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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Changing Course

WASHINGTON — Transcript of President Bush's speech to the nation on a change of course in Iraq:

Bush: Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global War on Terror — and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror.

When I addressed you just over a year ago, nearly 12 million Iraqis had cast their ballots for a unified and democratic nation. The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together — and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops.

But in 2006, the opposite happened. The violence in Iraq - particularly in Baghdad — overwhelmed the political gains the Iraqis had made. Al Qaeda terrorists and Sunni insurgents recognized the mortal danger that Iraq's elections posed for their cause. And they responded with outrageous acts of murder aimed at innocent Iraqis. They blew up one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra — in a calculated effort to provoke Iraq's Shia population to retaliate. Their strategy worked. Radical Shia elements, some supported by Iran, formed death squads. And the result was a vicious cycle of sectarian violence that continues today.

The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.

It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq. So my national security team, military commanders, and diplomats conducted a comprehensive review. We consulted Members of Congress from both parties, allies abroad, and distinguished outside experts. We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group — a bipartisan panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. In our discussions, we all agreed that there is no magic formula for success in Iraq. And one message came through loud and clear: Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States.

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty percent of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital. This violence is splitting Baghdad into sectarian enclaves, and shaking the confidence of all Iraqis. Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

Let me explain the main elements of this effort: The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort — along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations — conducting patrols, setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

This is a strong commitment. But for it to succeed, our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help. So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence - and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs.

Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Here are the differences: In earlier operations, Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents — but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned. This time, we will have the force levels we need to hold the areas that have been cleared. In earlier operations, political and sectarian interference prevented Iraqi and American forces from going into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

I have made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people — and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act. The Prime Minister understands this. Here is what he told his people just last week: "The Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation."

This new strategy will not yield an immediate end to suicide bombings, assassinations, or IED attacks. Our enemies in Iraq will make every effort to ensure that our television screens are filled with images of death and suffering. Yet over time, we can expect to see Iraqi troops chasing down murderers, fewer brazen acts of terror, and growing trust and cooperation from Baghdad's residents. When this happens, daily life will improve, Iraqis will gain confidence in their leaders, and the government will have the breathing space it needs to make progress in other critical areas. Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend 10 billion dollars of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs. To empower local leaders, Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws — and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.

America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks. In keeping with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, we will increase the embedding of American advisers in Iraqi Army units — and partner a Coalition brigade with every Iraqi Army division. We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped Army — and we will accelerate the training of Iraqi forces, which remains the essential U.S. security mission in Iraq. We will give our commanders and civilians greater flexibility to spend funds for economic assistance. We will double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self reliance. And Secretary Rice will soon appoint a reconstruction coordinator in Baghdad to ensure better results for economic assistance being spent in Iraq.

As we make these changes, we will continue to pursue Al Qaeda and foreign fighters. Al Qaeda is still active in Iraq. Its home base is Anbar Province. Al Qaeda has helped make Anbar the most violent area of Iraq outside the capital. A captured Al Qaeda document describes the terrorists' plan to infiltrate and seize control of the province. This would bring al Qaeda closer to its goals of taking down Iraq's democracy, building a radical Islamic empire, and launching new attacks on the United States at home and abroad.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing Al Qaeda leaders — and protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on Al Qaeda. As a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists. So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops. These troops will work with Iraqi and tribal forces to step up the pressure on the terrorists. America's men and women in uniform took away Al Qaeda's safe haven in Afghanistan — and we will not allow them to re-establish it in Iraq.

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity — and stabilizing the region in the face of the extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing — and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists — and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors — and they must step up their support for Iraq's unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government's call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region — to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.

The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy — by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom - and help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists — or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?

The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at ensuring the survival of a young democracy that is fighting for its life in a part of the world of enormous importance to American security. Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will.

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.

Our new approach comes after consultations with Congress about the different courses we could take in Iraq. Many are concerned that the Iraqis are becoming too dependent on the United States — and therefore, our policy should focus on protecting Iraq's borders and hunting down Al Qaeda. Their solution is to scale back America's efforts in Baghdad — or announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces. We carefully considered these proposals. And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear that country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale. Such a scenario would result in our troops being forced to stay in Iraq even longer, and confront an enemy that is even more lethal. If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.

