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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brigade Commander Cites ‘Phenomenal Progress’ in Rashid District

From Multi-National Force - Iraq:

1st Lt. Justin Crawford, from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, says hello to a group of young Iraqis, July 26, in the Rashid District of southern Baghdad. The Soldiers conduct daily patrols and assessments within the community to assess the security situation in the area that was once plagued with special groups criminals and terrorist activity. Photo by Staff Sgt. Brent Williams.

Tuesday, 05 August 2008
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — Iraqi Security Forces have made such an improvement that Coalition forces in Baghdad’s Rashid district are able to turn their attention to rebuilding the area, the commander of the brigade assigned there said Aug. 4.

Army Col. Ted Martin, commander of the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, said he has seen “phenomenal progress” since he was first in Iraq in 2003.

“For the first time, I've seen Iraqi Security Forces that can plan, prepare and execute first-class offensive operations,” Martin said via video teleconference from Camp Falcon. “I've also seen a high level of trust and respect by the people of Rashid for their own army and police forces.”

Iraqi and Coalition forces are working closely together in the region, which once was one of the most dangerous areas in Iraq - a battleground containing al-Qaida in Iraq and Iranian-sponsored “special groups.” In July 2007, 824 attacks took place in the district – a daily average of 27 attacks. But Coalition and Iraqi forces have worked together to turn the situation around, Martin said.

“Together, we conduct relentless offensive operations designed to kill, capture or drive from Rashid anyone who threatens the safety and security of the people we have sworn to protect,” he said.

When the brigade arrived in March, an average of five attacks per day took place in the district. Today, the daily average is 1.5 attacks, the colonel said.

“I believe this reduction in violence is a direct result of the conditions set by the success of the surge in forces and combat power,” Martin said. “We built on this success and have seen a dramatic reduction in violence in the past four months.”

Other statistics reinforce this conclusion. April saw 18 rocket and mortar attacks in the district, and only three took place in July. April’s 69 roadside bomb attacks reduced to 37 in July. There were 30 direct-fire attacks in April and five in July.

Roadside bombs continue to be the biggest threat to Coalition and Iraqi forces, Martin said, noting they are “emplaced by special group criminals who operate as part of the illegal militias in Baghdad.” These groups continue to try to destabilize the Iraqi government, he said.

“I think they want to undermine the government, and they’re using the neighborhoods of Rashid as a battlefield,” Martin said. “I'm pretty confident that we've denied them that capability.”

The biggest change in the region is in the mood of the people of the district, Martin said. Since May, the local population has provided the intelligence helpful to Coalition and Iraqi forces in taking on the enemy, he said. “There seemed to be a wedge that was placed between the people and the insurgents, and we tried to exploit that,” he added.

Martin said the reduction in violence has allowed him and his soldiers to shift their focus toward improving essential services and helping their Iraqi Security Forces partners. “It is my firm belief that the decisive defeat of the special group criminals and militias in May and June of this year has opened a window of opportunity for us to make substantial and lasting improvements in the Rashid district,” he said.

So far, the brigade has completed 22 projects valued at more than $5 million, and 78 active projects are valued at more than $45 million.

The Iraqi government is kicking in on the reconstruction effort in the district, contributing $18 million in government funds, and Martin said he expects that amount to rise as the government becomes more established.

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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Armes aims his M240B machine gun during a base-wide exercise on Osan Air Base, South Korea, July 21, 2008. Armes is an entry controller assigned to the 51st Security Forces Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Boitz

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In Today's News - Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Quote of the Day
"Our top focus - protecting our Nation -
must go beyond homeland preparedness;
America will only be secure
if we deal with threats before they happen,
not just after they happen."

