|There's some good reading over at Balloon Juice regarding the WP and the mistreating of civilians/prisoners etc. Here's an excerpt.|
The United States’ most senior general has defended the use of weapons containing white phosphorus in Iraq. General Peter Pace said that such munitions were a legitimate tool of the military, used to illuminate targets and create smokescreens.
Two weeks ago, the US admitted using it to flush out insurgents in Falluja last year raising concerns that it might have hit civilians.
Gen Pace said no military went to greater lengths to avoid civilian casualties than the US army.
He said white phosphorus, a chemical that burns on exposure to oxygen, producing a bright light and lots of white smoke, was used primarily to illuminate a battlefield or to hide troop movements.
It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary. And it is well within the law of war to use those weapons as they’re being used, for marking and for screening, he said.
If it comes into contact with human skin, white phosphorus can ignite and burn down to the bone if it is not exhausted or extinguished.
An Italian TV channel has reported that the US used white phosphorus against civilians in Falluja, and showed pictures of burned bodies.
The US has denied this.
A bullet goes through skin even faster than white phosphorus does, Gen Pace said.
So I would rather have the proper instrument applied at the proper time, as precisely as possible, to get the job done, in a way that kills as many of the bad guys as possible and does as little collateral damage as possible.
That is just the nature of warfare.
When UPIs Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility other than to voice disapproval.
But [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace] had a different view. It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it, the general said.
Rumsfeld interjected: I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.
But Pace meant what he said. If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it, he said, firmly.
General Pace is correct. Soldiers know what they are supposed to do. It’s a big part of the Army Values., two of which are Personal Courage and Integrity. You are expected to disobey an unlawful order, even if it will cause you hardship, even if it may be difficult and unpopular. We have rules, if you see something wrong you do something about it.
As far as the WP goes, we shouldn’t be indiscriminately attacking civilians anyway, so the WP is a moot point in this case. The issue is… are we attacking civilians or not? I believe we are not. Not deliberately for sure.
We are trained not to wage war on civilians. As a leader, I am expected to train my subordinates that this is not the correct course of action. I don’t want to get into the collateral damage thing, but sometime civilians are in the crossfire so to speak. It will always be this way, especially with the jerks we are fighting now. They set up their operations among civilians. We make every reasonable effort not to hurt innocent people.
If you don't get it... Learn about Jus in Bello. This (and more about morality in war) is taught in the US Army at many levels.
As a side note... that link was only in regards to the Jus In Bello and I don't know much about the organization that runs the site. I didn't have time to check them out. I do feel the article gives a pretty good overview of the subject though.
- Blog Changes
- Tim Horton's Kandahar Hat
- Quality Partamian bakers from . . . Mexico?
- Still Kicking
- A Photo From My Man Tractor
- More Barf! I can't get away from this stuff!
- Everything Is Covered In Barf!
- September 2004
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
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- March 2005
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- May 2005
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- Iraq War Today
- Junk Yard Blog
- LT Smash
- Military Outpost
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- Righty in a Lefty State
- Two Babes and a Brain
Glen Reynolds says: Pechat!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Hooah! Hard Chargin'... um... Kittens?
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Joe Lieberman - Our Troops Must Stay
|Why aren't there more Democrats out there like Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller? If they are out there, they need to sound off.|
Our Troops Must Stay
America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists.
BY JOE LIEBERMAN
Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:01 a.m.
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.
It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority....
In the face of terrorist threats and escalating violence, eight million Iraqis voted for their interim national government in January, almost 10 million participated in the referendum on their new constitution in October, and even more than that are expected to vote in the elections for a full-term government on Dec. 15. Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them. Most encouraging has been the behavior of the Sunni community, which, when disappointed by the proposed constitution, registered to vote and went to the polls instead of taking up arms and going to the streets. Last week, I was thrilled to see a vigorous political campaign, and a large number of independent television stations and newspapers covering it.
None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.
The leaders of Iraq's duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America's commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November's elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead...
Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.
Read the rest here... No, really... go read it.
Hooah to Senator Lieberman and a "Hat Tip" to ROFASix . I had heard about Lieberman writing this (maybe this morning on Boortz or on Bennet on my way to work), but I had forgotten to read it until I saw that he posted some excerpts. There's always good stuff over at that blog and NOTR has some good commentary on Lieberman and the piece that he wrote.
