Friday, April 29, 2005


No hiding the cost of that war! Posted by Hello

Fallujah April 2005 Posted by Hello

Don't Let Him Down. Ironic in face of 61:39 vote on Amendment 520 that prevented the armored humvee plant from being shut this summer for lack of orders. Posted by Hello

Faces of the Fallen Posted by Hello

Modern poster. Posted by Hello

Warriors Walk. Tree planting. April 21, 2005 Posted by Hello

When the cost of war wasn't hidden Posted by Hello

Defense Tech: ARMY PAYROLL = POLITICAL FOOTBALL

The following is taken verbatum from the defensetech.org website.

"If we're going to send hundreds of thousands of young men and women into harm's way, the least we could do is not screw with their paychecks.

Common sense - maybe. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presumably disagrees. Back in December, regular Defense Tech readers will recall, Rummy's braintrust decided to dip into the Army's payroll into order to fund truck armor and other wartime expenses. Congress would make up the difference later on, they figured, with a second, emergency 'supplemental' funding bill. The fact that the payroll accounts would dry up in May didn't seem to factor into the Pentagon calculus -- except maybe as a lever to force Congress into action.

But as senators loaded the $80 billion supplemental with pet projects -- $23 million for a baseball stadium in DC, $32 million for forest roads in Cali -- and the Pentagon added billions in long-term programs to the supposedly last-minute funding measure, its progress slowed.

So now, Rummy is getting all weepy, complaining to Congress that they're keeping soldiers from getting paid.

'Our folks out there need these funds,' he moped in handwritten notes to Capitol Hill chieftains, obtained by CNN.

The Army has slowed its spending, so it can continue operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through early May when the funds are due to run out, Rumsfeld said...

Without [the supplemental's] passage, Rumsfeld warned he would have to move funds which would 'seriously disrupt other activities,' and he might have to invoke the 'Feed and Forage Act' to keep the deployed troops operating.

The Feed and Forage Act allows the military departments to incur obligations in excess of available appropriations for clothing, subsistence, fuel, quarters, transportation and medical supplies, according to Pentagon officials."

I suppose it's nice that Rumsfeld cares enough about our soldiers to invoke emergency measures in order to clothe and feed 'em. But wouldn't it have been better not to sneak off with their paychecks in the first place?

IRAQ: REPORTED SIGHTING OF AL-ZARQAWI IN RAMADI HOSPITAL

"Baghdad, 28 April (AKI) - The Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is reported to have been seen on Wednesday at the hospital in Ramadi, which was later searched by US forces. The director of the hospital, Munam Aftan, told the Iraq-based newspaper Al-Zaman that US troops surrounded and raided the entire hospital, searching for al-Zarqawi, who is believed to be al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq.

'They told me they had to search the entire hospital - Aftan explained - because they had received information saying that al-Zarqawi was here, accompanied by four Opel cars, inside of which were his bodyguards and followers.'

On Wednesday the Kuwaiti news agency Kuna cited local sources as saying that American soldiers had closed off the two main bridges in Ramadi, to the west of the capital Baghdad, and were carrying out major raids on both the hospital and residential neighbourhoods in the centre of the city. Two days ago al-Zarqawi's group announced that there were ongoing violent clashes in Ramadi, between US troops and militants trying to stop the raids.

It also emerged this week that US forces almost caught al-Zarqawi as he tried to enter Ramadi in February. He escaped, but they did seize his computer, which contained information which is reported to have led to a number of subsequent arrests."

[bth: kill the bastard.]

Gallup: 50% of Americans Now Say Bush Deliberately Misled Them on WMDs

"NEW YORK Half of all Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Organization reported this morning.

'This is the highest percentage that Gallup has found on this measure since the question was first asked in late May 2003,' the pollsters observed. 'At that time, 31% said the administration deliberately misled Americans. This sentiment has gradually increased over time, to 39% in July 2003, 43% in January/February 2004, and 47% in October 2004.'

