Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pirate Attack Thwarted In Gulf Of Aden

US Naval Forces Central Command.

USS MONTEREY, At Sea (Feb. 26, 2008) – The Danish flexible support ship HDMS Absalon (L 16) successfully deterred an attempted pirate attack on the Chinese M/V Yandanghai at approximately 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Danish flexible support ship HDMS Absalon (L 16), right, the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) transit the Gulf of Aden. Vella Gulf is the flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multi-national task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.Absalon closed on the coordinates given by the Chinese ship following their distress call and spotted a skiff matching the description given by the captain of the motor vessel. A Danish boarding team then boarded the suspected skiff, finding several weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), four AK-47 assault rifles, two grenades and a knife. The weapons were cataloged and confiscated.

The suspected pirates were unable to board the vessel due to evasive measures taken by the ship’s crew who engaged their fire hoses to keep the suspected pirates a safe distance from the ship.

According to Yandanhai’s captain, two of the motorvessel’s crew sustained minor injuries during the attack.

CTF 151 is a multinational task force that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea and was established to create a lawful maritime order and develop security in the maritime environment.

The Danish flexible support ship HDMS Absalon (L 16), right, the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) transit the Gulf of Aden. Vella Gulf is the flagship for Combined Task Force 151, a multi-national task force conducting counter-piracy operations to detect and deter piracy in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's Thoughts. Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Iraqis Assume Authority Over FOB Iskan

MNFI.

FOB ISKAN, Iraq – Soldiers, Iraqi Police and power plant workers gathered to transfer authority of Forward Operating Base Iskan from Coalition forces to the Ministry of Electricity during a ceremony here Feb. 22. The ceremony officially turned over the responsibilities of the FOB to the Ministry of Electricity and signified that the Iraqi government has the capability to secure the Musayyib Thermal Power Plant.

Al Abd Al-Ameer Al-Yasseri, the General Director of Operations at the Ministerial Presidency and Lt. Col. Steven Miska, commander, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, both spoke about what it meant to transfer the responsibility for FOB Iskan over to Iraqi officials. “This transfer of authority reinforces the Iraqi government’s independence and demonstrates the capabilities of the Iraqis,” said Miska.

Lt. Col Mary Morehouse, Deputy Director of Personnel, Logistics and Resource Management for Multi-National Force - Iraq, and Al-Yasseri, signed the official paperwork transferring the authority of FOB Iskan over to the Ministry of Electricity.“The Iraqis have come to a point where they can stabilize security on and around the FOB ” said Capt. Bradley Kinser, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander, 1st Bn., 2nd Inf. Reg. The Musayyib Thermal Power Plant is located on FOB Iskan. The power plant provides power to the majority of Babil Province and 25 percent of the electricity to Baghdad.

Security for the plant will be one of the major responsibilities for the Ministry of Electricity. The last attack by ant-Iraqi forces on the FOB happened around late October 2008, when a mortar attack occurred and left many Iraqis without electricity. The power plant had stopped generating electricity in 2003 due to anti-Iraqi forces’ activities.

Coaltion forces maintained the security on the FOB, while the Iraqis fixed and continued to work in the power plant. Approximately 1,600 employees work at the power plant.

Lt. Col. Mary Morehouse, deputy director of Personnel, Logistics and Resource Management for Multi-National Force - Iraq, and Ali Abd Al-Ameer Al-Yasseri, general director of operations, Ministerial Presidency, prepare to sign the official paperwork transferring the authority of Forward Operating Base Iskan to the ministry of electricity during a ceremony, Feb. 22. The ministry of electricity will be in charge of maintaining security for the Musayyib Thermal Power Plant and its 1,600 employees located on the FOB.

Source: CENTCOM.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kuwait Logistics Center Improves Afghanistan Supply Lines

by Beth Reece
Defense Logistics Agency

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Feb. 24, 2009) – As 17,000 soldiers and Marines ordered to Afghanistan by President Barack Obama prepare to deploy this spring and summer, logisticians already are orchestrating the shipment of critical supplies such as food and lumber. The Defense Logistics Agency here has been working with U.S. Central Command’s Deployment Distribution Operations Center in Kuwait since January to support the troop increase requested last year by U.S. Forces Afghanistan Commander Gen. David D. McKiernan, Navy Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich, director of DLA’s Logistics Operations and Readiness Directorate, said.

The operations center merges experts from U.S. Transportation Command, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Army Materiel Command, DLA and service components. Together, they plan the most efficient and timely movement of supplies to troops. “We’re planning for increased demands of food subsistence, building supplies, spare parts and packaged petroleum products in Afghanistan,” Heinrich said. “All of our supply centers are deeply involved with the CDDOC and working closely with DLA support teams in Kuwait.” Defense Supply Center Philadelphia is partnering with the operations center to ensure collapsible housing units are sent where needed.

“The [distribution center in Kuwait] is playing a role in metering the flow — some by air, some by ship — and getting them to where they need to be to meet warfighters’ requirements,” Heinrich said. “The fact that they’re doing that and have visibility, and we know who to talk to there, has been very beneficial to DLA.

Heinrich, who headed the operations center during a voluntary five-month deployment last year, said the arrangement is working because the right people are working together in the right ways. “Our response to warfighters is greater because DLA and its strategic partners have put boots on the ground over there, which allows us to fuse our information and be persistent,” he said.

The operations center is the first of its kind to be used in wartime, Heinrich said. It was established in 2004 at Centcom’s request, with the goal of achieving shorter delivery times and lower costs.

The admiral said he believes the center already has made big improvements. The center lets DLA members see how the supplies they procure are actually sent to customers, he said, which challenges them to evaluate agency processes and occasionally make adjustments that speed delivery.

For example, he said, small changes at the Defense Distribution Depot Kuwait, Southwest Asia, shortened the time it takes to prepare pallets for shipment.

“DDKS produces about 60 pallets each day for air delivery, and when you send a pallet via air, there’s an expectation that it’s going to get there fast,” Heinrich said. Pallets built at the depot were being weighed and measured on the airfield, then offered for bid to commercial carriers.

“But the CDDOC started looking at the process and asked, ‘What if we did all this at DDKS?’” he said. “‘Can we improve the process?’”

Two months later, the depot had installed the Air Mobility Command’s Global Air Transportation Execution System, which gives visibility of pallets awaiting shipment.

“So we were able to report those air pallets as soon as they were built at DDKS to the people who offer them to commercial carriers,” Heinrich said. “What took about seven and a half days now takes about two days.”

Partnerships generated at the center are being used now as the depot assumes management of a formerly Navy-owned warehouse in Bahrain.

“Today, when folks in Bahrain requisition material from Kuwait, we fly it at a cost of about $1.98 a pound,” he said. “Now that we have a warehouse in Bahrain, we can fill it with material from Kuwait and, working with Transcom, we can truck it, and it will only cost us about 10 cents a pound.”

