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.
Training the Afghan Security Forces
NATO launched a new organization that brings together all the different groups involved in training the Afghan security forces.
Drinking Tea with the Sergeant Major -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Today I had my first sit down meeting with my ANA Command Sergeant Major...
The CSM has been in the army for 36 years and 5 of that have been with the reformed ANA army. He graduated from high school and received a bachelor's degree in Logistics from the Soviet Union...
Dealing with the ANA -- [Embedded in Afghanistan...- in Afghanistan]
During my last tour to Afghanistan as an embedded trainer with the Afghan National Army (ANA), I conducted training sessions on the M-16 rifle as part of the ANA's transition from the AK-47 to the M-16. The ANA soldiers had a habit of showing up late for my training sessions. I had tried encouragement, suggestion, and profuse compliments when they were on time as ways to try to get them to show up on time and be more professional, but I had not gotten the results I had hoped for.
Since my efforts to improve the ANA by gently nudging them along were not working to my satisfaction, I decided to try a different approach...
Turks, Frabbits And Azerbaijanis -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
Recently Captain Scaribay and I trained three Turkish OMLT's (Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams) at the Turkish Camp Dogan. We had been told that all the Turks could speak and read English, so we sauntered on over to teach a nationality that we had never worked with totally unconcerned with the challenges of language.
Runoff election announced -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
There was a lot of smog blanketing the city this morning as a result of citizens burning firewood to heat their homes. The mercury has dropped down to the 40's in the morning and late at night. Soon winter will be upon us.
I didn't have to wait long before hearing the metallic thumping of rotors in the distance...
Double Header -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
Yesterday was a full day out and about in Mazar e Sharif. We visited both of the clinics we work with in the area. All told we spent about 3 hours travelling and 3 hours talking. As has become my rule, I did not exercise after wearing the Body Armor for 6 hours yesterday...
Held by the Taliban -- [David Rohde/The New York Times]
In the fall of 2008, David Rohde traveled to Afghanistan to do some reporting for a book about the region. He and two Afghan colleagues were kidnapped by the Taliban and held for seven months.
Video: 33rd IBCT End of Mission Video for TF Phoenix VIII and Fallen Warriors TF Phoenix VIII/33rd IBCT Final Salute -- [CSMBones/Miserable Donuts]
Tell me what you think.
DoD Announces Units For Afghanistan Rotations And Deployment -- [Bouhammer]
The Department of Defense announced today major units scheduled to deploy as part of upcoming rotations of forces operating in Afghanistan. The announcement involves two active duty brigade combat teams totaling 7,700 personnel, and one National Guard brigade with approximately 3,500 personnel. The scheduled rotation for these forces will begin in the spring of 2010.
Specific units receiving deployment orders include...
The wicked game (part two) -- [Greyhawk]
It's admirable that President Obama, a product of the Chicago political machine, can't tolerate dealing with foreign governments tainted by corruption - as Karzai's government most assuredly is. Perhaps in Afghanistan he intends to establish the first government in world history to be free of accusations of criminal activity, greed or abuses of power. Or perhaps reality is close to that described last week, here...
Gates to Press Asia, NATO for More Afghanistan Support -- [Donna Miles/American Forces Press Service]
As Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates travels this week to Japan and South Korea before heading to a NATO defense ministers conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, he's expected to ensure the issue of support for Afghanistan remains solidly on front burner.
In a break from the frequent national defense team sessions President Barack Obama has called in recent weeks as he reevaluates the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Gates will be on the road this week, shoring up long-standing alliances.
But senior defense officials traveling with him confirm that he'll also press for more coalition support at every stop along the way.
Korea Donates Ambulances and Motorcycles to Afghan National Police
U.S. deeply split on troop increase for Afghan war -- [Washington Post]
LESS SUPPORT FOR OBAMA
Majority says nation lacks clear strategy
As President Obama and his war cabinet deliberate a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, Americans are evenly and deeply divided over whether he should send 40,000 more troops there, and public approval of the president's handling of the situation has tumbled, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has recommended the substantial increase in troop strength, and 47 percent of those polled favor the buildup, while 49 percent oppose it. Most on both sides hold their views "strongly."
Shovel Work -- [Jules Crittenden]
Conducting excavations on a Washington Post poll story, "Americans deeply split on troop increase." These are sometimes promising sites, but you have to dig deep. Let's have a look down the hole, see what we can see...
It turns out, while Obama's been dawdling, approval of his handling of Afghanistan plummeted.
