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Marines battle IED’s in Aftganistan…..

They are menace to the troops…

And can inflict a lot of injuries…..

And a psychological toll on troops….

The Army and Marines have spent a lot of time trying to deal with them in Afghanistan….

Here’s a piece on the Marines EOD efforts…..

A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant jumped from a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle last summer to inspect a suspicious clump in the dirt along the side of the highway linking his operating base and the combat outpost the convoy was headed to. He inched his way to the patch of ground with a metal detector. The marine had good reason for caution. Helmand Province is infested with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), found along roadways and footpaths that Marines and Afghan security forces use during dismounted patrols.

To understand how prevalent IEDs have become, one only needed to look at a watch. The 10-mi. drive between posts was taking more than 2 hr.

The sergeant’s countermeasure might not be as useful as expected—camp scuttlebutt after the death of a marine by an IED days earlier claimed the explosive was packed in a rubber cylinder so it could not be detected by metal detectors.

IEDs in Afghanistan have doubled in the last year, USMC Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, told Congress on March 17. According to a Defense Department tally, more than 8,000 IED incidents were reported in Afghanistan in 2009, compared with almost 4,000 in 2008.

Insurgents, moreover, are turning to “low- or non-metallic-content, fertilizer-based explosives, which frustrate detection,” Oates said (DTI April, p. 34).

The effects are potent. According to the Brookings Institution, IEDs were responsible for almost half of the 312 U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan in 2009. The average has stayed steady this year, with IEDs claiming 39 of the 79 U.S. troops killed as of late March.

“One of the striking things about Afghanistan is the IED threat is particularly brutal,” says Brookings military analyst Michael O’Hanlon. The labyrinth of dirt roads in southern Afghanistan makes planting bombs easy. The agrarian nature of much of Afghan society means ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which cranks up the potency of IEDs, is readily available despite a ban by the Afghan government.

Recent operations in southern Afghanistan have pushed troops into new territory, and insurgents fight back with IEDs, says Dakota Wood, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments of Washington. The use of plastics or fiberglass components “shows an advance in devices that are less detectable,” he adds, and indicates insurgents are learning and adapting……..

More……..

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May 5, 2010 Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Updates, Women | , , | 2 Comments

Marines battle IED's in Aftganistan…..

They are menace to the troops…

And can inflict a lot of injuries…..

And a psychological toll on troops….

The Army and Marines have spent a lot of time trying to deal with them in Afghanistan….

Here’s a piece on the Marines EOD efforts…..

A U.S. Marine Corps sergeant jumped from a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle last summer to inspect a suspicious clump in the dirt along the side of the highway linking his operating base and the combat outpost the convoy was headed to. He inched his way to the patch of ground with a metal detector. The marine had good reason for caution. Helmand Province is infested with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), found along roadways and footpaths that Marines and Afghan security forces use during dismounted patrols.

To understand how prevalent IEDs have become, one only needed to look at a watch. The 10-mi. drive between posts was taking more than 2 hr.

The sergeant’s countermeasure might not be as useful as expected—camp scuttlebutt after the death of a marine by an IED days earlier claimed the explosive was packed in a rubber cylinder so it could not be detected by metal detectors.

IEDs in Afghanistan have doubled in the last year, USMC Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, told Congress on March 17. According to a Defense Department tally, more than 8,000 IED incidents were reported in Afghanistan in 2009, compared with almost 4,000 in 2008.

Insurgents, moreover, are turning to “low- or non-metallic-content, fertilizer-based explosives, which frustrate detection,” Oates said (DTI April, p. 34).

The effects are potent. According to the Brookings Institution, IEDs were responsible for almost half of the 312 U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan in 2009. The average has stayed steady this year, with IEDs claiming 39 of the 79 U.S. troops killed as of late March.

“One of the striking things about Afghanistan is the IED threat is particularly brutal,” says Brookings military analyst Michael O’Hanlon. The labyrinth of dirt roads in southern Afghanistan makes planting bombs easy. The agrarian nature of much of Afghan society means ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which cranks up the potency of IEDs, is readily available despite a ban by the Afghan government.

