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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.
Six militants die in south Afghan shoot-out -- [AFP]
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- An eight-hour shoot-out in southern Afghanistan ended on Friday with the deaths of six insurgents who had occupied a building near
Wanat inquiry results may lead to punishments -- [Army Times]
Findings from an investigation into the deadly July 13, 2008, battle in Wanat, Afghanistan, could lead to action against Army personnel, officials announced Jan. 29.
Nine soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in that battle.
In a statement, Army Secretary John McHugh said he has received the results of the Central Command investigation and is directing Gen. Charles Campbell, commander of Forces Command, to "review the recommendations and take action as he deems appropriate with regard to Army personnel identified in the report."
ANA Escort Mission-Part One -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
We had just returned from our ANA Memorial Service mission and were in our cubicles unpacking our gear. Word came down to repack our gear and plan for a multi-day mission. We were tasked to escort a brand new Kandak (several hundred soldiers) and a hundred vehicles to their new location. The original plan was to meet our vehicles at 1000 hrs and get them ready for the mission, then depart later in the afternoon.
Part Two ... Herding Cats -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...We arrived at our destination and the rain was starting to leave up a little bit. The large parking area was filled with ANA vehicles. Their armored fleet included 7-ton trucks, wreckers, ambulances, Humvees, fuel trucks, and LTV pick-up trucks. Most of these soldiers just graduated from the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) and were being remissioned. Their Marine ETTs also spent several weeks teaching them the fundamentals of shooting, combat
seatbelts and snakes -- [The Alley - in Afghanistan]
...A few days back, we got what seemed to be our third or fourth motor vehicle rollover incident involving Afghan National Army (ANA) troops. "Jeez," someone said, "somebody needs to teach these guys how to drive!" "I'd be happy if they just started wearing seatbelts," someone else chimed in, bad motor vehicle crashes being notorious for causing severe head trauma, organ injury, and fractures in the improperly restrained. One of our interpreters turned around with an incredulous look.
"Seatbelts? Only suicide bombers wear seatbelts!"
thursday night runnin' to friday on my knees... -- [The Alley - in Afghanistan]
Long derided by visiting Western soldiers as "Man-Love Thursday", it seems to be common for Afghan men, especially in the uniformed services, to have the attitude of "Women are for reproduction, men are for pleasure." In its uglier appearances, this can take the form of child sexual abuse. Why Thursday? Human nature, of course. The day before repentance at jumat (mosque), when transgressions are wiped clean. The remarkable thing is...
And you thought I was lying about Man-Love Thursdays -- [Bouhammer]
I have written on here several times about Man-Love Thursdays, the confusion that Afghan men have with sexuality and the rampant number of homosexuals there are amongst the Afghan male population. I have also had many people ask me if there was any truth to the term "man-love Thursday".
One of my first blogs that mentioned this is called " Their Thursday night is our Saturday night ". I wrote this one in July 2006. I have also wrote about this several other times over the years.
Rainy Day in a White City -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Jalalabad finally has some winter weather with much needed rain. The mountains surrounding the Kabul River plain have little snow; the weather has been unseasonably mild and dry thus far this winter. A dry winter is a real disaster in a parched country, which relies so heavily on small scale farms to feed its people. So the rain is good but only if it stops soon. Nothing is straightforward in Afghanistan even when it comes to rain - a few more days of this will render most of the housing structures unstable. Houses made of mud bricks do not handle the wet well at all.
Taliban say no decision yet on Karzai offer of talks -- [Reuters]
Taliban leaders will decide soon whether to join talks with the Afghan government, a militant spokesman said ...
Afghan 'surge' forces to arrive by late summer -- [The Examiner]
A top military commander said that nearly all of the US combat troops slated to deploy to Afghanistan to take part in the military buildup
Brown outlines steps to bring troops home -- [Channel 4 News]
By Channel 4 News Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells Krishnan Guru Murthy that British troops will be brought home from Afghanistan by 2011 "if the Afghan
Leading Iraqi politician welcomes Obama's remarks on Iraq -- [EarthTimes]
US President Barack Obama's remarks on Iraq from his "state of the union" address were "positive" and "welcome," a leading member of Iraq's parliamentary coalition said Thursday. "We welcome (Obama's) statements. They were positive and reflected the commitment of the US administration to ... the gradual withdrawal of the US military by the end of 2011," Abbas al-Bayati, a member of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, told the German Press Agency dpa.
Iraqi: 2 Americans detained in northern Iraq -- [AP]
An Iraqi army official says two Americans are being held in northern Iraq on visa violations.
Citing 9/11, Blair Defends Legacy at Iraq Inquiry -- [NY Times]
This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception," Mr. Blair said. "It's a decision. And the decision I had to take was, given Saddam's history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program or is that a risk it is responsible to take?"
Daily Reflections -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
Every day we hear the common story of people who want us to hire them for translators, workers, or anything possible. Most of this large city is homeless, without work, and in grief. The tent cities everywhere are improving in some ways, and deteriorating in others. After driving through the city several times today I became aware of just how long the rebuilding process is going to take.
Operations Are Winding Down -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
Please be aware that Team Rubicon is now implementing plans to begin winding down operations inside Haiti. We have reached this decision because we have successfully helped "bridge the gap" between disaster and large NGO response. Large aid organizations now have the full weight of their might behind their logistics and operations, thus rendering us ineffective.
Trying to Get an OpEd Published -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
The original members of Team Rubicon have been in the process of drafting an Opinion-Editorial about the manner in which we responded to the Haiti disaster, and how that model can serve to improve the current status quo at large aid organizations.
Ultimately, what we write will have to stand or fall on it's own merits, but we want to make sure that it doesn't immediately get shuffled to the "discard" pile. I think you, as our readers and supporters, understand we are passionate about spreading the word and informing the public on what needs to be done.
North Korea: Second American in Custody -- [NY Times]
North Korea acknowledged that it had detained an American for illegally crossing into its territory from China, the second United States citizen to be held as the North's dispute with Washington over its nuclear weapons program continues.
North Korea fires more artillery towards South -- [Reuters]
North Korea fired artillery toward a disputed sea border with its southern neighbor for the third straight day on Friday in a move seen by the South's president as a ploy by Pyongyang to put pressure on regional powers.
Iran could make nuclear advancement announcement early Feb -- [RIA Novosti]
Iran is likely to make a new announcement regarding its controversial nuclear program during a ten-day celebration to mark the 31st anniversary of the ...
White House orders Justice Department to look for other places to hold 9/11 terror trial -- [NY Daily]
White House officials have told the Justice Department to consider other venues for the 9/11 terror trial that was to be held in lower Manhattan, the Daily News has learned.
Official: Terror case may happen outside Manhattan -- [Breitbart /AP]
Facing growing opposition to its plans to hold the Sept. 11 terrorist trial in New York City, the Obama administration is considering moving the proceedings elsewhere.
Two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday the Justice Department is drawing up plans for possible alternate locations to try professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices in case Congress or local officials prevent the trial from being held in Manhattan.
Bin Laden deplores climate change -- [Aljazeera]
Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, has condemned the US and other industrial economies, holding them responsible for the phenomenon of climate change. -- In an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera, bin Laden criticised George Bush, the former US president ...
The 2LT: Most Definitely Not Alone -- [Kitchen Dispatch]
I met a kid this weekend. A recent graduate of West Point, he's a 2LT who will deploy soon. His very first. His very first everything.
...Later, I found out that his parents are mystified over his decision to go to West Point and then have to serve. They're bugged because their other kid has chosen to get an advanced degree. What they assume is one day --after emerging with a pile of debt, the other kid will make a million bucks a year. Maybe.
But the overwhelming chance is that their other kid will be average.
I certainly hope his parents will turn around. I hope their last conversation with him won't be berating him for his decision.
...So I've decided. He's my kid now. After he deploys, he's going to get so many packages he won't know what hit.
"A chance to help guys that help us out" -- [Soldiers Angel Germany]
Another civilian surgeon heads to LRMC as part of the Society of Vascular Surgery volunteer program. "I look at it as a chance to help guys that help us out", said Dr. David L. Street of Medford, OR.
Dr. Street will be volunteering for two weeks at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, treating wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a news release from his clinic, Street said, "There's a time in your life when it's just time to give back, and I'm there.
From Task Force 14th Med -- [Soldier's Angels - Medical Support]
We often receive notes of thanks that humble me. It sometimes seems like what we we do in our medical support team is small "Hey Eric, please send 24 pair of sweat clothes to this address", or "Caren, please send some of that coffee and Girl Scout cookies we got to this CSH". But I guess it makes a difference to the folks who need it most. It is the generosity and hard work of thousands of volunteers, donors and American patriots that make Soldiers' Angels possible.
Dear Soldiers' Angels,
On behalf of all Soldiers of Task Force 14th Med deployed to Camp Cropper in Baghdad, Iraq - I want to send you a letter of appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the support we have received during our current deployment. We want to say thanks very much for your steadfast support. We are assigned to the 14th Combat Support Hospital based out of Fort Benning Georgia to support the Global War on Terrorism in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-10.
The Soldiers of Task Force 14th MED have received many great things from your organization, actually
Pentagon leaders set to testify on 'don't ask, don't tell' -- [GovExec.com]
... Chairman Michael Mullen will testify Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The Army delivers social media to soldiers -- [Defense Systems]
Through much of the past year, the Defense Department remained leery of approving social networking applications such as Facebook and MySpace for U.S. military personnel -- for understandable reasons. The security issues seemed to outweigh any and all arguments for open dialogue and collaboration among officers and troops.
Now we learn that the Army has been experimenting since October with its own secure version of Facebook -- dubbed milBook -- and the Pentagon brass appears to be satisfied with the early results.
Navy CIO Robert Carey talks Web 2.0 -- [FCW.com]
... that establishes Web 2.0 and social media policies. The mission in Haiti is one example of why the military needs to use social networking, he said Jan.
British military secrets leaked on social networking sites -- [Wikinews]
The ministry's "online engagement guidelines", released in August last year, recognise the importance of social media such as Facebook for personnel keeping
Ministry of Defence reveals 16 information leaks in the last 18 months due to social networking use -- [SC Magazine]
A joint investigation has led to revelations that Ministry of Defence staff and military personnel leaked secret information 16 times on social networking websites and internet forums in the last 18 months.
Following a Freedom of Information request tabled by Lewis PR and F-Secure to the MoD, it revealed the amount of incidents but declined to comment on whether any computer networks had been compromised as a result of staff using social media.
Taxpayers pay $101,000 for Pelosi's in-flight 'food, booze' -- [WND]
Speaker's trips 'are more about partying than anything else'
It reads like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey ... and Corona beer.
But that single receipt makes up just part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for "in-flight services" - including food and liquor, for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trips on Air Force jets over the last two years. That's almost $1,000 per week.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, show Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel over that time.
White House Rejects Pelosi's Push to Freeze Defense Spending -- [FOX]
The disagreement, surfacing mere hours before Obama's first State of the Union address, threatens to cast a pall over one of the items the White House hoped would establish the president's credibility on the deficit.
Pelosi stopped one CIA operation. So why not waterboarding? -- [Washington Post]
... At the time of her press briefing, Pelosi had been forced to acknowledge that she had learned in February 2003 that waterboarding was being used. Why, reporters asked, did she not object? Flustered, Pelosi claimed that it was not her place to complain because she was no longer the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. "A letter raising concerns was sent to CIA general counsel Scott Muller by the new Democratic ranking member of [the] committee [Jane Harman], the appropriate person to register a protest." She made this claim five times during the briefing.
In fact, Harman's letter, since declassified, did not "register a protest"; it asked "what kind of policy review took place" and urged the agency not to destroy interrogation tapes. Moreover, when Pelosi made this claim, she knew that in 2004, when she was no longer the committee's ranking member, she had personally intervened with the White House to stop different covert action. She did not defer to Harman; she herself took action. Why was it "appropriate" for her to intervene then but not in the case of waterboarding?
Axelrod Struggles To Explain Why Obama's Spending Freeze Doesn't Include Defense Funding -- [Think Progress]
Yesterday, ThinkProgress joined a handful of journalists for a wide-ranging discussion with David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to President Obama. In his State of the Union address on Wednesday night
Ex-Marine Cleared of Wrongdoing in Deaths of Two Iraqis Running for Congress -- [FOX]
WILMINGTON, North Carolina -- A former U.S. Marine who was cleared of wrongdoing in the deaths of two Iraqis in 2004 now is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina.
Ilario Pantano announced his candidacy Thursday. He is seeking to become the Republican nominee to challenge Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre in a North Carolina congressional district.
Pantano shot two men in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, in 2004 and hung a warning sign on their corpses. He claimed self-defense, and a Marine general decided not to bring him to trial.
Rob Diamond is his own prop -- [This Aint Hell...]
I found an article on Huffington Post about Republicans using the troops as props most disingenuous written by some illiterate buffoon named Rob Diamond. In the article he complains about all of the times that Republicans have included veterans in some of their events. Mostly, Diamond was upset that a Staff Sergeant sat behind Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell during his Republican response to the State of the Union Address Wednesday night;...
Props! -- [Greyhawk]
"Let's face it, troops - you guys make a pretty good photo op!"
...For the record, the only thing I find more distasteful than using veterans, soldiers, or even bracelets with the names of soldiers as partisan political props is selective outrage over the practice.
And now, your moment of Zen.
And more faddish -- [Greyhawk]
The #1 fashion accessory for this year's State of the Union? Some might guess "adopted Haitian baby" - but they'd be wrong (but just wait for the Academy Awards...)
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.Refresh for updates.
Karzai Warns 'Military Solution Alone' Not Viable -- [Voice of America]
Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned Tuesday that military action alone cannot stabilize his country.
...The Afghan leader said reconciliation is needed, especially with Taliban members who are not affiliated with al-Qaida or other terrorist networks. He also stressed that economic development will play a crucial role in reconciliation efforts.
U.S. Wrestling With Prospect of Olive Branch for Taliban -- [New York Times]
As the Obama administration pours 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, it has begun grappling with the next great dilemma of this long war: whether to reconcile with the men who sheltered Osama bin Laden and who still have close ties to Al Qaeda.
NATO, Russia to boost military co-operation in Afghanistan -- [The Canadian Press]
Italian Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, who heads the alliance's military committee, said Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov had told his allied
Germany to Send 500 Extra Troops to Afghanistan -- [AP]
Germany plans to increase its troop contingent in Afghanistan by up to 850 and focus more strongly on training local security forces, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday.
Berlin plans to send 500 extra troops to Afghanistan. It also expects to adjust the parliamentary mandate under which they serve to allow for another 350 soldiers to be deployed as a "flexible reserve," to help with events such as elections if necessary, Ms. Merkel said.
Reinforcements -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
First the Finns, and now the Germans.
...Guess we'll need to open some new supply lines to the north to move all that extra beer. Won't need to move any ammunition, since the Germans and the Finns aren't allowed to shoot anybody anyway.
Suicide Blast Kills at Least 22 in Baghdad -- [Voice of America]
Another big explosion shook Baghdad, Tuesday. Officials say at least 22 people have been killed and some 80 others injured, in an attack on a government building. The blast follows a series of bombings Monday.
Rivalries in Iraq Keep G.I.'s in the Field -- [New York Times]
MOSUL, Iraq -- A string of checkpoints has appeared on the roads that spoke out from this volatile city, guarded by hundreds of American soldiers working with Arab and Kurdish troops.
U.S. Military Deeply Involved in Aiding Yemen on Strikes -- [Washington Post]
U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate, according to senior administration officials.
N. Korea Exchanges Fire With South -- [BBC News]
South Korea returns fire after the North fires shells near their disputed sea border, reportedly as part of a military drill.
Obama to Unveil New Plan to Fight Bioterrorism -- [Voice of America]
U.S. President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address Wednesday to unveil a new plan for a better and quicker response to bioterrorism and other threats to public health. The announcement comes just hours after the release of a report critical of the U.S. government's ability to prepare for and respond to bioterrorist attacks.
US Military Panel Hears 1st Guantanamo Appeal -- [Voice of America]
A panel of US military judges has heard the first direct appeal of a convicted detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that of al-Qaida's former top propagandist.
Where America Stands: Terrorism -- [CBS News - Lara Logan]
It was nothing but a make money for the Military Industrial Media Complex. Every thing that has happened since the TRIGGER 9/11/01 is based on outright LIES
A salute to military families -- [Chicago Sun-Times]
WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama will use the president's State of the Union address today to highlight one of her major issues: helping military ...
Charged contractors had checkered military pasts -- [Washington Post]
The military typically keeps its detailed service records confidential. That makes it difficult to verify the conventional perception that Xe has long ...
Grenade launcher, map of military facility found in ex-Navy man's NJ motel room -- [USA Today]
...It all started when police responded to a 4 a.m. call about a suspicious person at a Branchburg convenience store.
BREAKING: 'Red Bulls' arriving home Sunday -- [Woodbury Bulletin]
...More than 1,000 Red Bulls were deployed to Iraq. They are returning home in four groups, each about a week apart. The first wave of soldiers arrived in Fort Lewis, Washington earlier this week where they spent a few days debriefing before flying back to their Guard armories in Minnesota Sunday.
Smaller payraise for troops? -- [This Ain't Hell...]
A few weeks ago I wrote that retired military checks got smaller this year compared to last year, despite the fact that our costs of living had risen - 2.7% the last six months of 2009 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Well, now it's time for the active duty to shoulder their part of the White House budget, too, according to Stars & Stripes;
Common Ground With Tea Partiers? A Search for Understanding. -- [Daily Kos -Catzmaw]
...Due to a family member deploying to Iraq several years ago I started to hang out at a number of military websites. When military blogging (milblogging) took off during the early days of the Iraq conflict I became a regular reader of milblogs. More people at dKos would probably benefit from reading milblogs and I would suggest starting with Doonesbury's excellent milblog called "The Sandbox", which acts as a clearinghouse for diaries from other milblogs, but which also accepts original material. There are also several websites out there devoted to service members, their families, and military veterans. It is at some of these sites that one can find the most reactionary rhetoric. Tea partiers are often very active members of these sites. These aren't astroturfers, but the real grassroots of the tea party movement.
House OKs benefits for uprooted military spouses -- [Chicago Tribune]
The state would provide unemployment benefits for military spouses who leave their jobs because of a deployment or relocation, a move that backers said is just another way to support the troops.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.Refresh for updates.
Nato forces in Afghanistan to launch Helmand offensive -- [BBC News]
UK and other Nato troops are to launch an offensive to take back areas of southern Afghanistan, the British general in charge of forces there says.
Coming offensive in Marjeh weighs on locals' minds -- [Stars & Stripes]
...Sarwar Khan, the local elder, was curious about another matter: the coalition offensive everyone in Helmand province knows is coming.
"What is happening in Marjeh?" asked Khan, referring to a nearby Taliban stronghold that the Marines will soon attempt to take apart in a long-planned operation.
"I don't know," Karabin tells him. "But I know the Marines are going to be cleaning it up. Do you know something that's going on?"
"Marjeh is like a reservoir for IEDS (improvised explosive devices)," Khan said.
Al-Qaida-linked suspects arrested for Kabul attack -- [AP]
Afghan authorities have arrested the ringleader of a group that staged a brazen attack in Kabul and now believe the assault was coordinated by al-Qaida, an official said Sunday.
Gen. Nahim Baluch, the deputy director of Afghanistan's intelligence service, said that the ringleader -- whom he did not name -- and several other suspects confessed to their role in the Jan. 18 attack that paralyzed the Afghan capital and left 12 people dead, including seven militants.
"All of them have links with al-Qaida," Baluch said of the suspects.
U.S. commander sees eventual Taliban peace deal -- [Reuters]
The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan said he hopes increased troop levels will weaken the Taliban enough that its leaders will accept a peace deal.
Petraeus: Afghanistan Longer to Tackle than Iraq -- [The Times]
General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, also warned that the fight in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where British and US forces are based, as well other areas, would become even tougher before the situation improved.
British Troops Face Five More Years in Helmand -- [The Times]
British troops will have to fight the Taleban for another five years, according to a leaked draft of the communiqué that will conclude the London conference on Afghanistan this week.
Participating governments are also expected to agree to bribes totalling hundreds of millions of pounds which will be paid to leading insurgents in the hope that they will stop fighting.
Royal Anglian commander: the battle is 'winnable.' -- [EDP24]
The commanding officer of Royal Anglian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan has paid tribute to men lost in action but insisted troops are fighting a "challenging but winnable" battle.
U.N. Seeks to Drop Some Taliban From Terror List -- [New York Times]
The leader of the United Nations mission here called on Afghan officials to seek the removal of at least some senior Taliban leaders from the United Nations' list of terrorists, as a first step toward opening direct negotiations with the insurgent group.
Afghanistan Postpones Elections Until September -- [Washington Post]
Afghanistan's election commission announced Sunday that it is postponing scheduled parliamentary elections from May until September, bowing to logistical concerns, worries about potential voting fraud and the likelihood that the U.S. troop "surge" will lead to intensified fighting in parts of the country.
Afghan Elections Postponed: One Big Step Backwards -- [OPFOR - Lt Col P - in Afghanistan]
Someone wearing a lot of stars or bearing ambassadorial credentials needs to bitch-slap President Karzai over this horrendous mistake. If there ever was a time to call in some chips, this is it.
I get the concerns, trust me I do. However, I'm not at all sure that the conditions causing those concerns will be gone by the time September rolls around. What would lead us to believe that? There will be fraud in some places; there will be violence in some places; there will be delays in some places. But...
One Word, Rhymes with "Jerks" [OPFOR - Lt Col P - in Afghanistan]
Someone here found this article on the 18 Jan suicide attack in downtown Kabul, and it deserves a few comments.
Madam, please pull the plug on the hyperbole generator. "Brazen," yes; "coordinated," to an extent. But it didn't bring the capital to a halt. Yes, some stuff stopped, but life resumed pretty quickly. Good Lord. Thanks for being the Taliban's IO organ, lady! (The casualty figures are also wrong, but in all fairness it was an early report.) And the city is NOT heavily fortified; there is a significant presence, but "fortified" it ain't. And the bottom line remains unchanged-- Taliban gunmen MURDERED Afghan citizens going about their daily business. That needs to be stated clearly.
Unfortunately, there is also this, with my comments
Ghosts before dawn -- [Captain Cat's Diaries - in Afghanistan]
On Wednesday I flew to Urgun in East Paktika to meet with some people at the US military base in order to try to get the other side of the story about this marauding Afghan commander employed by Special Operations Forces (SOF), who is apparently striking terror into the hearts of the local population down in one of Paktika's southern districts.
"Armyisms" and Ban on Ammonium Nitrate -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...Today's mission was to travel to Camp Phoenix and turn in some up-armored HMMVWs. We have too many vehicles and not enough people to sustain such a large fleet. This was also a good opportunity to give our new teammates some driving time behind the wheel.
As such, I have been resigned to sit in the back of a MRAP as a dismount.
Forty Two minutes -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Sounds like a catchy name for a movie or a thriller novel. But in this case, it is not. Forty two minutes could be a lot of time or a little bit of time. Two thousand, five hundred and 20 seconds, this is how much rest I got last night before being awakened and directed to report to duty.
Red Dawn -- [Riding Shotgun with Team Zombiekiller - in Afghanistan]
We've been driving on with our collective training program here and getting the Afghans spun up for rifle marksmanship. We've recently been issuing the Afghans M16A2s and M16A4s and it's been quite a challenge. They require a lot of time to get them comfortable with the fundamentals of marksmanship, particularly with this weapon
Iraq hotel bombing toll increases to 36 dead -- [Reuters AlertNet]
At least 36 people were killed on Monday in a series of car bombs detonated at three well-known
Saddam's Henchman 'Chemical Ali' Hanged -- [Sky News]
He was hanged for crimes against humanity, according to Iraqi government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh. "The death sentence against Ali Hassan al-Majeed has been
The Marines Have Left -- [Strategy Page]
January 24, 2010: The U.S. Marine Corps has left Iraq. The U.S. Army will remain behind to wrap things up. This is another old custom, going back to World War II. During the first American offensive in the Pacific, the 1942 invasion of Guadalcanal, the marines led the way. But once the heavy fighting was over, the marines departed, and the army finished up.
Analysis: Marines leave Iraq again _ for good? -- [Washington Post]
It is easily lost in the hopefulness of the Marines' departure from Iraq - hailed in ceremonies as "the final chapter" - that this is not the first time they left in the expectation of never returning.
Will it be the last?
Biden visits Lewis troops in Iraq -- [FOB Tacoma - in Iraq]
...One linguist, a man from Baghdad who asked not to be named for fear of his safety, told Biden he was proud to be working for the American military and felt his efforts were helping rebuild his country.
After the 30-second conversation, the translator turned to someone standing nearby and asked who the visitor was. When he learned his identity, he let out a squeal.
"It is an honor!" he yelled, flashing a wide smile. "He is a very, very important man!"
Biden also made room for humor. Three soldiers from a transportation company based in Fort Stewart, Ga., were eating when the vice president walked by. One pretended not to see him. "You look like a hard-nosed Republican," Biden jabbed, which made the group erupt with laughter. "But hey, I'm pretty badass myself."
Blair to Face Inquiry Into Iraq War -- [WSJ]
Tony Blair will undergo a public grilling this week over the U.K.'s role in the Iraq war, raising questions about the former prime minister's legacy and his value to the Labour Party he once led as it prepares for a tough election battle.
