Friday, November 12, 2010

The DEW Line

The DEW Line: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

YouTube - ied afghanistan

YouTube - ied afghanistan: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

YouTube - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son - Music Video

YouTube - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son - Music Video: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Kremlin hit squad 'planning to kill double agent who exposed spy Anna Chapman' | Mail Online

Kremlin hit squad 'planning to kill double agent who exposed spy Anna Chapman' | Mail Online: "A Kremlin hit squad is planning to kill the double agent who unveiled Anna Chapman and numerous other spies to U.S authorities, according to reports in Russia.

Officials have sent a contract killer to assassinate the head of Moscow's deep cover spying operations in the U.S who betrayed at least ten compatriots, including Chapman, in a major blow to Russian intelligence.

In a comment reminiscent of spying in the Cold War era, an unidentified official told Russian newspaper Kommersant that a hit squad was already planning to kill a man identified as Colonel Shcherbakov

He will carry this with him all his life, and will fear retribution every day. We know who he is and where he is. He betrayed us for money, or simply to harm something. Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already,' he added, referring to Russian agent Ramon Mercader, who murdered exiled Bolshevik Leon Trotsky with an ice axe in 1940 in Mexico.

The colonel is said to have been the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service's department for 'illegal' spying operations in the U.S.

The newspaper said Shcherbakov - it did not give his first name - had been spirited out of Moscow to the U.S. days before the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation announced in June that it had broken up a Russian spy ring.

Soon after meeting Chapman and the ten-strong spy ring on their return to Russia, prime minister Vladimir Putin - a former KGB spy - warned without naming the man responsible: 'This was the result of treason - and traitors always end badly.' ...


--- bth: this article is worth a full read. The defection of the controlling Colonel and his son to the US is probably what triggered the roll up of the spy network. This explains a lot of the strangeness about the incident when it happened.


Sources: Pentagon group finds there is minimal risk to lifting gay ban during war

Sources: Pentagon group finds there is minimal risk to lifting gay ban during war: "A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1.

More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, said two sources familiar with the document. The survey results led the report's authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them. ...

- bth: unfortunately this DADT report is going to be Too Little Too Late missing the window of opportunity in Congress. The Administration's contradictory positions have simply been counter productive.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

YouTube - IED Call in Afghanistan.wmv

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YouTube - Tank Goes over Mujahideen IED

YouTube - Tank Goes over Mujahideen IED: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

YouTube - HUMVEE I.E.D

YouTube - HUMVEE I.E.D: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"



Polish vehicle. Ghazni.

Is Obama Backing off That July 2011 Deadline? | Stephen M. Walt

Is Obama Backing off That July 2011 Deadline? | Stephen M. Walt: "McClatchy news service reports that the Obama administration is starting to back away from the president's July 2011 timeline for a de-escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Instead, 'the administration hopes to introduce a timeline that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014.'

Assuming the report is accurate, it shouldn't be a surprise. I don't know anyone who thought the U.S. could turn things around in eighteen months, and that particular deadline was little more than a piece of political sleight-of-hand designed to make escalation look like a temporary step. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Obama's decision to escalate in Afghanistan was the right one (I think it wasn't), but Obama's straddle on this issue is one reason why some of his most enthusiastic supporters have become disenchanted. ...

- bth: lies and damned lies

Asia Times Online ::Pakistan heads down China road

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan: "ISLAMABAD - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has visited China on several occasions since taking office in September 2008, but these visits have been more ceremonial than of substance, in part because his Washington-backed government had gravitated so close to the United States orbit that even the Chinese envoy in Islamabad publicly complained.

The Pakistani military establishment's pro-China lobby, highly influenced by now retired General Tariq Majeed, frowned on this tilt towards the US, and was especially upset that the Americans were allowed to establsh a naval base in Ormara in Balochistan province, and that US defense contractors were given a free rein in the country. However, the post-Pervez Musharraf-era army was weak and didn't have much choice except to turn a blind eye. ...

- bth: worth reading in full.

Alex Leo: Jack Donaghy's Life Lessons: 16 Pearls Of Wisdom You Can't Live Without

Alex Leo: Jack Donaghy's Life Lessons: 16 Pearls Of Wisdom You Can't Live Without:


"'The Italians have a saying, Lemon.
'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.'
And although they've never won a war or mass-produced a decent car, in this area they are correct.'


- Jack Donaghy

Haqqani Network facilitator arrested on plane bound for Saudi Arabia - The Long War Journal

Haqqani Network facilitator arrested on plane bound for Saudi Arabia - The Long War Journal: "Coalition and Afghan forces arrested a Haqqani Network weapons facilitator who was on an airplane destined for Saudi Arabia today.

