Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mistake - Number 2, Well, maybe 1.5

In February 2005 we knew the 10 year drought in Afghanistan had broken. We were a bit nervous as to the possibility for floods, however. I went out and took a look at the Ghorband River (actually I was, um, in the river - the HMMWV driver thought he was following the typical Afghan "road"...). I was right to qualify my observations that nothing was wrong "yet" - but the mistake was probably in the blithe tone I took. A month later the area just north of where I was got hammered by floods. We ended up rushing everything we had to help the people in that area. So call it a mistake in style, not substance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another unreported terrorist attack.....

San Francisco was terrorized again and by a Muslim attacker, this time an Afghan driving an SUV killing one and injuring many others. A lone Muslim with guns shot up a Jewish center in Seattle this summer killing one and wounding five others. There have been many other attacks by lone individuals in the recent past including another SUV assault at a North Carolina University. Under reported or un-reported, the silence of our "objective" media is deafening. When he was removed from the car his head was shaved. He knew what he was doing and was on a mission.

Mistake - Number 1

I took a short movie clip of one of our Humanitarian Assistance drops - in the village of Mohammed Omarkhel, in Kapisa Province. Things were going quite well at first. Two minutes after I turned the camera off, we got stampeded by a whole bunch of people. I ended up tackling a guy trying to take things off our truck, and my interpreter (who was quite proficient at judo) had to literally fling bodies off one of the NCOs who was handing out children's clothing. So as you watch this clip - remember that my conclusion was 100% WRONG. Heh.

Why no post on Tuesday?

THAT is why. &*$%# Blogger. I know, I cannot complain that much since it is "free", but still - would it hurt to work somewhat reliably?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Old Boys Survival Report

So the Prop and I survived the Old Boys rugby match. He played more than I did and also had more people asking "who is that guy who is hitting so hard?" Below is a small sample of the Prop and m'self in a scrum. Good Times, good times.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pray for the Inner Prop and Major John...

Why? Because they are putting on the rugby boots this Saturday for the Illinois Men's Rugby Alumni Game ("Old Boys"). Unfortunately for us (fortunately for Illinois) the youngsters are pretty good. Pray, and send ice and Advil...

News of Afghanistan XVIII

Or should I say News of Afghanistan

Either way, here we go!

As usual, the daily round up. Unfortunately, it's mostly fighting.

So just where is Afghanistan, along the road to democracy?

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Stacie Hill, left, and 1st Lt. Teah Paulino hand shoes to an Afghan girl during a humanitarian civil aid program hosted by Republic of Korea military personnel with 924th Medical Support Group on Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. (Photo by Cpl. Bertha A. Flores)

Talib prefer War, War to Jaw, Jaw.

That is a heck of a corridor!

Afghan army soldiers take up position during an exercise in Kabul August 24, 2006. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Hurrah! Double Hurrah!

Boo! Ungood. Plus Ungood. Double Plus Ungood.


Let us hope this helps.

This probably won't be helpful.

Ooh - don't forget to look here, and pick something up, will you please?

This weeks News and Information source: Sharq

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Virtual Bass Ale for My New Friend

This is for my new friend Kenna. She stopped by today and left SEVERAL comments on chapter 1 of The Larch.

She also has a great looking blog. Makes me feel right at home.

Here's hoping that she'll keep commenting and join in discussions. She's already made a great start.

Thanks Kenna and welcome.

Maybe I should give away free virtual beer everytime someone comments for the first time. I think I owe Major John a few back-virtual-beers. Is there anybody else out there that needs a drink (or to whom I owe one)?

"Drinks for all my friends!"

A Bang in the Salang

Here is a brief clip from the Salang Valley - not far from the Salang Tunnel. The Afghans had trundled a T-55 up to use in "pre-empting" any avalanches...the result of it's first shot is on this clip. CAUTION: Naughty words used! In fact, this was the first time I had ever heard this particular soldier cuss. After 10 months together. In an active, combat theater. And it took this to get him to swear - heh heh.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Operation Mag-Neato Update

Psy-ops continues to startle the enemy with... magnets. Go read the update. Then collect your magnets and send them off!

Evildoers, beware!

Trojan Horse First Day of School

Because Mrs. Prop is leery about putting up pics of the little Props I have blanked out the faces to protect the innocent. Rest assured that they are the three most beautiful Props ever.

