Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Founders' Daily Quote: 30 Dec 08

"It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others."

--James Madison, Federalist No. 48, 1 February 1788

Source: PatriotPost.us - Subscribe here.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Founders' Daily Quote: 29 Dec 08

"We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel. What those duties are, is determinable by right reason, which may be, and is called, a well informed conscience."

--Theophilus Parsons the Essex Result, 1778

Source: PatriotPost.us - Subscribe here.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Founders' Daily Quote: 26 Dec 08

"The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution."

--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

Source: PostPatriot.us - Subscribe here.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thoughts On Christmas Day

Today has been one of the most wonderful days of the year. My brother baked a birthday cake for Jesus the Christ, he put in a quilt-type blanket with santa claus pictures covering the bottom two sides with a circluar blanket of a wreath atop it. There were three candles, one for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He made the cake into a Cross by using white frosting and Hershy's mini-chocolate bars. It came out beautifully! It was my Christmas present.

See, he believes people should live everyday as if it were Christmas. This has been a bone of contention between us ever since...well...forever. I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the smells, the big dinner, and oh yeah, Jesus.

Christmas Day 2008That is why I am writing this. I was so caught up in tradition and 'my way' that Jesus, while always being my reason for the season, was almost never included in the planning for the day.

This year, we said prayers before we blew out the candles. This is the best Christmas yet!

Now I would like to confess some things. I have not been spending the time I ought in the Word. I am tired of having to somehow read all these e-mails I receive (NOT yours, George!) and then finding the time to rewrite them on my personal site. Why do I feel the obligation to do this? Because I am asked to by the sender.

I have lost myself and my ability to be able (allowed) to do my own researched on the issues that are important to me. I've never seen anyone else write about Indo-Pak peace talks. This is a big deal, but no one had the inclination to write about it. Why not? As I said in my analys, it would make President Bush look good, and we just can't have that, now can we. The press disgusts me.

(This was just one example on one topic of my writing skills.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you the way I used to write articles. Also I want to share with you the fact that I would like to get back to reading my Bible everyday. My bifoculs are finally here, so maybe now I can read easier. That would be wonderful! I would like to write about our current events in a more Christian based way. I hope that does not bother you. If it does, please just let me know. I can also write the same way the New York Times reporters write, but I know you are more interested in a higher standard than that! LOL.

I hope everyone had a very wonderful Christmas, and please remember why we celebrate this day. "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life." This is what I pray for you, my readers.

For my Jewish readers, I pray for you a very Happy Chanukkah. For everyone, G-d bless you.

PS. Oops. I fell asleep waiting for help with the pic! That is why this is being posted late. Geez. Have a great day.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Please feel free to share your best posts with my readers on a daily basis. Just remember to add my permalink to the bottom of your post, then trackpost to me. Thank you. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Some wonderful posts for your reading pleasure by some wonderful people:
3. Adam's Blog: Obama: Beer for My Journalists.
4. Woman Honor Thyself: Israel Strikes “BACK” at GazA.
5. Mark My Words: One word.
6. Woman Honor Thyself: Gaza: It’s RaininG RocketS.

Cross-posted @ Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URL-Talon, Trackback URI-RT and Trackback URL-RNaI. Digg! Digg!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Toby Keith On Christmas

This is another great song by Toby Keith. Please listen to it. Colbert Nation - A Colbert Christmas--Toby Keith Sings.

Have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Chanukkah, my friends.

Hat tip: Woman Honor Thyself, Angel.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

I would like to recognize those of us who are in distant lands, be they in war zones or right here at home in their own war zone. I pray for all of you God’s protection, love, grace, and mercy. Most of all, I thank you and I thank God. See, you are someone’s son, and Jesus Christ is God’s Son. He came into the world to save it, you are, in a way, honorably trying to protect the rest of us from the terrors of which we shall never understand nor truly appreciate. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas (or Happy Chanukkah) and have a much better new year.

If you’ve noticed I haven’t written since last Tuesday, it’s personal. I’ll be back in full force once the holidays are over. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URL for Talon. Digg! Digg!

Founders' Daily Quote: 23 Dec 08

"[R]eligion, or the duty which we owe to our creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and this is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other."

--Virginia Bill of Rights, Article 16

Source: PatriotPost.us.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Three Funny Videos

Over at Carl's blog, The World According To Carl, he has these three very funny videos. The first one is about this lady who talks as fast as the tune she has chosen to play as she recites her version of her very own poem. She does it very well. It is quite fast, but not to worry. There are words underneath so you may follow along. The Mom.

The second one is about a talk show host's guest who tapes all incoming calls (the guest). Would you like to learn how to get telemarketers NOT to call your number? Watch this one! Tom Mabe.

This last one isn't so much funny as it is incredicle. I'd like to know if anyone around here could do what this guy does. This is not a trick to be tried by children! Great Balance. Wow!

If you've noticed I haven't written since last Tuesday, it's personal. I'll be back in full force once the holidays are over. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Merry ChristMass or Happy Chanukkah.

Hat tip: The World According To Carl.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Please feel free to share your best posts with my readers on a daily basis. Just remember to add my permalink to the bottom of your post, then trackpost to me. Thank you. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Friends who've shared their posts with you:
2. The Pink Flamingo: Christmas, Santa, Humbugs, Cheap Self-Righteous Jerks, and the Birth of Christ.
3. Adam's Blog: Ho Ho! Ho! It’s More Bailouts.
4. The Pink Flamingo: What Obama’s Choice of (Republican Owned) Bible Reveals.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!

Founders' Daily Quote: 22 Dec 08

"Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man's nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God."

--John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Source: PatriotPost.us.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

President Signs Security Pact With Iraq

by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (Dec. 15, 2008) – With fewer than 40 days left in office, President George W. Bush signed a security pact in Baghdad yesterday, putting an end in sight for the Iraq war after nearly six years of fighting. “The war is not over yet,” Bush said, “[but] it is decisively on its way to being won.”

President George W. Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani stand between the U.S. and Iraq flags Dec. 14 during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. Bush is on his final visit to Iraq before the end of his second term to meet with Iraqi leaders and sign a ceremonial copy of the security agreement.During a surprise farewell visit to Baghdad yesterday, [President] Bush met with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a signing ceremony, affirming the two landmark agreements to withdraw U.S. troops and formalizing a long-term relationship between the two countries. “[The agreements] cement a strategic partnership between our two countries, and they pave the way for American forces to return home as the war in Iraq approaches a successful end,” Bush said. “They represent a shared vision on the way forward in Iraq.”

Two years ago, such an agreement was unimaginable, Bush said. Violence and attacks in Iraq were rising, and sectarian lines were dividing much of the Iraqi people. Terrorism and fighting in many regions proved difficult to overcome. The Iraqi people have suffered greatly, he added. “[The Iraqi people] suffered car bombings and suicide attacks and [improvised explosive devices], and desperate efforts by terrorists to destroy a young democracy,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have stepped forward to defend this democracy, and many have paid a dear price.”

Bush said the American people sacrificed a great deal for Iraq to reach this point too, as fighting there has required large amounts of time, resources and American lives. More than 4,000 U.S. servicemembers have been killed in Iraq since March 2003. More than 300 coalition troops also have been killed.

