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.
'Good' Taliban destroy Afghan Army base -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Pakistani Taliban forces under the command of Mullah Nazir blew up a military base across the border in Afghanistan.
Militants Killed in Wardak, Detained in Helmand; Soldiers Complete Mine Training -- [ISAF]
An Afghan-international security force killed a couple of militants in Wardak province today while pursuing a small group of Taliban.
The joint security force searched a compound near the village of Andar in the Nerkh district after intelligence sources determined the location of militant activities. During the operation the security force came under fire, returned fire and killed the militants.
The race against Obama's deadline in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
Adm. Mike Mullen, the personification of American military power, is walking the streets of this dusty village in Paktika province when the deferential deputy governor, Qadir Gul Zadran, tells him: "We hope you stay here forever." Sorry, responds the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but that's not going to happen. America is sending more troops to help boost security in places such as this Pashtun village south of Kabul, but they will begin leaving in 18 months. Asked later whether he had any worries about the new Afghanistan strategy, Mullen answers: "It's just the clock.
The only good Muslims -- [Greyhawk]
With a nod to an old axiom of uncertain origin, my title invokes what appears to be al Qaeda's philosophy on their fellow travelers in Islam: kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out.
Can convincing enough people of that help win what we used to call the war on terror? Perhaps - but perhaps not in Afghanistan. There's a more important battle to be fought there...
Arghandab and the Battle for Kandahar -- [Michael Yon - in Afghanistan]
People are confused about the war. The situation is difficult to resolve even for those who are here. For most of us, the conflict remains out of focus, lacking reference of almost any sort. Vertigo leaves us seeking orientation from places like Vietnam--where most of us never have been. So sad are our motley pundits-cum-navigators that those who have never have been to Afghanistan or Vietnam shamelessly use one to reference the other. We saw this in Iraq.
Afghan insurgency more pervasive, Mullen says -- [Defense Link]
The insurgency in Afghanistan has become more pervasive, more sophisticated and more violent, said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here today. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said during a news conference with Afghan and American reporters that the insurgents "have a dominant influence in 11 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces." The insurgents are becoming more effective at using improvised explosive devices and small-unit tactics, Mullen said. "I remain deeply concerned by the growing level of collusion between the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida and other extremist groups taking refuge across the border in Pakistan," he said
Top U.S. commanders discuss strategy with Afghan and Pakistani leaders -- [Voice of America]
The top U.S. military commander met with Afghan leaders in Kabul to discuss the upcoming U.S troop buildup and training of local security forces. Meanwhile, the regional commander met with civilian and military leaders in neighboring Pakistan to urge them to step up pressure on Afghan Taliban hiding on the Pakistani side of the border. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen arrived in Kabul just hours after suspected Taliban militants killed at least 16 Afghan policemen, underscoring the security crisis in the country. Foreign troops under command of General Stanley McChrystal also have suffered record numbers of casualties this year in Afghanistan. Speaking to reporters after talks with Afghan leaders, Admiral Mullen painted a grim picture of the security situation in the country.
Returning to Normal -- [Quatto Zone]
...Afghanistan thus becomes a cipher which can be decoded to represent anyone's hopes or fears. The conflict is about nation building, or the aversion to nation building. It is about a violent, militarized, imperial foreign policy, or about undue deference to political, diplomatic and moral niceties. Among these and many other contradictions that characterize the Afghanistan debate, the most relevant may be the one that generated the only hint of controversy during General McChrystal's testimony: is it reasonable to predict victory? ...Although it was maligned at the time, Richard Holbrooke's invocation of Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography to describe success in Afghanistan ("We'll know it when we see it.") is about right. More precisely, we'll know it when we know the Afghans see it. There are many indications that with a short, strong push from Coalition nations, Afghans are ready to see a practical solution to ending 30 years of conflict: a rejection of the most violent brands of extremism, reconciliation with insurgents, and stable political accommodations. Victory in those terms, viewed from an Afghan perspective, could be in sight within the next 12 to 18 months.