In the days ahead, my national security team will fully brief Congress on our new strategy. If Members have improvements that can be made, we will make them. If circumstances change, we will adjust. Honorable people have different views, and they will voice their criticisms. It is fair to hold our views up to scrutiny. And all involved have a responsibility to explain how the path they propose would be more likely to succeed.

Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror. This group will meet regularly with me and my Administration, and it will help strengthen our relationship with Congress. We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century. We also need to examine ways to mobilize talented American civilians to deploy overseas — where they can help build democratic institutions in communities and nations recovering from war and tyranny.

In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary - and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American - and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.

Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a Nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can and we will prevail.

We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you and good night.

CAMP BLACKHORSE, Afghanistan – The Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway scans the horizon during a helicopter ride to an Afghanistan Army training facility Dec. 28. Conway stopped at several installations during a tour of the Central and European Commands.

For more images of the event, visit the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps Photo Gallery

Photo by: Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook
Photo ID: 200719105746
Submitting Unit: Headquarters Marine Corps
Photo Date:12/28/2006

Airpower strikes insurgent stronghold in Iraq

F-15E Strike Eagles, similar to this one refueling over Iraq, play a critical role daily in providing close-air support to ground forces in contact with anti-Iraqi forces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

From Defenselink:

1/9/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNEWS) -- U.S. Central Command Air Forces air and space power supported coalition actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom with F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15E Strike Eagle and B-1 Lancer aircraft that dropped precision munitions Jan. 8 on a known insurgent stronghold south of Balad Ruz, Iraq.

The strike targeted personnel and equipment of the insurgents and terrorists.

"The combined use of our wide range of aerial assets is a perfect example of the flexibility of our coalition forces. We're able to provide the joint force commander with the desired effects using the most appropriate airframe," said Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, U.S. CENTAF commander, who also serves as U. S. Central Command's combined forces air component commander.

Air strikes were conducted against more than 25 targets including enemy buildings, equipment, vehicles, weapons caches and personnel. The aircraft used in the operation were selected in order to deliver the required effects to the ground commander.

"Air strikes in support of this operation were a success because of the combined efforts of our aircrews, ground forces and the Iraqi Army working in concert to shut down the terrorists' ability to operate in the Diyala Province," said General North.

In addition to the F-16s, F-15Es and B-1s, coalition aircraft provided a wide array of support for the coalition ground forces, including air refueling, close-air support, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strikes against planned targets over the duration of the operation, which began Dec. 26.

"USCENTAF and the combined air component commander forces will continue to provide support to the Iraqi government in their efforts to build a new Iraq. We are committed to helping the Iraqi people establish a safe and secure country," said General North.

Aircraft attack al Qaeda haven in Somalia
WASHINGTON (AFNEWS) -- Air Force AC-130 gunships struck al Qaeda targets in Somalia Jan. 8, news sources reported last night. The operation allegedly hit al Qaeda concentrations in the southern part of the country, but Pentagon officials did not comment.

Marine saves civilian from burning car, earns achievement medal

From Marine Corps News

Jan. 5, 2007
Story ID#: 200715143119
By Pfc. Mary A. Staes, Marine Forces Reserve

MARINE FORCES RESERVE, New Orleans – (Jan. 5, 2007) -- A machine gunner with Anti-Tank Platoon, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, earned the Navy/Marine Corps Medal for saving the life of a stranger.

Pfc. Michael Kifowit received the award Jan. 12, for saving Amanda Stevens’ life.

“Pfc. Kifowit is a great Marine,” said Capt. Jose F. Vengoechea, inspector instructor for Machine Gun Platoon, Anti-Terrorism Battalion. “I think it’s great he’s being recognized.”

Stevens was hit by a drunk driver Aug. 16, 2006. Kifowit was in his car behind Stevens and said as soon as he caught up to her car, it was already ablaze.

“I didn’t know what to think when I got there,” Kifowit said. “I just thought, ‘Oh my God!’ I shook her to wake her up, because she was unconscious, and told her I was going to get her out. Her leg was stuck underneath the crushed dashboard, so I had to shake it out.”

Eventually, Kifowit was able to free Stevens from her car and pulled her out of her broken window.

By the time the ambulance left taking Stevens to the hospital, people were already taking notice of Kifowit’s actions.

“The police were shaking my hand and telling me that I did a good job,” he said.

Kifowit believes his newfound fame strange.

