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.
More Marjah Madness -- [The Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
One of the things that most disturbs me about my job is how otherwise thoughtful people somehow manage to jump off the Reason Train short of Plausible Junction, taking a sizable number of otherwise sane bloggers with them.
Case in point this week is Gareth Porter at Anti-War.com, who has somehow managed to convince himself and a bunch of people repeating his post that briefings and press accounts describing the rural community of Marjah as a "town" or "city" was somehow a misinformation campaign by the evil militarists of 40-plus nations who are committed to eroding their political support by duping the public into extending an unpopular war in the hopes of killing as many brown people as possible. Or something like that. A search for clear motives tends to muddle an otherwise pristine paranoia.
Gareth's argument is supported by an ISAF official "who asked not to be identified" confirming that Marjah is a "rural community" -- which adds to the air of a secret plot revealed. Except there's no secret. The official was me, and I didn't ask to be quoted anonymously.
The rest of my dismay is in my email to Gareth, quoted here in full...
Downrange: An Informal Report on a trip to Afghanistan with Marine Gen. James N. Mattis -- [Steven Pressfield - in Afghanistan]
Jim Mattis is a four-star Marine general. He doesn't go out of his way to be quotable; he just can't help himself. Here, from Iraq 2004, are his instructions to the Marines under his command on how to conduct themselves with the natives they will encounter.
Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
...It's February 24th and Gen. Mattis has invited me to accompany his party on a four-day burst to Afghanistan. I've never been there. I want to go. So I've flown to Norfolk from Los Angeles, where I live. We take off in the morning...
Blast From the Past -- [Rajiv Srinivasan - in Afghanistan]
I stood in the shower with my head hanging low and eyes closed. The flowing lukewarm water soothed my skin as I felt it splash upon my shaven scalp. Drops rolled down my forehead, off my nose and splattered on the plastic floor. I stood alone and relaxed, pondering the luxury of hygiene. God this feels amazing...it was a wonderful end to a rather busy day.
My meditation broke with the sound of the wooden door slamming the trailer frame. At this hour, there was no question in my mind what was coming.
"Hey LT!" Shouted SGT Lays from the entrance, "We're gettin' spun up! Big XO needs you in the TOC!"
"Ah fuck!" I cried, banging my fist on the wall..."Aright, I'm moving!"
AAR -- [Riding Shotgun with Team Zombie Killer - in Afghanistan]
After a few training cycles here we can definitely see some trends--some good, some bad. Naturally, some of these things are just plain frustrating.
The Afghans can definitely fight.
The Deep End of the Pool -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
So, a while back one of the locals comes to me and says, "Sir, we have a problem."
...The tone of his voice and his body language immediately put me on my guard, hushed whisper, glancing nervously around, etc. I thought he was going to say that someone had been stealing, or that he was convinced one of my guys was a Taliban sleeper agent. Afghans love to maneuver themselves into the good graces of Westerners by speaking ill of other Afghans.
Not in this case.
The Economics of Insurgency -- [270 Days in Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
It should be a simple enough mission, right? Teach them how to grow wheat instead of poppies. After all, wheat is a sustainable crop, it feeds people, and it doesn't hurt anyone. The Ministry of Defense in Afghanistan has been a willing partner, publishing public service messages in the paper. The comic below shows a child walking in a field of wheat with a piece of bread next to a different field with plants that have skulls as flowers. The caption reads: Wheat is food. Poppies are poison.
Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as showing them how to farm other crops.
A true Cavalry officer -- [Mob 2009 Blog - in Afghanistan]
A while ago, I was told about this neat place where I could ride a horse here in Kabul. I went there a few weeks ago and I totally forgot to post about this (all the other problems started happening shortly after and it slipped my mind.)
Anyway, when I got there, I found that these are no "mild mannered" horses like the ones that you can ride in the US.
Excess Humvees to BAF -- [Afghanistan my Last Tour - in Afghanistan]
It has been quite awhile since our last convoy trip to BAF. The roads are in much worse shape than I remember and the potholes have spread like a bad disease...
Details -- [Sgt Danger - in Afghanistan]
As I've mentioned before, we're pretty much done running missions on the Afghan highways. For a while that meant lots of time to hang out and play. Then the Army found some things for us to do.
