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Archive for the ‘humanitarian’ Category

Today you will be reading about someone you may never have heard of before, but that does not make him any less significant. This man was…WAS…an ambassador to North Korea. Why do I emphasize ‘was’? Condi made sure she tore him a new one, instead of admitting that she was WRONG about Kim Jong Il (as I could have told her before she even tried to buy off the North Koreans. When will these idiots learn that you can’t pay off a commie terrorist?).

I would like to start from the beginning, but I’m afraid my knowledge is not that extensive. I will start from when I became aware and started paying attention. This was in the 1990’s. I do know that we fought a war between the north and south over there, that we did not declare victory or defeat but instead we called a ceasefire (which means, in essense, we are still at war with them), that there is a demilitarized zone which is heavily armed by both sides, it is constantly compromised by the north, the northerners are constantly trying to escape even though the punishment is death or the gulag, and the south does not want to allow them into their country even though some of them are direct relatives.

There, are we caught up? Good. Now for the problems. Mr. Jay Lefkowitz. He was working for the State Dept. for many years, but he was made to resign. Why? Well, how dare he undermine Condi! He was speaking at the American Enterprise Institute a couple of weeks ago when he stated, ‘Noting that it has been more than two years since Pyongyang pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons program, and more than two weeks since it violated the latest deadline to disclose the full extent of that program, Mr. Lefkowitz observed that “it is increasingly clear that North Korea will remain in its present nuclear status when the Administration leaves office in one year.”‘

Wow. Pretty rough stuff, eh? Too bad the state dept doesn’t have to search for bark of a tree to eat for food on a daily basis so they don’t starve! This was the purpose of that statement: “Jay Lefkowitz, President Bush’s special envoy for human rights in North Korea, has recently pointed out that our current approach to Pyongyang is failing. Lord help a diplomat who tells the truth.”

Does anyone, besides me, remember why Bush hated Kim Jong Il so much? Yes, it was on the basis of humanitarian reasons. Of course there is the issue of nuclear weapons that have a role in this, but I would have thought he would take a hard stand on the humanitarian side. Over two million people have already starved to death, numerous have been murdered by the state, and no one says a damn thing. Thanks a heap, Bush. What happened to you? Who took your cajones?

To read the article over at the Wall Street Journal Opinion section, click here. Now if you will pardon me, I feel the need to beat up a pillow…

Posts I’ve trackbacked to at Linkfest and other sites:

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Source: US CentCom.

25 October 2007
By 1st Lt. David Herndon
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Public Affairs
.

NAGAD, Djibouti — A culmination of smiles and laughter filled the air as Airmen and Marines provided live entertainment, toys and water to the residents of Nagad village, Oct. 23 [2007].

Nagad was the site of a Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa [CJTF-HOA] civil affairs engagement, teaming Airmen of the United States Central Air Forces’ Expeditionary Band and Marines of the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion. The event marked the second time in October the two services joined together to provide humanitarian assistance to Djiboutian villages.

“I think it’s great that we can bring some of our culture to our friends here in Djibouti and share goodwill with our neighbors,” said Marine Capt. Christopher Crim, 3rd LAAD Batter B commanding officer. “Regardless of service, we are all on the same team, the American team, and we look to once again spread our goodwill to our friends who are so kind and gracious to host our efforts.”

The CENTAF Band’s mobile expeditionary performance group ‘Live Round,’ currently based out of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, performed a blend of current and classic rock ‘n’ roll musical selections to entertain the crowd of nearly 200 villagers, primarily consisting of school-aged children.

“We all speak different languages, but music seems to be something that unifies us all,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Grasso, CENTAF Band superintendent. “It is important that we reach kids at this age so we can let them know what America is all about and what we hope to accomplish in the region, which is to deter extremism.”

For the Marines, who are deployed to CJTF-HOA from Camp Pendleton, Calif., this type of engagement is an additional mission to their primary duty of providing security to Camp Lemonier.

“Tactically, civil affairs engagements are important to us because they accomplish the important goal of ensuring the local population views our presence as a benefit to them,” said Lt. Col. A.F. Potter, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion commanding officer. “Civil affairs engagements are not only about economics and security; they are also about friendship-building, mutual trust, and genuine commitment. Targeting these things will create security and foster stability.”

