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.
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The Next Battles for Marja -- [Josh Foust/NY Times Opinion]
THIS year will be the third in a row that tens of thousands of new United States troops have arrived in Afghanistan with plans to "clear, hold and build" areas controlled by the Taliban. Those previous surges have achieved little success at holding or building, as the international coalition and Afghan government have inevitably failed to come up with realistic plans for what happens after the fighting is done. Is the campaign in Marja destined for the same fate?
Contemplating Post-Conflict Governance in Marjeh, Pt. 2 -- [Josh Foust/Registan]
I have an op-ed in Wednesday's New York Times, further discussing the prospects for securing the peace in Marjeh...
Now, this might seem unusually credulous for me, given my normal predilection for ranting about how dumb everyone is. Indeed, as a friend pointed out, this veers surprisingly close to endorsing the McChrystal Strategy, something I have been weirdly alone in criticizing.
The easiest explanation for this is, I am trying to be constructive. I remain convinced, as I have been since the beginning, that Marjeh is a strategic backwater with almost no "real" importance to the Afghan campaign. And I am genuinely concerned about the most recent plans...
Down the AfPak Rabbit Hole -- [Thomas H. Johnson, M. Chris Mason/Foreign Policy ]
The release of Tim Burton's new blockbuster movie, Alice in Wonderland, is days away. The timing could not be more appropriate. Lewis Carroll's ironically opium-inspired tale of a rational person caught up inside a mad world with its own bizarre but consistent internal (il)logic has now surpassed Vietnam as the best paradigm to understand the war in Afghanistan.
How Is Ravin' Like FP's Writing Desk? -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
I don't agree with the "Down the AF-PAK Rabbit Hole," but props from one reformed Victorian lit student to Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason in Foreign Policy for going deep in the first quarter to come up with this lede...
Other than the English geek observation that Alice wasn't so much inspired by opium use, why disagree with the authors? Because Marjah is not as they claim a "nearly worthless postage stamp of real estate" that is being secured in "a giant public affairs exercise, designed to shore up dwindling domestic support for the war by creating an illusion of progress."
100 Days of NTM-A Comms -- [Your experience may vary - in Afghanistan]
Yesterday marked 100 days since the formal activation of NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan.
The first 100 days have been pretty amazing...from Washington DC to London to Brussels to a dusty town in Helmand Province, everyone is working together to enable accountable Afghan-led security. And Afghan and Coalition communicators are working together to connect the all the organizations involved.
This week's radio interview -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Here is this week's conversation with WUSF Radio's reporter Bobbie O'Brien, which aired yesterday during "All Things Considered" and will air again today during "Morning Edition"; the conversation focused on more corruption with the ANA and the lack of consequences for it.
Bad Water Flows From The Spring -- [Afghanistan My Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
Today during my mentoring session, the topic of corruption surfaced again. An ANA officer who I don't mentor summed it up with an Afghan proverb, "Bad water flows from the spring". He was inferring that corruption starts at the very top and then flows down through the various levels. This officer used to be an inspector or auditor ensuring the ANA soldiers got paid.
Taliban cave network found in Pakistan mountains -- [The Telegraph]
Pakistan's army has discovered a complex network of 156 caves used by the Taliban and al-Qaeda dug into rocky mountains close to the Afghan border.
The tunnels, which are thought to have been created over five to seven years, were carved into sheer rock within view of the snow-capped peaks of eastern Afghanistan.
The network was found during an offensive against Islamist militants in the country's semi-autonomous tribal areas in which 75 militants were killed.
Pakistan Seizes Insurgent Stronghold on Afghan Border -- [Wall Street Journal]
Pakistani military officials said the area was also used by Mr. Zawahiri and other senior al Qaeda commanders. A large mud compound on a hilltop is believed to once have been the hideout of Mr. Zawahiri, one of the world's most-wanted terrorists, with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head.
"He has been spotted here by the local residents in the past," said Col. Nauman Saeed, a local army commander.
Rebirth of a Nation -- [Newsweek]
Bush's rhetoric about democracy came to sound as bitterly ironic as his pumped-up appearance on an aircraft carrier a few months earlier, in front of an enormous banner that declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. And yet it has to be said and it should be understood--now, almost seven hellish years later--that something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.
The Worst of Intentions -- [Christopher S. Carson/New English Review (Hat tip: David Bellavia)]
Although it hardly made the American news, the Rt. Hon. Anthony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, was called to the hot seat in London in February, testifying before Britain's Chilcot "Iraq Inquiry" in what was ubiquitously referred to as his "Day of Judgment." It seemed the political and media classes in Great Britain expected him to beat his breast in biblical lamentation for his vile sin of deposing Saddam Hussein's monstrous regime in 2003. Perhaps the media and political classes at least hoped to see him sweat, or even see him beg for forgiveness, the way Richard Clarke did when he testified histrionically before the 9-11 Commission just as his Bush-bashing book hit the stores.