In a much-anticipated appearance on Jan. 29 before a five-member panel investigating the war, Mr. Blair is expected to face questions about the legitimacy--and even legality--of the U.K.'s involvement in Iraq. He will be confronted about whether he committed to overthrow Saddam Hussein long before the immediate run-up to the war, and quizzed about criticisms of the U.K's preparedness for the invasion and its minimal influence over U.S. allies.
Haiti awash in doctors; nurses in short supply -- [CNN]
Port-au-Prince, Haiti -- So many doctors are answering Haiti's call for medical aid that the largest hospital in Port-au-Prince has a new problem: organizing and finding good use for them all. -- "I think there is a lot of confusion
Brother Jim's reflections for 23 Jan 2010 -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
How much can one person take? Today after one week here we are still seeing seriously wounded people who have yet to see a doctor. We are seeing tent cities that have 1000's of people living in a crowded space with no water, food, or sanitary conditions.
Stacking Marbles by Mark Hayward -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
OK, you're a Haitian. You have a spinal fracture that will leave you paralyzed even IF you receive the best medical care in the world. You will then live the rest of your life in a society with no social security disability pensions, no medicare/medicaid, no free wheelchairs, no power wheelchairs, and very little pavement on which to DRIVE a wheelchair even if you can find one. However, if you do not receive this medical care, you will die. Which do you want?
Brother Jim's reflections for 24 Jan 2010 -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
Today started out as any other day this week. We went to our site, found the wounded and set up camp. The usual wounds and the usual infections were there. NPR visited us so maybe you'll be able to hear about it on the radio. Three things stick out in my mind today, the cases of diarrhea, the orphan, and the transportation of patients.
Can America's Top Gun in Haiti Keep the Relief Effort in Order? -- [TIME]
...Though some critics have complained that aid has been too slow to permeate this ravaged land, there is no question that it would have taken a lot longer if Keen hadn't just happened to have been there. By midnight he'd pledged to the Haiti government -- the remnants of which had snatched motorcycles and picked their way through the ruins up to the residence long after nightfall to ask for help -- the full support of the U.S. military. Keen immediately set up teams to evaluate Haiti's airport and port; he even explored parachuting soldiers and aid in if it turned out the airport was unusable. As the top U.S. military official on the ground, Keen wouldn't sleep again for three days. He wouldn't speak to his wife for nearly a week.
A Young Man Named Jean -- [Haiti Earthquake Stories - in Haiti]
As I readied myself to go back into Haiti this morning, the USNS Comfort was once again rocked by an aftershock - this one magnitude 4.4. I remember thinking "Will this never end?" Somewhat fearing what I would see once on the ground, I boarded the helo with several other members of the embedded press corps for our short flight to the "beach."
After the quake, local ship works to mend wounds -- [The Virginian-Pilot]
The Gunston Hall is one of about a dozen Navy, Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command ships from Hampton Roads that are working in Haiti to deliver aid to victims of this month's catastrophic earthquake, and the bulk of the ship's efforts are taking place here, at the coast guard compound where the sailors first landed.
AP Exclusive: Feds detail Christmas Day attack -- [AP]
For hours after allegedly trying to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to blow up a Christmas Day flight to Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab talked and talked--to Customs officers, medical personnel, and FBI agents.
...The officials who spoke to The AP said on-scene investigators never discussed turning the suspect over to military authorities. And their accounts show that as the hours passed, the FBI turned to its own local expert counterterror interrogators, rather than seek bureau personnel to fly in from Washington or elsewhere.
The 50-minute man -- [HOT Air]
The Associated Press reported yesterday that the amount of time FBI interrogators had with the EunuchBomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, prior to reading the terrorist his Miranda rights was all of fifty minutes. They spoke directly with Abdulmutallab long enough to send the FBI on a wild-goose chase for a second bomb on the airplane, and for hours before going into surgery they overheard him discussing his attack with anyone who would listen, including medical personnel treating his severe burns. When Abdulmutallab came out of surgery, the FBI decided to read him the Miranda rights despite having an exception for imminent threats -- and the terrorist clammed up:
US Mulls Legality of Killing American al Qaeda "Turncoat" -- [ABC News]
... intelligence reports and electronic intercepts show he played an important role in recruiting the accused "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Bin Laden Claims Responsibility for Christmas Day Bomb Attempt -- [FOX News]
... Usama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas day, releasing a new audio ... The message suggests the Al Qaeda leader wants to appear in direct command of the ... up his Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit Metro Airport.
U.S.: Bin Laden tape no need for alarm -- [Washington Times]
U.S. officials on Sunday dismissed a purportedly new audiotape by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as an attempt to stay relevant by claiming responsibility for the Christmas Day aborted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.
The officials said they could not immediately authenticate the minute-long recording released to Al Jazeera, the Arabic TV news channel, but indicated that there was no reason for heightened alarm about new attacks.
Female suicide bombers linked to Al Qaeda, trained for US attacks -- [HULIQ]
It has been reported that Northwest airlines bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, has given authorities information that these women may have been trained by Al ...
Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool -- [Washington Post]
In early 2006, a mysterious cosmetics trader named Rakhman began showing up at salons in St. Petersburg, Russia, hawking a popular anti-aging drug at suspiciously low prices. He flashed a briefcase filled with vials and promised he could deliver more -- "as many as you want," he told buyers -- from a supplier somewhere in Chechnya.
Yemen Wants More Help To Tackle Terror -- [Sky News]
Yemen's foreign minister has told Sky News that a "new approach" is needed to deal with terrorism as he admitted al Qaeda is a threat in his country.
Married To Someone With PTSD? -- [You Served]
My dear friend Patti wrote the following based on her own experiences as a wife of a wounded warrior. Her husband came home from Iraq with a TBI and PTSD. Patti is as practical and helpful as they come. I asked her if I could repost this here in full, and she gave me the thumbs up. I hope you find the information helpful.
Vets With PTSD May Get Benefits Upgrade -- [AP/Military.com]
The military has agreed to expedite a review of the records of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans discharged with post-traumatic stress disorder to determine whether they were improperly denied benefits.
The agreement stems from a judge's order in a class action lawsuit originally filed by seven combat veterans who alleged the military illegally denied health care and other benefits to those discharged because of the disorder during a six-year period that ended Oct. 14, 2008.
Oops, I Got Attached To a Plan -- [SpouseBuzz - Sarah]
I've been waiting to see if my husband would get permission to come home from Afghanistan for the birth of our baby. It seems that he has gotten tentative permission and, assuming that he gets official word sometime soon, he told me the potential date range he'd be allowed to come home.
What's the first rule of Army? Never believe the Army. Nothing is guaranteed until after it has happened. Don't get attached to any proposed plans.
I know this. I know it know it know it. And yet within ten seconds of hearing that potential date, I got so..
It's The Little Things -- [SpouseBuzz - She of the Sea]
Most of the time, I deal with the absence of a spouse pretty well. I think. But occasionally, some odd thing will make the absence feel huge.
Tonight, I went to a kids' school event and walked out with a couple we know fairly well. They always seem very happy and stable in their marriage even if they aren't the most affectionate people on the planet. They had arrived in separate cars and were splitting up for the drive home. We chatted for a few minutes and then said goodbye. As I began to walk away, I caught it out of the corner of my eye: a tender exchange, a quick kiss while they thought no one was looking, and obvious happiness that they'd be together again after a short drive home. It was all I could do to
Changing lives with bionics -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Fascinating feature article about bionics in this month's National Geographic
...Scroll through the accompanying photo gallery and you'll see just how the bionic arm works. You'll also learn about exciting developments with bionic eyes, ears, and see Iraq veteran Lt. Col. Greg Gadson's motorized legs.
Army to take charge of Sembach Annex -- [Stars and Stripes]
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The Army will take control of Sembach Annex from the Air Force by the end of the fiscal year, ending months of rumors and speculation on the future of the base east of Kaiserslautern.
Navy plane crashes into Lake Pontchartrain: One pilot rescued, one missing -- [Examiner]
Fox News is reporting that a small Navy plane has crash landed in Lake Pontchartrain. The T-34 plane disappeared from radar at approximately 6:40 pm
WTP -- [Doc H's International Adventure - home from Afghanistan]
I am currently going through the Navy Warrior Transition Program. It is a three day program designed to ease the transition from being an IA with an Army mission back to home and the Navy. So far we have cleaned and returned our weapons, dumped 3 bags worth of field gear, and gone through the reintegration and stress debreif workshop. There has been plenty of down time thankfully. I have been able to place calls home and email regularly. The staff has been very attentive. We were given a "welcome back to the Navy" standing ovation cheer by the staff as we came in to return our gear. WTP is a good program.
Camp Lejeune Homecoming Marks Beginning Of End -- [WITN]
No homecoming aboard Camp Lejeune is "routine," Monday's homecoming has a very special significance as troops begin pulling out of Iraq.
Troops from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force returning Monday mark the beginning of the end of the Marine Corps's role in Iraq.
National Guard troops return home -- [Wisconsin Rapids Tribune]
During a brief welcome home ceremony before the group was officially dismissed, Daniel Hendershot told their family members and friends they could be proud.
Janesville Parade Honors 32nd Brigade Soldiers -- [WISC]
The entire parade was organized by volunteers, who got most of the businesses on the parade route to put welcome home messages on signs and tie yellow
Denver Post goes squishy on Duncan/Strandlof -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Back in May, when Rick Duncan/Richard Strandlof was first exposed as a phony veteran who had starred in VoteVets commercials and headed money raising schemes ostensibly for veterans, the Denver Post led the posse to put Standloff on the gallows.
A few days ago, some half-witted and unknown band of lawyers from Virginia called the Rutherford Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Strandlof's case that said, in effect, that calling yourself a veteran and claiming certain awards and accolades as your own, is protected speech and that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional.
Ask Obama About Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- [Wall Street Journal]
Gay voters are growing impatient for equality. -- As a candidate for president, Barack Obama told the country's leading gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, "America is ready to get rid of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. All that is required is leadership."
Today's "WTF?" moment -- [This Ain't Hell...]
My buddy, Bev Perlson, sent this video this morning. Fox News' Judge Napolitano interviews Adam Kokesh as if Kokesh is just another guy off the street running for office without mentioning that Kokesh was/is a member of IVAW;
If Napolitano had done his research, he'd know that his endorsement of Kokesh's candidacy is fairly misplaced. Kokesh was busted by the Marine Corps for smuggling an Iraqi pistol back to the States - does that sound like someone we need in Congress? He misrepresented his character of service and continued to call himself something he's not
Public's Priorities for 2010: Economy, Jobs, Terrorism -- [Pew Research Center for the People and the Press]
Last year, both the economy and jobs edged ahead of defending the nation against terrorism as top priorities. In 2008, the economy and terrorism defense
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Iraq, Afghanistan, War, Terrorism, Military, Politics, Media, MilBlogs, Dawn Patrol, Mudville
AP Exclusive: US to tighten rules on Afghan raids -- [AP]
NATO forces in Afghanistan are preparing to limit night raids on private homes, even if it means losing some tactical advantage, to curb rising public anger.
NATO spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that a directive would be issued soon to set down the new rules.
Nighttime raids on private homes have emerged as the Afghans' No. 1 complaint after Gen. Stanley McChrystal limited the use of airstrikes and other weaponry last year. The U.S. and allied nations have made protecting the population a priority over the use of massive firepower as they seek to undermine support for the Taliban.
Bahrain military bringing security to Afghan bases -- [Stars&Stripes]
..."The Bahrainis are the first line of defense to get into Camp Bastion and Camp Leatherneck. They are on the front line, making that happen," said Marine Lt. Col. Chris Naler, commander of brigade headquarters at Camp Leatherneck.
Under Bahrain's deployment agreement, reached last year following a visit to the country by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the special security troops are in Afghanistan for two six-month deployments.
U.S. ambassador puts brakes on plan to utilize Afghan militias against Taliban -- [Washington Post]
The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and senior Afghan officials have resisted moving forward with a bold and potentially risky initiative to support local militias in Afghanistan that are willing to defend their villages against insurgents, according to U.S. officials.
Their concerns have slowed the implementation of a key effort to provide security in places where there are relatively few NATO forces or Afghan police and Army units. U.S. military officials had wanted to get the initiative -- developed under the leadership of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan -- off to a quick start this year.
Watchmen: The Buzkashi Blues -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
No lover of freedom can fail to acknowledge the value of a skeptical press. In Afghanistan today, though, we're seeing too much of a good thing: chasing conflict for the sake of writing breathless accounts of conflict, or enshrining skepticism above any constructive virtue to prove to the world that you are nobody's fool. Like buzkashi, the rewards for these current modes of journalistic sport are money, the acclaim of your peers and, well, something about as valuable to the future of Afghanistan as a headless carcass.
...This is how many of us spend our days here, fighting for the honor of dragging the body of truth around in the dust of Afghanistan. But ...
Lt Col Nick Kitson: This is no time to waver: progress in Helmand is slow but steady -- [The Independent]
In recent weeks here in Helmand, the theme has been one of continued progress on all fronts. The temperature, the reduced winter vegetation and the pressure the insurgents face - from us and others - have all acted in our favour.
Back to work -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...I'm still settling in with my new responsibilities of mentoring the Property Book Officer. At times, he is elusive and confuses my interpreter with his answers and responses. The supply system being used is archaic and based off the US Army's antiquated system. However, since the literacy rate and education levels are so low, this basic system is appropriate for the ANA military. At least now
Visit from 82nd Airborne CC -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Today we had a special visit from Major General Curtis Scaparrotti. He is the 82nd Airborne Commander and Commander of US Forces in Eastern Afghanistan. He is one of General McChrystal's key strategists and tacticians. The General and his staff came way of Blackhawk helicopter and landed in ANA land. This was an opportunity for him to meet our ANA General, staff, and our Brigade ETT team. After he landed, he was whisked into a private session with the ANA General. A few minutes later ...
Helicopters pound Pakistan militant hideout: officials (old refugee camp in N. Waziristan) -- [AFP]
Pakistan - Pakistani gunship helicopters on Friday pounded a suspected militant hideout in a northwestern tribal area known for sheltering Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters, officials said.
The assault in North Waziristan comes a day after US Defence Secretary Robert Gates asked Islamabad about their plans to expand an existing anti-Taliban offensive into the district bordering Afghanistan.
"Two gunship helicopters attacked a suspected militant centre," a security official in North Waziristan's main town Miranshah said.
173rd Airborne in Wardak Afghanistan -- [Blackfive - Uncle Jimbo]
Brian from Charlie Company 1st/503rd sent along some pics from Wardak Province. He mentioned that they weren't very exciting and you now what, that's a good thing. He says morale is good, and with the cushy conditions they are living in, I can see why. Heh. Godspeed to all the troops and Airborne, all the way.
U.S. Supports Afghanistan Outreach to Taliban -- [Wall Street Journal]
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday the Taliban were part of Afghanistan's "political fabric," one of the clearest indications to date of the Obama administration's willingness to accept the Islamist group playing a potentially central role in Afghanistan's future. Mr. Gates, wrapping up a two-day visit to Pakistan's capital, told reporters here that the U.S. supported the Afghan government's continuing outreach efforts to the Afghan Taliban. Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to unveil a major new reconciliation initiative that will use hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations to offer fighters jobs, educations and security guarantees if they will lay down their weapons. The American defense chief said that he expected significant numbers of lower-level Taliban fighters to accept the Karzai government's offer, and...
Jim Gant, the Green Beret who could win the war in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
...Malik Noorafzhal, an 80-year-old tribal leader, told Gant that he had never spoken to an American before and asked why U.S. troops were in his country. Gant, whose only orders upon arriving in Afghanistan days earlier had been to "kill and capture anti-coalition members," responded by pulling out his laptop and showing Noorafzhal a video of the World Trade Center towers crumbling.
That sparked hours of conversation between the intense 35-year-old Green Beret and the elder in a tribe of 10,000.
Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan -- [Flit]
Maj. Jim Gant is, well, going Gant.
Christian and the Security Crank both let fly with both barrels.
Maj. Gant, for those just joining us, is the leading proponent of the "arm the tribes" solution to Afghanistan at the moment, who has grown popular for his advocacy for small Special Forces type teams disappearing into the mountains and essentially going native.
One Tribe at a Time - but which one first? -- [Greyhawk]
...This is not a my way or the highway solution - Major Gant is confident in proposing a theory developed in it's own execution, but is no crusader convinced he's completely right or completely righteous.
The struggle in Afghanistan is against more than one foe; in addition to the Taliban we're confronted with a bureaucracy that's potentially the one enemy that can't be defeated. But I opened this discussion with sometimes I think we can win the war, and gave one of the best examples I've seen lately of why: it's less because of what Major Gant wrote (hardly new, it's how we defeated the Taliban in the first place) and more that others in that same bureaucracy encountered an unconventional idea that an unconventional man proposed in an unconventional forum, plucked him from the relentless tide that would have sent him elsewhere, and dropped him instead where he was needed most.
But "can win" isn't the same as "will." News from elsewhere:...
The Horror, the Horror: Afghanistan Edition -- [SWJ]
A paper by Maj. Jim Gant, titled, "One Tribe at a Time" (.pdf), has been getting all sorts of attention since it ran on Steven Pressman's site a few weeks back. I finally got down to reading it last night after Andrew Exum flagged it as an alternative to COIN in Afghanistan.
Civilization of the War Zone -- [Fraser From ...helicopter pilot on his seventh tour]
Well, it's the same as it ever was in appearance and activity outside the wire. Inside, we've gone from living in a bombed-out hangar, to living in a ten-man tent with 15 pilots, to living in "pods". We've gone from digging our own bathroom, to Porta-Johns, to shower tents, to Cadillac showers with running-water, sinks, and porcelain.
A report from the Heartless Libertarian in the 'Stan. -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
I'll be getting on some sort of flying thing - UH-60, STOL, C-130 - sometime in the next 8 hours, heading to Bagram en route home for R&R.
Some of the things I'm looking forward to on R&R (besides playing with the kids, playing with the Mrs., and drinking beer):
A new word for Webster's -- [Doc H's International Adventure - heading home from Afghanistan]
...I continue to reflect on my experiences in Afghanistan, and after talking to many others who worked primarily in Kabul I have decided a new word needs to be added to the lexicon:
Kabulcentric- Policy or instructions that eminate from the capital city with primary regard for how these policies work in the capital or the 10 miles outside of Kabul, but apply to all of Afghanistan.
We have in our own country from time to time, a similiar situation with our Capital of Washington, D.C. Thankfully in our democratic republic the voice of the people is heard regularly. This is not the case in Afghanistan.
US Marines end role in Iraq -- [Daily Times]
RAMADI: The US Marine Corps wrapped up nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the army and signalling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the US turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan.
Biden Going to Iraq Due to Concerns About Candidates Barred from Elections -- [Washington Post]
Alarmed that the disqualification of hundreds of candidates from upcoming parliamentary elections threatens to derail Iraq's fledgling democracy, the Obama administration is dispatching Vice President Biden in hopes of defusing the looming political crisis. The expected visit showcases U.S. concerns that the decision to bar 511 candidates - the most prominent of whom are Sunni Arabs - could stoke sectarian violence and undermine elections as the U.S. military prepares to significantly reduce its presence here. The removal of candidates purportedly adhering to the ideals of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party could reverse efforts to bring disenfranchised Sunni communities into the fold and inflame old divisions, wiping out the security gains of the U.S. surge. If the Americans "fail in guaranteeing democracy, they should leave right away from Iraq, because their presence means nothing," said Saleh al-Mutlak, a prominent Sunni lawmaker now barred from running. "If they can't protect democracy, then what are they here for?"
Sunnis and Iraq's Election -- [New York Times]
We had hoped that the March 7 parliamentary elections would prove the growing maturity of Iraq's fragile democracy and set the country on a stable path as American combat troops get ready for this summer's planned withdrawal. Instead, the process unfolding is disgracefully unfair and roiling dangerous sectarian tensions. Iraq's Accountability and Justice Commission unleashed an electoral hand grenade this month when it disqualified some 500 (out of 6,500) candidates - many of them prominent Sunni Muslims - because of alleged ties to the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein. Among those ordered off the ballot: Defense Minister Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of Iraq's most influential Sunni politicians. The decision was ratified last week by Iraq's electoral commission. Sunnis are understandably furious.
Iraq urges barred candidates to denounce Saddam -- [AFP]
Iraq's government said Friday that more than 500 candidates disqualified from a March general election for alleged links to Saddam Hussein must denounce his ousted regime and its crimes.
Disavowal of the executed dictator and his now outlawed Baath party would enable the candidates' reintegration into Iraqi society, government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said without specifically offering reinstatement on ballot papers.
US Embassy in Baghdad looking for Facebook friends -- [San Francisco Examiner]
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is looking for Iraqi friends on Facebook . The embassy launched the page Thursday with the aim of reaching out to Iraqis who want to learn more about American culture and society, the latest step by the State Department to boost interest in Iraq 's burgeoning online culture and promote Web entrepreneurship.
Ky. Air National Guard Headed To Haiti (video) -- [WLKY]
Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard are scheduled to head for Haiti to help open airfields so aid can flow to affected areas.
URGENT: More Help Needed -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
Thanks for the overwhelming support on our last call for help. All needs were taken care of by state side members of Team Rubicon.
This one is a bit tougher.
I got my first call from Jake today. He said "..Where is Bravo?!!" in a Marine sort of way. Bravo is a relief and resupply team rallying in Fayetteville, NC near Ft Bragg. I told him the arrangements we had just fallen through, the original flight is not able to depart until next Wednesday! Jake: "We need them now!!" Please help!!
Anyone who has any connections with airlines please see if they can arrange some sort of deal for 12-15 doctors, medics and other rapid deploying personnel.
US Congress sends Haiti aid bill to Obama -- [Asia One]
The US Congress on Thursday sent President Barack Obama legislation aimed at boosting charitable donations to victims of the Haiti earthquake, including a vastly popular Red Cross text-message appeal.
Team Rubicon supplies needed at EMBASSY??!! -- [Team Rubicon - in Haiti]
From Will McNulty
"Yesterday at the airport I asked the Army to help transport medical supplies and a female US Army Major threatened to take them away because she needed them at the embassy. Then she told me that she had a problem with me wearing the uniform and being no longer in the Marines. She claimed that we are an NGO so therefore we fall under the command of the United Nations, and thus she can take our supplies. I put her in her place and she didn't take our supplies but this is indicative of the bureaucracy/mentality we are dealing with."
Pass this on to your congressman! This is outrageous!
US Navy Weapon Caused Haitian Earthquake!! -- [Rofa Six]
When Hugo Chavez charged the Haitian earthquake was caused by a US Navy tectonic weapon I about fell outta my chair when the world did not start laughing.
Is Chavez planning to try and take Keith Olbermann's job? Or maybe he has been watching Obama continue to blame Bush for everything ... and we know how that has been working out for Barry Obama, don't we?
Clinton: US, Allies Will Not Back Down on Iran Nuclear Issue -- [Voice of America]
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the United States and allies will not back down in pressing Iran on concerns that its nuclear program is weapons related. Clinton discussed Iran, and next week's London conference on Afghanistan, with the new European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. The fact that China did not send a high-ranking diplomat to a big-power meeting on Iran late last week in New York has spurred suggestions that international resolve on the nuclear issue is fading.
Alert: Female Suicide Bombers May Be Heading Here From Yemen -- [ABC News]
U.S. Agents Told Women Believed Connected to Al Qaeda May Have Western Appearance and Passports -- American law enforcement officials have been told to be on the lookout for female suicide bombers who may attempt to enter the United States ...
UK terror threat level 'severe' -- [BBC]
The UK terror threat level is being raised from "substantial" to "severe", the Home Office has said. -- The new alert level means a terrorist attack is considered "highly likely". It had stood at substantial since July.
India issues terrorism alert over hijack plot -- [AP]
Airline passengers across India went through extra security screenings Friday and sky marshals were placed on flights as the government put its airports on high alert amid reports that al-Qaida-linked militants planned to hijack a plane.
A hijacking, especially one launched by Pakistan-based militants, would send tensions soaring between the two nuclear-armed rivals and be a huge distraction for U.S. efforts to crush the Taliban and al-Qaida along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Detainees Will Still Be Held, but Not Tried, Official Says -- [New York Times]
The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administration official said on Thursday.
Obama plans executive order to close Guantanamo Bay -- [CNN]
President Barack Obama is planning to issue three executive orders Thursday, including one demanding the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year, according to a senior administration official and a congressional aide.
A guard keeps watch from a tower at the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A second executive order will formally ban torture by requiring the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations, essentially ending the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.
A third executive order, according to the officials, will ...
Obama signs order to close Guantanamo Bay facility -- [CNN]
Promising to return America to the "moral high ground" in the war on terrorism, President Obama issued three executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration, including one requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year.
President Obama signs the order requiring that the Guantanamo Bay facility be closed within a year. 1 of 2 During a signing ceremony at the White House, Obama reaffirmed his inauguration pledge that the United States does not have "to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals."
OK, that's enough, Matthew Alexander -- [This Ain't Hell...]
...I ran across this video at Vote Vets in which some other cheesy hippie tries to tell us that Alexander has been there and has all of this life threatening experience;
His name isn't Matthew Alexander, it's Anthony Matthew Camerino, he's an Air Force OSI Major scheduled for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in June. ...Camerino has never been to Guantanamo - so what does he know?