Pundit Pablum 2 -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
...Here Dov reveals his ignorance (or hubris) by trying to paint an inaccurate picture of Kabul. I have no doubt that the short walk between Camp Eggers and the U.S. Embassy is "awash with a host of uniforms," but that's hardly true of the rest of Kabul. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen ISAF soldiers in Kabul outside of the main thoroughfares and the military district around Eggers,* and I've been here nearly ten months. They certainly don't "walk the streets fully equipped and armed." Quite simply, they're not allowed to go out.
Afghan citizens save American asset in Panjshir -- [CJTF - 82 - in Afghanistan]
The adventure began on the cold, wintery morning, Dec. 10, deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains of the Panjshir valley in Afghanistan. The Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team conducted a routine mission to deliver material assistance, such as clothing, food and other supplies to a high-altitude village in the Dara district of the valley.
PICTURE of the day: Perparing to fight the supply line -- [Helmand Blog]
The CLSR (Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment) at Camp Bastion prepare on a 6 day Combat Logistic Patrol supplying the force by road.
This CLP is a joint effort between the CLSR, the Afghan National Army & the US Marines.
Merry Christmas Kids! -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
Last week we spent five of the seven days on the road. We slept in tents and we slept under the stars. We ate a lot of junk food and drank caffeinated drinks. We spent our days crammed in the truck and our nights wrapped tightly in sleeping bags. We got rained on, snowed in, and mudded out. It was a tough week. When I got "home" to my bunk I found a package from Mrs. G back home.
SITREP -- [HERMANEUTICS: AFGHANISTAN - in Afghanistan]
This week, with the Holidays here, I want to give a quick SITuation REPort via a few articles I read recently: Count this as my first victory. The barracks featured at the top of this article were finally finished last week, 6 months behind schedule, and our Soldiers are moving in to their temporary home. Yes, it is still crowded with six Soldiers per room but they have the luxury of indoor bathrooms (as opposed to the outhouses almost everyone else has to use.) The article itself also highlights many of the current projects I am involved in around the base. Unfortunately the future soccer field is not going to happen :-(
In Afghanistan, Marines live a tough camp life -- [Miami Herald]
The young Marines at this outpost could be on a camping trip to Hell.
The living conditions in Helmand Province, one of the worst regions for trouble in Afghanistan, are such that most of friends and family in the United States wouldn't consider putting up with them for one day, much less the months these men will be assigned here.It's not even officially winter, yet temperatures routinely fall below freezing at night, and there's no heat in the tents. At night when standing guard in one of the security towers, the Marines put on layer after layer of clothes, including thermal suits. It does little to ward off the chill of the desert air.
There is no hot water.
Single digit midgets... -- [3rd Time, New Country - in Afghanistan]
Last Friday, we drove to KAIA after dark (supper time) to pick up half of the new team. When we got there, we learned that the team had been delayed in Bagram and wouldn't get to KAIA for a few more hours. We drove back to NKC. I drove lead with Dennis as my TC. It has been a long, long time since we have driven in the dark. Needless to say, there aren't many streetlights in Kabul
Long Overdue Update -- [Highland Sailor - in Afghanistan]
I have been extremely busy for the past 30 days. The command I am attached to has been transformed under NATO command, under the NATO Flag. It has been a learning experience for everyone. I've said farewell to some of my troops as they head back to the states, and welcomed and trained their reliefs.
Guest Blog by Andrew Lubin: Let the Afghan Army Fight -- [Steven Pressfield /Andrew Lubin]
Training the Afghans how to shoot and move is the easy part. A typical Afghan soldier can probably beat an American tri-athlete up a steep hill; add in the flak, Kevlar and other equipment our troops carry, and the Afghans look back at us in amusement.
An ANA soldier mans his post after a firefight near Camp Joyce; the Marines and ANA fought off an attack the prior night
What's not so amusing is the drug use, absurdly low pay, desertion, casual corruption, and problems caused in Kabul, much of which affects the ANA's ability to fight.
