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The Fallen

10 Comments

24 February 2009
 
We may have a lot of problems at home -- and we do -- but our brothers and sisters are out there for us tonight.  We lost eight just today.  Four soldiers were killed in Iraq, and four in Afghanistan.

Read more: The Fallen

Galactic Collisions

3 Comments 24 February 2009
 
Want to see a time when the press and the President really clashed with the media?  When was it?  World War I?  World War II?  Korea?  Vietnam?  Iraq I?  Iraq II?  (Definitely not Afghanistan, where the press practically handed out free candy and foot massages for over five years.) 

Read more: Galactic Collisions

New Bid to Eradicate al Qaeda

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23 February 2009

Iraq continues to progress, but still some fighting.  Yet these days, al Qaeda in Iraq is like a piranha fish with no scales; it's still alive and flopping around on shore, but the dwindling piranha school cannot be happy.  The villagers have been helping to net them up and scale them.

Read more: New Bid to Eradicate al Qaeda

Interesting Afghan Statistics

4 Comments

15 February 2009
 
One must always be careful with statistics, and especially so when dealing with insurgencies.  The numbers tend to lag behind the true current situation.  For instance, in July of 2007, when John Burns and I both were telling millions of Americans that "the Surge" was working, our casualties actually were at nearly the highest during the entire war.  And so, using statistics, someone could have ripped us apart or accused us of carrying the water for the President.  But in fact, though attacks were very high, it was obvious that we were turning the tables in Iraq and the situation was dramatically improving.  Likewise, when I reported from Afghanistan during 2006, saying explicitly, in plain language, that we were losing, some people used statistics to discredit those reports.  In this type of warfare, the statistics can be extremely misleading.  Yet I do pay attention to the statistics.  The difficulty comes in applying proper context.
 
Please see this interesting report.


Lithuanian Forces and Piotr Stanczak

3 Comments

11 February 2009

This pamphlet came from our Lithuanian friends, who are proud of the hard work they are performing in Afghanistan.  They've earned such an excellent reputation with U.S. forces that I have asked to cover Lithuanian operations in Afghanistan this year.  I met with Lithuanian officials at their Embassy in Washington, and subsequent that meeting, Lithuanian officials have agreed in principle to the coverage.  Now we have only to work out the details and do it.  The Lithuanians are very proud about the good relations with the United States and they want Americans at home in the United States to know that Lithuanians are in the fight, too.

Read more: Lithuanian Forces and Piotr Stanczak

How Much is Afghanistan Really Worth to Us?

28 Comments

10 February 2009

While we prepare to shunt perhaps 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan (which still will not be enough), Russia continues to play the Asian chessboard.  The Russians are picking off pawn after pawn, and steadily eroding our foreign policy influence with them and other Central Asian countries.  The Russians know that we need a land route through their country to Afghanistan, especially as we begin the slow process of increasing our combat presence.  The Pakistan land route is one Achilles' heel to our Afghanistan effort, and Russia is working hard to make sure that Russia is the other Achilles' heel, which will strengthen the Russian position on matters such as missile defense.  Russia, at the present rate, will eventually exercise considerable control over the spigot to Afghanistan.  The Russians are successfully wrestling us into a policy arm-lock.  While Russia takes American money and gains influence over our Afghan efforts, we will continue to spend lives and tens of billions of dollars per year on Afghanistan in an attempt to civilize what amounts to Jurassic Park.

Read more: How Much is Afghanistan Really Worth to Us?

It’s Raining

27 Comments

Published: 06 February 2009

There had been a light, cold drizzle just before the Muslim taxi driver picked me up in Jerusalem.  It should be a 90-minute drive to Sderot, in southern Israel.  Along the wet highway, I asked the driver to stop at a small town so that I could buy a juice, and inside the Muslim store a television was turned to news in English, showing success of the most recent Iraqi elections.

Read more: It’s Raining

Afghanistan: A Dream That Will Not Come True

57 Comments

03 February 2009 

Afghanistan is a gaunt, thorny bush, growing amid rocks and dust on dry windswept plains, sweltering deserts, and man-crushing mountains. Its neighbors are treacherous. The Afghan people are mostly living relics, only more advanced than hidden tribes in the Amazon, but centuries behind the least advanced European nations.

Read more: Afghanistan: A Dream That Will Not Come True

How Can the World Be Blind to Israel’s Existential Threats?

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Published: 01 February 2009

I heard Benjamin Netanyahu, the person who could soon become Israel’s new prime minister, speak this week at the Jerusalem Conference. The most pressing point that he talked about was that under no circumstances should Jerusalem be divided. Many believe that if Jerusalem were to divide, the terrorist group Hamas would set up a headquarters here, which would result in Iranian agents — who also wish to see genocide against the Israelis — setting up shop within the confines of Jerusalem.

Read more: How Can the World Be Blind to Israel’s Existential Threats?

Jerusalem

45 Comments

27 January 2009

Recently I was invited to the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington D.C. to receive an award for journalism in Afghanistan.  I was incredibly happy to receive this journalism award from the Lithuanian people, and the Lithuanian government, and would like to thank the Lithuanians for standing their ground in Afghanistan and other troubled places.  Lithuanians stood up against the Soviets, so it's doubtful that they fear al Qaeda or the Taliban.  The Lithuanians are concerned, however, that America will turn its back on Lithuania. We must assure Lithuania that we will stand with them.

Read more: Jerusalem

Tom Ricks discusses CSM Jeff Mellinger

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I spent a lot of time in Iraq with CSM Jeff Mellinger.  Truly a soldier's soldier.  CSM Mellinger knows more about the Iraq war than any man I know.  (And that's a lot.)  You think those 15 month tours were long?  CSM Mellinger did nearly 34 months straight, taking only normal leave.   He saw more combat than most soldiers.  He was in the thick of it constantly.  I drove about 4,000 miles around Iraq with his patrols, but he did more than ten times that.  He's been blown up a time or two...  (Well, it was more than a time or two.)  CSM Mellinger has had a few horses shot out from under him, but he's still on active duty.  I just saw in Orlando as he was touring facilities.  He wants to go back to the war, though.  Wants to spend his time with combat soldiers.  Every day when we were on the streets of Iraq, Jeff Mellinger would say at least once about his wife: "Kim.  I love that woman."  And he would disappear from Iraq for a few seconds into his memories, and then he would come back to the battlefields and off we would go.

Read more: Tom Ricks discusses CSM Jeff Mellinger

Attack on U.S. Forces in Kabul

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Kabul Suicide Attack
 
From an unofficial but credible source:  On Saturday morning, 17 January 2009, a suicide bomber hit a sewage tanker near the German Embassy (Kabul).  2 U.S. soldiers killed, 2 wounded.  4 Afghans killed, 16 wounded.  35 others wounded.  
 
Reports vary slightly, but the gist of the story holds. 

Read more: Attack on U.S. Forces in Kabul

McCaffrey on Mexico

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16 January 2009
 
General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey is an ex-drug Czar.  He is deeply concerned about Mexico.  Recently, I met with General McCaffrey privately for more than two hours.  I asked for his thoughts on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Yet to my surprise, his concern that Mexico could collapse was immense.  If McCaffrey is concerned, we all should being paying attention.  Something serious must be brewing in Mexico.
 
Please listen to this short report on National Public Radio.

And see General McCaffrey's Mexico Report.

This is why I listen to General McCaffrey.

 


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