The center also has improved end-to-end distribution by increasing cargo visibility and maximizing airlift assets. And by initiating the use of “pure pallets,” which contain items for one customer only, the center eliminated the need to break down and repackage cargo for specific users in theater.

“The CDDOC plays an important role in synchronizing operations right there on the ground,” Heinrich said.

“The future for CDDOC is limitless, and I feel lucky to have been a part of its beginning,” he added. “It’s made me a better logistician and a stronger member of the DLA team.”

Source: CENTCOM.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Violence In Iraq At Lowest Level In Six Years

by John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (Feb. 23, 2009) – Violent attacks in Iraq are at their lowest levels since August 2003, a U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday. Army Maj. Gen. David Perkins, director for strategic effects with Multi-National Force - Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad the downtick in violence marks a 90-percent decrease since the surge of U.S. troops began in 2007.

Perkins added that on Feb. 20, no Iraqi civilians were killed or even targeted in attacks. “This is a very significant event, and we are seeing more and more days like that throughout Iraq,” he said.

Contributing to the improved security are the growing Iraqi security forces, which have increased the size of their ranks from 463,000 last year to 618,000 now – a 25-percent boost. “It's not only an increase in the size and numbers, but the capability such as planning, orchestrating these very complicated operations, and then leading throughout the country of Iraq,” Perkins said.

He added that Iraqi forces led and planned security for the countrywide provincial elections last month, in which some 7 million Iraqis participated in balloting that featured 14,000 registered candidates. “On election day this year, there were no attacks which resulted in any disruption to any of the voting that went on,” Perkins said. “This is in comparison to the last national election period in 2005, where we had hundreds of attacks on election day, with 44 deaths.”

Election results are being widely accepted by victors and vanquished alike, he said. “If you take a look at emerging democracies, historically, it is generally the second election that is sometimes more difficult than the first election,” the general said. “By the time the second election comes, those who may have to lose power or give up power are not necessarily as excited about doing that."

“But the fact that we've had this second election and a very large number of people participating, both as candidates and as voters,” he continued, “shows the enthusiasm that Iraqis have for the democratic process here in Iraq.”

The downturn in violence comes as U.S. forces begin transferring a greater share of power to Iraqi forces in keeping with the status-of-forces agreement that became effective Jan. 1. The agreement between Washington and Baghdad stipulates that American combat forces pull back from cities and villages to major bases by June 30.

“There is no doubt that we will be out of the cities by June, and we are working this day by day,” Perkins said. “And you can see many of these facilities we have already transferred, as well as the upcoming ones, are part of this plan to move out of the cities.”

An Iraqi policeman enteres an abandoned building in the Saha section of Baghdad earlier this month. Vast improvements among Iraqi Security Forces are among the reasons violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since 2003.

Source: CENTCOM.

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

Monday, February 23, 2009

Leona Lewis - Footprints In The Sand

This lady is not only beautiful, she has been gifted by God with a very sweet and tender voice. Please listen to her sing. When I first heard her, I knew I had to share her with you. I hope this edifies you today. ;)


This song is so true. I pray these words for every Servicemember who is in the line of fire and those who are not. Also, I would like to extend my prayer to those who've served before and never received the proper recognized. I remember you. I thank you for your service. Welcome home.

Remember - He is always there for you. All you have to do is reach out and ask for His Guidance, Love, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Help, and whatever is your need. He is always Faithful. God bless you, and have a very blessed day.

Tip o' the hat: David L. Brown aka Blade Runner.

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.

I am sharing this beautiful lady with a gifted voice with my friends:

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is Your Faith Curious?

I heard a very intriguing sermon this morning, and I was wondering if I was the only one who was curious about those questions sometimes mistaken for doubt. Remember as a child how everything was brand new and it had to be explored? Do we do this with something that is so fascinating and wondrous we cannot even describe it sometimes, yet do we examine it with the same enthusiasm? Gosh, I wish I did. I must confess, I do not. After this sermon, I think I just may start!

This is such a question, I think it would be a good idea to leave it up to discussion. I know I could use all the help you can offer. Thanks. ;)

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

Today is an open trackback at Rosemary's Thoughts. You are all welcome to add this URL to your post, trackback to me, and I shall add your name as a contributor. This means you can post whatever you like (tasteful and edifying) here. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a blessed day.

These friends from Linkfest shared these posts with us for your reading pleasure:
1. The World According To Carl: Some Thursday Humor.
2. Woman Honor Thyself: Pancakes…Mmmmmmm!
3. The World According To Carl: IT’S FAT TUESDAY 2009! (For Those Unfamiliar: “Fat Tuesday” = “Mardi Gras".
4. Mark My Words: Does God Exist?
5. Nuke's: Live free or die.
6. The Virtuous Republic: Mirror, Mirror Obama.

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

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 3 Of Hiatus

I am still working on the tags, but I have reduced them significantly. However I still have a long way to go. The reason being, I have come across many links that are no longer good so I have to go search for a workable link. Arghh!

I won't be able to even start moving my other posts over here until I straighten out this mess. I don't like having this many categories. It's just too hard to manage. Oh well. Back to work. ;)

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

Today I am having open trackbacks. This means you can post whatever you like (tasteful and edifying) here. Remember to link me back to your article so I can read it. If you fail to do this, I will delete your post. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Friends I've trackbacked to for your reading pleasure: Blog @ MoreWhat.com: Open Trackback Linkfest Haven Weekend, Faultline: Weapons In or Out of Our Hands Forever, Right Truth: Mr. Indebt and Mr. Nodebt, The World According To Carl: It Was 29 Years Ago Today…, The Pink Flamingo: Who The Heck Is In Charge Of US Foreign Policy?, Wingless: Harper Victorious Despite Epidemic of Fear & Ignorance, Democrat=Socialist: Ann Coulter Owns Joy Behar, Nuke's: Missouri Plant Makes Three, Woman Honor Thyself: The Kooran Challenge eh?, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 2 Of Hiatus

Just checking in. I've been trying to reduce the number of categories I have before I start moving other posts over here. I don't want to deal with over 300 categories! Anything having to do with religion, prayers, Christianity, or Jewish affairs shall now listen under 'God'. All countries shall have a 'c-' before them, so I may be able to find all of my countries together. The same will true of the Military, News, and Politics, except they will have a 'g-' before them which represents 'general'. Well, gotta get back to work. Have a nice 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.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Founders' Daily Quote: 2/16--2/20/09

Monday, February 16, 2009.
"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform dignified, and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.... The purity of his private charter gave effulgence to his public virtues...."

--John Marshall, official eulogy of George Washington, delivered by Richard Henry Lee, 26 December 1799

I long for such men as this to fill our legislative halls. Alas, the process has become so corrupt. They voted in a way to guarantee their own success against any opposition at the voting polls. Thanks alot, John MexiCain.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009.
"The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 9 March 1821

What can one person out of 300 million do? What a great name for website! The Pruning Knife. Yes, I like it very much. If anyone would like to take that name and run with it, please let me know. I'd love to add it to my blogroll.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009.
"It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome."

