The Mudville Gazette
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Got Them Ol' Global Warming Blues Again

Or Hurricanes, and all that Jazz.

The National Hurricane Conference is an annual meeting of meteorologists, city officials, emergency managers, first responders, media/communications specialists, insurance industry types, medical folks, military reps, and a host of others who might have a role in preparation for and response to a landfalling hurricane. The yearly conference includes training, discussions, and presentations all designed to help communities prepare for such an event. This year's conference was hosted by New Orleans, and no doubt the impact of hurricane Katrina there was much reduced due to the enthusiastic participation of the city's key leaders in that event.

By odd coincidence the last time I was in New Orleans was to attend a previous National Hurricane Conference, an event I discussed here. (With a follow-up story here.)

Hopefully you stopped and read those two links - they're part of this discussion. But I'm no expert. If you're interested in what the nation's (no, the world's) recognized leading authority on hurricanes has to say about the recent "increase in intensity" of storms, you might enjoy reading this interview with Dr William Gray in this month's Discover magazine.

An excerpt:
With last year’s hurricane season so active, and this year’s looking like it will be, won’t people say it’s evidence of global warming?

G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

Why is there scientific support for the idea?

G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing—all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

G: I can’t be sure, but I think that’s a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.
I repeat, I'm no expert (just a guy who's survived a half dozen or so such storms) but if you're interested in more thoughts from this comparably dumb schmuck on the topic, see here. For the record I think there has been an exaggeration in the "intensities of recent storms" - and we're paying the price for it now.
But what about next time? Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.
But now the global warming crowd has found their Cindy Sheehan, and her name is Katrina. They won't let her go.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wrong, wrong, wrong...

I hope this is wrong

I know this is wrong - factually correct but still just plain wrong

This is wrong as in morally repugnant

This is a wrong being made right.

The View From Berlin

News from my current nation-of-residence
Apparently the Americans had it coming: "The American president has closed his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes such as Katrina -- in other words, disasters caused by a lack of climate protection measures -- can visit on his country." Who wrote this? None other than Jürgen Trittin, Germany's minister of the environment.
But who calls him on the carpet for it? Germany's own Speigel Online - and in no uncertain terms:
Bullshit. Trittin's article is a slap in the face to all the victims. Let's just assume that the environment minister is right, that there is a direct relationship between greenhouse gases and Hurricane Katrina. Even still this would hardly be the time for yet another round of America bashing and finger pointing. Three years ago, just before the US election, former Minister of Justice Hertha Däubler Gmelin compared US President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. This time, with German elections looming, the environment minister is using a natural catastrophe as an excuse to once again campaign with subtle anti-Americanism and to unabashedly pat himself on the back. A "Kyoto Two" is "desperately needed" screamed the headline over his insensitive attack.
It's not the American people's fault that the storm hit and they couldn't have stopped it. The Germans, on the other hand, could have done a lot to prevent World War II. And yet, care packages still rained down from US troops. Trittin's know-it-all stance is therefore not only tasteless, it is also historically blind.
Call me proud to be an American in Germany.

Boots In Baghdad

But not for long:
Well friends, my time here is reaching an end. I am in my final days in Baghdad. This will be my last post from Iraq.
He hasn't left yet - you have time to say "thanks for a job well done." (Read it all, and leave comments here)


:Looks like the server problems are ongoing. Trackbacks and comments are currently not available on the main site - and the site itself is up and down. Welcome to our back-up site.

The Upcoming No Home Homecoming

The AP reports on Louisiana Guard members in Iraq
BAGHDAD — Since Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, National Guard troops from Gulf Coast states serving in Iraq have followed the disaster, worried about families and friends back home.

"It's a significant emotional event. Their families are on the forefront of the disaster," said Lt. Col. Jordan Jones of the 141st Field Artillery of the Louisiana National Guard.
Asked how his troops felt being in Iraq while their state was in such difficulty, Jones replied: "Well, we all know our primary mission is the federal one.

"The secondary mission is to serve at the pleasure of the governor in disaster relief and other missions," said Jones, 44, who works for a company that manages the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

National Guard troops in Louisiana have been busy rescuing people from the deluge.
There are, of course, thousands of Guard, reserve, and active duty forces on scene or mustering for deployment to the Gulf Coast even now.

But it's a cruel irony that some of these soon to be returning GIs might have a homecoming without the home.

You can help.


The Washington Post is now including technorati trackbacks to blogs on their individual stories.

Newsweek added the same feature a few weeks back.

It Ain't Over Til It's Over There over there

Ladies and gentlemen, the MilBlogs are proud to present the first review of "Over There" from a soldier actually over there.

The Vicious Circle

From Iraq, former Saddam army "strongman" Colonel Watban Jassam:
Tips On How To Beat US From Insurgents' Consultant

To gauge US public opinion, he has become an avid watcher of satellite news channels, and never misses the White House press briefings
To win the war against the US military and Badr, Colonel Jassam advises the Omariyun to follow two short-term goals - to cement mujahideen control over the Ramadi area, and to stage operations that will increase pressure on US opinion to withdraw troops.
To achieve their second goal, turning Americans against the war, the mujahideen need to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west", he says.
His customers respond:
Soldier formerly from Syracuse killed in Iraq

SYRACUSE, N.Y. A 23-year-old soldier formerly from Syracuse has been killed in Iraq.

Charles Rubado says that his son, Second Lieutenant Charles "Charlie" Rubado, was killed by a sniper Monday night while leading a patrol.

