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.
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 ...
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