their mission was.
The Bird of Peace -- [Doc H's International Adventure]
...I like the symbolism of the dove as the bird of peace. In this land that has seen so many years of conflict and strive, a little peace could go a long way. So let us hope that the flock of doves that is thriving in our military camp with all the trappings and machinery of war is a sign of things to come.
I do hope that all of you back in the States had a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. We all wish we could be there with you.
A dramatic video. Do you believe it? If so, you've been had.
In Iraq, US Troops Learn to Cope with Rejection -- [Los Angeles Times] For most US soldiers in Iraq, the war as they knew it came to an abrupt halt June 30, the date by which US forces had to be out of Iraq's cities under the terms of the US-Iraqi security agreement. Bases in the urban areas that had witnessed most of the combat action for the last six years closed down and troops were relocated either to the edges of the city or deep in the countryside, where they are still permitted to operate relatively freely. But within the cities, the Iraqi government has rigidly enforced rules keeping American forces out, surprising many US commanders who were expecting that combat troops would continue to commute into urban areas to help out their Iraqi counterparts. The new reality has required considerable adjustments on the part of American forces accustomed to roaming where they pleased since the US-led invasion of Iraq more than six years ago.
Delicacy is French for Something Weird -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq] Another meal is upon us. Our General invites us to a surprise Iraqi diner. They say it's a delicacy but won't tell us what it is. Just a tip: Delicacy = something weird that you would never dream of eating in a million years. After the fasting period of the day is over (It's still Ramadan), we pile into the General's dining area and sit down to another feast.
Body of Iraq hostage arrives home -- [BBC News]
Alec MacLachlan was seized at Baghdad's Ministry of Finance
The body of a British security guard killed after being taken hostage in Iraq has been flown back to the UK. The Foreign Office said the body of Alec MacLachlan, 30, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, had arrived on a flight from Baghdad.
Members of his family were present at RAF Lyneham, in Wiltshire, to meet the flight, a spokesman said.
Mr MacLachlan was one of five men kidnapped in 2007. The bodies of two others were returned to the UK in June.
Reporter reflects on Iraq: Fixing what we broke -- [The Modesto Bee - Adam Ashton]
Cutting out at the war's lowest point would have been shameful and brutal to the Iraqi people. I can only imagine how that would've played out, with Iraq's neighbors using the country as a battlefield for their own disputes.
That doesn't mean it was wise to come in the first place.
It's an understatement to say that the progress on security is remarkable, so much so that the Iraqi government got a little ahead of itself this summer in tearing down blast walls and checkpoints that had protected Baghdad.
And that's exhibit A to demonstrate how the security gains can vanish in a moment.
No Freedom for Mr. Khan -- [New York Times]
Abdul Qadeer Khan has a special place in the pantheon of international outlaws. In 2004, he confessed that over a 15-year period he provided some of the world's most nefarious and dangerous governments - Iran, North Korea and Libya - with the designs and technology to produce the fuel for nuclear weapons. The Pakistani metallurgist deserved to be imprisoned for life. But he caught a scandalous break. As the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, he is a national hero. And despite the tearful, televised confession in which Mr. Khan insisted that he alone was guilty, it is widely believed that Pakistan's powerful military, including Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then president and is a former army chief of staff, was complicit in this exceedingly vile trade.
What Am I Bid For This National Hero? -- [Strategy Page]
But such a high profile kidnapping is the kind of grandstanding stunt the Taliban favors. If they managed to grab Khan, and get him back to the tribal territories, they could offer him to either Pakistan, or the United States, depending on who offered the most money. For the Pakistani government, we are talking national hero here. For the United States, Khan is a criminal, who did more for nuclear proliferation than anyone single individual, ever. Even if the Taliban did not manage to pull off this sort of super auction, they would have scored a tremendous propaganda victory.
But grabbing Khan, and getting away with it, even when he was not under house arrest, would have been extremely difficult. One thing...
Top Terror Suspect is Freed over Secrets Fear -- [The Times]
The Home Secretary has released a man regarded as one of Britain's most dangerous terror suspects from virtual house arrest to avoid disclosing secret evidence against him, The Times has learnt. The man, known only as AF, has been subject to a controversial "control order" since 2006 because of his alleged links with Islamic terrorists. He has never been charged, however, and the evidence for the allegations has never been heard in a public court. The control order was revoked last week and the suspect's electronic tag removed, setting him free in spite of the Government's claim that he remains a threat. AF, who has dual Libyan and British nationality, was one of three terror suspects who won a landmark ruling from nine law lords in July that their detention under the control order regime was illegal.
Guest Blogger: Scott Kesterson-Donations needed for COIN Reference Library -- [Bouhammer]
The contributions the Academy is making to Gen. McChrystal's strategy can not be understated, nor can the challenges of implementing an expanded doctrine of population centric operations.
In an attempt to support the operations of the Academy, as well as the many soldiers that attend and instruct here, I have developed a "wish list" on Amazon.com of books in hopes of creating an Honorary Counterinsurgency Learning Library made up entirely of donations from our communities back home. The intent is to further expand the awareness of culture, methods and operations that promote the end goal of national unity, governance and security for the people of Afghanistan.
Guest column in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH) newspaper -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Rex is out on a mission for a few days but he was honored to be able to reach readers beyond his blog today with a guest column about the importance of education in Afghanistan and his school supplies drive for Afghan children; the column was published in The Plain Dealer, a Cleveland, OH based newspaper.
More than 160 Schofield soldiers returning from Iraq -- [Honolulu Advertiser]
More than 160 soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division will return from a year-long Iraq deployment tomorrow.
Welcome home, soldiers -- [Pottstown Mercury]
Having a crowd there to welcome the troops home is important, Murphy said, explaining how the local American Legion and VFW posts were a part of the
Another round of Strykers returns to Fort Wainwright -- [Fairbanks Daily News]
Children position their handmade "Welcome Home" signs. Moms prop babies on their hips, ready to greet husbands with a free arm. Within minutes the electric ...
Revisiting Ethics in America (and elsewhere) -- [Greyhawk]
In light of News and no news I'm reminded that no matter how dramatic the story, it's nearly true that nothing's new.
The following discussion was televised back in 1987. Video is available here, part of a series on Ethics in America you can find here.
...In the excerpt below, "Jennings" is Peter Jennings, "Wallace" is Mike Wallace.
Moderator: Enemy soldiers shooting and killing American soldiers? Could you imagine how you would report that to the American people?
Wallace: Yes, I can. (Talking down to Jennings) Frankly, I'm astonished to hear Peter say that. You are a reporter. Granted you are an American. But you are a reporter covering combat. And I'm at a loss to understand why, because you are an American; you would not cover that story.