--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 35

Aw, that would mean the people would have the OPPORTUNITY to think for themselves and be responsible for their actions whereas the faceless government would gladly take away any LIBERTY the people - after being convinced the government was the solution to any problem - would allow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

Oh, come on. That's too logical. That's not 'playing' fair. After all, it doesn't 'feel good' to know that you could actually be attacked, so the Left would prefer to pretend the only enemies they have are Conservatives.

--Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book, 1774-1776

Friday, February 20, 2009.
"[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."

--Richard Henry Lee, Letters from the Federal Farmer, 1788

Has anyone presented this to the SCOTUS?

Source: PatriotPost.us - Subscribe here.

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 Thoughts. Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Internship Injects The Right Prescription For Afghans

February 19, 2009
Release Number 20091902-01

KABUL, Afghanistan - Opportunities for better health care continue to grow for Afghans with the assistance of the United States, Republic of Korea and Egyptian medical personnel through the International Medical Mentorship Training and Internship Program.

The Alliance nations strive to enhance the Afghan Ministry of Public Health's goals of establishing their own health care system and have developed two programs to aid Afghanistan in seeing a dream become reality.

"The goal is to give students an opportunity to see all the factors that it takes to manage an effective hospital," added Army Maj. Maureen Nolen, coordinator for a two-week Medical Mentorship Program. "We work with and build on the education and training in the various ANA and ANP facilities."

While initially, the two-week class was targeted specifically to the Afghan National Army to provide them with the skills needed to manage a medical facility, now it has grown to include the Afghan National Police, National Development Strategy health care providers and civilian doctors from district hospitals.

In July 2007, the program hit the ground running with a two-week residency course. Then, a little over a year later, the program expanded by adding a three month course when they realized there was a need to include more civilian health care providers.

The three-month instruction was created for Afghan civilian doctors and experienced health care personnel. The curriculum requires students to attend the course twice a week for three months. During this time, they participate in lectures at Craig Joint Military Hospital at Bagram and then are given opportunities to implement their training by treating local nationals at the Korean and Egyptian hospitals on base.

Egyptian Col. H.E. Salem, who also serves as a pediatrician, works diligently with the interns to ensure their level of care also targets the young people within the community.

"We are enthusiastic about working with the Afghan doctors," said Salem, the chief physician at the Egyptian hospital.

At the Korean hospital, the interns are introduced to evidence-based medicine and how to properly treat communicative and non-communicative diseases in addition to common illnesses. "We expect through this program that the interns will become aware of their public health care programs," said Dr. Seup Park, the medical director at the Korean hospital.

So far, the internship program has trained and graduated more than 100 Afghan practitioners, including three females. Air Force Lt. Col. Montserrat Edie-Korleski, who oversees a three month program, was quick to point out the importance of female graduates and how their success makes an impact on the program and within the local community.

"We're planting the seed that gender shouldn't be an issue when it comes to being a health care provider," Nolen added. "Women are a key element in the health of the nation," Edie-Korleski said. "We would like to see more female recruits."

As the program continues to grow, one constant remains for this group of professionals working to improve the medical care in this country: teamwork.

"It's a great working relationship," Edie-Korleski said. "The Koreans have a fabulous system already developed and working for them. The Egyptians have a great doctor staff who are also very capable. We learn from them, and they learn from us."

Word continues to spread about the success of the program, and classes are filled through 2009. Local nationals are encouraged to contact their Ministry of Public Health and Provincial Reconstruction Teams to enroll and receive more information about the internships. "Someone, somewhere always wants to hear about our program," Edie-Korleski added. "Health care providers from all over BAF are expressing interest in lecturing and training."

A plan is in place for the internships to include more options in the near future. By the end of March, Afghan practitioners from Kabul are scheduled to begin a new veterinary program offered at Craig Joint Military Hospital. The continuing interest and commitment of the Afghans have been a huge boost to the ongoing success of their mission, said Edie-Korleski.

"The purpose of the program is to train Afghan health care providers in the health care arena, so they can take what they learn and develop their own health care system," she said. "It's been amazing the positive responses we've gotten."

-30-

United States Forces Afghanistan's mission, in coordination with NATO's International Security Assistance Force, is to conduct operations to defeat terrorist networks and insurgents by developing effective governance and building the Afghan National Security Force. Effective security throughout the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan facilitates continued regional stability and increases economic development for the people of Afghanistan.

Contact Information - US Forces Afghanistan Public Affairs Office

Tel +93 (0) 799 51 2919 or cell phone 93 (0) 707 355 965

USFOR A Media Relations. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Picture 1: BAGRAM, Afghanistan - An Afghan citizen holds his daughter after receiving treatment at the Egyptian Field Hospital. The Egyptian Field Hospital has an open clinic for Afghan citizens to receive free medical care.

Picture 2: BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Egyptian Col. Ehab Foad, an ophthalmology consultant, checks a patient’s eye for cataracts and other abnormalities at the Egyptian Field Hospital. The Egyptian Field Hospital offers medical services for Afghan citizens.

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!

Afghanistan Commander Welcomes Additional Troops

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

WASHINGTON (Feb. 19, 2009) – The commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Wednesday that while he’s pleased with President Barack Obama’s authorization to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, tough times are ahead.

Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, said at a Pentagon news conference that the reinforcement fulfills about two-thirds of his request for additional forces and will provide enough manpower to sustain security through the summer.

“Those forces, of course, are aimed at being operational by the highest part of the insurgent fighting season this summer, and to be in place and operational before the projected elections in August of 2009,” McKiernan said. The additional forces also are needed “to give us a security foundation that will allow the other lines of operations in governance and socioeconomic progress to take place and change what I've called a stalemate in the south,” the general said.

The additional forces will focus their efforts in the south and along Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan to combat insurgents. However, the lack of a strong central government for three decades, combined with high illiteracy and poverty rates and a resilient enemy, doesn’t offer a quick solution for Afghanistan, McKiernan said.

“Even with the additional forces, I have to tell you that 2009 is going to be a tough year,” he said. “While this will give us a security foundation, we certainly need additional contributions -- civilian capacity-building programs that will enable people in Afghanistan to feel hope and to develop their abilities to take the lead for their governance.”

About 38,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, including about 6,000 reinforcements from the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team and a contingent of Marines who arrived last month. Another 19,000 troops from 42 other countries make up the balance of allied efforts there.

The 17,000 additional troops are made up primarily of soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division’s 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The incoming troops, as well as those currently in Afghanistan, can expect a “dual mission,” McKiernan said, noting he asked for a Marine expeditionary brigade and an Army Stryker brigade because of their versatility. He wanted units with counterinsurgency capabilities that also could provide security for the population and partner with Afghan forces, he explained, adding that Afghan border and national police forces need trainers and organizers, which the additional troops also will provide.

“[The additional units] are battle-space owners conducting counterinsurgency operations, but they’re also developing capacity and capability in the Afghan policing forces,” he said. “Training and mentoring … will be part of the units’ mission.”