The Haqqani Network facilitator, who was not named, was identified by 'multiple intelligence sources,' the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release. The facilitator and three other companions, who also have not been named, boarded a plane to Saudi Arabia, which then took off. Afghan authorities ordered the plane to return to Kabul International Airport, where joint security forces detained the Haqqani Network operative.

ISAF said the Haqqani Network facilitator 'was wanted for facilitating weapons and ammunition used in attacks against ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] and International Security Assistance Forces' and 'was also known to have participated in numerous IED attacks against ANSF and ISAF.' One of the three others detained 'had an active warrant issued by Afghan authorities.'

ISAF would not disclose why the Haqqani Network facilitator was traveling to Saudi Arabia; an inquiry sent by The Long War Journal was not answered.

A US military intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal said that the Haqqani operative was traveling to secure funding for weapons purchases.

Top Haqqani Network leaders are known to routinely travel to Saudi Arabia to receive funds from wealthy Saudis who back jihadist activities worldwide. This group of wealthy donors is known as the Golden Chain. ...

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Watertown Daily Times | Two Fort Drum soldiers killed in IED attacks Friday

Watertown Daily Times | Two Fort Drum soldiers killed in IED attacks Friday: "FORT DRUM — Two soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division died Friday in separate improvised explosive device attacks.

Spc. Blake D. Whipple, 21, Williams-ville, was a combat engineer with the 693rd Engineer Company, 7th Engineer Battalion — a unit within the 10th Sustainment Brigade. He died in Ghazni province.

The division's 1st Brigade Combat Team lost a member of its scout unit. Sgt. Michael F. Paranzino, 22, of Middletown, R.I., was the seventh soldier of the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment to be killed on this deployment. All seven of the squadron's deaths have been attributed to IEDs.

A support session will be held for Sgt. Paranzino at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at Fort Drum's Po Valley Chapel, according to his rear detachment commander.

Whipple

Paranzino

Buffalo-area soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan - WSJ.com

Buffalo-area soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan - WSJ.com: "BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Pentagon says a 21-year-old soldier from suburban Buffalo has been killed by insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense announced Saturday that Spc. Blake D. Whipple of Williamsville died Friday in Ghazni province of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to the Army's 7th Engineering Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in northern New York.

The soldier's parents, David and Kim Whipple, told Buffalo media outlets that their son was a combat engineer assigned to clear roads of IEDs.

Whipple was a a 2007 graduate of Williamsville East High School. David Whipple said his son joined the Army in early 2009 after attending three western New York colleges.

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Buffalo-area soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan - WSJ.com

Buffalo-area soldier killed by IED in Afghanistan - WSJ.com: "BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Pentagon says a 21-year-old soldier from suburban Buffalo has been killed by insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense announced Saturday that Spc. Blake D. Whipple of Williamsville died Friday in Ghazni province of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to the Army's 7th Engineering Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in northern New York.

The soldier's parents, David and Kim Whipple, told Buffalo media outlets that their son was a combat engineer assigned to clear roads of IEDs.

Whipple was a a 2007 graduate of Williamsville East High School. David Whipple said his son joined the Army in early 2009 after attending three western New York colleges.

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Taliban fighters briefly overrun Afghan district, abduct 16 police officers - Los Angeles Times

Taliban fighters briefly overrun Afghan district, abduct 16 police officers - Los Angeles Times: ..."As that fighting in the district of Reg-e-Khan Neshin was winding down Sunday, Western forces discovered a bomb-making factory and weapons cache. Nearly 24 tons of ammonium nitrate, the main ingredient in most makeshift bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, was destroyed. That was enough to make more than 2,000 IEDs, which are the No. 1 killer of U.S. and other Western troops.,,,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

YouTube - Army of the Future: Russian combat Robots

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YouTube - Army Robot Repair Facility

YouTube - Army Robot Repair Facility: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Iraq’s Christians Urged to Flee, al-Maliki Says they Should Stay, and Everyone Wonders where the Government Is | Informed Comment

Iraq’s Christians Urged to Flee, al-Maliki Says they Should Stay, and Everyone Wonders where the Government Is | Informed Comment: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Cameron Risks Spat With Chinese by Wearing Poppy During Visit - Bloomberg

Cameron Risks Spat With Chinese by Wearing Poppy During Visit - Bloomberg: "U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron resisted a request from Chinese officials yesterday to remove the poppy symbol that Britons wear every November in memory of their war dead during his visit to Beijing, according to two British officials familiar with the matter.

Poppies have been Britain’s symbol of remembrance since World War I, when the flowers grew on battlefields. The Royal British Legion sells paper poppies in November to raise funds for veterans in the run-up to Armistice Day on Nov. 11.

The flower has a different resonance in China, which fought and lost two Opium Wars with Britain in the 19th century. Those resulted in the U.K. forcing the Chinese to open their borders to trade, including in the narcotic derived from the Asian variety of the poppy. Britain also gained the territory of Hong Kong, which was not handed back to China until 1997.

“The Chinese leadership is increasingly projecting a ‘Great Power’ mentality and it is a reflection of rising nationalism in the country,” Joseph Cheng, a political-science professor at the City University of Hong Kong, said in a phone interview. “The Chinese leaders understand very well that the Chinese people in general expect their leadership to fight for an enhancement of China’s international status. The performance of Chinese leaders in diplomacy becomes an important source of the regime’s legitimacy.”

Honor Guard
Cameron Risks Spat With Chinese Wearing Poppy During Visit
The U.K. officials said the Chinese requested the prime minister and his delegation remove the poppies from their lapels before they arrived yesterday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where Cameron was greeted by Premier Wen Jiabao and inspected an honor guard of the People’s Liberation Army. The U.K. government refused, on the grounds that the symbol was important to Britain.

- bth: 150 year anniversary of the opium wars combined with Remembrance Day. Awkward.

Soldier from Maine killed in Afghanistan fighting - The Boston Globe

Soldier from Maine killed in Afghanistan fighting - The Boston Globe: "AUGUSTA, Maine — A soldier from Maine has been killed in Afghanistan, officials said.

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Governor John Baldacci said yesterday that 20-year-old Specialist Andrew Hutchins was killed Monday.

He said Hutchins was a military policeman serving with the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky.

According to Pete Rogers of the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, Hutchins’ hometown of record is New Portland.

He said Hutchins was a graduate of Carrabec High School in North Anson and that he and his wife were expecting their first child.

The governor said Hutchins’ father lives in Leeds and his mother lives in Waltham.

Hutchins’ father told the governor that his son had been wounded earlier but wanted to return to Afghanistan to be with his fellow soldiers

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

YouTube - BruceSpringsteen's Channel

YouTube - BruceSpringsteen's Channel: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Buzzblog: U.S. bans printer cartridges from in-bound flights | Network World

Buzzblog: U.S. bans printer cartridges from in-bound flights | Network World: "This one wasn't difficult to see coming.

The Transportation Safety Administration has just announced a ban on ink and toner cartridges holding more than 16 ounces on flights bound for the U.S. in response to the attempted bombings Oct. 29 that utilized such containers.

In addition, a ban on cargo flights originating in Yemen has been extended to Somalia....

Afghans Drop Corruption Case Against Karzai Aide - NYTimes.com

Afghans Drop Corruption Case Against Karzai Aide - NYTimes.com: "KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government has dropped all charges in the controversial corruption case against an aide to President Hamid Karzai, said the official whose office oversaw the case.

The arrest in late July of the aide, Mohammed Zia Salehi, by American-backed corruption investigators was an embarrassment, first because of the president’s decision to intervene publicly to have Mr. Salehi released from prison, and then because of revelations that Mr. Salehi had also been on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Seeking to counter accusations that the Karzai government had gone soft on corruption, the official handling Mr. Salehi’s case, Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari, said the authorities had corruption investigations at various stages directed against 20 senior officials in all, including two sitting members of the Karzai cabinet.

That includes indictments that have now been prepared against two former Afghan ministers, who will be brought to court in the next week or two, Mr. Nazari said.

In Mr. Salehi’s case, President Karzai had said he intervened only to release him from prison because he was angered by what he called the heavy-handed way the arrest was carried out by the Major Crimes Task Force, the American-backed unit that built the case against Mr. Salehi.

Mr. Salehi was then placed under house arrest and ordered to report to the attorney general’s office regularly. Mr. Karzai said he would not try to interfere in the legal case against the aide.

On Monday, Mr. Nazari said in response to questions during a telephone interview that all charges had been dropped against Mr. Salehi. “He is a free man,” he said. Dismissal of the charges was not previously publicized. ...

- bth: what a surprise. Who could have expected it? Nothing to see here folks, just move along.

Poll: Majority of Afghans back talks with Taliban | Raw Story

Poll: Majority of Afghans back talks with Taliban | Raw Story: "Poll: 83 percent of Afghans back the government's efforts to negotiate with the Taliban

An overwhelming majority of Afghans support the government's efforts to negotiate peace with Taliban insurgents, according to a poll released Tuesday that ranks insecurity as the top concern among citizens, followed by unemployment and corruption.

Some 83 percent of Afghan adults back efforts to secure the country through negotiations with armed, anti-government groups, the survey conducted by the Asia Foundation said. That's up from 71 percent last year.

The report also said that 55 percent of Afghan adults had no sympathy at all for the armed opposition groups — up from 36 percent last year — and another 26 percent had only a little sympathy.

Moreover, 81 percent — 10 percent more than last year — support programs to lure Taliban foot soldiers off the battlefield by providing assistance, jobs and housing to those who lay down their arms and reintegrate into society....

But 20 percent of women say they oppose the negotiations compared to only 12 percent of men, possibly reflecting their fear that a future government that included Taliban would seek to curtail women's freedoms. Just under half of Afghans said they thought things were moving in the right direction — 15 percent of those said they felt so primarily because schools for girls had opened, putting women's education third behind improved security and reconstruction....

-- bth: failing a viable or elected government in Afghanistan, I hope someone in the US government is taking these survey results to heart as they likely reflect the general direction the people of Afghanistan wish their country to go.

Pentagon chiefs: Afghans can manage by 2014 | Raw Story

Pentagon chiefs: Afghans can manage by 2014 | Raw Story: "Top US defense chiefs endorse Afghan goal of security handover by 2014

Afghanistan should be ready to handle its own security by the year 2014, the top U.S. defense chiefs said Monday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said NATO should endorse the 2014 timeline proposed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai when the alliance holds its annual summit later this month.

'As a target at this point that makes sense, so I am comfortable with it,' Mullen said.

The 2014 date would give a symbolic deadline for ending the war and bringing most combat forces home. The war is already in its 10th year and unpopular in the U.S. and Europe...

- bth: let's get real. This date of 2014 is midway through Obama's second term so we can show getting us our of Afghanistan. It is no more relevant to the ground situation than 2011 which is when he wants to begin to show the American public there is an exit plan to the forever war.
RANGER AGAINST WAR
We should never confuse dissent
with disloyalty

--Edward R. Murrow

Monday, November 08, 2010

White House Opposes DADT Deal | News | The Advocate

White House Opposes DADT Deal | News | The Advocate: "A top White House official issued a statement Monday evening saying the administration does not approve of any attempt to remove “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal from the Defense funding bill to which it is currently attached.

“The White House opposes any effort to strip 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' from the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director....


- bth: so it looks like Harry Reid is going to screw up passage of this bill before January which has all kinds of negative ramifications. And to top it off the President's flip flopping on DADT leaves almost certain not to get passed since it will be shoved into the January time window when the Republicans control the House. This has become pure theater with little if any meaningful substance.

Americans' debt slashing nears $1 trillion

Saudis suspend mediation as Taliban refuse to cut ties with al Qaeda - Threat Matrix

Saudis suspend mediation as Taliban refuse to cut ties with al Qaeda - Threat Matrix: "I haven't written about the so-called negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban because there is so much contradictory information in the press on what exactly has occurred so far that, as with past negotiations, it is very likely little has happened other than the making of some cursory contacts. The conflicting press reports on who has met whom, and when, smack of a well-crafted information operation designed to divide-and-conquer the Taliban. So good that the Quetta Shura and Mullah Omar himself have threatened to execute anyone involved in talks.

But, according to this report in The Associated Press, which I am told by a trusted source is accurate, the Taliban aren't even interested in cutting ties with al Qaeda:

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says Riyadh has halted mediation efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban because the fundamentalist movement has refused to break ties with al-Qaida.

Prince Saud al-Faisal spoke Saturday after a meeting with his Italian counterpart.

Last February, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sent a small delegation of former Taliban members to Saudi Arabia to seek help in kick-starting talks with the Taliban.

But the Saudis said the kingdom would not help unless the Taliban severed all ties with Osama bin Laden - a Saudi - and his al-Qaida terror network. That is also a key demand of both the U.S. and Afghanistan.

The Taliban is unwilling to hold formal peace talks until the U.S. agrees to a timetable to withdraw all foreign troops.

And this raises a question. If there are only 50 to 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, as top US intelligence officials have claimed (and we here at LWJ have disputed from day one) why are the Taliban so unwilling to cough them up?

- bth: damned good question.