The agreements honor all those who have sacrificed by building a freer, safer and more hopeful world, Bush said. “In terms of the agreements, this is a major achievement,” Bush told reporters. “Is it the end? Absolutely not. There is more work to be done.”

The strategic framework agreement provides the underpinning for a U.S.-Iraq trade and investment relationship as well as diplomatic, cultural and security cooperation. It sets the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The status-of-forces agreement outlines the framework for American forces withdrawal while providing authorization and protections for U.S. troops to continue support operations after the United Nations mandate expires Dec. 31.

Although the pace of meeting those agreements depends on the Iraqi government and military, Bush said, the SOFA acknowledges that U.S. combat forces in Iraq are required to withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages and localities no later than June 30, and it calls for a complete withdrawal of forces by Dec. 31, 2011. Both agreements were passed by Iraq’s parliamentary councils Nov. 27 and by the presidency council Dec. 4. Both take effect Jan. 1, 2009.

President George W. Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani stand between the U.S. and Iraq flags Dec. 14 during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. Bush is on his final visit to Iraq before the end of his second term to meet with Iraqi leaders and sign a ceremonial copy of the security agreement.

Source: CENTCOM.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Odierno: Troops Out Of Iraqi Cities By Summer

by Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

BALAD, Iraq (Dec. 14, 2008) — U.S. combat forces are on track to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30 in accordance with the recently signed status of forces agreement between the United States and Iraq, the top U.S. general in Iraq said Saturday.

U.S. Soldiers support a joint patrol and search with Iraqi national policemen in Baghdad last month. The commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq says American troops could be out of Iraqi cities by June 30.Combat forces are already out of the major cities in more than half of Iraq, said Army Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq. Odierno spoke here to reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Gates flew here this afternoon, after speaking at the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain, to meet with Odierno and get his assessment of the way ahead in Iraq under the new agreement.

Odierno said the new agreement does not change the U.S. mission here, only its operating environment. Some U.S. forces will remain inside the cities working out of the joint security stations and acting as transition teams or providing support to the Iraqi security forces, Odierno said. “We’ll still maintain our very close partnership with the Iraqi security forces throughout Iraq, even after the summer,” he said.

Odierno said he is already removing troops from the cities, and will continue as security progress continues and Iraqi security forces can take over. Combat troops have already moved out of the cities in Anbar Province, most of the cities in southern Iraq and out of parts of Baghdad. “In a large part the security agreement is really stating what we’re doing in many places in Iraq already,” he said.

Implementation committees made up of representatives of both countries are being set up to work out the details of executing the agreement. “I believe this agreement allows us to continue to move forward in making Iraq a sovereign nation,” he said. Odierno also expressed confidence in the Iraqi security force’s growing capabilities and said he is confident that U.S. troops will be able to leave by the 2011 deadline set in the agreement. “I expect us, frankly, right now, to be out with our military forces by 2011,” he said.

Odierno said he will make a recommendation for any reductions of troops after the elections in January, and continue to reassess and make recommendations through the year. Provincial elections are slated for next month, with district elections following this summer and national elections by the end of the year. “The bottom line is what we want to prevent is trying to use intimidation and coercion in order to influence the elections,” he said. “I think many Iraqis feel that our presence here provides them stability for their elections. It provides them some confidence.”

Overall, though, troop levels will likely drop here next year, he said, despite what he called an important time of transition. “As the Iraqis are able to go through this transition, it will move them to a more stable government and we think that’ll be a major milestone,” he said. “It’s about stability. And what we want to do through 2009 is maintain stability inside of Iraq,” Odierno said.

Despite improving security conditions, Odierno conceded that there are still challenges and al-Qaeda, though weakened, is still able to carry out high-profile attacks such as the one this week in Kirkuk. Fifty-five Iraqis died in a suicide bombing at a restaurant.

Still, Odierno said there were only six security incidents across Iraq Friday. “All it takes is one suicide bomber … who cares very little for the value of life, and they will do anything they can to garner attention,” he said. “It still shows that it’s still a fragile environment and there are still terrorists that operate inside of Iraq.

U.S. Soldiers support a joint patrol and search with Iraqi national policemen in Baghdad last month. The commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq says American troops could be out of Iraqi cities by June 30.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Air Assault: Locate Enemies, Connect With Villagers

by Sgt. Zach Otto
CJTF-101

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 6, 2008) – There are many villages within Afghanistan that are spread out among vast mountains and dusty valleys. Locating these villages is simple, yet conducting searches and talking with the residents that live there is complicated due to the harsh terrain. Soldiers need to be flown into these areas, into and through highly hostile environments to secure, search and talk with people in these villages.

Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Currahee, load up in a helicopter to head back to base after completing an operation near Spera in south-west Khowst province, Afghanistan, Nov. 21. During the operation they searched for weapons as well as search for key Taliban leaders within the area.Soldiers from 3rd and 4th Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, Combined Task Force Currahee, along with Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Police conducted an air assault in a village in Khowst province. “The point of an air assault is to catch the enemy off guard,” said Spc. Philip Sanders, a line medic. “We can enter an area much faster by helicopter.”

Once initial security was set up, the platoon leaders took control and began the operation. Some Soldiers took high ground to help provide over watch of the village while the main force conducted searches throughout the village. “I was to control my fire team, maneuver them to set up security and control their fire,” said Sgt. Bruce Hunter, the platoon’s 2nd squad leader.

The first few houses promised that this air assault would be a rewarding one. The ANP discovered various munitions within the first search.

As darkness fell, Soldiers slept among the rocks on top of a mountain ridge while rotating guard shifts for security. At first sunlight, everyone was up and moving to keep warm in the sub-freezing weather. The Soldiers set out over and around steep mountains in order to reach the second village. “I’m happy the way the guys are adapting to mountain warfare,” Hunter said, a native of Carbondale, Ill. “It’s challenging carrying heavy gear up in the mountains during extreme weather.”

Once the Soldiers arrived at the second objective they set up security and preparing for the village to be searched. While houses were being searched, the leadership within the platoons talked with the locals and established relationships with the elders. Building relationships is a vital step in economic growth for the people of Afghanistan. “With the ANP leading the search, everything went smoothly,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Goodall, a section leader with 4th platoon. “We had the opportunity to talk with the locals and improve the local’s view of us.”

The search of the second village revealed little. The ANP confiscated dynamite from one home. All munitions from both days’ searches were properly disposed of. By air assaulting into desolate locations Soldiers not only maintain the element of surprise but it provides them with the ability to reach villagers who do not receive much contact. The searches of the villages in the area did not result in much, however the Soldiers achieved much more by talking to the local people.

Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Currahee, load up in a helicopter to head back to base after completing an operation near Spera in south-west Khowst province, Afghanistan, Nov. 21. During the operation they searched for weapons as well as search for key Taliban leaders within the area.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Iraqi Bomb Experts Gain Independence

by Spc. Cynthia Teears
11th Public Affairs Detachment

NINEWA, Iraq (Dec. 10, 2008) — Looking at a field full of improvised explosive devises the Soldiers have evidence of their recent successes. This bomb disposal company for the Iraqi army is well trained and able to train other divisions.

