Saturday, November 01, 2003

A soldier with Fort Carson’s 10th Special Forces Group has been charged with cowardice for allegedly refusing to do his duty in Iraq, according to a Thursday report in the Colorado Springs (Colo.) Gazette.

Special Forces interrogator Staff Sgt. Georg Porgany’s charge sheet says he showed “cowardly conduct as a result of fear, in that he refused to perform his duties,” according to the report.

If convicted in a court-martial, the soldier faces prison time and a dishonorable discharge. He was charged Oct. 14. His first court appearance is Nov. 7 at Fort Carson.

A cowardice charge is extremely rare, military law experts told the Gazette. Army officials couldn’t say Wednesday the last time it had been filed.

Porgany, 32, said he is wrongly charged.

The soldier said he experienced a “panic attack” after seeing the mangled body of an Iraqi man and told his superior he was heading for a “nervous breakdown.”

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has revised its November gas coupon prices, subtracting another 2 cents per gallon from the previously announced price cut.

“Overall, it’s going to be a 10-cent drop, rather than eight,” said Maj. David Accetta, spokesman for AAFES-Europe.


But given the age of the weapons, those might be false teeth.
Sgt. Kurt Smith is spending his time in Iraq as a full-time medic and part-time historian.

Many of the weapons that his unit, the 4th Armored Division’s 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, have confiscated belong in museums rather than their arms room, he said.

There are two 1917 Webley revolvers, World War I-era British Enfield rifles, World War II-era German Mauser rifles, Russian PPKs and British submachine guns.


A well written piece about Marines returning home to Camp Lejeune from the war.
When Sgt. Matt Speights came home, he expected a lot of catching up with his infant son Caleb, born in January during his nine-month deployment.

But it threw Speights a curve when 2-year-old son Joshua didn't believe that the man who came off the airplane was Daddy.

With a head of hair and desert uniform, the real Speights contrasted starkly with the picture of him at home - showing him with a shaved head and dress blues.

"He said, 'Mommy, we have to go get Daddy. He's coming home on a boat,'" recalled Speights, 25. "He wasn't convinced I was his dad."


Hardly. An interesting piece...worth a look.
Iraq is not another Vietnam. It is said we always prepare to fight the last war. This, however, is a new war, with new tactics, new enemies and hopefully a different ending. Sept. 11 changed this nation forever. We realize now we are targets even if we pull out of Iraq. We must win and show the agents of terror we will persevere and overcome.

Radical Islamists or two-bit dictators will not improve the average Iraqi's life, but a new government based on principles of democracy and the rule of war will do so.

We should heed the words of the Chinese sage Sun Tzu in all matters military -- "No nation has ever benefited from a protracted war."

And then there is this one by James Robbins at NRO

It was a seven-year struggle against diehard indigenous guerrillas, a controversial war that helped bring down a Democratic president, a hard-fought jungle conflict in which both sides committed atrocities, and the sentiments of the domestic peace movement were echoed by disenchanted soldiers longing for nothing more than a ticket back to the world. Yeah, you guessed it: I'm referring to the Second Seminole War. Every day I watch the coverage of events and Iraq and pray that the United States has not gotten itself into another Florida.

O.K., so maybe the comparison is far-fetched, but it is as valid as the Vietnamization that is creeping over discussion of Iraq. It seems a media gospel that every conflict must be compared to Vietnam sooner or later, so anything that could prompt the analogy triggers a flashback to the '60s....

The Vietnamization of the storyline kicked into high gear when the president stated that the recent rash of attacks in Iraq were a sign of desperation, which struck some as a kind of Johnson-era doublespeak. But the president's statement recognizes a fact that is often overlooked when analyzing terrorist incidents — that terrorism is a weapon of the weak. If the terrorists could wage guerrilla war, conventional war, or anything more substantial, they would. If they are reduced to suicide car bombings and assassinations, they are on a downward spiral.

He goes on to note the targets of the terrorists (as we've noted here) are not so much the US Troops - but softer and easier to hit. Very good it all. .
A week after the first attack, Renstrom was in a Humvee when another explosive went off. As he guarded the area, a rocket-propelled grenade whizzed over his head.

"I had no business being out there today," Renstrom concluded later. "Whether it was the meds or whatever, it didn't feel right."

A day or so later, he blacked out. Renstrom decided he needed to get off the pain pills and see what was wrong.

He returned to the battalion doctor, who directed he be flown to Germany for tests that couldn't be done in Iraq.

In his report, the doctor said he discussed Renstrom's case with his chain of command and told them it wasn't safe for him to be in a war zone.

Just before Renstrom was to leave, his superiors said he wasn't going. One told Renstrom he could recover from a concussion in Iraq as well as he could somewhere else.

Piestewa was a hero. She raced her Humvee out of the entrapped convoy, but chose to return with her sergeant to help rescue others.

She was driving and actually could have gotten out at one point. As her mother wipes her eyes, she says, “Someone said, ‘Here you want to get out? I'll drive,’ and she said, ‘No.’
Rice told foreign journalists the attacks, particularly those against Red Cross and U.N. workers and innocent Iraqis, expose the terrorists "for exactly what they are: brutal killers, many of them who suppressed and maimed and raped and tortured Iraqi citizens under Saddam Hussein, and who want to opportunity to continue doing it ... if the coalition does not stay (in Iraq)."

Come Sunday, 479 U.S. troops a day will be leaving Iraq and surrounding countries in the military’s “rest and recuperation” program, a boost from the 270 troops a day who have traveled home for vacations since the program started in late September...

Also Sunday, troops leaving Kuwait on the military-chartered civilian planes can fly to two new airports that signed up in the program. The flights will go to Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, and for those needing to go farther west, they can fly to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas...

On Saturday, troops can begin collecting free commercial airline tickets to wherever they need to go through a program sponsored by U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., called “Operation Hero Miles,” in which travelers donate frequent-flier miles so troops returning on R&R don’t have to pay their own fares.

As of Thursday, more than 4 million miles had been donated through the program’s Web site,, said Heather Moeder Molino, the congressman’s spokeswoman. Donors gave millions more directly through the three participating airlines, which are Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Delta, with a hub in Atlanta, donated 10 million miles when it joined the program, Moeder Molino said.

Syria said Friday that it had invited Iraq's foreign minister to a weekend Arab League meeting called to discuss the impact on Baghdad's neighbors of the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein.

After Iraqi complaints about not being invited to the meeting that starts Saturday, Syria issued a last-minute invitation to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

But Zebari, reached by telephone in the Iraqi capital late Friday, said he had not yet received the invitation.

``Even if they have invited us, it is too late now,'' Zebari said. ``We might not be able to go to Damascus for logistical reasons.''

Zebari said any meeting about Iraq should include Iraqis. Baghdad was expected to urge its neighbors at the meeting to work to stop the infiltration of militants into Iraq.


Is there no adult leadership in the entire Arab world?
Across Europe and the Middle East, young militant Muslim men are answering a call issued by Osama bin Laden and other extremists, and leaving home to join the fight against the American-led occupation in Iraq, according to senior counterterrorism officials based in six countries.

The intelligence officials say that since late summer they have detected an increasingly steady stream of itinerant Muslim militants headed for Iraq. They estimate that hundreds of young men from an array of countries have now arrived in Iraq by crossing the Syrian or Iranian borders.

But intelligence officials say this influx is not necessarily evidence of coordination by al-Qaida or other terrorist groups, since it remains unclear if these men are under the control of any one leader or what, if any, role they have had in the kind of deadly attacks that shook Baghdad this week. One European intelligence official called the foreign recruits "foot soldiers with limited or no training."

A senior British official, who was in Iraq as recently as September, said the majority of foreign men captured there are from the Middle East -- Syria, Lebanon and Yemen -- and from North African countries. He described them as "young, angry men" motivated by the "anti-British, anti-American rhetoric that fills their ears every day."

