Saturday, March 12, 2005

Soviet Era Aircraft in Western Afghanistan near the Iranian Border. Posted by Hello

Soviet aircraft. Shindad Airbase. Afghanistan. Posted by Hello

King Abdullah II: 'Iraq is the Battleground—The West against Iran'

Here are excerpts from a very informative interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

On how to energize the 'silent majority' of Muslims that oppose Islamic extremism.

"It’s just not good enough to say, “Fine, we are God-fearing Muslims, this is what we believe in and this is the line that we draw in the sand.” The real question for us is how do we take the battle to the street and start winning the street war. ... One of our top priorities for addressing the “hearts and minds” question is to tackle the issue of extremist clergy and how they operate inside Muslim communities. ...Our challenge is how to get these ideas down to the average Muslim.... A lot of it is financing. ...We need to find the money so we can hire the right people [to preach in mosques].

Something else we are trying to do is turn religious training into a master’s program. Up until now, the situation was that the students with the worst grades on their tawjihi (high school graduation) tests had two options—journalism or religious affairs. The result is obvious, in both fields.

... In my view, Islam is going in a direction that’s very scary, and as the Hashemite Kingdom, we have a moral obligation to stand up. Yes, there are a lot of other things that are happening inside the Muslim world, but we have to draw the line. If we don’t, then these people are going to win.

He says Iraq is the battleground between Iran and the West.

"I don’t think Iraq should be a launching pad for an offensive against Iran. If you have a stable, capable Iraq defending itself, and you have the Iranians and other outsiders losing any strategic capability inside Iraq, you’ve won. But there are those in the U.S. administration who do not really understand the Iraqi mentality. They believe, for example, that Iraq should only have a police force. In Iraq, if you send the police into a situation, everybody throws rocks at them, but the minute the army walks in, the people are out with tea and cookies. Disbanding of the Iraqi armed forces and the security service was a major mistake at the beginning of the process. On de-Baathification, I’ve been saying to the president: identify the core element of the Baath Party, the ones that you’re concerned with, and then let the rest of Iraqi society off the hook."

He complains about the piecemeal training of police, counter-terrorists and the army in Iraq by the coalition.

At the moment, they’re trying to build the capacity of the army, but they’re in such a rush. They want to piecemeal people in, bring them in [for training] for six weeks and take them back. Really, that’s not how to train counterterrorist forces.

"Here in Jordan, because many [Iraqi special forces personnel] have come through our Special Operations Command for training, we could identify the best people that were in training and have them come back as instructors. The next course that we have is actually going to be trained by the Iraqi cadre that we initially had in the first two, three courses. ... " On training for the air force he says, "Two or three years from now, somebody’s going to say they need an air force, and you’re going to have to start from scratch with fighter pilots. Instead, let’s identify the young majors, captains, and even some lieutenants you think are good and bring them into the training. They have Mirages. We have Mirages. There are ways for us to help. But the typical argument that we get is that instead of spending a year training, we should do it in six weeks. Let’s do everything as we’ve said, but on top of that, let’s get a long-term plan in place. For example, I have a suggestion to put an Iraqi armored company inside of a Jordanian battalion or an Iraqi battalion inside a Jordanian brigade and have them go through our one-year training cycle. We’re downsizing our armed forces and will have these fine American tanks. We’ll give them the equipment, and we’ll train them inside of our brigades and our divisions, and then at the end of a training cycle they can go back to Iraq as a united, well-trained force."

He goes on to talk about the need for a viability with any Palestinian state. This is viability in every aspect. Without it he thinks the conflict will drag on for another generation.

I care about as much for Michael Jackson as I do for Martha Stewart. I think they are a media distraction from the bigger issues in this world. So while covering Iraq is dangerous and expensive for media houses, covering Michael Jackson is cheap. Jay Lenno gets in the act. Posted by Hello

NPR correspondent Amos details Iraq assignments

There are excerpts from an interview with veteran NPR correspondent on the changing times and reporting in Iraq.

CAMDEN (Feb 28): "We are too restricted. We cannot go out and be reporters in Iraq anymore and it is a big problem." -- Deborah Amos, foreign correspondent for National Public Radio.

National Public Radio foreign correspondent Deborah Amos, who has reported from Iraq off and on since the Iraq-American war started two years ago, said Iraq has become the most dangerous assignment in the world and one of the most difficult places to do accurate and balanced reporting.

Amos, ... said the full story of what is happening in Iraq is not being reported for two reasons: the dangerous situation in the country severely restricts movement, and the U.S. military restricts media access.

... She said most NPR reporters are holed up in a compound on a hilltop that resembles a base for a Colombian drug lord. The guarded compound has a vault that journalists can step into if "they" come to get them.

Because of the risk, it is also expensive for news agencies to put reporters in Iraq, and Amos questioned whether some organizations will continue to do so.