When McKiernan took command in Afghanistan less than a year ago, he requested 30,000 additional forces. Even after the increased U.S. presence takes hold, he still will need 10,000 to 12,000 more, whether they come from allies in NATO or the United States, he said. He told reporters he probably will not ask for any more troops beyond that, but he stressed that the additional forces are not a short-term proposition.

“This is not a temporary force uplift. … It’s going to need to be sustained for some period of time,” he said. “I can’t give an exact number of years that it would be, but I’m trying to look out for the next three to four or five years.”

Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, delivers an update briefing at a Feb. 18 Pentagon news conference.

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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Have An Idea

When I started Rosemary's Thoughts, it was with the whole intention of moving Causes of Interest, DoD Daily News, DoD Daily News-2, Knickerbocker News, Love America First, Love America First-2, My Newz 'n Ideas, and a few more blogs over to this one collection of all my writings. As it stands, I have barely scraped the surface.

The solution? My idea! I am going to be taking a one month hiatus to finish moving 7000+ posts over to Rosemary's Thoughts. Some of you know that I also have a blog on wordpress, Rosemary's News and Ideas. Well. I also write for Talon, the official blog for Eagles UP! and TownHall.com (but not that often. I keep forgetting), The Conservative Underground and Smart Girl Politics. I moved again...why? lol.

I do not like the fact that all everyone is talking about is negativity. The porkulus bailout bill, the auto bailout bill, the federal reserve banks and wall street bailout (it's not even a bill!), etc. If I have to listen to them say the problem is the free market, SHOW ME WHERE YOU SEE THE FREE MARKET. I shall scream.

If government had not interfered in the first place (forcing banks to give loans to people who could not afford them, refusing to sign the Columbian Free Trade agreement, printing money as we had it to cover what they were printing - get rid of the Fed!, etc.), we would have had a normal business cycle. The Housing Committee, Sec. Paulsen and all the others (including the new Treasury Secretary who helped write the last bailout bill before he was secretary and refused to pay his taxes), YOU ARE THE ONES RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. Why should we trust you to fix it?

Why is there no discussion about the 17,000 Marines headed out to Afghanistan that the president let know about it by a press release without any planning, expectations, nothing! His precious little signing of the 'historic' (I'll scream if I hear that one more time. He's just a politician who doesn't give a crap about our men and women in uniform. Otherwise, he would have given a speech. Sorry, but it will be very difficult to change my mind about this, however I am open to anyone who thinks they can try) signing of a bill. Do you realize how many bills have been signed before him? TOO MANY! LOL.

I want to know what his plans are for our Military. We have a right to know, and he's not being forthcoming. This is not transparency.

Therefore I am going to wait for this too to pass. In the meantime, I am going to have open trackbacks. I like to use Linkfest, and I would like you to use them, too. It is a place where conservative like us can send our post and our trackback id, then others may read our work. They also include our posts in their posts so that we may get greater readership. Give it a try. Thanks everyone. I'll be back. ;)

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

You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Just follow the easy directions.

Here are some posts for your reading enjoyment: The Pink Flamingo: How I've Learned To Stop Worrying and Have Learned To Live With Obama, Wingless: BBC Presents Bizarro Version of Gaza, Right Voices: No Need for the Automakers and UAW to Meet Today;s Deadline, You Are Handing Them 7 Billion Today, No Questions Asked, The World According To Carl: Ephesians 4:29 and Blogging, Nuke's: Monday Night Linkage, The Virtuous Republic: The Virtuous Republic, The Pink Flamingo: Life, Obama, and the Democratic Universe, Wingless: Hamas Residential Stockpiles Lead to Casualties; World Silent, The World According To Carl: Uncle Jay Explains The News — February 16, 2009, and Third World County: Wal-Mart+Microsoft=Juggernaut of Doom?, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

There are friends who've shared their posts for your reading pleasure:
1. The World According To Carl: Saints Release Deuce McAllister.
2. The World According To Carl: Godly Wisdom - February 19, 2009.
3. Potbelly Stove: Loose Lips sink ships.
4. Conservative Cat: A Nation of Cowards.
5. Woman Honor Thyself: Kissing!
6. The World According To Carl: Stimulus Bill (a.k.a. — “Porkulus”).
7. third world county: Santelli’s Chicago Tea Party.
8. Nuke's: Missouri plant makes three.
9. Faultline USA: Weapons In or Out of Our Hands Forever?
10. The World According To Carl: WARNING — VIRUS ALERT.
11. Right Truth: Mr. Indebt and Mr. Nodebt.
12. Conservative Cat: Another Obama Miracle.

Cross-posted @ The Conservative Nation, SmartGirlPolitics and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Call Obama Or Lose The F-22 Fighters

It has come to my attention that Lockheed Martin will begin shutting down production of the valued F-22 fighter planes which the US Air Force needs (a total of) 243 more of unless President Obama "certifies that continued production of the F-22 is in the national interest" by March 1, 2009. Here are the links to a few artices: (Reuters) U.S. Air Force says needs more F-22 fighters, (UPI) Obama needs to rescue the F-22 Raptor from being scrapped and (War is Boring) Only 60 More Raptors? Everybody Panic!

Please read these articles before you make any calls. I want you to know what they are saying. You may also have a better handle on this than I do, and I'm not too proud to admit it.

The Capitol: 202-224-3121. The White House: 202-456-1111 or 456-1414.
House Committees: Armed Services 202-225-4151.
Senate: Armed Services: 202-224-3871, Foreign Relation: 202-224-4651.

Source(s): Jim Wolf, Reuters; UPI, Loren B. Thompson; Ethan Kendrick, Hynes Communications; and 'War is Boring'.

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, The Conservative Underground, SmartGirlPolitics and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Agribusiness Teams Plant Seeds For Economic Growth In Afghanistan

by Sgt. Robert G. Cooper III
American Forces Press Service

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. (Feb. 12, 2009) – Civilian experts in economic growth who serve in the National Guard now can bring their select skills from America's heartland to the front lines. National Guardsmen from seven states have volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan as specialized units with the singular purpose of jump-starting the country’s agricultural economy.

Army Col. Brian Copes, far right, congratulates a role player representing an Afghan leader during a mock groundbreaking ceremony on a snowy day at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center at Camp Atterbury, Ind.The units, called agribusiness development teams, are a new breed of Army operations. Rather than focusing on combating terrorism with weapons, they focus on rebuilding Afghan trust in both their economy and in their government through agriculture, the country’s chief industry. Army Maj. Shawn Gardner, operations and training officer for Indiana’s 1-19th Agribusiness Development Team, stressed the importance of agriculture when it comes to successful operations in Afghanistan.

“Agriculture sustains about 60 to 70 percent of the population of the country, so we won’t have true security until the economic state is better repaired,” Gardner said. “We’ll start at the grassroots level, helping them maintain their agricultural baselines, and grow from there.”

While the mission may sound simple, the concept of soldiers putting down weapons to pick up a plow is much deeper. “The tactical mission is to help the local farmers learn to establish some farming techniques that have been lost through several generations of war, and with that, the strategic mission is to help them have a better understanding and appreciation of their provincial government,” Gardner said.