Progress is not rapid, but there is progress.

Schools and hospitals aren’t merely open, they are being refurbished. An extensive vaccination programme is underway. Child mortality is falling. The economy is improving, even though unemployment and corruption remain significant problems.

Last week, Kamil al- Keylani, the finance minister, announced an ambitious economic stimulus package, prompting al-Zamaan, the most popular of the 170 newspapers in the country, to declare: "This new reform plan ends 30 years of economic stagnation under Saddam’s regime."

Each week brings more examples of important, but unglamorous reforms.

And please note the statement that ends this piece of analysis:

So, is everything going well in Iraq? No, of course not. There remain serious problems that will bedevil coalition and Iraqi efforts at reconstruction in both the short and long term. But that should not blind observers to the truth that progress, however halting and imperfect, is being made.

If the current guerrilla war American troops face is lost, the chances are it will have been lost by a lack of resolve in the US and Britain rather than in Iraq itself.


An update on the two Florida Guardsmen who married Iraqi women this summer.

The men got married while supposedly on foot patrol in August, conducting a hasty ceremony in full combat gear, M16 rifles to hand.

They have been confined to base while the incident is under investigation.

A spokesman for the 1st Armoured Division said: "They disobeyed a direct order from their commanders not to get married. They also neglected their duty while on patrol. They're in pretty serious trouble."

The plight of the women is no less grave. Joanne, 26, and her best friend, Ahda, 25, have been in hiding since the weddings, fearful that they will be targeted as collaborators.

The women have not seen their husbands since the day they tied the knot.

"The women will be turned away at the gate - just like any Iraqi national who tries to get in," an American military officer said at the base where the men are confined. "They can communicate via letter or e-mail."


This is CPT Patti's 174th day being deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Me? I'm just wondering if I've forgotten how to kiss.

Friday, October 31, 2003


It seems this guy is also in Baghdad. I wish CPT Patti had such access to the Internet.

Loveinwar has an extremely funny list of suggestions for those of us who don't have the actual pleasure of living this deployment.

Among my favorites...
3. Two hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, "Sorry, wrong cot." ...

9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

His men were dying. His prisoner refused to talk. He fired his pistol - not at the prisoner mind you. His prisoner talked. His men were saved.

He's been relieved of command. He's now being prosecuted.

The informant said an Iraqi police officer was involved. Col. West had the policeman detained. When two interrogators failed to gain any information, Col. West went to the detention center, brought the detainee outside and fired his 9 mm pistol twice to scare him into talking.

Col. West said the detainee then provided the names of two accomplices and told of another planned sniper attack the next day.

"I have never denied what happened and have always been brutally honest," said Col. West. "I accept responsibility for the episode, but my intent was to scare this individual and keep my soldiers out of a potential ambush. There were no further attacks from that town. We further apprehended two other conspirators (a third fled town) and found out one of the conspirators was the father of a man we had detained for his Saddam Fedeyeen affiliation.

"[The Iraqi policeman] and his accomplices were a threat to our soldiers and the method was not right, but why should I lose 20 years of service or be forced into prison for protecting my men?"

Col. West's plight has struck a chord with military advocates. They complain the Army has put soldiers in a deadly environment, yet forced them to play by strict rules of conduct while their terrorist enemies do not.

Said Elaine Donnelly, head of the Center for Military Readiness: "Excuse me while I go to look up Marquis of Queensberry. No wonder we haven't gotten any information on Hussein's present location from all of those 'deck of cards' people we have captured. Has the Army lost its institutional mind? Or maybe they have forgotten that a state of war exists in Iraq."
The House has unanimously voted to double the death benefit given to families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the September eleventh terrorist attacks.

That would bring the death benefit to 12-thousand dollars. The bill, which passed 413-to-nothing, would also make the entire payment tax-free.

Texas Congressman Sam Johnson says it is "unconscionable" that a knock on the door from a military chaplain is followed "by a knock on the door from the tax man."
The State Department on Thursday announced an award of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a Jordanian operative described by the CIA as a close associate of Osama bin Laden.

The current whereabouts of Abu Musab Zarqawi are unknown, but he is thought to be running some operations in Iraq and may have been inside the country in the last few months, U.S. officials said.
Many runners at the United Technologies Greater Hartford Marathon were thinking about friends and loved ones now serving with the Connecticut's National Guard in Iraq rather than the 26.2 mile race they were running on October 11.

The results - a new "Run in Honor" tribute to Connecticut's National Guard from 160 runners and $4,000 they contributed - were lauded at ceremonies Monday, October 27, 2003 at the State Armory on Broad Street. A personalized "We Care" package will be sent from runners (who donated $25 each) to Connecticut's own now serving in Iraq.

Each runner's name and race number "bib" will be included with the sundry personal items being sent to Iraq. A sample "We Care" package was on display at the ceremony.

"It's the running community's way of saying 'We really do appreciate your sacrifice'," Marathon Race Director Beth Shluger said.

Some leaflets circulating in the Iraqi capital have already-tense residents even more on edge.

The leaflets are purported to be from the "Arab Baath Socialist Party -- Regional Command." They call for a three-day general strike starting Saturday -- and also say the day will mark the start of some kind of uprising.

Pretty will be interesting to see how many, if any, heed the call for the strike.

What if "they held a strike and nobody came?"

Might indicate just how little the Arab Baath Socialists mean to the Iraqis.
An explosion rocked the central Baghdad book market Thursday, killing a street vendor, setting several buildings on fire and mystifying witnesses about whether it was a new twist in the violence wracking the Iraqi capital or some sort of accident.

There were no readily apparent targets in the neighborhood, such as government offices or police stations, that could be linked to the U.S.-led coalition forces or their Iraqi allies.

Once we understand that these folks do not share traits of humanity such as respect for property and human life...once you get past thinking these folks are somehow like me and you...then the absence of "readily apparent targets" will no longer be baffling.

Does it terrorize? Does it put folks off their attempts to get back to a normal life? Will it affect the path to a free and stable democratic Iraq?

That's all the justification they need.

My radar lights up when the press refers to the purveyors of terror as "Iraqi resistance fighters".

As seen below the FBI believes much of the latest mayhem is the handiwork of hard core terrorists, and there is plenty of evidence that many of these miscreants are not Iraqi at all.

Don't let the press get away with it.
Iraqi resistance fighters attacked a freight train west of Baghdad and exploded a bomb near a convoy in a northern city, injuring a U.S. soldier, on Thursday.

The freight train was carrying military supplies near Fallujah west of Baghdad, when an improvised bomb set four containers ablaze. No casualties were reported, but the attack sparked a frenzy of looting by Iraqis who carried off computers, tents, bottled water and other supplies, The AP reported.

Probably...according to the FBI forensic experts.
The four bombers who blew themselves up in coordinated attacks in Baghdad earlier this week each detonated 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives, fueling speculation that Al Qaeda or other professional terrorist networks are behind the new wave of deadly violence in Iraq, U.S. officials said today.

It was believed to be the first time during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq that such sophisticated and powerful explosives were used to attack Western targets, as opposed to crude devices using conventional explosives, according to several counterterrorism experts in the FBI and other government agencies.

The conclusion, reached by FBI forensic experts and bomb technicians on the scene in Baghdad, sharply escalated concerns that foreign fighters - including Al Qaeda or Hezbollah operatives trained in the use of such sophisticated explosives - were behind the attacks.

I noted yesterday the US Flag at the Army Depot in Giessen was at half staff.

Now I know why.

Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, 19, was killed Sunday during a mortar attack at a Baghdad police station, said her father, Marvin Bosveld. She was a member of the 527th Military Police based in Giessen, Germany.

My thanks to Sherry for sending me the article.

