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Pentagon Behind Obama Schedule for Deploying Troops to Afghanistan -- [FOX]
The Pentagon expects to deploy 18,000 of the 30,000 troops called up to Afghanistan by late spring, a slower pace than the White House envisioned, but necessary, say Pentagon officials, because President Obama did not want to shorten troops' rest time at home.
Mullen: Afghanistan success window small -- [Washington Times]
U.S. 'imperiled' if war not won, Joint Chiefs chairman warns
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday the next 12 to 18 months will be critical in reversing momentum gained by insurgents in Afghanistan, with nothing short of the war-torn nation's security at stake.
Not only that, Adm. Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee: "Our future security is greatly imperiled if we do not win the wars we are in."
US Marines facing a 'different war' in Afghanistan -- [AFP]
For the US Marines deployed to the battlefields of southern Afghanistan, life is fragile and thoughts focus on the day they see their families again, but something about this war is different. They are preparing for an offensive on Marjah, one of the Taliban's big urban strongholds in the southern province of Helmand, but progress is slow with the militants apparently preferring fight to flight.
The Marines will soon be joined by tens of thousands more soldiers, the lion's share of the 30,000-strong troop surge promised by US President Barack Obama in December to try and turn around the grinding Afghan war.
Predators pound terrorist camp in North Waziristan -- [Long War Journal - Bill Roggio]
A swarm of unmanned US aircraft pounded an al Qaeda camp today in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Five unmanned US strike aircraft, likely the Predators and Reapers, are reported to have fired 18 missiles at a camp and vehicles in the village of Datta Khel, a known al Qaeda and Taliban stronghold. This is the largest recorded US airstrike in Pakistan, indicating a top al Qaeda, Taliban, or Haqqani Network leader, or leaders, may have been present.
Eyes in the Sky -- [Army Live]
Being a Soldier in the United States Army is a full-time job. No one understands that more than the Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division's unmanned aerial vehicle cell. Twenty-four hours a day they monitor the 3rd HBCT's area of operation from above. "We are always on the lookout for the bad guys," said Staff Sgt. Ray Lemlin, a platoon sergeant in Company A, Brigade Special Troops Battalion. "The goal is always to spot them before they can hurt us."
Revenge on the Taliban, from 10,000 feet -- [Washington Post]
In their joint operations against Taliban militants hiding in the tribal areas, the United States and Pakistan seem to have embraced a classic bit of battlefield advice: Don't get mad, get even.
...Although Pakistan publicly criticizes the drone attacks, the administration official stressed that the recent campaign "is being done in full concert and cooperation" with the Pakistani government. "We've been very pleased with the extent of the cooperation," the official said, adding that the so-called box of geographical coordinates within which the Pakistanis allow the Predators to operate was wide enough to allow attacks on targets that are "geographically dispersed."
Pakistan blast kills US soldiers (Video) -- [BBC]
Three US soldiers are among at least 10 people killed when a blast hit a convoy near a school in north-west Pakistan. Police said around 70 people, including 63 school girls and a US soldier, were injured in the bombing in Lower Dir.
The soldiers were believed to have been training Pakistan's Frontier Corps in counter-insurgency operations.
The two governments deny substantial numbers of US troops are based inside Pakistan, where public opinion is strongly opposed to their presence.
3 G.I.s Killed in Pakistan. Now Can We Start Treating This Like a Real War? -- [Danger Room - Noah Shachtman]
Last year, President Obama and his administration ruled out sending U.S. ground forces into Pakistan. Instead, the White House said, America's clandestine operations there would be waged solely by remote-control -- with Predator and Reaper drones. "There is a red line," said special envoy Richard Holbrooke. "And the red line is unambiguous and stated publicly by the Pakistani government over and over again: No foreign troops on our soil." Yet today, three U.S. soldiers were killed and two more were wounded
Never take it for granted -- [One Marine's View - in Afghanistan]
When we lose a warrior, a part of you goes with them....
...From the smiles of children walking down a street of a recently liberated village to the compassion of our young Marines that tend to those same children after recently slugging it out with the enemy, I often ask "Where do we get such men?" Such men that will sacrifice themselves to protect others they have never met? To demonstrate a nearly inconceivable wrath of weaponry onto the enemy and in a split second later help a young child or elderly man out of the street, sometimes even before the battle is over?
He is a Marine and willing to sacrifice everything to make something bad better off and make a difference. They will not be forgotten.
It's the Economy, Undergraduate -- [At War]
What do they think of all this back there, in your world?