CAIR and media's "star witnesses" in Rifqa Bary case (Brian Smith, Tom Sanchez and Jeff Parker) facing embezzlement, mail tampering and illegal wiretapping charges -- [Jawa Report]
Anyone who sent checks to the Global Revolution Church or transferred money through the church's PayPal account since August for Rifqa's defense is encouraged to contact the Orlando Police Department at 321-235-5300 (complaint desk) to report the funds missing.
The "Judas Three" are also facing federal mail tampering charges. After the trio engineered a church leadership coup and fired the Lorenzs back in September, they intercepted personal mail intended for the Lorenzs sent to the church post office box. Instead of forwarding the mail to the Lorenz's in accordance with federal law, they sent the mail to CAIR attorney Omar Tarazi, who is representing Rifqa's parents in Ohio.
Bledsoe admits al Qaeda links -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Carlos Bledsoe who murdered PVT William Long outside of a Little Rock recruiting station last spring has admitted that he is a jihadist for al Qaeda and asked that his not guilty plea be vacated...
Combat Wounds not top Cause of Evacs -- [Military.com]
American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were more likely to be medically evacuated for health problems such as a bad back than for combat injuries, a new study says.
Talks continue on possible Landstuhl hospital move -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Following on from an evaluation process announced last summer: KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- U.S. military commanders met with German officials this week to discuss the possibility of moving Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to the site of an old Army depot east of Ramstein Air Base.
What A Difference A Year Makes... -- [Little Drops..... Into the pool of life]
Y'all remember this time last year when I requested prayers for one of our local Marine's, don't ya? If not, go here and here to read the original story.
Brandon has spent these last 12 months recuperating from his injuries. He's endured numerous operations as well as a grueling physical rehabilitation regimen. Last Memorial Day, I wrote how Florence, Ky. had honored him with a Brandon Bailey Day. I was honored and tickled pink to be there in attendance to meet Brandon and his wife, Kristie.
Reducing Suicide in the Military -- [Army Live]
From the National Institute of Mental Health's Director's Blog.
The U.S. Army recently released new suicide data for December 2009. Last month, there were 10 potential suicides among active duty soldiers, nine of which are pending confirmation. When added to the data for the rest of the year, the total number of reported suicides for 2009 among active duty soldiers is 160, 114 of which have been confirmed. By comparison, in 2008 there were 140 suicides among active duty soldiers.
Medal of Honor Sergeant becomes Captain -- [Greyhawk]
...of the Indianapolis Colts. Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis will be an honorary co-captain for the Indianapolis Colts in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets.
Thriving Military Recruitment Program Blocked -- [New York Times]
A highly successful program by the armed forces to recruit skilled immigrants who live in this country temporarily has run into a roadblock, leaving thousands of potential recruits in limbo. The Army stopped accepting applications for the program last week, officials said Thursday, because the Pentagon had not completed a review required to keep the recruitment going. The program, which started as a pilot in February, allowed recruiters to enlist immigrants, most of them in the Army, with special language or medical skills who are in this country on temporary visas. Successful recruits are offered the chance to become United States citizens within a few months.
Company To Stop Putting Biblical References On Military Scopes -- [NPR]
...Now, the company that has been putting the references on some of its products for nearly 30 years, says it will no longer do that on scopes made for the American military.
Petraeus' view isn't shared by everyone with ties to the military, of course. At the widely read "milblog" Mudville Gazette, some commenters have weighed in to say that the news media is making way too much of this.
Firm will remove Bible references from gun sights -- [Washington Post]
A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear.
...Army Gen. David Petraeus, Central Command's top officer, called the practice "disturbing."
"This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan," Petraeus told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. In a statement issued later by the command, Petraeus said that "cultural and religious sensitivities are important considerations in the conduct of military operations."
Army Reduces Soldier's Sentence to 15 Years -- [Bob McCarty]
The Army Clemency and Parole Board today reduced the sentence of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna from 20 to 15 years, according to a news release from Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.).
Lieutenant Behenna, who is currently serving his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was convicted of unpremeditated murder in the shooting death of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda operative, while serving in Iraq.
Previous cases of similar or more aggravating circumstances, where the defendants were found guilty of premeditated murder, have resulted in less severe sentences, which prompted the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to appeal to the board for a careful review of this case and relevant precedent.
Home Again -- [Ramblings from a painter - home from Iraq]
It sure is good to be back at home again. (Something about that line brings back the sappy John Denver song ... normally I'm not a fan of his, but that song is very apropos right now). Had a long trip home and have been going pretty hard since arriving here.
Beyond the Fort Dix Gate -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - home from Iraq]
I am writing this post in mid-afternoon in Philadelphia train station. I just got off the train from Trenton and am on the way to Lancaster. During the 90-minute wait between trains I am sitting in Cosi using free wireless internet that actually works--for several minutes on end. ...We picked up Nigel at school. I helped him with his homework. After he takes a bath we will be going to out to dinner.
It is GREAT to be home!!!!
Twitter users vulnerable to security flaw -- [Reuters]
A flaw in Twitter's website has left the login credentials of its users vulnerable to hackers, according to a security researcher who has asked the social media company to fix the problem.
Watchmen: The Buzkashi Blues -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
No lover of freedom can fail to acknowledge the value of a skeptical press. In Afghanistan today, though, we're seeing too much of a good thing: chasing conflict for the sake of writing breathless accounts of conflict, or enshrining skepticism above any constructive virtue to prove to the world that you are nobody's fool. Like buzkashi, the rewards for these current modes of journalistic sport are money, the acclaim of your peers and, well, something about as valuable to the future of Afghanistan as a headless carcass.
...This is how many of us spend our days here, fighting for the honor of dragging the body of truth around in the dust of Afghanistan. But ...
For anyone under the mistaken impression that IVAW and VoteVets are Veterans Organizations -- [This Ain't Hell...]
...Just want to first thank the Chairman for having the organizations in to discuss the issues facing veterans. More importantly, I wanted to show you the list of 40 Veterans Service Organizations that were in attendance. You know how IVAW and VoteVets claim to represent veterans on Capitol Hill? Well, I would love for one of them to explain why these organizations were invited and they were not. If you think VoteVets and IVAW are representing you on the Hill, you should ask them when and where they are doing so. VoteVets is up there right now advocating closing Gitmo and bringing those terrorists into the states, but they were apparently too busy to go to a meeting to discuss issues facing our returning brothers and sisters.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Amateur Hour -- [Free Range International]
The attack on Kabul yesterday was yet another demonstration of how inept the Taliban are at the planning and execution of a simple raid. The attack has been described in the press as "audacious" and "brazen" which is true. All their attacks in downtown Kabul are conceptually bold military moves; but they accomplish nothing. A better description of their performance would be incompetent. Seven heavily armed attackers - one in a bomb-rigged ambulance killed three policemen and two civilians, one of them a child. They failed to make it onto their objective retreating instead into the most popular market in downtown Kabul which they then destroyed.
A Letter from the "Eagers of Martydom" -- [Captain Cat's Diaries - in Afghanistan]
Oh, that's nice. I just received an e-mail from the Taliban. Slightly disconcerting is the fact that it was sent to my personal e-mail address, I have no idea how they got hold of that.
I wasn't the only recipient, copied on the e-mail were a number of Kabul-based banks and various embassies.
For your reading pleasure (this was the English translation of the Pashtun sent alongside it): ...
Outrage over kids used as shields by Taliban -- [The Sun]
TALIBAN fighters were branded cowards last night for using kids as human shields during an assault by British forces.
Insurgents also forced locals into the line of fire in a "disgraceful" attempt to save their own necks, said military chiefs.
Details of the Taliban's tactics emerged after a four-day mission by members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and local Afghan soldiers.
Interesting Times -- [Riding Shotgun with Team Zombiekiller - in Afghanistan]
Well, it got pretty sporty in downtown Kabul yesterday with some rather rather bold attacks aimed against the government. There were several targets hit and a good bit of fighting just before midday. Sadly for Johnny Taliban, very few friendlies got hit, and the bad guys got their asses handed to them.
Even worse for our frustrated foes was the fact that the media outlets in the west barely even noticed. The mainstream media is still focused on Haiti and could not be distracted by a poorly executed strike against the Karzai government.
An update from Afg. -- [One Marines View - in Afghanistan]
It's been a very busy couple of weeks around our neck of the woods. Bad guys getting froggy, temperatures dropping, and ill tempered mice massing in large groups! ...It's all good, no worries.
Your Marines are doing great things around the area. With continued operations that pin the enemy back into unmaneuverable positions we continue our progress forward. Many people ask me, "Are we really making a difference here?" Being the second go around for me here, I can tell you it's 100% better than the first time I was here.
Panel sets goal of 400,000 Afghan forces in 5 yrs -- [Examiner]
A joint panel agreed Wednesday to boost the number of Afghan security forces from the current level of about 191,000 to 400,000 within five years, bringing it in line with similar goals announced by the United States.
Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal also sharply denounced a U.N. report released Tuesday that claimed Afghans paid nearly $2.5 billion in bribes -
Building Outposts in Helmand Province for Security -- [Sgt Stryker]
In response to insurgent tactics to place IEDs, the mission of 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion recently was to convoy to three designated positions, and build observation posts along the route known as Cowboys. These are just a few more of many OPs that have been built along the notorious route, developing a chain of security leading south along the road. Each post has sight to the next post, and with each new OP comes increased road security.
Farewell Afghanistan -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
This should be my last post from Afghanistan. I am relieved to be departing from Bagram. In a few hours I will be on my way to the next stop on my long journey home. Once I arrive at my next stop I will spend several days returning all my issued gear and preparing for the next leg of the journey.
U.S. Aid Workers Find Few Trained Afghan Partners -- [Washington Post]
Alongside the thousands of additional U.S. troops, civilian aid workers are surging into Afghanistan to help refurbish schools, open rural health clinics, build irrigation systems, vaccinate livestock and provide fertilizer to farmers. But like their military counterparts, the civilian technicians are finding the lack of trained Afghan partners their most difficult challenge.
Military Outsources Rescue Ops, Secret Tagging Tech (Updated) -- [Danger Room]
In the American military, few missions are considered more important than rescuing missing or kidnapped troops. So it's more than a little odd that U.S. forces in Iraq have decided to outsource that operation to a private company. The military's Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan on Sunday handed out a one year, $11.3 million, no-bid contract to Blackbird Technologies Inc., declaring that the firm was "the only contractor that can currently provide the subject matter expertise needed" for personnel rescue operations.
Suicide car bomb wounds 30 in northern Iraq -- [AFP]
MOSUL, Iraq -- A suicide car bomber targeted an Iraqi army base in the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday, wounding at least 30 people, including 20 members
Security Through Stability: Soldiers Give Poor Iraqis Economic Alternatives -- [DVIDS]
...Life in Khidr, Iraq, a small village in an area once dubbed "the Triangle of Death" by the American media at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, can be hard. The area still doesn't have a local police force, although a police station is under construction.
The 8th Iraqi Army Division maintains security as best they can, but a local shaykh says that financial help from the Iraqi government is slow in making its way to the area.
"All farmers in Iraq have a right to go to the government and ask for help," he said, "but it is never enough for the farmers here, if they get anything at all."
So far, the Americans have been key to taking up the slack, he said.
Obama Administration Must Intervene in Iraqi Election Crisis -- [Washington Post]
Iraq's march toward a crucial national election has had the feel of a cheap carnival ride, with sickening plunges and barely averted derailments at every turn. Now a new twist poses the most serious threat yet to the prospect of a free and fair election - and a successful wind-down of the U.S. mission. Seemingly out of nowhere last week an obscure and opaque commission ruled that more than 500 candidates would be disqualified from the parliamentary vote -- in most cases on the grounds that they once supported the Baath party of Saddam Hussein. Among those proscribed are top Sunni leaders, including
Rarely used flying bomb strikes new targets in Iraq -- [McClatchy Newspapers]
BAGHDAD -- U.S. troops stationed at an outpost in southern Iraq heard a chilling whistle, and then a 60-pound airborne bomb punched through a concrete blast wall and sent shrapnel flying, wounding three Americans.
Explosions are commonplace in Iraq, but this was no ordinary attack.
Iran's Power Play in Iraq -- [The Nation]
For years, I've written about Iran's untoward influence in Iraq. Now, it appears as if Iran is making a power play, using its Iraqi allies
Obama urged to free Iraq's Aziz -- [AFP]
AMMAN -- A lawyer for Iraq's jailed ex-deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, hospitalised after suffering a stroke, on Wednesday urged US President Barack Obama
New 6.1-quake hits Haiti -- [Kasa]
People flee into streets Wednesday morning
A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking rubble from damaged buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country's capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake.
The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan. 12 quake.
On U.S. bases, word of loved ones in Haiti trickles in slowly -- [Stars and Stripes]
Marine Sgt. Patrick Fleurestand, Army Community Service Relocation Program director Marie Laurise Workman and Lance Cpl. Franz Rosemond are working with the Haiti Disaster Outreach Support Group of Okinawa, helping Haitians on Okinawa get word about their family and friends back home. GINOWAN, Okinawa -- All Marine Lance Cpl. Franz Rosemond knows is that his pregnant wife is alive and wandering the streets of Port-au-Prince.
U.S. Troops Move into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Help Keep Order, Distribute Aid -- [Washington Post]
Hundreds of U.S. troops surged into the epicenter of Haiti's earthquake-ravaged capital Tuesday to guard convoys and food distribution sites, while thousands more stationed themselves on ships and helicopters offshore to bolster relief and recovery efforts. One week after a 7.0-magnitude quake crippled this city, many Haitians living on the streets have still not received any food or medical assistance from their government or the international community, but there were increasing signs that the aid effort is gaining momentum.
No Reprieve following latest quake -- [TEAM RUBICON - in Haiti]
General Hospital has been evacuated due to a 6.1 earthquake. Team Rubicon member Brother Jim Boynton prays while surveying the wounded. "For the first time in my life I am speechless. These people were all inside yesterday and now they're not." says Boynton. Patients have no reprieve from the hot sun.
"It's a disaster. There is no drinking water" Dr. "Griz" -- -- [TEAM RUBICON - in Haiti]
Team Rubicon member Dr David Griswell, like yesterday, becomes the lead physician in the outdoor General Hospital. "It's a disaster. There is no drinking water. We're trying to write down names but there is no way to track people right now" says Griswell.
Haiti through the eyes of a SF combat medic, Mark Hayward -- [TEAM RUBICON - in Haiti]
A day of extraordinary circumstances, and opportunities to be of service.
We rolled out this morning in our first "dedicated" vehicle: a tap-tap that we had hired for the day, to serve as our transportation and evacuation asset. We had been directed to the chapter house of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (and I hope I am getting the name right), better known as the Little Sisters of Calcutta (Mother Theresa's organization). Our medical supplies were critically low, particularly in the antibiotics that are essential to treating these nasty festering wounds.
More Noise -- [Greyhawk]
...of the not good variety:
Unlike America, most UN member nations don't have multi-lingual military members. (Though a billy club in the face is an "international language" all its own.) More importantly (also unlike America) most armies are composed of members of one "tribe" with little experience dealing with people who look different than they do. Those armies exist first and foremost because members of those different looking, funny talking other tribes are viewed as a threat. In peace keeping/humanitarian operations that's inevitably a problem - and one not solved by distributing identical blue headgear
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit -- [Gazing at the Flag]
The flight deck of the USS Bataan is buzzing with activity as marines prepare to put boots on the ground in Haiti.
It's not war, but perhaps the worst humanitarian crisis young members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit will ever see.
"It'll go far beyond anything I saw in Iraq or anything you have seen in Iraq or Afghanistan," US Marine Capt. Edmund Clayton told a group of platoon and squad leaders.
Clayton urged leaders to prepare their marines for the emotional impact, so they can stay alert during the mission and hopefully return home without having nightmares or other lingering psychological effects.
So Much for NGO Engagement -- [Captain's Journal]
A Texas search and rescue team and other similar units mobilized to help earthquake victims in Haiti have been told they are not needed.
...when we are so concentrated on the use of NGOs to aid in counterinsurgency in Afghanistan (and other trouble spots across the globe), isn't it telling that NGOs cannot even get a pass into Haiti to assist when it isn't technically a war zone or counterinsurgency effort? Quite obviously, the assertion that teams are no longer needed is a lie, and we simply cannot support or deploy the teams.
Haitians denounce occupation after US troops arrived at the National Palace -- [AFP]
Port au Prince (AFP) .- Hundreds of Haitians attended on Tuesday, between resignation and anger, the impressive helicopters landing of U.S. troops in the presidential palace, in an act considered by many a loss of sovereignty.
"It's an occupation. The palace is the country, represents our power, our face, our pride," Feodor Desanges criticism.
Sacre' Bleu! Where is my fainting couch and cheese? -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
Um, France is mad that the US is "occupying" Haiti.
What this really means is - "Haiti was ours! We get first dibs on rescuing them, even if it will take weeks longer and we could never mount an operation from scratch like you guys are doing in-stride, in the middle of fighting two campaigns across the globe and that hurts our feelings.
Palestinians want US to negotiate in its place -- [AP]
RAMALLAH, West Bank-- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has proposed that the Obama administration negotiate the final borders of a Palestinian state with Israel, a Palestinian official said Wednesday, as a U.S. envoy headed to the region for another attempt to restart Mideast peace talks....
Protecting the farce -- [Greyhawk]
We ran the live video feed of the DOD briefing with former Army Secretary Togo West and Adm. Vern Clark (Ret.) on the release of their Ft Hood shooting review last week. Since then, some early reviews are in.
Bill Bennett calls it a "whitewash."
The Fort Hood Report: Why No Mention of Islam? -- [Time]
The U.S. military's just-released report into the Fort Hood shootings spends 86 pages detailing various slipups by Army officers but not once mentions Major Nidal Hasan by name or even discusses whether the killings may have had anything to do with the suspect's view of his Muslim faith. And as Congress opens two days of hearings on Wednesday into the Pentagon probe of the Nov. 5 attack that left 13 dead, lawmakers want explanations for that omission.
U.S. officials admit to intelligence failures in connection with bomb plot -- [Washington Post]
Facing heat from lawmakers, the Obama administration's top intelligence and counterterrorism officials acknowledged to Congress on Wednesday morning that there were breakdowns in the failure to prevent a Christmas Day terrorist bombing attempt aboard a U.S. jetliner.
U.S. Increases Efforts to Boost Security in Yemen Amid Increasing Terror Threat -- [Washington Post]
Experienced fighters returning to Yemen from the Iraq war and radicalized U.S. citizens who have taken up residence in that country have broadened assessments of the threat posed by the al-Qaeda affiliate there, according to administration and congressional officials. In addition to flooding Yemen with intelligence resources, the United States has stepped up military strikes from the air against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and pressed the Yemeni government, which has offered to negotiate with the group, to toughen its approach. As Yemen's foreign minister arrived in Washington this week for consultations, the State Department announced
Ex-Convicts From U.S. Said to Join Yemen Radicals -- [New York Times]
Some American former convicts who converted to Islam in prison have moved to Yemen and a few may have joined extremist groups there, according to a new Senate report. The report, from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says that as many as 36 American Muslims who were prisoners have moved to Yemen in recent months, ostensibly to study Arabic, and that several of them have "dropped off the radar" and may have connected to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The report warns that Americans recruited in Yemen or Somalia may pose a particular threat, since they can operate freely inside the United States.
Gates Meets with Indian Leaders on Combating Terrorism -- [Washington Post]
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates praised India for showing "statesmanlike" behavior by not retaliating against Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks but said the United States was not directly involved in trying to broker peace between the two nuclear-armed rivals. On a two-day trip to New Delhi, Gates on Tuesday met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other officials to bolster U.S.-Indian military ties and discuss a joint approach to combating al-Qaeda and regional terrorist groups. Last month, Gates warned U.S. lawmakers that al-Qaeda was providing "targeting information" to Lashkar-i-Taiba, a Kashmir-based terrorist group, in hopes of triggering a war between India and Pakistan.
Guest Blogger; Life in the Military as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer -- [Bouhammer]
Bouhammer Note- The posting below was written by my very good friend "Moose". I have known Moose for 20 years and we have always maintained contact with each other, even though we were both being stationed all over the world at different times. He has opened up his heart and his life in this posting. As he told me, "If one person's life is saved or changed because of reading this, then it is all worth it". The reality is that many senior leaders are intimidated to never seek help or are just plain scared too. We hear stories all the time of both NCOs and Officers taking their own lives when they think there is no other option. This is why Moose wrote this posting.
Brain scans pinpoint stress disorder in war veterans -- [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
PTSD is thought to afflict tens of thousands of combat veterans, but it can be hard to diagnose. It's a collection of psychological symptoms that can,...
VA Reaching Out to Students and Schools to Speed Benefit Payments -- [DoVA]
In a coordinated effort to speed up the processing of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits this spring, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it has been reaching out to student Veterans, servicemembers, university officials and other partners to meet its commitment to an aggressive processing goal by Feb. 1, 2010. Feb. 1 is the first date spring payments are due and presently VA has processed over 72,000 of the approximately 103,000 spring enrollments received. Since inception of the historic new program last year, VA has paid over $1.3 billion in benefits to more than 170,000 students.
"Only by VA and all of our partners working together will students be better served," said VA's Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Mike Walcoff. "We are making a concerted effort to reach out to everyone to provide the timely benefits that those who served our nation deserve."
Free Flowers For A Year Help Send Care Packages To Deployed Troops -- [PRLog.Org]
Since the LMHS Military Support Program began in 2003, more than 29000 pounds of care packages have been sent to deployed troops overseas.
MVG20100118JN11:35 -- [Greyhawk]
A manufacturer putting "Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes" on military rifle sights is among the most stupid things I ever heard of.
Update: This story first appeared on the gun blog Accurate Shooter. Did ABC News rip them off? If so, have they never heard (EX20:15) thou shalt not steal?
ABC Raids Message Boards to 'Break' a Decades-Old Story -- [Bob Owens]
The manufacturer of gun sights used by the U.S. military inscribes references to New Testament passages on them, a fact known to the public for 23 years.
U.S. Firm Probed for Stamping Bible Verses on Rifle Sights -- [Democracy Now]
The Pentagon says it will investigate a Michigan-based military contractor found to have stamped Bible-verse references on combat rifle sights used by US
Homecoming -- Troops return merits heroes' welcome -- [Bluefield Daily Telegraph]
... and the 230th Forward Support Squadron, are finally on their way home to Bluefield. In fact, the local troops should be on American soil by now.
How Not to Write a Headline -- [Ghosts of Alexander]
Alissa Rubin wrote an article in the New York Times on locals' perceptions of this week's insurgent attack in Kabul. The article is fine. Locals are interviewed and express a variety of opinions. It's hardly a large "scientific" survey, but fine as far as journalism "the day after" goes. But, as usual, you will find the "OMG massive conspiracy viewpoint." A fellow, his name made me smile, had this to say
The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site -- [New York Times]
The New York Times announced Wednesday that it intended to charge frequent readers for access to its Web site, a step being debated across the industry that nearly every major newspaper has so far feared to take.
Anniversary Celebrations All Around -- [Jawa Report]
Happy 1-Year Anniversary Mr President. Please take to heart that you are still more popular than Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
George W. Bush Revisited -- [Breitbart-Big Government]
He left office a year ago today. He has maintained a dignified silence in the last twelve months -- even though his successor denounces him in almost every speech and acts as if he is still running against the man. I reviewed President Obama's disastrous first year on Saturday. Today, I ask, "What, in retrospect, should we think of George W. Bush?"
America Betrayed President Bush -- [FOX News - Jeffrey Scott Shapiro ]
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a journalist and lawyer who served on Senator John F. Kerry's legal team during the 2004 election. He is currently organizing a nationwide effort called "Honor Freedom" to correct the historical record about President Bush and the Bush foreign policy doctrine, which can be reached at www.honorfreedom.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=41317929699&ref=ts or Twitter at http://twitter.com/honorfreedom
It's almost hard to believe but Wednesday, January 20 marks exactly one year since President Bush left the White House.
During his last public ceremony as commander in chief, he was booed by thousands of Americans who simutaneously cheered for Barack Obama as he was sworn into office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
....America quickly forgot about how President Bush charismatically lifted our spirits during some of the darkest moments of our nation's history when the Twin Towers collapsed. After all, even Senator Kerry admitted Bush's handling of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was "terrific," during the 2004 presidential debates.
GW Bush: Rock Solid Under Fire -- [Breitbart-Big Government]
...In a historic moment, President Bush met with influential military bloggers, acknowledging the important work they do in communicating troop concerns, experiences, events, and the role they play in bolstering troop morale. Among the bloggers meeting with the President in the Roosevelt Room was Master Sergeant CJ Grisham, seated to President Bush's left, whose blogsite "They Have Names" is a tribute to those who have died in the service of our country. Also seated at the table was "Mrs. Greyhawk" of Mudville Gazette, whose husband was deployed to Iraq at the time.
A Very American Kind of Coup -- [CBS News]
A public conditioned to act like sheep, to "support our troops" no matter what, to cower before the idea of terrorism, is a public ready to be herded. A military that's being used to fight unwinnable wars is a military prone to return home disaffected and with scores to settle.
Angry and desperate veterans and mercenaries already conditioned to violence, merging with "tea baggers" and other alienated groups, could one day form our own Freikorps units, rioting for violent solutions to national decline. Recall that the Nazi movement ultimately succeeded in the early 1930s because so many middle-class Germans were scared as they saw their wealth, standard of living, and status all threatened by the Great Depression.