At least not with their level of research.
On Wednesday, 33 House members, led by Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., sent House appropriators a letter that emphasized the need to supply all deployed troops with the Defense Department’s new Interceptor flak vests, as well as provide adequate immunizations, drinking water and even sundries such as toothpaste.

“It is an outrage that servicemembers, deployed in the Global War on Terrorism, do not receive adequate personal hygiene products and drinking water,” the letter said. “Servicemembers have told us they lack personal items like razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. Congress needs to provide these items to America’s soldiers and not rely on families to continually send their loved ones these necessities.”

Brown sent the letter, which includes the signatures of 32 other representatives, all Democrats, “to emphasize the importance of supplying the troops with all they need,” Dahlia Melendrez, a veteran’s affairs staff member for Brown, said in a Thursday interview.

Melendrez said that the letter was based on “lots of newspaper articles” about reported shortages and letters that Brown has received from her constituents.

Here is my take.

Anyone who has read CPT Patti for any length of time knows that most soldiers, civilians and members of Government who have been in Iraq tend to agree on at least one thing: What you read in the paper is far from what things are really like over there.

So when the Congresswoman decides to act based upon "lots of newspaper articles", well, frankly, that's a little scary. Because that means that it is truly the reporters and editors of those newpapers who are creating the "truth" that these 33 house members have acted on.

Further, if the Congresswoman had done her research she would know that the military does supply razors and personal hygiene products by way of what is called "sundry packs".

If there are not enough at the moment...well, it isn't because "Congress" hasn't provided them...but it is possibly a function of competing for transportation (on the ground, if I have to choose between shipping bullets and shipping shaving cream...well, Barbasol is going to lose).

With regard to the drinking water, the Congresswoman's own staffer indicates she has two family members in Iraq who repeatedly ask for "powdered drink mix". Ms. Brown, what on earth do you think they are mixing the drink mix with? The shortage of drinking water story is old, has been around since just after the actual combat, and has been discredited by closer examination that finds that bottled water, a logistical bitch to transport, may sometimes be short, but the Army's Water Dogs purify hundreds of thousands of gallons of drinking water per day.

Finally, has body armor and deodorant become solely concerns of Democrats? Could Ms. Brown not find a single Republican who is also concerned about these issues?

It forces one to draw one of the following conclusions: (a) Every Republican Congressman already knows that which I have outlined here and thus saw no need to sign the letter (unlikely, in my opinon)., (B) Every Republican Congressman refused to sign a support our troops letter on grounds of principle (also unlikely...) or (C) Ms. Brown is seeking to play politics while trying to appear to have the best interest of the Troops at heart (DING DING DING DING DING!!!!)

If I've learned anything by reading innumerable news stories every day it is to take a good look around when any member of Congress declares something to be "an outrage". From what I've seen usually the only thing outrageous about such stories is the Congressional posturing and playing politics with the issue of the day.

No, Ms. Brown...I'm not impressed.
Sarah, the prolific brains behind trying to grok has hosted what started as a rational discussion of the disparities between Air Force and Army facilities and quality of life during deployments.

It's lengthy but encompasses a host of ideas. You can read it here.

Some of you will recall my post on the subject.

And that post was in response to Joe, a reader with his own site and his own discussion on the same issue.

Well, as it turns out, the discussion at tryingtogrok took an unfortunate turn as one participant in the discussion seemed to boil the issue down to a discrepancy between levels of evolution of Army folks versus Air Force folks.

Sarah has other things to occupy her day today (our prayers to you, Sarah) so I'd like to pick up the ball just a bit and offer my two cents - two cents in which I hope we de-personalize the discussion, and bring it back to tangible issues.

After that first public post I received another communique from Joe:
Thanks for taking the time to write about the issue. Like you, I’ve developed the same “suck-it-up-because-life-isn’t-fair” attitude that eventually becomes ingrained in every soldier and Marine. And in my fifteen years as a Marine, I have always preached that the mission comes first and dictates everything else.

Still, I think we have come to the point where we can’t just overlook the questions the disparities raise. As you mentioned, the Air Force only has three bases in Iraq. Why does a branch of service that constitutes 22% of our military forces only have three bases in a country that we have just gone to war with? If that is all that is required of them then there should be a shifting of funds to the services that are carrying the majority of the load. Also, the Air Force isn’t a privately funded corporation. Every dollar that is spent on the an Air Force “luxury” is a tax dollar that comes out of the pockets of me, my family, and the rest of my country. It should be distributed equitably based on the mission. If the Air Force isn’t carrying their share of the mission than they should be losing funding.

The services are finally shaking off the idea that morale is something that can come second to the mission. Morale is an *essential component* of any mission. And basic fairness and equality should be one of the primary missions of the military.

Now it seems to me that Joe and I don't quite see eye to eye on the issue, but (ahem, Mr. Air Force Major) you will note the discussion remains extremely civil on both sides. I replied:

Didn't know you are a Marine. Good for ya.

Seems you and I measure things just a bit differently. You ask why the service comprising 22% of the military has only 3 bases. And its a fair question.

I would ask, how many bases are required for them to meet the mission that's been given to them? If three is it, so be it.

But I think we have to keep in mind that a base does not equal a base...meaning, one USAF base may represent something wholly different than one Army post or Marine camp. I see it as "capabilty measurement".

I'm not sure what the USAF mission is there right I don't know how to express it. But consider actual combat. While it may take 15 brigades to seize and hold the terrain, the USAF may be able to achieve and enforce air superiority using only 3 launching points (bases). I'm not sure that means the Army and Marines are doing 5 times the work of the USAF.

In fact, I don't think such things can be measured at all.

You also take issue with the "luxury" of the Air Force...and again, I don't necessarily see it that way.

I see what the USAF has early on as the standard that the Army will shoot for when the situation allows.

The old design adage that "form follows function" seems to apply in concept. Mission dictates everything else.

I don't see it as a zero sum game...meaning that if the USAF has it, that somehow prevents the other services from having it too. It seems to me that in some ways they do us a favor, by setting the standard for what level of comfort is possible, again, situation permitting.

So, my bottom line is this...once the Army can consolidate its FOBs to a similar number as the USAF - I'd expect a similar level of comfort.

Besides, if we yell to loudly, they might ask us what took us 10 years to show up for the war, when they've been over there policing the no fly zones all that time.

After reading the discussion at tryingtogrok, I just had to throw in a couple more cents.

Sarah...after having read your lengthy discussion, let me be so bold as to add a couple more observations.

The first gets to the no sleep, no eat, no anything culture the USAF major describes as the Army's "expressing their manliness". That culture exists in the Army, it is true. But it doesn't exist so one can use it to express his manhood. It exists because in the mission of taking and holding ground, it may be required by the mission. Mission dictates everything, and their is no such thing as "crew rest" in a Bradley or an Abrams Tank. And if the Infantry and Armor do not sleep, neither do the Quartermasters or the Medics...

As you said, we train as we the 3d ID's and 1st MEF's brilliant ground campaign from Kuwait to Baghdad, one contributing factor in the defeat of the Iraqi army was our relentless pursuit on the ground. Ask the commanders and soldiers of the 3d ID how much sleep they got on the road to Baghdad. Answer: not much. And so we train for it. But when the rubber hits the road we also have "sleep plans" implemented when mission allows in order to sustain the brain power and physical strength of the soldiers and leaders.

As to taking care of washers and mood candles and soft music...

Let's make no mistake about it. The mission of the united states Army is to close with and destroy the enemy. We ask something of our Soldiers and Marines that we rarely ask of our Airmen and Sailors. We ask the grunts to look a man in the eye while killing him.

And in spite of years of social experimentation...the removal of many of the raucous trappings and the rough edges of soldiers (when I entered the Army we still had topless dancers in the Officers clubs), the fact remains is hard to raise a killer who has clean fingernails and hums Pavorotti.

