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Michael Totten, from Kirkuk. Read it all.
Then read Patrick Lasswell's account, too.
Active-duty military readers and military bloggers: If you'd like to send a message to the treacherous Harry Reid--who just declared the war in Iraq lost today--e-mail me or leave a trackback. I'll reprint/link them here as they come in.I'd urge any potential responders to count ten before throwing the holy hand grenade.
Eleven, however, is right out.
For context, Soldier's Dad already provided the link below. The statement followed the President's meeting with key congressional leaders:
"This is the message I took to the president," Reid said at a news conference.Do you think Bush expected anything else after having company over for tea?
"Now I believe myself ... that this war is lost, and that the surge is not accomplishing anything, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday," said Reid, of Nevada.
He probably pocketed a spoon or two, too.All done!
From my foxhole-view as a tactical battalion commander in western Baghdad in 2006, the American press, although not perfect, has reported the reality of the Iraq war. Contrary to what most believe in the American military, as well as some conservative columnists and a few politicians, the American press does give a reasonably full, fair and balanced picture of what is happening in Iraq…
And during my tour in 2006, I spent about two hours every day reading about Iraq through stories told by reporters from the major national and local newspapers and news services and, at times, watching TV newscasts from the major networks. The stories told by the American press, for the most part, matched what I saw happening on the ground. It was my sense that the embedded reporters who spent time with my unit during 2006 really tried to tell the story of what we saw as our successes…
It is my opinion that the American military’s ongoing condemnation of the American press’s reporting of the Iraq war has more to do with its own mistaken belief that the American media lost the Vietnam War and has less to do with the current reporting on Iraq. I also believe that because the American military fears so deeply the loss of support of the American people over Iraq as an outgrowth of Vietnam it tends, wrongly, to allay these fears by blaming the American press for not reporting enough of its successes in Iraq.
“I served with him on the 4ID [4th infantry division] staff -- he's f**king brilliant,” says Iraq veteran and writer Phil Carter about Lt. Col. Gentile. So I’m guessing if a “f**king brilliant” active-duty battalion commander says something like this, we should pay attention.
Lots of beef to be had with the press over their war reporting. But it never hurts to hear the other side....
TIKRIT, Iraq – Iraqi security and coalition forces continued operations in Buhriz, Iraq, Monday, clearing the Baqubah neighborhood of terrorist cells responsible for murders, kidnappings and emplacing improvised explosive devices.
The response by four tribes to these operations is a peace agreement in principle to stop antagonistic actions against each others people,” Sutherland added. “The people understand their future is in the stability offered by their ISF and not in the depth of despair offered by terrorists.”
I guess these guys didn't get the memo -
DUBAI, April 19 (Reuters) - The self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked group, formed a cabinet on Thursday, naming al Qaeda's local chief as war minister
WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday he told President George W. Bush the Iraq war was lostAll done!
Friends, gathered together at this blog we have many individuals with sound background and knowledge of various aspects of things military. That's a strength - and a weakness. A weakness if we assume that others share a degree of background knowledge that in fact they lack.
F'rinstance, when I read something like this:
BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed 12 people outside a Baghdad take-away shop on Thursday, one day after 190 people died in a bombing blitz that brought into question the US-backed security plan for the capital.I tend to become irate - knowing the answers to those "questions", and knowing that they won't be answered in the "news" story that actually raises them.
Then (sometimes) I realize that the most fundamental, unclassified bits of information I know are not common knowledge, and that though they are often damn well-known to those who raise "the questions", the answers are unknown to the people they are "asking".
That's hardly fair, is it?
So in the interests of fairness, perhaps this will help.
Hoping to make good on my promise to link more front-line MilBloggers here.
(Thanks again to the Mrs, who has many more.)
Even though Ismael was Abraham's first son, God chose to fulfill His covenant through Isaac, his younger son. All the future prophets of God and the Messiah would appear only from the lineage of Isaac, the chosen son of Abraham, without any exception.
In favour of Sara and her son Isaac, agar and Ismael were expelled from the household of Abraham and consequently, from the heritage and lineage of the decendants of Isaac (Genesis: 21,10). The Arabian nations (the desert dwellers) are descendants of Ismael but not of Isaac. So, on that day, a great division was born between the children of Ismael and the children of Isaac and the Messiah.
The sons of Ismael defeating the sons of Isaac in a great battle would clearly strengthen AlQueda.
The sons of Ismael, with the help of the sons of Isaac defeating AlQueda would be an unrecoverable loss.
As long as the battle is seen as a struggle between the sons of Ismael and the sons of Isaac it will never end, it has been going on since Genesis.