Moderator: Don't you have a higher duty as an American citizen to do all you can to save the lives of American soldiers rather than this journalistic ethic of reporting the fact?
Thoughts on the rating of journalists -- [Armed and Curious - in Iraq]
If you follow military news you probably heard the dust up last week when Stars and Stripes revealed that US Forces Afghanistan had contracted the Rendon Group, a Washington based P.R. firm, to perform media analysis functions that included reviewing journalists past work and measuring it as positive, negative or neutral. These reports were then used by the military commands to prepare for an embed or interview and, it seems in some rare cases, to actually deny an embed for some journalists.
Needless to say these "shocking" revelations caused a stir in certain circles including among those of us in the military public affairs world. Personally, I found two troubling aspects surrounding the whole affair.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Is There A Victory? -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
A blogger friend, military supporter whose husband has served in this war, asked what victory looks like in Afghanistan. It's a good question, and one that I think is probably in more minds than just hers. So I'm going to take a whack at answering it.
Badly injured soldier directs American air strike -- [Ministry of Defence]
Badly injured by a rocket-propelled grenade while on a routine patrol, a British soldier ignored his pain and stayed on the radio to direct American pilots overhead to suppress the enemy.
Obama Urged to Rally Support for War -- [WSJ]
The White House is facing mounting pressure from lawmakers to work harder to rally flagging public support for the war in Afghanistan.
With casualties rising, the administration is struggling to persuade voters that the war can be won or is worth the human and financial costs. Afghanistan is President Barack Obama's top foreign-policy priority, but ...
White House fears liberal war pressure -- [Politico] HT: Flopping Aces
White House officials are increasingly worried liberal, anti-war Democrats will demand a premature end to the Afghanistan war before President Barack Obama can show signs of progress in the eight-year conflict, according to senior administration sources.
These fears, which the officials have discussed on the condition of anonymity over the past few weeks, are rising fast after U.S. casualties hit record levels in July and August.
Gates May Be Open To Troop Increase -- [Washington Post]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates indicated Thursday that he is open to increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan, voicing a shift in his position as the administration ponders a military assessment expected to lead to a formal request for additional forces. Gates, in a briefing at the Pentagon, also defended the US mission in Afghanistan, rebutting suggestions that it is time to pull out. His remarks came just hours before the Army announced that it will extend the tours of about 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan for between two weeks and two months amid an intensifying Taliban insurgency.
Pentagon extends Army unit in Afghanistan -- [AP]
The Army has ordered a headquarters unit in Afghanistan to remain up to 50 days past its yearlong tour in what officials say could be the start of longer postings in the war.
Army officials on Thursday said the troops extensions will ensure continuity in Afghanistan.
As many as 200 senior soldiers and officers in the 82nd Airborne Division could stay up to 50 days longer in Kabul. The division is based out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
Additionally, soldiers with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Stewart, Ga., may stay two more weeks in Afghanistan before returning home.
The extensions will give soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters a full year at home before heading back to Afghanistan next spring.
Afghanistan Is Not 'Obama's War' -- [Wall Street Journal]
In his column for the Washington Post on Tuesday, the influential conservative George Will provided intellectual fodder for the campaign among some Republicans to hang the Afghanistan war around the Obama administration's neck. Washington, he wrote, should "keep faith" with our fighting men and women by "rapidly reversing the trajectory of America's involvement in Afghanistan." "Obama's war," a locution one is now beginning to hear from other conservatives, is an expression of discontent that has been smoldering beneath the surface for several months.
Outside The Bubble -- [Outside the Wire - in Afghanistan]
I was in a bubble. A bubble many westerners find themselves in. They live in compounds or FOBs or fine hotels. They move about the city behind tinted bullet proof glass.
They are floating above Kabul, not in Kabul. I was at the Serena to bring a little Kabul and Afghanistan into the bubble and film some of the goings on inside the bubble.
...US Soldiers can spend a lot of time in the bubble--in MRAPS. In Iraq, it took a deliberate effort from some officers to get their troops out of the bubble and out on their feet where they could gather intel, interact with the people and actually provide security to the population.
...ULTRA LOW PROFILE
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the bubble is another type of security when traveling in a high risk environment. The bubble is all about being hardened enough to survive and attack. My preferred approach is avoid the possibility of attack all together.
Kabul is usually the safest place in Afghanistan and normally I would not worry too much about being out in the streets, but in the weeks leading up to the election the threat environment was higher, so I stepped up my precautions to match the threat level and avoid the threats.
On the roof of Jalalabad -- [Fab - in Afghanistan]
I'm sitting on a concrete ledge about 4 stories high in the shade of the water tower looking out through a remarkably clear day across Jalalabad. And I'm writing this post from waaay up here, my connection via a local meshed node through various hops which find their way (automagically) to the FabFi1 long haul connection out through the GATR which beams my message into orbit and back and finally finally to a server at MIT in Cambridge MA. It's so very cool.
What's cooler is what's happening around me. ...
Mudistan -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
The residents - some men but mostly young adults - pulled me to the places that had been their homes. The Afghans are fanatics about walls and there wasn't a structure with four intact walls. A lot of the walls were simply gone - presumably washed away "down there somewhere" - whereas we were standing on the mucky remnants of others. Several buildings had big gaps and cracks because the ground on which they were built had shifted down the street too. All the rocks you see in the pictures were once part of walls.
Rain and Ramadan in Afghanistan -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...Out of respect to our counterparts who are fasting during Ramadan, we have curtailed our activities and missions. We are still conducting our daily mentoring sessions, but its obvious fasting for an entire day has a physiological effect. While we are with our ANA counterparts, we respect their religious customs and do not drink, eat, or smoke around them. Not drinking water is probably the hardest to refrain from.
Just an update -- [Kudzu's Wandering ...- in Afghanistan]
Things are kicking up down south as the news is reporting and the elections are over. Last tiem I looked Karzai was ahead with 46% so there still might be a runoff... personally I think that would be good for this country. A contested election that is settled without bloodshed between the two opponents... hopefully.
Traveling Sailors... -- [3rd Time, New Country - in Afghanistan]
Another week has passed and on top of the normal everyday mentoring at NMH, I have been back to NDS hospital and visited a new hospital, ...
The trip to NDS was both good and bad. Good in that I finally got to observe a surgery and bad because I did observe a surgery. NDS is a new hospital, but much needs to be done to improve their nursing practices to bring up their standards of care. Surgery is done in the same manner as NMH. Nursing is both an art and a science, both of which need to be taught here in Kabul. In my opinion, nurses don't "see" the patients, all they see is what is going on with the patient. If you ask a nurse here what the patient's name is, they wouldn't be able to answer, but ...
