Saturday, February 19, 2005

Estimating How Many IED Jammers are in or planned for Iraq

Rep. Taylor from Mississippi said this to Sec. Rumsfeld at the House Armed Services Committee Hearing last Wednesday.

"There is the technology to prevent the detonation of most improvised explosive devices. It exists and we've allocated money for it. And yet that number remains classified, Mr. Secretary, not because the insurgents don't know how few are protected, but because I'm of the opinion the American people would be appalled if they knew how few are protected. "

I applaud Rep. Taylor who was upset that 3 of his national guardsmen had been killed in the last 12 days without ever even seeing this equipment.

In prepared statements delivered to that committee is this document "A statement on the Posture of the United States Army 2005" by Army Sec. Francis Harvey and General Peter J. Shoomaker. which is available on this Army website . In that statement on page 12 it says that in August 2003 we had minimal capability in theater to counter IED devices. By January 2005 we have 1,496 systems in theater. I've since learned that there were only a couple of units in place in August 2003.

I've found four contract purchases from EDO for WARLOCK RED and WARLOCK GREEN systems.

  • November 2003 -- $47.4 million for an undisclosed number of units which I believe to be approximately 867 WARLOCK GREEN and 497 WARLOCK RED systems based on an estimated average price of $51,515 for the GREEN units and $5,497 for the RED systems. These prices are estimated as average costs derived from the March 2004 and December 2004 contracts. Initial delivery of these units seems to have been June 2004.
  • March 2004 -- $6.8 million for 132 WARLOCK GREEN systems. I'm speculating that those were delivered around September 2004.
  • December 3, 2004 -- $7.9 million for 100 WARLOCK GREEN and 500 WARLOCK RED units probably slated for Summer 2005 delivery.
  • January 18, 2005 -- $56.133 million for 720 WARLOCK GREEN and 720 WARLOCK RED COMBINED SYSTEMS with associated Dual Band Antennas at an average combined price of $77,960.

This would mean that there would be approximately 1,099 WARLOCK GREEN units in country (999 units) or on order for 2005 delivery (100 units).

There would also be an estimated 1,057 WARLOCK RED units in country (497 units) or on order for 2005 delivery (560 units).

There would be an estimated 720 combined WARLOCK RED & GREEN systems scheduled for delivery by around mid 2005.

In total it looks like there will be 1,380 units of various types delivered in 2005 to accompany the 1,496 in country as of January 2005 according to the Army Secretary.

All contract orders pending and delivered since late 2003 will total $118.2 million for these IED jammers.

That is a very small amount of money considering the staggering percentage of our casualties now caused by IEDs.

In the archived February 2005 section of this blog near the very end you will see a study I conducted of Hostile Fire casualties since January 1, 2005 in Iraq where the cause was specified. In that total 74% were of the Hostile Fire casualties were caused by IEDs.

891st Engineer Combat Battalion 2-19-05 Posted by Hello

Photo courtesy 891st Engineering Battalion-PFC Robert Babcock, Park City, gives the "I'm ready" sign as he poses in his gun box in Iraq. Babcock works in the HSC 891st, S-3 Operations section. Posted by Hello

Feb 05 Posted by Hello

Sixteenth Anniversary of Soviet Pullout from Afghanistan Posted by Hello

Information on IED Jammers

From what I can tell, the IED Jammers started with technology from the first Gulf War called SHORTSTOP.

SHORTSTOP protects people and equipment from proximity-fused weapons such as mortar rounds, rockets, and artillery shells. SHORTSTOP is an electronic countermeasures system that detects signals emitted from proximity-fused weapons, modifies the signal and sends it back to the weapon making the fuze think it is close to the ground. The fuze then prematurely detonates the warhead rendering the weapon essentially harmless.

Then it seems to have evolved in to WARLOCK RED which is vehicle mounted and jams the radio emitted signals from cell phones and wireless doorbells used to instruct the IED to detonate.

Then there is WARLOCK GREEN which seems to be more sophisticated and is used to actually detonate the warheads probably by transmitting RF or microwaves.

There is also an obscure reference in one journal to a project COTTONWOOD and there may be a means of frying the electonics via an EM pulse. On this point I'm purely speculating.