Stanley McChrystal's Long War -- [Dexter Filkins / New York Times Magazine]
Success takes time, but how much time does Stanley McChrystal have? The war in Afghanistan is now in its ninth year. The Taliban, measured by the number of their attacks, are stronger than at any time since the Americans toppled their government at the end of 2001. American soldiers and Marines are dying at a faster rate than ever before. Polls in the United States show that opposition to the war is growing steadily.
Is There a Middle Way? -- [Stephen Biddle/The New Republic]
It is easy to see why such middle ways are so popular. They could lighten the burden on the federal deficit. They could put fewer Americans in harm's way. They would seem to better fit the U.S. interests at stake, which are real but limited and indirect. They appeal to the centrism of many American voters. The problem is that they probably won't work.
Afghanistan 2011: Three Scenarios -- [Andrew Exum/Center for a New American Security]
The David Fastabend question -- "How does this end?" -- has been one I have been asking myself in light of the current policy debates on Afghanistan. Accordingly, I sketched out three scenarios -- most dangerous, most likely, most desired -- and tried to imagine how U.S. policy decisions might bring each about...
Pakistan says offensive is gaining ground -- [Karin Brulliard and Haq Nawaz Khan/Washington Post]
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- Pakistani soldiers surrounded militant hideouts and seized heavy weapons in the Taliban-riddled hills of South Waziristan on Monday, military officials said.
On the third day of a major ground and air offensive to root out Islamist insurgents, officials said, the army faced pockets of stiff resistance that included rocket fire. But they said they were making progress, killing 18 fighters in a tribal region that Pakistan says is home to plotters of a recent series of deadly domestic assaults. The United States considers South Waziristan a haven for militants attacking international forces in Afghanistan and planning attacks overseas.
Pakistan Targets Mehsud Hometown -- [Wall Street Journal]
Pakistani forces closed in on the hometown of the Pakistan Taliban's leader Monday, pursuing an offensive into the South Waziristan tribal region while swarms of refugees streamed out of the area.
The long-awaited invasion is aimed at dismantling a Taliban mini-state in a region that has become a base for al Qaeda and a magnet for jihadis. U.S. officials have said they are providing surveillance and intelligence feeds to support the effort.
The Waziristan offensive against the Pakistan Taliban, which began over the weekend, has eased a controversy between Islamabad and Washington over a $7.5 billion U.S. aid package.
Taliban retake town from Pakistani Army in South Waziristan -- [Bill Roggio]
The Taliban have stalled the Pakistani Army's advance on one of its three major fronts in South Waziristan and retaken a town captured by the Army just yesterday.
Taliban fighters forced the Army from the town of Kotkai just one day after the military said it was secured. The Taliban claimed the Army took heavy casualties as it was ejected from Kotkai...
Kotkai is the home town of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Qari Hussain Mehsud, Hakeemullah's senior lieutenant and trainer of suicide bombers.
US airstrike targets al Qaeda in North Waziristan -- [Bill Roggio/Long War Journal]
US aircraft have struck at al Qaeda in Pakistan's lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Unmanned aircraft, likely Predators or Reapers, operated by the US targeted a compound run by al Qaeda operatives in the village of Spalaga in the Mir Ali region. Pakistani intelligence officials put the number killed at three. No senior Taliban, al Qaeda, or allied terror group leaders have been reported killed.
Pakistan Continues Waziristan Offensive, Closes Schools -- [Voice of America]
Pakistani helicopter gunships attacked Taliban strongholds near the Afghan border Wednesday on the fifth day of an offensive in the tribal region of South Waziristan...
In the rest of the country, authorities closed many schools a day after two suicide bombers attacked the International Islamic University in Islamabad, killing four people at a faculty building and a women's cafeteria.
More on Mike and his Marines -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
Janna, a wife of a 3/3 Marine, gave me this heads up.
NEW DELHI (AP) -- Indian authorities forced a U.S. plane carrying Marines to land in Mumbai today after confusion about its call sign.
A U.S. Embassy official said the plane was later allowed to resume its journey. He said the Bangkok-bound flight was diverted while in Indian airspace.
Home -- [Castra Praetoria - in Iraq]
According to a news station in Hawaii, America's Battalion touched down in Oahu at about 1130 this morning.
Here's the link.
Looks like they are home.
Exiting Iraq ends mission veiled in ambivalence -- [Hamza Hendawi/Associated Press]
Since January, AP correspondent Hamza Hendawi has embedded at regular intervals with a U.S. infantry company in Baghdad to gauge how the military mission in Iraq is changing. Here, Hendawi accompanies the unit on its journey back to the United States.