The Bazaar -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
...I really have no idea what Afghan goods go for around here. If I become too frustrating, the shopkeeper usually has me just name some price. I usually try to start with an amount which is low, but not insultingly low. I would guess that I am still not starting low enough though. By the time it is over I feel like I must have gotten a good deal, but then the shopkeeper smiles a very big smile when we conclude the purchase. It really makes me think I have been taken to the cleaners.
Iraq accuses Syria of harboring armed groups -- [AP]
Iraq's prime minister said Thursday that Syria was sheltering armed groups wanted for cross-border attacks, forcing him to appeal to the United Nations for help in stopping what he called a hostile act.
The prime minister's appeal comes as four more people died in attacks around the country.
The Violence in Iraq Is Meant to Prevent U.S. Withdrawal, Harm President Obama -- [MEMRI Blog]
In an August 22, 2009 article in the Syrian government daily Teshreen, Nasser Qandil, a former Lebanese MP who is close to Syria, wrote that some in Washington were acting to worsen the security situation in Iraq. Their aim, he said, is to extend the U.S. military presence in the country, which will harm U.S. President Barack Obama in his next election campaign; to promote the Biden Plan to partition Iraq into three regions; and to sabotage the relations among Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran.
An Anniversary -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
Today is an anniversary for me. One year ago today, I first stepped off the plane at Baghdad International Airport. I was nervous, excited, worn out from the trip, unsure of what to expect, and ready to go do something. All I knew for certain was that it would be an interesting time here. A year later, and that last part has certainly been true.
Whenever I go home, people ask me, "What's Iraq like?". I don't know how to answer that. It's hot. It sucks. It's great. Wonderful people. Terrorists. A different way of life. Like being in a minimum-security prison. You can make an impact. You can't make a dime's worth of difference. You're valued. You're treated like shit. No time for yourself. Great pay. Not worth it. Iraq is a maze of contradictions. When people ask me what Iraq's like, they're looking for a sound-bite insight into something that would take a thousand "War and Peace"-size tomes to even begin to understand.
A Quick Thought -- [Mongo's Montreaux - in Iraq]
Why aren't we doing more long range patrols?
Even the guys that are (or, more aptly, were) in small COPs and JSS' seem to punch a time clock. You go out, you do your patrol or day's mission, and you roll back in. Granted, these smaller posts don't have the amenities that the super FOBs do, but still, every troop knows that after a hard day's work (which is usually substantially longer than the eight-hour work day, granted), he's going back to his rack, to his iPod, to his latest edition of black belt magazine.
How many troops now in Iraq (and Afghanistan) actually spend the night in what one would classically call a "patrol base?" Not surrounded with concrete T-walls and Hesco barriers, not in a known location from which the insurgents (et al) know that one will exit and return to daily?
Combat outposts in Anbar turned over to Iraqi control -- [MNF-I]
During the month of August,, Multi National Force - West returned Combat Outposts Viking and Eagle Base to Iraqi control in Al Anbar province.
In accordance with the Security Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, and upon U.S. withdrawal from a base or facility, the bases or facilities will be returned to the control of the appropriate Iraqi entity or demilitarized and closed. These facilities are able to be closed or transferred back to Iraqi control because the Iraqi Security Forces have assumed full responsibility for security in their respective areas.
Greywolf brigade breaks Ramadan fast with Iraqi Police chiefs -- [MNF-I]
Iraqi Police chiefs from throughout Ninawa province and 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gathered at Forward Operating Base Diamondback for an evening "break-fast" Ramadan meal Aug. 31.
The meal was a gesture of friendship by 3rd HBCT, who provided food and drinks comparable to what the police chiefs would have eaten had the meal occurred in their own homes.
Airmen ignite Iraqi firefighter training -- [MNF-I]
Two Air Force sergeants stationed here inside the International Zone are in the process of training Iraqi firefighters to be able to respond to a crisis at a moment's notice.
US urged to restore protection of Iranians in Iraq -- [AP]
Supporters of an Iranian dissident group based in Iraq called on the Obama administration Thursday to restore US military protection for the ...
Starbuck's Coffee: Now don't get me wrong, though... -- [Wings Over Iraq - in Iraq]
Yesterday, I talked about the balancing act between Soldier quality of life on forward operating bases on one hand, and the risk aversion/force protection mentality on the other hand. One of the points I brought up (and was also brought up in a blog post on Wired's Danger Room) was that most of the major forward operating bases had coffee shops run by Starbucks, Green Bean, or Cinn-a-Bon.
But don't get me wrong,...
N. Korea Says It Is in 'Final Stage' of Uranium Enrichment -- [Washington Post]
North Korea announced early Friday that it is in the "final stage" of enriching uranium, a process that, if completed, would give it a second means of making a nuclear bomb.
North Korea's Uranium Enrichment: Raising the Stakes -- [One Free Korea]
You could say, in response to this, that just because the North Koreans say they've done something doesn't make it true, but that would also be just as true of what the North Koreans say they're not doing. You could say that we don't know much about the program's scale, which is true because none of our disarmament diplomacy has demanded that North Korea tell us about the program or allow us to verify its disclosures. The State Department's strategy for dealing with this potential threat has been to spend the better part of the last 15 years trying to it didn't exist. As a result, North Korea may now have an easily concealed path to a nuclear weapon. We don't know how big a threat it is, what tunnel (or even in what country) the centrifuges are, how the product is moved, or who might buy it.
North Korea's obvious intent here is to raise the ante on President Obama and persuade him that sanctions are counterproductive.
UN Peacekeeping Chief in Darfur Says War Over -- [AP]
The outgoing United Nations peacekeeping chief in Sudan's Darfur region said the world should no longer consider the long-running conflict a war after a sharp decline in violence and deaths over the past year. Activists and Darfur residents disagree, and the comments by Rodolphe Adada heightened anxiety that there will be less international focus on resolving the root problems in the troubled region. "We can no longer talk of a big conflict, of a war in Darfur," Mr. Adada said before stepping down as head of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, or Unamid. "I think now everybody understands it. We can no longer speak of this issue. It is over."
CIA Asks Justice to Probe Leaks of Secrets -- [Washington Times]
Besieged by leaks of several closely held secrets, the CIA has asked the Justice Department to examine what it regards as the criminal disclosure of a secret program to kill foreign terrorist leaders abroad, The Washington Times has learned. Two US intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because of the sensitivity of the case, said the leak investigation involved a program that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told Congress about in June and that surfaced in news reports just a month later.
White House War on the War on Terror -- [Washington Times]
The Justice Department's decision to investigate the interrogation methods used by the Bush administration's war on terrorism sent a chilling message to CIA agents that they could be prosecuted for protecting our country from another attack. Despite President Obama's promise to CIA personnel earlier this year that he did not want to reopen the debate over aggressive interrogation practices in the previous administration, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named a special prosecutor to go after agents who acted with the approval of the Bush Justice Department's legal rulings. Mr. Holder not only overruled Mr. Obama - who caved in to his attorney general and said it was his call - he dismissed the bitter opposition of CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and even attorneys in his own department. It was the latest move in a number of actions that have defanged the CIA and reduced its effectiveness in the war on terror, after eight years of foiling numerous plots that has kept our country safe.