The band spent nearly two hours performing for villagers before 3rd LAAD Marines began passing gifts and water to village elders and children, an experience enjoyed by all.

“Everyone knows that the Americans are very open here in Djibouti,” said Idriss Akmed Khayre, Nagad Village chief. “[CJTF-HOA] military members do so much good for us and we appreciate it. I look forward to working with [CJTF-HOA] again in the future.”

According to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Paul Eschliman, Live Round’s chief vocalist, the event served as a creative way for Airmen and Marines to work together to prevent conflict and extremism by fostering positive relationships in the local area. “This type of event will pay long-term dividends that most wouldn’t believe,” said Eschliman. “Making friends now will help our relationships grow exponentially in the distant future.”

Civil Affairs engagements, similar to the Nagad concert, serve as opportunities for CJTF-HOA personnel to reduce the specter of conflict, war and extremism in the Horn of Africa. “We know that simply throwing money at a problem will not yield the desired results,” said Potter. “We must be truly genuine in our efforts to make friends and civil affairs is our ounce of prevention.”

CJTF-HOA is a unit of United States Central Command. The organization conducts operations and training to assist partner nations to combat terrorism in order to establish a secure environment and enable regional stability. More than 1,500 people from each branch of the U.S. military, civilian employees, coalition forces and partner nations make up the CJTF-HOA organization. The area of responsibility for CJTF-HOA includes the countries of Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen.

Photo – Air Force Tech Sgt. Michael Mason, a vocalist with the U.S. Central command Air Force’s expeditionary band, Live Round, sings ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for villagers in Nagad, Djibouti, Oct. 23. The band is touring Djibouti to perform a series of morale and community outreach concerts. Photo by 1st Lt. David Herndon.

Great job, guys. I’m very proud of you.

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28 Aug 07
by Staff Sgt. Paula Taylor
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
.

TAL ‘AFAR, Iraq – Soldiers of D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have a unique mission that requires several trips outside the security of Forward Operating Base Sykes.

The Soldiers, who belong to D Troop’s “Outsider” Platoon, have conducted more than 350 re-supply missions since their operations began in November, said Spc. Joseph Moore, motor transportation operator.

Most recently, the Outsiders completed their 100th mission within the past two months, delivering food and water to local villages that were devastated by vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices that killed hundreds of local citizens.

The explosions, which began the evening of Aug. 14, set in motion a chain of events that would test the fortitude of the Outsiders and keep them on the road and in harm’s way for several days. “We got word that the villages needed emergency supplies around 11 o’ clock Tuesday night,” said Pfc. Mathew Fisher, motor transport operator. “Within an hour, we were loaded up and ready to go.” The next day, the Outsiders drove 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food and met with the reconnaissance element near the villages of Al Jezeera and Khahtaniya.

“We linked up with B Troop who showed us where we needed to go and drop our supplies,” said Moore, an Albion, Penn., native. “Fisher and Sgt. [Jason] Bedore unloaded the food and water—they were walking around and delivering to people’s doorsteps because there were children and elderly people who couldn’t carry it. They were just helping everyone out as much as possible because the destruction was pretty massive. One of the [blast] holes was about the size of a bus.”

After delivering the emergency supplies to the villages, the platoon returned to Forward Operating Base Sykes, where they had just enough time to eat dinner before loading their trucks for their next supply mission that required a trip to Combat Outpost Nimur the following morning, Aug. 16.

“They went out there to deliver a forward repair system, a field feeding kit, Class I rations such as food and water, and Class III fuel supplies,” explained their Troop commander, Capt. Kenneth McGraw. “The forward repair system is a maintenance system for repairing vehicles. It has tools and a lift for hoisting engines; it’s a mobile garage. Within the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment’s area of operations, wherever there are Soldiers, it’s our job to provide them with necessary supplies, in addition to delivering emergency supplies to locals in times of crisis.”

The platoon continued their emergency deliveries on Aug. 17 where they delivered an additional 16 pallets each of water and food to the Iraqi police stations in the villages, Fisher said. “The [vehicle borne improvised explosive device sites] were pretty sad to see,” explained Spc. Randy Johnson. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. The destruction—the houses were just leveled. There were women and a whole bunch of people crying. The terrorists were cowards for attacking innocent civilians like that; they had no means of defending themselves. They destroyed innocent lives for no reason.”

