Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kurds to 'block' Iraq oil law

Iraq's Kurdish region has said it will try to block a draft oil law in parliament, raising the stakes in a row with the central government.

The Kurdistan autonomous region backed the draft law in February but has disputed annexes to it that would give control of oilfields to a new state-run oil company.

Ashti Hawrami, minister of natural resources in Kurdistan, said: "These annexes are unconstitutional and will not be supported by the Kurdish regional government in the federal parliament."

The Kurdistan autonomous region could be on a collision course with Baghdad over the US-backed draft.

The threat to fight the bill in Iraq's national parliament comes just days after the oil ministry in Baghdad warned regions against signing contracts until the law was passed.

'Old regime'

Officials from the Iraqi government and Kurdistan have clashed over the annexes, raising the prospect of delays that have already dogged the lengthy drafting of the legislation.

Hawrami repeated a threat that his oil-rich region would implement its own oil laws if no agreement was reached on the dispute over the annexes.

And Kurdish officials have already signed deals with foreign oil companies.

"The annexes must recognise that the Kurdish regional government has already allocated exploration and development blocks in the Kurdistan region under Production Sharing Agreements pursuant to the Iraq Constitution," he said.

In a reference to Saddam Hussein, Hawrami said the newly created Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) would be a return to "old regime methods".

"The concentration of power in the hands of INOC will represent a return to method of petroleum management of previous Iraqi regimes.

"Where centralised oil power was ... used to fund violent campaigns by elites against neighbouring countries and against our own Iraqi citizens," he said.

Officials from the central government and Kurdish regional officials have said they would meet to settle the disputes, but Hawrami said sending a delegation to Baghdad was "futile".

A US government official in Baghdad said on Sunday Washington was confident the law would pass.

"I think that the government is committed to getting the oil law through. I know various bodies have expressed concern about the hydrocarbon law given the stakes involved," the official said.

"The government has a majority in parliament."

Al Jazeera

OH great, our great allies in Iraq want communism, or do you think that it's our great leaders?

Pat Tillman families testimony before congress

C-SPAN Video

If you did not see this hearing please take the time to watch at least the beginning for Pat's brothers presentation. Your just not a true American nor a supporter of troops if your don't.

Longest. Route. Ever.

"My platoon now holds the Alpha Company (and probably the Task Force) record for the longest mission. We spent almost 40 hours outside yesterday and the day before. I'm not sure how much ground we covered, but I would estimate something close to 200 kilometers. We found lots of IEDs, blew up caches, got in a firefight, got blown up, stuck, tired, muddy and gross. More on that soon (with pictures!).

For now, I have a couple jokes:"
Acute Politics

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why Bush lost #10,045

We lost this war because we fought the war on the enemy's terms. We lost this war when we wrote that rag of a constitution. That was an attempt to appease the enemy and all we did was play right into his hands.

We should have raised the banner of freedom and wrote a real democratic constitution and invited the good people of Iraq to rally to our cause. But instead we tried to appease the enemy by writing an Islamic constitution. The Iraqis had the chance to vote. They could have voted down a truly democratic constitution, the voice of the enemy could have come out and campaigned against freedom and tried to convince a majority of the value of tyranny. We had a chance to expose them and to show the Iraqi people that we really meant business, but all we did was convince the people that the enemy was telling them the truth about our true motives.
Some days, more than others, we just want to come home...

Desert Flier

Multi-National Force-Iraq Commander GEN David Petraeus speaks with reporters at the Pentagon,

Multi-National Force-Iraq Commander GEN David Petraeus speaks with reporters at the Pentagon, providing an update on ongoing security operations in Iraq.

I have not had a chance to listen to the entire speech, but if it's anything like what he said on Charlie Rose, he'll admit that the war is lost, but that there is one last chance to turn the war around in our favor. Sort of like a hail marry pass in the last few moments of a football game..
What I find laughable is that the Republicans whant us to bet the house on this long shot.

The administrations failure in monumental and our security and the security of the free world are at stake, yet the Republicans want us to stake our future on this one last hail marry.

I think most thinking people are more than a little reluctant to go along for this ride.

Reagan's NSA Adviser General Odom Rips George W. Bush Over Iraq War

BBSNews 2007-04-28 -- The Democrat response today to President Bush's Saturday Radio Address was a master stroke by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in framing what many respected military people believe is the reality about President Bush's war in Iraq. Odom makes clear from the outset that he is no partisan, neither Democrat or a Republican, but he also makes clear something that many Americans already believe. The current administration made a very bad mistake in invading Iraq, a mistake that is leading to more of a threat to instability in the region than existed prior to the US invasion of Iraq.

What follows is the complete transcript of General Odom's response:

"Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.

I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.

In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.

Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.

To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.

Some in Congress on both sides of the aisle have responded with their own tits-for-tats. These kinds of games, however, are no longer helpful, much less amusing. They merely reflect the absence of effective leadership in a crisis. And we are in a crisis.

Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President’s management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right.

The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

But it has served Iran’s interest by revenging Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran’s influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda’s interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

We cannot ‘win’ a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

A wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally, but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed.

No effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us. Withdrawal is the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe that have stood aside and other major powers including India, China, Japan, Russia.

It will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq’s borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. approaches, not just to Iraq, but to restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused.

The bill that Congress approved this week, with bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, provides the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not some impossible outcome.

I hope the President seizes this moment for a basic change in course and signs the bill the Congress has sent him. I will respect him greatly for such a rare act of courage, and so too, I suspect, will most Americans.

This is retired General Odom. Thank you for listening."


Friday, April 27, 2007

Comments on the US Congress's Surrender Legislation

Today, the US Senate and Congress passed (telling word there) the Unilateral Surrender to Al-Qaeda Legislation which David Espo of the AP called "a bold wartime challenge to President Bush". That's right, Al-Qaeda has been at war with us for 14 years but the Congressional Derelicts can only mount wartime challenges against their own President. Good one.

I've been getting instant messages from friends in Kurdistan seeking reassurance that Dubya's veto would ensure this legislation would be D.O.A. They believe that if the US pulls out, Turkey, Iran, and Al-Qaeda will rip Kurdistan into teeney little smithers. And of course they're right, but how is it in America's interest to support the US's most ardent allies in the Middle East? If you think the Kurds felt betrayed by the US in 1991, you just wait."
Iraqi Bloggers Central
The Democrats might have done what you say, but if the current administration had not lost this war, you could wipe your ass with that legislation and not know the difference.

Why Are the Democrats Doing This?

"Instead of trying to come up with ideas to help they try to halt the sincere effort to stabilize Iraq and rescue the Middle East from a catastrophe.

I am Iraqi and to me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the democrats come and say ‘well, it’s not worth it, so it’s time to leave’.
Evidently to them my life and the lives of twenty five million Iraqis are not worth trying for and they shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this."
Itraq the Model
No! What your supposed to do is go out and do for yourself.

Leaving Yet Never Leaving or How a "B" Movie Shaped My Thoughts.

""I wish I was at Bragg now."

The words of John Rambo in First Blood while on the radio with COL Trautman as he was stalked by millions of evil police officers and National Guardsman (who are in Iraq now.)

I am leaving Ft Lewis on Friday 27 April 2007. I arrived on 7 April 2003. When I got here I was a new medic with experience as an infantryman and an NCO. I joined in 1986 and between Air Force and Army I missed every war, conflict, and police action we found ourselves in. Here I became a part of Army history. Strykers were more than a new truck with sexy computers and eight wheels, it was a unit concept. Soldiers down to the individual level were given responsibility to make decisions and execute. We went out to save whole cities and rescue brigades with only a company of men. One-hundred and fifty to save five thousand."
A Candle in the Dark

A failure in generalship

For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.

The Responsibilities of Generalship

Armies do not fight wars; nations fight wars. War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers, but rather a social activity that involves entire nations. Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that passion, probability and policy each play their role in war. Any understanding of war that ignores one of these elements is fundamentally flawed.

The passion of the people is necessary to endure the sacrifices inherent in war. Regardless of the system of government, the people supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute war. The statesman must stir these passions to a level commensurate with the popular sacrifices required. When the ends of policy are small, the statesman can prosecute a conflict without asking the public for great sacrifice. Global conflicts such as World War II require the full mobilization of entire societies to provide the men and materiel necessary for the successful prosecution of war. The greatest error the statesman can make is to commit his nation to a great conflict without mobilizing popular passions to a level commensurate with the stakes of the conflict.