GOP's Brown wins Mass. Senate seat in epic upset -- [AP]
BOSTON - In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in a U.S. Senate election Tuesday that left President Barack Obama's health care overhaul
Veterans group goes on tour to discuss climate change and oil dependence -- [FOX/AP]
A U.S. military veterans group planned stops in Missouri this week to discuss its belief that the nation's dependence on foreign oil affects climate change and hurts national security.
Veterans for American Power was in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau on Tuesday, and was to visit Springfield, Columbia, Warrensburg and Independence through Friday.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, met with the group. She says the U.S. must take control of its energy future through homegrown energy resources.
Time to get to work, says Sen.-elect Brown -- [AP]
BOSTON -- Republican Scott Brown says his Senate victory in Massachusetts sends a powerful message and he hopes to get to work right away
Scott Brown -- [FOXNews]
As a legislator, he has served on the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, the Hidden Wounds of War Commission, and the Governor's Task Force on Returning Veterans
...He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2006. Despite his long career, Brown, as a judge advocate, has never been in a unit sent to a combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
Brown did brief assignments in Paraguay in 2005 and in Kazakhstan in 2007. In Paraguay, he was part of an effort with US diplomats to raise awareness of American principles of justice, including cases involving military personnel, according to the Boston Globe. In Kazakhstan, he said he spent a week on a disaster, terrorism, and emergency preparedness exercise with military and civilian personnel from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and three former Soviet republics, the newspaper reported.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Update: Explosion in Kabul -- [ISAF]
Afghan National Police (ANP) responded to this morning's insurgent attacks in downtown Kabul. ISAF Joint Command is working closely with our Afghan partners to aggressively contain the situation during which several small explosions were reported near the Feroshgah e Afghan Shopping Center and the Serena Hotel. Insurgents also used small arms fire in these attacks.
Kabul down, Kabul down -- [Rejuvenation of an Afghan Soul - in Afghanistan]
Morning started off the usual. While at work, one of the Canadian girls said there was a bomb attack. Strange! We hadn't heard anything! Hubby Skyped me a few minutes later saying there was a suicide bomb attack just outside the Millie Bank. The Millie Bank is only a few buildings away from the Serena Hotel. But clearly, the target was Millie Bank. The same place my brother in law, F, works.
The Taliban stormed the bank, commando style, firing. News reports say that the Taliban stole armored vehicles, one of which was filled with explosives and detonated this morning. Soon after, the Taliban stormed the compound. Thankfully my brother in law was on the other side of the bank at the time.
The Afghan National Army arrived and managed to secure the bank staff in the basement while they fired back at the Taliban. Gunshots were also heard from Serena
Busy Morning in the 'Bul -- [OPFOR - Lt Col P - in Afghanistan]
Never a dull moment here:
I was in the MoD when it happened, and therefore fairly close. A pretty active firefight went on for quite a long time, and that plume of smoke drifted far over the city.
Fruits of the drizzle -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Remember back in August when General McCrystal asked the Obama administration for some more resources to fight the war in Afghanistan and we were told by the administration and the talking heads that there was no reason to rush a decision because winters were calm and the Taliban didn't fight in the winter.
Well, tell me what this is...
Afghan president says security restored in capital -- [SignOnSanDiego/AP]
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says security has been restored to Kabul after a Taliban attack targeting government buildings that prompted fierce gunbattles and left five dead.
Officials have said at least five people, including a child, were killed and nearly 40 wounded in Monday's attack.
UK plans 'trust fund' to woo Taliban fighters -- [The Guardian]
Taliban fighters who lay down their arms will be offered money from an international trust fund under a plan being drawn up by British government officials, it emerged today.
Karzai Closing In on Taliban Reconciliation Plan -- [NY Times]
The Afghan government will soon unveil a major new plan offering jobs, security, education and other social benefits to Taliban followers who defect, according to the spokesman for President Hamid Karzai.
White Information -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Friday started with a disturbing report - a fuel tanker attack on the Jalalabad side of the Duranta Dam tunnel. Ambush teams operating less than a mile from the Taj! Not good news, so after the incident scene cleared out we went for a look-see.
Life in the Big City -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
approximately twenty Taliban stormed several buildings in downtown Kabul near the Ministries of Finance and Justice. At least one of the buildings was a popular shopping center. The apparent intent was to disrupt the swearing in ceremony for the new members of Karzai's cabinet, which was taking place at the Presidential Palace down the street.
So I got to start the day standing on my balcony with a cup of coffee, being serenaded by the sound of not-so-distant automatic weapons fire and the occasional explosion of a rocket. This time, they really came to play for keeps. Kalashnikovs, PK machineguns, RPGs, they brought the works with them today. And at least one car bomb, perhaps two. More significantly, some of my guys who were ...
Fear and Loathing in Loya Paktia -- [Captain Cat's Diaries - in Afghanistan]
While we're on the subject of Special Forces operations, I must just recount a meeting I had a couple of days ago with some elders from one of the Mangal sub-tribes in Jani Khel district, Northern Paktia.
[Briefly, lest I accidentally find myself thrown into the back of a humvee and bundled off to Bagram myself, I should really caveat everything with 'there are two sides to every story'. Sure there are, I realize that. I will share this particular side, as for now it's all I have.]
Before I go on with the story, the tribal elders I've been meeting these past few months have been informing us that they are beginning to reinstate their local arbakai (tribal policing mechanism) as they can't rely on the Afghan National Security forces for security. Based on these and other discussions with them, I am inferring that levels of frustration against the International Military Forces are reaching their peak and people are so desperate to be rid of the American forces from their areas, they are determined to try secure their own communities in order to avoid any need for the IM.
Trip to Eye Doctor and Traffic Snarl -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...The AF Captain gave the mission briefing and highlighted some of the most recent happenings. As reported by the local media, thieves or insurgents stole 6 bullet-proof armored vehicles from the Ministry of Defense storage. A rocket landed near the embassies and the Serena Hotel was attacked again by the insurgents. So we had to be attentive and put on our game faces. Despite the massive amount of security in the capital, I know from researching http://www.icasualties.org/ web site that since the beginning of OEF, 104 coalition forces have died in the Kabul province. So this emerging city of 3 million people is still a very dangerous place and coalition forces are a viable target.
Royal Welsh target Taliban in their biggest air assault yet -- [Helmand Blog]
More than 300 helicopter-borne soldiers have targeted a Taliban stronghold in one of their biggest operations since arriving in Helmand over a month ago.
Haitian soldier wants to leave Afghanistan to help
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan--Haitian-American Lt. Ramses Brunache was supposed to be the one in danger in Afghanistan. Now his sister is dead, his homeland is broken and he's trying to return to help save Haiti.
Brunache found out about Tuesday's earthquake in a 3 a.m. phone call from his wife at the base where he's stationed in dusty Kandahar province, the Taliban's southern heartland. He's been here since July as a communications officer with the 97th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Riley, Kansas.
"She told me something happened in Haiti and my sister is not going to make it," he said.
Spitting Cobra -- [Michael Yon]
Artillery is called "The King of Battle." When it comes to the delivery of force, probably nothing outside of nuclear weapons can outmatch the sustained delivery of extreme brutality. Cannons also can deliver small atomic weapons.
3 Bombs, Buddies, and British Boobs -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
They had me brief the rules of engagement again. I do it almost every time. Kind of getting tired of it, but I always try to do it well because I believe it's really important. The way we interact with people on the streets goes a long way to demonstrate that we're here to help, not to conquer. That's a tough message to send from behind a machine gun on top of 30,000 pounds of armor moving at 60mph. But a huge first step is to avoid hurting innocent people. I particularly enjoy working with the Afghan National Army on the road.
Afghan food -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
I am still here at Bagram. Thankfully my L&L(Languishing and Loitering) here will be over in only a few short days. Then on to the next stop along the trip home.
As indicated in a previous post, today I will go over my experiences with Afghan foods.
pashtunwali -- [The Alley: Josh's blog - in Afghanistan]
I have had the privilege of getting to know more about my hosts here in Khost, Afghanistan. The Pashtun tribes are one of the oldest people-groups on earth, having lived in these mountains, the Hindu Kush, for about 6,000 years. I have undertaken (call me crazy) to learn to speak Pashto (also called Pashtu or Pakhto). Pashto is a pretty simple language, full of words for things like home, relatives, livestock, work, land, and seasons. On the other hand, almost all words for things mechanical and modern are borrowed, from English, Farsi, or Arabic.
Marines exit Iraq in first wave of US forces out -- [Washington Post/AP]
Among the first troops to invade in March 2003, and the first to help turn enemy insurgents into allies, the Marines will be the first major wave of American forces to go as the U.S. military begins a withdrawal to be completed by the end of next year. For them, as for the rest of the U.S. military, this has been the longest war since Vietnam.
At their peak in October 2008, an estimated 25,000 Marines were in Iraq, mostly in the country's western Anbar province. Now only about 4,000 remain.
Talabani, Biden discuss relations over phone -- [Aswat al-Iraq]
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani discussed over the phone with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden bilateral relations between the two sides and means of boosting them, as well as the march of the political process in Iraq, according to a presidential release on Sunday.
"President Talabani received a phone call from U.S. Vice President Biden and tackled with him ways to further ties to serve the common interests of the two countries," read the release as received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
"Biden called on Talabani to intensify efforts in Baghdad these days to address the problems in the Iraqi arena," it added.
Candidate Bans Worsen Iraq's Political Turmoil -- [NY Times]
Iraqi officials have done little to clarify who, exactly, has been disqualified from running for Parliament in March because of ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. They did, however, make clear on Sunday that, contrary to Iraqi television news, the government's own spokesman was not among those declared a Baathist and therefore unfit for office.
The puzzling disqualifications -- [Iraqi Mojo]
"The disqualification of Iraq's defense minister, Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi, appeared most puzzling of all. He has run the ministry since 2006, by most accounts capably, and is running as a candidate on Mr. Maliki's coalition. A spokesman for the ministry, Brig. Gen. Ali Salih, declined to comment on Sunday, but said a response was expected Monday
'Chemical Ali' to be hanged within days -- [The Guardian]
Ali Hassan al-Majid sentenced to death by Iraq's high criminal court for ordering slaughter of Kurds in 1988
One of Saddam Hussein's most loathed henchman, Ali Hassan al-Majid, otherwise known as Chemical Ali, will be hanged within days, a senior official said tonight, setting the scene for Iraq's highest profile execution since Saddam himself was put to death more than three years ago.
Building Up Iraq From a Local Level -- [Stryker Brigade News]
Entrepreneurship is on the rise, especially for new business owners receiving the first installment of their micro-grant payment.
2nd Lt. Tyrell W. Denton, a fire support officer with 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, spoke with and handed out 23 micro grants to business oriented citizens at the Dali Abbos town hall.
Extreme makeovers in Iraq -- [News Tribune]
Lt. Col. Chuck Hodges has a plan. His Fort Lewis soldiers have spent weeks renovating a crumbling school, and the students will see it for the first time a few weeks from now.
Hodges envisions Iraqi kids giddy with anticipation, smiling and fidgety. They're standing behind a Stryker and an Iraqi army vehicle.
Building a Bridge With the Iraqi People -- [DVIDS]
...This is also a sign of the great progress being made in the area.
"We are building confidence between our forces and the people in the area to build one team," said Lt. Col. Haban Khalil Hassan, commander of the emergency response force, 10th Battalion Iraqi Army. "This shows that everything is going well while we are working hard every day to keep the city secure."
Building this bridge can help the community move into other projects as well.
Put the Pentagon in Charge -- [Newsweek]
Why the U.S. military is the only organization that can effectively manage the chaos in Haiti. And other hard truths about the disaster.
Haiti Relief -- [USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) - in Haiti]
Our Sailors continue to work around-the-clock keeping the helicopters flying, treating the injured, moving supplies, and coordinating relief and rescue efforts ashore. If you haven't heard from your Sailor, it's simply because they're so engaged in the relief efforts and using their limited downtime to catch a few hours of sleep before getting back to the mission.
Already making a difference with duct tape -- [Badger Jake - in Haiti]
Under cover of darkness, Team Rubicon Doctors Griswell and Dolhun, along with former Army SF medic Mark Hayward, treat a 14 year-old girl with a mid-shaft fracture fibula and tibia. Five days ago a concrete wall collapsed on her leg during a massive 7.0 earthquake.
Comprehensive Update -- [Badger Jake - in Haiti]
We left the Dominican Republic this morning and arrived safely at our staging area in Pot-au-Prince, Haiti, this evening. As follows:
After packing and cross-loading our medical gear, and doing quick training on combat med kits with Jake, Will, Jeff, Craig, and Jim, we got a few hours sleep and got ready to go into Haiti. We were met this morning by Eduardo and David (respectively, a family practitioner and an ER physician), who joined the team the same way I did: by wandering into the right place at the right time. Initially the plan was to take the Terra-Bus from SD through the Jimani crossing to PAP, have the Jesuits meet us at the bus stop, and have them drive us to the novitiate. However, we spent a considerable amount of time this morning developing our en-route security plan, as the news reports indicated that the route was plagued by bandits. While planning, we also made contact with several locals who were willing to take us by minivan from SD to the border, and then transfer into pickup trucks for the ride from Jimani to PAP.
Embrace The Suck: Haiti... -- [Embrace the Suck]
So we got alerted last night....
Wait, we got called and asked to volunteer for a mission in Haiti.
Of course I volunteered. Didn't consult anyone, didn't really think about it. The internal conversation that went into this decision went like this....
22nd MEU to deploy to Haiti -- [Lejeune Deployed]
Marines and sailors from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit may be embarking on a humanitarian mission to Haiti as soon as Friday, Capt. Clark Carpenter, a spokesman for the 22nd MEU, said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
We Missed the Moment -- [The Daily Beast]
In the rush to help Haiti, there was too much planning and too little action. Clive Irving on the critical logistical failures of the largest triage since the plague.
Too Early for Haiti Monday Morning Quarterbacks -- [Armed and Curious]
My conclusion from it is that the writer doesn't have a clue what he is talking about and the Daily Beast will print any idiot who pens something for them.
Irving's expertise in this area it seems is based on having edited a book on the Oklahoma City bombing. I won't dwell on the silliness of comparing the bombing of a building in a major US city to an earthquake in a sovereign island nation some 700 miles from our
territory because its just too stupid to believe.
What got me writing is that he laments in the piece that "You have to wonder whether two
wars have depleted and weakened our ability to provide humanitarian
relief with the same resources and energy devoted to the
US to Pakistan: Stop complaining about the Predator strikes you support -- Threat Matrix]
Senator Carl Levin is the first senior US figure to publicly rebuke the Pakistani government for its double game of criticizing the US air campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda while secretly providing support and approval.
Napolitano grants Haitians refuge -- STATEMENT FROM HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY JANET NAPOLITANO -- [Politico]
"As part of the department's ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday's devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
US accused of annexing airport -- [The Guardian]
Priority landing for Americans forces flights carrying emergency supplies to divert to Dominican Republic -- The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected.
Roundtables: Haiti Operations -- [BlackFive - Grim]
There have been a number of roundtables over the last few days to inform us of Haiti-related operations. What is being done is amazing, especially when you consider that it is an open-ended commitment to a bottomless need at a time when our military is already handling deployments and logistics for two wars on the other side of the world.
Korea Increases Haiti Earthquake Aid By $10 Million Dollars -- [ROK Korea]
Korea was initially criticized for only offering up $1 million dollars in aid, but the government has now increased their aid package further:
Pak, Afghanistan and Iran Unite to Fight Terrorism -- [Outlook India]
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran today unveiled a roadmap to jointly confront the challenges of extremism and terrorism in the region, including trilateral intelligence sharing and greater cooperation in tackling the trafficking of weapons and drugs.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Iranian and Afghan counterparts, Manouchehr Mottaki and Rangin Dadfar Spanta, signed a joint declaration envisaging the roadmap after a meeting here.
Qureshi told a joint news conference at the Foreign Office that the three countries will hold a series of meetings to deepen cooperation and coordination for countering extremism and terrorism.
Yemen confirms al Qaeda's military commander killed in strike -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The government confirmed that Abu Hurayrah Qasim al Raymi and five other al Qaeda leaders, including an Egyptian, were killed in the Jan. 15 airstrike.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula Denies Suffering Losses During Raids, Threatens Response "On Land, Sea, and Air" -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has issued a new communique -- the first since acknowledging its role in the failed airline bomb plot executed by Nigerian national Umar Abdulmutallab.
In its statement, AQAP strongly denied "false claims... that [the Yemeni government] has killed six of us in the provinces of al-Jawf and Saa'da in the al-Ashajer region, and we assure our Muslim Nation that none of the mujahideen were [actually] killed in that insidious unjust attack,
Review of Jet Bomb Plot Shows More Missed Clues -- [NY Times]
Worried about possible terrorist attacks over the Christmas holiday, President Obama met on Dec. 22 with top officials of the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security, who ticked off a list of possible plots
Save The Navy Seals -- [Jawa Report]
I normally don't post any "sign the petition" stuff but this is important. Seals Matthew McCabe, Jonathon Keefe & Julio Huertas don't deserve this treatment.
Shout Out Pt V -- [Riding Shotgun with Team Zombiekiller - in Afghanistan]
...For reasons I cannot mention here, I just wanted to tell you that your packages mean a lot more than just the occasional morale boost. When I get home I hope to have to opportunity to tell some of you just what these gifts have done for us and how very helpful they really are. These things mean a whole lot more than just an expression of goodwill--they are truly important and for that I thank you all for what you've done.
Warrior Games II -- [FlightLines]
Wounded warriors who want to compete in the inaugural Warrior Games May 10-14 in Colorado Springs, Colo., now have more time to apply.
The Air Force has extended the deadline for applications to Feb. 15, one whole month later than its original deadline of Jan. 15.
About 200 wounded active duty troops and veterans will compete in the games, Defense Department officials announced Jan. 7. Hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the games will include events such as shooting, swimming, archery, track, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
SA's "Cooking with the Wounded" launches fundraising for 2010 events -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Following on successful events last year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and here at Landstuhl, Blake Powers, creator of "Cooking with the Wounded", has geared up fundraising efforts for 2010 activities.
CSI milbloggers -- [Mrs Greyhawk]
"Tomorrow at 8:30 AM I will be on the phone with the FBI in Houston." Well, that didn't take long.
Meet General Ballduster McSoulpatch -- [This Ain't Hell...]
1STCavRVN11B sent me this photo from our friends at POW Net. I immediately fired it off to a bunch of other MilBlogs to see if we can ID this numbnuts. The picture was taken at Democrat Annise Parker's victory party last month in Houston. How this doofus thought it was a good idea to dress up as a two star general is beyond me. Aside from that he's wearing infantry brass and an infantry officer's blue lapel (Generals aren't affiliated with any branch), those totally unauthorized ball dusters on his chin, and the fact that he looks about ten years too young to be general, let's look at a close up of his chest;
Wanted for Stolen Valor -- [A Soldier's Perspective - Marcus]
Image credit: Mrs. G - Do you know the man pictured above? If so, I'm sure the FBI would love to know so they can have a chat with him, not to mention the veterans and supporters I've spoke with over email this weekend.
...So why are we wanting to find General DM? There is no way in hell he is who he claims to be.
Pitchfork Brigade, Stolen Valor Imposter Wanted -- [Bouhammer]
The milbloggers across the country are uniting today to put out a question to all who read out blogs if anyone knows who this idiot is. The guy you see in the pic above and the ones below was spotted at George R. Brown Convention at the Annise Parker for Houston Mayor Victory Party on 12/12/2009.
This guy is such a fraud, it is not even funny. Let me start with
Poseur Alert- Do you know this wanker? -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
The guy in the picture below is wearing a one star General's mess dress uniform w/ so many medals and badges it is hard to know where to start. Either he is the youngest one star John Wayne/Audie Murphy combo, who decided to set a new trend by sporting a soul patch and an earring. or he is a punk ass poseur. He was at the Election party for the new Houston Mayor this December. If you know anyone in that area please send them a link or the pic and let's find this chump and show him what we think about stealing valor. The reward is good karma.
Launch the ready pitchfork -- [CDR Salamander]
If that guy is a General Officer, then I just relieved Admiral Harvey as Commander Fleet Forces Command .... and Skippy-san is my Chief of Staff, MTH my Aide, Maggie my Flag Sec, AW1 my Flag Writer, LBG the Staff JAG, E40 my J2, Sid my J3, Byron my J4, Lee my J5, and I don't know who my J6 is because I just fired all the contractors and geeks make me twitchy.
Stolen Valor Scum - wanted! -- [Hooah Wife]
...the milblog community is asking for your help in identifying this a-hole so he can be brought to justice under the Stolen Valor Act (a Federal Crime). Please contact me gretaperry at g mail.com if you recognize him.
Stolen Valor Scum - Wanted -- [Kiss My Gumbo]
...the milblog community is asking for your help in identifying this a-hole so he can be brought to justice under the Stolen Valor Act (a Federal Crime).
Stolen Valor- Not even slick about it edition -- [Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid]
Most of the pitiful creatures that claim honors they didn't earn at least TRY to stay within the bounds of plausibility. How anyone at the victory party for new Houston mayor Annise Parker could believe this... thing... might be an Army officer, much less a general officer, is beyond me.
Can you Identify this poseur? -- [From my position... On the way!]
The following *alleged poseur* whom I'll simply refer to as DM** was spotted at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston during the Annise Parker for Houston Mayor Victory Party on 12/12/2009, 2030 hrs (8:30 PM in Air Force time.)
...CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THIS (alleged) DOUCHE-NOZZLE?
What he is going is a completely disrespectful to all of those who has served or are serving in uniform, ...
Do you Recognize This Man? -- [Boston Maggie]
There are many, many problems with the uniform, the medals, etc. People who are far more knowledgable than I are throwing a flag on this one.
If you recognize him, please drop me a line.
MilBlogs' APB... -- [Little Drops..... Into the pool of life]
Anyone over the age of two knows that the acronym APB means... ALL POINTS BULLETIN.
Today the Mil-Blog community have posted one that will leave you shaking your head and thinking "how could this guy have been so stoopid?!?"
Do you know this Brigadier? (Updated) -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
If you do, I'd love to know his name.Why am I asking? Well... I'm kinda sorta suspicious that perhaps he's not who he's dressed to be.This picture was taken 12 December at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, as the Victory Party for now-Mayor Annise ParkerLeave aside I can't think of anyone with *two* Distinguished Service Crosses (the second highest valor award) and British SAS wings, and who wears a *CIA* liver badge (as we call those things that aren't on the lapel... and
Just When You Thought Monday Couldn't Get Any Crazier... -- [The Sniper]
Apparently General McChinpubes is not only a three time Combat Infantryman and Knight of the British Empire and Personal body guard to Colin Powell and DLI trained German linguist and Special Forces black ops specialist and Psychiatrist, he's also one of the guys from REM's "Losing My Religion" video.
Where did we get this guy? Well, he showed up at Democrat Annise Parker's victory party last month in Houston. "Why did he show up in a General's uniform" you might ask? Perhaps he was pushing for a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"?
Picture of the Day: Anyone Know Who This Fraud Is? UPDATE -- [ROK Drop]
UPDATE: Fraudster Identified as Michael Patrick McManus ... This guy was photographed at Democrat Annise Parker's victory party last month ...
Do You Know This Asshat?... -- [Exile in Portales]
at the Annise Parker for Houston Mayor Victory Party on 12/12/2009. ... This asshat... more than likely one Michael Patrick MacManus... hasn't stolen
Pitchfork Brigade, Stolen Valor Imposter Wanted -- [Veteran's Political Arena]
The milbloggers across the country are uniting today to put out a question to all who read out blogs if anyone knows who this idiot is.
Stolen Valor -- [Household6]
Many milbloggers are posting about this guy today and I'm joining the rest of the MilBlog Mafia because quite frankly it pisses me off !
Brigadier General -- [Brandodojo]
Oh, even though this is can no longer be considered a milblog; you know damn right that I'm going to join in mocking this turd.
Stolen Valor Alert -- [Ace of Spades - LauraW.]
Do you know this man?
It's worth a click to compare his goofy face to the uniform and decorations. Hilarious.
General Chinpube is awfully young and geeky to be such a powerhouse of military manhood, n'est-ce pas?
Living in America -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - home from Iraq]
So what's it like to come back to America after being gone for most of a year? Part of it remains to be seen. I have not left the Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base complex yet, so I still have more to see and get used to. I suppose it is better to return slowly.
Green Bay's Company B, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry unit returns from Iraq -- [Green Bay Press Gazette]
Moments before they reunited, Robert held up a handmade wooden sign saying "Welcome home Brian." He held it upside down and began yelling "Brian! Brian!
National Guard unit honored on return from Iraq -- [Press of Atlantic City]
16, 2009. members of his 1-150th Assault helicopter Battalion out of Maguire/Dix participated in a welcome home ceremony.
W.Va. National Guard unit heads home -- [Daily Press]
... Oak Hill, Welch and Williamson. Lawrence said the 150ths Family Readiness Group is already making signs to welcome the troops home next week.
What's leadership got to do with it? -- [Army Live]
We spend a lot of time in the social media world talking about the importance of leadership or "senior leader buy-in." That's why today is of particular importance to all of us in Army Public Affairs, as Chief of Public Affairs Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner is retiring.