To stimulate the Afghan economy through agricultural initiatives, the teams will have to start at the provincial level, Gardner said. The mission of the Indiana National Guard’s 1-19th ADT focuses on Khowst province, historically an agricultural hub for fruit and nuts prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Coupled with years of civil war and tribal fighting, the current state of agriculture exists only through one- to two-acre subsistence farms. Kevin McNamara, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, said the farms, offering barely enough for local communities to get by, are a stark contrast to what Americans consider farming to be.

“Afghan agriculture is completely different from Indiana, but the strong agricultural backgrounds of the individuals deploying is significant,” McNamara said. “This mission speaks highly of [the soldiers who] volunteer to improve the lives of those in dire straits. Without this mission, we wouldn’t be able to stabilize Afghanistan.”

McNamara, a former Peace Corps member who has been to Afghanistan many times to assist in agricultural education, has been working with the 1-19th to provide training on some of the team’s short- and long-term goals.

“Agriculture is the industry there,” he said. “There isn’t much else. Most people are poor there, so this agribusiness team approach will have a definite impact on improving and stabilizing their incomes.” The training was an outgrowth of a June meeting McNamara had with 1-19th ADT leaders.

“They were certainly excited about the opportunity of the deployment, but realized the challenges it presented,” he said. “After speaking about challenges they would face, both cultural and technological, we developed training based on baseline information of current agriculture statistics in Afghanistan.”

The statistics centered the training on small-enterprise farming and addressed soil fertility, wheat production, fruit production, forestry, animal husbandry and horticulture. The knowledge provided by Purdue’s Department of International Agriculture focused on facets that McNamara said will have a direct impact on increasing not only production, but also the incomes of local farmers.

“We’re hitting the issue of farming income, which is exciting,” McNamara said. “That means more wheat to eat and more milk to drink. The more we increase their production, the more we increase their wealth and pull them from poverty.”

The training also focused on Afghanistan’s arid environment, which limits rainfall to mere inches per year.

“We had a session on pest management, where we looked to see how weeds and diseases are affecting crops, and we discussed what pests or diseases to look for and how to treat them,” McNamara said. “Irrigation is also very important, but hard to work with, since the people don’t have the education or financing to afford it. Our training gave a thorough overview on irrigation techniques that are relevant.”

Purdue will continue to provide expert oversight during the deployment, McNamara said. “We will have video teleconferencing capabilities and a reach-back system where we will have a full-time desk position that can provide answers in a quick fashion,” he said.

Army Col. Brian Copes, 1-19th ADT commander, said the deployment will feature many initiatives designed both to educate Afghan farmers and to sustain the instruction his team will provide. In addition to joining forces with other U.S. departments such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the team also will conduct agriculture education and information operations through print and broadcast media.

Using a phrase he borrowed from Purdue, Copes calls the focus of the agriculture missions “post-production, post-harvest, value-added processing.”

“It’s a big, sexy term, but once you understand how to turn grapes to raisins, it becomes clear,” he said. Copes related the phrase to teaching Afghan farmers how to trellis grapes, which are currently grown on the ground on most farms. Upon showing farmers how to increase grape production, the 1-19th soldiers then can show them how to streamline their storage capabilities, thus increasing the production of raisins.

Copes said he also plans to use programs from American youth education groups, such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America, to reach out to the Afghan’s next generations of agriculturalists. The soldiers also will use high school agriculture courses taught by one of the team’s leaders, who teaches the same curriculum at Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis. “We’ve got a curriculum already, but we need to begin adapting it to their cultural needs,” Copes said.

According to the World Fact Book, nearly one in three Afghans can’t read, so Copes said the team also has made plans for radio public service announcements on food safety and nutrition.

The ADT will work with Khowst University, one of Afghanistan’s 15 universities. Copes said he and his deputy commander, Army Col. Cindra Chastain, met with the university’s chancellor and vice chancellor last year.

“We had an early dialogue, and they warmly embraced the idea of a partnership with us. Our plans are to further develop three large greenhouses that have not been put into use there. We hope to figure out how to use them as a research facility. We will also utilize [about 200 acres] of university property to establish a demonstration farm.”

Many challenges, most of them cultural, will be waiting for the team upon arrival, McNamara said. “We’ve armed these soldiers with a good understanding on how to improve the situation there,” he said. “But it won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick. There’s a lot of potential, but this will probably be the hardest jobs these folks have ever had.

“The Afghan people will be reluctant to adopt changes they can’t understand, because it puts family at risk,” he continued. “There aren’t banks or institutions that can support them. Understanding the production systems there and improving them will be their biggest challenge.”

The mission’s focus isn’t on immediate gratification, Copes said. “The reality is, I’m only going to be there for 10 months, but we don’t know how long the U.S. will be there,” he said. “We are planning for up to five rotations through Indiana, but that’s up to the current administration. The knowledge and expertise we leave behind will be there long after our money and tractors go away.”

Army Col. Brian Copes, far right, congratulates a role player representing an Afghan leader during a mock groundbreaking ceremony on a snowy day at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center at Camp Atterbury, Ind.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Clinic Provides Care For Six Villages

by Heidi Davis
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula

KURDISTAN — Named in honor of Brig. Gen. Kenneth Tovo’s service in Iraq, the Tovo Medical Clinic opened its doors in the Kani Karweshkan foothills here, Feb. 12. The facility will help significantly improve the region’s medical care and provide essential services throughout the Kurdish autonomous region, said a Coalition forces adviser.

The clinic provides nearly 500 residents from six surrounding villages access to a medical facility and services with a staff of three full-time doctors.

The location of the clinic also increases the chances of survivability by providing people in a community, where vehicular transportation is scarce, access because of the clinic’s central location. Access results in more immediate care, so patients can be stabilized before they are moved to another medical facility, if more specialized care is necessary.

“Most of the trauma cases we see are due to snake and scorpion bites to farmers working the fields,” said the regional tribal leader. “These patients can receive care immediately, lowering their chances of death.”

Potential long-term projects include paving the clinic route to make it more accessible, drilling wells to provide water to the clinic, establishing nearby electrical lines for communication, and expanding clinic services.

“The opening of this clinic is just one of several planned to promote local participation and demonstrate the government’s commitment to maintaining security while encouraging social and capital development,” said Col. Bill Buckner, spokesman for Multi-National Corps – Iraq. “Projects like this one create short-term benefits and long-term potential consistent with the intended goals of the Iraqi and CF partnership. Short-term, the clinic makes medical care for potentially fatal illnesses and injuries more accessible.”

A local representative reiterated that commitment, saying, “Give me a list of everything the staff needs, whether it is equipment, medications or supplies, and I will take care of it,” he told the head tribal leader. “Coalition forces helped build the clinic, but it is our job to sustain it.”

Dr. Ako, Halabja, director of health, talks with local media representatives at the opening of the Tovo Medical Clinic, Feb. 12, in the foothills of Kani Karweshkan.