A bomb disposal Soldier guards improvised explosive devices the company has recovered in the recent months from the Ninewa province, Dec. 5. The display was set out for an upcoming visit from their Iraqi army division commander.The IA Bomb Disposal Company was formed, Aug. 17, 2005, and participated in the four-month training given by civilian contractors in Basra, Iraq. During the training they learned level three and level four bomb disposal skills. Many of the Soldiers graduated, Feb. 1, 2006, and started working with Coalition forces.

Initially, the Iraqi soldiers worked alongside the Coalition forces watching how coalition forces handled the various situations. As the Iraqi soldiers obtained more experience they started working together assisting with hands-on training. Eventually the BDC Soldiers started doing the work on their own with the coalition forces watching and advising.

“We follow them out on missions with the Military Transition Team support,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Crocker, explosive ordinance device team leader for the Iraqi army, Bomb Disposal Company. “We actually observe them conducting missions and then give them on-the-spot corrections if and when necessary.”

Since October this BDC has been working on their own and has completed 54 missions without assistance from Coalition forces. The IA unit has the capability to do post-blast assessments and conduct them when necessary, Crocker said. The purpose of a post-blast assessment is to get a better picture of what happened, who caused the blast and how it was done.

This BDC has the training, the equipment and the personnel to get the job done right, said the IA lieutenant colonel and commander of the BDC. It is one of the best companies in the IA, because of the training they received in the streets from the Coalition forces, the on-the-job-training. They also feel very safe working in the streets because of the equipment and knowledge of how to use it.

“They are able to teach anyone who wants to learn and get the life experience they have,” said the BDC commander. During some of the BDC’s operations they have already been able to share what they learned from the Coalition forces with other divisions throughout the IA, said the BDC commander. The IA unit is able to teach safer ways to disarm explosives and how to use the additional equipment available.

A bomb disposal Soldier guards improvised explosive devices the company has recovered in the recent months from the Ninewa province, Dec. 5. The display was set out for an upcoming visit from their Iraqi army division commander.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

General Cites 'Monumental' Changes During Time In Iraq

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2008) – Citing "monumental" improvements since his soldiers arrived in Iraq last year, the outgoing commander of Multin-Ntional Division - North Monday credited his troops, Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi people with creating a[n] historic turnaround.

Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the 1st Armored Division and Multi-National Division-North, greets Maj. Gen. Jamal Thakr Bakr outside of the Kirkuk police headquarters during a visit to Kirkuk City, Iraq, Dec. 4. Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., commander of the 25th Infantry Division (light), will assume command from Hertlings Multi-National Division-North, Dec. 9, in Tikrit, Iraq.Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling and his 1st Armored Division soldiers arrived in Iraq just as the troop surge was taking effect in Baghdad and "the awakening movement" was beginning to push al-Qaida out of Anbar province. "I told our units that we were arriving at a critical time and that our actions, one way or another, would make history," he told Pentagon reporters via videoconference from Contingency Operating Base Speicher near Tikrit, Iraq.

The situation then was dire. Enemy attacks had hit 1,800 a month, the Iraqis had little trust in their central government, and unemployment was "staggering," Hertling said. "For every two steps forward, we assessed, they were making one step back."

"When we arrived, our task was to decrease violence, partner with the Iraqi security forces as well as local and governmental leaders, and grow the nation's economy," he said. "We saw our roles as allies with the Iraqi people, working with them to change their communities and stop those who sought to destroy them."

Hertling, who redeploys with his soldiers tomorrow to Wurzberg, Germany, pointed to broad indicators of progress across a region the size of Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and Vermont combined. Violence is down dramatically, Iraqi security forces are gaining in numbers and capability, the local economy is improving and the Iraqi government is making strides, he said.

"I believe the changes in northern Iraq over the last 15 months have been monumental," he said, citing the combination of "heroic and courageous actions" by coalition troops and civilians assigned to provincial reconstruction teams, actions of the Iraqi security forces and patriotic Iraqi leaders and civilians. "I've watched them make miracle[s] happen," he said.

Hertling conceded that the picture isn't all rosy, and that challenges remain. "There are still enemies that need to be destroyed," he said, noting that "anywhere in this country has the potential of falling back under the control of al-Qaida."

"It's a nefarious, evil group of individuals, and they will continue to attempt to conduct the kinds of attacks that kill innocent civilians, wherever we give them the opportunity," he said. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government "is still very fragile," and needs to "polish the representative process and methods of infrastructure repair," he said. But despite these challenges, Hertling said, he's witnessed a major transformation during his time in Iraq that shows promise for a new future.

"The most dramatic change is one that only we get to see over here – and that's now a new hope in the eyes of the Iraqi people," he said. The progress in the region he commanded came at a big cost, Hertling noted, with 104 U.S. soldiers killed and 891 wounded, and big Iraqi losses as well. "At every memorial, we rededicate ourselves to our motto, 'Make these sacrifices matter'," he said.

Army Maj. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Hertling's classmate at the U.S. Military Academy who commands the 25th Infantry Division, will assume responsibility for Multinational Division North during a ceremony tomorrow. The 25th Division headquarters and the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team are expected to serve in Iraq for a year under the new deployment cycles that took effect while Hertling’s soldiers were in Iraq.

Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the 1st Armored Division and Multi-National Division-North, greets Maj. Gen. Jamal Thakr Bakr outside of the Kirkuk police headquarters during a visit to Kirkuk City, Iraq, Dec. 4. Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., commander of the 25th Infantry Division (light), will assume command from Hertlings Multi-National Division-North, Dec. 9, in Tikrit, Iraq.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Mullen Surveys Golden Mosque Reconstruction

by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

SAMARRA, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2008 – The bombs that severely damaged the Golden Mosque in this city on the Tigris River almost destroyed the foundations of the nation, but the Golden Mosque is rising again, just like Iraq. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, toured the city and saw the reconstruction effort Thursday.

Steel beams gracefully soar into the sky where ruined masonry once stood. The mosque is a holy site to Shiia Muslims around the world, and is the focus of pilgrimages for the faithful. The United Nations declared the Golden Mosque -- and the nearby Blue Mosque -- as a world heritage site, which is a site of cultural or natural importance to humanity.

The al-Qaida attack on the holy place Feb. 22, 2006, shook Iraq. “It was akin to terrorists bombing St. Peter’s [Basilica] in the Vatican or the Western Wall in Jerusalem,” said Michael C. Craft, the Samarra team leader for the provincial reconstruction team in Iraq’s Salahuddin province.

The analogy is not exact, because while the Golden Mosque is a Shiia shrine, Samarra is a Sunni Muslim city. The attack threatened to ignite a sectarian civil war inside Iraq, pitting the two largest ethnicities against each other. All members of the government pulled together to try and keep a lid on the violence, but ethnic killings multiplied, and the country threatened to spin out of control.

Walking through the streets of Samarra in 2006 would not have been a safe option. But American and Iraqi officials had no compunction about the highest-ranking U.S. officer taking a stroll through the city today.

U.S. soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team drove the admiral to the middle of the city in a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle. Mullen and Army Maj. Gen. Bob Caslen, commander of Multinational Division North, then strolled through the main shopping street toward the mosque.

The stores were full of goods, and people were in the streets. Shoppers could buy everything from electronic gear to baby clothes. Vendors stood outside their shops, barbers stood by to give haircuts, and workmen scurried about bringing building supplies into the few vacant storefronts left.