I knew what answer he expected because of the surprise that registers on such soldiers' faces when I offer a different one. He expected that in my world of left-leaning professors and privileged students, the war he and his unit were waging would be viewed with scorn or disgust, and maybe that he and his profession would be, too.
That wasn't the case, I told him. From his expression, what I told him was worse: that in my world (if it really is my world, but that's another question) most students -- young people who are his peers, at least in terms of age and video games and music -- rarely spare his war more than a passing thought.
Around ANA Land -- -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
One of my stops today was the proposed site for the new library and literacy program. The ANA Garrison commander has designated some room space inside a large building to accommodate these programs. The current library is compressed into a small room and the shelves are sparsely stocked. There are 99 books for the entire library.
Dari Keyboard -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
For the past few days, I have been working studiously with my ANA counterpart on accountability. The tool I'm using is an Excel Spreadsheet. For anyone who has basic knowledge of computers and programs, this program is fairly easy to use once the formulas are created. Then it's just a matter of populating the data points. But for someone who only has a rudimentary knowledge of computers and a high school degree (Afghanistan level), it becomes rather challenging to explain basic algebra, formulas, etc. As such, I have finally made headway and when my counterpart does understand, it's like a bright light comes on in his head. For me, it's just another small victory in mentoring.
Taking Tea with the Taliban -- [Commentary Mag - Michael Rubin]
Addressing the nation on December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama laid out the case for an augmented American presence in Afghanistan to battle the Taliban forces seeking to push their way back into power. "Over the last several years, the Taliban has maintained common cause with al-Qaeda, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan government," he declared. The president offered a brief account of the Taliban's rise to power before the U.S. tossed them out in November 2001. "Al-Qaeda's base of operations was in Afghanistan," he said, "where they were harbored by the Taliban--a ruthless, repressive, and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere."
New Afghan police officers graduate -- [Helmand Blog]
The first class of Afghan police officers to attend a new training centre graduated in a ceremony in Helmand yesterday.
More than 130 recruits of the Interim Helmand Police Training Centre attended the event in the Lashkar Gah district. The centre was set up last month to help with the recruitment push for 160,000 police officers across Afghanistan by the end of this year. From March, the centre is expected to train 2550 students a year.
Helmand deputy governor Sattar Marzakwal told the graduates: "You have the responsibility of serving the Afghan people with dignity.
U.S. military officers could face punishment over ambush in Afghanistan -- [Washington Post]
A military investigation into an ambush that left nine Americans dead recommends that the Army consider taking disciplinary action against three U.S. commanders who oversaw the 2008 mission to send troops to the remote Afghan outpost, defense officials said Tuesday.
Afghans protest to Iran over border killings -- [Reuters]
Afghanistan protested on Tuesday against what it said was the killing of five of its nationals by Iranian border forces. Host to millions of Afghan refugees for decades, Iran is also a key transit route for Afghanistan's opium and heroin trade.
The incident happened on Monday when a group of seven Afghans were trying to enter Iran, an Afghan foreign ministry official said, adding all were teenage males.
Bomb kills 20 in Iraqi Shi'ite city of Kerbala -- [Reuters]
A bomb on a cart pulled by a motorcycle killed at least 20 in a crowd of Shi'ite pilgrims on Wednesday in Iraq's holy city of Kerbala where hundreds of thousands have gathered for a religious rite, police said.
Obama, Biden meet with Iraqi VP -- [AFP]
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met Monday with Iraq's Sunni Vice President, Tariq al-Hashimi, and discussed the importance
Iraq court lifts ban on hundreds of candidates -- [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
An Iraqi appeals court Wednesday struck down a ban imposed on hundreds of candidates for suspected ties to Saddam
Blair Called a Liar in Iraq Inquiry -- [NY Times]
Only days after Tony Blair offered an impassioned defense of his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq, a cabinet minister who resigned over the war delivered a blistering condemnation of the former prime minister on Tuesday, accusing him of "conning" her and of deceiving his cabinet, the Parliament and the public in his resolve to have Britain join the United States in the invasion of 2003.
Multiple Air Force crews, Landstuhl staff team up to save Peace Corps member injured in Kazakhstan -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany ]
What an amzing story. We all hear so many negative things that it's sometimes easy to forget how many wonderful, dedicated people there are in this world. And when multiple teams across Central Asia, Europe, and the US come together save a life, they can make miracles happen.
Iran hints at prisoner swap for 3 U.S. hikers -- [Washington Times]
President signals shift on uranium
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday proposed a swap of Iranians in U.S. prisons for three American hikers being held in Tehran.
