The Invisible Bomber

No, not the Stealth Bomber....I am referring to the guy who ran away when he crashed his Mercedes VBIED in central London early Friday Morning.

Apparently the authorities know who they are looking for....
Last night it was claimed that cops had “crystal clear” CCTV images of the driver of the Haymarket Merc.

US TV station ABC News said the man is a known associate of jailed Islamist militant Dhiren Barot, 34 — who is serving life for a plot to explode limousines with gas canisters.
But that is the only mention this suspect seems to get. But if there is a 'crystal clear image', and he is a 'known associate', where are his picture and his name? Shouldn't the press outlets be clamoring for this info?

One would think that if there is a nation-wide manhunt for a bomber, the police would release the image and the name in hopes that the public would aid in his capture, no? But why not here?

One reason might be the fact (and we all knew it was coming) that the bomber has Islamist ties, and the Brits are afraid to insult/incite the radical Muslim population of their country. Or is there some other more bureaucratic reason?

Powerline notes a possibly related incident and quotes the Scotsman as saying "Police say they are looking for an Iraqi who went on the run from a control order only 11 days before yesterday's failed bombing attempts. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is part of a six-strong cell linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Can't be identified for legal reasons?!? What the hell? The man is a suspected terrorist and fugitive of the law, and you can't warn the public of the danger because you might violate some of the new Europe's precious multi-culti civil rights?

It makes me wonder if the same thing is the reason we haven't seen a picture of the London suspect yet. Scotland Yard has it hands tied behind its back by bureaucratic sensitivities.

Whether it is reason #1 or #2, it strikes me as very strange that despite the existence of the information, the public in Britain (and the rest of the world) has not been given notice of who the police are searching for.

It makes you wonder if the Brits really want to win, or whether capitulation will win out.....

UPDATE: Or there could be a simpler explanation..."Security officials and police denied a U.S. news report that they had a "crystal clear" picture of one suspect from CCTV footage."

Shame on me for forgetting one of the primary tenets of warfare....'The first reports are always wrong.'

Downrange Part II

I guess, like the summer movies, I am all about sequels this week.

Since I am an Air Force guy, I want to amend my previous statement about not being able to find many AF bloggers downrange. I suppose I wasn't looking hard enough. I still stand by my indictment of the oppressive AF IT arrangements. AS proof of that it would appear that none of these following blogs are from AF installations in the theater....

Mission Iraq - Round 2 (USAF, Iraq) Stoli and I are old acquaintances, as we both flew into Korea on the same plane as new 2LTs. On the ride from Kimpo Int'l down to Osan, I and another 2LT had to ride in the bed of the small pickup truck with the luggage, while Stoli got to ride in the cab with his sponsor. Of course to add to the misery, it was monsoon season..... Another story for another day.

(USAF, Baghdad)

I am sure there are moe out there to find....


COIN Part III & Military History

Can one be too excited about an Army Manual?

Apparently MountainRunner can be and is....

Is it wrong to be excited that the US Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual came in the mail today? It probably is, but I am.

He also offers even more good reads on counterinsurgency from the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS).

In addition to all the great John Nagl links I posted yesterday, it appears as if he will be a speaker at the Pritzker Military Library in a couple of weeks.

The Pritzker Military Library Presents
John Nagl discusses / signs LEARNING TO EAT SOUP WITH A KNIFE
Saturday, July 14th, 2007
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CDST Program / Live Web Cast
Pritzker Military Library
610 N. Fairbanks Court
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Now if you are not in Chicago don't worry, as you may have noticed, it will be presented as a live webcast.

For those who have never seen their website, Pritzker is an indispensable military resource.

I discovered Pritzker purely by chance, as I was searching the iTunes Store for military related podcasts. They exist as a real brick and mortar library in Chicago, which offers a collection focused on "history of the military, military fiction, and the military's current practices as part of the belief that Citizen Soldiers are an essential element of a democratic society."

They also offer a tremendous number of live events on site featuring military authors and historians, as well as 'Front & Center' symposiums on varieties of military issues, and lastly their invaluable 'Medal of Honor' series presenting living history through the words of actual CMH winners. One of this year's events was 'Military Blogs: Independent Voices or Security Risk?', which featured Matt from Blackfive.

The best part is that all of these events are webcast, and all are archived viewing on the web. Check out the previous events for 2006 and 2007, as well as upcoming events.