“It feels good,” he said of the veritable spotlight he’s in now. “At the same time, I try to be humble. It was just something that needed to be done at the time, and I hope anybody in my position would do the same thing.”

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Area of Responsibility (Jan. 8, 2007) – A plane director moves an E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the “Tigertails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Two Five (VAW-125) into launch position aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Eisenhower and embarked Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) are on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Danals

Iraqi-American Soldier Serves Proudly

U.S. Army Spc. Jotyar K. Tile, 35, returns to his homeland in northern Iraq to serve both his countries. Courtesy Photo

A former Iraqi refugee turned U.S. soldier returns to his native land after eight years.

By Maj. Juanita Chang
25th Infantry Division TAC PAO

MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 9, 2007 — Eight years and many small miracles later, U.S. Army Spc. Jotyar Tile retuned to his native land and will be serving both his countries.
Tile remembers the day his family fled northern Iraq after years of bombing and terror by Saddam Hussein’s government.

“If we had stayed one more day we would not have made it out alive; they were using chemicals against us and destroying our villages," Tile said.

“My father was a hard-headed and proud Kurd and did not want to leave our home. We were the last family to leave Qumri,” he said.

For years his family had endured the anti-Kurdish campaign led by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

“I remember every Friday we had to dress up and wear army clothes to school and march around and raise the flag and act like soldiers,” Tile said. “Saddam demanded we do this from about age 5 and up.”

In August 1988, then-18-year-old Tile, his parents, five sisters and seven brothers fled his home in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq to a refugee camp in Turkey.

Tile explained the conditions in the refugee camp were appalling with approximately 16,000 refugees in tents in four to five square miles. Refugees were not allowed to work and all had fled with no belongings; not even bringing pots to boil water in. Many became ill and died because of the poor health and hygiene conditions and simple preventive medical issues like frostbite were rampant, he said.

“Then, one day, the U.S. and U.N. visited us and asked if we wanted to go to the U.S. or Europe,” Tile beamed. “I said yes, I want to go to the U.S.,” he said, but his parents declined and they returned to their home in 1992 along with his siblings.

On Sept. 29, 1992 Tile, arrived in New York City as a refugee and was given a green card. Within days he moved in with a sponsor in Fargo, N.D.

“I did not know anything about U.S. except California and New York,” he said. “And I didn’t speak a word of English.”

Tile explained how “a very nice and beautiful lady volunteer named Karen Harris” changed his life.

This lady, with whom he has not had contact with in years, taught him how to speak English, drive a car, and got him his first job for $4.25 an hour.

“I would love to contact her and thank her but don’t know how,” he regretted. “When I received my first paycheck, I went back to the social service and thanked them and told them I didn’t want anymore of their help,” he said with a smile.

He said they tried to tell him that he could continue to receive support for months, but he said he wanted it go to someone else who really needed it.

“I wanted to join the U.S. Army ever since I came to the U.S.,” he said, “to show my appreciation for everything they did for my people.”

However, Tile did not have a high school diploma and did not know how to obtain a general equivalency diploma.

The next several years meant several moves for Tile. He moved to Sioux Falls and worked in a meat-cutting factory cutting pork “even though, as a Muslim, I do not eat pork.” He also lived in Nashville, Tenn., and Georgia.

Eventually he learned through a friend of his that there was a special program created for allowing native language speakers to join the Army as interpreters.

“I contacted this guy and they flew me out to California and I joined the Army as an E-3 after taking the ASVAB test, physical, language exam and others.

“Since then I have also recruited two others,” Tile said.

After completing basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Tile found out he was assigned to a unit scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan.

“I went to my commander and told him I would do my duty as a soldier, and I would go anywhere they told me to go. But I asked him not to rely on me as an interpreter for Afghanistan because I do not speak those dialects,” Tile explained.

Within a few weeks, and with some help from his first sergeant, Tile was reassigned to a unit deployed to Iraq. Upon arriving in Iraq, he joined his new unit, the 352nd Corps Support Battalion from the Army Reserves out of Macon, Ga. The unit performs a wide variety of logistical support for coalition forces serving in northern Iraq.

Tile said he has spoken with his family, and they now know that he is back in Iraq and are proud of him for serving both his countries. He will spend his deployment in the Kurdish region serving as an interpreter and will be only an hour or so from his original home and family.

“My first goal is to make enough money to fix my family’s roof and to help them.” he said.