"When you read a news report, look at the second line," said Amos. "More and more you will find it reads: 'according to the U.S. military' or 'according to officials.' "You can no longer just rely on your news du jour, whether it's NPR or the New York Times," Amos said, adding that people must look at a variety of sources, including Arab media, to find out what is happening in Iraq and what Iraqis are thinking. ...

They [the military] have become much more sophisticated in how they manage the media. I think that's reflected in the "embed" system in Iraq. [In the embed system, reporters stay with a military unit, move with them and report from that vantage point.] The embed system has been great for the military. I'm not sure it has been great for us. They also have lists of "good" reporters and "bad" reporters. Basically, good reporters are those inside the U.S.-controlled green zone and those in the red zone are outside with the Iraqis. They're the bad reporters and access is denied to them. [NPR operates in the red zone.]

... the biggest difference was that in the first Gulf War journalists were never targeted. We didn't worry about being kidnapped, or that your last broadcast appearance could be in an orange jumpsuit with your head cut off. ...

Iraqi school girl waits for roadside bomb to be cleared. Posted by Hello

Sgt. Shane Pugh, a medic, was seriously injured along with another soldier in an IED attack on his humvee on March 2, 2005. Pugh assisted engineers in trying to control the bleeding of his partner. Pugh bled to death himself in the process. I see this story and wonder if a tourniquet or blood clotting powder would have made a difference. Posted by Hello

Soldier's final act helping comrade - The Clarion-Ledger

"MERIDIAN — Sgt. Shane Pugh's medical instincts took over in Iraq last week when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle, injuring himself and another soldier.

"Shane was an expert in dealing with wounds that come when that happens," said Maj. Gen. Harold Cross, adjutant general for the Mississippi National Guard. "Though he was injured himself, another soldier lay wounded next to him. Shane directed a group of primarily engineers on what to do to stop that soldier's bleeding enough to where he could be stabilized."

Sgt. Ellis Martin needed 52 units of blood while en route from Iraq to a hospital in Germany. He has undergone four surgeries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and is now in critical condition, Cross said.

Pugh, a 25-year-old medic with the 155th Brigade Combat Team, didn't survive the March 2 attack. He was buried here Thursday. ..."

Iraqi insurgents put the Web in their arsenal

IHT publishes this story on how the insurgents are using the web as part of their propaganda arsenal. We've noted it here in the last month as videos of attacks and bombings in Iraq are posted on the internet within hours.

In an inteview we posted this week, a Sunni clerk was encouraging children to attack Americans in Iraq and to be sure to take video footage, which he said was as important as the success of the attack itself.

There are indications from the recuitment of children and the messages associated with the internet postings that there is a desire to increase recruitment. Perhaps we are making some dent in the cadre. Its hard to say. Here is an excerpt:

"But in the last two weeks something has changed. Every day now, new messages appear on the Web offering encouragement to resistance fighters, and last week Zarqawi's group started an Internet magazine. ...The Iraqi insurgency appears to have mounted a full-scale propaganda war.

And while the methods are not new - most militant groups now rely on the Web to recruit new adherents - the recent flurry of propaganda from Iraq has a distinctly defensive sound. The violence here has not let up, but the relatively peaceful elections, and the new movements toward democracy in other Arab countries, appear to have had a dispiriting effect on the insurgents, terrorism analysts say.

"I think they feel they are losing the battle," said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, an American nonprofit group that monitors Islamist Web sites and news operations. "They realize there will be a new government soon, and they seem very nervous about the future." ...

"It is impossible to say how successful these Internet appeals will be. But one thing is clear: the Internet is a two-way mirror, allowing outsiders a fuller view of the insurgents' ideas.

On Wednesday, for example, a message was posted on an Islamist Internet message board pointing out that the recent shooting of a newly freed Italian hostage had increased political pressures on Italy to withdraw its troops from Iraq. The writer proposed taking another Italian hostage in Iraq to "add fuel to the fire while it is hot" and perhaps force Italy out of Iraq.

That posting drew a response from Abu Maysar al-Iraqi, the pen name of the spokesman for Zarqawi's group. He promised to "repeat the nightmare, again and again."

Madrid 05. A frail and temporary peace made with the devil. Posted by Hello

Madrid. One year later. Has appeasement made it safer? I doubt it. Posted by Hello

Madrid one year later. Posted by Hello

Al-Qaida-linked group scoffs at Madrid's terrorism conference

MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base captures this AP story.

"A militant group calling itself Al-Qaida in Iraq ridiculed an international terrorism conference in Spain held to mark the first anniversary of deadly train bombings in Madrid, telling the nations who participated they "would never be victorious."

The statement was issued by Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, the designated "media coordinator" for al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The Jordanian-born militant and his group have claimed responsibility for scores of attacks and bombings on ordinary Iraqis, as well as the kidnapping and beheading of foreign and Iraqi hostages.

"You infidels, whatever you prepare, you will be defeated and never be victorious because Allah has promised us victory. So you have only to wait ... and we will be waiting too," said a statement purportedly posted by the group on an extremist Islamic Web site on Saturday." ...the statement said. "They call Islam terrorism. Terrorizing enemies of God is our faith and religion which is taught to us by our Quran."

The four-day international conference in Madrid ended Friday after marking the one-year anniversary of the March 11 al-Qaida train bombings in the capital that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500. ... The militants devoted special pages on the Web site to the anniversary of Spain's worst terrorist attack.

"Lest we forget. The first brilliant anniversary of Madrid attack. Here where we accept congratulations," the Web site page said.

The Counterterrorism Blog: Africa: The Next Afganistan?

The Counterterrorism Blog: Africa: The Next Afganistan?Counterterrorism Blog tracks a discussion within the House International Relations Committee concerning fears that Africa has all the components to become the next Afghanistan; an international terrorist sanctuary.

A Tale of Two Worlds

Belmont ClubThis link is to an interesting article in the Belmont Club blog regarding conflicting strategies and visions within the Department of Defense. Much to think about.

Senators want tourniquets issued to troops

Convinced that modern tourniquets would save lives, lawmakers are asking Pentagon and Army officials to investigate why the simple device is not standard issue for U.S. troops in Iraq — as military surgeons and leaders have recommended for more than two years.

Two senators wrote to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday, asking him to conduct a thorough and “high level” review of the issue, and requesting a timetable for outfitting the roughly 150,000 soldiers and Marines in Iraq with modern tourniquets.

The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee made a similar request of top officials in the Army.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Pentagon has failed to identify and fulfill urgent requests for equipment essential to saving lives of our troops in the field,” Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin and Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, both Democrats, wrote to Rumsfeld according to a report Thursday in The (Baltimore) Sun.

“This type of delay is disturbing during times of peace, but in the midst of the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is nothing short of appalling,” the letter said.

The calls for an investigation followed a story Sunday in The Sun detailing how efforts to supply soldiers with the $20 medical devices have been delayed while training manuals are written and the Army conducts tests to determine the best pouch in which to put the tourniquets. Military doctors say the simple medical devices could significantly reduce deaths from extremity wounds — the leading cause of preventable death in combat.

The U.S. Central Command, which oversees combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued a directive Jan. 6 requiring every soldier in Iraq to carry a modern tourniquet, but compliance was left up to individual units. Many units have not acquired the devices.

Modern tourniquets, typically a nylon and plastic version of the simple cloth-and-stick device that armies have used to stop bleeding from arm and leg wounds for centuries, already are carried by Army Rangers, special operations troops, and Marines. A committee of military doctors recommended in February 2003 that every American soldier carry one.

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, testifying before the appropriations subcommittee Wednesday promised to provide a detailed report to the Senate. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, assured the committee that none of the nation’s front-line soldiers enter combat without everything they need, and he said soldiers are trained to make improvised tourniquets out of bandages.

But he also said he was unaware that some troops in Iraq do not have tourniquets, and added, “I see no reason why there would be any shortage.” - War on the cheap - War on the cheap

WHAT POSSIBLE reason could the Pentagon have for failing to provide its combat soldiers with a potentially lifesaving $20 tourniquet? There is no good reason, and no excuse should be tolerated.

As The Sun's Robert Little detailed recently, some soldiers are dying in Iraq for lack of that simple piece of equipment, despite the sophisticated combat trauma units deployed there. What's so infuriating about this gross oversight is that the military concurs with its medical experts on the benefits of tourniquets in combat. It has included them in a newly approved first-aid kit for soldiers. But the civilians and generals running this country's $82 billion war machine haven't placed an order - not one, according to Mr. Little's report.

And if the military just went out and bought the tourniquets and handed them out to those units that don't have them, medical experts told Mr. Little, the cost would be no more than $2 million.

Those most lacking this first-aid device apparently are National Guard and Reserve soldiers, who represent 43 percent of the 150,000-member fighting force in Iraq. The Pentagon sent them to war without sufficient armored vehicles and body armor, which left troops vulnerable to roadside bombs and the lethal shrapnel they unleash. And when soldiers are hit, as was 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein, the blood loss from extremity wounds can be fatal. A buddy trying to save Lieutenant Bernstein struggled to fashion a makeshift tourniquet on his left thigh, but it snapped. The lieutenant died that night.

The decision to supply field troops with tourniquets is the prerogative of individual units, which accounts for the fact that some divisions have them and some don't. U.S. soldiers have been resourceful in the field and saved lives as a result. But should they be forced to rely on tourniquet donations from volunteer organizations to get what they rightly deserve?

The Pentagon owes its troops and the public an answer.

Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun

Friday, March 11, 2005

Spring Cleaning Posted by Hello

Rose Garden in Snow. March 8, 2005 Posted by Hello

Baghdad police chief shot by insurgents dressed in police uniforms. 3-10-05 Posted by Hello

Warning. Posted by Hello

The failings of 'the army you have'

The Asia Times produces this superb analytical piece authored by Michael Schwartz regarding the U.S. military strategy in Iraq. It is worth a thorough read. We will be reflecting on it for years to come.

