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January 2009

The Vote

With the major elections in Iraq occurring on Saturday, Iraq's security forces are allowed to vote early in order to focus on providing security during the elections:


An Iraqi National Police officer displays his ink-stained finger after leaving a polling station in the New Baghdad district of eastern Baghdad, Jan. 28, 2009. The Iraqi government held a special election to allow Iraqi Security Forces to vote in the provincial elections, scheduled for Jan. 31.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Licea.

Full story after the Jump.

Continue reading "The Vote" »

Iraqi government denies license to Blackwater

Today it was announced that the Iraqi Interior Ministry will deny a renewal of the operating license required for Blackwater to continue protecting State Department personnel in the country.

MOSUL, Iraq Jan. 28 -- The Iraqi government has informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that it will not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide, the embassy's primary security company, which has come under scrutiny for allegedly using excessive force while protecting American diplomats, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

This is not unexpected, but it will require some scrambling to ensure that full coverage of State Dept. employees continues. Blackwater is one of three companies that work under the World Personal Protective Services (WPPS) contract to safeguard State Dept. personnel in Iraq, but also in high threat areas worldwide, the others are Dyncorp and Triple Canopy. One of these will likely pick up the responsibility for State personnel in the Baghdad and surrounding areas. Both other firms provide services in Iraq, but not in theo most dangerous areas and consequently do not have the numbers of highly-trained personal security specialists that Blackwater does. They will need to recruit to be able to fulfill the mission currently performed by Blackwater, who has not had a single person under their protection killed.

I received the following statement from Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell:

Blackwater followed the proper procedures to apply for and secure operating licenses in Iraq. We have received no official communications from the government of Iraq or our customer on the status of those applications or the future of our work in Iraq. Blackwater has always said that we will continue the important work of protecting U.S. government officials in Iraq for as long as our customer asks us to do so, and in accordance with Iraqi law; that has not changed.

You can read my reporting on the Nisour Square shooting incident that precipitated this action by the Iraqis here. Bottom line, there was incoming fire to the convoy there and the Iraqis and our government are covering that up.

Law of Gross Tonnage


The bow of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush, sits placidly at rest tied to Pier 12 at Naval Base Norfolk.  The Bush, the absolute state of the art in nuclear-powered diplomacy that can move its 4.5 acre flight deck and 98,000 tons anywhere in the world at more than 30 knots, entered the family of US Navy ships on 10 January 2009 when its namesake, former President George H.W. Bush, said "I hereby place the United States Ship George H.W. Bush in commission. May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her."

Photo by Pinch, and crossposted over on the Instapinch

Ask an Infantryman: To Thong, or not to Thong? That is the Question.

Infantrymen, your guidance is needed:

DEAR CHUCK Z: I have never understood why girls would wear something that appears to violate all laws of comfort.

The only way for me to solve this mystery was to try a thong. I purchased two and wore them exclusively for a couple of days. After the initial "getting used to," they were comfortable. In fact, I like them so much I bought a few more this evening. I am also thinking about buying other ladies' underwear.

While this might be perceived as less than masculine, what I saw in the lingerie section looked a lot more comfortable and sexy to me than my old boxers or briefs. Abby, why won't they let us guys wear sexy underwear? -- CONFUSED IN VIRGINIA

Your advice in the comments below, please.

-- Uber Pig

In the Crosshairs- Eli Lake exclusives on Obama prisoner operations

David Bellavia and I had Eli Lake, National Security Reporter for the Washington Times, on in the second hour today and he discussed several of his exclusive reports. He interviewed Sen. Kit Bond who said Obama's Attorney General pick assured him he would not be conducting witch hunts of Bush officials involved with the CIA interrogations of al Qaeda detainees, and he also talked about his report that President Obama retained the option of holding and interrogating captured bad guys at CIA safe houses around the world even as he closed the so-called CIA "Black sites". We also had author Bob Mrazek on to talk about his book “A Dawn Like Thunder- The true story of Torpedo Squadron 8

Eli Lake leads off Hr. 2 with his scoops.


icon for podpress  Eli Lake on CIA prisoner operations [55:00m]:   Download

And David and I talk about the new Presdent's first week and with author Bob Mrazek in the first hour here.


icon for podpress  Bob Mrazek & A Dawn Like Thunder [55:00m]:  Download

The Deserter's Tale - Milbloggers deconstruct Joshua Key's lies

[Edit Note:  Bumped up.]