A New Look at the Hydra of Organized Crime and Terror Organizations -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
The DEA and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York have unveiled a new indictment for drug trafficking that shows just how truly transnational and intertwined with terrorists, aircraft merchants, and little-scrutinized company registries these groups have become.
Early Post -- [My trip to BAF - in Afghanistan]
...So once again, I thank you all for your support! The cards, letters, packages, pictures, comments, etc were overwhelming. Just today, I received some pictures/letters from children who are led in a Sunday School class by a friend of Della Jackson. Many of you may not recognize that name, but the words written on the paper from the children were absolutely priceless. What is SO encouraging about that (to me) is the fact that there are patriotic American supporters who are not only supporting and praying for our military, but they are raising and educating children (young children) to know and understand that the freedom we have in America is not free and it doesn't hurt to say thank you to the men and women fighting for the American people now and into the future.
How to get things done... -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
One of our companies was manning a Point Of Entry (POE) on the border with Syria which for us is pretty much the ragged edge of the universe.
Their toasters had burnt their last loaf and they were also asking for some slow cookers. Any of you familiar FOB life knows that the amenities there are not what the average person would call humane and food there is only food in the sense that if you eat it you will not die. This in and of itself was not the source of the CO's consternation. When we had put a request in to open purchase this stuff with battalion funds the prices were ridiculously high.
..."Sir, I've got this. We'll get that stuff for free. How many do we want?" I waved my hand around as if to dismiss an annoying insect. This would be no problem at all. One just had to push the right buttons:
I've got a favor to ask...
...Marines starving to death in Iraq...
...would like toast with their peanut butter...
...Iraqi toaster costs $500...
...think there are enough red blooded Americans out there to help us out?
*laugh maniacally and hit SEND*
Yes, I have to admit I deliberately launched that missile right into the heart (quite literally) of my nearest mil support heroine.
...To those who were a part of making daily life out on the POEs just a little bit brighter for some Marine way out in the desert, thanks. I always say that if we take care of the Marines then they'll take care of the mission. I appreciate you all doing your part.
Services' Top Enlisted Members Discuss Family Support -- [Defense Link]
The top enlisted servicemember from each of the four services offered their appreciation to those who support military families before fielding some tough questions during a town hall-style meeting here Sept. 1.
The meeting was part of the Defense Department's three-day Joint Family Readiness Conference, the first of its kind since 2000.
...Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West called for interservice cooperation in the approach to family support, and he asked for input of the family support personnel attending the conference.
"I hope you take the energy from today and bring that to something for us to work on the table," he said, "because I saw a lot of good energy over there in that [gathering in the ballroom]," West said. "We can all be individuals or individual services, but if we're not working together, some of our families are going to fall through the cracks, and we can't have that."
Attendees Leave Family Conference With Wealth of Resources -- [Defense Link]
More than 1,500 people involved with military family support gathered to hear speakers and participate in workshops focusing on such topics as finances, education, health care, and how to help families, especially children, cope with deployments.
"Multiple deployments and separations are taking a toll on the children. They affect everyone from infants to teens, as well as the spouses left behind," said Karen White, the director of the child development center at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. "A parent may deploy when a child is 3 months old, and now is back, and the child is over a year [old] and doesn't recognize the parent. That can result in reconnection issues."
Deployments affect the co-workers left behind too, she added. If half of a unit deploys, the military members left behind work more hours, which can affect their family lives as well, she noted.
The Voice of a New Generation of Veterans -- [Washington Post]
Flavin, director of the new White House Office of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy, is the administration's liaison to the nation's roughly 23 million veterans. For a president with no military experience, he orchestrates outreach to the politically prized constituency.
In a community dominated by veterans of the Vietnam War, Flavin embodies a generational change. He and the few other administration officials who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan -- including Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs -- offer a voice in Washington for the men and women fighting in today's conflicts.
Some good causes -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
I received an email from Tim at Semper Max about a former Marine, Sgt Justin Kinnee who could use some help:
I would like to introduce you to Sgt. Justin Kinnee, USMC, Medically Retired.
He has started a new program called In Our Boots (www.inourboots.org)
...My name is Beth and I volunteer to help spread the word about a new free Post Traumatic Stress online support group.
As I know this falls within your interest I thought that you might want to help us in the quest to reach as many people as possible (the more people know about the group the better help they will get). You can support us in many ways (not financially): telling people you know, linking to it, writing a blog or forum post and participating in the group discussions.
Warrior versus Soldier - do the words matter? -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Comes now a thoughtful guest editorial on the subject, by a serving soldier, Major M. Orris, published here with his permission:
For some reason and this isn't being said to be snide nor condescending, the military and the Army in particular has been keen to hype the word Warrior as opposed to Soldier. It is a disservice to the profession of arms to hype the "warrior" over the soldier because these are two vastly different concepts and as a professional military we should not be enamored by what is basically a self-serving view of warfare.
So what is a warrior?...
Shout-outs for military clichés -- [Tom Ricks]
Starbuck, author of the fine "Wings Over Iraq" blog, recently reviewed contemporary military clichés. People, this isn't a matter of taste: As St. George teaches us, weak or tired writing generally reflects weak or tired thinking.
Starbuck, an observant helicopter pilot, offers up a lot of good examples of milspeak, but my favorite is a Ft. Bragg notice about driving carefully on Halloween because on-base children would be "conducting trick-or-treating operations."
...Starbuck also speaks much truth in targeting the phrase "full spectrum"
USS Scranton Returns Home -- [The Stupid Shall be Punished]
From the official Navy website, here's a picture of the return of USS Scranton (SSN 756) to Norfolk following a deployment to the Med, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Gulf as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group:
Iraq vet gets surprise welcome home -- [Chronicle-Telegram]
"It makes me feel good to welcome home another veteran who had done his job well," O'Quinn said. "Too many times, soldiers don't return home, and those that
Homecoming for our troops -- [York Daily Record]
They should not be forgotten as we welcome their surviving brothers and sisters home. As we welcome home our local citizen-soldiers,...
All smiles at Charlie Troop's homecoming -- [Geneva Sun]
Welcome home, and job well done." And that was it. As the soldiers were dismissed, their families pressed against the metal bars in front of the bleachers,
Tasteless -- [Neptunas Lex]
Defying the wishes of a dead Marine's father and the Secretary of Defense, the AP published photographs of the young mans last moments:
The AP reported that the Marine's father had asked - in an interview and in a follow-up phone call -- that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.
