Outstanding song by the band Stuck Mojo from Atlanta, GA.
I speak peace when peace is spoken, But I speak war when your hate is provoking, The season is open 24-7-365, Man up yo time to ride, No need to hide behind slogans of deceit, Claiming that you're a religion of peace, We just don't believe you, We can clearly see through, The madness that you're feeding your people, Jihad the cry of your unholy war, Using the willing, the weak and poor, From birth drowning in propaganda, rhetoric and slander, All we can say is damn ya
Airstrike flattens 15 homes in Ramadi?
On November 15th, the L.A. Times ran a story titled "Iraqi resident says U.S. airstrike kills 30." The article had this to say:
Baghdad - A U.S. airstrike in the restive town of Ramadi killed at least 30 people, including women and children, witnesses said Tuesday.
A Times correspondent in Ramadi said at least 15 homes were pulverized by aerial bombardment and families could be seen digging through the ruins with shovels and bare hands.
I would try to debunk this myself, but Patterico has already done an admirable job of showing the complete lack of journalistic integrity on the part of the L.A. Times. Can anyone honestly say that they are surprised? This is just an example of why distrust between the military and the media is at an all-time high.
As you read Patterico's blog entry on this article, take note of the fact that the report is entirely based on the word of an Iraqi stringer employed by the Times. In military intelligence circles, this is known as "single-source reporting", and is generally considered untrustworthy and unsuitable intelligence for launching an operation. Apparently, it is good enough for mass publication to the American public.
Unfortunately, there are a number of other holes I could blast in their story, but I would have to cross, or at least stray dangerously close to, the OPSEC line in order to do it. Suffice it to say that, as a military forward air controller who recently worked in Al Anbar province, and who read the airstrike summaries Coalition Air Operations Center's (CAOC) webpage, an airstrike big enough to level 15 houses would require multiple sections of aircraft and enough ordnance to be highly unusual for any city in Iraq.
Six Steps... Part II
MAJ Egland, author of Six Steps to Victory, says he has received an incredible amount of feedback. He plans to eventually publish a manuscript, but in the meantime he is trying to get the ball rolling on connecting American citizens with the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq. The following is excerpted from a letter to Blackfive:
Hey, do you know anyone who is just about to deploy, or has just arrived in Iraq, preferably in a line infantry, ground-owner type unit? Goal is to implement Step 3--connect the American people to the effort by giving them the chance to directly support the guys on the ground.
I am trying to line up a few battalions who would want to get sponsored by a city here and use the WalMart 'wedding registry' to order what they need-- video games, dvd's and books for themselves; cell phone cameras, laptops and video cameras to give to supportive locals for help with spotting bad guys; and dolls, bicycles, microwaves and generators to strengthen relations with the locals.
I have the list of deploying units, but prefer to go grass roots so I don't have to put up with some brigade XO tell me to send a white paper and powerpoint brief--only to never hear back from him.
Let me know if you or your readers can connect me with someone from a combat battalion either in country or about to deploy in the next few months. I can explain that all they would need to do is go to WalMart.com and sign up for a gift registry account, tell their buddies in the unit, send me the account information and I will take it from there.
Once they start getting stuff, they can take pictures and e-mail them back here so the folks supporting them can get the feedback to see that their efforts are really making a difference. I have mayors, CEOs, nonprofit presidents, church leaders, Rotary clubs, political groups and other local leaders from Alaska to Florida chomping at the bit to help out. People here really want to help but don't know how--beyond prayers, bumper stickers and care packages. Also, if one of your readers wants to sign their city up to sponsor a battalion, they can e-mail me at SixStepsInIraq@hotmail.com...
If you know someone with combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan, make sure to tell them that this is a chance for their voice to be heard. E-mail the Major and help the true grass-roots movement.