Recent operations in southern Afghanistan have pushed troops into new territory, and insurgents fight back with IEDs, says Dakota Wood, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments of Washington. The use of plastics or fiberglass components “shows an advance in devices that are less detectable,” he adds, and indicates insurgents are learning and adapting……..

More……..

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Updates, Women | , , | 2 Comments

The Marines in Afghanistan are doing it 'Their' way…..

A Marine operation began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja in central Helmand. Some U.S. officials question whether the operation is the best use of Marine resources.

[ A Marine operation began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja in central Helmand. Some U.S. officials question whether the operation is the best use of Marine resources. ]

Everyone from the White House down was happy to get the Marines in on the surge in Afghanistan….

Because they are self-contained they were able to deploy to Afghanistan in a hurry and have been the spearhead of the operation to take back the Taliban infested Marja region…..

Everyone is happy right?

Nope…..

Not the Army bosses that have the responsibility of running the war in that country…..

In fact…they have run into a roadblock…..

The Marines…...

Because the Marines have done their own thing..taking everything with them….and operating with mostly their own…..they have put General McChystal in a bit of a jam…..

He wants to move the Marines around in separate units wherever he needs them and that has not happened….The Marines..(who thru some technical means don’t report up the chain to McChyrstal the theatre commander.. )

So a lot of people are scratching their heads…and  the Marines just keep doing their thing….

Now this story is in the Washington Post…

……so lets see if someone doesn’t get the horn and issues some new orders?

Or do they get the go ahead to continue to do their thing?

Here’s the piece…….

U.S. Marine commanders have a different view of the dusty, desolate landscape that surrounds Delaram. They see controlling this corner of remote Nimruz province as essential to promoting economic development and defending the more populated parts of southern Afghanistan.

The Marines are constructing a vast base on the outskirts of town that will have two airstrips, an advanced combat hospital, a post office, a large convenience store and rows of housing trailers stretching as far as the eye can see. By this summer, more than 3,000 Marines — one-tenth of the additional troops authorized by President Obama in December — will be based here.

With Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin reducing U.S. forces looming over the horizon, the Marines have opted to wage the war in their own way.

“If we’re going to succeed here, we have to experiment and take risks,” said Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan. “Just doing what everyone else is doing isn’t going to cut it.”

The Marines are pushing into previously ignored Taliban enclaves. They have set up a first-of-its-kind school to train police officers. They have brought in a Muslim chaplain to pray with local mullahs and deployed teams of female Marines to reach out to Afghan women.

The Marine approach — creative, aggressive and, at times, unorthodox — has won many admirers within the military. The Marine emphasis on patrolling by foot and interacting with the population, which has helped to turn former insurgent strongholds along the Helmand River valley into reasonably stable communities with thriving bazaars and functioning schools, is hailed as a model of how U.S. forces should implement counterinsurgency strategy.

But the Marines’ methods, and their insistence that they be given a degree of autonomy not afforded to U.S. Army units, also have riled many up the chain of command in Kabul and Washington, prompting some to refer to their area of operations in the south as “Marineistan.” They regard the expansion in Delaram and beyond as contrary to the population-centric approach embraced by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, and they are seeking to impose more control over the Marines.

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry, recently noted that the international security force in Afghanistan feels as if it comprises 42 nations instead of 41 because the Marines act so independently from other U.S. forces.

“We have better operational coherence with virtually all of our NATO allies than we have with the U.S. Marine Corps,” said a senior Obama administration official involved in Afghanistan policy.

Some senior officials at the White House, at the Pentagon and in McChrystal’s headquarters would rather have many of the 20,000 Marines who will be in Afghanistan by summer deploy around Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city, to assist in a U.S. campaign to wrest the area from Taliban control instead of concentrating in neighboring Helmand province and points west. According to an analysis conducted by the National Security Council, fewer than 1 percent of the country’s population lives in the Marine area of operations.