...Few may realize it, but Maj. Gen. Bergner's real "coming out" as Chief of Public Affairs actually took place at the MilBlog Conference - where he agreed to step in and do a live blogger's roundtable with participants, answering questions as varied as "what's the deal with the Army's new uniform?" to "when in the heck is the Army going to release a policy on blogging and social media?"
Military Blog Posts from "The Sandbox" Add Powerful Commentary to David Levinthal's War Photography Exhibition, Book -- [Milblogging.com]
We're pleased to announce that ADM Harvey will be a featured speaker at the 2010 MilBlog Conference. ADM Harvey will join contemporaries from other branches to address the use of social media by senior military leadership.
ArtDaily, an online fine art newspaper, has a story about a war photography exhibition being held at the Stellam Holm Gallery in New York. The works being showcased, have also been published in a book called I.E.D.: War in Afghanistan and Iraq and it includes military blogger stories from Doonesbury's Sandbox. It's another testimony to military blogs - as the article states.
After Obama Rally, Dems Pin Blame On Bush -- [Hotline on Call]
As audience members streamed out of Pres. Obama's rally on behalf of AG Martha Coakley (D) here tonight, the consensus was that the fault for Coakley's now-floundering MA SEN bid lies with one person -- George W. Bush.
The Blue Mass -- [Greyhawk]
Did Scott Brown commit a thought crime? The folks at Blue Mass Group PAC say yes, (BMG Exclusive: Scott Brown thought maybe Obama was born out of wedlock) and they've got video evidence:..
...And what does that have to do with his Guard service?
Former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter Arrested For Child Endangerment -- [Right Pundits]
Former U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter arrested once again for child endangerment and being quite frankly an alleged pervert. Ritter allegedly contacted a 15 year old girl named "Emily" who just happened to be an undercover cop. Police say that Ritter engaged in how should we say, self gratification, online for his 15 year old audience. Too bad for him she turned out to be a Barrett Township Police officer.
Ex-UN inspector Scott Ritter accused in Web sex case -- [CNN]
Scott Ritter, the former top UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was arrested in November, months after police said he sent sexual messages to a police officer
Matt Burden for State Representative -- [Blackfive]
Heading into the home stretch with about two weeks to go before the election! We've picked up momentum, are gathering more volunteers, and have run a fiscally conservative campaign.
(Need more? Dawn Patrol Archives are here.)
U.S. general: Taliban beaten in Helmand province -- [USA Today]
U.S. forces have driven the Taliban from most towns and villages in the strategic Helmand province of Afghanistan, leaving incoming troops with the mission of holding key areas and rebuilding the economy, Marine commanders say.
"They've taken on the Taliban, the insurgency, right in the heartland and they've defeated them," said Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills in an interview with USA TODAY.
UN: Taliban cause Afghan civilian deaths to soar -- [AP/Breitbart]
The number of Afghan civilians who died in war-related violence last year soared to the highest annual level since the conflict began in 2001, the U.N. said Wednesday, while deaths attributed to allied forces dropped 30 percent--a key U.S. goal for winning over the Afghan people.
Unrelenting violence, which has defied a usual lull in the winter, has highlighted concern that casualties will rise as the U.S. and NATO send 37,000 more troops to try to stabilize the country. Civilian casualties have been a sensitive subject in Afghanistan, with U.S. forces frequently accused of killing noncombatants in airstrikes.
The Quetta Shura Taliban in Southern Afghanistan -- [Institute for the Study of War]
Much of the recent debate regarding the war in Afghanistan has focused on al Qaeda, specifically, the extent of their operations in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region. Often overlooked in the strategic calculus are other enemy groups operating in the region and their ability to challenge the Afghan government and coalition forces for control in the war-torn country. It is precisely these groups that have provided al Qaeda a sanctuary to train, plan, and launch some of the most catastrophic terrorist attacks in recent history. Indeed, their relationships with key al Qaeda leaders have been forged over the past quarter-century of resistance.
For much of the past eight years, these groups have made substantial gains while the international community pursued a limited counterterrorism strategy coupled with insufficient resources. The enemy has ...
Roundtable: Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, on Afghanistan -- [BlackFive - Grim]
We spoke with Admiral James G. Stavridis, CDRUSEUCOM, and -- as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe -- commander of NATO forces. The transcript of the discussion is here. There were a number of interesting questions about the way forward in Afghanistan, from training the ANA to balancing civilian and military support for the mission. The admiral is a strong supporter of rebalancing the load to include more civilian agency support, both in the US component and in the NATO component. In this, he is in line with the "smart power" position that was the upside of our visit to the State Department.
When the phone don't ring...--[Greyhawk]
...you know it's Barack Obama.
"We don't have personal conversations - we haven't recently. But we've just been through the Christmas holidays..."
the inferno -- [The Alley - Josh's blog - in Afghanistan]
I haven't written, you will notice, in some time. If you have followed the news and know the pace of a Combat Support Hospital (CSH, pronounced "cash"), you will know that we have had it up to our eyeballs. I don't think anything I experienced in Balad rivaled this in intensity and duration.
The news accounts of the various happenings can be found here in the LA Times and here on Yahoo!, among other places.
outrage, please? -- [The Alley - Josh's blog - in Afghanistan]
As we shared a meal the other day, my Afghan friend, who deplores the violence and killings that have wracked his country, reminded us of one of the suras in Q'uran, the oft-debated sura 5:32 - "...if anyone killed a person...it would be as if he killed all humankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humankind". Regardless of the interpretations of various scholars, many muslims believe it at face value: Saving life is a virtue; taking it is a vice. I asked my Afghan friend, "Do your mullahs speak out against violence like suicide bombings?"
He shook his head, dejected. "Our mullahs are weak. They are corrupt. They get pay and nice gifts from violent people. And the people here are uneducated country people. They listen only to mullah."
Wardak Pre-Mission and Day One -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...Our ANA counterparts watched with eager interest as the whole mission was mapped out in front of them. This battlefield drill was one of the many tools used in conjunction with PowerPoint briefings used for our upcoming mission. Our mission was to escort the Brigade ANA General throughout Wardak Province and visit numerous ANA Combat Outposts (COP) and Observation Posts (OP). In conjunction with a platoon of ANA soldiers, my brigade team would provide joint security for the general. The ANA general wanted to meet his soldiers and commanders and make a first-hand assessment of their needs and quality of life issues. In addition,...
ISAF Forces Make Strides in Mentoring Afghan Counterparts -- [ISAF]
A joint team of U.S. Airmen and a Soldier with the 441st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron are training Afghanistan national army air corps soldiers in medical evacuations and tactics here.
One speaks Air Force and the other talks fluent Army, but Maj. Kimberly W. Coleman, a flight nurse, and Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Lemons, a flight medic, get a clear message across to the ANAAC soldiers they mentor.
Marines build OPs to provide security -- [Regimental Combat Team 7 - Lejeune Deployed]
The convoy stopped and Marines looked at each other with confused looks, knowing that there are very few reasons a convoy abruptly stops. The machine gunners swiveled in their turrets on high alert, surveying the area. Ironically, their excitement died when the Marines learned their convoy had stopped for a possible improvised explosive device.
U.S. to cede control of Bagram prison -- [Washington Post]
Afghan officials agreed Saturday to take over responsibility for the U.S. military's Bagram prison north of Kabul, a move that could close a chapter in the troubled history of U.S. detentions since 2001.
The facility at Bagram, where U.S. troops beat to death two prisoners in 2002, stands with the prisons at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq as a symbol of harsh treatment of detainees under the administration of President George W. Bush.
Coalition Cuisine -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
I still have a little more time on my hands here. Time to reflect on many things I experienced here in Afghanistan. Today's post is dedicated to food. Let's take a look at food around the Area of Operations (AO). I am limiting this entry to Coalition food and may comment on Afghan food another time.
Iraq Says Raid Uncovered a Plot to Bomb Ministries -- [NY Times]
A wide-ranging plot to bomb government ministries and other public places, to be followed by a wave of political assassinations, was uncovered by Iraqi officials, who responded Tuesday by bringing much of Baghdad to a virtual standstill while security forces conducted raids that netted large quantities of explosives, officials said.
Officials work to calm Baghdad after rumors of coup -- [cleveland.com]
When Baghdadis awoke Tuesday to find their streets sealed off and the Iraqi capital under virtual lockdown, the rumors began to fly. Army officers had staged a coup in the Green Zone, one version said. No, members of the Baath Party loyal to the former regime had taken over, according to another.
At midday, officials appeared on television to try to calm the city. "The security forces can't stage a coup. Our security forces are professional," military spokesman Mohammed Askari told a news conference. "The era of coups is gone."
Road Trip: Talil -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
I just took a road trip down south. I visited a command down in Talil to discuss one of my projects. Talil is a former Iraqi Army air base that's been taken over by US forces for the duration. It's about a 5-hour trip by road, which is how I went.
An Interview with Christopher Hitchens, Part II -- [Michael Totten]
...I sat with some Iranians in Isfahan, with a family I was staying with. They were secular and they served me booze with one of their cousins who was there visiting. She wasn't wearing a full burkha, but a veil. She said the least during our discussion, but at the end she said the most eloquent thing, and she was obviously very tortured about it. She said, "Do you think the Americans could come just for a couple of weeks, remove the regime, and then go?"
U.S. Defense Spy Chief: Iran Undecided on Nuclear Bomb - [Voice of America]
In an exclusive VOA interview, the Pentagon's top intelligence official says there is no evidence that Iran has made a final decision to build nuclear weapons. But the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) adds that much about Iran's inner workings remains murky. Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess says the key finding that Iran has not yet committed itself to nuclear weapons, contained in a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is still valid. "The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true," he said. "We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program. But the fact still remains that we don't know what we don't know."
Updated Imagery of North Korea's Tunneling Project In Iran -- [ROK Drop - GI Korea]
Two and half years ago information was leaked about North Korea's involvement in a tunneling project in support of Iran's nuclear weapons program. At the time I was able to idenitfy the tunnels using Google Earth imagery. So now two and half years later I figured it would be interesting to go back to the Isfahan Nuclear Facility and see what progress the North Koreans have made on their Iranian tunneling project. The nuclear facility is located nearly in the geographic center of Iran:
...This just serves as a reminder that the enemies of the United States have no problem collaborating and working together in order to undermine the United States and the world community in general. Once this tunnel project is completed and the nuclear hardware is moved underground I don't think there is anyway they can be taken out by a bombing strik, which would mean a ground attack would be necessary to destroy the equipment, which is very unlikely to happen.
The Chinese have tested an ABM system -- [The Gormogons]
J.E. Dyer over at Commentary notes, in a post puckishly called "Game On" that China's successfully tested an anti-ballistic-missile system. This is interesting, because as your Volgi has been writing for some time, China's military strategy seems to be shifting to a more aggressive posture. Dyer notes:
It means that China perceives that the old conditions have expired. Under those old conditions, the chief dynamic involved Russia trying to forestall U.S. deployment of our "National Missile Defense" -- the concept that would fully supersede MAD. But that condition no longer obtains, because with President Obama's September 2009 policy reversal, Russia has succeeded.
So, China has been steadily increasing military spending, building aircraft carriers (which are purely offensive systems), playing submarine tag, attempting to ensure air superiority for an invasion of Taiwan, and building secret underground sub bases in the South China Sea at a base that can already accommodate two carrier groups.
Haiti Hit by 7.0-magnitude Earthquake; Buildings Leveled in Port-au-Prince -- [Washington Post]
The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the impoverished island nation Tuesday, leveling a hospital in the capital, severely damaging the U.N. headquarters and other buildings, and sending panicked residents into the streets. Beleaguered authorities braced for major casualties, but with communications crippled across the country, there were no firm estimates.
US dispatching first rescue team to Haiti -- [The Hindu]
In response to the earthquake in Haiti, the US is immediately dispatching a rescue team of 72 people and along with 48 tons of rescue equipment.
The decision was taken following an emergency meeting of top US official after it became clear that the impact of the earthquake has been devastating in Haiti.
Brandon Darby foiled terror attack, but the men convicted of plotting against 2008 Republican Convention win recognition -- [Daily Caller]
You've probably never heard of Brandon Darby.
The former community organizer who saved American lives by undermining a left-wing terrorist plot at the 2008 Republican convention used to be a proud member of the radical left.He called for the overthrow of the U.S. government. He hated cops. He consorted with eco-terrorist tree-spikers, radical feminists and black nationalists. He was approached to rob an armored car and asked to commit arson to fight gentrification. He mouthed politically correct slogans about the Bush administration.
...After years of in-your-face protests and confrontational tactics, Darby rejected the radical left and its culture of political violence. He came to realize that America, for all its faults, wasn't such a bad place after all.
"I felt I had a duty to atone after badmouthing my country for so many years," Darby told The Daily Caller. "I love my country."
When he learned of a plan to attack the 2008 Republican convention in Saint Paul, Minn., he felt compelled to act.
Darby assisted an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and ...
Unruly Passengers Disrupt Northwest Flight 243 -- [FOX]
Sources tell Fox 2 that a flight from Amsterdam into Detroit Metropolitan Airport was held on the tarmac after landing because of unruly behavior by some of the passengers.
The source says four men from Saudi Arabai were saying something in Arabic that alarmed four on-board Federal Air Marshals. The Marshals speak Arabic. A decision was made to stop the plane on the tarmac away from the passenger terminal and remove the men from the plane.
Pentagon Inquiry into Fort Hood Urges Focus on Service Members Who May Pose Risk -- [Washington Post]
A high-level Pentagon inquiry into the Fort Hood shootings that left 13 people dead has concluded that the military should focus more resources on identifying service members who might pose a threat to their colleagues and outlines a series of steps it should take to prevent such attacks, Pentagon officials said. The study, which will be presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen on Wednesday, is expected to be publicly released Thursday. The report concludes that officer performance evaluations, which often obscure shortcomings to preserve officers' careers, need to be more forthright and honest, officials familiar with the report said.
Yemeni Forces Kill al Qaeda Suspect -- [AP]
Yemeni security forces killed a suspected al Qaeda figure and arrested four others in a raid on a house in a remote mountainous province, the region's governor said Wednesday. Elsewhere in Shabwa province, suspected al Qaeda fighters ambushed a patrol before dawn, killing two members of the security forces and wounding four others, officials said. The gunmen attacked the security forces' patrol on a winding mountain road at Nakaba, south of the provincial capital Ataq, the security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to talk to the press. The violence comes as Yemen has stepped up its operations against al Qaeda with help from the U.S., which has increased funding and training of Yemeni security forces. Washington says al Qaeda's offshoot in the Arabian Peninsula country has become a global threat after it allegedly plotted the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a U.S. passenger jet. Shabwa province is one of several where hundreds of al Qaeda fighters are believed to have gained refuge, some protected by tribes disenchanted with the central government.
A Year of Terror Plots, Through a 2nd Prism -- [New York Times]
As terrorist plots against the United States have piled up in recent months, politicians and the news media have sounded the alarm with a riveting message for Americans: Be afraid. Al Qaeda is on the march again, targeting the country from within and without, and your hapless government cannot protect you. But the politically charged clamor has lumped together disparate cases and obscured the fact that the enemies on American soil in 2009, rather than a single powerful and sophisticated juggernaut, were a scattered, uncoordinated group of amateurs who displayed more fervor than skill. The weapons were old-fashioned guns and explosives - in several cases, duds supplied by F.B.I. informants - with no trace of the biological or radiological poisons, let alone the nuclear bombs, that have long been the ultimate fear. And
Is Osama Bin Laden dead or alive? -- [BBC News]
Osama Bin Laden died eight years ago during the battle for Tora Bora in Afghanistan, either from a US bomb or from a serious kidney disease.
Or so the conspiracy theory goes.
The theory that has developed on the web since 9/11 is that US intelligence services are manufacturing the Bin Laden statements to create an evil bogeyman, to justify the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and back at home.
So is the world's most wanted man still alive?
For Civilians -- [SpouseBUZZ - airforcewife]
is a site by military spouses for military spouses, but I'd like to write this post for someone else - civilians. I live in a civilian community right now, and I've been lucky. I am surrounded by people who have been truly helpful and kind. They want to do what they can for our family while Air Force Guy is deployed and I appreciate it more than I can say.
But wanting to help and understanding how to help are two entirely different things. And honestly it really doesn't help that I'm fairly typical as far as military spouses go in not wanting to let people know I need help.
Transitioning to Civilian Life - [You Served]
It was written by Lt. Col. Paul Capicik (USAF ret.) of American Sentinel University. In the piece Lt. Col. Capicik, a 26-year military veteran, covers a variety of important topics to servicemembers transitioning to military life including how to prepare for a transition, training for a civilian career, and landing that first job.
How to Begin the Transition from Military to Civilian Jobs
One of the most important facets of any service member's life is the transition out. Especially as it pertains to finding a job, the transition from a military to civilian career will require planning and preparation. So how do you begin this transition?
Suicide Prevention Conference -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki delivering remarks at the 2010 DoD VA Suicide Prevention Conference in Washington, DC. All way up and down the chain, leadership continues to try and counter the effects of suicide and prevent it to the greatest extent possible. The video is about 22 minutes long, but addresses an important subject. Every day, 18 veterans take their lives.
On Getting By -- [Army of Dude]
In my previous post, I outlined some basic principles needed to successfully navigate the murky waters of education under the GI Bill. The challenges in dealing with the VA for education benefits are considerable, yet veterans new to college face an unfamiliar, unpredictable and strange environment on campus. If taken all at once, these hurdles can quickly overwhelm a student veteran and distract from the overall goal: to finish a degree on time with benefits to spare. Next week I will be in class for my fifth semester of higher education, and in my time I have tinkered with a system of how to bring up my veteran status, discussing Iraq and Afghanistan in the classroom and dealing with the myriad reactions fellow students have had. The system cannot be expected to work for everyone, but as veterans file into classrooms for the first time this spring, these tips could help in the development of a coping system better tailored for you. These should simply help to get you started.
Cooking with the Wounded Kicks off Fundraising -- [Soldiers Angels]
The first team to travel to Landstuhl as part of Cooking with the Wounded (Facebook) is making preparations for their trip, and Soldiers' Angels is asking for your help. The team from the Yellow Bowl Bakery in Lafayette, Indiana, has been busy raising money locally and planning their menu and options to do a dessert bar at the USO Warrior Center. There will be other activities and food as well, to complement what they are doing.
High-Tech Angels - Company Features SA -- [Soldiers Angels]
USWebDomains.com has chosen Soldiers' Angels as their first-ever Cause of the Month! This means that 50% of the company's January 2010 profits from selling domain registration/appraisal, security certificates and web hosting will go to Soldiers' Angels. Please help spread the word about this great company throughout January!
Wounded warriors to get specialized barracks --[Stars and Stripes]
Staff Sgt. John Engel uses a functional squat machine at Irwin Army Community Hospital's physical therapy clinic as part of his rehabilitation. Engel's Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Riley, Kan., will be among the first to move into a barracks complex meant to help wounded troops recover. TOKYO -- The Army is spending $1.2 billion to build specialized barracks and transition centers for wounded troops who remain on active duty but face weeks or months of recovery and rehabilitation.
Win your Deployed Spouse a Sony Touch Reader for Valentine's Day -- [Hooah Wife and friends]
I was contacted by a PR company on behalf of Borders Books to demo the Sony Touch Reader. Being a gadget dork, this was a very exciting opportunity. Believe it or not, I've never really played with one because I'm still "old school" when it comes to wanting to touch and feel the paper between my finger. 2010 is the first year without a written date planner, so maybe I'm ready for this too. The enticing opportunity about this demo, was not only a free reader for my family, but the opportunity to give one to the deployed spouse of one of my readers for a Valentine's Day gift. A win win situation for everyone.
Fort Stewart soldier jailed for angry rap song -- [SavannahNow News]
An Army soldier is in a Georgia jail on charges that he threatened violence against his superiors in a rap song the soldier recorded to denounce the Army's "stop-loss" policy.
Spc. Marc A. Hall has been jailed for a month on charges that he made threats, both in conversation with members of his infantry unit and in the lyrics to his song "Stop Loss."
Soldier Jailed for Angry Rap Song -- [AP/Military.com]
SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Angry that the military planned to send him back to Iraq past his date to leave the military, a Soldier recorded a hip-hop song that blasts the Army and describes going on a shooting spree, an act that led his commanders to decide that the Soldier posed a threat to his unit.
The infantry Soldier, Spc. Marc A. Hall, has been jailed on criminal charges in Georgia, for the past month for a song and other statements that one of his lawyers insists were simply a form of protest.
"They're saying it's a threat. We're saying it's a fantasy," said Jim Klimaski, a Washington civilian attorney who has talked to Hall about the case. "He's mad, but he's not stupid. He's not violent."
Charges filed against Hall, of South Carolina, on Dec. 17, a week after he was jailed, say his threats weren't just confined to his rap recording. The charging document said he also told Soldiers he would "go on a rampage" and that he "was planning on shooting the brigade and battalion commanders."
The rap sheet -- [Greyhawk]
...Certainly in the Hasan case someone failed to connect the dots - and people died. But what happens when dots are connected?
...Hall, according to charges, did "on divers occasions, between on or about 08 July 2009 and on or about 08 December 2009, wrongfully make statements to members of his battalion that he would engage in acts of violence against members of his unit..." That's one of five specifications; others include telling [names redacted in released charge sheet] that he would "hurt someone if he was deployed" and "that he was planning on shooting the brigade and battalion commanders".
Specialist Hall also recorded his threat and sent a copy to the Pentagon. Shortly after Hall was charged, milblogger Jonn Lilyea noticed the IVAW crew had taken up his cause. Not long after that, Stars and Stripes ran a story on the case. ("Army specialist jailed for threats against fellow soldiers, commanders," the headline read.)
Navy Wants Troops Wearing Brain-Scanners Into War -- [Danger Room]
The Pentagon's been pushing for better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent wartime brain injuries. Last year, they requested proposals for pharmacological methods to stave off PTSD. New genetic tests and brain scans, meant to identify war-fighters who are "vulnerable" to stress reactions, are ongoing. Now, the Navy's looking to speed up the diagnosis of brain trauma, with a portable, weather-proof, multipurpose brain scanner.
The Navy -- [Grouchy Old Cripple]
A long nostalgic post from Ron about the Navy. Some of what he's writing about had actually started to change in the late 60's.
Before you get all up in my face 'bout what I'm 'bout to ramble on about, lemme first say that I know the human memory tends to heavily discriminate the stuff it stores, cataloguing things the way it wants to and reserving special places for certain select events, sounds, sights, smells, and scenes. And not only does it selectively edit things in and out, but it tends to embellish events with its individualized set of filters, ethics, morals, priorities, and tastes, magnifying some episodes and minimizing others.
O.K. That said, I recently came across something that triggered memories of my early experiences in the Navy. 'Smatterafact, lotsa things do that as I get older. My holistic retrospect on my 24 years in the USN is quite positive, and I often willingly go back to relive what were my most exciting and satisfying times . . . all the way from a raw unranked boot in San Diego to the guy responsible for maintenance and repair of elex comm & crypto equipment for CincPac, SubPac, CinCPacFlt, Com7thFlt, and several other high-powered commands in Hawaii.
50 Years Of Pentagon Studies Support Gay Soldiers -- [The Atlantic]
In a new paper on the efficacy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" published in this month's Joint Force Quarterly, Col. Om Prakash boils down half a century of Pentagon-commissioned studies on gays in the military into seven short pages. Reviewing the research, he finds that the facts of gay servicemembers' fitness to serve have changed little over 50 years. But the reports themselves reveal something more: The Defense Department's own criticisms of military policies toward gay soldiers have remained consistent, too.
The DoD has funded studies on the impact of gay servicemembers as far back as 1957, ...
A Veteran Speaks: 'Avatar' Demeans Our Military -- [Big Hollywood]
Having served 23 years in the military and in Vietnam, and having a son who leaves for Afghanistan this month, I look at this film through the eyes of a patriot (one who loves and defends his country).
As opposed to those who don't.
Certainly the special effects are spectacular. However, portraying our military as fanatical crazed killers who have joined a military mercenary force to destroy a civilization so that corporations can capitalize on some rare commodity prized by earthlings is disrespectful to our soldiers, especially in this time of war.
A new approach to China -- [The Official Google Blog]
Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.
UPDATED: Connecting the dots on Obama's Council of Governors -- [Flopping Aces]
A SERIES OF EVENTS LEADING TO EXPANDED DOD POWERS
The Council of Governors is not a complete bolt out of the blue, but another step in a series of events. The first recommendation of the Council came in a May 2007 commissioned report on the National Guard and Reserves by Arnold Punaro. The review noted that the Guard was short almost $40 bil in supplies and equipment due to committments since the 911 attack, and that individual governors had been "slighted". The commission recommended a creation of the Council of Governors so that "... governors could provide direct input on National Guard issues to the executive branch."
Month's later, it's creation was mandated by Congress, with no specific timeline to do so, via The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. This was a bill first introduced by Ike Skelton in the House Jan 2008, and sailed thru both chambers with almost unanimous bi-partistan support. It was signed into law Jan 28th, 2008 by then President Bush, and became Public Law No: 110-181.
Buried in the 602 pg bill (pg 498) was Section 1822 - aka the mandate:
...President Bush never created the Council, and neither had President Obama... until yesterday, that is. The question is, did Obama create this council for it's original purpose? From what I've put together so far, it's not looking that way. Keep reading.
