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.
US, Afghan forces kill Haqqani Network commander during raid in Khost -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
Coalition and Afghan forces killed a Haqqani Network commander who is known to help al Qaeda fighters enter Afghanistan and carry out attacks in the region.
The commander, Fazil Subhan, was killed along with an undisclosed number of Haqqani Network fighters last week during a two-day-long military operation in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, the International Security Assistance Force said in a press release.
Intelligence services are funding, training Taliban...--[France24]
Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency provides funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to a study Sunday which claimed to have the strongest evidence yet of their links.
The report for the London School of Economics (LSE), based on interviews with nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan between February and May this year, claims their relationship goes far beyond what is currently known.
"Although the Taliban has a strong endogenous impetus, according to Taliban commanders the ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the movement," wrote author Matt Waldman, a fellow at Harvard University.
"They say it gives sanctuary to both Taliban and Haqqani groups, and provides huge support in terms of training, funding, munitions, and supplies. In their words, this is 'as clear as the sun in the sky'."
Afghan Taliban deny being supported by Pakistan -- [LWJ - Bill Roggio]
The Taliban's executive council has denied a recent report that stated the Pakistani military and government provides direct support to the Afghan group.
In a statement released on it website, the Voice of Jihad, the Afghan Taliban described a study released by the London School of Economics as "a merely baseless propaganda launched to promote British and American interests" and "a dictated drama of the political rulers of the West."
The Taliban claimed that it is fighting the US and Afghan governments with the support of the people in Afghanistan and that it has no need for Pakistani support.
As Afghan Fighting Expands, U.S. Medics Plunge In -- [NY Times - C. J. CHIVERS, embedded in Afghanistan]
...For Company C's detachment in Helmand Province, the recent duty had been harried.
Over several days the crews had retrieved a Marine who had lost both legs and an arm to a bomb explosion; the medic had kept that man alive. They had picked up two Marines bitten by their unit's bomb-sniffing dog. They landed for a corporal whose back had been injured in a vehicle accident.
And day after day they had scrambled to evacuate Afghans or Marines struck by bullets or blasted by bombs, including a mission that nearly took them to a landing zone where the Taliban had planted a second bomb, with hopes that an aircraft might land on it. The Marines had found the trap and directed the pilots to a safer spot.
A few days before the Marine was shot in the skull, after sandstorms had grounded aircraft, another call had come in. A bomb had exploded beside a patrol along the Helmand River. Two Marines were wounded. One was dying.
For hours the airspace had been closed; supervisors deemed the conditions too dangerous to fly. The crews wanted to evacuate the Marines. "I'll go," said Sgt. Jason T. Norris, a crew chief. "I'll walk."
RC South -- [Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
I've traveled to the south (Helmand Province) several times now. Much of my time has been spent with the Brits at Camp Bastion, Nad e Ali, and now Lashkar Gah. From a COIN standpoint, while there is work to do, the Brits are doing better. The current Brigadier has taken a quantum step forward with a directive to execute a standardize tool pack that includes an ASCOPE/PMESII crosswalk for each operational area.
Lost Boys: Father's Day Post -- [Rajiv Srinivasan - in Afghanistan]
Explosions are a daily occurrence in the Zhari District. Most blasts are IEDs, some are RPGs or recoilless rifles. Generally, all are followed by machine gun fire or a secondary boom, if not both. The detonations reverberate throughout our combat outpost as we continue our daily grind. Whether I'm out on patrol or within the security of the wire, my eyes roll in exasperation, my pulse hastens, and I thrust my radio hand-mic to my ears, anticipating the call to respond to the emergency.
But every now and then, a ray of good fortune shines upon us, and the explosion we hear is not a planned enemy attack but a failed attempt at one.