When Tile’s family returned to their village in 1992, there was nothing left, and the family was forced to start over and rebuild a house in a different location.

Tile, now 35, said he loves his family and wants to help them and still misses his mother’s cooking even though has hasn’t seen them in more than 14 years.

“The U.S. did a lot for my people and this is only a little bit that I can give back,” Tile said.

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESSMENT — An Iraqi man talks to U.S. Army Spc. Serrano about conditions in Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 27, 2006, during a neighborhood assessment being conducted by U.S. Army soldiers. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Robert C. Brogan

In Today's News - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quote of the Day
"The great destroyers of nations and men
are comfort, plenty and security.
A coward gets scared and quits.
A hero gets scared, but still goes on."

-- Unknown

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Bush Plan: 20,000 Troops, Iraqi Control by November
Pelosi's Statements on Iraq Troop Levels Have Shifted
Bush faces Democratic opposition to troop boost - Video
New Saddam Video Surfaces
Baghdad Battle Kills 50 Insurgents - VIDEO
Bush Iraq plan sees troop boost: defense official - Video
Iraq man to face magistrates over Saddam taunting
New wave of troops set for Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghan Security Forces Continue To Become More Competent, Capable - Video

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Pentagon Confirms Strike Against Al Qaeda in Somalia
"Many dead" in U.S. strike at al Qaeda in Somalia - Video
Anti-Terror Legislation Sails Through House
ETA says it set Madrid bomb but truce stays - Video

Troops on Trial
Soldier diagnosed with mental problems

Other Military News
Intelligence expert Wohlstetter dies
Soldier Dragged Half-Mile Under Car
GI Returns, Belongings Gone

Worldwide Wackos
Chavez nationalizations push Venezuela further left
U.S. sends stealth fighter planes to South Korea - Video
N. Korea nuclear test likely: general - Video
Iran says has no plan to quit nuclear pact: agency

Homegrown Moonbats
Donald Takes Poison Pen to Rosie
Read The Donald's Letter to Rosie (pdf)

Politics / Government
Bush backs off fight on four court nominees
Stem cell backers predict success in new Congress
Sen. Johnson upgraded to fair condition

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment
Two shot as Vegas road rage shooting ends at school

U.N. News
ElBaradei renews call for nuclear bomb-free world
Washington asks U.N. to prod Myanmar on repression

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
2nd Brazil Co. Blocks YouTube Over Sex Clip
Brazilian judge reverses YouTube ban
O'Reilly, Colbert to trade appearances

Science / Nature
Malibu Mansions Destroyed - PICS
2006 Warmest Year in U.S. History
Scientists baffled by U.S. stranding of dolphins

News from My Neck of the Woods
Culprit in NYC Gas Smell: Stinky Ol' Jersey
2 dead in Mass. commuter train crash

Get Your Endangered Species Ringtones!
Urinal thief comes clean
Scorpions on a plane

Other News of Note
Boy, 13, Missing and Feared Kidnapped in Eastern Missouri
FBI Joins Search for Missouri 13-Year-Old
Body of Teen Who Died in Frat Hazing Defaced

Fox News
Godfather of Soul's Still Unburied
Apple Debuts iPhone, Renames Company
McGwire Denied Hall; Gwynn, Ripken Get In
'Sirius' Bucks: Stern Nets $83M Bonus
Oil Crashes to 1-1/2 Year Low
Complaint Filed Involving NBA's Kidd, Wife
Prince William's Gal Pal Spurs Media Frenzy
Mary-Kate Has a Nice Meal in Public
Jive Records Still Addicted to Britney Spears
Angelina Jolie: Newborn Daughter Shiloh Is a 'Blob'

Reuters: Top News
U.S. to nominate either LA or Chicago for 2016 Olympics
Bigger brains give birds survival benefit, study finds
Apple introduces svelte multimedia iPhone
Warner Bros. hybrid DVD gets retail support
Black men in focus in U.S. HIV drug trial
Remote Chinese city pins hopes on Olympic boom
Whitney Houston auctions off clothes to pay debt
Britney, Paris top Blackwell's worst dressed list
Apple iPhone sends down Asia handset makers' shares
Nasdaq climbs with Apple
Investors dump RIM as Apple launches iPhone
Falling oil, Chavez hit Latin America stocks
AES shares slide following Chavez comments
Reuters Regulation Summit
Hedge fund questions
Time to redraft plans?
Motorola completes acquisition of Symbol Tech
Apple introduces svelte multimedia iPhone
Mizuho Securities and Shinko Sec to merge, sources say
Nasdaq climbs with Apple
Alcoa profit surges on higher aluminum prices
Pioneer N.American plasma TV sales to miss target

