Tag Archive: Afghanistan
” After spending nearly half a billion dollars on 20 planes to outfit the Afghan Air Force, the Defense Department turned around and scrapped 16 of the aircraft for 6 cents on the pound—just $32,000, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has learned.
The Defense Logistics Agency carried out the planes’ destruction at Kabul International Airport as the SIGAR was investigating the Defense Department’s failed program to outfit the Afghans with a fleet of twin propeller military transport aircraft. The G222 aircraft, manufactured in Italy, proved impossible for the Afghan military to maintain and the Pentagon terminated the program in March 2013, three months after the SIGAR initiated its investigation. By then, the department had spent at least $486 million on the aircraft.
SIGAR determined that the aircraft flew only 234 hours out of 4,500 required from January through September 2012. “
From the original CNN editorial:
” He’s the war-ending President who, as of Tuesday, has ordered airstrikes in seven different countries (that we know of).
President Barack Obama has always acknowledged there are times when military force is necessary. Even when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he said there could be instances when war is “morally justified.”
But though he campaigned for the presidency on ending U.S.-led wars, Obama’s administration has certainly been willing to use force when it sees fit.”
Independent Journal Review provides a synopsis of the military actions …
” Since he became President, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has directed invasions into 7 countries:
- Afghanistan: Much criticized by the Afghani local government, Obama continued George W. Bush’s use of bombing, via aircraft and drones, of targets.
- Pakistan: Drone attacks have continued here as well.
- Libya: The U.S. bombed Libya in March 2011. The situation has certainly not improved, as evidenced in part by the U.S. Embassy killings in 2012 and the evacuation of all American staff two months ago.
- Yemen: Since Obama took office, almost 100 drone attacks have occurred there.
- Somalia: American drones have attacked and killed terrorists throughout the country.
- Iraq: Renewed bombings began in Iraq last month, following George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush in attacking terrorists there.
- Syria: U.S. recently launched air strikes in Syria, despite the red line being drawn by the President over Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons over a year ago.”
” The parents of SEAL Team Six member Aaron Carson Vaughn know what real courage and sacrifice is. Billy and Karen Vaughn’s son was killed with 37 others on August 6, 2011, when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. After watching the sickening beheading of James Foley, they were inspired to write a scathing open letter to President Obama.
The Vaughns are expressing what everyone has been feeling in a way only they can. This powerful piece needs to be read in full and shared far and wide:
After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.
My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.
Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.
Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.
That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.
As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.
Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.
Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.
But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.
I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.
Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.
Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders.
You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.
And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.
You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.
America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road.”
Many thanks to The Political Insider for making this letter available to our readers.
Published on Aug 26, 2014
” The cameraman had this to say to after submitting the footage to FUNKER530:
This patrol was a relief in place and I was on point leading the new guys in for the RIP. We hadn’t taken much contact in this area, and it was generally considered a “safe” zone in Logar Province.
We patrolled the area frequently, and the locals would regularly thank us for pushing the Taliban away from their village so they could live their daily lives without constant threat.
The Taliban that we came across during this patrol were actually setting up to shoot down our new surveillance balloon that was launched in the area. The balloon caught the entire fight on camera from above, which confirmed that we killed 3 Taliban fighters during this engagement.
I saw the first guy shoulder his RPG, take a knee, and point it directly at me from about 15 meters away. I’m not sure if it was luck, but I shot first and hit him twice. The rest of the team engaged immediately after.
At the end of the day there were no friendly casualties, and we had eliminated 3 Taliban fighters.
I wanted to share the video with the world because I was sick of hearing all the ignorant things said about what we are doing over there. People need to understand what it’s like on the ground for the troops on the front line, and see what we have to deal with on a daily basis without some political spin on the story.
This footage has been edited to exclude the close up graphic footage of the enemy KIA.
This footage is part of an ongoing documentary of the war in Afghanistan from the soldiers’ point of view.