Training a Kandak -- [AfghaniDan, Part II - in Afghanistan]
A few days ago I tagged along on a media "engagement" to catch some of a Kandak Validation/Assessment. What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Good question. A kandak, as loyal readers of Afghanidan may recall, is an Afghan battalion-sized unit...and a validation/assessment is a necessary step each one must pass, prior to being deployed in operations. So the kandak is evaluated on its performance in the areas of command & control, training, sustenance, equipment, and personnel...whether it even has soldiers in key positions, for example. To draw back the lens a bit, this critical series of tests lets the Afghan National Army (ANA) leadership and the Coalition know whether a not a kandak is 'fit for duty', something NATO Training Mission Afghanistan is called upon to do.
A Tale of Three Commanders - A Reintegration Parable -- [ISAF - in Afghanistan]
Three battalion level commanders in Afghanistan had very different views on their roles.
The first battalion commander saw his task as killing or capturing the enemy. Issues such as governance, development, and interaction with local leaders and people were someone else's problem.
The ISAF counterinsurgency guidance and other directives were mildly interesting. Reintegration was a waste of time. He was taking the fight to the enemy with the conventional tools at his disposal.
The second commander...
Paying Retail for Peace -- [Quatto Zone - in Afghanistan]
...a recent post on ISAF's Afghan Hands blog by Col. Chris Kolenda makes an important point about Taliban reintegration and the politics of conflict resolution in Afghanistan writ large. The most successful efforts at bringing insurgents back into their communities take place through individual initiatives at the retail level, as does the most effective modeling of official behavior that addresses community grievances that fuel the insurgency. When enough local efforts begin to flourish, momentum starts to shift. Effective national efforts -- rather than being sui generis solutions -- tend to reinforce local success.
The retail aspect of reintegration has important implications for media coverage of Afghanistan.
Can NATO troops ever get their message across to Afghans? -- [Reuter's Afghan Journal - Michael Georgy, embedded in Afghanistan]
I was with Western forces the other day as they tried to persuade a group of Afghan farmers to come to them for help if they saw Taliban militants plant an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) or intimidated them.
A NATO soldier had urgency in his voice. To prove his point, he told the villagers that a Taliban IED had killed a five-year-old boy a few days earlier . Unlike many other NATO soldiers, he had actually taken the time to learn the local language. This made him popular. Many people smiled and shook his hand when he walked through villages - although he was constantly on the lookout for suspicious activity.
He explained why NATO troops had arrived in their troubled country in the first place - to punish the Taliban for sheltering Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders after the 9/11 attacks. But the farmers said they did not know why Western forces were here - after nine years of war.
Can't Win, Won't Go -- [Strategy Page]
The Taliban are using a traditional method to deal with their enemies; by assassinating Afghan leaders in the government, especially the reconstruction effort.
...Peace talks with the Taliban continue, with the Taliban admitting that they are hated by most Afghans, but pointing out that while the Taliban are unlikely to return to power, they can keep the nation unstable (and unsuitable for foreign investors) for a long time. But in the meantime, the Taliban are hurting. Many individual Taliban gangs are fleeing Helmand and Kandahar provinces for neighboring ones. This causes problems, as the tribes and government officials there must now deal with typical Taliban nastiness (intimidation, kidnapping, murder and extortion.) Not very pleasant at all. But back in Kandahar, many Taliban groups have been ordered to stay and resist the foreign troops. This means putting more pressure on local civilians to not cooperate with the government or foreign forces. This can get nasty,
Karzai, McChrystal in Kandahar to sell military operation -- [CNN - Nic Robertson, embedded Afghanistan]
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, say they've secured backing from local leaders for an upcoming military operation in the province.
McChrystal took Karzai and some of his security chiefs to Kandahar, considered the heartland of Taliban country.
Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement's leadership council, giving it significant influence over operations, a report released on Sunday said
$1 trillion USD of.......oh, screw it. -- [Knights of Afghanistan - in Afghanistan]
ISAF military operations, corruption in the government, strategic planning by the Obama administration, the weaknesses of current counter-insurgency theory, and all sorts of other Afghanistan-centered topics generate a predictable response in the blogosphere. Often the commentary is juvenile, hyperbolic or just plain wrong, but generally it barely rises beyond the level of nitpicking among COIN specialists or partisan hackery. There's often an undertone of negativity and defeatism, as the old saying about "bad news selling more papers" applies just as accurately to blog traffic, but no single article usually creates quite the firestorm that seems to have ignited over this article in the NY Times.
...Tomorrow, a sampling of some reactions from actual Afghans to the supposed news that their country holds impressive mineral wealth, along with a few thoughts of my own. In the meantime...
Women of the Afghan Army -- [Shoulder to Shoulder - NTM-A]
Afghan National Army (ANA) Logistics Command's Women's Center Ministry of Defenses' Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics' Headquarters Logistics Command continues to be pioneers of progress, equality, and opportunity for women by facilitating the union of women in the ANA. These women have become present-day pioneers. They are the future's role models, breaking free from traditional molds. While walking around Log Command, seeing the women work in a military capacity, the future of their role being that of an equal in the ANA is more than just hopeful, it is rapidly becoming a reality.
Kabul's mysterious Obama rug -- [Checkpoint Kabul]
It is one of the most-talked-about rugs in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Hanging outside an embassy conference room is a silk and wool rug with an unusual portrait of President Obama.
...Khan Baba, the Kabul rug maker, says that the images in the top corners are indeed supposed to be one of Obama's daughters. But he can't quite remember which one.
...Baba said four of his kids -- ages 9, 11, 16 and 17 -- spent six months working on the rug to present as a gift to the US Embassy.
The family turned up at the embassy last July 4th to present the rug to US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Baba said that embassy officials graciously accepted the rug and told the kids that the ambassador would offer his thanks in person some time soon.
Nearly a year later, Baba said his kids are still hoping that promise will be fulfilled.
Wounded Warrior Returns to Iraq, Finds Closure -- [DVIDS]
When Staff Sgt. Christopher Bain was ambushed in Iraq, April 8, 2004, it was only the beginning of his fight. He died for ten minutes and received four blood transfusions from Iraqi soldiers to stay alive. After the injured sergeant returned to the states, he faced years of torment.
...But Bain is now one-step closer to healing. A recent trip to Iraq with a program called Operation Proper Exit brought Bain back to the place where six years earlier the blast of a mortar threw him yards away from his troops. War and Remembrance -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
Mary Katharine Ham recently took a trip to Iraq along w/ ret. COL Tom Manion who went there to meet some Iraqis who his son 1LT Travis Manion had trained. Unfortunately Travis caught a sniper round while pulling some other Marines to safety, but as the Hammer let's us know he is certainly not forgotten.
Iraq war crimes case: marine freed -- [The Press Association]
A marine sergeant convicted of murder in one of the biggest war crimes cases to emerge from the Iraq war was allowed to walk free by a US military judge,
Explosives Found In Vehicle At Army Base -- [WSBTV]
Fort Gordon military police said a civilian impersonated a soldier in order to steal military equipment.
Officials said the military police were notified of a suspicious person impersonating a soldier on post around 12 p.m. Tuesday. Authorities located the person's vehicle just before 4 p.m. on post and apprehended the man.
Officers said they believe the man was involved in a theft of military equipment on Fort Gordon in April.
Spokesman Buz Yarnell said an initial search of the man's vehicle uncovered a backpack containing military hand grenades.
Gulf oil spill: Obama uses military fervor in Florida speech on leak -- [LA Times]
Hours before he was to speak to the nation, President Obama on Tuesday spoke about the fight against the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with the same patriotic, military language usually reserved for fighting wars abroad.
...In a televised appearance at Florida's Pensacola Naval Air Station, Obama used the forum of a military base to pledge again that his administration would fight what he called an unprecedented environmental disaster with an unprecedented response of people and resources.