Crack - accino
Monday, November 28, 2005
Mysterious Mister M Posts Again
|I know, I know...it has been too long since the last posting and all of the faithful readers are sending lots of mail asking when the next posting from M will come. Well, wait no further my Partamian Report faithful friends, because M is back! |
Partamian has carried the load well in my absence, but its time for M to do his job, and so I am going to upload some of what is going on in my head right now for your amusement and reading pleasure.
First of all, congratulations to Partamian for running a half marathon! I am almost positive that I was laying in my underwear drinking coffee and eating while he was out humping his way across town on Thanksgiving day.
Speaking of which, my neighbor's wife...well, nevermind.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was especially good this year. In year's past we tried to please every (rebel) faction of the families by having (that's right count them) THREE Thanksgivings. I don't know about you, but is just too much thanks for me to give. This has usually involved a brunch, a lunch, and a dinner, all at different places, of which each required a mandatory second helping so as not to offend the cook. This year we said, no thank you, gaining ten pounds in one day is enough thank you very much. So much to my pleasure, I didn't do anything I didn't want to do on Thanksgiving, and it was truly a blessing.
In all seriousness though, here is a site really worth your time
Project Hero - "PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. "
It has been mentioned before here I believe, but is always worth reminding yourself of the good that our soldiers do.
This came from a link on a libertarian minded online magazine/blog called the QandO . Check it out.
Until next time,
Just a couple of quick links for you to check out...
|It's lunch time, but I have a ton of work to do. So, I'll make this quick.|
Michelle Malkin on Bruce Willis and his plan to make a pro war movie...
Michelle Malkin on protests you won't see on the nightly news...
Oh yeah... I'm still freaking sore from the 13.1 miles on Thanksgiving. I have got to start training for these things. I ran it with Dr Z. from Banter in Atlanter You should check out his blog every day.
BANTER IN ATLANTER
Also check out my new daily read Medium Madness. There's great stuff over there including the meter below.
That's all I have for now. I wonder if the mysterious Mr. M will be adding anything today (Hint... hint).
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Army Engineer Stuff
|I finally started my link section for the 21 series guys. (12 and 51 for you old school types).|
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Thoughts on running and blogging...
|Last night, after work, I met up with Dr. Z from Banter in Atlanter to get our Atlanta Half-Marathon race packets and to coordinate a meeting place, etc. We stopped off at Prince of Wales, a local pub near Piedmont Park for a couple of beers. You know... to "carb load". Mrs Z was in attendance and was a lot of fun to talk to as well. Mrs P, who is 7 month pregnant (yea for us) was not in attendance and was a little upset with the El-Tee (me) for not getting my butt home in a hurry, but all was well in the end. Mrs P is a very wonderful, beautiful, brilliant and understanding wife. (Honey, I love you).|
We got to talking about blogging and I'm sure that much about blogging will be discussed over the 13.1 miles to be covered tomorrow as well. Anyway, the discussion last night made me think about how initially, I had started this blog so that my friends and family could follow my exploits while I was at Fort Leonard Wood, MO for EOBC. I didn't really think about blogging back then the way I do now. I didn't realize how important blogs were becoming. Blogging is a big deal. I found a cartoon at C&F that pretty much sums it all up.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
|It's 0445... the gym opens at 0500. So... I'm surfing the net and I just found something worth sharing...|
Pimp my blog... know what I'm sayin'.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Back from Fort Stewart
|Well... I'm back. I had a wicked headache yesterday and by the time the 4 hour drive from Ft Stewart was over I was finished. I didn't even unload my car. I just hit the sack. So, I need to go unload the car, take the trash can to the street, shower, shave, etc, etc... and get to the office.|
Stay tuned for some better blogging.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
At Fort Stewart
|I will be running a couple of ranges at Fort Stewart this weekend. I will be leaving today. I probably will not be posting anything till Sunday night or Monday morning.|
Maybe M will pick up the slack while I'm away...