Violence threatens Barack Obama's pledge to pull troops out of Iraq -- [Times Online]
President Obama's pledge to withdraw US troops from Iraq and end combat operations there by September 2010 is under threat because of increased levels of violence and bickering within the Iraqi parliament, the top US general in the country has told The Times.
General Ray Odierno said that militant groups were likely to conduct a bloody campaign in the months ahead, as Iraqis prepare for national elections at the beginning of next year.
Election law stalls in Iraqi parliament -- [Washington Post]
The Iraqi parliament failed for a second time Monday to vote on an election law crucial for organizing elections in January that will choose a new parliament and serve as a milestone in American plans to withdraw combat troops from the country.
Army Cancels Brigade's Iraq Deployment -- [Defense News]
An Army brigade slated to deploy to Iraq in January was relieved of its deployment orders this weekend without current plans for a new mission, Pentagon and Army officials said here today.
The 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team was off-ramped by Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, because of the improved security situation there, and not to bolster forces in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
As Iraqi election worries mount, State and DoD dispute U.S. role -- [Josh Rogin/The Cable (Foreign Policy)]
Much ado was made last month about the reported rift between U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill and the top U.S. military commander in Baghdad Gen. Ray Odierno, a rift that Hill strenuously denied.
But a real policy dispute lies at the heart of the story, senior diplomatic and military sources in Baghdad tell The Cable. Increasingly, the two men are said to differ over the proper American role in Baghdad, specifically with regard to how heavy a hand the U.S. should apply in trying to influence the decisions of the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki...
"Odierno continues to believe that the Sunni community depends on the U.S. to defend them against the Maliki government," said one Washington Iraq expert. "State doesn't believe that the U.S. military should play a significant role in any of that."
Obama: US Combat Troops Out of Iraq By Next August -- [Voice of America]
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States still plans to remove all its combat troops from Iraq by next August.
Obama, Maliki Move Beyond Security Issues -- [Defense News]
The importance of holding the Iraqi elections on time in January and furthering Iraqi-U.S. economic ties were at the center of discussions between President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House today.
In a demonstration of how far the mission in Iraq has come, the first minutes of the leaders' media availability after their meeting concerned Afghanistan - something that would have been inconceivable two years ago.
Now taking requests... -- [Blogs Over Baghdad - in Iraq]
For the past 10 months and change, this blog was a lot like the old TV series "Outer Limits" -- we (the Soldiers of the 314th PAOC) have controlled the vertical and horizontal, etc. Well, that has all changed -- at least for the next few days.
Until Friday, our faithful blog readers are going to be in control. You tell us what you want to see (I've got my point-and-shoot camera ready to snap) or what you want to read (got the pen and paper ready, too).
Send your requests to this blog entry as a comment, and we will do our best as long as it does not violate the four forbidden government topics -- security (can't violate national security concerns), accuracy (has to be truthful), propriety (can't be inappropriate), and policy (can't go against government rules).
This might be your last chance, so go on....make your request!
Gates says US won't accept nuclear North Korea -- [Associated Press/Stars and Stripes]
Top American defense officials maintained a tough stand Wednesday against North Korea, calling its threat more lethal than ever even as an envoy from the communist regime was headed to the United States to discuss nuclear programs.
Gates, Willard Seek More Engagement With China -- [Defense News]
It's in the United States' long-term interest to engage more closely with China, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today, and his new top officer in the Pacific said he's looking forward to the role he hopes to play in the dialogue.
Taiwan Says China's Military Buildup Undermines New Ties -- [Wall Street Journal]
China is capable of deterring foreign militaries from assisting Taiwan if the two sides were to go to war, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a report that highlights the continued buildup of Beijing's military toward the island despite rapidly improving political and commercial ties.
Biden sent to soothe Europe on Russia overtures -- [Washington Times]
WARSAW | Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived here Tuesday on the first leg of a delicate diplomatic repair mission that follows the Obama administration's abrupt reversal on missile defense, a decision that rekindled deep-seated unease in a region where the U.S. is seen as the only reliable counterweight to a potentially menacing Russian neighbor.
By visiting with top Polish, Czech and Romanian officials this week, the vice president is hoping to reassure the three NATO allies that the United States remains deeply committed to their security.
U.S. Missile Shield Won't Expand to Non-NATO Countries, Official Says -- [Wall Street Journal]
The United States does not intend to put any part of its revised missile shield in non-NATO countries, a senior defense official said in Georgia Tuesday, in an apparent attempt to calm Russian nerves.
Amid its so-called resetting of relations with Russia, Washington said in September it was scrapping a Bush administration plan to build a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Moscow, which had protested that plan as a potential threat to its nuclear arsenal, rejoiced at the decision.