When the Iraqis saw the admiral, they felt free to walk right up to him with suggestions, complaints and advice. The mayor of the city met the admiral, and the two men and interpreters climbed three flights of stairs to the roof of a ruined building that overlooks the Golden Mosque construction site.

“The Samarrans see the mosque as an engine of growth for the city,” Craft said. “Even with the mosque being rebuilt, there are still between 5,000 and 15,000 pilgrims coming to the city each weekend.” That number grows during important anniversaries, he said.

And that’s part of the problem, he said. Charter buses bring the faithful in, mostly from Baghdad. The pilgrims get off the buses and walk through concrete Jersey barriers to enter the shrine area. Once they finish the visit, they get back on the buses and leave. “The Jersey barriers effectively cut off the city from the shrine,” Craft said.

Samarrans want the barriers taken down so the pilgrims can at least see the shops and hotels along the city’s riverside. The city and surrounding area are recovering from the dark days. Samarra once was the center of the Iraqi pharmaceutical industry. That is returning, and a factory in town employs more than 3,000 people. The company ships pharmaceuticals throughout Iraq and soon will expand production to supply medicines to other nations in the region.

City officials are working with provincial and national leaders to build the infrastructure. “The people are demanding services, and the city officials are responding,” Craft said. City officials are involved in building the budget and spending the funds.

The city is moving ahead, but there are other, systemic problems. Under Saddam Hussein, the social infrastructure was stunted, and there still are no Iraqi equivalents to the Rotary Club or the Lions. Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts do not exist here. “We are working with local citizens to build these institutions,” Craft said. “These are organizations that we take for granted in the United States, but they are nonexistent or nascent here. They are necessary for a society of law.”

The American footprint in Samarra will change in the future, military officials said, though they did not discuss how. But the workmen still climb about the Golden Mosque even as the calls to prayer go out over the loudspeaker. In 2010, the Golden Mosque will be rebuilt, Inshallah, the mayor, said.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visits with a resident of Samarra, Iraq, Dec. 18. Mullen visited Patrol Base Olsen and got a walking tour of the market that is in the shadows of the Golden Dome Mosque that was nearly destroyed in 2006 by extremists.

Source: CENTCOM.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ The Conservative Underground, Smart Girl Politics and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Iraqi Pilots Fly Night Missions

Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq.

BAGHDAD (Dec. 8, 2008) — The Iraqi Air Force conducted its first rotary-wing night mission since 2003 in the skies over Baghdad, Dec. 3. Two Iraqi crews, using night vision equipment, flew their Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters outside the air base at Taji. The first Iraqi night vision goggle sortie occurred in August.

An Iraqi air force Mi-17 helicopter takes off from Landing Zone Washington, in Baghdad's International Zone, during the first night flight outside the air base at Taji since the new Iraqi Air Force was formed.The mission started with a trip to Besmaya range for NVG gun training for the Iraqi helicopter gunners and pilots and then a landing at Landing Zone Washington, in Baghdad’s International Zone, and Landing Zone Liberty, near Baghdad International Airport, for familiarization. “This was the first ever Mi-17 NVG sortie outside of Taji airfield. All previous training has been ‘inside the fence’. This is the first one on the outside,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Daley.

The Iraqi Air Force acquired night vision goggles in June and began their night training with a fleet of American OH-58 Kiowa helicopters on loan from the Iowa National Guard. They trained day and night to be ready to take control of Iraq’s night skies.

“I spent six months here. It was pretty rough duty. It was starting at eight in the morning until noon to do dailies and fix what the pilots (needed fixed),” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marshall Lantz, one of the Iowa Guardsmen who completed their mission in August. “Go back, take power naps, be back on the flight line at six and go ‘til eleven, twelve, even one or two o’clock in the morning for night flights. That went on six days a week for four months. That was our routine.”

An Iraqi air force Mi-17 helicopter takes off from Landing Zone Washington, in Baghdad's International Zone, during the first night flight outside the air base at Taji since the new Iraqi Air Force was formed.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Obama: Pay Attention To Peru

The Jamestown Foundation has written an eye opening article about Peru and the problems brewing there. If we act earlier enough, we may be able to help their government stomp out a terrorist group before it gains back the strength it used to have in the '80's and '90's. Here is an introduction:
Peru’s Sendero Luminoso: From Maoism to Narco-Terrorism.

[Written] By: Frank Hyland

One of the most brutal and destructive terrorist groups worldwide since its emergence in 1980—Peru’s “Shining Path” (Sendero Luminoso - SL) —continues to carry out attacks on Peruvian military, police, and civilian targets in 2008. Almost ten years after the group splintered during a “no-holds barred” offensive by Peruvian security forces, government officials and citizens alike express concern that a return to the past, when almost 70,000 Peruvians and others died, may be in the offing (see Terrorism Focus, September 11, 2007).
The article goes on to describe who the leaders are/were, where they are located, what they have done in the past and are doing in the present, and the threat they pose to Peru, its neighbors, and the United States.

He makes a very compelling case that while they are small, they should be wiped out. My words, not his. When we first learned about Osama bin Ladin, if only we had taken steps then to wipe out his group! This is what Peru and we are facing at this moment. We cannot take our eyes off the ball when it concerns any country. Especially countries who are our allies, or our enemies for that matter.

In closing he states this:
Conclusion

It is the Peruvian peasantry that finds itself caught in the middle of the conflict between guerrillas and responding police and military units (ipsnews.net, November 6). There are concerns in the Peruvian government that many of these people may begin evacuating the Huallaga region to avoid a resurgence of the brutal warfare that characterized the area in the 1980s and 1990s, when more than 70,000 Peruvians were killed. President Alberto Fujimori’s “dirty war” effectively destroyed the SL, leaving only several hundred fighters left in the bush. Despite a widespread impression the movement was finished, the Shining Path’s transformation into a group providing security for narcotics traffickers while pursuing its goal of a Maoist state seems to have refueled the conflict.

What should concern the Government of Peru, its neighbors, and the United States most is that Colombia’s FARC traveled a very similar path to its present position of being a state within a state because it was not opposed in its nascent phase. Like the FARC in Colombia, Sendero Luminoso has and will continue to have the money to fund its revolutionary aims in Peru through involvement in narcotics production.
------------------------------------
Files: TM_006_023.pdf.
To read his article without using the .pdf link, go here.

I hope you read this article. It may a little long, but it is very important. This is something we can stop before it becomes another al Qaida. Wouldn't you like to prevent another 9/11/2001? I know I would...

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Founders' Daily Quote: 16 Dec 08

"The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head."

--Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788

Source: PatriotPost.us.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nuclear Power Plants In Iraq?

Now I'm really confused. Their next door neighbor, Iran, is claiming that is all they are making, but we do not believe them. Nor should we. However, I have just read in al Sabah News that Iraq is making agreements with Egypt to help them facilitate nuclear power plants.
English: Government intends to erect nuclear power plants.

Cairo, Dec.3, p.1: Electricity minister declared of tenders to erect nuclear plants to generate electricity power.

He said in a statement during his current visit to Egypt that his ministry agreed with its Egyptian equivalent ministry to make use of the Egyptian experience in developing the Iraqi staff in erecting gas power plants. He added that he invited the Egyptian private companies to erect power plants specially those which contributed in erecting the Egyptian plants, besides the nuclear plants erection that Egyptians went in advanced phases ahead in this field.
Unfortunately I do not read or speak Arabic, so I do not know who wrote this article. I will let you take some time to see if you have the same reaction I am having.