Robert Gates protests AP decision as 'appalling' -- [Politico]
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting "in the strongest terms" to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision "appalling" and a breach of "common decency."
...AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it "conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it."
Will: Let's get out of Iraq, too -- [Hot Air - Ed Morrissey]
Share on Facebook | printer-friendly Earlier this week, George Will touched off a firestorm of criticism on the Right when he urged Barack Obama to pull American troops out of Afghanistan. In tomorrow's column, already live at Washington Post's website, Will completes the circle by demanding a withdrawal from Iraq as well:
U.S. Forces Should Leave Iraq Next Year -- [Washington Post]
Since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq's cities, two months have passed, and so has the illusion that Iraq is smoothly transitioning to a normality free of sectarian violence. Recently, Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. troops there, "blanched" when asked if the war is "functionally over."
Op-Eds -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
...much of what is available out there in the popular press is pretty weak on Afghanistan, demonstrating a total lack of understanding of either local conditions or the peculiar tactical problems of this campaign.
...But by far the worst transgressors in the realm of public commentary are the various pundits, talking heads and think-tank types who populate the OpEd pages of the major newspapers.* These largely self-appointed experts feel compelled to spout off about anything that remotely enters into their supposed sphere of knowledge. And given the depth of their hubris, there's not much that falls outside that sphere.
*You thought I was going to say "bloggers" didn't you? Well, some of them do suck, for a variety of reasons. I'll get to them later.
George Will- We can lose both these wars -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Again we are treated to the musings of noted national security expert George Will on the art of the retreat. Oh wait, what's that you say? Will is not a national security or military expert? He is a political commentator who dabbles in baseball? Hmmm, that's curious because this poorly reasoned drivel is printed under his byline.
Blog offers support to military families -- [The National Guard]
The Defense Department has launched a blog called "Family Matters" that is dedicated to providing resources and support to military families.
The blog - which can be found at http://afps.dodlive.mil features tips from experts, and military-related topics that run the gamut from deployments and separations to education benefits and child care.
"Our goal is to touch on topics that are important and relevant to military families," said Elaine Wilson, the blog's author and an editor for American Forces Press Service. "Military families confront unique challenges and issues, and we're hoping people can turn to this blog for information and support."
LW On The Radio, Part 2 -- [BlackFive - Laughing_Wolf]
tonight I will be on You Served radio with some characters you should know, along with featured guest Rick Calvert, the founder and leader of Blog World and New Media Expo. Hear from him his thoughts on milblogs, their popularity, and why he is giving the milblogs their own track at this event.
A quick reminder: If you are a milblogger, spouseblogger, milsupporter, or other similar type and you would like to attend the milblog track -- and help us start planning for next year -- then drop me a line so I can get you set up to attend the milblog track for free. For everyone else, I do hope you will join us as I think we are off to a good start
Wonderful: "Green jobs" czar Van Jones is a Truther -- [Hot Air - Allahpundit]
Share on Facebook | printer-friendly In which Gateway Pundit does the Googling that Obama refuses to do. Although honestly, at this point I think Jones's hiring is best explained not as a breakdown in vetting but as a goof by Obama to see just how much crap the media will let him get away with. "Hey Rahm -- bet you 20 bucks I can get a Truther communist appointed to an environmental oversight position."
Obama's Team Crosses the Rhetorical Line -- [The Foundry]
President Obama's campaign organization "Organizing for America" sent out a notice to its "grassroots" supporters. It asked them to wage a coordinated phone campaign for health care by calling their U.S. Senators on September 11 - also known as Patriot Day in honor of the thousands of Americans killed by Al Qaeda terrorists eight years ago. It goes on: "All 50 States are coordinating in this - as we fight back against our own Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders." Please read that again.
A Ruling -- [Grims Hall]
You might like to know that Miss Manners (whose column is listed under the "Admired Voices" section of the sidebar) has issued a ruling on the subject of whether Sen. Boxer was insulted when Brigadier General Michael Walsh called her "ma'am."
...All of us familiar with military protocol knew that no insult was, or could be, intended with such a term. Miss Manner's ruling makes it official for the civilian side of the country -- at least, that part of it that cares about etiquette and courtesy.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Miracles On The Front Line: Snipers Defy Odds, Death In Afghanistan -- [Pat Dollard Young Americans - Erik Wong]
For seven hours, the Marine sniper team waited, crouching behind a concrete block in a dusty courtyard, at the edge of an adobe compound. They were pretty sure that a group of local Taliban militants was on the other side of the compound wall. But the snipers couldn't strike until they had some proof.
So they stayed there, in silence. They downed energy drinks to stay awake. They urinated in bottles and defecated in bags, so they wouldn't leave evidence of their presence behind.
Team leader Sgt. Erik Rue kept himself sharp by running scenarios in his head of what could happen next: What if the Taliban burst in, guns blazing? What if they enter unarmed? What if there are children in the way? What if the courtyard is overrun by the militants? Where do we go then?
Heroic female medic who ignored shrapnel embedded in her shoulder to save SEVEN soldiers during Taliban attack -- [Daily Mail] HT: Helmand Blog
An heroic army medic treated seven injured comrades after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan despite being wounded with shrapnel herself, it emerged today. Lance Corporal Sally Clarke, of 2 Rifles, ignored the searing pain caused by the shards embedded in her shoulder and back and set about treating the rest of her patrol. The worst hit was Corporal Paul Mather who incredibly managed to radio instructions for jets circling above to open fire on Taliban insurgents despite bleeding heavily from wounds the size of his fist. Corporal Mather, 28, and Lance Corporal Clarke, 22, from Cheltenham, were on patrol south of Sangin when insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades over a wall as soldiers dealt with an anti-tank mine.
Gunner's Turret--A different perspective -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...Normally I am a driver or vehicle commander, but today I was given a unique opportunity to be a gunner. I haven't been a gunner since my training at Fort Riley, so I was rather excited about this chance to see Afghanistan at a different viewpoint. Before the mission began, I strapped on the gunner's harness. The harness is constructed of nylon webbing and has several buckles, straps, etc. It's not the most comfortable piece of life-saving equipment to wear, especially since the straps are fitted snugly through the groin area.
four down -- how many more to go? -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
The bad guys hit a home run today by whacking the number 2 at NDS. The NDS is the National Directorate of Security and they are the best of what is currently available in the Afghan Security Forces. The number 2, Dr. Abdullah is an old Jihadi Commander from Laghman Province who fought the Soviets as Masooud's chief of security before continuing the fight against the Taliban. He was reportedly at the central Mosque for Mitharlam City (the capitol of Lagham Province) to fork over a ton of family dough to finance a major addition . Seems damn un Islamic to me to whack a guy who is donating that much cash to a Mosque. Killed along with Dr. Abdullah was a Mr. Imadudin, Head of the Laghman Provincial Council along with 22 other people (54 more were wounded.) The press is reporting that this was caused by a vehicle borne IED but that is not correct.