Popular passions are necessary for the successful prosecution of war, but cannot be sufficient. To prevail, generals must provide policymakers and the public with a correct estimation of strategic probabilities. The general is responsible for estimating the likelihood of success in applying force to achieve the aims of policy. The general describes both the means necessary for the successful prosecution of war and the ways in which the nation will employ those means. If the policymaker desires ends for which the means he provides are insufficient, the general is responsible for advising the statesman of this incongruence. The statesman must then scale back the ends of policy or mobilize popular passions to provide greater means. If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means, he shares culpability for the results.

However much it is influenced by passion and probability, war is ultimately an instrument of policy and its conduct is the responsibility of policymakers. War is a social activity undertaken on behalf of the nation; Augustine counsels us that the only purpose of war is to achieve a better peace. The choice of making war to achieve a better peace is inherently a value judgment in which the statesman must decide those interests and beliefs worth killing and dying for. The military man is no better qualified than the common citizen to make such judgments. He must therefore confine his input to his area of expertise — the estimation of strategic probabilities.

The correct estimation of strategic possibilities can be further subdivided into the preparation for war and the conduct of war. Preparation for war consists in the raising, arming, equipping and training of forces. The conduct of war consists of both planning for the use of those forces and directing those forces in operations.

To prepare forces for war, the general must visualize the conditions of future combat. To raise military forces properly, the general must visualize the quality and quantity of forces needed in the next war. To arm and equip military forces properly, the general must visualize the materiel requirements of future engagements. To train military forces properly, the general must visualize the human demands on future battlefields, and replicate those conditions in peacetime exercises. Of course, not even the most skilled general can visualize precisely how future wars will be fought. According to British military historian and soldier Sir Michael Howard, "In structuring and preparing an army for war, you can be clear that you will not get it precisely right, but the important thing is not to be too far wrong, so that you can put it right quickly."

The most tragic error a general can make is to assume without much reflection that wars of the future will look much like wars of the past. Following World War I, French generals committed this error, assuming that the next war would involve static battles dominated by firepower and fixed fortifications. Throughout the interwar years, French generals raised, equipped, armed and trained the French military to fight the last war. In stark contrast, German generals spent the interwar years attempting to break the stalemate created by firepower and fortifications. They developed a new form of war — the blitzkrieg — that integrated mobility, firepower and decentralized tactics. The German Army did not get this new form of warfare precisely right. After the 1939 conquest of Poland, the German Army undertook a critical self-examination of its operations. However, German generals did not get it too far wrong either, and in less than a year had adapted their tactics for the invasion of France.

After visualizing the conditions of future combat, the general is responsible for explaining to civilian policymakers the demands of future combat and the risks entailed in failing to meet those demands. Civilian policymakers have neither the expertise nor the inclination to think deeply about strategic probabilities in the distant future. Policymakers, especially elected representatives, face powerful incentives to focus on near-term challenges that are of immediate concern to the public. Generating military capability is the labor of decades. If the general waits until the public and its elected representatives are immediately concerned with national security threats before finding his voice, he has waited too long. The general who speaks too loudly of preparing for war while the nation is at peace places at risk his position and status. However, the general who speaks too softly places at risk the security of his country.

Failing to visualize future battlefields represents a lapse in professional competence, but seeing those fields clearly and saying nothing is an even more serious lapse in professional character. Moral courage is often inversely proportional to popularity and this observation in nowhere more true than in the profession of arms. The history of military innovation is littered with the truncated careers of reformers who saw gathering threats clearly and advocated change boldly. A military professional must possess both the physical courage to face the hazards of battle and the moral courage to withstand the barbs of public scorn. On and off the battlefield, courage is the first characteristic of generalship.

Failures of Generalship in Vietnam

America's defeat in Vietnam is the most egregious failure in the history of American arms. America's general officer corps refused to prepare the Army to fight unconventional wars, despite ample indications that such preparations were in order. Having failed to prepare for such wars, America's generals sent our forces into battle without a coherent plan for victory. Unprepared for war and lacking a coherent strategy, America lost the war and the lives of more than 58,000 service members.

Following World War II, there were ample indicators that America's enemies would turn to insurgency to negate our advantages in firepower and mobility. The French experiences in Indochina and Algeria offered object lessons to Western armies facing unconventional foes. These lessons were not lost on the more astute members of America's political class. In 1961, President Kennedy warned of "another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin — war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by evading and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him." In response to these threats, Kennedy undertook a comprehensive program to prepare America's armed forces for counterinsurgency.

Despite the experience of their allies and the urging of their president, America's generals failed to prepare their forces for counterinsurgency. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Decker assured his young president, "Any good soldier can handle guerrillas." Despite Kennedy's guidance to the contrary, the Army viewed the conflict in Vietnam in conventional terms. As late as 1964, Gen. Earle Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated flatly that "the essence of the problem in Vietnam is military." While the Army made minor organizational adjustments at the urging of the president, the generals clung to what Andrew Krepinevich has called "the Army concept," a vision of warfare focused on the destruction of the enemy's forces.

Having failed to visualize accurately the conditions of combat in Vietnam, America's generals prosecuted the war in conventional terms. The U.S. military embarked on a graduated attrition strategy intended to compel North Vietnam to accept a negotiated peace. The U.S. undertook modest efforts at innovation in Vietnam. Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS), spearheaded by the State Department's "Blowtorch" Bob Kromer, was a serious effort to address the political and economic causes of the insurgency. The Marine Corps' Combined Action Program (CAP) was an innovative approach to population security. However, these efforts are best described as too little, too late. Innovations such as CORDS and CAP never received the resources necessary to make a large-scale difference. The U.S. military grudgingly accepted these innovations late in the war, after the American public's commitment to the conflict began to wane.

America's generals not only failed to develop a strategy for victory in Vietnam, but also remained largely silent while the strategy developed by civilian politicians led to defeat. As H.R. McMaster noted in "Dereliction of Duty," the Joint Chiefs of Staff were divided by service parochialism and failed to develop a unified and coherent recommendation to the president for prosecuting the war to a successful conclusion. Army Chief of Staff Harold K. Johnson estimated in 1965 that victory would require as many as 700,000 troops for up to five years. Commandant of the Marine Corps Wallace Greene made a similar estimate on troop levels. As President Johnson incrementally escalated the war, neither man made his views known to the president or Congress. President Johnson made a concerted effort to conceal the costs and consequences of Vietnam from the public, but such duplicity required the passive consent of America's generals.

Having participated in the deception of the American people during the war, the Army chose after the war to deceive itself. In "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife," John Nagl argued that instead of learning from defeat, the Army after Vietnam focused its energies on the kind of wars it knew how to win — high-technology conventional wars. An essential contribution to this strategy of denial was the publication of "On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War," by Col. Harry Summers. Summers, a faculty member of the U.S. Army War College, argued that the Army had erred by not focusing enough on conventional warfare in Vietnam, a lesson the Army was happy to hear. Despite having been recently defeated by an insurgency, the Army slashed training and resources devoted to counterinsurgency.

By the early 1990s, the Army's focus on conventional war-fighting appeared to have been vindicated. During the 1980s, the U.S. military benefited from the largest peacetime military buildup in the nation's history. High-technology equipment dramatically increased the mobility and lethality of our ground forces. The Army's National Training Center honed the Army's conventional war-fighting skills to a razor's edge. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the demise of the Soviet Union and the futility of direct confrontation with the U.S. Despite the fact the U.S. supported insurgencies in Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Angola to hasten the Soviet Union's demise, the U.S. military gave little thought to counterinsurgency throughout the 1990s. America's generals assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past — state-on-state conflicts against conventional forces. America's swift defeat of the Iraqi Army, the world's fourth-largest, in 1991 seemed to confirm the wisdom of the U.S. military's post-Vietnam reforms. But the military learned the wrong lessons from Operation Desert Storm. It continued to prepare for the last war, while its future enemies prepared for a new kind of war.

Failures of Generalship in Iraq

America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq. First, throughout the 1990s our generals failed to envision the conditions of future combat and prepare their forces accordingly. Second, America's generals failed to estimate correctly both the means and the ways necessary to achieve the aims of policy prior to beginning the war in Iraq. Finally, America's generals did not provide Congress and the public with an accurate assessment of the conflict in Iraq.

Despite paying lip service to "transformation" throughout the 1990s, America's armed forces failed to change in significant ways after the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In "The Sling and the Stone," T.X. Hammes argues that the Defense Department's transformation strategy focuses almost exclusively on high-technology conventional wars. The doctrine, organizations, equipment and training of the U.S. military confirm this observation. The armed forces fought the global war on terrorism for the first five years with a counterinsurgency doctrine last revised in the Reagan administration. Despite engaging in numerous stability operations throughout the 1990s, the armed forces did little to bolster their capabilities for civic reconstruction and security force development. Procurement priorities during the 1990s followed the Cold War model, with significant funding devoted to new fighter aircraft and artillery systems. The most commonly used tactical scenarios in both schools and training centers replicated high-intensity interstate conflict. At the dawn of the 21st century, the U.S. is fighting brutal, adaptive insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, while our armed forces have spent the preceding decade having done little to prepare for such conflicts.

