Friday, June 30, 2006

Translation - no charge

I will provide a free translation of this statement by the USA Today.


"Our leakers were wrong. However, we are still going to print anything we can get our hands on to drive this program into the ground. That is all."

News of Afghanistan XIII

Hmmmmm.... I sense something...something's like I am being watched or something!? Spooky, I tell ya.

You know, one of these times I am going to figure how to put up the Daro and Pashto numbers, rather than the Roman ones I am using in the title for these updates... anyway, let's get to it:

Advice is offered. Thanks guys!
Bombers thwarted, yeah!
Romanian soldier, right, stands next to an Afghan coconut vendor outside school on outskirts of Kabul, Thursday. [South Asia Media Net]
Jaw Jaw better than War War. Still some hissing going on, however!
Afghan Art by Yar Mohammad Taraky - go look, would you please?
© Sultan Massoodi/IRIN
Humanitarian Coordinator, Ameerah Haq
An interview with a woman whose job I really wouldn't want to try.
Conservation?! A conservation project in Afghanistan? Yup.
If I were Iran, I'd reeeallly think this one over.
Now back to the war.
NATO has a new envoy.
"I am the Eye in the Sky, looking at you..." [US Army Photo]
Now back to the Economics.
Cha-ching! Just use it well, OK?
Well, yeah - I can see why the Pakistanis would "call" for this.
This weeks media/information source: South Asian Media Net

Thursday, June 29, 2006

World Cup Friday Matches.....Quarter Finals

Israel and Hamas, Iraq, Afghanistan, Supreme Court give aways, Sedition from the Media, Blah,Blah,Blah. I decided to go light and post some pics about football and tomorrows matches. Germany and Argentina again!!!! It is a shame that I have to watch Univision and BBC to watch all the games.

Lincoln Wept

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you;

The campaign for governor of the great State of Illinois. Gah.

Even worse - The President of the Cook County Board gets laid low by a stroke...still wins the Democratic Primary. Now he won't run in the general election - wait for it - so his son declares that he should be placed in Dad's place. GAH!

Will Illinois ever go back to:

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand;
Beware the People weeping
When they bare the iron hand.

[Herman Melville after the death of Abraham Lincoln]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm Glad I'm the Oldest (Not That There Is Anything Wrong with That)

When I heard about this on the radio this morning I just had to call and warn my younger brothers.

Apparently this phenomenon is not new. It's called the Birth Order Effect (men with older brothers are more likely to be homosexual) and I found articles as far back as 2000 about it. This latest study took adopted brothers into account and found that it's only true of biological brothers.

I just thought it was something funny to rib younger brothers about.

BTW, Which one of you Quinns is younger?

The "Threat"

Back in the old days (the 1980s) we used to refer to the Soviets and their Allies as the "threat" in our doctrine.

It is a new day dawning...

[January 2006 issue of the NGAUS magazine]

I am glad to see that it is just the bird flu - I was afraid we were going to have to fight 100 foot tall, mutant chickens...

Better than giant spiders too.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Suicide attack at Bagram

They are getting personal now. Nobody screws with our old stomping grounds. As usual the children pay the price. Major John, are you ready to go back yet? Let me know when you are tired of playing civilian. I will start packing my ruck.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Afghan Army Sergeant Major graduates..USASMA

Congrats to SGM Roshan Safi and the Army National Guard CSM from TF Pheonix who pushed to get him into the academy. There where other foriegn students in the class with me when I went, but none with so much Combat time. The world wants to copy the relationship of our NCO Corps and Officer Corps. It is a time tested model which works to get the job done

Friday, June 23, 2006

News of Afghanistan XII

Alrighty then. What are we at...week 12 of the information round up? Let's get to it then!

It's graduation season for the police too!

Everybody is after the independent press in Afghanistan [follow the link for extra bonus cattiness between Musharraf and Kazai - meow!] Here is some more reaction.

"Yeah. I'm talkin' to you!" "We have called a press conference to berate you"

Meowrrr! C'mon, guys. Lets get this fixed, OK?

I saw this at the gallery - too cool. It is supposed to be an Ariana ticket. Beats the e-ticket I get from United...

And speaking of Ariana - here is little picture I took at Kabul Airport in June, 2004.

Now back to the war.

Nuristan is a tough place. Damn. Say a prayer for the families of the fallen, please.

The bad guys are getting killed. Alot.

Please aquire this target.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Army 2nd Lt. Luke Wheeler demonstrates proper hand signals to members of the Afghan National Army. ANA soldiers from the Central Movement Agency are responsible for moving and delivering supplies to ANA forces engaged in combat against the enemies of Afghanistan. Wheeler is assigned to the 330th Movement Control Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C., and currently deployed to Bagram Airfield. (Photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Rautio)

Some thoughts on British involvement and history.