Check them out. You will not be disappointed.


More COIN Collection

The indispensable blog, Small Wars Journal, that posted the David Kilkullen entry that I pointed to yesterday, now has a post by LTC John Nagle titled "The Evolution and Importance of Army/Marine Corps Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency"

This entry offers a valuable history on how the U.S. Army found itself unprepared to fight an insurgency following the conventional land battles of 2003.

"...the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it. The American Army of 2003 was organized, designed, trained, and equipped to defeat another conventional army; indeed, it had no peer in that arena. It was, however, unprepared for an enemy who understood that it could not hope to defeat the U.S. Army on a conventional battlefield, and who therefore chose to wage war against America from the shadows.

The story of how the Army found itself less than ready to fight an insurgency goes back to the Army’s unwillingness to internalize and build upon the lessons of Vietnam."

Nagl, like Kilkullen knows his stuff and offers opinions on the current war that should be listened to, by both the Army, DoD, and politicians. Fortunately the military has listened, and given views like his credence, by placing Gen Petraeus in charge of Iraq, and allowing subject matter experts like Nagl to help write the new Counterinsurgency manual.

If you would like to see a more multimedia approach to Nagl's idea, check out the video of his 2006 presentation "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam and Iraq". A strange title until you understand that it came from a T.E. Lawrence quote "Making 'war upon rebellion was messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.'" How apropos. This presentation also seems to be an update of his book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.

Nagl is also providing a forward for the Aug re-release by the Army of Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II. It is not clear if this document is the same one that Danger Room showed us two weeks ago.

All of it is worth reading....now if I could only find the time.


COIN Collection

In a recent post I discussed the general ignorance of many politicos on the status and tactics of the current war. His is extremely disappointing, given that there are lots og good resources out there to brush up with, like those from Blackfive that I covered in that recent post.

Today over at OPFOR, fellow AFROTC grad Noonan points to another good educational read by counterinsurgency savant David Kilcullen, Understanding Current Operations in Iraq, over at Small Wars Journal (one of the best COIN resources out there for all you Congresscritters reading....). Noonan also has his own good write up of the ignorance of the left from back in March at Townhall, They know so much that isn't so. To finish off the education catch Kilcullen in the great interview with Austin Bay that he mentions, in Bay's Blog Week in Review podcast from last week.

On a slightly different front, good bud and world famous Noah Shachtman has a couple of great posts at Danger Room about terrorist information operations and some interesting strengths and weaknesses in their approach using media and blogs.

Off-the-beaten-path milblogger MountainRunner wraps it all up with a nice bow in a post titled "The War of Images and Ideas: a reality in modern conflict", as he manages to connect the efforts of Shachtman and Kilkullen, and offers further cogent thoughts including this one...."We have the advantage of the truth and yet we don't use it."

How true and how sad.

Great Moments in Slanted Journalism

Here us a graph from an AP story about a young boy whom the Taliban had recruited to wear a suicide vest and kill American troops:

Boy: Taliban recruited me to bomb troops

Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.

Translation: "We accept Taliban dismissals without comment, but because U.S. military officers are convinced of the boy's story we at the esteemed AP therefore are not, since their words must be taken with a grain of salt due to increasing criticism over civilian casualties at their hand."

This ladies and gents is what is called 'Moral Equivalence'. I am sure that the AP would love to crticize the Taliban for this inhumane action, but they just can't find the gumption to do so because U.S. troops have killed innocents too.

But listen up everyone, there is absolutely no equivalence (zero, zip, nada) between the Taliban lying to a young boy to get him to strap a bomb to his body and blow himself up, and the U.S. military accidentally killing civilians. The fact that the AP writers can't differentiate between an intentional act and an accidental one does not speak very highly of their intelligence or their training. Of course, if we don't want to impugn the qualifications of the AP writers, the only other option to consider is that they might actually believe that the U.S. intentionally and indiscriminately kills innocent civilians, and therefore is the moral equivalent of the Taliban.

And if that is what AP writers believe, then they are already working for the enemy....they just aren't smart enough to realize it. Ooops, I guess I did impugn.....

Hat Tip: The Tank



Over the last few years, there have been many good blogs written 'downrange' in both Iraq and Afghanistan. However, as time passes, people rotate and come back home. So perhaps it would be isntructive to look at a few of the good blogs who are currently in the field.

