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Archive for January, 2009

Armed Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (Jan. 29, 2008) — U.S. forces, having helped their Iraqi counterparts for more than a month prepare for the country’s Jan. 31 provincial elections, are now stepping back, confident their planning and practice has paid off. “At this point, we’re trying to enable, not to direct, the Iraqis in how to accomplish their mission,” U.S. Army Capt. Nicholas Doerr, of 1st Armored Division’s Task Force 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, said.

Iraqi police guard polling stations during the time between the special elections conducted on Jan. 28 until the general elections scheduled for Jan. 31. Iraqi security forces are in the lead for providing security at polling stations for voters during the Iraqi provincial elections.

Iraqi police guard polling stations during the time between the special elections conducted on Jan. 28 until the general elections scheduled for Jan. 31. Iraqi security forces are in the lead for providing security at polling stations for voters during the Iraqi provincial elections.

In support of the U.S.-Iraqi status-of-forces agreement that took effect Jan. 1, U.S. Soldiers rehearsed election security plans with Iraqi security forces on Jan. 25 at Combat Outpost Meade, southeast of Baghdad, in an area once known for sectarian violence. In the past year there has been a significant decrease in attacks on Iraqi civilians as the “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group, the Iraqi army and the reconciliation program have greatly increased security and helped to reinstate a sense of normalcy.

For the rehearsal, Iraqi soldiers conducted a mock election drill on a large sand table. The unit acted out friendly and enemy actions, and the soldiers rehearsed their actions. While acting out the security plan, the Iraqi soldiers talked through their mission, critical tasks, actions and decisions to their leaders.

“The complexity of the display may seem a little elaborate, but it’s all just a tool we’re providing to our allies to aid them in securing their own democratic future,” Doerr said.

Everyone was clear on their election-day role: Iraqi security forces will be overseeing election security, and U.S. soldiers will help if they are needed.

“We are asking the coalition forces for air support, especially in [medical evacuations], should we need them,” Iraqi army Col. Abdalah Ramadan Atia said. “However, the coalition will have very little involvement in this operation. We have experience from the 2005 elections. The units are trained and prepared.”

The combined forces got a trial run at the election when Iraqi security forces, detainees, hospital patients and other special-needs cases were allowed to vote three days before the general population.

About 3,000 detainees in coalition custody voted yesterday at eight polling stations in U.S. Theater Internment Facilities.

Multi-National Force – Iraq worked with the Iraqi government, the Independent High Electoral Commission, which the coalition established in 2004 to oversee Iraqi elections, and other agencies to provide credible and legitimate special-needs voting. A similar process was followed for detainees to vote in the 2005 elections.

The Iraqi government provided the poll workers, ballots and administrative support, and Multinational Force Iraq organized the IHEC-authorized detainees for the safe and orderly election. In addition, dozens of international and other IHEC-approved observers monitored the voting process.

Balloting opened at 7 a.m. and continued until all eligible detainees passed through the polling stations.

Iraqi correctional officers and linguists who work with the detainees said they were honored to be part of the historic event and felt the elections are another sign that Iraq is moving forward as a democratic nation.

Iraqi police also voted yesterday, at the Bilal Al Habashi School in Istaqlal Qada of northeast Baghdad.

“This is a good step for Iraq and the people. They have free opinions to vote wherever they want and for any person they want to give peace in Iraq,” Iraqi police Col. Majeed Khalil said.

The special round of voting was set aside to ensure that soldiers will be able to provide security for the general election.

“We have all the emergency stuff we need, and we are going to do our best to provide security to the people so that the people are able to vote free,” Khalil said.

For those who voted early, the importance of that decision was not forgotten.

“It is very good,” said Bakr Hdait, a hospital janitor from Adhamiyah, who was casting his vote. “We have to choose the person who is going to work for us. He’s going to make a lot of things good for us.”

Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers also conducted a combined operation Jan. 25 to inspect and secure polling sites for the upcoming provincial elections in the Mahmudiyah Qada.