Anyway the persistent references to IEDs detonating just after the convoy passes are likely the result of such electronic counter measurers.

Here is a link describing SHORTSTOP in some detail.

Improvised Bombs Baffle Army

02:00 AM Jan. 26, 2005 PT

When U.S. Army Capt. Christopher Sullivan was killed last week by a handmade bomb, it was a tragedy for his family -- and a tragically ordinary event for the American military. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have been responsible for hundreds of American casualties in Iraq. And so far, there doesn't appear to be any reliable way of stopping them.

The Pentagon, scrambling for answers, is in the middle of a frantic search for high-tech methods to find and neutralize the jury-rigged weapons. Microwave blasts, radio-frequency jammers and chemical sensors are among the methods being explored and deployed in this largely secret effort.

But, because IEDs are cobbled together from "whatever the people that plant them can find," warned Cliff Anderson, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, "there is no magic bullet" that will suddenly end the IED threat.

Almost anything that blows up can be turned into an IED, from grenades to plastic explosives to leftover mines. The most everyday of electronics -- a cell phone, a garage door opener, a child's remote-control toy -- can be recast as a trigger. And the hiding places for the handmade bombs are everywhere: in the ground, aboard a truck, even inside an animal carcass.

So far, the strongest push to silence the bombs has come from the Army, which has ordered thousands of radio-frequency jammers from Simi Valley, California, firm EDO Communications & Countermeasures. The devices, called Warlock Green and Warlock Red, intercept "the signal sent from a remote location to the IED instructing it to detonate," an Army official told military newsletter Inside Defense.
The signal "cannot make contact, therefore when it can't make contact it doesn't detonate," he added. "(It's like) the cell phone never gets through, but (enemy forces) think it goes through."

The Army won't say much about the machines. But last week, service chiefs signed a contract with EDO for an additional 1,440 Warlock jammers, to be delivered in May at a cost of more than $56 million. ...

U.S. forces in Iraq lack bomb jammers

Published on Dec. 27, 2004

More Related Links
Despite the growing carnage caused by strategically placed roadside bombs in Iraq, the Defense Department has fielded only a small number of radio-signal jammers designed to stop devices set off by a variety of remote control systems, including garage door openers and toy receivers.

In the past year, the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (Cecom) has awarded three contracts to EDO, for a total value of $61.1 million, to build jammers for what Pentagon officials call improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The jammers have been code-named Warlock Green and Warlock Red.

But a spokeswoman for Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said only a small number of jammers have actually been sent to Iraq.

The spokeswoman could not say how many jammers have been bought or sent to Iraq because Pentagon officials consider the information classified. But, she added, the number of jammers in the hands of troops in Iraq is small. Cecom officials did not respond to queries from Federal Computer Week.

DOD officials have provided little information about the Warlock series of jammers, such as how they work or what each unit costs. However, it is known that the jammers are based on EDO's Shortstop Electronic Protection System, developed during the first Gulf War to counter artillery shells that use radio proximity fuzes.

According to an EDO fact sheet, Shortstop detects signals from such weapons and sends back a modified signal indicating that the fuze is close to the ground and causing the weapon to detonate prematurely.

EDO officials say the company has delivered 288 Shortstop units to the Army. They come in backpack, vehicle-mounted and stand-alone configurations. Some troops have used Shortstop systems as jammers in Iraq, including the 1st Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery, which used several vehicle-mounted devices while patrolling around the Baghdad airport earlier this year.

According to an article in the July issue of Air Defense Artillery magazine, the Shortstop systems can be programmed to jam a specific range of frequencies to defeat IEDs and even suicide bombers wearing explosives. The Army's fiscal 2004 budget included $46 million for Shortstop systems, but the Army's fiscal 2005 budget includes no such funding, despite the systems' apparent success against IEDs.

During their tours in Iraq, soldiers have discovered that a variety of devices are used to trigger IEDs, including wireless doorbells, car alarm remotes, remote control toy receivers and remote control garage door openers.

Army units that would seem most in need of IED jammers, such as transportation companies that operate daily convoys in Iraq, have not been furnished with the systems. Capt. Eric Hedlund, a transportation platoon commander with the New Mexico Army National Guard's 720th Transportation Company, said he never saw or heard of an IED jammer during his 15-month tour in Iraq, which ended in August.