Having spent a decade preparing to fight the wrong war, America's generals then miscalculated both the means and ways necessary to succeed in Iraq. The most fundamental military miscalculation in Iraq has been the failure to commit sufficient forces to provide security to Iraq's population. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated in its 1998 war plan that 380,000 troops would be necessary for an invasion of Iraq. Using operations in Bosnia and Kosovo as a model for predicting troop requirements, one Army study estimated a need for 470,000 troops. Alone among America's generals, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki publicly stated that "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Prior to the war, President Bush promised to give field commanders everything necessary for victory. Privately, many senior general officers both active and retired expressed serious misgivings about the insufficiency of forces for Iraq. These leaders would later express their concerns in tell-all books such as "Fiasco" and "Cobra II." However, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq with less than half the strength required to win, these leaders did not make their objections public.

Given the lack of troop strength, not even the most brilliant general could have devised the ways necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. However, inept planning for postwar Iraq took the crisis caused by a lack of troops and quickly transformed it into a debacle. In 1997, the U.S. Central Command exercise "Desert Crossing" demonstrated that many postwar stabilization tasks would fall to the military. The other branches of the U.S. government lacked sufficient capability to do such work on the scale required in Iraq. Despite these results, CENTCOM accepted the assumption that the State Department would administer postwar Iraq. The military never explained to the president the magnitude of the challenges inherent in stabilizing postwar Iraq.

After failing to visualize the conditions of combat in Iraq, America's generals failed to adapt to the demands of counterinsurgency. Counterinsurgency theory prescribes providing continuous security to the population. However, for most of the war American forces in Iraq have been concentrated on large forward-operating bases, isolated from the Iraqi people and focused on capturing or killing insurgents. Counterinsurgency theory requires strengthening the capability of host-nation institutions to provide security and other essential services to the population. America's generals treated efforts to create transition teams to develop local security forces and provincial reconstruction teams to improve essential services as afterthoughts, never providing the quantity or quality of personnel necessary for success.

After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America's general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public. The Iraq Study Group concluded that "there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq." The ISG noted that "on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals." Population security is the most important measure of effectiveness in counterinsurgency. For more than three years, America's generals continued to insist that the U.S. was making progress in Iraq. However, for Iraqi civilians, each year from 2003 onward was more deadly than the one preceding it. For reasons that are not yet clear, America's general officer corps underestimated the strength of the enemy, overestimated the capabilities of Iraq's government and security forces and failed to provide Congress with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq. Moreover, America's generals have not explained clearly the larger strategic risks of committing so large a portion of the nation's deployable land power to a single theater of operations.

The intellectual and moral failures common to America's general officer corps in Vietnam and Iraq constitute a crisis in American generalship. Any explanation that fixes culpability on individuals is insufficient. No one leader, civilian or military, caused failure in Vietnam or Iraq. Different military and civilian leaders in the two conflicts produced similar results. In both conflicts, the general officer corps designed to advise policymakers, prepare forces and conduct operations failed to perform its intended functions. To understand how the U.S. could face defeat at the hands of a weaker insurgent enemy for the second time in a generation, we must look at the structural influences that produce our general officer corps.

The Generals We Need

The most insightful examination of failed generalship comes from J.F.C. Fuller's "Generalship: Its Diseases and Their Cure." Fuller was a British major general who saw action in the first attempts at armored warfare in World War I. He found three common characteristics in great generals — courage, creative intelligence and physical fitness.

The need for intelligent, creative and courageous general officers is self-evident. An understanding of the larger aspects of war is essential to great generalship. However, a survey of Army three- and four-star generals shows that only 25 percent hold advanced degrees from civilian institutions in the social sciences or humanities. Counterinsurgency theory holds that proficiency in foreign languages is essential to success, yet only one in four of the Army's senior generals speaks another language. While the physical courage of America's generals is not in doubt, there is less certainty regarding their moral courage. In almost surreal language, professional military men blame their recent lack of candor on the intimidating management style of their civilian masters. Now that the public is immediately concerned with the crisis in Iraq, some of our generals are finding their voices. They may have waited too long.

Neither the executive branch nor the services themselves are likely to remedy the shortcomings in America's general officer corps. Indeed, the tendency of the executive branch to seek out mild-mannered team players to serve as senior generals is part of the problem. The services themselves are equally to blame. The system that produces our generals does little to reward creativity and moral courage. Officers rise to flag rank by following remarkably similar career patterns. Senior generals, both active and retired, are the most important figures in determining an officer's potential for flag rank. The views of subordinates and peers play no role in an officer's advancement; to move up he must only please his superiors. In a system in which senior officers select for promotion those like themselves, there are powerful incentives for conformity. It is unreasonable to expect that an officer who spends 25 years conforming to institutional expectations will emerge as an innovator in his late forties.

If America desires creative intelligence and moral courage in its general officer corps, it must create a system that rewards these qualities. Congress can create such incentives by exercising its proper oversight function in three areas. First, Congress must change the system for selecting general officers. Second, oversight committees must apply increased scrutiny over generating the necessary means and pursuing appropriate ways for applying America's military power. Third, the Senate must hold accountable through its confirmation powers those officers who fail to achieve the aims of policy at an acceptable cost in blood and treasure.

To improve the creative intelligence of our generals, Congress must change the officer promotion system in ways that reward adaptation and intellectual achievement. Congress should require the armed services to implement 360-degree evaluations for field-grade and flag officers. Junior officers and noncommissioned officers are often the first to adapt because they bear the brunt of failed tactics most directly. They are also less wed to organizational norms and less influenced by organizational taboos. Junior leaders have valuable insights regarding the effectiveness of their leaders, but the current promotion system excludes these judgments. Incorporating subordinate and peer reviews into promotion decisions for senior leaders would produce officers more willing to adapt to changing circumstances, and less likely to conform to outmoded practices.

Congress should also modify the officer promotion system in ways that reward intellectual achievement. The Senate should examine the education and professional writing of nominees for three- and four-star billets as part of the confirmation process. The Senate would never confirm to the Supreme Court a nominee who had neither been to law school nor written legal opinions. However, it routinely confirms four-star generals who possess neither graduate education in the social sciences or humanities nor the capability to speak a foreign language. Senior general officers must have a vision of what future conflicts will look like and what capabilities the U.S. requires to prevail in those conflicts. They must possess the capability to understand and interact with foreign cultures. A solid record of intellectual achievement and fluency in foreign languages are effective indicators of an officer's potential for senior leadership.

To reward moral courage in our general officers, Congress must ask hard questions about the means and ways for war as part of its oversight responsibility. Some of the answers will be shocking, which is perhaps why Congress has not asked and the generals have not told. Congress must ask for a candid assessment of the money and manpower required over the next generation to prevail in the Long War. The money required to prevail may place fiscal constraints on popular domestic priorities. The quantity and quality of manpower required may call into question the viability of the all-volunteer military. Congress must re-examine the allocation of existing resources, and demand that procurement priorities reflect the most likely threats we will face. Congress must be equally rigorous in ensuring that the ways of war contribute to conflict termination consistent with the aims of national policy. If our operations produce more enemies than they defeat, no amount of force is sufficient to prevail. Current oversight efforts have proved inadequate, allowing the executive branch, the services and lobbyists to present information that is sometimes incomplete, inaccurate or self-serving. Exercising adequate oversight will require members of Congress to develop the expertise necessary to ask the right questions and display the courage to follow the truth wherever it leads them.

Finally, Congress must enhance accountability by exercising its little-used authority to confirm the retired rank of general officers. By law, Congress must confirm an officer who retires at three- or four-star rank. In the past this requirement has been pro forma in all but a few cases. A general who presides over a massive human rights scandal or a substantial deterioration in security ought to be retired at a lower rank than one who serves with distinction. A general who fails to provide Congress with an accurate and candid assessment of strategic probabilities ought to suffer the same penalty. As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. By exercising its powers to confirm the retired ranks of general officers, Congress can restore accountability among senior military leaders.