Updated: An Addtional thought.
IMHO The only winning long term strategy for the sons of Isaac is to be seen helping the sons of Ismael throw off the yoke of oppression. It was what Operation Iraqi Freedom has been all about. We shouldn't lose sight of the longer term goal.All done!
General Sheehan had a real opportunity for his opinion to matter, turned it down, then promptly wrote an opinion piece for a newspaper.
It appears he's chosen the arena in which he feels most comfortable, and it ain't Teddy Roosevelt's.
With 60% of the surge troops in place, do you think al Qaeda feels a sense of urgency? They can't stop the surge, but I do believe they believe they can get others to do so.
Almost 200 hundred dead in Baghdad. This isn't "sectarian violence" - though it may ignite that fuse. Given recent developments, these attacks were the work of al Qaeda and any groups with wich they remain allied. But it does stand (as the media describes it and as the attackers intended) as one of the bloodiest days of the war - certainly since the March 24 attacks.
Some might claim the March 24 attacks were timed so the news would coincide with that of the House vote on the Iraq Withdrawal Bill. Some might notice that this week's attacks coincide with the return of congress from Spring Break, with the Iraq Bill once again foremost on the agenda.
Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!
But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu...
John Miller, ABC: Describe the situation when your men took down the American forces in Somalia.
Osama bin Laden: After our victory in Afghanistan and the defeat of the oppressors who had killed millions of Muslims, the legend about the invincibility of the superpowers vanished. Our boys no longer viewed America as a superpower. So, when they left Afghanistan, they went to Somalia and prepared themselves carefully for a long war. They had thought that the Americans were like the Russians, so they trained and prepared. They were stunned when they discovered how low was the morale of the American soldier. America had entered with 30,000 soldiers in addition to thousands of soldiers from different countries in the world. ... As I said, our boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. He was unable to endure the strikes that were dealt to his army, so he fled, and America had to stop all its bragging and all that noise it was making in the press after the Gulf War in which it destroyed the infrastructure and the milk and dairy industry that was vital for the infants and the children and the civilians and blew up dams which were necessary for the crops people grew to feed their families. Proud of this destruction, America assumed the titles of world leader and master of the new world order. After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers. America stopped calling itself world leader and master of the new world order, and its politicians realized that those titles were too big for them and that they were unworthy of them. I was in Sudan when this happened. I was very happy to learn of that great defeat that America suffered, so was every Muslim. ...
John Miller, ABC: The American people, by and large, do not know the name bin Laden, but they soon likely will. Do you have a message for the American people?
Osama bin Laden: I say to them that they have put themselves at the mercy of a disloyal government, and this is most evident in Clinton's administration ... . We believe that this administration represents Israel inside America. Take the sensitive ministries such as the Ministry of Exterior and the Ministry of Defense and the CIA, you will find that the Jews have the upper hand in them. They make use of America to further their plans for the world, especially the Islamic world. American presence in the Gulf provides support to the Jews and protects their rear. And while millions of Americans are homeless and destitute and live in abject poverty, their government is busy occupying our land and building new settlements and helping Israel build new settlements in the point of departure for our Prophet's midnight journey to the seven heavens. America throws her own sons in the land of the two Holy Mosques for the sake of protecting Jewish interests. ...
The American government is leading the country towards hell. ... We say to the Americans as people and to American mothers, if they cherish their lives and if they cherish their sons, they must elect an American patriotic government that caters to their interests not the interests of the Jews. If the present injustice continues with the wave of national consciousness, it will inevitably move the battle to American soil, just as Ramzi Yousef and others have done. This is my message to the American people. I urge them to find a serious administration that acts in their interest and does not attack people and violate their honor and pilfer their wealth. ...
John Miller, ABC: In America, we have a figure from history from 1897 named Teddy Roosevelt. He was a wealthy man, who grew up in a privileged situation and who fought on the front lines. He put together his own men - hand chose them - and went to battle. You are like the Middle East version of Teddy Roosevelt.
The management of savagery is the next stage that the Umma will pass through and it is considered the most critical stage. If we succeed in the management of this savagery, that stage (by the permission of God) will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate. If we fail – we seek refuge with God from that – it does not mean end of the matter; rather, this failure will lead to an increase in savagery!!
This increase in savagery, which may result from failure, is not the worst thing that can happen now or in the previous decade (the nineties) and those before it. Rather, the most abominable of the levels of savagery is (still) less than stability under the order of unbelief [nizām al-kufr] by (several) degrees.
"Paying the price" must be accomplished even if it is after a long period, even if it is years.
