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December 2007

Former PM of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Assassinated

This is very bad news for freedom and democracy.  Pakistan is a nuclear state that is relatively unstable.

According to breaking news on Fox, either a suicide bomber was a decoy and caused her to be channeled to an assassin or the assassin himself was the suicide bomber.  Regardless, a gunman shot former Prime Minister Bhutto at least twice (but might be as many as five times) and then detonated his suicide vest - killing him and at least 20 others.  Thirty minutes later, Benazir Bhutto was declared dead.

Benazir Bhutto, educated at Harvard and Oxford, was hated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda for being a woman in the highest position in the land, for being a supporter of the West and Democracy.  She also included in her election platform a promise to go after Al Qaeda in the tribal regions of Pakistan.

Make no mistake, this was a huge victory for Islamic extremists. 

The response by Bhutto's party and President Musharraf will decide whether or not Pakistan remains on the razor's edge of stability.  Bhutto's martyrdom could be used in a way that she would have wanted - to unify the forces for stability and democracy against the Islamic extremists.  Or her legacy will be used to plummit Pakistan into chaos.

Keep an eye on The Long War Journal for more analysis.

Sniper Wonderland & Same Time Last Year

I took a look back at what we were writing about last December and I found this bit in a piece about who should succeed Gen. Abizaid as Commander in Iraq.

So give the gig to Petraeus, send another couple of boatloads of troops to secure Baghdad, and send him a bunch of satchels of cash to give to local sheiks and to fund local projects. Get our troops and the Iraqi troops among the people, living, securing, rebuilding. Oh and one last thing, LTG Petraeus...please bust a cap in Mookie's ass.

Well I got almost all of my wish list, and we all know the time for whacking Mook was back in 2004, once we chickened out we lost the opportunity.

Now that the main holiday has passed I will link the infamous "Walkin' in a Sniper Wonderland" both versions.

Iraqi Sniper Wonderland

From the top of the hill, a one shot kill
Walkin' in a Sniper Wonderland

Johnny Jihad slinks around a-spyin' (spyin')
So you stop and chamber another round
Shoot him in the head his brains go flyin' (flyin')
And you can watch him quiver on the ground

Later on, by the fire
We will build a funeral pyre
From the top of the hill, a one shot kill
Walkin' in a Sniper Wonderland

Local sheikh got sick of Johnny Jihad (Jihad)
So he told you just which hooch was his
Predator sends Hellfire, now it's all bad (all bad)
Remote sniping yeah, we're cool like this

Johnny's hooch, booms ongoin'
Johnny's toys, they're a-blowin'
From high in the sky, swift justice will fly
Walkin' in a Sniper Wonderland

The original: (Warning at least one baby is harmed in the singing of this song.)

Update: A fellow Oki asylum vet sends this hilarity that fits the theme perfectly.

Santa Visits Baghdad (and 3rd ID Gifts a Hellfire Missile to Al Qaeda)

What further sign do you need for a stabilizing Iraq than a visit from Santa?

Of course, Iraq is still not the land of the-milk-and-honey-of-human-kindness that we all wish it would be (Santa's sleigh was armored, after all).  Here is a video of troops running a few remaining Al Qaeda to ground in their sector.  On December 24th, Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 3rd ID , received info that a few key leaders of AQI in their sector were trying to depart and crossing the Tigris River.  3rd BCT, 3rd ID, picked up the trail, confirmed the targets were correct and sent a few Apaches out after them.  Merry Christmas, and here's your package, Al Qaeda!

3rd ID Soldiers Help Iraqi Woman to Walk Again

This story came across the PAO wires on Christmas Eve:

Iraqi Double Amputee Walks Out of Hospital
By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Standing upright and walking on her own is something 20-year-old Soham Hassan Ka-Naan, a young woman from Khargulia, never thought she would be able to do again.
After receiving her second prosthetic leg Dec. 20 at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Soham was able to walk upright with the assistance of crutches.
Soldiers of Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division found Soham in July, after an insurgent rocket attack hit her house, amputating both of her legs. Since then, she has undergone multiple trips to the 28th CSH for surgery, prosthetic fittings and physical therapy.
The journey was a painful one according to Soham; however, her final fitting leaves her pain free with two prosthetic legs. One of the legs fills in the missing calf and foot on her left leg, and the other extends from the beginning of her right hip.
“I am very happy, I have no pain,” she said through a translator. “I feel normal again.”
Soham has high expectations for herself and said she expects to walk on her own, without crutches, in about five months. She said she hopes to be able to play soccer, run and dance too.

Soham Hassan Ka-Naan, 20, from Khargulia, walks on her new prosthetic legs as Capt. Sayed Ali, from Long Island, N.Y., a physician in 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, foreground, and Chris Cummings, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., prosthetic clinic adviser at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, watch Dec. 20. Photographer: Sgt. Natalie Rostek, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.
“I’m not going to give up,” she said through a translator. “I gave up before and didn’t think about walking for three years. I never imagined I would have two legs again.”...

Continue reading "3rd ID Soldiers Help Iraqi Woman to Walk Again" »

USS Truman on Station


An F/A-18 Hornet prepares to land on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Truman and embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 are underway on a deployment in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes).  Date Taken: December 20th, 2007, Location: USS Harry S. Truman, U.S. Central Command Air Forces.