Over to the Dismal Science.

I sure hope this guy is right.

I sure hope this gets stopped.

Next time your local Chamber of Commerce complains about having it tough - refer them here.

Back to the rest of the world.

Afghan hunger Norway?

Afghans crazy about soccer? Yeah, I can vouch for that.

The Afghan Information site o' the week:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A peril of blogging

Yesterday, while reading through the back and forth in the comments at Protein Wisdom, I ran across a comment that really caught me unready. "Rusty" was reading the Riot Act to a commenter upthread that was engaged in a bit of moral equivalency - namely that it was bad what happened to our soldiers, but we are just as bad in what we do at Gitmo, etc. 'Rusty" corrected that...

Here is the end of the comment, the part that hit home:

You have no idea who those boys were. You have no idea what their motivation was for joining the military. Every man and woman over there knows what the dangers are. They know what they risk everyday. Their deaths don’t belong to you. By claiming moral outrage at their sacrifice you trivialize the lives they lived, the honor that they bought themselves. You sacrifice nothing.
Their service to their country is over. They belong to their families now.
I could not read much more after that. That is a peril of blogging - you can run across some expressing something in a very arresting way, and you might not be ready for the impact it has on you.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Kuwaiti Thought from the Brown Sand Sailor

Our Man in Basra sends:

"Guest Worker"

Here it is, about 8 am on a hot day in Kuwait. We're speeding along the highway back towards Iraq and we begin passing yellow jumpsuits, spaced at intervals of 100m or so. Each man has a broom, and is pushing and sweeping sand, rocks and other debris from the side of the road. There are no support cars or trucks for miles. Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world. Are street cleaning vehicles that expensive? Makes you think.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Brown Sand Sailor Sees the Sights

The Miserable Donuts Naval Attache in Basra sends:

"Saladins' Fort"

Driving through southern Iraq, one comes across some odd things, like picked clean T-72s or BTs (all that's left will be the frame, the rest has been stripped off for scrap). But I thought this picturesque building (Fort? Gangster compound? Militia HQ?) pretty cool. In the picture it looks like something out of French Foreign Legion days, or Suleiman's march toward Jerusalem. As we drove by we saw men with AKs at the front gates, and they flew a green flag, so they weren't Iraqi government, that's for sure.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day, 2006

I posted this last year. It seems relevant today too.
Happy Father's Day, anonymous father in Deh-e Hazara.

I hope you and your family are well. This morning I remembered how I had met you - on a humanitarian assistance mission to your village. I wonder if things are better in Deh-e Hazara now. It seems strange that only 6 months ago I was in your village for the first time. You, and everyone else there, were so very happy that we came. All the good people at home had sent us clothing, shoes, and especially baby gear - and your village was grateful for it. I was glad I managed to come back two more times before I left for my home. I know all of you love your children very much. Everyone was so happy to tell us that a new school was opening. I hope someday that your son will be able to write you something nice like in the card I got from mine today. Well, that's all I wanted to share. Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Iowahawk has launched Operation Mag-Neato. Here is the relevant part of the post from his site:

Dateline Iraq: the Legion of Dumb gets results! Here are a few dusty pix from Senior Legionnaire and US Army stalwart Darren "Doc" Lee, showing his mighty Legion of Dumb-Vee adorned with a glorious rainbow of refrigerator magnets provided by you - the Iowahawk reader.

Impressive progress to be sure, but there is plenty of fender space left to be covered. Do your patriotic duty and send your spare magnets to:

Sgt. Darren Lee
TPT 1634 1-33 CAV
3rd BCT 101 ABN DIV
APO AE 09390

[Major John Note: Seems silly - but this is the kind of thing that helps morale more than you'd think.]

News of Afghanistan XI

Irrigation well starts up in Qara Bagh - on the edge of Kabul and Parwan Provinces

Friday again, eh? Must be time for the News...

I don't know how I missed this diplomatic development. Afghanistan continues to rejoin the community of nations.

Speaking of diplomacy... (This also lets me pound on one of my pet subjects as well - what do you do with the militias?)

Swords to plowshares, baby. Swords to plowshares.

See Radio Free Afghanistan's Daily Summary (the bottom story is curious, and not too good a development either).

More diplomacy! One-note Johnny today, aren't I?

Now, back to the war.

Afghanistan loves "Bollywood" - I hope Kabul Express turns out.