Read more about the war here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_A… “
” An Afghan soldier killed a United States Army major general and wounded a German brigadier general and at least 14 other foreign and Afghan military service members on Tuesday at a military training academy on the outskirts of Kabul, officials of the American-led coalition said Tuesday. The major general appeared to be the highest-ranking member of the American military to die in hostilities overseas since the Vietnam War.
The German military confirmed that one of its brigadier generals serving in Afghanistan was among 15 coalition-led troops wounded in the shooting, described as “presumably an internal attack.” The general was being treated for his injuries, which were not life-threatening, the Germans said in a statement.
Other details of the shooting were sketchy, and the coalition, in an official statement, would only confirm that one of its service members had been killed in what it described as “an incident” at the Marshall Fahim National Defense University in Kabul. The coalition declined to specify any further details, saying it was still working to notify the family of the deceased.”
Another first for the Obama administration …
” Until Tuesday, no officer in the American military of major general rank or higher had been reported killed by hostile action abroad since the Vietnam War. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial database, Maj. Gen. John Albert B. Dillard Jr. was killed on May 12, 1970 when his helicopter was shot down. Rear Adm. Rembrandt Cecil Robinson, the Navy’s equivalent of a major general, was killed on May 8, 1972, when his helicopter crashed.”
” About 550 Army majors, including some serving in Afghanistan, will soon be told they have to leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.
Gen. John Campbell, the vice chief of the Army, acknowledged Friday that telling troops in a war zone that they’re out of a job is a difficult task. But he said some of the soldiers could join the National Guard or the Army Reserve.
The decision to cut Army majors comes on the heels of a move to slash nearly 1,200 captains from the ranks. Army leaders were criticized at the time for giving 48 of them the bad news while they were deployed to Afghanistan.
The Army declined to say how many majors will be notified while they are at the battlefront.
” The ones that are deployed are certainly the hardest,” Campbell told reporters. “What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact to that unit and then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family.” “
” The movie “Lone Survivor” just came out on DVD two weeks ago and its blockbuster status continues. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, it’s the story of Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan. In 2005, a four-man U.S. Navy SEAL recon team had its mission compromised by Afghan goat herders who, when released, informed the Taliban of their location. The four team members, Michael Murphy, Danny Deitz, Matt Axelson, and Marcus Luttrell fought valiantly but three of the four were killed, leaving Luttrell as the “lone survivor.”
Luttrell survived only because of a centuries-old tribal code of honor called “Pashtunwali” which mandates Pashtuns afford protection to anyone in need. And so it was that Luttrell was found by a Pashtun village leader by the name of Mohammad Gulab and taken in – risking his own life in doing so.
Gulab considered it his sacred duty under that tribal code and when the Taliban came to demand that he hand over Luttrell, Gulab refused. The Taliban persisted, alternating between promises of money and threats to murder him and the rest of the village. None of it changed Gulab’s mind. He and his neighbors remained steadfast.
However, in a twist of fate, it seems Gulab is now the “lone survivor.” “
We’ve witnessed this scene played out time and time again , from the Kurds in 1991 to the Pakistanis that turned in Osama and AQ Khan to the Iraqi judge that convicted Saddam and now Muhammad Gulab . Throw in the Poles , Czechs and missile defense , the Montagnards in Viet Nam , the Cubans at The Bay Of Pigs and a host of other examples and it doesn’t pay to help Uncle Sam unless you harbor a death wish .
” The Taliban were just as confused by Bowe Bergdahl as the Afghan villagers who first encountered him after he allegedly wandered off his base, two former commanders say. Fighters rushed to capture Bergdahl after villagers informed them of his presence, and he was found walking alone, acting strangely, and cursing his fellow Americans, one commander tells NBC. He said “he wasn’t happy with his countrymen, but he didn’t intend to convert to Islam” or become a jihadi, the commander says. Both say that they at first believed it was some kind of trick, and they wondered how and why he had left the base alone—which he may have done more than once. They say he described his departure as a “personal issue.” “
” According to multiple reliable sources, on Air Force One during President Barack Obama’s recent Asia trip, he spent some time talking with his traveling press corps about his approach to foreign policy. He was defensive and, by one account, “fuming.” He felt that the criticism of his approach was unfair. He had clear ideas about how to manage America’s global interests. In his own words, they centered on a single concept: “Don’t do stupid shit.”