Blackfive TV- CPT Travis Patriquin, a tribute

Last December Travis Patriquin died along with two others in an IED blast. This December he would not even recognize the al Anbar Province he was helping to transform. He became famous for his Powerpoint on "How to win in Anbar" and helped in ways far above his pay grade to push the change to a Counter-Insurgency (COIN) strategy. It is too bad he is not here to see what has become of his stick figures, but we are. So thanks CPT P, from all of us.


Michelle has a great post rounding up the year "The Surge, the Military & the Media" that features CPT P prominently, also MKH made a brilliantly crafted version of the presentation here.

This seems an appropriate way to continue his legacy. (h/t Gateway)

Shiite tribal leaders attend Christmas mass at an Assyrian orthodox church in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007. The church, which is located next to a Shiite mosque, hosted their neighbors for Christmas mass as a gesture of friendship.

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)



A True Gift Of The Season


Somewhere In Rashid, Iraq

The family could have been any family in the larger Rashid district. There was nothing to truly set them apart in appearance from any other family, nor is their home distinctive. What sets this family apart is not appearance, wealth, or such things, but rather a generosity of spirit.

While many families joke about cooking for an army, this family truly did so -- at least for a platoon. Continuing a tradition begun last Thanksgiving, this family invited a platoon they have gotten to know and respect for dinner. Knowing that these men were away from home and loved ones during special times of the year, this family decided that they would bring the holidays to them. So, they invited "their" platoon over for dinner, and were kind enough to let me come as well.

The greetings were warm and friendly, for they knew the soldiers well. It was an easy time, as jokes and tales flew the entire evening. The friendship and respect were easy to see on both sides, and I was reminded very much of old Southern hospitality.

The meal itself was a feast. The pictures tell the tale, and I will say that it was all good. Bodies were well fed, and spirits were as well. For amidst the easy camaraderie was something even more filling and satisfying than delicious food. It was the care, the friendship, and the respect between all there that fed the spirit in the same abundance did the food. It was the hope seen in a family inviting over as friends those that could just as easily be considered enemies.

There are indeed those who support the troops. They just are not necessarily Americans.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and share with you all this true gift of the season.





Merry Christmas (For the Majority)

Shannon1_2You never know what the year will bring you.

I started the year at home on Christmas leave, and then in Zormat Afghanistan, and then home and back to work.

And then the hospital, because I was on my new motorcycle and got hit on the way home from work.

Yeah, I was pissed.  More pissed about the bike than my leg. (if anyone out there runs into Mrs. Deebow, leave that part out)

12 Months in Afghanistan; shot at, mortared, RPG'ed, IED'ed, Rocketed, Taliban everywhere.  Not a mark on me; home for 68 days, Left Leg broken in four places.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways....  Maybe he had bigger plans for me.

This Christmas, I am healing enough be able to chase my little 21 month old guy around.  I am following politics heavily and though it is hard not to cross over here, I think this story bears airing.  (h/t Weasel Zippers)

House Resolution 847 “acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of western civilization.”

    (1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

    (2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

    (3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

    (4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

    (6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

The final tally was 372 Yea and 9 Nay.  The Nays were:

Ackerman, Gary [D]   

Clarke, Yvette [D]   

DeGette, Diana [D]

Hastings, Alcee [D]

Lee, Barbara [D]

McDermott, James [D]

Scott, Robert [D]

Stark, Fortney [D]

Woolsey, Lynn [D]

I mean, who is against Christmas?

Evidently, 9 Democrats.  But not me.  Merry Christmas to all the B5'ers out there and to all the men and women who serve at home and overseas to protect our freedoms.  Merry Christmas to all of my fellows here that are helping me to be better at this.

God Bless us, every one....

The only time I agree w/ John Kerry

The NFL and the Big Ten Network have officially pissed me off. UW is a state school sucking up my state and my federal tax dollars by the shite load. UW sold some of it's basketball and football games to the Big Ten network, and my cable thieves don't carry that. So now I can't see games from a team my tax money supports. Well I'm throwing the BS flag. I will be at whatever hearings accompany and authorize this. But the asshats at the NFL have doen the same damn thing with NFL games. And don't give me any crap about free enterprise, the NFL operates as a sanctioned monopoly so they are already gaming the system, greedy bastards all of 'em. Oh so how does F. Jacques Kerry factor in, well he's throwing bombs at the NFL saying "don't make me legislate on your punk ass".

With the New England Patriots now one win away from finishing the regular season undefeated, Sen. John Kerry is stepping up his campaign to get the final game broadcast on national television.

The contest Saturday with the New York Giants is to air locally in Boston and New York. But outside those markets it is scheduled to appear only on the NFL Network, a cable channel that reaches just 35 million households nationwide while the league and cable operators dicker over pricing and distribution.

Kerry asked football Commissioner Roger Goodell today to move the game to NBC – and threatened Senate hearings if he does not.

“Under the unfortunate circumstance that this matter remains unresolved, leaving 60 percent of households across the country – including thousands in Massachusetts – without access to Saturday’s game, I will ask the Senate Commerce Committee to hold hearings on how the emergence of premium sports channels are impacting the consumer,” he wrote to Goodell today in a letter released by his office.