Custom kitchen, home cooked meals bring Marines together in Afghanistan -- [MEB-Afghanistan / TF Leatherneck - in Afghanistan]
When Marines hear they must live at a small patrol base for a long period of time, many think of primitive facilities, dirty conditions and bland, prepackaged meals coming from
General wants troops ready for 'complex human terrain' -- [Defense Link]
. U.S. troops need to be prepared to operate in a "complex human terrain" when they arrive in Afghanistan, the commander of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command said here today. Army Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez took over the job just two months ago. He commands U.S. troops assigned to NATO and troops of 42 other nations for daily operations throughout Afghanistan. "Now that we know where [U.S. troops] are going and when they are coming in, I think we'll be able to make them well-prepared for what they need to do," he said during an interview with reporters traveling with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Afghan Town's Progress Provides Encouragement -- [ISAF]
An irrigation ditch bisects the main thoroughfare of this town in Helmand province, and shops line each side of the street. The shops sell everything from fresh vegetables to livestock to snack foods and transistor radios.
The town looks like nothing special, but it is. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff showed just how special it is when he walked down the street here yesterday, speaking with shop owners and officials and meeting children.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's four stars were on his soft cap, not a helmet. And he was not wearing his flak jacket - none of the party with him needed to.
1st Battalion 5th Marines passes the flag -- [MEB-Afghanistan / TF Leatherneck - in Afghanistan]
As 1st Battallion 5th Marines hands over Nawa district to the incoming battalion, they reflect on their time spent with their new Afghan friends building the local community, known as one of the most successful and productive relationships between
Commanders Look to Boost Security Force Training -- [ISAF]
With the first additional Marines beginning to stream into Afghanistan to help bolster security in the south and east, preparations are under way for the arrival of soldiers to focus on the other key goal of the surge: recruiting, equipping and training Afghan security forces.
Afghanistan and Pakistan: on the battle for Kandahar -- [Reuters]
...Just as "a tiger doesn't need to completely understand the jungle to survive, navigate, and then dominate", Yon argues, you don't have to master the full geographical and historical complexity of the Afghan war to grasp the importance of the Arghandab River Valley in securing Kandahar -- a battle he suggests will be crucial in 2010.
Taliban stall key Afghan project: report -- [Daily Times/AFP]
The future of an enormous hydroelectric turbine dragged through insurgency-hit Afghanistan by several thousand British troops for a major energy project is now in doubt, a report said Monday.
180 schools equipped with facilities -- [Alive in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
Education officials say 180 schools in northern Samangan province were equipped with laboratory equipment and other necessary items worth 20 million afghanis.
Dr. Ahmad Khalid Rahmanzi, head of the National Capacity Building Programme at the Education Department, said the equipment was meant for enhancing the capacity of students and improving quality of education in the schools. He told Pajhwok Afghan News the apparatus included 300 books, cabinets, chairs, desks, tents and computers.
MP likens some media outlets to al-Qaeda & Taliban -- [Alive in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
A member of the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament, has alleged some local media organisations are as dangerous as Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist networks.
On Tuesday, the house asked acting Minister of Information and Culture Abdul Karim Khurram, Deputy Attorney-General Fazal Ahmad Faqiryar to clarify some media reports that were against the relevant law and Afghan values.
Afghan president defends decision on cabinet nominees - Voice of America. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is defending his new Cabinet picks, saying he and the ministers will be held accountable for any corruption. At a news conference Sunday with visiting Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, Mr. Karzai dismissed criticism of the 23 nominees whose names were presented to parliament on Saturday.
Meeting Mrs. Mullen at MWR -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - in Iraq]
On Friday, December 18, Deborah Mullen accompanied her husband, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, on a visit here at COB Adder. Sgt. Monique Usher NCOIC of MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) for the Garrison Command asked me to meet Mrs. Mullen as part of her tour of medical and MWR facilities. I have led two book discussion groups since July. The six books we have read are by authors who have
been dead for half a century to two millenia. Mrs. Mullen walked straight up to me and introduced herself, then asked why I limit my book choice to dead authors.