In a television interview, Mr. Ahmadinejad also said Iran was ready to send its uranium abroad for further enrichment as requested by the United Nations, signaling a major shift in the Iranian position on the issue.
US Denies Speaking to Iran About Prisoner Swap -- [Voice of America]
The United States has denied speaking to Iran about a prisoner exchange after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tehran has held discussions about such a swap.
Ahmadinejad backs deal to remove bulk of enriched uranium from Iran -- [Washington Post]
A long-dormant proposal to remove the bulk of Iran's enriched uranium from the Islamic republic appeared to be revived Tuesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had "no problem" with a deal initially brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The deal, which Iran formally rejected weeks ago, would swap low-enriched uranium for fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes. "If we allow them to take it, there is no problem,"
US wary as Iran president agrees nuclear deal terms -- [BBC]
The US has reacted warily after Iran appeared to accept a deal to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.
Emergency Assistance Still Hasn't Reached Many Haitians -- [Washington Post]
Three weeks after a powerful earthquake destroyed Haiti's capital, aid officials are still seeking to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate people who apparently have not received food and shelter from an expanding international aid operation, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
China's threat to sanction US firms in arms sale could backfire -- [Los Angeles Times]
In Washington, a White House spokesman said it would "not be warranted" for China to slap sanctions on the US companies over the Obama administration's
Corrected: Obama to meet Dalai Lama despite Chinese warnings -- [Reuters]
He offered no details on how China would impose sanctions. Companies that could be affected by Chinese sanctions include Sikorsky Aircraft Corp,
Panetta: Terror Attack in US Likely Soon -- [Military.com/AP]
Al-Qaida can be expected to attempt an attack on the United States in the next three to six months, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress.
The terrorist organization is deploying operatives to the United States to carry out new attacks from inside the country, including "clean" recruits with a negligible trail of terrorist contacts, CIA Director Leon Panetta said. The chilling warning comes as Christmas airline attack suspect, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutullab, is cooperating with federal investigators, a federal law enforcement official said Tuesday.
Would-be LAX terrorist's prison sentence overturned as too lenient -- [Los Angeles Times]
A divided appeals panel rules that the 22-year sentence for an Al Qaeda operative didn't follow guidelines. He had originally agreed to cooperate with authorities for a lighter sentence but reneged.
Bill Would Forbid Civilian 9/11 Trials -- [Military.com/Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Saying America can't afford the costs or the threat to national security, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and a bipartisan group of other senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would forbid public funding for a civilian trial of those accused of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Instead, the senators want the government to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged to be the Sept. 11 mastermind, and other terror suspects in a military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
DOJ's New Tool Against Criticism: New Media -- [FOX]
Facing mounting pressure from both Democrats and Republicans over its handling of recent terrorism cases, the Justice Department is taking unprecedented steps to push back against critics.
Last night the Justice Department unveiled an entire web page -- titled "The Criminal Justice System as a Counterterrorism Tool" -- to address the growing debate.
One DOJ official described the new web page as an effort "to get the facts out there" and show that "the policy for handling these terrorism cases has not changed" from the way previous administrations handled such cases.
Brennan: All Transferred Detainees Who Returned to Terrorism Were Released by Bush, No Recidivism for Those Released by Obama -- [ABC News]
n a letter to congressional leaders sent Monday night, White House adviser John Brennan, the assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, argued that President Obama had made "significant improvements to the detainee review process" under President Bush and pointed out that all the former detainees released or transferred who have returned to terrorist activities were released or transferred under President Bush.
Is there an adult in there somewhere? Bueller? Bueller? -- [The Armorer]
It sure doesn't look like it.CNN's Steve Brusk tweets: "Law enforcement source says AbdulMutallah has been providing useful, current, and actionable intelligence. Leads being actively chased."Heh. This is smoke and mirrors, pure and simple.Let's take it at face value.It's been a month since AbdulMutallah proved himself an inept murderer-by-suicide. Hell, he's not even as successful as Achmed the Dead Terrorist.
MI5 hunting breast implants of death -- [WND]
Authorities alarmed by possibility of surgically placed bombs
Agents for Britain's MI5 intelligence service have discovered that Muslim doctors trained at some of Britain's leading teaching hospitals have returned to their own countries to fit surgical implants filled with explosives, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. Women suicide bombers recruited by al-Qaida are known to have had the explosives inserted in their breasts under techniques similar to breast enhancing surgery.