The combined operation involved soldiers and military working dogs from the Iraqi army and U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The soldiers inspected and secured polling sites at four schools in the Warij region, which will be used as voting centers. Ensuring the sites are safe is a responsibility of the Iraqi police, who will be posted at the polling sites on election day.

“There will be 15 [Iraqi] soldiers and 10 [Iraqi police officers] at each polling site. I am using all my resources to make this a good election,” Iraqi army Maj. Jabbar Hafuth, a battalion commander, said.

Throughout the pre-election security sweeps, Multinational Division Baghdad military police dogs searched for possible explosives at each polling site.

“The [Iraqi army] is gaining good knowledge working with [Multi-National Division - Baghdad] soldiers during security patrols on tactics, techniques and procedures,” Army Staff Sgt. Roderick Buck, who serves with Company C, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment, said.

Iraqi soldiers also are working with Iraqi police and the Sons of Iraq to establish vehicle checkpoints on roads and highways in the Mahmudiyah area.

“I am happy to protect my country and school. I want to help all the kids and hold free elections. I want leaders to help Iraq and the new government,” Abaas Kathum Abdulah, an Iraqi soldier, said.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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Iraq in lockdown on eve of vote.

Newsweek: The Iraq match-ups to watch.

Taylor trial witness: Rebels cut off my hands.

Zimbabwe opposition to join government.

At least 25 dead after Nairobi blaze.

Caterpillar plague spreads in Liberia.

Thousands of Tamils protest in Toronto.

Thieves shoot foreigner near Mexico airport.

U.S.-Mexico border fence almost complete. HAHAHAHA, My arse.

U.S. dealers arming Mexican drug cartels. Arrest them!

N. Korea scraps all accords with South.

New commander heads to Gitmo.

Judge refuses to delay Gitmo detainee’s trial.

Sept. 11 a factor in Fla. terror retrial.

Courtesy of MSNBC.msn.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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“The Citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole Lords and Proprietors of a vast Tract of Continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the World, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniencies of life, are now by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and Independency; They are, from this period, to be considered as the Actors on a most conspicuous Theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity; Here, they are not only surrounded with every thing which can contribute to the completion of private and domestic enjoyment, but Heaven has crowned all its other blessings, by giving a fairer opportunity for political happiness, than any other Nation has ever been favored with. Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations.”

–George Washington, Circular to the States, 8 June 1783

How I long for those days (without the slavery)…*sigh*

Source: PatriotPost.us – Subscribe here.

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News And Videos: 29 Jan 09

I must admit, the news has come fast and furious. Too fast for me, so I shall share with you their links and you can choose which news is important to you. I also have more videos to share with you! Yippee! ;)

To get started, ACLU: Supermax Too Good For Gitmo Detainees is from the Stop the ACLU.

I received some news from Michael Yon on the 18th of January about some of the work our guys are doing in Afghanistan. WOW! Rollin’ In Hash. On the 27th, he also sent a message that he was in Israel for a conference and to do some more reporting. Jerusalem. Would you believe the Lithuanians gave Michael an award for his reporting in Afghanistan?! Too bad our own government does not recognize his talents. Please read this. It is very important, as all Michael’s posts are. BTW, Michael won this year’s Milblog award.

M. Zuhdi Jasser is the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander, a community activist, and a physician in private practice. He has written his ‘This is the speech Obama should deliver to the Muslims world”, written over at The Investigative Project on Terrorism. The title of the article is, “President Obama’s Message to the Muslim World: Walk the walk and then we’ll talk the talk”, by M. Zuhdi Jasser, For IPT News, January 23, 2009. I’ve written about him in the past. He is a Muslim who is tired of the press following these terrorists around by the nose. Give his writing a try and see what you think.

This is an audio made by Barb and Jenna Bush for Sasha and Malia Obama. The title is “Bush Daughters Offer Counsel To Obama Girls.” Hat tip: Big Dog’s Weblog.

Big Dog also provided me with this YouTube video on a blog titled, “The American Form of Government.” This is the URL for the video: The American Form of Government. It lasts 10:35 minutes, but it is worth the time.

My friend Gribbit sent out a plea for membership in The Conservative Undergroundk. It used to be, and still is, the TCU Nation. If you are already member of the TCU Nation, you’re fine. If you are not yet a member, let’s talk. We have many sites all over the net trying to gather Conservatives into one major force like moveon.org did. Well, it’s been like herding cats, as I’m sure you’ve heard before. lol. This site, however, you can blog there, chat there, set up political events, etc. It is really good, and I’ve been spending some time over there. Come over and join us. Let’s kick some liberal/leftist/marxist arse! ;)

Now for the videos. (More news and videos later this weekend.)

Here are some videos from Jan. 22, 2009:
IDFnaDesk.
Hamas Uses Schools and Ceasefire to Shoot Rockets at Israel.
تنتهك حماس الإسلام و القرآن الكريم IDF VLOG: Hamas Profanes Islam .
Israel Defense Forces Vlog: Hamas is a Terrorist Army, Lt. Barak Raz.

Macho Sauce Production.
The Dream and the 44th.

(Donations are welcomed and appreciated.)

The Fair Reporter.
1. W’s Legacy.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing. And that you may be always doing good, my dear, is the ardent prayer of yours affectionately.”

–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Martha Jefferson, 5 May 1787

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Today is a wonderful day that will be ignored by those in the media who do not care about our men and women in the Armed Forces and the people we have liberated, but the news is available if you only seek outside of the United States! There are a few places within the states that are carrying this story, but they pay the AP for the copy right. Amazingly, they all say the same thing! That’s real journalism? LOL.

I admit, after reading these articles, I do not believe I could write a better article than Taipei Times has written. So without further adeiu, here is their article with a little interruption for an image and a quote from ABC News.

Early voting begins in Iraq elections.

AGENCIES, BAGHDAD
Thursday, Jan 29, 2009, Page 4

Iraqi policemen hold up their ink-stained fingers after casting their vote in the country's provincial elections in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. The polls opened Wednesday for members of the Iraqi security forces, detainees and hospital patients. General voting is scheduled on Saturday. (Hadi Mizban/AP Photo), courtesy of ABC News.

Iraqi policemen hold up their ink-stained fingers after casting their vote in the country's provincial elections in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. The polls opened Wednesday for members of the Iraqi security forces, detainees and hospital patients. General voting is scheduled on Saturday. (Hadi Mizban/AP Photo), courtesy of ABC News.

Soldiers, police, prisoners and displaced people began early voting yesterday ahead of Saturday’s provincial election in Iraq, which will determine the political landscape across the country as US forces withdraw.

Iraqis held in detention were also expected to take part in the early voting.

US and Iraqi authorities hoped the election would open the political process to more groups and further erode support for extremist networks.

In the Shiiite south, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping to win support in provinces long dominated by large rival parties. In other parts of the country, Sunni Arabs, many of whom boycotted the last provincial poll, are seeking a bigger share of provincial power.

The early round of special voting was called to ensure that soldiers and police can all be on duty for a massive security operation during the main election on Saturday, when vehicles will be banned from the streets.

“This is our challenge to every terrorist and to everyone opposed,” soldier Abed Khalaf said at a polling station in the northern city of Kirkuk, where the main poll has been delayed indefinitely but troops from other parts of Iraq can vote.

“We came here today and we are not afraid, because an honest person should not hide his head from these groups,” he said.

The commander in the area, Lieutenant Colonel Khalil Kamal al-Zobaie, said his men were happy to be voting: “This day is like a wedding for all the army.”

******************************
Major-General Abdul Amir Ridha Mohammed, an army commander in Kirkuk, held up a finger dyed with purple ink that proved he had voted. “This day is a victory for all Iraqis,” he said. [ABC News]
******************************

In other parts of Iraq there were some signs of confusion.

At the Maqal Prison in the city of Basra, fights broke out between guards and reporters brought inside to film the voting. Several photographers were beaten by guards who accused them of taking pictures that showed prisoners’ faces.

Tens of thousands of displaced people were also registered for early voting, although they make up only a fraction of up to 4 million Iraqis believed to have fled abroad or to other parts of Iraq during years of fighting.

Holding a successful election is an important test of the ability of Iraqi troops to keep the peace as 140,000 US troops begin to leave. US President Barack Obama wants to speed up the pace of withdrawal after his predecessor George W. Bush promised to pull out the troops by the end of 2011.

Iraqis have embraced the voting enthusiastically. Some 14,400 candidates, including nearly 4,000 women, have registered to fight 440 provincial council seats. Campaign posters are plastered all over the concrete blast walls that have sprung up throughout the country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The election campaign so far has not seen a surge in violence feared by US and Iraqi commanders. At least two candidates were assassinated, but overall attacks have remained at among the lowest levels since the war began.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Talon, TCU Nation and Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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“We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel. What those duties are, is determinable by right reason, which may be, and is called, a well informed conscience.”

–Theophilus Parsons, the Essex Result, 1778

Amen!

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Many times I hear how much we as Americans have changed, and I would like to challenge this notion with a few facts.

First of all, does anyone remember September 11, 2001? New York City was transformed that day, but its citizens were not. Many people think of us as a rude, uncaring, cold people. I protest this notion!

On that day, you saw who we truly are. We are people, just like any other, who care about our neighbors whether we know them or not. Hard to believe? You have not lived amongst us then.

There is also the massive hurricane Katrina. Was it the county, state, or federal government who was first on the spot, or was it volunteers and first responders who saved some of the people you never hear about because the media only wanted to focus on what could hurt President Bush? It was us volunteers.

A side note, the press has not changed either. If it bleeds, it leads. I don’t know they think this way, but they do. That is why people do not watch them anymore, and they cannot understand this simple fact. Oh well. This is one area I don’t really care about (maybe). Actually, I would prefer to hear more Sully stories anytime of the week! (The man who landed the plane in the Hudson River and saved everyone’s life and the plane lost both engines.)

Even before these incidences, does anyone remember the San Francisco earthquake? There was an outpouring of love throughout the United States. People sent money, food, they showed up, and more.

Does anyone remember the earthquake in Iran? I believe it was in the year 2002 or 2003. (I know there was another in the same place the next year, but I am referring to the first one.) Even though we despise their government, we do not despise their people. There was an outpouring of aid from the citizens of this country (besides the government).

Yes, when a neighbor is in need, we are there to assist without question or hesitation or a requirement to be paid back (in most cases). That is who we are. That is who we were. That is who we shall always be.

So if you want to believe the worst of us, go right ahead. That is your choice. I am just letting you know you are wrong. But then again, I am not a Leftist/Marxist, so I don’t have the desire to destroy those who built me up! *heh*

linkfest-haven-the-bloggers-oasis1

Please feel free to share your best posts with my readers on a daily basis. Just remember to add my permalink to the bottom of your post, then trackpost to me. Thank you. You don’t have trackbacks available? Why not use Wizbang Stand Alone Trackback? Everyone have a nice day.

Cross-posted @ Talon, TCU Nation and Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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“[T]he opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

–Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, 11 September 1804

Source: PatriotPost.us – Subscribe here.

Read this again. It says so much in just one sentence. Remember what it says. That is what we’ve been saying!

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by John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (Jan. 26, 2009) – As U.S. forces become more engaged with the enemy in Afghanistan, there may well be a rise in American casualties, Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday. In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Biden described the security conditions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq — a trio of countries he recently visited — and President Barack Obama’s decision to close the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Lance Cpl. Pete Reed provides security during a patrol in support of Operation Gateway III Dec. 28, 2008, in Farah province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Operation Gateway III was a strategically planned effort to clear Route 515 of improvised explosive devices and provide and maintain security along the important east-west roadway. Reed is an automatic rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Pete Reed provides security during a patrol in support of Operation Gateway III Dec. 28, 2008, in Farah province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Operation Gateway III was a strategically planned effort to clear Route 515 of improvised explosive devices and provide and maintain security along the important east-west roadway. Reed is an automatic rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan has deteriorated due to a failure to provide sufficient economic, political and military resources, as well as a lack of coherent policy among allies involved there. The Taliban are in “effective control” of significant parts of the country, he added. “The bottom line here is we’ve inherited a real mess,” he said. “We’re about to go in and try to essentially reclaim territory that’s been effectively lost.”

Biden said more troops are necessary in Afghanistan, where an estimated 25,000 additional U.S. forces are expected to deploy over the next 12 to 18 months, according to defense officials. Some 34,000 U.S. servicemembers currently are there. “It’s going to require … some additional military forces. There are going to be additional efforts to train their police and to train their Afghan army,” he said. “And all of that means we’re going to be engaging the enemy more.”

Describing other factors in Afghanistan, the vice president said corruption is rife among the ranks of Afghan National Police, and that the country is the source of 95 percent of the world’s opium and heroin. Asked if intensified engagement would lead to more American casualties, Biden said, “I hate to say it, but yes, I think there will be an up-tick.”

“As the commander in Afghanistan said, ‘We will get this done, but we’re going to be engaging the enemy much more,’” Biden said, quoting Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Biden met with McKiernan earlier this month during a Middle East fact-finding mission that brought the then-vice president-elect to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

The vice president said the United States is making progress in Pakistan, where the national army has increased its level of cooperation in policing a contentious region near the Afghan border known as the federally administered tribal areas, which he characterized as an ungovernable swath of land that is home to al-Qaida and other enemy combatants.

“We’re in the process of working with the Pakistanis to help train up their counterinsurgency capability, their military, and we’re getting new agreements with them about how to deal with cross-border movements of these folks,” he said. “So we’re making progress.”

He underscored that the president has pledged he would not hesitate to use action against high-level al-Qaida personnel in the area. Using a football metaphor to describe the situation in Iraq, Biden said the United States is on the 20-yard line, which in football terms is 80 percent of the way to the goal.

“But now comes the really hard part. The surge did work. Our military has done everything we’ve asked of them, but there needs to be a political reconciliation in Iraq,” he said, pointing to the three elections slated for 2009 as key indicators. He also emphasized the need for laws determining how oil revenues and political power will be distributed. Biden hailed the status-of-forces agreement that took effect Jan. 1 and will guide the security relationship between Washington and Baghdad as a “strong sign” of Iraqi political movement.

“There’s progress being made on it,” he said of reconciliation among Iraq’s ethnic groups, “but we need a much stronger push, and there has to be an additional show of responsibility on the part of the Iraqi leaders that they’re able to govern.” Biden also discussed Obama’s order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba within a year. He said shuttering the facility presents difficult decisions, including where to relocate detainees, but that closure will be achieved within the 12-month timeline.

The vice president said detainees will not be released within the United States because, aside from one detainee, they are not American nationals, and therefore have no legal status in America. “They’re either going to be moved and tried in American courts or they’re going to be sent back to their countries of origin,” Biden said. “If they are not a U.S. citizen or if they are not here legally, then even if they were released by a federal judge, they would not be able to stay here in the United States.”

Biden acknowledged that some countries have indicated they do not want to repatriate detainees. White House Counsel Greg Craig is reviewing detainees on a case-by-case basis, he said, adding that other countries have agreed to allow prison facilities for holding enemy combatants captured on the battlefield. “What I anticipate happening is that those people who are in a situation where it is either the evidence is in question or it’s going to be hard to make a case, we will most likely be rendering them back to their countries of origin or another country,” he said.

The vice president said the new Obama administration is still determining what it has inherited in the detention facility. “The one thing we do know is that the maintenance of Guantanamo, its symbol and the consequences of this symbolism around the world, it has grown terrorist organizations, not diminished terrorist organizations,” he said.

Lance Cpl. Pete Reed provides security during a patrol in support of Operation Gateway III Dec. 28, 2008, in Farah province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Operation Gateway III was a strategically planned effort to clear Route 515 of improvised explosive devices and provide and maintain security along the important east-west roadway. Reed is an automatic rifleman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), the ground combat element of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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