More than 27,000 people and 5,000 vessels are fighting the leak, Obama said as he praised the military efforts to help by putting sandbags in place and even aiding the processing of claims
Pakistan wants combat copters -- [Washington Times]
Pakistan is seeking advanced U.S. attack helicopters and other weapons as part of a comprehensive arms package to bolster preparations for what its military is calling a "silent surge" of more than 100,000 troops into the mountain lairs of al Qaeda's senior leadership in the country's Northwest Frontier Province. "I have been ambassador here for two years, and all I have to show for it is eight secondhand Mi-17 transport helicopters for a war that requires helicopters to root out al Qaeda and the Taliban," Pakistan's ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, said in an interview with The Washington Times. The ambassador said, "Military operations would have been quicker and much easier to plan and execute if we had the equipment.
US Marines storm Estonian beachhead in exercise -- [AP]
...The head of the U.S. Marine Corps in Europe said it was the first time Marines had carried out such an amphibious landing on the Baltic Sea. It took place just 140 kilometers (90 miles) from the Russian border.
Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo said the drill represented a pledge from the United States and other NATO allies to provide security for Estonia and its Baltic neighbors, Latvia and Lithuania.
N. Korea Warns of Response to U.N. -- [NY Times]
North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations said his country's military would respond forcefully to any Security Council condemnation over the sinking of a South Korean warship.
Iran to send aid ships to Gaza - [Aljazeera.net]
Two Iranian vessels carrying aid supplies are due to set sail for Gaza in the coming week, in a move likely to further heighten tensions in the region.
Iranian news media reported on Tuesday that four tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, medicine and clothing would be sent to Gaza within coming days.
"This ship will pass through territorial waters of Oman, Yemen and Egypt before it reaches Gaza. It is said that the ship contains only humanitarian aid and there are no peace activists on board," Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
Terrorism: New warning to US in 'Bin Laden' message -- [AKI]
Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has purportedly issued a new terror threat to the United States in an audio message posted to jihadist websites. If the US executes the alleged '9/11' mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and other militants on trial in the US , Al-Qaeda will kill any American citizens it has taken hostage, the message states.
"The day America takes this decision, it will have made a decision to execute whoever is taken captive by us," said the brief 90-second message, which has not been authenticated.
The message accuses US president Barack Obama of escalating the hawkish foreign policy of his conservative predecessor George W. Bush, backing Israel against the Palestinians, and "oppressing" the wider Arab and Muslim world.
Call Him Crazy, but bin Laden Bounty Hunter May Have Been Close -- [At War - NY Times]
By now, you've probably heard the news: a middle-aged construction worker from Colorado was arrested in a forest in northwest Pakistan, carrying a samurai sword and a pistol, looking for Osama bin Laden.
He didn't find him.
Before you chuckle, let me just say: Whatever else we might conclude about Gary Faulkner, our arrested American bounty hunter, we should give him this: He was looking in the right place.
Pakistan: Doctor examines bin Laden hunter from US -- [AP]
"Our military has not been able to track Osama down yet. It's been 10 years," Scott Faulkner told reporters in Denver. "It's easier as a civilian, dressed in the local dress, to infiltrate the inside, the local people, gain their confidence and get information and intel that you couldn't get as an American soldier, Navy SEAL, whoever you might be."
Into the jaws of hate: Soldiers' parade marred by Muslim extremists and far-Right -- [Daily Mail]
Screaming hate and brandishing vile placards, Muslim extremists and far-Right groups clashed yesterday in ugly scenes that marred a parade by soldiers.
Around 40 members of a group called Muslims Against the Crusades (MAC) arrived with inflammatory banners featuring slogans such as 'Butchers return' and 'What are you dying for? £18k'.
They were soon confronted by 100 people, some wearing English Defence League T-shirts, who shouted 'scum' and 'Muslim bombers off our streets'.
...MAC supporters shouted slogans such as 'murderers, murderers' and 'British troops go to hell', while the mainly white crowd opposite, some of whom are believed to have been BNP supporters, threw frozen pork sausages and chanted 'scum' and 'Allah, Allah, who the f*** is Allah?'