AP World News
Jamestown seeds reflect survival efforts
Dow drops nearly 7 as oil prices decline
Kids at home could mean higher-fat diet
Swank is moving on after split with Lowe
Foie gras ban in Chicago is flouted
Bangor makes it illegal to smoke in cars
Fiancee: Hunter killing was self-defense
NYC mom accused of suffocating newborn
Quadruple killer put to death in Okla.
Ex-fire boss cited hours after hearing
Soldier Dragged Half-Mile Under Car
Def. Tech: Rapid Fire
Op-ed: Memo to Bush
GI Bill Total Intel
SpouseBUZZ: Shut Up, Media!
TRICARE Cost Cutting
Advisors: Trailblazer Betty Ford

CENTCOM: News Releases







U.S. Joint Forces Command bringing together military, interagency for Multinational Experiment 5 - podcast
2006 -- The Year in Review
USJFCOM gets approval to connect U.S., Australian networks - podcast

Department of Defense
Stability & Security in Iraq Report (pdf)
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

U.S., Local Officials Dedicate Dire Dawa School - Story
Terror Suspects Captured in Meat-Packing Plant - Story
Soldiers Clean Up with Help of Quartermaster - Story
New Commander Discusses Challenges in Iraq - Story

Marines Improve Conditions in Iraqi Bunkers
Iraqi Soldiers Pressure Insurgents in Baghdad
Soldiers Spruce up Observation Point
Maliki Joins Troops in Celebrating Army Day
Iraqi Army, Police Team Up for Baghdad Ops
Soldiers Celebrate Three Kings Day in Iraq
Building Becomes ‘Shining Light’ for Tal Afar
Iraqi Trainers Graduate 120 From Police Academy
Paratroopers Seek to Build Trust in Samarra
Servicemembers Unite to Save Iraqi Girl's Life

277th Named Army’s ‘Top Aviation Battalion’
Panjshir Team Helps to Repair Mosque


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

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Ansbach Aschaffenburg Berlin Berlin-Tempelhof Berlin/Schonefeld Bremerhaven
Darmstadt Frankfurt Frankfurt/Main Freiburg/Breisgau Garmisch
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Geilenkirchen Gelnhausen Giessen Kitzingen
Hanau Am Main Heidelberg Mainz Mannheim Nurnberg Stuttgart Trier
Wiesbaden Wurzburg


Agana Agana Heights Agat Andersen AFB Asan Barrigada

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

Kadena Air Base Okinawa Tokyo Yokohama

Baler Radar Site Catanduanes Radar Site Manila

South Korea
Cheju Upper/Radar Chonju Chunchon Inch'on Kunsan Masan Mokp'o
Osan Pusan Seoul Suwon Taegu Taejon Tonghae Radar Site Ulsan Yosu

* If you're deployed, and want to see your location's weather listed here, please email me! *

