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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 4, 2007) - An engine from an F/A-18C Hornet is taken to full afterburner during a test by Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department's (AIMD) jet shop on the fantail of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Truman is currently underway conducting operations in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Wilson

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My Two Cents: Exploiting the Fog of War

Have to admit, some media outlets are doing a great job at the headlines for this one. The video is linked all over the place - A-10 pilots mistakenly firing on British troops:

Video of U.S. Jets Firing On Brit Troops Surfaces - 'We're in jail, dude,' pilot says after deadly incident
Click Here to Watch the Exclusive Footage From The Sun
UK asks U.S. for Iraq friendly fire death details
Video of U.S. friendly fire unleashes storm in UK - Video

Some of the headlines, though, give an impression of things that just doesn't match with what I saw and heard. And it isn't just the much-maligned usual media suspects.

Some are making a big deal of the fact that one of the distraught pilots said, "We're in jail, dude," following the incident. Less of a big deal was another thing the poor pilot said after he found out that they were dealing with "blue-on-blue" fire - "I'm going to be sick."

More telling than what is being said, is what's NOT being said in the press -

1. The pilots repeatedly refer to orange on the top of the vehicles, repeatedly ask if there are friendlies in the area. There is a lengthy conversation on the subject, and it is repeatedly confirmed to the pilots that there are no friendlies where the vehicles are.

2. The pilots are obviously distraught over what has happened, and one of them asks more than once for the status of the troops they've just fired on.

Clearly, this could have been avoided. Clearly, there was a communication breakdown somewhere. But what concerns me is that in all of the salivating over a friendly fire incident, the pilots are going to be put through even more trauma than they no doubt have already endured. The more media attention gets put on this, the more likely it is that these pilots are going to be scapegoated.

Another item being flung around is that these were National Guard pilots who had never been in combat before. As if there are no other troops serving in Iraq that have never been in combat!
And as if troops who have never been in combat have no idea what they're doing - we just grab Larry the Cable Guy and shove him in a multi-million dollar warplane.

One British soldier was killed, and one wounded, in the incident. That is tragic. Also tragic would be scapegoating two pilots for an incident that wasn't their fault.

Those of us who have never been to war cannot possibly know what it is to be there, but we should be able to at least recognize that fact, and understand that in a world where split-second decisions mean the difference between being alive at the end of the day, and not, sometimes these things happen. Sounds oversimplified, I know, but there it is.

The other thing that makes me say, "Hmmm" is the fact that this incident happened in 2003, and the video was leaked to the press. Given the issue of the Iraq resolution in Congress this week, I have to wonder at the timing.

The accident should be reviewed. Our military should learn from it. But we should not skewer two brave pilots for the expediency of feeling better about the ugly side of war. And if this was leaked to advance a political agenda, it's despicable.

The big outcry is over why the government tried to "hide" the video. Both the British and U.S. governments are denying deliberately trying to conceal anything; the U.S. is now saying they'll let the video be seen.

If there was any attempt to avoid spotlighting it, though, maybe it was a simple issue of knowing what sort of a feeding frenzy it would create once it was out. Can't say I blame them if that's the case.

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Baghdad Bowl

CBS NFL Analyst Randy Cross shakes hands with Col. Bryan Roberts, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, before beginning the inaugural Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Tevick Skinner, Team Falcon captain, is presented a game ball from the Baghdad Bowl by CBS Sports NFL analyst Randy Cross, Feb. 3, 2007.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

A Team International Zone player makes a sideline grab during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. The game, sponsored by CBS Sports, pitted soldiers stationed in Baghdad's International Zone against a team of soldiers from Forward Operation Base Falcon in southern Baghdad. Portions of the game aired during CBS coverage of the Super Bowl. Team International Zone won the game 35-25. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

The quarterback for Team International Zone looks down field for an open receiver during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity Feb. 3, 2007. Team International Zone, wearing Indianapolis Colts jerseys, won the game 35-25. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