Iraqi Qaeda group shifts to remain a threat -- [New York Times]
Even in its weakened state, the Iraqi insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia remains a dangerous foe that has shown resiliency in carrying out major terrorist attacks intended to destabilize Iraq as the country prepares for pivotal elections early next year, according to several top American commanders. With its access to financing and fighters dwindling, the Qaeda affiliate in Iraq has shifted its tactics and strategy, husbanding resources to conduct less frequent but increasingly catastrophic attacks aimed at undermining public support for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's government in the months leading up to national elections in March, the officers said. "Al Qaeda has changed from a broad-based insurgency to a terrorist group trying to target the government," Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of American forces in Iraq, said in a brief interview here.
The lone rogue post -- [In the Narmy - in Iraq]
The consensus around here, for the most part, has been "can't wait to get out of here". Believe it or not, there is actually a waiting list of guys who came out here with me, who would like to stay another year. I think the economy plays a part in most of those guys decision to extend another year. Maybe they don't have a job to go back to, or this one pays a little more, either way, to each his own I guess. Not this guy though. Actually, I'm the only guy on this mission that didn't volunteer for it. I guess technically, by joining the Navy I did, but everyone else said, "Please send me on this mission", while I was the recipient of "You are hereby ordered". So yeah, no extensions for me.
In Iraq, an opening for successful diplomacy -- [Washington Post]
Remember Iraq? For months our attention has been focused on Afghanistan, and you can be sure that the surge will be covered exhaustively as it unfolds in 2010. But next year could be even more pivotal in Iraq. The country will hold elections in March to determine its political future. Months of parliamentary horse-trading are likely to ensue, which could provoke a return to violence. The United States still has 120,000 troops stationed in Iraq, and all combat forces are scheduled to leave by August, further testing the country's ability to handle its own security. How we draw down in Iraq is just as critical as how we ramp up in Afghanistan: If handled badly, this withdrawal could be a disaster.
Iraqi election workers targets for insurgents -- [Washington Post]
Insurgents have begun targeting Iraqi election workers in an apparent attempt to derail the March parliamentary vote, Iraqi officials said, prompting electoral authorities to restrict the movement of their employees and shelter some at a hotel in the Green Zone. An election worker was killed in front of his Baghdad home last week, and a worker and the wife and son of another were kidnapped in the past 10 days, according to Faraj al-Haidari, head of the Independent High Electoral Commission. "It is not a coincidence to have three attacks against our employees," Haidari said. "Our situation is a tragedy. You can see the worry and mental anxiety on the faces of my employees." Iraqi officials described the attacks as the latest attempt by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq to destabilize the government ahead of the elections, scheduled for March 7. U.S.
U.S. reaching out to former foes in Iraq -- [Washington Times]
The U.S. is reaching out to followers of a key Shi'ite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia once battled U.S. troops and who remains a powerful leader, particularly among Iraq's urban poor. A top Sadrist political leader in Baghdad, Qusay al-Suhail, told The Washington Times that he and his colleagues have been approached five times in the last five months by emissaries seeking to arrange meetings with senior U.S. military and civilian officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. "Yes, the Americans tried to talk to me and other Sadrists several times," Mr. al-Suhail said. "They try to talk to us as individuals, but we made it clear that there is no use to talking to us when you are an occupying power."
Iraq says Iranian troops withdrawn from oil well, still in Iraq -- [Voice of America]
Iraqi officials say Iranian troops have withdrawn from a disputed oil well on their border, but remain on Iraqi territory. A government spokesman says the Iranians took down their flag and moved back 50 meters from the well, but still have not returned to their original positions. Iraqi officials say 11 Iranian soldiers seized the well (Number 4) in the al-Fakkah oil field in Maysan province Friday, and that Iranian soldiers remained there Saturday. Iran insists the well is in Iranian territory.
Pregnant G.I.'s Could Be Punished -- [NY Times]
An Army general in northern Iraq has added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier under his command could be court-martialed.
The new policy, outlined last month by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo and released Friday by the Army, would apply to female battlefield soldiers who become pregnant and the male soldiers who impregnate them.
