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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Congress Sets Aside $20M for Wars' Ends

By ANNE PLUMMER FLAHERTY Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The military's top generals have warned Iraq is on the cusp of a civil war and that U.S. troops must remain in large numbers until at least next spring. But if the winds suddenly blow a different direction, Congress is ready to celebrate with a $20 million victory party.

Lawmakers included language in this year's defense spending bill, approved last week, allowing them to spend the money. The funds for ''commemoration of success'' in Iraq and Afghanistan were originally tucked into last year's defense measure, but they went unspent amid an uptick in violence in both countries that forced the Pentagon to extend tours of duty for thousands of troops.

Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the original sponsor of the provision, which Democrats agreed to add to last year's defense bill. Senate Republicans kept the authorization in the 2007 bill. With elections five weeks away, Democrats are pointing to it as another example of where the GOP has gone astray in handling the war in Iraq .

''If the Bush administration is planning victory celebrations, Americans deserve to know what their plan is to get us to a victory in Iraq ,'' said Rebecca Kirszner, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

McConnell's spokesman, Don Stewart, said he thought the finger-pointing by Democrats was silly because the provision was added last year by unanimous consent.

''Apparently they were for honoring the troops before they were against it,'' Stewart said.

Carolyn Weyforth, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said, ''Republicans are confident we will be victorious in the ongoing war in terror, and we look forward to a time when those funds can be used to honor the men and women who have risked and given their lives.''

Under the language, the president could ''designate a day of celebration'' to honor troops serving in the two wars. The president also could call on the nation ''to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities'' and issue awards to troops who have served honorably.

The Pentagon could spend up to $20 million of its $532 billion budget in 2007 for the commemoration, minus any private contributions it might receive for such an event.

The money will be available for the 2007 budget year, which began Oct. 1.

Some 140,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq , with a drawdown not expected until at least early next year.

About 20,000 more are in Afghanistan . Last year, Bush administration and Pentagon officials had hoped thousands of troops could be brought home before the Nov. 7 elections.

Proclaiming victory in the Iraq war has already proven to be tricky business.

President Bush was slammed by critics for delivering his ''Mission Accomplished'' speech in May 2003 aboard an aircraft carrier. While troops had successfully stormed Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad , the fight over control in the nation against a violent insurgency had just begun.

Vice President Dick Cheney also was ridiculed for suggesting last year that the insurgency was in its ''final throes.''

Marines comb Iraq’s farmlands for insurgents
By Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis1st Marine DivisionEven barnyards don’t provide shelter for insurgents here anymore. Marines with L Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment are combing the countryside looking for insurgents, materials used for making improvised explosive device and weapons caches located in local farmlands... Full Story

Iraqi Peace Plan Gives Citizens Responsibility, General Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2006 – The reconciliation plan announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Oct. 2 enables Iraqi citizens from all political groups to hold their security forces responsible and to take responsibility for creating peace and tolerance within their own neighborhoods, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said today.

The plan, which calls for the creation of joint committees throughout Baghdad made up of clerics, tribal sheiks, representatives from all political blocs, and the armed forces, is aimed at ending internal battles that were preventing the unity Iraq so desperately needs, Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said in a news conference.

“The frank dialogue that went into the development of this plan shows a concerted effort by all sects to reduce the sectarian violence,” Caldwell said. “Reconciliation among Iraqis is ultimately what will quell this needless bloodshed.”

On the local and national levels, Iraqi leaders are learning what self-governance means and are improving their capabilities to serve the needs of the citizens, Caldwell said. Provincial reconstruction teams made up of coalition forces are assisting local governments and teaching them how to develop governance capacity, promote increased security and rule of law, achieve political and economic development, and meet the basic needs of their populations.

“Since the fall of Saddam (Hussein), local governance has taken on a whole new meaning here in Iraq,” he said. “Iraqis are clearly focused on improving their quality of life and working towards a brighter future.”

As local governance improves, the Iraqi security forces continue to improve, Caldwell said. This week, one brigade and three battalions of the Iraqi army assumed the lead in their areas of operation, bringing the total of Iraqi units in the lead to six Iraqi army division headquarters, 30 brigades, and 89 battalions, he said. Of the 110 bases that coalition forces have occupied since 2003, 52 have been turned over to Iraqi control, he added.

In September, Iraqi and coalition forces killed more than 110 terrorists and detained more than 520 suspected terrorists in 164 operations, Caldwell said. Based on information from a recently detained al Qaeda member, coalition forces on Sept. 28 detained a former driver and personal assistant of Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, the purported leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, along with 31 others during a series of raids in the Baghdad area, he said. Intelligence indicates the individual detained participated in the 2005 bombing of two hotels in Baghdad that killed a total of 16 people and injured 65 others, he said.