The overwhelming number of Airmen never pull the trigger to kill someone. That duty tends to be left to those who fly...a fraction of the USAF.

Jessica Lynch, however, had the primary job of delivering supplies. But she looked those who would kill her in the eye...and she fired back. Any Soldier knows that this is a highly probable event...not the odd rare exception.

Point: as GEN Schoomaker has recently reiterated...all Soldiers are riflemen first, just as are Marines.

The warrior spirit that allows...nay, requires that...may be hard to turn off at the end of the day. Hence, the occasional Maytag washer may take a beating. Social experiments in the services notwithstanding, at the end of the day it is hard to create a killer who is also a perfect gentleman. That is precisely why we heard so much about wanting to get the 1st MEF and the 3rd ID out of Iraq ASAP when the mission turned from offensive combat to - well - to whatever it is we are doing now. Once engaged, the killer mode is difficult to subjugate to something less.

Finally...with regards to niceities added by the Airmen...the Soldier has an adage..."always improve your position". Unlike the Airman...the average soldiers position is much more likely to begin as a shallow hole in the ground.

CPT Patti has established a library...fed by donations by readers of our blog. CPT Patti's soldiers have built showers and walls, and basketball hoops et. al.

It takes them longer though...because they can only work on it when they have the time. Right now she and her soldiers are still working 17 to 19 hours per day...not becuase they are stupid or are "expressing their manliness"...but because that is what it takes to ensure the 4200 soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team have all the beans, bullets and spare parts to get their mission done.

In the is all about mission.

Virtually every servicemember has been to a rifle firing range...the last order they hear before the targets pop up is "Watch Your Lane" - an admonition to keep an eye out for targets representing bad guys, but also to be sure you engage the targets in your lane, not those lanes of your buddies on your flanks to the left and right...

It is good advice. With regards to Quality of Life - watch your lane.

In the end, above all else, it is about the mission...and what mission dictates about your resources...manpower, money, supplies, will and time.

In my opinion coveting that which one's military neighbor may have that you don't certainly costs you at least the last two of those.


CPT Patti has been in Baghdad doing her part in the Global War on Terror for 173 days.

And we've been battling the forces of negative media for about as long.

It occurs to me on this Halloween that I don't know what a goblin is. Not a clue.

Oh, and Dan...if you are reading...Happy Birthday. My guess is that it is actually Amy who is reading...Amy - give our best wishes to Dan.

Thursday, October 30, 2003


For reasons of selfishness I focus our attention here on the doings in Iraq. But Iraq is only one front in the Global War on Terror.

Afghanistan is another. And yes, after all this time, we still have troops there...and it is still a dangerous place.

Understanding that many folks aren't keeping up with Afghanistan or Iraq for that matter, a certain group of folks in the small town of Lutz, north of Tampa Florida have taken on the mission to keep the vigilance high, and to make sure the troops know they are not forgotten.

They are the Lutz Patriots. And every Friday they hold rallies in front of the Lutz school on a busy thoroughfare in that town reminding the folks who pass by that America is on duty in this war...and those are our soldiers, not to be forgotten.

I heard today from Barbara, one of the founders of the Lutz Patriots, and she says that during the 90 minutes the Patriots are out every Friday evening,
"thousands of cars pass by. You would not believe the response from the people in cars passing by. 90% honk horns and hold thumbs up and even wave their own flags out the window. Certainly is a disparity between that and what we see on the news."

Well, yes Barbara, it certainly is...and that is what this web site is all about...telling the stories that get overwhelmed by the body count headlines.

Barbara flatters me by saying "We just have to tell you that we go to your website every day and you are doing one great job of portraying the truth."

Aw shucks, ya gone and made me blush...

Anyway the Lutz Patriots put together care packages for our servicemembers. As Barbara says it:
...(W)e are packaging care packages for Iraq and Afganistan and writing encouraging letters.

A recent article in the Tampa Bay Tribune talks about the Lutz Patriots and their efforts:

The volunteer group launched Operation Support Our Troops, a communitywide effort to send care packages to U.S. troops in the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan.

The packages, which could include personal letters to troops, will be sent to three chaplains, who will hand out the boxes to the most needy.

"Some soldiers get no mail. It breaks my heart every time I hear that,'' said Barbara Mueller, one of two women who started the weekly patriotic rallies in front of the Old Lutz Schoolhouse, 18819 U.S. 41.

Mueller said the care package items and money for postage must be donated by mid- November so they will arrive by the holidays. One package can cost $7 to $21 to mail, so costs quickly add up, she said.

"The need is not going to run out,'' Mueller said. "It's just a matter of how much Lutz is willing to support.''

Donations can be brought to the Friday evening rallies, which run from 4:30 to 6 p.m., or dropped off at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office substation at 19002-C First St. S.W. in downtown Lutz.

Some of the requested food items include Little Debbie snacks, canned fruit with pop tops, salsa, granola and nutrition bars, beef jerky, Rice Krispie treats, fast-food condiment packages and presweetened Kool-Aid.

The personal items could include nail files, lip balm, razors, shaving cream, baby wash, sunblock, eyedrops and deodorant.

But you know, it goes beyond just the amazing burden of supporting the troops...they've also taken on an orphanage and a school as well:

"It's become a part-time job for me,'' Mueller said. "As I find a need, and I find someone here that will fill that need, I can't say no. We're simultaneously supporting Iraq, Afghanistan, an orphanage and a school.''

Take a peek at this story and video as Barbara reads a note from an appreciative Soldier.

Barbara says the young Troops are heroes. Well, Barbara...from where I sit, so are you and the Lutz Patriots.

God bless the Lutz Patriots, and God bless our Troops!

Superb it all with an eye toward how the politicization of the war has threatened our resolve to eliminate the scourge.
Today the Bush administration, like the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, has no alternative but to resist terrorism and the states that support terrorism.

The administration's job is made all the more difficult by the Democratic presidential candidates' cheap shots.

The candidates who supported the Iraqi war resolution and now obfuscate their support and disparage our policy are shameless opportunists who will make our policy in Iraq all the more difficult and expensive.

Of them I think Clark is the cheapest and most reckless. He is also a political greenhorn, as inexpert at explaining himself as he is impudent at lying.

Linda Chavez has some similar thoughts here...also worth reading.

Do the Democrats not understand this? With the exception of Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt, all of the Democratic contenders seem willing to risk losing the war in Iraq, especially if it means one of them might win the White House.

They don't want to spend the money to help rebuild Iraq.

They want our troops out of Iraq, even if we haven't finished the job.

What kind of message does this send to our enemies -- that Americans are willing to surrender when the going gets tough?


By the wording you see below, it appears to bother Mr. TV copy writer.

But the Army doesn't apologize...its what you hired us to do.
American troops on the move in Saddam Hussein's hometown, Tikrit, have captured several suspects the military thinks were trying to set up a new terror cell.

The raids early today targeted six houses and were based on what the military terms "reliable intelligence." A spokesman tells The Associated Press the suspects were helping set up a "new terrorist network" and planning attacks against coalition forces. He says the military will continue to -- in his words -- "disrupt, capture or kill" the terrorists.
President Arroyo promised the US-installed Iraq Governing Council yesterday that the Philippines will increase the size of its peacekeeping and humanitarian contingent in Iraq from 178 to 500 police, military and medical personnel.
The University of Hawai'i will play a role in rebuilding Iraq and its agriculture industry and higher education system under a one-year, $3.7 million federal grant that has the possibility of two one-year extensions.

OK Class - I'd like to see a show of hands of those who want to leave Honolulu for Baghdad. Class? Class?

This Iraqi policeman gets it.
Their badges and blue uniforms have made Iraqi policemen walking targets in recent attacks aimed at the U.S.-led coalition and those who work with them.