US Airstrikes in Yemen: Continuation of a Failed Policy -- [Jawa Report]
Yesterday, a variety of media sources disclosed US involvement in raids against al Qaeda in Yemen, in particular air strikes in Abyan and on the outskirts of the capital, Sana'a. The prime target, Qasim al Reimi, escaped the Sana'a strike and scores of civilians were killed in the Abyan bombing. President Obama called Yemeni President Saleh after the raids to congratulate him for taking action against the terror group.
When a counter-terror air strike kills more civilians than an average suicide bombing, can it be called a success?
Obama team restocking hunting grounds in Yemen? -- [In the Crosshairs]
...OK riddle me this Obama-man, we are lobbing cruise missiles at AQ camps in Yemen and then turning more of their troopies over to a government that has had almost zero success holding or rehabbing the ones we have already sent them. And Yemen is a magnet for all kinds of terrorist types, like another Gitmo graduate we released to Saudi Arabia and who joined up with AQ in Yemen as their #2.
Hard Reality as US Pushes Pakistan -- [NY Times/AP]
Pakistan will not go as far as Washington wants, and there's nothing the U.S. can do about it: That's the sobering reality as the U.S. tries to persuade a hesitant Pakistan to finish off the fight against terrorists.
Expand the current assault against the Taliban? Pakistan has made clear that will happen only on its own terms. U.S. officials acknowledge that so far they haven't won the argument that militants who target America are enemies of Pakistan, too.
Shab e Yalda شب یلدا -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
In the western world we think of the 21st of December as the Winter solstice. The night of the 21st is the longest of the year for the northern hemisphere.
In Iranian and to some degree Afghan culture the night of the 21st of December is Shab-e Yalda شب یلدا .
It is an Iranian festival whose origins go all the way back to Babylonian and Zoroastrian religious rights.
Top US Officer: Force Must Be Option for Iran -- [NY Times]
Military force would have only limited effect in stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons but must remain an option, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday.
Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral sees hundreds of thousands challenge the Iranian regime -- [Telegraph]
Opposition supporters chanted anti-government slogans in Iran's holy city of Qom on Monday after the funeral of Ayatollah Montazeri.
Mourners wearing green items, a symbol of the protests that followed last June's presidential election, chanted slogans similar to those used in the post-ballot demonstrations.
Police expect Mumbai-style terror attack on City of London -- [The Times]
Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital. In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: "Mumbai is coming to London." The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid "involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices". The warning - the bluntest issued by police - has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year.
Hackers Steal SKorean-U.S. Military Secrets -- [CIO Today]
The latest case came months after hackers launched high-profile cyberattacks that caused Web outages on prominent government-run sites in the U.S. and South Korea. Affected sites include those of the White House and the South's presidential Blue House. The attacker's IP address was traced back to North Korea's Ministry of Post.
North Korea Caught Red-Handed Selling Arms -- Again -- [PJM - Claudia Rosett]
Wherever these weapons were bound, the shipment was a violation of UN sanctions, and the likely buyer list is not encouraging.
Arms seized by Thailand were Iran-bound -- [Wall Street Journal]
A plane loaded with weapons from North Korea that was recently impounded in Bangkok was bound for Iran, according to documents obtained by arms-trafficking experts. The destination of the Ilyushin-76, which Thai authorities have said carried 35 tons of armaments, has been unknown. Thai officials said the plane flew to Pyongyang via Bangkok to collect its cargo, then returned to Bangkok to refuel on Dec. 11. It was seized during that stop and its five crew members were detained by Thai police. A flight plan for the IL-76, obtained by researchers in the U.S. and Belgium, shows that after Bangkok the plane was due to make refueling stops in Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ukraine before unloading its cargo in Tehran.
N.Korea says it may open fire near disputed sea border -- [AFP]
North Korea Monday warned South Korean ships to avoid the disputed Yellow Sea border area where a clash broke out last month, saying its coastal artillery would target the area in firing exercises. The communist state's naval command, in a statement on official media, said the move came in response to "reckless military provocations" from the South.