But later reports that the U.S. was considering placing early warning radar systems in Ukraine provoked an angry reaction from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
US to give Mali equipment for military forces -- [AP]
BAMAKO, Mali -- The United States is providing security forces in the West African nation of Mali with more than $5 million in new vehicles and other equipment.
Attackers Kill 6 at Islamic University in Pakistan, Mystifying Students -- [Salman Masood]
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The International Islamic University here, one of the country's premier schools, prides itself as a unique center of learning that combines "the essentials of the Islamic faith with the best of modern knowledge," as its Web site says.
So on Tuesday afternoon, when two suicide attackers struck this conservative gender-segregated campus simultaneously, killing six people, many of the students and residents of Islamabad were perplexed.
Iran makes arrests over bombing, Pakistan vows help -- [Washington Post]
Iran has made arrests in connection with Sunday's suicide bombing that killed dozens of people near the border with Pakistan, it said on Wednesday.
Pakistan said it would help its neighbor hunt down the culprits. Iran, a mainly Shi'ite Muslim country, says the Sunni rebel group which claimed responsibility for the suicide attack operates out of Pakistan.
Justices to Decide on U.S. Release of Detainees -- [Adam Liptak/New York Times]
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether federal courts have the power to order prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay to be released into the United States.
The court's decision to hear the case adds a further complication to the Obama administration's efforts to close the prison at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A measure in Congress that would allow detainees to be admitted to the United States just to face trial had to overcome strong resistance before winning final passage on Tuesday. The administration has met with only fitful success in persuading foreign allies to accept prisoners cleared for release.
One step closer to bringing Gitmo circus to U.S. soil -- [Michelle Malkin]
Attorney General Eric Holder's old pals at Gitmo detainee-repping Covington & Burlington give this latest news two thumbs up. Way up...
Update on COP Keating Battle and Relief Fund -- [The Burn Pit - American Legion Blog]
INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 21, 2009) -- In less than a week, an American Legion blog site raised more than $50,000, which Target matched with an additional $50,000 contribution, to help U.S. soldiers who were forced to destroy their camp and all of their possessions during a deadly Oct. 3 enemy attack in Afghanistan. In addition, Connecticut-based Computer Sciences Corporation has donated 56 laptop computers to the relief effort to replace those that were destroyed.
Savannah school supplies "packing party" -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
From Liisa, SMSgt Temple's wife: I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with Rex's friend, SPC Christopher "Kit" Lowe, his parents Sandi and Donald and Life Freeman, the mother of fallen Marine hero Captain Matthew Freeman. Here is a link to a video story about our "packing party" that aired in Savannah yesterday.
An amazing end to an amazing week - [Chuck Z]
After the show, we went up to meet Matt and thank him for the invitation. I shook his hand and I gave him my Soldier'sAngels Valour-IT coin that I've carried everywhere. In a side conversation, Toby explained how much that coin meant to me. Then Matt Goss did someting absolutely touching and deeply appreciated...
Sy Hersh: Military 'In War Against The White House' -- [Susie Madrak/Crooks and Liars]
So many of the saner people were driven out of the military during the Bush administration, it doesn't surprise me that the people left include a lot of the right-wing, racist fringe elements. Still, it's shocking to hear this...
Postal Service announces deadlines for Christmas mailing to military overseas -- [Greeley Tribune]
DENVER -- The US Postal Service has announced recommended mailing dates for delivery by Christmas to military troops serving overseas at APO/FPO addresses.
Military trains in Oklahoma for terrorist attack -- [Chicago Tribune]
About 500 military personnel are in eastern Oklahoma to train for their response to a terrorist attack. The service members gathered Tuesday at the Oklahoma National Guard's Camp Gruber Training Center near Braggs for the two-day exercise. They are simulating an attack on an international health summit.
US, East African Nations Begin Major Military Exercise -- [Voice of America]
More than 1,200 military personnel from the United States, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are involved in the 10-day exercise that began Friday.
According to a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, Dan La Pierre, the exercise, dubbed "Natural Fire 10," is focused on training that will enhance capabilities needed for humanitarian and civic assistance, disaster relief, and regional security.
Three times each week, Wounded Warriors are welcomed home at Andrews AFB after medevac flight from Germany -- [MaryAnn/Soldiers' Angels Germany]
An informative and heartwarming story about the arrival of our Wounded Warriors at Andrews AFB after medevac from Germany. It will make you proud of each and every member of this team.