Also, according to the latest poll, more than half of Americans, 54%, disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 43% approve. In early February, Americans were more evenly divided on the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq, with 50% approving and 48% disapproving.

Last week Gallup reported that 53% now believe that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was 'not worth it.' But Frank Newport, editor in chief at Gallup, recalled today that although a majority of the public began to think the Vietnam war was a mistake in the summer of 1968, the United States did not pull out of Vietnam for more than five years, after thousands of more American lives were lost. "

[bth: It might be noted that half the casualties in Vietnam occurred after the US made its decision to withdrawal.]

Iraqi II Veterans become outspoken in Washington

Here is the end of a speech given by Paul Reickhoff, Exec. Dir. of Operation Truth, a non-profit non-partisan group of returned Iraqi War II veterans. It was given to the Democratic Caucus in Washington earlier this week. It is posted in full at the link above. Paul has been on several television interviews concurrent with Alma and I with regard to vehicular armor. He is a well reasoned and articulate advocate for the modern veteran.

"... If you really support the troops, it is time for you to put your energy and your money where your mouth is. But remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. When you and your staff get ready to leave your office here tonight, think long and hard about if you have done enough for our troops who are out there fighting for you. Think about the 19-year old Marine from your state, on his second tour, whose wife just left him, and now he is pulling 12-hour shift on a guard tower in the middle of a sandstorm, hoping a car bomb doesn't kill him. Think about that 35 year old sergeant and mother of three from your district, who is driving a six-hour convoy through Baghdad with Hillbilly Armor on her truck, scanning for IEDs. Think about that 21-year-old National Guardsman from your town, whose battle-buddy was killed yesterday by a mortar attack and is right now walking a night patrol, looking for roadside bombs. Think about them. Learn their names. Because during the time it has taken me to make this statement, some of them have been wounded. In one way or another. Because in Iraq, all the wounds aren't physical.

In 1865, in his second inaugural address, President Lincoln recognized are our moral obligation, as a nation, to take care of those that we send to war. He said:
'With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.' "

"Civil War" Is No Longer a Taboo Phrase in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, 27 April 2005 - Civil war. It's a phrase everyone in Iraq has strenuously avoided for the past two years.
Yet now, with no government formed three months after elections, and tensions deepening between Iraq's Muslim sects and other groups, it's on many people's minds. Several clashes between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in events apparently unrelated to the two-year-old anti-US insurgency have highlighted the danger in recent months.

Whereas once politicians were not willing to utter the term for fear of dignifying it, it is no longer taboo. "I do not want to say civil war, but we are going the Lebanese route, and we know where that led," says Sabah Kadhim, an adviser to the Interior Ministry who spent years in exile before returning to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's overthrow. "We are going to end up with certain areas that are controlled by certain warlords ... It's Sunni versus Shiite, that is the issue that is really in the ascendancy right now, and that wasn't the case right after the elections. ... "

WorldNetDaily: Saudi chief justice urges fighting U.S.

"Is Saudi Arabia an ally or enemy of the United States in the war on terror?

The question is raised with the disclosure of secretly recorded comments from the kingdom's chief justice encouraging young Saudis to travel to Iraq to wage war against Americans. ..."

Pentagon Plays Down New Rise in Iraq Violence

"Top Pentagon officials yesterday acknowledged a recent jump in insurgent violence in Iraq but described the escalation as nowhere near the peak levels of the past year and disputed suggestions that it represents a lack of progress.

At a news conference, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the level of attacks is about the same as it was a year ago, with the insurgency retaining the ability to surge. But he and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld cited other developments -- including a greater willingness by Iraqis to provide intelligence on insurgents and growth in Iraqi security forces and political institutions -- as evidence of improvement."

...the daily total has edged up to about 50 or 60 attacks, about half of which are resulting in significant damage, injuries or deaths, according to Pentagon figures.