-- Senator Bill Frist

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
White House Fights Claim of Forged Saddam Letter
Iraq's female bombers rise as Qaeda's men fall

Homeland Security / War on Terror / Hamas-Hezbollah Happenings
Al Qaeda Suspect Extradited to N.Y. for Alleged Attack
Mistrial avoided, but no verdict yet at Guantanamo
FBI used aggressive tactics in anthrax probe

Fallen Heroes
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

Other Military News
Pentagon to test unclassified alternative to Talon

Worldwide Wackos
U.S. to Iran: Unacceptable
Iran Tests 'New Weapon' to Sink Ships

Homegrown Moonbats
Gun-control groups fear top activist was NRA spy

Politics / Government
Terror: One Enemy, Two Views
McCain Stresses 'Maverick' Roots in Energy Battle
ELECTION HQ: Gravel Urges Crowd to Stalk Prosecutor
New Yahoo election tally reveals big protest vote
Candidates' Olympic spending
Women want to carpool with Obama
Moderators set for debates
McCain touts energy plan at nuclear plant - Video
Hillary Clinton to hit campaign trail for Obama - Video
Obama leads McCain nationally in AP-Ipsos poll
Bush encounters dueling demonstrations in Asia
Paris Hilton issues tart rebuttal to McCain ad ("Tart" seems an apt choice of words here...)
Johansson embarrassed by hoopla over Obama e-mails
McCain ad pushes independence, distance from Bush

Illegal Immigration / Border Control
New Program Asks Illegals to See Themselves Out

In the Courts / Crime and Punishment / Law and Order
Texas Wants Some Sect Kids Back
Maryland Teen Allegedly Had Weapons, Map of Camp David
Cops: Man Shot Dead Over Cheeseburger
Lawyer: Children Returned to Convicted Preacher-Killer Mary Winkler
John 'Junior' Gotti Arrested, Indicted on Murder Conspiracy Charges for 3 New York Killings
Abduction Suspect Clark Rockefeller Could Be Hiding Criminal Past
Federal Agent Shot, Killed Outside Florida Post Office
Canada Bus Beheading Suspect: 'Kill Me'
Judge Tosses Waterboarding-as-Worker-Motivation Suit
Formal State Charges Filed in Caylee Case PHOTOS
11 Charged in Massive Credit Card Fraud Case
Who Is Clark Rockefeller? Mystery Grows - PHOTOS

Adventures in Political Correctness
Tyson Plant Drops Labor Day for Muslim Holiday (Ah, a socialist holiday losing to political correctness...gotta love it)

U.N. News
New UN Scheme Seeks to Boost Response of National Health Systems to HIV/AIDS
Montenegro: UN Agency Helps Refugees Escape Statelessness

Media in the Media / Bloggers in the News / Watching the Web
Anne Hathaway's Nude Photos Expected in Web Leak

Science / Medicine and Health / Technology
FOXSexpert: Finishing Too Soon? Here's Some Advice
Panel Urges End to Prostate Screenings for Men Over 75
NASA says Mars toxin find doesn't rule out life - Video
Making criminals out of drug users - Video
AIDS vaccine blueprint calls for focus
How-to guide on fighting AIDS
Ex-leaders press politicians over AIDS
Special Coverage: AIDS Conference
Fido's not just yawning -- he's empathizing
NASA says Mars toxin find doesn't rule out life - Video
Study shows why once is enough to hook some smokers
Amateur astronomer spies gassy "cosmic ghost"
Booger the pit bull is back! All five of him... - Video
Video game helps young cancer patients take meds
New Yahoo election tally reveals big protest vote
Softbank says to cut monthly fees for iPhone
Olympus, Matsushita to offer smaller SLR cameras
IOC puts Beijing Games highlights on YouTube
Video: Aguide to modern 'microtrends'
Delta to offer Wi-Fi on mainline domestic fleet

Mother Nature
125,000 Gorillas Discovered in Congo Forests - PHOTOS
Tropical Storm Edouard hits Texas coast - Video
Texas beach towns get back to normal after storm
Crafty sea lion slips aboard boat, but won't leave
111-year-old reptile finally becoming a father
Fido's not just yawning -- he's empathizing
Video: The battle of the beetles commences
Alaska seeks to reverse U.S. polar bear decision
New map aims to help battle for Arctic territories
Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump cost soars 67 pct
Brazil mulls sugar cane limit to protect wetland

News from My Neck of the Woods
2 Window Washers Plunge to Their Deaths in NYC Accident