The Iraqi police are also continuing to improve, Caldwell said. Earlier this summer, Multinational Force Iraq began phase one of a national police assessment program termed “Quick Look,” which was designed to assess each battalion’s capability and readiness with regards to equipment status, personnel and weapons accountability, battalion facilities, overall unit discipline, and current combat capabilities. Phase one has ended, Caldwell said, and the coalition has initiated phase two, which focuses on leader and police transformational training.

Transformational training is a three-week training program focused on leader training, civil policing skills, and training on key collective tasks required at the small-unit level, Caldwell said. Key blocks of instructions include: rule of law, policing a democracy, police role in counterinsurgency operations, human rights, community policing, and a platoon-level police situational training exercise. By the summer of 2007, all Iraqi national police units should have completed this training, he said.

Quick Look has also brought to light some national police units that are not up to the government’s standards and that need retraining, Caldwell said. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced late last night that the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police, is being recalled to go through intensive training in anti-militia and anti-sectarian violence operations, he said. “This brigade’s past performance has not demonstrated the level of professionalism sought by the Ministry of Interior,” he said.

Caldwell stressed that while some units within the police force clearly need retraining, others have proven to be very competent and professional units.

“The transition from tyranny to democracy is definitely long and very difficult,” he said. “Coalition forces continue to stand behind the government as it deals with tough decisions that lay ahead, and with the Iraqi security forces as they continue to grow in both quality and quantity.”

Related Articles:
New Iraqi Plan Aims to Combat Sectarian Violence

Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
Virtual technology enhances training for aircrews
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- Survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructors at the 15th Operational Support Squadron are now using virtual technology to train aircrews in parachute hanging harness training.

This is Good News

Much as I really don't like giving these nutcases anything, Mike Gallagher deserves big-time kudos for doing something to keep Phelps and his freaks from bringing more pain to the families of these little girls:

Anti-Gay Kansas Church Cancels Protests at Funerals for Slain Amish Girls
The controversial anti-homosexual of Topeka, Kan., has canceled its plans to stage a protest at the funerals of the five Amish girls executed in their Pennsylvania school, a church official said Wednesday.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of church's pastor, told the group canceled the protests in exchange for an hour of radio time Thursday on syndicated talk-show host Mike Gallagher's radio program...
Read the Rest at Fox News

Related Site:
Mike Gallagher
(You can email Mike and thank him here).

Norfolk, Va. (Oct. 3, 2006) - The fast attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN 750) gets underway for a scheduled six-month deployment as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. Nearly 6,500 Sailors deployed from Naval Station Norfolk with the Eisenhower CSG in support of the on-going rotation of forward-deployed forces. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialists 1st Class Christina M. Shaw


Release Date: 10/4/2006
Release Number: 06-01-04P

Description: KABUL, Afghanistan –An attempt by extremists to burn down a girls' school in Puli Alam District, Logar Province, was stopped by local villagers on Oct. 2.

An estimated 10 extremists were attempting to burn down Karnail Girls School in Hesarek Village when local villagers arrived at the school. The villagers confronted the extremists and demanded they leave, forcing them out of their village.

The Afghan National Police also arrived at the scene, but the extremists had already fled.

No one was injured in the attempted attack.

"The Afghan people are rejecting the violence of the extremists who offer nothing but fear and intimidation," said Col. Thomas Collins, Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan spokesman. "Afghans are increasingly taking responsibility for their own security and safety."

For more information, contact CFC-A Public Affairs at

CATALOGING CONTRABAND — U.S. Army soldiers from 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment catalog contraband items during a search and cordon mission in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 1, 2006. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mike Buytas

In Today's News - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Any Time...Any Place"
-- motto of the 16th Special Operations Wing, USAF

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
DNA to Determine If Slain Rebel is Al Qaeda Chief
U.S. says Iraq Qaeda leader still alive - Video
Key facts on Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Iraq pulls police brigade out of service
Two Down, Two to Go
Baghdad Bombings Hit 'All-Time High'
Military Hones a New Strategy on Insurgency

Operation Enduring Freedom
NATO to Takeover Entire Afghan Security Mission

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Belgian police hold Iranian who claimed bomb plot
Two rockets found near Pakistani parliament
Philippines arrests wife of Bali bomb suspect

Troops on Trial
Two Marines plead not guilty to Hamdania murder
Fort Lewis Soldier Faces Court-Martial
Sailor to Testify in Iraqi Murder Case

