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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Members of 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit launch a combat rubber raiding craft from the amphibious landing dock USS Juneau in the Pacific Ocean, June 19, 2007, as part of Exercise Talisman Saber 07. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Gomez

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U.S., Iraqi Troops Rescue Malnourished Boys From Baghdad Orphanage

Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Richey cares for one of 24 starving boys in the back of an Iraqi army ambulance. Civic leaders escorted the abused and malnourished boys, found by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers in a Baghdad orphanage, to the Iskan Hospital for medical treatment. Photo by Lt. James Cook, USN

American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, June 20, 2007 – U.S. and Iraqi army forces found an orphanage housing 24 severely malnourished and abused boys in Baghdad’s Fajr neighborhood June 10, military officials reported today.

The 24 boys, ranging in age from 3 to 15, were found naked in a darkened room without any windows. Many of the children were tied to their beds and were too weak to stand, officials said.

In a nearby locked room, the soldiers discovered food and clothing that could have been used to aid the children. Three women claiming to be the caretakers, and two men -- the orphanage director and a guard -- were on the site when the soldiers arrived.

The Iraqi soldiers notified members of the Fajr Neighborhood Advisory Council and escorted them to the orphanage to assist the boys. Paratroopers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, and a 492nd Civil Affairs Team also arrived at the orphanage with medics to treat the malnourished boys.

“The council members were crying at the sight of the starving boys,” said Navy Lt. James Cook, a civil affairs officer. The neighborhood council arranged for three ambulances to take the boys to the Iskan Hospital for care.

“We’re very grateful that this story unfolded the way that it did -- that none of these 24 boys lost their lives. This is a story of partnership, courageous action and compassion overcoming deplorable negligence,” said Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Multinational Division Baghdad’s deputy commanding general.

“The role of the Iraqi soldiers and the community council was a key to this action being taken to save these young boys,” Brooks said. “We’re very fortunate to have the kind of soldiers we have who are willing to take action, even at personal risk, to save the lives of others. These soldiers in a literal and figurative sense are the best chance for Iraq, just as they were for these boys.”

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

Related Sites:
Multinational Corps Iraq

Iraqi army soldiers, U.S. forces and civic leaders of the Fajr Neighborhood Advisory Council discuss a plan to ensure 24 abused and malnourished boys found in a Baghdad orphanage are cared for, as soldiers carry the children to the ambulances. Photo by Lt. James Cook, USN

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A cloud of smoke and dust envelopes U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Mullahy seconds after he fired an AT-4 rocket launcher at an insurgent position during a firefight in Baghdad's Adhamiyah neighborhood June 16 which ended with one insurgent dead and three captured. Mullahy is a squad leader with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Pryor

Full Story

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Taliban, al Qaeda Losing Influence in Afghanistan

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2007 – Afghanistan’s citizens are rejecting the dark vision offered by Taliban and al Qaeda extremists and are embracing their central government, senior U.S. and Afghan military officers said today. Video

“The people of Afghanistan are now getting the opportunity to decide what they want,” said Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer, commander of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, which is partnering with Afghan forces in the country’s southeastern region.

The Taliban, the radical Islamic group that was forced from power in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001 and early 2002, has since conducted a guerrilla war against the democratic Afghan government and its coalition partners.

Yet today, the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies are finding it increasingly difficult to coerce Afghans to support them, Schweitzer said, noting the two terror groups routinely employ threats against the Afghan population to advance their agenda.

The Afghans “are tired of the oppression, are tired of having their kids not being allowed to go to school, tired of their kids not being able to get medical treatment and tired of a way of life that is only threats,” Schweitzer said from Afghanistan during a teleconference with Pentagon reporters.

Winning over the Afghan people is the key to victory over the terrorists, Schweitzer pointed out. And a vital component of that strategy is putting an Afghan “face” on counterinsurgency operations, the colonel said.

“We’re trying to get the people of Afghanistan in the small villages and communities to no longer fall under the oppression of the Taliban and start working (with) and looking to their government for a better way of life,” Schweitzer explained. “Initially, we were doing this with a heavy coalition presence.”

However, in the past two years, Afghan troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq have increasingly taken the lead in anti-insurgent operations in southeastern Afghanistan and interfaced with Afghans living in remote areas, who’d previously been prime recruiting targets for the extremists. Khaliq is the commander of the 203rd Afghan Army Corps.

