Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our ongoing roundup of information on war and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various other sources around the world.
Always updating - refresh for updates.
Thoughts -- [A Major's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
I was starting to write my thoughts on my second hundred days here -- and not planning to publish until next week when I hit that milestone -- so I thought I would fire out a few thoughts quickly right now.
I'm not going to discuss the great loss of General McChrystal -- but I will say the positive and dedicated energy here with the arrival of General Petraeus is comprehendable and feel-able where-ever you go. It is deffinitely a good thing. In all honesty its very much a great honor to be under his command...
Returning to a Different ISAF -- [Field Notes: One Soldier's Perspective - in Afghanistan]
While no one man alone can run a war, much of the positive change experienced this past year in Afghanistan can be directly attributed to General McChrystal. He took command at a pivotal time and was able to build upon the strong foundation General McKiernan started putting in place during his tenure in 2008 to 2009. General McChrystal's drive and energy invigorated the command. He brought a new perspective and appreciation for the complexity of counterinsurgency to theater that concurrently drove and reinforced the notion that it was time for the US and the world to make Afghanistan a priority.
Not really in the publishing business but... -- [My View/Our Mission - in Afghanistan]
By happenstance the article on ANP came out yesterday (see yesterday's blog entry) and then my blog posting on the DoD site about mentoring...
Medical Monday: Mentoring in Kabul, Lessons Learned -- [Cmdr. Tim Weber - in Afghanistan]
...any mentoring mission in Afghanistan is a worthy one that can bring great personal and professional satisfaction, particularly when you are fortunate to be teamed up with Afghan leaders who are motivated to improve.
Nonetheless, questions still persist in reflection. How do you define progress? Whose timetable are we on? Are my expectations of success the right expectations? Until recently I don't think I could have given good answers to these questions.
However, they are more easily answered with the lessons I've learned...
Picture Of The Day - 12 JUL 2010 "A Medic's Goodbye" -- [FaST Surgeon - in Afghanistan]
It's all very fast. The wounded arrive. They're descended upon by the team trained to perform rapid resuscitative interventions to stabilize them. Surgery. ICU. Rapid preparation for evacuation out of the battle space. The medics comfort them. They wrap them in thermal blankets like burritos. Head warmers, donated from volunteer organizations, get donned. Finally, eye and ear protection get placed. The flight medics receive vital information for transport. Then.. they move quickly to the HLZ on a rickshaw-stretcher. The medics always turn to their patient. They say goodbye - good luck. Its quick...
On Patrol in Karamanda -- [Bill Ardolino - in Afghanistan]
...Lieutenant Cook - the "folk hero" of Karamanda - was injured with secondary shrapnel (debris) and burns to his face and eyes. Quickly medevac'ed, Cook was expected to recover and keep his eyesight, but officers with Charlie Company doubted he would return to his platoon.
"He's 20/40 in one eye, 20/30 in the other, a little cloudy, but getting better," said Captain Chandler several days after the blast, as he updated Fourth Platoon on a visit to PB Griffin. "What he told me was, 'I got another appointment on Wednesday, if I'm good they're gonna send me right back.' He didn't even mention the lacerations or the second degree burns on his face, but bottom line is they are going to send him to Germany. I think he's going to make a full recovery, but as you all probably know, it takes an act of God to get back. He wants to be here, it's killing him to not be here."
Fight For Fuel -- [Kandahar Diary - in Afghanistan]
At about 0730 this morning a fuels convoy, escorted by us, was contacted by enemy elements... The contact was intense and prolonged ... Our guards quickly gathered up the convoy and pushed on towards the destination while leaving teams behind to defend the bogged tankers. These teams were still in contact with the bad guys 6 hours later, taking casualties and running low on ammunition. Despite this, they remained with the stranded tankers.
In the meantime...
East Afghanistan -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Spencer Ackerman over at Danger Room wrote a post last week with the disturbing title of East Afghanistan Sees Taliban as "Morally Superior" to Karzai. This assessment came from the after action slides of Col Randy George who commanded Task Force Warrior this past year. There is nothing in the article or Col George's slides which is a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. What is not obvious to those outside of Regional Command East is that there is the distinct possibility that change is afoot...