'Redneck Stonehenge': Utah Farmer Builds Fence From Wrecked Autos to Send Message to Neighbors
Shoe Containing Human Foot Found on Wash. Beach
U.K. Couple Takes Mile-High Club to New Heights
'Montauk Monster' May Have Been Kidnapped
Policewomen get "bullet-proof bras"
British athletes bare all for advertising campaign
Extended bed greets leggy Gregorio in Beijing
Dying for a salad? Try a dash of this...
Dog poo stops discus champion's training
JetBlue offers free trip to nowhere from JFK
Bird dung means big business on Peru island

Other News of Note
Beijing's big battles
Slideshow: Torch comes to Beijing
Do fans give a fuwa for the mascots?
No "frangers" at athletes' camp
Video: Athletes arrive in Beijing
Full Coverage: 2008 Olympics
American Airlines flight evacuated in Los Angeles
Some 200,000 customers without power in Midwest

Fox News
FOXBusiness: Fed Leaves Key Interest Rate Unchanged
Starbucks Offers Returning Customers $2 Iced Drinks After 2 p.m.
Pop Tarts: Miley Cyrus Puts on Brave Face Despite New Racy Photos
Morgan Freeman Recovering From Surgery Following Serious Accident
Sienna Miller Escapes to Caribbean After Married Lover Reunites With Kids

Small Business:Shipping headaches
The accidental entrepreneur
Fed holds steady; signals no rush to raise rates - Video
Cisco results beat view, shares jump
News Corp warns of less robust '09 growth
Sony betting on music outside CD market
Commodity costs weigh on U.S. restaurant results
Starbucks introduces afternoon drink promotion
Cablevision says to explore spin-off, dividend
Sony does music solo as Sony BMG disbands
Carlyle to buy stake in Italy's Moncler
Kelsey Grammer released from hospital
Olsen seeks immunity for Ledger questioning: source - Video
"Dark Knight" clears $400 million at record pace
The Jacksons to be honored in L.A.
Psssst - Have I got a cheap red wine for you!
Fishing in Peru? Take a long line, but no dynamite
Artists flock to cheap Berlin from around the world
Russian diners say "Nyet" to Soviet service
Favre feels unwanted at Packers after talks
Dominant Lee helps Indians keep Rays at bay
Mickelson yearns for Olympic golf, Immelman disagrees
Helmet flips become ritual of the game
ATP delighted as court upholds restructuring plans
No time for change
Fed holds interest rate at 2 percent
Factbox: Who's who on the Fed Board
Central banks at odds over rates
Credit crisis hangover
Central banks at odds over rates
Ratings agencies seek redemption
Factbox: Writedowns and losses
Slideshow: The credit crunch
Fed holds steady; signals no rush to raise rates - Video
New map aims to help battle for Arctic territories
Wall Street rallies on Fed rate signals and oil retreat - Video

AP News
Favre leaves Lambeau after 'honest' discussions
Brewers' Fielder apologizes for shoving teammate
Freeman in 'good spirits' after car crash surgery
Wall Street extends rally after Fed decision

PHOTOS: CAB Congregation Carries Out First Baptism
Transportation Detachment Volunteers Prepare for Iraq
Soldiers' Angels and Patriot Guard
Iraq News
Operations in Iraq
FOB Warhorse Memorial Photos

Brigade commander: Rashid progress 'phenomenal'
General: Several factors contribute to Iraq improvement
South Baghdad ready for transition
Iraq improving; conditions 'mixed' in Afghanistan
Iraqi troops show increased self-sufficiency

Task force assists as health conference promotes continuing Iraqi medical education
Liveblogging: Noble Resolve 08
More about Noble Resolve
Task force opening the judicial lines of communication in Ramadi
Conference to foster medical advancements in Anbar province
Business grows in Ramadi with USJFCOM-provided task force assistance
Task Force Ramadi helping to restore water in the desert
Coalition exercise examines improving combat identification
USJFCOM demonstration aims to enhance combat identification amongst coalition forces
USJFCOM hosts Keystone course for command senior enlisted leaders - podcast