“Now, you’re seeing the Afghan National Army down in those communities,” Schweitzer said, noting its influence among the villagers has had a devastating effect on the Taliban’s recruiting efforts.

A year ago, about 19 of the 83 districts within Schweitzer’s area of operations supported the Afghan central government, the colonel said. Today, 60 of those districts support the Afghan government, he said.

Those districts that support the government and reject the extremists no longer accept recruitment of their children into the Taliban, Schweitzer pointed out.

“There’s no better barometer than that, which indicates that these communities in these villages are looking toward their government now, versus the Taliban,” the colonel said.

Schweitzer saluted Khaliq’s leadership, noting the presence of Afghan soldiers has greatly assisted in diminishing the Taliban’s influence among the local population.

“It is impressive that when we go into these villages they ask for the Afghan National Army and they’re not asking for the coalition,” the colonel said. “We think the right strategy is to have the Afghans develop the plan, apply the solution (toward) a better way of life for their communities.”

And the terrorists’ indiscriminate bombings that kill innocent people haven’t garnered any friends among the Afghan population, Schweitzer pointed out.

“The Afghan people do not appreciate that particular (terrorist) approach,” the colonel said. “They don’t like it, they don’t want to be a part of it, and they want more Afghan National Army forces on the ground securing their communities.”

Schweitzer likened occasional reports of extremists taking over remote village centers as “grab and run” operations that quickly end when Afghan or coalition forces arrive to re-establish order.

Khaliq, who accompanied Schweitzer at the news conference, noted there are enough Afghan troops to secure his area, although he acknowledged the coalition is now providing much appreciated air strike and logistical support.

The Taliban continue to hang on, Khaliq said, because “they’re not alone.” The Taliban extremists, he explained, are connected to the al Qaeda terror network, and they’re receiving money and other kinds of support from outside of Afghanistan.

Yet, the Afghan people don’t want the Taliban’s “dark policy,” the general asserted.

“The people are hating (the Taliban),” Khaliq said, adding he’s confident that the Taliban and al Qaeda will eventually be defeated as Afghan security forces grow in size and capability.

Although things are looking up in Afghanistan, more work still needs to be done, Schweitzer said.
“Is it going to take time? Absolutely, it’s going to take time,” Schweitzer said. “We’re changing 10 to 15 years of oppression and 30 years of war in the minds of the villagers and communities.”

Related Sites:
U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

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FRIENDLY CHAT — U.S. Army 1st Lt. Robyn Jacobs, left, speaks with a local woman during a humanitarian aid drop at the Zafaraniyah Government Center in the Zafaraniyah area of East Baghdad, Iraq, June 6, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Davis Pridgen

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In Today's News - Thursday, June 21, 2007

Quote of the Day
"Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Suicide bomber kills 10 in northern Iraq
30 Al Qaeda Fighters Killed in Iraq
Massive U.S. Raid in Iraq - PHOTOS - VIDEO
New think tank details U.S. withdrawal from Iraq

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Computer Hacking Plagues DHS (Just makes your head hurt, doesn't it?)
Egypt to Host Summit on Palestinians
Abbas, Olmert to meet in Egypt next week: aide - Video
White House delays border passport rules

Supporting Our Heroes
Feds Won't Deport Missing GI's Wife (Big of 'em, eh? Millions of illegals in this country, and THIS one is at risk of deportation???)

Other Military News
No Plans Made to Extend Army Deployments
House halts funds for new nuclear warhead
Russia rejects new Western plan for Kosovo
Naval Academy Combats Sexual Harassment
Exhibit Examines History of Gay Vets

Religion of Peace??
Fatwa Slams Mag, Threatens Editor's Life

Worldwide Wackos
Top U.S. Nuke Envoy Visits North Korea

Homegrown Moonbats
Rosie O'Donnell: Price May Not Be Right

Politics / Government
Cracks appear in Pakistan's pro-Musharraf coalition
Ousted Thai PM formally charged for land deal
South Korea, U.S. review sweeping trade deal
McNulty says he didn't seek to mislead U.S. Congress
Bush eyes Blair for Mideast peace role
Giuliani: Joining Iraq group a mistake
2,300 schools face 'No Child' overhaul

Illegal Immigration / Border Control
Bush camp balks at immigration change

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Lover's Home Searched inMissing Ohio Mom Case
VIDEO: Missing Pregnant Mom's Boyfriend Speaks
Police, Family Search for Missing Priest, Friend Who Vanished in Portland
Police Say Wisconsin Baby Died After Mom Taped Pacifier in Infant's Mouth
Pa. Crossing Guard Faces 1,000 Sex Charges in Assaults Against 7 Children Since 1998
New York Parents May Face Jail Over Their Kids' Backyard Noise
4 Charged in Wisconsin Horror House Case
Texas Crowd Kills Passenger in Vehicle That Hit Child
Texas Executes Houston Carjacking Killer
'Pacman' to Face Felony Charges in Shooting
Hilton's prosecutor under fire for double standard - Video

Science / Medicine / Technology
Storms May Cloud Atlantis Landing
Name that feeling: You'll feel better
Survey sees support for embryos in stem cell work
More measures on stem cells expected
Mammals burst on the scene after dinosaurs' exit
Space shuttle due to return as NASA watches weather
Estrogen may offer some heart benefits

Mother Nature
Pollution Rises in the East
China leaves larger carbon footprint than U.S. (No kidding...)
Sand: Nature's Death Trap?
Fast-Moving Fire Threatens Southern Alaska - PHOTO ESSAY
London switches off to shape up on climate change
Missing: Large lake in southern Chile
Long-lived two-headed snake dies
Third crack found on Hawaii's Kilauea

Naked Couple Falls 50 Feet to Their Deaths
Shiftless crooks clutch over stick..
84-year-old man drove 67 years without license

Other News of Note
Fear of revenge keeps many Serbs in refugee limbo
Computer failure grounds United flights
2 girls kicked off Ore. bus for kissing

Fox News
Sammy Sosa Belts 600th Home Run
Pop Tarts: Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes Expecting Another TomKitten?
Israeli Bikini Beauty Gal Gadot: Campaign Not 'Pornographic'

Reuters: Top News
More workers say pay linked to performance: survey
Sony sees 380 new PS3 software titles in 2007/08
Digital innovations to boost film spending: PWC
We're all celebrities in post-privacy age
"Citizen Kane" leads "Godfather" in movie poll
Oil on mend after 2pct fall on U.S. crude stock build
Low yield pins yen near 4-1/2-yr trough vs dollar - Video
Gold bounces, Tokyo futures off two-week highs
Dow Jones shares slip after late-session surge
Stocks drop on oil, investment banks - Video
A feast for private equity funds
Credit market risks not rattling buyers...yet
Student loans revisited
Fed seen on hold amid inflation debate: report
Dow Jones board takes lead on News Corp. talks
Lawmakers scrutinize Blackstone tax bill, IPO
Yahoo acquires U.S. sports media site
Morgan Stanley raises $8 bln global real estate fund
Man Group sets price range for U.S. unit IPO

AP World News
Officials investigate S.C. fire tragedy
Summer solstice celebrated at Stonehenge
Broadbent co-stars in 'Indiana Jones'
Dow Jones takes over News Corp. talks
Birkhead says Dannielynn pouts like Anna
Slideshow: The U.S. Navy SEALs
Blog: Even the Wind is Hot in Iraq
Op-ed: Judging the Generals
Check Out the Latest Video News
Got the Gear? Kit Up!
DT: Army's Greatest Inventions
Custom Rides

CENTCOM: News Releases

Wood addresses joint warfare transformation at Transformation Warfare conference - podcast
Newsmaker Profile: Rear Adm. Stewart O’Bryan
USJFCOM Standing Joint Force Headquarters deploys for 2007 hurricane season exercise
Global force management efforts helps improve command's joint provision process - podcast
USJFCOM Transformation Advisory Group helps command shape future
More about the Transformation Advisory Group - podcast

Multi-National Force-Iraq
Iraqi, Coalition forces move forward despite attacks
U.S., Iraqi troops rescue 24 abused boys from orphanage
Marne Torch continues clearing insurgent safe havens
Commando Eagle starts off strong
Rockets found: U.S., Iraqis team up to foil strike
Marne Torch continues clearing insurgent safe havens
Roadside bombers stopped, explosives seized
Insurgents attack Iraqi civilians
TF Marne Soldiers attacked
Iraqi Forces break up sniper cell, detain five