"This is a new technology that everyone would like to have," Hedlund said. His unit's convoy operation covered 3.5 million miles in Iraq, and during his tour, he encountered IEDs "more often than I even want to remember," he said.

Taylor, who rode in an armored Humvee equipped with an IED jammer when he visited Iraq, believes such protection should be extended to all the troops.

"A jammer costs about $10,000, and it probably costs about $10,000 to bury a dead GI," Taylor said in a statement. He added, "I believe Americans would rather spend the $10,000 to prevent the GI's funeral from being held."

Friday, February 18, 2005

Memorial. PFC John D. Hart. Bedford Common. Oct. 03 Posted by Hello

Bedford Common where Minutemen mustered and trained. Posted by Hello

Oct. 19, 2003 Posted by Hello

Bedford Town Flag flown by Minutemen from Bedford at the Battle of Concord, April 1775. Posted by Hello

John Hart and Uncle Butch. Ft. Benning. Dec. 02 Posted by Hello

States shore up support for troops

... Across the country, experts say, state aid to military personnel is growing. It reflects the increasingly critical role of the National Guard in Iraq and the broader war on terror, and the mounting frustration with what some politicians see as Congress's insufficient contribution to the welfare of troops.

Legislation on behalf of military personnel has flourished since 2002, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson (D) says 24 states have contacted his office about the life-insurance bill since he signed it into law Feb 2. "I believe this is spreading like wildfire because this is the right thing to do," he says. "There is so much frustration with Congress doing so little."

War, experts point out, strikes closer to home when entire units are called to the front from a single state. "States are kicking in because the use of the National Guard is more extensive than they are accustomed [to]," says David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland. "It is their sons and daughters that are being called up." ...

'America would back Israel attack on Iran'

President George W Bush added a new twist to the international tension over Iran's nuclear programme last night by pledging to support Israel if it tries to destroy the Islamic regime's capacity to make an atomic bomb.

Asked whether he would back Israel if it raided Teheran's nuclear facilities, Mr Bush first expressed cautious solidarity with European efforts, led by Britain, France and Germany, to negotiate with Iran.

But he quickly qualified himself, adding that all nations should be concerned about whether Iran could make nuclear weapons.

"Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened." ...

Iraqi forces could be ready in less than two years: Rumsfeld

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that Iraqi security forces could be ready in less than two years to take over from US forces and the United States need not "hang around" until Iraq can defend itself against its neighbours. ...

The plans call for having 200,000 trained security forces in time for a referendum on an Iraqi constitution in September or October, and 230,000 by the end of the year for the next elections for a permanent government, he said.

ASV reportedly hit in January 05 by RPG-7. 2 KIAs. I can't confirm the report. Posted by Hello

Girls School Posted by Hello

Standing Alone. Posted by Hello

Iraqi Kurds Detail Demands for a Degree of Autonomy

The Kurds are staking out their position for a confederation or independence. This to me is another sign of a growing regional fragmentation of Iraq.

"Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Kurds have made known their determination to retain a degree of autonomy in the territory they have dominated for more than a decade. Now, after their strong performance in the elections last month, Kurdish leaders are for the first time spelling out specific demands.

From control of oil reserves to the retention of the Kurdish militia, the pesh merga, to full authority over taxation, the requested powers add up to an autonomy that is hard to distinguish from independence. ..."

Democrats still struggling to unite on Iraq

This is a good article about the difficulty the Democratic Party is having developing a unified position with relation to the Iraq war.

"All during the 2004 presidential campaign, Democrats tried to find their voice on the war in Iraq without much success. But even with President Bush's re-election and Iraq's recent vote now over, the nation's opposition party still can't unite behind a single stance.
Some Democrats, led by Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, have called for a quick reduction of troops in Iraq and a near-total withdrawal within a year. Others, such as Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, are pressing Bush to spell out an exit strategy. Still others, such as vanquished Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, are seeking to beef up the military, saying that the war against terrorism isn't going away. ..."