In fact, after making this point, he reportedly stood up, headed forward toward his own cabin on the plane, and then stopped. He turned back to the gathered reporters, and, much like an elementary school teacher hammering rote learning into students, he said, “So what is my foreign policy?” The reporters, in unison, then said, “Don’t do stupid shit.”
How far we have come from the audacity of hope; yes, we can; the soaring expectations framed by the brilliant oratory of the president’s Cairo speech on relations with the Muslim world; his Prague speech on eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide; and his Oslo speech when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, “don’t do stupid shit” is a comedown even from his expectation-lowering remarks in the Philippines on that same Asia trip in which he limned his vision for a foreign policy that consisted mostly of “singles” and “doubles.“
Having reported that “Don’t do stupid shit” was Obama’s personal mantra in regards to his foreign policy approach , author David Rothkopf then proceeds to explore whether Obama actually lives by his self-assigned credo …
” It is, of course, the prerogative of the president of the United States to make and frame his foreign policy as he sees fit. It is among the executive’s most clearly defined and potent responsibilities as described in the U.S. Constitution. So rather than getting into a lengthy discussion about how disappointing it is for this president — who once was seen as a potentially transformational figure — to have embraced defensive minimalism, or dwelling on the lack of imagination that has led to America’s incredible shrinking foreign policy, let’s take Obama’s foreign policy on its own terms.
Let’s ask the question: Is this administration succeeding in its goal of not doing stupid shit?“
Mr Rothkopf first ponders the age-old democrat habit of parsing the most basic of english language words , a la Bill Clinton … what is the meaning of “is” , “stupid” and finally “shit” .
” This all depends, as another president might have said, on what your definition is of “stupid” and of “shit.” But mostly it depends on your definition of the word “doing.” Because if doing stupid shit actually requires taking an action that crosses the administration’s stupidity threshold, then it would rule out all the times when not doing something was stupid. While this might be a clever way to dodge the bullet for an administration that is often criticized for its reluctance to act, this falls into the same kind of minor league Talmudic semantic contortionism that led the aforementioned prior president to parse the meaning of the word “is.” “
After vowing to stick with the more mundane and socially accepted meanings of those three simple words the author gets down to cases and finds , not surprisingly , Obama wanting …
” In terms of sins of commission, there is nonetheless a list of some doozies that seem to violate Obama’s own new foreign-policy guidelines. “
Colonel David Hunt told Bill O’Reilly tonight that Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter.
“ Bowe Bergdahl was a deserter. Bergdahl on June 20, 2009 crawled underneath a wire at his fire base with water, food, a change of clothes, a knife and a cell phone. He called his unit the day after he deserted to tell his unit he deserted… Bill, we lost 14 soldiers, killed, searching for a deserter. He left his unit in combat. It’s non-arguable… We don’t know yet if he joined the Taliban or not. But, there’s no question he deserted.”
” The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released to American forces in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Obama administration officials said Saturday.”
The soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was handed over to American Special Operations troops inside Afghanistan near the Pakistan border about 10:30 a.m. Saturday in a tense but uneventful exchange with 18 Taliban officials, American officials said. Moments later, Sergeant Bergdahl was whisked away by the helicopter-borne commandos, American officials said. He was found in good condition and able to walk.”
” The five Taliban detainees at Guantánamo, including two senior militant commanders said to be implicated in murdering thousands of Shiites in Afghanistan, were being transferred to the custody of officials from Qatar, who will accompany them back to that Persian Gulf state, where they will be subject to security restrictions, including a one-year travel ban.”
As happy as we are that Sgt Bergdahl is coming home , the precedent set by releasing Gitmo prisoners and in effect negotiating with terrorists , in a break from long-standing US policy , bodes ill for all soldiers in the future .
This will no doubt be a much needed shot in the arm for our beleaguered “commander-in-chief” but may very well open the flood-gates to the kidnapping of American GI’s and thus will be viewed by our enemies as just another sign of weakness , especially after last week’s announcement of the impending 2016 troop withdrawal .
