Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1) the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2) in the public domain, with free use granted for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2006 by the respective authors. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
No, it's not an insane World Cup score - just an update on our cousins' travels:
Paras Kill 21 Taliban In Fierce Fight Among AlleywaysThe story contains this nod to proper British fighting etiquette - a statement worded specifically for the consumption of the discerning reader:
The first significant encounter between soldiers of the Parachute Regiment and the Taliban involved close-quarters fighting among alleyways and mud buildings.
It was an early indication of the challenges facing British troops recently deployed in southern Afghanistan.
Within 10 seconds of disembarking from their Chinook helicopters outside the village of Nauzad, the troops came under heavy fire from insurgents hidden in houses and behind walls.
As machinegun bullets and rocket-propelled grenades cut through the air, the Paras ran for cover, returning fire only when they could identify the enemy, Major Will Pike, commanding the 100-strong A Company, told the BBC.Rooooiiight then. Remaining bits are in the extended section, to which I can only say "jolly good show, chaps, what? Simply smashing."
Off you go now. Cheers!
During the six-hour battle in northern Helmand province, where 3,300 British troops have been sent in the past six weeks to support Afghan security forces, the Paras killed 21 Taliban militants, rather than the five the Ministry of Defence had earlier reported.All done!
Major Pike said: "We were not going there looking for a fight but to search a compound. The Taliban were very bold. They knew the ground very well - better than we did - and we have respect for the enemy in those terms."
L/Cpl Jonathan Smart described shooting two Taliban fighters after a group approached his section during the engagement last Sunday in which Apache attack helicopters took part.
"I challenged them, they turned their weapons systems on us and we neutralised the threat immediately - meaning we shot and killed them," he said.
Pte Paul Gordon said that one of the problems was in identifying the militants from the local population because they were all in civilian clothes.
The British contingent is part of a Nato force expanding from 9,700 to 16,000 by late July, doubling international troop numbers in the southern region, the heartland of the Taliban.
They have been deployed to help the newly-formed Afghan National Army to fight the increasingly violent militants and try to restrict the drugs trade. Helmand produces nearly 20 per cent of the world's opium.
There are currently 23,000 American troops in the region but their numbers will be cut by several thousand at least.
Here's the SOUTHCOM press release on this morning's suicides at Gitmo:
Three Detainee Deaths at Guantanamo Bay
MIAMI – Joint Task Force - Guantanamo announced that three detainees died of apparent suicides early this morning. Two Saudis and one Yemeni, each located in Camp 1, were found unresponsive and not breathing in their cells by guards. Medical teams responded quickly and all three detainees were provided immediate emergency medical treatment in attempts to revive them.
The three detainees were pronounced dead by a physician after all lifesaving measures had been exhausted. The names of the deceased are not being released. The State Department notified and is in ongoing discussions with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The remains of the deceased detainees are being treated with the utmost respect. A cultural advisor is assisting the Joint Task Force to ensure that the remains are handled in a culturally and religiously appropriate manner.
The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has initiated an investigation, per standard operating procedure, to determine the cause and manner of death.
Detainees are held at JTF-Guantanamo because they are dangerous and continue to pose a threat to the U.S. and our allies. They have expressed a commitment to kill Americans and our friends if released. These are not common criminals, they are enemy combatants being detained because they have waged war against our nation and they continue to pose a threat.
Additional briefings will be forthcoming.
Three detainees commit suicide at GuantanamoAccording to the story there are "about 460" Gitmo-dwellers still clingng to life.
Washington — Three detainees have died at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in what the U.S. military said Saturday was likely a joint suicide protest. They were the first reported deaths at the detention centre for suspected terrorists.
Two men from Saudi Arabia and one from Yemen were found "unresponsive and not breathing in their cells" early Saturday, according to a statement from the U.S. Southern Command.
Attempts were made to revive the prisoners, but failed.
GH, I picked up a copy of the LAT this morning and was immediately drawn to the same story. Unusually optimistic for the Times, although the violence in Sudan claimed a more prominent spot on page 1's layout.
Barnes, Moore, and Miller did a thorough job writing the story. Good pick.
Raids Target Zarqawi GroupIt's been a good week to be Caldwell.
U.S. strikes dozens of sites, hoping to weaken Al Qaeda in Iraq. Cities brace for retaliatory violence after the terrorist leader's death.