Copenhagen climate deal shows new world order may be led by U.S., China -- [Washington Post]
If the talks that resulted in an imperfect deal to combat global warming provided anything, it was a glimpse into a new world order in which international diplomacy will increasingly be shaped by the United States and emerging powers, most notably China. Friday's agreement, sources involved in the talks said, boiled down to President Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao personally hammering out a pact both could live with, even if many other leaders could not. Wen even squelched his own negotiator's protests. What Obama heralded as a "breakthrough" - after getting India and other rising powers to sign on - was decried by some nations as too little, too late.
Palestinian Sources: Abbas Rejected U.S. Proposal For Secret Negotiations -- [MEMRI Blog]
Palestinian sources said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected a U.S. proposal for secret negotiations with the Israeli government as a substitute for 10 months of U.S.-mediated indirect negotiations.
Congressional letter to SECDEF Gates demands end to Islamic lectures to troops by Louay Safi and ISNA -- [Jawa Report]
Earlier this month we were the first to report, along with JihadWatch, that terror-tied Islamic speaker Louay Safi had just given a lecture at Ft Hood on Islam to troops departing for Afghanistan. Andy McCarthy at NRO followed up on that reporting, as did other media outlets. Safi subsequently complained of being the victim of smears for us reporting that he had been recorded on FBI wiretaps talking to terrorist leaders and such (which is all a matter of public record).
Now a group of congressmen have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates demanding that all lectures by Safi and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to military troops be halted immediately.
Bin Laden's brother-in-law target of latest US strike in Pakistan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Sheikh Saeed al Saudi, a member of al Qaeda's executive council, was targeted by the US after intelligence indicated he was attending a high-level meeting.
West warns that Somalia is becoming a haven for international terrorists -- [The Times]
Pass beyond what is described as government territory in the Somali capital - a few blocks between the airport, the harbour and the presidential palace - and you are at the mercy of al-Shabaab, the extremist Islamic group that holds sway across southern and central Somalia. Where it rules, it has implemented laws and punishments reminiscent of Afghanistan under Taleban rule.
The Homegrown Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland -- [Elcano]
The wave of arrests and thwarted plots recently seen in the United States has severely undermined the long-held assumption that American Muslims, unlike their European counterparts, are virtually immune to radicalization. In reality, argues this policy brief, evidence existed also before the fall of 2009 highlighting how radicalization affected some small segments of the American Muslim population exactly like it affects some fringe pockets of the Muslim population of each European country. After putting forth this argument, the brief analyzes the five concurring reasons traditionally used to explain the divergence between the levels of radicalization in Europe and the United States (better economic conditions, lack of urban ghettoes, lower presence of recruiting networks, different demographics, more inclusive sense of citizenship). While all these characteristics still hold true, they no longer represent a guarantee, as other factors such as perception of discrimination and frustration at U.S. foreign policies could lead to radicalization. Finally the brief will look at the post-9/11 evolution of the homegrown terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland and examine possible future scenarios.
A Terrorist in the Heart of America -- [PJM - Rusty Shackleford]
Last month I warned Pajamas Media readers that a Chicago-area man was involved in the worst act of terrorism to hit India in modern times. This month the Department of Justice indicted David Headley on 12 charges related to the Mumbai terror attacks and plans he and accomplices had in the works against a Danish newspaper that had printed controversial images of the prophet Muhammad. Six of those charges are for the murder of Americans abroad.
Giving up at Tora Bora -- [Washington Post]
Trapped in al-Qaeda's Tora Bora cave network two months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden seemed prepared to die. Instead, he was allowed to escape: The United States never fielded a serious ground effort to stop him, instead pointlessly trying to bomb him from the sky and handing out cash to Afghan warlords who had no intention of capturing him. The disaster flowed from one bad idea: that the United States could win in Afghanistan without a "big footprint," using locals who wouldn't trigger the renowned Afghan hostility to foreign invaders. Not to mention that deploying a small contingent of special forces armed with cash would prove Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's ideological point about the need to transform the U.S. armed services from a lumbering Cold War conventional force into a leaner, meaner, high-tech military capable of lightning strikes. Rumsfeld may have been right about the need for transformation. But ...