Today in History
0049 BC
- Julius Cesar crosses the Rubicon, invades Italy
0069 - Roman emperor Galba adopts Marcus Piso Licinianus as Cæsar
0236 - St. Fabian begins his reign as Catholic Pope
0681 - St. Agatho ends his reign as Catholic Pope
1429 - Order of the Golden Fleece established in Austria-Hungary & Spain
1430 - Order of the Guilder forms
1642 - King Charles I & family flee London for Oxford
1663 - King Charles II affirms charter of Royal African Company
1776 - "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine, published
1799 - Friedrich von Schiller's "Die Piccolomini" premieres in Weimar
1806 - Dutch in Cape Town, South African surrender to the British
1808 - Herman Daendels succeeds A Wiese as Governor-General of Netherlands Indies
1810 - French church annuls marriage of Napoleon I & Joséphine
1811 - Louisiana slaves rebel in 2 parishes
1839 - Tea from India 1st arrives in UK
1840 - Penny Post mail system started
1861 - US forts & property seized by Mississippi; Florida becomes 3rd state to secede from US; Fort Jackson & Fort Philip are taken over by Los Angeles state troops
1862 - Battle of Big Sandy River, KY (Middle Creek); Battle of Romney, WV
1863 - 1st underground railway opens in London; General McClernand's Union troops surround Fort Hindman, AR; January-uprising begins in Poland
1870 - Georgia legislature reconvenes; John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil
1878 - US Senate proposes female suffrage
1883 - Fire at uninsured Newhall Hotel in Milwaukee, WI kills 71 - General Tom Thumb of P.T. Barnum fame, escapes unhurt
1889 - Ivory Coast declared a protectorate of France
1900 - Lord Roberts & Lord Kitchener reach Capetown
1901 - Oil discovered at Spindletop claim near Beaumont, Texas
1910 - 1st international air meet in US held, in Los Angeles
1911 - 1st photo in US taken from an airplane, San Diego; Honduras signs treaty turning over customs to US (not ratified)
1912 - Caillaux government in France resigns; World's 1st flying boat's maiden flight, (Glenn Curtiss in NY)
1916 - Russian offensive in Kaukasus
1920 - League of Nations' 1st meeting, Treaty of Versailles in effect
1923 - Last US troops leave Rhineland (Germany); Lithuania seizes & annexes country of Memel
1925 - Miriam (Ma) Ferguson sworn in as Texas Governor, nation's 2nd woman governor; France-Saarland forms
1928 - Soviet Union orders exile of Leon Trotsky
1930 - Mordovian Autonomous Region in RSFSR constituted
1941 - Seyss-Inquart begins registration of Jews
1942 - Japan invades North-Celebes, Dutch East Indies
1943 - 1st US President to visit a foreign country in wartime-FDR leaves for Casablanca, Morocco
1943 - Russian offensive against German 6th/4th Armies near Stalingrad
1944 - 1st mobile electric power plant delivered, Philadelphia; British troops conquer Maungdaw, Burma
1945 - Los Angeles Railway (with 5 streetcar lines) forced to close
1946 - UN General Assembly convenes for 1st time (London); US Army establishes 1st radar contact with Moon, Belmar NJ
1947 - Greek steamer Himara strikes a wartime mine in Saronic Gulf south of Athens with loss of 392 of 637 aboard; British stop ships Independence & In-Gathering from landing in Israel
1949 - 1st Jewish family show "The Goldbergs" premieres on CBS; RCA introduces 45 RPM record
1951 - 1st jet passenger trip made; UN headquarters opens in Manhattan, NY
1957 - Anthony Eden resigns & Harold Macmillan becomes PM of Britain
1962 - 4,000 die in avalanche, Ranrahirca, Perú; Eruptions on Mount Huascaran in Peru destroy 7 villages & kill 3,500
1964 - Battles between Muslims & Hindus in Calcutta; Panamá severs diplomatic relations with US
1966 - Julian Bond denied seat in Georgia legislature for opposing Vietnam War; India & Pakistan sign peace accord
1967 - Edward Brooke, takes (Senator-R-MA) seat as 1st popular elected Black; PBS (the National Educational TV) begins as a 70 station network; Lester Maddox inaugurated as Governor of Georgia
1968 - US Surveyor 7 lands near lunar crater Tycho
1969 - Pirate Radio Station Free Derby begins operation by Northern Ireland; USSR's Venera 6 launched for parachute landing on Venus; Sweden (1st Western country) recognizes North Vietnam
1973 - Gas tank on Staten Island explodes, killing 40
1978 - Soyuz 27 carries 2 cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station
1979 - 1st brother Billy Carter makes allegedly anti-Semitic remarks
1981 - El Salvador guerrilla group FMLN opens "general offensive"
1984 - Argentine ex-president/General Bignone arrested; Bulgarian Tupolev 134 crashes at Sofia airport in Bulgaria, 50 die; Clara Peller 1st asks, "Where's the Beef?"; US establishes full diplomatic relations with Vatican after 117 years
1985 - Daniel Ortega Saavedra inaugurated as President of Nicaragua
1986 - STS 61-C mission scrubbed T -9m because of bad weather at Kennedy; Palau signs Compact of Free Association with US
1990 - NCAA approves random drug testing for college football players; China lifts martial law (imposed after Tiananmen Square massacre)
1991 - US Congress begins debate on Persian Gulf crisis; Japan ends routine fingerprinting of all adult ethnic Koreans
1993 - Maiden flight of Ultrair (Houston to Los Angeles)
1994 - Trial of Lorena Bobbitt, who cut off her husband's penis, begins; Ukraine says it will give up world's 3rd largest nuclear arsenal; Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan agrees to abolish trade tariffs
1996 - Israel frees hundreds of Palestinian prisoners
1997 - 1st Comet of 1997 Discovered Comet 1997 A1; Dow Corning provides $2.95 billion to settle breast implant suits; Italy's new 1,000 lire coin shows divided Germany on map; Right-winger Arnoldo Aleman sworn in as President of Nicaragua