Another American media success -- [Greyhawk]
...But while that threat was misunderstood and misrepresented (by many - even Saddam Hussein himself) throughout the 1990's, it wasn't manufactured, it was as real as a threat can be. That reality was convenient throughout the Clinton years, but somehow less so after 2003.
To be fair, the reality that there were no existing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was clear (to all but the most devoted) after the invasion. But while it might seem hard to believe now, this Washington Post piece accurately reflected the nation in May, 2003 - existing weapons weren't the point...
Scorn in the USA -- [Neil Gussman/Home From Iraq]
Once I left the relative safety of riding in Iraq, I knew it was just a matter of time before someone would swear at me, swerve at me or otherwise threaten me while I was riding a bike. It happened today in Orlando. I was riding on the shoulder of a 4-lane road and the passenger in a beat-up black Ford Focus called me a "Faggot M-F" or something like that. I am sure of the faggot part.
Argentina celebrates diplomatic coup as Hillary Clinton calls for talks over Falklands -- [Times (UK) Online]
Her intervention defied Britain's longstanding position that there should be no negotiations unless the islands' 3,000 inhabitants asked for them. It was hailed in Buenos Aires as a major diplomatic victory, but condemned in the Falklands.
Britain insisted there was no need for mediation as long as the islanders wanted to remain British. "We don't think that's necessary," a Downing Street spokesman said.
Buffoonery -- [Neptunus Lex]
One million Britons marched against Tony Blair's decision to go to war alongside America in Iraq - the largest protest ever, in a country with a history reckoned in millenia - but Tommy came and fought. Hundreds have died alongside our troops there and in Afghanistan.
You might have thought the gesture would have earned a little good will across the pond.
Not so much...
Diplomacy for Dummies (Update) -- [Q And O]
Uh, sit down for what? Britain claimed the Falklands in 1833 after British settlers settled there during the decade. The islands lay 300 miles off the Argentine coast. In 1982, it had to fend off an attack by Argentina in a bid to take them over. Now 3 British oil companies plan to put an offshore oil rig 100 miles north of the islands.
Somehow Argentina, who should have gotten the message in 1982, is still under the mistaken impression it has some say over what goes on there...
Taliban confirm wanted terror leader Qari Zafar killed in US airstrike -- [Long War journal]
The Taliban confirmed that a terrorist leader who was behind multiple terror attacks in Pakistan and was wanted by the US for murdering a consular official in Karachi was killed in an airstrike in North Waziristan last week...
The Taliban vowed to avenge Zafar's death, and said they would strike against the Pakistani government.
The Future For UAVs in the U.S. Air Force -- [Popular mechanics]
When the Air Force recently mapped out a game plan to 2047, its report contained a big surprise: Fewer pilots and more robotic planes acting on their own. Will the airman-centric service accept a future with fewer cockpits? And are we ready for UAVs that can fire their weapons without human permission?
Muslim leader's edict decries terrorism -- [Washington Times]
"Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence, and it has no place in Islamic teaching, and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts," Mr. Tahir-ul-Qadri said at a news conference in London. "Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good; they cannot convert an evil into good."
First Live-Streamed USO Show -- [Hooah Wife]
When I heard about this event, there was no question you all would enjoy this. Saving Abel is a new group to me, but from what I've heard....I love them. Looks like almost 30,000 people on Facebook were in the know of this band before yours truly (I'm slow sometimes). On top of liking their sound, anyone that supports the troops and travels with the USO is OK in my book!
This is a unique opportunity and a first for you! You are invited to join their concert, live-streamed from Kuwait on Thursday March 4th 10pm EST / 7pm PST. You can watch it here.
Generation next: JROTC raises funds for wounded warrior, family -- [Robert Stokely]
This group of students organized and collected $1,300.00 during a fall 2009 campaign to help Bravo 2/121 Wounded Warrior SFC Mark Allen. SFC Allen suffered a serious head wound during a fierce firefight on July 8, 2009 in Afghanstan while serving as a Platoon leader with Bravo 2/121 (Newnan GA) of the 48th Brigade Georgia Army National Guard:
My name is Jessica - I work at Edelman PR in Chicago and am reaching out to you on behalf of Operation Homefront and Jim Beam. I've been checking out the Dawn Patrol in the Mudville Gazette and thought you might be interested to know that Jim Beam launched "Salute Soldiers with the Spirit of America," a program/contest designed to support troops both at home and abroad, and provide guys with opportunities to salute their military pals throughout 2010.
As part of the program, Americans can now nominate their service member friends to win VIP experiences, including tickets to top-tier sporting and entertainment events, through Jim Beam's Facebook page or www.JimBeam.com.
Might this be of interest to you and your readers of the Dawn Patrol?
For more information on the program, check out www.Facebook.com/JimBeam.
Thanks for your consideration,
Guest hosting Frank Gaffney's radio show -- [Uncle Jimbo/Blackfive]
Did Frank's Secure Freedom Radio show this afternoon. The audio is here...