Source: CENTCOM.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pending AQ Attack In Turkey?

Below you will find an e-mail from The Jamestown Foundation. This is "an independent, non-partisan research institution dedicated to providing timely information concerning critical political and strategic developments in China, Russia, Eurasia and the Greater Middle East. Jamestown produces five periodic publications: Eurasia Daily Monitor, Terrorism Monitor, Terrorism Focus, Chechnya Weekly and China Brief. Jamestown research and analysis is available to the public free-of-charge via Jamestown's website, www.jamestown.org."
WASHINGTON, DC — In the February 6, 2009, issue of Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jamestown Visiting Fellow Emrullah Uslu discusses a trend that is both troubling and as of yet undetected in Western media — the growing threat of an al-Qaeda attack in Turkey. From jewelry heists to post office robberies to car thefts, there has been a wave of crimes in Turkey thought to have been perpetrated by members of al-Qaeda. As Emrullah Uslu argues, these crimes may be intended to compensate for a lack of funding from the central al-Qaeda organization and "a possible sign of a major operation in the making." Since this article first appeared in EDM, there has already been a similar robbery of a post office in Ankara. Are these robberies a precursor to an al-Qaeda attack in Turkey? Read the original article below:

Al-Qaeda Robbers Target Jewelry Stores.

By Emrullah Uslu. (This analyst can be contacted by email at: usluturkey@jamestown.org.)

The recent crisis with Israel not only diverted international attention away from the looming danger of al-Qaeda attacks in Turkey but the growing sensitivity toward Israel may actually be motivating groups associated with al-Qaeda to attack Jewish targets in Turkey. In fact, because of the possibility of an al-Qaeda attack, Israel's El-Al airline recently terminated its flights to Antalya. Zaman reported that the CIA had notified Israeli and Turkish authorities that al-Qaeda operatives had entered Turkey to target Israeli tourists. According to the report, al-Qaeda may be seeking to attack airports in Istanbul, Izmir, or Antalya (Zaman, February 6).

It was said initially that El-Al had cancelled its Tel Aviv-Antalya flights because Turkey did not allow armed Israeli security forces on airplanes coming into Antalya and Israel insisted on having armed security personnel on board (IHA, February 4). Another Israeli airline, Sun D'Or, has also announced that it will cease its flights until March 1 for "commercial reasons" (CNNTurk, February 4). It seems that neither argument reflects the real reason why Israeli airlines have stopped flying to Antalya. The danger of an al-Qaeda attack on an Israeli target could perhaps be the best explanation behind the cancellation of these flights.

The Turkish National Police (TNP) has recently been conducting operations against al-Qaeda members. In December police arrested 38 al-Qaeda members, 22 of whom were jailed. That operation revealed that the organization was planning to hit the Israeli, U.S., and British consulates in Istanbul (Sabah, December 20, 2008). On January 29 four al-Qaeda members tried to rob a post office in the Sultanbeyli district of Istanbul, but undercover police officers who were following the suspects intervened, and a gunfight ensued. One al-Qaeda member was killed and another wounded. Two others escaped (Sabah, January 29). In following days the police arrested 11 suspected al-Qaeda members. After the arrest it was revealed that al-Qaeda militants were organizing an attack on a rabbi in Bursa (Milliyet, February 3).

Al-Qaeda has recently taken to robbing and stealing gold, money, and cars. A recent police action revealed that al-Qaeda members had stolen three cars and robbed a jewelry store and two trucks loaded with cables (Milliyet, February 3). It comes as no surprise that al-Qaeda members would steal cars or trucks for use in their attacks, but robbing jewelry stores and post offices is a new tactic in Turkey.

On July 21, 2008, a jewelry store was robbed by three people carrying Kalashnikovs; police later detected that the robbers may have been members of al-Qaeda (Sabah, December 20, 2008). On January 27 another jewelry store was robbed in Kocaeli Province by four masked men. The police think that those who attempted to rob the post office in Istanbul also might have been involved in the Kocaeli robbery (Hurriyet, January 29). On February 5 in Istanbul's Maltepe district another post office was robbed (Yeni Safak, February 5). Although it is still unknown whether al-Qaeda was involved, this robbery bares similarities to those committed by al-Qaeda.

The TNP has been closely monitoring the al-Qaeda network since the synagogue bombings in Istanbul in 2003 and have conducted a series of operations against al-Qaeda. The recent upsurge in jewelry store and post office robberies, however, is a new trend. Al-Qaeda spends thousands of dollars for each attack. The recent spate of robberies may indicate that the police have successfully isolated the individual al-Qaeda cells so that they cannot obtain cash from the central body or that the main organization has stopped financing local operations.

If al Qaeda cuts off funding for its local branches so that each group has to find its own means of financing for the attacks, then the recent series of robberies could be a possible sign of a major operation in the making. Although the TNP works hard and prevents most of the attacks in the planning stage, the recent upsurge in anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey may result in al-Qaeda members obtaining more informational assistance about potential Israeli targets from the local population.
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, February 14, 2009

UK vs Geert Wilders' 'Fitna'

Many of my readers are aware of my wrath toward cowards who quiver in the face of threats made to people who choose to retain their free speech in the face of Islamism arrogance. Geert Wilders is a hero in this department, the UK gov't is full of cowards.

Geert has made a documentary named, 'Fitna', which uses the parts of the Koran which the jihadis exploit for political manipulation to warn the west about what is vital to our survival. For this, he is being prosecuted by the Dutch government, thanks to the Muslims who've invaded their country and silenced the good Muslim population.

The UK invited Geert to speak at their showing of this documentay, but a couple of ministries (how ironic, stop using the name 'Ministry'. You are not ministers!) disinvited him because HE is considered a bigger threat to their peace than the jihadis!

So. What to do? I have the documentary for you to watch here. Let them come after me, too. I am not afraid. Ya see, we have this little thing called the 2nd Amendment in America, and I know how to use it to my benefit and protection. I consider a threat from any jihadi to my person and livelihood to be a reasonable enough threat to do my duty for my country. Don't be afraid. Tell me your name and address. Unless, of course, you are cowards like the rest of the jihadis and the UK government...

You may also read The speech Geert Wilders would have given had the UK not been filled with cowards and dhimmis.

BTW, jihadis are those who give Muslims a bad name and make life harder for them. This in no way has anything to do with the good Muslims I know and the good Muslims I do not know. Let's just make this perfectly clear. After 9/11/01, my door and heart was open to any Muslim woman who felt they needed refuge. So don't even go down that road. Jihadis are the racists here, not the American people. It sure would be nice, however, if more American Muslims would stand up against the jihadis.

There are a few that I know of who do a great job of standing up and against the jihadis. Here are their links: The Spirit Of Man, Muslims Against Sharia and American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Check them out and decide for yourself if they are speaking out loudly enough for you. Frankly, I don't believe they are receiving the attention they deserve. There are also many more, but I do not have their links. Thank you, and have a nice 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

What better way spread some love than with a St. Valentine's Day Open Trackback? Just add my post's URL to your post, and ping me back. What? You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Happy St. Valentine's Day!