Man Versus Afghanistan -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
Great article about Afghanistan in The Atlantic: Divided by geography, cursed by corruption, stunted by poverty, staggered by a growing insurgency--Afghanistan seems beyond salvation. Is it? From Somalia and the Balkans to Iraq, the U.S. military has been embroiled in conflicts that reflect an age-old debate: Can individual agency triumph over deep-seated historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic forces? Drawing on his experiences in Iraq, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, has his own answer to that question.
Tracking New Blog -- [My View, Our Mission - in Afghanistan]
Check out the new blog on my list on right...it's called Afghan Police Development. It was just set up at the direction of Brigadier General MacDonald, the senior Police Advisor here at Eggers and my big boss on the Police side...
Friday Motivator -- [The Sniper]
Jambo! -- [Ramblings from a painter - in Iraq]
Just in the past few days, though, we have had something develop that's kinda cool. One of my new projects was to provide training to workers in an Iraqi governmental organization. However, it was pretty much dead due to funding limitations, two changed deadlines, and the impossibility of getting it on contract using our normal procedures...
<...>On to another topic. The USO has been bringing more music acts through here lately. Last night, several of us went to see a concert by Bad Company... They didn't do a bad job, really. The lead guitarist's amp blew up during the first song...
Maliki has shaky lead in Iraq vote count -- [LA Times]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's slate had an early lead Saturday as partial results trickled in from the parliamentary elections last weekend...
Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqiya slate, an alliance of secular-minded Sunni Arabs and Shiites, has posed the biggest challenge to Maliki and is running second nationally.
Iraqi PM Remains Ahead After Partial Vote Count -- [Voice of America]
Despite the fact that under a third of the vote has been officially counted, Iraqi leaders are reportedly scrambling to negotiate to form a new government. Prime Minister Maliki will not necessarily remain in power, even if he wins a plurality of votes.
Iraq vote signals shift from hard-line leaders -- [Washington Times]
Partial results released by the Independent High Electoral Commission showed the State of Law coalition with about a 60,000-vote edge nationwide over its main moderate challenger, the secular Iraqiya coalition. The Shiite fundamentalist Iraqi National Alliance was in third place.
The partial Baghdad vote was released amid utter disarray in the election commission's headquarters, where the results were flashed on big-screen TVs but yanked down moments later, only to be released yet again. It was the latest in a series of blunders marring the counting process as results have trickled out slowly.
Issue of Presidency Endangers Iraq's Tenuous Balance -- [NY Times]
...in negotiations that could last months, the presidency, a largely ceremonial post, has emerged as a growing quarrel, threatening to upset Iraq's still tenuous and ambiguous arrangements of sect, ethnicity and power.
Panic in Georgia over Russian 'invasion' report -- [Times (UK) Online]
A spoof television report that President Mikheil Saakashvili had been assassinated in a new Russian invasion of Georgia led to mass panic and furious opposition protests yesterday.
Justice, CIA clash over probe of interrogator IDs -- [Washington Times]
The CIA and Justice Department are fighting over a secret investigation into a controversial program by legal supporters of Islamist terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay that involved photographing CIA interrogators and showing the pictures to prisoners, an effort CIA officials say threatens the officers' lives.
Soldier Rocks with Bad Company
The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done: A Series of Screw-Ups and Lessons Learned -- [Andi/Spouse Buzz]
In January, on the day my husband deployed, I received a phone call informing me that we would have to move while my husband was deployed. It's a long story, and has nothing to do with orders, or the Army. Basically, the house we were renting was sold.
I had to find a house, buy a house, pack a house and move a house. Without my husband. Pronto. I knew this would be challenging of course, but I also thought it was fairly doable. Bwahahahahaha.
LZ Lambeau seen as overdue welcome home for Vietnam veterans -- [Green Bay Press-Gazette]
When Wisconsin Public Television began to interview Vietnam veterans for a documentary about the war, the film crew heard a recurring concern: Many vets felt they never had a warm welcome home.