Iraq Must Unify Or Face 'Disaster,' Premier Warns

"Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has warned that unless Iraq takes steps toward national reconciliation -- "not by words but by deeds" -- the country faces disaster, and he said he feared that Iraq could fall under the sway of neighboring Iran and an austere form of Islamic government that would derail efforts to foster democracy. ..."

This interview is worth the read. My personal fear is that we may end up fighting Iraqs civil war.

Afghanistan Disarms 80 Percent of Country's 50,000 Militiamen

Afghanistan has disarmed 80 percent of its estimated 50,000 militiamen under a joint program with the United Nations, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.

No matter how you cut it, this looks like a major success to me.

Rumsfeld: Insurgency estimates not reliable


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld steadfastly declined yesterday to give Congress a public estimate of the size of the Iraqi insurgency.

Under persistent questioning by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Rumsfeld said that the disorganized nature of the insurgency makes it difficult to pin down a reliable estimate.

"They're not static. The numbers change," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "They're made up of different elements: criminals, Baathists, the former regime elements, the Zarqawi network and jihadists. Even though the jihadists are the smallest portion of them, they appear to us to be the most lethal."

Still, McCain pressed for numbers.

"Shouldn't the American people also know the size and shape and nature of the enemy that we're facing, since it's their sons and daughters who are going to serve?" he asked. Rumsfeld said it was not his place to declassify the estimates provided to him by intelligence services.

Rumsfeld had refused on Wednesday to give such an estimate to a House committee.

Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate panel that although the numbers are uncertain, the military believes they have gauged their capabilities.

"They have a limited capacity," he said, adding that they can conduct 50 to 60 attacks a day around the country.

On Wednesday, before the House Armed Services Committee, Rumsfeld was quoted an estimate by an Iraqi official that there were as many as 40,000 insurgents and 200,000 part-time supporters in Iraq. He responded that those figures were much higher than estimates by the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, which also differ from one another. "Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them (estimates)," Rumsfeld said, declining to provide the CIA and DIA numbers.

Military officials estimate 15,000 insurgents have been killed or captured in Iraq.

Critical Republicans Look to Cut Bush's $82 Billion War Request

"House Republican Conference Chairman Deborah Pryce (Ohio) said that several leaders have complained that the request includes expenses they think are obviously not emergencies. ...

"This issue of what goes in a supplemental is something that really is beyond my pay grade," Rumsfeld told the Senate Appropriations Committee. ...

Republicans said they were especially rankled by plans for the $658 million embassy in Baghdad, which the State Department said would have the largest staff of any U.S. embassy. The number of employees will not be released for security reasons, the staff said. Several Republican lawmakers said the embassy appeared to be a clearly foreseeable capital expense that did not belong in an emergency budget. "

I wonder what the Iraqis think when they see us building a $658 million embassy. Do they view us as liberators or occupiers?

THANK YOU! Rep. Taylor from Mississippi

This extraordinary exchange of frankness occurred on Wednesday at the House Armed Services Committee between Rep. Taylor of Mississippi and Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, for being here.

Mr. Secretary, I've listened with great interest to your remarks that the system works. As someone who represents the state of Mississippi, a state that has now lost four National Guardsmen in the past 12 days, I'll counter by sayingyour system doesn't work fast enough.

The first was with the body armor. You recall the initial story was that only the active duty force needed the best body armor, that the guardsmen and reservists didn't need it because they were not on the front line.

It didn't take the bad guys very long to figure out that there was no front line. If you shot a guardsman you probably killed him. If you hit a hit a guy in the 82nd he probably lived.

That took way too long to fix.

The second problem was with the armored Humvees. I know for a fact, speaking to my colleague Mr. Simmons (ph), that you were delivered a letter a year ago October, October of '03, on the need for armoring all of the Humvees.

TAYLOR: I know that our chairman brought it to your attention about a year ago January. I brought it to your attention a year ago January. And yet it took a Tennessee National Guardsman last December to remind you that the problem wasn't getting fixed.

As a matter of curiosity, I went to Rock Island arsenal two days after that conversation. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon, there were three blue collar workers working in this enormous facility: two cutting steel, one welding. I was told that the capacity for Rock Island was 1,000 a week and yet they were only making 200 a week.