Today was their first day of school this year with three other firsts: the big one got contacts this week, the middle one moved up to skirts from jumpers, and the little one started Kindergarten (REALLY her first day of school) and wore a jumper for the first time today.

Here's the Trojan horse part (and I'm partially ashamed to use my younguns like this, but Major John doesn't like my putting posts up just to send folks to my blog): It's time to go to Illini6 and vote for your choice of story serial. Quick, before I get in trouble.

Hey, MJ I finally put "Bellwether's Asteroid" up there! Don't hit me.

ADMINSTRATOR'S NOTE: The Inner Prop is allowed to live, because he posted "Bellwether's Asteroid". Go read it. Now.

How to Defend Yourself Against Fresh, fire an RPG

General Mowlanna Sayed Kahil shows that he is quite handy with an RPG. The irrepressible CPT Matt Pintur narrates...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Hez are attacking!

Fresh off their "sinking" of an Australian warship, the Hez demonstrate similar Anti-Aircraft abilities...

Allahu Ahkbar!

When You Cannot Call AAA

Call the Army... This truck was carrying gasoline drums from Charikar to a small village and became mired in the "road". The patrol I was with decided that we would simply push them out. Until someone asked what was in the barrels. When we got the answer "gasoline", we decided to pull them out instead.

This is in two clips:

Monday, August 21, 2006

School Days

In February 2005 the Governor of Parwan Province strongly hinted that a little help to the people of Deh Qadzi would do two things for the Coalition; counteract HIG and Talib propaganda ("the Americans won't help you because you are too religious for them) and would make the people of the area less likely to look the other way when the HIG shot 107mm rockets at us.

I took a squad from the 3/116th INF out and we talked with the people in the area. Everyone wanted the same thing. Fix our school, please. I went to scope it out and took a little bit of film to show our engineers (I wanted to make sure it was salvagable).

Oh, the Governor was right - we contracted to fix the school up, the people were startled, and delighted - and the HIG lost a launching area.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Immigration standoff on Chicago's West side

Let's see how this ends. I agree with M. Zorn , that she is not a good pic for this effort. Who told her she is the new Rosa Parks? Rosa Parks was a U.S. Citizen with roots in this nation that went back generations farther than most European-Americans. Class war and racial Politics as usual in our city. If we were going to send this individual back to a Communist State, as we did under the last administration, the church would be a pile of ash and she and her 14th amendment son would be gone. As Michael Moore said, "I'm Sorry Elian". WTF? We will wait for the new hope Obama to return from his mission to see how screwed up Africa is. WTF? The Mayor and Govenor are running from this one also.

Friday, August 18, 2006

News of Afghanistan XVIII

I'm taking today off - so this version may look a little different. Be that as it may - time for the news:

For those in a hurry - go here.

I hate mines. I really, really do hate landmines. Here is an example of why.

This is ungood. Plus ungood at least.

"Why is it always MY fault?!"

Afghan Intelligence unhappy with Pakistan. I had my own experience with the Afghan Intelligence apparatus - I cannot really say much except that it was like I had fallen into a mix of an Ian Fleming novel, a Peter Sellers movie (maybe "A Shot in the Dark") and a Rudyard Kipling story.

I think CSM Bones was a customer...

Yea for the Italians! Also, I remember that the Charikar Orphanage had been fixed up by a generous donation of the Trieste chapter of the Italian Red Cross. Grazi!

Ha ha ha ha! So much for Afghan C-SPAN, eh?

I don't think I can exaggerate how closely this trial was being followed in Afghanistan. Guilty was the verdict.

The Afghan Cricket Team- you can't stop it, you can only hope to contain it.

"Hey, we'll play 'em!"

This just plain sucks (note editorializing in what should be a short, plain factual story)

China is still very interested in Afghanistan, economically that is.

Go Cougars! Washington State, that is.

Shoes? Maybe you could ask this fellow about Afghans and shoes.

Yeah, I've heard his stuff - not bad actually.

News Source of the Week:


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Election 2 at Illini 6

We're having another election at Illini 6 (the last one was such a success). This time the readers get to vote on what story I'm going to serialize on a weekly basis.

Go there today and see your first choice, then go back over the next week to see the other choices. After that vote on your favorite. As a Chicagoian I allow people to vote early and vote often.

Once I get a clear winner I'll start the serial the next Wednesday.

Thanks for your time.

I just can't stop with the videos!