Mortal Danger

This article began with Frederick the Great's admonition to his officers to focus their energies on the larger aspects of war. The Prussian monarch's innovations had made his army the terror of Europe, but he knew that his adversaries were learning and adapting. Frederick feared that his generals would master his system of war without thinking deeply about the ever-changing nature of war, and in doing so would place Prussia's security at risk. These fears would prove prophetic. At the Battle of Valmy in 1792, Frederick's successors were checked by France's ragtag citizen army. In the fourteen years that followed, Prussia's generals assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like those of the past. In 1806, the Prussian Army marched lockstep into defeat and disaster at the hands of Napoleon at Jena. Frederick's prophecy had come to pass; Prussia became a French vassal.

Iraq is America's Valmy. America's generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not understand. They spent the years following the 1991 Gulf War mastering a system of war without thinking deeply about the ever changing nature of war. They marched into Iraq having assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past. Those few who saw clearly our vulnerability to insurgent tactics said and did little to prepare for these dangers. As at Valmy, this one debacle, however humiliating, will not in itself signal national disaster. The hour is late, but not too late to prepare for the challenges of the Long War. We still have time to select as our generals those who possess the intelligence to visualize future conflicts and the moral courage to advise civilian policymakers on the preparations needed for our security. The power and the responsibility to identify such generals lie with the U.S. Congress. If Congress does not act, our Jena awaits us.


Thursday, April 26, 2007


"Good day everyone!

I am helping in a campaign, spent the last days working on it, I am posting the campaign letter in both Arabic and English, what i want is that you read it, and then forward it to everyone you know.
A lot of you can see the banner at the very top of the blog, and some of you can't, that's an issue totally decided by God since I can't find any technical reasons behind it. But most of the people that use Firefox (love it love it love it!) and other browsers can see them, poor guys that are stuck with IE, good luck!"
Tel Me a Secret

The 'Asset'

"So your probably wondering.... "What the hell is the 'asset'?" right? Well let me explain to you the importance and significance of the 'Asset'. Basically it some something that is so sensitive to our security and our information gathering and collection that I really should kill you for telling you about it. In the event that the 'Asset' should come into enemy hands, it has already been decided that it will be destroyed at all costs. In fact we keep an incindeary gernade (one used to burn sensitive equipment into non-existance) right next to it for just that purpose. Hopefully though, this item of equipment never falls into the hands of the enemy. The repurcussions could be very serious."
On the Loose in Iraq

VBIED's rock Ramadi

"Sitting at my desk writing letters after lunch when the biggest crunch yet flings things off my shelf. D squared and I look at each other for a milisecond, jump up, and run out of the hut to go to Charlie Medical for our flak and kevlar. We take a quick look up and see the plum of smoke just a short distance past some barracks."
Desert Flier

VBIEDs at the Gate

"We rolled back to Ramadi early Sunday afternoon, after a long rotation out to Falluja. I took my personal gear and my 240B machine gun into the barracks, and stopped in to say hello to my medic buddy. I was headed back out to the 5-ton dump truck that we use to transport gear for another load of rucksacks and bags when the air split with a loud craaack-BOOM, and the ground shook underfoot. Everyone flinched towards the ground, and someone dryly cracked "That didn't sound like outgoing". A large black smoke plume shot into the air somewhere over towards the gate, turning grey as it mixed with the dusty sky. Black smoke, for a VBIED. I don't know why the VBIEDs always shoot black smoke into the sky, but they invariably do."
Acute Politics

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Powers Consider Iran Nuclear Proposal

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - The United States and other world powers may be ready to allow Iran to keep some of its uranium enrichment program intact instead of demanding its complete dismantling, foreign government officials said Tuesday.

Officials said some willingness to compromise might advance talks Wednesday in the Turkish capital between top Iranian envoy Ali Larijani and Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief.

Recognizing that Iran would never accept a complete freeze, the powers are considering "a new definition of enrichment," one diplomat said. Under the proposal, Iran would could keep some of its program intact without actually producing enriched uranium.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack denied that the United States was "considering any proposals that would allow the Iranians to retain any enrichment-related activities."

But another U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity suggested there was potentially more flexibility in Washington's position than previously.

"We purposely left open the possibility that direct talks could happen by being a little less committed to the requirements to have a meeting," said the official. He alluded to previous demands of an all-encompassing freeze on all enrichment related activities.

Iran is running more than 1,300 centrifuge machines at its underground facility at Natanz. Its ultimate goal is to run 50,000 centrifuges a year, enough to churn out material for a network of nuclear power generators - or a full-scale nuclear weapons program.

The United States might accept a version of "cold standby" - allowing a set number of centrifuges to remain standing and assembled in series but not running, a diplomat said. Iran, he said, would likely push for keeping the machines operating, if not producing enriched uranium.

The six powers - United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - also want to reduce assembled and hooked-up centrifuges to less than 1,000.

A European official said hopes were that both sides could agree on at least "a different definition of suspension that we can work with."

Like other officials - some of them diplomats, others based in their capitals - the two spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were discussing confidential information.

With agreement to strive for a new definition of enrichment, Larijani and Solana may be able to sidestep a deadlock that for months has thwarted the resumption of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, said the officials, who were familiar with the discussions with Iran or specialized in non-proliferation issues.

Iran's defiance of a U.N. Security Council demand to suspend all activities linked to enrichment - a possible pathway to nuclear arms - has led to two sets of sanctions against the country, the latest last month.

Iran argues the sanctions are illegal, noting it has the right to enrich uranium to generate nuclear power under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian officials say nuclear power is the only purpose of their program, rejecting suspicions that they ultimately want weapons-grade uranium for the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

But the United States and others say past suspicious nuclear activities, including a program Iran kept secret for nearly two decades, set the country apart from others that have endorsed the treaty.

The last face-to-face talks between Solana and Larijani were more than six months ago, and foundered over the same issue. Solana, representing the six powers, demanded that Iran dismantle not only fledging enrichment efforts but all linked aspects, including assembling centrifuges for enrichment and facilities to house such plants. Iran refused.

Negotiations between Iran and the three European nations broke down last year when the Iranian government refused to suspend enrichement in exchange for a package of economic and political inducements, including help in developing a peaceful nuclear program.

One of the diplomats said recognition by the United States and its allies that Iran would never accept their earlier demand of a full freeze dictated a decision to contemplate "a new definition of enrichment" that would allow Tehran to keep some of its program intact without actually turning out enriched material.

An agreement was unlikely be emerge from Wednesday's talks. Solana would have to report back to the six capitals he is representing, while Larijani would need to have any deal cleared with the Iranian government.


Well if you wanted to know if we are indeed losing this war or not, this story should help fill in the gap.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Quick Note From Basra

"By Queen Amidala
Basra, Iraq

The situation in Basra is very hot. there was a demonstration yesterday, where the demonstrators demanded from the governor to quit. They claim he isn't doing any good things for Basra. It seems that Al-Sadrists are behind this move; but they deny it. They gave the governor three days to consider giving his resignation. The situation will be hot again on Thursday.

Another thing, the UK Army is changing his strategy towards people who plant bombs or intend to kill UK soldiers. It seems that the death of Prince William's friend in Basra made them change their strategy. It took them this long to realize the situation in Basra is going from bad to worse."
Fayrouz in Baghdad

Patrolling Baghdad: A Military Police Company and the War in Iraq (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description
For the 160 national guardsmen from America's heartland, Baghdad was more than just a long way from home. It also confronted the 233rd Military Police Company with America's most difficult challenge in Iraq: establishing security in a nation rife with religious, tribal, and sectarian conflict and violence.

The first MP company assigned to patrol the heart of Baghdad, the 233rd (from Springfield, Illinois) was a key part of the American occupation forces from April 2003 to April 2004. Charged with helping rebuild the city's police force-not just reopening stations but training a new force to replace its corrupt and hated predecessors-these men and women waged a "military police war" while witnessing all of the larger conflict's central themes, from the shortcoming of prewar planning to ongoing security problems, from media coverage to humanitarian efforts.

DePue recounts the 233rd's actions in the streets and alleyways of Baghdad and the inevitable clash of cultures, along with lootings, shootings, roadside and police station bombings, and the inevitable bureaucratic bumbling. Here are the horrors of firefights and summary executions and the drama of the UN bombing. Here too is the untold side of the war, as these volunteers on their own initiative reopened Baghdad schools and took under their wing a Catholic orphanage for handicapped children located in the heart of the city.

Based on extensive interviews with the unit's members and others associated with their mission, DePue's eye-opening account also covers what it was like for the 26 women of the unit, how a romance blossomed between two MPs, and how support groups back home-with the help of the Internet-helped families cope with worry over loved ones.