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
More Good News
|I'm posting this e-mail from an OCS buddy, who gave me permission to post it. He is in Iraq with the 48th Brigade. I removed one sentence of this e-mail so that no one pesters his family... Just to be safe. I also made it a little more anonymous by removing the full signature. I'd rather go overboard on the OPSEC than screw up.|
Hello all. I would first like to apologize for my absence, we have been actually living out in sector and will be doing so (with refit breaks) until after the elections in December. I have a lot to tell you but due to operational security, I can't talk about most of what's been going on. I can tell you that the insurgency here has taken some major hits and we are still going :-). I would like to relay a very touching story about the Iraqi Police (IP).
Most Iraqis (and a lot of coalition forces) don't really trust the Police here. They have a very bad reputation for being corrupt and inept at best. While performing mounted patrols just outside of Baghdad proper, my B section of 2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles was called to check out a possible insurgent ambush. They pulled off of the freeway and turned North to proceed across an overpass. As they crested the hill (they also had 2 Abrams tanks in tow), the lead Bradley Commander reported that and IP checkpoint was under attack by approximately 15 insurgents. Most insurgents are afraid of Bradley's and tanks so they began to try and break contact. Unfortunately, trapped in between the IP and the insurgents, there was a little girl who was cowering behind a jersey barrier. One of the Policemen, noticing that the insurgents were trying maneuver away from the approaching armored vehicles, ran into direct small arms fire to rescue the trapped little girl. He shielded her with his own body and ran back to the relative safety of his police SUV. Be mindful of the fact that most Iraqi Policemen do not have body armor! The armored vehicles, now with a clear shot, proceeded to engage the attacking forces and chase them away.
I am awed by the bravery I see here everyday; not only from the best soldiers from around the world, but from the Iraqis who put their lives on the line every minute of every day. Coalition forces are fortunate to be able to return to our fortified operation bases with some relative safety. The Iraqi Police, Army and National Guardsmen (and women) risk death by merely driving to get fuel. It is to those brave men and women that I salute and ask all of you to do the same.
Please remember all of us at this most difficult time of the year. The holidays are especially hard on us because we are unable to fellowship with our loved ones. Fortunately, we have a fellowship, a brotherhood, that few others can possibly understand.
I posted another one of his e-mails back in October. Click here to read it.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The US Army Corps of Engineers Supply Maps With "Contours"
|In more ways than one...|
The Corps of Engineers placed pin-ups on the front of map update documents during WWII. This was an attempt to assure that the person in command of a unit, but also the common GI (according to the remark: "For general distribution. NOT for staff use only") would use the latest available maps.
The "contours" remark is a double entendre. The female obviously has contours, and plenty of them. The back of the documents depict the latest map series and reminds the men that any of the several hundred maps listed and marked in red are available in a new edition from the Engineers.
I found these great products from the Engineer Corps at Propaganda Leaflets of the Second World War , a nifty site.
I can just imagine the dialogue...
SGT: "Hey Sir, did you get a map update yet?
LT: "um... no, not yet."
SGT: "Hey Sir, did you get a map update yet?
LT: "no, not yet."
SGT: "Hey Sir, did you get a map update yet?
LT: "No! Damn it!"
SGT: "Hey Sir, did you get a map update yet?
For the Engineers Out There
A Sad Day in America
Today is the first day that Medicare recipients can enroll in the latest wealth transfer from the young to the old: Medicare prescription drug coverage. This is the largest expansion of government in decades...and it was all at the behest of a Republican president. Over the coming decades, the Medicare prescription drug benefit will cost trillions of dollars...the Gimme Generation will clean up and our children will be paying for it the rest of their lives.
More at Neal's Nuze.
Finally... One of these quizes makes some sense
|I should have scored higher on the engineer scale though...|
Which soldier type are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
This one I'm not to sure about. I was thinking Benjamin Jacob Grimm.
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
|Read about what the Los Angeles Unified School District is up to.|
"Hey, kid, need a ride to a protest rally?"
By Larry Elder
World Can't Wait – an anti-Bush, anti-war group, recently staged nationwide protests. The organization coordinated rallies in Chicago, Seattle, New York, San Francisco – and Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Unified School District took things a step further.