Rubado graduated in 2000 from Corcoran High School, where he played soccer, and moved to Florida with his parents to attend college. He graduated from the Reserve Officers' Training Corps in southern Florida in 2004 and trained at Fort Carson in Colorado before heading to Iraq in March.

His father, a Vietnam veteran, tells the Syracuse Post-Standard, "He's safe now, but there's a hole in my heart."

But even before the family had been notified Cindy Sheehan had completed the circle:
While George golfed yesterday, the worst hurricane ever struck New Orleans; oil went up to over 68.00/barrel; and an American soldier was killed in the charade and cataclysmic occupation of Iraq. The soldier's family doesn't even know what's going to hit them yet. The death is "Pending Notification." I continually ask myself: "How do George Bush and other death-mongers live with themselves?" While George vacations and bikes and golfs his way to the lowest poll numbers since Richard Nixon, other "patriots" are wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes and going along with the farce that the mission from hell: Killing more people in Iraq, because so many have already been killed" is somehow a good thing ordained by God. I can live with myself, but trust me, sleep does not come easily to me these days.
And the ball goes back to the "insurgents"...


In the US Military, Unified Commands are the agencies responsible for command, control, and coordination efforts between the various branches of service. The Unified Commands exercise authority over military ops in specified geographical areas of responsibitlity - EUCOM covers the European and African theaters, PACOM the Pacific, SOUTHCOM most areas of the western hemisphere south of the US, and CENTCOM the highly visible middle eastern area including Iraq and Afghanistan.

NORTHCOM is the junior sibling of the crowd. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, NORTHCOM was formed with a goal of coordinating military efforts in homeland defense.
The historical insularity of the U.S. has given way to an era of new vulnerabilities, and enemies will strike the U.S. in new and unsuspecting ways. Northern Command takes the homeland defense missions being performed by other Department of Defense organizations and puts them under a single command.
Aside from human threat, there's an obvious civil service mission that NORTHCOM can fulfill (emphasis added below):
In addition to defending the nation, U.S. Northern Command provides defense support of civil authorities in accordance with U.S. laws and as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense. Military assistance is always in support of a lead federal agency, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Military civil support includes domestic disaster relief operations that occur during fires, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. Support also includes counter-drug operations and consequence management assistance, such as would occur after a terrorist event employing a weapon of mass destruction.

Generally, an emergency must exceed the management capabilities of local, state and federal agencies before U.S. Northern Command becomes involved. In providing civil support, the command operates through subordinate Joint Task Forces.
Today would be that day, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina NORTHCOM gets its first large, operational test. The Colorado Springs Gazette (feature currently not available on line):
Military Moving In To Lend A Hand

NorthCom will organize task force

By News Services

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon’s U.S. Northern Command plans to set up a task force to help federal disaster authorities bring relief by military aircraft and amphibious vehicles to communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The task force plans to have its headquarters at Camp Shelby, Miss., said Michael Kucharek, a spokesman for Colorado Springs-based Northern Command. It has established Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., as a staging area for supplies and personnel.

The task force will assist federal disaster-relief authorities primarily with aircraft and other logistical support. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested it, Kucharek said.

The command already has sent two helicopters and crews that will enable federal disaster experts to assess the extent of the damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

More than 9,000 National Guard members have been called to duty for hurricane relief work in those three states, Kucharek said.

Late Tuesday, the Pentagon ordered five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations.

One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used for search and rescue missions, was en route from Texas. Four other vessels from Norfolk, Va., were expected to sail within 24 hours and take four days to reach the gulf, Northern Command Kucharek said.

The ships will carry food, fuel, medical and construction supplies, as well as hovercraft that can be used for evacuation and search-andrescue missions.

Also Tuesday, the Coast Guard called back to duty 500 reservists as part of the hurricane response. “The biggest challenge is getting enough resources — especially helicopters and small boats — to the area for the rescue work we have to do,” said Lt. Gene Maestas, a Coast Guard spokesman in Washington.
NORTHCOM has more on their home page, and you'll find updates there as time permits.

We'll hope and pray there efforts are rapid, effective, and successful. As noted, this is the first big operational test - and what looks good in planning often must be adjusted on the fly in reality. As a wise man once said, "No plan survives first contact with the enemy". Likewise, because this effort will prove a point about "over stretched military" you might see some naysaying from certain quarters regarding the effectiveness of the effort, perhaps bolstered by that unavoidable truism noted above. Time will tell.

More early stories give an indication of the enormity of the task, and the initial chaos confronting those responsible for coordinating the effort:

The Shreveport (La) Times:
State's military presence aids in storm relief
While some Guard members fight in Iraq, others battle elements.
August 30, 2005

Though thousands of its members are half a world away, gearing up in Iraq to begin their journey home from war, the Louisiana Army National Guard this week is tackling its other primary mission, disaster relief.

It's no surprise. In June long before the 2005 hurricane season shifted into overdrive, the state military's second-in-command, Brig. Gen. Hunt Downer, told The Times the Louisiana Army National Guard was practiced and ready to handle the big storms.

"We have enough troops remaining here in the state," Downer said. "We've always done that. And as in all cases, we move troops around to meet where the need's going to be. Not many really appreciate and understand the uniqueness of the National Guard, (that) we have a dual mission."
Sidebar to same story:
Barksdale Air Force Base (Greyhawk notes: in Shreveport, La.) has been tagged to be the Federal Mobilization Center for Hurricane Katrina relief by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA representatives started arriving Saturday. The base's East Gate is now reserved for official FEMA and commercial vehicles only -- all other traffic, including all privately owned vehicles, must use alternate gates. Visitors entering the base should also allow extra time as increased traffic is expected, base officials said.
Flooding Forces Relocation Of National Guard's New Orleans Command Center

By Joseph R. Chenelly, Times staff writer

NEW ORLEANS — The rescuers had to be rescued early into Hurricane Katrina relief operations as sudden flooding forced the Louisiana National Guard to airlift 150 troops out of its command center here.