From the Taliban point of view they must believe , rightfully so , that they have the US on the ropes and all the insurgents need do is sit tight for a few more months and victory will be theirs .
Continue reading at NY Times
” Valerie Plame doesn’t deny that blowing the cover of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan is a serious matter. It’s just that, discussing the issue at a Wednesday evening forum sponsored by The Atlantic, Plame seemed to view the outing of the CIA’s top spy on the front lines in the Afghan war as more of an embarrassment than an outrage.
” My understanding is … it was a military aide who compiled this list of those that were greeting the president when he came,” Plame said. “Colossally stupid, but I think it was inadvertent. It was an error … really stupid. The White House apparently has said that they’re going to do an investigation, and they’ll find someone who’s really embarrassed at the end of it.”
The leak, if that’s what it can be called, happened over the weekend as President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. In a routine email to the press, the administration included a name with the description “Chief of Station” after it — a clear reference to the ranking CIA official in Kabul. It’s hard to imagine a more sensitive assignment in a more dangerous place, and blowing the station chief’s cover — in an email to 6,000 reporters, no less — will surely have repercussions.”
A couple of passing thoughts , Plame was a desk jockey in DC not a Chief-Of-Station in a war zone and she was not “outed” by the White House but through an idiotic remark to a reporter by an underling .
” The White House inadvertently exposed the name of the CIA’s top spy in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday when it gave the press a list of U.S. officials participating in President Barack Obama’s surprise visit to the troops.
According to The Washington Post, the White House released a new list without the name after their reporter raised questions about whether the inclusion was intended.
The list was emailed on Saturday night to reporters accompanying the president on the trip, and was then included in a pool report written by Washington Post White House bureau chief Scott Wilson. That report was released to more than 6,000 news organizations before Wilson noticed what he believed to be an error.”
Could we possibly be led by a more incompetent group of fools than now inhabit the White House ?
” Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter doesn’t remember much about the day he and a fellow Marine were caught in the blast of a hand grenade in southern Afghanistan while manning a rooftop security post. There was almost no time to react before the explosion tore into him in a searing, angry ball of white light.
Carpenter recalls that he “got right with God” as he was enveloped by the sensation of warm water pouring all over him. It was his own blood.
“ My last few seconds before I lost consciousness,” he said, “I had accepted the fact that . . . I was not going to survive and make it off that rooftop.”
Remarkably, Carpenter did survive, despite horrific wounds. Just as remarkable is how he sustained them — by throwing himself on the grenade in an attempt to save his friend and fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio, from harm.
On Monday, the White House announced that it would award Carpenter, 24, with the Medal of Honor for his actions, making him the second living Marine to receive the nation’s highest award for valor in combat since the Vietnam War. Fourteen other U.S. service members have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
” Not all military dogs are suited to combat. Some wither in the heat or become too excited by the sounds of gunfire or explosions, even after they’ve been desensitized to them in training. Some are too loyal, too lazy, or too playful. Each dog is its own particular, sometimes peculiar, universe. Still, certain breeds generally do better than others on the battlefield, such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and especially the Belgian Malinois, which is known for being fearless, driven, and able to handle the heat.
But what works in a given environment may not work in another. History suggests that each battle situation calls for its own breed and tactics. Benjamin Franklin encouraged the use of dogs against the Indians. They “will confound the enemy a good deal,” he wrote, “and be very serviceable. This was the Spanish method of guarding their marches.” (Spanish conquistadores were said to have used bullmastiffs against Native Americans.)”
” During the Second Seminole War, starting in 1835, the U.S. military used Cuban-bred bloodhounds to track Indians in the swamps of Florida. Dogs were said to have guarded soldiers in the Civil War. During World War I both sides used tens of thousands of dogs as messengers. In World War II the U.S. Marines deployed dogs on Pacific islands to sniff out Japanese positions. In Vietnam an estimated 4,000 canines were used to lead jungle patrols, saving numerous lives. (Nevertheless, the military decided to leave many behind when the U.S. pulled out.)”
