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June 2009

Ask an Infantryman

Infantrymen, your counsel is requested:


DEAR ABBY: I am a female member of the military, stationed for the past nine months in Iraq. I recently received a letter from a friend who is having problems in her marriage. She has asked to move in with me when I return to the states in about three months. She says it's only until she gets back on her feet.

There's no way I can let that happen. She has too much drama in her life, and I have grown accustomed to living by myself. When I get home, all I want is peace and quiet. How can I tell her that I don't want a roommate without hurting her feelings? -- PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Your advice in the comments below, please.

A SEAL and his Dog - Northern Edge 2009

Alaska 3639544592_36f4316125

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- Operators from a west-coast based Navy SEAL team participated in infiltration and exfiltration training as part of Northern Edge 2009 June 15, 2009. Army Task Force 49, 1-52 Aviation Regiment, B company, transported the SEALS in CH-47D "Chinook" helicopters, performing two-wheel landings atop mountainous terrain in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. Exercise Northern Edge is a trainning exercise designed to promote and improve interoperability.
U.S. Marine Corps Photo/Lance Cpl. Ryan Rholes

More photos after the Jump

Continue reading "A SEAL and his Dog - Northern Edge 2009" »

A mullah victory equals an Israeli strike?

Osirak  I would have to say it makes it even more likely if the Mullahs and the IRGC prevail. The Israelis had little reason to trust in the good will of an Iranian regime that was pretending at democracy, but now that they have slaughtered their own people? I wouldn't and I think Bibi Netanyahu is a fairly serious realist himself. The rest of the civilized world can equivocate and say that the Iranians don't mean all that talk about wiping Israel off the map, but I think Neda and the hundreds (or more) cut down in the streets might take them at their words and the Israelis have little choice.

There is no reasonable doubt that if they prevail, the Mullahs and IRGC will redouble efforts to finish their bomb. They wanted it before, they need it now. The chances of a diplomatic solution to that issue were near zero before the uprisings, now they approach absolute zero. Well unless somehow the revolutionaries succeed. Given the underwhelming support from the free world and the deep penetration by the regime of the web 2.0 methods they were using to communicate,  I think they are being disappeared as they are unmasked. Iran funnels all their internets through a government portal and you can bet they have captured every conversation and are busy using their Siemens/Nokia provided tools to back track to every twittering freedom lover. They can expect that midnight crash of their door being kicked in and a quick trip to the torture chamber before gulag or death.

Israel does not have the luxury of Europe, Russia, China and America of simply hoping the Iranians decide they don't really want a bomb, or containing them once they get one. They are targets 1-100 on the Iranian master list and I don't think there is any doubt they will act to preempt. If they do, that could be the catalyst for round two of the Persian Revolution. Many say an Israeli strike would galvanize Iranian nationalism in opposition to the Zionist threat. But now the Israelis could make a valid point that they are not attacking the Iranian people, but the mad, religious and autocratic zealots who oppress and kill them. They could claim to be helping topple a regime that threatens not just Israel but the Iranian people as well. Who could argue with them?

The Arab countries in the region have plenty of reasons to worry about a Mullah nuke, and they have been sitting on the sidelines in this current crisis silently cheering the protesters even as they wonder if their own oppressed masses were watching. They would have to condemn an Israeli strike, but not that powerfully.

The real question is can the Iranian people prevail in the absence of external help. At this point it seems more likely that the French Foreign Legion would assist them than the US, but can they pull it off if everyone else simply watches to see "How this plays out"? It seems unlikely, and yet all revolutions seemed unlikely until they worked. An Israeli-Persian alliance? It could happen.

Fuerzas Comando '09 highlights

Courtesy of SOCSO PAO Maj. Alexander we have video highlights from this years Fuerzas Comando competition. Here is the report on the results.

FuerzasComandoAirborne GOIANIA, BRAZIL- Fuerzas Comando 2009 winds down here after an exhausting week of running, shooting, and swimming. Thirteen special operations teams took part today in an airborne operation over the skies of Goiania. Upon completion of the airborne operation, participants earn the right to wear Brazilian jump wings.

Fuerzas Comando 2009 wraps up tomorrow with the closing ceremony. Brazil has taken first place, with Ecuador in second place and Colombia finishing third.

 For pictures and video clips of the competition, as well as a complete break-down of the rules and scores for all Fuerzas Comando 2009 events, log on to www.fuerzascomando2009.eb.mil.br.