Although Johnson admits these types of catastrophes are hard to witness, he appreciates the opportunity to help the people when they need it the most. “It’s good to see smiles and watch the little kids running around with the food and water. Hopefully they forgot, at least for a couple seconds, what happened,” the Lindenwold, N.J., native explained. “I enjoy my job—driving to different [combat outposts] where our troops are and supporting them. Even the humanitarian missions are rewarding, just knowing we’re helping people out.”

McGraw shares the platoon’s enthusiasm for helping people and lauds his Soldiers’ tenacity. “I’m so proud of them.” McGraw said. “They work really hard and never complain. It’s been nice to be able to watch them grow and learn every day.”

Photo – Sgt. Marshall Wright, D Troop, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, helps members of his unit and the Iraqi Army distribute water in Al Jezeera, Iraq, Aug. 15, during a humanitarian mission. The mission, which was formulated after a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated in the village on Aug. 14, was to deliver 10 pallets of water and eight pallets of food rations to the local people affected by the blast. Photo by Sgt. Paula Taylor.

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26 Aug 07
by Multi-National Division-North
Public Affairs Office
.

BAGHDAD – Operation Lightning Hammer concluded Wednesday after a 12-day, large-scale operation to disrupt al-Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the Diyala River Valley, a complex area of villages and palm groves in Iraq’s Diyala province.

The operation, which involved approximately 16,000 Iraqi and Coalition forces clearing approximately 50 villages, was a key element in Multi-National Corps-Iraq’s overall operation, Phantom Strike; and resulted in 26 al-Qaeda members killed, 37 suspected terrorists detained and the discovery of 10 weapons caches. “The strength and determination of the fighting men and women from the Iraqi and Coalition forces showed great results during Lightning Hammer,” said U.S. Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition forces in Diyala province. “We have continued to diminish their supplies and disable al-Qaeda’s abilities to disrupt the population.”

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, initiated the operation with a late-night air assault into targeted locations on Aug. 13, and conducted an additional three air-assaults during the course of the operation. Residents of most villages welcomed the security forces, providing tips and intelligence about recent activities in their towns, and were interested in joining the Iraqi Security Forces. Following clearing operations, the Iraqi Army provided medical assistance and humanitarian aid to the local citizens, many of whom said their villages were recently influenced by al-Qaeda.

More importantly, more than 80 tribal leaders and representatives, some of whom had not spoken in over a year, met Aug. 19 to discuss their grievances and swore on the Quran to unite in their fight against terrorists and become one tribe of Diyala. “As I conducted my battlefield circulation and talked with many of the citizens, they repeatedly thanked our Soldiers, but more importantly, their security forces, for liberating their towns from the terrorists – specifically al-Qaeda,” Sutherland said. “Because their villages have been cleared, the local and central governments will now be able to provide those essential services al-Qaeda destroyed, and the people feel a sense of security they have not known for some time.”

Throughout the operation, the Task Force Lightning Soldiers also discovered 22 improvised explosive devices, 11 of which were discovered based on tips from a police chief in the river valley, and reduced three house-borne IEDs and six vehicle-borne IEDs, all of which could have been used to harm a large portion of the population or security forces. Additionally, an al-Qaeda command post was discovered in the village of Shadia, and an al-Qaeda medical clinic was located in Qaryat Sunayjiyah.

The command post, which was surrounded by fighting positions, contained bed space for 20 individuals, supply requests, records of munitions, a list of families supporting the element, a list of al-Qaeda members detained by Coalition forces and other terrorist propaganda. “Although we didn’t find many of the terrorists, the operation proved to be a great success because we disrupted al-Qaeda, causing them to run,” Sutherland continued. “Their fear of facing our forces proves that the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them in Diyala.

“And though this specific operation is over, our fight is not over,” he continued. “We will continue to aggressively target al-Qaeda, and ultimately, they will be brought to justice.” The results of Lightning Hammer cleared the Diyala River Valley of al-Qaeda and allowed Iraqi and Coalition forces to maintain a permanent presence in Mukeisha, a village in the heart of the river valley area.

