Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on war and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world.
Always updating - refresh for updates.
The Last Patrol -- [Rajiv Srinivasan - in Afghanistan]
26 June was my final combat patrol as a platoon leader forward deployed to Afghanistan... Four infantry companies will now cover the same sector we owned with four maneuver platoons.
On the morning of the 26th, I stood on my platoon's motor pool line watching the COP's profile against the Afghan sunrise. I shook my head in disbelief, "How did this baseball diamond sized outpost turn into this massive battalion FOB practically overnight?!"
...I called up my REDCON1 status before I led the convoy out the gate and onto the Highway. Like a tour guide, I pointed out areas of attraction over the net...
We drove to a village north of the highway. I wanted to show them a well I had built for them as a development project. This war isn't all "shoot, move, and communicate." I wasn't about to leave our discussion to just the kinetic stuff. As we approached the well, a dire voice came on the net, "Hey D6, we got six FAMs with RPKs and man dresses down south!" With nervous tension, the soldiers of the new infantry unit all turned their weapons in one direction hoping for a taste of the action. They wanted blood...
Fable Illustrated -- [Old Blue/Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
...I was recently asked if I am still optimistic. Yes. I am. Hastings did us no service, but the answer to that void is powerful. GEN McChrystal's resignation was a distraction, true. But in the days surrounding the end of his tenure there are initiatives that continued that he had a hand in, or generated by direction. The key troop-contributing nations here are making giant strides towards training units in COIN more effectively. These efforts will begin to bear fruit in a short time. I'm still talking months, but the fruit is already forming. Wait till the critics get a load of what's on the way...
Welcome LT Cornelius Hossenfeffur -- [A Handful of Dust]
I first want to apologize that no new material was posted this past week. I was traveling to India and my fellow contributors were in various states of disarray as well.
Next I want to announce the arrival of LT Cornelius Hossenfeffur, the first of infantry LTs to arrive in Kandahar. He got there only a day ago but should be providing some quality posts in short order.
Ice To Meet You LT McBain -- [A Handful of Dust]
Our second Kandahar infantry LT is now in country and online as well. LT McBain plans on treating the Taliban a little something like this:
Petraeus Comes East -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
...The President made a choice which probably seemed to be wise under Chicago rules but was not too damn bright when viewed through the lens of Grand Strategy. Petraeus made President Obama, his V.P. Joe Bidden and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton look bad. Really bad. When he appeared before the Senate before the Iraq surge those three senators made asses of themselves. Now they give Petraeus a slight demotion (I guess because he still reports to CENTCOM) and an impossible task as a little payback for past slights and whatever hand Petraeus had in engineering the relief of McChrystal's predecessor Gen McKiernan. They sent Petraeus here to fail because even our President and the group of home town dim wits he surrounds himself with know that the military cannot win this thing alone...
The Times Aren't a Changing -- [J.D. Johannes - in Afghanistan]
General McChrystal being replaced by his chain of command superior, General Petraeus, may not change much here in Afghanistan because Afghanistan simply does not change. The only way things will change here is if Petraeus and his subordinates turn Afghanistan's resistance to change to their advantage...
So where's everybody going? I mean when? -- [Fraser from ______ - in ____]
We're all waiting for the whistle to blow to signal that: "Hey guys, game over. Check the score board. WE WIN!" But this thing drags on forever. I thought that the whistle was just about to blow, but now it seems they want us to come to the middle of the field for a coin toss to see who gets the ball for the overtime!...
Muqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army militiamen slowly resurface -- [LA Times]
Reporting from Baghdad -- Mohammad and his gang are back. There may not be a Glock semiautomatic strapped to his waist anymore, but the terrifying mystique of the Mahdi Army still shrouds the Shiite Muslim militiaman like the menacing black uniform he once wore...
Beer Day Gone Wild -- [Fraser from ______ - in ____]
To celebrate this auspicious occasion - we get BEER. The Army has issued a temporary suspension of General Order Number One (a- b - xyz?? I can't remember which one it is). This suspension authorizes forward deployed troops to ingest alcohol.