They question whether a large operation that began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja, a poor farming community in central Helmand, is the best use of Marine resources. Although it has unfolded with fewer than expected casualties and helped to generate a perception of momentum in the U.S.-led military campaign, the mission probably will tie up two Marine battalions and hundreds of Afghan security forces until the summer.

More…….

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Marines in Afghanistan are doing it ‘Their’ way…..

A Marine operation began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja in central Helmand. Some U.S. officials question whether the operation is the best use of Marine resources.

[ A Marine operation began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja in central Helmand. Some U.S. officials question whether the operation is the best use of Marine resources. ]

Everyone from the White House down was happy to get the Marines in on the surge in Afghanistan….

Because they are self-contained they were able to deploy to Afghanistan in a hurry and have been the spearhead of the operation to take back the Taliban infested Marja region…..

Everyone is happy right?

Nope…..

Not the Army bosses that have the responsibility of running the war in that country…..

In fact…they have run into a roadblock…..

The Marines…...

Because the Marines have done their own thing..taking everything with them….and operating with mostly their own…..they have put General McChystal in a bit of a jam…..

He wants to move the Marines around in separate units wherever he needs them and that has not happened….The Marines..(who thru some technical means don’t report up the chain to McChyrstal the theatre commander.. )

So a lot of people are scratching their heads…and  the Marines just keep doing their thing….

Now this story is in the Washington Post…

……so lets see if someone doesn’t get the horn and issues some new orders?

Or do they get the go ahead to continue to do their thing?

Here’s the piece…….

U.S. Marine commanders have a different view of the dusty, desolate landscape that surrounds Delaram. They see controlling this corner of remote Nimruz province as essential to promoting economic development and defending the more populated parts of southern Afghanistan.

The Marines are constructing a vast base on the outskirts of town that will have two airstrips, an advanced combat hospital, a post office, a large convenience store and rows of housing trailers stretching as far as the eye can see. By this summer, more than 3,000 Marines — one-tenth of the additional troops authorized by President Obama in December — will be based here.

With Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin reducing U.S. forces looming over the horizon, the Marines have opted to wage the war in their own way.

“If we’re going to succeed here, we have to experiment and take risks,” said Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan. “Just doing what everyone else is doing isn’t going to cut it.”

The Marines are pushing into previously ignored Taliban enclaves. They have set up a first-of-its-kind school to train police officers. They have brought in a Muslim chaplain to pray with local mullahs and deployed teams of female Marines to reach out to Afghan women.

The Marine approach — creative, aggressive and, at times, unorthodox — has won many admirers within the military. The Marine emphasis on patrolling by foot and interacting with the population, which has helped to turn former insurgent strongholds along the Helmand River valley into reasonably stable communities with thriving bazaars and functioning schools, is hailed as a model of how U.S. forces should implement counterinsurgency strategy.

But the Marines’ methods, and their insistence that they be given a degree of autonomy not afforded to U.S. Army units, also have riled many up the chain of command in Kabul and Washington, prompting some to refer to their area of operations in the south as “Marineistan.” They regard the expansion in Delaram and beyond as contrary to the population-centric approach embraced by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, and they are seeking to impose more control over the Marines.

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry, recently noted that the international security force in Afghanistan feels as if it comprises 42 nations instead of 41 because the Marines act so independently from other U.S. forces.

“We have better operational coherence with virtually all of our NATO allies than we have with the U.S. Marine Corps,” said a senior Obama administration official involved in Afghanistan policy.

Some senior officials at the White House, at the Pentagon and in McChrystal’s headquarters would rather have many of the 20,000 Marines who will be in Afghanistan by summer deploy around Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city, to assist in a U.S. campaign to wrest the area from Taliban control instead of concentrating in neighboring Helmand province and points west. According to an analysis conducted by the National Security Council, fewer than 1 percent of the country’s population lives in the Marine area of operations.