Of particular concern for U.S. authorities has been a rise in the number of suicide car-bomb attacks, some of which are now being used in tandem. Myers singled out this trend yesterday.

In the past, U.S. military authorities have attributed the suicide attacks not to Iraqi Sunni militants who dominate the insurgency but to foreign Islamic extremists who have joined the fight in Iraq. But U.S. analysts are still trying to identify the forces behind the rise in the suicide missions and have not ruled out the possibility that it reflects a hardening of Sunni opposition as a political impasse persists over the formation of a new Iraqi government....

[bth: the attack rate of 40-60 has been a consistent trend over the last year and up about 3-fold from the year before. The lull after the election now appears temporary and the rate of sustainable aggression from the insurgents appears constant at about 40-60. I suspect we are at a point of sustained civil war and like late 2003, the Administration and the military are reluctant to call it that by name.]

Revolt of the Middle

"If you were to prepare a list of the top 10 stories you will never, ever read in a newspaper, one of them would surely include a sentence beginning: 'Thousands of angry, screaming moderates took to the streets yesterday demanding . . .'

You can finish that sentence however you would like. The accepted view in politics is that moderates don't get angry, don't scream and don't demonstrate. Politics these days is said to be dominated by ideological enthusiasts. Moderates are thought of as people who sit on the sidelines and decide which batch of true believers they can most easily live with.

... Many who reluctantly supported the president and the Republicans in 2004 are turning away. The party's agenda on Social Security, judges and the Terri Schiavo case is out of touch with where moderate voters stand. Worse for Bush and his party, most moderates have a practical, problem-solving view of government and think these issues are far less important than shoring up a shaky economy and improving living standards. ..."

Bush won narrowly in 2004, and he won almost entirely because just enough middle-of-the-road voters decided they trusted him more than they did John Kerry to deal with terrorism.

..."Democrats are not yet integral to the narrative" of American politics and that the decline in the Republicans' public image "is not accompanied by image gains for the Democrats." Democrats still have a lot of work to do.

...The "biggest drops" in the Republicans' standing, the pollsters noted, "have come from people who do not identify with a party," with "those who describe themselves as ideologically moderate" and with "mainline Protestants," that is, Protestants outside the ranks of the evangelical and fundamentalist churches. These are classic middle-of-the-road groups.

When they were asked how they would vote if a congressional election were held now, Democrats led by 43 percent to 25 percent among independents, and by 57 percent to 31 percent among moderates. ...

[bth: I think it comes down to a loss of trust]

Legislative Alert -- Wounded Warriors Need Us

I forward this link from Patti Patton over at Brandonblog regarding her request for help regarding financial support for wounded soldiers and their famlies.

Help Create Traumatic Injury Insurance for All Active Duty Service

BACKGROUND: On Thursday April 21st the United States Senate passed legislation yesterday creating Traumatic Injury Insurance that will issue active duty service members a payment ranging from $25, 000 to $100,000, should they incur a life altering injury while serving their nation. This legislation, known as the Wounded Warrior Bill, was introduced as an amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Funding Bill by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, at the urgent request of three injured soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project. The Traumatic Injury Insurance will make an immediate payment to the service member and their family within days of sustaining their injury to support them during their hospitalization. Additionally, the legislation passed will make Craig’s measure retroactive to the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.This payment will ensure that newly injured soldiers can concentrate more fully on their recovery and transition back into civilian life rather than on the financial hardship that their disability will have on them and their families.