Generations of Valor -- [Anne Morse/NRO]
Mike Rudzinski, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the son of a Vietnam vet, and the father of Chris Rudzinski, who served in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. His son's time in the sand "was much more perilous than mine," Rudzinski wrote. When asked why so many sons of Vietnam veterans saw their sons volunteer for service in Iraq, Rudzinski replied "I believe Chris joined because he loved his country and he loved his family and he wanted to do something for both. I'd like to think that my dad and I were an inspiration to Chris: after all, my dad was the inspiration for me to join.."
Fort Stewart soldier killed in Afghanistan -- [Savannah Morning News]
The Department of Defense announced Sunday the death of a Fort Stewart soldier killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sgt. Christopher M. Rudzinski, 28, of Rantoul, Ill., died Oct. 16 near Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
He was assigned to 293rd Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne), Fort Stewart.
Chris was a fine man, whom I'd wish I'd known -- [Chuck Z]
Matt Burden (Blackfive) was feeling all kinds of happy in Las Vegas until he received a text from his friend, Mike. The news was not good.
Godspeed, Sergeant Chris Rudzinski -- [Blackfive]
I was sitting in McCarran airport in Las Vegas looking forward to coming home when I received word that Chris Rudzinski, on his fourth tour, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.
Chris's father Mike has been with us at Blackfive since 2003 and comments on blogs as "Annoying Mike". Mike is a Colonel and the son of a viet nam vet, and Mike has another son in the military.
my heart in 1000 pieces -- [Mike Rudzinski]
I don't have the details yet on Chris' death. I was told it was an IED. Chris is my oldest son, 28 years old and a father for his little boy Ryan and husband to Caroline, his wife. I have attached a picture of Chris and Ryan, who turned one year old last month while his daddy was in Afghanistan. The picture was taken on the day of his departure.
through the clouds...... -- [Mike Rudzinski]
I hope you don't mind me writing you and updating you on Chris' return home. I'm not sure I can cry any more tears and remain strong for my family too without talking with somebody. My head is in a spin and my heart aches as we start the process of bringing Chris home. Today Natalie, Caroline, Ryan and I were flown to Dover Air Force Base to witness the dignified transfer ceremony. It is the ceremony where our men and women in uniform take heroes and render honors as they return to American soil. I've had to do some difficult tasks in my life and Army career, but I have to say that standing there in the rain and cold and watching our military men and women take loving care of my son, like they have with the thousands who have preceded him was about too much to bear. It was too much for Caroline, she collapsed at seeing her beloved husband and Ryan's daddy, in a flag draped transfer case, being unloaded from the plane and put into the van which has taken Chris to the mortuary unit to prepare him for his trip home...
But I thought you should also know about the other heroes we ran into today, because they made my heart swell with love and pride, even as it was breaking.
Tapper to Gibbs: Who are you to decide what constitutes a news organization? -- [Hot Air]
Sheer comedy gold from one of the most honest White House correspondents in the business. Jake Tapper used his time in the Briefing Room to challenge Robert Gibbs on the Obama administration's attempts to brand Fox News as something other than a news organization. Gibbs sputters but never answers Tapper's essential question...
Attack on Fox News right out of Alinsky playbook -- [Donald Sensing]
FoxNews Channel is not the real target, and the rest of the media need to wake up to the crosshairs on them, too.
Seymour Hersh: military hates Obama because they're racists and he's black -- [Greyhawk]
The army is also "in a war against the White House -- and they feel they have [President] Obama boxed in," Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh told several hundred people in Duke University's Page Auditorium on Tuesday night. "They think he's weak and the wrong color. Yes, there's racism in the Pentagon. We may not like to think that, but it's true and we all know it."
Hersh is so far off the mark here it would be astounding - if this were anyone other than Seymour Hersh.
As the Commander in Chief Deliberates, Frustration Builds Within the Ranks -- [Elisabeth Bumiller/New York Times]
But now, after nearly a month of deliberations by Mr. Obama over whether to send more American troops to Afghanistan, frustrations and anxiety are on the rise within the military.
U.S. decision can't wait for Afghan legitimacy: Gates -- [Reuters]
The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said.
Obama urges GOP to 'get a mop' and clean up Bush administration mess -- [The Hill]
Obama, speaking to donors to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said he didn't have sympathy for those "sitting on the sidelines and rooting for failure."
He then embraced a new campaign by the DNC that invites Republicans to "grab a mop" and help clean up what Democrats say is a mess created by the Bush administration.
"I don't mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made, that's what I signed up to do," Obama said. "But while I'm there mopping the floor I don't want someone saying 'You're not mopping fast enough or you're not holding the mop the right way.' Grab a mop! Why don't you help clean up?"
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