Team Falcon cheerleaders, Spc. Erin Braun and Spc. Shaunette Buntain, pass out t-shirts provided by CBS during halftime of the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

A Team International Zone player tries to make his way through a group of Team Falcon players during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

Players and fans cheer after a Team International Zone touchdown during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

Team Falcon makes a touchdown grab during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. Despite the score here, Team Falcon, representing the Chicago Bears, lost to Team International Zone, wearing Colts jerseys, 35-25. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Yde

Players from “Team IZ,” wearing Indianapolis Colts jerseys, try to stop a player from “Team Falcon” during the Baghdad Bowl at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Iraq, Feb. 3, 2007. Team International Zone won the game 35-25. U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Yde

More photo essays at DefendAmerica

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COMBINED MISSION — U.S. Army Capt. Darren Fowler stands by while his Iraqi army counterpart questions an Iraqi local national during a combined mission with the Iraqi army in Ghazaliya, Iraq, Jan. 27, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Martin K. Newton

In Today's News - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Quote of the Day
"Nothing is more difficult,
and therefore more precious,
than to be able to decide."

-- Napoleon Bonaparte

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Republicans block debate on Iraq
Dems: Senate debate on Iraq inevitable
Senior Iranian Envoy Kidnapped in Baghdad Op-ed: Where Iraq Stands

Operation Enduring Freedom
Pakistani Taliban kill two accused "U.S. spies"

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Hamas, Fatah head for unity talks in Mecca
Terror law takes center stage in Indian state poll

Troops on Trial
Video of U.S. Jets FiringOn Brit Troops Surfaces - 'We're in jail, dude,' pilot says after deadly incident
Click Here to Watch the Exclusive Footage From The Sun (I've seen it - I'll comment later)
UK asks U.S. for Iraq friendly fire death details
Houston, We Have a Problem ... (This is just bizarre)
War objector pleads not guilty at court-martial
Lawyer: War objector will take stand

Other Military News - DT: New Weapon Targeting Copters? Blog: Home For the Wrong Reason
Congress Short on Military Experience
Bush War Budget Takes From U.S. Poor

Religion of Peace??
Saudi Court Orders Lashing, Jail for 20 Foreigners for Drinking, Dancing at Mixed Party

Worldwide Wackos
Iran Touts Herbal AIDS Cure - VIDEO
Iran said to assemble two uranium units
Japan stands firm on N.Korea aid ahead of talks

Politics / Government
White House promotes budget plan
San Francisco Mayor Seeks Sobriety
Pol: Send 9th-Graders to Prison
Washington Same-Sex Marriage Proponents: Require Heterosexual Couples to Have Kids or Face Annulment
Giuliani closer to White House bid

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Ohio Nurse Gets Jail for Molesting Patients While Under Anesthesia
Toddler Who Froze to Death Ruled Homicide
New Charges Filed Against Michael Devlin
Australian School Investigates Cadaver Abuse
Suspected Letter Bomb Injures 2 in London
Two hurt as second letter bomb explodes in Britain
Ryan O'Neal: I Fired Gun in Self-Defense Against My Son
Gorbachev Pleads to Bill Gates for Piracy Leniency for Teacher
NY officers save rookie from bat attack

Science / Medicine / Nature
6 Dead From Subzero Temps - PHOTOS
Below-zero temps close schools
FEMA: Give Us Back $309 Million for Katrina
Indonesia Floods Death Toll Hits 44
Jakarta floods begin to recede - Video
Two Men Who Rapped to Get Out of Parking Ticket Sue Tempe, Arizona
Britain working toward international clean energy project
China says global warming in hands of wealthy nations (Convenient for them, isn't it?)
Human skin populated by veritable zoo of bacteria
Sydney university stem cell ban sparks academic row
Texas Gov. urged against cancer order
New mollusk species found in Philippines

"Chewbacca" arrested for head-butting in Hollywood
Gym strips off for training in the buff