CNN Poll: Afghanistan War opposition at all-time high -- [CNN]
Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission. The percentage of those in opposition to the war is up 11 points since April, and is the highest ever in CNN polling since the launch of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Pentagon Frets Obama's Afghan Commitment -- [Military.com]
...The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can't make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al-Qaida. Biden's office declined to comment.
"I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier," a senior Pentagon official said. "We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war."
Watching the Watchmen: Assessing the Assessment -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
...So much for good intentions. It is now less than 24 hours after the assessment was submitted, and we have reports about its content from everyone except the dozen or so people who have actually seen the classified report in its final form.
What does it say? According to ABC News, it emphasizes a "a shift from fighting the Taliban to protecting the population, rooting out corruption, nearly doubling Afghan security forces and transforming how those Afghan forces are trained." The Los Angeles Times describes it as a call for "a full overhaul of the military's war strategy," intended "to intensify development of Afghan security forces, improve the country's government and refocus economic development initiatives." The assessment "concludes that the Taliban insurgency in the country is stronger than previously realized," ...
New On MEMRI TV: Taliban Commander in Paktika Province Maulvi Sangin: America Seeks Escape Route From Afghanistan -- [MEMRI Blog]
"Allah willing, the Americans will certainly be defeated." "They are already seeking an escape route, because the ground has begun to burn under their feet."
A different perspective of corruption -- [Doc H's International Adventure]
How many times have you seen an article in the news media start off with "There is rampant corruption in Afghanistan?"
We of the US Military abhor corruption. Bribes, kickbacks, skimming things off the inventory; these are things that we simply do not do or tolerate. Sadly there are politicians and other leaders in the US who do not share this standard of conduct. I think I am safe in declaring that almost every citizen of the US would put corruption in the BAD category.
Having been in more than a few foreign countries I would like to expand your perspective.
U.S. to boost combat force in Afghanistan -- [LA Times]
Support units will be replaced by up to 14,000 'trigger-pullers,' and noncombat posts will be contracted out, Defense officials say. The swap will allow the U.S. to keep its troop level unchanged. -- U.S. troops patrol in Kunar province.
Contractors Outnumber US Troops in Afghanistan -- [NY Times]
Civilian contractors working for the Pentagon in Afghanistan not only outnumber the uniformed troops, according to a report by a Congressional research group, but also form the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel recorded in any war in the history of the United States. On a superficial level, the shift means that most of those representing the United States in the war will be wearing the scruffy cargo pants, polo shirts, baseball caps and other casual accouterments favored by overseas contractors rather than the fatigues and flight suits of the military. More fundamentally, the contractors who are a majority of the force in what has become the most important American enterprise abroad are subject to lines of authority that are less clear-cut than they are for their military colleagues. What is clear, the report says, is that when contractors for the Pentagon or other agencies are not properly managed - as when civilian interrogators committed abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq or members of the security firm Blackwater shot and killed 17 Iraqi citizens in Baghdad - the American effort can be severely undermined.
Shocking Hazing at U.S. Embassy in Kabul -- [CBS]
In numerous e-mails, the guards describe a crisis in discipline and morale, understaffing, sleep deprivation, "threats and intimidation." One guard refers to a group of guards and supervisors from the security contractor ArmorGroup as "sexual predators, deviants running rampant."
Guards provided dozens of graphic photos and videos depicting shocking scenes of hazing and humiliation by superiors, most of them too lewd to show. The guards recount a climate of fear and coercion where those who refuse to participate are retaliated against, even fired.
The Horror! CBS Posts Soldier Party Pictures-- Wants You to Feel Outraged -- [Gateway Pundit]
...Here is the latest military-bashing nonsense from the democrat-media complex.
CBS is calling this "shocking hazing" at a military base in Kabul. It's not until you read the article that you find they are talking about a private security firm and not US soldiers.
Taliban Surprising U.S. Forces With Improved Tactics -- [Washington Post]
The Taliban has become a much more potent adversary in Afghanistan by improving its own tactics and finding gaps in the U.S. military playbook, according to senior American military officials who acknowledged that the enemy's resurgence this year has taken them by surprise.
Warlord's Defection Shows Afghan Risk -- [Wall Street Journal]
Ghulam Yahya, a former mayor of this ancient city along the Silk Road, battled the Taliban for years and worked hand in hand with Western officials to rebuild the country's industrial hub. Now, Mr. Yahya is firing rockets at the Herat airport and nearby coalition military headquarters. He has kidnapped soldiers and foreign contractors, claimed the downing of an Afghan army helicopter and planted bombs in central Herat - including one that killed a district police chief and more than a dozen bystanders last month. Mr. Yahya's stranglehold over the outskirts of Herat has destabilized a former oasis of calm and relative prosperity.
Iranian Made Weapons Seized In Herat Province -- [MEMRI Blog]
Afghan police said they have seized a cache of Iranian-made weapons and munitions in the country's western Herat province, according to an Afghan daily.
Some explosives and a number of BM1 rockets are among the weapons seized, according to a report in the Pashtu-language newspaper Wrazpanra Weesa.
UN Reports a Decline in Afghanistan's Opium Trade -- [Wall Street Journal]
Farmers in Afghanistan are growing less opium than last year and prices for the illicit crop have fallen to levels not seen in a decade, according to a new report from the United Nations. The decline in poppy growing is largely the result of years of oversupply catching up to farmers - cultivation climbed this decade as earlier efforts to curb it failed - and newly successful interdiction efforts that have begun to discourage production, the report said.
Election fraud... in Shorabak? -- [Flit - in Afghanistan]
Odd story yesterday from the usually reliable Dexter Filkins about election fraud in Kandahar Province.
The central premise, which Yglesias and others have commented on, is undoubtedly true. Karzai's brother is undoubtedly a powerful man, perhaps the most powerful man, in the south. And election fraud in the country has undoubtedly been rampant. But some of the details of this story don't scan.
The synopsis is...
Tribal Leaders Say Karzai's Team Forged 23,900 Votes - [NY Times]
Just a week before this country's presidential election, the leaders of a southern Afghan tribe called Bariz gathered to make a bold decision: they would abandon the incumbent and local favorite, Hamid Karzai, and endorse his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah. Mr. Abdullah flew to the southern city of Kandahar to receive the tribe's endorsement.