ACTION NEEDED:The Emergency Supplemental bill must now go through Conference Committee, where differences between the House of Representatives and Senate versions of this bill will be reconciled. As this Traumatic Insurance Provision is only in the Senate version of the Legislation, we must make sure that it remains in the final version of the bill to be approved by both the House and Senate.Please Call the Members of the Conference Committee and Demand That They Include the Craig Amendment That Creates Traumatic Injury Insurance Coverage for Our Troops

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224- 3121

EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL SENATE CONFEREES

RepublicansSenator Cochran (R- MS)Senator Stevens (R-AK)Senator Specter (R-PA)Senator Domenici (R- NM)Senator Bond (MO)Senator McConnell (R- KY)Senator Burns (R- MT)Senator Shelby (R-AL)Senator Gregg (R-NH)Senator Bennett (R-UT)Senator Craig (R- ID)Senator Hutchison (R- TX)Senator DeWine (R- OH)Senator Brownback (R- KS)Senator Allard (R-CO)DemocratsSenator Byrd (D-WV)Senator Inouye (D- HI)Senator Leahy (D- VT)Senator Harkin (D- IA)Senator Mikulski (D- MD)Senator Reid (D- NV)Senator Kohl (D-WI)Senator Murray (D-WA)Senator Dorgan (D-ND)Senator Feinstein (D-CA)Senator Durbin (D-IL)Senator Johnson (D- SD)Senator Landrieu (D- LA)

The Counterterrorism Blog: THE FACTS ABOUT "PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM" (UPDATED with released "Country Reports on Terrorism 2004" and NCTC Chronology)

"Here is link to 'Country Reports on Terrorism 2004', and here is the new NCTC 'Chronology of Significant International Terrorism for 2004.')

As we reported earlier the number of significant incidents of terrorism in 2004 (a significant incidents means someone was killed, wounded, or kidnapped or there was property damage greater than $10,000) was the highest ever recorded. In addition, the number of fatalities is the second highest total recorded in 37 years--2001 still holds the infamous record for first place. ... "

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

News on army blood clotting agents

"A blood component recently approved by the FDA to help hemophiliacs control bleeding is now helping soldiers survive traumatic injuries that would have been fatal in past wars, according to Army doctors who studied medical techniques and technology used in Iraq.

'Fifty percent of combat deaths are caused by hemorrhage,' said Maj. Simon H. Telian, who delivered a paper on the subject Monday at the Camino Real Hotel during the 27th Annual Gary P. Wratten Army Surgical Symposium. 'It's not a magic bullet, but it sure does help.'

The man-made protein 'supercharges' blood clotting, said Col. Ken Azarow, chief of surgery with the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. Azarow said it has been used in combat zones for more than a year.

'It saves lives,' he said. 'It decreases the number of transfusions needed and helps to get through the tough times in an operation.'" ...

Tourniquets saved lives in a study of 174 patients with major vascular injuries, traumatic amputations or pre-hospital tourniquets at a field hospital in Iraq, according to a study presented by Capt. Garth Herbert, with the Madigan Army Medical Center.

"Tourniquets tend to be underused in the military setting," Herbert said. "No patient with an effective tourniquet died in this study."

Monday, April 25, 2005


Seeing things as they are. Posted by Hello

Mobile memorial for the fallen. Posted by Hello

NYT: Marines From Iraq Sound Off About Want of Armor and Men

[bth: Michael Moss has written this excellent must read article on humvee armor.]

On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

The four were returning to camp in an unarmored Humvee that their unit had rigged with scrap metal, but the makeshift shields rose only as high as their shoulders, photographs of the Humvee show, and the shrapnel from the bomb shot over the top.

'The steel was not high enough,' said Staff Sgt. Jose S. Valerio, their motor transport chief, who along with the unit's commanding officers said the men would have lived had their vehicle been properly armored. 'Most of the shrapnel wounds were to their heads. ...'"

Then en route to Ramadi, they lost the few armored plates they had earmarked for their vehicles when the steel was borrowed by another unit that failed to return it. Company E tracked the steel down and took it back.

Even at that, the armor was mostly just scrap and thin, and they needed more for the unarmored Humvees they inherited from the Florida National Guard.

"It was pitiful," said Capt. Chae J. Han, a member of a Pentagon team that surveyed the Marine camps in Iraq last year to document their condition. "Everything was just slapped on armor, just homemade, not armor that was given to us through the normal logistical system."

The report they produced was classified ...