The 233rd's story is not only deeply compelling, it is also central to our understanding of one of the most momentous problems of our day and helps us understand what went wrong-and what went right-during that crucial first year. As one of a frustrating war's few success stories, it epitomizes the work of America's citizen-soldiers and attests to the vastly expanded role that guardsmen and reservists now play in our nation's defense.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alqaida is in Power

"Lately in my neighbourhood, violence is progressed and turned into a new orientation, where the target now is the innocent people living within the same neighbourhood (meaning: sunni people).
Yesterday, I was in a shop infront of my house owned by a friend of mine,its a mini-market which sells food, drinks and ciggarettes..Recently me and some friends started to meet in that shop, and have some drinks, play dominos and chat exchange news.We were sitting there playing domino and laughing on each other, then a friend of ours came into the shop and said "Come on stop playing", and told me to go to my house because I was wearing a short."
Nabil's Blog

Baghdad Security Plan failed

"More than 4 weeks passed since the implementation of the SP which was awaited for long time. However there is nothing changed a part from the first few days after the plan. In the last few days the terrorists’ attacks against civilian installations and Iraqi people intensified. One of the most important and historic bridges in Baghdad destroyed completely by explosives and detained tanker. Attacks reached into the heart of the security zone and the building of the parliament. Today alone more than 200 Iraqis were killed and more wounded in 5 attacks in the center of Baghdad. Thousands of civilians have been killed since the SP started."

End the war: Right message sent to the wrong address.

"What did the last wave of terror attacks and the many crimes committed against our people all this time reveal?

If we look at how the media handles the situation we'll find something like this almost everywhere;

Dozens killed, scores wounded in attacks suggest failure of security measures…

It's as if the speaker here wants to only emphasize the defect in security measures in a way that honestly angers and disgusts me.
When shall they realize, if ever, that we are dealing with brutal crimes against humanity, a genocide against the people of Iraq? Why don't people talk about the cruelty of the crimes and expose the obvious goals of the terrorists behind the crimes?"

U.S. Struggles to Calm Violent Ramadi

RAMADI, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. military has struggled for nearly four years to secure Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad that had become a magnet for Sunni insurgents and a lawless haven for al-Qaida militants.

Now - slowly and in halting steps - something appears to have given way. At least by its own tortured standards, Ramadi seems to be calming.

"It's much safer than it was. But is it perfectly safe? No," said Army Col. John W. Charlton, the commander responsible for the city about 75 miles west of the capital. "As long as al-Qaida is operating in Iraq, it's not going to be."

Ramadi offers a snapshot of the Pentagon's latest strategies to quell violence across the nation.

Whole neighborhoods are being walled off to keep insurgents from reaching their targets. Military units are moving off the major bases and establishing smaller U.S.-Iraqi posts in the most violent areas downtown.

Most crucial of all, alliances are being struck with influential Sunni sheiks once arrayed against American-led forces. Local tribal leaders, in turn, have provided personnel for a new police force.

Anbar's Sunni leaders have had little direct contact with the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, yet they control prime territory. Anbar, stretching from Baghdad's western edges to the Syrian border, serves as a key supply route for anti-government militants who range from former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to al-Qaida fanatics. Ramadi, a Euphrates River city of about 400,000, is Anbar's capital.

While the U.S. military claims progress here, Ramadi remains a place where even the most commonplace acts are shadowed by fear and the possibility that any moment could be fatal. White flags are carried by shoppers and school children in desperate attempts to show neutrality.

"A lot of people are still scared in their hearts," said Mahmoud, an elderly man in white robes who only would give his first name. "The jihadists were all around here. They were killing everybody. They could come back anytime."

In large part to allay those fears, Charlton said 70 percent of American forces were off the big bases and living downtown.

"We used to go on patrols and get shot at, then go back to base, eat chow, and do it all again," said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Michael Jusino, who also served in Ramadi two years ago. "But we realized that doesn't work. You have to go into the city and stay there."

A year ago, the only permanent U.S. outposts were on one main road through the city center. Today, troops show off maps dotted with dozens of new posts in former insurgent strongholds. They also show graphs indicating the turnaround in violence in recent weeks. Compared to 20 to 30 daily attacks a year ago, now there often are just a few bursts of small arms fire in a day.

But dangers remain. Suicide bombers still strike. On April 6, a truck loaded with TNT and chlorine gas hit a police checkpoint in the district of Tameem, killing 27 people.

Marine Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, commander of U.S. ground forces in Anbar, said the insurgents who've fled Ramadi are still in Anbar and haven't lost their punch.

"They're going to places we aren't. They regroup, they re-equip themselves, and they plan more spectacular attacks," Gurganus said. "But wherever they go, we're going to go with them."

U.S. commanders say the only way to defeat the insurgency is with the support of the local people. In the past, many supported the guerrillas, or were too afraid to cooperate with coalition forces.

A breakthrough came last fall when local sheiks began turning on al-Qaida and other extremist insurgent groups.

For some, it was a reaction against the religious fanaticism and brutality of al-Qaida gangs who had begun overshadowing their own influence. For others, it was a reaction to the growing power of rival Shiite Muslims, who became a majority in government after Saddam's fall. Iraqi army units that patrol Sunni-dominated Ramadi are overwhelmingly Shiite.

With no police or security forces to protect them, local tribesmen depended on their own militias for security. At the behest of the sheiks, many of those militias, including former insurgents, have joined the new police force.

U.S. forces often have stood aside and watched, but not always.

Several months ago, Americans sent help to Ramadi's Abu Soda tribe after it tried to prevent insurgents from using their territory to fire mortars on a nearby American base, said U.S. Army Maj. Jared Norrell.

"We gave them food, fuel, money - everything we could to try to restore their way of life because they stood up and denied insurgents safe haven," Norrell said.

U.S. officers claim similar scripts have played out across the province.

In Ramadi, coalition troops now are trying to peacefully secure the gains.

Outside one new downtown outpost set up several weeks ago, U.S. Marine Capt. Ian Brooks watched a truck siphon up spilled sewage.

"It's very basic," he said. "These people aren't screaming for a Disneyland, Ramadi. What they are asking for is, 'get the sewage out of here, we need electricity, we want the schools to open like in any normal city.'"

In Mulaab, once of the city's most violent areas, U.S. forces sealed off streets with blast walls and concertina wire to keep insurgents out and then conducted a massive security sweep.

The other sides of the neighborhood are ringed by a canal next to a large American base and a road open only to military traffic.

Residents, banned from using motor vehicles, use donkey carts and bicycles. Many have welcomed the "gated community," and people in other neighborhoods have asked for them, too.

"What we're finding is, once you separate the insurgents from the people and push them out, the residents come forward and tell us where the insurgents did business, where they keep their weapons, where they put IEDs," Norrell said.

One insurgent carrying a bomb on a bicycle was tackled by residents and handed over to police, something virtually unheard here before, Charlton said.

The Mulaab's walls came up recently, ahead of a massive security sweep. Today it is quiet, but insurgents are still trying to slip back in. Roadside bombs and weapons caches are found almost everyday, said Iraqi Col. Ali Hussein, who commands an Iraqi battalion that has operated in Mulaab for a year and half.

"Anybody who tells you it's 100 percent cleared of terrorists is lying," Hussein said. "But things have changed."

During a recent meeting at a new security station, the mustachioed colonel slammed his fist on the table. "Help the civilians as much as you can. The doctors, the beggars. Give them what you have," he told his men. "Don't leave them hungry, or they'll find another way to fight us."


Taleban uses boy to behead 'spy'

The Taleban in Afghanistan have used a boy of around 12 to behead a man they accused of spying for the US.
Parts of a video of the beheading were broadcast on the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV network.

The Taleban said the dead man, Ghulam Nabi, had given the US information which led to an air strike in which a senior Taleban commander died.

The video footage shows Mr Nabi being blindfolded with a chequered scarf and making what is said to be a confession.

The boy, wearing a camouflage jacket and wielding a large knife, denounces him as a spy and then cuts off his head.

The father of Mr Nabi, who lives in Pakistan and who confirmed that his son was the man killed in the video, said his son had been a loyal member of the Taleban.

Senior Taleban commander Akhtar Mohammad Osmani was killed during a December air strike on his car in southern Afghanistan.


If you ask me we should spread the word about all the Taliban that are our spies, as a matter of fact we should pay people for spying even if they are not.
I think our next operative should be the boy in the video

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Sheeple

""Cowering under a desk and waiting for help to come is no longer an option" says a security anylist to Today, "American schools must teach their students to respond aggressively to attacks by people bent on mayhem."

Thats incredible, who among the leftwing liberal sheeple that indoctrinate our young in anti-nationalism and socialism will teach them to defend themselves, or go above and beyond to save others?

I want to know..."
Chapter: War

Commo Check

"Home Front this is Badger 6, how copy over?