Yarmouth High School Students Support The Troops -- [WBZ News]
A big show of support Monday at a Cape Cod high school after an anti-war protest disrupted an assembly honoring seniors who joined the military.
...On Friday, six seniors who are going into the military received plaques at an assembly at the school.
During the introductions, two teachers, Marybeth Verani and Carrie Koscher, stood up and held a sign that said "end war."
When the audience gave the six students a standing ovation, Verani and Koscher remained seated and didn't clap.
What a C.O.W. -- [CDR Salamander]
I know that chick ... or at least one like her. I don't know who I feel sorry for - her Col. husband or his Brigade.
The commander of Fort Bragg has barred the wife of an 82nd Airborne Division colonel from nearly all interaction with her husband's brigade and the unit's families after an investigation found her influence "detrimental to the morale and well-being of both."
Sworn statements from the investigation, ordered in January by Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, accuse Col. Brian Drinkwine's wife, Leslie Drinkwine, of using her husband's position as leverage to repeatedly harass and threaten soldiers and their families.
Report: Most Philadelphians Not Fit For Military -- [Philadelphia Region Local News]
A nonprofit group says that up to 90 percent of young Philadelphians are ineligible for military service because of criminal records, obesity or lack of education
Pennsylvania-based Mission: Readiness released its report Monday. It says 1 million Pennsylvanians are ineligible for the same reasons.
They're Back - [A Little Pink in a World of Camo - Gold Star Wife]
Advon came back last night. Jonny would have been advon. I should be sitting on my porch with him this very moment. Or doing other activities, but either way with him. But I'm not. I took it pretty hard. Luckily last night I had friends here with me to occupy me and keep me company. But this morning when everyone had gone home, I was left with myself, my thoughts, and that sinking feeling in my stomach.
Getting on the Bus -- [Red Bull Rising]
"Daddy, are you going to a war yet?"
I'm getting Lena, 5, and Rain, 3, ready to go out the door to daycare. We haven't yet told the kids about my deployment to Afghanistan. Partly, that's because I didn't want them to get confused during my Annual Training. I wanted to avoid telling them that Daddy would be leaving for a long time, only to have him come back after 3 weeks. Luckily, I suppose, Lena doesn't wait to let me answer her question.
"Is it because you're not tall enough? Because, I think you're pretty big."
It's another one of those ball-peen hammer moments. I blink a couple of times, not feeling very big at all.
Michael Yon- Proudly violating OPSEC -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
There are few things more dangerous than publicizing our security procedures, but publicizing any lapses in them sure qualifies. That is exactly what Mike Yon is doing and congratulating himself for. He published an email from a troop in Afghanistan complaining about some supposed lapses in security at his base. The email contains numerous violations of Operational Security (OPSEC) and anyone with an ounce of common sense would have emailed the kid back and told him to take it up w/ his chain of command or if they ignore him then the Inspector General. But not Mike, oh no the great speaker of truth to power publishes it and there are plenty of details about which guard towers are unmanned and response times for air support and which base it is to constitute a huge violation. But you see Mike is above petty concerns like that he simply announces our weaknesses to the world.
Moving on ... -- [armyhousehold6]
There have been some changes in the Munson household lately -- of course SGT Daddy coming home has been the most important. We are all doing very well. It has been a very easy transition for us , thank goodness. I've alluded to the BIG announcement on Facebook and Twitter so if you follow me over there you know what I'm about to say. Several months ago, SGT Daddy decided to NOT re-enlist to continue his career in the Army. Today, he officially started with ACAP (Army Career and Alumni Program) as part of our transition out of the army. Yes by the end of the year, we will no longer be an Army family. The BIG Announcement is that as of today I will not be continuing with my ArmyHousehold6 blog.