The sentiment was repeated enough to push Wisconsin Public Television to partner with the Wisconsin Historical Society and the state Department of Veterans Affairs to launch LZ Lambeau: Welcoming Home Wisconsin's Vietnam Veterans, a weekend-long welcome home event set for May at the Packers' stadium.
Time to refresh your memories... -- [Castle Argghhh]
I first published this list of helpful websites back in December of '08. It has a permanent link to it over in the right sidebar. I see it's making the rounds again in email, and people didn't remember we had it, so it's clearly time to publish it again - with a small update, that of the Federal Government's stab at it, the National Resource Directory.
Below are web-sites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file/ask for them. Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA.
Please pass this information on to every Veteran you know.
Nearly 100% of this information is free and available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it, because they won't tell you about a specific benefit unless you ask for it.
Saving Abel to Perform at the 2010 MilBlog Conference -- [Andi/milblogging.com]
Troop supporting rockers Saving Abel will be in town during the Milblog Conference and have volunteered to stop by the Friday evening Cocktail Reception for a brief, acoustic performance...
We've had no less than three bands offer to perform at The MilBlog Conference...
Liveblogging The Pacific -- [Jules Crittenden]
Watching the "Pacific" previews now, it looks like Hanks is determined to lecture us on how bad war is, through a lot of preachy scriptwriting, rather than simply using film-making skills to do the job. So far this thing is mediocre. Too bad. Memo to producers Hanks and Spielberg, director Tim Van Patten: Sometimes you need to trust your audience.
Prelude to The Pacific -- [Comment from Bill D]
Just finished premier episode of The Pacific. What a bunch of leftist crap! insulting to every single member of the Pacific Theater Operations, makes us to be blood-lust killers, unsure of why we are there, and disrespect to superior officers. Hidden "alternative" lifestyles, only thing missing was an on-camera shot of a GI kicking an animal!
'The Pacific' review: Brilliant, brutal, and, yes, very enjoyable -- [Entertainment Weekly]
Unlike Band of Brothers, made by many of the same people and led by producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, The Pacific doesn't often offer the comfort of triumphant surges and comradeship under fire. It does something much trickier to pull off: It creates marvelous drama from a highly chaotic, confusing series of battlefields, and follows men who aren't best buddies, but who are complex combinations of heroes, innocents, cynics, and damaged goods...
I don't claim to have a lot of knowledge about this area of history, and the filmmakers can't assume many viewers do. What I get from The Pacific strikes me as being "realistic" in the sense that, without having done research, I was convinced of it...
EOD on standby -- [Greyhawk]
...On the other hand, early reports on Jason Bourne's fourth identity (The Green Zone) might have movie execs glancing nervously at the protective gear...
Weekend Box Office -- [Box Office Mojo]
PA12 GOP: Burns over Russell -- [Greyhawk]
I follow elections when veterans are candidates. This one, for example: GOP chooses Burns for special election in 12th.
"Among 131 votes cast at a Republican convention held at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Burns won 85 and easily defeated the only other GOP nominee - William Russell of Johnstown, who had 46... Russell, who spent his career in the Army, ran a spirited but unsuccessful campaign against Murtha in 2008.
Kokesh's final delegate count? -- [This Ain't Hell]
As Sparky pointed out the other day, Kokesh can still get on the ballot for the primary by collecting 2,000 signatures. But really, what would be the point? Obviously New Mexico Republicans won't vote for him - overwhelmingly.
Much Ado? -- [Neptunus Lex]
So, when I read this NYT headline I have to admit to being a little perplexed: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants"
Contractors ought not to be in the wetwork industry, at least not those working for DoD.
French Counterinsurgency in Algeria:
Forgotten Lessons from a Misunderstood Conflict -- [Small Wars Journal]
...the Algerian conflict offers an indispensable insight, truly relevant to the conduct of counterinsurgency operations (COIN) in today's security environment. While avoiding the political debate over the validity of France's claim over her North African possession, this article will demonstrate that French military forces actually waged a successful campaign in Algeria, virtually eliminating the insurgent forces in the field but losing the war at home.
The CDS goes to war -- [Greyhawk]
Exclusive: we've just obtained this newly-released, first look photo of a device being deployed in Afghanistan...
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)