Intoxication control measures have been implemented...
Poolside -- [Texas Music - in Iraq]
...When we were leaving, we saw two third country nationals (TCNs) raking moss out of the lake. The pool is right on the lake. They were doing the same thing when we arrived, dressed in blue coveralls, faces wrapped in scarves, yellow hard hats, balancing in a rickety boat, raking moss in a wet brown pile in the bottom of the boat. I don't know why they are doing this, but you see them all over, in the canals and lakes, raking up seaweed and moss. They were staring at all the soldiers, male and females who were laughing and splashing and playing in the cool blue water of the pool while they toiled away.
"I bet they hate Americans," I said.
"I was just thinking that," Said SFC Monty...
The last post: McChrystal's bleak outlook -- [The Independent (UK)]
Details of General McChrystal's grim assessment of his own strategy's current effectiveness emerged as the world's most powerful leaders set the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, a five-year deadline to improve security and governance in his country.
The G8 summit in Toronto called for "concrete progress" within five years on improving the justice system and for Afghan forces to assume greater responsibility for security...
It was this briefing, according to informed sources, as much as the Rolling Stone article, which convinced Mr Obama to move against the former head of US Special Forces...
G-20 Toronto Summit Declaration -- [Washington Post]
1. In Toronto, we held our first Summit of the G-20 in its new capacity as the premier forum for our international economic cooperation.
2. Building on our achievements in addressing the global economic crisis, we have agreed on the next steps we should take to ensure a full return to growth with quality jobs, to reform and strengthen financial systems, and to create strong, sustainable and balanced global growth.
3. Our efforts to date have borne good results...
G-20 leaders strike delicate balance -- [Washington Times]
Leaders of the world's 20 most powerful economies said this weekend that they must control deficits in the long run but not stifle a nascent economic recovery in the short term, in what President Obama described as "violent agreement" on principles...
Protests Turn Violent at G20 Summit in Toronto -- [Voice of America]
Hundreds of demonstrators protesting the G20 global economic summit in Toronto broke windows and set fire to some police cars during a noisy march near the site of the summit Saturday. At least 75 people are in custody and police say there will be more arrests.
A column of thick black smoke rose from the burning police cars in a chaotic scene...
The Prince and the Marine -- [Soldiers' Angles Germany]
Geez, do you think Todd will remember us "little people" after this? :-)
irresponsible "sources" -- [Chuck Z/From my Position ... On the Way!]
(Photo) This is my (most of) hand. Although swollen, it's smaller than it was the day before. I left the rest of it in a canal near Baqubah, Iraq. This is only one of the horrors of war...
(Photo) This is (most of) my leg. I also left the rest of it in a canal near Baqubah, Iraq. The black stuff held together by red cord is there because other things, like constantly trying to keep my heart beating, took precedence over peeling off layers of my skin to fix it. All the dark brown dots are shrapnel, which sets off metal detectors to this day...
I helped launch a charity program called Project Valour-IT through soldiersangels.org from my hospital bed. In the five years since, we have helped over 5000 wounded soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen find ways to speed their recovery and return to their new normal lives...
White House to let McChrystal retire with 4 stars -- [CNN]
While the general is short of the time needed to retire at his current pay grade, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama would ensure he keeps his rank as he steps down.
"The president believes and has talked with Secretary Gates about this, and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure he, somebody who has served the country as he has, can retire at a four-star level," Gibbs told reporters.
From (hostile) fire to Brinestone -- [Mudville Gazette]
Matt (who was also a milblogger) staffed his company with other vets. You'll see an ad for Brinestone here on Mudville - that's one we've provided at no charge. Click through, take a look around, and bookmark 'em. Next time you're in the market for a computer (Mac or PC), software, or game system you'll know where to start.
And spread the word.
VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV -- [CNN]
Dr. Gina Michael, the association chief of staff at the hospital, told the affiliate that some dental technicians broke protocol by handwashing tools before putting them in cleaning machines.