Monday, November 14, 2005
I was busy today...
|Man, I didn't really get much of a chance to do much blogging today. Let me see... I'll find something interesting for everyone to mull over. Give me a second.|
NOTR has provided some good reading with Today in History - Battle of Ia Drang Valley
Froggy Ruminations has some commentary and a link (via LGF ) to an article by Ernesto Cienfuegos, who believes California and much of the southwestern US still belongs to Mexico and that Los Angeles will be the focal point of an uprising that will spread across the nation. Froggy says "I Dare You."
Visit my buddy Dogtulosba's blog. He's an Airborne Sapper in the 82nd Abn. I found his blog about EOBC, last year before I went. He was my inspiration for doing this.
And... just to be completely random An American Soldier aka Drill Sergeant Rob has some info regarding US Army Combatives / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Friday, November 11, 2005
More Thoughts on Veterans Day
|I was going to Post this on Veterans Day, but Blogger was acting up...|
Some of you may know that I am a 21B (Combat Engineer) in the GA ARNG. Well, I have a civilian career; I'm an architect too. Actually, I'm not registered yet… I will take my exams some time next year. Anyway, I have been working on renovation of the VA Hospital in Atlanta, GA for a few months now, and today being Veterans Day, I felt extra good about it. I could be working on a shopping center, or a sports stadium, or a restaurant… but I’m making a hospital better for veterans. I dig it!
Hey Pat... Shut the Hell Up!
|This is one of the reasons that people vote for the democrats. What an ass!|
Pat Robertson Says...
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city,"
"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there,"
This is the way that the "Left" sees the "Right".
|It's Veterans Day again. Rather than talk about the number of casualties or to use that number for some political gain... because you are a member of NORML or the Sierra Club, or you think that the Right may overturn Roe v Wade... Just freaking get over it today, ok? Instead of using them to get at the current administration, thank them and let them know that a grateful nation appreciates their contributions in creating a future world free from fear. The point is, if you really care about "The Troops", then you will knock it off.|
YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, DO THE RIGHT THING FOR ONE DAY.
Image from Wikipedia
A little history lesson...
Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day in commemoration of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I, is the anniversary of the ending of World War I. In the United States it is celebrated as a federal holiday on 11 November. All major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month with the German signing of the Armistice. Armistice Day was first commemorated by President Wilson in 1919, and many states made it a legal holiday. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 inviting all Americans to observe the day, and made it a legal holiday nationwide in 1938. The holiday has been observed annually on November 11 since that date - first as Armistice Day, later as Veterans Day - except for a brief period when it was celebrated on the fourth Monday of October.
Following World War II, the name of the holiday was changed (enacted 1 June 1954) to Veterans Day to honor those who served in all American wars. The day has since evolved to primarily be a time of honoring living veterans who have served in the military during wartime or peacetime, partially due to competition with Memorial Day, which primarily honors the dead.
Many nations within the British Commonwealth observe a similar occasion, Remembrance Day, on 11 November. Also fromWikipedia
Image from Atlas Shrugs
Just a note: I am not %100 with the president or the republicans on all issues. I may even agree with YOU on some issues... But the war that we are fighting, and that we must continue to fight trumps any squabbling over YOU wanting the government to get involved/uninvolved in your particular issue.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
|A comment left here, from Spenn, lead me to what I was searching for!|
I must have it!
Here's a link if you want to get one: HIP GIFT IDEAS
Jarhead Part Two...
|Welcome to the Suck |
That is the catch phrase for the completely absurd movie, “Jarhead”. Well, if you went to see that movie, then you undoubtedly experienced the “Suck” for what seemed like an eternity. They might also have named it, “Cliché: The Movie” because it was basically the Gulf War edition of “Platoon” recycling tired military urban legends and patently false anecdotes. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday he asked me to review the film and about an hour later, a friend and former Marine officer invited me to go.
Read the rest of the review at Froggy Ruminations . He points out all the BS... I told you there was a lot of BS.
My short review from a couple of days ago here.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Le Pew Injured in French Riots!
A really swell guy...
He even looks like an asshole!
Sorry... I'll try to take the high road next time.
Go to Gateway Pundit: Jimmy Massey & John Kerry Have Too Much in Common to read more about this oxygen thief.