FBI walks tightrope in outreach to Muslims, fighting terrorism - [Washington Post]
At a retirement party last week for the head of the FBI's Washington field office, Muslim and Arab leaders presented the guest of honor with a crystal plaque. It thanked Joseph Persichini Jr. for reaching out to the local Muslim and Arab communities. Yet even as the tribute on Capitol Hill went on, his agents had a different mission. They were flying to Pakistan to interrogate five Washington area Muslim men arrested in a terrorism probe. The outcome of that investigation threatens to undermine the very relationships their boss tried to foster. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI agents from the same office have met with Muslim leaders, fielded questions at mosques and participated in Ramadan feasts.
Adopt a hero today -- [Soldiers' Angels LA]
Soldiers' Angels hero adoption waiting list is over 2,000. Many of our heroes are on their third or fourth deployment. Sure, they may be getting some mail or care packages from home, but nothing means more than knowing a complete stranger cares enough to show their support. When you adopt a hero, you are asked to commit a letter a week and 1-2 small care packages a month during the length of their deployment. Soldiers' Angels Store has plenty of pre-made packages and will ship them directly to your hero. For as little as $20 a month you can bring some support for someone who is putting their life on the line for us. Adopt a hero today.
Operation Christmas Drop: The longest-running humanitarian airdrop mission in Air Force history -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...Operation Christmas Drop's mission officially kicked off with a Push Ceremony held Dec. 15. Members of the Andersen family and representatives from the local community were on hand to assist in loading boxes onto a C-130 Hercules, in essence preparing the first sortie's load of donations for delivery.
A Message from Soldiers' Angels RE: Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover AFB -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
While everyone plays an very important role in the Global War on Terror, a group of very dedicated service members appear to fly under the radar day in and day out, that team is located at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center. It is the center's mission and privilege to fulfill the nation's sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor, and respect to the fallen and care, service, and support to their families. A solemn dignified transfer of remains is conducted upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del., from the aircraft to a transfer vehicle to honor those who have given their lives in the service of the country. The vehicle then moves the fallen to the Port Mortuary.
An Officer and a Creative Man -- [New York Times]
It doesn't need to be this way in the Army. After all, the Marine Corps has succeeded in inducing its officers to operate independently. More than twice as many Marine survey respondents as Army respondents -- 58 percent -- said that their service encouraged risk-taking. Marine culture is different because the career Marine officers who shape it are, on average, less risk-averse than career Army officers.
Does The United States Still Need USSOCOM? (Updated) -- [SWJ]
...many outside the military establishment are enamored with the myth and romanticism of Special Operations. There are so many "groupies" among staffers and in academia that it is hard to see Special Operations for what it really is and what it has become. And within the military, Special Operations has been "hijacked" by a group of hyper-conventional Ranger types and other supporting elements that Special Operations and most important, its heart and soul - Special Forces - has lost its way. There are so many in and out of the military who claim ties to Special Operations that it is unlikely that there will ever be a critical look at USSOCOM and what it has become.
A million soldiers deployed since 9/11 -- [Army Times]
Eight years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, American troops have deployed almost 3.3 million times to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Defense Department data.
The numbers, as of October 2009, show that more than 2 million men and women have shouldered those deployments, with 793,000 of them deploying more than once.
PATTON: REMEMBERING THE MAN, THE HERO -- [Third wave Dave]
On December 21, 1945, General George S. Patton Jr died. For a man who survived two World Wars, the manner in which he died was quite unusual and unexpected: an automobile accident.
Operation Just Cause -- [Boots on the Ground: Chuck Holton]
Twenty years ago on in the early morning of December 20, 1989, I was one of 2500 Rangers that parachuted into the country of Panama to take down a corrupt Dictator, Manuel Noriega. It was my first taste of actual combat. Compared to the fighting most of today's warriors experience, Operation Just Cause was extremely short and had a nice, tidy ending with the surrender of Manuel Noriega three weeks after we dropped in. Today, nobody disputes that we did the right thing in removing him, though some Panamanians believe we could have been, say, gentler about it. Thinking back on the chaos of that night in 1989, and looking at the strong, stable democracy that Panama has become, I can confidently say I'm glad to have played some very small part in that history.
