Journal: Selected MILNET Headlines

05 Civil War, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, Government, Military

On Point in AF--Full Story

Roadside Bomb Hunting: Learned Skill or Intuition?

With IED casualties since 2001 mounting (2,451 dead, 23,650 wounded, in Iraq and Afghanistan as of Dec. 5), the military is mounting a determined effort to find out whether spotting IEDs is an intuitive, innate skill, like the ability to quickly pick up a new language, or whether it is learned through experience. Because if it's learned through experience, the military can teach other people to be good at it. And save lives.
The same questions arose 40 years ago when the Army and Marines began to wonder if they could clone the guys who were really, really good at walking point and guiding the troops around mines and booby-traps. Two major studies were completed, but the military lost interest as the war wound down and its attention turned back to the Cold War.

Official: Taliban Confident Of Afghan Victory

“They have chosen the IED as the way they are going to fight us,” the intelligence official said, adding the Taliban still engage troops in firefights and use suicide bombers.

“But the IED has had a strategic effect, and it's the weapon of choice. … And I say it's akin to the surface-to-air missile system for the mujahedeen back in the Soviet era.”

AWOL From The Battlefield In war, death of trust invited defeat

With President Obama's announcement the Afghan surge is for 18 months, any possibility trust between U.S. forces and the Afghan people will factor into the stability equation is minimized. Locals will be reluctant to trust U.S. forces just “passing through” the area; reports on militant activity will trickle, not flow, in.

Also missing will be the Afghan people's trust for their own military and police. . . .Trust by NATO troops for Afghan security forces suffers, too, as militants successfully infiltrate such security forces.  . . .  Additionally, many Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan distrust U.S. motives in Afghanistan. . . .

Spirit Of America In Afghanistan

In 2003, Sgt. First Class Jay Smith and his Army Special Forces team were based in Orgun-e, Afghanistan and were taking regular rocket fire from al Qaeda fighters. But Sgt. Smith and his men were armed with an effective counterweapon—gifts of school supplies and sports gear for children, and clothing, shoes and blankets for nearby families, all provided by American donors.

After receiving these items, the grateful villagers reciprocated by forming a night-watch patrol to protect our soldiers. Good relations with locals helped save American lives. I've witnessed this success on the front lines, aided by support from home, repeated many times since Sgt. Smith.


U.S.-Led World Community Fails: Palestinians on the Brink of Explosion

Israel is diverting attention away from the Palestinian imminent explosion and away from both its political siege of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and its military siege of the rival Palestinian leadership in Gaza by highlighting as a priority an Iranian nuclear threat, which has yet to be vindicated, notes Nicola Nasser.

“In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope,” Palestinian Christian leaders, representing churches and church-related organizations, meeting in Bethlehem on December 11, concluded in their 13-page document titled “Kairos Palestine – 2009: A Moment of Truth,” enlisting Christians worldwide in proactive efforts to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Their “cry” symbolizes the popular mood of their people as well as the political status quo.

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