The flooding wiped out the Joint Force Headquarters on Monday night as Black Hawk helicopters moved the troops 10 miles away to the Louisiana Superdome, where they re-established the command center.

The troops quickly rejoined rescue efforts. At daylight Tuesday the extent of the havoc wreaked on the region began to come into focus even as levies continued to fail and water continued to rise. Soldiers carved their way through the city by boats, trucks and Humvees, while National Guard helicopters kept noisily busy in air rescues.

All brought a steady stream of civilians in from the devastation to the Superdome, the massive arena in the heart of downtown. As of Tuesday night, at least 11,000 people were taking refuge in there. Civilians were not being allowed to leave the Superdome, which was without main power or air-conditioning as temperatures hit 95 degrees Tuesday.

Still, civilians continued to flow into the shelter as flood waters made their homes inhabitable.

Since Saturday, at least two have died in the dome and two have been born there, said Guard spokesman Maj. Ed Bush. The deaths were believed to have been caused by pre-existing conditions, he said.

The Joint Force Headquarters working out of the Superdome is responsible for coordinating the thousands of soldiers and other service members responding to one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in generations.

The relocated center, operating on emergency generators, is relying on radio communications only, as the hurricane has rendered all land-line and cellular phones useless within the city.
Marines Rescue Stranded Hurricane Victims

By Christian Lowe and Christopher Munsey, Times staff writers

Marines rescued more than 100 people stranded by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina Monday after tides and high winds pummeled cities along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Leathernecks with the Reserve’s reinforced 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, based in Gulfport, Miss., navigated the debris-filled streets of Biloxi late Aug. 29, plucking dazed citizens from their battered homes.

About 130 people were rescued by the Marines, who drove two AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles through the destruction.

The amtrackers took the flood victims “to a designated drop-off point where they were returned to safety by civilian authorities,” according to a news release from Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. One amtrac in the operation rescued 100 people, making four trips with 25 victims crammed into the crew compartment, a Navy spokeswoman said.

Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalions 1, 7 and 133 — based in Gulfport — are clearing a 10-mile-long stretch of road to the nearby town of Pass Christian so civilian authorities could rescue stranded citizens there, the spokeswoman said.
Two U.S. Navy Destroyers Damaged in Storm

Two U.S. Navy destroyers were damaged when Hurricane Katrina struck their Mississippi shipyard Aug. 29, but by the following afternoon, the most serious damage had been repaired.

“There was some damage and flooding on the Kidd,” a Navy source told “When the ship rose up, it banged up against the pier, causing a small gash which caused some flooding.”

But Brian Cullin, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, said Aug. 30 the damage had been made good.

“Northrop Grumman welders ballasted up the ship and got access to the breach,” Cullin said. “They were able to weld it and it was repaired and made watertight.”

The Forrest Sherman, another destroyer under construction at Northrop’s Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., also suffered some damage, a Navy source said, when a drifting barge bumped into the ship. The barge came to rest on a pier without puncturing the side of the warship.

The Sherman’s crew of about 300 sailors rode out the storm on the ship, tied to a pier along with the Kidd, whose crew has yet to move aboard.
The Washington Post notes that America's veterans aren't forgotten either:
Armed Forces Retirement Home Opens Doors To Displaced Brethren

By Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post Staff Writer

They got extra beds from storage, aired out unoccupied rooms and opened up an unused dormitory. Floors were mopped, bathrooms scrubbed and light bulbs replaced.

There was a buzz yesterday among residents at the Armed Forces Retirement Home on North Capitol Street and a sense of urgency among the staff: Company was coming. Lots of it.

Officials of the Northwest Washington retirement facility learned it was getting as many as 416 new residents from its storm-damaged sister home in Gulfport, Miss., which was rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Katrina.

Most of the newcomers would be making the 1,000-mile trip aboard 10 chartered buses, which were scheduled to leave Gulfport last night, officials said. The buses were to arrive in Washington late today or sometime tomorrow, after at least one overnight in the Atlanta area.

"We get them up here, we're going to get them comfortable," said Chuck Dickerson, chief of resident services at the historic Washington home that houses about 1,000 retirees. "We're going to give them the medical care they need. We're going to get them a bed. We're going to get them a shower. We're going to feed them. We're going to take care of them, because they're ours."
GXonline - an online magazine of the National Guard, has numerous reports. Here are just a couple of them.
Guard, NORTHCOM Respond to Hurricane Aftermath
Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, an estimated 7,500 National Guard troops from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi were on duty today, supporting civil authorities, distributing generators, providing medical care, and setting up shelters for displaced residents.

In addition, National Guard units and members in 17 more states were on standby, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage, rising floodwaters, and power and communications outages throughout the region, Air Force LTC Ellen Krenke, a DoD spokeswoman, said.

AR Guard Mobilizes 350 Troops for Disaster Relief in MS

8/29/05, Camp Joseph T. Robinson, AR – At the direction of the governor, the Arkansas National Guard has called approximately 350 personnel to state active duty to assist with hurricane relief efforts in Mississippi. An Arkansas National Guard Task Force is scheduled to begin deploying Tuesday to an initial staging area at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Miss., and is expected to be mobilized for 10 to 14 days, or longer as needed.
Meanwhile, Keesler AFB, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in the direct path of the storm, has this announcement on their home page:
Keesler Air Force base has survived a direct hit by a Hurricane Katrina a Category 4 hurricane. Initial assessment shows extensive damage to our industrial and housing areas. We are deploying assessment crews and are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with commanders of many military bases who have offered assistance. The damage is severe enough that we are unable to leave our shelters until Thursday at the earliest in order to assure our recovery teams have cleared debris and made it safe for us and our families to return home. Brigadier General Lord and your leadership promises to keep you apprised of the progress of our recovery teams and release you to go home and assess your own damage as soon as it is safe for your family to travel. All pets at the Keesler pet shelter are in good health and weathered this extremely dangerous storm safely. We are doing everything within our power to clear the way and provide the best immediate and long term assistance to help each one of us in order to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Brigadier General Lord wants you to know we are not alone and will do everything we can to keep you safe and get you home as soon as possible. Please be patient. We all need to pull together and help us all make it through this difficult time safely.
Keesler is predominantly a training base, but is ironically also the home of the Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters, who fly specially modified C130 aircraft into off-shore hurricanes to obtain vital measurements on intensity and position for the National Hurricane Center. Their aircraft were most likely re-located to inland locations well prior to landfall.

More to come. In the meantime, Glenn Reynolds has a list of charities if you're inclined to help the relief efforts.

(Pre-post update: after completing this but just prior to posting, this example from the Washington Post dashes any hope that politics could be left out of the relief efforts. On their online front page the link to this story reads War Strains Military's Ability to Help.)

Dawn Patrol

Well if you have arrived here that means Hosting Matters has not won the battle against the DOS attack. This is also affecting email as well so please be patient and we'll answer as soon as we can.

Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs, other blogs, and the mainstream media. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. (We have a daily "Open Post" too, if you have something on another topic you can link there.)



IRAQ THE MODEL -- [Iraq the Model - an Iraqi in Iraq]
Today Baghdad is witnessing a tragic disaster; hundreds have died and more were injured when huge crowds of pilgrims heading to the shrine of Imam Kadhom caused the fence of the A'imma bridge to collapse pushing people to fall into the Tigris river.

The news is still uncertain about the cause and casualty toll of this disaster but sources in the ministry of health say that around 640 people were killed in the incident.

What Horror... -- [Back to Iraq - a Journalist in Iraq]
BEIRUT — While the world watches New Orleans drown, Baghdad has seen the single greatest loss of life when thousands of Shi’ite pilgrims panicked on a bridge over the Tigris and stampeded after rumors flew among the crowd that two suicide bombers were in the midst.

Almost 650 people are dead and hundreds wounded. They drowned in the river and suffocated on land.

Gotcha! -- [Who's your Baghdaddy? - in Iraq]
We caught some of the scumbags that were responsible for Saturday’s mortar attack. A raid was organized and conducted in the early morning hours yesterday and we netted several bad guys. Out of this group of thieves we have identified at least four of them as suspected members of Muqtada al-Sadr’s militia. The troops are all pumped from the results of a successful mission, but we are not done yet. We are continuing to tighten the noose in order flush more of these rodents out of their hiding places. Obviously I can’t provide a lot of detail, but I will post updates as I can.

The MRX -- [Major K - in Iraq]
For the past 2 1/2 years, there have been several evolutions in building the new Iraqi Army. It first started as the ICDC, then became what is now the Iraqi Army. All over the country, this army has been being built from the ground up. It started with basic training, where new soldiers were forged with better training than was given to the "Commandos" of the old regime. By the standards of the former regime, every American Soldier would be considered to be "Special Forces" trained.

ISF progress in basic warrior training -- [ Live in Iraq]
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 30, 2005) -- A team of focused soldiers equipped with helmets, protective vests and weapons swiftly move through a destroyed building to make sure it is clear for further movement. This situation was just one of the several training scenarios the Iraqi Security Force rehearsed here this week.

Iraqis - keen and optimistic -- [ Chrenkoff]
Our special correspondent Haider Ajina translated the results of the latest opinion poll published in the August 29th edition of the Iraqi Arabic newspaper “Alhayat”:

Interviewing Mayada Al-Askari -- [Iraqi In America]
Mayada, Daughter of Iraq
One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein
Let's Start With Your Work News

Q: During your work as a journalist in Iraq, you were once invited with other journalists by the office of Ali Hassan Al-Majid to witness what I would describe as torture and humiliation of human beings in public. Could you compare that torture to the treatment he's receiving now from the Iraqi justice system?

A: I was invited alone, as Ali Hassan Al-Majid did not like journalists. People in Iraq under the Baathist regime were executed without seeing the face of a lawyer, with no trial and no legal representation, people were tortured and a great many died under torture then found out to be completely innocent.

Saddam , and his lieutenants are being treated with respect, and according to the Geneva convention laws. I heard that Ali Al-Majid told the judge: why not execute us and get it over with ?!!

This is how they comprehend things, and they would repeat all their deeds again if given half a chance.

A friend of mine in Iraq was guarding a military facility back in 1991, and Ali Hassan Al Majid came in to see the military prisoners, he made all the prisoners drink gasoline, then had them shot in the stomach where they were all set to fire.

Fables of the Reconstruction -- [Sisyphus Today... - in Iraq]
As costs for reconstruction in Iraq begin to topple the $200 Billion mark, one must ask what this money has been spent on and what results have been noted. Several times thus far, I have noted that what you are fed through the corporate media is a limited and skewed view of Iraq. Primarily, the news reporters are spoon fed their news by military public affairs officers who boiled down numbers and events for easy consumption by the concerned but faint-hearted American citizen. These reporters have such little integrity that they rarely, if ever, venture outside their Baghdad hotels for their latest breaking story. Dressed up in flak jackets and kevlar helmets, they intimate the violence and danger they must forego to bring us the news. Let's be clear on this from the start, Baghdad is NOT Iraq and Iraq is not Baghdad. The media has successfully convinced the Dancing-with-a-Star loving American viewer that Iraq is a homogenous and violent country. Wrong.

Sharia experts -- [Phil and Becky - Phil's in Iraq]
From the comments section...
Must admit that the section stating that the Federal Court be made up of experts in Sharia law worries me. The Constitution requires that Iraqi law be both Islamic and respectful of human rights - what happens when the two idealogies clash? Such clashes in law are usually settled by an independent judiciary, but when that judiciary is composed of people who've devoted their lives to the study of Islam I think that would work in a pro-Islam bias into their decisions. Imagine for a moment that the US Constitution contained a proviso that Supreme Court judges be Christian theologians. Do you really think Roe vs Wade would have been decided the way it was if that was the case? Somehow I think not.

BAD BOYS -- [2005 Tour of Duty - in Iraq]
Who ya gona call when they come for you. This is the Iraq security force. They patrol up and down the roads looking for the bad guys. They wear a mask sometimes so that they will not be reconized, but I think he wears it to intimidate people...

More Tribe-on-Tribe in Qaim -- [The Fourth Rail - Bill Roggio]
In the western Iraqi town of Qaim, clashes continue between the pro-government Bumahl tribe and the pro-al Qaeda Karabila tribe. Newsday, in an article titled "Heavy Fighting Erupts in Western Iraq", reports that "20 members of the Bumahl tribe and 15 from Karabila were killed in the clashes," with dozens wounded. Reuters reports 47 were killed in multiple U.S. air strikes directed at terrorist safe houses.

A Question of Victory [The Fourth Rail - Grim ]
The Washington Post carries this article on Iraq by National Geographic author Lewis Simons, a former Marine -- or, as he phrases it, "ex-Marine." The terms are frequently used interchangably by the news media, but the choice of one over the other is important to Marines. One wonders if his editor altered it, or if he was attempting to underline his position.

More Thoughts from Duke in Iraq: -- [Broken Masterpiece - dispatched from Iraq]
I wasn’t planning on revisiting this subject, but a recent discussion with a friend of mine and what I read in today’s Stars and Stripes has motivated me. My friend recently saw Monster In-Law for free at the base theater. He asked me if I were going to see it. I told him no because I had no desire to support Jane Fonda in anyway. I do not think he fully understood my position but a letter to the editor in today’s Stars and Stripes puts it very well.
We have heard that Jane Fonda is planning a war protest bus tour. This is the majority of a letter written from a soldier stationed in Baghdad.


Hundreds Die in Iraq Stampede -- (Washington Post)...Ellen Knickmeyer
Rumors of a suicide bomber in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad caused a stampede that killed hundreds of panicked worshippers.

Bush gives new reason for Iraq war -- (Boston Globe)...Jennifer Loven(AP)
Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists

US warplanes strike in western Iraq -- (Independent Online)
Baghdad - United States forces have killed an al-Qaeda militant in western Iraq in air strikes that claimed the lives of 47 people.

US warplanes on Tuesday launched three waves of strikes near the town of Qaim, on the Syrian border. This is a remote area that Washington has long said is a route into Iraq for foreign Islamist fighters allied to the insurgency among Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.

U.S. Ambassador Hints Iraq Constitution Not Final -- (Indianapolis Star)...AP
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq raised the possibility Tuesday of more changes to Iraq's draft constitution, signaling that the Bush administration hasn't given up its campaign to advocate a charter that will be broadly accepted.

War Without Remedy -- (Washington Post)
THE WORSENING violence in Iraq and Afghanistan this summer has, at least, been accompanied by vigorous attempts at political solutions. In Iraq, majority Shiites, pressed by the United States, are negotiating with minority Sunnis about the country's future political structure; although talks over the constitution failed, the contacts are likely to continue even as an upcoming referendum provides a democratic outlet. Afghanistan's parliamentary election campaign proceeds despite attacks from extremists, and some former members of the Taliban have chosen to compete rather than fight.

Bush is the real threat -- (The Guardian)...Tony Benn
Now that the US president has announced that he has not ruled out an attack on Iran, if it does not abandon its nuclear programme, the Middle East faces a crisis that could dwarf even the dangers arising from the war in Iraq.


Gratuitous Afghanistan Photo of the Day (69) -- [ Miserable Donuts - back from Afghanistan]
One Friday at the Bagram bazaar I saw an odd looking thing on one of the tables. After closer examination, I saw we had a genuine Erie Chemical Company 47mm smoke grenade launcher from the 1960s. I asked where this had come from, and got a ...

Gratuitous Afghanistan Photo of the Day (70) -- [ Miserable Donuts - back from Afghanistan]
Between the villages of Jafarkhil and Shaka. The police officer really wanted his photo taken, so I obliged. The father has quite a protective look about him, so...


U.S. military 'doing everything' it can to seek out bin Laden -- (Boston Herald)
The U.S. military is doing all it can in Afghanistan to locate Osama bin Laden but cannot say when he will be captured, a spokesman said today.

Col. James Yonts also said the United States was cooperating with neighboring countries such as Pakistan in the hunt for the al-Qaida leader.

``When will he be captured? ... I can't give you a date, but I can tell you this: Everyone remembers 9/11,'' Yonts told reporters in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Afghan opium production drops --
| KABUL (BBC News) -- Afghanistan has registered a drop in the cultivation of opium for the first time since the fall of the Taliban, the United Nations says. | The area under cultivation for opium ...

NATO rolls out 2,000 more troops for Afghan polls -- (Tehran Times)
KABUL - NATO-led peacekeepers have deployed 2,000 extra troops across northern and western Afghanistan to secure the war-battered country's parliamentary elections on September 18, a spokesman...


Today, the Lebanese Government accepted a UN investigation commission request to have a number of former security chiefs brought in for interrogation in the Hariri assassination. The three directors detained were: Maj. Gen. Jamil Sayyed, the former chief of General Security; Maj. Gen. Ali Hajj, the former director general of the Internal Security Forces; and Brig. Gen. Raymond Azar, the former director general of military intelligence. The commander of the Presidential Guards, Brig. Gen. Mustafa Hamdan, also appeared before the U.N. investigation in response to a summons. The Commission ordered former pro-Syrian MP Nasser Kandil to appear as well.


Uzbekistan Base Decision Won't Leave US Without Options -- ( Goodenough
An Uzbekistan Senate resolution approving the government's decision to expel the United States from an airbase appears unlikely to have a serious impact on the U.S. military, which has been investigating alternative arrangements.

More TV means less Koran, say south Thai Muslims -- (Reuters)...Ed Cropley
BAN SAWO HILIR, Thailand, - In the wilds of southern Thailand, where people believe Islam first took root in Southeast Asia, plans to dish out cable TV with free English soccer to quell ethnic Malay unrest have not gone down well.

"The kids will just watch TV and leave the Koran and their school books behind," said Haji Mustafa Bin Haji Abdul Latif of Ban Sawo Hilir in Narathiwat, one of three provinces rocked by 20 months of violence in which more than 800 people have died.

One year on, Beslan demands truth -- (The Guardian)
Anger grows over Kremlin's official version of school siege.


Generosity... -- [Gun Line]
As you are no doubt aware, the folks in Louisiana, Mississippi, and surrounding states need our help...

Yes, so do our wounded war-fighters, but they would be the first to tell you that they can hold on a little longer, wheras the folks hit by Hurricane Katrina can't...

Val Prieto, at Babalu's Blog, promises a t-shirt for every $20.00 donation, and has links to the life-saving organizations that will be operating in the disaster area...

Nightmare -- [Baldilocks](pics)
It's Chaos and chaotic down South.
Food and drinkable water were scarce, forcing city officials to order nonessential people to evacuate. By afternoon, officials were also ordering rescue shelters to evacuate.

Katrina II: Aftermath -- [Florida Cracker](pics)
Authorities in New Orleans are going to soon find out what happens when you allow people into the Superdome with the understanding that they cannot leave until it is deemed safe to do so. I predict it's going to get ugly unless these people are cut loose. Then it'll get uglier when they are.
Some who are currently footloose and fancy-free in New Orleans are looting.

Even as conditions continue to degrade in New Orleans, so will the situation in the Superdome. Things got dicey ...

New Orleans and "Martial Law" -- [The Stupid Shall Be Punished]
Now I admit I haven't been watching TV, but I'm a little hesitant to fully believe the reports that New Orleans has been placed under "martial law" (or, as this local TV station says, "marshal law"). I've checked on both the Lousiana Governor's office website and the New Orleans city website and neither of them mention such an announcement. The New Orleans website has a blurb that says a "state of emergency" has been declared, but that's a long way from martial law, under which people are tried by military tribunals.

The Lickspittle Sycophant Responds -- [Balloon Juice]
As a bedtime gift for you, the angry and stupid left:
The absence of large portions of the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama National Guards is dismissed as unimportant, because after all, 3,500 guards are available in LA, 1600 in MS, and 750 in AL…those numbers are perfectly sufficient! Or maybe not. Oh, and what about their equipment, trucks, helicopters, halftracks, and etc?

But even more, Trevino states “Show me, please, that the funds were diverted specifically for the war; and that they would have averted the present disaster.”...

The Disaster Relief, Recovery, and Developmental Aid Process -- [Austin Bay]
I’ll be on Hugh Hewitt in a couple of minutes to talk about disaster relief. Here’s a column from early January which discusses the South Asian tsunami. It outlines the emergency response and disaster recovery process.


Strain of Iraq War Means the Relief Burden Will Have to Be Shared -- (Washington Post)...Ann Scott Tyson
With thousands of their citizen-soldiers away fighting in Iraq, states hit hard by Hurricane Katrina scrambled to muster forces for rescue and security missions yesterday -- calling up Army bands and water-purification teams, among other units, and requesting help from distant states and the active-duty military.

White House to Release Oil From Reserves -- (New York Post)...AP
WASHINGTON (AP) - Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said Wednesday the Bush administration has decided to release oil from federal petroleum reserves to help refiners affected by Hurricane Katrina. The move, which was expected later in the day, is designed to give refineries in the Gulf Coast area a temporary supply of crude oil to take the place of interrupted shipments from tankers or offshore oil platforms affected by the storm...

Woman Gives Birth While Fleeing Katrina -- (New York Post) ...AP
CULLMAN, Ala. (AP) - A New Orleans woman has given birth while fleeing Hurricane Katrina. Donyelle Jean Jacques left New Orleans Saturday morning, one of 49 members of her family trying to flee. When the family is finally able to return, there will be 50. As the family drove north in an eight-car caravan in Alabama on Interstate 65, Jacques, who was pregnant and past her due date, started having labor pains. Her boyfriend, Wilbert Joseph, said he was scared as he drove the car that Jacques was in.

Charities, U.S. military mobilize to help -- (MSNBC)...Elizabeth Williamson and Ann Scott Tyson
Charities and the federal government launched what aid agencies predicted could be the longest and costliest relief effort in U.S. history, as workers began arriving last night in states devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and as the U.S. military organized an intensive response by already stretched National Guard and active duty forces.

Survivors tell of desperate struggles to survive -- (MSNBC)...Mike Brunker
The stories sounded remarkably similar, as survivors who tried to ride out Hurricane Katrina on Tuesday recounted their desperate attempts to climb higher and higher as the storm’s floodwaters rose inexorably to their eaves and beyond.

Looting, Fires And a Second Evacuation -- (Washinton Post)...Peter Whoriskey and Sam Coates
This exodus was even more desperate than the first.
As murky water surged around their homes from levee breaks undetected in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, families that had hunkered down for Monday's storm were forced Tuesday to climb first to their attics and then to their roofs in the hope of rescue by boat or helicopter.


HURRY UP AND KUWAIT -- [American Citizen Soldiers - in Iraq]
A retired Navy Seal whose physical conditioning class I had endured to prepare myself for basic training warned me that the hardest obstacle I would face in the military would be the “hurry up and wait” mentality. Naturally, I asked him what he meant by this.

“It’s just like it sounds,” he told me. ‘Hurry up and get your ass over here…there…anywhere! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Okay, now that you've jumped through your ass, sit here and wait for three hours.’"

I grimaced; he laughed. ...


Some 10,000 active supporters of the al-Qaeda terrorist network in the United Kingdom and 31,000 Islamic extremists in Germany pose a serious threat to the European security apparatus, according to an internationally recognised expert on terrorism, Rolf Tophoven. In a paper presented at the three-day seminar on "Global Terrorism" organised by the Institute of Regional Studies in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, Tophoven said a small minority of European Muslims were more than capable of attacking their own countries as part of the Jihad.



I need Rice Krispy Treats and Jelly Beans -- [Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho]
Ok, if you would like to help with 2 requests from soldiers I have a request for jelly beans (would be fun to send him a ton...perhaps he can share with the Iraqi children), and Rice Krispy Treats. The second request, the one for Rice Krispy treats was from a soldier who said, "I am not looking for anything special, maybe just some rice krispy treats.Thank you for supporting the deployed soldiers." Now don't you just want to send him about 10 cases for being so sweet?!? Email me if you would like to help.

Other notes, I've mentioned before that Soldiers Angels receives messages from our troops on a daily basis and posts them on the member's only (angels only) message board, so that everyone who wants to can respond and help. I wanted to share 2 of them that particularly struck me just to give you an idea of the people Americans are helping to support.

A Letter from a "Regular" American Teenager to Our Heroes... -- [Iraq War News]
Dear American Soldiers,

My name is Ryan Kathleen P-----, and I am a seventeen year old girl, about to enter my senior year in high school. You don't know me, nor do you have any reason to. I'm just a regular teenager, going about life and doing what teenagers do. However,

A series of thank you’s. -- [The "Mike Golf's" OIF3 Blog - in Iraq]
While I have been here, I have received quite a few packages of support to pass out to the guys. Some of them from people whom I’ve never met and some of them with out even a card saying how they’d heard of me or why they felt the need to send something in my direction. Thank you. Your goods have been passed out to the boys.
To whoever started the subscription in my name to magazines that all the guys over here like to read. Stuff, Blender and Maxim. Thank you.

Bile -- [365 and a Wake Up] Editors Note: this is not the real John Travolta.
can you sleep good, f****n' murderer?

Sadly no, I don’t sleep all that well. Maybe it’s the heat, or just the stacatto missions, but I just haven’t been able to get a solid five hours of rest in the last few weeks. I’m sure you have been in the same situation once or twice. You know the whole “laying in a sleeping bag in a combat zone, staring at the ceiling, half sick with the thought that there was something else you might have fit into your 20 hour day” thing...


Hating America -- [TigerHawk]
We do not spend a great deal of time on this blog deconstructing the moral cretinism of the American left, but sometimes it is hard to resist. LGF linked to this story in the San Mateo County Times, which rather matter-of-factly reported that sweet little 11-year old Hannah Stutz had won the kids division of an art contest sponsored by the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the first prize winner of that contest, by Chuck Bowden. It is called "Sheeple Love Sadists."

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits (Mt. 7:16) -- [Froggy Ruminations]
Jesus spoke those words 2000 years ago in order to teach his disciples how to assess the motivations of people that they encounter in their ministries. Only God can know the heart of a man (Jer. 17:9-10) and truly peer into a person’s soul; we humans do not have this ability. Each of us believes that we KNOW when someone is being honest or that we can detect the motivations of our closest family and friends, but we cannot. The best we can do is to check the fruit that a person’s life or actions have borne. In other words, do the results of a person’s statements and actions match up with the purported goals of those statements and actions? Additionally, are those results (fruit) affecting a positive outcome, or are they causing bitterness, strife, pain, failure, or hatred?

Sheehan's Magical Mystery Ride -- [TBone's WAR JOURNAL]
Cindy Sheehan's campout in Texas has spawned a full-fledged bus ride of rose-colored glasses wearing idiots called the "Bring them home now tour". The "Bring Them Home Now Tour" folks have a website, so I had to check it out. This is how it described their mission.


New poll finds Bush Iraq ratings down --(Reuters)
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's approval rating slipped to a career low of 45 percent on concerns over the Iraq war and spiraling U.S. fuel prices, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll published on Tuesday.

Giuliani says to decide on White House run in 2006 -- (Reuters)
Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani said on Wednesday he would decide next year whether to run as a Republican U.S. presidential candidate in 2008.

"I won't decide until next year," Giuliani


Rumsfeld Disses Media’s War Coverage (Exclusive Video)Blogged in Military -- [a Soldiers Perspective]
The Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld surprised us today with a visit to our humble post. I was fortunate enough to be invited to his speech. During his nearly 90 minute visit with troops and family members of deployed soldiers, Rumsfeld laid out his expectations of all military members; mainly that we stay aggressive and proactive in defeating terrorism worldwide and the insurgency in Iraq.

Come to the Real "Die-In" -- [FrontPage Magazine]
The following letter was written in response to a public "Die-In" held at the front gate of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, this past April. Its author, Marc Fencil, would have been on campus at the time, but, as a Marine, he was stationed in Iraq. OU's official student publication, The Post, ran his letter on April 8, 2005. We were as inspired by his forthright invitation to the antiwar protestors as we are grateful for his service. If only every college student -- let alone professor -- were endowed with as much patriotism and common sense.
To the editor:
It's a shame that I'm here in Iraq with the Marines right now and not back at Ohio University completing my senior year and joining in blissful ignorance with the enlightened, war-seasoned protesters who participated in the recent "die-in" at College Gate. It would appear that all the action is back home, but why don't we make sure? That's right, this is an open invitation for you to cut your hair, take a shower, get in shape and come on over! If Michael Moore can shave and lose enough weight to fit into a pair of camouflage utilities, then he can come too!

LA Times on Tribalism - but they didn't notice -- [ROFASix]
The LA Times article is a bit unclear as it reports in the article, "Latino Groups to Fight Military Recruiting on Campuses," just what the real story is. Of course, I have an idea what it should have been about - tribalism.

The Los Angeles Times writes:

"Over There" -- [365 and a Wake Up - in Iraq]
Yesterday I received a care package with DVDs of the FX show “Over There”, a series loosely based on the experiences of soldiers here in Iraq. As the day wound down my XO and 2LT Lucky drifted over to my room, both eager to watch this new series and how they depicted life here in Iraq. We sat down and spent the next hour in utter and complete awe. It was the most riveting hour of television I have ever seen, and by the end of the show I had tears in my eyes.

They were tears of laughter.


There's 'Over There' -- and there's the real thing. Soldiers who served in Iraq share ...
There's nothing funny about the new FX dramatic series, "Over There. " It's a gruesome depiction of men and women in combat. In Iraq. | So why were these men -- all comba...


OPSEC and Pandora's Box
Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette weighs in on the Schoomaker OPSEC memo, and his reference to blogs. Greyhawk notes a UPI Story out today, as it appeared in The Washington Times.
...I would certainly agree with Greyhawk's assessment. My freedom to blog is constrained by my Commander's assessment of how well I practice OPSEC. So far, so good. (And writing nice things about him has nothing to do with it.) My intent is indicated in my initial post on this issue. Each local Commander will have wide discretion in monitoring, censoring, or even shutting down blogs of Soldiers under their command. And some will no doubt be overcautious, timid, or reluctant to take any heat for a would-be journalist "embedded" in their unit.

Furthermore, ...

Latest Email From Iraq -- [Southern By Blog]
Always nice to get an email from the SPC to say thanks for the small contributions I send to help him and his mates out. Looks like the OPSEC meme that has been making around the milblogs has made it all the way down the chain of command too:
Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it. I received your latest package yesterday, and the contents were quickly put to good use. I'd have to say the timing couldn't be better. While I was on leave, it looked like there was no new items coming into the platoon food locker, but there were a lot of items coming out. When I left, it was pretty full, but when I returned, there were only a packages of noodles and a couple of cans of SPAM left. Sorry I really haven't had too much time to write, but things here have been very busy. A lot of things have made it into the news, some good, some bad, but because of all the news articles that get written, we end up with more training. The biggest concern right now is OPSEC. Apparently there have been some soldiers that violated OPSEC while writing in their blogs, emails and letters home. This creates a dangerous situation for us, as the enemy can read the entries and use that information against us or other units out here.


National & International Economics -- [GM's Corner]
There has been entirely too much carping over who has what, should wealth be tranferred between individuals/states, taxation schemes, etc. In the interests of bipartisan cooperation, I have, at great expense and time gathered the best and the brightest to help put together a primer on economics, both national and international. Read carefully, there will be a test next week.

(Need more? The previous Dawn Patrol is here.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mudville's Backup page

For any of you that have found this post, Mudville is experiencing technical difficulties with Hosting Matters. The Dawn Patrol was lost due to this. Let's hope they fix the problem soon.

Just to hold you over I'm going to do some quick links to look at.

365 and a Wake Up has 3 new post, don't let the dates confuse you, they're new.

Dadmanly has a new post about a visit with the Iraqi Army

Many of the other MilBloggers in Iraq have not posted yet, but most of you know who they are so check in on them.

Iraq the Model talks about relationship between the Shiite clergy and the government.

The Counterterrorism Blog is always a must read.

Don't miss Holly's latest Podcast where she interviews Capt Z

Which brings me to Capt Z's post on the protester outside Walter Reed hospital where he is Recovering

And I have a few congrats. First go wish Baldilocks a Happy Birthday and then congratulate Wayne from Waynes world on his recent wedding proposal done while on R&R from Iraq.

Now PLEASE if you found this Back-up Post please leave a comment and let us know.

Mrs G