Six Steps to Victory
This is a repost of my most recent entry on OPFOR. I put it here as well to give as much attention as possible to MAJ Egland's article. MAJ Eric Egland USAFR recently came up with what I believe to be an excellent plan for "changing directions" in our fight in Iraq. I found his article intriguing and very well thought out. I whole heartedly agree with some of his suggestions, and others challenge my own ideas on how to fight this war. I say "challenge" because they are forcing me to rethink my own ideas, and evaluate whether or not they are truly as sound as I thought they were.
Just to give you a taste, the six points of his plan are listed below.
1. Encourage innovation by emphasizing small-scale technological solutions and rejecting peace-time bureaucracy.
2. Improve pre-deployment training and abandon Cold War-era checklists.
3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.
4. Strengthen intelligence sharing between tactical and national levels, and develop a national insurgent database.
5. Take the offensive by reducing the predictable patterns on the ground while conducting operations that hunt, rather than chase, the enemy.
6. Accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with both the Iraqi and American public.
The last point in particular should interest our readers, and Milbloggers as a whole. It's been said again and again that if DoD does not embrace blogging, it will end up being a huge problem for the Pentagon and detrimental to the war effort. If they take advantage of the perspective offered by military bloggers, perhaps even embracing Egland's "unit blogger" concept, it could very well turn out to be a huge advantage in the information war.
MAJ Egland has some excellent ideas, and I hope that they garner the attention that they deserve. You can help by spreading the word about his article. In addition, for those with experience on the ground, MAJ Egland is actively seeking your thoughts and opinions. There is an e-mail address at the bottom of the last page of the article that can be used to submit your ideas.
Soldier's load has gone beyond the realm of sanity.
An excellent point by the CO of 2d Reconnaissance Battalion. I couldn't agree more.
Commanders are not allowed the flexibility to tailor the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to their mission and the threat in that particular Area of Operations (AO). What is appropriate for a foot patrol in the streets of Ramadi or Baghdad is not appropriate for the fields of Jazirah.
Well, folks, this is it. The last day of the Project Valour-IT drive. Teams Navy and Marines have reached their individual goals, but the entire drive is still about $18,000 short. For those of you who gave to the Navy and Marine teams, thank you for your support, but it's not over yet. Time to support our brothers and sisters in the Army and Air Force so that we can reach our goal today.
I noticed that we just passed the halfway mark in our fundraising drive for Project Valour-IT. Many thanks to all of you who have given so far, please continue to support this important project by encouraging friends and family to contribute as well. We have just a few days left to reach our goal, and we need the help of everyone, regardless of service, to make this happen.
Cross Into The Blue
In celebration of Team Marines passing Team Chair Force the other day, I thought I'd add a motivating Air Force recruiting commercial. Finally, the boys in blue have put out a video showing what it's really like to serve in America's Air Force.
Update: In other news -
Washington (AP) The Air Force unveiled its new Battle Dress Uniform today. The utilitarian thing about the new uniform said Air Force representatives was that it has a built-in reversible Hawaiian shirt.
"This helps keep troops at the ready, " said one Air Force Official. "If they are off duty they simply turn the shirt inside-out and come into work."
"America's Battalion" Corpsman Upholds the Tradition
Hospitalman Aaron P. Maggard recently proved to his brothers in Echo Company 2/8 why a "Doc" is a Marine's best friend. After an IED exploded on a foot patrol, wounding two Marines and an Iraqi jundi, Doc Maggard rushed to their aid, ignoring shrapnel wounds to his own face.
"Doc was hit in the face with shrapnel," Walker said. "It had busted his jaw. It looked like someone hit him with a baseball bat."
After the QRF arrived, Doc Maggard continued to treat his brothers even as they were loaded on to the medevac vehicle and driven away.
I'm a Captain in the Marine Corps, and an infantry officer by trade. Currently, I am assigned to 2d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), responsible for requesting and directing close air support in support of friendly ground units. I have deployed to the Central Command AOR on four separate occasions, including two tours in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan. I will be returning to Iraq for another go-round in the fall of 2007.