Fox News
Kentucky House Fire Kills 7
Wal-Mart Opens Movie Download Service
Professor Begins Hunger Strike Over Tenure
Government: Youth Suicide Rate Climbs
Pop Tarts: Katie Holmes Wears Granny Panties (At least she wears some!)
Ulanoff: Microsoft Windows Vista's Nine Most Annoying Features

Reuters: Top News
Two more Indonesians have bird flu - Video
Sri Lanka helicopter gunships fire rockets at rebels
Uganda rebels threaten war without new talks venue
Sony Ericsson to launch eight new phones
Wal-Mart starts test version of HP video downloads
King of winter sports blown away
Teens, adults unaware smoking raises blindness risk
Oscars nominees have lunch together
Singer-actress Barbara McNair dies at 72
Oil climbs toward $60 on cold weather in U.S
Avon, Tyco, Hoku, Nat'l Oilwell shares rise
Stocks set to rise on Tyco profit, Exxon
ON Semi slips as TPG slashes stake
Gold rises above $650/oz, seen bullish in 2007
GM's China spending to stay about $1 bln
Bush budget surplus may vanish
Tyco quarterly net earnings rise 43 percent
Alcatel-Lucent could cut 15-20,000 jobs -report
BP cuts growth targets, Q4 profit falls
Toyota Q3 beats expectations on sales jump, yen
Wal-Mart starts test version of HP video downloads
Mortgage insurer MGIC to buy Radian for $5 bln

AP World News
Toyota reports record quarterly profit
Jackson stars as Warriors beat Pacers
Woman called 911 before O'Neal arrest
Colts return to Indy and rally at Dome
Home Depot gives group a board seat
Apple, Beatles settle trademark lawsuit
Train hauling chemicals derails in W.Va.
Product recalls
Obituaries in the news
Indiana hopes to stop brain drain
Understanding Memorial Benefits
Advisors: ChampVA Site Offers Help
Smooth Path to Civilian Life
Kit Up! Wants You!

President meets with troops - photos
USJFCOM symposium looks to further improve intelligence support for warfighter - podcast
Learn more about JTC-I

Department of Defense
Fox: Iraq Situation 'Winnable'
Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox biography
Transcript: Conference Call (pdf)

President Requests $235.1 Billionto fight the War on Terror - Story
Stability & Security in Iraq Report (pdf)
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Paratroopers Trade Parachutes for Sea Legs - Story
Iraqi Army Chief Observes Training at Fort Riley - Story
Reconstruction Teams Manage Projects in Iraq - Story
Aircrews Take Iraqi and U.S. Forces Into Action - Story
Doctor Adapts to Life as Soldier in Iraq - Story
Aspen Road to Connect Southern Iraq with Kuwait - Story
Corpsmen, Marines Save Lives in Al Anbar - Story

U.S. and Iraqi Officials Work To Reopen Factories
Corpsmen, Marines Save Lives in Al Anbar
U.S. and Iraqi Officials Work To Reopen Factories
Corps Sergeant Major Thanks Troops at Q-West
Soldier Earns Silver Star For Combat Actions
U.S. Soldiers Work With Iraqis To Stop Corruption
Soldiers Travel Iraq's Most Dangerous Routes
Sergeants Show Iraqis How to Run the 'Yard'