What reaction am I having? I do NOT like it! Then again, it would be a force against Iran. Then again, it would be a force against their own people should democracy fail. There's also the possibility that the Iraqi government could be overrun by AQ. But on the other hand, we could always be grateful for another ally in the Middle East. But could we be sure they are an ally? Do you see my confusion?

I want to believe they are an ally, but I must remember those wise words from President Reagan: "Trust, but verify." *sigh*

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Everyday I have an Open Trackback Linkfest party for all my friends - the ones I know and the ones I will come to know. If you have a post you would like to share, why not trackpost it here? All you have to do is add my Permalink somewhere in your article (usually at the bottom), then trackback to it. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

1. Rosemary's News and Ideas: Nuclear Power Plants In Iraq?
2. Adam's Blog: The Sheriff’s Had Enough.
Podcast Show Notes. Illinois Sheriff switches to the GOP. Obama admits: tax increases hurt the economy and Wachovia on the state of the recession. Police sergeant denied promotions for off-duty sermon. The Bible singled out for exclusion in Missour...
3. The Pink Flamingo: Bill Richardson's Little Christmas Gift: Can You Say Grand Jury?
If Bill Richardson were a Republican, he would be forced [to] resign before the Grand Jury probe. Fortunately he is a Democrat and the (alleged) next Secretary of Commerce. What is this going to do to his Cabinet position? What will this do to his caree...
4. The World According To Carl: Wanna Get Me Something?
With Christmas almost here, here's my Amazon.com wishlist...
5. The World According To Carl: This Blog’s 90,000th Visit.
Just a short time ago, this blog just had its 90,000th hit. It was thanks to a visitor from Cordova, Tennessee. Wow!...
6. The Pink Flamingo: Too Big for Our Britches? Part I.
Like Hennie-Penny, the majority of Americans are running around screaming that the sky is falling and we can't get up. The world is coming to an end. We're doomed. We're in a depression. Times are tough. Life as we know it i...
7. The Pink Flamingo: Spaceport America Blasts into the Future.
One of the reasons I love living where I do is because I have the best of both worlds. All photos below, save the final one, are copyright SJ Reidhead and may not be used or reproduced without my written permission. All are from locations that are wi...
8. Walls of the City: our society is losing.
Brittany Zimmerman, a 21-year-old college student who wanted to be a doctor, called 911 as she was being attacked by a stranger, police say. Brittany Zimmerman's screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape. But the...
9. Right Voices: Chrysler, Ford idle factories, GM delays new plant.
This makes sense, but what happened to the money that was supposed to go to the banks to use for lending? Attempting to cut costs, GM was halting construction of a plant tied to one of its most important projects, the Volt. Ford also said it will shut...
10. The Pink Flamingo: How Paul Weyrich Betrayed Reagan, Then Lied About It.
CONSERVATIVE REVISIONIST HISTORY "It is unlikely that the Reagan era will prove to be the historic change in the direction of America that we have sought." Edwin J. Feulner Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation, 1985. The c... Very good article. I recommend reading it.
11. The World According To Carl: Some Funny And Entertaining Videos.
To end your weekend on a high note and to help you ease your stress, here are some funny and entertaining videos for your viewing pleasure...
12. Mark My Words: Insiders shorting NY Times stock?
It's hard to imagine the following article helping to raise the stock price, especially at this time of year...

Cross-posted @ The Talon and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Makes The Case: Bush No Unilaterist

This article was in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section Dec. 13, 2008, and it is a good read. Here is an excerpt:

*************************
Bush Was No Unilateralist.

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL.

To make the point, she tells a story of Afghan women. "On one of the first visits that we made to Afghanistan, we met two young women in their 20s in Kabul. They were setting up a micro-finance bank, and they said, 'We need resources so women can set up their own businesses.' One of our members from the private sector did give resources specifically to help. . . . The next time we came to Afghanistan, we had to meet at the cafeteria at the embassy, because now there were 80 to 100 women, and they were all owners of businesses, everything from kites to a cement factory, to furniture to rugs.

"The third time we went to meet with them, we had to meet at their headquarters, and those headquarters encompassed an entire federation of Afghan women entrepreneurs. They are incredible. And it was striking to us, what a little targeted assistance could do to support this fundamental change from the time of the Taliban." The point, she explains, is that no country can be stable so long as only half of its population is free to succeed. And foreign stability makes the U.S. safer.

With a staff of 800, Ms. Dobriansky's office oversees a whirlwind of similar programs. Early on, the Bush administration created an office to combat the trafficking of persons. Today, dozens of countries are actively working on prevention, prosecutions, and the protection of victims. In 2002, the U.S. announced the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, in which some 40 governments and groups work to preserve the world's second-largest area of tropical rain forest. In 2005, President Bush announced an international partnership to combat a pandemic avian influenza outbreak. At the time, about 40 nations had preparedness plans; today, as many as 130 countries do.

And then there are the democracy initiatives. With U.S. leadership, in 2005 the United Nations created the Democracy Fund, designed to finance projects that build democratic institutions. More than 35 countries have contributed some $100 million to the fund, which has already green-lighted 85 projects. In 2002, the Bush State Department created the Middle East Partnership Initiative. It is now funding more than 350 initiatives in 15 countries, focusing on everything from press rights in Algeria to legal rights for Yemeni women. One project brings young women here from every country in the Middle East to work in Fortune 500 companies. [Continue reading.]
*************************

She also explains the many other efforts President Bush has made as far as helping people all over the world, especially Africa, concerning HIV/AIDS, polio, malaria, etc. He has also tried to get people to look for medium and long term solutions to climate change (WHICH ARE MADE BY GOD, hey, never said I agreed with everything he did, lol), and many other projects. And the Left/Marxists just can't stand to give him ANY credit. She does, and she is from the State Dept. So there!

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

CJTF-HOA, IMATC Partner To Teach Safe De-Mining Practices

By Master Sergeant Stan Parker
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9, 2008 — To many, Kenya invokes thoughts of a rich culture, friendly people, and the wonders of a safari. Few people realize that Kenya is also home to a center whose mission is to train people worldwide in the process of safe de-mining in affected countries.

The International Mine Action Training Center (IMATC), which opened in the outskirts on Nairobi in February, 2005, is a partnership between the British and Kenyan armed forces and includes personnel from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. IMATC aims to alleviate suffering caused by landmines and to provide training on safe demining techniques. Landmines are a daily threat in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Somalia, and dozens of other countries around the world.

"Mine clearance is important throughout the world. My job is to train Kenyans and personnel from other countries how to effectively handle their landmine problems. We teach our students how to probe safely and, once they find a mine, be able to take care of it," said U.S. Navy Senior Chief Michael Brown, Lead Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Instructor.

Brown explained that the main focus of IMATC is "to train Kenyans to perform de-mining and EOD missions throughout the Horn of Africa."

According to Clear Path International, the world has roughly 110 million landmines spread among as many as 80 countries. More than 140 million people live in exposed to the dangers of landmines or unexploded ordnance. Roughly 25,000 people are killed or injured by mines each year. Two out of every three victims being civilians and one in every four being children. The IMATC faculty and students are working to mitigate this hazard.