1502 - Hendrik Niclaes, German/Dutch merchant/cult leader (Children of God)
1638 - Niels Stensen, Danish astronomer
1644 - Louis Boufflers, marshall of France
1738 - Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War fighter (led the Green Mountain Boys)
1769 - Michel Ney, French marshal (Waterloo)
1815 - Alexander Brydie Dyer, Brevet Major General; Thomas Williams, Union Brigadier General (Union volunteers), died in 1862
1825 - Alexander Travis Hawthorn, Confederate Brigadier General
1834 - John Acton, English historian/MP
1864 - George Washington Carver, agricultural scientist (estimated date - actual birthdate unknown)
1867 - Gerhard Anschütz, German MP
1880 - French van Cauwelaert Flemish, minister/mayor of Antwerp; Manuel Azaña y Díaz, PM/President of 2nd Spanish republic (1936-39)
1913 - Gustav Husak, President of Czechoslovakia (1975-89)
1930 - Roy E. Disney, CEO (Disney)
1931 - Alexander L "Alex" Boraine, South African vicar/MP; Ron Galella, celebrity photographer (sued by Jackie O)
1942 - Aleksandr Yakovlevich Petrushenko, Russian cosmonaut

0681 - Agatho Sicilian, pope (678-81)
0976 - John I Tzimisces, co-emperor of Byzantium (969-76), at 51
1271 - Otto II the Lame, Earl of Gelre
1276 - Gregorius X [Tedaldo Visconti], pope
1645 - William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, beheaded for treason at 71
1674 - Jacob de Witt, Dutch mayor (Dordrecht)/MP, dies at 84
1754 - Daniel Raap Dutch porcelain salesman/politician, at about 51
1775 - Jemeljan Pugatshov, Russian Kosak leader/"Czar Peter III"
1778 - Carolus Linnæus "Carl von Linné," Swedish botanist/explorer/"Father of Taxonomy", at 70
1824 - Victor Emanuel I, King of Sardinia (1802-21), at 64
1862 - Samuel Colt, inventor (6 shot revolver), at 47
1934 - Marinus van der Lubbe, Dutch communist, beheaded in Berlin at 24
1943 - Agustin P. Justo y Rolon, President of Argentina (1931-38), at 66
1968 - Theophilus E. Dönges, South African Internal minister, dies at 69
1970 - Pavel Ivanovich Belyayev, USSR, cosmonaut (Voskhod II), at 44
1971 - Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, French fashion designer, at 87
1978 - John D. Rockefeller III, US billionaire/philanthropist, at 71; Pedro Joaquín Chamorro of La Prensa, assassinated in Managua
1984 - Suvanna Phuma, premier of Laos, at 82
1994 - Catharina I "Ien" Dales minister of Internal affairs (1989-94), dies at 62
1996 - Alexander Robertus organic chemist,at 88; Arthur Sydney Martin spycatcher, at 81

Reported Missing in Action
Gauley, James P., USAF (OK); F105D shot down - KIA / BNR

Stoves, Merritt III, US Army (AL); swept away while crossing river, presumed Killed / BNR

Hopper, Earl P., Jr., USAF (AZ); F4D shot down (pilot, w/Hall)

Hall, Keith N., USAF (ND); F4D shot down (backseater to Hopper), Released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Colonel - alive and well as of 1998

Sprott, Arthur R., Jr., USAF (FL); A1H shot down

The following US Army personnel reported Missing when their UH1C disappeared en route back to base:
Allen, Wayne C. (MA); crew chief - remains returned September, 1990, ID'd April, 1991

Crosby, Herbert C. (GA); pilot

Graziosi, Francis G. (NY); door gunner

Howes, George A. (IN); co-pilot

Clark, Robert A., USN (CA); A6A did not return from mission (bombardier / navigator , w/McCormick)

McCormick, Michael T., USN (HI); A6A did not return from mission (pilot, w/Clark)