Now, there are several things along the way that they're told didn't happen. The suppliers had put them back on the list and the question becomes, “Why isn't the secretary calling the suppliers and make them aware of this? “

That there are issues with funding, that they didn't know that the money was coming. My goodness, they didn't know the money was coming? We sure allocated it.

And then I'll follow it up with the third mistake, the jammers.

There is the technology to prevent the detonation of most improvised explosive devices. It exists and we've allocated money for it. And yet that number remains classified, Mr. Secretary, not because the insurgents don't know how few are protected, but because I'm of the opinion the American people would be appalled if they knew how few are protected.

I contrast that, Mr. Secretary, with a tape I wish I could've shown today of the Water Palace in Iraq. First time I went a year ago September, the place looked like it had been bombed. When I went back in January it once again looks like a palace. Our nation has spent about $12 million restoring that palace.

My question is, if there's a sense of urgency to repair palaces, why can't we get that sense of urgency on armoring vehicles? Why can't we get that sense of urgency on buying improvised explosive device jammers? Why can't we have that sense of urgency when it comes to the average G.I. on the street?

And, Mr. Secretary, again, you are the secretary of defense. I applaud the chairman for sending one of his staffers to actually make the phone calls to the steel mills and tell them the importance that those materials were going to armor Humvees and save kids' lives.

Why weren't you doing that? Why weren't you calling Rock Island and saying, “Guys, if you can make 1,000 a week, why don't you make 1,000 a week? We can't solve this problem too quickly “?

And in the case of the jammers, I still think you have way too few, as I just got off the phone with our adjutant general from Mississippi.

TAYLOR: Yes, the convoy is protected, but when you send a response team out on short notice, chances are they are not protected.

And those Mississippians who died in the past two weeks did not have one day of training with jammers for improvised explosive devices before they got in-theater, neither at Camp Shelby in Mississippi or at the national training center.

And the answer that I was given was, “Well, we can't train with them because we don't have enough of them. “ Well, heck, if you don't have enough of them, buy them. Tell us what the bill is, we'll pay it.

Mr. Secretary, I very much would appreciate a response to that.

RUMSFELD: As you can see on the chart that I presented earlier on up-armed Humvees...

TAYLOR: Mr. Secretary, that took a year. Where is the sense of urgency?

RUMSFELD: Could I finish my answer, please?

TAYLOR: Certainly.

RUMSFELD: You just said that it took a Tennessee guardsman in December of '04 for the Department of Defense to do something. If you look where December of '04 is, the department had been working aggressively well before anyone raised it in that meeting.

So your statement is not correct.

TAYLOR: No, Mr. Secretary, you were working aggressively and for some unexplained reason in the fall of '04, you went from doing a thousand a week down to a couple of hundred a week, and the need was not fulfilled yet. My question is why?

RUMSFELD: If you look at the chart, it shows what the total up- armored Humvees in Iraq were during that period. And it began very aggressively shortly after the need arose when the commander on the ground saw the use of the improvised devices to the extent they were being used. And the ramp-up began very aggressively during that period.

I would say what all of us here know: There isn't a life that's lost over there that isn't heartbreaking and deeply felt by all of the people in the Department of Defense.

And I think, however, to suggest that there has been anything other than a department-wide effort would not be an accurate representation.

The same thing is true with respect to body armor.

Do you want to mention the Rock Island arsenal issue?

MYERS: My understanding is, Congressman Taylor, that the Army talked to you yesterday about the Rock Island. I don't know if it satisfied your question or not.

MYERS: It's new to me. I have the answer they provided, which is that Rock Island is one of seven sites and they were transitioning between Humvee kits to truck kits -- and fuel trucks, I think, to be specific.

So other than that -- I have a chart. Can you put the chart up?

TAYLOR: If I may, did either of you gentlemen tour the Rock Island arsenal...

MYERS: I haven't toured it, no.

TAYLOR: ... in your jobs?

MYERS: Let me put up the chart, please, on total number of armored vehicles. Because we often talk about the up-armored Humvee. Put the one that has the total number of armored vehicles, it's...

HUNTER: General Myers, I appreciate the...

MYERS: Put it right there -- right there. Put that chart right there, you've got a hand on it. Right hand. Yes. Put that up there on the chart.