Westboro Funeral Protest Blocked in Missouri

Westboro Funeral Protest Blocked in Missouri | News | The Advocate
Hundreds of residents and helpers from miles away joined forces Saturday in Weston, Mo., to block a protest by the antigay Westboro Baptist Church at the funeral of a fallen soldier.
WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM


According to Fox 4 in Kansas City, members of the group, some of whom came from as far away as California and Australia, wanted to allow loved ones of Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell to say goodbye in peace. Sadell died last month from injuries he sustained during an ambush in Afghanistan.

Weston resident Rebecca Rooney said she wanted to stand up to Fred Phelps and his church, who are the subject of a Supreme Court case for their protests that claim soldiers’ deaths are divine retribution for the culture’s acceptance of gay people.

"If you think about it, they've all gone to serve just so we could be able to do this," said Rooney, an organizer. "He didn't die in vain."

bth: Westboro Baptist is just awful

NightWatch 20101105 - KGS - Taliban is in no hurry to negotiate

NightWatch 20101105 - KGS: ..."Taliban: A Taliban leader named Mullah Aminullah - an authentic associate of Mullah Omar -- gave a televised interview to a Karachi television station in which he restated the longstanding Taliban position on negotiations. He said the Taliban will not engage in any peace talks as long as the Americans are in Afghanistan. The Taliban announced jihad when the infidels came to the country from everywhere, hence the movement will not negotiate. When these foreigners leave the country, the Taliban can speak about peace then.

Comment: Many would-be leaders pretend to speak for the Taliban without the authorization of Mullah Omar. Others pretend to speak for other anti-government groups, who are misinterpreted as the Taliban. Aminullah is in neither group. Taliban are in no hurry....

--- bth: why should they be? They can just wait.

The 'well-armed' medic

The 'well-armed' medic | SouthCoastToday.com: ..."Data presented at a conference in August revealed that 8.8 percent of the U.S. combat casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan died, either on the battlefield or later of wounds. That compares with 16.5 percent of the Vietnam War's casualties and 22.8 percent of World War II's.

A different analysis compared battlefield injuries that occurred between 2003 and 2006. Those in the later year were more severe on average than those in 2003, but mortality wasn't significantly greater. For the subset of 'blast injuries' — the most common cause of trauma — wounds in 2006 were more extensive, severe and likely to take a soldier permanently out of service than those of 2003. But they weren't more likely to be fatal.

The conclusion: Medical treatment has gotten better over the nine-year course of the wars.

Almost none of the improvement is the consequence of new drugs or new devices. Most of it, ironically, involves old technology and old practices that fell out of favor in the past 50 to 100 years and have been rediscovered and improved.

And nearly all of them involve blood.....

The analysis showed that bleeding was a huge problem, leading to most of the deaths. Several people bled to death from wounds in places where direct pressure wasn't possible, such as the chest or neck. One person, however, was saved by an improvised tourniquet on his thigh.

'The emphasis on hemorrhage control certainly stemmed from that episode,' said John B. Holcomb, one of three surgeons who treated the wounded. 'There was a lot of introspection. Frankly, I think the military was ready for a change.'....

Tourniquets

The single most important change was the endorsement of tourniquets, ancient devices that for the second half of the 20th century were considered too dangerous to use because extended use can cause tissue damage. The new ones optimize the force distributed across the strap and can be tightened and locked with one hand. Every soldier carries one, and medics carry a half-dozen.

Tourniquets are especially useful in wars where blast injuries, not gunshot wounds, predominate. Many makeshift bombs damage both legs or blow them entirely off. A person whose femoral arteries, the main arteries of the thigh, are both severed will die in about seven minutes. Today, many soldiers with such wounds arrive at the hospital with tourniquets on each leg and all bleeding stopped.

Their usefulness is so obvious that some soldiers here go on foot patrol with them loosely placed on each limb, ready to be tightened. Designers of the next-generation combat dress are trying to determine whether the devices can be built into the clothing, possibly with gas canisters that can be triggered to inflate them.

Military analysts estimate tourniquets have saved the lives of at least 1,000 U.S. soldiers, and possibly as many as 2,000, in the current wars.

Of course, many soldiers suffer wounds in places — such as the neck, chest, abdomen and groin — where tourniquets can't be used.

An analysis of 'potentially survivable' wounds in soldiers who died after reaching the hospital showed that 80 percent succumbed to hemorrhage, and 70 percent of the time it was from one of those 'non-tourniquetable' sites.

A new generation of bandage, called Combat Gauze, may help solve that problem. The fabric is impregnated with kaolin, a powdered clay that stimulates blood clotting. It has proved more effective than clot-forming powders and granules, which often blew away or were washed out by bleeding.

Despite these devices, most soldiers with major trauma lose life-threatening amounts of blood. How medics respond to that condition is the second big innovation in hemorrhage care.

Blood pressure

The innovation? Do less than you can and let the body run the show.

Medics are now taught not to worry if a person's blood pressure is as low as 85/40 (normal is 120/80) as long as the patient is alert. People in shock — severe low blood pressure, which causes mental confusion or unconsciousness — get up to a liter of intravenous fluids. Others get a catheter that is capped and can be used later if needed to push fluids into a vein. Gone is the routine hanging of a bottle of fluid, part of the classic visual tableau of battlefield care.

The preference for keeping the blood pressure low in trauma victims — both because they can tolerate it and because raising it can dislodge clots and make matters worse — was well understood in World War I and World War II, according to Holcomb. But by the time of Vietnam, 'it seems as if that concept was lost,' he said.

In the adoption of an even older practice — one Hippocrates would endorse — medics are told to evaluate a patient's status only by looking at him, talking to him and taking his pulse. Pulse — now taken in the wrist, not the neck, because it's easier to find — is characterized as 'absent,' 'weak' or 'normal.' On this assessment, lifesaving decisions can be made.

whole blood

The third big blood-related innovation involves what happens in the emergency room's trauma bay and operating room.

In the past, patients in shock were resuscitated with IV fluid, supplemented with red blood cells. Now they're given whole blood or its equivalent in components.

Blood is a mixture of about 45 percent cells and 55 percent plasma. The latter consists of water, sugars, salts and proteins, including the 'clotting factors' that trigger a cascade of reactions ending with the formation of a blood clot. As a trauma patient bleeds, those proteins are consumed. If transfusions consist mostly of oxygen-carrying red cells and not enough plasma, bleeding eventually goes out of control.

To prevent that, some military physicians give Factor VIIa, one of the proteins, to people getting 10 or more units of blood in 24 hours. (Such casualties are called 'massively transfused' patients.) But there has never been a definitive answer on its effectiveness — and there is not likely to be, because randomized controlled studies, the kind most likely to provide an unbiased answer, are not permitted on the battlefield where the patients cannot give consent.

What does unequivocally work is whole blood.

Whole blood's near magical power to revive trauma patients was recognized on the Western Front in World War I. But when scientists later learned to separate and store blood components — red cells, plasma and clot-initiating particles called platelets — whole-blood transfusions fell out of favor.

But in some situations, where there is no blood bank, using whole blood freshly collected from donors is the only choice. The second battle of Fallujah in Iraq in November 2004 was one of them. Dozens of casualties were massively transfused with whole blood. All survived to be evacuated.

'It was just unbelievable that you could have this kind of success record. It made us stop and ask how this was happening,' recalled Donald H. Jenkins, who was a surgeon in Iraq in November 2004 and is now director of the trauma center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

He and other military doctors later analyzed the experience of soldiers massively transfused at the main military hospital in Baghdad early in the war. The rate of survival was nearly nine times as high for the people who got whole blood (or the equivalent of it in components) as for those who got mostly red blood cells and IV fluid.

Military doctrine now is to give blood in a 1:1:1 ratio of red cells, plasma and platelets. But when surgeons occasionally turn to the 'walking blood bank' of registered donors for whole-blood transfusions, they notice an especial benefit.

'It seems like you just give this stuff and it works,' said Rodd Benfield, a Navy surgeon now operating at the hospital at Kandahar Air Field. 'It's warm, it's fresh and it's blood!'

Replacing blood lost with whole blood or its equivalent in components doesn't just help restore clotting.

It also reduces the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (a condition first recognized during the Vietnam war, where it was called Da Nang lung) and multi-organ failure. And the fresher it is, the better.

A study done by Holcomb and others showed that in massively transfused patients, mortality goes up if they get blood more than two weeks old.

Old red cells don't carry oxygen as well as newer ones, and they don't form as strong clots. Fresher blood also helps reduce infection.

At the hospital here, where grievously wounded patients arrive every day, the goal is to give massively transfused patients blood less than 21 days old.

On a recent night, surgeons were operating on someone who had stepped on a mine and lost both legs at the knee. He'd received 13 units of blood in the appropriate components — about a pint more than an adult typically has in the circulatory system.

The anesthesiologist called for another unit of red cells. When it arrived, a nurse held the bag out for him to inspect.

'That blood is going to expire in four days,' he said. 'That's garbage.'

He sent it back and got a newer one.

- bth: worth reading in full. I credit Robert Little formerly of the Baltimore Sun for bringing to light the life saving advantages of single handed tourniquets and blood clotting agents that were not distributed to US army soldiers until his expose on the subject around 2005.

Daily Times of Pakistan - Indian boots in Afghanistan?

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Indian boots in Afghanistan?: ..."India, which traditionally has been supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, has many defence officials and even a serving brigadier inside Afghanistan to look after Indian interests. Daily Times has been told that Lt Gen RK Loomba, the Indian Army’s Military Intelligence DG, was also in Afghanistan to assess Afghan military’s capabilities, and India is keen on taking the new role in Afghanistan.

It should be remembered that the Afghan Defence Ministry, which is mostly headed by old leftists, denied Pakistan’s offer to train the Afghan army, while General Caldwell, the head of NATO training mission, during an interview previously published in Daily Times, also denied Pakistan’s role in training the Afghan army. Meanwhile, the NATO and ISAF command, which sees Pakistan as an “enemy” because of Pakistan’s security doctrine of “strategic depth” and the analogy of “good Taliban and bad Taliban”, also wants Indian boots in Afghanistan since 2006 and would still welcome them.

In a conference call with reporters this week, Robert D Blackwill, who served as an ambassador to India during the George W Bush administration, said India is extremely anxious that the US would forge a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. McCain described the emergence of a strategic partnership with India as “one of the most consequential, bipartisan successes of recent US foreign policy”. While it should be remembered that India has taken Russia, France, the UK and now even the Americans on board for their permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

On the Pakistani side, the country has taken a central role in Afghanistan policy by assuring the Americans earlier this year that “we will help you stabilise Afghanistan only when you reduce Indian influence in Afghanistan”. The offer to India from the US to actually bring in uniformed Indian soldiers to Afghanistan would be seen as a serious security threat and an anti-thesis to Pakistani security doctrine of strategic depth.

Could this be all bluff? The US actually pressurising Pakistan? “Maybe, but it would certainly take skeletons out of the Pakistanis, plus the possibility is real. We can’t get blackmailed anymore,” Daily Times was told.

Pentagon Conceals Pakistan Thefts of Military Supplies - کابل پرس: خبری، تحليلی و انتقادی | Kabul Press

Pentagon Conceals Pakistan Thefts of Military Supplies - کابل پرس: خبری، تحليلی و انتقادی | Kabul Press: ..."The Pakistani news blog “thecurrentaffairs.com” reported last year that the Taliban in Pakistan are being supplied with modern American mortars, rockets and sniper rifles. On August 2, 2010, the respected Pakistani newspaper Dawn published a story regarding how stolen U.S. military weapons are being used against the Pakistani army in the Swat Valley. The stolen material therefore may not simply be upgrading the combat capabilities of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but may also be destabilizing Pakistan.

The October 11, 2010, edition of Dawn reported that more than 500 trucks hauling American and NATO supplies through Pakistan are currently unaccounted for. That appears to just be some of the thefts for 2010. These stolen military supplies could be finding their way to the Taliban and could be providing it with a key edge in the war as it enters its 10th year. The Pentagon does not publicize or even publicly acknowledge these thefts, except in the most general of terms. This author has not been able to determine the full scope of the problem, but the volume appears to be staggering. Congress and the American people deserve to be told the truth. They should be provided with detailed information about the volume, dollar amount and description of the lost supplies. They should also be briefed as to why the thefts are continuing and what the Pentagon and the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan are doing about this scandal.

On May 24, 2010, Deputy Pentagon Inspector General Ginger Cruz told Defense News that the U.S. Justice Department has tended to ignore overseas thefts and contract fraud cases. As a result, it has been difficult to prosecute American and foreign contractors and companies that steal from the U.S. overseas....

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Netanyahu to Biden: Sanctions are not stopping Iran's nuclear program - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Netanyahu to Biden: Sanctions are not stopping Iran's nuclear program - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News: "NEW ORLEANS - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting in New Orleans on Sunday that sanctions have hurt Iran but are not stopping Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu said that a credible threat of military action is the only way to ensure that Iran will rethink its nuclear program. According Israeli estimates, the only time that Iran paused its nuclear program was in 2003, when Iran believed there was a threat of military action. ...

- bth: War is kicked around by Lindsey Graham or Netanyahu so flippantly. As if Obama wasn't a real man unless he was willing to nuke Iran based on intel provided by Israel.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

All you need for happiness...

"All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse, and a good wife."

- Daniel Boone

Pakistan as spoiler

What does Pakistan think of Obama’s India Trip? | Informed Comment: ..."According to the USG Open Source Center translation, columnist Ghazala Tauhid of Jang Urged the US To try to resolve the Kashmir issue:

‘ Claiming that peace cannot be established until issues, like the Kashmir dispute, are resolved, the report states: “If US really wants to establish peace in South Asia, in his capacity as the head of the superpower and above all, being the recipient of noble peace award, Barack Obama will have to pay immediate attention on the outstanding disputes, which have been the cause of controversy between different nations and a cause for the ongoing unrest in the world. In fact, peace cannot be established in letter and spirit until all these problems are peacefully resolved.” ‘

India annexed Muslim-majority Kashmir after the 1947 Partition that created Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India out of the old British India. Kashmir has been in rebellion since the late 1980s, seeking independence, and is heavily garrisoned with Indian troops.

In fact, the Indian government bristles at the idea of outside involvement in the crisis,and there is little Obama can do about it.

Pakistanis also often bristle at the idea sometimes broached by American politicians, of handing Afghanistan over to India as a security problem and for economic development. Dr Maria Sultan, head of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, said in an interview in Jang:

“The United States wants to assign more roles to India in Afghanistan. However, instead of proving helpful, the Indian role has becoming a cause in further deepening the crisis. The terrorism spread by the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Pakistan through Afghanistan continues in the name of India-US cooperation in war on terror. The fact is that the United States cannot get an honorable way out from Afghanistan and also cannot find the solution of the Afghan problem without giving Pakistan a full-fledged role in that country. The truth is that the way to peace in Afghanistan passes through Srinagar. Therefore, if US President Barack Obama really wants peace in the world and South Asia, instead of maintaing silence, he will have to play the role of an effective mediator.”...

- bth: so Pakistan is essentially saying that we cannot obtain success (whatever that is now) in Afghanistan without resolving the Pakistan-India dispute over Kashmir - as if that is going to happen in our lifetime. Pakistan maintains its position as spoiler, but is powerless to offer meaningful solutions except perhaps handing over Osama Bin Laden, but then they are never going to do that for us. I see no overarching solution here, no viable grand bargain to strike because ultimately Pakistan's civilian or military government is able to deliver - especially with the ISI lurking about.

Republican Senator urges Obama to support war with Iran, ‘confrontation’ with China | Raw Story

Republican Senator urges Obama to support war with Iran, ‘confrontation’ with China | Raw Story: "The United States faces a possible war with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions and a 'period of confrontation' with China over its currency, a top US lawmaker warned Saturday.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said his fellow conservative, fresh from their historic elections romp this week, support 'bold' action to deal with Iran.

If President Barack Obama 'decides to be tough with Iran beyond sanctions, I think he is going to feel a lot of Republican support for the idea that we cannot let Iran develop a nuclear weapon,' he told the Halifax International Security Forum.

'The last thing America wants is another military conflict, but the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran... Containment is off the table.'

The South Carolina Republican saw the United States going to war with the Islamic republic 'not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.'...

- bth: Lindsey Graham, that little jack wagon, would like war eternal. And for what?

Ross Dawson: Newpaper extinction timeline

Robert Gates: Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Now, Before GOP Takes Control Of Congress

Robert Gates: Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Now, Before GOP Takes Control Of Congress: "MELBOURNE, Australia — U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Congress should act quickly, before new members take their seats, to repeal the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military.

He, however, did not sound optimistic that the current Congress would use a brief postelection session to get rid of the law known as 'don't ask, don't tell.'

'I would like to see the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are,' Gates said Saturday, as he traveled to defense and diplomatic meetings in Australia.

Unless the lame-duck Congress acts, the repeal effort is considered dead for now.

The current, Democratic-controlled Congress has not acted to lift the ban, which President Barack Obama promised to eliminate. In his postelection news conference Wednesday, Obama said there would be time to repeal the ban in December or early January, after the military completes a study of the effects of repeal on the front lines and at home.

With Republicans taking control of the House in January, and with larger margins in the Senate, supporters of lifting the ban predict it will be much more difficult.

Gates also urged the Senate to ratify a stalled arms control treaty with Russia before the end of the current legislative session in January....

- bth: Gates drug his heals earlier this year, now the window has closed. There is little if any chance of legislative action on DADT, Russia and GOP reps on the HASC wish for perpetual war in Afghanistan and to stoke the flames with Iran.