Home Front, Home Front this is Badger 6, how copy over?

Any station this net, any station this net prepare to copy.

It has come to our attention that Sen Reid, the Senate Majority Leader - break . . .

has said the war is lost and the surge had failed - break . . .

SEN Reid has been given bad information - break . . .

Need Retrans - break . . .

Any station that can retrans to Capitol Hill SITREP follows -"
Badgers Forward

Iraq, Virginia, Guns, School Shootings and the Suburbs or We're Only Shocked When the Blood Stains Lily White.

"Opening Statement:
What happened in Virginia is a horrific tragedy that should be worked as best we can to heal the victims both physical and psychological. Guns were used but the maniac was the criminal. We don't ban cars because of drunk drivers or stop making the Toyota Camry because it's the number one stolen car in America (I think).

Are American children and innocents better than soldiers and Iraqi children. For years we have heard of car bombings and suicide bombers killing up to hundreds at a time only to see the wailing mother or occasional stiff in the road surrounded by cops and flies."
A Candle in the Dark
Rush would be so proud of his new baby

This is evidence of what I told you earlier about the very important developments taking place. I have tried to draw attention to the significant change of mood of the people which started in the Anbar province with the creation of the "Anbar Salvation Council". This movement is spreading to other regions notably in Diala province. Meanwhile the enemy's ability to launch painful terrorist attacks in Baghdad is mainly due to the fact that the Security Plan is not being enforced in all areas of Baghdad with equal intensity. It is concentrated in the Eastern part (Risafa), while the Western more dangerous and terrorist infested part of Bagdad ( Al-Karkh ), is just not receiving sufficient attention, for reasons which are not altogether quite clear. It is not surprising, therefore, that car bombs and the like can be rigged and dispatched from such areas to launch the kind of attacks that we have witnessed."
The Mesopotamian

From Drudge:

PENTAGON INVITES KREMLIN TO LINK MISSILE SYSTEMS: invitation to begin linking some U.S. and Russian anti-missile systems; cooperate on developing defense technology and to share intelligence about common threats, as well as to permit Russian officials to inspect the future missile bases... MORE...

After this becomes public I just can not see any Cuban ever voting republican again, unless said republican candidate were to not only distant him/her self from Bush, but from this plan to tie our missile defense to the Kremlin.
Are these people on drugs, and why don't they ever share.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gunman sent package to NBC News

‘When the time came, I did it,’ says message mailed between shootings

My guess is that the trigger was the start of the Padilla trial, and that this had nothing to do with the people on campus..and everything to do with the war on terror.
My other guess is that this is not the last one, there is more on the way.


GRAVITY PROBE B, the orbiting observatory devoted to testing the general theory of relativity, has measured the geodetic effect-the warping of spacetime in the vicinity of and caused by Earth-with a precision of 1%. The basic approach to studying this subtle effect is to monitor the precession of gyroscopes onboard the craft in a polar orbit around the Earth. The observed precession rate, 6.6 arc-seconds per year, is close to that predicted by general relativity. The geodetic effect can be measured in several ways, including the use of clocks, the deflection of light, and the perturbative influence of massive bodies on nearby gyroscopes. GP-B is of the latter type, and its current precision is as good as or better than previous measurements. And once certain unanticipated
torques on the gyroscopes are better understood, GP-B scientists expect the precision of their geodetic measurement to improve to a level of 0.01%.
These first GP-B results were reported at the APS meeting by Francis Everitt (Stanford). The idea for using gyroscopes to observe the warping of spacetime was proposed almost 50 years ago, and Everitt has been an active proponent and then scientific overseer of the project for much of that subsequent time.
A second major goal of GP-B is to measure frame dragging, a phenomenon which arises from the fact that space is, in the context of general relativity, a viscous fluid rather than the rigid scaffolding Isaac Newton took it to be. When the Earth rotates it partly takes spacetime around with it, and this imposes an additional torque on the gyroscopes. Thus an extra precession, perpendicular to and 170 times weaker than for the geodetic effect,
should be observed. Everitt said that GP-B saw *glimpses* of frame dragging in this early analysis of the data and expects to report an actual detection with a precision at the 1% level by the time of the final presentation of the data, now scheduled for December 2007.
(An indirect measurement of frame dragging at the 10-15% uncertainty level was made earlier by the LAGEOS satellite.) Some of the GP-B equipment is unprecedented. The onboard telescope used to orient the gyroscopes (by sighting toward a specific star) provided a star-tracking ability better by a factor of 1000 than
previous telescopes. The gyroscopes themselves-four of them for redundancy-are the most nearly spherical things ever made: the ping-pong-ball-sized objects are out of round by no more than 10 nm. They are electrostatically held in a small case, spun up to speeds of 4000 rpm by puffs of gas. The gas is then removed, creating a vacuum of 10^-12 torr. Covered with niobium and reposing
at a temperature of a few kelvin, the balls are rotating
superconductors, and as such they develop a tiny magnetic signature which can be read out to fix the sphere*s instantaneous orientation. (For more information see


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

America at the Crossroads

"It’s series of 11 two hour independently produced documentaries about the War on Terror. The series started last night (I started watching it after Drive with Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame, great show BTW).

Last nights episode was titled “Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind Al Qaeda”, tonight’s first hour is titled “Warriors”; we’re watching it right now. The film crew caught an IED attack during filming and the attack that followed; you could feel the fear and adrenalin through the screen, after the attack and evacuating their casualties, the same guys go back out on patrol. It’s quite a statement. "
Doc in the Box

An Iraqi Woman and Her Library - 04.16.2007

Much was made of the looting of Iraq’s National Library, after the fall of Baghdad and the collapse of order in the capital. Less is known about the role of small private libraries and how they continue to provide some of the only access to scholarly material for Baghdad’s intellectuals and academics.

Hameeda Al-Bassam, a disabled Shi’a woman, describes her work as a librarian, as well as the difficulties she faces, not only as a woman, but also as someone bound to a wheelchair.

Iraqis such as Hameeda have dedicated their lives to providing and rebuilding these bastions of scholarship in Baghdad. Iraq has a long history as a center of learning and scholarship, but after the 1991 Gulf War Iraq’s academic sector faced growing difficulties. It became nearly impossible to obtain scholarly magazines, the latest textbooks and scholarship, and even pencils and other necessities for learning.

Not only is Hameeda’s work difficult given the increasing attacks on scholars and academics in Iraq, she is also part of a growing population of disabled Iraqis, adding just one more difficulty to the dangers of living in Baghdad today."
Alive in Baghdad

Sunni Insurgents Try to Patch Up Rift

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - The leader of al-Qaida's umbrella group in Iraq tried to patch up rifts with other Sunni insurgent groups, urging militants in an audiotape released Tuesday to stop spilling each other's blood and unite against the Americans and the Iraqi government.

The moderate tone from Abu Omar al-Baghdadi toward his rivals suggested the unusually public spat among factions of the insurgency was raising concern among top leaders.

A week earlier, a spokesman of the rival Islamic Army in Iraq appeared on Al-Jazeera television, accusing al-Qaida in Iraq of killing members of his group and trying to force others to join al-Qaida.

In Tuesday's audiotape, al-Baghdadi - leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, a coalition in which al-Qaida is a leading member - told rival groups that he wanted to end their disagreements and vowed to punish any of his fighters who kill other militants.

"To my sons of the Islamic Army, please know that I will sacrifice my blood and honor for you," said al-Baghdadi in the 42-minute tape, which was his longest to date, according to the Washington-based SITE institute that monitors statements by extremist groups.

"We swear to you we don't shed the protected blood of Muslims intentionally. If I hear otherwise, I will set up a council of judges ... so even the weakest person in Iraq could take his rights, even if from my blood," he said.

He called for unity, saying "one group is essential to accomplish victory." The authenticity of the tape, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum where the group often issues statements, could not immediately be verified.

The Islamic State of Iraq groups eight Sunni insurgent factions, including al-Qaida in Iraq. But significant Sunni insurgent groups remain outside the coalition, including the Islamic Army of Iraq and the Ansar al-Sunna Army.

The Islamic Army of Iraq has claimed numerous attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces as well as kidnap-slayings of foreigners, although it is not known for suicide bomb attacks on civilians, many of which have been carried out by al-Qaida and its allies.

Al-Qaida is believed to be mainly made up of non-Iraqi Arab Islamic extremists, and it is thought to have formed the coalition to build support among Iraqi insurgents, who include Islamists and former members of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-led regime and military.

Al-Baghdadi accused outside powers - particularly the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group that is a member of the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - of fueling the divisions among insurgents. The government has been trying, with some success, to turn Sunnis against al-Qaida in such hotspots as Anbar province.