Republican Senators say US Forces in Afghanistan 'Confused' About Detaining Enemy Combatants -- [VOA]
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other Republican senators held a news conference at the Capitol in Washington after returning from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They said U.S. and NATO forces are making progress in Afghanistan, but that U.S. military leaders and troops are confused by Obama administration policies aimed at protecting the rights of detained enemy combatants.
WH to request $33 billion in new war spending -- [The Hill]
President Barack Obama is reportedly seeking an additional $33 billion to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to reports in the media.
The new amount -- which would raise war funding from $128 billion in 2009 to about $159 billion in 2010 -- will be part of the president's Quadrennial Defense Review, which the White House will send to Congress on Feb. 1.
Guard service a key to candidate Brown -- [Boston Globe]
Brown is a lieutenant colonel in the Guard, a state senator from Wrentham, and the Republican nominee in the Jan. 19 special election for US Senate.
Brown's years as a citizen-soldier inform many aspects of his personal and political ethic: the value of discipline and physical fitness, his beliefs about national security, war, and peace, and his priorities in the Legislature.
Now, as a candidate for the Senate seat long held by the late Edward M. Kennedy, Brown often emphasizes his military background. His volunteers are called the Brown Brigade. After winning the GOP nomination on Dec. 8, he kicked off the general election campaign with a visit to the state Soldiers' Home of Holyoke, criticizing Governor Deval L. Patrick's budget cuts that forced closing of the outpatient clinic there a week earlier.
Vote Vet - [Greyhawk]
Scott Brown is a Lt Col in the Army National Guard, and may be the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. (No, really.)
Red against blue should fail miserably in the bluest of blue states, but this looks less like Red vs Blue and more like Pink vs Grey.
I'll take Grey, every time. I think these days most voters will.
Democrats launch full court press in Mass. special election -- [Washington Post]
1. Sensing that the once-safe Massachusetts Senate special election might be slipping from their grasp, Democrats moved on a number of fronts over the last 24 hours in an attempt to re-establish state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) as the race's frontrunner in her now surprisingly tough fight against state Sen. Scott Brown (R). On the staff level, both Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan, a veteran of a number of campaigns including a 2004 Senate race in Kentucky, and Michael Meehan, a longtime Democratic operative with ties to Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), were dispatched to stabilize Coakley's campaign. On the ad front, Coakley -- with an assist from the state Democratic party -- launched her first negative commercial of the contest, attacking Brown for being in "lockstep with Washington Republicans." And finally on fundraising, President Obama sent an email to his list insisting that "the outcome of this race couldn't be more important" and asking donors to dig deep to help Coakley.
45-45 -- [Jules Crittenden]
Split on whether Obama's first year was a success or failure. Quinnipiac, which offers the following issue-specific approval-disapproval numbers:
41 - 54 percent for his handling of the economy;
34 - 59 percent for creating jobs;
35 - 58 percent for health care;
48 - 44 percent for handling terrorism.
He squeaks by ... 35-37 ... on whether the country would have been better off with John McCain. Don't worry, there's some good news.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
Poll: 7 in 10 Afghans support US forces -- [Washington Post]
AP KABUL -- Nearly seven in 10 Afghans support the presence of US forces in their country, and 61 percent favor the military buildup of
Irony - White House "Chafes" At Afghan Surge's "Slow Pace" -- [BlackFive - McQ]
The president that decided to again change strategies in Afghanistan after announcing his "new" and "comprehensive" strategy soon after taking office and then dithered for months before making a decision on the "surge" is now concerned that the troops he's committed aren't magically going to be there and ready when he wants them there.
Michael Yon: Trouble With the TSA & the Future of the War in Afghanistan -- [PJTV]
Michael Yon delivers his latest Afghanistan dispatch directly to Instapundit Glenn Reynolds.
Stop Making Sense -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
It is proving impossible to get a read on "the Afghan street" since our Commander in Chief articulated the new set of tactics for Afghanistan at his speech at West Point. It is clear the dynamics on the ground have changed and that this change is being driven by the fact that our great communicator placed an arbitrary date on when we will be done and start going home. Of course nobody in Afghanistan or any place else on planet earth believes we will start to pull out in 18 months but that is not the point. Afghans currently populating positions of power have paid hefty sums to be appointed to those positions and are insisting on getting a good return on their investments before the gravy train leaves the station. My military friends have seen the same thing as they fight endless battles on the Niper net to get the food allowances and other petty cash paid to their Afghan Army soldiers without getting the Afghan senior officers they mentor fired for bringing the problem up in the first place.
Chief Master Sgt To Guam Airmen: Get Ready To Secure Afghanistan -- [Guam News]
In a written commentary to Airmen that was posted on the Andersen Air Force Base website recently, Chief Master Sgt. James A. Roy commended U.S. Airmen for a job well done in the Central Command Area of Responsibility (CENTCOM AOR), which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the high-ranking official absolves noone of any imminent responsibility.
Recognizing that while plans may be in the works to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq in 2011, Roy said President Obama's recent deployment of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan underscores the critical role the Air Force will play in the region for the foreseeable future.
Roy is the official in charge of the U.S. Air Force's enlisted men and women and represents their interests on multiple fronts.
US airstrike kills 4 Taliban fighters in North Waziristan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The US killed four Taliban fighters in the latest strike on a Taliban camp in Pakistan's tribal agency of North Waziristan. The strike targeted a Taliban training camp in the village of Ismail Khan in an area west of Miramshah. The compound is said to be run by Rasta Barkhan, a tribesman closely linked to the Taliban. At least one unmanned strike aircraft fired two missiles into the training center, AFP reported. Five unmanned aircraft were said to be operating in the area prior to the attack. The missile strike took place in territory run by Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the Taliban commander who administers North Waziristan. The Pakistani military signed a peace agreement with Bahadar even though he continues to shelter al Qaeda leaders and fighters, and sends his forces to battle the US and NATO in Afghanistan. The last three strikes in Pakistan have taken place in tribal areas run by Bahadar.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal Says Tide Is Turning in Afghanistan -- [ABC News]
Gen. Stanley McChrystal believes the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan has already blunted the Taliban's momentum and the tide is turning against the Taliban.
In an exclusive interview with ABC's "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said he believes he is making good on his promise of a "quantum shift" on the battlefield.
Provincial Governor, TF Lethal Warrior Visit Western Kunar Districts -- [PRT-Kunar - in Afghanistan]
...Pearl praised the elders for their strength and asked them to use it to improve their districts. "Thank you for supporting our soldiers," he said. "Since you are the elders and you're a strong group, I ask that you protect my soldiers as they protect you and your families."
At the Manogai shura, Pearl used an analogy for security that brought a hearty hurrah from the group. "Coalition Forces, the government, ANA, ANP and the elders cannot do it alone. We are like five fingers going five separate ways," he said. "But, when we come together we are like a fist and we can do great things."
Wahidi said the trip was a good opportunity to see the progress being made in the districts since his last trip nearly a year ago.
Marines Interact With Locals in New Territory -- [ISAF]
Laki, a village in Afghanistan, located in the southern portion of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment's area of operation in the Garmsir District of Helmand province has never had a conventional coalition force visit or even walk down its streets.
The Marines and sailors of Weapons Company and Jump Platoon, 2/2, were the first to break this streak as they entered the village and patrolled the streets of Laki Jan. 4-7, 2010, to familiarize themselves with the local populace and to begin providing security in the area.
One such patrol began in the mid morning hours of Jan. 5, as Marines and local members of the Afghan National Army set off with the hopes of meeting with the local village elders of Laki.
Vt. Guard Members Deploy To Afghanistan -- [WPTZ]
Many hugs, kisses and tears marked the last sendoff ceremony Sunday for 500 Vermont National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.
Back to my ol' stumping grounds -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Just when I thought I finally said goodbye to my former camp, we got tasked with a last minute mission to go there today. Last night around 8:30 pm, we received verbal notification that we were rolling to Camp Blackhorse in the morning. I was rather excited until I was informed we would have to wake up at 4 am. Our goal was to be on the vehicles at 5 am and depart by 5:30 am.
Cordesman on Flynn -- [Flit]
...On the other hand, any assessments of Afghan force capability were by definition unclassified. I'm not complaining, it's the main reason I have been able to be so frank here and elsewhere about what I did, but... the lack of a classified alternative meant that any such assessments risked becoming sugar-coated almost beyond recognition, for fear that, you know, someone somewhere might read them -- since anyone can read the unclassified stuff -- and see them as disparaging to Afghans. And since the tendency for something to be read (or at least, the fear that it might be) rises in parallel to the rank level of its author, the sugar coat would grow thicker with each level in the chain of command. That would have been fine, just good PR really, if there'd been a classified equivalent where higher-ups could say what they really thought. But there wasn't.
So you had this bizarre situation where junior officers could offer their candid assessments, in effect confident that they likely would be filtered out of higher aggregated information, because it was unclassified. Decision makers only saw the sugar, and the only really accurate assessments of what the Afghans were capable of that anyone in the leadership outside of the combat zone would see were those of leakers and independent journalists, who were often criticized for their pains as defeatists.
How a Plugged-In DC Think Tank Published a General's Brutal Intel Critique -- [Danger Room]
In military circles, the talk all week has been about how and why the top intelligence officer in Afghanistan wound up publishing a scathing critique through a small-but-influential think tank. Now, we've got the answers. When Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn published his tough assessment of the military's spy agencies in Afghanistan, it caught Pentagon officials by surprise -- not least because Flynn distributed it through Center for a New American Security. While Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said through his press secretary that he thought Flynn's findings were "spot on," he made it clear he was a bit uncomfortable with the conduit Flynn used to distribute the report. Reuters, quoting Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, said Gates had "real reservations about the general's choice of venue for publication." So how, exactly, did the think tank get picked to publish the report?
Building a Sustainable, Legitimate, Effective Afghanistan Security Force -- [SWJ]
The purpose of this paper is to provide our observations and preliminary thoughts concerning the way ahead for NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A) based on our work as part of the Quick-Look Assessment team from 3-19 December 2009. We both had the pleasure to work closely with members of the command whose professionalism and enthusiasm were deeply inspiring. The command confronts great challenges as it pursues a mission vital to coalition success. We are qualified optimists about the potential success of the mission. The most important source of our optimism for eventual mission success comes from our observations of the tremendous talent and dedication of the individuals assigned to this command. We were also heartened by our interaction with individuals from other commands and with many impressive Afghan partners.
Sustainability -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
One of the things I am considering is Sustainability. In particular how will Afghanistan be able to sustain what has been started. In general the best approach to most issues or problems is to find a low cost-high return solution(IE not always the way we do things in the US). There is much effort being placed on Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) force generation and infrastructure development. What I have not seen or heard about is economic development or income programs for the country of Afghanistan.
Pfinish -- [Embedded in Afghanistan... - in Afghanistan]
"Finish" was one word our ANA knew in English. They'd been around Americans long enough to pick up that one very useful word at least. They pronounce it kind of like "pfinish", but the point is they knew what it meant. The word itself actually became a powerful camaraderie-building tool for us, as it really allowed the ETTs and the ANA to communicate directly with each other without the need for a terp, albeit in a very limited way, though one might be surprised how far that one word can go....
Key area residents 'feel ignored' -- [UK Press Association]
More British support is needed to help push insurgents out of a remote but strategically important area of Afghanistan, the assistant district governor has said.
Local people in the Kajaki area of northern Helmand feel as if they are being ignored, he said.Many villages surrounding the British base in the area were deserted in 2006 after the Taliban threatened to kill anybody who was seen co-operating with coalition troops.
Speaking through an interpreter, Torjan, who uses only one name, said if the situation was to improve there would need to be more help from both coalition forces and the Afghan government.
Drone Flights Leave Military Awash in Data -- [NY Times]
As the military rushes to place more spy drones over Afghanistan, the remote-controlled planes are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up.
8 Jan 2010 -- [Military Consciousness - in Afghanistan]
well, woke up at 0500 to the sound of more BOOMs- not sure what they were but apparently one of them was a dud, or didn't fully explode...kin of a THUD and not so much a BOOM ...I think there were three this time ...as far as I know, no injuries or damage...and that started my day off-couldn't really get back to sleep...work was just another boring day at the barn...pressure washed a couple generators and drove them over to the other side so they could be rebuilt or whatever...
Nothing. -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
Don't have much to write about. We're off the road for a little while. How about some pictures?
How the CIA Can Improve its Operations in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
In terms of loss of life, the bombing of the CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, may be the most costly mistake in the agency's history. So it's important to look carefully for clues about how it happened and lessons for the future. CIA veterans cite a series of warning signs that the agency wasn't paying enough attention to the counterintelligence threat posed by al-Qaeda. These danger signals weren't addressed because the agency underestimated its adversary and overestimated its own skills and those of its allies. The time to fix these problems is now - not with a spasm of second-guessing that will further weaken the CIA but through the agency's own adaptation to this war zone. As the Khost attack made painfully clear, the CIA needs better tradecraft for this conflict. By getting a suicide bomber inside a CIA base, the al-Qaeda network showed that it remains a sophisticated adversary, despite intense pressure from CIA Predator attacks. "They didn't get lucky, they got good and we got sloppy all over Afghanistan," says one agency counterterrorism veteran. This shouldn't have been a surprise
From Baghdad to Beirut -- [Michael Totten]
What Iraq's capital should aspire to--and what it should fear.
I recently made my seventh trip to Iraq to try to answer an important question: Will the country explode after American soldiers withdraw? But the answer may lie 600 miles to the west--in Beirut, where I traveled from Baghdad. The best-case scenario for Iraq may be that it becomes a more backward version of Lebanon. The two countries share encouraging traits that neither has in common with any other country in the Arab world: ethnic and religious diversity, more or less free and fair elections, and at least some degree of freedom of speech.
Hingham cheers on soldiers bound for Iraq -- [The Patriot Ledger]
By Anonymous About 700 people came out before the sun this morning to say good luck and goodbye to 70 National Guard members on their way to Iraq.
Bomb wounds 3 guards of Iraqi lawmaker -- [AP]
A bomb attached to a car in the Iraqi capital wounded five people Monday, including three bodyguards of a Shiite lawmaker, officials said.
A police official at the scene told The Associated Press that the legislator, Izzat Ashabander, was not in the convoy when it was targeted. He said the two other people wounded in the blast were bystanders.
Personal Delivery -- [Shortimer - in Iraq]
Just before Christmas Capt. Chris Hassan, a platoon leader with the 3-21st Infantry, went above and beyond reasonable expectations in completing what amounts to a final Iraq mission.
Let me explain: Jessica Hoffman and I traveled in Strykers under Hassan's command on a mission at FOB Normandy. The photo shows the captain briefing soldiers before we joined Iraqis searching a palm grove used launching rockets at Warhorse. When we shifted back to the 1-25ths headquarters we ...
Iraqis Say They Were Forced to Take Blackwater Settlement -- [Los Angeles Times]
Several victims of a 2007 shooting involving American private security guards employed by the firm formerly known as Blackwater alleged Sunday that they were coerced into reaching settlements, and they demanded that the Iraqi government intervene to have the agreements nullified. The Iraqis said they were pressured by their own attorneys into accepting what they now believe are inadequate settlements because they were told the company was about to file for bankruptcy, that its chairman was going to be arrested and that the U.S. government was about to confiscate all of the firm's assets. This would be their last chance to get any compensation, the victims said they were told.
Groundhog Day, Revisited -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
...This afternoon we had our routine broken up. We were rousted out of our offices because there was a "suspicious package" right outside and the EOD guys were on their way. The package, of course, turned out to be a big nothing, but it required a couple of hours to determine that. I took advantage of the break to make a quick run to the mini-BX next to the DFAC. This mini-BX is, literally, a trailer ... the kind you see behind every 18-wheeler in the country.
Iraq hostage Peter Moore tells Met Police of capture -- [BBC News]
The IT expert from Lincoln's account of his capture in Iraq in 2007 is likely to be crucial to inquiries into the murder of three of his bodyguards.
Counting down the Days -- [In the Narmy - in Iraq]
Not much new and exciting going on out here. It has gotten a little bit colder, but not much. Temp is in the low to mid 70's during the day, and the 40's at night. I expected a little more rain, but there hasn't been much. I finished my college classes up. They went pretty smoothly overall. Hopefully I will follow up on that when I get home. Last week, I told you about meeting the football players, particularly about the guy behind me having a picture of Brian "The Boz" Bosworth getting trucked by Bo Jackson. I ended up bumping into the guy the other day and asked him how it went, and he said The Boz was really cool about it, and signed the picture "Bo Knows The Boz". Our relief should be getting here in a month to do turnover. It's all down hill from there.
Three Days of Violence in Karachi Kill 35 -- [Voice of America]
Three days of violence in Pakistan's commercial hub, Karachi, have killed at least 35 members of various political parties. The French News Agency (AFP) on Sunday quoted an anonymous senior security official as saying the targeted killings by unidentified gunmen began Thursday after police discovered the headless body of a worker from the city's dominant political party, the Mutahida Qaumi Movement. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the killings are the handiwork of those who want to undermine the provincial government and "destabilize the country."
Israel Reacts Angrily to U.S. Threat of Sanctions -- [Voice of America]
The stalled Middle East peace process is continuing to raise tensions between Israel and the United States. Israel says Washington is blaming the wrong party. Israel reacted angrily to a threat by the United States to impose sanctions on the Jewish state. In an American TV interview, Middle East envoy George Mitchell said the United States could withhold loan guarantees if Israel fails to advance the peace process. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that the Palestinians have refused to resume peace talks despite Israeli concessions. The Palestinians have demanded a complete freeze on settlement expansion before returning to negotiations and reject Israel's offer of a partial freeze.
CIA bomber appears in video with Pakistani Taliban leader -- [McClatchy]
Pakistani officials fear that a video that appears to link the suicide bomber who struck a CIA base in Afghanistan last week to the Pakistani Taliban will prompt the Obama administration to step up pressure on them to take more aggressive action against extremists and intensify U.S. drone attacks on targets in Pakistan.
In the video, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, is sitting alongside the attacker, Jordanian Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al Balawi, with automatic weapons on their laps, against a dark backdrop and an Islamic verse. The video appears to indicate that the Pakistani Taliban played a significant role in the attack on the U.S. base and to provide new evidence of the Pakistani group's ties to al Qaida.
Father of C.I.A. Bomber Speaks -- [NY Times]
Khalil al-Balawi said that he was not surprised by his son's actions...
Al-Qaeda has a new strategy. Obama needs one, too. -- [Washington Post]
oddly enough for a terrorist movement supposedly on its last legs, al-Qaeda late last month launched two separate attacks less than a week apart -- one failed and one successful -- triggering the most extensive review of U.S. national security policies since 2001. Al-Qaeda's newfound vitality is the product of a fresh strategy that plays to its networking strength and compensates for its numerical weakness. In contrast to its plan on Sept. 11, which was to deliver a knock-out blow to the United States, al-Qaeda's leadership has now adopted a "death by a thousand cuts" approach. There are five core elements to this strategy.
Yemen Offers to Strike a Deal with al-Qaeda Fighters -- [The Times]
The President of Yemen said yesterday that he was willing to strike a deal with al-Qaeda if militants laid down their weapons, amid warnings that dozens of foreign fighters were streaming into the country. Ali Abdullah Saleh's offer to negotiate with members of the terror network came as officials said that several al-Qaeda operatives, including Saudis and Egyptians, were travelling from Afghanistan to join fighters in the lawless tribal lands in central and southern Yemen. Among those said to be in hiding in the area is Anwar al-Awlaki, the influential Yemeni preacher.
Yemen to Make Deal with al Qaeda, Saleh -- [Jawa Report]
President Saleh's willingness to negotiate with al Qaeda is not new. In 2005 it became clear that Judge al Hittar's dialog program was an early release mechanism and little else, and the program was discontinued. In June 2006, President Saleh and intelligence chief Gamal al Qamish began direct negotiations with al Qaeda, promising government jobs, more prisoner releases and an easing of travel restrictions in exchange for no attacks within Yemen on government facilities.
Yemeni president vows crackdown on al-Qaeda branch -- [Washington Post]
Yemen's president vowed over the weekend to track down al-Qaeda militants who refuse to renounce terrorism, as President Obama affirmed in a magazine interview that he has no plans at the moment to send troops to Yemen
Obama Plays Down Military Role in Yemen - [New York Times]
President Obama said he has "no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground" to Yemen and Somalia amid mounting concern about terrorist cells in those countries. In excerpts of an interview with People magazine released on Sunday, Mr. Obama said that the "border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan remains the epicenter of Al Qaeda," though he acknowledged that the group's branch in Yemen has become "a more serious problem." But his administration is seeking to emphasize international cooperation, rather than military action, to confront the problem in Yemen. "I never rule out any possibility in a world that is this complex," said Mr. Obama. But,
Detroit bomber 'singing like a canary' before arrest -- [Telegraph]
President Barack Obama is under fire over claims that the Christmas Day underwear bomber was "singing like a canary" until he was treated as an ordinary criminal and advised of his right to silence.
Eight Years in Guantanamo -- [Counterterrorism Blog]
On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners from the war on terror in Afghanistan arrived at the United States Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay on an Air Force cargo plane, wearing orange jump suits, face masks, shackles and manacles. On that first day, about 23 suspected enemy combatants were locked into the wire cages of the now-abandoned "Camp X-Ray."
According to public records available on the Pentagon web site, 23 men were processed into the detention camp on January 12, their weights and heights recorded. On January 12, the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld implied that there was nothing special about these prisoners
"Significant increase" in spinal injuries in Afghanistan not seen in Iraq -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Insurgents have responded to the military's use of heavily armed MRAPs with massive IEDs which are easily buried under the unpaved roads of Afghanistan. And while the MRAPs can often protect the troops from the types of blast injuries sustained in Humvees in Iraq, back and spinal injuries have increased significantly. The newer all-terrain MRAPs with improved shock-absorbing seating and more complex harness designs have begun to arrive in theater, and doctors are providing engineers with patient data for further design improvements.
Army to increase medevac support, add new CAB, more UAVs -- [Army News Service]
The Army's top operations officer said yesterday that not only will the Army add a new combat aviation brigade to the warfight, it will also increase the number of aircraft in medical evacuation companies.
Soldier's life altering injury turns into unique war love story -- [Army News Service]
When Capt. Sam Brown was injured in Afghanistan, he saw everything he had planned for his future disappear. Little did he know that what he went through, in fact, helped him discover one part of his life he thought he would never find.
When Capt. Sam Brown was injured in Afghanistan, he saw everything he had planned for his future.
Win your Deployed Spouse a Sony Touch Reader for Valentine's Day -- [Hooah Wife and friends]
I was contacted by a PR company on behalf of Borders Books to demo the Sony Touch Reader. Being a gadget dork, this was a very exciting opportunity. Believe it or not, I've never really played with one because I'm still "old school" when it comes to wanting to touch and feel the paper between my finger. 2010 is the first year without a written date planner, so maybe I'm ready for this too. The enticing opportunity about this demo, was not only a free reader for my family, but the opportunity to give one to the deployed spouse of one of my readers for a Valentine's Day gift. A win win situation for everyone.
Operation Overseas Mardi Gras 2010 -- [Soldiers Angels LA]
It's that time again in Louisiana where the festivities have begun and the spirit of Mardi Gras is in the air! We are officially kicking off "Operation Overseas Mardi Gras 2010". This will be our third year in a row and we hope to double what we did last year! Our goal is 1,500 care packages stuffed full of Mardi Gras cheer. These packages will go to our deployed units from Louisiana, stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
'Special angel' at USO inspires all -- [The News Journal]
She went to the Gulf Coast in 2005 to support troops deployed there after Hurricane Katrina. And she has been overseas, too, to assist far-flung USO sites.
Knitting To Support Troops -- [WBNG-TV]
If we can at least keep their ears warm then we will have done some small measure of letting them know that the people at home support them," said Nash.
From Battlefield to Ivy League, on the G.I. Bill -- [NY Times]
Perhaps nowhere is this new wave more striking than at Columbia, which more than any other Ivy League institution has thrown out a welcome mat for returning servicemen and women. There are 210 veterans across the university, integrating a campus whose image-defining moment in the past half-century was of violent protests against the Vietnam War.
...The campus still tilts heavily to the left, with many students displaying the arty, jaded aura befitting their Manhattan surroundings. But now, students largely welcome the vets, who are both admired and considered something of a curiosity.
The veterans in the undergraduate program attend classes side by side with fresh-faced 18-year-olds, but do not often socialize with them, preferring to gather instead at their own watering hole. In contrast to their classmates, many -- though certainly not all -- lack stellar high school records, which is what propelled some of them to the military in the first place.
Welcome Home! Not So Much -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - home from Iraq]
All the time we were in Iraq and using internet at dial-up speeds we thought how great it was going to be to get back to America and have real high-speed internet. We would also have cell phones and text messages and voice mail and all of the lovely ways to keep in touch that we missed.
Around 300 area soldiers will return home Monday -- [WQOW]
Approximately 290 Soldiers, mostly from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, will return to Wisconsin Monday (Jan. 11) from Iraq following a year-long deployment.
Operation Welcome Home -- [ABC30.com]
Details of the Governor's 20 million dollar plan called Operation Welcome Home will have 9 regional offices. Fresno County will be one of those nine tasked
British journalist Rupert Hamer killed in Afghanistan -- [Defense News]
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm an incident in Afghanistan involving two UK journalists from the Sunday Mirror newspaper, embedded with the United States Marine Corps.