But many of the policemen say the attacks have only reinforced their resolve to stay on the job. ``I am not afraid of these people. This is our country. If we don't defend it, who will?'' Sgt. Akeel Muteb said as he was pinned with the Iraqi equivalent of a Purple Heart.


As if the Israelis don't have enough on their hands.

The Arab pathology grows, festers and spreads...

These guys do a helluva job.
Eighteen airmen, most wearing two or three stripes, spend several hours a day in a sun-baked warehouse just off the tarmac here. They are touching the lives of each deployed servicemember and civilian in Iraq.

“We’re responsible for all mail, in and out,” said Tech. Sgt. Darrin Robertson, mail control activity team chief with the 447th Expeditionary Communications Squadron. “When planes come in we have to account for every piece of mail.”

I thought this last bit was - well - touching.

The airmen obviously can not see what is in the letters and packages, but occasionally messages to and from home are there for all to see.

“The best part of the job is the decorations (on the mail),” said Airman 1st Class Rose Jaramillo, also deployed from Maxwell’s AWC. “When you see things saying ‘I love you’ and other things, you really know you’re passing on the love.”
The United Nations is temporarily pulling its staff out of Baghdad while it evaluates the security situation, but U.N. workers will remain in northern Iraq, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"We have asked our staff in Baghdad to come out temporarily for consultations with a team from headquarters on the future of our operations, in particular security arrangements that we would need to take to operate in Iraq," U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said late Wednesday.

"This decision is not an evacuation and it doesn't affect the north."

Here is the headline:
Young enlistees have highest death rate in Iraq

Given that "young enlistees" make up the majority of the Army, this headline is as startling as one that reads "Britons found to prefer speaking English".

It is only when one reads the body of the story one finds this

Commissioned officers such as Army Lt. Col. Charles Buehring, who was killed Sunday in an enemy rocket assault on a Baghdad hotel, have accounted for just 11 percent of the troops who have died in Iraq and surrounding areas since the war began March 19. They also were about twice as likely to die during the major combat of the war in March and April than in the six following months.

Non-commissioned officers such as sergeants have made up 34 percent of the fallen U.S. fighting force, while privates such as Guerrera, specialists and other grunts comprise 55 percent of the toll.

That breakdown is more top-heavy than has been typically seen in past conflicts, where non-officers - who commonly make up 85 percent of the force - died in numbers more proportional to their number in the ranks.

So, in fact, this war is remarkable in that, proportionately, young enlistees comprise fewer of the casualties than is historically the case.

But you wouldn't have known that reading the headline, would you?

CPT Patti's zip doesn't change, nor does any in the 1st Armor Division.

The rest of you will want to have a look at the link.

And they are probably isn't.

But then, "fair" isn't listed in the contract.
Glued to the stock of Army Sgt. Benjamin Kaye’s M-16 is a photograph of his 10-month-old daughter, Brittany.

She has blond hair, blue eyes ... and spina bifida, a condition in which her spinal cord is underdeveloped...

A Red Cross letter arrived in February and Kaye completed the form to return home. But his battalion commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Holshek, denied the request. Despite more queries to return home, intervention by the Red Cross and an end to major combat, Kaye remained in Iraq...

Kaye’s plight is like many others deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Emergency leave, according to troops in the field, is inconsistently applied across the theater.

Troops say one soldier is allowed to fly home for the death of a grandparent, while a 20- year-old servicemember whose wife needs surgery for cervical cancer is denied a week off to be at her side...

A spokeswoman for U.S. troops in Iraq said granting leave requests varies from soldier to soldier based on that soldier’s job or the current operations.

“Emergency leave is a commander’s program, meaning the unit commander is the level of authority that grants leave,” said Army Lt. Patricia Vencill, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military directorate in Iraq that handles personnel issues. “The program varies from branch to branch, and individual cases vary from unit to unit.”

To me this is another case of folks needing to watch their lanes.

Certaiinly your heart goes out to this guy...but there is a bunch we don't know.

We don't know if this soldier is of some critical value to his unit and the operation in Iraq.

We don't know how many soldiers in his unit area already on emergency leave to be with loved ones on their death beds.

We don't know exactly what the soldier's being at home will accomplish/solve/change nor how long it will take to accomplish/solve/change it.

We don't know just how engaged his unit is, versus the others.

Perhaps most importantly we don't know how does one equate a sick child with a dying grandparent, with a house lost in the Southern California fires.

Which is precisely why the Army leaves these decisions up to local commanders. The commander has the authority to make these decisions and is expected to use that authority wisely.

Because at the end of the day, while it is nice to see to everyone's personal needs, the Army hired the commander to see to it that the unit accomplishes its mission.

And if you will trust an old colonel here...the logical result of a large group whine on the subject of "fairness" of emergency leave will be a one-size-fits-none policy that eliminates more leave possibilities than it includes.

CPT Patti has been deployed helping the Iraqis for 172 days.

And we've been here a similar number of days seeking the good news to counterbalance the dominance of negative press reporting on Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


So says an Army Colonel to Congressman King.
Rep. Peter King, R-NY, delivered a stark message on Tuesday from an unnamed U.S. military officer now stationed in Baghdad who believes negative press coverage of the U.S. war effort has cost American soldiers their lives.

While flying back to the U.S. aboard a military transport, King told nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity via satellite phone, "I promised an American colonel yesterday, an Army colonel, that [I'd relay his message]: 'There's blood on the hands of the American media.'"

"He's lost men because of the terrible reporting and it's just creating a terrible atmosphere," King said the Army colonel told him.

"The troops have tremendous morale. But unfortunately the terrorists are encouraged and the Iraqi people are being dissuaded from cooperating with the American forces because of the terrible coverage back here," King said.

The unnamed GI, who King said had two graduate degrees, shared his disturbing assessment as the two flew by helicopter from the Baghdad airport to the Al Rashid hotel.

Paraphrasing the Army colonel's words, the New York Republican said, "I just want you to know that there's blood on the hands of the American media; that my men and women are going to die because of them."

The GI's message continued, "We are winning this war and the only way we can lose this is if the American people lose their nerve and that's because of what's going on in the American media."

King said he concurred with the Army colonel's complaint, saying, "What I saw is totally different from what the American media is reporting."...

Noting that he was in Baghdad during the wave of terrorist attacks this weekend, King said that, "in spite of all of that, life is virtually normal in Baghdad."

"What the media doesn't show is that the rest of Baghdad is traffic jams, markets open . . . you would have thought you were in midtown Manhattan," the New York Republican contended.

"Life is so different when you're there from the way it's being portrayed in the media."

(Another hat tip to Lani for this story...)

Lani, one of CPT Patti's faithful, saw my Jack-O-Lanterns linked to earlier today...and sent a link to the Extreme Pumpkins website.

Me, I like the Conjoined Twins Jack-O-Lantern...

Here is the Extreme Pumpkins mission statement:
At what point did the carving of pumpkins turn into a "cute" event? When did boys stop carving pumpkins and moms start? Where did we lose touch with one of the years coolest events?

Today we will seize back this ritual. Today is the day we throw away those safe, cute carving tools. Today.

We will buy a big, ugly, pumpkin so large one man cannot lift or move it. Today.

We will carve that sumbitch into something ugly and plop it on the front porch.

October 31st we will light it brightly enough to give visiting children suntans.

Pumpkin carving is reborn.

Can I get an Amen?

Today there was an improvised explosive device detonated somewhere in the 1st Brigades (our guys) area of responsibility.

Here is an example of how the command attempts to reduce the stress after such an event.

There has been an IED attack in our sector. We have two soldiers that have already returned to duty(RTD) with minor injuries and one soldier under medical treatment that is expected to be RTD. I will not say more until we have conducted notification.

We have no other casualties in the RFCT (Ready First Combat Team).

Source is Bde XO (Executive Officer) via SIPR (Secure Interet Connection).

Of course, sometimes the news isn't so good...and no real details can be released until next of kin notification...