The instruments were supposed to only be put in the cleaning machines, Michael said.
Remembering Operation Redwing -- [Soldiers' Angels Germany]
...Killed in action Kunar Province, Afghanistan June 28, 2005.
We will love you and miss you always...
This just in! New Commander named for Afghanistan. -- [Castle Argghhh]
Well finally someone is listening to Robert E Lee:
"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers..."
Afghanistan: Eyes Wide Shut -- [Bret Stephens/Wall Street Journal]
...Gen. Petraeus won in Iraq because George W. Bush had his back and the people of Iraq, friend as well as foe, knew it.
By contrast, the fact that we have been unable to secure the small city of Marja, much less take on the larger job of Kandahar, is because nobody--right down to the village folk whom we are so sedulously courting with good deeds and restrictive rules of engagement--believes that Barack Obama believes in his own war. The vacuum in credibility begets the vacuum in power...
Is Obama's 2011 Afghanistan Deadline a Mistake? -- [Spencer Ackerman/Danger Room]
The Obama administration argues that the date sends "a message of urgency" to the Afghan government to get its act together and start governing. Less clearly stated but still salient is that the war has stretched out for over nine years with minimal progress and the public is tired of waging it. Advocates for the Obama administration's strategy don't say that they think their approach to the war will work. They say that it's the least-worst strategy to secure U.S. interests against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Whatever that says about the administration's intellectual honesty, it's not a rallying cry to fight...
But Sen. John McCain and company are right that the July 2011 date is problematic. Even the most stalwart defender of the administration's decision to set the date has to concede that it hasn't been quite the "forcing mechanism" for the Afghan government that Obama intended...
A Turning Point in the War -- [Tunku Varadarajan/The Daily Beast]
A testy Lindsey Graham had asked the general to comment on these words ascribed to Biden in a book by Jonathan Alter: "In July of 2011 you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out [of Afghanistan], bet on it." Gen. Petraeus not only said that Biden had offered him (Petraeus) his "100 percent" support, but also that Robert Gates, the defense secretary, had never heard Biden say those words. When a general publicly quotes a defense secretary saying, in effect, that a vice president has been misquoted, one can be certain that the vice president in question will acknowledge a major political debt to said general. Expect Biden, henceforward, to be as near to silent on the question of Afghanistan as it is possible for a vice president to be. The two men are dining together Tuesday night, and I can see the general say to Biden: "Promise me, Mr. Vice President, that you won't say anything on Afghanistan before running it by me first." One trusts that President Obama, too, will tell his No. 2 to be more circumspect. (How do you say "zip it" in Pashto?)
Who had the worst week in Washington? Gen. David Petraeus. -- [Chris Cillizza/Washington Post]
The challenges of Afghanistan mean that Petraeus is risking the reputation he earned in Iraq as one of the greatest generals of his generation for what is, at best, a jump ball. The move feels even more dicey considering Petraeus's alternative: polishing his legacy at Centcom on the way to the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Finally, Petraeus has been regarded in some GOP circles as the best (only?) candidate with a chance of beating Obama in 2012. While that has always been a long shot, it now seems like a no-shot...
Kagan makes bipartisan appeal in Supreme Court confirmation hearings -- [Washington Post]
During the first day of questioning at her confirmation hearings, Kagan said that she respects legal precedent that upholds people's right to own guns and that she supports the use of military commissions to prosecute enemy combatants -- positions favored by many conservatives.
...And she adamantly defended her reluctance as dean of Harvard Law School to sponsor military recruiters on campus because of the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the armed forces.
Annual Congressional Baseball Game -- [The Hill]
The Democrats beat Republicans 13-5 on Tuesday night at Nationals Park in the annual congressional baseball game.
The game was tied 4-4 at the bottom of the sixth inning. But in the seventh inning, GOP pitcher Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) was lit up, resulting in nine runs for the Democrats.
There would be joy in Mudville (Gazette)... -- [Castle Argghhh]
Jason Sigger wins the Internet today -- [Wings Over Iraq]
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