The crux of the article is that the army we have in Iraq is designed to fight and win against a conventional enemy with supply lines that can be disrupted and an enemy with a command and control system which can be targeted and destroyed.

In the short, dreary history of America's Iraq war, US leaders have repeatedly acted on gross misconceptions about whom they were fighting - sometimes based on faulty intelligence, but sometimes in the face of perfectly accurate intelligence. ... it is worthwhile attempting to understand the underlying pattern that produces this almost predictable error.

The doctrine of targeting supply lines and an enemy's command and control structure is an idea that fixates the upper level civilian and military leadership of the U.S. government. This model of thinking overwhelms our view of the world and any evidence to the contrary is dismissed. The model was used repeatedly to describe Saddam Hussein, then his sons, then the 'dead-enders', then the Syrian-Iranian connection, then Zarqawi, then Zarqawi with Ba'athists, despite overwhelming evidence that while important, they were not the underlying strength of this insurgent force. But rather than adapt our thinking to the new realities, we simply change the power point slides at the briefings to reference the new supply lines and the new command-and-controller de jour. Hence we seemly get bad intelligence over and over again and we interpret it poorly even when the information is accurate. No one is so blind as one that does not want to see.

The Iraqi Sunni insurgency de-emphasizes logistics and centralized command and control in order to survive.

Guerrilla wars violate the command-and-control portrait in two important ways: local units must, by and large, supply themselves (since an occupation army would be likely to interdict any regular shipments of supplies); and they are likely to have substantial autonomy (since hit-and-melt tactics do not lend themselves well to central decision-making).

Yet our military's infatuation with fighting with the army we have causes us to invent a command structure to attack instead of recognizing that it is part of a large, diffuse and growing Sunni insurgency. CIA reports to this affect are dismissed and the analysts purged.

"You go to war with the army you have." This is a comment pregnant with meaning for organizational sociologists, because it illustrates a familiar pattern of organizational problem-solving. If a product is not selling well, for example, an engineering organization might conclude that better engineering of the product was in order; a manufacturing firm, that more efficient production technology was needed; and a marketing company, that better advertising would do the trick. This sort of organizational idee fixe has led to some truly horrendous failures in business - and military - history.

To destroy the insurgency requires ample local intelligence and population support combined with sufficient troop strength to occupy all affected areas. We have neither. So we have a blunt conventional army that acts like hammer pounding everything in its way as if they were all nails. The resulting collateral damage only makes the problem worse. While a guerilla force cannot coordinate its actions well or drive out an occupier, it does have the virtue of staying power. Without intelligence from local support or sufficient troops strength to impose our will via universal occupation, we cannot win either. Hence we will experience a lengthy period of mutual attrition without success though the cost of sustained occupation far outweighs the costs to the insurgents of a protracted conflict.

Quantifying the UAV program in Iraq

U.S. Air orce Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper made these comments at Nellis Air Force Base.

"We have 750 UAVs over there," Jumper said. "And people are clamoring for more."

The problem is not that there are too few aircraft."The problem is getting command and control to coordinate activities so we have them in the right place at the right time." Jumper said.

The MQ-1 Predators are used to search everything from building complexes to forested areas. The unmanned planes are equipped with laser-guided Hellfire missiles and infrared cameras. The Predator has been so successful in action that the Bush administration is seeking $194 million to expand the program.

"The Predator people are building as many as they can build," Jumper said. A newer larger version, the Predator B, is in the first stages of development and might debut in Spring 2006. It's a necessary next step, Jumper said, because the Predators now being flown in combat are not as efficient as they could be. "We've built 126 or 127 Predators," Jumper said. "Almost 50 percent of them have been lost for one reason or another."

Copy of Letter to Rumsfeld from Senators Durbin and Levin

Here is a PDF file of a joint letter from Senators Durbin and Levin to Sec. Rumsfeld asking for his immediate action on rectifying the Army's failure to meet it own current guidelines with regard to the ubiquitous issuance of tourniquets.

Anti-coalition grafitti being painted over

Major K.: Signs are everywhereMajor K's blog reports that anti-coalition graffiti is being painted over by locals. He reports it as a new development and provides a photo to illustrate it.

The Counterterrorism Blog: Hotel Bombing in Baghdad and Update on Capture/Deaths of Zarqawi Associates

Evan Kohlmann from the Counterterrorism Blog posts links to two videos along with a graphical description issued by the Iraqi government of identified members of al-Zarqawi's immediate network.
  • The first video is of the suicide bomb attack on the Al-Sadeer Hotel in Baghdad.
  • The second video is of a car bombing of what looks like a U.S. marine patrol near Fallujah on March 9, 2005. Both are violent.
  • Thursday, March 10, 2005

    PFC John Daniel Hart. Killed in Action, Taza Iraq. Oct. 18, 2003. Bronze Star. Purple Heart. Posted by Hello

    Army Bureaucrats Let Soldiers Bleed­Out

    Below is an excellent sequel by Robert Little of the Baltimore Sun to his blockbuster story published earlier this week on the lack of tourniquets in the Army. Now he follows up with the fact that in addition to tourniquets, blood clotting agents recently mandated as standard equipment in combat aren’t being issued to normal army or guards units.

    After the military medical committee recommended the distribution of blood clotting agents and tourniquets in Feb. 2003, the marines issued them to all their combatants by the summer of 2003. The Army only issued them to Special Forces, Rangers, the 82nd and medics.

    The Army’s own reports indicate that 10-20% of combat fatalities have been saved with tourniquets and blood clotting bandages. Half the cases of bleed-out occur before the medic reaches the soldier. That means roughly 150 dead today if we extrapolate from the 1500 military fatalities so far in Iraq.

    Tourniquets and QuikClot blood clotting powders distributed to all 150,000 troops in Iraq would be an expenditure of less than $8.25 million ($20 for tourniquet and $35 for QuikClot bought on-line, no volume discount, times 150,000.) Forgetting the human tragedy of needless death and suffering, the simple death benefit payment ($100 K x 150= $15 MM) of these soldiers would pay for this entire program two times over.

    Meanwhile the Army babies two special projects it has been working on, one is only recently in limited production and the other hasn’t been fully developed. So instead of saving hundreds of soldiers from death or injury with simple and imperfect tools, it sought perfection versus buying good enough with a Navy developed product fielded in 2003 to all Marines in combat. QuikClot is now even fielded by the Iraqi National Guard!

    Production rates for tourniquets and blood clotting agents currently on the market and being used by marines could be produced within 2 months for all combatants, yet the Army is now going to spend 2005 looking at pouches and funding $10.5 million for developmental work on its pet projects.

    The logical move was to field the QuikClot powders and tourniquets to all soldiers NOW (or two years ago) and then following up with the improved agents in a year or two.

    At what point is someone in the Department of Defense held accountable for aiding and abetting the enemy? At what point does this become gross negligence? Dereliction of duty?

    Perhaps the public shame over this mismanagement and some congressional oversight will rectify this fixable problem before too many more Americans bleed out on the battlefield.

    Our son, PFC John D. Hart died from a gun shot to the neck holding an empty machine gun, after his ammunition had been spent. He died protecting Lt. David Bernstein, fifth in his West Point class, and others on Oct. 18, 2003. SPC Joshua Sams tried everything he could with inadequate supplies to stop the blood loss David Bernstein experienced from a gun shot to the leg. David might be alive today had he had a $20 tourniquet or blood clotting powder.

    Let’s save some other family’s father, son, or daughter from preventable tragedy. They are our kids. We put them in harms way.

    Let us not allow negligence to go uncorrected another day. We owe it to the soldiers.

    Here is the Baltimore Sun article which was published Thursday. I’m listing it in full with my emphasis denoted because I’m concerned that the link will disappear.

    Probe urged of policy on tourniquets

    Senators ask military why devices go unused; Nothing short of appalling'; request goes to Rumsfeld for 'high level' review

    By Robert Little
    Sun National Staff

    March 10, 2005

    Members of the U.S. Senate called on the Pentagon and Army officials yesterday to investigate why soldiers in Iraq continue to go into battle without the modern tourniquets that military leaders told them to carry two months ago - and that military surgeons and medical specialists have recommended for more than two years.

    Two senators also wrote to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday, asking him to conduct a thorough and "high level" review of the issue, and requesting a timetable for outfitting all of the roughly 150,000 soldiers and Marines in Iraq with modern tourniquets. Military doctors say the simple medical devices could significantly reduce deaths from extremity wounds - the leading cause of preventable death in combat.

    The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee made a similar request of top officials in the Army.

    "We are deeply concerned by reports that the Pentagon has failed to identify and fulfill urgent requests for equipment essential to saving lives of our troops in the field," Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin and Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, both Democrats, wrote to Rumsfeld.

    "This type of delay is disturbing during times of peace, but in the midst of the armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is nothing short of appalling," the letter said.

    The calls for an investigation came in response to a story Sunday in The Sun detailing how efforts to supply soldiers with the $20 medical devices have been delayed while training manuals are written and the Army conducts tests to determine the best pouch in which to put the tourniquets. The U.S. Central Command, which oversees combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued a directive Jan. 6 requiring every soldier in Iraq to carry a modern tourniquet, but compliance was left up to individual units and many have not acquired the devices.
    Bleeding to death

    Army Rangers, Special Operations troops, U.S. Marines and other warfighting units began several years ago to carry modern tourniquets, typically a nylon and plastic version of the simple cloth-and-stick device that armies have used to stop bleeding from arm and leg wounds for centuries. A committee of military doctors recommended in February 2003 that every American soldier carry one, but many don't, and some have bled to death from wounds on which a tourniquet might have been effective, according to more than a dozen military doctors and medical specialists interviewed by The Sun. It is unclear how many such deaths have occurred, because the Pentagon does not release detailed information about combat casualties, and it has only recently created a detailed database for collecting information about combat injuries.

    Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, testifying before the appropriations subcommittee yesterday, said he is "generally familiar with the issue" and promised to provide a detailed report to the Senate. Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the army chief of staff, said he was unaware that some troops in Iraq do not have tourniquets, and added, "I see no reason why there would be any shortage."

    Everything they need

    Schoomaker also assured the committee that none of the nation's front-line soldiers enter combat without everything they need, and he said soldiers are trained to make improvised tourniquets out of bandages. Some of the military's top surgeons and medical specialists have recommended for more than two years that ready-made tourniquets be issued to every soldier in a combat zone, arguing that improvising can be impractical and unreliable under fire and that injuries in modern warfare are not limited to the front-line fighting troops.

    A spokesman for Virginia Sen. John W. Warner, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the committee is working with the Pentagon to "verify that all possible steps are being taken" to ensure that soldiers in Iraq are provided with tourniquets.

    Durbin, the Senate's Democratic whip, said he intends to "put enough pressure on the military so they move and make this happen."

    "The answers I got from the secretary of the Army were troubling," Durbin said. "If certain branches of the military - Rangers, Special Ops, 82nd Airborne - if they think this should be standard issue, then it ought to be standard for anyone who's going into a combat area."

    Harvey also said yesterday that the Army's efforts to outfit every soldier with a new blood-clotting dressing, which can stop bleeding in some cases when even a tourniquet is ineffective, have been hampered by concerns about the technology. One product, a granular clotting agent called QuickClot, has been shown to cause burns when poured into a wound, he said.

    The U.S. Marines, however, has approved the use of QuickClot and outfitted
    each of its combat troops with a pouch of the material
    , according to the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. The Army continues to buy a blood-clotting bandage called HemCon, but its manufacturer can produce only about 10,000 a month and has made only about 82,000 since the product was invented. Mike Williams, vice president of finance for HemCon Inc., said he considers the Marine Corps product a good alternative until production of his bandage can be increased.

    "Certainly if you were about to bleed to death, QuickClot is something that could help you," Williams said.

    'Hemostatic' dressings

    The Central Command policy requiring each soldier to carry a tourniquet also required each to carry one of the new "hemostatic" dressings, but few soldiers do. An Army combat surgeon told The Sun he is unaware of any conventional Army units outfitted with them.

    Raymond Huey, chief executive officer of Z-Medica LLC, which manufactures QuickClot, said his product has "absolutely no manufacturing issues"that would delay sending it to American troops. He said his company filled an order in February for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, taking about five weeks to manufacture, package and ship 80,000 to troops in the Iraqi National Guard.

    The manufacturers of the Army's two combat-approved tourniquets said they are prepared to produce as many as 100,000 a month between them if an order is placed.

    The committee of doctors and medics that recommended widespread tourniquet use in 2003 wrote its report for the U.S. Special Operations Command, but its recommendations have since been adopted by surgeons and medical specialists throughout the military. The new doctrine of Tactical Combat Casualty Care goes against the long-taught advice that tourniquets should be only a last resort, advising soldiers instead to make liberal use of tourniquets to ensure they live long enough to reach a hospital or aid station.

    The new guidelines have filtered into the Army's basic training program, and they led the Army surgeon general several weeks ago to approve a new first-aid kit for soldiers that includes a modern tourniquet and other lifesaving equipment. The Army is conducting tests to determine the best pouch for the kits, a process that could take months. Durbin said he intends to accelerate the process.

    "The experts have determined that putting a tourniquet in the hands of every soldier is a vital life-saving measure," Durbin and Levin said in their letter to Rumsfeld. "Holding up the fielding of a life-saving medical kit simply to optimize its carrying pouch suggests a mindset oblivious to the wartime needs of our soldiers."

    Copyright © 2005,

    The Baltimore Sun

    Here are links to Related Posts:

    The limits of the all-volunteer force model II

    Here is a link to the Intel-Dump which is a blog that did an excellent story on the outer limits of the all volunteer military earlier this week. Now they've done a sequel with multiple reference links. Two main themes in this article:
    • Minority and female recruitment is way off target.
    • National Guard recruitment is off significantly. The privilege of being shot in second hand equipment, fewer benefits than active duty soldiers but an equal serving of combat is finally adding up.

    The downside of poor equipment and treatment of national guardsmen is that a volunteer army can't be treated as cannon fodder. If we want a volunteer force, and I think we do, then we had better get the procurement issues impacting basic soldiers fixed.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    Honolulu. March 05 Posted by Hello

    Honolulu March 05 memorial for fallen in Iraq. Posted by Hello

    PFC Choe Family. March 7, 2005. Arlington National Cemetery. Posted by Hello

    Beirut pro-Syrian rally 3-8-05 Posted by Hello

    Estimating the Number of IED Jammers in Iraq

    In earlier posts on this blog I've looked at the individual line items for jammers. Rep. Taylor of Mississippi has been maintaining for months that the reason this number has been obscured is to prevent the American public from realizing how few have actually been purchased despite the obvious effectiveness of them and their ease of production.

    In Nov. 2004, Taylor raised this issue and almost pleaded with the Army to get some to his deploying Mississippi national guard unit. In February 2004 he ripped at Sec. Rumsfeld in a House Armed Services Committee Hearing about his negligence in handling this matter. Rep. Taylor had just lost 3 Mississippi National Guardsmen in 12 days to IEDs. He claims that that unit had not even seen a jammer simulator much less having the real item.

    According to Gen. Schoomaker in his statement of military preparedness to Congress in early February 2005 there are 1496 IED electronic jammers in Iraq. Rep. Taylor and the general he discusses the matter with in Nov. 2004 say purchase order are planned for 3300 additional jammers. That would mean a total of 4,796 by the end of 2005 if publicly stated needs are funded.

    Based on issued and public contracts I estimate there are purchase orders for 1380 units to be delivered in 2005. Add that to the 1,496 already there totals 2,876 that I can account for as deliverable by the end of 2005.

    There is debate in Washington about whether the military has actually funded the program to its own stated requirements. The army says yes, the evidence says no. We will probably learn more details this month as congressional hearings and budget mark-ups get down to individual line items.

    Meanwhile, expect defense contractors to be quiet as they don't know whether they are getting coal or candy in their fiscal 2006 budget stockings. I've heard from multiple contractors that they've been threatened by the Pentagon with repercussions if they make public statements.

    Biggest Army Procurement in History Attempts to Skirt Scrutiny

    As usual there is an excellent post from Here is a summary:

    The $127 billion Future Combat Systems is the biggest, most expensive modernization program in the history of the U.S. Army. So why are its components being bought like thousand-dollar PCs? That's what Sen. John McCain would like to know.

    The FCS "encompasses everything from fleets of new robotic vehicles to a whole new architecture for battlefield communications to new uniforms for the troops."

    "The FCS system is being included in the fiscal '06 budget as a commercial off-the-shelf item. That means that they are relieved of the obligation to [give] cost and purchasing data to military auditors," according to Sen. McCain.

    The FCS program has already been rejiggered, its costs have inflated, its deadlines have pushed back. This project needs more oversight, not less.

    Honeywell Begins Flight Tests Of New 13-Inch UAV

    Honeywell announced last Thursday that it has begun flight testing a new 13-inch autonomous surveillance aircraft that a foot soldier can carry on his back.

    "The flight tests are demonstrating that this aircraft performs as designed and will provide intelligence on enemy activity without risking the lives of human pilots or ground reconnaissance teams," said Vaughn Fulton, Honeywell Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager.

    It flies like a helicopter. There is a picture of it in the article.

    Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion

    Here is the conclusion of a report prepared by the Army's official historian, Major Isaiah Wilson.

    "The U.S. military lost its dominance in Iraq shortly after its invasion in 2003, a study concluded.

    A report by the U.S. Army official historian said the military was hampered by the failure to occupy and stabilize Iraq in 2003. As a result, the military lost its dominance by July 2003 and has yet to regain that position.

    "In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly lost the momentum and the initiative gained over an off-balanced enemy," the report said. "The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing have been playing catch-up ever since.""

    Wilson said army planners failed to understand or accept the prospect that Iraqis would resist the U.S. forces after the fall of the Saddam regime. He deemed the military performance in Iraq mediocre and said the army could lose the war.

    ""U.S. war planners, practitioners and the civilian leadership conceived of the war far too narrowly," the report said. "This overly simplistic conception of the war led to a cascading undercutting of the war effort: too few troops, too little coordination with civilian and governmental/non-governmental agencies and too little allotted time to achieve success."

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Squad Tactics in Urban Terrain -- Observations

    Here is a list of lessons learned from marines in Fallujah. It is part of a multi-part series titled.

    Lessons Learned: Infantry Squad Tactics in Military Operations in Urban Terrain During Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq
    Sgt. Catagnus, Jr. E. J., Cpl. Edison, B. Z., LCpl. Keeling, J. D., and LCpl. Moon, D. A.
    3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Scout/Sniper Platoon, Section 1

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Senior Iraqi official slain, 15 headless corpses found

    The deputy director of the Iraqi interior ministry's naturalisation department, Ghazi Mohammed Issa, was killed in broad daylight outside his Baghdad home by masked gunmen in a car ...

    More than 1,300 police and national guards have been killed by rebels since the fall of Saddam in April 2003.

    Meanwhile, the Iraqi army said it found 15 beheaded corpses, both men and women ... [they are believed to be missing Shiite pilgrims].

    Five soldiers were killed overnight in Iskandariya when a coffin attached to a car's rooftop exploded near their checkpoint, the Iraqi army said. ...