HUNTER: General Myers, I understand the importance of this question, but I want to remind my colleagues and my panel...

MYERS: Yes, sir. I'm just going to finish this, sir.

HUNTER: ... that we've taken five minutes. So if you can wrap it pretty quickly.

MYERS: Ten seconds. Let me just show you in 10 seconds that, if you look at the total number of vehicles in Iraq, over 35,000, 28,000 today are armored.

As the secretary said, with a few exceptions that we can explain to you off-line, nobody off installations in Iraq without being in some armor protection. And then by summer of '03, all the level three, which is the lowest level, will be replaced by level two armor protection.

So this has been an imperative and one that's received a lot of attention here in the last year and a half as the requirements continue to grow, by the way. They didn't start out at 35,000. They've grown over time.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Allawi party warns Iraq PM favourite over Iran ties, Islam

Note the growing concern amongst Iraqi secularists.

1-24th Inf. Reg. Mosul. Feb 05 Posted by Hello

Car Bomb. Mosul Feb 16, 05 Posted by Hello

Coming Home Posted by Hello

Lining Up the Axis of Evil - Syria, Iran, North Korea and Russia

New battle lines are being drawn and the old scars are showing.

Iran and Syria appear to be emerging as the new front line in the Axis of Evil with Russia and North Korea providing moral, economic and military support.

Iran and Syria articulated this week a willingness to provide for their mutual defense.

Who conducted the assassination in Lebanon is probably less important now than who is being blamed.

In the face of increasing US pressure on Syria following Monday's killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut, Iran and Syria declared Thursday that they would form a "common front to face threats."

The joint announcement, which came after a meeting in Tehran between Iranian Vice-President Muhammed Reza Aref and Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, "coincides with a sharp increase in regional tensions following the assassination of [Hariri] by a suicide car-bomber on Monday," reports the Australian.

Russia has also announced, as noted by the Christian Science Monitor article referenced above, that intends to sell Syria anti-aircraft systems to the consternation of Israel and despite Syria's historic bad debts.

Russia also articulated this week its willingness to deal in military and nuclear equipment with Iran. It appears that Russian political interests in the region overrode economics in the case of Syria or were in alignment with them as in the case of Iran.

"Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Russia said it will cooperate with Iran in the nuclear energy field, even after U.S. and European Union concerns over Iran's possible plans to produce nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Iran's Hassan Rouhani, secretary at Iran's Supreme Security Council, that Russia will continue cooperation with Iran in nuclear energy, security and economic projects, Putin's press service said in a statement on the Kremlin Web site. Putin met Rouhani in Moscow today, it said.

``Iran's recent actions convince us that Iran doesn't intend to produce nuclear weapons,'' Putin said, according to the statement. ``In accordance with this, we will continue cooperation with Iran in all spheres, including nuclear energy and military equipment.''

The U.S. has been urging Russia to pull out of the contract on helping to build an $800 million nuclear reactor in Iran's city of Bushehr saying Iran, the Middle East's second-biggest oil producer, doesn't need nuclear power and the facility is part of plans to produce nuclear weapons.

Russia took over the contract after Ukraine pulled out of the agreement to supply turbines for that plant in 1998 because of pressure from the U.S. and Israel.

Putin said he plans to visit Iran, his press service said. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami expects Putin to go to Tehran in the near future, Rouhani said, according to the Kremlin's press service. Russia and Iran have many joint interests in the Caspian region, the press service said, citing Putin. .."

Iran this week expressed its support of North Korea praising Pyongyang for "protecting the peace" and in support of North Korea's efforts to reunite the Korean Peninsula.

With Russia's decision to deliver nuclear fuel to Iran, the clock is now ticking for Israel to act within six months or let Iran go nuclear.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

1-508th 2003 Posted by Hello

1-508th Oct. 2003 Posted by Hello

173rd Airborne 2003 Posted by Hello


The Iraqi insurgency is strengthening.

Take the time to read this report, "Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States," by Vice Admiral Jacoby, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency dated 16 February 2005. Here are some excerpts:

"The insurgency in Iraq has grown in size and complexity over the past year. Attacks numbered approximately 25 per day one year ago. Today, they average in the 60s. Insurgents have demonstrated their ability to increase attacks around key events such as the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) transfer of power. Ramadan and the recent election. Attacks on Iraq's election day reached approximately 300, double the previous one day high of approximately 150 reached during last year's Ramadan.