Afghanistan email -- Follow-up from last night: -- [Michael Yon Facebook]
"Well Michael I know we probably messed with the bee's nest
... and crossed the line on OPSEC but guess what. Great news
this FOB its running like a real one now security improved
100% since you published the issue. Someone higher is keeping close eye on you and
your work. As for me what can I say I took the risk to tell you and give
you the ok to publish the issue knowing the consequences (UCMJ) but sometimes we have to take drastic measures in order to keep our unit and fellow
soldiers safe!!!! Thank you and again keep up the great job"
Michael Yon- The end game -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
If you are sick of this topic, trust me I am with you but when someone starts exposing our security vulnerabilities to the world I can't just ignore it and hope it goes away. Yon published an email chock full of information that had no business being discussed in a public forum. I wondered just what his standards were, or if he had any. Then the next day he published another email from a troop in Afghanistan w/ more complaints about the rules they are forced to fight under by Yon's nemesis McChrystal. He didn't publish the kid's name, but in the interest of fair play I will, along w/ Mike's response to him.
An open letter to Mike Yon -- [Greyhawk]
...In the future, If you get more emails like this one you claim is from Afghanistan (and I suspect you will) it might be a good idea to check with the folks on scene who know the answers before you publish them. Give them a chance to verify accuracy and correct problems before you publish something that may or may not be true, may or may not include OPSEC violations, and may get troops killed. If for some reason you can't do that, forward them to someone like Jeff Shogol at Stars and Stripes. He's not in Afghanistan, but his journalistic insight and contacts are obviously useful at separating fact from fiction. His efforts at running down the truth about an earlier email are exemplary - think how much better it would have been for all involved in that case if you had turned to him first. Or me, whose experience at this sort of thing is exceeded only by my concern for the lives of troops. Either of us can provide you with that much needed filter, do a bit of fact checking, get problems solved with no risk to the troops (I'd be perfectly happy to credit you with that result), and save you from potential embarrassment.
Michael Yon: The Decider -- [Villainous Co]
Back in 2006 I criticized NY Times editor Bill Keller for using suspected lawbreaking and his distrust of George Bush to justify his own deliberate law breaking.
In that post I tried to point out the problems with Keller's argument. First of all, justifying your own wrongdoing by saying, "But he did it first!" is a non-starter. Two wrongs do not make a right. But more importantly, Keller tried to justify leaking sensitive information on the grounds of exigency. Mere suspicion of wrongdoing justified the illegal disclosure of sensitive national security information. Never mind that the law provides a legal mechanism for handling such allegations. That didn't matter.
The Sound of Guns -- [Greyhawk]
"More than 170 media representatives are expected to be embedded with military units in southern Afghanistan this summer," says Tadd (Quatto) Sholtis, "a statistic that is at best a mixed blessing for public understanding of the war."
Slander From Uranus -- [Castle Argghhh!!!]
It seems that they have "discovered" that the U.S. Army is crawling with Neo-Nazi's and West Coast Gang-Bangers. Buried in his piece, by his own admission, out of 1.6 Million U.S. service personnel that have cycled through Afghanistan and Iraq during these past eight years, 203 (two-hundred and three) veteran soldiers are "supposedly" Neo Nazis.
The following video is chock-full of full blown lies, innuendos and distortions, for me grace the author with a response. I am however very concerned that as this leftists "news" organizations have taken root all throughout Europe and here in North America, the filth that comes out of his mouth is taken as gospel by many in the Western World.
Republicans focus on terrorism at confirmation hearing for deputy attorney general -- [Washington Post]
Republicans renewed their criticism of President Obama's national security policies Tuesday, using a confirmation hearing for a top Justice Department official to argue that the administration is failing to aggressively fight terrorism.
The latest flare-up of the politics of terror centered on Obama's nomination of James M. Cole as deputy attorney general, a critical position that has been vacant for months. Cole is a white-collar defense lawyer and longtime friend of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and has held numerous jobs in government, including serving 13 years at the Justice Department.