Arshad will next be seen in Kabul Express

Again, back to the war.

photo: U.S. Army/Spc. Jerry T. Combes

Economics, economics - the dismal science in Afghanistan (see especially this mistake - "Many Afghans are not used to paying income tax, so it will take some time for them to become accustomed to it." Really? I know I am stepping out on a limb here, but somehow I suspect the Afghans will manage to NOT pay this in droves. 5000 years of experience in trying to keep other hands off of what is theirs...)

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of e-Ariana.

More economics (and diplomacy too!)

Cry "Uncle" and receive mercy.

This week's Afghanistan News/Information source:

Make sure you look at their photo gallery too.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Baseball, Ray, it's Baseball...

OK, not the Field of Dreams, but something quite nice nonetheless. The League my kids play in is totally volunteer organized and run. It is Middle America - the local high school girl's teams run the concession stand to raise funds for their activities, the parents and volunteer organizers create the schedule, maintain the fields, coach the teams, provide umpires and keep a website running.

The kids are all from the same neighborhoods, go to school together, and their parents all know each other. So far, I have seen no evidence of the out-of-control parents you see in occassional news stories. The coaches are almost all experienced, patient and good sports to boot.

The one thing that was stressed at the Opening Day ceremony was "make sure this experience is good for your children" - it isn't about the parents, it isn't about winning at all costs (there are All-Star teams and a traveling squad - the league isn't allergic to competition mind you...).

The best part has been watching the kids get better each week - and have fun too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Compare and Contrast

Palestinian administered territory

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks to reporters Sunday in Sharm El-Sheik. Thanks to


From left: PM-designate Nuri al-Maliki and Cabinet members Barham Salih and Salam al-Zawbai, on Saturday. Thanks to CNN. com

Now, which is the ungovernable "quagmire" again?

Happy Birthday, Army.

It's Birthday #231 for the finest Army on the face of the Earth.
by Staff Sgt. Carmen Burgess

June 14, 2006Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joins Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston and the oldest and youngest Soldiers from the Military District of Washington in cutting the Army's 231st birthday cake in the Pentagon courtyard June 14.

Hurricane Hysteria (or was it a Tropical Storm Tantrum?)

The Blogfather survives Alberto! Follow the link to see the destruction he witnessed, right on his own porch.

I can only hope that he starts painting messages like these:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sticker Wars

A study in sticker mania/escalation -

Bagram's sticker wall in December of 2004:

Bagram's sticker wall in June of 2006:

[h/t Afghanidan]

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Gratutious Afghanistan Photo

I just felt like putting one up today. I am sure it had nothing to do with the fact I made kabob last night. Thanks to Chef Abdul Qazi of Kabul House for the recipe.

UPDATE: Speaking of recipes:

1 lbs lamb cubes, Salt to taste, 1/2 tsp onion powder, Pepper to taste, 2 cloves fresh garlic, 1 green pepper chunked, 1 tsp yoghurt, 1 onion chunked, 1-2 tsp olive oil, 1 tomato in wedges (I substituted large Mushrooms) 1-2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped. 1-2 tsp chopped parsley, 1 lemon in wedges.
Directions: Rinse lamb in cold water and pat dry. In a blender or food processor combine the onion powder, garlic, yoghurt, olive oil, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend well. Spread on lamb and let marinate at least 2 hours, overnight is better. Thread meat onto four skewers. Thread vegetables onto four different skewers, alternating the pepper, onion and tomato. Cook over a medium hot grill, supporting the ends of the meat skewers so the meat does not touch the grill. Cook skewers about 10 minutes, turning two to three times. Serve with rice and wedges of lemon. Serves four. Doubles easily.

P.S. Darn tasty too.

How Better to Start Monday Morning?

Than a 4 hour meeting?! Hmmm. A fender bender in the parking lot? How about a series of papercuts? I'll get back to you later.

Friday, June 09, 2006

News of Afghanistan X

The staff of "News of Afghanistan" (actually they are the elders of Rogmati)

Have I really done this 10 times already? Or is it X times already? Anyhoo - off we go!
Here is a quick whip 'round by Radio Free Afghanistan.
A thoughtful grumble.
The beat-down goes on.
US Army photo
Motherhood in Afghanistan - women there have an awfully tough start (and it don't get any easier later, either).
Photo: RAWA
Kashmir / Afghanistan - a connection?
NATO tightens its grip? NATO asks for help? Hmmm.
There just have to be a hundred metaphors in this picture...
Men push a stubborn horse on the outskirts of Kabul June 5, 2006. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood (AFGHANISTAN)
My friend is cleaning house. Yeah!
Another example of the Central Asian Child Labor Law - All children shall labor, that is the law.
Avian Flu, still lurking?
This week's Afghan News & Information source: Inside Afghanistan
Hey! That's good stuff!
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