Other Military News
Lawmakers Blast DoD's Guard Budget

Mid-East Ceasefire / Israel at War
U.S., EU warn Israel over closure of Gaza border
Rice: U.S. eying ways to aid Palestinians

Immigration / Border Control
Bush signs bill paying for new border fence

Court Allows NSA Wiretap Program to Continue

Worldwide Wackos
S. Korea to North: Don't Test Nuke
US Warns North Korea not to Test Nukes
Japan presses for U.N. stand on N.Korea nuclear vow
Moscow to try prevent N.Korea nuke test
Lavrov says Russia still against Iran sanctions

Homegrown Moonbats
Anti-Gay Kansas Church Cancels Protests at Funerals for Slain Amish Girls
Barbra Streisand snipes at Bush in concert

Politics / Government
Ex-Aide: I Sent Foley Alertto Hastert Office Years Ago - VIDEO
GOP Leaders Ask for Probe Into Alleged Foley Dorm Visit
New questions when Hastert told of sex scandal - Video
Ethics committee ready to probe Foley case
Foley ballot notice headed for battle in Florida
Alma mater gives Friedman mixed response

U.N. News
Thai candidate for U.N. chief throws in the towel

Media in the Media
Ratings tell mixed story about Couric's success
Media take center stage in fight for votes

Mother Nature
Scientists issue global warming report
Tourniquet: Bad advice for a snake bite

Police hunt breast enlargement cheats
Body found in bed 5 years after death

Other News of Note
4 Amish School Shooting Victims to Be Laid to Rest in Private Funerals
Coroner: Amish Schoolhouse Shooting Scene Was 'Horrible'
Suspected Gunman Shoots 3, Holds Hostages
HP Executives Charged in Spying Scandal
Pilots may face charges in Brazil crash
Thai coup leader to hold talks with rebels

Fox News
Attorneys: Karr Never Used Computer in California
Dow Hits 2nd Straight Record Close
U.S. to Stop Seizing Canadian Prescription Drugs
Mets Top Dodgers, A's Beat Twins in Playoffs
Stocks to Watch: Marriot, Apple Computer

Reuters: Top News
Air raids, bombs despite Sri Lanka peace talk vows
U.S. scientist wins Nobel, follows laureate father
Microsoft aims to scuttle pirated copies of Vista
Google launches search service for computer code
Kashmiri grief crosses India-Pakistan divide
Don't forget the killer diseases, experts urge
Investigators search spinach growers in E. coli probe
Chemo has long-term impact on brain function: study
Stock futures flat, Starbucks set to rise
Toshiba shares hit 2-mth low on Westinghouse stake - Video
Gold nervously steady as funds shift to stocks
Stocks surge on M&A, U.S. rate view; ECB awaited
Euro hugs tight ranges before ECB, Trichet
Reuters Wealth Management Summit
Property seen as top alternative for rich
Betting on the house
OPEC cuts 1 mln barrels in 1st reduction since 2004
Ryanair makes $1.9 bln bid for Aer Lingus
General Atlantic, others in Northgate talks: paper
Nissan, Renault still mull American partner
Doubts cast on second Airbus project: report
Losing steam
Package giants prepare for "healthy" peak season
Wal-Mart cuts Sept sales growth figure

AP World News
'Lost' has puzzling season premiere
Minus pitching stars, Mets beat Dodgers
New hay fever vaccine shows promise
Streaming video records sea lions' lives
Kim Basinger faces trial in custody case
CEO apologizes for Apple stock practices
Tori Spelling, husband expecting baby
Kotsay's inside-park home run lifts A's
Paris Hilton says Shanna Moakler hit her
Many young kids not getting flu shots
Obituaries in the news
New attack on Karr child porn charges
Study: Side air bags lower driver deaths
The Navy's Support Navy Keeps Growing
U.S. European Commander Confirms Quotes in Book

CENTCOM: News Releases



USJFCOM sends support teams to CENTCOM - podcast
Newsmaker Profile: Col. Eugene V. "Gene" Bonventre - podcast
Command working to meet the warfighter's needs with focused efforts - podcast
Command seeking information from industry on access management

Department of Defense
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Teams Teach Contracting, Budgeting, Planning - Story
Iraqi Army Gives Civilians Lease Payments - Story
Iraqi Soldiers Graduate from Combat Training - Story
Water Facility Will Deliver Millions of Gallons - Story
Iraqi Security Forces Assume Control of Base - Story

Soldiers Conduct Medical Ops in Mushada
Iraqi Air Force Moving Towards Control of Ops
Iraqi Forces Train to Combat IED, Explosives Threat
‘Retired’ Engineer Oversees 30 Al Anbar Projects
Voices of Freedom Make Way onto Airwaves
Army Engineers Help to Rebuild Infrastructure