Our wounded in transition need some help

Pam from Maine is a member of the Warrior Legacy Foundation who has been working to help our wounded troops who leave the service make their way. She has seen some holes in the system that need work and wants to discuss how WLF can help with this. Here are her thoughts.

There is a clear sense of urgency for me to continue thiswork so as few wounded as possible slip
through the typical administrative gaps that clearly affect them on a regular basis.

The bottom line is that as many as 65% of these individuals are coming back home with either
TBI, PTSD, or both. Many symptoms for each tend to dovetail into each other and make the
medboard process long and tedious so the DoD can define what type of disability they may
be cut loose with. As you may, or may not, know, the DoD selects the most severe injury or
condition, rates them according to that, and retires or discharges them - usually not coinciding
with their original ETS date issued upon enlisting. Once the medboard process is complete, these
servicemembers are no longer considered active duty and that pay stops. If they are lucky
enough to have had someone who's on the ball involved in their outprocessing, they may already
have gotten help filing for Social Security benefits. Many aren't that lucky. So, pay stops, they get
sent home and now have to start the whole evaluation process over again, based on a completely
different system within the VA. Many are too injured to work, have no more active duty pay,
and can wait months for their comp & pen evaluations to get scheduled.

Continue reading "Our wounded in transition need some help" »

They Are Begging For Our Help....

And the Neville Chamberlain of our time continues to dither, obfuscate and go get some ice cream while those that seek freedom continue to be beaten, shot, and oppressed...

Little Deebow likes the Transformers Movie, so much so that he watches it every morning, and at the risk of sounding geeky Optimus is right...

"Freedom is the Light of all Sentient Beings."

And with the sequel out today, maybe President Obambi out to have a look at what Optimus had to say about duty...

"Fate Rarely Calls Upon Us at a Moment of Our Choosing."

Joe Biden was right about some "crisis" testing President Obambi soon after his coronat.... err... election.

And he is failing... 

How many dead tangos in Pakistan?

Nobody knows for certain, but it sounds like a whole bunch. Let's do the smart thing and check in with Mr. Roggio at Long War Journal.

Yesterday's follow-on Predator attack at a funeral for a Taliban commander targeted senior Pakistani and Afghan leaders of the group. The death toll in the attack has jumped to 83, and two Taliban commanders were rumored to have been killed, although one commander targeted confirmed he was alive and an aide to another said he leader was not killed.

Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior commander in Baitullah's network, and Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a field commander in the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, were targeted in the Predator attack in Pakistan's lawless tribal agency of South Waziristan.

The attack took place in the Ladha region as scores of Taliban leaders and fighters were attending the funeral of Khwaz Ali Mehsud, a mid-level commander in Baitullah's network. The initial attack on the funeral procession was followed up with strikes on Taliban vehicles as they attempted to flee the attack site.

83 is an excellent number and since this was at a funeral it would be unlikely there were women and children around to give them civilian casualties to use against us. There have been questions recently when Gen. McChrystal's new ROE for Afghanistan announced that we would no longer engage in firefights of targeted bombings of houses to avoid collateral damage and the resulting loss of good will of the populace. The questions centered around whether this showed a lack of will to actively prosecute the fight against the Taliban and AQ.

It is good to remember that McChrystal commanded JSOC, which could rightfully be called the dirty tricks department of DoD. He was responsible for raids and targeted killings in both Iraq and Afghanistan and that was undoubtedly a significant factor in the decision to give him command in Afghanistan. But he also is fully cognizant that it was not simply making dead tangos that turned the tide in Iraq. The people there had to make two determinations, one that they were sick of the slaughter and two that they believed our team could best help them live safely.

Those two factors require an exceptional amount of balancing between kinetic and population security operations and at some point it tips toward foregoing chances to kill a few bad guys. When LW and I were at a journlism seminar a few months back we had the chance to speak at length with LTC Brian Mennes, the new CDR of 1st Ranger Batt. He had done a previous tour in Afghanistan and was prepping to take 1/75 Rangers over there. He said categorically that he no longer believed it was effective strategy for us to use overwhelming force against civilian areas to take out non-locals who attacked us from them. He has seen too many instances of locals held hostage while the extremists baited us into killing all of them. The jihadis get their 72 goat ticket punched, and the locals blame us for killing their fellow tribesmen.

When you have a senior Ranger commander telling you to lighten up a bit, that carries a lot of weight. McChrystal has no qualms about ventilating bad guys, but he and his team seem to be able to put the long term goal of safeguarding the people above the short term of ventilating some bad guys. That is a path to progress, I hope.