Interview with WUSF Radio Sept. 1, 2009 -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
From SMSgt Temple's wife Liisa: Rex was out on a mission today (and is safely back) but he had a chance to catch up with WUSF Radio's Bobbie O'Brien on Monday by phone. That interview aired today during NPR's All Things Considered and it will run again tomorrow morning during Morning Edition on WUSF Radio in Tampa, FL. Topic was the full scale launch of our school supplies charity project benefiting Afghan school children.
My Last Tour: School Supplies
Government Says August Was Bloodiest Month for Iraqis in Past Year -- [VOA]
Iraqi government figures indicate August was the bloodiest month in the last 13 for Iraqi citizens. More than 450 Iraqi people were killed and more than 1,500 were wounded, giving rise to fresh worries over the security situation. August was an extremely bloody month in Iraq, according to an Iraqi government report, with casualties from violence among Iraqi civilians, police and Iraqi soldiers hitting a 13-month high. The toll in August contrasts with a relative lull in July, when 275 Iraqis were killed in the weeks immediately following the withdrawal by US forces from Iraqi towns and cities.
Attacks Prompt Iraqi Security Assessment -- [Defense Link]
Iraqi security forces have undertaken a broad self-assessment in the wake of series of deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital last month, a US commander there said today. A wave of truck bombings in Baghdad killed at least 100 people and injured more than 500 others in a deadly Aug. 19 assault that exposed a lapse in security, according to US defense officials. "The Iraqi security forces, as a result of that, have done a great deal of introspective assessing, to make sure that they understand how they can mitigate that from ever happening again," Army Col. Joseph Martin, commander of the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Baghdad told reporters at the Pentagon today.
US Proposes Sending Troops to Disputed Area of Northern Iraq -- [VOA]
Recently, the top US military commander in Iraq said he wants to send American troops to a disputed strip of territory in northern Iraq - for a limited time - to defuse growing tensions between Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish militia. General Ray Odierno says the goal is to build trust between the two sides and bridge the gap between feuding Kurds and Arabs.
Good Reading -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
...Most news reports about Iraq seem to focus on death, destruction, and political problems. News outlets always seem to prefer bad news stories. Sells more papers, I guess. But there's another side to the story. Most of us who came here of our own volition did so to try to make a difference in the country. Here's a press release from the Corps of Engineers about a project that was just finished. Yes, it's a press release, so it's not an "unbiased" bit of reporting. That doesn't change the fact that this is a success story, about a large project we (and you - it was your tax dollars that paid for it) have completed. It'll make a difference in the lives of a lot of young kids
Hunting For Mister Big -- [Strategy Page]
Iraq is going after the nations and foreign officials who worked with Saddam Hussein to loot the "Oil for Food" program (a UN administered arrangement that allowed Iraq to export oil in exchange for food and humanitarian supplies) in the 1990s.
Roundtable: the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron - [BlackFive - Grim]
We had a rare but pleasant opportunity to speak with a pair of senior NCOs from the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, currently leading firefighting missions in southern Iraq. They have been in-country for about four months, during which time they have been prepared to do "combat firefighting" in the event of a helicopter downing or other serious incident; and training the Iraqi firefighters in live fire practice. You can listen to their broadcast here.
What they wanted to tell you about, though, was their interpreter -- a man who was slated for execution for refusing to serve Saddam, until he was freed by United States Marines.
LMAT team helps Iraqi Army take control of base operations -- [Inside Ali Base]
Operations continue as normal. The focus remains the same: keep the base running and the mission on target. Iraqi Army Soldiers routinely work with their U.S. counterparts. There is one important difference: the Iraqis have taken command of the controls.
"It's a historic time for anyone serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Lt. Col. Steven Ramsay, Tallil Logistics Military Advisory Team (LMAT) Senior Advisor. "We have committed to turning over all operations to the Iraqi people and they are committed to taking over and succeeding."
Alaska Strykers teach final lessons before returning home -- [News-Miner]
Shortly after entering the police station, Staff Sgt. Daniel Blalock of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment found himself in the embrace of an Iraqi officer.
"I knew it was going to be a sad day when we told them we couldn't come back," Blalock said, after he returned the hug.
Sgt. Blalock and other members of 1-5's Charlie Company had come to the station, just north of Baqubah in Diyala Province on a mission to help train the Iraqi Emergency Response Force. The ERF, a special branch of the Iraqi Police trained for security operations, had worked with the American soldiers for months, and it was their final session...
FUBAR -- [Iron Camel - in Iraq]
...As I head out the door, I see my boss and he doesn't look happy. He doesn't mention a word about the impending cluster-fuck that's about to happen. I head toward the LZ (Landing Zone) and run into a US General, but not the one that we expected to arrive, "Is the boss here yet, Jim?" It catches me off guard.
You know when you get that feeling that something bad is going to happen, and even though it's not your fault, you or your team are going to be held responsible in some way? I think my voice actually cracked, "Hi sir. (I give him my sharpest salute as if later on when this all unravels he is going to think, "This is all fucked up, but that Gafney kid sure can salute.") "The boss isn't here yet sir. I am going to secure the LZ. The Colonel is inside."
Exclusive: Controversial Blackwater Security Firm Gets Iraq Contract Extended by State Dept -- [ABC]
The State Department has extended a contract with controversial private security firm Blackwater, ABC News has learned. The contract was due to expire this month.
Sources say the department has agreed to temporarily continue using the subsidiary known as Presidential Airways to provide helicopter transport for embassy employees around Iraq until a new contract with another security company, Dyncorp International, is fully implemented. Presidential Airways is an arm of U.S. Training Center, which is a subsidiary of the company Xe, formerly and still commonly known as Blackwater.
The Reframing of 9/11 -- [And So it Goes...]
I first read today about this apparent effort to reframe 9/11 by liberal Democrats and by the perpetual Obama Campaign Machine, Organizing For America. This is not the first report I've seen about the effort to rewrite the story of 9/11. The effort last year to make 9/11 "A Day of Service" was the first time it actually struck me as truly likely that the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil was soon to be whitewashed.
The "Day of Service" is not offensive in and of itself. This was not actually conceived by Obama. A non-profit organization called My Good Deed began organizing 9/11 as a day of national service and remembrance back in 2001. In April of this year, Obama signed legislation to formally recognize it at such.
Where this all gets dicey is detailed in this report by The Foundry.
WWF condemns 9/11 print ad by DDB Brazil -- [AdFreak]
[NOTE: The WWF says it never approved this ad and is condemning it. See the updates below.] Just in time for the anniversary of 9/11 comes this tasteless, nightmarish print ad for the World Wildlife Fund, showing dozens of planes headed for lower Manhattan.
WWF Exploits 9/11 -- [Weekly Standard]
It's shameful. An ad by the World Wildlife Fund that tries to turn 9/11 into...something that has to do with animals -- and not the animals who flew those planes into the World Trade Center. The text on the ad reads, "The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11.