    Four women with suicide belts were also arrested in Iskandariyah and confessed to working for the militant group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, it added.

    Hezbollah in Lebannon March 8, 2005 organized 500,000 person demonstration in support of Syria and against the United States. Battle lines being drawn. Posted by Hello

    Cpl. Jacob Palmatier killed in action by an IED in Feb. 2005 Posted by Hello

    Soldier looking for evidence in an IED crater. 2005 Posted by Hello

    Inside the Committee that Runs the World The NSC

    Ed Fields forwarded this article written by David Rothkopf in the March/April 2005 issue of Foreign Policy. It's an exceptional article on the workings of the National Security Council and the infighting between Bush 41 staffers and Bush 43 and gang. Here are some excerpts:

    September 11, 2001, was a catalytic event that revealed the core character of the Bush administration’s national security team. As rival factions fought for the president’s ear, the transformative ideals espoused by the neocons gained ascendancy—triggering a rift that has split the Republican foreign-policy establishment to its foundations. ...

    An increasingly bitter philosophical debate pits the supporters of the policies of former President George H.W. Bush ... against those who back views embraced by President George W. Bush and his team ... . What Scowcroft calls the "traditionalists” of the Bush 41 team are pitted against the“transformationalists” of the Bush 43 team, pragmatists vs. neocons, internationalists vs. unilateralists ...

    Rice is at the center of the divide within the administration, pulled between her traditionalist mentor and her transformationalist president. ...

    Colin Powell, Rice’s predecessor at Foggy Bottom who served in both Bush administrations, sees a strong contrast between father and son: “Bush 43 is like 41 in that he is ready to act, but [for 41] it was a more deliberate process, whereas 43 is guided more by a powerful inertial navigation system than by intellect. He knows kind of what he wants to do and what he wants to hear is how to get it done.”

    Those who know the president well suggest that George W. Bush’s decisiveness might be attributed, in part, to a higher power. ... But, as Scowcroft also notes, the problem with absolutist beliefs “is that they can get you into traps in which the ends justify the means. ... The paradoxical implication is clear: From undercutting traditional relationships with allies to Abu Ghraib, the less moral ambiguity you have in your worldview, the more of it you can justify in your actions.

    Another problem with this approach, according to Scowcroft, comes from the fact that “if you believe you are pursuing absolute good then it is a sin to depart from it.”

    But the obstacle that most frustrated Powell was one that was 30 years in the making: the Cheney-Rumsfeld partnership. As Cheney reportedly jokes, “When I look at Don Rumsfeld, I see a great secretary of defense. When Rumsfeld looks at me, he sees a former assistant to Don Rumsfeld.” ... Kissinger has been heard to describe Rumsfeld as the “most ruthless man” he ever met while in government. It is a view that is disputed by almost no one.

    Many senior administration officials were frustrated by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) repeated disinclination to play by the rules, arriving at meetings unprepared, refusing to discuss or advance issues, and working through back channels. One NSC staffer complained he spent half his time “cleaning up DoD’s messes, much of the time actually at the Pentagon, trying to soothe military leadership who had been snubbed or burned by Rummy and his guys.”...

    As for the president himself, one Bush family intimate, commenting on the commander in chief’s renewed sense of mission, muses, “I don’t know exactly what it means to be a born-again Christian, but, if it means that Jesus has entered your soul, then does it mean that you are infallible?

    Spy Agencies Fear Some Applicants Are Terrorists

    This article shows up in the LA TimesSpy Agencies Fear Some Applicants Are Terrorists.

    "U.S. counterintelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Al Qaeda sympathizers or operatives may have tried to get jobs at the CIA and other U.S. agencies in an effort to spy on American counterterrorist efforts.

    So far, about 40 Americans who sought positions at U.S. intelligence agencies have been red-flagged and turned away for possible ties to terrorist groups, the officials said. Several such applicants have been detected at the CIA. ..."

    'We think terrorist organizations have tried to insinuate people into our hiring pools.'
    -- Barry Royden, CIA counterintelligence instructor

    No real surprise here but thought it was worth the post.

    Sunset 3-2-05 Posted by Hello

    Feb 28, 05 Hilla suicide bombing aftermath. Posted by Hello

    Iraqi Commandos photographed outside Sammara on March 7, 2005. Note six to eight men in open bed pick-ups with minor steel shielding on sides. Steel has no evident structural support. No ballistic glass and open backs. It is no wonder that ING has become the primary target of insurgent attacks using IEDs. They are vulnerable. I feel we need to consider transferring our older humvees with level 3 and 2 armor on them to the ING. We need to replace those vehicles anyway and could do at least 5,000 of them in the next year by maintaining production of M1114 armored humvees at current rates for the 12 months from June 05 to June 06. The production line currently doesn't have orders of meaningful size during that period. Posted by Hello

    Several thousand women protest in Pakistan over gang rape acquittal. March 05 Posted by Hello

    Protest of the tribal gang rape acquittals. Victim on left. March 05 Posted by Hello