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Back behind the curtain of derangement you noted in your post, there's a heck of a story.
Derek J. Hale was 25 years old when he was shot by police last Fall. He'd "joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and served for five years, including two tours of duty in Iraq, before he was honorably discharged last year with a service-related disability."
That disability is unspecified and has nothing to do with the story - just explains why he left active duty.
He joined the Virginia branch of the Pagan Motorcycle Club after leaving the military. More than 50 percent of the club’s members are veterans, say club officials.That charity run was in conjunction with the Marine's Toys for Tots campaign.
“There, he found the sense of brotherhood, camaraderie and espirit de corps that he had been missing, and was able to ride his motorcycle in a relaxed atmosphere,” the complaint states.
The Delaware State Police says the Pagans are an outlaw motorcycle gang. Over the years, the Delaware Pagans members have been arrested for crimes of drugs and violence. The club has also sponsored several Toys for Tots runs.
On Nov. 3, 2006, Hale traveled to Delaware to take part in one of the charity events.
Following the toy run, on Nov. 6, 2006, Hale was house-sitting for a Delaware club member who had been arrested, and had his home searched, as part of an investigation into the Pagans by the Delaware State Police.
Shortly thereafter, police (including SWAT members) arrived and killed him.
An early report:
In a written statement, Elliott explained that the man was shot three times because an "officer in close proximity to the developments feared for the safety of his fellow officers and believed that the suspect was in a position to pose an imminent threat. That officer then utilized deadly force."
Earlier Tuesday, Elliott said "there were two items there that were considered weapons, but I haven't been able to confirm whether they were law enforcement or belonged to the suspect."
Asked if the man -- whose hands were reportedly in his pockets --ever threatened the officers, Elliott said: "In a sense, when he did not comply with their commands."
Unfortunately for the killers, there were some impartial observers nearby:
The 25-year-old man shot to death last week by a Wilmington officer never threatened police, according to five witnesses working nearby and a sixth witness standing next to the victim when the confrontation began.Then came to coup de grâce. Recall the original police quote above:
Derek J. Hale, a U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq, died on the front steps at 1403 W. Sixth St. after a Wilmington police officer fired three .40-caliber rounds into his chest. He was killed after receiving multiple shocks from electronic Tasers.
"He didn't deserve to be shot. He wasn't any kind of threat," said Fred Mixson, 53, a contractor working in the home next door who watched the shooting unfold from across the narrow street. From the initial confrontation with police to the fatal shooting, only two to three minutes elapsed, witnesses said.
Four members of Mixson's work crew witnessed the shooting from a variety of angles and distances, although Mixson was the only one interviewed by investigators after the shooting and the only one willing to allow his name to be used for this article.
But in interviews with The News Journal last week, all five said Hale did not pose a threat.
"No matter what his background was, he didn't deserve that," Mixson said. "They had him surrounded. They could have grabbed him."
Mixson parked across the narrow street from 1403 and was standing by the driver's door of his work van when a black SUV sped up the wrong way of the one-way street and screeched to a halt in the middle of the road.
Several police officers jumped out and ran to where Hale was sitting on the steep steps of 1403, approximately six feet higher than the sidewalk.
Mixson and his crew had barely noticed Hale before he was confronted by police. Hale, they said, was chatting with Sandra Lopez and two children at the top of a 10-step concrete stoop. Hale was seated on the third step from the top. Mixson and another witness were standing across the street from 1403, while others were on the sidewalk in front of a row house adjacent to the site of the shooting.
The officers ordered Hale to take his hands out of the front pockets of his hooded sweat shirt.
"About a second later, they Tasered him," Mixson recalled. "He was just sitting there. He didn't do anything."
A compressed air charge in the Taser cartridge launched two metal barbs, attached to wires trailing back to the hand-held device, at a speed of more than 160 feet per second. On impact, a strong electric charge was carried into Hale's body, which caused what the manufacturer, Taser International, describes as "an immediate loss of the person's neuromuscular control and the ability to perform coordinated action for the duration of the impulse."
The witnesses said Hale shook violently from the charge, as if sitting on an electric chair. His right hand came out of the front of his sweat shirt and was shaking violently.
Seconds later, police repeated their command for Hale to show them his hands, and they Tasered him a second time.
Mixson and others said Hale, who was still seated on the steps, rolled onto his left side and vomited into a flower bed.
"My brother yelled at the police that this was overkill. That this was crazy," Mixson said. "They told him to 'shut ... up,' or they'd show him overkill."
Hale rolled back to his right, into a sitting position, still shaking, and police Tasered him a third time, Mixson said.
Lopez, who lived at the home where Hale was killed and was talking to Hale when police arrived, told her attorney Hale was trying to show police his hands. Lopez was standing with her two young children until police ordered her to move.
Asked if the man -- whose hands were reportedly in his pockets --ever threatened the officers, Elliott said: "In a sense, when he did not comply with their commands."Apparently the neighborhood was a bit upset
Six city councilmen promised that the investigations into last week's fatal police shooting of a 25-year-old man, who was confronted by several officers while sitting on the steps of a Hilltop home, will be fair and thorough.As were fellow vets:
They urged a crowd of more than 100 people gathered Wednesday night at St. Paul's Catholic Church to show restraint until the investigations into the incident are complete.
Because Hale was a Marine who had served two tours in Iraq, several veterans said they felt obligated to attend.(Note that last story, relying on early police accounts, says Hale had a switchblade. Later versions simply say "knife". According to Hale's brother, he had a Swiss army knife.)
John Connelly served as a Marine officer in Vietnam.
"It would seem to me that if a person other than a police officer shot an unarmed man sitting on the steps of a home, they'd be immediately arrested," Connelly said. "Every member of a motorcycle club is not an evil person. This is a country where you can join any group you want. We're supposed to tolerate freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom to sit on the front steps of a house. It's so obvious that an injustice has been done."
Terry Baker, vice president of the Vietnam Veterans of America's Delaware State Council, met Hale last month.
"He was a good man, a typical Marine," Baker said. "There has to be accountability."
Following the shooting Delaware police apparently attempted to "back date" drug trafficking charges aganst the Marine:
Delaware State Police incorrectly told their Virginia counterparts that a 25-year-old man shot and killed by a Wilmington police officer on Nov. 6 had been charged with drug trafficking two days before his death.They later claimed he had been previously identified as an "unnamed person of interest" in the case.
A special agent for the Virginia State Police then used the inaccurate information as part of the basis to search Derek J. Hale's Manassas, Va., home when he applied to a magistrate -- under oath -- for a search warrant.
"During the weekend of November 4th and 5th, the Delaware State Police secured several arrest warrants for various members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club to include Virginia member Derek Hale," the affidavit states. "On November 6th, Wilmington Delaware Police Department attempted to arrest Hale on drug charges. Hale did not cooperate and was subsequently shot by police and died of his wounds."
Delaware State Police spokesperson Sgt. Melissa Zebley conceded last week that no arrest warrant for Hale was ever issued as part of the 18-month investigation into the Pagans, which resulted in arrests and charges against 12 Delaware suspects for felony-level drug and weapons offenses.
The newspaper had asked the name of the Delaware police investigator who provided information to Virginia.And now his family seeks to clear his name:
"We will not be releasing any names of involved officers or detectives in this investigation," Papili responded in the e-mail.
Why did they provide false information to their Virginia counterpart? "No false information has been provided to anyone during this investigation," Papili wrote.
The News Journal also asked to speak with MacLeish about how this incident could affect the state police and the investigation. "The incident will not have any impact on the investigation or the agency," Papili responded.
The family of a former Marine shot to death by police in November during the investigation of a motorcycle gang filed a federal lawsuit Friday accusing state and local police of violating his constitutional rights.All done!
According to the lawsuit, Derek J. Hale, 25, of Manassas, Va., was left incapacitated and vomiting by three Taser shocks as he sat on a porch step last Nov. 6 before a Wilmington police officer drew his gun and shot Hale three times in the chest.
The lawsuit, filed by Hale's widow and parents, alleges that police failed to identify themselves after surrounding Hale, then used excessive force in Tasering and shooting him three times, even though there was no warrant for his arrest and he posed no threat.
Police have said they found a can of pepper spray and a knife in Hale's pants pockets after he was killed.
The lawsuit also alleges that Wilmington police and Delaware State Police officers did not give SWAT team members information from potentially illegal wiretaps of Hale's telephone conversations indicating that he did not pose a threat and that there was no probable cause for his arrest.
According to the lawsuit, Hale, who grew up in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and served two tours of duty in Iraq before leaving the Marines and joining the Pagans, traveled to Wilmington to participate in a Toys for Tots ride and was housesitting at the residence of another gang member when he was shot.
Police had executed a search warrant at the house two days before the shooting. The owner of the home, Raul Morales, 34, was one of 12 people arrested that day following an 18-month investigation of the Pagans. At the time of the shooting, Hale was talking to Morales' ex-wife and her two young children, who had come to pick up some belongings, according to the lawsuit.
More than 770 civilian contractors working for American companies have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began March 20, 2003, according to a Labor Department office that loosely tracks the figures. If those deaths — truck drivers, cooks, laundry workers and security guards — are added to the military toll, the death toll in the U.S. war effort in Iraq is nearly 25 percent higher.(Link)
Not that long ago, four of those deaths marked a turning point in the war.
That's not true at all, of course. Photographs of the corpses are what mattered, as evidenced by the less emphatic response to the other 766.
In a blogosphere sideshow shortly thereafter, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga moved the Daily Kos to the position of top blog in the world with his much-maligned (but highly successful) "screw them" post. (I believe that's when I started referring to such sites - when referring at all - as toilets on the left-wing information sewer.)
Him being an actual merc, and all.
3ID boys in DCUs - from previous tour, but they'll be back for a return engagement soon (if not already).
How the heck did he keep a (nearly) straight face?
And read this one, too. Omar and Mohammed, visited by troops:
These are bloggers, dude; cover your face if you don’t want to be seen nude on the internet tomorrow!Which also begs the question: if invited to consume barbeque with Omar and Mohammed, would you eat it?
I know I sure would.
Apparently nobody in Iraq watches Saturday Night Live
The aging of the veteran population is a major challenge confronting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Today, 9.2 million veterans are age 65 or older, representing 38 percent of the total veteran population. The number of veterans age 85 or older is expected to exceed 1 million by the end of 2006 and rise to a peak of 1.4 million in 2033.
Today, VA’s 21 GRECCs lead in gerontology and geriatrics, applying basic research to clinical programs.
I'm all for quality health care for the nations Veterans...but the VA budget is ballooning for the same reason the Medicare and Medicaid budgets are ballooning. People are living longer.
Mental disorders? The real probem is anatomically elsewhere:
As it braces for a flood of war-disabled veterans, the nation's disability compensation system for former troops has become a $26 billion behemoth bloated and backlogged in part by overgenerous benefits for minor maladies barely tied to military service, if at all.I hereby call on my elected representatives to do something about these hemorrhoids in congress! It's not funny - I want to see their plan to lick this problem soon.
Case in point: More than 120,000 vets from earlier eras are collecting lifetime benefits for hemorrhoids, which they are not required to show resulted from their military duty.
In fact, hemorrhoids are the 11th-most-common disability for which U.S. vets are compensated, after such conditions as defective hearing, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension. A conservative calculation of the cost of the benefits to veterans for hemorrhoids alone could be $14 million a year or more.
You are who links you. Today I got linked by a site called Godlike Productions--an odd conspiracy-ish sort for those brave truthtellers who have yet to experience the oppression of AP History.
Anyway, in a thread about something the discussion inevitably turns the war and to soldiers returning from Iraq. Did you know?
One in three that come back, go homeless.
Betcha didn't. But what blew. my. mind. was the following:
The others suffer from post dramatic stress disorder and end up going crazy unless treated.
Yeah, crazy. Crazy Fabulous!
“The United States must use its leadership position within the UN Security Council and elsewhere to ensure that effective action is taken. The members of the United Nations, the Arab League, and the African Union all have a moral obligation to end the genocide in Darfur. The world has been placed on notice; the promise of ‘never again’ made after previous acts of genocide must be redeemed in Darfur.”
I'm glad I agree with the Chairman on something...the ChiComs could stop the genocide in Sudan in about 10 minutes...if one could just point them to someplace else to get their oil.(No War for Oil, Evil Mc Hu Jintao HitlerCinoPec)...like say Iraq...but oh wait...Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war at the moment....I'm not exactly a rocket scientist...but going to war with the ChiCom's over Sudan doesn't seem like a great idea to me. Maybe we should work on stopping the Slaughter in Iraq...so that the ChiCom's can realistically threaten the Sudanese Government with "No Peace...No Buy Oil".All done!
By Joseph R. Biden and Chuck Hagel
December 20, 2002
Although no one doubts our forces will prevail over Saddam Hussein's, key regional leaders confirm what the Foreign Relations Committee emphasized in its Iraq hearings last summer: The most challenging phase will likely be the day after -- or, more accurately, the decade after -- Saddam Hussein.
Various experts have testified that as many as 75,000 troops may be necessary, at a cost of up to $ 20 billion a year. That does not include the cost of the war itself, or the effort to rebuild Iraq.
Anti-war fever was running high in Washington. U.S. ground forces were withdrawing.
Sensing weakness, the North Vietnamese Army invaded the South in force.
It started 35 years ago, today. As set out here.
In June of the same year(ed 1991) the "Aeroflot - Soviet Airlines" Commercial Production Alliance was created, which was transformed into the open stock company "Aeroflot - Russian International Airlines" on July 28, 1992. At the same time, the airline began operating foreign aircraft. The first foreign aircraft to appear at Aeroflot were the leased A310-300 manufactured by Airbus Industry. Two years later, the company acquired Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which adhere to the highest ecological and noise standards.
In late 1995, the airline leased the DC-10-30F long-haul freight carrier.
Tea, Chandler Arizona, an angry lecture by Hamid Karzai, steering wheel conversions and bird flu all found here.
Frontline's examination of "the rise of Arab satellite TV channels and their impact on the "war of ideas"" is now available for online viewing.
With $140 million in start-up money from Qatar's Sheikh Hamad and a pledge to subsidize it for five years, Al Jazeera began broadcasting from a state-of-the-art studio in Doha and quickly established itself as a serious force in the satellite news market.
Now, after more than a decade of beaming its direct style of news and popular talk shows into millions of Arab homes, Al Jazeera has become one of the most recognized media brands in the world. One of its most popular programs, The Opposite Direction, is a 90-minute showdown between opposing guests, in which viewers are encouraged to call in and join the debate. By pioneering a more accessible style of news coverage, Al Jazeera has not only become the most-watched satellite TV network in the Arab world but has also managed to infuriate the United States and every Arab government in the region. Libya and Kuwait, among others, have at various points threatened to pull their ambassadors from Qatar in protest.
The report also examines the Bush Administrations new policy of embracing Arab news channels in an effort to improve America's image in the Arab world. In Dubai, viewers meet Captain Eric Clark and Captain Frank Pascual, officers from US Central Command assigned as military spokesmen. As media liaisons, the two make a constant round of courtesy call to Arab news rooms.
Says Capt. Pascual, "It's been the best assignment I've ever had in a twenty-four year military career, no question about it."
W. Thomas Smith Jr., at NRO's The Tank:
I'm in Baghdad tonight — flew in from Kuwait this morning aboard an old Russian twin turbo-prop Antonov An-24 (with sand and dirt caked into the exterior fuselage seams, 70's looking shag carpeting on the interior bulkhead, and no ventilation system) — after a brief refueling and passenger pickup stop in Basra.Bloggers from conservative political sites transported to Iraq via Russian airlift - that pretty much ties together a couple of discussion threads here. (Ties with a pretty pink shag bow, in fact.)
Gotta go - my head's spinning.
...a first-hand account of recent events in Iraq at Soldier's Angels Germany:
As many of you may have heard by now, there was a major VBIED that exploded in [redacted]. The amount of explosives within the truck was enough to shake my CHU almost [redacted] miles away.I chose my side in this war long ago.
When we arrived at the scene, it was one of chaos and despair. There are not enough words to describe the carnage and evil that we saw. I saw it again a little later at the hospital. [numbers of Iraqi civilians dead and wounded redacted] I know, because I walked among the bodies to count them for my report.
As I stepped closer to them in the dark, I realized I was looking at the bodies of small children. Some as young as 12 months old.
As I lifted the tiny blankets, I became numb; one infant had its tiny head missing. Others were disfigured and their bodies broken and mangled. I could not believe what I was looking at.
One of the [Iraqi] men came to me and said, in a voice totally filled with compassion and caring, "Why you sad, American soldier?" I looked up at him, and I could not say anything. I got up and wiped myself with my Arabic scarf and rejoined the group of men to hear their argument.
They told me that about some doctors did not show up. I asked them why. They said because the terrorist and insurgents had threatened them.
"Did not you and they take an oath to preserve life at all costs?" I asked them. "Why are you here and not them?"
They said it is a sad day in Iraq when an American soldier will fall on his knees and cry for children that are not American, but our own doctors will not come to help.
BLITZER: What about this vote? The tug-of-war, the political battle unfolding here in the Senate. The House of Representatives calling for some sort of timeline for a withdrawal of combat forces.
How does this play out in Baghdad? What do people there where you are, Michael, say about this?
WARE: ...Do you think anyone enduring that is paying attention to artificial deadlines that are going to get vetoed by the president? And even if they were to pass through the legislative process, would only serve al Qaeda and Iran, America's enemies? No. People are focusing on the near game -- Wolf.
... on three days of headlines from Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I):
You've probably just made some senior staffie uncomfortable.
Good. Someone needs to point out the Law of Unintended Consequences!
Oh by the way we pulled in to Singapore once--I don't know why this happened there; Singapore tats weren't better than other places we hit--one of my divisions spent an average of $150 on tats for a three day in port period. And that was a lot of $$ for ink at the time...
Being married to the girl that I have, it’s given me a fine appreciation of the art. But even with being as accustomed to tattoos as I am. I’ve noticed the sharp increase of Marines getting sleeves just over the past two months. Not just the young Marines, Staff NCO’s too. There are actually a few Marines in my new unit that have more tattoos then my bride and believe me, that’s impressive! It seems like one out of 3 guys in my unit now has at least a quarter sleeve while the total percent of Marines who have tattoos is probably in the 90 percent range.
Today it finally hit home why so many Marines are coming home from war and pouring a sizable portion of the money they made into ink. A couple of months ago a rumor was going around that there was going to be a change in Marines Corps Tattoo policy stating any tattoo that is visible when wearing PT gear is forbidden and that the rule was going to kick in on April 1st. In reality? When I heard the rumor, I didn't think anything of it at the time.
Then last week, MARADMIN 198/07 came out announcing the uniform change was going to kick in 1 April and that Marines who had tattoos prior to April 1st will be grandfathered, to get a tattoo grandfathered, they needed to get a picture of the tattoo, date of the tattoo and have it documented in the page 11 of their service record and sign the page to make sure the information is correct. One the same day the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway released ALMAR 014/07 announcing his reasoning behind the changes.
I think part of the plan might have backfired, I’m sure the people who thought up these rules didn’t expect the wholesale rush towards the tattoo parlors prior to the ban date taking affect. Some of these guys probably weren’t planning on getting sleeves till someone told them that after this date they wouldn’t be able to. Strange seeing this story on the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune this morning.
I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of it.
Cross posted at my place.All done!
There is no "Iraq Civil War"...it is a regional war...the Iran/Iraq war redux.(A million died in that war).
Inviting "Redstate" to Iraq does nothing. Basically "Preaching to the converted".
A fundamental question in Iraq...yet to be answered is whether the US is prepared for the consequences of a complete withrdrawl?
If yes...then that is fair enough...I only drive 10 miles a week...$50 a gallon gas won't bother me. I won't personnaly suffer.
A Shiite/Sunni regional war...well...the Iran/Iraq war killed only a million...with the US and Russians efforting keeping it under control. But what the hell...not my tribe.
Lets figure each of those million that will die in the regional war have a mere 4 children(light by Arab standards)...that is 4 million children that will hate the people who stood by and did nothing while their fathers were killed..
But hey...it took a massive NINETEEN individuals that hated America to pull off 9/11.
Sleep tight...the Department of Homeland Security is protecting you,
I'm currently going through Bruce Catton's brief American Heritage History of the The Civil War and in describing the two armies he describes them as being comprised of "unmilitary, but warlike people."
It perfectly encapsulated the generally amateurish nature of both the Union and Confederate armies. These were masses of men that had learned their trade on the fly by the hard taskmaster of bloody experience. They were not the professional soldiers that we have today. They were decidedly "unmilitary"--lacking the discipline and even basic obedience to superiors that mark modern soldiers. But they performed so well because they were most definitely a warlike people. Hearty men that could stomach great hardships for something as abstract as "Union" or "The Confederacy." The North and South produced such men in droves.
But I got to thinking about the description and its converse. In light of various Congressional efforts to establish arbitrary withdrawal dates, make funding contingent on various oddities of pork barrel spending, the hypocritical denouncements of conditions at military hospitals by those that long had the power to do something, yet all the while proclaiming unending "support" for the troops:
Have we become a military, but unwarlike people?
When every other word out of a person's mouth expresses their "support" for the troops--yet every OTHER word expresses shock and horror at the sorts of things troops go through and do and suffer on their behalf; have we stopped viewing the military as a tool (indeed, our most powerful tool), and started viewing it more as a delicate piece of fine china to be kept in the cabinet and only to be taken out when really important company comes over?
A nice shiny bauble that we can show off, but when anybody dare lay a hand on it we get collectively apoplectic lest it break? And since we don't know anybody that important, it stays in the cabinet forever?
Another one via the Mrs:
The second issue that arises is this, why has the Pentagon offered their invitation to members of this weblog? The Pentagon, in cooperation with the Bush administration, has attempted with some success, to systematically limit what realities regarding the Iraq Civil War can be given coverage. Are we to understand now, that limitations upon our nation’s free press have failed, thus efforts must now be made to imbed Far-Right sympathizers, in an attempt to counter the prevailing winds of fact that our nation has lost this war.Now that would be something.
I offer myself to the Pentagon, please allow me to accompany those from Redstate to Iraq. Coupled with my Progressive stripe and their unabashed support for the Bush administration; something rather interesting will most assuredly be developed, perhaps even honest discourse.
And from comments on my very brief post below, a "Hey, I'm already here in Iraq and blogging up a storm." That's from Patrick Lasswell, who is indeed. Get on over there, y'all.
As for John's question, I'll probably fly over on one of those Antonovs, if the USAF can't afford me.
Most milbloggers will get it right away, others might miss the story in the story:
KABUL, Afghanistan: A transport plane shipping frozen food and other goods to the main U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan ran off the runway after touching down Monday at the military airfield, the U.S.-led coalition said.Update: More.
The five-man Russian crew of the twin-engined Antonov AN-26 turboprop transport plane was not injured in the accident at the Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province, the U.S. coalition said in a statement.
"There was absolutely no hostile forces or enemy activity involved in the accident," Air Force spokesman Maj. Gary Mathis said.
Mathis said an investigation has been launched to determine if the accident was caused by mechanical failure, pilot error or a combination of both.
Now excuse me, it's Thursday and I have barbeque and cold beers waiting for me.That quote will stand among blogging's all time finest.
Back later, after I grab a cold one.
Greyhawk, with all these Air Force budget cuts, are we going to have to start raising money to send you to Iraq?
Because, 'Hawk...they're going to tell you what's REALLY going on over there. And I quote:
The military will take Victoria and Jeff around Iraq and they'll get the word out to all of us on what's really going on over there.
Also, I guess some of the anti-war blogs have already seized on the opportunity to make that point...you all know it...that pinnacle of advanced philosophical thought and knowledge...the chickenhawk meme.
Only one of the dudes, Jeff, is former Air Force Special Forces. Served in Iraq and I *believe* Afghanistan. I love Red State's updated caveat at the end of the post:
UPDATE: Attention Lefty Morons: Jeff actually did enlist and fight in Iraq.
A little brusque, sure. But it certainly did drive the point home.
SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum's ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.Link (via Instapundit).
As MILCON leader, Feinstein relished the details of military construction, even micromanaging one project at the level of its sewer design. She regularly took junkets to military bases around the world to inspect construction projects, some of which were contracted to her husband's companies, Perini Corp. and URS Corp.
The MILCON subcommittee is not only in charge of supervising military construction, it also oversees "quality of life" issues for veterans, which includes building housing for military families and operating hospitals and clinics for wounded soldiers. Perhaps Feinstein is trying to disassociate herself from MILCON's incredible failure to provide decent medical care for wounded soldiers.
In a nutshell, RedState has been invited by the Pentagon to go to Iraq. We want to send Jeff and AcademicElephant, who henceforth insists on being known by her real name, Victoria Coates. They'll leave during the last part of April. But, we need your help to make it possible.
To send RedState to Iraq, we need to raise $7500.00. This presents a challenge to us now, one that it did not present last year. As you probably know, RedState is now owned by Eagle Publishing, Inc. A lot of you are probably asking why they don't just fork over the money. Well, frankly, there just isn't money budgeted for something like this right now, but the experience presents such an invaluable opportunity, we really want to do it. We need your help. Eagle is going to commit the first $2500.00 to the trip, which, given all the data the Pentagon has given us, will cost $10,000.00 total.
We all 'know' that the whole Soviet/American cold war conflict was just a baseless accustion of Right WIng Western Capitalist Imperialist Pigs.
(New York, March 29, 2007) � Former Guantanamo detainees who were sent home to Russia in 2004 experienced torture and other abuse despite Moscow's pledge to the US government that they would be treated humanely, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The Russian prisoners' experience illustrates why the United States should stop relying on "diplomatic assurances" of fair treatment to justify sending prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to countries where they are at risk of torture.
Whaddya Mean the "Evil Empire" is actually evil? Thats not what I 'Workers Daily'told me.
General (Ret) Barry R McCaffrey's After Action Report from his visit to Iraq (document here) offers a wide variety of quotes ripe for misuse, abuse, and ripping out of context.
The first paragraph of Thomas Ricks WaPo review gets things started:
An influential retired Army general released a dire assessment of the situation in Iraq, based on a recent round of meetings there with Gen. David H. Petraeus and 16 other senior U.S. commanders.Not since General Petraeus actually used the word "dire" during his confirmation hearings a few weeks ago have I read such earth-shattering news.
Gen McCaffrey also says "Since the arrival of General David Petraeus in command of Multi-National Force Iraq--- the situation on the ground has clearly and measurably improved". So much so, in fact, that unlike Petraeus McCaffrey doesn't even actually use the word "dire".
Like "fiasco", it's a Ricksism.
Teflon Don reports from Iraq:
Since the start of the year, Al-Qaeda In Iraq has attempted 11 chlorine VBIEDs, 9 in Al-Anbar, 1 in Tadji, and one in Baghdad. Of those, 9 have detonated with varying degrees of success, and 2 were found and disabled in Ramadi. The most recent attacks were early this morning in downtown Falluja, outside the government center. Iraqi troops engaged two trucks just after 0630, causing both to explode just short of the base.Read the rest here.
Taken together, the string of chlorine bombings have killed 32 Iraqis and wounded over 600, most of them civilians. One US soldier was wounded in an attack on an Iraqi Police checkpoint, as well as possibly more today in Falluja. These attacks have overwhelmingly been targeted towards Iraqi forces, and the leaders and people of the tribes who have begun to oppose Al-Qaeda In Iraq.
There are thirty-one major tribes int the Al-Anbar province. Of those thirty-one, twenty-five support the Anbar Awakening effort of the Anbar Salvation Council- the social and political gathering of sheiks and former insurgents who oppose terroism in Al-Anbar. Of the six remaining tribes, the Iraqi government, Coalition Forces and the Anbar Salvation Council are attempting to split two off from the Al-Qaeda umbrella organization Islamic State of Iraq. Those two tribes are the Al-bu Issa and the Al-Zuba'a. Both have started to fight against Al-Qaeda, and are beginning to pay for it dearly.
Even when "successful" the terrorists tactics generally fail to convert the population to their cause - which increasingly results in additional failure:
RAMADI, Iraq – One civilian was killed and seven were injured after a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle in northwest Ramadi at 1:20 p.m. today.A few days prior
The injured were evacuated to a local aid station, Ramadi General Hospital and a Coalition medical facility for treatment.
Coalition Forces arrived after the explosion to assist in the medical evacuation and set up a cordon around the blast site. Local citizens provided information about a second truck bomb that may be in the area. Acting on the tip, a search was conducted and an abandoned truck was found wired with explosives and chlorine tanks.
RAMADI, IRAQ – Iraqi Police apprehended a suicide truck bomber and captured his vehicle, containing a large quantity of chlorine and explosives, when it failed to detonate in Ramadi March 23.But this week they've also spread their attacks to Tal Afar. Given the focus of operations in Baghdad and Anbar, the obvious key question is can the Iraqi government and it's allies respond elsewhere? The early answer is "yes" (see link).
At approximately 1:30 p.m., a white cargo truck came to a halt near the entrance to the Jezeera police station, located about 150 meters from a water treatment plant. The police approached the truck for further investigation and detained the driver when they discovered the truck was rigged with explosives and the driver was attempting to detonate the vehicle.
Upon further investigation, the truck contained an unknown number of 55-gallon drums, which were used to camouflage five 1000-gallon barrels filled with chlorine and more than two tons of explosives.
The driver is being held for further questioning and all explosives were removed from the truck and destroyed by demolition experts.
But that answer might not matter - as this is probably a major reason for the increase in suicide bombings.All done!
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — When the guns fell silent on Nov. 11, 1918, exactly 4,734,991 Americans had served in World War I. Four are known to be alive.Worthwhile reading - for many reasons.
"I am one of the last," says Frank Woodruff Buckles, who at 106 is among the few living links — and perhaps the healthiest — to what was known as the Great War. "I didn't know it would be down to one to a million."
April 6 will mark the 90th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I. The soldiers who went Over There thought they were fighting the "war to end all wars." It did not live up to its title. The United States has fought five major conflicts since then, including the current war in Iraq.
em·pa·thy (ĕm'pə-thē)n. Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
Another way to say it is the ability feel someone Else's pain.
Good reasons not to beat ones wife are that she doesn't deserve it, it's against the law, it's morally wrong...but for a psychologically balanced person...there is a totally selfish reason...you would feel her pain.
Empathy is one of those psychological glues that holds civil society together. The proverbial "This will hurt me more than it hurts you",or to quote a famous politician "I can feel your pain".(more about politicians later).
Brutal totalitarian regimes tend to produce populations with a marked lack of empathy. Anyone who has looked at the Crime statistics in the former Soviet Union can see this.
Anyone who reads the daily headlines of the carnage coming out of Iraq will see a population with a marked lack of empathy, but then 30 years of wars,gassing's,mass murders, being disappeared for offending the glorious leader Saddam will do that to people.
Recently, our glorious leaders in Washington DC, by a very slim margin, declared that the Iraqi peoples will have healed themselves by March 2008. I was struggling comprehending how anyone could believe a population that was brutalized for 30 years would "heal itself" by March 2008.
DSM-IV(ed. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), of the American Psychiatric Association, provided me with a clue.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy
Glorious leaders feel polling numbers...not someone Else's pain.All done!
Or would that be a Japanese carrier? Or a Japanese game show, for that matter?
I didn't feel like reposting, so I'm sending you to OPFOR.
The gift that every nuclear Wannabee has been aching for
Washington, D.C. (AHN) - Boeing, best known for its commercial and military aircraft, says it has successfully tested it's Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP); a 30,000-pound bomb to be used on enemy bunkers.
Bob McClurg, Boeing Advanced Systems MOP program manager says, "The weapon's effectiveness against hard and deeply buried targets allows the warfighter to hold adversaries' most highly valued military facilities at risk, especially those protecting weapons of mass destruction."
...guitar, sax, and flute player for the band Beats Workin', is in for a battle.
Thoughts and prayers are with you.
Watch Beats Workin on PBS in "The Boomer Century: 1946 - 2046" airing Wednesday, March 28th from 9pm to 11pm
Update: The band's web site is (as of July 2008) gone. Links now go elsewhere.
But can it do this -
NBC Evening News for Thursday, Oct 31, 1974 Abstract: (Studio) 1 week ago, Air Force dropped ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) from C-5 A cargo plane. REPORTER: John Chancellor
That thing looks like it puts our C-5s to shame.
The things in Stolen Valor that we read from the over use of PTSD (I know a touchy subject, but there it is) all the way to smear stories, that even though known fakes, are too good to pass up.
Editors' Note: March 25, 2007, Sunday The cover article in The Times Magazine on March 18 reported on women who served in Iraq, the sexual abuse that some of them endured and the struggle for all of them to reclaim their prewar lives. One of the servicewomen, Amorita Randall, a former naval construction worker, told The Times that she was in combat in Iraq in 2004 and that in one incident an explosive device blew up a Humvee she was riding in, killing the driver and leaving her with a brain injury. She also said she was raped twice while she was in the Navy.Can't wait for the truth - that would ruin the story.
On March 6, three days before the article went to press, a Times researcher contacted the Navy to confirm Ms. Randall's account. There was preliminary back and forth but no detailed reply until hours before the deadline. At that time, a Navy spokesman confirmed to the researcher that Ms. Randall had won a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with Marine Corps insignia, which was designated for those who served in a combat area, including Iraq, or in direct support of troops deployed in one. But the spokesman said there was no report of the Humvee incident or a record of Ms. Randall's having suffered an injury in Iraq. The spokesman also said that Ms. Randall's commander, who served in Iraq, remembered her but said that her unit was never involved in combat while it was in Iraq. Both of these statements from the Navy were included in the article.
This is such a lame excuse - they knew that there was good reason not to go with the story prior to publication - but they had their cover girl.
Based on the information that came to light after the article was printed, it is now clear that Ms. Randall did not serve in Iraq, but may have become convinced she did. Since the article appeared, Ms. Randall herself has questioned another member of her unit, who told Ms. Randall that she was not deployed to Iraq. If The Times had learned these facts before publication, it would not have included Ms. Randall in the article.
Fifth Fleet announced today that the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) entered the Arabian (Persian) Gulf to conduct a "dual-carrier exercise" with the Eisenhower Strike Group. While this sounds "escalatory" with respect to the captured British servicepeople, in actuality this lessens our tactical options vis-à-vis Iran, and, IMHO, isn't the right move at this time. Pulling the Eisenhower out of the Gulf would have sent a stronger message to the Iranians. (Basically, the worst initial conditions for attacking Iran would be for us to have any carriers in the Gulf, let alone both of them.)
I discuss it more at my home blog.
The first thing I noticed in her front office when I visited once was this big old shadowbox of medals from somewhere or other. This hanging around military stuff ain't new; she's been pretty forward about the trappings of being close to her military constituents for some time. I don't think that signal is being beamed at military types.
I think it's related to what I've called over at my blog "Sacred Veteran Status" (here and here, for instance). There's a fine line to walk as a politician when talking about military folks, and it's easy to have words ring hollow unless you're well known for being a leader of the club (Sam Johnson) or get a reputation for being deeply involved (Ike Skelton).
...can you keep a secret?
In one of the more unusual proposals to emerge in the Senate debate on Iraq withdrawal, Sen. Mark Pryor wants to keep any plans for bringing troops home a secret.
The Arkansas Democrat is a key holdout on his party's proposal to approve $122 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while setting a goal of March 31, 2008, for winding up military operations in Iraq. Unlike the plan's Republican opponents, Pryor wants a withdrawal deadline of some kind. He just doesn't want anyone outside the White House, Congress and the Iraqi government to know what it is.
"My strong preference would be to have a classified plan and a classified timetable that should be shared with Congress," Pryor said yesterday. A public deadline would tip off the enemy, "who might just bide their time and wait for us to leave," he said. "Then you'd have chaos and mayhem and instability."
Yes, I'll go ahead and say it. I hate the planet:
If it is the politicization of science that has truly become inevitable then at the very least both sides of the argument should be provided equal time, rather than just the lefty columnist lockstep that ensures us "the debate is over." Funny, I guess I missed that one. Must have aired exclusively on Current TV.
Claiming that all scientists concur that we're carelessly heating up the world is a bit like saying all Hollywood actors agree that the War in Iraq is only about petroleum rights. Consensus over faulty assumptions is their stock in trade. (Interesting how the only article of faith the otherwise secular Left seems to agree on is that Big Oil is the root of all evil.)
Oh I'm just getting warmed up...
Permitting Al Gore to ordain himself as our self-anointed guru of Gaia would be akin to the Senate confirming Sean Penn as Secretary of Defense. When confronted with reports of his own massive public utility consumption Gore countered that he lives a "carbon neutral life" by obtaining "offsets" to compensate for his gargantuan energy use. You know, like after the time he accidentally left the guest cottage helipad lights on all month, he footed the bill for a third party to blow up a third world electrical grid in order to make up for it. I'm a man who seeks balance, lectures the Lecturer-in-Chief. If I decide I want a steak, I'll happily pay you not to have one. I buhlieve that's mah responsibility as a co-steward of the plann-itt.
Just like they say at the annual Sierra Club meetings in Aspen: think globally, act vocally.
You know WHERE TO GO for the rest.
And here's a report from Baghdad at Iraq the Model:
Overall, the security operation continues to gain more support among the political parties, including some that were skeptical in the beginning out of fear the operation would not be impartial. Today a spokesman of the Accord Front, to which VP Hashimi and deputy PM Zobaie belong, affirmed the AF’s support for the ongoing operation saying, “Our bloc, seeing the security forces covering Baghdad’s districts and operating without discrimination, is now convinced that the operation is unbiased.”And here's Austin Bay's podcast interview with Bill Roggio.
On the other hand extremist parties of both sects continue their criticism of the operation, in stupid and somewhat amusing ways. One case I found funny is related to the recent discovery of a large weapon cache that included 470 anti-tank land-mines in Jameela district near Sadr city. The discovery of the stash was reported by MNF-I website, as well as Qasim Ata the official spokesman of Baghdad operations.
Neither report accused a specific entity of being responsible for possessing the cache, but then I saw the Sadrist lawmakers (I mean lawbreakers) on TV gather reporters to tell them that the whole story about finding weapons is a lie!
It was a textbook example of how denying involvement in a crime can only make people believe that you are indeed responsible.
The report has been officially released.
Angered by the leak of partial results of a Pentagon probe into the friendly fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, Rep. Mike Honda, the Democrat who represents Tillman's former San Jose district, threatened Saturday to call for congressional hearings on the issue.I'm all in favor of investigating leaks.
Honda slammed the Friday night leak as unfair to Tillman's family, which long has accused the Pentagon of stonewalling their demands for information about the April 22, 2004, killing of Tillman by his fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan.
"I am dismayed that the family of Army Ranger Pat Tillman was not afforded the opportunity to review the results of the investigation into his death prior to their public release," Honda said in a statement.
Sydney - Anti-war protesters in orange jump suits marching in Brisbane's city centre Tuesday were stunned by the news of David Hicks' guilty plea to a charge of supporting terrorism at a US war crimes' tribunal at the Guantanamo military base.And from your link, a description of the hero of Kandahar at trial:
'We were actually saying the military trial is unfair, but we didn't know he was going to strike a plea bargain,' demonstrator and Stop the War Collective spokesman Robert Nicholas said. 'We're clearly saying that still, but we understand why he would want to plead guilty and get out of Guantanamo Bay.'
There was a palpable air of disappointment among those who had campaigned to bring Hicks home at his decision to go ahead and achieve that outcome himself, by admitting to helping the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A promise President George Bush gave Prime Minister John Howard means the Muslim convert would serve any extra jail time in Australia. With five years already served, he could be back in his Adelaide hometown within the week.
Green Party leader Bob Brown was also glum at the surprise capitulation.
'This is a low day in Australian legal history,' Brown said.
He was unrecognisable from old photographs of him, although the extra weight has made him resemble his father.More details here
Overweight, clean-shaven, smiling and with a straggly mop of dark brown hair dangling down to his chest, Hicks at times resembled more an overfed member of a heavy metal band than a suspected terrorist.I don't think this is one of those family photos:
Hicks's lawyers had described him as having dark, sunken eyes, but he did not appear like that today.
Rather than being pale from long stints locked inside the maximum security prison, Hicks's skin looked as tanned as that of his American military lawyer Major Michael Mori, sitting beside him in court.
Prison food had added about 10kg to Hicks's small, 167cm-tall frame.
He certainly looks nothing like the man in the old family photos that have appeared regularly in the Australian media since his arrest in late 2001 in Afghanistan.
The adventures of David Hicks continue below the fold
Here's how Mr Hicks earmed a special place in the hearts of leftists everywhere:
A CHARGE sheet released by the US Defence Department lists alleged meetings between David Hicks and al-Qa'ida associates, including Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan before and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC.All done!
The allegations include:
- In early 2001 Hicks travelled to Afghanistan and stayed in an "al-Qa'ida guest house". At the house he met with associates or members of al-Qa'ida, including Richard Reid, later dubbed the "shoe bomber" after his failed attempt to blow up a passenger jet over the Atlantic Ocean in December 2001.
- Hicks then attended an eight-week basic training course at al-Qa'ida's al Farouq camp in Afghanistan. The course included "weapons familiarisation and firing, land mines, tactics, topography, field movements, basic explosives and other areas".
- Around April 2001, Hicks returned to al Farouq and trained "in al-Qa'ida's guerilla warfare and mountain tactics training course". The course included "marksmanship; small team tactics; ambush; camouflage; rendezvous techniques; and techniques to pass intelligence to al-Qa'ida operatives".
- While at the al Farouq camp, al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden visited the camp on several occasions and "during one visit Hicks expressed to bin Laden his concern over the lack of English al-Qa'ida training material".
- After completing the two training courses, Muhammad Atef, then al-Qa'ida's military commander, summoned Hicks and he was interviewed about his knowledge of bin Laden and among other things, "his ability to travel around the world" including to Israel and "his willingness to go on a martyr mission".
- Around August 2001 Hicks conducted surveillance on the American and British embassies in Kabul.
- On or about September 12, 2001, he left Pakistan after watching TV footage of the September 11 terrorist attacks to return to Afghanistan "and, again joined with al-Qa'ida".
- Hicks reported to al-Qa'ida deputy military commander Saif al Adel, who was organising al-Qa'ida forces at locations in Afghanistan where US, coalition and Northern Alliance forces were expected to be. Hicks "chose to join a group of al-Qa'ida fighters near Kandahar Airport".
- Hicks was issued an AK-47 automatic rifle and "armed himself with six ammunition magazines, 300 rounds of ammunition and three grenades to use in fighting the US, Northern Alliance and other coalition forces".
- On October 7, 2001, the coalition bombing campaign began and about three days later Hicks was re-assigned to guard a tank outside Kandahar airport.
- Hicks attempted to train some other fighters positioned with him at Kandahar with tactics he had learned with al-Qa'ida.
- Hicks agreed to go to the front lines of the war in Konduz.
- On or about November 9, 2001, Hicks spent about two hours on the front line at Konduz "before it collapsed and he was forced to flee".
- Hicks moved "secretly" to an "Arab safe house" in Konduz.
- Around December 2001, Northern Alliance forces captured Hicks in Baghlan, Afghanistan.
The material support charge against Hicks has two specifications.
The first specification reads Hicks did "intentionally provide material support or resources to an international terrorist organisation engaged in hostilities against the United States, namely al-Qa'ida, which the accused knew to be such an organisation that engaged, or engages, in terrorism, and, that the conduct of the accused took place in the context of and was associated with an armed conflict, namely al-Qa'ida, or its associated forces against the US or its coalition partners".
The second specification reads Hicks did "provide material support or resources to be used in preparation for, or in carrying out, an act of terrorism, that the accused knew or intended that the material support or resources were to be used for those purposes, that the conduct of the accused took place in the context of and was associated with an armed conflict, namely al-Qa'ida or its associated forces against the US or its coalition partners."
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is working hard to master the ins and the outs of the United States military, the NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report.
Editors have set a Tuesday Page One placement for Pat Healy's detailed dispatch, newsroom sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT..
Of all the early problems Bill Clinton faced as president, few stand out to Hillary as more aggravating and avoidable than his rocky relationship with the military, her advisers tell Healy.
Hillary, in effect, has been practicing her salute:
"She has cultivated relationships with generals and admirals, prepped herself on wartime needs and strategy and traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan."
It's working. Suddenly, I feel all warm and cozy with Hill, don't you?
David Hicks has entered a guilty plea, after an initial hearing which was immediately thrown into disarray when the judge effectively disqualified two of his three lawyers.
The presiding judge, Colonel Ralph Kohlmann said that Major Michael Mori’s assistant could not, at least for the moment, represent him because she was not a serving member of the military.
The judge also decided that Hicks’s civilian lawyer, New York criminal attorney Joshua Dratel could not represent Hicks because he had not signed a form demanded by the court saying he would conform to the regulations governing proceedings.
BAGHDAD – A second suspected leader of an insurgent cell that specialized in car bombs was captured in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah Security District March 21....It is estimated that since Nov. the car bombs from this cell have killed approximately 900 innocent Iraqi citizens; another 1,950 have been wounded.
These babaric clowns are responsible for 10-15% of the killing, if the totals at Icasualties.org are to be believed.
Kudos to the 2nd/82nd for tracking these thugs down and whoever provided the "actionable intelligience".
Another Scumbag...(I hope the Iraqi security forces treated him with all the dignity he deserved)
Local Iraqi TV aired recorded confessions of Ahmed Farhan Hassan. Hassan, who was captured in Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad a few days ago, spoke about his connection to al-Baghdadai, and I’m paraphrasing:
“I have four emirs operating under my command. I receive money directly from Abu Omar and then I distribute it among the members of my units according to the number and size of operations they carry out.”
Quoting Iraqi military officials, the TV report added that Hassan admitted to have been responsible for some 300 murders and about 200 kidnapping incidents since he joined al-Qaeda three years ago.
Interesting to read of the Tamil TIger air attack in light of this report of the Sri Lankan Navy taking out a couple of Tiger supply boats allegedly carrying aircraft parts:
The cargo destroyed with the two LTTE ships by the Sri Lanka Navy, off Sri Lanka’s eastern coast, has once again drawn the attention of the South Asian defense community to the Tamil Tiger’s attempt to build its air force.I guess they got more parts through...
According to intelligence reports, some of the most expensive military hardware destroyed with the ships were aircraft spare parts or parts necessary to assemble light aircrafts.
Following the assassination attempt on the life of Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, the government sent its fighter jet aircraft of Mig 27s and Kfirs to bomb and destroy the Iranamadu airstrip south of the Iranamadu tank. Intelligence photos later showed pock-marked craters along the airstrip. The Sri Lankan intelligence services knew that the Tamil Tigers possessed at least two light aircrafts and two small helicopters. In Indian intelligence reports, they were identified as Czech-built Zlin-143 aircrafts and two small helicopters of R44 type.
Later, the Sri Lanka Air Force jets pounded on the second airstrip in Pudukuduiruppu, which is 1,250 meters long. But intelligence reports show even after the bombing, the LTTE has been repairing the damages at both airstrips.
Fully using and violating the Norway monitored Ceasefire Agreement, the LTTE also has built a third airstrip at Pilaikudirippu, southeast of the second airstrip.
The LTTE’s attempt to bring in more aircraft parts, and the airstrips still being repaired in the Vanni, show the LTTE’s determination to build its Air Wings, despite set backs.
Indian intelligence has said that the LTTE possessing aircraft poses a grave security threat to the region. Those aircraft could be used in a skyjack situation to force down an aircraft, or they could be used as a flying bomb for a terrorist attack on an important building, like during 9/11, they have warned.
Zlin143 shown in photo.
As far as light planes becoming bombers, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol was out front on that- as set out here.
Found this via BOTW too:
COLOMBO (Reuters) - Tamil Tiger light aircraft bombed an air force base by Colombo international airport before dawn on Monday, killing three airmen and wounding 16 in the first such air strike by the rebel group.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) warned similar attacks by its air wing would follow, threatening to deepen renewed conflict in the island state.
A fine sample of the careful reporting on military personnel provided by James Taranto at today's Best of the Web", under the headline "Glad They Cleared That Up"
Somewhere, an old professor of journalism is restless in his grave.
Teflon Don blogs from Iraq:
The platoon relaxed- someone stayed alert on the guns, while the rest of the truck crews broke out sandwiches or cigarettes. We'd been in place for less than ten minutes when the mortars started landing. It was only three or four rounds, and they were off behind one of the buildings in the village. The men unloading the supply trucks took little notice of the explosions, and the locals that I could see simply started moving inside the buildings. War quickly callouses you to frightening things- explosions still make us jump, but if they don't directly affect us, we virtually ignore them. This time, they affected us.(Via the Dawn Patrol.)
I saw a crowd of villagers thronging up to the gate of the OP. Somewhere near the front, there was a man struggling towards the Marines. I'll never remember what he looked like or the clothes he wore, but I'll never forget his burden.
He carried a little girl. She looked six or seven. Her head lolled back, her dark, curly hair dusty on his arm, and her legs dangled limply by his side. The only pattern on her dirty white dress was streaks of blood.
Heck, if there's room on the innernets for those old guys there's room enough for me.
Greyhawk's debut video. If you ever meet someone who claims to be me and they can't do this (not that it's all that hard), it ain't me.
Well they do, and now you know. And knowing is half the battle (the other half, I'm told, is ball-bearings).
They were the largest class of ship built world wide. They helped win WWII, served in Korea and in the Cold War and shaped the modern world. And all in the name of Liberty.
Apparently, the Iraqi National Police Failed to get the "All is Lost Talking Points" memo....
CBNNews.com - Iraqi police celebrated Saturday after approximately 600 anti-tank land mines were seized in a raid in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.
The mines were put on display at the Iraqi Police 8th Division's headquarters.
Suicide bombers struck in force across Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 46 people and wounding scores in an explosion of street violence after days of relative calm.Not all their efforts were so successful:
In the deadliest attack, a man driving a truck with explosives hidden under bricks detonated his bomb at a police station under construction in the south Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, a Sunni insurgent stronghold.
Police said at least 20 people were killed and 26 injured.
A group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq, which is made up of Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent fighters, claimed responsibility on its website for the Dora police station bombing.
South of the capital, near Hillah, a second truck bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque that houses a political office of radical cleric Muqtada Sadr, killing 10 people and injuring more than 30. The blast severely damaged the building.
Another suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a candy store in the northwestern city of Tall Afar, killing 10. Three more struck checkpoints and a police station in the northwest, along the border with Syria, killing six.
In other violence in Baghdad, four people were killed by mortar shelling in a poor Shiite neighborhood in the eastern part of the city, and two civilians were killed in crossfire between insurgents and the Iraqi army in the city's center. Police reported finding the bodies of 10 men in Baghdad who had been shot to death.
Iraqi troops in the western city of Fallouja found the bodies of 10 men killed execution-style.
RAMADI, IRAQ – Iraqi Police apprehended a suicide truck bomber and captured his vehicle, containing a large quantity of chlorine and explosives, when it failed to detonate in Ramadi March 23.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., a white cargo truck came to a halt near the entrance to the Jezeera police station, located about 150 meters from a water treatment plant. The police approached the truck for further investigation and detained the driver when they discovered the truck was rigged with explosives and the driver was attempting to detonate the vehicle.
Upon further investigation, the truck contained an unknown number of 55-gallon drums, which were used to camouflage five 1000-gallon barrels filled with chlorine and more than two tons of explosives.
...and almost anything else I've ever written.All done!
Even if one were to (foolishly) ignore the points you've made the fundamental story presented by the Times is a pale attempt at spin. Pretend presidential candidate Scott Ott saw through it:
Army Desertions Rise to Near All-Time AverageBut you can bet the spun version will take a few more twists, then be woven forever into the fabric of make-believe Iraq - the one it's so easy to hate.
The Pentagon today admitted that, due to the Bush administration’s hugely unpopular war in Iraq, desertions from the Army have increased in each of the last two years, reaching almost 75 percent of pre-war levels.
Join Hard Rock Cafe along with a host of special guests including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Mick Foley of the WWE, and DC101’s Donielle Flynn for a night of Rock-n-Roll in support of our US Armed Forces.Specifically, a fundraiser for the much appreciated, ever dedicated USO.
I wasn't surprised to see Jeff Baxter's name associated with this project. Those of us of a certain age who were plugged into the music scene in our teens and early twenties would recognize the name - others would certainly recognize the names of the bands in which Baxter was an integral part - notably The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan.
Like these videos, we were all a bit fuzzier back then:
The Doobies - Neil's Fandango and Take me in your Arms
Steely Dan's Reelin' in the Years:
But I'm not surprised at Baxter's participation in the fundraiser because a few years ago I had been surprised to learn of Baxter's more recent activities. Some details from Wikipedia :
Baxter fell into his second profession almost by accident. In the mid-1980s, Baxter's interest in music recording technology led him to wonder about hardware and software that was originally developed for military use, i.e. data-compression algorithms and large-capacity storage devices. As it happened, his next-door neighbor was a retired engineer who had worked on the Sidewinder missile program. This neighbor bought Baxter a subscription to an aviation magazine, provoking his interest in addtional military-oriented publications and missile defense systems in particular. He became self-taught in this area, and at one point he wrote a five-page paper that proposed converting the ship-based anti-aircraft Aegis missile into a rudimentary missile defense system. He gave the paper to California congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and his career as a defense consultant began.
Backed by several influential Capitol Hill lawmakers, Baxter received a series of classified security clearances. In 1995, Pennsylvania congressman Curt Weldon, then the chairman of the House Military Research and Development Subcommittee, nominated Baxter to chair the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense.
Baxter's work with that panel led to consulting contracts with the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He now consults to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community, as well as for defense-oriented manufacturers including Science Applications International Corporation ("SAIC"), Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. He has been quoted as saying his unconventional approach to thinking about terrorism, tied to his interest in technology, is a major reason he became sought after by the government.
"We thought turntables were for playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized they could be used as missiles," he has said. "My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at."
Baxter has also appeared in public debates and as a guest on CNN and Fox News Channel advocating missile defense. He served as a national spokesman for Americans for Missile Defense, a coalition of conservative organizations devoted to the issue.
In April 2005, he joined the NASA Exploration Systems Advisory Committee (ESAC).
All while not abandoning music completely:
Despite his defense-related work, Baxter has not abandoned his music career. He continues accepting studio work; his most recent such work involved tribute albums to Pink Floyd and Aerosmith. He also occasionally plays in The Coalition of the Willing, a band comprising Andras Simonyi, Hungarian Ambassador to the United States; Alexander Vershbow, US Ambassador to South Korea; Daniel B. Poneman, formerly of the United States National Security Council and now of The Scowcroft Group; and Lincoln Bloomfield, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.Here he is backing former CIA director James Woolsey (you've got to get past some others first) - in Little Feat's Dixie Chicken and Jimmy Buffet's A Pirate looks at 40:
Okay - can't leave you with that, here are a few more blasts from the past to get you reelin' in the years:
Steely Dan, Do it Again:
The Doobies, Listen to the Music:
Th (Michael McDonald-era) Doobies - Takin' it to the streets:
This story on NYT hit on Friday about the Army revising slightly upward its numbers for desertions.
As with most things NYT, they simply get the basics wrong:
Some Army officers link the recent uptick in annual desertion rates to the toll of wartime deployments and point to the increasing percentage of troops who are on their second or third tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I don't doubt that those the NYT talked to think that. Pity it's wrong.
My installation serves as one of two main collection centers for AWOL returnees and deserters. What this means is that if you go AWOL and are dropped from the rolls as a deserter, you eventually will come to my installation when you're returned to military control. On top of that, I am the trial counsel for that portion of the installation, so I get to advise the command on what to do with these returnees.
That VAST majority of these people aren't grizzled veterans coming off their second or third deployments. They are not combat veterans who, because of BushHitlerHalliburtonCo's (tm) incompetence just can't handle the strain anymore. Quite the contrary, the majority of deserters are kids that enlisted within the past 2 years, have just recently completed basic training and AIT, and have only been with their units for a short time.
Most have not deployed. When they are returned to military control, they routinely give reasons for their AWOL as being "my mom got sick" or "my wife had problems with the kids." The horrors of war are conspicuously absent from the personal statements or enlisted record briefs (ERBs) of these returnees.
But hey, I'm just "some Army officer."
A recent unattributed conversation
Yeah, but what exactly do you call a guy that drives a truck filled with explosives into a crowded market. I understand the theory, and agree intellectually, but murderer or even mass murderer does quite cut it. Like I said, I'm split on this one.
A “drug crazed barbaric thug”.
Do you think the looney left thought up all on its own in ’68 that US Soldiers were Drug Addicted Baby Killers? Or more recently that “Bush is a Criminal”
Nope. They got that out of a book. A section of which deals with how to delegitamize a group or organization (propaganda). A very old book that was plagerized by Mao...
The "Drug Addicted Baby Killers" meme played really well.
A small fraction of Soldiers will self medicate....this has been true for thousands of years.
In war...innocents will die...this has also been true for thousands of years.
The skilled propagandist will relate the two.
After having been discharged from my service to the nation in 1981...I was involved in a motorcycle wreck. (Always the case...survive a year in a dangerous place and get broadsided in the good old safe USA...but I digress)
I layed in a Hospital bed for a few weeks...Mr Very Influential Main Stream Media friend of the family comes to visit.
One would think they aren't dumbass(sorry Mrs G) lemmings. But Mr Very Influential Main Stream Media offers to fetch me some heroin. I didn't even partake in the demon Rum. But ya know...I had been in the military..so I must have been a drug crazed baby killer...because some very skilled propagandist in Hanoi told him so.
But then we look at the Jihadi clowns....to suspend self preservation(an extremely strong human instinct)...one must either have enormous self control or be drugged. Human beings are also preprogrammed to protect chldren. Absent some sort f out of control rage...one needs to be drugged to kill children.
So now we have a bunch of people "reliving the glory" of having been manipulated by a very skilled propagnist.
Drug Crazed Baby Killers are in reality blowing up children in Baghdad...they don't wear US Military Uniforms.
Updated...cause I'm on a rant
it is unbelievabley easy to manipulate the MSM. It just is. They went after that firing a few political appointees story with full zest....while Madame Chairman bribed congressman on a matter of "War and Peace". The print press caught iit.....not the evening news.
Full transparency: He says I can pretend to be his choice for Secretary of Defense! I realize a lot of people will pretend to hate me as a result, but I can pretend to take that in stride.
The candidate's home page is here.
Setting aside the pork issue for a moment, it's notable that various ultra-left groups are split on supporting the Democrats efforts to destroy the American effort in Iraq. Some are in favor of the "slow bleed" method:
When Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn.org, looks at the Iraq spending bill that Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders managed to pass in the House today, what he sees is a way to end the war....but others are holding out for immediate death:
The plan is not perfect, Pariser concedes. It does not require complete withdrawal. Still, this week, MoveOn signed on to Pelosi's supplemental funding bill, citing a poll of its members showing overwhelming support of the idea.
MoveOn's longtime allies in the antiwar movement, however, look at the bill -- and MoveOn's support for it -- and see something very different. Groups who call for immediate withdrawal argue that MoveOn's position is a betrayal of their cause, and that Pelosi's bill merely continues the war while allowing Democrats to say they've done something to oppose it. Cindy Sheehan, the "peace mom" who favors immediate withdrawal, describes MoveOn as supporting "the slow-bleed strategy of the Democratic leadership." Gail Murphy, of the group CodePink, says, "MoveOn has taken a compromised position -- in fact I think they were involved behind the scenes in creating a compromised position." Other peace activists call MoveOn's e-mail poll of its membership a sham. If MoveOn's millions of members knew the full details of the bill, they would surely oppose it.More: Nancy Pelosi isn't pretending this is a "funding bill" either: "Proudly, this new Congress voted to bring an end to the war in Iraq. It took one great, giant step in that direction."
Royal Navy personnel seized at gunpoint by Iran in the Gulf have admitted being in the country's waters, an Iranian general has claimed.Well, that settles that.
House majority leader Steny Hoyer defends the Democrats "new plan for Iraq":
Those who call this additional funding "earmarks" or "pet projects" are wrong.In short, the $20-billion plus in add-ons are totally legal, and the way we've always done business in the past. So there.
First of all, it must be noted that this legislation is absolutely transparent. Members and the public have had a week to examine it. In addition, no earmarks — specific amounts directed to specific projects or entities — are included. And, much of the funding has been authorized during previous Republican congresses and received bipartisan support.
Furthermore, wartime spending bills often include funding for other emergencies. In fact, in the last Congress, we approved — on a bipartisan basis — emergency funding for reconstruction in the Gulf Coast and to prepare for a potential flu pandemic.
No argument here.
Update: I should add that Hoyer is scrambling to counter USA Today's condemnation of the bill. They joined the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal who exposed the ugly particulars earlier in the week. The LA Times (and other Tribune group papers) joined the club today. "Members and the public have had a week to examine it" - indeed. Since many are rightfully upset about the "business as usual" aspect of the bill, defending the "new direction" as being "business as usual" might not be the best track.
IA Captures suspect connected to kidnapping and murder of Iraqi civilians
Iraqi Police detain driver of car bomb
Golden Dragons finds second weapons cache
Patrol Struck by Roadside Bomb
Mansour Security District Clearing Continues- Soldiers Find 7 Caches Including 150 Cases of Alcohol
Nine officers, including up to four generals, should be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, a Pentagon investigation will recommend.(Link)
The official, who like the others requested anonymity because the Army has not publicly released the information, said it appears senior military leaders may not have had all the facts or worked hard enough to get the facts of what happened on April 22, 2004, when Tillman was killed by members of his own platoon.
Dozens of soldiers _ those immediately around Tillman at the scene of the shooting, his immediate superiors and high-ranking officers at a command post nearby _ knew within minutes or hours that his death was fratricide.
Even so, the Army persisted in telling Tillman's family he was killed in a conventional ambush, including at his nationally televised memorial service 11 days later. It was five weeks before his family was told the truth, a delay the Army has blamed on procedural mistakes.
The Inspector General's report is expected to be publicly released after a closed-door briefing Monday on Capitol Hill and after a meeting with Tillman's family.All done!
Although the report did not focus on the chain of events that led to Tillman's death, the Army Criminal Investigations Command produced a short video that re-creates what happened on the Afghan mountainside where he died. That video is to be shown at the congressional briefing.
Tillman and his brother, Kevin, were members of 2nd Platoon, A Company 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite unit. The brothers were assigned to root out "high value" Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the rough and mountainous country near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan.
According to an earlier investigation by Army Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, a series of mishaps led to the friendly fire incident. The platoon, ordered to move faster, split in two because of a disabled vehicle.
Tillman's group moved ahead but deviated from its planned route and then heard an explosion, which led the Rangers to believe the second group had come under attack. Tillman, another solider and an Afghan militia fighter climbed a hill, hoping to clear the enemy fighters.
A vehicle gunner from the second group, mistaking the Afghan for the enemy, opened fire on Tillman's three-man squad. Although both Tillman and a soldier near the gunner yelled for him to stop, he did not understand them.
Tillman also set off a smoke grenade in an effort to stop the firing, but the barrage of bullets killed him.
BEIJING, March 22, 2007 – Chinese leaders today warmly welcomed Marine Gen. Peter Pace here as he began a visit intended to expand military-to-military contacts between the United States and the world’s most populous nation. “Our military, economic and political ties are important to peace in Asia and the world,” Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. “This visit is very important to the militaries of both nations. I truly believe the future is very bright for U.S.-Chinese cooperation.”
I think it was '78 when the first entourage of Russian Generals paraded thru Eilson AFB, Alaska inspecting the "disassembled" ABM sites. Eight years later, the cold war was over. Did the fact that the US Generals and Russian Generals saw each other in person as "men" rather then dehumanized enemies play a role? Probably a small but important one.
BEIJING (AP) -- China's military is proposing officer exchanges and other confidence-building measures with the U.S. Army and may be inching closer to setting up a "hotline" for emergency communication with Washington, the top U.S. general said Friday...
Liang's proposals included sending Chinese cadets to the Army academy at West Point as well as participating in joint exercises and humanitarian and relief-at-sea operations "that might be able to build trust and confidence amongst our forces."
Filling in the blanks of the unknown with Malevolent Intent is a basic human survival instinct. It has been around a long time...there has been no shortage of virgins sacrifed to angry Gods who brought flood,famine, earthquakes or belched with hot molten lava.
No one stays awake at night in the Chinese Ministry of Defense worrying about American Diplomats...and vice-versa. With all due respect to the Diplomats...if the Generals aren't chatting...the diplomats are just adding to Global Warming.
SD's rule of Geopolitics: Pacifists can't make peace...because they can't make war. (See also - Carter Administration)All done!
That's odd... I'm getting a 404 error on one of the old links in this story - apparently the page no longer exists.
...my friend, fellow military spouse, volunteer extrordinaire, SpouseBUZZ blogger and one of the most remarkable women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing - Ginger Dosedel.
Those of you who read my blog know about Sew Much Comfort. I've blogged about this organization repeatedly because I've seen firsthand what a difference it makes in the lives of our wounded heroes. Watch this ABC video, which features some of our wounded troops, and you'll know why I have tried and tried to convey how important this clothing is. You'll have to sit through a 30 second commercial, but it's worth the wait.
Well done, ABC. Well done.
Update: I forgot to mention that someone featured in the video will be a familiar name to readers of milblogs - Joey Bozik.
As reported here:
The Department of Navy announced March 23 that the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), honoring the late Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Donald C. Winter, made the announcement in Dunham’s hometown of Scio, N.Y.
"Jason Dunham, the friendly, kind-hearted, gifted athlete who followed his star in the United States Marine Corps went on to become one of the most courageous, heroic, and admired Marines this great country has ever known," said Winter. "His name will be forever associated with DDG 109. May those who serve in her always be inspired by the heroic deeds of Jason Dunham, and may all of us strive to be worthy of his sacrifice."
Yes - anyone with a few years of military experience is qualified to work in a zoo:
BAGHDAD — “It was kind of a shock because I didn’t know they had a zoo,” Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Mowery said of his initial reaction upon learning that one of his new responsibilities would be working with the staff of the Baghdad Zoo.
Mowery, the special projects noncommissioned officer for the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, recently moved with his battalion from Forward Operating Base Falcon located in southern Baghdad to FOB Prosperity located in the International Zone.
With this move came new missions, among those overseeing an area of Baghdad known as Al-Zawra Park, which is home to the once renowned Baghdad Zoo.
The three-square block park, nestled in the heart of the city, was a surprising sight to the Parkersburg, W.Va. native the first time he visited the area.
“It was a big shock because of how well they had maintained it throughout this whole time, and then to see the people out there and the animals that they have,” said Mowery. “It was a welcome surprise.”
While many pundits would have us believe otherwise, the pork-laden bill to stop the surge and withdraw troops from Iraq is not the supplemental Iraq and Afghanistan funding bill that will ultimately (and hopefully soon) have to be debated in congress - it's a political ploy, and a dangerous one to be conducted in time of war.
So what if congress refuses to pass or even debate such a bill in a timely manner? Here's Defense Secretary Robert Gates' answer:
This morning I had -- I met with members of the House Army Caucus, a bipartisan group of representatives who have a special interest in the strength and well-being of the Army. We discussed several key issues relating to the Army's readiness. I received questions from both sides of the aisle as to the measures the military will need to take if the Congress does not pass the FY '07 supplemental by April 15th.An Army at war prioritizes the immediate needs of the soldiers at war, but while other key projects are often "back burnered", that proritization generally doesn't demand complete neglect of all else (and yes, I'm aware of building 18). I'm not sure if there's an historical precedent to this (that is, forcing the military to cut all other efforts in order to keep front-line troops fed and equipped) in the United States. But while some in congress might consider such actions a hard fought "victory" long in coming, I'm certain that al Qaeda would, too.
For example, according to the Army, which went through this experience last year, if the supplemental is not passed by April 15th, the service will be forced to consider the following kinds of actions: one, curtailing and suspending home station training for Reserve and Guard units; two, slowing the training of units slated to deploy next to Iraq and Afghanistan; three, cutting the funding for the upgrade or renovation of barracks and other facilities that support quality of life for troops and their families; and fourth, stopping the repair of equipment necessary to support pre-deployment training.
If the supplemental is not passed by May 15th, the Army will be forced to consider the following: one, reducing the repair work being done at Army depots; two, delaying or curtailing the deployment of brigade combat teams to their training rotations; three, this, in turn, will cause additional units in theater to have their tours extended because other units are not ready to take their place; four, delaying the formation of new brigade combat teams; five, implementation of a civilian hiring freeze; sixth, prohibiting the execution of new contracts and service orders, including service contracts for training events and facilities; and seventh, holding or cancelling the order of repair parts to non-deployed units in the Army.
This kind of disruption to key programs will have a genuinely adverse effect on the readiness of the Army and the quality of life for soldiers and their families. I urge the Congress to pass the supplemental as quickly as possible.
At a ceremony Monday Hinesville, Liberty County and the community unveiled a pair of yellow ribbons on a great oak, and bid Major General Lynch a fond farewell.The remainder - and possibly an additional aviation brigade - will have departed for Iraq by May.
"Keep your face to the fight, and know that we have your back," said Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe.
"Don't worry about us," replied Lynch. "We're trained and ready."
Friends of mine deployed today. My turn draws near.
There's news from beyond Washington, too. Here are three days of press releases from Iraq:
Weapons cache destroyed, seven suspected terrorists detained
National police find weapons cache in mosque
Raid seizes weapons cache in southern Baghdad
Marine Unit Attacked
Wolverine troops discover cache of weapons
Golden Dragon troops find large weapons cache
Roadside bomb strikes MND-B patrol
Kidnap Victim Rescued, Six Weapons Caches Found
MND-B security patrol ends with small arms fire
Three hostages freed, 13 suspected terrorists detained
Iraqi and Coalition Soldiers begin clearing operations in the Mansour Security District
Al-Sadr aide released
Network leaders captured over last three days
Marine attacked in operations in Al Anbar Province
Soldier attacked in operations in Al Anbar Province
Coalition forces destroy weapons cache, detain 23 suspects
Five terrorists killed, explosives factory destroyed
Golden Dragons capture mortar team
VBIED discovered; terrorists fail
Soldiers build Combat Outpost in Baghdad B-Roll Troops construct COP in Furat District
Alaskan Paratroopers find enemy cache
Mortar attack kills four in East Baghdad
LTG Eikenberry sends the Marine Special Operations company in Afghanistan back to Kuwait. Was this a necessary decision? Perhaps. I don't think they would be able to accomplish much in the rest of their stay - not after the civilian casualties resulting from the Marine's response to an IED/ambush.
I think this unit would have been better employed, perhaps, in a different area. The Pak-Afghan frontier maybe. Just a first impression from what happened with this unit. My only experience with the Marines was when they protected me in Parwan and Kapisa, and I had a Marine E-6 work for me for 3 months. They were terrific - but a special ops group...I would ask someone with more experience and knowledge to comment, please.
We're talking silencing the Ernie Pyle of this war, not the William Arkin's...
It looks like a certain Army General wants to shoot himself and the Army in the foot. Both feet. What a lack of vision this man seemingly has.
A note from Bob Owens, who blogs at Confederate Yankee - where you can find a picture of the General in question, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks.
I'm writing to you today to ask you to help support Michael Yon, the former Green Beret turned independent combat journalist, currently in Iraq. As noted by Instapundit Glenn Reynolds and Austin Bay last night, Yon has been threatened with expulsion from Iraq by an Army General :A general emailed in the past 24 hours threatening to kick me out. The first time the Army threatened to kick me out was in late 2005, just after I published a dispatch called "Gates of Fire." Some of the senior level public affairs people who'd been upset by "Proximity Delays" were looking ever since for a reason to kick me out and they wanted to use "Gates of Fire" as a catapult. In the events described in that dispatch, I broke some rules by, for instance, firing a weapon during combat when some of our soldiers were fighting fairly close quarters and one was wounded and still under enemy fire. That's right. I'm not sure what message the senior level public affairs people thought that would convey had they succeeded, (which they didn't) but it was clear to me what they valued most. They want the press on a short leash, even at the expense of the life of a soldier.The General who wanted to silence Yon in 2005 was Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks, then the lead Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for the United States Army. The stories that got Yon in trouble with Brooks: Proximity Delays and Gates of Fire. Proximity Delays got Yon in trouble, and in Gates of Fire, Yon picked up a rifle and joined combat to help LTC Erik Kurilla, who had been shot three times by an insurgent while CSM Robert Prosser was engaged in hand-to-hand combat with another insurgent. For inserting himself into battle (which violated embed rules) to help fallen American soldiers, and then having the gall to write about it, Brooks tried to kick Yon our of Iraq. Brooks is back in Iraq, this time as deputy commanding general - support for Multinational Division-Baghdad, and he still obviously carries his grudge against Yon. I confirmed last night with Michael Yon that it is this same General Vincent K. Brooks that sent Yon the email threatening to kick him out of Iraq.
I don't think I need to tell you how important Yon's reporting is. He has been favorably compared to WWII's premier combat correspondent Ernie Pyle, in part because Yon, like Pyle, is brutally honest in his reporting. When he sees problems he reports them, and when he sees progress, he reports that as well. Yon has, if I am correct, spent more time embedded in U.S. combat units in Iraq than any journalist for any news organization. Period. He plans to spend the next year on the ground with our soldiers in Iraq. He braves bullets and IEDs with our troops out on patrol, and was once targeted to be kidnapped and killed by insurgents because of his reporting. Through it all, Yon has pushed on, and now a General on our side appears to be trying to silence him.
I don't think anyone will dispute that the terrorists in Iraq are convincingly beating us in the media war, and Yon's front-line writing has been one of the few bright spots in the coverage of this war in the western media. That vital reporting is now under assault by a General that is apparently threatened by Yon's honesty.
Michael has been stuck in a U.S. base for over a week now. I strongly feel that Brooks is behind Yon's "grounding," and the threatening email he sent Yon seems to strongly support that contention.
I'm asking you to help turn up the heat on General Brooks and the U.S. Army, so that Yon can continue to bring us dispatches from the front line. Please consider writing about this attempt at censorship by General Vincent Brooks.
Don't let one of the best combat reporters of our generation be silenced by a General with a grudge.
Don't let one of the best combat reporters of our generation be silenced by a General with a grudge.
Or just from a lack of vision, or perhaps a rule-bound mentality. I seem to remember another journalist who picked up a rifle in a firefight - Joe Galloway.
Think about it, General - who do you want doing your reporting - the guy who goes out with the troops, or some dandy who never leaves the Green Zone and gets his data hearsay?
If it's the Green Zone reporter... gotta wonder what your priorities are, General.
Bushkazi, refugees, hostages, camels, dinner, polio vaccination and more...
I'm rock blogging again. We need only one state now - Delaware. Time window is closing fast. Can you help?
Thank you to everyone who has helped in this endeavor. The MilBlog community is responsible for sending sixteen rocks. These rocks will help form a Rock Garden that will be a lasting tribute to a fallen hero.
Just as a piece of context: This week in D.C. a reporter for one of the Italian Communist newspapers named Giuliana Sgrena is appearing at the Politics and Prose bookstore (you've seen it on CSPAN). She's flogging her book about being kidnapped and rescued by Italian agents, in an operation they didn't tell the Americans about.
Said operation then became problematic when they drove directly at a checkpoint at top speed, ignoring warnings. The result was a dead Italian SISMI officer and soured relations.
The reporter was famous for pushing canards about WP and similar lies, too. 'S'ugly.
The Italian government has just made kidnapping more potentially profitable...
Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said he did not discuss with American officials the deal in which five Taliban prisoners were traded this week for the freedom of a kidnapped Italian reporter in Afghanistan. Despite strong criticism from officials in the United States and Europe, Mr. D’Alema told reporters in Rome, “I am not the slightest bit repentant for having saved” the reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, adding that it “is preferable to have a controversy over having saved him, rather than for having had him killed.”(Link)
I don't want to steal any thunder from Soldier's Dad's (ugh, twin possessives) great line on the tree of libertah....but Army Lawyer's comment on this post had me laughing all night:
Y'know that crazy cat lady in your neighborhood?
Code Pink is when that lady got interested in politics.
Yes, I'll be stealing it. Frequently. So let this post serve as my universal hotel tango to AL for a phenomenal line.
Part IV of my post on Saturday's protest, "A Tsunami of Stupid," is up.
Here's an excerpt:
These children (I refuse to call them “men”) clearly take no pride in their appearance. They know full well that by wearing their uniforms in this sloppy and improper manner, they are mocking everyone who continues to serve with pride in the U.S. military. Make no mistake, this disrespect is calculated and deliberate.
Rounding the corner, I spot CJ behind the line of green vests. His attention is focused on someone walking next to me, wearing a Navy lieutenant’s khaki shirt.
“Hey, it’s the pilot!”
This puzzles me, as the guy (whose nametag identifies him as “Will Reyes”) isn’t wearing the gold wings of a Naval Aviator, but the “water wings” worn by Surface Warfare Officers.
Reyes leaps out of the crowd, and shouts back at CJ, pointing to his sign and yelling something about “Uncle Sam’s oil plantation.” I follow along, trying to capture the exchange with my audio recorder.
Kit, standing nearby, snaps the photo above. That’s me in the foreground; Reyes is standing just to the left of me, with the sign.
The exchange between CJ and Reyes only lasts a few moments (listen to the audio). Immediately after the photo above is taken, the Stage Manager rushes over to push Reyes and me back in line, away from CJ and the other counter-protesters.
At one point during the exchange, CJ shouts, “Hey, when you get to the Pentagon, notice where the plane actually hit!” The remark seems strange at the time, but only later, after reading CJ’s account from the protest, would I understand the context: CJ had run into Reyes earlier in the day, and they had a very interesting conversation about 9/11 conspiracy theories.
So, this Navy guy comes up and rudely intrudes into our conversation before it really began. He told me how unrealistic it was that 19 people with box cutters could overwhelm NORAD and take down four commercial airlines. I explained that NORAD doesn't fly onboard aircraft typically and therefore couldn't exactly beat the box cutters out of their hands. I also reminded him that the terrorists screamed that they had explosives (whether or not they did, doesn't matter). Fear is what kept most of those passengers in line. He then told me, ignoring true common sense, that in an interview with pilot, the pilot stated that if he were ever to encounter a hijacking, he'd just roll the plane over quickly and throw the terrorist to the ground. I asked him if that interview took place before or after 9/11 (to be funny). He caught it and got that goofy look of "do I look stupid to you?" In my mind I immediately answered. I told him that pilots were trained NOT to fight a hijacking and that a maneuver such as that would have caused a lot more harm than good. Consequently, I haven't found ANY interview with that particular pilot except one about his farm. The guy gave me his bona fides by telling me he was a Navy Pilot (hence the Navy uniform). However, everything he was telling me didn't make sense. So much so that I can't even remember most of what he was trying to explain. He did say that he was a Navy Pilot and knew about the flashpoints of aviation fuel. No, wait, he never used the technical term "flashpoint", I did. He call it a "burn rate".
Reyes picked the wrong guys to bullsh!t. Not only is CJ a senior Army NCO, but he’s also the son of a Navy Master Chief. In other words, he knows the difference between Naval Aviator wings and a SWO pin. As do I.
Reyes gets the hat trick: he’s a sh!tbag, a kook and a poseur. It’s no wonder that he’s marching with the IVAW.
Before rejoining the march, Reyes accuses CJ of being a paid shill for “Boeing, Lockheed, or whoever… it is paying your ass.”
CJ responds with a smart salute and a sarcastic, “Way to go, Sir!”
It takes every ounce of self-control I possess to keep from cracking up.
Continue reading Part IV: A Tsunami of Stupid
All of us here at Milblogs have read and followed Michael Yon just about from the 'git go" and I'd think it fairly safe to say that we're all fans and admirers of his work and his gumption.
Seems Michael may have hit the boiling point with the [mis]treatment of the press by the brass in Iraq where he is currently embedded for the [3rd?] time... In fact, a General has recently threatened to kick Mike out...
So Mike -- despite lack of sleeping quarters and work space -- has introduced his new series -- RUBS.
As Mike explains
There is no joy in being here. Nothing to laugh about. For every drop of information conveyed, a bucket is spilled. Folks say to me, “I hope you are saving all that for a book when you get back.” Fact is, now is the time that the information can be most important.
In an attempt to ameliorate this and to increase the trickle to some sort of steady flow, I will begin publishing a series called RUBS:
RUBs will amount to little more than a stream-of-consciousness note…tapped out as quickly as I can, and posted without checking nary a tense or, comma.
Be sure to read the whole first dispatch HERE
And it's a good time to point out that Michael Yon is a totally independent reporter and finances these embeds from donations from readers (that'd be you and me) and the sale of his special and spectacular photography... so be sure to click on the links provided at his site for those purposes.
A former NFL player who joined the Marines and was motivated by his college roommate, Pat Tillman, who died in Afghanistan, was heading for the war in Iraq on Tuesday night.
Lance Cpl. Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams who had been playing Arena Football, was one of 300 Marines in the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment being deployed from Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. The unit is expected to be in Iraq for seven months.
"The way I look at it, we're spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war," Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu on Tuesday as he prepared to leave from Hawaii. "You can't just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you're basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We're one team."
Staat said he felt compelled to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but Tillman, who was his roommate at Arizona State, advised him to stay with pro football until he qualified for retirement benefits. "I felt there is more to life than just a game," Staat said, adding that Tillman's death helped motivate him to enlist.
Noted a while back that the NFL player had a bit of difficulty with the rigors of Marine training:
Since entering recruit training, Staat realized he wasn’t used to the strenuous environment.But he made it through.
“I’ve run three miles four times in my life, once at (Military Entrance Processing Station), and three times here,” said Staat.
Staat said he found it amusing that people pay for the training that Marines are paid to complete.
“They train you to keep in shape. They put you on a diet,” said Staat. “People pay to do that.”
Staat recalled a day during training when his company ran the obstacle course. There are a number of high walls, logs and bars to get over throughout the course including the rope, which is strung from a high beam of wood to the ground. Staat attempted to climb the rope but failed. He was trained on the proper techniques, he got a second chance.
Staat’s senior drill instructor told him to climb the rope again. One of the many things that are stressed during training is bearing, but when Staat climbed to the top of the rope, he broke his bearing and smiled.
“I asked him what happened the first time and he smiled and said, ‘This recruit didn’t have the technique down, sir,’” said Staff Sgt. Miguel R. Saenz, senior drill instructor, Platoon 1065.
“I was just happy,” said Staat. “I had never climbed a rope before.”
Anti-war group CODEPINK is planning to take over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at 4:00 pm, the group said.When I was a kid, I learned very quickly that falling to the ground and throwing a temper tantrum was a .5-past-lightspeed way to get my ass smacked.
Protesters plan to play “Pin the war on the Donkey” to show their frustration with the Democratic leadership’s inaction of ending the war in Iraq.
CODEPINK is expecting arrests.
Not that I think Nancy is going to be administering any corporal punishment, I just happen to think that the Code Pinkos are hilariously tragic in their attempts to force political change. They are simply magnificent at achieving the opposite of the desired effect.
Good work, Womyn!
Then there's this:
BAGHDAD — Police said today that children were used in a weekend car bombing in which the driver gained permission to park in a busy shopping area after he pointed out that he was leaving his children in the back seat.I'm with Roger Simon here - the media really needs to stop calling these people "insurgents".
The account appeared to confirm one given Tuesday by a U.S. general. He said children were used in a Sunday bombing in northern Baghdad and labeled it a brutal new tactic put to use by insurgents to battle a five-week-old security crackdown in the capital.
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said the vehicle used in the attack was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said it was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad.
"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back," Barbero told reporters in Washington. "The brutality and ruthless nature of this enemy hasn't changed."
Insurgent tactics have evolved since the war started four years ago and youths often have been among their victims, but the use of children as decoys would signal a new level of ruthlessness in the fight for control of the capital.
In the deadliest cases, a suicide car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children July 2005 and detonated his explosives, killing up to 27 people, including a dozen children and a U.S. soldier.
That occurred about nine months after 35 Iraqi children were killed in a string of bombs that exploded as American troops were handing out candy at a government-sponsored celebration to inaugurate a sewage plant in west Baghdad.
But they won't. There's an unspoken promise in the use of the term. Insurgents are acting against the invader, you see - and if the invader leaves, they'll stop. If they were simply ruthless killers, then to clamor for US withdrawal would be both immoral and obscene.
I believe I might have mentioned before that "the surge" was simply a shift in deployment dates for the units involved. That's true - but more importantly, the strategy is to use them differently than originally planned. Specifically, rather than patrolling long stretches of road looking for IEDs or waiting in base camps to respond to a suicide bombing they're going into small outposts in Baghdad neighborhoods. There they'll work with Iraqi troops, get to know the neighbors, and create the element of security needed to get other rebuilding efforts on the right track.
Here's a quote on that change in mission from one of the soldiers involved:
" We were happy. It was better than escorting trucks through the desert."More here, including video of coalition forces being mobbed in Sadr City.
When you have loved ones at war, there are certain events and phrases that will literally knock the breath out of you and cause involuntary curse words to escape from you. Last night I had such a moment.
A friend emailed me a "Velvet Hammer". That's what the 3rd Brigade of the 3ID calls a notification to their families that one of their own has been lost. They never give the name and they never send them out until the family has been notified. But just seeing the words "Velvet Hammer" in the Subject line literally takes my breath away and makes my heart skip a beat. And the dreaded "shit" word escaped from my lips. "How can this be?" I think. "It's too early." Then I reprimand myself with, "100 years from now would still be too early." I held my breath and am thinking, "damn! damn! damn!" as I opened the email and quickly scanned the text to find what unit.
The rest HERE
Sometimes there's a smile to be found in odd places, as in this tale of a proud mom reporting on her son moving from Chief Petty Officer to Warrant.
And a statement of the growth of a young man into a leader of men:
For me, it’s about opportunities,” Hale added. “The Navy has a myriad of programs and opportunities for those that choose to apply. I’ve loved working with sailors and being involved at the deck-plate level, but I also realize that I enjoy the planning, preparations and management that goes into making the electronic suite on a ship function. I enjoy the tactical and operational side of surface warfare as well as the technical. In short, I enjoy the sort of things I’ll be doing as an officer, and as a warrant officer I’ll get the best of both tactical and technical responsibilities.”
Welcome to the wardroom, indeed, Mr. Hale!
...because some things bear repeating:
Some families have long histories of tending to the tree of liberty, others have a long history of living in its shade.And according to google, you have coined a damned fine phrase.
Odd that so many of those who enjoy it most would have us believe that shade is a darkness that needs eliminating.
Newspeak: It's not violence, it's peace action!
Peace Action Wisconsin does not condone violence, said the group's project organizer Julie Enslow, but some anti-war protesters might feel the need to be violent to get their point across.While they won't "feel comfortable" with these "fringe actors", they won't find it in their hearts to condemn them either.
"We do not use those tactics ourselves, but the movement is very broad, and as this war continues, the anti-war movement is going to take many forms - not all of which everyone feels comfortable with," Enslow said.
An anti-war rally at O'Donnell Park on Saturday drew a large crowd that listened to several speakers, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), before marching to the Reuss Federal Plaza, Enslow said. The peaceful gathering contrasted sharply with the arrests Monday night at the Army recruiting center near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, where protesters broke a window and threw smoke bombs, paint and human excrement, police said. There were no injuries reported.
Pat Grobschmidt, public affairs officer for Army recruiting in Milwaukee, said no one was in the office at the time.
"Soldiers defend the right of all Americans to peacefully express their point of their view. We're dismayed that their actions are anything but peaceful," Grobschmidt said.
(Title of this post explained here. )
Many residents here say they are impressed that the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana is willing to serve in Iraq, especially given that 10 British troops have been killed and 60 injured over the last three months. They also expressed surprise that the British government agreed to his deployment.For the same reason it should be a lesson to people everywhere. But it won't.
Accustomed to seeing the children of their own leaders enjoying lives of privilege and comfort, they are surprised and pleased at the egalitarian approach of a British prince serving in the army like any ordinary citizen.
Nadhim al-Jabri, media manager for Basra regional council, said Prince Harry's deployment to Iraq should be "a lesson to the leaders of the Arab peoples."
Many in the British media are already adopting a sneering attitude towards the Prince - ridiculing his going away party and what he plans to do on leave. He'll get to be "the troop" that it's socially acceptable to attack, and a lot of folks have been waiting for just such a target.
Looks like Navy service skips generations.
George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and nephew of President Bush, has been selected as one of 15 prospective ensigns for the Navy Reserves intelligence unit.Welcome aboard.
Ok, it is the Iraqi Navy and the Iraqi Army - and yes, the scale is different - but this is something everyone should pause and say, "Well done."
The Iraqi Navy will soon add 21 vessels to its fleet, putting it another step closer to being operationally independent, officials said during a Baghdad news conference Sunday.Solid steps forward.
With a contract on the verge of completion, the Iraqi Navy is the first of the Iraq’s forces to use the Ministry of Defense’s procurement process with Iraqi money in purchasing major capital programs from foreign governments and commercial ventures.
To quote my youngest daughter
"Boys Drool, Girls Rule" would be an accurate description of what Noonan was doing?
If seems like an opportunity to post Ten rules for Dating my
I'm particularly fond of
Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance
at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you
cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will
Part III of my series on Saturday's protest, "Marching with Moonbats," is up.
ANSWER's Castro connection... How protests are stage-managed... Behind the facade of IVAW...
Here’s a thought experiment.
Terrorists use children as cover to execute attacks, killing children in the process. They also try to employ improvised chemical weapons against civilian opponents who won't support their terror aims.
Two starkly different reactions:
1. We cannot judge them morally, for we are at fault. Our enemies must be so frustrated, so desperate, so aggrieved, they can find no other way to fight back. We should retreat and make reparations for the harm we have caused.
2. Our enemies are brutal, frustrated in their aims, and desperate. Oblivious to human rights (or human life) while with absolute power, they show the same hatred and thuggish lust for revenge without. Until we completely vanquish them, which we must, we can expect more of the same.
I know which way I respond. Expect to see these two reactions play out in the days ahead on the political stage.
Sorry, I was distracted.
Good morning class. It's time for today's geography lesson. First, Mr Noonan, spit out that gum. Thank you.
Now let's continue.
The American roots of my family tree went planted in the 1600's. Plenty of immigrants from the four corners of the world have been added over the centuries.
Jefferson Said - "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
The founders also thought Matters of War and Peace were too grave to be left to the executive.
My family tree has been feeding the tree of liberty since the tree was planted. I'm quite certain I'm not alone. Some families have long histories of tending to the tree of liberty, others have a long history of living in its shade.
Once again our great Congress is debating matters of War and Peace. The most solemn duty of Congress.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives has decided that matters of War and Peace should be decided not on the merits or a careful examination of the facts but thru political bribery.
Whatever the outcome of the vote...many will die. Will they gives their lives for the Tree of Liberty..or will they Give their lives for 218 Congressman who took a bribe?
Because the Air Force has felt the need to routinely scratch their sexual harassment policy directly onto my eyeballs, I'm will refrain from commenting on the looks/physical appearance of a fellow airman. However I will repeat the standard Air Force PR line here: The Air Force has an LT competing in the Miss America pagent.
Kelly George, a U.S. Air Force second lieutenant and deputy chief of Public Affairs at Little Rock AFB, Ark., competed in Hollywood, Calif., March 19 in the preliminary rounds of the Miss USA contest. The Miss USA contest will air live on NBC March 23 at 8 p.m. CST. Kelly George was selected as Miss Arkansas USA Oct. 28.
You can download a full image by clicking on the pic. Though because the Air Force has mandated that I have no opinion on the physical appearance of LT George, I have no idea why you would want to do that.
So I guess the question here is, which pilot from LRAFB will she end up marrying?
Part II of my narrative from Saturday's protest is up.
Johnny Rotten makes a cameo appearance.
Yes, it’s in Powerpoint. (see the rest here)
FT. STEWART, Ga. -- In a remote area of this sprawling military base, soldiers are preparing for a mission to Iraq that has become all too familiar.Georgia is famous for its red clay, and I can understand someone who's never actually been there thinking the whole state is built on a foundation of just that. But I've spent a bit of time at Ft Stewart, down in the Savannah area on the Georgia coast. Marshes are everywhere, but the predominant "soil" (as with most coastal regions) is a dusty sort of sand, grey in color, much like the dust of Iraq (although the mud that lingers after the rain isn't quite the same...).
Cracked Georgia red clay simulates the dusty deserts in Iraq. A make-believe village called Medina Wasl, occupied by Iraqi-Americans acting as townspeople, stands amid pine trees.
But the veteran soldiers undergoing the training know this makeshift battleground is far from the real thing. They have been to Iraq at least once already, and with each deployment, the danger of war becomes more intense and their family life at home more strained.
The Ft Stewart ranges extend well inland, and I haven't traveled every inch of them, but I'm not sure there's any red clay anywhere. Can anyone state emphatically if there is?
The most outspoken critics of the $124 billion wartime spending bill in the House are facing withering support in their fight to defeat it.
California Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey said that many of their liberal colleagues were caving under pressure from Democratic leaders who, according to at least one congressman, have threatened to block requests for new funds for his district.
Waters said that she and other opponents of the spending measure had entered the weekend with 20 to 25 members on their side but that they had suffered "a lot of damage" as Democratic leaders aggressively urged members to support the bill.
Vowing to step up her efforts to hold the opposition, Waters said it was clear that Democratic leaders were mounting an all-out whip effort beyond the earlier informal surveying by Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.).
"This is a vote of conscience," Waters said. "Jim Clyburn said he was doing an assessment, so that's what I was doing. Now that he's whipping, I'm going to start whipping."
Clyburn disputed her assertion. "That's not what she told me," he said. "I beg to differ that there's anybody whipping against this bill."
Elements of the second of the five American "surge brigades" are now on duty in the Baghdad area.
Fresh troops assume battle space in Baghdad
BAGHADAD — Fresh troops have arrived in western Baghdad and have assumed control in their area of operations.
2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, the ‘Proud Americans,’ officially assumed responsibility for operations March 15, during a transfer of authority ceremony held on Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Update: Nancy Pelosi declares the plan a failure.
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said adults in a vehicle with two children in the backseat were allowed through a Baghdad checkpoint. The adults then abandoned the vehicle and detonated it with the children still inside, he said.
"Children in the back seat, lower suspicion, we let it move through," he said. "They parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back."
Maybe we should surrender and hope people who blow up their own children will stay "over there
Even the "Support Our Troops" sign wasn't spared.
So much for, "we support the troops, just not their mission."
PART I of my narrative on infiltrating the Moonbat March on the Pentagon is up.
Monty Python is featured prominently.
(Yes, I'm a slacker, and should have finished this yesterday).
I hear I may have part of Friday free while on travel. I'll try to get to this and will let you know what I find out, if the gummint view matches Totten's view. Guess I gotta pack a suit...
John Eade hasn’t seen a war movie in more than 40 years, but he’s thinking about seeing “300.”I'll tell you why it matters to me what John Eade thinks in a moment.
First this: I saw the movie over the weekend - it is to war movies what Indiana Jones is to archeology. On most levels nothing more than pure comic book combat, unrealistic depiction of human capability without acknowledgement of vulnerability, and no deep exploration of motivation, or angst, or regret - those mandatory requirements for enthusiastic reviews from those whose job it is to tell us what to think about the latest effort by Hollywood to teach us what to think.
On most levels, says I. For simple people this is indeed a simple tale.
I'm going again. And since I'm going to Iraq again soon, I'll be able to buy the DVD, too.
As for John Eade, read this. If you want what he's seeking, it's there.
But read this, too.
... in a good way: Michael Totten reports from the Kurdish north. I've said it before - it's not Iraq without America, it's Iraq without terrorists. (And it keeps getting better.)
Copperheads. No better historical allusion describes them, the “opposition” to our efforts in Iraq.
Mackubin Thomas Owens, writing at National Review Online, compares current anti-war Democrats with the “Peace Democrats” faced by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war. Owens source is an intriguing and very timely history, Copperheads: The Rise an Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, by Jennifer Weber, and explains:
The historical record aside, what struck me the most were the similarities between the rhetoric and actions of the Copperheads a century and a half ago and Democratic opponents of the Iraq war today.
I gave an interview today to the local Fox affiliate, answering questions about the war, how it’s going, did I support our efforts, what do I think of vigils and other anti-war demonstrations staged to mark the war’s 4 year anniversary. Regular readers here or those who have seen me in earlier media appearances will know how I responded. It remains to be seen how much of my comments make it on-air.
I keep coming back to this great line by the MILBLOGGER JD Johannes:
Support the troops. Let them win.Here’s what Owens said about Civil War Veteran’s reaction to the Peace Democrats of their day:
It is certain that the Union soldiers tired of hearing from the Copperheads that the Rebels could not be defeated. They surely tired of being described by the Copperheads as instruments of a tyrannical administration trampling the legitimate rights of the Southern states. The soldiers seemed to understand fairly quickly that the Copperheads preferred Lincoln’s failure to the country’s success. They also recognized that the Copperheads offered no viable alternative to Lincoln’s policy except to stop the war. Does any of this sound familiar?Yes, it does. What Owens says next sounds even more familiar:
Today, Democratic opponents of the Iraq war echo the rhetoric of the Copperheads. As Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant, trampling the rights of Southerners and Northerners alike, President Bush is the world’s worst terrorist, comparable to Hitler.Owens remarks on the eternal complaint of the soldier, and notes that soldiers will always see the failures and inadequacies of their leaders. But the “Peace Democrats” of today, like their Copperhead brethren of old, gravely mistake such criticisms as support for their political maneuvers and manipulations to confront, confound, or hamper the war effort. As Owens also observes:
These words of the La Crosse Democrat responding to Lincoln’s re-nomination could just as easily have been written about Bush: “May God Almighty forbid that we are to have two terms of the rottenest, most stinking, ruin working smallpox ever conceived by fiends or mortals…” The recent lament of left-wing bloggers that Vice President Dick Cheney was not killed in a suicide bombing attempt in Pakistan echoes the incendiary language of Copperhead editorialist Brick Pomeroy who hoped that if Lincoln were re-elected, “some bold hand will pierce his heart with dagger point for the public good.”
Union soldiers could support the goals of the war and criticize the incompetence of their leaders in the same breath. But today’s soldiers, like their Union counterparts a century and a half ago, are tired of hearing that everything is the fault of their own government from people who invoke Gitmo and Abu Ghraib but rarely censure the enemy, and who certainly offer no constructive alternative to the current course of action.Support our troops. Let them win.
By the way, I will also appear Tuesday 20 March, 6:50 am EST, for a live on-air interview for the Daybreak program on the same Fox affiliate. Tune in, or check it out online later tomorrow morning!
(Cross-posted at Dadmanly)All done!
"$100 million for contract mental health care when appointment waiting times exceed 30 days "
I can not find a respectful word to describe someone who would believe that a combat veteran having a "mental health emergency" should wait 30 days.
You *$@(*$@(#$ in congress had a vote....I don't care who may or may not haved lie to you....our children were sent to a place called war...on your authority.(It is in the Consitution...only congress can declare war)
When they come home...if they find themselves in need of a Health Professional, mental or otherwise, this nations only answer must be "Yes sir, right away sir". We are not as a nation going to leave struggling returning soldiers with no choice but to "Self medicate" while the Gummint pulls out its thumb.
The Wall Street Journal carried an Editorial this past weekend called " 'Peanuts' for Patraeus" which covered the shameful pork spending that the Congress has added to the Supplemental Defence Appropriations Bill. I haven't seen a lot of MSM covering the deplorable trough diving being done -- $20 million to restore farmland damaged by freezing temperatures, $1.48 billion for livestock farmers, $74 million "to ensure proper storage for peanuts," $25 million for spinach...
So I pulled out the provisions of the Bill on military and veterans health care and grabbed the trusty calculator and here's some notes:
With all the news stories about the "scandal" at Walter Reed, here's what I find in the appropriations for Health Programs (speak up if I missed anything):
Defense Health Programs: $2.79 billion of which $2.29 billion shall be for operation and maintenance [only available until 9/30/2008 so spend it while ya got it!] and of which $500 million shall be for research, development, test and evaluation [available until 9/30/2009]. [note that the $2.79 billion for military health isn't even 2x the Democrats' $1.48 Billion for livestock farmers!]
And for VETERANS AFFAIRS:
Compensation & Pensions: $20 million for a pilot program for disability examinations [OK, remember, the Dems have included $25 million for spinach...]
Medical Services: $414.982 million, which includes $30 million for a new Level I comprehensive Polytrauma Center (doesn't say where this will be); $56 million for prosthetics; $100 million for contract mental health care when appointment waiting times exceed 30 days [whiskey tango foxtrot??? there should be NO STRINGS for mental health care... it should be left to the VA how to spend this -- like using some of this $100 million to HIRE AND TRAIN TEAMS IN THE TREATMENT OF COMBAT-RELATED PTSD NOW 'CAUSE THE FLOOD GATES ARE ABOUT TO OPEN ON THE VA!!!!]; and $228.982 million shall be for the treatment of veterans of the global war on terror.
Medical Administration: $256.3 million, including $6.3 million for polytrauma support clinic teams for case management
Medical Facilities: $595.0 million, including $45 million for upgrades to polytrauma centers and $550 million for non-recurring maintenance as identified in the VA Facility Condition Assessment
Medical & Prosthetic Research: $35 million
Administrative Expenses: $62 million, including $1.25 million for digitization of records [yeah, that should digitize about 100 pages of records] and $60.75 million "for expenses related to hiring and training new claims processing personnel" [YES!!! wonderful! but not nearly enough!] [again... compare to the $74 million "to ensure proper storage for peanuts"!]
OK, that makes the VA total $1.38 billion -- and the Dems have included $1.48 BILLION just for livestock farmers. More money for cows & horses than Veterans??? Yeah... you have not only shown us your priorities, you have shown us your stripes.
More (with a rant) at Some Soldier's Mom
For military spouses in the San Diego/Camp Pendleton area, have we got a treat for you.
I realize that old school media loves to overhype antiwar protests because they remind them of their own dazed and confused youth, their shaggy sideburns and discarded bellbottoms and flaming draft cards... ah, reminiscing can be such sweet sorrow. But back to reality: serious antiwar sentiment this time around is about as prevalent as was opposition to the Second Boer War. (Don't feel bad, I had to look it up too). In that sense, Iraq could be considered the Second Bored War (after Afghanistan) in that a sizable percentage of the public is simply tired of having to hear about it. Never mind battle stress, they've got a serious case of frontpage fatigue, people!
Find the rest HERE
Despite the camo, this protester looks awful familiar......
It couldn't be.....
Hotel Tango: CJ
Anyone want to start a pool on how much longer it'll be before BlackFive recovers from his St. Patrick's Day hangover enough to blog? Closest guess wins... well, probably just bragging rights.
Sure, you've heard about P-3 Orions and maybe even ASW blimps. But take a look at the bomb slung beneath that little single engine plane chasing that U-boat and you're talking about some brave vounteers in a sub hunting auxiliary that is still working hard today.
As set out here.
Some go early, some stay late. SSG Dave Thul, writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune from Al Asad, Iraq:
American troops may miss home, but many want Congress to stop calling for retreat.The rest here.
As the debate over the war in Iraq rages, it is easy for many to forget what a big stake Minnesota has in the war right now. As we close out the fourth year since the invasion, another milestone is here that hits very close to home.
March is the month that many of the almost 3,000 Minnesota National Guardsmen were scheduled to come home. But after 12 months in Iraq, and a year and a half since we left home, our deployment has been extended by up to another four months. This also puts us right in the middle of the debate of the day, the surge plan to secure Baghdad. As Congress consumes itself with nonbinding resolutions and appropriations bills with just the right mix of carrots and sticks, one of the most important opinions is being overlooked -- that of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving here in Iraq.
I won't pretend to speak for everyone in uniform over here, and in fact no one ever could. There are as many opinions in the military as there are in the civilian world. But I can tell you that a majority of U.S. troops want to stay in Iraq and finish the mission. How do I know this? Two ways.
We're fast approaching the dedication ceremony, which will be held on Aaron's birthday - April 1, and Robert Stokely hasn't received all of the rocks. If you haven't sent yours, please send quickly. We don't want to disappoint Mrs. Kincaid. This is a very small way to thank her son for his service. If you're unable to send a rock from the state that you committed, please let me know ASAP so that I can help Robert find a replacement. I don't want to let this family down. They are really looking forward to the dedication of the Rock Garden, which will include rocks from all fifty states.
The New York Times may have finally noticed AlQueda in Iraq but the enlightened Humanitarians at the Washington Post felt it necessary to weigh in.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the United States' most formidable enemy in that country. But unlike Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland.
That maniac that was running Germany in '36 didn't pose any danger either, or so the proponents of the various Neutrality Acts said, in any case...the Maniac who ran Germany was simply killing people who didn't belong to our tribe.
That failed state called Afghanistan wasn't a concern in '90, it really didn't matter what was happening there...it posed no threat to our tribe.
Maybe the Washington Post should interview leader of this tribe -
The third explosion occurred 37 minutes later at 7:13 p.m., 5 km south of Fallujah in the Albu Issa region when a suicide bomber detonated a dump truck containing a 200 gallon chlorine tank rigged with explosives. Coalition Forces responded to the attack and found approximately 250 local civilians suffering from symptoms related to chlorine exposure.
Somehow I think that tribal leader has had a serious rethink as to the threat posed to his tribe by AlQueda.All done!
Two reasons for posting:
1. Some cool stuff in the video
2. Short of WalMart sponsoring the whole thing, is there any other combination that could possibly spaz the Left even more?
Like I said, sometimes you just gotta.
Other than that, sir, how was the trip?
PRIME Minister John Howard's plane was forced into an emergency landing in war-torn Iraq when the cabin of his C130 Hercules plane filled with thick smoke during a visit to Baghdad."Encouraging" would seem to be the answer:
The plane was forced to make an emergency landing when the cabin filled with thick smoke during a top-secret visit to Baghdad.
As the smoking transport plane landed at an army base 300km southeast of Baghdad, troops rushed Mr Howard from the tarmac fearing the aircraft could explode. The interior of the plane, carrying 30 people including military personnel and media, filled with smoke soon after take-off at Ali air base at Tallil.
IRAQ'S Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has urged Prime Minister John Howard to keep Australian troops in the country's south as long as necessary, contradicting Labor suggestions they are no longer needed.There was a contingent of Aussies (and Brits, too, and several eastern European allies wandered through from time to time...) on the last base I was at in Iraq - these guys are awesome.
Mr Maliki said the Iraqi Government wanted Australia to continue its support until terrorists no longer posed a threat.
Appearing later with Mr Maliki, Mr Howard said great progress was being achieved in Iraq but there was still work to be done. He refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of Australian troops.
"I don't set speculative dates. There is nothing to be achieved by that," he said.
The very cool LTC Mike Lawhorn (Kosovo Dad...he'll be at the Conference) has some notes on the General Pace "immorality" comment:
I discussed why you should stay, “in your lane” during interviews, when it’s okay to go “off the record” despite what we learn at PAO school (you’re never “off the record”), and why this all changes the higher up the chain of command you move.
Now, if he'd just get back to me about that autographed picture of Brit Hume. Not for me, mind you, ''I'm a Jane Skinner guy myself, but for a liberal friend who is a HUGE Brit Hume fan. I know....weird right? I asked my buddy "why Brit? and he responded "he's just such a mean old bastard. How can you not love him?"
Here's what they're protesting:
U.S. Military Opens Ad-Hoc Medical Clinic In Sadr CityWithdrawal won't put a stop to violence in Iraq, but it will mean the end of this.
BAGHDAD — Ailing Iraqis waited behind concertina wire at an abandoned schoolhouse Saturday in the capital's Shiite stronghold of Sadr City where U.S. Army medics had set up a surprise medical clinic.
A child whose legs were stiff with disease hobbled toward U.S. Army medics. Another man held his head where a gash swelled with infection, according to AP Television News footage.
The ad-hoc clinic was part of a growing military outreach under the month-old Baghdad security plan. In most cases, such clinics close within hours, to avoid attacks.
In Sadr City, medical services historically were provided by Shiite militias such as the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's powerful Mahdi Army. The military hopes providing treatment themselves will turn support in U.S. favor.
The man seeking treatment for the infected gash to his forehead said he came for American help because it had become too hard to get quality treatment in Baghdad.
Since the war began, medications had become almost impossible to find, he said.
"If we go to an Iraqi hospital, we don't get the medicines we need," he said. "We come here so maybe we can get some help."
Medical assistance operation in Sadr CityEven more:
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi police from the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a humanitarian medical assistance operation in Sadr City Mar. 17 as part of operations to bring security and stability to the former Mahdi Army stronghold.
Iraqi and Coalition medical providers treated 453 people, including 153 women and 122 children, during the first large-scale humanitarian aid operation conducted in Sadr City since Iraqi and Coalition forces moved into the area in early March.
“Medical operations are just one way that we can make an immediate positive impact in areas in which we operate. This is just the beginning of a long-term program to improve the quality of life for residents of Sadr City,” said Maj. Kyle Simpson, Brigade Civil Affairs Officer for the 2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div.
“As we move forward, we will work with the Iraqis to improve the security, infrastructure, and economic conditions in Sadr City. It will take time, but life will get better in Sadr City,” added the civil affairs officer.
While residents were waiting to be seen, Civil Affairs Soldiers asked them about needs in their community in order to plan future development projects. Iraqi policemen and U.S. paratroopers also passed out hundreds of soccer balls, clothing, toys, shoes, and school supplies.
Since Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces entered Sadr City as part of the Baghdad Security Plan, violence has dropped off 75% and the overall security situation has dramatically improved since December, when surge troops began arriving.
MND-B Soldiers evacuate two Iraqi women after mortar attackAll done!
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Multi-National Division Baghdad Soldiers medically evacuated two Iraqi women from a mortar impact site March 15 north of Dayrat ar Rih, Iraq.
After responding to reports of mortar fire, Soldiers from Troop B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment discovered two women who were severely wounded in the attack. The women were taken to 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghad, where they were treated for their wounds.
Soon after the women were hospitalized for care, 2-5 Cav commander Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton led a combat patrol to escort the victims’ families to the hospital.
The New York Times discovers al Qaeda in Iraq:
In particular, the threat posed by the Sunni group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia was underscored when American troops seized a laptop computer from a senior operative in the group who was killed in late December.In the page one headline they substitute "Sunni Militants" for "al Qaeda" - but those New Yorkers who read past the headline will be in for a shock.
Information from captured materials indicates that the group’s leadership sees “the sectarian war for Baghdad as the necessary main focus of its operations,” according to an intelligence report that was described by American officials.
According to American intelligence analysts, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s Baghdad strategy has gone through several changes. The overwhelming majority of the group’s members are believed to be Iraqi. But some senior commanders are foreigners, including Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian who became the leader of the organization last year after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who founded the organization.
The group has been active in the Sunni-dominated Anbar Province in western Iraq. But it has also long operated in the Sunni areas on the outskirts of the capital. Mr. Hussein encouraged the settlement of Sunnis in these areas in the hope that it would protect his government, and some towns and rural communities there have emerged as havens for Sunni militants.
In the summer and fall of 2006, the group’s leaders saw an opportunity to step up the fight in Baghdad against Shiite militias, American troops and the nascent Iraqi security forces, according to captured documents. Some of the insight into the group’s strategy was obtained from the laptop computer seized when a senior Iraqi adviser to Mr. Masri was killed by troops of the American-led forces in late December at a traffic checkpoint.
The adviser, who among other aliases used the name Abu Hasan, was detained by the multinational troops in January 2005 but inadvertently released because his role in Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia was not well understood at the time.
As outlined in the captured documents and other material that was seized, the group’s initial strategy was to push Shiites out of western Baghdad. As part of the sectarian battle for the capital, the strategy also called for attacking Shiites in parts of nearby provinces, specifically southern Salahuddin, western Diyala and eastern Anbar, attacks that the group’s leaders also calculated would put American and Iraqi troops on the defensive. (The documents, American officials say, also reflected a continued interest in obtaining chemical weapons.)
But Shiite militias, particularly Mahdi Army operatives, responded with their own offensive, forcing the Sunni militants to retreat. A Pentagon report to Congress noted in November that the main Shiite militia group, the Mahdi Army, had replaced Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia “as the most dangerous accelerant of potentially self-sustaining sectarian violence in Iraq.” American forces, instead of withdrawing from the capital as the Sunni insurgents had hoped, prepared plans to reinforce their troops there.
I noted that the "anti-war" folks pretty much dissappeared after not very long.
The "Gathering of Eagles" was a good message...it is quite possible to be against war and also for finishing the job.
The peanut farmer(James Earl Carter) was against war...but a whole boatload of them sprung up on his watch.
(Yes,yes...I know...but the people who were killed belonged to someone elses tribe)
The most powerful message from the Gatheringof Eagles was the purple finger Iraqi woman marked for death.
She is a symbol..if US Forces leave too early...she will be tracked down and slaughtered. Anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes in the middle east knows this.
We are still struggling as a nation distinguishing between wanting to stop the barbaric violence...and ending US involvement.
Ending US involvement does not stop the barbaric violence.
Lots of pics.
Update: A sneak peek at the registration list can be found here.
It was not immediately clear exactly how many protesters showed up for the march on the chilly but sunny afternoon, but they began moving over the Memorial Bridge at about 1 p.m. and were done about an hour later. During that time, however, they generally filled the bridge with a steady stream of marchers.
I can't seem to recall a time when the WaPo wouldn't at least "Guestimate" a crowd size.
But then we move onto the real interesting stuff -
There were also many high school students and young people.
"It's something we're passionate about," said Kim Ashby, 18. "We wanted people at our school to know that you're able to be an activist as a young person. You don't have to wait until college."
They raised the money for their trip, despite some classmates who support the war and made fun of them
Then we have the Kent State Wannabee's
Shortly after 2 p.m., however, there was a stand-off between police and a small group of the marchers who tried to make their way from the Pentagon parking lots into the building.
A person considering breaking into the Pentagon should really review DOD Directive 5210.56 Use of Deadly Force prior to deciding to break in.All done!
I don't know how long I can do this, but I am making screen caps from the "protest." What a cluster. If you need a break from reality, pay a visit.
I am so glad I am on the side I am.
One thing al-Qaeda excels at; making new enemies. With this series of dirty chemical bombings a war between al-Qaeda and the tribes in Anbar is no longer a possibility. It just became a fact.
Some background on chlorine as a weapon and its threat potential here.
I had a couple of hours free in the DC area - so I visited Arlington.
The Boston Globe quotes unnamed "senior Pentagon officials" on page one:
WASHINGTON -- The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, in addition to five already on the way, as part of the controversial "surge" of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday.But buried a bit further down (okay, actually a lot further down) in the story, an acknowledgement that (if the rumors are true in the first place) like all the other "surge" brigades (except for the one that was already there and the one that went in on its original schedule), this one is just going to Iraq a few weeks earlier than originally planned:
The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unit would involve between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops.
News of the additional deployment comes about a week after President Bush announced that about 4,700 support troops will join the initial 21,500 he ordered in January. They are in addition to the estimated 130,000 troops already in Iraq.
"This is the next shoe to drop," said one senior Pentagon official closely involved in the war planning, who requested anonymity because of prohibitions against publicly discussing internal deliberations. "But you cannot put five combat brigades in there and not have more aviation guys, military police, and intelligence units."
The additional troops designated for the strategy are expected to be in Baghdad and western Anbar Province by May.
But even supporters of the stepped-up US commitment in Iraq criticized the Bush administration yesterday, saying it should have been more straightforward about how many troops the strategy might require.
"There is a problem in the way the administration reported the surge numbers to begin with," said Frederick W. Kagan , a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "When they initially reported the numbers they only reported the combat strength of the brigades, and they did not count support troops" and other personnel that the operation would need.
"Petraeus has now requested what many thought would be needed to begin with," Kagan said, "but it looks like another surge."
The aviation brigade Petraeus wants is likely to come from the Army's Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., which would accelerate its plans to return to Iraq, said another Pentagon official who asked not to be identified while discussing internal planning. The division was scheduled to go back before the White House adopted the "surge" plan.
From Richard S. Lowry, who writes: General Petraeus's early successes - this picture says it all.
Cross-posted at that other blog.
You know full well that the only reason the Iraq situation will have improved by 2008 is that Chairman
Mao Pelosi forced the McBushHitlerHaliburtonCheney regime to change course.
Off course, if the Iraqi situation hasn't improved it will be becuase the McBushHitlerHaliburtonCheney regime failed to heed the advice of Chairman
Of course the careers of Gen Patraeus and Gen Odierno are finished, what did they think they were doing having a bit of Good News from Iraq on the eve of Congress voting on Surrender in Shame. Don't they understand that they put elected officials in a difficult position?
NZ Bear writes:
The Victory Caucus has published the full text of the House Democrats emergency supplemental bill. This includes a downloadable PDF version and a browseable / linkable version online, here.Hooah. I've already written about some of the $20 billion in non-military "provisions" here.
Check it out: this will enable bloggers to link directly to the page of the bill that they are commenting upon. I’m also collecting ‘bookmarks’ to the silliest provisions, such as the $120M for shrimp research, the $25M for spinach , and the most important measure to help our troops achieve victory in Iraq --- an increase in the minimum wage .
I’m working on a way to include links to blog commentary on particular sections of the bill as well… and I’ve got my sources out looking for the Senate resolutions as well so we can do the same treatment.
We don't need to read the part about troops withdrawal - the Dems explain that for us themselves here:
(HT: Mrs G)
Related: I did a "Re" post on the "Double Down " post elsewhere.
Retired Army Cpl. Howard V. Ramsey, Oregon's last living World War I veteran and the last known U.S. combat veteran of WWI, died in his sleep Feb. 22 at an assisted living center in southeast Portland. He was honored in a memorial service attended by nearly 200 people at Lincoln Memorial Park exactly one month before reaching his 109th birthday.
In an Associated Press report, Jim Benson of the Veterans Administration said there are now only seven WWI veterans on record with the VA, although it is possible there are unknown veterans who may still exist.
Of the seven known WWI veterans still living, none were shipped overseas, making Ramsey the last known combat veteran of "The Great War." Ramsey inherited the title two weeks before his passing, when Massachusetts veteran Antonio Pierro passed away on Feb. 8.
Ramsey's lifetime spanned three centuries and 19 presidents. He was born in Rico, Colo., on April 2, 1898, when the U.S. flag had just 45 stars and President McKinley was preparing to declare war with Spain.
Too young to be drafted, Ramsey tried to voluntarily enlist but was told he was too skinny by Army standards. After gorging on bananas and water to successfully meet weight standards, he was placed in the Army's transportation corps.
Ramsey sailed to France in September 1918 to join General John "BlackJack" Pershing's American Expeditionary Force. Ramsey drove cars, trucks and motorcycles for the Army and trained other Soldiers how to drive. He was often selected to drive officers to special engagements, one officer "gigging" him for having a dirty truck despite the constant rain and mud in France. He also drove ambulances, transported troops to the frontlines and delivered water to troops on the battlefields.
Ramsey once recalled his service in WWI saying, "We were under fire a lot at the front, and we really caught hell one time. I lost friends over there."
After the armistice, Ramsey spent several months recovering the remains of American Soldiers who had been hastily buried in the trenches and transported them to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, the largest American cemetery in Europe.
There are only 17 seats left in the pre-registration phase for the MilBlog Conference. If you're a part of the military community and haven't yet registered, better hurry. Registration will open to the general public on Saturday.
p.s. - I've been in California this week working on another military-related conference. Stay tuned for details. Related to nothing, but amusing nonetheless... Of all the people in the world to bump into here in California, it had to be Gloria Steinem. No joke.
This is an interesting legal question that has just come up with the recent arrest of a Korean Army soldier as a US Army deserter:
A South Korean soldier may be a U.S. military deserter after he left his U.S. base and joined the South Korean army, apparently to avoid a tour of duty in Iraq, the defense ministry in Seoul said on Thursday. The South Korean army private second class, whose identity was given only as Kim, joined the U.S. military in 2003 to become a permanent U.S. citizen on condition that he would serve in Iraq, a ministry official said. In 2005, he visited his home country on leave just before his U.S. unit was to be deployed to Iraq and never went back, the South Korean defense ministry official. Instead, as he still held a South Korean passport, he was called up by the South Korean military and began serving late last year due to mandatory military enlistment. Kim's trouble with the U.S. military came to the surface when he went to the U.S. army headquarters in Seoul this month hoping to clear his name but was arrested on the spot.
I think the soldier in question will probably just receive a bad conduct discharge as I have seen soldiers who have deserted in the last few years receive as well, but I'm no JAG so maybe some of you Army lawyers out there have a better understanding of what will happen with this case.
The various regional players need to understand that stoking a civil war in Iraq means stoking a regional war...in which they will all be horrible losers....on the other hand...the US could leave a few troops in Iraq as a stabilization force thereby negating the need for the various regional players to have a regional war.
As much as Hillary makes my skin crawl...I think a lot of what comes out of her mouth vis-a-vis Iraq is intended for an international rather than domestice audience.
Bottom line...if the Iranians really think an Iraqi civil war is in their interests...they will need to deal with the Saudis and Pakistanis and vice-versa.
Tom Maguire, guest-blogging at Instapundit, links to a New York Times interview with Senator Hillary Clinton, in which she suggests that up to 75,000 US troops may remain in Iraq beyond 2008 under her plan for Iraq.
Two stunning paragraphs open the Times report:
WASHINGTON, March 14 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a “remaining military as well as political mission” in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.You have to give Hillary Clinton, or at least whatever trusted advisors are responsible, credit for nerve. I hesitate to commend her further, given her record, but the new reports on her plan for Iraq are just short of stunning to the degree she charges rightward of her left-leaning political base. This at a time when you might expect her to tack leftward to win the party nomination.
In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.
(More commentary and links at Dadmanly.)
I'm glad you're on top of it as always. It even made CNN, not a comfortable place for a member of the Silent Service. Only thing I'd have to add is that I've participated in entirely too many exercises where some surface lookout reports a nonexistent red flare...
John, thanks for the heads up. What is going on there?
Den Beste once warned us back in the day about the dangers of believing what you read...
I saw the post about @WR and couldn't believe my eyes. I wouldn't put up any such post, as it could be viewed as aiding and abetting someone to disobey a direct order. Personally, I think that such an order to silence a person from keeping what amounts to a public diary is unlawful, as it serves no purpose other than to restrict that person's first-amendment guaranteed right, which, as we all know, the constitution ensures the gummint can't touch, (infringe) and an Army officer, being a de facto government representative, issuing said order would be a perfect example of gummint incursion onto that right.
Regardless, I must state plainly that I didn't post the piece about @WR. It wasn't until this morning that I even visited http://walterreed.blogspot.com. Like I have previously stated in the disclaimer at the bottom of this page from day -1 this site has most likely been hacked.
I ran into this when researching the Walter Reed blog for a post at Michelle Malkin's. After reading Chuck's explanation, I decided that it would probably be wise to stay away until someone can explain.
Can someone explain?
A relatively new blog to me got linked at BoingBoing, where I found it--says he's a soldier at Walter Reed.
Completed brackets are due by 1100 EDT on Thursday for the Mil-Bloggers Men's NCAA BB Tournament bracket challenge. If you've already signed up to participate, get your brackets turned in! If you haven't signed up yet, send me an E-mail or leave a comment here -- details are in my earlier post. I'll do a last check of my inbox and the comments at about 0730 EDT Thursday to send out the last group of invites.
You'd think these people had nothing else to worry about than "300"
Iranian Officials Angry Over 'Hostile Portrayal' in Hollywood Hit Movie '300'
Iran, which turned a deaf ear last year to protests over its attempt to rewrite history through a Holocaust conference, now is crying foul over what it calls a "fabrication of culture and insult" to Iranians in the Hollywood hit movie "300."
Javad Shangari, a cultural adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, attacked the film as being "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological warfare aimed at Iranian culture," Daily Variety reported Wednesday.
An online petition calls the movie's distributor, Warner Brothers, "irresponsible, unethical and unscientific actions ... while announcing our disgust at such a heresy, we demand an immediate historical review and quick apology from the responsible people."
Uh-huh. We're all about psychological warfare aimed at the Iranian culture... for 2,500 years. hooboy. sometimes you just can't make this stuff up. I'm trying to figure out who the "responsible people" would be? (I'd be hoping for a one finger apology...) Story here.
So this is a developing story...
Federal Judge Says Sudan is to Blame for Deadly USS Cole Bombing
NORFOLK, Va. — A federal judge said Wednesday that Sudan is responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole but he needs more time to determine damages for the families of the 17 sailors killed when terrorists bombed the ship in 2000.
"There is substantial evidence in this case presented by the expert testimony that the government of Sudan induced the particular bombing of the Cole by virtue of prior actions of the government of Sudan," U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar said.
I like the idea of compensatory damages -- but punitive damages could bankrupt some of those places...
But this would certainly shortchange the families if Navy earnings are the basis of compensation for their losses:
Doumar said that he would issue a written opinion later to fully explain his ruling. He requested additional paperwork, including tax returns of the sailors killed, to determine the appropriate damages.
Maybe the families should be allowed to present eveidence of the "value" of a life after Navy service: Former Pres. George Bush, Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson, R. Buckminster Fuller... On the other hand, maybe we should just say "Veteran" like all these and these and these and these...
I hope the numbers when they do calculate the damages are HUGE.
Atlantic Fleet helicopter squadrons render honors as set out in Helo Squadrons Come Together to Honor Fallen Shipmate:
Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, HSC-2, HSC-22 and HSC-26 participated in a "missing man" formation during the funeral of Lt. Adam Dyer, of HSC-23, at Arlington National Cemetery on March 9.
Dyer and three other crew members assigned to HSC-23, based at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., died when their Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crashed into the Pacific Ocean while conducting a routine training mission off USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) near San Clemente Island on Jan. 26.
A bit more here.
Elizabeth Ann Meriwether Donovan, 7 Oct 1930- 13 March 2007
A good life, well lived.
Mrs. Ann Donovan, of Columbia, passed on 13 March after a tough struggle with cancer. She is survived by her husband Tim and daughter Kathy Donovan-Hanson, of Columbia, and son John of Leavenworth, Kansas, and grandchildren Tim, Patrick, Erin, and Andy of various and sundry addresses.
There's some interesting work going on right now as well about who's going to fill those billets for the next couple of squadrons. Good possibilities there. And let's not forget the AFRICOM standup, which might could use a couple of reincarnated Swifties now and again.
Oh by the way I saw that announcement at the same place I saw a certain book get a short review in the Army/Navy/etc. Times weeklies...they noticed! They finally noticed!
The Iraqi defector known as Curveball, whose fabricated stories of "mobile biological weapons labs" helped lead the U.S. to war four years ago, is still being protected by the German intelligence service, an ABC News investigation has found.
Intelligence sources, who provided ABCNews.com with the first known photo of the man, say he has been resettled in a small town near the Munich headquarters of the German service, which has continued to honor its original commitment made when he fled Iraq in 1999.
Curveball's false tales became the centerpiece of Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations in February 2003, even though he was considered an "unstable, immature and unreliable" source by some senior officials at the CIA.
Powell told ABC News he is "angry and disappointed" that he was never told the CIA had doubts about the reliability of the source.
"I spent four days at CIA headquarters, and they told me they had this nailed," Powell said.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1, based at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek deployed March 8 after a year of intense training with Marine forces.Heh - so many Sailors here, but I had to find this one myself...
The deployment marks the first for a riverine squadron since the Vietnam War.
More than 100 riverine Sailors deployed to the Middle East to integrate with Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) along rivers and other inland waterways: denying the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack; a haven for insurgent activities; or the illegal transportation of weapons, people or material in Iraq.
well, at least he admits when he overstepped:
A Statement From Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“Yesterday, during a wide ranging interview with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, I was asked if I think the current policy as codified in U.S. Code, generally referred to as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” should still hold.
“People have a wide range of opinions on this sensitive subject. The important thing to remember is that we have a policy in effect, and the Department of Defense has a statutory responsibility to implement that policy.
“I made two points in support of the policy during the interview. One, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” allows individuals to serve this nation; and two, it does not make a judgment about the morality of individual acts.
“In expressing my support for the current policy, I also offered some personal opinions about moral conduct.
“I should have focused more on my support of the policy and less on my personal moral views.”
Because only then will he be able to try to reverse the ban on those who engage in homosexual conduct from serving in the military, despite calls from Nancy "Braniac" Pelosi:
I think the military should carefully consider changing the policy.We need the most talented people, we need the language skills, we need patriotic Americans who exist across the board in our population. We don’t need moral judgment from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Unfortunately for GEN Pace, his options are rather limited considering that the policy is merely enforcing federal law.
Shadowy New Militia Appears in Falluja
"Chosen Soldiers of God" Claim Mystical Powers
A shadowy new militia apparently emerged in Falluja over the weekend, Slogger sources report.
Residents awoke to discover flyers and banners around the city bearing the name of a new militia, the “Chosen Soldiers of God.”
The flyers carry strange supernatural stories about the militia. One claims that the militia are actually angels who fought with Falluja’s Sunnis against American forces in 2004, its soldiers taking the shape of spiders, or the form of giant humans, residents report.
Andrew Stuttaford writes dismissively of the prohibition on adultery in the military (per the UCMJ) and that the military should not be in the business of prosecuting non-unit adultery where it has no bearing on combat competence or unit
But consider how effective a company commander is going to be engendering respect even obedience from his soldiers if he's a well-known philanderer? More specifically, what about the next time he tries to discipline a soldier and has to cite the Army Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage)?
"PVT Snuffy, you dishonored the Army when you did XX. You displayed a lack of honor, integrity, respect, and loyalty."
"Uhhh, sir? You're sleeping with half the female civilian employees on this post. So let's not talk about 'honor' and 'integrity.'"
And as for the claim that non-unit adultery doesn't have an effect on unit effectiveness--just wait until you're fielding the 37th call that week to the unit from an aggrieved spouse complaining about SGT Lothario and his proclivities. Now consider how much time that takes out of a commander's (and hence, a unit's) day.
As a practical matter, the military doesn't prosecute adultery all that often unless it occurs within a unit, or has a definite impact on a unit, or is part of larger criminal enterprise. We tend to handle such matters administratively, either via reprimands or non-judicial punishment (which can include reduction in rank).
Battlefield prowess matters and is always the primary concern. But what makes our forces exceptional is their discipline in even the most trying of circumstances. If they can't keep it in their pants after a night at the NCO Club, the simple fact is that they are less likely to be disciplined (or exercise good judgment) under more "stressful" situations.
...another blogger keep her site going, but I'll still be posting here, too. War Machine still threatens the Daffodil Princesses, and us Enhanced Celtic/Native American Psychic Super Warriors know that sleep is for the weak.
H.D.S. Greenway, of WaPo and BoGlo fame - is at it again.
And so conquering foreign soldiers will be resisted in Iraq, as they have always been everywhere down the centuries. In early April 1775, the British governor of Boston sent John Howe out to gather intelligence in that hotbed of insurgency now called the western suburbs, but then the Anbar province of its time. Howe met an old man cleaning his rifle who looked too old to hunt game.Actually, I look quite fetching in red - but that isn't the point, is it?
The old man said he expected foreign soldiers -- "a flock of redcoats" -- would be arriving soon, and he thought they would make good targets. Arrive they did, and with them the American revolution that in many states degenerated into civil war. The British soldiers were mostly of the same race and religion as the people they fought, but they were by then foreigners, and eight years later they were gone.
As I note in the side bar of my blog, I contributed to two anthologies of personal accounts of those who are all too familiar with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and on the home front.
While it is difficult to pick any one of the fine writings that appear in these two books as a favorite, if asked, I would tell you that the one that moved me more than any other is the personal narrative of Lt. Colonel Michael R. Strobl and it appears in both of these collections. It is entitled, “Taking Chance” and relates the highly emotional experience of accompanying the body of Chance Phelps, a young Marine killed in Iraq, from Dover, Delaware to his final resting place in Wyoming. I first read this narrative at Blackfive in April 2004, and more than a year and a half later I sent a copy of it to my son while he waited to accompany the body of his friend Tommy to his home in Tucson.
Today, on the front page of my local paper, The Courier, I was enthralled by this story of Chance’s mother, Gretchen Mack, and her daughter who are walking the more than 1,500 miles from Twentynine Palms Marine Base -- where her son Chance trained -- to his final resting place in his home town in Wyoming. To Remember Chance. To Honor him… and all his brothers.
She and Orndoff make it a point that they are not marching to protest the war, but to support the troops.
Mack expressed her disapproval of people who protest the war by demonstrating against soldiers and their families. She derided them as "cowards."
"The troops watch the news in Iraq, and see that sort of thing happening," she said. "How do you think that makes them feel?"
On her Web site [for the Chance Phelps Foundation], www.run4chance.com, the introductory message states, "The Chance Phelps Foundation, and its sponsored events, do not support any anti-war effort."
Mack said she supports the troops and the commander-in-chief.
You can sponsor this team by the mile (one cent/mile is just $15.74) or you can make a donation of any amount. All money they raise is donated to Fisher House and to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Go to the Chance Phelps Foundation page and read their blog and to read more about this remarkable young man and the remarkable effort by his mom and sister(s).
Since they are walking through my neck of the woods, I’m hoping to track down their route and buy the ladies lunch or dinner (and bring dog treats for their dogs!)
All I can say, Gretchen, is OORAH. Chance is looking down and he sure is one proud Marine.
And to Cindy and the cronies of Code Pink -- THIS is how we honor the fallen.
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Fact: Woman 'Syncronize"
No point in having two woman unless you can deal with 2 woman having a bad day on the same day. Never mind 6 woman.
Me...I'm a coward...the Mrs is having a bad day...the lawn needs mowing. The 'Honey Do' list needs doing. If it's really bad...matching and folding socks. Why she doesn't just buy 2 dozen pair of black socks is beyong my ability to comprehend.
TROLL HUNTING IS FUN. I don't often post about the trolls I slay, on the theory that doing so only brings them the attention they crave. But I'm going to make an exception in this case, because this one was particularly satisfying, and I want to share the "joy of the kill" with all my loyal readers.
We've just filled half of the first 100 seats allocated to the military community for the MilBlog Conference. Once they're gone, registration for the general public will open. Better register quickly. After you register, you can view the super-secret attendee list.
...cause sometimes, you just gotta.
Coming soon to a theater near you: MilBlogs - the Graphic Novel.
An elite group of Native American trackers is joining the hunt for terrorists crossing Afghanistan's borders. The unit, the Shadow Wolves, was recruited from several tribes, including the Navajo, Sioux, Lakota and Apache. It is being sent to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to pass on ancestral sign-reading skills to local border units....at least, it is for those of you who believe in "coincidence".
Bwa ha ha ha...
Update: Yes, on St Patrick's Week, no less. Sure and begorra, it's purely coincidental, kemosabee.
It must be good; have you read some of the people who didn't like the movie?
We have the good folks over at the New York Times.
(It may be worth pointing out that unlike their mostly black and brown foes, the Spartans and their fellow Greeks are white.)And the flowers of Western Civ at AlterNet.
Someday soon, you may ask a new acquaintance that question, and just maybe -- because it takes all kinds -- your new friend will reply, "My favourite movie is 300."Kerry voters - gifts that keep on giving!
If this happens, back away slowly. Your new friend probably kills cats for fun. Worse -- your new friend may be George W. Bush.
Heh, I showed this to my friend, an Italian, and she said "you're actually proud of this heritage???"
I guess today's theme is "starts and finishes".
By the way, anyone else notice that for a man who frequently expounded on his many visits to the troops there (and I salute him for those visits), John Murtha's been very "low profile" on this Walter Reed story. (I almost said "AWOL" - but that wouldn't be right.)
I certainly hope he's not ill or otherwise incapacitated.
Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, challenged President Bush on Saturday over his threat to reject an Iraq spending bill if it calls for a troop withdrawal...Actually, he was giving a progress report, almost point by point, on the implementation of his new strategy for Iraq, as described by President Bush in his January announcement of "the surge." But you won't read that in the headlines. (Detailed report here.)
“With his veto threat,” she said in a statement, “the president offers only an open-ended commitment to a war without end that dangerously ignores the repeated warnings of military leaders, including the commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, who declared in Baghdad this week that the conflict cannot be resolved militarily.”
well... Fox News is reporting this but I don't see stories on news sites... yet. Stay tuned.
Update: Army News Release HERE
Chuck Hagel might or might not run for President.
He'd join a long list of contenders whose campaigns would be threatened by victory in Iraq.
‘300’ gathered an astounding 70 million dollars from movie enthusiasts, eager to see the gory battle between the king of Sparta and the barbaric Persian ruler. The movie had its premiere on Friday and ticket sales thrived from that moment on.
That 70 million add up to more than the three-day gross revenue rest of the top 10 movies combined over the weekend. This is a record for a March opening and, considering that ‘300’ was allegedly made on a 60 million budget, it spells success for Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder.
About Montel’s feelings on the war… Prior to taping, there is a segment presented called “Ask Montel”. During this segment he did indeed expound on his anti-war feelings. He kept referring to how we have already lost (he did not say Afghanistan specifically, but intimated it) - and this with military families of deployed servicemembers in his audience. Way to make us proud of our lives!
Furthermore, Montel stated that we’ve only been able to win one war since Vietnam - Grenada. When I researched Montel further after the show, it turns out he was on a carrier involved in the Grenada invasion. Which leads me to suspect that any war Montel participates in we will win. So, if he doesn’t like it, by nature of reverse reasoning, we will lose.
Ouch. Seems Montel forgot about that other defeat we suffered.
"My Guys" left for Iraq today... again. I wasn't at Fort Benning as I was in 2005, and my son didn't deploy this time, but I found myself thinking about my other "sons" all day -- Vinny & Rob. This time the Guys are married (both of these and many others will miss their first wedding anniversaries)... And they're two years older -- 21 and 22 this time instead of 19 and 20 like the last ... and both of My Guys have been there before. It's little consolation. They may be older, although far from old... but then again far older in many ways than those of us who have not been to war... not once but twice. How incongruent can it be that 21 year olds are the "old guys" the "new guys" will look to in the chaos of war?
So we're back to the worry. We're back to the waiting. We'll watch the news. And we won't. It's all more of the same... only different.
More at Some Soldier's Mom
RABAT, March 12 (Reuters) - A Moroccan man detonated explosives he was carrying under his clothes at an Internet cafe in Casablanca overnight, killing himself and wounding three other people, security sources and witnesses said on Monday.
Government security officials said they were investigating whether it was a militant suicide bombing.
No...just a guy hanging out at an internet cafe wearing explosive clothes.......just another non-violent pacifist blowing things up....kinda like the SDS and the Weatherman in the 60's in the US
Deacon you still with us...or did you wander off to Morrocco and do something stupid?
Every year in March, members of military units the world over come together to... fill out their brackets for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Since gambling is normally not allowed, military men and women have turned it into an opportunity for bonding through shared experience -- and, when the bonding is done, they feel so much closer to their fellow bracket-pickers that they choose to make a small gift (like $5) to someone else in the friendly contest; against all statistical probability, it seems that all of these free-will gifts are given to the person who "won" the pool. (At least that's how I explained it to the staff JAG when I ran the pool for the CarGru 7 staff during the Stennis Battle Group's 2000 deployment.)
As Mil-bloggers, we can also participate in this tradition (except for the "gift" part). For those interested, I've set up a bracket group over at CBS Sportsline for all mil-bloggers and milblog supporters. If you want in, just drop me an E-mail at joel (dot) bubblehead (at) gmail (dot) com, or just say "I'm in" in the comments (if you can reasonably assume that I'll be able to figure out your E-mail address), and I'll have an invite E-mail sent out. You'll have to register at CBS Sportsline, but everyone has a throwaway E-mail address we use for things like this.
For the winner -- bragging rights galore. For everyone else -- a reason to care about the games being played in the gawd-awful Columbus sub-regional. Let's have some fun!
They number about 30,000 and save the taxpayers about $200,000,000 a year - in addition to saving lives and property.
It all began with a yachtsman with an idea...
And sometimes they did their work on horseback.
Know who they are? Sure, it's those volunteers.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri lashed out at the leadership of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Sunday over its Saudi-brokered deal with the U.S.-backed Palestinian faction..."The leadership of the Hamas government has committed an aggression against the rights of the Islamic nation by accepting what it called ... respecting international agreements," he said.
Okay..so in the mind of the AlQueda #2...respecting international agreements isn't called peace...it's called aggression, but he's just getting himself worked up..
Zawahri said the Hamas leadership had "fallen into the quagmire of surrender."
Zawahri said the Mecca deal was part of an attempt by the "U.S. Satan and his Saudi agent" to forge a fake solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in a bid to destroy Islamic resistance to Israeli occupation.
For some of us...the idea of Peace treaties is to end the resistance...but if ones purpose is resistance for the sake of resistance...
The militant leader said the initiative was based on U.S. Jewish columnist Thomas Friedman's "prompting" of Abdullah, then crown prince. He did not elaborate in the parts of the recording broadcast by Jazeera.
That's it...Thomas Friedman used his secret powers...the same powers shared by our own Seamus O'Greyhawk and others to influence the Saudi's.All done!
National Geographic Explorer, recently televised a special titled, Inside North Korea hosted by Lisa Ling. Lisa Ling travels with a Nepalese eye doctor and secretly films what she can of life inside North Korea during her trip. It was amazing to watch the eye doctor restore eye sight to people who had been blind for years and they immediately walk up to pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il to thank them for giving back their eye sight without a word of thanks to the Nepalese doctor. The most chilling scene was when one old woman pledged to work harder in the salt mines for the glory of Kim Jong-il for returning her eye sight.
Lisa Ling rightfully points out how a system of fear governs the country. If these people didn’t give thanks to the Kim regime they and their whole families would have been sent to one of the massive concentration camps that Lisa Ling spent plenty of time covering. The funniest portion was when Lisa Ling visited a North Korean family and asked them if there was anything wrong with Kim Jong-il. The North Korean interpreter kept pretending he didn’t understand the question because there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with Kim Jong-il. Overall, definitely a must see documentary about life in North Korea. I’m definitely going to purchase a copy of the complete program once it is available on DVD.
Looking on the National Geographic webpage for purchasing information, I began reading through some of the comments left by people about the show. I really shouldn’t have been surprised about this, but there was people comparing North Korea to what America is today under President Bush. There were also people condemning Lisa Ling for filming the show because the Nepalese doctor could never be allowed back into North Korea to help more people and the North Korean minders with them would probably be sent to labor camps for not clamping down on the filming. I for one thank Lisa Ling for presenting an accurate picture of North Korea which is a personality cult that many people just don’t understand. It is one thing to read about it in a book or newspaper, but when you see what North Korea really is staring you right in the face on television, it is hard to ignore.All done!
Blogger Amy Proctor left a comment at SpouseBUZZ regarding the Montel story. Amy has "been there, done that," and claims that Montel is "very unprofessional both behind the scenes and in front of the camera." Ms. Underestimated wrote about Amy's appearance on the Montel Williams show last October. I encourage you to view the video clips.
I admit that I'm not a Montel viewer, so I have no way to know if most of his shows are filled with poor representations of the truth or blatant bias in pursuit of a certain political agenda, but what are the odds that two bloggers we are familiar with would both have bad experiences on the same television show?
Pam struggles as she describes some of the barbarism....not safe for folks who believe Iraq will become a Utopian Paradise if Multi-National Forces leave tomorrow morning at 9.
Having recently had all my shots brought up to date, I can testify that the anthrax shots are optional for Iraq, and at the discretion of the servicemember.
My last trip to Iraq I'd had four of the series when they were abruptly discontinued, leaving me vulnerable to attack. ;)
By the way, anyone else seen "Idiocracy" yet?
So they didn't get al Baghdadi - here's a consolation prize from last week.
AIR STRIKES TARGET AL QAEDA TERRORISTS WEST OF TAJIAnd here's another
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces targeted members of an al-Qaeda in Iraq network Friday during an air strike operation west of Taji.
Intelligence reports indicated that this network is responsible for threats to Coalition aircraft.
Coalition Forces believe key terrorists were killed during the air strike. Results are still being assessed at this time.
Several members of the cell, as well as vehicles with anti-aircraft artillery weapons and rounds, were gathered at an area known for terrorist activities. The coordinated air strike at the targeted location resulted in the destruction of the vehicles as well as the anti-aircraft artillery.
During the operation, Coalition Forces also targeted another vehicle mounted with anti-aircraft artillery. The strike resulted in the destruction of the vehicle as well as the structure it was parked beside.
More information will be released when it becomes available.
“Coalition Forces continue to tear apart the al-Qaeda leadership inside Iraq. This operation significantly reduces the terrorist network’s ability to operate, and increases the safety of all Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces, and Iraq’s Multi-National partners,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.
Suspected AQ Media Emir, alleged "Butcher" captured in raidsAs you know, I could go on (and on and on and on...) All done!
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces killed one terrorist and captured 16 suspected terrorists including an alleged al-Qaeda media emir during raids Friday morning throughout Iraq.
In Mosul, Coalition Forces captured an al-Qaeda related suspect known as “The Butcher” who is allegedly responsible for numerous kidnappings, beheadings, and suicide operations in the Ramadi and Mosul areas. Coalition Forces captured five additional suspects and killed one terrorist during the raid.
During operations in Fallujah, Coalition Forces captured two suspected terrorists with alleged ties to foreign fighter facilitation.
Northeast of Karmah, a suspected al-Qaeda media emir was captured along with seven others. The suspects are also believed to be part of an al-Qaeda courier network.
“Coalition Forces will continue to target al-Qaeda in Iraq and foreign terrorist facilitators regardless of where they may hide,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.
"...yet another grim milestone for coalition forces in Iraq today as the U.S. death toll climbed significantly after the military reported Sunday that six more troops had died in the deadliest day in two years for American forces since the second to last deadliest day was eclipsed only by the one-day death toll that came after the third highest daily casualty count for U.S. forces since the war began when the deadliest most deadly day of death among U.S. forces who have died while braving death rose to a level never before witnessed since the day before yesterday when three more soldiers died..." (Any of this sounding familiar?)
Hemingway said courage is grace under pressure, meaning that when the going gets tough, the tough don't argue endlessly about how best to retreat. They leave that to the spartisan 300 whose only resolve is to continue feeding at the public trough while insisting that war is an anachronism.
"Spartisans! There is where they fight! Here is where we lie!"
Read the whole shebang HERE.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi officials said Saturday they had arrested a top Al Qaeda official, but that he was not the terror mastermind Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, as they had identified him a day earlier.Still no word on the other Abu Omar al-Baghdadi they captured a few days earlier, though.
There are two sorts of congressional representatives in America - those who've visited Walter Reed, and those who haven't.
Both sorts are now rightfully screwed.
That wacko isn't one of us - he's never at the meetings.
- Seamus O'Greyhawk
One of the unfortunate side effects of paranoia is a tendency to display inappropriate agressive behavior. To the individual suffering from paranoia, the behavior is entirely appropriate.
One of the side effects of wars where significant portions of the population are subjected to the brutality of war is that significant portions of the population end up suffering from a reality induced paranoia.
At the end of WWII, the population least affected by the ravages of war was the American population. The population most effected was the Russian population.
Russian tanks rolling thru Czechslovakia ,the Baltics and various other places could easily be described as the kind of inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by someone suffering from paranoia.
At the end of WWII, the US left massive numbers of troops in Germany and Japan to safeguard against the possibility that the Germans and Japanese would act on their society wide reality induced paranoia. 60 years later...Japan and Germany are for all intents and purposes pacifist countries incapable of war. Those people who suffered from war induced paranoia have for the most part grown old and died. We also witnessed a substantial softening of Russian paranoia in the mid 1980's, as their "living" memory, and the war induced paranoia of WWII died off.
When I look at the history of the Middle East over the last 30 years...I see enough death and destruction to induce paranoia on the entire population of the entire region. When I pick up the newspaper and read the various rantings of the various leaders...whether they be Israeli, Iraqi or Iranian...I here the ranting of people clearly suffering from paranoia.
The risk of inappropriate agressive behavior in the Middle East is not just theoretical...we see it everyday. No sane person would propose that an insane asylum doesn't need orderlies.
Saddam had to go because the order that he imposed on the Middle East was producing more paranoia than it treated, he also displayed repeated inappropriate aggresive behavior.
As long as various societies in the Middle East continue to display inappropriate agressive behaviors..the region will require orderlies. Just as the Europeans required orderlies for 40 years after WWII. (I would note that the US failed to provide orderlies after WWI)All done!
Some of the folks over at
Lunatic-EarthAlien-Earth are backing the guys story up.
Duncan is legitimate, and I can say this people, those who want to ridicule a guy who goes out on a limb for everyone else's sake, should be ridiculed. What should we all do, hide the truth so we dont get ridiculed, oh yah, thats what the government does when you report a UFO, guess those hundreds of millions of reports are hogwash as well hey?
For those wondering what happened to Super Soldiers teeth in his own words -
My teeth? Radation damage.
In one corner, the United States is taking part in a conference of Iraqi neighbors which included Syria and Iran. I think this is a fairly big deal considering our government hasn’t talked to Iran in decades. If you think about it, I’m surprised that our government is ran by men considering it’s usually a woman who can hold a grudge better (no this isn’t sexist!). We’re known for not talking to governments for years because at some spat in the past they blackened our eye somehow. That’s something a woman would do, most guys would get over it and be drinking beer together by the next weekend.
Back on the subject, in the other corner look what’s happening in North Korea. We’ve actually been involved in peace talks with them along with other nations and there’s an agreement in the works. The US accusing them of counterfeiting a while back (which is probably true) and locked down one of their bank accounts with the money in it so foreign banks were afraid to invest and since then, North Korea has been pissed. Do you know how much money it took to ratchet up the entire region to the brink of war? Fraking 24 million dollars! That’s a drop in the bucket of any defense budget, that’s not even the price of an F-16.
While the military is fighting on the ground, in the stratospheres of government, the powers that be seem to be using diplomacy to wage peace all over the place. I haven’t really seen anyone out there really putting a connecting to the two cases but is something going on? I’m totally pro-military but wouldn’t have a single problem with peace braking out and we all get to spend Christmas at home with our families. Even so, I don’t agree with the idea that we should totally pull out of Iraq. Most of the Marines I’ve talked to think Iraq is the next Okinawa, the place you go to do your 6 month deployment. Keep the bases, most of them are in the middle of no-where, we’ve already stamped them, built them up and they are fairly safe. Why throw away that money, I hate wasting money but the idea that we should pull totally out is just that, wasting money. Most of the service members who die, die going around the countryside either by helicopter, foot or truck. Taunt the bad guys and let them go after these bases so when we wax them, there won’t be any talk about us hurting civilians.
Whatever happens with these two peace processes going on, I don’t want to go back to a peace time military footing without Osama’s head sitting on a platter somewhere.
Cross posted at Doc in the Box.
More good news, if true:
March 10, 2007 -- Iran's ex-deputy defense minister smuggled top-secret maps and documents - some of which prove terror ties around the Middle East - out of Tehran when he defected to the West, former colleagues said yesterday.All done!
The confidential files Ali Reza Asghari brought with him provide details about Iran's links to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad as well as the radical Mahdi Army and Badr Corps in Iraq, according to an influential Arab newspaper.
An Iranian colleague told the paper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, that Asghari also had secret documents concerning Iran's nuclear missile program.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards are beefing up defenses around the country's nuclear reactors out of fear that the United States and Israel, now armed with the new intelligence, could attack them, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported yesterday.
Al-Watan was the first to disclose Asghari's defection last month in Istanbul, Turkey.
Asghari is believed to have planned his defection well in advance because he arranged for relatives to leave Tehran before him and apparently had a fake passport waiting for him in Turkey.
Hey, didn't you know that the Celts and Native Americans are the two races most prone to "paranormal abilities?" And that the US gov't has been recruiting them for years and turning them into half-man, half-machine cyborg super warriors?
STOP DENYING THE TRUTH!!!
73 minutes of pure, unadulterated crazy.
There's much more at "Project Camelot" including:
– His mission to “terminate” the very drunk, future President of the United States... George W Bush;
– His dizzying enhanced physical and psychic abilities... including the abilities to hurl someone across the room with his mind, and walk through a solid wall;
– How he and 11 other children were flown to Cambodia to deliver a targeted death blow to all the surrounding Khmer Rouge troops... using only the combined power of their minds;
– How his right arm is “hardwired” and is capable of astonishing speed and strength;
– His struggle to regain his memory, aided by a car accident which led to the discovery of a cranial implant uncovered by an MRI machine... deactivating the implant and causing the MRI machine to catch fire;
– His role as a programmed assassin, targeting Americans under the command of an undisclosed agency;
– The selection, torture, and brutal training process that he endured... and which children are undergoing to this day;
I've found heaven.
BAGHDAD, March 10 (Reuters) - The Iranian envoy at an Iraq conference called on Saturday for U.S. troops to withdraw from the country
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic deputies attached their proposal ....requires that all U.S. forces leave Iraq no later than the end of 2008, and possibly sooner
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - An Iraqi insurgent group threatened to kill a German woman and her son kidnapped in Iraq unless Germany withdrew its troops from Afghanistan within 10 days
A Rockville man has pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy charges in connection with a plot to steer contracts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to his companies.Story here.
According to federal court records, Leon Krachyna has admitted conspiring with an associate to bribe a civilian contract specialist. Federal prosecutors say that between June of 1999 and March of 2002, Krachyna and his associate were awarded more than $1 million dollars in contracts for services provided at Walter Reed facilities.
The contracts were for landscaping services and the transportation of furniture and hospital records.
Krachyna has admitted paying a public official between $10,000 and $30,000 in return for confidential bidding information and other assistance designed to steer business to his companies.
More heads should certainly roll. But elsewhere others will bemoan the "outsourcing" - perhaps in the belief that the troops at Reed should do their own damn landscaping and furniture moving.
Another appearance by David Obey, who "isn't waiting on the upcoming farm bill to extend income subsidies aimed at small dairy farms. Obey's 13-month extension would cost $283 million." Part of the Dems' Iraq war "plan", of course.
A small part: Already, money in the bill not directly related to the war exceeds $20 billion.
Sone people may wonder if the "anti-war" protestors are actually working for the other side...
Demonstrators included Olympia City Councilman T.J. Johnson, and New York civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart, who has been convicted of providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, according to stories on CNN’s Web site.
Lynne Stewart, the veteran civil rights lawyer who was found guilty of smuggling messages of violence from one of her jailed clients
Not just any jailed client....but one of Osama's closest associates (according to Osama himself)
Stewart blamed the conviction on evidence that included videotape of Osama bin Laden urging support for her client. Stewart was the lawyer for Omar Abdel-Rahman, a sheik sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and destroy several New York landmarks , including the U.N. building and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels.
Eh, worth a shot.
Pre-registration for the 2007 MilBlog Conference is now open. Click here for details.
There are only a few hotel rooms at the discounted rate still available. If you haven't made your room reservation, better hurry. Once our reserved block of rooms are sold out, there is no guarantee that you will receive the discounted rate.
... he's back.
The video in the first link will prove a fine tonic for those who've tired of intelligent conversation and informed opinions on Iraq.
Note how quickly the son with PTSD is forgotten in the encounter.
Update: Then there's this video:
I need to stress my non-partisanship here - just because I'm posting a video of members of only one political party doesn't mean I'm endorsing that party. If anyone has a similar video of Republicans I'll link it too.
And for something a bit more current, here's the post-fall-of-Baghdad Pelosi:
This week, Pelosi said it is "difficult to understand" why the weapons can't be found. Yet she did not seem concerned about whether any are found. "I am sort of agnostic on it; that is to say, maybe they are there," Pelosi said. "I salute the president for the goal of removing weapons of mass destruction."For the record, I never thought WMD would be found in Iraq, but didn't much care.
Mayor Nagin emphasized the need to invest in the police department to reduce attrition and increase the number of officers on the street.
/future vision on
President Pelosi stated that as New Orleans "stands up"...the National Guard will stand down.
Vice President Murtha demanded that the National Guard be redeployed to someplace safe...like Baghdad or Fallujah
Missippi Governor Haley Barber bemoaned the refugee crisis the still non-functioning Louisiana Government was creating.
Senator Kerry blamed the administration for failing to involve the UN.
Jacque Chirac reiterated that all sales were final, but offered to send 10,000 angry Morrocans to help the crisis in exchange for 100,000 barrels of Gulf Oil.
/future vision off
A National Guardsman shot and killed a man who threw a piece of broken glass at a National Guard patrol and later pointed what guardsmen and police thought was a rifle at them early Thursday, police said.
Fugitive Afghan rebel leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said his forces had ended cooperation with the Taliban and suggested that he was open to talks with embattled President Hamid Karzai.Everybody wants on the winning team.
In a video response to questions submitted by the Associated Press, Hekmatyar said that his group contacted Taliban leaders in 2003 and agreed to wage a joint jihad, or holy war, against American troops.
"The jihad went into high gear, but later it gradually went down as certain elements among the Taliban rejected the idea of a joint struggle against the aggressor," Hekmatyar said in the video, which was received yesterday. He wore glasses and a black turban as he spoke in front of a plain white wall at an undisclosed location.
He offered no details of the split or its timing but said his forces were mounting only restricted operations, partly because of a lack of resources.
"It was not a good move by the Taliban to disassociate themselves from the joint struggle," he said. "Presently we have no contact with the Taliban."
Reported on Saturday's regional security conference in Baghdad a few days ago at Mudville.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that countries invited to the Baghdad meeting of Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, as well as the US and other UN Security Council permanent members plus Egypt and Bahrain, will attend the regional and international meeting on Iraq.The story hasn't gotten much attention in the U.S. (it's one of those non-military signs of progress that would make certain members of congress look rather, ahem, obstructionist in their current actions.)
But the NY Times found a way to spin the story and declare failure today:
U.S. and Iran May Steal the Show at Iraq’s Security MeetingSo they'll be able to excoriate the administration should the two countries fail to kiss and make up.
WASHINGTON, March 8 — On Saturday, Iraq will convene its “neighbors” meeting in Baghdad, which is supposed to be about Iraqi security.
But the big question everyone is asking is this: Will the United States and Iran finally end more than a quarter century of communicating primarily through emissaries, and talk directly to each other?
“If we are approached over orange juice by the Syrians or the Iranians to discuss an Iraq-related issue that is germane to this topic — a stable, secure, peaceful, democratic Iraq — we are not going to turn and walk away,” David Satterfield, the State Department’s special adviser on Iraq, said Thursday.
Critics of the administration say that given the grave issues at stake, that stance may be too aloof. “How immature is it that we have to pretend for American domestic political reasons that we’re going to get cooties from the Iranians unless they go to the bathroom first and wash their hands?” said an exasperated George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Are we a major power or not?”
Trouble is, Iran has already said "no"...
"Meeting with Americans on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference is not on the agenda of Iran, for the time being," said Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, in his weekly news briefing.That's not in the NY Times report, of course. It was in the first link above.
Speaking on the eve of an unprecedented Baghdad conference, Abdul Azziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq's most powerful leaders, said the meeting should boost the transition to elected government.Meanwhile, the LA Times says
"We call on the regional and international countries to support Iraq because we believe it will reflect positively on international and regional peace," Hakim told tens of thousands of black-clad Shi'ite pilgrims in the holy city of Kerbala.
"We want every country participating in this meeting to enhance the achievements made in Iraq in the last four years."
Persistent violence has marred efforts to establish a stable and democratic government since U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq in March 2003 and toppled Saddam Hussein.
U.S. And Iran Have Been Talking, QuietlyAll done!
The White House insists that the United States won't talk directly with Iran until Tehran suspends its nuclear program. But U.S. officials have been discreetly meeting their Iranian counterparts one-on-one for more than a decade, often under the auspices of the United Nations.
Looks like they listened to Soldier's Mom, too:
President Bush today named seven people, including two wounded veterans of the Iraq war and the wife of another, to serve on a bipartisan presidential commission charged with investigating the treatment of wounded service members in the wake of a scandal over outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Marc Giammatteo, a former Army captain whose leg was severely injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq in 2004. He has undergone more than 30 surgeries at Walter Reed and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. From 2004 to 2006, he served as an unofficial patient advocate at Walter Reed. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he is now a student at Harvard Business School.
· Jose Ramos, a former Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy who lost an arm in combat during his second tour of duty in Iraq in 2004. He also served one tour in Afghanistan. He is now a student at George Mason University, where he is majoring in international studies and minoring in Islamic studies and Arabic.
· Tammy Edwards, the wife of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Edwards, who was severely burned in Iraq when a 500-pound bomb exploded under his vehicle in 2005. Since her husband's injury, she has provided support for family members of wounded veterans in her community of Cibolo, Tex. She is currently a research assistant at the Geneva Foundation.
· Kenneth Fisher, senior partner of Fisher Brothers and chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that constructs "comfort homes" for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans. Fisher Houses serve 8,500 families every year at little to no cost.
That makes twice this week they've caught him! I'm glad, but unless they catch him three times next week the press will declare failure.
BAGHDAD - The leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, has been captured in a raid west of Baghdad, an Iraqi military spokesman said Friday.
U.S. officials had no confirmation of the statement by Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman of the Baghdad security operation.
Al-Moussawi said al-Baghdadi was captured Friday in a raid in Abu Ghraib on the western outskirts of Baghdad.
"One of the terrorists who was arrested with him confessed that the one in our hands is al-Baghdadi," al-Moussawi said.
A prominent Iraqi Shiite close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also said al-Baghdadi had been captured. But he spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release the information.
Okay, mebbe not. Probably not. Almost certainly not. But great minds think alike, right?
The Army did do something many of us recommended - including Army doctors. Sent a combat arms general to Walter Reed.
A combat-arms brigadier general from Fort Knox will take over as deputy commanding general of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a move that Army officials said yesterday will allow medical commanders to focus on health care while battle-hardened field officers work to regain the trust of wounded soldiers.
Gen. Richard A. Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, announced that Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker will come to Washington as part of a leadership restructuring at Walter Reed that will include the creation of a brigade focused on helping wounded outpatients navigate a treacherous bureaucracy. Cody, speaking to reporters at Walter Reed, said the changes are designed to attack problems and lapses exposed in a series of Washington Post articles and to ensure that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the care and respect they deserve.
Cody said he believes that new leadership is key to fixing problems that let outpatient soldiers fall through the cracks.
"I'm glad you like the tiger, son - but I have to go now, and put the News up!"
(That is me at the Charikar orphanage in early 2005, heh)
Day by Day creator Chris Muir recently went to Iraq, and reports back at Bill Roggio's. Chris apologizes for being a better cartoonist then photographer:
I take crappy photos, but no photographers (except Eric Bowers) would leave the media building to tour Iraq. They were all typing stories from their terminals inside.So you'll have to make do with the photos he took, and the stories he tells.
In which we examine the anti-war movement of a previous war, and discover that Iraq isn't like Vietnam on the homefront, either.
Started out as another "Re" post here, but grew much too long.
With all due respect to Ronald Reagan.
The living memory of the brutality the Russians suffered in WWII had to die before a "true peace" could even been contemplated(not sure a true peace has yet to be achieved). The Russians don't live much past 60...so the living memory of WWII had mostly died by 1986.
The living memory of Saddam and the Iran-Iraq war must die in the Middle East before there is a "true" peace.
1988 + 40 years = 2028, or 2003 + 40 years = 2043
With any luck...5 or 6 brigades will be enough to suppress the impulses of the living memory. The idea that zero peace keepers will be required beyond 2008 is insane.
It's been a common mistake ever since the Romans turned their noses up at the Vandals. Curt comments on a Stratfor article noting that in our impatience to get it over with and lose the overseas campaign of the Long War, we might just be doing it again:
(A study of al Qaeda philosophy) is an indicator that a U.S. withdrawal from Muslim lands is not al Qaeda’s ultimate requirement for ending attacks against the United States or American interests abroad.
Long before the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Osama bin Laden clearly stated that, in the jihadists’ opinion, the United States was not prepared to fight a war of attrition.
"Shouldn't we be focusing on getting out of another quagmire first?"
President Clinton adressed that when he was still ponderin' whether or not to commit troops following the bombing campaign. (Here , in his own words.) But Clinton sent us in, just prior to Christmas, '95, with a promise that we'd be home by Christmas, '96.
Perhaps had GWB simply announed, pre-invasion, that he was concerned about Iraq becoming a quagmire, he couldn't be accused of ignorance of the possibility.
There's a goldmine of "gotchas" in the history of the Bosnia/Kosovo debate. Some congressional Republicans opposed the deployment:
Of equal concern is how long U.S. troops will remain in Bosnia. According to a press report. the "exit strategy" currently being discussed among Administration officials and NATO allies is to begin withdrawing some troops six to eight months after their original deployment. But what about the rest of the troops? And how many are some?If that sounds like the Democratic playbook for arguing against Iraq, that's because it is. And if you think the Iraq response isn't "payback" you're naive. (And if you think the troops deserve better, you're right.)
Before U.S. troops are committed to Bosnia, the Administration must deternine the mission and specific objectives to be achieved. In a war, the mission and objective is clear: to fight and win with the smallest number of casualties. However, in a "peacekeeping" mission such as the one envisioned for Bosnia, the missions and objectives could range from deterring and defending againstfany re-initiation of hostilities, to providing humanitarian and refugee assistance. Each mission carries equal risk for a soldier. A specific, defined and limited objective is absolutely necessary to avoid dreaded "mission creep."
These should sound familiar too:
Bosnia raises a number of significant issues for Congressional consideration, which include:Like I said, a goldmine of "gotchas".
* Identifying the U.S. national security interests that are at stake;
* Determining the number of troops to be deployed, how long they will stay and conditions for withdrawal;
* Defining the mission, rules of engagement, and command structure;
* Allowing Russian participation in the peacekeeping operation;
* Understanding how such deployment will impact the U.S. military's ability to fulfill other national security objectives (e.g., the ability to fight two nearlysimultaneous major regional conflicts, as identified by the Clinton Administration);
* Analyzing the implications of troop deployment upon current policies toward Bosnia, (including: U.S. participation in enforcing No-Fly Zone; impact on the Administration's arms embargo policy);
* Paying for the military operation; and,
* Ensuring Congressional participation (e.g., from consultation to authorization).
Admiral Leighton Smith, NATO Commander in Southern Europe, had concerns, too:
What we all fear is that we'll get in there and suddenly the mission will change. Then you get into a whole new ball of wax where, sorry, guys, we're not going to be home for Christmas [of 1996]. Maybe Easter."
He needn't have worried about that.
But Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili demonstrated solidarity and resolve:
But he made clear the determination to keep U.S. troops in Bosnia "until mission is done, period," regardless of casualties.And former President George H.W. Bush did too:
"We need to be very clear that when we go into an operation like this, we must not fall into trap of saying after certain number of casualties we will leave, because that will just invite those who wish us harm or those who want us out of there to take us on as targets," he said.
The White House welcomed support for Clinton's Bosnia policy on two fronts. Former President George Bush urged Congress to support the deployment of U.S. troops even though Bush said he had questions about "what our troops are expected to accomplish, and about when they can get out and come home." In a statement issued by his office in Houston, Texas, Bush said, "What is clear, however, is that it is in our national interest to maintain the integrity of the United States' credibility in the world."Although months later some "progressives" would express outrage...
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton understands that Bush has some concerns about the deployment, but "the president is grateful that his predecessor has issued a statement expressing support for our troops and for American efforts in Bosnia."
...Clinton made the facile claim that we must send troops to Bosnia "because problems that start beyond our borders can quickly become problems within them." Among these problems, he cited "the spread of organized crime and weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking."...he didn't need it. And off we went, in early December, '95.
He made the commitment without Congressional approval.
"We had Christmas last night," said Army Capt. Tom Salo, a company commander in the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion who expects to be in Bosnia for the next year. "My wife and children, we sat down and exchanged gifts, had Christmas dinner. We didn't have much time."And though polls said "Most in U.S. oppose
Calling them "heroes for peace" Clinton got a roar of approval from the 11,000 troops at Smith Barracks when he told them they "may respond immediately and with decisive force" if they are even threatened with attack in the Balkans.
TUZLA, Bosnia--A cold wind from the hills blows through this war-ravaged city. Snow and ice are on their way, and for U.S. troops in this remote corner of Europe, so is another lonely winter far from home.Three years after that, Kosovo:
That wasn't supposed to be. When President Clinton sent U.S. troops to Bosnia last year, he said they would be home by this Christmas. But in a televised statement from the White House last month, the president said U.S. troops would be staying for at least one more year.
"Bosnia," said the president, "still reaps a bitter harvest of hatred" so the United States must stay to keep Bosnians from slaughtering one another once again.
Are we back in Vietnam?Now it's eight years later, and Clinton's promise is every bit as good as it was then. All done!
Saturday, May 15, 1999
By Dennis Roddy
WASHINGTON, May 15 -- The Pentagon announced yesterday that 12,000 American ground troops will be deployed to strife-torn Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping force.
A Defense spokesman said the 14,000 troops would be home by July 4.
"There's no reason to keep 16,000 Americans away from our shores any later than Labor Day," said the spokesman.
President Clinton yesterday said the deployment of the 17,000 troops is "strictly temporary."
The president also announced plans to join the troops for dinner on Thanksgiving.
While many of the soldiers already are stationed at U.S. bases in Germany and in Bosnia, the balance of the 25,000 will likely deploy from Dover Air Force base in Delaware and will return from Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia by Christmas.
The administration also renewed its pledge to withdraw remaining American troops in Bosnia by the end of this year. Originally, they were to be home by Christmas 1995, but an unforeseeable spread in the Yugoslav conflict from Bosnia to Kosovo complicated plans, the Pentagon said.
"With their own defenses now weakened and weapons supplies choked off, the Serbs would never take on 65,000 U.S. forces," Cohen said. "Clearly, a further widening of the Yugoslav conflict has been prevented because the administration has shown, once again, that it can keep its word."
llinois Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate for the White House, told reporters the measure includes some of the key provisions of a bill he introduced earlier this year setting a March 31, 2008, target for withdrawal. "It expresses the central insight that we can't have our troops policing a civil war,"
I seem to remember 250+ thousands troops in Europe policing a civil war between Western Europeans and Eastern Europeans...and then there are all those troops in Korea...policing a civil war there. We also still have troops in Kosovo, policing a civil war there.
I think what Senator Obama meant to say is that we can't police a civil war involving brown people.
Does this mean I have to go to a rehabilitation center to get my mind right?
Being suspicious of someone who had legally changed his name to "Hassan, the Father of Jihaad" would be profiling, and that's just wrong.
A good question from The Counterterrorism Blog:
Abujihaad allegedly communicated with Ahmad while he was an enlisted Navy man with a "Secret" security clearance after the September 11 attacks. This raises questions in my mind whether the U.S. armed forces have sufficiently reviewed and revised their procedures for granting and renewing security clearances for active duty personnel.
Political correctness is the enemy here.
via Reuters and Human Rights Watch (Yes mom...I washed after linking to Human Rights Watch)
(New York, March 9, 2007) The Vietnamese government, emboldened by international recognition after joining the World Trade Organization and hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, is flouting its international commitments on human rights by launching one of the worst crackdowns on peaceful dissidents in 20 years, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch sharply condemned the recent arrests of two outspoken human rights lawyers and a dissident Catholic priest.
So much for the theory that things worked out for the Vietnamese in the end.
Here's a one-question, history quiz (or perhaps 'reminder' is a better term): Many have criticized the government of Iraq for failing to secure Baghdad. How long has that government been in power?
Answer: About 9 months. The government formed in May, 2006.
World leaders have been paying broad tribute to the formation of the first full-term government since the 2003 invasion.A few months before, in the wake of the Samarra Shrine bombing, the New York Times predicted it wouldn't happen.
The unity government comprises members of the main Shia, Kurd and Sunni parties who have ended months of wrangling since elections in December.
On February 24, as U.S. media hysteria reached it's peak in the wake of the shrine bombing in Iraq, the New York Times declared in a banner headline that More Clashes Shake Iraq; Political Talks Are in Ruins. Not jeopardized, not threatened, but ruined. All hopes dashed, over, fini, kaput. Stick a fork in it. The Iraqi Consensus Front, a key Sunni Arab political bloc, had pulled out of talks to form a government with the Shiite and Kurdish parties. According to the Times, civil war was looming - perhaps had even begun.Forty-eight hours later:
Leaders of the main Sunni Arab political bloc have decided to return to suspended talks over the formation of a new government, the top Sunni negotiator said Sunday.Nine months.
But f$%# 'em, let's quit.All done!
The Navy says thanks, but no thanks:
Navy rejects pair who had offer of reduced sentences to enlist
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has turned down two 19-year-old men who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after a Pennsylvania judge offered to drop probation from their sentence to help them enlist.
Chris Jabco and Eric Smith faced probation, community service and restitution in connection with the shooting of a cow considered a family pet by its owners.
Two 19-year-olds facing probation and community service or even jail time in the shooting of a steer considered a family pet took advantage of another option offered by the judge - joining the Navy.
Chris Jabco and Eric Smith, both from Bellefonte, had pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit cruelty to animals and two summary violations in the shooting of the $3,500 Scottish Highland steer.
The two were drinking Sept. 17 and drove through Spring Township with another man in search of deer to poach, culminating in the shooting of the steer, authorities said. The pair reached a deal with prosecutors, who recommended two years' probation and at least five hours of community service.
But Centre County Court Judge Bradley P. Lunsford said the case warranted more than probation. He noted the pain caused to the animal's owner and said Jabco and Smith had been drinking and driving around looking for something to kill. Their actions, he said, "were premeditated, senseless, and your motivations were evil."
The judge said they could spend 48 hours in jail, two years on probation, and 100 hours caring for animals on a farm; avoid jail time but spend 200 hours on the farm and remain on probation for two years; or enlist in the military.
But when Jabco and Smith tried to enlist, they were told they were ineligible, said Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Hudson, a spokesman for the Navy Recruiting District Pittsburgh.No word yet from the American Dairy Association. All done!
“According to Commander Navy Recruiting Command Instruction 1130.8G Chapter 2 Section 02-02-08, no individual may enlist in the military service as a deferment of civil punishment,” Hudson said in a Tuesday e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
[Jabco and Smith's attorney Jim] Bryant said the military would be a “Godsend” for his clients, who will now have to work on a dairy farm as part of their sentence.
I don't want to get too far ahead - but when I doubt my instincts (wrong now and then.....) on Iraq, I often turn to Mohammed and Omar at Iraq the Model. Mohammed has a bit on OpinionJournal that needs to be read.
We need a couple of months, at least, until we start talking trendlines - and there are the known unknowns and unknown unknowns out there - but if you are looking for something to urge you on - those things are starting to be seen in Baghdad.
Checkpoints are not seen as scary threats to the innocent. They look more professional and impartial as they include members of the police, army, multinational forces and even traffic cops with laptops verifying registration papers. We've lost the fear that checkpoints might be traps set by death squads; they search everyone, even official convoys and ambulances.
We feel safer about moving in the city now, and politicians who used to hide behind the walls of the Green Zone are venturing out. Watching Mr. Maliki walking on Palestine Street in central Baghdad gave a positive impression that the state, and not the gangs, owns the streets.
It is true that not all of Baghdad has seen the same amount of progress, but we realize that patience is necessary. People do not complain about delays at checkpoints but instead say they'd like to see stricter inspection.
Military-wise, the results are not humble either; hundreds of militants have been killed, more hundreds arrested, and dozens of weapons caches discovered and destroyed. The frequency of attacks has declined drastically, and the terrifying scene of bullet-riddled bodies has become a rarer incident.
Our people want to see this effort succeed. We know it's not going to be an easy fight. Rescuing all of Baghdad's districts from the grip of militants and terrorists will require sacrifice and hard work. We hope the troops and the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve.
WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday proposed legislation that would bring American combat troops out of Iraq by August 2008 at the latest.
Shouldn't we be focusing on getting out of another quagmire first?
BELGRADE (Reuters) - "We've got to get you out of here," President George W. Bush told the U.S. Army commander in Kosovo in 2001.
Six years on, U.S. peacekeepers are still in place and a summit of Serb and Kosovo Albanian leaders in Vienna on Saturday will lead to no instant exit from the southern Serbian province.
We still have forces in Western Europe after 60 years. Many will say the purpose of those forces was to oppose the Soviet menace...but another purpose was to keep the endlessly warring tribes of Europe from starting yet another major conflict that the US would get sucked into.
Once the horrific violence in Iraq is finally brought under control...some sort of stabilization force is going to be needed for a long time. Talk of zeroing out the forces in 18 months is well beyond unrealistic.
22 years ago today, I enlisted into the ILARNG as an infantryman in the CSC 2/130th. It's been an experience ever since...
...on Ramadi (and other things) from a milblogger who was recently there. Lots of good stuff in his archives, too - an Iraq tour blogged in full. And unless I'm mistaken, he's half of a husband/wife team too. Here's the other half.
(Thanks to my own better half, who's long overdue return to blogging has re-opened my door to such fine folks.)
Federal agents seized four F-14 Tomcat fighters in San Bernardino County on Tuesday — three from airplane museums — after investigators determined that the jets were not demilitarized and were improperly sold or transferred to private companies, including the producer of the TV show "JAG," authorities said.
On Tuesday, customs agents and officials with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service seized two of the fighters from the Yanks Air Museum and one from the Planes of Fame air museum, both at the Chino Airport. Investigators learned about the F-14s during an undercover sting operation when they were investigating the potential sale of jet fighter parts to Iran, according to the affidavit.All done!
A fourth jet, originally acquired by the producers of "JAG," was seized from an airport in Victorville, where it was housed. The plane is owned by an El Mirage aviation company.
"The investigation has not uncovered any evidence that these planes have been plundered for parts by people with nefarious motives," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE, "but the fact that they were not properly demilitarized certainly presents a potential vulnerability."
Federal officials fear that parts from any decommissioned F-14 could find their way onto the worldwide black market, Barnett stated in his affidavit, adding that "Iran is the only nation to still have the F-14 in its active fleet."
I also noticed the other day that Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins SAIS was asked to be Sec'y Rice's counselor over at State. Cohen's got a son in the Marines, a book (Supreme Command) that was very good, and was a vocal critic in 2005-2006 of administration actions.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but "abu" denotes "father of", making Hassan the "father of jihaad".
Since he's "also known as Paul R. Hall" I'm going to guess he changed his name for some reason. I'm sure it won't hurt his defense (especially if he can actually have young Jihaad in the court room), but he may have chosen poorly.
He may have chosen his friends poorly, too:
Abujihaad, who is also known as Paul R. Hall, is charged in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist arrested in 2004 and accused of running Web sites to raise money for terrorism. Ahmad is scheduled to be extradited to the U.S. to face trial.Lot's more here, including the fact that Abujihaad was Abujihaad before he left the Navy:
During a search of Ahmad's computers, investigators discovered files containing classified information about the positions of U.S. Navy ships and discussing their susceptibility to attack.
Abujihaad, a former enlisted man, exchanged e-mails with Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, according to an affidavit released Wednesday. He allegedly purchased videos promoting violent jihad, or holy war.
In those e-mails, Abujihaad discussed naval military briefings and praised those who attacked the USS Cole in 2000, according to the affidavit by FBI Agent David Dillon.
Ahmad was arrested in 2004 but the case against Abujihaad apparently received a boost in December following the arrest of Derrick Shareef, 22, of Genoa, Ill., near Chicago, who was accused of planning to use hand grenades to attack holiday shoppers at a mall.
According to documents filed with the court and statements made in court, the criminal complaint against Abujihaad alleges that, in 2001, Abujihaad provided the battle group information to Azzam Publications. The complaint alleges that search warrants executed upon the various email accounts associated with the Azzam websites recovered several email exchanges from late 2000 to late 2001 between members of Azzam Publications and Abujihaad while Abujihaad was an enlistee in the United States Navy on active duty in the Middle East and stationed aboard the U.S.S. Benfold, one of the ships in the battle group whose movements were disclosed.No bearing on the case, but all this went on before the invasion of Iraq - pre-9/11, even.
Recovered emails between Abujihaad and Azzam Publications included discussions regarding videos Abujihaad ordered from Azzam Publications that promoted violent jihad, a small donation of money Abujihaad made to Azzam Publications; and whether it was "safe" to send materials to Abujihaad at his military address onboard the U.S.S. Benfold.
The complaint further alleges that, during another email exchange with Azzam Publications, Abujihaad described a recent force protection briefing given aboard his ship, voiced enmity toward America, praised Usama bin Laden and the mujahideen, praised the October 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole - which Abujihaad described as a "martyrdom operation," - and advised the members of Azzam Publications that such tactics were working and taking their toll. The email response from Azzam Publications encouraged Abujihaad to "keep up... the psychological warefare [sic]."
The complaint further alleges that, during the searches executed on the email accounts that were associated with administering the Azzam websites, Abujihaad's contact information - specifically, his email@example.com email account - was found in the possession of the members of Azzam Publications.
In approximately January 2002, before the alleged conduct was discovered, Abujihaad was discharged from active duty from the United States Navy.All done!
If convicted of both charges, Abujihaad faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq. President Bush nominated Crocker to succeed the current ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, in a shuffle of advisers announced in January ahead of his latest Iraq strategy.Today:
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have tentatively settled on a timetable and conditions for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, which they hope to attach to a $100 billion Iraq war spending bill, senior lawmakers said on Wednesday. The lawmakers said they hoped to win approval of the plan by the House Appropriations Committee next week.
The full job title is pretty damned impressive. From the Congressional Record:
Executive nomination confirmed by
the Senate Tuesday, March 6, 2007:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
RYAN C. CROCKER, OF WASHINGTON, A CAREER MEMBER
OF THE SENIOR FOREIGN SERVICE WITH THE RANK
PERSONAL RANK OF CAREER AMBASSADOR, TO BE AMBASSADOR
EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE REPUBLIC OF
THE ABOVE NOMINATION WAS APPROVED SUBJECT TO
THE NOMINEE’S COMMITMENT TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS
TO APPEAR AND TESTIFY BEFORE ANY DULY
CONSTITUTED COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE.
An on-going terrorism investigation has apparently netted a former surface Sailor:
A former Navy sailor was arrested on terrorism charges Wednesday for alleging mishandling classified information that ended up in the hands of a suspected terrorism financier.Another case of the stupid being punished...
Hassan Abujihaad, 31, of Phoenix, was arrested in a case that began in Connecticut and has stretched across the country and into Europe and the Middle East...
...Abujihaad, a former enlisted man, exchanged e-mails with Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, according to an affidavit released Wednesday. He allegedly purchased videos promoting violent jihad.
The documents retrieved from Ahmad show drawings of Navy battle groups and discuss upcoming missions. They also say the battle group could be attacked using small weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades. The ships were never attacked.
Jordan's King Abdullah spoke to Congress about the Middle East (what else?)...
In a room with a number of pro-Israeli politicians, the king devoted his speech to discussing an end to the conflict in the Middle East, but he focused primarily on the needs of the Palestinians and suggested that Israel was holding up the peace process.
At no point did he discuss the role of Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group that is the majority partner in the Palestinian government. Hamas has refused to recognize Israel or change its charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he was "disappointed" in the king for not mentioning the "principle undermining factor in getting to peace," namely, Palestinian terrorist organizations, as well as Hezbollah and Al Qaeda.
At two points in his speech, Abdullah spoke of how peace would also help Israel to be part of the regional neighborhood and free of suicide bombers, but the king offered no substantive advice on how to make it happen, saying only that it's the moral imperative of the United States to take the lead.
So now we have the "moral imperative" to bring "equality and respect and universal justice" to the region? Does the rest of the ME know this?? I presume this is the realm of damned if we do... damend if we don't school? I looked for the transcript of today's address to see if he even mentioned other areas of conflict -- perhaps Afghanistan or Iraq, but the transcript's not available yet...
Some brief thoughts and observations about Kapisa Province, which has been in the news due to civilian casualties.
On the Baghdad front, there are now 23 Joint Security Stations (JSS) open in Baghdad.... While about 35 to 40 JSS were planned initially, the concept has yielded positive results. The Iraqi government and Coalition are now planning on opening over 70 Joint Security Stations inside Baghdad.
Neighborhood policing works. Combining US, Iraqi Army, Iraqi National Police and Iraqi Local Police into a single police stations creates a strong framework that to guard against not only corruption in the Iraqi Security Forces,but more importantly, less than factual accusations of corruption.
The average Iraqi citizen desperately wants to be able to trust "Someone", if all the Security Forces are seen to be trusting each other, than maybe trusting the Joint Security Forces is the safest bet.All done!
LTG Kiley and BG Weightman showed us two very different flavors of Flag Officers at the Walter Reed hearings. As is my nature, I couldn't get over the Heisman like comments by LTG Kiley. When you read the WaPo story though, you come away feeling a lot of respect for BG Weightman.
Everyone from the Junior NCO to a senior FOGO should read and ponder when it is time to know your place in things - and the fact that your words mean things - even though something totally different may or may not be in your heart. No one knows what is in your heart - but they do know what comes out of your mouth. Nice, real-world lesson - methinks.
Watch out for these guys:
That's "Yeoman" on the left, and Zoltan on the right. They're two of the growing cast of characters in the ongoing "War Machine vs the Daffodil Princesses" saga. Yeoman looks like a wuss, but he's got a sling that launches epoxy studded with broken glass.
Speaking of comments, there's a YouTube video of the Seattle protest online. It's a pretty sad, despirited group, really - and in spite of the lack of a crowd, the cameraman fails to catch a single instance of the police actually making any of the four arrests . And if that's "several dozen" in the crowd, then 1.8 = "several".
But it only took one of them to shout this brilliant line at the troops: "Do not listen to your sergeant! He's a douche bag!"
Save up a quarter and buy a clue, dude.
FOUND on DC Indymedia, a post by "A":
Anti-authoritarian bloc on the 17th?
About the demo on March 17th:
People who are planning a black bloc, youth bloc, SDS bloc or something like that should announce it so more than 10 people can join in and make it worthwhile.
And this reply, by "dylan":
bring some paint so we can spray the wall.
For those who haven't been following along, the demo "A" refers to is ANSWER's "March on the Pentagon."
And the wall "dylan" wants to spray paint is the Vietnam Memorial.
B-roll footage from day two of joint operations in Sadr city (hat tip: the Mrs.)
It's actually pretty quiet. I hope it stays that way.
"Finally we feel there is security, it's better" said a man who brought his daughter outside to see the US soldiers.
- from an NBC News report from Sadr City.
Hardball host Chris Matthews is deeply concerned that the Walter Reed story might be hurting troop morale: "Is it clear that the people feel that we're letting them down at home?" He asked NBC anchor Brian Williams - who's in Iraq. Williams rather straightforwardly stated that's not the case. That discussion opened Williams' visit on Matthews' show, but the conversation then turned away from politics to Iraq. (You might be surprised at what followed.)
Today, the message that we`re prepared to report tonight on "NBC Nightly News" is this kind of tale of two wars.More. All done!
I`m fresh from, you know, weeks of putting together "NBC Nightly News" and televising this debate in Washington, a lot of members of Congress saying we should be out now.
And today, we literally airlift into a place like Ramadi, where they are so proud of the latest city block they say they have been able to "peacify." They have been able to forge an agreement with the local religious leaders and knock al Qaeda one city block further away from the center of town.
They are so involved in the battle. Many, many soldiers told me today the local people are so worried they`re going to leave cities like Ramadi and Hit. That`s the war they know.
And they say very politely, they can talk all they want in D.C.; we`ve got to enforce the policy, the job we`re here to do.
...a bit deeper into the article:
Joint operations by US and Iraqi forces, meanwhile, netted a group of senior Al-Qaeda linked insurgents, said the interior ministry operations director, Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf.The race to the tipping point...
Success against Al-Qaeda's Sunni militants came as security forces also put pressure on radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, probing his eastern Baghdad stronghold and targeting supporters.
So far, Sadr's men have stood aside during the three-week-old security operation, but Tuesday's attacks risk provoking his Shiite militants into carrying out reprisal attacks.
Khalaf told AFP that 29 Al-Qaeda members had been rounded up since Sunday in northern Iraq, including two brothers of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
I can accept that an Iraqi who attacks American troops - or violently opposes the government of Iraq - can correctly be called an insurgent. But applying the term to someone who slaughters religious pilgrims is wrong. (As is applying the term to non-Iraqis.)
But of course, if insurgents slaughter pilgrims, then when the U.S. leaves they will stop.
If the current Republican field of candidates is leaving you less than enthusiastic for the coming electoral battle of Hamburger Hillary, perhaps THIS may help give you hope.
Be sure and set aside at least 30 minutes to watch so as not to fall victim to the very public ADD symptomatic of American politics, an unfortunate trend that this lecture series was conceived to combat.
Should he decide to run, looks like I've found my candidate. And no, I don't mean Cuomo.
118 Shiite pilgrims slaughtered in Iraq 06/03/2007 18h53
©AFP - Ali YussefBAGHDAD (AFP) - Insurgents slaughtered at least 118 Shiite pilgrims in a surge of attacks across Iraq on Tuesday that included a double suicide bombing on a crowded street that claimed 90 lives.
AFP has finally described the violence correctly...now if they could describe those doing the SLAUGHTERING in appropriate terms, folks might understand.
A conviction for desertion.
Spc. Agustin Aguayo basically decided he was't going to go back to Iraq with his unit for "moral" reasons.
OK, and now he can spend up to 7 years contemplating that decision. In prison.
President Bush just arrived at The American Legion to speak. I'm live-blogging if you're interested.
General Forrest would approve.
Nato and Afghan forces have begun what they say is their largest offensive against the Taleban in the south.ACHILLES is its name. The spring offensive is its game. Watch close.
Operation Achilles will eventually involve more than 4,500 Nato troops and nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers in Helmand province, the alliance says.
Here's someone you might want to know.
I know I'll get an "amen" from the bubbleheads out there. It's a good article.
Updated via WaPo
TACOMA, Wash. -- Police arrested three people early Monday during a protest of Iraq-bound Army vehicles at a Washington state port.
Several dozen people showed up at the Port of Tacoma to protest the shipment of Stryker vehicles and other equipment from Fort Lewis. Caitlin Esworthy, Walter Cuddeford and Jeffery Berryhill were arrested for investigation of assault......Esworthy, Cuddeford and Berryhill were being held on $10,000 bail each at the Pierce County Jail.
The Seattle-Tacoma MSA is 3.2 Million people, more than 1% of the population of the US.
The mysterious disappearance of an Iranian general in Turkey in early February has led to speculation he either was kidnapped or defected.I wonder if he knows the secret to the supersonic torpedo?
Iran has reportedly asked Interpol to investigate the general's disappearance. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted by Iran's news agency today as saying that a foreign ministry official was currently in Turkey to investigate the disappearance and has asked the Turkish government "to inquire into the issue and give explanation on Asgari's whereabouts."
One respected analyst with sources in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard says Gen. Ali Reza Asgari has defected and is now in a European country with his entire family, where he is cooperating with the U.S.
But seriously folks,
The source, however, believes Asgari's disappearance was prompted by the detention of five Iranians after the raid on their government's liaison office in Irbil, Iraq in January. Asgari, 63, knew and may have worked with some of the detained men, said the analyst.All done!
Asgari's years with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian defense ministry would make him an invaluable source of information. He was reportedly based in Lebanon in the 1990s and was in charge of ties with the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.
Mike Yon, on the troops: "If their morale could be bottled, it would probably sell like crack, then be outlawed."
He's in Baghdad now.
Calling the Opinion Piece on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Page "The North Korean Climb Down" that leads with
Washington's most important person--the Anonymous Senior Official ("ASO")--was busy last week, briefing reporters on North Korea's uranium enrichment program.
Bolton lays a framework for his discussion on politicized intel:
The North's pursuit of nuclear weapons through uranium enrichment, an alternative to reprocessing plutonium from spent fuel at the Yongbyon reactor, constituted both a material breach of the 1994 Agreed Framework and an enormous challenge to the hope that it could ever be negotiated out of pursuing nuclear weapons. Based, however, on one public comment and much work by Mr./Ms. ASO, the media last week set about deconstructing a critical strategic concern underlying Bush administration Korea policy. According to their breathless reporting, yet another threat to America was disappearing, revealed as simply more intelligence hype from an administration that apparently did little else in its first term.
And asks a few core questions for us to ponder:
The reports raise three separate issues. First, what exactly is the intelligence judgment about North Korea's enrichment activities, and how valid was it in 2002? Second, what are the implications for the administration's ongoing negotiations with North Korea? And third, is Mr./Ms. ASO speaking for the Bush administration, or for those elements in the permanent bureaucracy that have consistently opposed key elements of the Bush foreign policy, at least as conducted until recently?
Go read this short piece... I'm looking forward to a more detailed read later this Fall
Mr. Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. and the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad," forthcoming this fall from Simon & Schuster.
Looks like a regular ship, but... it's a little different.
They saw Navy service as cargo ships, Normandy breakwaters and even as an ice cream parlor of sorts. Some are still being useful 60 years later.
Learn more about them here.
I love baseball. My pet theory is that if you are very good in this life, you get to play baseball all day every day in the next life and they don't care that you're a girl.
So I am hoping that this Marine's dream comes true:
PEORIA, Ariz. — One by one, more than 80 players seated on a back field of the Padres' spring training complex stood and gave their names and where they were last season.
"Jesus Lopez. Fort Wayne. Eugene."
Class-A teammates laughed and teased.
"Michael Johnson. Pittsburgh Pirates. Indianapolis."
The group welcomed Johnson into the organization.
Then a tall, broad-shouldered and tanned No. 40 stood.
"Cooper Brannan. United States Marine Corps."
Joined the Corps to do his duty and develop "the core values: honor, courage, commitment. I was able to achieve that in the Marine Corps."
A tour in Iraq, a malfunctioning grenade and the loss of part of his left hand hasn't stopped our Hero...
After being evacuated to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego for three follow-up surgeries, Brannan got married to Lindsay Marie Wagener. They now have a 3-week-old daughter, Brooke, and the family is staying two blocks from the Padres camp.
During his recovery, he began working on rekindling his love for baseball, a love he had sustained by having his parents mail gloves and baseballs to Iraq. He'd play catch with fellow Marines between shifts of three days patrolling, three days guarding and three days as the quick reaction force, ready to aid patrols under fire.
"It's a challenge," he said. "There was nothing really sugarcoated about my job."
He is currently stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and on full recovery duty status. He cannot sign a Padres contract until after May 31, the last day of his Marines commitment.
Until then, he is fulfilling the most amazing military order he can imagine.
"Once I got the offer to come out here, they gave me orders to come play baseball. Pretty good deal, huh?" Brannan said, beaming again. "It was awesome."
Yeah. AWESOME. So maybe some people get that chance to play baseball every day all day a little earlier than the rest of us... I sure hope Coop makes it to the Bigs... but if he doesn't, he's a major league success in my book already. OORAH. The whole story HERE.
It's almost as bad as the job title "Al Qaeda #2".
Hey, did anyone notice that WRAMC's Lieutenant General Kiley left too? To be replaced by Gen. Schoomaker?
(h/t Mullings, who understands the politics)
By the way, take a look at the Thomas White Wiki biography. It's pretty nastily portrayed; not exactly the vaunted "neutral point of view", especially when compared to some of the previous secretaries. This is probably because it's been uploaded by one person and not edited by anybody...
Update: The Lioness catches a detail: MGEN E. Schoomaker, not GEN P. Schoomaker.
The Mehdi army is not responding to the raids with fire, but they are trying to undermine the security plan by spreading rumors about alleged crimes committed by US soldiers, specifically against the Shia. The latest of these rumors was a ridiculous one I heard yesterday from a taxi driver from Sadr city. His story, quite similar to one told by a Sadr city council member, is that US soldiers are raiding Shia homes, arresting innocent civilians, and then dumping them at night near strongholds of Sunni insurgents, blindfolded and handcuffed so that the insurgents would find them defenseless and slaughter them!The race to the tipping point is certainly on.
Of course, this is nothing new. Rarely - but all too often, American soldiers have contributed greatly to the problem by actually committing crimes.
Other times they've been victims.
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.
Iraqi security forces are reporting that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda's political front organization the Islamic State of Iraq, has been captured in the northern city of Duluiya in Salahadin province
Usual caveats on first reports are frequently wrong apply.
This is War Machine:
These are the Daffodil Princesses:
I don't think War Machine has made any direct threat to the princesses yet. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, he's a good guy with an unfortunate name.) But if he does, perhaps the Daffodil Proncesses will win via sheer numbers. If not, you'll be sorry for ridiculing the heroes who stand ready to join the fray.
I'm going to link to these folks because I find them so completely out of touch with reality that they are humorous
Mar 03, 2007 19:22 Poeple are meeting at the Port of Tacoma at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine.
It was decided at the meeting held today in Tacoma that people should meet at the Port of Tacoma at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine.
It's not only possible but quite probabale we can delay or even stop the shipments from coming through Tacoma. All we need is a large presence. That was perhaps the most frustrating thing last year during the Port of Olympia protests: people were not there when we needed them the most. All we needed at one point was 100 people total to take non-violent direct action to stop the military convoys. We should really take advantage of the privaledge we have - if this were Iraq, we'd got shot from being even a mile away from a large US military presence.
If this were Saddams Iraq, the whole lot of you would be shot for even discussing disrupting a military convoy.
But we have another organizer discussing last years Olympia protest in different terms
Last year the military exported war and occupation through the Port of Olympia in broad daylight. The Olympia community responded with strong resistance. Fort Lewis was scared enough to avoid Olympia this year and has decided to export war through Tacoma instead, under the cover of darkness. Convoys of equipment began movement to the Tacoma after midnight early Friday morning.
So last year, fewer than 100 people went out to protest the Stryker deployment (The Seattle-Tacoma Area has 3.2 million residents) and the military is supposedly scared now.
The fact that the Port of Tacoma is larger and closer to Fort Lewis has apparently had nothing to do with the decision to deploy via the Port of Tacoma this year.
In any case, it looks like people had something better to due than protest the "War machine"
via Tacoma News Tribune
....The promenade was the beginning of the 2007 Daffodil Festival, and a sure sign that – never mind the weather – spring is near.
About 300 people attended the public debut for this year’s princesses. In coming weeks, princesses will judge a dog show, attend a pancake breakfast and wave to thousands in several parades.
"Before the United States came here, no one cared who was Sunni or Shia," Muhammad says, responding with candor to my query about his religious sect. "Everyone was Iraqi." He smile respectuflly, but his twitching facial muscles betray the bitterness in his heart and the tragedy he has endured.Well, yes.
Pardon Murdoc for his civilian middle-class whiteness, but isn't this just a bit like a Southern plantation owner saying, in 1866, that no one had cared if you were white or black in South Carolina until the Union came and messed everything up?
Fits well with an off-subject of the original post conversation Soldier's Dad and I were having in comments in a post below - so I'm stealing them:
Check my math -
27 Million Iraqis - 5 Million living in Kurdistan = 22 Million
323,000 ISF + 155,000 Coalition = 478,000
478K/22 Mil = 21.7 Security Forces/1,000 residents.
Generally accepted ratio to suppress a civil war - 20 Security Forces/1000 residents.
Once unity of forces is established...thru like a large scale exercise involving mixing all the forces into a single location with a single purpose..positive things should start happening.
Pretty hard to have a civil war if all the security forces are on the same team.
Posted by Soldier's Dad at 1819Z
You are correct. But we are - as always - at a crucial moment, the outcome hinging in critical balance. How many infiltrators does it take to destroy an Iraqi unit from within? How many to destroy the trust developing between an IA unit and the U.S. unit it is living with in a Baghdad outpost?All done!
The answer is that it depends on the leadership and men of both units.
How many suicide bombers does it take to shake the faith of a neighborhood in the capabilities of the coalition forces down the street?
How many false (or, God help us, real) atrocity charges from certain quarters does it take to turn those neighbors into suicide bombers themselves? (See recent rape claims against Shi'ia and Sunni responses for example.)
The race isn't to "victory" - the real race is to the "tipping point" beyond which victory is assured. Our tactics in this race are fairly straightforward, the enemy's are described in my questions above.
Posted by Greyhawk at 1838Z
... as soon as we get rocks from Vermont. Surely someone knows someone in Vermont who can collect two grapefruit-sized rocks and send them to this Gold Star Mother.
Okay, maybe I won't "go away," but at least I'll quit rock-blogging.
Considering the progress made thus far, it's worth remembering that up to now only one of the five American "surge" brigades has been operating in Baghdad.
That's about to change: 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division begins mission in Iraq
BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the Fort Riley based 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division completed their movement into Iraq this week. The arrival of this Brigade from Kuwait will assist Iraqi Security Forces in stemming sectarian violence and protecting its citizens.Although technically part of "the surge", the brigade is actually deploying as scheduled last year.
The brigade includes approximately 3,100 Soldiers.
Their mission will be to assist Iraqi Security Forces to clear, control and retain key areas of the capital city in order to reduce violence and to set the conditions for a transition to full Iraqi control of security in the city. This Brigade closed in country Feb.
“The brigade will play an important role in increasing the amount of pressure applied to insurgent groups conducting violent activity in Baghdad,” said Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. “The additional Soldiers will also allow the Iraqi’s to train their security forces to a level that will enable them to maintain security. It will allow their government to continue to mature.”
...goes to Charlie Rangell:
He called the war “morally wrong” and said “it goes even beyond the brutality of slavery and the lynchings.” At the same time, he said, Democratic leaders must be careful to carve out a consensus path.Rangell has been arguing for conscription of American men and women since the war began.
Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, is drafting an amendment that would allow financing only to protect American troops in Iraq pending a full withdrawal under a set timetable.Ms Lee was the "lone dissenting vote in Congress against the resolution authorizing the president to use force to respond to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." All done!
Assuming the supplemental bill is unsatisfactory to the caucus, war opponents are discussing whether to threaten to vote against it when it comes to a vote in the House floor in mid-March, unless the House leadership also permits a vote on the amendment from Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee said her goal was to shift the discussion to a “fully funded withdrawal” from “cutting off funding.”
“There’s a distinction between cutting off funding and using the funding to begin a speedy and secure withdrawal within a specific timeframe,” she said.
Thursday's battle in the village of Amiriya, just south of Fallujah, highlights the ongoing battle between the Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda in Anbar province. At least 50 al-Qaeda were killed and 80 captured in the largest battles between al-Qaeda and Iraqi police, Army and the Anbar Salvation Council in Anbar province this year.Read it all. Bill says (via email) "The media is barely scratching the surface on what is going on in Anbar."
But the full story, according to an American military officer and an American intelligence source, is that al-Qaeda in Iraq, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq, assembled several hundred fighters to attack a prominent leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the grouping of local tribes and Baathists, and former insurgents who now oppose al-Qaeda in Iraqi. The leader of the Anbar Salvation Council was to attend the funeral of one of those killed in last week's suicide bombing in Habbaniyah.
Coalition forces were setting up camp in Sadr City.
Under the agreement, the U.S. will open one of the joint security stations that are a prominent feature of the new Baghdad security plan, with American soldiers living alongside Iraqi forces in a police station just inside the impoverished neighborhood, said Rahim al-Daraji, one of Sadr City's two mayors.
While I understand the (misguided) sentiments behind it, this is wrong in about 20 different ways.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Carroll -- author and editor of War Letters and Behind the Lines while he was editing Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan & the Home Front for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Carroll has done much to preserve and publish the words of those who serve and -- in addition to his Project Legacy which is promoting the preservation of letters from our military as integral parts of the country's history and fiber -- he provides our military with copies of not only his works but many others through publishers. I have become aware that Andy Carroll has a new book out this week: Grace Under Fire: Letters of Faith in Times of War -- a collection of letters from service members from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terrorism... And I know we usually talk about rough, tough hard core stuff (and occasionally various animals) here... but appropriately for this Sunday morning, I'm talking about Faith in Time of War...
I cannot imagine that there are more heartfelt professions of Faith -- or a time of greater need of Faith -- than in time of war. In my own experience, after I cried me a river when Noah deployed, “I cried and begged God, His Mother and all the saints in Heaven to protect my son… and his new brothers.” And after my son would communicate with us, I would exuberantly "thank the Good Lord for the call and our son's continued safety.” Just hours after we heard from the Army that Noah had been wounded, I asked the blogsphere to "Please pray for my son." And the next day I told of how I busied myself the previous night and said, “Although this seems like a logical string of actions, in reality they are herky-jerky tasks strung together by time and episodes of gasping sobs and crying... and praying to God to please, please let our son be OK. I'm not really praying, I'm begging God to please spare my son. I'm bartering... I'm badgering...” Many hundreds of people left comments on that post principally with messages of prayers and Faith.
And when Noah’s friends Matt and then Jason Benford, and then Tommy, Tim, Jeff, Rich and Vince Summers were all killed within weeks of each other, I wrote about one of my many conversations with Noah while he tried to make sense of why them and not him, “I tried to gently talk with Noah about how there must be some greater Plan set in motion by God in all this -- that while he has been wounded, he is about the lone survivor of his original Bradley crew and perhaps he was spared because there is a task he has been chosen for ‑‑ even if he can not see it at this moment... He says he knows that God has both a left and a right hand and says he's pretty tired of the Left hand..."
More... and excerpts from Grace Under Fire at Some Soldier's Mom
I say we issue our wounded soldiers and their families the same benefits members of Congress get... and treat them at the same facilities... a daily reminder to our Congress of those who are TRULY important to America... a little humility never hurt any member of either house of congress...Lessons in REAL courage wouldn't hurt our elected members either...
Why don't we just issue our returning Soldiers the same Health Insurance Card and Disability benefits that a Microsoft or Boeing employee would get. No saisfaction at Walter Reed...hike out to the Mayo Clinic and flash that Platinum Health Insurance Card.
The Pentagon Channel (and by the way, this is seen on satellite TV by troops overseas, inlcuding Iraq and Afghanistan) reports on the Walter Reed stories, including the "resignation" of Army Secretary Harvey.
Also of interest: the "commercial message" regarding speaking to the press that precedes the report. While the broadcast (Armed Forces Network) version of Pentagon Channel programming includes these "commercials", this is the first time I've seen one on the web feed.
Under the national hydrocarbon law approved this week by Iraq's Council of Ministers, oil will serve as a vehicle to unify Iraq and will give all Iraqis a shared stake in their country's future. This is a significant achievement for Iraqis' national reconciliation. It demonstrates that the leaders of Iraq's principal communities can pull together to peacefully resolve difficult issues of national importance.The bad guys know this too.
Resolving concerns about control of oil is central to overcoming internal divisions in Iraq. The country has the third-largest oil reserves in the world, and more than 90 percent of federal income comes from oil revenue. The effective and equitable management of these resources is critical to economic growth as well as to developing a greater sense of shared purpose among Iraqi communities.
The goal of Iraq's leaders was to draft a law that ensured that all Iraqis could be confident they would receive their fair share of the benefits of developing the country's resources, that the revenue from oil and gas would enable a decentralization of power while maintaining national unity, and that Iraq would adopt the best international practices for the development and management of its mineral wealth. By these standards, the hydrocarbon law is a great success.
Just got this email. Some of you may have noticed already, but.....
Oops!!!! Unbeknownest to us, the WGN telecast is a week behind and today's show is about a family from Gastonia North Carolina, and the show with Jeff and Kat Orr, will therefore, be next Sat. 3/10 at noon on WGN. However, if one checks the HOMETEAM web site, you have up in the post there is a map which will show a local affiliate (not all areas have local affiliate) that carries the show on Jeff and Kat this week. Otherwise, folks will be able to see it on WGN at noon next week 3/10/07.
Original post here.
I agree that it's not a bad idea.
But it could become one without some modification, because execution is everything. Here's my countersuggestion:
--It's not just moms. Spouses and families are affected, too.
--Wounded who are back on line know as well as anyone. Get some involved.
--Nothing will happen without execution. Get people who know how to make things happen.
--Make the panel small and mobile; make a team responsible to make the results.
--Keep the panel from getting hijacked (Remember the Baker Opinion Group--I mean the Iraq Study Group? Remember the leftist 9/11 widows who appear as representative of all?) and ensure it's got credibility amongst those who would disagree with results.
--Build some structure such that this won't happen the same way again. Bethesda, like any big place, has good and bad. So does Tripler. What's the minimum bad, and how does that level never get reached?
--What mechanism makes it so that five years from now the wounded serviceman gets attention?
--What mechanism make it so that support is still there when nobody cares on TV any more?
With every crisis comes opportunity. This would be a good time for a staffer somewhere in Congress to note what Soldier's Angels is doing, and mandate federal funds so that if a guy gets his uniform cut off he doesn't pay for the replacement, or if a guy can't type a Valour-IT machine is issued without donations. It's a good time for DoD policy for medevaced wounded to have clothing and kit available in the medevac location. Volunteers add an essential component--but this is a good opportunity to shift the funding burden from volunteers to the nation that put the wounded at risk.
When media coverage turns to attacks on political figures over this issue, said media reveals where their true priorities lie. An awful lot of congressional types from both sides of the aisle probably feel a bit "uncomfortable" over the Walter Reed issue these days. While I think it would be worth it to throw them all out and replace them (Jack Murtha would be first to go, so the temptation to demand scalps in the political arena is great indeed) I don't think that much of the blame rests quite so directly on their shoulders. But ironically, I suspect that through their actions over the next few weeks congress will find a way to exacerbate the problem.
While volunteers could probably fix the structural defects in building 18 in less time than it took the WaPo reporters to research and write the story, that's not how "the system" works, and that of course, is the real problem after all. In medical terms, that's the cancer of which peeling paint and leaking roofs are a symptom. Personally I'd like to see those macro-problems and their symptoms fixed, quickly, and not used as a political lever (or bludgeon) - but what are the odds of that? Instead I see 17 new layers of bureaucracy coming, and none of it helpful. (And eventually, long after the press goes home, some distant, slack-jawed cousin-in-law of Jack Murtha's showing up with a million-dollar contract, a can of paint and some spackle and a demand for brushes, putty knives, and a shop steward...)
Honestly I think the mom idea is our only hope.
You'd see a remarkable shift in perspective if Ed Wong were to use these guys as his "stringers" (or at least "sources") in Iraq rather than the terrorist-associated Association of Muslim Scholars he's relied on for years. Since many key members of that group have now fled Iraq, perhaps that's not too far-fetched.
I realize the building 18 situation is getting a lot of attention here, but it is also a good springboard to identify and describe some leadership issues. Like, say, this one (bad word alert).
Florida congressman aren't doing themselves any public affairs favors this month.
The Swiss army is not renowned for its aggressive expeditionary adventures - but it does appear to have accidentally invaded Liechtenstein. According to the Swiss daily Blick, around 170 infantry soldiers from the famously neutral country wandered more than a mile across the unmarked border with the tiny principality.
The incident happened yesterday morning and the Swiss troops turned back - probably slightly sheepishly - after they realised their mistake.
By the way, while it's easy to make fun of the Swiss Army for the blunder, they do have one badass Air Force.
Jason van Steenwyk's got the news. It's infuriating. The LA Times' Rosa Brooks, in complaining about an event with a panel called "The Left's Repeated Campaign Against The American Soldier", managed to smear a Medal of Honor winner.
On a more serious note, we (the vast majority of JAGs) don't write the SROE. We advise on them. And the SROE doesn't say that soldiers lack the right to self-defense. They retain that right. The "change," such as it is, states that the right of self defense can be somewhat limited, only after approval from SecDef, by commanders, typically on behalf of unit self-defense.
The ROE are simply how the commander wants to fight.
"Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." is an example of an ROE AND a limitation on a soldier's right to self-defense.
As to the rest of the article, it's very poorly written and I honestly had a bit of trouble grasping the various objections.
Could a soldier who fires in self-defense face prosecution? Yes that's a possibility. The prosecution would most likely be based on failure to obey a lawful order however. Example: A soldier fires BEFORE he sees "the whites of their eyes." He could do so under the theory of self-defense, but could be disciplined for failure to obey that lawful order.
As to the example given of a speeding car to a checkpoint. The author attempts to argue that "under traditional rules" soldiers could have fired on that car. They can do so under the current SROE as well. If a commander wants to say "You will not fire until you have a positive ID"--they can do that. Bad idea? Maybe. Maybe not.
But commanders have been setting such limitations since the dawn of warfare. And have been doing so long before JAGs (or their ancient equivalent) existed.
**UPDATE** Halftime. 39-40 Winthrop. I am a nervous wreck. Can't sit still. It's going to come down to the bench and endurance, I think we're playing on pure heart and adrenaline right now. So proud of these cadets, what a fight.
The OPFOR bloggers, every stinkin' one of em, are VMI men. That's why we're so psyched about about today's nationally televised Big South Championship on ESPN:
When it came to naming serious contenders for the Big South men's basketball tournament title, VMI probably didn't make the list.
But now, only two teams are left -- and one of those is the Keydets.
Despite its unlikely postseason run so far, VMI has been afforded no chance whatsoever by those in the know to unseat top-seeded and homestanding Winthrop in the Big South Conference championship game at 2p.m. today. Mighty Winthrop (27-4) has won more games than any previous Eagles team -- for that matter, any Big South team ever -- carries a 17-game winning streak into today's ESPN-televised tilt. As far as VMI folks are concerned, what else is new? They've been playing the underdog card at the Lexington military school since it sent 13-year-old cadets to do battle with Yankee regulars 143 years ago.
New Market. We won that battle, by the way.
Seriously. I couldn't sleep last night. That excited.
The story goes beyond a mere post-season championship run. Before the season kicked off, two of our starters were "drummed out" for honor offenses. The coaching staff decided that desperate times call for desperate measures, and instituted a throttled up, shoot, shoot, shoot offense. The result: the lowly Keydets, universally ranked last in just about every preseason coaches/media poll, now leads the nation in scoring and has a stab at their first NCAA Tourney bid since 1975.
Yeah, this is a big deal.
2pm Eastern on ESPN. I hope you all (even Smash...no, ESPECIALLY Smash) join me in cheering on this year's college hoops Cinderella.
A long time reader sent a note this morning.
John, When we write about heads rolling, the MedHold 1SGT and the hospital commander are on the short list for relief. That has happened, fine, deservedly so.
But the Secretary of the Army? He wasn't relieved, he quit, he took the easy way out, he RAN from the responsibility of fixing the problems.
The US Military is controlled by the civilian government of the United States. The Constitution is pretty clear on this. For the SecArmy to quit is to put into disarray all of our protections and controls. He cannot be replaced, immediately, by another Secretary.
Anyone of the undersecretaries will be called the "Acting" SecArmy. In the Army, when a commander is relieved, then the next guy there is the full-time commander. It might be a short time frame, but he IS the commander.
So Harvey quitting, no matter how Gates requested, hinted, asked, or ordered it, is to toss civilian control of the Army into a tailspin.
Harvey took the easy, even cowardly way out of a hot spot. He is refusing to fix the problems, to stand up, take the heat and soldier on.
My disgust is near debilitating.
I disagree. I understand not being happy with Harvey if he asked to quit, and is indeed running from his responsibilities. However, if that's the case, good riddance to someone who was just not up to the job, and better he leave.
I suspect, however, based on Gate's very specific statement, "I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed," that Harvey was told to quit, rather than get publicly fired.
There is also a tradition of people in that position, it being clear that they screwed up beyond belief or political tolerance, of offering to resign to clear the air for a new start.
The reality is, when Harvey relieved MG Weightman, who'd been in command for months, and replaced him with his predecessor, the guy who'd been in command there for years, under whose watch *all* of these problems existed and were not addressed, he set himself up for getting canned, if only for colossal cluelessness.
I don't see how this damages the concept of civilian control. One of the Deputies will fill the role as a temp, a new Secretary will be nominated, and the Republic and the Service will tottle on down the road as it has. On a purely practical note, when the position of Secretary of Defense was created, with the Service secretaries subordinate to that position, the impact and scope of the service secretaries was reduced to supervising the production of their service budget requests and the execution of the current budget anyway.
But the essential underlying premise of democratic government is that there are no indispensable people. Good thing it's true, too - seeing as how Arlington Cemetery is full of otherwise indispensable people and the Republic still stands, the opinion of the far left and right notwithstanding.
Now if the Generals had come out in public and demanded the removal/resignation of Dr. Harvey - we would be in complete agreement, no questions, that the concept of civilian control was in jeopardy.
But when the Secretary of Defense calls the Secretary of the Army in and says "Dude, you've lost my confidence, what *were* you thinking? It's time for you to move on, and I'd like your resignation on my desk before you leave my office, please" that is the quintessential expression of civilian control, and exactly how things should go, as I see it.
Your concern of "Army leadership in a tailspin" is perhaps more aptly raised in the context of how long does it take to nominate and confirm his successor? Certainly if the position is left vacant for a long period of time during the budget build, and decisions deferred until the new Secretary takes office, there will be short-term damage to some aspects of Army operations, now and in the budget being POM'd.
From another angle - sometimes firing the coach is the best way to fix the team, even when the coach isn't a bad person, or even a bad coach in most aspects. But if he can't lead the team and get it done - then it's time to bring in someone new.
All in all, I'm thinking the Army can use the shake-up in the senior ranks. Even in wartime. Perhaps especially in wartime, where we should perhaps be a little more results-oriented than we seem to have been thus far. I'm still waiting for something similar to happen over the still-fargled pay system. And other things.
An unhappy ex-JAG complains about ROE.
One expert told me that soldiers who act in self-defense could even face prosecution. He defends the new rules, claiming that troops "use self-defense too much in order to escape liability." It is one thing to say that a soldier should not fire wantonly or without cause, but it is quite another to say that soldiers may not defend themselves when facing an imminent threat of death or serious injury.
Another JAG officer told me of "statistics" and "studies" showing that soldiers in Iraq have itchy trigger fingers. Yet when I asked for the studies to support these statistics, none were provided. Several JAG officers expressed concern that CNN (yes, they mention that network by name) would report too much carnage if the restrictions did not exist.
This is some blunt talk from the boss. Emphasis mine:
Second, later today the Army will name a new permanent commander for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This flagship institution must have its new leadership in place as quickly as possible.
I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed. Some have shown too much defensiveness and have not shown enough focus on digging into and addressing the problems.
Also, I am concerned that some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care. And that addressing their concerns about the quality of their outpatient experience is critically important. Our wounded soldiers and their families have sacrificed much and they deserve the best we can offer.
Finally, I want to reaffirm my confidence in the staff at Walter Reed and their professionalism and dedication to providing caring treatment. From what I have learned, the problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership. The Walter Reed doctors, nurses and other staff are among the best and most caring in the world. They deserve our continued deepest thanks and strongest support.
So I posted yesterday that I was extremely disappointed that the "Blue Ribbon Panel" did not include at least one mother of a wounded soldier or marine... but then a friend brought to my attention the most recent Joe Galloway article on this HERE
One reader e-mailed me this week to suggest that if we really want to get to the bottom of this scandal, we should appoint an investigative commission made up of 10 mothers of wounded soldiers instead of the usual suspects who sit on blue-ribbon commissions and find no one responsible for problems.
The mothers, the reader wrote, would sort out who was to blame in short order and find the problems that need fixing even faster. I second her motion.
and to that I might add and that they would spend half the money to fix what's wrong than the guys wearing those blue ribbons...
I haven't always agreed with Galloway in some of his more recent tirades and pronouncements, but I think his outrage this time is warranted... but again, lots of finger pointing and breast beating by the press without a lot of tangible suggestions for change...
You know we'll all be watching this closely
Defense Secretary Robert Gates accepted the resignation of Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey on Friday amid a scandal over the quality of care given to injured troops recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
"The problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership," Gates said at the Pentagon.
Gates announcement came on the same day that President Bush ordered a comprehensive review Friday of conditions at the nation's military and veteran hospitals.
When I originally put out the call, you responded. We still need rocks from four states. Those are Arkansas, North Dakota, Vermont and Oklahoma.
Thanks to everyone who agreed to send rocks. Please be sure they are in the mail very soon so they can be received, indexed and ready for the ceremony on April 1.
Caught a moment of a televised press conference with Alabama Governor Bob Riley, responding to reporters' questions on the tornado deaths in Enterprise, near Ft Rucker. Based on the questions I'm hearing, the press seems to be looking for an angle on lack of preparation or response, of course, and perhaps someone to blame for the disaster. (Think Katrina.)
One question, unintelligible, was on the military's response. The governor praised that effort, adding that he told President Bush: "You need to compliment the people of Ft. Rucker, they were true lifesavers in every sense of the word."
Will link the resulting news stories when they're available.
I suspect the media - in spite of vigorous denials by the administration - is trying to portray the US as on the brink of war with Iran. This allows Democrats - and Hillary Clinton in particular - to vociferously oppose this non-existent war.Today:
Fearing that President Bush may be preparing to launch a military strike against Iran, Senate Democrats are drafting legislation that would require the White House to seek congressional approval before any such action.There's probably no better time than now for other despotic regimes to demand equal (and equally pointless) consideration from the U.S. Congress.
If not good news exactly, Victor Davis Hanson today finds hope, writing at National Review Online. Hanson reviews the true history of how we are where we are in Iraq.
Hanson’s chronicle charts what he labels landmines lying about, always ready to explode. Many did, thanks to too many careless forays down pathways of ambivalence, neglect, and hypocrisy.
Looks like Day by Day creator Chris Muir is back from Iraq and doing new strips:
An early report on the Baghdad strategy from Dave Kilcullen starts thusly:
The war has been going for nearly four years, the current strategy less than four weeks. We need to give it time....includes this:
...insurgent tactics are driven by the need to make a media splash, and nothing does this better than a big bomb. So the enemy will cling to this method as long as the news media reward it....and concludes approximately here:
The one thing we must not do is to confuse the real country of Iraq, where there is a real war, a real population, and a real obligation to protect them, with the parallel-universe "quagmire Iraq" of popular imagination.In between are the details, which you'll find here.
(If you don't know why Kilcullen's opinion matters, read this.)
Update: Yet another report:
Today’s Guardian article (“Military Chiefs Give US Six Months to Win Iraq War”) misrepresents the Baghdad advisers. So much so, it makes me doubt the reliability of the single, unidentified source responsible for much of the article’s reporting.
I hope SWJ colleagues will forgive this more "personal" post than usual, but as Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser I have a duty to set the record straight on this.
Watching sausage making can be very ugly.
House Democratic leaders will add nearly $4 billion for farmers to a bill funding military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to attract conservative Democrats concerned that the measure would wrongly constrict President Bush’s power as commander in chief.$4 billion can buy a lot of kit. A lot of corn. A lot of pork. Sigh.
Ralph Nader voters are not as scarce in the Army as you might think. I've actually met two in previous trips to Iraq. Spc. Linsay Burnett was the third. But that was just the beginning. Burnett, a 2003 graduate of the College of William & Mary, is probably the least likely soldier I have ever met. What caught my attention was that she was reading Johnny Got His Gun, a classic antiwar novel of World War I. Then it turned out that she was a Nader supporter, vegetarian, labor organizer, founder of an Amnesty International chapter, and former war protester. Not the typical model of a modern soldier.But like Jonathan Hutto, Burnett joined the Army after the invasion of Iraq. I suppose it's possible she simply didn't heed John Kerrry's warning about studying hard, but regardless of whatever led her to seek a career as an enlisted troop in the Army, ("Curiously, she didn't think very much about deploying to Iraq when she enlisted in February 2004. She needed a job and health insurance; the Army offered both. So she signed up for Army public affairs and broadcast communications") she's now touting Appeal for Redress in the New York Times.
“There is a sense of betrayal,” said Specialist Linsay Burnett, 26, who recently returned from Iraq with the First Brigade combat team of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. The division is readying for its third deployment.Apparently few authentic voices - at least, the New York Times can't find them. All done!
“These soldiers stand up to fight, to protect their country, but we are now on the fifth reason as to why it is we are in Iraq,” added Specialist Burnett, who has served as a public affairs specialist and as a military journalist focusing primarily on the infantry. “How many reasons are we going to come up with for keeping us over there?”
“The Army has many ways to make your life very difficult,” Specialist Burnett said, adding that she had come forward largely because “there are not many voices out there for the men on the ground.”
We talked with Col. David Enyeart, Deputy Commander of Task Force Phoenix, the command dedicated to training the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.
Col. Enyeart talks about addressing corruption, the much-anticipated Taliban spring offensive (which he calls "make or break for the Taliban") addressing corruption and illiteracy, and the success in recruiting efforts. His conclusion: "This is a winnable war over here."
Also on the call are Mark Finkelstein of Newsbusters, Andrew Lubin of On Point, Scott Kesterson of the Huffington Post, and John Noonan of Op-For.
"Did somebody say 'chicken'? Well, me and mine are off to read the News."
Head on over to Adventures of a Detailed Recruiter to read the sorry tale. Just keep scrolling.
I saw this little ditty in the In Box today... and my immediate impression: uh, washington... we have a problem here...
Independent Medical Review Group Holds First Meeting
The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to conduct an assessment of outpatient treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) held their first meeting at the Pentagon today.
The group was established as a subcommittee of the Defense Health Board to review, report upon and provide recommendations regarding any critical shortcomings and opportunities to improve rehabilitative care, administrative processes and the quality of lifeof patients. The review group is composed of the following individuals:
Togo West, former secretary of Veterans Affairs and secretary of the Army under President Bill Clinton
Jack Marsh, former secretary of the Army under President Ronald Reagan
Dr. Joe Schwartz, former Republican congressman from Michigan
Jim Bacchus, former Democratic congressman from Florida
Arnold Fisher, senior partner Fisher Brothers New York and chairman of the Board for the Intrepid Museum Foundation
Retired Air Force Gen. John Jumper, former chief of staff of the Air Force
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Chip Roadman, former Air Force surgeon general.
Retired Navy Rear Adm. Kathy Martin, former deputy surgeon general for the Navy
Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Holland, formerly with the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs
The group will have special advisors in the areas of social work, rehabilitation, psychological counseling and family support issues. They will be given free and unrestricted access to facilities and personnel.
"Our overarching goal is to identify any critical shortcomings and opportunities to improve the rehabilitative care, administrative processes, and quality of life for injured and sick members of the armed forces at WRAMC and NNMC, and make recommendations for corrective actions," said Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
The group will report their findings and recommendations within 45 days to the secretaries of the Army and Navy and the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
With the exception of Arnold Fisher (and the Fisher family is one group that knows how to get things done) -- the entire panel is all retired military, secretaries of military services and politicians!!! Not that I have a problem with retired military, but not one parent of a wounded soldier or Marine?? Not one spouse who had to go through the labrynth?? NOT EVEN A WOUNDED SOLDIER OR MARINE THAT ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY"RE TALKING ABOUT?? And why is the investigation being limited to "outpatient treatment"?
but come on Gates -- put someone else on the panel besides the foxes who BUILT the dang chicken coop... gggrrrr.
So if Gates wants a nomination of someone who fills both the "fox" and the "chicken" roles, how about Chuck Z (be sure to read at least his last 10 posts -- at least 8 of which are on the topic of Walter Reed -- a place with which he is intimately involved. I'd volunteer as an interested party -- having no previous experience with Walter Reed (my son didn't go through WRMC... ) and maybe someone could have nominated a civilian administrator from say a profit-making trauma center to see what worked elsewhere that the military might be able to use??? oh, right -- that would make sense...
x-posted at Some Soldier's Mom
Remember that scalp I asked for?
I got it.
Pretty nice one, too.
Major General George Weightman, formerly Commanding General, Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
No, I don't think that me griping about it affected things one iota, in case you're wondering about a burgeoning megalomania around here.
Read about it here, at Fox News, as Andi already noted.
There's probably a few others that need to dry in the sun with this one, however.
I'm thinking there should be at least one field grade and one company grade scalp left to take. Minimum. I've got my whetstone all oiled and ready.
H/t, Leavenworth Centurion
The Army said Thursday that the two-star general in charge of Walter Reed Army Medical Center has been relieved of command following disclosures about inadequate treatment of wounded soldiers.
Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, who was commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command as well as Walter Reed hospital, was relieved of command by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey.
In a brief announcement, the Army said service leaders had "lost trust and confidence" in Weightman's leadership abilities "to address needed solutions for soldier outpatient care" at Walter Reed.
I knew the state of the Euro armies was bad, but I had no idea it was THIS bad.
Yet even as Britain has continued to play a leading role in world affairs, it has allowed its defenses to molder. The total size of its armed forces has shrunk from 305,800 in 1990 to 195,900 today, leaving it No. 28 in the world, behind Eritrea and Burma. This downsizing has reduced the entire British army (107,000 soldiers) to almost half the size of the U.S. Marine Corps (175,000)...Even worse hit is the Royal Navy, which is at its smallest size since the 1500s.
For once, speechless.
...really is, well, global.
Basketball is the Philippine national sport and Phil soldiers often play at the national level. I have seen them play some very competitive ball. So, when the Marines and Seabees saw some Phil soldiers playing basketball on the court in the middle of town (literally the very heart of the town) they quickly challenged them to a game. When the first five Americans began to be educated on the basketball court, a call went out to the best ball players in the American camp. The second American team managed to match the tired Phil team basket for basket, after they found their style of play, and there was a large crowd watching the game cheering for the players and not the teams. But, the game came to an abrupt and early finish.
First, it was just a distant boom. Explosions are not daily occurrences here but they are heard frequently and do not cause much alarm. Then, we could hear the distinct sounds of small arms fire. The sounds of artillery can echo off the mountains and be heard over long distances but small arms fire has to be pretty close to be heard. It also makes the battle much more personal.