The enemy should be reminded of that in a statement justifying the operation of "paying the price," which will make a deep impression on the leaders of the enemy that there is no hostile action they can undertake against Islam and its people, or against the mujahids for which they, their supporters, or their most powerful institutions will not pay a price over a long or short period of time. On account of that, feelings of hopelessness will creep into the enemy and he will begin to think about leaving the arena on account of his hopelessness because of his love for the world in the face of generations of mujahids who will persist in the battle and not be agitated by upheavals, but rather motivated by them to respond.
O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is twice that of the American soldier. If the Americans suffer one tenth of the casualties the Russians suffered in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee and never look back.
---The Management of Savagery (also translated as The Management of Barbarism) - an "al Qaeda handbook" authored in 2004 by Abu Bakr Naji and found on al Qaeda web sites.
To win the war against the US military and Badr, Colonel Jassam advises the Omariyun to follow two short-term goals - to cement mujahideen control over the Ramadi area, and to stage operations that will increase pressure on US opinion to withdraw troops.
To achieve their second goal, turning Americans against the war, the mujahideen need to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west", he says.
With a banner behind them that said “Support the Troops” and “Transition the Mission” Reid stood with Ret. Lt. Gen. Robert Gard and Ret. Brig. Gen. John Johns and said that the surge should be abandoned.
...and almost anything else I've ever written.All done!
Gard? Bob Gard? That bucket of FOD? He is beyond pale. I put him on my "Wall of Shame" back in AUG 04. He has a history of doing things such as...
- Wanting to be nice to Milosevic and admit that we are bad for doing what we did in Kosovo (the poorly run campaign is a valid argument, just General Gard is off center in his analysis).There is a lot more links to a lot more of his anti-Americanism at my AUG 04 post.
- Hanging out with Senator Harkin about landmines.
- Second guessing our pilots in Iraq and calling them murderers.
- Accusing the US on not giving a damn about civilian casualties (that’s right General, we paint dead babies on our aircraft).
- Investing time with the poorly named wingnuts in the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation as their “Senior Military Advisor”.
- Chilling with the guys at anti-Iraq Veterans for Common Sense
If you have any questions about the quality of the Democrat's Generals - just read up on Gard. He has been the Left's "House General" for quite awhile.
Did you see Gerd Schroeder's polemic about a similar subject? He's pretty angry about it.
Andy McCarthy at NRO tips us off to a NY Times article, reporting a recent seizure of an Iranian arms shipment to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In further commentary, McCarthy highlights a Thomas Joscelyn piece from a year ago that explored earlier evidence of Iranian cooperation with the Taliban:
Tom Joscelyn wrote this Weekly Standard piece a year ago about a high-ranking Taliban detainee at Gitmo who has acknowledged providing security for a meeting between Taliban leaders and Iranian officials in the weeks after 9/11, during which Iran pledged to help the Taliban in its war against the U.S. As Tom details, there is great reason to believe Iran has made good on this pledge — including by letting Taliban and Qaeda fighters escape into Iran after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in October 2001.Needless to say, these kinds of analytic prejudices gravely degrade the quality of the analysis of these same “foreign affairs analysts and intelligence community types.” Oddly, said same prejudices are mandatory requirements for employment as a foreign policy advisor for the Democratic Party. (“Madame Speaker, your prejudice is showing.”)
Conventional wisdom from foreign affairs analysts and intelligence community types, of course, is that Iran despises the Taliban and, consequently, is likely to be “even more” helpful to us in Afghanistan than the Iraq Study Group farcically assumes it could be in Iraq. Maybe we should reassess, no?
(More commentary and excerpts over at Dadmanly.)
The Chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB), Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, urges Congressional appropriators to increase Guard funding to close equipment shortfalls, as reported at Military.com.
While LGEN Blum acknowledges that Guard soldiers deployed overseas are “superbly equipped and superbly trained ... and we want for nothing,” Guard units confront serious equipment shortages back home. From Military.com:
"The National Guard today, I am sad to say, is not a fully ready force," the general said. "Unresourced shortfalls still exist that approach $40 billion to provide the equipment and the training that I personally feel your Army and Air National Guard are expected to have to be able to respond to the citizens of the United States."Some war opponents and chronic adversaries of the Bush Administration will no doubt want to exploit LGEN Blum’s concerns. I have heard some glancing rhetoric of late, decrying the strain on Guard and Reserve Forces, conflated along with the usual criticisms of “lack of body armor,” “hillbilly armored vehicles,” and “backdoor drafts.”
I doubt any readers here will need any primer in the basis for these criticisms, but just in case. When we first invaded Iraq in 2003, there were certainly units (in isolated cases) that had to convoy into Iraq whose unit vehicles were inadequately armored. (In many more cases, unit commanders and motor maintenance performed aggressive vehicle retrofits to enhance their defensive capabilities against improvised explosive devices (IED). No doubt, many were unsuccessful or less conscientious, but that can be attributed to a lack of command attention and diligence in preparing for their mission.
I know, because our Motor Mechanics up-armored over twenty vehicles, which allowed our Battalion to execute a “Ground Assault Convoy” (GAC) the 600 odd miles from Kuwait to our base in Tikrit. Units prepare for their duty in Iraq in staging areas in Kuwait, and motor pool advisors and support units in Kuwait supplied units with specially designed kits to up-armor their vehicles. Hence the disparaging nickname, “hillbilly armor.”
I’m not going to argue – here – about the wisdom of ground-convoying a Military Intelligence (MI) unit into Tikrit. Admittedly, our up-armored HUMVEES were not as well-protected as the factory-armored HUMVEES we fell on (left behind by the 1st ID unit we replaced, who themselves inherited said vehicles from the 4th ID). But they were good enough, and would have significantly decreased casualties from an IED.
As far as body armor, we deployed to Kuwait and then Iraq in January 2005. By then, the Guard units deploying to Iraq were “plused up” as part of a formal pre-deployment process. We received the latest body armor, Kevlar helmets, and all manner of other uniform and equipment items as part of Rapid Fielding Initiatives (RFI). While true for some of the very first units into Iraq (and I believe possibly more so for Marines), the notion that Guard and Reserve soldiers or their families having to buy their own body armor is a canard.
As usual with such criticisms-of-the-day, the partisans who will latch on to this issue don’t care a whit about the Guard and Reserves, but rather, seek any advantage in their vendetta war against the President.
And the shortage of equipment in the Guard? That stems from a willful decision on the part of military planners, with what had to be the knowing consent of State Governors and State Guard officials. As each Guard unit prepared to redeploy from Iraq back to the States, deployment officials and the unit commanders involved would determine which equipment would remain in country for the replacing unit to fall in on, and which equipment could go home. Factory armored HUMVEES stayed, as did many kit up-armored trucks. Many more items, not wanted by gaining units, were redirected from staging areas in Kuwait as unit equipment awaited transport back to the US.
In our case, I think we got our non-up-armored vehicles back (those we only used for on-the-FOB transport) and maybe a couple of Duece-and-a-halfs.
As a Senior Enlisted soldier, not in Army Logistics, I am not privy to the agreements and understandings that are reached between Big Army and State Guard authorities when it comes to Logistics. But several (most) of our best mechanics worked in Central Issue Facility (CIF) or MATES (I forget the expansion) back home, and I’m quite certain the understanding was, we’d get all new equipment after we got home. That’s how all of us understood the why of giving up equipment we knew we’d need. We’d get all new, the latest and greatest. This seemed an improvement over what has historically been a chronic lag of modernization, between Active Duty and Guard unit equipment issue.
Well, time to pay the piper. You’d think that the costs of replenishing the Guard equipment for generously left behind in Iraq – and in some cases handed over to the Iraqis – would have been figured in to ongoing military appropriations for the already significant costs of our efforts in Iraq.
But I think that’s what LGEN Blum’s effort now is all about. How bad? Here’s more from LGEN Blum, as reported at Military.com:
Lt. Gen. Blum said the problem has reached epidemic levels, particularly in the Army. Most of the units in the Army and Air National Guard are underequipped for the jobs and the missions they have to perform with no notice here at home," he said. "Can we do the job? Yes, we can. But the lack of equipment makes it take longer to do that job, and lost time translates into lost lives, and those lost lives are American lives."That’s the most important reason for honoring the Federal commitment to the Guard, at a time when the Guard has been called to make extraordinary sacrifice in the fight against terrorists [not to be called the Global War on Terror].
He urged Congress to address these shortfalls, noting the defense bargain the National Guard represents. The Army Guard makes up almost 40 percent of the Army's combat, combat support and combat service support structure, but costs just 11 percent of the Army's budget, he said. Similarly, the Air Guard provides more than one-third of the Air Force capability, at just 6 percent of the Air Force's budget.
"Plus, your Army and Air National Guard are the only Department of Defense forces that can be called upon by the governors with no notice to do what is necessary right here in the zip codes where your constituents reside," he said.
There’s a way you can help.
Military.com offers an easy-to-use Legislative Center, where you can send a letter to your Senators and Representatives.
It’s long past time we move to a more proactive than reactive stance in response to long-term (generational) national security challenges. Having a fully equipped (and modernized) Guard seems a prerequisite.
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)All done!