The two journalists - the newspaper's defence correspondent Rupert Hamer and photographer Philip Coburn - were accompanying a patrol to the north-west of Nawa, when the vehicle in which they were travelling struck an improvised explosive device.
Despite the best efforts of medics at the scene and subsequently Mr Hamer died of his wounds. Mr Coburn remains in a serious but stable condition.
The Label Factor: Is Obama a Wimp or a Warrior? -- [NY Times]
Like every Democratic president since John F. Kennedy, President Obama is battling the perception that he's a wimp on national security. It's not just coming from Republicans ...
Afghanistan and Iraq Polls: "Where Things Stand" -- [ABC News]
As part of its award-winning "Where Things Stand" series, ABC News has sponsored five national public opinion polls in Afghanistan since 2005 and six in Iraq since 2004. Its coverage of these unique surveys has won several national news awards, including two Emmys, the first in the history of the news Emmys to cite public opinion polls.
Each of these surveys has been conducted through face-to-face interviews, in Dari, Pashto, Arabic and Kurdish, by trained interviewers with random national samples of Afghan and Iraqi adults. Question subjects have ranged from living conditions and experience of violence to personal aspirations, economic and emotional well-being and political and social attitudes.
Gates to remain at Defense at least another year -- [LA Times]
Reporting from Washington - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has committed to remaining in his post for an additional year, keeping him in office at least through the next crucial Afghanistan strategy review this year.
In Pentagon circles, speculation about Gates' intentions had been intense. When President Obama first announced that he intended to keep Gates as Defense secretary, some experts predicted he would stay on only for the first year of the administration.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
14 terror suspects mistakenly kill themselves -- [CNN]
Fourteen suspected terrorists died Tuesday night when the bus they rigged with explosives blew up prematurely, police said.
The explosion occurred as the suspects were riding the bus in the province of Kunduz, said police chief Abdul Raziq Yaqobi.
Yaqobi said the suspects wanted to attack Afghan police or foreign soldiers.
Taliban Terror Tactics Backfire -- [Strategy Page]
In North Waziristan, Pakistan, army troops are gathering for new attacks on terrorist locations (Taliban and Haqqani network). In the past week, Taliban death squads killed two leaders of local militias, as well as several other tribal leaders who had adopted an anti-Taliban stance. It's clear that, since the Taliban can't face the army in battle, they are attempting to terrorize a frightened (of the Taliban) population that is trying to protect itself.
The Arab War Against The Taliban -- [Strategy Page]
The December 30th suicide bombing of a U.S. base in Afghanistan, revealed that one of the eight people killed was Ali bin Zeid, an agent for Jordanian intelligence. The fact that Zeid was identified was unusual, as the presence of Arab intelligence officials and commandos in Afghanistan is usually kept very quiet. But Zeid was a relative of the king of Jordan, and it was apparently thought better to just announce his "martyrdom" and avoid all the rumors that would appear otherwise.
One of the best kept secrets in the war on terror is the number of casualties among Arab commando and intelligence troops serving in Afghanistan. Several Arab nations have quietly contributed intelligence and commando units to the counter-terror effort there. This has been kept quiet, but is an open secret in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
U.S. Saw a Path to Qaeda Chiefs Before Bombing -- [New York Times]
Before detonating a suicide bomb in Afghanistan last week, a Jordanian militant was considered by American spy agencies to be the most promising informant in years about the whereabouts of Al Qaeda's top leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri, the terrorist group's second-ranking operative. American intelligence officials said Tuesday they had been so hopeful about what the Jordanian might deliver during a meeting with CIA officials last Wednesday at a remote base in Khost that top officials at the agency and the White House had been informed that the gathering would take place. Instead ...
Coalition Urged to Revamp Intelligence Gathering, Distribution in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
The highest-ranking U.S. military intelligence officer in Afghanistan has called for a major restructuring of the intelligence gathering and distribution in that country, arguing that the present system "is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy." Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, called for a shift from collecting information to help with capturing or killing insurgents, and said more resources should go toward gathering facts about the political, economic and cultural environment of the population that supports the insurgency. "Lethal targeting alone will not help U.S. and allied forces win in Afghanistan," Flynn wrote in a published report.
Spies Like Us: Top U.S. Intel Officer Says Spooks Could Learn From Journos -- [Danger Room]
American intelligence in Afghanistan is broken, says the top U.S. intelligence officer there. That's because it focuses too much on whacking Taliban, and not enough on figuring out Afghanistan's social and cultural landscapes. But the report from Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, the top intelligence aide to International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, raises lots of other issues, too. Like, what happened to the military's "human terrain" programs to map those landscapes? Can spies really perform better if they think and work like journalists? And why is this report being publicly distributed through a think tank?
Flynn's report -- which was prepared for public release by the Center for a New American Security - begins with a stunning admission. "Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy,"
Slow Start for Military Corps in Afghanistan -- [New York Times]
The military's effort to build a seasoned corps of expert officers for the Afghan war, one of the highest priorities of top commanders, is off to a slow start, with too few volunteers and a high-level warning to the armed services to steer better candidates into the program, according to some senior officers and participants. The groundbreaking program is meant to address concerns that the fight in Afghanistan has been hampered by a lack of continuity and expertise in the region among military personnel. But some officers have been reluctant to sign up for an unconventional career path because they fear it will hurt their advancement - a perception that top military leaders are trying to dispel as they tailor new policies for the complex task of taking on resilient insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each military branch ...
Afghan Doctor -- [Doc H's International Adventure -- in Afghanistan]
Doctor can be a very deceptive title in Afghanistan. When most people in the US speak of a doctor, they are speaking about a Medical professional with a doctorate degree in Medicine who has a license to practice medicine. Here, as with many things, the lines of differentiation blur to the point of becoming a continuum of gray space. I have been introduced to many Afghans who refer to themselves as a doctor. In truth most are acting in the capacity of a physician, but they usually do not have training in medicine. The term Doctor is used for both Medics and Medical Doctors(MD). It can be very confusing for all involved including the patients.
Just Another Day -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...I attended the ANA BUB (Battlefield Update Briefing) or at least I think this is what the acronym stands for. This is the meeting hosted by the ANA General with all of key leaders to discuss the daily happenings. Since my first meeting, they have added PowerPoint presentations to the briefing. This really enhances the briefing and I am able to discern where the IED attacks and insurgent attacks took place. Previously it was done by word of mouth and I didn't have a clue because so many people talk when our translator is trying to interpret what was said.
My Last Tour: Duct Tape and Beanie Babies -- [WUSF - Afghanistan: My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Despite the technical problems, Temple missed only one day writing for his blog.
"That's my line of communication with my family and wife, and now I have about 700 readers a day that are tapping into and reading my blog. So I'm going to continue it. Right now I have a workaround," he said.
...Another new development that Temple has high hopes for is called Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP). Local troops can spend CERP money on village needs, up to $50,000. "It's definitely a tool to win the hearts and minds if you use the tool appropriately and go out and talk to the villagers. For a lot of villages it's wells. They want access to water," he said.
Another surprise that greeted Temple on his return was more than 60 boxes of school supplies sitting in his office. People from several states have responded to his school supply drive. He's anxious for school to return to session in February so he can distribute the donations - and it's not just pencils and notepads.
"I have teamed up with Beanie Babies for Baghdad and not only do they send Beanie Babies, they send clothing, soccer balls..."
36,915 ammo rounds and counting -- [Flightlines]
It has been a hectic six months for the 354th Fighter Squadron deployed to Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan from the unit's home at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Here are some of the numbers the A-10 pilots and maintainers racked up flying just 12 Warthogs, according the unit's public affairs office.
...Busiest day: Oct. 3 when Combat Outpost Keating was under attack and the A-10s logged 100 hours protecting the forward base, with as many as eight planes flying at the same time.
Iraq Releases Militia Leader Believed To Be Behind US... -- [MyStateline.com]
(Baghdad) -- The Iraqi government has released an alleged militia leader and cleric accused of orchestrating the deaths of five American soldiers in Karbala ...
Iraq frees Shiite militant in exchange for Briton, followers say -- [Los Angeles Times]
High-level Iraqi officials refuse to confirm the release of Qais Khazali, which had been billed as a key step before his group would hand over Peter Moore, an abducted Briton who was freed last week.
Judge Made the Right Call in Blackwater Case -- [Washington Post]
A judge's decision to throw out the indictment against five Blackwater contractors accused of murdering Iraqi civilians is infuriating. It is also correct. In a detailed, 90-page opinion, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia excoriated Justice Department prosecutors who "knowingly endangered the viability of the prosecution" by flouting legal rules and constitutional provisions that made dismissal of the charges inevitable. The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which polices prosecutorial misconduct, should scrutinize those responsible. Unless the Justice Department refiles the case - a feat made exceedingly difficult by the judge's decision - profound questions will remain about what happened that September day in 2007 when 17 people were shot dead and some 20 others injured after a Blackwater convoy drove into the crowded Nisoor Square in Baghdad and opened fire. The Blackwater contractors were summoned by State Department interrogators shortly after the incident and told they could lose their jobs if they did not cooperate.
Local troops from Jennings heading to Iraq soon -- [KPLC-TV]
Around 3000 Guardsmen will be departing soon for Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A ceremony is being held Wednesday morning at 10:00 am in
Oh dark-thirty -- [Lost in the Desert - in Iraq]
...We're rolling. All snug in our reinforced up-armored steel and kevlar and thick glass vehicles that sprout antennae like some giant beetle that just might eat your children - we're here to help.
I listen to the trucks in front of me call off their status, letting the convoy commander know that countermeasures are operating and weapons are loaded. My driver always loves it when it's our turn and I click my button and announce "one-seven is amber, amber, hot, and jamming." She smiles to herself and we're out the gate. Two hours north today, all on a modernish four-lane highway. Through slums and commercial districts and along the overpass that goes through "trash city."
U.S. talking to former Baathists in Iraq -- [Azzaman]
Members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party are holding talks with the United States inside Iraq, a senior Baath party official said....
Iran Shielding Its Nuclear Efforts in Maze of Tunnels -- [New York Times]
Last September, when Iran's uranium enrichment plant buried inside a mountain near the holy city of Qum was revealed, the episode cast light on a wider pattern: Over the past decade, Iran has quietly hidden an increasingly large part of its atomic complex in networks of tunnels and bunkers across the country. In doing so, American government and private experts say, Iran has achieved a double purpose. Not only has it shielded its infrastructure from military attack in warrens of dense rock, but it has further obscured the scale and nature of its notoriously opaque nuclear effort. The discovery of the Qum plant only heightened fears about other undeclared sites. Now, with the passing of President Obama's year-end deadline for diplomatic progress, that cloak of invisibility has emerged as something of a stealth weapon, complicating the West's military and geopolitical calculus. The Obama administration says ...
N. Korea Began Uranium Program Following Deal With U.S. -- [AP/Fox News]
North Korea appears to have launched a uranium enrichment program as a new way of building atomic bombs soon after its 1994 deal with the U.S. to dismantle its existing plutonium nuclear weapons program, South Korea said Wednesday.
S. Korea Seeks 'Turning Point' In Ties With N. Korea -- [Defense News]
South Korea said Jan. 4 it was seeking "a turning point" in relations with North Korea and again urged its communist nuclear-armed northern neighbor to disarm.
Japan's leader wants more equal ties with U.S. -- [Stars& Stripes]
Japan's prime minister said this week he will press for a more equal relationship with the United States during this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of a joint security treaty allowing forward-deployed U.S. forces in the country.
The comments came after months of building friction between the two governments, ...
Jihadist kidnappers plague North Africa -- [UPI]
Jihadist groups in North Africa and the Sahel states are increasingly turning to hostage-taking to fill their war chests with ransoms and for political gain.
The latest episode ended in the murder of four Saudi Arabian tourists hunting birds in the desert region of Tillaberi in western Niger last week, when bandits tried to kidnap them.
Threats Lead Food Agency to Curtail Aid in Somalia -- [New York Times]
After weeks of receiving threats and demands that it dismiss many female employees and pay a "security fee" to an Islamic extremist group, the United Nations World Food Program announced Tuesday that it was suspending food deliveries to one million people in southern Somalia indefinitely. The cutoff, which includes the withdrawal of more than 40 local staff members, will affect roughly one third of the 2.8 million people whom the food program had anticipated feeding in Somalia in January.
Security for trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would cost $200M a year -- [Daily News]
Security for the federal trial of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accused cohorts will run $200 million a year, sources told the Daily News.
The NYPD's newly revised projection is almost triple the estimate of $75 million in November, after Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would move the prisoners from Guantanamo to Manhattan for trial.
Attempt to Bomb Airliner Could Have Been Prevented, Obama Says -- [Washington Post]
President Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence agencies could have prevented the attempt to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day, and used a grim and forceful White House statement to demand rapid improvements in efforts to protect Americans from attack. "This was not a failure to collect intelligence," Obama said after meeting with senior national security and intelligence officials, "it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. . . . That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it." The administration has been criticized by Republicans and some Democrats for intelligence lapses that allowed Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, allegedly carrying undetected explosives, to board the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight despite reports that he had met with al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists in Yemen known to be planning to attack the United States.
Court Backs War Powers Over Rights of Detainees -- [New York Times]
A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday strongly backed the powers of the government to hold Guantánamo detainees and other noncitizens suspected of committing terrorist acts. In a sweeping opinion, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the presidential war power to detain those suspected of terrorism is not limited even by international law of war. The decision, if it is not reversed by the Supreme Court, could apply to all cases involving detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since all of those cases are heard by the District of Columbia Circuit. As a result, the Obama administration will have a stronger position when opposing a court order to release a terrorism suspect.
Yemen Releases Six Former Gitmo Despite Promises to Obama -- [Jawa Report]
Its not a surprise the six detainees transferred from Gitmo to Yemen were released within a week of their return to Yemen, and its no surprise that the Saleh government in Yemen lied to the US with its pledge of continued detention. What's shocking is that anyone on the US side actually believed them to start with.
The Heritage Foundation has some advice on Terrorist Transfers from Gitmo to Yemen:
Return of Yemeni Detainees at Guantanamo Bay is Suspended -- [Washington Post]
The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is suspending the repatriation of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay to Yemen, where a deteriorating security situation driven by a branch of al-Qaeda has stoked fears that detainees could join - or rejoin - the terrorist organization if released. The decision means that at least 30 Yemenis who were cleared for release by a Justice Department-led inter-agency review could face many more months in detention. Of the 198 detainees remaining at Guantanamo, approximately 90 are Yemeni.
Former bin Laden Bodyguard is Among Ex-guerrillas in Yemen -- [Washington Post]
When he served in the Afghan mountains as Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, Nasser al-Bahri said, he was known as "The Killer." Today, Bahri is a business consultant in Yemen who favors Western-style pinstriped shirts, crisp slacks and black loafers. But his ideas are still radical: Ask him whether jihadists should kill Americans on U.S. soil and he replies without hesitation, "America is a legitimate target."
Pentagon Backs Off Petraeus News of Doubling Yemen Military Aid -- [Voice of America]
The U.S. Defense Department says it has not yet determined how much military aid to provide to Yemen this year, to help the country fight terrorism and build its armed forces. That contradicts a statement last Friday by General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
...on Monday, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said the U.S. government has not yet determined how much military aid to give Yemen this year, including funds from its 1206 account, which are designated for counter-terrorism assistance.
"Without knowing precisely what General Petraeus might have been referring to, I am only speaking to right now the 1206 Building Partnership Capacity [funds]," said Bryan Whitman. "And I have to tell you at this point that those funding levels by country have not yet been determined."
TIMELINE: Al Qaeda activity in Yemen -- [Reuters]
Yemen has stepped up a campaign to root out al Qaeda militants after the group's Yemen-based wing said it was behind a December 25 attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner.
1823 Heroes Waiting for Adoption -- [Soldiers Angels]
Every Soldiers' Angels volunteer who adopts, joins a team or assists a project helps ensure "No Soldier Go Unloved." Angel volunteers support the troops in two main ways:
Associate Angels participate in the group activities and projects that do not involve personal information about soldiers or families. The tireless work and generosity of these patriots is the foundation of many important Soldiers' Angels projects.
Vigilance: The Good Kind -- [Soldier's Mom - Carla Lois]
I have always tried to stay informed on legislation and thought that I had done a pretty good job of it in my adult lifetime. It wasn't until my son was wounded that I realized how little I -- and the rest of the public -- knew about "the system" and services for the military, the wounded, veterans and service retirees.
It was a shock to me, for instance, to learn that the 94% of military personnel who were medically discharged from the service with less than a 30% disability rating received a lump sum severance payment from their service branch, but were required to repay it in full from their Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits!
Seminole Behavioral lands $49,000 grant -- [Orlando Business Journal]
Seminole Behavioral Healthcare was awarded a $49,479 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice to provide treatment and early intervention services for troops with mental health or substance abuse issues.
The foundation awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to seven nonprofit organizations that serve military personnel from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families.
When Homeschooling Meets Military -- [Spouse Buzz]
We have four children, and they have all been home-schooled. It works for us.
Anyway, one of the books we use for early reading is called "Explode the Code." My kids LOVE Explode the Code (and I would heartily recommend it for early reading even if your children are attending regular school - it is fun and it works wonders), which uses silly sentences and pictures to teach all sorts of reading rules before the children even know they are learning.
Tricare ends when you begin again -- [Military.com]
Q: My husband retired from the USMC in 1976 and passed away in 2002. I am now 65, as of this year, and have Tricare for Life. If I re-marry will I lose my benefits?
A: In a word, yes. You're smart to be thinking about this. Tricare is one of those wonderful military benefits and in this day of expensive civilian health policies, it would be a shame to lose it. So here goes: when it comes to Tricare eligibility getting remarried is not a good thing...whether you're a surviving spouse or former spouse, remarriage does trigger termination of Tricare eligibility. Here's a link to the information at the Tricare website. If you've found another love that is not eligible for Tricare, be sure you two plan for your healthcare needs as a new couple. That may include utilizing Medicare with a supplemental policy to fill the gaps Medicare doesn't cover. There are a variety of choices available, so do your homework. Good luck!
Air Force holds off on retiring famed reconnaissance plane -- [Stars& Stripes]
...The U-2 reconnaissance plane's mission is changing. The new mission amounts to a landmark shift in how the venerable aircraft can be used: The U-2 now gives direct support to ground operations, including assisting troops in firefights.
Unmanned drones can "look" -- get pictures of the battlefield. But so far, they can't "listen" -- eavesdrop electronically.
Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country -- [Veterans Today Network]
Arnold Schwarzenegger "will launch the Operation Welcome Home outreach campaign" on Wednesday. His "initiative will set aside $20 million in one-time
Company B begins transition to home -- [New Richmond News]
Company B has requested that a welcome home ceremony, including a parade and taking down of the ribbon wall, be delayed until their first drill weekend back
Family, friends gather to greet first wave of National Guard brigade -- [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Kids sat on shoulders holding "Welcome Home Dad" signs. Many more homecomings are planned since 3200 Wisconsin National Guard members are now transitioning
Iraq biggest story of decade in network TV news, but almost no reporters of color at the top -- [Tampabay.com]
It's your classic good news/bad news scenario: For those who grouse about the superficiality of TV news, recent data shows the top most-covered stories on the decade were super-substantive -- the war in Iraq, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, fighting in Afghanistan and the hijacked jets on Sept. 11. But for those who hoped the inauguration of the country's first black president might add more diversity to news coverage, the data was more disappointing.
One Damn Yankee Who Should Take A Good Long Walk Off A Short Pier. -- [Terry Glavin]
Bruce Rolston indicts a certain nuisance to the cause of responsible journalism and exposes in exacting detail the silliness of the claims of a Canadian "cover-up" in the recent deaths in Kandahar of Michelle Lang, George Miok, Kirk Taylor, Zachery McCormack, and Garrett Chidley. You'll need to read this Torch entry, and follow its links, to get a full sense of the rubbish involved.
While we're tossing around words like "cover up," it's worth remembering that embedded American reporters are bound by a little-known Defense Department regulation titled "Release of Photos and Information Pertaining to War." It prohibits journalists from taking photographs of the "ramp ceremony" at Kandahar Air Field whenever a brave American soldier is killed and his international comrades honour him in parade as he's being delivered into the airplane to be brought home in a box.
For shame -- [Flit]
A certain popular blogger (who I've mentioned before but shall not link to now or hereafter) recently put on his website details relating to a recent IED strike of:
*number of total casualties (including wounded);
*details of the damage to an ISAF vehicle produced by a certain quantity of explosive;
*precise details of the limitations of counter-measures employed by that vehicle; and
*the ISAF name for the route where it occurred.
In the same post, that blogger urged Canadian media to publicize the same info and claimed the Canadian government was trying to cover up its own incompetence by citing the security of the troops in asking other media not to reprint it. "There is nothing classified or sensitive about the information supplied..." he yawped. For the record, he's wrong, on all four counts above; that information would have been considered under various levels of classification during my tour under ISAF regulations and I'm sure still is today.
The Politics of 'Avatar:' Conservatives Attack Film's Political Message -- [ABC News]
...From its portrayal of the corporation that wants to take over the natural resources on the planet Pandora -- a not-so-subtle allusion to the likes of Halliburton and defense contractor Blackwater -- to distinct religious, anti-war and pro-environment themes, the film's political messaging has rubbed many conservatives the wrong way.
"I wasn't infuriated by 'Avatar.' I was infuriated by the way it framed the culture-war debate... as if there are no secular people on the right," Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of the National Review, told ABC News.
Some conservatives have panned the movie not just for its overt political tones, but its criticism of American actions.
"'Avatar' is a thinly disguised, heavy-handed and simplistic sci-fi fantasy/allegory critical of America from our founding straight through to the Iraq War," wrote Nolte.
...The movie also takes takes a swipe at the Bush administration's war in Iraq, even drawing parallels to the Vietnam war, a move that Goldberg dubbed a cliche.
..."The conclusion does ask the audience to root for the defeat of American soldiers at the hands of an insurgency.
[Army Sergeant] Partisan Politics Only Screws Veterans -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Now, I'll start off by admitting that my politics may not look like a lot of the commentators on this blog. I'm not going to go into the specifics of how: most of you know. I am an IVAW member, and if you want to see more of my more nakedly political offerings, they're over at Active Duty Patriot. That's not what this post is about, though I'm sure it'll be interpreted that way by those with an axe to grind.
What I'm here to talk about is the way that veterans are constantly being exploited by politicians and over-bureaucratic systems, promised the world when it's election season or when they want to look good, and then as the nitty gritty grind of the year drags on, people remember that helping veterans is work, and costs money, and not just money but actual commitment. And somehow, almost to a man, they all find better things to do.
Chris Dodd to step aside -- [The Fix]
Embattled Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has scheduled a press conference at his home in Connecticut Wednesday at which he is expected to announce he will not seek re-election, according to sources familiar with his plans. -- Dodd's retirement comes after months
'DROPPING LIKE FLIES'? -- [Washington Monthly]
.... Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is retiring. So is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). And before anyone could catch their breath, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) announced he's not seeking re-election, either. -- It led ABC News to report that "Democrats are dropping like flies."
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)
4 U.S. Troops Die in Afghan Blast - [Los Angeles Times]
Military officials today reported the year's first U.S. combat casualties in Afghanistan - four troops killed a day earlier in the country's violent south. In addition to the Americans killed in Sunday's blast, a British soldier died in a separate explosion, also in the south. Roadside bombs are the No. 1 killer of Western forces in Afghanistan, and have become the signature weapon of the Taliban and other insurgents. American troop deaths in Afghanistan surged during 2009, doubling from their levels in the previous year.
Taliban: CIA Attack Was Retaliation for Drone Strikes -- [Wall Street Journal]
A senior commander connected to the Afghan Taliban and involved with the attack against the CIA that left eight people dead said Saturday that the bombing was retaliation for U.S. drone strikes in the Afghan-Pakistan border region. "We attacked this base because the team there was organizing drone strikes in Loya Paktia and surrounding area," the commander said, referring to the area around Khost, the city where the U.S. facility was attacked. The commander, a prominent member of the Afghan insurgency, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Victims In Attack On CIA Base In Afghanistan Include Jordanian Spy -- [RTT News]
One of the victims in a suicide bombing at a US base in Afghanistan last week was a Jordanian intelligence agent, the Washington Post reported
Rodriguez: Less aggressive posture is a necessary risk in Afghanistan -- [Stars and Stripes]
Coalition troops will have to accept more risk as commanders push for a major turnaround in the Afghan war over the next 18 months, according to the commander of day-to-day operations across Afghanistan.
In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez said a renewed emphasis on developing a rapport with the Afghan people will mean an increase in the kind of "chai ops" -- casual interactions with local leaders and residents, often over tea -- that have been common in Iraq for the past year and a half.
Do we need a less aggressive force posture in Afghanistan? -- [Captain's Journal]
The transcript of the conversation with General Rodriguez doesn't reveal use of the phrase "chai ops." That's a function of the reporting. But in a manner the actual transcript reveals even more troubling information about what Rodriguez thinks about counterinsurgency.
To be sure, the importance of the "awakening" in Anbar must be one of the elements of understanding that campaign, but the popular myth has grown up around Western Iraq that makes it all about drinking chai, siding with the tribes, going softer in our approach, and finally listening to them as they communicated to us. And the leader of this revolution in counterinsurgency warfare was none other than General Petraeus. We were losing until he appeared on the scene, and when he did things turned around.