Clifford May at The Corner
Consider: The Saddamites and their foreign allies decide that the proper way to celebrate the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is to massacre several dozen innocent people – Iraqi police officers, Red Cross workers and American troops among them.

They use ambulances to carry suicide terrorists and explosives. They dress up as policeman.

And the world is outraged – at President Bush.

Why? Because when he said back in May that the work ahead in Iraq would be “difficult” and “dangerous” people naturally took that to mean it would be a cakewalk, a day at the beach, a bowl of cherries.

A different battle, if you will, of a long and complex war.

The Iraqi army was one thing...the terrorists, something else altogether.
Al Qaida has recruited fighters from Syria for suicide and other attacks against the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

U.S. officials said they have found evidence that hundreds of Syrian and other Arab nationals have entered Iraq from Syria over the past few weeks and joined new Al Qaida-related units for attacks against U.S. and Western targets in Iraq. They said the Islamic mercernaries were believed to have been involved in the wave of suicide bombings in Baghdad on Monday, the start of the Islamic fast month of Ramadan.

"There are actual foreign terrorists that come into Iraq that need to be dealt with, with more military means, more aggressive means, to stop them from coming in and root them out," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "The issue of people coming in from Syria has been an issue that we have dealt with, that we have raised, and we continue to raise on an ongoing basis with the Syrian government to prevent outside elements from coming in from Syria, who might get involved in this sort of thing."

The Syrian and other Arab mercernaries have been wooed by huge salaries and bonuses for attacks against U.S. troops and interests, officials said. They said the Al Qaida network has also decided to focus on U.S. civilian and other soft targets, particularly in the Baghdad area, to avoid insurgency casualties.

Cal Thomas has some suggestions.
One thing the United States can and should do, however, is to launch its own counter-insurgency campaign. Die-hard Saddam Hussein and Baath party loyalists are being aided by infiltrators from Iraq's neighbors. Their express intention is to kill Americans in the belief they can make us cut and run.

We should make them pay a heavy price for this. If we can catch the plotters, they should be tried before a military tribunal and, if found guilty, executed. We should also send word that if we can locate their relatives, we'll destroy their houses and confiscate their property. That's what the Israelis do and it serves as a partial deterrent for all but the most fanatical.

Instead of sitting ducks, U.S. forces should be prowling lions, getting them before they get our people. How best to do this is the question pentagon leaders must answer.

Is it Vietnam yet?

That pretty much sums up the questioning President Bush got yesterday during his Rose Garden press conference on Iraq and related matters.

The president said no.

"Basically what [the terrorists are] trying to do is cause people to run," said Bush.

"They want to kill and create chaos. That's the nature of a terrorist. That's what terrorists do . . . [T]hey're not going to intimidate America."

Though, quite clearly, not for lack of trying.

Those who are mounting attacks on U.S. and Iraqi civilian targets in Baghdad - whether Ba'athist insurgents, Syrian mercenaries or al Qaeda terrorists - are playing to the American home front.

They, too, have satellite TV and they can monitor the response in America to each outrage for any hint that the U.S.-led coalition is losing its resolve.

So when they attack a target like the Red Cross or a local police station, they are not just attacking foreign aid workers or Iraqi "collaborators" - but American public opinion.

And not wholly without result.

The deputy mayor of Baghdad was killed in a drive-by shooting on Sunday night, officials in the U.S.-led coalition occupying Iraq said on Tuesday.

They said Faris al-Assam was near his home in the capital when the killers struck...

''Faris was absolutely committed to the welfare of the citizens of Baghdad and the future of the city,'' said Hank Bassford, the Baghdad region coordinator for the U.S.-led administration.

''While we mourn the loss of an Iraqi patriot, those who committed this cowardly act should know that we will not be deterred from completing our mission.''
Members of Iraq's police force at the newly painted Salihya precinct in downtown Baghdad reviewed their defenses yesterday with defiance and frustration over Monday's deadly suicide attacks.

"Our job is to protect the people, and we're determined to continue focusing on that task — helping our community," said Maj. Adel Hassan, a career officer who served under Saddam Hussein.

A Monty Python sketch comes alive in Germany...
In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's deputy spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters that the German government “views the developments (in Iraq) with great concern,” and added that Berlin condemned the car bomb attack in the strongest possible terms, saying it was directed against the interest of the Iraqi people.

The attack has also prompted the German government to consider withdrawing a team of water-supply experts from Iraq because of security concerns.

Yes, let's be sure to throw countless words at the problem...while meanwhile retracting any real asistance that might actually help these people get back on their feet.

By all means...weasels.
Listening to the gloomy news from Iraq, I can't help but wonder how today's news media might have covered D-day. I can just imagine the story:

"More than 8,000 Allied servicemen were wounded, 3,000 of them fatally, during an assault on Normandy beaches yesterday.

Despite those heavy casualties, almost all of France remains under Nazi occupation.

The supreme Allied commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, claimed that everything had gone according to plan, but a number of retired military officers suggested that the invasion is in grave danger of failing."

He goes on to say:

The frenzy reminds me of the way local TV newscasts cover major American cities: "If it bleeds, it leads."

In general, the news is a catalog of horrors — child abuse, murder, celebrity rapes and other transgressions.

No one bothers to announce: Oh, and by the way, millions of people went to work yesterday, ate lunch, came home, watched TV and went to sleep.

That's not considered news, and rightly so when covering L.A. or New York.

But the fact that such normality is returning to Iraq is news.

Good it all here.
Iraqis who spoke with our correspondent on the streets of Baghdad today say they were shocked by yesterday's seemingly coordinated series of bombings -- the bloodiest single day in Iraq since the end of major combat operations was announced on 1 May.

Today, meanwhile, another suicide bomber blew up a car near a police station in the town of Fallujah -- 60 kilometers west of Baghdad -- killing himself and several civilians.

A Baghdad man in his 40s, Ahmad, says the attack against the Red Cross was terrorism, pure and simple.

"It is the peak of terrorism. Is there more terrorism than this? Why do they bomb residential areas and humanitarian organizations? They call it 'resistance.' It is not resistance. Among those who were killed, you cannot find a single American. Thirty-four Iraqis were [killed in yesterday's four bombings], and the figures continue to rise. All of them are civilians."

Let's get one thing straight, Ahmad. These actions aren't being done by those who want Iraqis to rule Iraq. They are being done by those who want to rule Iraq themselves.

And they are the same jihadists and radical Islamic theocratists whose messages and practices of oppression, subjugation and death have already driven much of the Arab world into the lawless, hopeless lands that they are.

Seems to me it's about time the self-respecting Arabs out there, if there are any left, figure this out.

This isn't about America. This is about Islam. And Islam is being lost to the thugs, the corrupt, the power hungry, and the small minded.

Neat story.
But the beauty of the idea is already apparent.

“This well is a big service,” said Mohammad Salih, who lives in Jowezrat, one small village with a working well.

Three spigots can be turned to allow the water — clear and clean — to flow from the 3,000-gallon storage tank above ground. People come from all around to gather the water in buckets or cans and carry it to their homes.

Fritz said, “It’s turned out to be pretty good water.”

Nearby is a ditch filled with the tepid, ugly water. Salih said they often boil that water when it is used, but not always. A fire requires fuel, and fuel has a cost.

The well, he said last week, is a symbol of the friendship between Americans and the Iraqi people.

But it’s not that easy. For example, the people of Jowezrat have received a threat from unknown persons warning them not to use the well. Fritz can’t fathom such a philosophy and wonders why the “bad guys” don’t just let America fix the country and leave.

But the difficulties such warnings cause does not deter the 308th Civil Affairs, which is determined to put 250 wells in this area. A Kurdish well driller has been hired because he has the necessary equipment and expertise.



CPT Patti had "Saddam's Revenge". Said it pretty much kept her out of action for over a week.

Send more anti-bacterial soap.
In Iraq’s harsh environment, even soldiers safe inside their base camp face dangers.

Between combat casualties and accident victims in Iraq, medical personnel are also busy fighting microscopic enemies that can lay a troop near as low as a gunshot wound.

With ailments ranging from “Saddam’s revenge” stomach bugs to infections caused by bad hygiene, hundreds of soldiers are lining up at sick call instead of patrolling front lines.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29th. The 171st day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Last night I carved Jack-O-Lantern's in honor of the season and to stave off boredom and insanity since there was zilch worth watching on AFN TV.

Using free patterns found on the Internet, the JOLs are modeled on characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas (a very cute movie, by the way).

You can see the end result here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


My thanks to Szaffie at NewKidOnTheBlog for the link and the mention.

I'll reciprocate.

Be careful...she's a handful!

The very question itself presumes these death merchants share some sense of decency and common values.

They don't.
"Of course we don't understand why somebody would attack the Red Cross," said Red Cross spokeswoman Nada Doumani. "It's very hard to understand.”

No, Ms. Doumani, it’s actually quite simple. The Saddamite remnants and their foreign jihadi allies don’t want life to get better for ordinary Iraqis. That’s why they attack you. That’s why the attack American troops repairing water lines and guarding hospitals. That’s why they attack Iraqi police cadets. That’s why they attack U.N. headquarters. That’s why they attack Jordanian diplomats.

What do the terrorists and their allies want? They want to get Iraq and its resources – e.g. oil, weapons, cash, -- back into their sweaty hands so they can utilize them to further for their viciously destructive aims. They can accomplish that by killing as many all foreign infidels and their allies as possible, and by driving the rest out of Iraq.

That includes you, Ms. Doumani. You too, represent the hated Judeo-Christian West and it won’t help for you to say you never eat at McDonald’s and that you think George W. Bush is a unilateralist and uncultured cowboy. The fact is you’re working for the Red Cross and people who remember the Crusades and the sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols remember what that cross used to stand for.

Of the pathological hatred of the Arabs for Israel, and their irrational attribution of all the Arab problems to the only ones who made the desert bloom.
"Israel" has sold large quantities of expired food products in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and other areas there worth around 50 million dollars on the eve of the holy Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

Iraqi sources told the Egyptian Middle East News Agency (MENA) that validity of most of the "Israeli" products' was expired especially those marketed in Mosul.

Dr. Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, an expert at the Mosul research and nutrition institute, has warned citizens against consuming those "Israeli" goods, which arrived in Iraq through neighboring countries.

He said that the food products were distributed in Baghdad, Mosul, Arbil, Dahouk, Kirkuk and Sulaimanya.

The sources noted that "Israel" was marketing its expired food products with the full knowledge of the American administration of occupied Iraq.

Oh, yeah - and of course, the USA is complicit as well.


Soldiers have become too expensive to the attacks shift to softer targets.
Major General Ray Odierno (oh-dee-EHR'-noh) says relentless pressure from coalition forces is making it more expensive for insurgents to fund attacks, and forcing them to change their tactics.

He says when the Fourth Infantry arrived in Iraq, people were paid 100 dollars to attack coalition forces, and 500 dollars if they were successful. Now, he says attackers are demanding up to two-thousand dollars just to attack.

Odierno says the price has gone up because fewer people are willing to attack U-S forces head on -- afraid of taking a lot of casualties. He expects to see more roadside bombings and more attacks on civilian targets like the Red Cross, which was targeted today.
“Despite all the progress in Baghdad — the obvious commercial activity, construction and bustle — it clearly remains a very dangerous place. Early this morning, the Al Rasheed hotel, which we drove by yesterday and is within two blocks of the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters perimeter, was hit by multiple rockets.

“Even so, no matter where we go most people here seem genuinely happy to see Americans – you get the sense that it is only a small, dangerous element doing the violence.

“Today we flew to a base in Iraq headed up by the Army’ 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles.” The commanding general there and his men impressed every one of us. In combat, they were the ones who got Saddam Hussein’s sons. In reconstruction, they seem a model for how to do things right.

“The general, who had spent a portion of his career in Bosnia, said we have accomplished more here in six months than they accomplished there in seven years. He said that reconstruction dollars are critical to the security of his troops. With the reconstruction work, he said, ‘we’re not just swatting at the mosquitoes, we’re draining the swamp.’ The entire delegation, Democrat and Republican, was amazed by the reconstruction work we saw.

“Met several Wisconsin soldiers, the highlight of the day. Everyone said how proud they were of what they were doing. One told me, ‘I want to be home with my 1-year-old as much as anyone here, but not if it means leaving their generation to finish this battle.’

They are worried by media accounts of their work and criticism of it. They agreed that ever since the embedded reporters left, the coverage has focused on casualties and not on their remarkable progress – this from a group who have lost brave men from their ranks.

“Many military folks here, both officers and enlisted, said that coverage of the violent opposition in Iraq is far out of proportion. One guy estimated that at least one-third of the violent ‘encounters’ between Iraqis and Americans are really just crimes caused by Saddam Hussein’s release of thousands of criminals from prison before he left power.

Still more is needed to bring about peace and stability, and more is in fact happening. Real progress is now being made to meet material needs and establish civic institutions. Polls show a majority of the Iraqi people approves both the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the U.S. presence while looking forward to democratic independence.

The insurgents clearly want to stop that progress. They have to hate it that increasing numbers of Iraqis are being trained as policemen and are having some success at reestablishing order, and so the insurgents hit the police stations. The attack on the Red Cross building seems unfathomable until you recognize that the insurgents gain nothing and lose much when the Iraqi people have health needs met by medical practitioners from around the world.

The Bush administration must listen to its critics when they make sense, and some do, but the critics should likewise grant that the prospects over time are hopeful as long as the administration is open to policy correction, as it mostly seems to be, and sticks to those programs that are now proving successful.

This country must not dodge what's unmistakably required at the moment, and that brings us to the Democratic presidential candidates. Of those, only Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Rep. Richard Gephardt favor giving the Bush administration the money it has requested to support U.S. troops and rebuild Iraq. The position of the others is nothing short of irresponsible.


Which makes me wonder, if you fail the first time, do they reduce the number of virgins you get? If you fail too many times, do you owe them virgins?
The driver of the LandCruiser was Syrian, Iraqi authorities said, and at 10.15am he drove slowly through the station's back gate. There he was blocked by a barricade of sand-filled barrels and a $A170-a-month policeman who ordered him to retreat.

He slammed the vehicle into reverse, spun back 13 metres until he was clear of the barrier and then accelerated towards the side of the two-storey building. Already an officer was firing from the guard tower, and at the gate had unleashed half a clip of bullets from his AK-47 into the LandCruiser's windscreen.

The vehicle hit the station's outer wall with a thud. Then there was the briefest moment of silence. No explosion. No gallant martyrdom. The Syrian jumped from the vehicle and hurled a grenade as a bullet tore into his stomach.

Before he passed out, he shouted: "Arabs are cowards. Iraqis are traitors. I am an Arab, you cowards. Allahu akbar (God is great)." Police said they found a Syrian passport in the pocket of his blue robe-like dishdasha. On the passenger's seat was a police shirt and police armband that might have enabled him to pass through checkpoints.

He was unconscious and bleeding profusely by the time they got him to a hospital, where doctors were at first reluctant to operate, fearing he might have a bomb in his stomach.


And her description of the improvements in her quality of life sounds as if she might be at the same place as CPT Patti.
I miss home and all of life's little conveniences so much. There's just no place like the States.

But the quality of life has improved so drastically for us in the past couple months I hardly recognize this place any more. We went from 140 degree temps with no air conditioning, no hot meals, no good way to contact families, and burnout latrines to AC in every room, a big dining facility with four meals a day, Internet services, and a really nice MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) room complete with a weight room, big screen TV, pool tables, and even a smoothie bar...