Kenyan Army Sergeant Douglas Mwangi, EOD and Demining Instructor, says the key to the center's success is the capability to work in an international organization. "One of the challenges is the language, because here we teach in English, and when we have some of the African countries we try to instruct a little in Swahili," he said. "This forces those who don't understand English to bring their own interpreter. That is very challenging to us because within the scope of the lesson it may take wrong because of the interpretation."

Colin Hill is a former U.K. military EOD officer. Now he's an IMATC EOD instructor and Small Arms and Light Weapons Counter Proliferation Program Manager. He explained that UN reports validate the success of the center, which is based on the number of square meters cleared. Many countries have enormous stockpiles which are stored poorly in heavily populated areas, leading to a high risk of catastrophic accidents. To counter this risk, the center has branched out by adding a disaster management cell and small arms and light weapons wing.

"In the small arms light weapons area, there is a lot of naivety and misunderstanding. Lack of control is a key issue. That is why we are working with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to look at stockpile security and management," said Hill. By diversifying, the center is eligible to receive non-governmental organizational support from agencies such as Humanitarian Mine Action.

"We are providing a capability here at IMATC with mine and UXO detection dogs," said Philip James, IMATC Mines Awareness program manager and former UK military Bomb Disposal Operator. "Dogs have been a proven asset in clearance operations. We are also providing training courses for both demining and EOD, to service the Humanitarian Mine Action NGOs."

Students come to the center to grow professionally in a unique environment. IMATC student Nico Bosman explained that whether the student is a former military member or an average citizen wanting to make a difference he is leaving the center with an excellent knowledge base. "I can recommend the course for the experienced and the inexperienced. I think the standard of the course is excellent and the knowledge we gain is very helpful. It will be a career highlight for me," Bosman said.

For more information on the International Mine Action Training Center, visit Army - UK.

Source: CJTF-HOA (Horn of Africa).

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Thankful In Djibouti

By Senior Airman Kimberly Moore Limrick
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, Dec 2, 2008 — Thanksgiving Day at Camp Lemonier offered personnel a feast, football and a visit from their leadership. Members of flag football teams began an annual tradition in the first ever Thanksgiving Day Djibouti Bowl, November 28, 2008.

The Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy organized teams consisting of members from their respective services and competed in games throughout the day to determine the Djibouti Bowl champions.

Rear Admiral Philip Greene, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa commander, did the coin toss in the first game between the Army and Marines. The Army won the toss and the games began. In the playoff games, the Marines held off the Army and the Air Force defeated the Navy. Before the championship game was played the camp took time to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.

Admiral Greene spoke with the troops in the dining facility before the meal was served. He thanked PAE for the extravagant assortment of food and beautiful decorations then welcomed General William Kip Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, who flew in to spend the holiday with the members of the forward operating location of his command.

Recognizing that the troops were away from their families, Ward said, "This holiday finds us away from home on Thanksgiving Day. While the distance may preclude us from being with our extended family, there are many local opportunities available to partake in the wonderful military tradition of sharing and serving on this day with our friends and adopted military and civilian family overseas. It also provides a chance to gain a different perspective on things for which we are thankful."

He added, "I am very thankful for each of you - Sailors, Airmen, Marines, coast Guardsmen, civilians, Interagency teammates, contractors and family members. I am also thankful to our friends and partners for the hospitality and warm reception they have provided U.S. Africa Command as an organization. The work we do every day on the continent of Africa in concert with Department of State and our interagency, international, and nongovernmental teammates is making a difference for the good for all of us while building capacity and fostering peace and security for the nations of the region."

Ward proceeded to carve the turkey and began serving the troops their Thanksgiving meals.

Later that evening the Djibouti Bowl commenced with the Army defeating the Navy for third place and the Marines claiming victory after the Air Force as the first Djibouti Bowl champions.

Source: Horn of Africa.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Friday, December 12, 2008

IP's Rise To Challenge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20081213-05
Dec. 13, 2008

Iraqi Police rise to challenge
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD
– Throughout Baghdad’s Karkh security district Iraqi Police make daily strides to earn the trust of the local population. During the past year, the Iraqi police in Saliyah, Karkh, and Juafer stepped up and taken the lead in securing their neighborhoods. Taking this more active role has placed them in the spotlight in securing Karkh and the citizens of northwest Baghdad are beginning to appreciate their efforts.

Coalition forces have supported this move by enrolling the IP into the Police Train-the-Trainer program, or PT3 that is run by the 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, operationally attached to the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad at Forward Operating Base Prosperity.

The program starts every few weeks and teaches Iraqi Policemen basic fundamentals of marksmanship, dismounted patrolling, traffic control point operations, basic first aid, basic Iraqi law, crime scene management, improvised explosive decive identification and reaction, building clearing and searching procedures of a person and a vehicle. The IP’s then follow up by conducting the training at their station to their fellow officers.

Coalition forces then included the IP on several joint neighborhood clearances. During these clearances the IP’s took the lead and confiscated a number of AK-47’s and weapons magazines. They also took the lead in talking to the local population. By doing this, the IP have made sure that the citizens of Karkh know they are on their side, and are there to ensure they remain safe in their neighborhood.

“With the increase of responsibility the Iraqi Police in the Karkh district have taken since July, they have been operating without the help of the Iraqi Army,” says Capt. William Macugay, commander, Battery A. 4th Bn. 42nd FA Regt. “They have really taken charge of the area and have been able to respond to significant events and execute missions across the district.”

Coalition forces continue to train the IP’s every day, and see a bright future for them in Karkh. “The ISF have been very successful in taking control over the Karkh security district and they are the model for the rest of the country’s ISF with the IP’s being in the lead,” said Sgt. Bruce Eggleston, Intel sergeant, Batt. A. 4th Bn. 42 FA Regt.

Source: MNF-I Iraq.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

AQI Networks Targeted; 10 Detained

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq
MNF-Iraq.

Press Release A081212a-412
December 12, 2008

Central Iraq AQ networks targeted; 10 suspects detained

BAGHDAD
– Ten suspected terrorists, including two wanted men, were removed from al-Qaeda in Iraq networks Thursday and Friday, as Coalition forces targeted the terrorist organization in central Iraq. Coalition forces continued operations to dismantle AQI bombing networks Thursday. In Baghdad, forces captured an alleged AQI cell leader who reports suggest is responsible for improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition forces and Iraqi police.

Also Thursday near Tuz Khurmatu, 70 km southeast of Kirkuk, forces detained three individuals during an operation targeting an AQI leader associated with IED activities in the area.

AQI networks in Diyala province were further disrupted by Coalition forces early Friday. In Hafriyah, 89 km southeast of Kirkuk, forces captured an alleged weapons smuggler also believed to be associated with IED attacks in the area. Three additional suspects assessed to be the wanted man’s associates were detained as well. Two more suspects were netted Friday in an operation targeting a Diyala-area AQI courier in as-Sadiyah, 110 km northeast of Baghdad.