Sami the Finn from Indicium Consulting was the first to raise the alarm as he watched the incident rate in Kunar drop at the height of fighting season and his take was the local Taliban was going to mass and try something dramatic...
Inside the Cave: A Review of the M-ATV -- [J.D. Johannes - in Afghanistan]
...the M-ATV is a case study in the news media, risk averse officers and defense contractors driving tactics.
Here is how it works:
1. The news media runs endless stories about how military vehicles are not armored enough to withstand road side bombs
2. Risk averse officers who don't want to be on the bad end of a headline demand more armor
3. A defense contractor builds and armored monstrosity of a vehicle, sends press kit to the media
4. The Pentagon and risk averse officers purchase the monstrosity of a vehicle no matter how useless it is...
The Commander and Zombie Killers II: On Mission -- [J.D. Johannes - in Afghanistan]
Getting them to be effective counter insurgents will be a herculean task but once they start fighting effectively the war will be over quickly. No one has exactly figured out how to do that. Some say it cannot be done, but Westerners can lead Afghans. Josiah Harlan, a quaker from Pennsylvania--the real life Man Who Would Be King--led the Afghan Army in the 19th century. British Officers in what is now Pakistan successfully led corps of Afghans. Special Forces Teams and private logistics/security contractors mold effective Afghan units.
The Western way of war is standardized so that any person with the right training can fill a slot. A Western infantry unit is like a franchise--people can rotate in and out and as long as the procedure and doctrine are followed the unit will function.
The Afghan way of war is personality based. It requires a strong leader, a true Alpha who derives his authority from his bravery, strength, guile and charisma rather than rank...
'Foreign Taliban' direct the insurgency in Musa Qala: Deputy district governor -- -- [Bill Ardolino - in Afghanistan]
When ISAF forces retook much of the area from Taliban forces during Operation Snakepit in December 2007, they appointed a defected local Taliban field commander, Mullah Abdul Salaam Alizai, as the district governor of Musa Qala. By all accounts, Mullah Salaam's time in office was a disaster...
About three months after the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine regiment took over responsibility for Musa Qala in March of this year, Mullah Salaam was out...
While the incoming district governor has been training in Kabul and Lashkar Gah, and attempting to pass the exam that certifies all district governors (he just passed the exam on his second try Monday), the interim responsibility for government in Musa Qala has fallen to Deputy District Governor Mohammad Akbar Khan.
The interview with Deputy District Mohammad Akbar Khan follows...
Not in My Baghdad Yard - Civic Protest, Iraqi-Style -- [Yasmine Mousa/NY Times At War blog - in Iraq]
I was driving past Qadisiya Park and I saw six shiny white banners strung tree to tree. The banners read, in neat blue and green print, "We urge Baghdad City Hall not to turn Qadisiya Park into a commercial plaza." It was signed by "The people of Qadisiya district."
So began protests, arguments and shouting in the park itself, and letters to City Hall. This act may seem normal elsewhere in the world, but not amid the mayhem of Baghdad, a city where sticky bomb explosions are a regular occurrence amid piles of uncollected trash. Protests and raising banners were unheard of under the previous regime.
The dispute is over plans to build a plaza on land that is currently a green park, with two floors of residential apartments above...
"Look at it, just imagine what it would look like. Instead of these lovely flowers, there will be high concrete walls," said Abu al-Hassan, who lives in a nearby house. "We just don't want this commercial building. This is why we raised those banners, and we will take all the measures we have to through Baghdad City Hall to keep it as it is."
The banners did not last long. I drove past one day later, and they were gone. It did not take long to find out why.
"I burned them. I pulled down all the banners in the evening and I burnt them. Yes I did, here," said Mr. Ghazi, the would-be developer...
Somali militants say they carried out deadly Uganda World Cup blasts -- [The Guardian]
Commander of al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaida, says group was behind twin explosions that killed 74 in Kampala
WARNING: This video contains disturbing images
A Somali militant group with links to al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for the twin explosions that killed 74 people watching the World Cup final in Kampala last night, and has threatened to carry out attacks "against our enemy" wherever they are.
The blasts came two days after a commander with the group, al-Shabab, urged militants to attack sites in Uganda and Burundi, two countries that contribute troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
Al-Shabab, whose ranks are swelled by militant veterans of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, has long threatened to strike beyond Somalia's borders, but the bombings late on Sunday are the first time the group has done so...
President Obama, White House: Al Qaeda Is Racist -- [Jake Tapper/ABC News Political Punch blog]
In an interview earlier today with the South African Broadcasting Corporation to air in a few hours, President Obama disparaged al Qaeda and affiliated groups' willingness to kill Africans in a manner that White House aides say was an argument that the terrorist groups are racist.
Speaking about the Uganda bombings, the president said, "What you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself..."
Earlier today a senior administration official said the Obama administration believes that Al Shabaab carried out the attack.
Explaining the president's comment, an administration official said Mr. Obama "references the fact that both U.S. intelligence and past al Qaeda actions make clear that al Qaeda -- and the groups like al Shabaab that they inspire -- do not value African life..."
Additionally, U.S. intelligence has indicated that al Qaeda leadership specifically targets and recruits black Africans to become suicide bombers because they believe that poor economic and social conditions make them more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs," the official said. "Al Qaeda recruits have said that al Qaeda is racist against black members from West Africa because they are only used in lower level operations." ...
Neighbors on edge after box left at home explodes -- [ABC News Houston]
Around 6:30pm Friday night, a woman opened a package she'd received at her northwest Houston home weeks ago. The lady's friends say her face was instantly pelted with nails and tacks. Shrapnel blew so high, it landed on her rooftop.
"Our neighbor came out, and had blood on her, and she was walking out with her husband," Turpin said.
Neighbors who saw the package but didn't want to appear on camera describe it as a box of chocolates that was left inside a gift bag. One neighbor says there was a card attached that simply read, "Thank you." It included the woman's name, but it was misspelled.
"I can't believe that anybody would do anything as terrible and tragic to a person like this lady," neighbor Karen Gennity said.
Neighbors say the woman often performed random acts of kindness for her neighbors -- perhaps one reason she thought this box of chocolates was a thank you in return.
Box left at woman's door explodes -- [ABC News Houston]
It wasn't immediately clear whether the house was targeted, however, Eyewitness News found out the home is owned by an oil company executive.
AFT investigating bomb targeting woman -- [ABC News Houston]
...there are still many unanswered questions about where this disguised bomb may have come from.
As the victim, Vennie Wolf, 58, now rests at home, neighbors still cannot make sense of why anything like this happened here.
"It's a very strange thing," said one neighbor. "It's a quiet neighborhood."
It's a puzzle the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is trying to piece together, too.
Pipe bomb targeted wife of Houston oil executive -- [Houston Chronicle]
Houston police and federal authorities confirmed Tuesday that a pipe bomb sent to the home of a local oil executive was meant for his wife and not him... Wolf was taken to Memorial Hermann-Northwest Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. She was later released and is now recuperating, police said.
Opening the door to PTSD fraud -- [CDR Salamander]
...Make no mistake - there is $$$$$ in PTSD fraud. If you make it easier to practice that fraud - ECON 101 tells you all you need to know. Sure - you may help one; but you create enough fraud to smear thousands.
As a friend put it in correspondence with me yesterday, it DEFINES PTSD as "something a veteran says they have." It follows that legally there can be no such thing as PTSD fraud. (unless someone claims vet status fraudulently.) The fraud is the one the government is perpetrating on the American people.
This also separates veterans into two classes - those who admit they have PTSD and those who deny it. I believe Orwell saw this coming. "there is $$$$$ in PTSD fraud" - there is even more money in treating an "epidemic."...
Stolen Valor: Mayor Lies About Medals; Files Defamation Suit to Silence Opponent -- [Mark Seavey/Big Peace]
...Not only does DuPar's civil suit seem to rest on an erroneous reading of his own discharge papers, but his claim may open him up to a criminal prosecution for violation of the Stolen Valor Act ... The case of DuPar is a textbook example of a violation of that law, and yet no legal action has been taken against him. Why?
I contacted the FBI agent working the case on four occasions. (I didn't get express permission to use his name, so I will call him Agent P.) Agent P is not only a longtime FBI agent, but also a former Marine who served during Desert Storm, and he's decidedly unhappy with Mayor DuPar and his false claims of valor. I asked Agent P why no charges have been levied, and he asked me to contact the U.S. Attorney's office and find out from them, and that I should call him back and let him know. I called Patrick Fitzgerald's office three times, and like with Felizia Frazier, I received no response.
...Agent P had repeatedly asked me over the past few weeks to hold off writing this piece. He maintained that the U.S. Attorney would (almost at any second) see the light and file charges. Today when I called he sounded exhausted and frustrated, telling me "do what you have to do."...
COIN by Ke$ha -- [Knights of Afghanistan]
Until today, I confess that I wasn't familiar with the pop artist known as Kesha.
...Not exactly to my taste musically... However, this video from the IDF on patrol in Hebron is still worth watching.
I have no doubt that the squad leader will probably lose his job over this, and the rest of the squad will face disciplinary action. Still, I can't help but smile at the way young soldiers in every conflict try to make it their own and express a little optimism and individuality despite their conditions...
Update: As it turns out, the two squad leaders responsible for the video have been disciplined by the IDF...
Taranis: The £143million unmanned stealth jet that will hit targets in another continent -- [MailOnline]
Defence firm BAE Systems today officially unveiled its first ever high-tech unmanned stealth jet.
The Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, is about the same size as a Hawk jet and is equipped with stealth equipment and an 'autonomous' artificial intelligence system.
Dr. Who's Taranis -- [Neptunus Lex]
I was OK until I read the bit about an "autonomous artificial intelligence system."
"Skynet becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug."
When the media attacks a veteran's wounds... -- [Blackfive]
Nick Popaditch - a medically retired Gunnery Sergeant, wounded in Fallujah, received the Silver Star - is running for Congress in California...
When you jump into the political ring, you know (and Nick and April Popaditch know) that politics can get dirty. You expect attacks on your politics, your conduct of your life, etc.
But you don't expect the media to attack you war wounds with an editorial cartoon...you don't really expect a blatant disrespect for your service...like this cartoon that appeared in Saturday's (July 10th) edition of the Imperial Valley Press:
Satirizing Nick's wounds sustained by fighting his way through Fallujah is is not just an insult to Nick and his Marines, but a disgrace as it is an affront to every Purple Heart recipient...
Rep. Filner blasts newspaper cartoon of his GOP opponent, a wounded Iraq veteran -- [LA Times]
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) has added his criticism to those of readers who feel that a newspaper cartoon showing his GOP opponent, a wounded Iraq veteran, was inappropriate.
"The cartoon was in poor taste and does not reflect the Imperial Valley's strong support for our troops and veterans," Filner said in reference to a political cartoon in the Imperial Valley Press...
Cartoon not meant to offend -- [Brad Jennings/Imperial Valley Press]
We all make mistakes. On Saturday, I clearly made a mistake.
We ran a political cartoon from our local cartoonist which depicted a couple of kids looking at a poster of congressional candidate and veteran Nick Popaditch and trying to decide what he looked like because of his eye patch. Frankly, I interpreted the cartoon as making a comment on how misinformed people are -- especially young people.
Many others, apparently, did not take it that way...
I have met Popaditch on one occasion, when he came into the newsroom early in his candidacy. I don't know him at all, but he seemed like a nice, admirable man. As a veteran myself, I absolutely thank him for his service and the sacrifice he made for his country.
I called Popaditch on Monday and apologized to him. He accepted that apology with much grace and didn't appear to be that offended by the cartoon himself...
Sadly, I see that this has been e-mailed around to partisans who are trying to make this some kind of rallying cry. I am getting calls from conservative radio and bloggers who are apparently trying to make this more than it really is. That is politics in 2010 America...
Mocking war hero Nick Popaditch: A teachable moment -- [Michelle Malkin]
Everyone should know this man's incredible story of courage and sacrifice. Forget Lindsay Lohan's disgusting fingernails. Tell your kids about how Popaditch lost his eye, survived, and returned to public service stronger than ever.
...instead of calling on the cartoonist to be fired, perhaps he deserves thanks -- thanks for inadvertently creating an opportunity for the rest of us. It's a moment not merely to complain about a boneheaded media slap, but to spread the word about Nick Popaditch.
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)