"The pattern of attacks remains the same as last year. Approximately 80% of all attacks occur in Sunni-dominated central Iraq. ...

"Recent polls show confidence in the Iraqi Interim Government remains high in Shia and Kurdish communities and low in Sunni areas. ... Confidence in Coalition Forces is low. Most Iraqis see them as occupiers and a major cause of the insurgency.

"We believe Sunni Arabs, dominated by Ba'athist and Former Regime Elements (FRE), comprise the core of the insurgency. ...

"Jihadists, such as al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al Zarqawi, are responsible for many high profile attacks. ... Foreign fighters are a small component of the insurgency and comprise a very small percentage of all detainees.

"Keys to success remain improving security with an Iraqi lead, rebuilding the civil infrastructure and economy and creating a poitical process that major ethnica dn sectarian groups see as legitimate."

Meanwhile, Rumsfeld says in yesterday's hearings that he doesn't know, that he doesn't trust the estimates, and that its not his job. Myers says he doesn't know either but that Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, director of the Iraqi intelligence service's estimate of 40,000 active insurgents with 200,000 supporters is too high but declines to makes his own estimate in public.

Given that we killed 15,000 last year and seem to be taking them out at about 1500 per month, one has to conclude as the DIA Director does, that the insurgency is growing both in number and sophistication.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Iraq 173rd Airborne Posted by Hello

173rd Airborne. Iraq 2003 Posted by Hello

Oil pipeline outside Kirkuk. Feb. 2005. Its hard to see how oil revenues we counted on to pay for the new Iraq will materialize with active insurgent activities. Posted by Hello

IED damage. 2003 Note total lack of protection. Posted by Hello

Opposition During Wartime

This is a thought provoking article on why the Democrats aren’t getting traction with their opposition statements regarding the war.

Timing is one issue. Americans wanted a successful Iraqi election as much as the Shiites and the Kurds.

Also the messenger is a bigger problem than the messenger. The call for an exit made by Meehan and Kennedy is similar to the plan Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld espoused to Congress only a year and a half ago.

Having thought about this, I think the Democrats have to get back on message.

First, freedom and liberty are worth fighting for.

Second, Americans support our troops. This isn’t Vietnam. Americans support our troops more than they support the President. Karl Rove understands this. Does Dean?



Americans are at their best when acting as liberators. Even the most welcome of guests outlive their welcome. While we don’t have to leave immediately we need to unambiguously state our intention and stop building permanent bases in Iraq.

An exit policy in Iraq is in keeping with America’s highest ideals of freedom and common sense.

Suffering on the Home Front

You don't see many national articles on Gold Star families. This one in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram is a rare exception.

I don't necessarily agree with the political agenda of some of these groups. They fill a void though. American Gold Star Mothers has only about 1000 members nationally. It's virtually bankrupt and run by wonderful women in their 70s and 80s. The heart is there but the energy isn't.

So the traditional support structure found in WWII, Korea and Vietnam simply isn't there anymore. Churches don't know how to react. Families have no heritage to fall back on. Veterans groups are now better at organizing drinking socials than support groups.

The country forgot how to go to war.

Its been our observation that PTSD is going to be a very big problem with veterans from Iraq II. Also the impact on families, as described in this article is different for the simple reason that it was an elective war unlike Afghanistan.

Pentagon spending more per soldier than during any previous war

The title tells the story. With the current request before Congress, we will spent in Iraq half the amount we spent in Vietnam adjusted for inflation.

Put differently, the U.S. will spend with this $81 billion requested supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, more than any other country spends on defense including the Russians.

Is it worth it? We are still able to accomplish it with an all volunteer military. Soldiers prepared to fight and die for their country. Their lives a precious sacrifice, not taken lightly.

A volunteer force won't be treated as cannon fodder. So we will pay the tab. It's a bargain compared to the alternatives.

The problem isn't with the troops; its with the policy.

Justin Hebert. August 03. Posted by Hello

Make it count for a world in search of meaning. Posted by Hello

The mark. Posted by Hello