Photo – Spc. Samuel Melendez, Bravo Trop, 5th Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, patrols a mrash outside of Qubah, a small village in the Diyala province. The patrol was part of Operation Lightning Hammer, a maneuver to flush insurgents from the area. Photo by Sgt. Patrick Lair, 115th MPAD.

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23 Aug 07
By Army 1st Lt. Kenya Virginia Saenz
Task Force Pacemaker Public Affairs Office
.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan – Afghans and Multi-national forces are currently working hand-in-hand on a variety of expansion construction projects here.

Soldiers from the 864th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy); 1st Construction Company, 100th Republic of Korea Engineering Group; and Polish 1st Engineer Brigade, are working together to construct metal building systems (K-Spans), roads, ditches, culverts and sewage lagoons here. TF Pacemaker Headquarters Support Company Soldiers, led by Army Capt. Eric Parthemore, from West Liberty, Ohio, are not only engaged in supporting the battalion, but also manage the missions of the multi-national forces.

The Polish engineers provide both additional capacity and leadership to multiple horizontal construction projects. Polish soldiers, led by Polish Army 1st Lt. Radoslaw Teleżyński, are working to improve the roads here by ensuring that proper drainage and sewage structures are constructed before the rainy season begins. The Polish army has been deployed in places such as Lebanon, Syria, and Africa to support many humanitarian missions since the war on terror began in 2001.

“I didn’t know what to expect or what missions we would have, but working with American Soldiers has been a great experience. They have been very helpful,” said Teleżyński. I have been able to learn different training techniques from the American Soldiers and compare them to our techniques. I changed our technique to what works best to accomplish the mission successfully.”

Polish Pfc. Rafaz Soboń added, “This is my first time deployed and it has been a new and interesting experience. We learned about different cultures in class, but it is better to learn from first-hand experience.”

The 1st Construction Company from the Republic of Korea focuses on K-Span construction. According to Parthemore, the Korean engineers are especially meticulous and bring a vertical construction capability to the HSC that it does not have. The company is commanded by Korean Capt. Bo Geol Choi from Seoul, Korea. Once completed, the K-Spans will enhance maintenance operations and provide more space for supply support activity here. Even though K-Spans are not common in Korea, the soldiers were previously trained by civil engineers in their country, said to Choi.

“We are very proud to be part of this mission. Our main goal is to bring the proper engineering assets for future Coalition forces,” says Choi. “There have been a few challenges over the language gap as well as different working systems, but over all, the construction progress and the relationship with American Forces are going well.” Korean soldiers, Sgt. Chi-Keun Lee and Cpl. Min-Gi Kim agreed, “It is fun learning about different cultures, even though sometimes we have to use hand signals to communicate with each other.”

“The addition of Polish and Korean engineers along with Afghan contractors, gives our task force a tremendous capability that we do not normally have,” said Parthemore. Simply working on a single jobsite with engineers of four nationalities working together toward a common goal is very satisfactory. Also, our common understanding and respect for safe operations keeps us accident free despite the communication difficulties,”

Photo – Polish Pvt. Piotr Oparski, Polish Engineer Platoon, works on the final touches of a culvert in Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan, as a scoop loader hauls the rest of the dirt. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Kenya Virginia Saenz.

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I always appreciate the articles written about the children, especially at the orphanages. Why? It helps me to know they are not forgotten (just as our brave men and women are not forgotten). This trip involves a Chaplain who had just a wonderful time while he was there. He was amazed and heartened by what he saw. I wish we could all see–or at least read about–the things that he saw.

Sources: CentCom and it has been reposted at DoD Daily-2.

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This is one of those stories that touched my heart so warmly. Many people look at our Soldiers and see only brutes or men ready to kill you if you look at them wrongly. This is the furthest from the truth. They do not understand the ROE (Rules of Engagement). Many people have no idea about life in the military, this is the story for you.

Let me see if I find just one paragraph to entice you. This seems like the right one:

“It seems like time stopped here 2,000 years ago,” said Polish Pfc. Chris Demko, a gunner on one of the giant Rosomak armored personnel carriers. “We see these kids running around with nothing, not even shoes, and we want to change that.” [The Real Kite Runners flying the Afghan Skies.]

Bravo for the Polish Soldiers! It just goes to show that loving children and humanity does not stop at our waters edge. 🙂

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