Multi-National Force - Iraq
Officials Open Water Distribution Site, Fill BWA Trucks for Delivery
ISOF Detain Suspected AQI Financier, Four Others in Diyala
Baghdad Elementary School Reopens
Officials open water distribution site, fill trucks for delivery (Baghdad)
Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement opens (Basrah)
MND-B Soldiers seize cache, discover UXO (Baghdad)
IPs kill one Special Groups criminal, wound 2 others in self defense
Precision operation detains suspected Samarra AQI leader

Department of Defense
DoD Extends Marines' Tour in Afghanistan by One Month
Bush Thanks, Praises Troops in Alaska - Photos


Panel Suggests Retirement Changes
Reviewers Urge TRICARE Modifications
Immunizations Key for Healthy Troops
DoD Announces Maintenance Awardees

Mobile Memorial Honors Fallen Troops

Militia Soldier Earns Olympic Distinction


U.S., Salvadoran Medical Teams Help Villagers
Elementary School Reopens After Renovations
Officials Say Work Remains on Intelligence Effort
Coalition, Iraqi Forces Kill One, Detain 21


Forces Continue Progress Toward Autonomy
Team Introduces Water Sanitation to Village
Forces Kill Enemy Fighters, Detain Six Suspects

War Bride, Military Mom, Becomes Army Soldier
Soldier Seeks, Finds Excitement in Army

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
1264 - Anti-Jewish riots break out in Arnstadt, Germany.
1861 - The U.S. Army abolishes flogging.
1861 - The U.S. levies its first Income Tax (3% on income over $800)
1864 - During the Battle of Mobile Bay, AL, Admiral David Farragut gives the order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
1884 - The cornerstone for Statue of Liberty is laid.
1914 - In Cleveland, the first traffic light is installed; The U.S. and Nicaragua sign a treaty granting canal rights to U.S.
1923 - Henry Sullivan becomes the first American to swim the English Channel.
1924 - The "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip debuts.
1936 - In Berlin, Jesse Owens wins his third Olympic medal.
1937 - The U.S. Ranger beats England's Endeavour II in the 17th America's Cup.
1945 - The Atom Bomb is dropped on Hiroshima (Aug 6th in Japan).
1953 - In Operation "Big Switch" Korean War prisoners are exchanged at Panmunjom.
1960 - Upper Volta gains independence from France.
1962 - Nelson Mandela is arrested for incitement and illegally leaving South Africa.
1963 - The U.S., Britain, and the U.S.S.R. sign a nuclear test ban treaty.
1964 - The U.S. begins bombing North Vietnam.
1966 - Martin Luther King Jr is pelted with stones during a Chicago march.
1969 - Mariner 7 flies past Mars.
1973 - The U.S.S.R. launches Mars 6.
1981 - President Regan fires 11,500 air traffic controllers, two days into their strike.
1985 - Larry Tudor sets a flexible-wing glider altitude record (214,250').
1988 - Mario Biaggi (Rep-NY) resigns his seat after his conviction for racketeering

Iran - Constitution Day

- Thomas Lynch, signer of the Declaration of Independence
1860 - Joseph Carey Merrick, the "Elephant Man"
1908 - Harold Holt, PM of Australia (1966-67), supporter of U.S. efforts in Vietnam
1923 - Richard Kleindienst, attorney general (1972)
1930 - Neil Armstrong, X-15 pilot, first Moonwalker (Gemini 8, Apollo 11)
1941 - Leonid D. Kizim, cosmonaut (Soyuz T-3, T-10, T-15)

- Edgar Guest, newspaperman
1961 - Sir Sidney Holland, PM of New Zealand (1949-57)
1962 - Marilyn Monroe, movie star, found dead of apparent self-inflicted drug overdose

Reported Missing in Action

Alvarez, Everett, USN (CA); A4C shot down, released by DRV February, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998 - first USN aviator POW in Vietnam

Sather, Richard C., USN (CA); A1H shot down, remains returned August, 1985 - first USN aviator KIA in Vietnam

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