Today we had Genevieve Chase of American Women Veterans on to talk about women in combat positions. Then we had my Juicebox Mafia buddy, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent and Attackerman on to talk about military commissions and finally Dr. Peter Pham to give us some updates on efforts by the Iranians and al Qaeda to do more nastiness in Africa.
Obama changes SecDef line of succession -- [AP/Military Times]
Obama's little-noticed March 1 executive order reverses President George W. Bush's doomsday plan, which bumped the service secretaries and elevated the most loyal advisers to the defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld.
48th Brigade returning home; 'Georgians exceptionally proud' -- [Maj. Gen. William T. Nesbitt/Newnan (Ga) Times-Herald]
After a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, it's time to welcome back the Georgia National Guard's 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) during the next month.
Their mission has been to organize, train and prepare Afghanistan's security forces to manage their own nation's security operations. Taking on this daunting task in the middle of a renewed Taliban insurgency has been quite a challenge.
VA delay may stall benefits for Vietnam vets -- [Military Times]
Three veterans groups have threatened the Veterans Affairs Department with a lawsuit if VA does not publish regulations by March 12 about three Agent Orange-related diseases that the Institute of Medicine has deemed should be presumed connected to military service.
...The American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program sent a letter to VA on Monday demanding that the organization publish the regulation by March 12.
New DoD Policy Embraces Social Media -- [Bullet Wisdom]
Last week was pretty huge for me for two reasons. First, author Jim Butcher personally provided some tremendously helpful advice, and second, my manuscript made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I was working on this week's post, a look at the Fort Hood Esquire article, but late in the week, the Department of Defense issued Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-026 - The DoD's policy for Responsible and Effective Use of Internet-based Capabilities.
For the last few years, the Army and other services faced a conundrum...
With The Old Breed -- [Jules Crittenden ]
Eugene Sledge's sons weigh in on the HBO series, "The Pacific," that is based in part on dad's book. It was a tough view for them and one they think would be tougher on the old man ... which frankly given the background of this series sounds like a pretty good review.
HBO's "The Pacific" premier etc... -- [Kiss My Gumbo]
Sir JJ (search him on this blog for more info on him) and I attended the
red-carpet (I'll go back to that) premier in New Orleans for HBO's new series, The Pacific last night... Let's just say this about the Pacific, yours truly, who does not watch much TV, will be getting HBO just for this series.
Naval History's guide to "The Pacific" -- [US Naval Institute]
Welcome to an extra-special Naval History. Like any magazine editor, I'm always on the lookout for topics that will engage, educate, and entertain readers. And that's especially true when it comes to subjects for our biannual gatefold issues, one of which you're now viewing. It's a companion to HBO's new miniseries The Pacific and a history of the 1st Marine Division in World War II's Pacific theater.
Scott Brown to join Senate homeland security, military committees -- [Washington Post]
Brown, a 30-year National Guard veteran who currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, said in a statement that he is proud of his new assignments.
"We are currently involved in two wars, and these committees are critical in keeping our country safe, as well as protecting the men and women who defend us," Brown said. "It is equally important that the men and women in uniform receive the care and benefits they have earned through their selfless service. I look forward to working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to carry out the important work of these committees for the good of our state and our country."
Senators to unveil DADT repeal bill -- [Military Times]
A bill to repeal the federal ban on open military service by gays will be introduced by five senators Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
The bill, backed by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Mark Udall, D-Colo.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; and Roland Burris, D-Ill., also would expressly prohibit discrimination against service members on the basis of their sexual orientation.
GOP dismisses military study on gays as biased -- [AP/Stars and Stripes]
Some Republicans are dismissing a planned nine-month Pentagon study on gays in the military as biased because it assumes Congress will eventually repeal the 1993 law known as "don't ask, don't tell."
GOP lawmakers are likely to use the argument to try to chip away at the credibility of the assessment, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates envisions as the first comprehensive look at the policy in its 17-year lifetime.
Troops to have voice in DADT review -- [Military Times]
The views of the troops will be an integral part of the nearly year-long review of the ramifications of open military service by gays, according to the parameters of the study released Tuesday by the Pentagon.
This week in history:
March 4, 1789 - Government under the U.S. Constitution begins: The first session of the U.S. Congress is held in New York City as the U.S. Constitution takes effect. However, of the 22 senators and 59 representatives called to represent the 11 states who had ratified the document, only nine senators and 13 representatives showed up to begin negotiations for its amendment.
March 3 1931: The "Star Spangled Banner" is adopted as the national anthem by congressional resolution.
1941: Captain America introduced
1946 - Winston Churchill delivers his "Iron Curtain" speech:
Nine months after Sir Winston Churchill failed to be reelected as Britain's Prime Minister, Churchill traveled by train with President Harry Truman to make a speech. On March 5, 1946, at the request of Westminster College in the small Missouri town of Fulton (population of 7,000), Churchill gave his now famous "Iron Curtain" speech to a crowd of 40,000.
1960 - Elvis Presley honorably discharged from the US Army
Attitude -- [The Mudville Gazette]
Via email, from the victim's mom:
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)