Hat tip to Michelle Malkin (Yeah... like she needs a hat tip from my little blog)
|Look, it never mattered to me. I was for going into Iraq and taking Saddam out based purely on his behavior over the 12 years between DS/DS and OIF. So much so, that I joined the National Guard after being out of the US Army for over 11 years. I figured that if I was going to support the actions of the president and support the troops, I could do a little more than put a ribbon on my car.|
A few months ago, I posted a paper written by Roderick John Young about the underlying reasons behind the Iraq War. You can read it here.
Go to Neal's Nuze to read about the WMD's that have been found in Iraq.
|This is just sad.|
The Real Problems With Urban Schools and Recruiters
November 7, 2005: The U.S. Department of Defense sees urban schools as ones of its biggest recruiting obstacles. Not because leftist teachers in some of those schools try to keep recruiters out, but because so many potential recruits have to be turned down because of the poor education they have received in those schools. While only 21 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 44 percent of the qualified recruits come from these areas. What’s strange about all this is that the rural areas spend much less, per pupil, on education, but get much better results. Part of this can be attributed to differences in cost of living, but a lot of it has to do with simply getting more done with less. Per capita, young people in rural areas are 22 percent more likely to join the army, than those of the same age in urban areas.
Read more here....
...and a hat tip to Instapundit.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Credit for this image goes to 6MB.
But I'm only 35...
|So, I stop at the grocery store on the way home to get milk, bread and stuff like that. While I am there, I remember that I am out of Glucosamine & Chondroitin. I started taking after discussing it with my dogs' vet. Yeah... he prescribed it for one of the dogs and he told me that it's the same stuff. So, I started taking it and it has helped.|
Well, when I went to pick up some and it was right next to the freaking Geritol!
Friday, November 04, 2005
|This makes sense... If you can't beat them with logic, just tell them anything.|
It’s a simple, three-pronged approach:
I'm getting out there to Stop the Vote... Afterall, everyone knows that the MacPhereson/Smith Poll had a 90% effectiveness ratio in the past twelve elections.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I don't know why I take these stupid quizes.
|I'm going to be late for the gym, so I better make this a quick post. Yesterday, Neal (High Priest of the Painful Truth) Boortz. Had some things to say about the moronic recommendations made by the President's tax reform panel.|
What about the Fair Tax? No way, folks. The FairTax simply takes too much power away from politicians. Job number one for these elected "leaders" is to protect their power base. They can't protect their power base by giving up their ability to manipulate our tax code for the benefit of certain voting demographics and specific support groups.
Click the link in the title to read more.
Damn people, get with it. If you haven't read the Fair Tax book yet, then you have been remiss.
Americans for Fair Taxation
Crap... I'm late for the gym. Sorry E., I'm on the way!
Update: E was a no-show.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
2LT Fallin in Afghanistan
|I just ate dinner with my buddy Jonathan Fallin. He's on leave right now and will be headed back to Afghanistan in a couple of days. It was good to see him. He made the local paper in Thomasville, GA.|
By Brewer Turley
THOMASVILLE — A road that once led nowhere in the heart of Taliban
country now serves as a lifeline to the people of Afghanistan, thanks
to American soldiers.
Khandahar Road was completed Sept. 1, at a cost of $55 million and at
least two American lives. Thomasville soldier Lt. Jonathan Fallin,
along with nearly 800 other U.S. troops, helped construct the 75 miles
of highway that now connect the provincial capitols of Tarin Kowt and
“If you can think of the worst county-maintained road you’ve ever
driven on and multiply that by 10, that’s what this thing was before we
started,” Fallin said.
Fallin, a member of the 864th Combat Engineer Battalion, was part of
the military task force that completed the highway some four months
ahead of schedule. He is the son of Joe and Mary Fallin of Thomasville.
The road-building effort — which followed the path of an existing,
though dilapidated route — was a challenge from the start, he said.
“When we first got here, the road was totally unmaintained. It was
basically the width of a vehicle, with huge pot holes, traveling through
mountainous terrain,” Fallin said. “It was tough to travel on. People
were getting stuck all the time. Now, people can move freely between
the two provincial capitals.”
The new highway stretches across a desolate region of the country known
as the birthplace of the Taliban, an Islamic extremist group which
operates in Afghanistan. To halt construction of the highway, Taliban
members attacked construction convoys, intimidated the villagers of the
region, and planted explosive devices and mines along the route.