Most of the good bloggers tend to be Army or Marine. Maybe because they have the most interesting things to pass along. But also perhaps because the USAF IT folks won't let you come within spitting distance of blogging (Blogger, etc) or webmail websites. They are all locked out because they pose and 'inherent threat'. And here I thought we were the most technologically advanced service....oh never mind.

Below are some of the downrange bloggers that I currently find most interesting.

(Army, Fallujah)




JACK ARMY (Army, Iraq)

JAKE'S LIFE (USMC, Fallujah)




PRO DEA ET PATRIA (Army Chaplain, Iraq)

Enjoy reading these folks as they certainly offer a perspective far different that you might hear if you get your news from Harry Reid.

And if all indications are correct, I will be following many of them as a downrange blogger in just a few months.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of more. One from an Air Force perspective, and one that strives to present the troops in their own words....

USAF GUY (USAF (duh!), Basrah)

MATT SANCHEZ (USMCR, in Iraq as a media embed/blogger)


Shortsightedness and the Long War

Those on the left who oppose this war seem to be grasping at anything they can to justify their position. This is somewhat puzzling, given that the war effort seems to be fairly unpopular with the polled (note I did not say general) public. You would think that they would have firmer ground to stand on, but apparently not.

Take Harry Reid, who has declared two of the military's leading Generals, including the one running the new counter-insurgency oriented 'Surge', as "incompetent", and declared the Surge as failed before it has even really started.

Now some of the lefty intelligentsia are declaring Operation Phantom Thunder failed as well. Why? Because the enemy is running away. Granted, we would like to kill those dirtbags in place, but in essence to declare that "AQI fleeing battle is the mark of US failure" and the battle lost is to willfully ignorant of the wider war at hand.
AQ leadership normally does flee the battle. This is just what happened in 2004 in Fallujah. However, breaking their strongholds is important precisely because of what it does to their overall strategy, which is to set themselves up as 'the strong horse' versus America. Because they flee, and their strongholds are destroyed, they lose face -- the one thing they cannot afford to lose.
Grim at Blackfive has been hitting this 50 meter target centermass for quite some time now. His latest is instructive on the myopia of the left, and also point to a couple of other great pieces of his from earlier days.

A Strategy for the Long War

COIN: The Gravity Well

This war is not a simple exercise in win/lose (or lose/lose) as the left would have us believe, even though that is all the American public is fed by the MSM. This is a complicated endeavor of strategy and death, where the enemy running away, while not the optimal outcome, can be a significant step forward.

It is too bad that the left can not recognize that. Or perhaps they just don't want to as that would ruin the meme that they have chosen to follow. If that is the case, it is plain to see that they might actually be willing us to lose this war.



So, if according to Harry Reid, Gens Petreaus and Pace are incompetent, what does that make Nancy Pelosi??

Here is Pelosi's commitment to the troops of our United States:

Notice how she promises that the house "will provide the largest increase in veteran's funding in history" (One question might be why she hasn't done it yet? It's been six months....).

I am sure that the troop in the picture will greatly appreciate that, or maybe she won't. Lets take a closer look:

Hmmm.... why does that look like an Army uniform with Navy rank? Or is that even Navy rank? Let go even closer.....

(Yes, it is not the exact rank, but that is not the point)

Hmmmm. Canada, eh? What is Nancy trying to say? Is it that she want to enact Canada's socialized medicine for the military. Nope, too late. The US military already has socialized medicine.

Perhaps a simpler explanation is at hand. It is much easier to see that no one who works for Pelosi has any idea what the uniforms of the United States military services actually look like. What are the odds? Pretty good I'm afraid.....

Good job. That will win back military votes.....

Hat Tip: QandO



There is a lot to like about Fred Thompson, and it will be interesting to see where he goes with his maybe-candidacy. I have taken the road of not supporting any candidate at this point, as I want to hear what they have to say, and want to see who will 'self eliminate'.

For those who want to see waht Fred is all about you can always go to his website here or listen to his ABC Radio spots here or here.

But it might be better by seeing/hearing him address issues on the fly.

Here is a video interview with Peter Robinson:

Here is a good interview with Bill Bennett.