Iran Ready For Talks, Says Nuclear Negotiator -- [Washington Post]
Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that the country is ready to reopen talks with world powers increasingly concerned about Iranian intentions, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. The announcement by Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili came a day before a meeting in Germany of representatives from six nations, including the United States, that are seeking to develop a strategy for addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions. "Iran has prepared to present its revised package of proposals ... and is ready to hold talks with world powers ...
Al Qaeda Tells Obama He's Going to Hell -- [Jawa Report]
A new video from al Qaida's as-Sahab Media wing is titled, "A Calm Dialogue With Obama." It shows Shiekh Khalid bin Abdul Rahman al-Hussainan chastising America and President Obama for all of the problems of the Muslim world.
Gary McKinnon: Wanted, Dead or Alive (Guest opinion/Oxblood Ruffin) -- [Boing Boing]
Gary McKinnon is a Scottish technical expert, or as he is referred to by US federal prosecutors, the perpetrator of "the greatest military hack of all time."
Although Mr. McKinnon has high name-recognition factor in the United Kingdom he is virtually unknown to the American public. He is a mentally challenged hacker who waltzed through ninety-seven US military Web sites before being caught. Mr. McKinnon was looking for evidence of UFOs. He has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. It doesn't make him Rain Man but it does create a different perceptual framework.
Lockerbie Paper Trail Leads to Gordon Brown -- [The Times]
Gordon Brown was accused of double dealing last night after an official document emerged claiming that Libya was told that he wanted the Lockerbie bomber to die a free man. The disclosure threatens to undermine the Government's determinedly neutral stance over the release of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi. It could also deepen the rift with the Obama administration, which yesterday demanded answers from the Government over its role in the affair.
What lies within our own heart of darkness? -- [The Burn Pit]
...the changes take place inside, you know...
Since I returned from Afghanistan, I've had a nearly complete inability to sleep on my own. My nighttime rest usually finds it's genesis in 4-5 Excedrin PM, chewed up to enter the blood stream all the quicker. And before I actually get to sleep I have to listen to a book on Audio Tape, preferably one which I have heard numerous times, so that it isn't so interesting as to distract me from sleep, but that I have sort of a soothing voice. I also don't really like big rooms, having shared my 15×30 foot plywood "B-hut" with 7 guys who make all the noises guys generally make outside the hearing of women.
Last night as I drifted off to sleep
1,493 Heroes Waiting To Be Adopted -- [Soldiers' Angels Network]
We have way too many heroes needing to be adopted. If you can't afford to adopt one
on your own - partner with someone from work, school, neighbor, friend, and family.
We need to work as a team to get the word out these troops need to be adopted.
Supporting troops on a budget -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
Angel Sharon Trombley is the Angel Bakers Team Leader and has been adopting soldiers since 2006. In that span of time she's also been laid off from her job... twice. But even amidst financial challenges, she's found a way to keep supporting her soldiers. "I don't think my soldiers ever knew I've lost my job," she says. "Financial hardship is not necessarily a good reason to stop. You can do it, you just have to get creative and put in a little extra effort."
Portraits of Love Project -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Portraits of Love/Family Pics for Soldiers
Underwitten by Fujifilm: Soldiers' Angels and over 275 professional photographers of the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) have teamed up to send a piece of home to our deployed troops--just in time for the winter holidays--through an effort dubbed Portraits of Love.
The Politics of Purse Strings -- [Army of Dude]
...The VA counselors at my school buy salt in bulk to pour into the wounds of the students they are purported to serve. One in particular lambasts me whenever I call with a legitimate question regarding veteran benefits. With his trademark condescending tone, he sharply rebuked my questions about a delay in payments, suggesting that I should have been following the news of backlogged certifications, despite his assurance that the transition would not allow a payment disparity. Oh, to be tongue-lashed for not doing his job for him! He heartily laughed at my question of when to expect my next payment. In that brief moment, he acknowledged the absurdity of my situation - he didn't know, and there is no way to find out. He could not even venture a guess but did not rule out weeks or even a month. The check is in the mail, I am told. That old line doesn't work for my landlord, and it wouldn't get past my utility company. But for the government agency responsible for the benefits going out to the men and women who have served this country in a time of war, with the basic sustenance of thousands of veterans in the balance, it's business as usual.
I believe in the idea that people get the government they deserve. But do veterans get the VA they deserve?
Update: September 1, 1 PM - Within hours of this post going live, I was given the opportunity to discuss my situation with Keith Wilson, the Veterans Benefits Administration Director of Education Service at the VA....
Checks in the mail -- [Greyhawk]
It would be nice to think that Alex Horton's problems with the new GI Bill represented an isolated incident - but I'm waiting for confirmation of eligibility myself, and I can't say I'm happy with the speed of the process. That's not a confidence builder, to say the least - and Alex's experience doesn't surprise me.
Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 1 September -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Today is an interesting day in the history of the Medal, with classic memes, a variation on a theme, and some damn hard fighting and desperate valor, and one very tough aviator.
Homecoming -- [Short Timers - home from Iraq]
The team arrived home safely last night on Northwest Flight 405. We were met by our loved ones at the airport. Even UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and his wife Sherry Modrow showed up to welcome us back, which was really nice of the two of them. Jenny rushed to catch a flight back to Anchorage - after all of our traveling, she still had one leg to go.
One Month... -- [The Gun Line - home from Iraq]
It has been one month since I returned home. So far, it has gone smoothly, more sweet than bitter. I have a few issues on which i am working with the VA. They all are physical, and not so debilitating as to have a major impact on my quality of life. There's the tinnitus that I suspect was caused by the daily exposure to the pairs of F-16s taking off three times a day about 200 meters from where I lived and worked. There's a lump in my right trapezius that's been there for 4 months now, with something going on down the cusp of my right shoulder. All in all, though, I came out fof the deployment intact, especially between the ears, and I count myself lucky to have done so... It's a new beginning, in many ways, beginning with what I hope is an increased sense of maturity. I had time to think over there. I had the chance to examine my life, and chart the "sustains" and "improves" that life's lessons have imparted.
Obama White House Has Secret Plan To Harvest Personal Data From Social Networking Websites -- [National Legal and Policy Center]
NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.
White House Has Plan To Data Mine Social Networks -- [Stop the ACLU]
Remember when they went ballistic over a Pentagon plan to scour the Internet for suspicious patterns that could uncover terrorist plots, a year and a half after 9/11? Oh, how times change. ...First we had the fishy snoop email fiasco, then the email spam issue. Now this. All in less than a month. And the response from those on the Left, including the ACLU?
CNN Poll: Independents disapprove of Obama -- [CNN]
Fifty-three percent of independents questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, with 43 percent in approval. That result marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of independents give the president's performance a thumbs-down.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)