Flexibility Key in Promoting Reserve, Guard Duty
U.S. Admiral Sees Continued Progress in Iraq
Video: Iraq Briefing on June 20
Video: Briefing from Afghanistan
Nominee Affirms Commitment to Troops, Families
Army to Expedite Armored Vehicles to Theater

More Headline News
Bush Calls Iraq Success Vital to Region, World
‘Arrowhead Ripper’ Strike Highlights Iraq Ops
Iraqi Government Cited After Mosque Attack

Military News
State, Local Responders Handle Texas Flood Relief
Video: Navy Reservist Visits Pen Pals

America Supports You
Freedom Walk Set for Sept. 9
Teens Keep Troops Connected
Gift Surprises Paratroopers
Students Can Still Apply for Trip
Group Shows Support to Troops

War on Terror
Combined Forces Nab Terrorists
Two Soldiers Killed in Iraq
Troops in Iraq Kill 21, Detain 31

Gait Lab Helps Amputees
Air Guard Retires Last F-16A
Transformation Warfare 2007 Begins
Ordnance Disposal Unit Debuts

Face of Defense
Marine Leaves Music for Corps
Soldier Loves Tae Kwon Do
Marine Enjoys Korean Tour
Air Corps Mentor Ends Tour

Volunteers Donate Supplies to Iraqi Children - Story
Aviation Battalion Reaches 20,000 Flight Hours - Story
Iraqis Join Ranks of Lutifiyah's Police Force - Story

Sheiks Meet in Baghdad, Discuss Progress
Marines, Iraqi Police form Security Dynamic Duo
Mission Success Relies on Maintenance Troops
Medics Receive Invaluable Training in Baghdad
Abu Nuwas Street Revitalization Center Opens

Well Drillers Increase African Water Supply
Task Force Invites Coalition Partners to Forum
Marines Train Servicemembers in Martial Arts

Army Battle Company Makes Presence Known
Panjshir Opens Teachers’ Training College


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
War on Terror Reconstruction Report
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

Today in History
1498 - Emperor Maximillian expells Jews Nurenberg, Bavaria.
1633 - Galileo Galilei is forced by the Inquisition to "abjure, curse, & detest" his Copernican views.
1684 - The Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter is revoked.
1788 - The U.S. Constitution goes into effect as NH becomes the 9th to ratify it.
1805 - Great Stoneface Mt is found in NH.
1893 - The first Ferris wheel premieres at Chicago's Columbian Exposition.
1919 - Germans scuttle their own fleet.
1943 - Federal troops put down a racial riot in Detroit that leaves 30 dead.
1962 - USAF Major Robert M. White takes the X-15 to 75,190 m.
1968 - Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren resigns.
1975 - Soyuz 19 returns to Earth.
1985 - American, Brazilian & West German forensic pathologists confirm that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil are those of Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.
1989 - The Supreme Court rules it legal to burn the U.S. flag as a political expression.
1990 - The U.S. House of Reps fails to pass a bill to stop U.S. flag burning.

- Martha Washington, first U.S. First Lady
1774 - Daniel D. Tompkins, 6th U.S. Vice President
1851 - Daniel Carter Beard, organized the first Boy Scout troop
1905 - Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher/writer, declined Nobel Prize
1931 - Lawrence K. Grossman, NBC News president
1942 - William Bradford Reynolds, U.S. Assistant Attorney General
1953 - Benazir Bhutto, first female leader of a Muslim nation (Pakistan)
1982 - Prince William of Wales

1876 - Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican general (Alamo)
1973 - Frank Leahy, Notre Dame football coach

Reported Missing in Action
Johnson, Edward R., US Army (PA); Released in Cambodia November, 1976 - deceased

Black, Cole, USN (MN); F8E shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Eastman, Leonard C., USN (MA); RF8A shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Sullivan, John B., USAF (PA); F105D shot down, remains returned September, 1990

Spinler, Darrell J., USAF (MN); A1E shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Wadleigh, Carl D., US Army; AWOL

Metzler, Charles D., USN (CA); F8J shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Callaghan, Peter A., USAF (NY); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive as of 1998

Rose, George A., USAF (MO); F4E shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

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