...But the partisan exchanges showed that the debate over where terrorism suspects should be tried and whether they should be read their Miranda rights against self-incrimination is not ending. During the hearing, the staff of committee chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) distributed a document backing federal court trials and saying that "military judges and lawyers have little experience with complex terrorism cases.''
Cole would handle far more than terrorism in the deputy attorney general post,
Why are so many Lefties AWOL on Afghanistan? -- [Hot Air]
Cohen's remaining rationale is that "in contrast to the war in Iraq, liberals generally support the objectives of the war in Afghanistan--and for a good part of the past seven years have been calling on the U.S. to devote more attention to the war there, rather than Iraq." How does that square with the facts on the ground? Congressional Democrats were threatening a one-year deadline last year. Both the Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to twist Democratic arms to pass the emergency war-spending bill in the House by eight votes. Pelosi later said that Obama would have to make the case himself to the Democratic caucus for votes to support a "surge" in Afghanistan this year; those votes are going to be hard to find. Furthermore, two-thirds of Democrats do not think the Afghanistan mission has been worth its costs. It seems doubtful that liberals would be more committed to the mission than Democrats generally.
Petraeus hedges on Afghanistan withdrawal -- [Washington Times]
Gen. David H. Petraeus on Tuesday softened Obama administration rhetoric that a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan would begin in July 2011, telling a Capitol Hill panel that such a move would be "based on conditions." "July 2011 is not the date where we race for the exits," the general told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It is the date where, having done an assessment, we begin a process of transition of tasks to Afghan security forces." Gen. Petraeus gave the testimony moments before he slumped at the witness table and excused himself from the room. The general returned about 20 minutes later, but committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, postponed the rest the hearing. A spokesman for Gen. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the general was likely dehydrated and jet-lagged from recent travels.
General David Petraeus appeared to briefly pass out while giving testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Video of the incident showed Petraeus appear to struggle briefly before standing up and walking out of the hearing room. Petraeus was testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan. Petraeus is the head of the Central Command. A number of people rushed to his side, one poured him a glass of water. Petraeus was able to walk out of the room.
US insists exit strategy for Afghanistan is on track -- [AFP]
US President Barack Obama's top military planners on Wednesday defended their exit strategy for Afghanistan, saying that despite setbacks US troops could still begin withdrawing by July 2011.
Under questioning from senators, General David Petraeus, the commander of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeated his support for Obama's goal of transferring security duties to Afghan forces starting in July 2011.
"But it is important that July 2011 be seen for what it is: the date when a process begins, based on conditions; not the date when the US heads for the exits," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Petraeus back on Capitol Hill, clarifies July 2011 (Video) -- [NECN]
Gen. David Petraeus returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a day after he fainted before a Senate hearing on Afghanistan.
Lawmakers had questioned President Barack Obama's plan to start withdrawing troops in July 2011 if conditions on the ground allow. Senators argued that Afghans see the date as the timeline for U.S. troops to abandon the fight in Afghanistan.
Gen. Petraeus said the date is the beginning of a process of withdrawal, not a hard date for complete troop removal.
David Petraeus returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, a day after he fainted before a Senate hearing on Afghanistan. Lawmakers had questioned President ...
Happy Birthday to the US Army -- [BlackFive - Uncle Jimbo]
235 years young and hardly looks a day over two centuries. I have said before that our military is one of the great forces for good ever on this planet and the Army has a huge role in that. A big Hooah to all those wearing the uniform now and to those, including several of our authors here, who wore it previously.
War and History, Ancient and Modern -- [Michael Totten]
I recently spoke with military historian and former classics professor Victor Davis Hanson in his office at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He is the author of more than a dozen works of history, and his new book The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern was just released by Bloomsbury Press.
We discussed military history, Peace Studies programs, warfare in the ancient and modern Mediterranean, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran's push for hegemony in the Middle East, and the Obama Administration's foreign policy.