Impact of deployment on kids -- negative reporting and troop bashing hurts them too -- [You Served]
I highlighted the area in bold text below that needs a LOT of attention brought to the matter. Negative reporting on the war, and the lack of support of the war and our troops affects the morale of everyone -- including our military children. I am so sick and tired of the BS line "we support our troops but not the war." It's not true. It's contradictory and this report here shows how that very attitude is not only unsupportive, but it is outright harmful to the children of our deployed troops.
I am going to print out a copy of the actual report and will write up some more.
Interview with Lorrie Nichols of The Journal of An Army Wife -- [Army Wives Lives]
Lorrie Nichols, who blogs at The Journal of an Army Wife, answered our questions about her life as an Army Wife
...Tell us a little bit about your military spouse journey.
Mike is in the Army National Guard. He hasn't been deployed, yet. He served in the Air Guard for six years, then spent several years as a civilian, and joined the Army Guard last October. We have been married for 2 1/2 years, but I have only been a military spouse for about 4 months.
What are the challenges of being a military spouse?
Military time doesn't necessarily coincide with real world time.
The Predictably Unpredictable Army Strikes Again.... -- [SpouseBuzz - Andi]
My husband has been TDY on many, many occasions throughout our marriage. I wish now that I had kept track of it because I don't know if my guesstimate of 3-4 years is on target. As for non-TDY, more permanent deployment bye-byes, we've had two. One for a year and one for seven months. Both times, we had ample warning. Both times we knew approximately when he was leaving. Both times, the house became cluttered for weeks with gear that would accompany my husband to his destination. On both occasions, I had time to process what was happening, and prepare for it.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home late at night, quickly packed, and was gone the next morning. It was so odd.
There was no warning. No time frame to process. No time to prepare, physically or emotionally.
They Ache -- [SpouseBuzz - Sarah]
This deployment has flown by for me because I've been distracted with my pregnancy. It's a major event that keeps my mind off missing my husband. When I do think of him, they've been self-centered or baby-centered thoughts: I wish he were here to feel the baby kick, or fetch me a glass of water, or discuss middle names in person. I've also tried to come up with some silver linings for why it's better that I've been alone all this time. And I have contingency plans in case my husband doesn't make it home in time;
Military OneSource Tax Filing Services -- [Military OneSource]
Military OneSource brings you H&R Block At Home® (formerly TaxCut) online tax filing through the Military OneSource Web site and telephonic tax consultations by calling our tax hotline at 1-800-730-3802. Prepare your 2009 state and federal taxes with this easy-to-use program. Provided by the Department of Defense, H&R Block At Home® is and free to active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members and their families. Have questions? See our FAQs.
Tax consultants are available 7 days a week from 7 am - 11 pm ET by calling the Military OneSource Tax Hotline at 1-800-730-3802.
Please Note - You must use the link on the Military OneSource Web site to access our customized product and create your account. Do not go to the public H&R Block Web site to create a user account.
Wounded Warrior returns to West Point as WTU Commander -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
Capt. Scott M. Smiley is a Soldier, infantryman, Airborne Ranger, combat diver, mountain climber, skier, tri-athlete, surfer, husband, father, and now Company Commander of West Point's Warrior Transition Unit.
He's also blind.
Law barring lies about military medals faces test -- [Washington Post]
A federal law against lying about military medals is facing First Amendment challenges in Colorado and California. Lawyers in both cases have made similar arguments against the Stolen Valor Act, saying that lying is protected by the First Amendment unless it does real harm.
Why Stolen Valor doesn't violate 1st Amendment -- [This Ain't Hell...]
Last month I wrote about the Denver Post going squishy on Richard Strandlof's impending trial for a violation of the Stolen Valor Act. The Post wrote that convicting him would violate his 1st Amendment right to free speech. Well, apparently, there's some case law that says otherwise.
In 2008, Xavier Alvarez, while running for office on his local water board made the following statement on the campaign trail
Air Force Academy creates worship area for pagans, Druids -- [USA Today]
The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is establishing a worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions -- Wiccans, Druids, witches, pagans -- on a hill overlooking the campus, the USAFA says.
The Wiccan Cross -- [Greyhawk]
How would you complete the following sentence?
"Leaving a cross at a Wiccan* assembly area on a college campus is the equivalent of ____." (Consider the "blank" to be as long as you need.)
Why, the person who did this must be a ______.
Did you say "anonymous Christian supremacist"? Me neither.
Know why? Because first be not stupid is a good motto. At least that's what I always say.