A few friends I've shared this post with: Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker: Credibility, Planck's Constant: Geert Wilders` speech in House of Lords, The Pink Flamingo: Obama, Soros, The Economy, Elections and the Fairness Doctrine and Woman Honor Thyself: Geert Wilders: Banned from the U.K., thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Here are some fine posts from my friends at Linkfest who've opened their post to you for your reading pleasure:
1. Plank's Constant: Geert Wilders speech in Once-Brave Britain.
2. Woman Honor Thyself: Muslims Beating and Killing Women.
3. The World According To Carl: Uncle Jay Explains The News — February 16, 2009.
4. Woman Honor Thyself: Shahar Peer Visa Denial: Women’s Tennis Association does NOTHING.
5. Right Voices: No Need For The Automakers And UAW To Meet Today’s Deadline, You Are Handing Them $7 Billion Today, No Questions Asked.
6. The World According To Carl: Ephesians 4:29 and Blogging.
7. The Virtuous Republic: Hell’s Government Officials of the Day: Luzerne County Judges.

Cross-posted @ Talon, The Conservative Underground, SmartGirlPolitics, Muslims Against Sharia and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mullen: Afghanistan Surge Unlikely To Top 30,000

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Feb. 9, 2009) – The top U.S. military officer said Monday he doesn't expect the United States to deploy more than about 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for the State Department and other U.S. agencies to do their part as well.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, N.Y., Feb. 9, 2009.Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told junior soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division that 2009 will be a pivotal year for Afghanistan that will require more than just military might. "It has gotten worse in Afghanistan," he told the soldiers, some recently returned from Iraq and others expecting to deploy to Afghanistan next year. "Violence is up, [and] the Taliban is back." In addition, he said, governance at the local, district, provincial and national levels "is not going well” and "has to be improved."

"Getting that governance piece right as fast as we can is absolutely vital," Mullen said, particularly with elections scheduled this summer. He noted that although the military inevitably will be involved, it's not the agency best suited to assist with governance. The same, he said, holds true with helping Afghanistan improve economic development. "It is not possible to win this or succeed in Afghanistan militarily alone," Mullen told the group.

So as the military expands the force in Afghanistan probably not much beyond the 20,000 to 30,000 numbers being discussed, Mullen said more nonmilitary enablers will be needed, too. "It has to be met with a commensurate surge from other agencies, particularly the State Department, in order for us to start generating success in 2009, which is a critical year," he said.

Mullen praised the soldiers for the successes they helped to bring about in Iraq. "You have made a difference. You have turned it around in Iraq," he said. Success wasn't in sight 12 to 18 months ago, he said, but now it is.

In a separate session with family readiness group volunteers, he tied the success of the surge directly to the men and women on the ground. "It could not have been done without the 10th Mountain Division" and the rest of the U.S. military engaged there, he said. "I've been there a lot and seen the difference," he told the spouses. "It gets a little bit better day by day, and we are very hopeful that we can continue to draw forces down in Iraq and that Iraqi people [will] continue to assume responsibility for their own country."

But Mullen reminded the soldiers, "We are not done in Iraq." Al-Qaida remains a problem, but is "greatly diminished," he said. Governance is improving, as demonstrated by the successful late-January elections. Iraqi security forces are improving.

The 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team was rerouted from Iraq to Afghanistan last fall. Its soldiers in Task Force Spartan are now deployed to eastern Afghanistan, taking up positions that until now had little coalition presence. "I expect there will be more of that over the next several months, although I don't have the details of that," Mullen told the troops. "That's something the president decides."

PHOTO: U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, N.Y., Feb. 9.

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 @ TCU, SGP and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!

Founders' Daily Quote: 13 Feb 09

"This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."

--Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Yes. They now reside as the majority in the Capitol and the White House and nearly the Supreme Court...God help us!

Source: PatriotPost.us - Subscribe here.

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.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Clinic Provides Care For Six Villages

by Heidi Davis
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsula

KURDISTAN — Named in honor of Brig. Gen. Kenneth Tovo’s service in Iraq, the Tovo Medical Clinic opened its doors in the Kani Karweshkan foothills here, Feb. 12. The facility will help significantly improve the region’s medical care and provide essential services throughout the Kurdish autonomous region, said a Coalition forces adviser.

The clinic provides nearly 500 residents from six surrounding villages access to a medical facility and services with a staff of three full-time doctors.

Dr. Ako, Halabja, director of health, talks with local media representatives at the opening of the Tovo Medical Clinic, Feb. 12, in the foothills of Kani Karweshkan.The location of the clinic also increases the chances of survivability by providing people in a community, where vehicular transportation is scarce, access because of the clinic’s central location. Access results in more immediate care, so patients can be stabilized before they are moved to another medical facility, if more specialized care is necessary.

“Most of the trauma cases we see are due to snake and scorpion bites to farmers working the fields,” said the regional tribal leader. “These patients can receive care immediately, lowering their chances of death.”

Potential long-term projects include paving the clinic route to make it more accessible, drilling wells to provide water to the clinic, establishing nearby electrical lines for communication, and expanding clinic services.

“The opening of this clinic is just one of several planned to promote local participation and demonstrate the government’s commitment to maintaining security while encouraging social and capital development,” said Col. Bill Buckner, spokesman for Multi-National Corps – Iraq. “Projects like this one create short-term benefits and long-term potential consistent with the intended goals of the Iraqi and CF partnership. Short-term, the clinic makes medical care for potentially fatal illnesses and injuries more accessible.”

A local representative reiterated that commitment, saying, “Give me a list of everything the staff needs, whether it is equipment, medications or supplies, and I will take care of it,” he told the head tribal leader. “Coalition forces helped build the clinic, but it is our job to sustain it.”

Dr. Ako, Halabja, director of health, talks with local media representatives at the opening of the Tovo Medical Clinic, Feb. 12, in the foothills of Kani Karweshkan.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

Iranian People: Give Us Liberty!

I have had a heart for the Persian people for quite a while now. It started when I found out about how the students were being dragged out of their houses, beaten, and thrown in prison. Evin prison is nothing like Gitmo. They really do torture you there. Several times a week, if not several times a day.

I find this appalling. This happens because these people commit the most terrible crime of actually desiring liberty and freedom and a republican form of government--frequently misquoted as democracy. Imagine that? No, I guess you cannot, because you want to free the jihadis in Gitmo. You are not the people I am writing to. Go away.

These people are not jihadis. They don't want to harm anyone, and they desire to have human rights such as women's' rights (to live, to not be stoned to death because of someone else's crime against them, etc), free and fair elections, and good riddance to the evil regime that stole control of their country. These are good people. Even if they do not want to live as we do, so what? I don't like the way most of you live either! lol.