When you have the LA Times proclaim...

Destined to become part of the literature of the Iraq War…a substantial contribution to history.

...about an anti-military book by uber-liar Joshua Key, you need the boys at This Ain't Hell (who are on fire) and other milblogs (like this excellent post from ROKDrop) to have a dose of truth.

BTW, the LA Times also said the Joshua Key "is believable."  I would add that it "is believable" only to those who need Joshua Key's lies to fit their own narrative of our military and the war in Iraq.

Those are the MUST READ links of the day (Bust Their Chops).

Update:  Here is a serious tribute to Joshua Key that YOU MUST WATCH.  WARNING:  I'm still have tears on my face from laughing so hard...seriously, I was good until the part about Kentucky Fried Chicken...I think this dude hit the bong a few times before doing this very special tribute. 

Write a memoir full of lies about your time in Iraq?  Check.

Have the press fawn all over you?  Check

Have a no-talent ass clown patchouli smelling hippie sing a ballad about your KFC experiences?


Who wants some water?


U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Daniel McKittrick celebrates with children before a water project dedication ceremony in Magu, Tanzania, Jan. 21, 2008. McKittrick is a public affairs broadcaster assigned to Combined Task Force - Horn of Africa. The project provides clean drinking water to thousands of villagers in the Magu region of Tanzania and is a example of how the task force develops and nurtures partnerships to promote regional cooperation.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph L. Swafford Jr.

In the Crosshairs- Live 1-3 pm

David and I will be doing radidio today live from 1-3 pm on Radio America. You can hear the show on Paltalk here and you can flap your gums in the chat room and watch us me on webcam as well.

We will have author Robert Mrazek
on to discuss his book "A Dawn Like Thunder: The true story of Torpedo Squadron Eight".

One of the great untold stories of World War II finally comes to light in this thrilling account of Torpedo Squadron Eight and their heroic efforts in helping an outmatched U.S. fleet win critical victories at Midway and Guadalcanal. These 35 American men--many flying outmoded aircraft--changed the course of history, going on to become the war's most decorated naval air squadron, while suffering the heaviest losses in U.S. naval aviation history.

We will also talk about President Obama's interview on al Arabiya and his first week as President.

Making fun of Obama- It is possible

I think it is hilarious that comics are saying you can't make fun of Obama because he is too cool or perfect or whatever. Good Lord give me a break.

Joy Behar from the View takes the Obama is too perfect to mock view.

Chris Rock is too busy with a man crush to make fun of him.

Rock: It's like "Ooh, you're young and virile and you've got a beautiful wife and kids. You're the first African-American president." You know, what do you say?

Dipstick cartoonist Oliphant says: “I’m now trying to deal with the dilemma of liking the new guy.

Get serious. First of all he looks like Urkel, and second as I have noted since the first time he was shoved down our throats, he is a world class Cakeboy. Comics you are welcome, now get back to work and rank on the Obama.

Cakeboy- Sir Mix-a-Lot

He's in a yellow camaro, skin so smooth
A buttercup boy from the funny school
His hair's all nice and wavy
And mine is nappy so you call me crazy
And he's got them skin-tight spandex on
Straight cake to the bone
He'd cook a big meal like your mother would
A cake boy, up to no good......

He likes to roller-skate, skip rocks on lakes
The bourgeois girls want straight-up cake boys.....

Well Mad Magazine has gotten in the game.