Read the whole story at National Geographic
” A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Telegraph has learnt.The 20-year-old marksman, a Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 930 yards (850 metres) away, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.The incident in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan happened in December but has only now been disclosed as Britain moves towards the withdrawal of all combat soldiers by the end of the year.”
” It is understood the L/Cpl was using an L115A3 gun, the Army’s most powerful sniper weapon.”” Lt Col Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, said the unnamed sharpshooter prevented a major attack by the Taliban, as a second suicide vest packed with 20kg (44lbs) of explosives was found nearby.The same sniper, with his first shot on the tour of duty, killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,465 yards (1,340m).”
” The L115A3 long range rifle is a bolt-action sniper rifle that is chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. The L115A3 was introduced as part of the Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), with the first weapons being fielded by 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand in 2008. It largely replaces the L96 and L115A1 sniper rifles previously fielded by UK forces. The L115A3 is manufactured by Accuracy International. Among its features are:
- chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum (8.59mm) with an effective range of +1,100 meters
- stainless steel, fluted, 686mm barrel
- Schmidt & Bender 5-25×56 PM II day scope with 25x magnification.
- Sniper Thermal Imaging Capability (STIC) night scope mounted forward of the day scope allows for target acquisition at night / low-light conditions
- The weapon can be fitted with a suppressor in order to reduce muzzle flash and noise signature.
- The stock folds which makes the weapon easier to carry in a backpack.
- Adjustable cheek-pieces, a stabilizing monopod and an adjustable bipod for improved shooting ergonomics
- 5-round box magazine “
” The luxury hotel was considered one of the safest spots in the Afghan capital Kabul. Yet, four gunmen walked in, made their way to the restaurant, pulled out hidden pistols and started shooting diners, officials said Friday. They killed nine people, including shooting an AFP journalist, his wife and two children in the head.
The shooting spree Thursday evening at the Serena Hotel was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks by the Taliban and allied militants as they step up a campaign of violence, vowing to disrupt the April 5 national elections.
Claiming responsibility for the attack, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said it shows that “our people, if they decide to attack any place, they can do it.”
The attack was particularly bold because the Serena Hotel was seen as one of the best-protected sites for civilians in the capital. Sheltered behind a non-descript wall, entrants must pass through a security room at the gate where they go through a metal detector and bags are put through an X-ray machine. It is popular among foreigners — both visitors and residents, who would often come for brunch or dinner.
The attackers hid their small pistols and ammunition in their shoes and socks, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said — but it was not clear how the weapons went undetected.”
” High school sweethearts Misty and Larry Schaffer had been married since 2008, and Larry never once mentioned Misty’s weight.
But when Larry, an Army specialist, was deployed for a year to Afghanistan in 2012, Misty decided to give him a big surprise: She went on a secret yearlong diet.”
See all the details at Buzzfeed
” A local solider is spending his first weekend at home with family in a very long time. Former Army First Lt. Michael Behenna served five years for killing an Al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan. Tonight, he is a free man after being paroled.
The Behenna family was there waiting when Michael was released from Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Friday. News 9 was there when he returned home to Edmond.
Vicki Behenna has been fighting for her son’s release. Michael is home now after serving time for killing Ali Mansur. Behenna says he killed Mansur out of self-defense during questioning, saying Mansur reached for his gun.
The military court found Behenna guilty of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone. After serving a third of his reduced sentence, Behenna was released on parole.”
” First they want to give medals for “courageous restraint.” Now they want to tie both hands behinds our soldiers’ backs. This isn’t suicide, it’s negligent homicide, in my book.
Commanders have ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol with unloaded weapons, according to a source in Afghanistan. American soldiers in at least one unit have been ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, an anonymous source stationed at a forward operating base in Afghanistan said in an interview.
“The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post—in which direct action may or may not take place—and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion,” says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military issues. “This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed.” “
Remember , an unloaded rifle is just a very expensive club . Read more at Bare Naked Islam .