While this is one letter from one person, I can assure you there are many more voices in Iran that agree with him. Here is the letter the former political prisoner has written to President Barack Obama:

******************************
A Letter from former Iranian imprisoned student activist to President Barack Hussein Obama.


Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,

We congratulate you and the American people on your election as the 44Th president of the United States. Your historic victory is cause for celebration for those who seek freedom and equality around the world. It is a triumph of democratic values and equal rights, a vindication for those around the world at the forefront of the struggle for civil rights.

The democratic institutions that enabled you, an African American, to become the highest ranking official in your country has awed people around the world. As you noted in your inauguration speech, the fact that the child of a man who, 60 years ago, may not have been permitted to enter a restaurant because of the color of his skin is now serving as leader of the nation, is testimony to the sacrifices of so many others during the painstaking historic progress of your land.

Mr. President, you ran your campaign on a promise of change, for both American domestic and foreign policies. Regarding your administration's policy to Iran, you stressed the need for open and direct dialogue. As you know, Iranians are in the midst of a courageous fight for their most basic freedoms. The democratic movement in Iran, led by students, women's rights activists, workers and human rights defenders, is violently repressed by the regime. The Iranian people, a majority of whom live in poverty despite their country's natural resources, seek to determine their own destiny. They form a resilient base of support for the civic groups calling for a democratic Iran, respectful of the human rights of all Iranians.

The political structure of the Islamic Republic monopolizes power in the hands of one almighty Supreme Leader, a cleric appointed to lead for life. The system does not allow for peaceful change through legal means. The function of the president is reserved for Muslim Shi'a men, and only those among them who believe in the theocracy are elected through a process marred with fraud.. The president, whose function is merely administrative, implements the leader's decisions and is unaccountable to the Iranian people.

We former student activists wish to address you as a progressive social reformer. In your policy making regarding Iran, you will contend with the whole gamut of ways Iran is a problem for the US: from the regime's nuclear ambitions to its regional influence and support for terrorism around the world.

We call on you to pay special attention to the repressive, unaccountable nature of the regime that creates these problems and to keep focus on the Iranian people's demands for democracy and human rights.

As the president of the United States of America, you must defend the interests of your country. We are certain you know that in this increasingly interconnected world, the long-term interests of your country can never be fully secured when others in foreign lands do not enjoy freedom.

Mr. President, you marked your first day in the White House by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. But in our country, many Guantanamo exist, only our Guantanamo are home to students, women's rights activists, labor organizers, political activists, and journalists. We, as former student activists who spent time in Iranian prisons under inhumane conditions, call on you and all those who defend human rights, freedom and equality to express solidarity to the people of Iran as they wage their struggle for freedom.

- Akbar Atri, BA in Political Science from Alameh Tabataba'i University and MA in Political Theory from Mofid University in Qom University; member of the executive committee of Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat, the umbrella group for Islamic student associations in Iran. He was tried and sentenced to seven years in prison by the Islamic Revolutionary Court for his pro-democracy activities.

-Ahmad Batebi, BA in Social Sciences from Payam Noor University and former member of Jebheye Motahed Daneshjoo'I (a secular student group). He was arrested during the July 1999 students protest and sentenced to death. His sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison.

- Farzad Hamidi, MD from Oroumieh University. Former student activist member of the Iran Demorcratic Front, he was arrested several times and spent three years in prison.

- Hamid Alizadeh, MD from Tehran University and former member of Jebheye Motahed Daneshjoo'I (a secular student group). He was arrested during the July 1999 student protests and spent one year in prison.

- Kianoosh Sanjari, student of Art in Sama University of Sari and member of Jebheye Motahed Daneshjoo'I (a secular student group). He was banned from university because of his pro-democracy activities. He was arrested 9 times and spent two years in prison.

- Koorosh Sehati, student of Agricultural Engineering and member of Jebheye Motahed Daneshjoo'I (a secular student group). He was a student activist during the July 9, 1999 student demonstrations. He was banned from university and spent two years in prison for his pro-democracy activities.

-Manouchehr Mohammadi, student of Economy in Tehran University and Head of Ettehadieh Melli Daneshjooyan va Faregh ol Tahsilan (a secular student association). He was expelled from the university for his pro-democratic activities and arrested during the 1999 student protest and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He fled from prison after 8 years of incarceration.
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As for you, President Obama, do not meet with Ahmadinejad. Stop apologizing to foreigners for America. Take a moment to ponder this question: "What would the world look like if America had never existed?"

You have an opportunity here to do something great, help the people of Iran. President Bush had Congress pass the Iranian Accountability Act. There is money in that account that was never spent, because it went to the State Dept. This is one more reason I hate the State Dept. It is NOT for the spread of condoms, it is for the spread of a repuclican form of government and freedom. They get to determine the final say as to how the government is run. The government is supposed to be by the people, for the people and responsive to the people. This is what we should be promoting.

Use this money in a way that these human rights groups and activists in Iran can unite against their evil regime. They will make sure there is no nuclear weapon, and they will become free, maybe even an ally. They hate those mullahs, the same ones you are going to try to appease. Please don't do a Jimmy Carter. You are making us appear weak. They cannot afford America's shame by us jimming up their evil dictator. Our country cannot afford it either! Thank you.

For my readers: I remember writing many letters and signing several more petitions to see these people released. Batebi is also an escaped prisoner. He managed to escape a few years ago.

I'm not asking you to sign any petitions. I'm not asking you to write any letters. I am asking you to open your eyes to understand that we could face an Iran with nuclear weapons or we could face an Iran that is peaceful. Probably even our ally. Yes, they do like America. That's the dirty little secret the press does not want you to know.

These people do not want us to invade their country. No. They just want the assistance so they may do this on their own in their own way. They want the life that you and I share. We are that shining light upon the hill. I'm asking you to care, pay attention, get educated. If you have any questions, e-mail me. I do what I can to help you. Thank you for your time.

Source: This letter was sent to me through a mutual friend, Winston.

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

Today I am having open trackbacks. This means you can post whatever you like (tasteful and edifying) here. Remember to link me back to your article so I can read it. If you fail to do this, I will delete your post. You don't have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Friends I've shared this post with: The Pink Flamingo: Last Night It Snowed In Tombstone, Cao's Blog: Mid-Week Open Track Back Party, Democrat=Socialist: Job Creation Initiatives From Chairman Obama Administration, Woman Honor Thyself: Geert Wilders: Banned from the U.K., The World According to Carl: Godly Wisdom — February 11, 2009, Shadowscope: Where Is Haleigh Cummings?, Walls of the City: sensor ping LVII, and Stageleft: They Don’t Think, Really, They Don’t thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

These are posts written by some friends for you to enjoy.
1. Adam's Blog: Gregg Out over Faux Stimulus and Census.
2. Walls of the City: fire with fire.
3. The World According To Carl: HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.
4. Wingless: Octuplet Cases Raises Moral, Ethical Questions.
5. Walls of the City: another attack on privacy.

Cross-posted @ Talon, The Conservative Underground, SmartGirlPolitics and Rosemary's News and Ideas. Digg! Digg!