British troops to get first new camouflage in 40 years -- [CNN]
British troops will get new camouflage uniforms for the first time in more than 40 years, based on computer modeling of Afghanistan's terrain, the Ministry of Defence announced Sunday.
Our Christmas Present!! -- [This is our life...]
Our Christmas present has arrived!! He flew in at 1PM yesterday. Everything just feels right again. I have my husband back. The kids have their dad. I wish I had a great picture of us hugging him at the airport, but I don't. We will be in the Standard Journal though so watch for us. Now, I'm off to snuggle with my sleeping husband!! :)
Fort Hood welcomes troops back home -- [Houston Chronicle]
and other relatives waved American flags, balloons and signs that read "Welcome Home" and "You're My Hero." Buhman's husband found her in the crowd after
Soldier's mom gets holiday homecoming surprise -- [KGO-TV]
She went to Mineta-San Jose International Airport to welcome home troops returning from Afghanistan and what she did not know was that her ...
Spc. Amanda Sandlin returns home after tour in Afghanistan -- [Maryville Daily Times]
Several unrolled a "Welcome Home to Our Favorite Soldier" banner as the crowd waited at McGhee Tyson Airport Saturday afternoon.
Red Cross Volunteers Welcome Home Servicemen -- [WENY-TV]
O'Neill-Merchant is a Red Cross volunteer, and is often at the airport to greet other troops as they come home.
MRC Announces Awards for the Worst Media Performance of 2009 -- [NewsBusters]
The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The 22nd Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting, and Discover magazine's Melissa Lafsky has won the dis-honor of "Quote of the Year." On August 27, a few days after Senator Edward Kennedy's death, Lafsky posted the following on the Huffington Post blog:
The Phenomenon, Politics and Art of 'Avatar' -- [FOXNews]
And did I mention there's a maniacal military officer as the heavy? Needless to say, this character, Colonel Quaritch, gets all the best lines in the film,
Inconceivable! Gates blasts Senate Republican's filibuster attempt on defense bill -- [Stars & Stripes]
In the middle of the night - literally while Washington was sleeping - Senate Republicans early Friday revealed that they hate the troops.
Obama to clear secret records -- [Washington Times]
Executive order follow-up on inaugural pledge
President Obama plans to deal with a Dec. 31 deadline that automatically would declassify secrets in more than 400 million pages of Cold War-era documents by ordering governmentwide changes that could sharply curb the number of new and old government records hidden from the public.
Executive Order 12425 What The Hell Is This? What Did Obama Just Do? -- [Pierre Legrand's Pink Flamingo Bar]
What the hell is going on?
Executive Order 12425 - EO: AMENDING EXECUTIVE ORDER 12425 DESIGNATING INTERPOL AS A PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words "except those provided by Section 2(c), Section 3, Section 4, Section 5, and Section 6 of that Act" and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.
A double standard on military votes? -- [MSNBC]
Over the last several years, Republicans accusing Democrats of voting against military funding bills -- for whatever the reason -- became an common line of political attack.
Here's one example: ...
Billions in earmarks inflate defense bill's cost -- [San Francisco Chronicle]
... pork-barrel politics at its worst. The Presidio closed as a military entity in 1989 and was transferred to the National Park Service five years later.
Obama Year One: Betrayal and Failure -- [The Baltimore Chronicle]
In Obama's America, only the privileged have rights, not people of color, the poor, and growing numbers going hungry, without jobs, and other life's essentials his budget allocations won't fund. Promising change after eight George Bush and Republican dominated years, Barack Obama won the most sweeping non-incumbent victory in over 50 years along with congressional Democrats gaining large House and Senate majorities. In addition, at 56.8%, voter turnout was the highest since Richard Nixon's "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war and his "Southern" and "law and order" strategies beat Hubert Humphrey and independent George Wallace in 1968.
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