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
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
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
0337 - St Julius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1189 - Riots of Lynn in Norfolk spread to Norwich, England
1508 - Maximilian I crowned Holy Roman Emperor
1577 - King Henri de Bourbon of Navarra becomes leader of Huguenots
1626 - Huguenot rebels & the French sign Peace of La Rochelle
1693 - Royal charter granted College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
1716 - England & Netherlands renew alliance
1778 - France recognizes US, signs treaty of aid in Paris - 1st US treaty; England declares war on France
1788 - Massachusetts becomes 6th state to ratify constitution
1815 - NJ issues 1st US railroad charter (John Stevens)
1819 - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds freeport harbor Singapore
1820 - 86 free black colonists sail from New York NY to Sierra Leone, Africa
1832 - 1st appearance of cholera at Edinburgh, Scotland; US ship destroys Sumatran village in retaliation for piracy
1836 - HMS Beagle/Charles Darwin reach Diemen's Land (Tasmania)
1840 - Waitangi Day; treaty signed between Britain & Maoris of New Zealand
1861 - English Admiral Robert Ritzroy issues 1st storm warnings for ships; 1st meeting of Provisional Congress of Confederate States of America
1862 - Victory for General Ulysses S Grant in Tennessee, capturing Fort Henry, and ten days later Fort Donelson; Grant earns the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant; Naval Engagement at Tennessee River - USS Conestoga vs CSS Appleton Belle
1864 - Skirmish at Barnett's Ford, Virginia
1865 - 2nd day of battle at Dabney's Mills (Hatcher's Run)
1869 - "Harper's Weekly" publishes 1st picture of Uncle Sam with chin whiskers
1899 - Spanish-American War ends, peace treaty ratified by Senate
1900 - Battle at Vaalkrans, South-Africa (Boers vs British army)
1904 - Russian-Japanese war began
1911 - Great fire destroys downtown Constantinople/Istanbul Turkey
1918 - Britain grants women (30 & over) the vote
1920 - Saarland administrated by League of Nations
1922 - US, UK, France, Italy & Japan sign Washington naval arms limitation
1932 - Fascist coup in the Memel territory
1933 - 20th Amendment goes into effect; Presidential term begins in Jan not March; President von Hindenburg & von Papen end Prussian parliament
1935 - Board game "Monopoly" goes on sale for the 1st time; 1st election to allow women to vote in Turkey
1937 - K. Elizabeth Ohi becomes 1st Japanese-US female lawyer
1939 - Spanish government flees to France
1941 - Battle of Beda Fomm Italian 10th army destroyed; British troops conquer Bengazi, Libya
1943 - 1st Spitfire in action above Darwin, Australia, Mu Ki-46 shot down; Singer Frank Sinatra debuts on radio's "Your Hit Parade"
1945 - 8th Air Force bombs Magdeburg/Chemnitz; Russian Red Army crosses the river Oder
1948 - 1st radio-controlled airplane flown
1951 - "Broker Special" train crashes in Woodbridge NJ, killing 84; Radio commentator Paul Harvey arrested for trying to sneak into the Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago IL
1953 - US controls on wages & some consumer goods are lifted
1956 - French premier Guy Mollet pelted with tomatoes in Algiers; University of Alabama refuses admission to Autherine Lucy (because he's Black)
1959 - Fidel Castro is interviewed by Edward R. Murrow; US 1st successful Titan intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
1964 - France & Great-Britain sign accord over building channel tunnel
1968 - Former President Dwight Eisenhower shoots a hole-in-one; Dutch 2nd Chamber condemns US bombing of North Vietnam
1971 - 1st time a golf ball is hit on the Moon (by Alan Shepard)
1974 - US House of Representatives begins determining grounds for impeachment of Nixon
1978 - Muriel, wife of late Hubert Humphrey (Senator-MN) takes his office
1979 - Supreme court of Lahore affirms death sentence against premier Bhutto
1984 - Muslim militiamen take over West Beirut from Lebanese army
1987 - No-smoking rules take effect in federal buildings
1989 - Lech Walesa begins negotiating with the Polish government
1995 - Darryl Strawberry suspended from baseball for 60 days