Source: MNF-Iraq.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

MND-B CG Holds 3rd VTC With American Muslims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20081212-02

CAMP LIBERTY Iraq
– Multi-National Division – Baghdad leaders talked with members of the Killeen Mosque Leadership Council during a video teleconference Dec. 10 to discuss the accomplishments that have been made in Iraq and ways to better relationships within the Muslim community. Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general, MND-B and 4th Infantry Division, gathered for a third VTC meeting. As with the previous two VTC meetings, the council leaders expressed a wish for the civilian media to tell the American people the successful improvements that are in direct correlation of the Coalition Forces and Iraqi people working together.

Along with Hammond, Lt. Col. James Carter, the senior chaplain of MND-B and 4th Inf. Div., and Hammond’s chief cultural advisor Alaa Abdelazim, listened and shared their thoughts. “The intent is to continue to establish, develop and deepen relationships with our local Muslim leaders of the local Killeen Mosque,” said Carter. During the VTC, Hammond went over slides describing the changes in the Baghdad area imparted to the Iraq people – they are ready to look to their own people to keep this county safe.

“The Iraqi people are tired of this (fighting); they want the same thing we have in Killeen – they want their children to go to school, they want work, they want electricity, they want to enjoy life,” said Hammond. Building understanding and trust are the goals 4th Inf. Div. leaders try to achieve and it allows the American Muslim community to feel connected to the Middle East Muslim populace.

“They help us carry the message of hope and reconciliation,” said Carter. “We as Americans are one nation; we have the free exercise of religion, and a spirit of acceptance and toleration toward one another – without compromise. We support one another.” There will be one more meeting between Texas and Baghdad to introduce the 1st Cavalry Division and impart a smooth transition after Hammond leaves with 4th Inf. Div.

Source: MNF-Iraq.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Al Kareme School Opens In Baghdad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20081211-09
Dec. 11, 2008

Al Kareme School opens in Baghdad

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq
– The Iskan community of Baghdad witnessed a good day when its largest intermediate school reopened Dec. 4 after an extensive renovation project. Only a decade old, the heavy neglect and abuse of the Al Kareme schoolhouse had left it unusable. Under these conditions, students attending the schoolhouse had to be transported to another location.“The school was so bad that they couldn’t study there, so they transferred 1,200 students to another school,” said Nima Alsiegh, a civil engineer and overseer of the renovation. “There was [sic] no doors, no electricity, no bathrooms, no water and no desks. There was nothing in the school, so they left for obvious reasons.”

Many of Baghdad’s schools are in poor condition – the Al Kareme schoolhouse being one of them. The reconstruction effort of the Coalition forces and Iraqi contractors focused their attention not only on the rebuilding of the school but an added benefit of providing a sense of normalcy and opportunity for local nationals in the area.

“You’d be surprised at how quickly a school can get run down if no one is picking up after the kids,” said Capt. Kelly Lanphere, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, attached to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “Imagine no one taking out the trash and not cleaning up the bathrooms. ‘Where does the trash go?’ They just chuck it outside of the front gate. The school quickly becomes full of trash everywhere, blowing trash, the smell of sewage all over the place from the bathrooms getting plugged up.”

After an evaluation of the dilapidated building, the project took off – three months and $168,000 later, a beautiful school was handed back over to the people of Iskan. The funding came from the Commanders Emergency Relief Program. “We did an assessment, and then the contractors started to work and everything has changed 100 percent,” said Alseigh.

The rebuilding of the schoolhouse also included a large conference theater room. “There is a big theater room for conferences; they changed the doors and glass, rebuilt the bathrooms, put in lights, new paint, a new generator, new flooring, fans and a new sewage system. You name it, they restored it.”

Success like the reopening of the Al Kareme School has made it possible for the CF to maintain security throughout Baghdad. The continuing effort to maintain security and evolving improvements are the defining cause of a greater sense of normalcy and improvement of life.

Source: MNF-Iraq.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!

MoI HR Inspectors Receive Recognition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release No. 081211-01
December 11, 2008
Contact: PAO.
DSN: 318-852-1332
IRAQNA: 0790-194-0270

MoI Human Rights Inspectors receive recognition (MNSTC-I)

Baghdad
– Six Ministry of Interior Human Rights Inspectors were recognized Tuesday for their accomplishments within the Human Rights Directorate; representing another significant step for capacity building within the ministry. Brig. Mark Castle, Directorate General, MoI Transition Team, presented Mr. Hashem, Lt. Col. Mohammed, Lt. Col. Sajjad, Lt. Col. Yahya, Commissioner Ali, and Capt. Nazar, with certificates. These recipients were instrumental in major improvements to the MoI Human Rights Program. “The accomplishments of this directorate are evident,” said Castle. “Iraq has made major strides in human rights.”

Under the guidance and support of Hashem, MoI Human Rights Director, these inspectors performed numerous detention center inspections, visiting several thousand detainees from May to October 2008. The Human Rights Directorate is responsible for inspecting detention centers to identify possible human rights violations. Inspectors ensure detainees receive proper food, clean water, and have access to medical treatment as well as ensuring detainees have access to judges. "This directorate is making a big difference,” said Maj. Benny Landfair, MoI-TT human rights advisor. “They are raising the awareness in human rights for the Ministry of Interior, which will help build public trust throughout Iraq.”

Source: MNF-Iraq.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!

CF Capture Six Suspected Terrorists

MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq

MNF-Iraq.

Press Release A081211a-411

BAGHDAD – Six suspected terrorists were detained by Coalition Forces Thursday and Friday, further weakening al-Qaeda in Iraq networks in and around Baghdad and Mosul. Forces continued to dismantle AQI Northern Belt networks Wednesday during two synchronized operations near Tarmiyah, about 45 km north of Baghdad. There, forces captured a wanted man reportedly connected to area AQI leadership. A second operation netted another suspect believed to be associated with the network.

AQI leadership was the target of a Thursday operation in Baghdad, which resulted in the capture of one wanted man. The suspected terrorist, who surrendered himself to Coalition Forces, is assessed to be associated with AQI leadership. During a concurrent operation near Ramadi, 41 km west of Baghdad, forces captured an alleged associate of the wanted man. He too identified himself to the assault force and was detained with another suspect. Also Thursday, one suspect was detained during an operation in Mosul targeting the city’s AQI improvised explosive device and car bomb networks.

Source: MNF-Iraq.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Trackback URI. Digg! Digg!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Michael Yon's Blogary

Today I have a collection of articles from Michael Yon which I was going to call a Diary, but it just didn't seem appropriate. Hence the name, 'Blogary'. He is such a fabulous journalist, and he is one of the few that actually goes into the area of responsibility to get the answers, good or bad. Without further ado, here are the articles.

It is now the 24th of November. This article is in the New York Times (way to go, Michael!), and the notice was sent to me by his webmaster. It appears he does not have access to any web connections since he has left Iraq to go back to Afghanistan. OMG! Michael has declared the Iraq War over! Let's read some more.
BAGHDAD - THE Iraq War is over.

Flames still burst from various sources and wild cards remain, such as the potential that Muqtada al-Sadr might stomp his feet and encourage his diminished militias to attack us. Yet support for Sadr among Shia is hardly monolithic. In fact, many Shia view him as a simpleton whose influence derives strictly from respect for his father. Others cite the threat from Iran, but the Iranian participation in the fighting here remains overstated.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but the civil war has completely ended.

The Iraqi army and police grow stronger by the month, and even the National Police (NP) are gaining a degree of respect and credibility.