Attacks on U.S. building forces were common, Fallin said. “We lost two
soldiers a month ago, so you had to deal with attacks, and the
possibility of attacks,” he said. “We pulled our own security, and a
lot of times we’d have support from other units.”
Military personnel were often great distances from the security of
their home bases while working on the road. “Sometimes it would take
an hour and a half to get out to the job site from were our bases
were,” Fallin said. “I think the biggest hindrance was logistics. When
you have a piece of equipment that breaks, shipping it from the U.S.
could sometimes take six to eight weeks.”
The climate in Afghanistan also took its toll on the soldiers. “A
couple of times, it got up to 130 degrees, and this would be at 8 a.m.
Everyone had to take a case of water with them, because you can’t drink
any of the local water supply here,” Fallin said.
“We also had to wear body armor, which adds another 30 pounds. Then
there are the uniforms,” he said. “Think about how hot it is in
Thomasville, then imagine having to go out there in pants and long
sleeves, then another 30 pounds of gear. No breeze, no shade.”
Fallin was platoon leader for the military group on the south end of
the road, building north. Another unit started at the north end and
built south, until the two groups finally met in the middle, finishing
the road four months ahead of schedule.
The completion of Khandahar Road represents a shift in the operations
of the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Fallin said. “I think that we’ve
definitely moved on from the offensive operations to a
country-rebuilding effort. This road was a major project,” he said.
So major, in fact, that the commanding general for the entire Afghan
military showed up for the road’s official opening. Government and
military officials predict the new highway will open up a whole new
world of opportunity and commerce for the people of the region.
“You can’t understand the level of poverty over here, coming from
America. We deal with the locals every day. They have no possessions.
They are isolated in these rural areas, and they have no contact with
anyone,” Fallin said.
“There aren’t phones or television. These guys are farming like
Americans did back in the early 1900s. They’ve got mules and camels,
and they grow what they can on these little pieces of land,” he said.
With the new road, Fallin says new supply lines will be available to
the native people, hopefully changing their lives for the better. “When
you get roads, you increase travel and you increase information. The
only way they used to get information is through word of mouth,” he
Fallin said interaction between the Afghanistan people and the U.S.
military has been a positive experience. “We’ll be in the same area for
a couple of weeks, and the kids are usually the first ones to come out
and see us. We give them water and candy and stuff, and then the adults
will come out,” he said.
“After a couple of days, they’ll actually come out and sit on the
Humvees and talk to us. You might not understand what they’re saying,
but they are all smiles,” Fallin said. “We’re learning from them and
they’re learning from us. That’s how we’re building relations with
Fallin graduated from Thomas County Central High School in 1997 and
received a degree from the University of Georgia in 2001. He was
general manager of the family restaurant, Fallin’s Barbecue, for three
years before answering the call to go into the military in 2004.
After participating in one of the most massive military projects ever
undertaken in that part of the world, Fallin said he’s opptimistic
about the ties being built between the U.S. and Afghanistan. “I believe
the good deeds we’re doing, along with the Afghanistan government
supporting us, we’re paving the way for democracy over here,” he said.
|Did you know WMDs have been found in Iraq?|
Go to the Atlas Shrugs: MOE, LARRY, CURLY: THERE WERE NO WMD! for more info.
Nov 01 3:43 PM US/Eastern
By LIZ SIDOTI
Associated Press Writer
Democrats forced the Republican-controlled Senate into an unusual closed session Tuesday, questioning intelligence that President Bush used in the run-up to the war in Iraq and accusing Republicans of ignoring the issue.
"They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why," Democratic leader Harry Reid said.
Taken by surprise, Republicans derided the move as a political stunt.
"The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership," said Majority Leader Bill Frist. "They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas," the Republican leader said.
Read more here.
Interesting Discussion on Parental Notification
|Check out Two Babes and a Brain. The discussion comments on yesterday's Supreme Court nominee are extensive but very interesting and well written.|
One of the commentors brought up and funny point too. The picture from the press conference yesterday has an oil painting of Clinton and it appears that his hand is on Alito's daughter.
(Most of the comments over there are much more high brow and educational and definitely worth reading though so check it out).