Afghan NCOs Complete Drill Sergeant Course
Afghan Laborers Continue Work on Local Dam
Harriers Complete Combat Runs in Afghanistan

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify Casualties - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1450 - Jews are expelled from Lower Bavaria by the order of Ludwig IX.
1813 - Americans defeat the British at the Battle of the Thames (Canada).
1864 - The Union army almost a third of its troops repelling the Confederates at the Battle of Allatoona; most of Calcutta is destroyed by a cyclone (approximately 60,000 are killed).
1877 - Chief Joseph surrenders, ending Nez-Perce War
1908 - Bulgaria declares independence from Turkey - Ferdinand I becomes Tsar.
1931 - Herndon & Pangborn make the first nonstop transpacific flight (Japan to Washington).
1945 - "Meet the Press" premieres on radio.
1947 - Harry Truman makes the first Presidential address televised from the White House.
1953 - Earl Warren is sworn in as the 14th U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice.
1954 - Hurricane Hazel hits the eastern U.S.
1962 - The Beatles release their first record - "Love Me Do."
1965 - Chuck Linster performs 6,006 consecutive push-ups; Dick McInnes stays aloft almost 12 hours in a kite.
1970 - Quebec seperatists kidnap British trade commissioner James Cross.
1981 - Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg becomes an honarary American.
1983 - Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
1984 - The 13th Space Shuttle Mission (41-G, Challenger-6) is launched.
1986 - The London Sunday Times reports that Israel is stocking nuclear arms.
1988 - Israel bans Meir Kahane's Kach Party on the grounds of racism.

1830 - Chester Alan Arthur, 21st U.S. President (1881-85)
1864 - Louis Lumière, inventor of the Cinématographe (with his brother, Auguste)
1882 - Robert Hutchings Goddard, rocket pioneer
1887 - Ren‚ Cassin pacifist (Nobel Peace Prize 1968)
1902 - Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds /owner of the San Diego Padres
1923 - Philip Berrigan, militant priest (Chicago 7)
1929 - Richard F. Gordon, Jr., Capt USN / astronaut (Gemini 11, Apol 12)
1930 - Pavel R. Popovich, cosmonaut (Vostok 4, Soyuz 14)
1951 - Bob Geldof, pop musician (Boomtown Rats, Band Aid)
1958 - Brent W. Jett, Jr., USN Lt. Commander/astronaut
1962 - Michael Andretti, Indy-car racer/Auto Hall of Fame
1965 - Mario Lemieux Montreal, Pittsburgh Penguin high scorer (#66)
1965 - Penny Baker, Playboy playmate (January, 1984)

1941 - Louis D. Brandeis, first Jewish Supreme Court Justice
1967 - Clifton C. Williams, Jr., astronaut, in T-38 jet crash
1990 - Meir Kahane founder of Jewish defense league, assassinated

Reported Missing in Action
Barrett, Thomas J., USAF (IL); F4C shot down (GIB, w/Hivner), released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Hivner, James O., USAF (PA); F4C shot down (pilot), released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Pogreba, Dean A., USAF (MT); F105D shot down (pilot)

Seeber, Bruce G., USAF (IL); F105D shot down (pilot, wingman to Pogreba), released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Andrews, William, USAF (OR); F4C shot down (pilot), remains returned September, 1990 - ID'd December, 1990

Beene, James A., USN (CA); A1H disappeared over water while on reconnaissance mission, KIA, body not recovered

Matheny, David P., USN (CA); F8C shot down (pilot), released February, 1968

Trautman, Konrad W., USAF (PA); F105D shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998
***Also flew F-86 in Korean War***

Lawrence, Gregory P., USAF (AL); HH3E shot down (crew)

Stride, James D., Jr., US Army SF (TX); unit ambushed while on reconaissance patrol, KIA, body not recovered

Wester, Albert D., USAF (TX); HH3E shot down (co-pilot)

Davidson, David A., US Army SF (MD); unit ambushed while on reconnaissance patrol, KIA, body not recovered

Gassman, Fred A., US Army SF (FL); unit ambushed while on reconnaissance patrol, KIA, body not recovered

Alpers, John H., Jr., USAF (CO); F4D shot down (w/Lewis), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Bates, Richard L., USAF (ND); F4E shot down (navigator, w/Latham), released by DRV March, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Latham, James D., USAF (KS): F4E shot down (pilot, w/Bates), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Brigadier General - alive as of 1998

Lewis, Keith H., USAF (OH); F4D shot down (pilot, w/Alpers), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998