As recently as last year, the NPs were considered nothing more than militia members in uniform who murdered with impunity. To go on patrol with NPs was to invite attack. But the Americans worked to help alleviate the disdain. [Continue reading.]
This next article was written the next day, 25 Nov 2008, and it is about Iraq. He starts off with a talk he had with General Petraeus back in 2007.
On November 13th I covered a mission in south Baghdad with soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division. General Petraeus once told me during the height of the fighting, back when violence was the lingua franca and victory was very much in question, that this area was the canary in the mineshaft. In his exact words regarding what Lieutenant Colonel Pat Frank had to deal with in one of the toughest places in Iraq, “SW Baghdad...has every challenge imaginable -- AQI, JAM, micro-fault-lines, good/bad ISF partners, good/bad neighborhood leaders, and Route Irish! It will be the canary in the mineshaft; if they can pull it off, this will be doable....”

It is critical to point out that General Petraeus told me this in 2007 – just at the crest of “the Surge” during some of the fiercest fighting in the war. Many people at home were saying the new strategy was a complete failure, but the Coalition and Iraqi soldiers were not tapping out, not taking a break, giving no quarter to the enemy, and expecting none in return.

General Petraeus went on about what he was seeing, “Just back from a patrol base in Arab Jabour, SE of Baghdad, another incredible place. Was an AQI sanctuary three weeks ago. Now the head sheik has given four of his best men to the newly arrived Bn Cdr to help him find/kill/capture AQI in the AO. Very impressive/heartening.” [Continue reading Down with Barriers, Up with Iraq.]
This next article is dated 1 Dec. 2008, and it is very touching. It is Michael's last article about Iraq (on this tour, he will now be writing about Afghanistan until he goes back to Iraq).
I said to SSG Foust what I tell our pilots who fly near Yezidis: If your aircraft goes down near Yezidis, you might be sipping tea with your laundry being folded before search and rescue can get to you. And they’ll cook lunch for the rescue team. This is why a lot of Americans who know Yezidis are angered when al Qaeda attacks Yezidi people. Many personal bonds have been formed during this tragic war. We are no longer enemies with the Iraqis, and there is no good reason why Iraq and America should ever fight again. [Continue reading The Art of the End of War.]
This next e-mail is about the agreement drawn up and signed by the USA and Iraq. Here is the link to the whole text: Agreement For Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq. You should read it so no one can try to scare you or pull the wool over you eyes.

His next e-mail, dated 4 Dec. 2008, is Irregular Warfare - JOC. He warns of profound implications to our National Security. I sure pray Obama has the wherewithal to live up to this.

His next e-mail arrived 8 Dec. 2008. I'm not quite sure if upset is the correct word to describe how Michael feels about armchair generals and vacationing 'experts', but I know he must be disgusted. Here is his next post:
While Americans sleep tight in their beds, this time of year U.S. soldiers sit shivering through the frigid, crystal clear nights at remote outposts in places most of us have never heard of and will never see. Often they head out into the enveloping darkness, to hunt down and destroy terrorists, who continue to kill innocent Afghans, Americans, Aussies, Balinese, Brits, Indians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Spanish….in short, anyone who opposes their violent tyranny. Their greatest weapons are ignorance and terror. Witness the latest unprovoked attack on our friends in India. [Continue reading Afghanistan: The War Grows.]
Last, but definitely not least, the Sniff Test. 9 Dec. 2008.
PROPERTY OF MICHAEL YONHere is a rare and curious thing: an antique British [WB-57] bomber flying over Afghan skies. These planes flew in the 1950s and 60s, performing top of the atmosphere reconnaissance. The U.S. Air Force retired the WB-57 decades ago. But NASA owns two, which it uses for an odd group of missions, including collecting cosmic dust from extremely high altitudes. It seems doubtful that NASA came all the way to Afghanistan to collect cosmic dust, but this would be an interesting region in which to search for traces of nuclear debris, drifting upwards from Iran, Pakistan, various Central Asian states, China, or India.

Please support this mission by making a direct contribution. Without your support, the mission will end. Thank you for helping me tell the full story of the struggle for Iraq and Afghanistan.
And that, my dear friends, is that. Have a great day. ;)

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Everyday I have an Open Trackback Linkfest party for all my friends - the ones I know and the ones I will come to know. If you have a post you would like to share, why not trackpost it here? All you have to do is add my Permalink somewhere in your article (usually at the bottom), then trackback to it. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

1. Rosemary's News and Ideas: Michael Yon's Blogary.
2. Woman Honor Thyself: Kate Winslet degrades The Holocaust.
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3. third world county: The Wexford Carol.
…today’s offering is The Wexford Carol, piano performance by John Schmidt...
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The abortion issue involves vast deeps of confusion about the nature of rights, freedom and the lack thereof, choice, license, responsibilities, and obligations. In this essay I attempt to cut away all the confusion to get to the heart of things from a...
6. stageleft:. life on the left side: Because It’s Worth Reposting Far & Wide.
Blogging Industry to call for billion dollar stimulus. Canada’s blogging sector is calling on Ottawa to create a multi-billion dollar infrastructure stimulus package to kick-start the creative-economy and create mean...
7. Potbelly Stove: Ship of Fools Partie Deux.
You go guys. And, no backing down when it becomes painfully clear you are on a fool's mission...
8. Potbelly Stove: Our Own Climate Change Fool.
Can you imagine what would happen to their funding if they reported the fact that there has been no global warming since 1995?...
9. The Pink Flamingo: Houston, NASA Has a Very Serious Problem - The One (elect).
I don’t have a lot of faith in anything Democrats do when it comes to space exploration. This may be due to those dark and dreadful days of the Carter Administration when NASA was cut back to basically nothing. Carter took a promising idea with...
10. Right Voices: Poll: If GM Enters Bankruptcy Protection Under Chapter 11, Would You Buy A Car From Them?
Poll: If GM enters bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, would you buy a car from them?...
11. The World According To Carl: The World According To Carl Has Returned.
Due to an unexpected change of server by this blog's host, The World According To Carl was offline for more than a day. I didn't know in advance that this was planned but the folks at the hosting site tell me their new, bigger server should improve...
12. The World According To Carl: See, I Told You So! (Terrell Owens Disrupts Cowboys).
Well, I called it when Terrell Owens first became a Cowboy back in the spring of 2006:...
13. The Pink Flamingo: The NM Lt. Gov Transition Update Part I: Can You Believe It?
I think this is one for the Only In New Mexico files. Would someone please explain to me why our erstwhile Lt. Governor needs a “transition team”? “…The historically strong alliance between Governor Richardson and incoming Gov...
14. Woman Honor Thyself: Jew Murdered by Muslim in Yemen…World yawns.
When yet another woman, daughter, JEW or Christian is beheaded, tortured, savagely beaten, buried alive or just plain murdered in cold blood…………….Yet again we are told this act was undertaken by some mentally ill, warped loner claiming to rep...
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There is an old 19th Century nursery rhyme: What Are Folks Made Of, by Robert Southey who became Poet Laureate in England in 1813. He, like everyone else who is from the age before political correctness, realized there was a difference between little...
16. Potbelly Stove: Obama vs. 'Global Varming'.
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17. The World According To Carl: Uncle Jay Explains The News — December 15, 2008.
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Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!