Compare and Contrast

If you ever wanted to see the power of the news editor in deciding what is news and what isn't, and thereby shaping public opinion, take a look at these two examples of what has occurred in Iraq over the last to days:


Notices any differences? Both are newsworthy, but we rarely see example #2 in circulation. The main editors must be on summer vacation.

Any we wonder why the support for the war is in the tank? Actually, we all know why with displays like these represented by the NYT.

On The Offense

Despite the fact the predominance of news headlines which would best be described as 'it bleeds it leads', there is a lot of better news coming out of Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Michael Yon:
The first day of operation Arrowhead Ripper was intense. The Army is giving full access to the battlefield, and while on base full access to the TOC (HQ) which means I see the raw truth on the ground, and as it feeds through the TOC. They are hiding nothing. Or if they are, it’s in plain view. (Special operations notwithstanding.) A reporter can see as much as he or she can stand.


A positive indicator on the 19th and the 20th is that most local people apparently are happy that al Qaeda is being trapped and killed. Civilians are pointing out IEDs and enemy fighters, so that’s not working so well for al Qaeda.

Yon gives his standard no holds barred in the renches report, with ceratinly more to follow in the days ahead.

Michael Gordon (NYT):
The American effort got off to a slow start in the morning when blowing sand precluded reconnaissance and medevac flights. But as the weather cleared, the soldiers advanced into the western section of the city. Soldiers said they had received useful tips from some residents on the location of buried bombs and booby-trapped houses. In the Mufrek neighborhood, several residents said they had been terrorized for months by Qaeda fighters, who commandeered houses to use as positions to shoot at American forces.

The insurgents have imposed a strict Islamic creed, and some have even banned smoking, one resident told Capt. Jeff Noll, the commander of Company B of the First Battalion, 23rd Infantry, during his patrol through the neighborhood.

While the soldiers searched the houses, loud explosions rumbled through the city. Americans were using satellite-guided bombs and rockets where underground bombs were believed to have been buried. The American troops have found 25 improvised explosive devices and have destroyed five homes that were rigged with explosives, the military said in a statement.
Unfortunately as you can see in my first link, Gordon's reporting from the front lines is not making the front pages....

Bureaucrats to Troops: Fudge You

Never ones to let a good thing get in the way of enforcing government regulations, bureaucrats can usually be counted on to do the wrong thing.

Such is the case in Bangor Maine, where Bangor International Airport officials have started preventing those who greet the flights of troops returning from overseas combat from handing out any sort of food or treats.
Five hundred thirty-one soldiers stopped for a layover Tuesday afternoon at Bangor International Airport, but not one of them ate a piece of Debbie Bickford’s decadent peanut butter fudge — nor did any indulge in a homemade chocolate brownie or a Maine-famous whoopie pie.

Homemade treats long provided by the area’s volunteer Maine Troop Greeters disappeared at the airport about a month ago after BIA began enforcing a ban on such giveaways.


Tony Caruso, the airport’s assistant director, said Tuesday the issue revolves around liability. "We have people who bake things at home, and that is very hard to regulate."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has strict regulations on preparation, temperature control and handling that all airport concessionaires must adhere to, Caruso said. Ensuring that all food is properly prepared and stored is a safety and security issue, he said.
Yeah, because you never know when the Deptartment of Agriculture is going to ride into town and shut the airport down over some fudge.

C'mon guys, get that large regulatory stick of your butt, and let them serve some fudge. It hasn't killed anybody yet......


Food for Thought

If one doesn't like how Muslims are committing genocide in Darfur...

And one doesn't like how Islamists are undermining hope in Lebanon...

And one doesn't like how Palestinians are killing Palestinians in Gaza...

How could one possibly be in favor of the US pulling out of Iraq and guaranteeing a similar outcome?

Hat tip to Seth Leibsohn and Joe Lieberman. Listen to this clip at about 3:20 in.
"If you look at the slaughter that is going on in Gaza today, Palestinian against Palestinian, that is a small indication of what Iraq will be like if we get out...One of our leading Generals over in Iraq said to me, if you speak to your colleagues back in the Senate, you tell them 'If you don't like what is happening in Darfur, you're going to hate what will happen in Iraq if we get out of there too soon..."
- Joltin' Joe Leiberman

The Terrorists Are Coming?

So ABC news tells us that "Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe..."

That may well be true, but it may well be bluster.

We all know that the enemy runs circles around us when it comes to running an IO campaign to influence opinion. So then, why actually send dozens of easily profiled (oops, bad word) to try and carry out a suicide bombing campaign, when just threatening to do so can get the American press and politigencia more worked up than Paris Hilton at a court hearing?

Just a mere few dozen threatening words can have more bang for the buck (so to speak) than the huge logistical hurdles of trying to get suicide bombers into the country.

If they really wanted to infiltrate young muslim men who had recently been in Pakistan into the U.S. they wouldn't announce it. If you ask me, the mere fact that they announced it means it is all part of an IO campaign to get our panties in a bunch. I guess as far as the press is concerned....mission accomplished.


Quality Shines Through

This is not professional:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is "incompetent."
This is the epitome of professional:

I will tell you the truth as I know it, and that is around the middle of May, within a day or two of the Secretary learning from certain members of Congress that there may be a problem to renominate me, he brought me in the office and sat me down and said “Pete, this is what’s happening. I want to renominate you. I want you to know that this is what I’m beginning to hear, this is what I’m going to go do, this is how I’m going to go do it."
He and I sat down, and I said “I’m a Marine…If you want me to go forward with the confirmation process, I’m all for it.” I also told him that what he needed to do, in my opinion, was what was best for the institution, and whatever he and the president decided was going to be best for the institution was what Pete Pace was going to do.
I will run through the finish line on 1 October, and when I run through the finish line I will have met the mission I set for myself.
Personally I wish that Bush and Gates had put Pace forward for a confirmation battle. That would have provided another forum for the Dems to show their colors when it comes to the war. Of course Pace would not wish for that, since it would be unprofessional for him to do so simply for political reasons.

Godspeed Peter Pace in your future endeavors...

UPDATE: Here are a couple of more testimonies to Pace's service and competence.

UPDATE II: Greyhawk describes his arrival in Iraq, and at the end has some stern advice for Harry Reid.


Pot Meet Kettle

Anyone who would think that Gen Peter Pace is "incompetent" is, to put it nicely, an idiot.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who would think that Gen David Petraeus is "incompetent" is a total raving loon!

And after insulting these two men behind their backs (these were not public comments), Reid wants to just let the matter drop. How convenient! But how can it just drop? Reid will be a central figure in the decision making that goes on after we gets full reports on the effectiveness of Petraeus' 'Surge'.

Reid puts his own incompetence on display with his contradictory and ignorant remarks:

Asked if Reid considered Petraeus competent, Reid responded, "Not as far as I'm concerned."

Reid ripped Petraeus for an interview published in Thursday's USA Today describing progress in Iraq.

"I have high regard for General Petraeus...

What?!? How can one consider some incompetant and have high regard for him at the same time?

"I was a little disappointed, to say the least, today reading USA Today newspaper, where he's saying things are going fine, kids are playing soccer. The truth is, you look at another newspaper and look at a different page of USA Today, the bloodiest three months of the war has been since the surge took place," Reid said.
Well no shit sherlock! Lets see....we have a surge, which means many more troop are placed into the combat theater to go on the offense and ....[GASP]....more combat occurs! What, is he kidding, or did he think that more combat troops actively hunting terrorists would result in less combat (and resulting casualties). This guy really needs to start thinking in three dimensions.

Unfortunately Reid has already pre-judged both the surge and its leaders. I think we can all see what is coming...

Sorry RNC: No Dinero para Usted

In today's mail I got a mailing from the RNC titled the "Republican Party Census". Of course it was a close-to-patronizing questionnaire with the fundraising section tacked on the end.

I fully intended to simply write "Not one more Dime!" on it and send it back, but then I read the donation section. Basically the options were to either say "Yes - here is my money" (paraphrasing) or "No - I favor electing liberal democrats over the next ten years" (actual quote). Now that really was patronizing. Of course I don't want to elect libs, but that is not my problem with the RNC. What I don't want is for the RNC to keep protecting the cabal of capitulating liberal Republicans who keep working against the wishes of the GOP's most substantial base.

So I decided to write-in my own choice...

Then shortly after I did that, but before I got around to writing this post, I saw that Michelle Malkin was featuring a similar tactic. So I took that idea and added it to the bottom of my form as well. "Amnesty Bill = No $$$"

Sorry guys, as long as you keep harboring "moderates" who have prevented the majority of the GOP from moving forward, I'll keep my money for myself.