1536 - Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 2nd of three unifiers of Japan in 16th century
1665 - Anne Stuart, Queen of England (1702-14)
1756 - Aaron Burr, 3rd US Vice-President (1801-05), dueler
1797 - Joseph Maria von Radowitz, Prussian minister of Foreign affairs
1818 - William Maxwell Evarts (Union)
1830 - Marcellus Monroe Crocker, Union Brigadier General
1832 - John Brown Gordon, Confedearte Major General
1833 - James Ewell Brown "JEB" Stuart, Confederate Major General
1834 - William Dorsey Pender, Confederate Major General
1890 - Anton Hermann Fokker, aviation pioneer
1893 - Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, President of UN General Assembly (1962-63)
1895 - George Herman (Babe) Ruth, baseball great (Yankees)
1905 - Wladislaw Gomulka, premier of Poland
1908 - General Edward Lansdale, model for "Quiet American" & "Ugly American"
1908 - Amintore Fanfani, premier of Italy
1911 - Ronald Reagan, actor / 40th President (R) (1981-89)
1912 - Eva Braun, mistress of Adolf Hitler
1913 - Mary Nicol Leakey, palaeontologist
1915 - Derk Roemers, Dutch politician (Social-Democrat)
1920 - James H. Scheuer (Representative-NY)
1933 - Walter E. Fauntroy (Representative-DC)
1940 - Tom Brokaw, news anchor (NBC Nightly News)
1951 - Maria Christina Belgian princess/daughter of Leopold III
1961 - Yuri Ivanovich Onufriyenko, Russian major/cosmonaut (Mir, Soyuz TM-23)

0743 - Hisham ibn 'Abd al-Malik, 10th Moslem caliph, dies at about 52
0891 - Photius, Byzantine theologist/patriarch of Constantinople/saint
1685 - Charles II, King of England/Scotland/Ireland (1660-85), dies at 54
1695 - Ahmed II, 21st sultan of Turkey (1691-95), dies
1699 - Jozef Ferdinand of Bavaria, heir of Spanish king Carlos II
1785 - Iman Willem Falck, Dutch governor of Ceylon (1765-83), dies at 48
1865 - John Pegram, US Confederate Brigadier-General, dies in battle at 33
1881 - Pieter Mijer, Governor-General of Netherlands Indies (1866-72), dies at 68
1899 - Georg Leo earl von Caprivi, German chancellor, dies at 67
1917 - Edouard A. Drumont, French anti-semite journalist, dies at 72
1923 - Edward E. Barnard, US astronomer (5th moon Jupiter), dies at 65
1943 - HA Seyffardt, Dutch Lieutenant-General/NSB "minister", dies at 71
1945 - Jan and Paul Bos, Dutch resistance fighters, executed
1948 - Robert Brasillach, French author/Nazi collaborator, dies at 38
1952 - George VI, King of Britain (1936-52), dies at 56 (succeeded by daughter, Elizabeth II)
1963 - Mohammed ibn al-Chattabi Abd el-Krim, Morocco opposition leader
1964 - Sophocles Venizelos, premier of Greece (1944, 50-51), dies at 69
1973 - Ira S. Bowen, US physicist/astronomer (Mt Wilson/Palomar), dies at 74
1991 - Marten Levendig, Dutch TV correspondent to Moscow
1996 - Ronald Fletcher, broadcaster, dies at 85
1998 - Nazim al-Kudsi, Syrian PM (1949, 1950-51)/President (1961-63)

Reported Missing in Action
The following USAF personnel reported MIA when their HH3E was shot down:
Hall, Donald J. (OK);

Heiskell, Lucius L. (TN);

Kibbey, Richard A. (KY);

Wood, Patrick H. (MO)

The following USN personnel reported MIA when their P3B was shot down:
Burnett, Donald F. (AL)

Chapa, Armando, Jr. (CA)

Farris, William F. (IL)

Gallager, Donald L. (WI)

Huss, Roy A. (WI)

Jones, Thomas P. (NY)

McKay, Homer E. (TX)

Newman, James C., Jr. (TN)

Thompson, Mevin C. (GA)

Travis, Lynn M. (AR)

Also reported MIA this day in 1968:
Hyland, Charles K., Civilian (Australia); released by PRG November, 1968

The following US Army personnel reported MIA when their UH1H was shot down:
Briggs, Ronald D. (PA)

Christiansen, Eugene (CA)

O'Hara, Robert Charles (IA)

Padgett, David E. (IN)

Parsons, Donald E. (IL)

Stanley, Charles I. (OH)

Also reported MIA this day in 1969:
Parker, David W., US Army (GA); drowned

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