The rift among insurgents has been fueled in part by reports that some militants have been negotiating with the government and U.S. officials - though the contacts have failed to make any headway. The Islamic Army denied it had held any talks though it has said it is willing to do so under certain conditions.

The disputes became public this month when the Islamic Army charged in an Internet statement that al-Qaida was killing its fighters and those belonging to other militant Sunni groups if they did not pledge loyalty to it.

It said al-Qaida had killed Harith Dhaher al-Dhari, a field commander of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, another group not part of the coalition. Al-Dhari, the son of a tribal chief, was killed last month north of Baghdad.

Then, in an interview last week with Al-Jazeera television, the Islamic Army's spokesman, Ibrahim al-Shimmari accused al-Baghdadi's organization of killing 30 members of the Islamic Army and said al-Baghdadi had broken Islamic law by forcing other groups to swear allegiance to his coalition.

Along with the conciliatory words for the other insurgents, al-Baghdadi added a tough message to Sunni tribes in Anbar and elsewhere, some of whom have reportedly started backing the government against the insurgency. "You must know that violating our agreements is a major sin," he said. "Don't dare follow the occupiers and their criminal cohorts."

Al-Baghdadi also claimed his group had started manufacturing its own rockets, called al-Quds-1, or Jerusalem-1. The claim was impossible to verify.

Insurgents' production abilities are largely unknown. They have used a range of Soviet-era rockets like Katyushas, and shoulder-fired ground-to-air Sam-7 missiles - most looted from Saddam's depots. Weapons are also believed to be smuggled in from Iran and Syria.


Ambitions of Iraqi Kurds Worry Turkey

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Recent political gains by Iraqi Kurds are raising alarms in neighboring Turkey and increasing the risk of greater instability in Iraq's oil-rich north.

The moves - among the most significant involving Kurds since the 2003 invasion of Iraq - have been largely overshadowed by the struggle to curb violence around Baghdad, but they could have a strong impact on Iraq's future, including whether it remains a united country.

Kurdish boldness also comes at a critical time for Turkey, which is facing a growing threat in its own Kurdish region from separatist guerrillas raiding out of northern Iraq and has a presidential election coming up that could aggravate tensions between Islamist and secular Turks.

The fallout already has shaken relations between the United States and Turkey, a longtime ally increasingly frustrated that the overstretched American military in Iraq cannot crack down on Kurdish guerrillas.

That has the United States in a bind - "unwilling to open a new front in northern Iraq. Nor can it afford to lose its support from Iraq's Kurdish population," said Dr. Andrew McGregor, a security analyst and Kurdish expert in Canada, writing on the Web site of the Jamestown Foundation, a conservative think tank.

At the center of the fight are Kurdish aspirations for the ancient city of Kirkuk, the center of Iraq's northern oilfields.

The Kurds want to incorporate Kirkuk into their self-governing region in northern Iraq. They won a major concession in March when they pressured the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into approving plans to move thousands of Arabs out of Kirkuk and resettle them elsewhere.

The program targets Arabs who moved to Kirkuk after July 14, 1968, when Saddam Hussein's party took power. Saddam sent thousands of Arabs, many of them impoverished Shiite Muslims from the south, into Kirkuk to dilute the Kurdish presence there.

The Kurds' aim is to reduce the Arab population of the city before Kirkuk residents vote later this year whether to join the Kurdish self-governing region.

Opponents hope to delay the referendum or cancel it altogether. They fear that gaining control of Kirkuk would lead the Kurds, who make up 15 percent to 20 percent of Iraq's population, to set up an independent country entirely.

Nevertheless, the opponents within al-Maliki's administration caved in after the Kurds threatened to resign from the Cabinet - a move that would have spelled the end of the fragile, U.S.-backed governing coalition.

"For the Kurds, Kirkuk is nonnegotiable," said Dr. Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Violence will only continue and spike toward the referendum."

The Kurds used similar hardball tactics in February to win concessions granting them a major say in what companies are granted rights to exploit Iraqi oilfields in Kurdish-controlled areas.

But the March decision on relocation was even bigger, sending shock waves into neighboring Turkey, which has long feared the rising stature of Iraqi Kurds will further embolden Kurdish guerrillas fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey.

The insurgent Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, use bases in northern Iraq to launch attacks into southern Turkey, and Turkey is growing angry over the failure of U.S. and Iraqi forces to curb the attacks.

After the Iraqi Cabinet's decision to relocate Arabs from Kirkuk, Turkey warned publicly that its interests in the region cannot be ignored.

The hardline head of Turkey's military, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, went further, requesting permission last week to attack Kurdish guerrillas inside Iraq. Turkey's government isn't likely to approve, but the request alone has strained relations between Ankara and Washington.

The president of Iraq's Kurdish self-governing region, Massoud Barzani, further angered Turkish leaders by warning that Kurds "will not let the Turks intervene in Kirkuk."

Some analysts believe Barzani pushed for the Arab relocation plan because he fears the U.S. might block the referendum on Kirkuk's status, both to ease ethnic tensions and placate Turkey.

"He's trying to create a sense of inevitability that would make it impossible for the (U.S.) administration" to stand in the Kurds' way on Kirkuk, said Mark Parris, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey.

Barzani also may have timed his move to exploit political uncertainty in Turkey, as the Islamic-leaning prime minister seeks to be president, raising fears of serious friction with the secular-minded Turkish military.

Barzani also may be using the PKK guerrillas as leverage in exchange for Turkey's acceptance of a Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk.

"The one card (Barzani) has to deal with the Turks is the PKK," Parris said. "He could tell them, 'Don't forget, I'm the only guy who can solve your PKK problem.'"


GERNADE!!! for real this time...

"Well if you havent read my post on this before go check it out, entitled "Gernade!!" and you might understand a little more of what Im talking about.

Today we went out into the bad area to provide security while some Iraqi Army guard towers got built in that area. I was the TC (Truck Commander) of my vechicle and we were providing secutiry down an alley nearby. I was using my platoon leaders truck which has 2 radios and was tasked with monitoring radio traffic for my platoon and my company at the same time. A very headpounding task listening to 2 different frequencys."
On the Lose in Iraq

Venting Steam

"The new Transformers movie is coming out on July 4th. I saw a teaser for it a few days ago, and got a big surprise. One of the Transformers, Bonecrusher, masquerades as a BUFFALO. Yes, the big IED-hunting truck that we drive. My first thought was "Hey, he's a BUFFALO! That's awesome!". After that initial reaction, I got to thinking."
Acute Politics
Your new so you would probably have no way of knowing, but the military has been losing the pr war for a long time. Mostly by silencing their best and most popular representatives. I myself have vented steam on the subject many times. It was even one of the motivations to start my own blog. So you can get an idea how long that has been by looking at my archive.

All I can say is don't hold your breath, it wont work.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Something strange is going on. Long silent blogs, Iraqi Kurd and milblogs are being updated, or better said, they are being edited and reposted. Last time I saw something similar was when Raed cleaned up his old blog before immigrating to the US. So I have no Idea what is going on. From what I am seeing they seem to be a group of unrelated blogs, who seem to have come back to life simultaneously...All I will say is that my curiosity is perked.

Giant Purple Lizards

"The Zombie Project that Won’t Die is back. It’s not as violent as before, but I’m out of silver bullets, and it seems to enjoy the garlic. Most annoying. However, I know it can’t go on much longer. Either it will die or I will leave. Right now it just spasms occasionally.
Yesterday all the new folks spent the day sleeping, for the most part, and we didn’t really see much of them. Major Apple bought pizza for the CMA team, and the new Captain and SMSgt joined us. We talked shop quite a bit, probably more than we should have, as jet-lag was evident. Today the whole group started in-processing, and they were all at the chow hall. We met the Major who got the photo taken with us, as well as the Lt Col who said he liked my blog. Hamid was eating this all up. He loves meeting new people, and these people had been reading about him! I was impressed by how gracious all the Americans have been to Hamid. Some have even tried out speaking in Dari (they actually got Dari training at Fort Riley).

Doug and Mike had an extremely long day, so I’ll be surprised if either post tonight, but if they do, that will demonstrate their devotion to our readers. I’m still trying to recover from staying up all night a couple of days ago. At least my headache has subsided."

Radical Cleric's Bloc Quits Iraq Cabinet

BAGHDAD (AP) - Cabinet ministers loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr quit the government Monday, severing the powerful Shiite religious leader from the U.S.-backed prime minister and raising fears al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia might again confront American troops.

The U.S. military reported the deaths of seven more American service members: three soldiers and two Marines on Monday and two soldiers on Saturday.