BAGHDAD — The United States conducted at least 56 raids against targets connected with Abu Musab Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq organization in the 48 hours after his death, seeking to capitalize on the killing by disrupting his network of fighters, military officials said.
After killing Zarqawi and five others Wednesday by bombing his hide-out, U.S. forces conducted 17 raids in Baghdad and at 39 additional sites Thursday and Friday, said Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.
I'm reconstructing the past few month's developments in the Haditha case here - adding bits through the day. Lots of stuff floating around, but I don't think anyone has put it all in one place yet.
Not butting in to the investigation, of course, just tracking the media reports. The situation is fluid, obviously, and we all know what nailing Jello to the wall means, but I just love to hammer.
If nothing else, should be a useful resource for future efforts.
Guess who was on the front cover of this week's Economist magazine?
I wonder who else they've got "in the can" - just in case.
The AP is just trying to make me feel happier.
Zarqawi being beaten to death sounds much more satisfying than an instantaneuos death via bombing.
(Yes mom, I know, we should treat monsters with love and compassion)
But alas, potentially life saving chest compressions would almost certainly look like "a beating" from a distance.
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said he`ll run for House Majority Leader if the Democratic Party wins control of the chamber in the November election.
The announcement by Murtha, an Iraq War proponent turned critic, has set up an internal struggle with Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., currently No. 2 in the House Democrat`s leadership chain, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Certainly explains why Murtha would risk embracing the solidly anti-war Democratic base while representing a majority Republican district. Posturing for a national Democratic seat these days takes, first and foremost, a stringently defeatist attitude on Iraq.
Wonder if he's speaking at the Kos Konvention?
I'd just like to echo Greyhawk's call to battle, here's the link again.
Help Mike out, please.
Cap and I offered our answer to this question in our controversial afterword to Home of the Brave. Our argument is that the Left's animus toward the military, and the use of aggressive force more broadly, is inextricably linked to the Left's love affair with moral relativism. Allan Bloom, of course, was one of the first to sound the alarms with the publication of his conservative classic, The Closing of the American Mind, which is easily in my top 15 books of all time. But Cap and I contend that ultimately the Left rejects the military for a simple reason: the use of aggressive action necessarily implies that one is fighting a moral and just cause. However, once you believe that it is impossible to bifurcate between right and wrong/ good and evil, you cede all grounds upon which to justify the use of lethal force.
Here's how Cap and I put it in Home of the Brave's afterword, which is titled "Have the Mainstream Media Ignored Our Heroes?" [ten bucks says you can guess which side we come down on]
If you believe, as many in the mainstream media seem to, that concepts like "good" and "evil" are subjective and up for interpretation, then the word hero is meaningless. And that's the problem.
Many in the media find words like hero too black and white, too judgmental, too certain of our nation's purpose and essential goodness. In a world where there is no distinction between good and evil, by definition, heroes cease to exist. That's why the earlier quote from the head of Reuter's News Service, one of the largest and most powerful news organizations in the world, is so revealing. It illustrates that reporters of such ilk draw no distinction between the terrorists and our own soldiers. "After all," they reason, "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist." And since accounts of military valor do not comport with the strong liberal bias found in many media organizations, you can be sure these stories of valor and heroism will not be retold, at least not by the mainstream media.
The Left rejects the military--and the lethal force it represents--because the military follows a code of black and white, us vs. them. As one of the heroes Cap and I profiled in the book explained, in a moment of mortal danger there is little room for second-guessing or moral equivocation; it's kill or be killed. At base, therefore, the Left rejects the moral certitude that necessarily animates the American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine. And it is this predisposition that, in part, explains the Left's perennial opposition to the guns in the fight.
Once again, the Recruiters (and those gullible recruits haven't absorbed it in 3 years, either) are not reading their DU/Kossack instructions.
The regular Army signed up 5,806 new recruits last month, compared with its target of 5,400, and the Army National Guard and Army Reserve also exceeded their May goals, according to statistics released by the Pentagon.
All the other services met their goals, too.
Rather than focus on the evil context of a man who no longer exchanges oxygen, such as orchestrating the intentional bombing of Iraqi children in Baghdad as they gathered to get candy from US troops, the Associated Press decides to grab one man's tale and headline it with "Witness Says U.S. Troops Beat Al-Zarqawi After Bombing."
An Iraqi man who was one of the first people on the scene after an airstrike that led to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi told Associated Press Television News that he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the al-Qaida leader.