Shorn -- [OPFOR - Lt Col P - heading home from Afghanistan]
am I of two constant companions since mid-August of last year-- my 9mm and my M4. I turned both in today, duly cleaned (and with a small net gain of ammo, to boot). I feel oddly under-dressed without them. I also removed the tourniquet and IBD that had been in my sleeve pockets for six months. Again, it doesn't feel quite right not to have them on board.
In about 24 hours or so I'll be airborne (!) back to the States, and this whole thing will be nearly done. That is the strangest feeling of them all.
If Not Now, When?: Duty and Sacrifice in America's Time of Need Wins 2010 Colby Award -- [PR Newswire]
(Chicago, Illinois, February 3, 2010) The military memoir by Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs, USA (Ret.) has won the 2010 Colby Award.
Named for the late Ambassador and former CIA Director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public's understanding of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs. The $5,000 award will be presented by Tawani Foundation in association with the Pritzker Military Library ...
CSI: Miami - Promoting the Good in Iraq -- [A Soldier's Perspective]
Many of us have seen the MSM misrepresent or not even report the good things that our military is doing in Iraq. We see TV shows and movies on the big and small screen that stand on either side of the issue. Some are very elaborate and in your face while others are more subtle. The latter was the case in last nights episode of CSI: Miami.
I don't always watch the show, sometimes I watch "Castle", so I didn't know that Cain's son had enlisted in the Army and been sent to Iraq. At the end of the episode they showed Cain signing into a video conference on his computer. The picture we see on the computer screen is Cain's son, in battle fatigues and in Iraq. There are the usual parent/child pleasantries and concerns passed from one to another. They could have ended the scene with that, but they didn't. They go on to have Cain's son talk about rebuilding the schools and how happy the kids are to have them.
Jeremy Renner nominated for best actor in 'The Hurt Locker'
"The Hurt Locker" honored with 9 Academy Award Nominations, including Best Picture
Cast includes TAPS mentor Brian Geraghty, Film depicts military's unsung heroes
Jeremy Renner nominated for best actor in 'The Hurt Locker'
'The Hurt Locker' may rewrite script on Iraq war movies -- [NY Daily News]
..."Maybe the winds have shifted, and people are willing to think about the war in cinematic terms," says Mark Boal, who was embedded in Iraq in '04 as a freelance journalist and is now nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for "Locker."
"'Hurt Locker' works as a magnifying glass on Iraq," says Boal, "but there's also a purely experiential level to it. Even for me, as a regular popcorn-buying member of the public, it's more than a war film."
Seeking balance: the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review -- [Foreign Policy Review]
he Defense Department today released the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, its Congressionally-mandated examination of defense programs and plans. The review is the latest milestone in Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates's campaign to focus the Defense Department on the need to win today's wars. As such, it is to be applauded. However, in concentrating on that goal, it too often shortchanges other challenges.
In its language, the 2010 QDR has clearly been Obamacized. It reads more like a corporate annual report than a strategy to guide the world's most powerful military, one that has been at war for most of the last decade. One is at pains, for example, to find in the document's 105 pages the word "win" (as in, "win the war in Afghanistan").
Don't ask Don't Tell -- [Greyhawk]
Gates and Mullen testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, livestream:
Gates' prepared statement for the committee here.
That last line bears particular note - it's the often-ignored but fundamental and key truth at the heart of the issue - and it can't be repeated enough. "The ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress." That's not a decision Congress welcomes with open arms - and that reluctance presents a great illustration of one difference between power and responsibility - words that represent concepts that have meaning. Those concepts combined are such an enormous burden that the typical member of Congress can bear only one.
The Case Against Gays in the Military -- [Wall Street Journal]
Open homosexuality would threaten unit cohesion and military effectiveness. -- As expected, President Obama pledged during his State of the Union address to "work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans
Credit Where Credit is Due -- [BlackFive - Grim]
I know that we frequently have some philosophical disputes with the Obama administration here. Still, once in a while, it's a good idea to step back and point out the things they have gotten right.
Marine Ilario Pantano for Congress! -- [BlackFive]
We've followed the trials and tribulations of USMC First Lieutenant Ilario Pantano for awhile here on BlackFive. We've supported him since the beginning (and had to fight some of our own to do so), and, now, Ilario is running for Congress in the Congressional District NC-7. The 7th District has not had a Republican since March 3, 1871!
Pantano and his family live in North Carolina where, since 2006, he continues to serve his community as a Deputy Sheriff.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)