3 Jan 2010 -- [Dude in the Desert - in Afghanistan]
first off -- HAPPY 2010 !!! ...and thanks to everyone for their wishes, and thanks a lot to all who had a drink for me...well, this year started off with a bang -- road trip to Kandahar...it was a long and adventurous trip...we started the year with a pre-mission briefing...there were lots and lots of red spots on the road-indicating found/exploded IEDs in the past 90 days...in one section the entire road was covered with red... we couldn't even see the road, just hundreds of red marks all jumbled together...we knew there was lots of bad shit out there, but I didn't realize how bad it was till I saw that intel map...areas of known snipers/shooters, areas of IEDs, areas of ambushes, areas of jingle trucks getting jacked and blown up, and all kinds of other bad stuff in different areas, but most of the way all along our planned route...now, I have been on many missions before and been in bad areas, but this one was a little different ...most of my trips were under 8 hours to the destination...
Brit Troops 'Will Be Led by Afghans' -- [Bouhammer]
Bouhammer Note- I am not sure what to think about this story. Is it a true sign of progress, or a dumb move by the Brits to force the appearance of progress to its public, or a public affairs spin on the way business has been done to make it look like the Afghans are really leading? Again, I am not close enough to this one to know, but I would love to hear from some of the Brits on the ground to hear what their take is. When I was there in 2006, we conducted operations (major ones) where the Afghans "led" it. I use that term loosely because it was more like the Afghan leadership was at the keyboard typing what the Americans told them to type, but then the Afghans got the credit for writing the letter. This story could be more of that, or maybe the Afghans are really leading Brit soldiers. I wonder if this will ever truly happen with American soldiers? Normally I would say there is probably not a snowballs chance in hell of that happening, but with the current administration, who knows.
Sitting ducks of Helmand -- [Times Online]
Tactics used by the Taliban to cut supply routes in Helmand have forced the army to change the way it maintains its remote bases. Taliban mines block the only main road that connects the British bases, pushing the supply line out into the desert where it is vulnerable to ambushes and minefields.
Where the ANA Once Was -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
Okay, so I don't know why they weren't there... but the Afghan National Army barracks were empty. It was a base we drove to often, and we usually camp out next to our trucks. So it was game on when our interpreter, Papa J, pointed out an empty hardstand building that had power and heating. We moved in for the night.
Combined ANP/US Range and Golf -- [Doc H's International Adventure - in Afghanistan]
Weeks ago when we were talking and having chai with our ANP counterparts the topic of weapons came up. Our counterparts relayed to us that they had not been trained on their pistols and were not very comfortable with their use. Since they do carry these weapons and rely on them for their personal safety, we decided to arrange some time together on the range to practice. After a basic range safety lecture through my interpreter, we began.
Afghans Answering the Call to Fight -- [New York Times]
Bakhtiar Ludin looks like a rogue, with a roughly tied checkered scarf for a turban, a Kalashnikov and a band of similarly tough, armed men for company. But much of the hopes of Afghan and American officials to turn around the eight-year war here rests with him and those like him. Mr. Ludin and his band are part of a push to raise local militias to help stop the Taliban from spreading to new areas, like here in the north, where the insurgents advanced quickly in the past 18 months.
Marines Help Develop Afghan Security Force Discipline -- [DVIDS]
The shooter, one of many Afghans who have joined the Afghan national security forces, prepares himself as he's been taught. He bends at the knees, torso square to his target, elbows squeezed tight against his body. The grimace on his face shows discomfort, a sign he's positioning himself correctly. He isn't supposed to feel comfortable.
Marines Coaxing Residents Back to Helmand Ghost Town -- [Washington Post]
Now Zad was a bustling city, the second largest in Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province, before Taliban fighters moved in and made it a stronghold several years ago. Now it is largely abandoned. Capt. Andrew Terrell and his Marine Corps company have been charged with coaxing Now Zad back to life. The operation is part of a strategy to use the influx of U.S. troops ordered by President Obama to increase security in Afghan population centers and drive insurgents out. Terrell and his company from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment pushed into Now Zad in a major operation launched early last month, curtailing Taliban attacks and seizing explosives and other materials for hundreds of bombs.
Afghanistan Bibliography Download -- [Ghosts of Alexander]
I just finished up the 5th edition of the Afghanistan Analyst Bibliography.
If there is a source (academic article, institutional report, book) that you feel is missing, just fire me off an email
1st Day back -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...My message and request for school supplies is spreading like wild-fire. I am now working with 12 different states along with several schools and private organizations. The money donations are still coming in which helps to defray the cost of shipping the items to Afghanistan. Thanks to everyone involved for this joint effort.
Since our team has dwindled in numbers, we have merged and join forces with the Brigade who also lost most of its personnel due to rotations. They are slowly being replaced, but in the interim our responsibilities and functions are being redefined. I am excited because I will get involved with...
A Letter Of Grief And Hope From Kandahar: "Their Spirit Will Live On Forever." -- [Terry Glavin]
What follows is a letter from our dear friend Ehsanullah Ehsan, director of the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar, "a school that owes its existence to the sacrifices of the Canadian people." I've passed on the letter directly to Canadian Forces officials in Ottawa and to the editor of the Calgary Herald, so that it might make its way to the bereaved families.
Guard unit recounts progress in Afghanistan -- [Journal and Courier]
Some Indiana National Guard "soldier-farmers" believe a patch of ground in eastern Afghanistan no bigger than a backyard could help turn the tide in that violent, war-torn country.
...The Indiana soldiers arrived home from their 10-month tour convinced they'd sewn the seeds of improved relations, not just literally but figuratively.
"It sounds simple," Temple said, "but we're improving peoples' self-worth."
About half the members of a typical ag team are farmers or have some connection to agriculture; the other half are infantrymen, who provide security.
Happy New Year -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Afghanistan]
A happy new year to one and all. We had a fairly quiet one here. Our command got together for a party. There was plenty of food, karaoke (not for me!), and games. I got wiped out in blackjack as soon as I got brave. Played some Wii and proved to one and all how uncoordinated I am. Some built a bonfire outside and we roasted marshmallows - first time I've done that in many years. There were some fighter jets that made periodic low-level noisy passes over the base, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And we got to see a partial lunar eclipse from around 10 pm to around 11. A partial eclipse of a blue moon - how cool is that?
Happy New Year -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
...I returned to my room around 1230 am and woke up 5 hours later to prepare
Dirt road to shooting range. for our mission. I don't plan to make that a habit, because I was a bit tired today. But since we were only going a few kilometers outside the camp, the effect would be minimal.
Afghan parliament vote confirmed for May -- [Reuters]
Afghanistan will hold parliamentary elections on May 22, just 10 months after a presidential vote marred by fraud and violence that dismayed the country's Western backers.
The date, announced by the election commission on Saturday, was the latest possible under the constitution but critics say it does not leave enough time to introduce reforms needed to avert another flawed result.
4 Afghan War Veterans Look Back, and Ahead -- [New York Times]
One of them, an Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, led a team into a treacherous mountain ravine to recover the remains of 16 American commandos shot down in a helicopter crash. He still remembers how only their boots had been taken off their bodies by the Taliban. Another, a captain in the Oregon National Guard, held a town in the southern Afghan province of Helmand with a ragtag Afghan Army unit for three chaotic weeks in 2006, only to see the Taliban sweep back in after he got orders to move on. A third, a supply sergeant with the 10th Mountain Division, spent more time than she ever expected saluting coffins as they left Bagram Air Base near the Afghan capital, Kabul, for the last trip home. Such are the experiences ...
US terror suspects 'wanted to help' in Afghanistan -- [AFP]
Five Americans facing terror charges for allegedly plotting attacks in Pakistan appeared in court Monday, telling a judge they wanted to help Muslims in war-torn Afghanistan, lawyers said.
Iraq says Blackwater workers not welcome -- [UPI.com]
"Instructions have been given to check if there is any Blackwater member (in Iraq). I advise him to leave Iraq and not to stay in Iraq anymore.
Extremist Iraq Group Claims Anbar-Bombing -- [RTT News]
Insurgent "Islamic state of Iraq" is reported to have claimed responsibility Sunday for last month-end's two suicide-bombings that killed 24
'Sons of Iraq' targeted for retribution -- [UPI.com]
A rash of killings of U.S.-allied Sunni militiamen is pointing to signs of weakness for the "Sons of Iraq," military experts say.
The militias, which are credited with helping turn the tide in favor of the United States in its struggle to defeat insurgents, have seen about dozen of their members killed in rural areas south of Baghdad in recent weeks, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Sunday.
Most Iraqis Seek A Final Solution -- [Strategy Page]
The U.S. is trying, with mixed success, to convince the Iraqi government to not pursue a genocidal policy against the Sunni Arab minority. At least not until U.S. forces have all withdrawn from the country. The Americans thought they had a deal with the Kurds and Shia Arabs, who dominate the government, that the hated Sunni Arabs would be left alone and treated fairly. But things began to fall apart earlier this year, soon after the U.S. turned over control of the Sunni Arab "Sons of Iraq" militia to the Iraqi government.
Ceremony formally marks end of coalition effort in Iraq -- [LA Times]
The United States Force-Iraq is inaugurated in belated recognition of the fact that for some time there have been no other nations serving alongside U.S. forces, which had no combat deaths last month.
...Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told the troops and diplomats assembled in the palace's marble foyer that the new name signaled a new phase for the military as it prepares to halt all combat operations and scale back from the current 110,000 troops to fewer than 50,000 by August.
The remaining troops, who will provide support and training,are scheduled to leave by the end of 2011. Though challenges remain, in the form of the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq and Iranian-sponsored Shiite Muslim militias, Petraeus said, "there has been sustained progress."
Single-National Force-Iraq -- [Wings Over Iraq]
Yesterday, the big news in Iraq concerned the official genesis of US Forces-Iraq, an acknowledgement of the fact that the US is currently the only intervening power in the Iraq War. This actually comes a few months after the British withdrew the last of their forces from Southern Iraq. What amazed me is that it actually came as a shock to many that the US was, as of August, the only member of "Multi-National Force Iraq", as per this conversation. Me: What classification should we use for this briefing? I know it says "releasable to Multi-National Corps-Iraq", but that really only means the US, since everyone else left. Another officer: What do you mean? The British are still here. Me: No, they left last month. Officer: And the Ugandans guard the dining facility...
Freed hostage delighted to be home -- [UKPA]
British hostage Peter Moore says he is "delighted" to have been freed from captivity in Iraq and is looking forward to "getting to know" his family again.
Mr Moore was released on Wednesday, 946 days after he was kidnapped in Iraq, and returned to the UK on Friday.
In a statement released through the Foreign Office, he said: "I am obviously delighted to have returned to the UK and to have been reunited with my family.
Nearly 1mn at Times Square -- [Gulf Times]
Hundreds of New York City police and armed troops were deployed to provide security in and around Times Square. Barricades went up early on Thursday, blocking traffic from the plaza, which is also the focus of millions of television viewers from around the US who tune in to count down the New Year.
Security was tight. In addition to armed troops deployed in the vast subway network serving the city's 8.5mn residents, others were sent to the city's two main airports, La Guardia and JFK International Airport. With the recent bombing attempt on a US airliner on Christmas Day, nerves were especially on edge and the airspace over Manhattan was tightly patrolled by police helicopters. Police who locked down Times Square were also equipped with radiation and biological detectors.
This year's ball's 2,600 Waterford crystals were lit up with LED lights with the crystals designed with interlocking ribbon patterns woven into a Celtic knot called Let There Be Courage.
The knot in different colours has been also used in anti-Aids campaigns and to welcome home troops from deployments abroad.
Iran denies entry to Sen. Kerry -- [The Hill]
Iranian legislators on Sunday decided to not allow a visit from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), according to Iranian media
Iran holds major military defense drill next month -- [Press TV]
Iran plans to launch a large-scale military exercise next month to prepare its military forces to be able to repel any possible offensive by the country's enemies, a top commander says.
The joint drill, conducted by Iran's ground forces and cooperation of some of the units of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), will "improve the force's defensive capabilities" Commander of Iran's Ground Forces Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan said on Saturday. It will also"boost the region's security," the commander told a meeting of servicemen in Tehran.
Both the United States and its close ally Israel have refused to rule out the possibility of a military attack against the country of more than 70 million people, should Tehran not halt its enrichment activities.
Iran Jamming Satellite Signals -- [Jawa Report]
In troubling but hardly surprising news, the satellite signal of Deutsche Welle, Germany's state broadcasting network, was deliberately attacked by the theocratic regime of Iran last month. And, it's not the first time that satellite signals have been jammed from getting into Iran. Reports also indicate that Iran has also been jamming signals from U.S. and British communications satellites which are used by many European and Middle Eastern countries besides Iran. Specific emphasis is applied to Western media reports of Iranian protests.
Iranian Website: Iran Can Jam U.S. Radar Systems -- [MEMRI]
The Iranian website Tabnak reported, citing sources in Kuwait, that Iran was able to jam the radar systems of the American forces in the region using the same mechanism it employed to jam the broadcasts of Voice of America and the BBC in Persian, which are relayed via the satellite Hotbird.
Japan says will not 'simply obey' US -- [Press TV]
Japanese Prime Minister pledges to pursue equal relations with the United States, during the 50th year of the two nations' security treaty.
US pledges 'more commitment' to Mideast peace process -- [Ha'aretz]
By News Agencies The United States pledged Monday to be "even more committed this year" to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warning that any further delay would only hurt the interests of all parties involved.
U.S. Evangelicals' Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push -- [NY Times]
Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about "curing" homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda's capital to give a series of talks.
...Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.
"US plans military aggression against Venezuela" -- [Daily Times]
CARACAS: Venezuela on Thursday warned the US military against violating its airspace from bases in Aruba and Curacao, repeating recent accusations that Washington is preparing an act of "aggression". In a statement, Venezuela's foreign ministry called on the international community to condemn alleged incursions into its airspace by US military drones launched from Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles."(Venezuela) again calls on the international community to denounce the US use of the colonies of Aruba and Curacao, for the preparation of military aggression against Venezuela," the statement said.
Terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui's appeal of life sentence denied -- [CNN]
A federal appeals court on Monday affirmed the conviction and life sentence for convicted terrorist and 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.
Law enforcement source: Jamaat al-Fuqra/Muslims of America involved in tax return fraud plot -- [Jawa Report]
Last month we reported on new videos obtained by the Christian Action Network which showed terrorist training at the Jamaat al-Fuqra/Muslims of America headquarters compound in Hancock, NY.
In the past few days we were contacted by a law enforcement source about a plot by members of the same Jamaat al-Fuqra compound in Hancock to engage in a massive tax return fraud plot using contacts obtained through mosques in New York and using the money to send to their sheikh, terrorist leader Mubarak Gilani, in Pakistan.
We All Know Facebook Site Hosts Terrorists, But This Site Needs To Be Known -- [Jawa Report]
...Generally, I refrain from entertaining radical bottom-feeders whose only intention is to 'stir the pot'. In the case of "Soldiers Are Not Heroes" however, I will make exception. The diseased group on Facebook has roughly 12,000 nut-jobs after the backwards cause. The picture you are looking at nearly caused me to fall out of my seat. I am curious, how do you feel?
Choudary compares British troops to Nazi stormtroopers as 200,000 sign Facebook bid to stop his Islamic extremist march -- [Daily Mail]
...Choudary compared fallen British heroes to Nazi stormtroopers and the September 11 and July 7 terrorists. He even claimed his plan was backed by families of servicemen and women. ...'We are having a procession, it's in Wootton Bassett but it's not about the people there and it's not against them personally - rather it's to highlight the real cost of war in Afghanistan.
TSA identifies 'countries of interest'; more screenings for some fliers -- [USA Today]
TSA also named 10 "countries of interest" -- Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen -- as well as ...
'Missing arms spark Yemen alert' -- [BBC]
The closure of three embassies in Yemen followed local security forces losing track of six trucks full of arms and explosives, say reports from Yemen. -- France announced its mission in the capital Sanaa was shut on Monday, a day after the US and UK closed theirs.
Gen. Petraeus in Yemen sends the wrong message: Commentary -- [The Examiner]
...General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command made a surprise visit to Yemen on Saturday, and met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, described by a senior administration, "as part of our ongoing consultations with and efforts in support of Yemen. We have made Yemen a priority over the course of this year, and this is the latest in that effort."
On Friday, January 1st, Petraeus had told reporters in Baghdad that the U.S. will almost double last year's $70 million in security aid for Yemen during fiscal 2010.
With Petraeus looking like the point-man in Yemen, it sends a message that the U.S. is willing to "assist" with military forces in Yemen as they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the wrong message to send at a time when we cannot afford the two money-draining wars we have are already fighting. We cannot afford another war and another military front.
Despite Al Qaeda Threat, U.S. Not Planning to Expand Terror Fight in Yemen -- [FOXNews]
The U.S. does not plan to open a new front in Yemen in the global fight against terrorism despite closing its embassy there in the face of Al Qaeda threats, President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser said Sunday.
US students accused of Pakistan terror attack plot 'on jihad mission' -- [Times Online]
One of the five Americans accused of plotting terror attacks in Pakistan yesterday claimed the group were on their way to neighbouring Afghanistan to wage jihad against Western forces fighting there.
White House: No matter what we're sending Gitmo prisoners back to Yemen -- [The Washington Examiner]
The Obama White House insists it will continue to send those Gitmo inmates to Yemen -- a country now recognized as a hotbed of terrorism so dangerous that the U.S. has decided to close its embassy there.
On Fox News Sunday, top White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration "absolutely" intends to keep sending Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen.
2 al-Qaida Members Killed in Yemen -- [Voice of America]
Photo: AP A Yemeni security official says government forces killed two al-Qaida members Monday near the capital, Sana'a. The official said at least one
The New Republic: Defining "Isolated Extremism" -- [NPR]
Now, Yemen is a special problem for Obama. We are now fighting (after Iraq and Afghanistan) on an unacknowledged but probably appropriate third front in
US detainees remanded in Pakistan -- [Al Jazeera English]
Police say the men had a map of Chashma Barrage, a complex located near nuclear facilities [EPA]
Five US citizens detained in Pakistan have denied that they planned to carry out attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as a court granted police two weeks to prepare terrorism charges against them. The young Muslim men from Washington were arrested early last month during a raid on a house in the eastern Pakistani city of Sargodha.
Air Compassion for Veterans -- [AIR COMPASSION FOR VETERANS]
Air Compassion For Veterans provides complimentary air travel to veterans and their family members to complete their recovery from injuries sustained in combat.
Las Vegas is the ONLY Major Airport that does not Provide a USO for Military Personal -- [CFP]
Photos of United States Marines - 01/02/10 - McCarran International Airport
The photos shown are of United States Marines on their way to Afghanistan -
Hundreds of United States Marines are scheduled to arrive this afternoon at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on their way to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, in Twentynine Palms CA.
Officials from the Clark County Department of Aviation have agreed to open a meeting room near the A and C Gates so that our service men and women do not have to sleep on the airport floor. However, food and beverages are not scheduled to be provided by the county.
Volunteers are needed, along with food and beverages.
SEVEN things never to say to a veteran -- [Kitchen Dispatch]
...It's fair to say that most military families go through what we did: people don't care to ask how you are during the deployment, but they will give you --unsolicited, their two cents about the war. All of this has made a homecoming a little bit uneasier, as even taking the dog out can be like a walk through a social mine field.
Their boorish and rude behavior breaks every code of social etiquette. They also stomp without feeling on those who have been through a life altering experience. The following tips have been culled from DiversityInc. I've also compiled a reading list for those who are greatest in need. The books make great Christmas, anniversary or birthday presents! It's apparent that the rudest were never given (as I was) a copy of Emily Post when they were sixteen!
Thanks to Red Cross, Deployed Airman Witnesses Newborn's Birth From Afar -- [DVIDS]
In the early morning hours of Dec. 23, 2009, in a small, dimmed private room, a young Airman's life changed forever.
Behind the Scenes of Tostitos "Salute the Troops" Bowl Game in the Persian Gulf -- [Web Wire]
Rocket Ismail, Barry Switzer and All-Star Team joined Tostitos and the USO to bring Tostitos "Salute the Troops" Bowl to U.S. Military in Persian Gulf
College Football Legends and Active Military Members Teamed Up for Flag Football and Tailgate Celebration
he Tostitos brand, in a joint effort with the USO, today held the first-ever Tostitos "Salute the Troops" Bowl, a one-of-a-kind college football experience at a military base in the Persian Gulf.
Boise State, fans donate 600 Fiesta tickets to military -- [Idaho Statesman]
Boise State has sold about 18200 tickets to the Fiesta Bowl -- a school record -- including about 100 bought by fans for donation to the military.
60 Mins v. VBA -- [Burn Pit]
If you only watched one thing on TV yesterday, I hope it was 60 Mins and not the Patriots game wherein Mothax's hopes and dreams died with Wes Welker's leg injury.
...They interviewed Paul Sullivan of "Veterans for Common Sense." For those who don't know or remember who Paul is, let's take the way-back machine to the moments after Major Nidal Hassan decided to switch teams and light up an SRP center. Without any official word on motive, or even who had done the shooting, Paul decided to take to the air and bash the Army:
US: Soldiers Forced to Go AWOL for PTSD Care -- [IPS - Dahr Jamail]
With a military health care system over-stretched by two ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more soldiers are deciding to go absent without leave (AWOL) in order to find treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
New Law for Military Spouses Makes Matters Easier at Tax Time -- [Kitsap Sun]
Military members have long been allowed to vote in -- and be taxed by -- their home states. Now their spouses have that same option.
"When the military orders service members to move, spouses who move with them often have to pay taxes in a new state or locality and lose the right to vote in the place considered to be home," President Obama said upon signing the law. "This legislation will alleviate these and other burdens on our military families."
One Step Closer -- [In Iraq Now (at 56) - heading home from Iraq]
Today we flew to Kuwait by way of Basra stopping at three bases before finally arriving at the transient base. We will be here for several days and, just as when I was stuck here for seven days in July, I won't know when I will leave here until I am on an airplane. Several times on the last trip, my name got called, I was on a manifest, I dragged my bags up to the meeting area, I was ready to board the bus then. . ."Sorry. Come back at 0500 hours." But it's OK with me. We are on the way back to America. I am out of Iraq. I have lots of work to do, assuming I can do it using personal computer on a wireless hookup. Sometime in late January this year will end and I can go back to being a civilian again. I liked some of this year. I hated some of this year. The parts I hated probably helped me grow. One thing it confirmed for me is how very difficult and very worthwhile it is to build community.
Muslim protesters 'branded British soldiers as rapists and baby killers' at homecoming parade -- [Daily Mail]
A group of Muslim protesters shouted 'murderers', 'rapists', 'baby killers' and chanted 'burn in hell' at soldiers on a homecoming parade from Iraq, a court was told today.
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment were greeted by protesters screaming the hostile jeers and holding placards as they marched through Luton last year.
There was a furious reaction from the hundreds lining the streets to give the 200 soldiers - known as the Poachers - a heroes' welcome. Among the supporters upset by the protest were children and families.
130 Montana Soldiers returned home to Montana late Thursday night, just before ... -- [KECI-TV]
Communities held "welcome home" celebrations at the armories in Kalispell, Libby and Havre Thursday night. Troops and family members say they are glad to be
Soldiers of 639th have emotional return home -- [Helena Independent Record]
"I'm so glad to be home," he said, holding his 8-month-old son, Makiyah, in his arms in the Army Aviation Support Facility during a welcome-home reception.
Fallen soldiers, journalist back home -- [The Globe and Mail]
Honor guards carry the casket of journalist Michelle Lang to a waiting ... just three months apart each claimed the lives of six Canadian troops. ... The "mission in Afghanistan is vital for us not only as Canadians
Canadian Cover Up? -- [Michael Yon]
(Unfortunately, this news comes as I wait to board a flight from Hong Kong to the United States. It must be written quickly and without editing.) A reporter at Canwest News Service, emailed Saturday asking for information on the four Canadian soldiers and the journalist who were killed on December 30 in Afghanistan. I supplied a portion of the unpublicized information, and the reporter emailed Sunday that the Canadian military is "trying to suppress our telling of your information." The reporter also wrote, "While the Canadian military confirmed to me much of the information you provided, they are trying to prevent us from publishing it, saying it would breach our agency's embedding agreement." There is nothing classified or sensitive about the information supplied to Canwest. This smells of a classic cover-up that has nothing to do with winning or losing the war, but more likely something to do with saving embarrassment.
Most recent Canadian deaths: A CF "cover up" at Kandahar? -- [The Torch]
It seems to me Mr Yon may be rather over-stating things; I do not see that there is any "saving embarrassment". It also seems to me that the sort of details given by him, especially in the last paragraph above, are not reported by our media. For whatever reason, presumably their own view of operational security and not fear of embarrassment, the CF apparently do not want such details made public.
Canwest "Coverup" -- [Small Dead Animals]
The real story Michael, is that until this recent mass outpouring over the loss of a journalist, Canadian media interest in operational details in Afghanistan has been pretty much limited to counting bodies and answering the question "how can we use this to damage the Harper government?"
Obama effigy hanged in Jimmy Carter's home town -- [BBC]
The US Secret Service says it is investigating after an effigy of Barack Obama was found hanging in the home town of former President Jimmy Carter.
TV footage showed the doll hanging by a noose in front of a red, white and blue sign that reads "Plains, Georgia. Home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th President".
Witnesses said the effigy had President Obama's name on it.
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