OK, I'll try to stop posting these....eventually. Here is some friendly Afghan Militia setting up a 107mm rocket and firing it off. Since these rockets were getting shot into our base, we wanted to learn how they were set up, worked, were fired, etc. The irrepressible CPT Matt Pintur narrates...

Prepare to fire!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another Patrol Clip

The last one was so much fun, I am going to try this again! This is March 9, 2005 - bouncing along in an uparmored HMMWV...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hey Tempus, Look!

Attack, attack, attack!
"...despite the fact that the squirrel had previously attacked and harrassed other customers..."
See here for the rest of the story.

An Attempt at Video Blogging

I am trying to keep up with the Joneses of the blogging world - this post is an experiment to see if I can post any movie clips. Presenting, "a little bit of a patrol from February 2005". The only thing I apologize for is the "low talking". BTW - "Kobacha" is a nearby mountain spur that was being heavily quarried for rock and gravel.

UPDATE: If you are having trouble seeing this, YOUTUBE is having, er, um, difficulties today.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cease-fire Trustworthiness

It seems to me that the Lebanese opinion of the Israelis is shown best by this part of an AP article from today:

"Israeli soldiers killed six Hezbollah fighters in three skirmishes in Lebanon after the U.N.-imposed cease-fire took effect Monday, the army said. The clashes came as Lebanese civilians defied an Israeli travel ban and streamed back to their homes in war-ravaged areas. "

The Lebanese are willing to go back into the area Israel holds...despite being told otherwise. If the Israelis were the beasts that Hezbollah and Iranian propaganda tries to paint them to be, why are these people still heading south? I think it is because they know the Israelis won't do anything to the innocents heading back to their homes...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Donuts in the MSM!

Last Sunday my Dad, a man who really knows how to do a proper ceremony and to let the media do it's best to shed favorable light on whatever he's doing, called MY local paper to make sure they were on hand for his birthday, er my award.

When I interviewed with the reporter on Tuesday I mentioned that she could use this blog for reference. The article appeared in the Mundelein Review, Thursday 10 Aug 06 (it's a weekly paper) and she actually included the link above.

How cool is that? Do you think we'll have a paper-lanche?

News of Afghanistan XVII

OK, welcome to installment of the News. Let's get to it!

The quick round-up for the day.

My friend Zarar Ahmad wants two fussin' and feudin' political parties disbanded. BTW - these guys were shooting each other even before I got there...

Floods in the Southeast.

Now back to the war....

Attack a PRT site, die. PRT = Provincial Reconstruction Team. So the bad guys are attacking the folks who are trying to rebuild the country. Hmmm.

Some rumbles in Paktika.

Now back to the rest of the news...

"Baaaaa!" Hey, just helping out here....

Wanna see a movie? Try "The Beauty Academy of Kabul"

Take THAT, Haji Almos! A little help for Afghan women MPs (the Wolesi Jirga, not the Army type of MP).

But, but, it's the Afghan Way!? Not anymore for this guy. Heh heh.

Advise and consent, in the Wolesi Jirga.

An Afghan fruit vendor waits for customers at a market in Kabul August 8, 2006. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (AFGHANISTAN)

Yea Germans! Does this mean that Afghanistan will have PMPs like Tempus42 soon?

Refugee repatriation photo gallery here.

G'day, Mr. Ambassador.

Information source o' the week:

Afghanistan's Web Site.

His Majesty would appreciate it if you read the site...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Iranian Overstretch?

In past we have heard remarks to the effect that the US military is overstretched, "broken" and the like. Below is a fair display of where the Army is deployed.

Are we overdoing it?

Now the Iranians have been busy over the last few years too. Fighting via proxy, or with their own personnel in Iraq and Lebanon, and supporting occassional attacks in Saudi Arabi. All the while, a nuclear weapons program is in high gear. Can the Iranians afford this?

A brief comparison of economic strength would seem to be relevant:

The GNP of Iran (World Bank figure; 2004) is about US$155,329 million, or US$2,320 per capita.

US GNP (in 2000 dollars) was $11,433.6 billion (U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis 6/1/2006).

How about Population? US ~ 300,000,000. Iran ~ 67,500,000.