The witness said he saw the man lying on the ground, badly wounded but still alive. He said U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man's head in an Arab robe and began beating him. His account cannot be independently verified.
So, if the report cannot be independently verified, why is it being headlined?
I think we know the answer to that question.
Who, precisely, is the Associated Press associated with? Why the constant witchhunt against the US military when the murderous civilian targeteers are on prominent display every day?
I am gritting my teeth in anger and disgust and have no other words suitable for publication. Ernie Pyle, where are you???
First, I must apologize if I made it seem I am a 4GW acolyte. In truth, I feel most of the time most trends in the world (including Chinese ambitions and how to deal with them) fall somewhere in between the diametrically opposed worldviews of 4GW/Global Guerrilla acolytes and Pentagon's New Map true believers. Thus, China is neither a nation teetering on the edge of inner and outer turmoil nor is it a rapidly progressing member of the global power elite.
How then to deal with China? First, a post (beyond Lind) about threat inflation, as well as an implicit acknowledgement of the difficulties of bridging the budget gaps between the needs of today's "Long War" and the possible "war with China" of the uncertain future.
Threat inflation like conducting these annual wargames (such as the one I'm about to participate in, Valiant Shield) which play up a rising China as a threat are bogus and counterproductive. The military and diplomats playing up the Chinese threat to Vietnam might work (especially with their prior conflict in '79) but it won't work with most other nations in Asia, which increasingly depend upon Chinese trade to fuel their economies (I'm talking Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, etc). Playing up utilizing the US Navy to imperil Chinese energy sea lanes is a dreadful error that will only embolden the Chinese to pursue a common interests alliance with anti-US regimes in the Middle East and eventually try to displace the US's power and influence in the region, given China's 1.3 billion potential energy customers dwarfs America's 300 million.
The only people benefiting from these follies are Taiwan's nationalists and defense contractors who view the "Long War" and stabilization operations with horror because it will threaten their profits in what you rightly call a "broken acquisitons system".
A seperate note on Taiwan... the thought that America would risk a war of the type that Ralph Peters wrote about in "Counter-revolution in Military Affairs" (or in any other number of realistic war scenarios formulated lately) on behalf of a nationalistic minority in Taiwan scares the hell out of me. We would risk our national greatness, our world leadership, our power and influence over them? We're locked into a Faustian bargain with them, and can only hope they have more mature leadership in the future, which is doubtful in the long-term because of the imploding political culture in Taiwan. Over time, economic ties between China and Taiwan will become so deep that its quite possible they could peacefully recouncile, but in the meantime we stand ever ready to devastate the world economy and ourselves in order to protect an insolent son (Taiwan) from an overbearing father (China).
Regarding our force posture and strategy recounciling the potential threat of China with the existing and here to stay problem of terrorism, failed states and chronic instability in general, this is a hell of a dillemma for policymakers. I don't envy having to decide what programs to cut, which to boost and which to put on the backburner. Especially in today's "second-guess, results now" society/political culture, this is a terrible spot to be in. However, I'd err on the side of fighting the Long War and boosting our efforts there, fighting the threat that exists while spending a reasonable slice of resources for the "potential" threat. I don't see that happening, because it seems big weapons systems and unrealistic defense options are being pursued to fight the potential threat in the long term, while critically short-changing the "Long War" needs we have now and will have in the foreseeable future.
I'm definitely open to further discussion about this, and will be happy to get into nitty gritty details. This BBC piece is still quite relevant today, because neither the Clinton or the Bush Administrations have been able to come up with a lasting strategy for how to address this.All done!
The historical status of Formosa/Taiwan/The Republic of China is substantially grey. Taiwans history includes being a Dutch colony, Spanish Colony, Japanese Colony, French Colony(for about 9 months) and most recently, a colony of the Government of China in Exile, in the form of Cheng Kai Shek.
The claim that Taiwan is an undisputed province of China is about as valid as the claim that the "Republic of China" was the legitimate government of the "Peoples Republic of China". For decades the US had a "One China Policy" based on the wishful thinking that the "Republic of China(Taiwan)" would somehow magically be the government of the "Peoples Republic" if we just kept repeating the farse long enough. For decades US diplomats spouted that there was "Only One China" and it's legitimate government sat in Taipei.
So now we have a new diplomatic farse, there is only "One China" and it's only legitmate government is in Beijing.
Chinese diplomats spouting the same nonsense using a different capital that American diplomats spouted for decades.
From 1949-1971, the "Peoples Republic of China" was a "Non Country", now Taiwan needs to be a "Non-country".All done!
A deal is only good if both parties adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the terms. Within days of announcing that we’d reached a tentative settlement agreement with HFM, the French publishing conglomerate, for their unauthorized use of my photograph on the cover of their inaugural issue of SHOCK magazine, we learned of the first instance of HFM already violating the spirit of the proposed settlement. Now, on Friday of the same week that began with both parties announcing having come to potential agreement, and before final signatures could be affixed to the legal documents, it is clear that HFM has broken faith with the deal.Read it all.
The manner in which this behemoth has conducted the negotiations raises questions about whether it ever intended to act honorably in the first place.
Mike's also set up this page, where you can find even more information. I actually am shocked at the list of stores where this rag is sold. (There are several near you.)
The AP wonders where are we going to bury the trash.
ZARQA, Jordan - The family of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said yesterday that it wants to bury him in his hometown, but Jordan vowed that the terror leader who killed Jordanians in a triple hotel bombing would never "stain" the country's soil.In Islam it's a matter of importance to the faithful that the deceased be interred within 24 hours. While that's not possible, time is of the essence. I think we can help resolve this difficult situation. Comments are open if anyone has any good ideas for the disposal.
Zarqawi's brother, Sayel al-Khalayleh, said "I and all members of our family want [Zarqawi] to be buried in his hometown of Zarqa."
"Everybody must understand that his place must be near his family," he said by telephone. "He is a martyr and should be treated as such."
A top Jordanian security official said yesterday that the government would not allow Zarqawi "under any circumstances" to be buried in Jordan and "stain Jordanian soil." He pointed to the suicide bombing against hotels in the capital, Amman, in November 2005. Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq organization carried out the attack, which killed 60 people, most of them Jordanians.
After the Amman bombings, Zarqawi's family and his broader clan, the Bani Hassan, took out newspaper ads publicly renouncing their ties to him. But with his death, many in the town were calling him a martyr in sympathy with his cause, if not all his actions.
The U.S. military in Baghdad had no immediate comment on where Zarqawi's body was or whether it would be returned to his family for burial.
From today's guest op/ed in the Chicago Tribune:
...military troops today must be more disciplined, mature, emotionally stable, morally sound and intellectually astute than ever before.The author, Gregory D. Foster, served in Vietnam in the unit responsible for slaughtering as many as 500 civilians at My Lai. His complete and utter ignorance of today's military defies description - if that's what it is. His talking points seem more designed to pander to others whose complete and utter ignorance of the military can't be over-estimated.
Unfortunately, these are traits the military fails to nurture or reward adequately. Instead, an unsettlingly pervasive drumbeat of Pattonesque, chest-thumping, rabble-rousing rhetoric about the virtues of "warfighting," "warfighters" and "warriors" fosters a climate far more conducive to intolerant aggression than to the stoic self-discipline that urban warfare in hostile foreign lands demands. This testosterone-laced climate provides tacit, subliminal license for troops to choose the undisciplined moral low road in the face of stress, fear and fatigue.
By the way, his central point is that military officers, except for those retired Generals who attacked Rumsfeld, are cowards.
Update: Sorry, Salamander, didn't realize he was a friend of yours.
I posted this at my home blog before I saw Wynton's post below; it should be noted that the "manny" in queston only wanted to be a SEAL, but he had too many Academy demerits -- he actually became a
skimmer surface warfare officer before he took up the really dangerous Hollywood stuff.
Navy SEALs: Britney's hiring.
I know I'm only a civilian, but I gotta figure being called a "manny" can't be considered terribly cool among one's brothers-in-arms.
But I digress...
Wynton asks: what explains the genesis of anti-military bias that we so often cite by those in the MSM?
I wouldn't call it an anti-military bias per se. Rather, I think most of the MSM is just so unfamiliar and mind-numbingly ignorant with the military, how it functions, the very fact that it HAS an ethos, etc, that they simply CAN'T report accurately.
For example, when we launched Operation Swarmer, there were more than a few reports mistaking the "largest air assault of the war" for "dropping buttloads of bombs" rather than the AA operation that it actually was. Multiply that by a few thousand more examples and it'll sure LOOK like intentional bias...
Compounded with that (willful?) ignorance is the fact that for much the MSM, the only frame of reference they have is the Vietnam era, which ain't the most mil-friendly reference point.
Are there some that genuinely dislike the military? Of course. But for the majority, if you asked them, would probably sincerely deny it and claim that they support the military. But that "support," such as it is, tends to come from a very paternalistic place. It's the view that most are just ig'nant white trash with nothing better to do than go where this dastardly government sends us.
Call it the "you poor thing" mentality, they support us to the same extent they "support" a retarded kid struggling with a Rubix Cube--with pity.
As to whether liberalism is incompatible with the warrior ethos, we'd first have to figure out what constitutes modern liberalism. As soon as the actual liberals figure that one out, let me know...
(cross posted to Army Lawyer)
During a recent radio talk show interview for Home of the Brave, a host asked me whether I thought there was an anti-military "conspiracy" among the mainstream media. Despite Cap Weinberger and my spirited critique of the MSM, for good or for ill I'm preternaturally wired to reject most conspiracy theories. Thus my on-air response reflected as much.
But here's my question, especially for those who have or do wear the uniform: what explains the genesis of anti-military bias that we so often cite by those in the MSM? To say that liberals dominate the MSM is to state the obvious. I'm asking a much deeper question; namely, are the tenets of liberalism simply incompatible with the warrior ethos?
Peter Beinart's recent call for a "muscular liberalism" seems, to some, a contradiction in terms, oxymoronic to its core. I'd be interested in what others think about this. Moreover, what would "muscular liberalism" look like in practice, assuming such a posture is even possible?
Something happened in Haditha, and while this compilation doesn't prove that nothing happened, it certainly does raise questions about what did.
In the extended section you'll find a different example of an "insurgent information operation" from late last year.
On July 29, a platoon from the 5th Battalion's Alpha Company entered a concrete block house south of Balad. A 15-year-old girl threw herself at the Americans.All done!
Tugging at their arms, crying and nearly hysterical, she told them through an interpreter that her uncle, who lived in the house, had been plotting attacks against the Americans and beat her "like a dog."
"If we didn't take her from that house, there was no doubt in my mind she would be killed," said 1st Lt. Joshua Rambo, a 26-year-old platoon leader from Bossier City, La.
The decision ignited one of the 5th Battalion's worst crises. The girl was part of the al-Rafeat tribe, one of the largest in the region. Tribal custom forbade a virgin to leave her house unescorted. "This was unthinkable, for strangers to take come and take one of our women," said the tribal leader, Eifan Muslih Mehdi. "It is a stain on our honor. Take 1,000 men, but never a woman."
Petery was faced with an explosive situation. Keeping the girl would mean certain violence, he believed. But releasing her would be tantamount to a death sentence.
Petery and Mehdi compromised. The tribal leader agreed to take custody of the girl and guarantee her safety. To remove her from Camp Paliwoda, the Americans had to pry the wailing girl's fingers from a doorjamb.
The next day, Rambo's platoon went to check on the girl. They found her not at Mehdi's house but at her grandfather's, surrounded by relatives and wearing a full-length abaya that covered all but her face.
Now in a daze, the girl walked up to the Americans and pulled back her right sleeve, revealing a burn mark that "looked like the width of a bayonet, like somebody could have heated it up and stuck it on her arm," Rambo recalled. "It was a couple inches across the inside of her forearm. She said she had been blindfolded and forced to drink something hot that made her sick. And then she was burned."
Furious that Mehdi had lied and concerned that the girl had been tortured, Petery had her escorted to a Balad hospital.
The girl then changed her story: The Americans, she told her family, had given her a mysterious pill, then assaulted her.
Petery was now convinced the girl had been lying all along. His female interpreter, Thanna Azawi, an Iraqi American from Redford, Mich., said she believed the girl had been tortured by her family and changed her story. Petery said he had no choice but to release her back to her family. He called a meeting and asked Sunni tribal leaders to dispel rumors that the Americans had kidnapped the girl. The Iraqis refused.
Mike Tanji swears It’s like we’re trying to lose. I have to agree.
While you're there, check out this Oldie but Goodie.
Based on the last two posts, you'd think I was making a commission from Mike for pushing GroupIntel. I'm not. He's cheap.
But he's a stand up guy and his young blog has become one of my favorites in short order. Figured maybe there are a few around these parts not familiar with it yet. He always seems to find a good nugget or two splashed with professional insight. And, as the former proprietor of some obscure blog called "The Word Unhead", I am predisposed to nuggets and burried information treasures.
Check GroupIntel out, see what you think.
Though without any entertaining names, this is an awefully close spy case.