We've got a huge job here, and we need their help to rebuild their city. Anybody who thought this was going to be a quick process needs to remember that this country has had havoc wreaked on it for decades now, and the Middle East has been war torn since the beginning of time.

Nothing is a quick fix. Slow, but steady improvements are what we have right now, and in my mind that's better than nothing. I get frustrated when I hear people say we had no business being here... anyone who could have see these children and this situation would change their mind.

Interesting, isn't it, that this 19 year old understands the truth about the Middle East...while so many of our politicians don't...

Tales of intrigue, corruption and trysts inside the Al-Rasheed hotel...and that is after it came under our control...
A contractor supplying kitchen staff and secretaries for the Al Rasheed Hotel, the scene of yesterday's rocket attacks, was allied to Saddam Hussein's security services and might have been providing intelligence to the anti-U.S. resistance, an Iraqi informant said yesterday.

The hotel is one of the most sensitive sites in Baghdad, serving as office and residence to top coalition officials as well as many members of the Iraqi Governing Council...

The informant, who works with the newly trained Iraqi police, detailed his charges about a fifth column in the hotel kitchen in a letter to U.S. coalition officials almost two months ago but appears to have been ignored...

The informant, who identifies himself fully in his letter but declined to have his name published, focuses his charges on Muslel Muhammed Farhan Al-Dilemi, 53, the manager of the Al-Tamoor Trading Co. which provides services to the hotel.

Mr. Al-Dilemi "used to meet with [Saddam´s] heads of security, intelligence and ... most of the Ba'ath Party officials," the Sept. 2 letter says, adding that the walls of his office are decorated with photographs of him posing with top Ba'athist officials.

The letter says Mr. Al-Dilemi placed several people with jobs in the hotel kitchen and staffed the hotel with a number of "beautiful secretaries" for whom he arranged sexual liaisons.

"His people are the ones who get the hotel kitchen food ... and he gets half of what they get on a daily basis," said the letter, implying that Mr. Al-Dilemi was running a food-smuggling racket.

But apparently the radical Arabs just can't resist a good jihad...
A U.S. general says the one attacker captured alive in the suicide bombings that have killed 34 has a Syrian passport, fuelling suspicions that foreign fighters were behind a rising tide of violence.

Brigadier General Mark Hertling of the U.S. Army's 1st Armoured Division said on Monday police shot and wounded the man when he got out of a car and tried to hurl a grenade at a Baghdad police station. The car carried three mortar rounds and was packed with TNT, he said.


It's what boys like to do...
EOD personnel placed the explosives on the missiles and launcher as soldiers cleared people from within a 4,000-foot circle around the site. Soldiers in three Humvees blocked three roads entering the area.

The resulting explosion destroyed the missiles and launcher, sending a large fireball into the sky.

Earlier in the day Cpl. Brian Gonzalez and Spc. Matthew Barnes helped two 47th EOD members find and destroy six unexploded cluster bomblets from a farmer’s field nearby.

“They went into harm’s way,” to ensure that the field was safe for use, Silva said.

“We’re field artillery boys,” said Gonzalez. “We like that.”


That's the affectionate nickname of the guys who run the Army's water purifiers.

Heckuva mission...
The members of the 326th Quartermaster Detachment (Water Purification) are in a race.

They have to purify enough water to stay ahead of the amount used daily by about 15,000 soldiers at this logistical support area 40 miles north of Baghdad.

So far, they are winning.

“We can do 3,000 gallons an hour,” said Sgt. 1st Class Maria Hammer of the 326th.

That’s the output of one Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit, or ROWPU. The unit is one of 10 on base belonging to the 692nd Quartermaster Battalion, an Army Reserve unit out of New Castle, Pa. Each machine runs about 20 hours each day.

That’s a total of 600,000 gallons of water purified each day, enough — barely — to keep ahead of the base, which has a thirst for about 400,000 gallons each day...

The ROWPUs sit near the canal that runs alongside the sprawling, dusty base. In the canal is made up of water from the nearby Tigris River. The water is horrid, containing raw sewage from both animals and humans. However, the locals seem to pay no attention to their water’s condition.

“We’ll watch them on some days,” said Capt. Brian Farester of the quartermaster battalion. “They’ll bathe in it. They’ll swim in it. They take a big scoop [with their hands] and drink it.”

Since the troops would risk cholera, typhoid or something worse if they did the same, the quartermaster unit is in Iraq to turn that putrid river water into something clean and healthy.


Interesting that CENTCOM finally got around to telling the Chief Wiggles story...when denizens of the Blogosphere have known about it for some time.

Still, its worthwhile linking to again.

And the web site to read about the toy drive is here.
Tuesday, October 28th. The 170th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

I'm running very, very late today...I'll post as soon as I can.

Monday, October 27, 2003


What? Blowing up the Red Cross?

No, having to drink de-caf.

Frankly, today has not been a good day in Baghdad. All sorts of miscreant created murder and mayhem. I was a bit worried listening to the news reports.

But I find when I returned home from work, an e-mail note from CPT Patti.

And if I'm worried about what is going on in Baghdad...seemingly she isn't.

It was a short note...and when I edit out the stuff you guys don't need to see, it came down to this:

Life here is going fine. We are pretty much keeping up with a steady battle rhythm and work is not bad...

I could use some more coffee and creamer and sugar please. Right now, we are at zero balance and we are drinking decaf. It is a terrible crime. Help, please! :)

Soldiers do have their priorities...

God bless her, she's sweet.

The governing council begins to find its own voice.
Despite all this, there are signs the council is gaining credibility. As members huddle in endless meetings, they take baby steps toward acquiring the trappings of full political power, such as financing emergency jobs and paying street cleaners.

Gradually they have begun to assert their independence -- fighting the U.S.-dominated coalition on key policy issues -- and receive worldwide recognition. The Bush administration has agreed to give the council more authority in order to win passage of resolutions at the United Nations. Most recently, the group was given added legitimacy by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's biggest Muslim political grouping, which met in Malaysia.

Earlier this month, council members forcibly expressed repeated opposition to the idea of Turkish troops in Iraq, and they might prevail. The issue ultimately will be decided by the coalition, which is anxious to help the council cast off its image as a puppet.

Members of the council have appointed a diverse group of government ministers and set up a committee to draft a constitution. While there's a big split between members who think the drafters should be elected versus appointed, that's a healthy debate that never would have occurred before the war.
It’s just plain great. It’s needed. It’s justice. It’s timely.

Yes, the Iraqi official now heading the Iraq US-appointed governing council spoke in Madrid to the international conference seeking to garner funds to plant freedom in New Iraq. His name is Aya Allawi. He spoke eloquently and honestly...

The Iraqi gentleman asked France and Germany in particular not to be stingy in their donations to rebuilding Iraq. After all there are real live people in that country waiting for support from freedom-based nations such as France and Germany and Russia...

Why then don’t these countries enjoying daily their freedoms flee to New Iraq with all aid possible? Aya Allawi wonders. And hosts of others back home wonder, too.

Those in the United States who have supported Iraqi Freedom Operation as well as the US-led coalition installing liberties there wonder why the stinginess on the part of certain countries.

It’s amazing. It’s appalling. It’s selfish. It’s sinful. It’s so awful that it needs to be written across the sky for years to come...

There are not civil words to describe how utterly infantile the nations are who could help lift burdens off backs of real live mortals called Iraqis, yet refuse to do so. May this nastiness truly be remembered forever by the Iraqis, not only in this generation but all generations to come.

As US President Bush and team are giving their energies night and day to liberate — not occupy but liberate — an entire nation previously led by a Muslim bloodhound, the French, German and Russian leaders in particular sit on their hands. May their hands wither beneath them.