Crude overall measures of strength, to be sure. But why is it a persistent meme that the US is wearing itself out while Iran never even gets a passing glance? Iran is a theocratic despotism with substantial minority (Azeri, Arab) unrest, a young population that knows nothing of the "Revolution", and is a one-trick pony in economics - oil. She has extended herself into proxy (and direct intervention) in Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabi. Her lack of domestic defense capabilities has made her a huge customer of Russia and China, and a partner with North Korea.

How long can Iran keep it up? Why isn't it that we are over-extending them, and they are wobbling? I posit this more as a series of questions - this will take me much more work to illustrate any points I hope to make. Perhaps a rainy weekend in the future...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's a Beautiful Morning in the Neighborhood

I don't want to say my National Guard Armory borders a tough area, but when driving in last month, I saw this:

No cops, no wrecker, nobody there. Just one dude on a bike minding his own business...

Nobody seen nothin', got it?!

Monday, August 07, 2006

What the heck is going on over at Reuters?

Huh?! Are these guys a news wire or a propaganda arm of Hezbollah?

Seriously? Et tu ABC?

An Old Error Corrected

17 months late but it finally happened. The Inner Prop got his due:

He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service as commander of operations at FOB Salerno in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom V (2004-2005). Well deserved and way late.

I had asked our overall Task Force commander, back in March 2005 when we would see our people from Salerno get their awards. The half blank, half panicked look I got told me that something had gone wrong. Unfortunately I was right. The Prop's award submission didn't get made timely. Needless to say I was a bit pissed off, and the Prop was disappointed. Here was the guy that (with his invaluable right hand man - yes, you CPT Webb, and indominitable NCOIC - the now CSM Beck) ran the toughest place we had responsibility for. They won the "rocket cup" by having 94 rockets, of the 122mm variety, fired into them. The 1/501 Parachute Infantry Regiment called him a "warfighter" - not too bad, hmmm?

The same sort of thing continues to this day - we have a signal unit that is being incorporated into our headquarters, and the faces of NCOs from that unit light up like the sun when they see the Prop for the first time at HQ. It may have been years since they served with him, but they haven't forgotten him.

Oh, and there was a Brigadier General on hand to pin his medal on... and when this General says something to the effect of "good job, son", he isn't just speaking generalese - he means it literally. How fantastic is that, to have your father, a retired Brigadier General pin your Bronze Star on you?

"Way to go, son!"

The whole Prop family was on hand too. Wife, kids, siblings (including the Navy NCO on the right) were all there to see it.

"Hey, we are ALL proud of him!"

I am grateful to the CDR of the 108th SBDE for putting his boot into the rear end of the process, so to speak. Also, a fun fact: The Order for the BSM was signed by LTG Honore - of "stuck on stupid" fame...

"That's right y'all - he deserved that medal. Don't get stuck on stupid people, congratulate the Inner Prop".

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bombs found on trains in Germany

I bet they miss the days of the simple, spoiled, middle class communists of Bader-Meinhoff and the Red Brigades. They may blow up, but they will run on time. What is with these Euro women wanting to splattered themselves for people who will always consider them as whores, no matter how much they convert. Some can never get enough Liberal guilt and self- loathing. I know about the high unemployment, taxes, hot summer without AC.... blamed on us I'm sure. Some of my German friends actualy are expected to pay for some of their own medical now. Why don't they just go on their 4 week vacation and blame the Osties. Prost!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Do me a favor, please?

Consider lending this effort your support.

News of Afghanistan XVI

Welcome to installment of the News. Let's get to it, shall we?

For those in a hurry - the quick round up.

Please don't forget to check out Lemar Aftaab either.

Karzai re: A most hideous act.

This is in Kabul?!

Drought returning - efforts to help.

Now back to the War...

ISAF/NATO realizes it is in a scrap.

Helmand - heatin' up.

Heh. Or should I say "Cha-Ching!"

Now back to the rest of the News...

Hey?! When I was at Bagram, we were all ready to start on this!

Jaw Jaw time...

Huh??! I mean, really, WTF?

Well, if you are looking for drug advice, I guess these guys would know.

Knock it off! I mean it!

This week's source o' news - Pajhwok

P.S. I would have had more photos - but Blogger is up to it's usual tricks. I will try to supplement later. Bah!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You're Still Here?

Go to Illini 6 and vote on Inner Prop's image.


Surf's Down

There's a "new" story at Illini 6. It's a mystery short starring Alison Brickhouse. Alison is the hero of The Larch.

An excerpt of The Larch is posted on Illini 6 as well.

Go there, read and comment!

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