They question whether a large operation that began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja, a poor farming community in central Helmand, is the best use of Marine resources. Although it has unfolded with fewer than expected casualties and helped to generate a perception of momentum in the U.S.-led military campaign, the mission probably will tie up two Marine battalions and hundreds of Afghan security forces until the summer.

More…….

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The fighting continues in Marja, Afghanistan…..

U.S. Marines brief British Army as they clear Improvised Explosive Devices from a main route in Trikh Nawar on the North Eastern outskirts of Marjah.

The Marines, Afghans and NATO forces continue there push into the heart of the Taliban held territory…..

Again…the major part of this will be holding the territory after the fighting has ceased……

Here’s part of the story……Here’s the link…..…..

Afghanistan — Marines and Afghan units converged Sunday on a dangerous western quarter of the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, with NATO forces facing “determined resistance” as their assault on the southern town entered its second week.

The Marjah operation is a major test of a new NATO strategy that stresses protecting civilians over routing insurgents as quickly as possible. It’s also the first major ground operation since President Barack Obama ordered 30,000 reinforcements to Afghanistan.

In a setback to that strategy, the Dutch prime minister said Sunday that his country’s 1,600 troops would probably leave Afghanistan this year. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende spoke a day after his government collapsed when a coalition partner insisted the Dutch troops leave in August as planned.

Fighter jets, drones and attack helicopters flew over Marjah, as Marine and Afghan companies moved on a 2-square-mile (5.2-sq. kilometer) area of the town where more than 40 insurgents have apparently holed up.

“They are squeezed,” said Lt. Col. Brian Christmas, commander of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. “It looks like they want to stay and fight but they can always drop their weapons and slip away. That’s the nature of this war.”

Insurgents are putting up a “determined resistance” in various parts of Marjah, though the overall offensive is “on track,” NATO said Sunday, eight days after thousands of Afghan and international forces launched their largest joint operation since the Taliban regime’s ouster in 2001.

February 21, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, Politics, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes you get lucky…..this Marine stepped on a IED and lives to move on…..

SHOSHARAK, Afghanistan — If luck is the battlefield’s final arbiter — the wild card that can trump fitness, training, teamwork, equipment, character and skill — then Lance Cpl. Ryan T. Mathison experienced its purest and most welcome form.

On a Marine foot patrol here through the predawn chill of Friday morning, he stepped on a pressure-plate rigged to roughly 25 pounds of explosives. The device, enough to destroy a pickup truck or tear apart several men, was buried beneath him in the dusty soil.

It did not explode.

Lance Corporal Mathison’s weight triggered the detonation of one of the booby trap’s two blasting caps. But upon giving an audible pop and tossing small stones into the air, the device failed to ignite its fuller charge — a powerful mix of Eastern Bloc mortar rounds and homemade explosives spiked with motorcycle parts, rusty spark plugs and jagged chunks of steel.

Lance Corporal Mathison and several Marines near him were spared. So began a brief journey through the Taliban’s shifting tactics and the vagaries of war, where an experience at the edge of death became instead an affirmation of friendship, and in which a veteran Marine reluctantly assumed for a morning one of the infantry’s most coveted roles: that of the charmed man.

Here’s the link. for the rest of the story……..

War IS Hell…….Especially in a landscape from right out of the Moon…thousands of miles from home……

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Government, Health, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , , | 8 Comments

The figure will be 34,000 new troops for Afghanistan…..details are leaking out….

The total amount of troops ‘in country’ will reach 100,000……President Obama will have authorized more than half of the men and women sent there…this is his war now….

As I have said before here…..General Stanley McChrystal has got just about everything he asked for……and a good part of the Presidents political future is now in his hands….

The deployments start in January…although there are reports that Marine units are already on the move to the country…..

Secretary of State Clinton will go to Brussels on Thursday to press NATO for more troops for the war campaign in the country…..

The speech is tomorrow night at 8:00 PM coming from Army Military Academy at West Point, New York……

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Government, Media, Military, Politics, Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment