Allcon- This was written by David at the end of his tour in November. I've waited to post it for almost three months. Several retired Marine Officers took this email in all its honesty and made sure the chain of command *cough*Commandant*cough* received it in early January.
I'm not trying to air the Corps' dirty laundry. We post AARs here from Marine Corporals occasionally and some have ended up as resources at Army Training Centers and for Commanders and Sergeants headed to Iraq.
It's long and valuable. And I've waited long enough to ensure OPSEC wouldn't be truly violated (this has been posted on some open forums already) and actions could take place.
Friday, February 29, 2008
- Wonder what Harry Reid and the rest of the pusillanimous poltroons on the Potomac think about this? Plus, Obama's love-fest with Hollywood may not like this little OP/ED.
What's worse in politics than being attacked? Being ignored -- and Hillary Clinton wants it to stop. She wants back into the national discourse after mostly being overlooked since the debacle of Super Tuesday:
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Some things I'll truly miss though. The part where I shut off every thing but the vacation mentality and drive. Then, I'd end up in the desert, so I'd need to drink. Next, I'd blog it in an email in great detail. I'd laugh as much or more than those of you who were reading and not on vacation.
I'll do something cheaper but along the same lines sometime this year, so the good times will be had, it'll just be somewhere down the road.
Yeah, and I've saddled myself with a car payment. I'll make that work as I've also saddled myself with the Mustang GT.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
First, his perception of the situation in Iraq. The money quote and response by McCain is:
Obama said during the debate with Clinton that once he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq, ifwere to form a base there, "then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
"I have some news," McCain said. "Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It's called. My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country and I'm not going to allow that to happen."
Like I said, be afraid, be very afraid...
Monday, February 25, 2008
Some of the most important measures of progress are the Iraqi government’s efforts to propose and pass legislation allocating wealth. This includes the 2008 budget, which is immediately essential to executive functions and represents a de facto distribution of revenue among Iraq’s provinces and sects, and the hydrocarbons laws, which will have long-term ramifications for the apportionment and development of the country’s oil resources.
CRITICS of the war in Iraq like to claim they "oppose the mission" but "support the troops." But the experience of Vietnam shows that turning our backs on the mission always means turning our backs on the courage of those who fought for that mission, and what they achieved through their skill and sacrifice.
Consider the battle that ended 40 years ago today, when US Marines and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops retook the Imperial Palace at Hue, South Vietnam's third largest city, from Communist forces after a 27-day siege.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.
“The problem is that, while we were able to clear the Taliban in certain areas when we had an operation, we don’t have enough force to be able hold some of those areas. It’s the same kind of problem we encountered in Iraq,” Gates said. “The way to deal with this long term clearly is (developing) the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. So it has to be a partnership between ourselves and the Afghans, with more and more of the effort gradually shifting to the Afghans.”
Thursday, February 21, 2008
There is a medical distinction.
We've all heard about people having guts or balls, but do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definitions are listed below:
GUTS - Is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask: 'Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?'
BALLS - Is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the butt and having the balls to say: 'You're next, fatty.'
I hope this clears up any confusion on the definitions. Medically speaking, there is no difference in the outcome, since both ultimately result in death.
- BAGHDAD — Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s legal system suffered from neglect, abuse and stagnation for nearly 30 years.
Now, through a joint initiative by the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and the 3rd Infantry Division, the courts are being drawn into the 21st century with training on laptops and CD-ROMs loaded with ninety years of Iraqi case law.
Devoy Murdock over at National Review Online has Reports of Reconciliation.
- Terrorism is collapsing across Iraq. In February 2007, when President Bush ordered 30,000 additional troops into Iraq — as Senator John McCain cheered and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama jeered — only 8 percent of Baghdad’s neighborhoods were rated secure. That number is now 75 percent. In 2006, coalition troops defused 2,662 terrorist weapons caches. In 2007, they neutralized 6,956. Since June, attacks on U.S. soldiers have slid 60 percent. Meanwhile, sectarian violence fell 90 percent from January to December 2007, sparing Iraqi and U.S. lives alike.
- The fighting in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, is likely to look much different than combat that has taken place elsewhere in Iraq.
Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement and the commander of the Mahdi Army, has ordered the extension of the cease-fire, anonymous senior officials in his movement have told Reuters. The cease-fire, which was put in place after a major clash in Najaf in August 2007, will be extended by six months.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In the predawn hours of Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft flew in a slow arc above the Pakistani town of Mir Ali. The drone’s operator, relying on information secretly passed to the CIA by local informants, clicked a computer mouse and sent the first of two Hellfire missiles hurtling toward a cluster of mud-brick buildings a few miles from the town center.
The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA’s dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda’s core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.
FALLUJAH – Next to the Joint Communications Center in downtown Fallujah is a squalid and war-shattered warehouse for human beings. Most detainees are common criminals. Others are captured insurgents – terrorists, car-bombers, IED makers, and throat-slashers. A few are even innocent family members of Al Qaeda leaders at large. The Iraqi Police call it a jail, but it's nothing like a jail you've ever seen, at least not in any civilized country. It was built to house 120 prisoners. Recently it held 900.
As previously reported at The Long War Journal, US and Iraqi forces have stepped up operations against the Iranian-backed and Mahdi Army-linked Special Groups terror cells. The increase in activity comes as Muqtada al Sadr is deliberating the reinstatement or cancellation of the self-imposed cease-fire.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
- Former CIA case Officer Reuel Marc Gerecht argues today that, barring a precipitous U.S. abandonment of the country, “Iraq could well become America's decisive victory over Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all those Muslims who believe that God has sanctified violence against the United States.”
From Pat Dollard - Maliki Thanks America For Victory Over Al Qaeda
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister declared “victory in Baghdad” yesterday, claiming U.S. and Iraqi troops have chased al-Qaida in Iraq out of the capital in the year since a security crackdown began, and vowing to pursue insurgents who have fled northward.
In remarks broadcast on state television, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thanked the U.S. military and its allies for “standing with us in defeating terrorism.”
As Coalition forces in Iraq have moved to a doctrine centered more on counterinsurgency and begun to engage the sheikhs, the military has relied more and more on security forces supplied by local sheikhs to point out bad guys, weapon caches, and IEDs. In Arab Jabour, those forces are called Sons of Iraq.
Sayifiyah, in southern Arab Jabour, had local villagers trying to start a Sons of Iraq program before US forces even reached their village.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Made a run up the road to J.C. Penny's as the big and fat department was having a sale. got 4 shirts at half off. Bingo, beer reward number two! Also went to Sears to get some craftsman tools for the next project. They were on sale at $70 dollars off. Yep, another beer reward.
Installed the K&N cold air intake on the mustang. Beer reward obviously.
Mom and Dad called to ask me to feed the dog as they were heading to Denver for the evening. Upon completion of that mission, another beer reward.
I'm doing a quick blog and then it's time for some serious collections.
Like I said, it's been a great day...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
She went downstairs and looked around, still not finding her husband. Listening again, she could definitely hear moaning. She went down to the basement where she finally found her husband crouched in the corner facing the wall, sobbing. "What's wrong with you?" she asked him.
"Remember when your father caught us having sex when you were sixteen?" he replied. "And remember he said I had two choices: I could either marry you, or spend the next twenty years in prison." Baffled, she said, "Yes, I remember, so what?"
The husband sobbed, "I would have gotten out today
The last thing the Bush White House would want, you might think, would be to make the 2008 presidential election a referendum on the unpopular war in Iraq. The 2006 congressional elections were such a referendum, and the Republicans got hammered.
But President Bush, newly confident that his troop-surge strategy is working, is taking steps that are likely to guarantee another Iraq-driven election. He favors keeping a big U.S. force in Iraq through the November elections, probably close to the pre-surge level of 130,000 troops. That large presence will draw Democratic fire -- and it will make the presidential contest all the more a test between a pro-war Republican nominee and an antiwar Democrat.
In the it's about time category there seems to be some movement towards national political reconciliation in Iraq. In today's New York Times Alissa Rubin reports that Iraq’s parliament approved three measures - the 2008 budget, a law outlining the scope of provincial powers and an amnesty that would apply to thousands of the detainees held in Iraqi jails.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Imad Mugniyah, the leader of Hezbollah’s military wing and a senior officer in Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in yesterday’s car bombing in Damascus, Syria. Mugniyah was behind multiple terror attacks against US, Israel, and other nations, and most famously the 1983 Beirut suicide attacks which killed 241 US Marines and 58 French paratroopers. Hezbollah has confirmed Mugniyah’s death, and has issued the following statement:
Citizens in the four-province region of Multi-National Division - North have begun shifting their support to Coalition and Iraqi forces in “droves,” and security gains are increasingly putting extremists on the run with no clear place to go to be safe, said Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multi-National Division - North and the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division. The northern division is about the size of Pennsylvania and includes Diyala, Salahuddin, Ninevah and Tamim provinces.
Understanding the constitutional structure and current composition of Iraq’s legislative branch is a prerequisite to analyzing the much-maligned progress of key legislation. As with the executive, the political diversity of Iraq’s legislature presents many significant challenges and a few opportunities to meeting the legislative benchmarks considered important to stability and reconciliation.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
[Baghdad] One of the most important measures of progress in Iraq is the development of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). In order for our troops to draw down without squandering the tremendous recent gains, Iraqis must be able to govern and protect their own country. There are conflicting reports concerning the ISF’s capability and reliability. Understanding that this is a complex issue which depends to a great extent on projections, predictions and interpretations rather than hard facts, I will describe the situation as I see it.
ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ – The United States plans to hand Anbar Province over to the Iraqis next month if nothing catastrophic erupts between now and then. The Marines will stick around a while longer, though, and complete their crucial last mission – training the Iraqi Police to replace them.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
A document seized by US forces in Balad and a communiqué from al Qaeda in Iraq's leader intercepted by US intelligence paint a bleak picture of the terror group's ability to conduct operations in former strongholds. Al Qaeda in Iraq is threatened by the rise of the Awakening movements spreading throughout Iraq and is forced to change its tactics.
South Baghdad has truly quieted down. There is still some violence reminding us this is not over, but I walked down the street of one neighborhood the other day wearing no body armor or helmet.
I mentioned back in December that I expected US casualties likely would rise in January and February, and unfortunately this is occurring. The same is likely to happen in March. This masks the reality that much progress is being made and Iraq as a whole appears to be settling down, because it is easy to cherry pick facts that make it appear worse than it is. I believe that JAM is cooperating more than is being reported in the news.
The increased US causalities are to be expected due to the rapidly diminishing habitat for al Qaeda. Al Qaeda continues to get hammered south of Baghdad, out in Diyala, up in Salah ad Dinh, Nineveh, and other places, but of course some of them always squirt and escape.
Many al Qaeda have "escaped" to (or are being trapped in? ) Mosul. There are reports that al Qaeda has learned from their mistakes and are treating the people in Mosul better than they have treated people elsewhere; this could make it tougher to root them out of Mosul. But these reports are ambiguous: AQI typically treats people mostly well when they first move in, but the pattern is clear: eventually they go Helter Skelter and start cutting off kids' heads and so forth.
I expect fierce fighting to unfold in Mosul, and I should be there in a few days.
On Monday, I'll talk on the Dennis Miller show, and Tuesday on NPR. Please click here for more information, and to see three "Photos of the Year" (almost), that I shot in Iraq.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
One day after a Pakistani newspaper reported al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn may have been killed in the same airstrike that killed al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi, the rumor remains unconfirmed.
The Government of Iraq’s executive branch has several goals central to maintaining security gains and achieving sectarian reconciliation: effective hiring and management of the highly publicized Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs), the auxiliary security forces greatly responsible for the significant reduction in violence; the delivery of reconstruction resources, including basic services, to Baghdad and the provinces; and the creation of jobs and economic opportunity for average Iraqis.
Friday, February 8, 2008
The husband replies, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect".
He never heard the shot..
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Security gains in Iraq have maintained momentum for five months and the focus has turned to spurring and gauging the country’s political progress. The ultimate goal of the troop surge executed by the military was for improved security to provide “breathing room” for such progress, which can be simplified to three fronts: “ground-up” political progress, executive political progress by the federal government, and federal legislative progress.
As Muqtada al Sadr's self-imposed six-month cease-fire for the Mahdi Army nears an end, the war of words and between Multinational Forces Iraq and the Mahdi Army has heated up. Over the past several days, Multinational Forces Iraq has stated the attacks from the Special Groups have intensified, while leaders within the Mahdi Army are calling for an end to the cease-fire.
On January 30, 1968, more than a quarter million North Vietnamese soldiers and 100,000 Viet Cong irregulars launched a massive attack on South Vietnam. But the public didn't hear about who had won this most decisive battle of the Vietnam War, the so-called Tet offensive, until much too late.
Media misreporting of Tet passed into our collective memory. That picture gave antiwar activism an unwarranted credibility that persists today in Congress, and in the media reaction to the war in Iraq. The Tet experience provides a narrative model for those who wish to see all U.S. military successes -- such as the Petraeus surge -- minimized and glossed over.
At a hearing yesterday of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the intelligence director, Michael McConnell, said, "If I had 'til now to think about it, I probably would change a few things." He later added, "I would change the way we describe the Iranian nuclear program. I would have included that there are the component parts, that the portion of it, maybe the least significant, had halted."
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
- The problem for Democrats is that their core belief that those fighting in Iraq are simply victims translates into a rhetorical kind of pity that strikes a military mind as condescending. Thus Sen. Barack Obama, in his otherwise soaring speech after his South Carolina primary win, sympathizing with "the soldier who doesn't know his child because he's on his third or fourth tour of duty." Or his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, promising, on the same night, that "when we bring them home [from Iraq], we're going to take care of them. They have been neglected and ignored. . . . We're going to give them the health care and compensation and support they deserve to have."
Monday, February 4, 2008
FALLUJAH – The United States military plans to formally hand over Anbar Province to the Iraqis this spring because the insurgency truly is finished in that part of the country. Most Americans have heard about the success in this province by now, but few seem to be aware that the cities of Anbar were the scenes of the most ferocious fighting: Ramadi, Haditha, and – worst of all – Fallujah.
- A year after the American troop surge in Iraq began, its success is clear, even to Newsweek, the Washington Post, and Rep. John Murtha. As Wesley Morgan details in the current issue of National Review, violence is way down, American troop levels are decreasing, tribal leaders are casting their lot with America, and a tattered al-Qaeda is on the run. Yet most leading Democrats sound like they haven’t heard the news.
For instance, read what George F. Will has to say about The Biofuel Follies over at Newsweek.
To avoid drilling for oil in ANWR, the planet savers evidently prefer destroying forests that absorb greenhouse gases.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
February 3, 2008 -- The gaunt 52-year-old Iraqi army private stands on top of a rudimentary guard post fashioned from huge, sand-filled hessian sacks, brandishing a rifle.
The post stands in a strip of featureless brown desert, broader than a motorway, which is flanked by deep ditches, great earthen berms and chain-link fences covered in coiled razor wire that stretch away to the horizon in two almost impenetrable parallel lines.
In a column in today's Ottawa Citizen, journalist David Warren recalls how forty years ago Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese regulars violated a negotiated truce to launch what became known, after the Vietnamese lunar new year, as the "Tet Offensive," a total military defeat from which they nonetheless salvaged a propaganda victory.
Alright, I'll start getting back to blogging. Maybe not much tonight as I'm a little sidetracked with the Super Bowl, but I should at least get to finding stuff tomorrow night.