In the northern city of Mosul, a university dean, a professor, a policeman's son and 13 soldiers died in attacks bearing the signs of al-Qaida in Iraq. Nationwide, at least 51 people were killed or found dead.

The political drama in Baghdad was not likely to bring down Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, but it highlighted growing demands among Iraqi politicians and voters that a timetable be set for a U.S. troop withdrawal - the reason al-Sadr gave for the resignations.

The departure of the six ministers also was likely to feed the public perception that al-Maliki is dependent on U.S. support, a position he spent months trying to avoid. Late last year he went so far as to openly defy directives from Washington about legislative and political deadlines.

In an appearance with families of military veterans, President Bush said he had spoken with al-Maliki. "He said, 'Please thank the people in the White House for their sacrifices, and we will continue to work hard to be an ally in this war on terror,'" Bush said.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said al-Sadr's decision to pull his allies from the 37-member Cabinet did not mean al-Maliki would lose his majority in Iraq's parliament.

"I'd remind you that Iraq's system of government is a parliamentary democracy and it's different from our system. So coalitions and those types of parliamentary democracies can come and go," she said.

Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to al-Maliki, told The Associated Press that new Cabinet ministers would be named "within the next few days" and that the prime minister planned to recruit independents not affiliated with any political group. The nominees will need parliament's approval.

The Mahdi Army, the military wing of al-Sadr's political organization, put down its weapons and went underground before the U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown began in Baghdad on Feb. 14 seeking to end sectarian killings and other violence.

Although dozens of the militia's commanders were rounded in the clampdown, al-Sadr kept his militia from fighting back, apparently out of loyalty to al-Maliki, who was elected prime minister with al-Sadr's help.

With the political link severed, there are signs al-Sadr's pledge to control the militia might be broken as well. Forty-two victims of sectarian murders were found in Baghdad the past two days, after a dramatic fall in such killings in recent weeks. U.S. and Iraqi officials have blamed much sectarian bloodshed on Shiite deaths squads associated with the Mahdi Army.

A week ago, on the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall to U.S. troops, al-Sadr sent tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets in a peaceful demonstration in two Shiite holy cities. Protesters burned and ripped U.S. flags and demanded the Americans fix a date for leaving.

"I ask God to provide the Iraqi people with an independent government, far from (U.S.) occupation, that does all it can to serve the people," al-Sadr said in a statement on the Cabinet resignations.

The departure of al-Sadr's allies from the Cabinet did not affect the 30 seats held by his followers in Iraq's 275-member parliament.

"The withdrawal will affect the performance of the government, and will weaken it," said Abdul-Karim al-Ouneizi, a Shiite legislator allied with a branch of the Dawa Party-Iraq Organization, which is headed by al-Maliki.

Saad Taha al-Hashimi, an al-Sadr ally who quit as Iraq's minister of state for provincial affairs, sought to reassure the cleric's supporters that their movement would remain influential.

"This does not mean the Sadrist movement will cease contributing to society," he told reporters. "The movement, as it always has, will remain in society and the government to offer what is best and to push forward the political process."

In violence Monday, at least 13 Iraqi soldiers were killed and four were wounded when more than a dozen gunmen hiding in the back of a truck attacked a military checkpoint near Mosul, police said.

"When the driver approached the checkpoint and reduced speed, preparing to stop for a routine search, all of a sudden more than a dozen gunmen ambushed the checkpoint members and showered them with gunfire," said a security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns.

Elsewhere in the city, gunmen killed Jaafar Hasan Sadiq, a professor at the University of Mosul's college of arts, as he was driving to work around 8:30 a.m. Five hours later, Talal Younis al-Jalili, dean of the university's college of political science, was slain as he drove home. Shortly after nightfall, gunmen killed the 17-year-old son of a Mosul policeman.

The brazen nature and the targets of the attacks are similar to previous assaults that blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq fighters, who are trying to break Iraqi military resolve and discourage secular activities such as university education.

In Basra, in the deep south of Iraq, about 3,000 protesters angry over inadequate city services marched peacefully through the streets of Iraq's second largest city to demand that the provincial governor resign.

The demonstrators gathered near the Basra mosque, then marched a few hundred yards to Gov. Mohammed al-Waili's office, which was surrounded by Iraqi soldiers and police officers. The protest ended a few hours later.


It's time to end the lie. These people never supported the government, they only wanted more advantage for themselves and revenge for what saddam and the Sunni world did to them. They were never interested in reconciliation or progress. Good riddance, and to my friends in the field, Good Hunting.

Pictures from Kerbala terrorist attack

"On Saturday 14 April 2007 a suicidal attack explodes himself in a detonated car in a market and an internal bus station area in Kerbala killing and wounding more than 250 civilians. Most of the victims were shoppers and street salesmen. Some victims burnt alive to death. Among them were children in a school trip from another region to visit Kerbala city.

To see some of the pictures click here and be ware that some of the pictures are very distressful."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Iraqi Nationalists Leaving the Government

"The attack on the Iraqi parliament was very strange. I don't think it was a suicide bomber. Take a look at this video and note that the explosion is way bigger than what an explosive belt would do. Besides, why would anyone blow himself up to kill the only anti-occupation group in the greenzone?

The official spokesman of a secular group that lost an MP in the explosion announced that the attack was aimed at silencing "nationalist MPs who are against splitting
iraq and against the oil law".Looking at who was killed and injured in the attack, it seems like they were ALL nationalists. Also, considering that the parliament was just about to begin debating the oil law this week, the timing of the attack was very convenient for the bush/imf/separatists."
Raed in the Middle

182 Days in Iraq (Paperback)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description
Phil Kivers real life, moment-to-moment journal of his assignment as an Army journalist in Iraq is honest, irreverentgripping and emotional one momenta howl the next. Kiver, pictured above, in Iraq, with one of his heroes, Oliver North, doesnt dress for company. His journals are raw reaction, impression, and introspection. This, folks, is what it feels like to be Phil Kiver in this war in Iraqmissing his wife, lounging at one of Sadams pools, angry with the brass, witnessing the deaths of children and comrades, nighttime explosions too close for comfort, pasta with the Italians, toasting the fallen with the Ukrainians. Its a delirium of experience with this journalist sorting through the rubble and smoke in search of the story that will one day be history.

182 Days in Iraq, 2nd Edition

Phil Kiver’s real-life, moment-to-moment journal of his assignment as an Army journalist in Iraq is honest, irreverent—gripping and emotional one moment—a howl the next. Kiver’s journals are raw reaction, impression, and introspection. This, folks, is what it feels like to be Phil Kiver in this war in Iraq—missing home, lounging at one of Saddam’s pools, angry with the brass, witnessing the deaths of children and comrades, nighttime explosions too close for comfort, pasta with the Italians, toasting the fallen with the Ukrainians. It’s a delirium of experience with this journalist sorting through the rubble and smoke in search of the story that will one day be history.
Word Association

Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan (Hardcover)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
In February 2003, Jones and her fellow NGO relief workers watched with disbelief and horror as Fox News declared the American war in Afghanistan a success—the Taliban totally defeated, all Afghan women "liberated" and the infrastructure completely restored. The reality they knew on the ground in Kabul was starkly different. Jones (Women Who Kill) presents her version of the events in this fascinating volume, which tours Kabul's streets, private homes, schools and women's prison. The political and military history of Afghanistan, as well as its cultural and religious traditions, inform Jones's daily interactions and observations. Describing an English class she taught, for example, Jones says, "Once, after I explained what blind date meant, a woman said, 'Like my wedding.' " Jones focuses particularly on Afghan women, whose lives are often permeated by violence. Her sharp eye and quick wit enable vivid writing, as when she witnesses a fistfight from her traffic-blocked car: an old man hit by a cyclist socks the cyclist, a young man punches the old man, then a traffic cop joins and socks the young man. Seconds later, all get up and continue on their way. (Mar. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
In this chilling account, Jones, a native New Yorker, recounts her experiences as an aid worker in prisons and schools in post-Taliban Afghanistan. While she explores many elements of Afghani culture (including the macabre national sport of buzkashi, in which horseback riders battle for possession of a dead calf), the subservient status of Muslim women is the topic that interests her most. She evokes a world of outcasts, from war widows to prostitutes to runaway child brides. Ninety-five percent of Afghan women are subject to violence: they are bought and sold, beaten and raped, preyed upon and betrayed by their own flesh and blood. Jones, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, occasionally gets bogged down in too much historical detail, but her impressions are vividly rendered: "Kabul in winter is a state of mind, a mix of memory and desire that lifts like dust in the wind to hide from view the world as it is." This achingly candid commentary brings the country's sobering truths to light. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved