Daily Media Report

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Time magazine Oct. 22, 2007

Doubts about a new armored vehicle
By Mark Thompson Late each weekday afternoon, the Pentagon issues a list of all the contracts it has awarded that day. Last Thursday, well down on the roster, was a trio of contracts to three companies for more than $1 billion to buy 2,400 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles for U.S. troops in Iraq. There is no doubt such heavy-duty vehicles are needed. Improvised-explosive devices account for more than half the U.S. fatalities in Iraq; and the characteristic V-shaped hulls of these vehicles are engineered to deflect blasts from roadside bombs away from the troops within. So the push is on to get the MRAPs to Iraq as quickly as possible. The 2,400 the Marines bought Thursday will be delivered by April — at the speed of light, in Pentagon contracting terms.

The U.S. military is currently paying about $130,000 apiece in shipping costs to get the MRAPs (stickered at $800,000 each) to Iraq via commercial and military cargo planes. There are already nearly 500 MRAPs in Iraq, with a goal of 1,500 by year's end. Currently, about 10 a day are being shipped. "We continue to get as many to theater as rapidly as we can so that optimally every Marine, some day, will be riding... in an MRAPtype of vehicle," Marine General James Conway said last Monday. "To date, we have lost no Marines or sailors in the al Anbar province to underbody explosions when they were riding in the MRAP." But the push to encase as many U.S. troops as possible in MRAPs is raising some vexing questions. Because there are so many suppliers and different designs, the Pentagon is buying 16 different kinds of MRAPs, each with its own requirements for maintenance, training and spare parts. The MRAPs, up to five times as heavy as the Humvees they are replacing, gulp a lot more fuel — fuel that gets to them inside thinskinned tanker trucks that must travel Iraq's IED-laden roads. Beyond that, the notion of sealing troops in metal cocoons is contrary to the Pentagon's notion of counter-insurgency warfare, which requires soldiers and Marines to mingle with the local population they are trying to win over. Winning hearts and minds in Iraq demands "close contact with the local population to provide them with security and to develop a working knowledge of the local environment that, together, produces the intelligence necessary to defeat an insurgent enemy force," a respected military think tank said in report released October 17. "The MRAP — at least in this situation — may send the wrong message to troops in the field," says the study from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But it's not only retired ground-pounder officers like Andrew Krepinevich and Dakota Woods — who wrote the CSBA study — who are concerned. Conway, the Marine commandant, also said last week that while there is no questioning the imperative for MRAPs in Iraq, he wonders if their purchase will change the Marines' traditional agile and expeditionary nature. He basically shrugged his shoulders over the question of how useful the 8,800 MRAPs now on order will be after Iraq. "Can I give a satisfactory answer to what we're going to be doing with those things in five or 10 years? Probably not," the Marines' top officer said. "Wrap them in shrink wrap and put them in asphalt somewhere is about the best thing that we can describe at this point. And as expensive as they are, that is probably not a good use of the taxpayers' money." Even in Iraq, there's a question of how well the new vehicles will protect against the growing threat posed by explosively formed penetrators, a new and insidious type of roadside bomb that Iraqi insurgents — allegedly with help from some forces inside neighboring Iran — are using more frequently against U.S. vehicles. An EFP uses an explosive charge to send a molten slug of copper through even the thickest armor. "If the use of EFPs becomes widespread," the CSBA report warns, "any advantage the MRAPs have against earlier forms of IEDs may be irrelevant."

Associated Press Oct. 22, 2007

Tribunal to investigate 2 spec ops officers
By Mike Baker RALEIGH, N.C. — A Marine Corps legal tribunal will investigate the roles that two officers had in the killing of 19 Afghani civilians slain earlier this year after their special operations unit came under attack, officials said Monday. Maj. Fred Galvin, who was a company commander with the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, and Capt. Vincent Noble, the platoon commander, will be the focus of the court of inquiry, said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps at the U.S. Central Command. The inquiry is scheduled to begin Nov. 1 at Camp Lejeune. Gibson said other parties could be added to the inquiry but that there were no current plans to do so. In May, Army officials said that 19 people died and 50 were injured March 4 along a crowded roadway in Nangahar province. The Marines had opened fire after a minivan laden with explosives rammed a convoy, according to Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission. Witnesses told the commission the Marines fired indiscriminately at civilian cars and pedestrians, and the Afghani panel found no sign that the patrol was under fire. No Marines have been charged in the shooting. Officials ordered eight Marines back to Camp Lejeune after the shootings. The rest of the unit was ordered to leave Afghanistan and returned to the ships of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Persian Gulf. Mark Waple, a Fayetteville-based lawyer for Galvin, said his client didn’t fire any shots and never directed anyone to fire shots. “Unless we missed something in our interviews, there certainly does not appear to be any violations of the rules of engagement or the laws of armed conflict,” Waple said. He said attorneys interviewed every Marine who was on the patrol. A civilian lawyer for Noble did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Gibson said the inquiry also could focus on aspects of the shootings such as the conduct of the entire convoy, the unit’s discipline in controlling its fire, the reporting and documentation of the incident and the “command climate” maintained by the officers. Army Col. John Nicholson, a brigade commander in the 10th Mountain Division, said in May that he was “deeply, deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people.”

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., later wrote a scathing letter to Army Secretary Pete Green, saying the Army had “discarded the presumption of innocence.” Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the top Marine officer at Central Command, will review the findings of the inquiry before deciding whether any criminal charged are warranted. Typically, a general or other commanding officer would simply review an investigative report and make a decision on whether charges are necessary. But the court of inquiry allows a panel of senior officers to review evidence and take testimony to help determine whether charges should be filed. The Marines last used such an administrative fact-finding process in 1956 to investigate a Parris Island drill sergeant who marched a group of recruits into a South Carolina creek, where six died.

Marine Corps Times Oct. 22, 2007

Pendleton warns some to be prepared to leave
By Gidget Fuentes OCEANSIDE, Calif. — As wildfires raged in an adjacent town, Camp Pendleton officials on Monday afternoon warned some base residents to prepare for an emergency evacuation. No mandatory evacuation was ordered as of 5:15 p.m. California time, but base officials wanted residents of several neighborhoods in the east part of the base — De Luz, Serra Mesa, San Luis Rey and O’Neill housing areas — to prepare their families just in case. “The Provost Marshal and military police will announce an evacuation plan, routes and billeting via a loud speaker when evacuation is imminent,” Camp Pendleton officials said in a statement. A brown, smoky haze hung over Camp Pendleton late afternoon as firefighters battled a growing blaze in Fallbrook, a town just east of Camp Pendleton and Fallbrook Naval Weapons Station. The Rice fire flared up near Rainbow and jumped across Interstate 15 by midday as strong, dry westerly Santa Ana winds pushed the fires to the west. The fire was one of a half-dozen burning in San Diego County. “Erring on the side of caution, Camp Pendleton officials are recommending military members and their families begin to pack personal belongings and plenty of water,” base officials said. “Military members are encouraged to pack their personal belongings and stay tuned for additional information of available billeting. Military members who have already packed

and have developed a safe route to local relatives and friends, on and off base, are authorized to do so at this time.” “Safety is paramount: I urge all residents to take prudent precautions ahead of time. Do not wait to begin to prepare,” said Col. James B. Seaton III, base commander. An expansive wildfire in San Diego threatened communities near Miramar Marine Corps Air Station and prompted officials to evacuate aircraft. Marine Corps air crews began flying helicopters, fighter jets and aircraft to other military bases in California and Arizona, said 1st Lt. Jill Leyden, an air station spokeswoman. “This is a precautionary measure to prevent damage to aircraft and associated equipment,” Leyden said in a statement. Camp Pendleton established an information hotline: 1-866-430-2764. Base officials said displaced military families, as well as retirees and Defense Department civilian workers, can turn to base services at the base for temporary lodging, information and other assistance: * Billeting: 760-430-4702. * Main Gate Commissary: 760-430-1701. * Naval Hospital: 760-25-4357. * San Luis Rey Day Care Centers: 760-725-5608. * Base Chaplain Services: 760725-4700. * Abbey Reinke Community Center: 760-763-0649. At Camp Pendleton, officials banned the use of any munitions that can produce a spark. Base officials are encouraging military members and their families to call the base’s information hotline at (866) 430)-2764, watch the base’s TV station – KPEN-TV Channel 18 or visit the base Web site. “Safety and accountability of our Marines, sailors and their families are paramount,” Col. James B. Seaton III, base commander, said in a statement. Military family evacuation and emergency service information for Navy Region Southwest is available at 619-556-9399. Evacuated sailors and other service members and their families should report to the Admiral Prout field house at San Diego Naval Base for assignment for evacuation housing, region officials said. Also, the Naval Air Station in El Centro, Calif., is prepared to receive 442 DoD personnel (military and civilian) for evacuation. Those personnel should report to the air station billeting office or call 760-339-2954.

Providence (R.I.) Journal Oct. 23, 2007

Just doing his job with valor
By Tom Mooney Years from now, when the images of the State House ceremony fade from Joshua T. Chiarini’s memory — the Navy band playing in the gallery, his father’s lips quivering, the weight of the medal tapping at his heart — the combat medic from Coventry may remember best his moment of valor with the words of a bleeding Marine. “It was the greatest thing anybody ever said to me,” Chiarini recalled for the hundreds of people gathered in his honor yesterday inside the House chamber. “He said, ‘Doc, when I saw you coming through the smoke, I knew things were ” going to be OK.’ On a day when the exploits of a baseball team were being celebrated in heroic terms, a Marine Corps brigadier general, his own chest clinking with medals, pinned the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award given for bravery, onto the uniform of Joshua Chiarini. In so doing, Chiarini, who enlisted in the Navy in 2000 three months after graduating from Coventry High School, joined the ranks of Douglas MacArthur, Chuck Yeager, George Patton, Oliver North and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, all of whom earned the same distinction for extraordinary heroism. “I was just doing my job is all,” Chiarini said prior to the ceremony, in between accepting congratulations from U.S. senators and a governor. “It was a pretty exciting day.” Feb. 10, 2006, found Chiarini in a Marine convoy of four Humvees outside the village of Hit in Al Anbar Province, one of the most violent regions in Iraq. It was Chiarini’s third tour of duty with the 1st Platoon, 2nd Marine Division. He had seen plenty of firefights, treated more than 100 injured Marines, and been spared any of them dying in his hands. That could not be said, however, of some of the civilians he had treated who had been caught in the middle of gun battles. Chiarini’s convoy was one of more than a dozen out that day hunting down insurgents and protecting supply roads through the region. For most of the Marines with him, it was their first tour. Around 11 a.m. the front Humvee struck a roadside bomb. The damaged truck managed to pull up about 100 yards out of the “kill zone” and four Marines and an interpreter got out to inspect the damage.

That’s when the insurgents, watching from about 550 yards away from a cluster of buildings, detonated a second and much larger explosion near where the Marines stood. Chiarini, the squad’s only medic, watched from the third Humvee in the convoy. “After the initial blast went off, I was trying to get my vehicle to go up there,” he said, but the driver hesitated. “After the second blast went off, I just jumped off. I said, ‘Screw it’, I’m going.” With his medical bag and M-16, Chiarini ran the 100 yards ahead to the injured men while the insurgents fired down at him. One Marine, his arm dangling, screamed: “Is my arm still there?” Chiarini told him “there was still some of it there.” The Marine was in shock but was able to walk. Chiarini pointed him back to the second Humvee. Another Marine had been blinded and was shooting wildly in every direction. “I got him turned around and shooting in the right direction.” Then Chiarini turned his attention to getting three other men back to the safety of the second Humvee. Chiarini made three separate trips, each time under enemy fire, to pull the men back to safety. Along the way he picked up one of the Marine’s M-16s (he had left his at the burning Humvee) and began returning fire. After about 10 or 15 minutes, Chiarini said, reinforcements arrived. “They took care of my Marines and got them out.” Chiarini stayed and kept firing and kept fighting until the firefight ended a few minutes later. “It was a pretty crazy day,” he said. In presenting the Silver Star to Chiarini, Marine Brig. Gen. David H. Berger said Chiarini displayed a type of courage virtually impossible for people on the sidelines of war to understand. “He reacted the way he did for one simple reason: to take care of the Marine at his right and the Marine to his left. Simple as that. … He would not let his fellow warriors down. He used himself to protect his comrades. We can not ask anything more.” Chiarini’s commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Andrew Smith, thanked Chiarini’s attending four grandparents, three sisters — one of whom served in Iraq with Army — and his parents, Linda and Thomas Chiarini, for raising and loving such a noble man. And thanks to others like him, he said, who “look down the muzzle of the enemy because their nation asks them to.”

The Silver Star is the third-highest award given for valor in action against an enemy of the United States and may be awarded to any person who, while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism.

Marine Corps Times Oct. 22, 2007

Ceremony to mark Beirut bombing anniversary
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Hundreds of people will converge on the Beirut Memorial here Tuesday to remember Marines, sailors and soldiers killed 24 years ago in what was then the most serious terrorist act against the U.S. The annual ceremony honors the 241 service members killed Oct. 23, 1983, when a truck bomb rammed into the Marine barracks in Beirut, as well as those who participated in the 1958 Beirut landing and similar missions in 1905, 1976 and 2006. Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson, commander of Marine Corps Installations-East, will deliver this year’s address. The Marine Corps League will also hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the Beirut Marker at Camp Geiger.

Jacksonville (N.C.) Daily News Oct. 23, 2007

Those affected by Beirut blast still bear scars
By Jennifer Hlad Twenty-four years ago today, a bomb exploded in Beirut, Lebanon, destroying the lives of hundreds of service members and their families. The dust has long settled from the attack, but for many in eastern North Carolina, the wounds will never fully heal. Gail Black lost her husband that day. Debbie Ryan's husband came home with injuries that would later claim his life. John Snyder lost shipmates and fellow Marines. For each, the suicide attack on the Marine barracks is more than a tragic historic event. It is part of who they are. Black married David Dale Gay on Dec. 30, 1981. Both were Marines, and Black - then known as Gail Gay - was stationed at New River Air Station. The morning of Oct. 23, 1983, Black was at home when someone from work called and told her to turn on the television. She saw the bombing and decided she should to go to work - a secure

communications center on base. She said she knew something was up when four of the men she worked with went to the bathroom at the same time. They wouldn't let her look at any messages, she said, and they gave her busy work to keep her away from the news. "I just knew that (even) if everybody else got killed, he would still be alive," she said. "It wasn't denial, it was just faith." Three days after the bombing, a captain came to the communications center and told her Gay was missing in action. A few days later, she learned that he had died in the blast. It was Black's church and friends that helped her get through. The bombing destroyed "all my hopes and dreams," she said. "You don't know what it's like to be a widow at 21. ... We weren't at war, we weren't expecting them to come back hurt." It had already been a difficult year for Black. Before Gay left for his deployment, she lost the baby she was carrying. "I don't know, except for God, how I got through that year," she said. Though Black remarried and has a son, she said she still starts getting upset around this time of year, or when she hears certain songs on the radio. "I always tell people that my first husband was my knight in shining armor, and my second husband is my teddy bear, my protector," she said. Debbie Ryan's first husband, John Hendrickson, was in a tent about 75 meters from the barracks when the Hezbollah terrorist drove a bomb-laden truck into the building. "He said he remembered sitting by the side of the bed, putting his boots on, and the next thing he knew, he was pushing rubble off," Ryan said. Ryan and Hendrickson's two sons were living at Tarawa Terrace II at the time, and when they saw the blast on television, one of his sons began screaming, "Daddy's dead, daddy's dead," Ryan said. Because Hendrickson was helping with body identification, he was listed as missing for three days. But Ryan said her intuition told her he was OK. Hendrickson returned from Beirut, but within a year, he was in a wheelchair, Ryan said. He suffered a concussion in the bombing and developed multiple sclerosis. Hendrickson was still an active-duty Marine when he died in 1990 at the age of 37. Ryan is now fighting to get the Purple Heart she knows her husband earned. Hendrickson's name is on the Beirut Memorial wall, and Ryan, her husband and her

youngest son will be there today to honor the memory of him and the others who served. "If no one goes (to the ceremony), then these boys have fought for nothing. They need to be remembered always," she said. John Snyder cannot forget the morning of Oct. 23, 1983. As part of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, he had been living on a small base on the edge of the Beirut International Airport, about 500 yards from the Marine barracks. Sniper fire and mortar attacks had picked up prior to the bombing, Snyder said, so the area they called "Rockbase" was shut down, and Snyder was sent back to the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. Snyder was up early the morning of the bombing, but said he and the other Marines had no idea "the extent of the damage, the lives that had been lost, or the fact that the growing cloud of dark smoke on the shore line was what was left of where we had, only weeks before, eaten chow every day. "Waves of helicopters began flying ashore, returning with bodies, Snyder recalled. "Many of us were tasked with carrying the dead and wounded, and helping out as best we could; holding a hand here and there and trying to calm those who could not be calmed," he said. "It was a very sad, busy and chaotic time." Later, the squadron called for a working party ashore, and Snyder - not knowing what it would entail - volunteered. He soon learned he would be part of the body recovery team. "My job was to unload and stack the bodies as they were brought down the road from the blast site. We would then, with great care, stack the bodies, some in body bags, some not, into aluminum shipping containers which we would eventually load on aircraft for their final flight home," he said. "I recall the sadness and anger we felt that day, but moreover, I recall the care that we took with our fallen brothers." Snyder said he still has trouble talking about Beirut, and the memories are too painful for him to even attend the yearly observances. But he said he can find pride in the fact that he and the other Marines were able to give their fellow service members the respect they deserved. "We were taking care of the 'peace keepers' who had been murdered in their sleep, for the cause of 'peace'," he said. "They were heroes, each and every one, and I can only hope that when my time finally comes, I will be found worthy of the dignity and respect that we were able to show the fallen Marines of the Beirut bombing. "Snyder now teaches third grade at Swansboro Elementary School, and said he hopes the children will learn about the bombing and carry on the story. "I worry that the children that I now teach will not teach their children of the day so many good Marines died. For as sad as that day was, it would be sadder still if the sacrifice of so many true heroes was lost to history forever."

Associated Press Oct. 22, 2007

Michigan family of fallen Marine meets with Bush
By KEN THOMAS WASHINGTON — The Michigan family of a U.S. Marine who was killed in Iraq met with President Bush on Monday, sharing memories of their son and his commitment to the mission. President Bush joined with the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Justin M. Ellsworth of Mount Pleasant, Mich., and leaders of veterans service organizations in the Oval Office before discussing his latest war-spending request to Congress. John Ellsworth, who serves as vice president of Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission, said his family spoke with Bush about their son's belief in the need to rebuild Iraq and fight terrorism abroad. The younger Ellsworth died Nov. 13, 2004, while on reconnaissance during a U.S. assault on Fallujah. He was assigned to a Combat Service Support Battalion 1 in the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, Calif. "Just because Justin's voice is silent doesn't mean that his mission is complete," his father said in an interview. Bush asked Congress for $46 billion more to fund the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of the Ellsworth family spent about four hours at the White House, where they met with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and attended a ceremony honoring a Navy SEAL with the Medal of Honor. Ellsworth, a sergeant with the Wolverine Lake Police Department, was joined by his wife, Debbie, and their daughter, Jessica. Ellsworth said Bush spoke to his daughter and told her "that her brother's efforts will not be forgotten and he made a difference. And to me that meant a lot."

Townhall.com Oct. 23, 2007

"No News" Is Bad News?
By Cal Thomas

Last week, ABC’s Charles Gibson introduced a segment about Iraq on “World News Tonight” with this curious remark: “The news is (pause for effect) that there is no news. The police told us today that, to their knowledge, there were no major acts of violence. Attacks are down in Baghdad and today no bombings or roadside explosions were reported.” In a war that has consumed more than 4,100 coalition partner lives (more than 3,800 of them Americans) and additional thousands of Iraqi lives and that has as its stated objective a lessening of the shootings, bombings and killings, an average person might rejoice at such news. The big media and their auxiliary in the left wing of the Democratic Party do not regard “no news” as good news, but as the worst possible news, because it threatens to undermine their political objective: the defeat of Republicans in the next election, even at the cost of losing a war. Not all Democrats feel this way, of course, but their congressional leaders do. They have invested their political capital in defeat. So many Democrats (again, not all) are counting on a U.S. loss in this war — and have made outrageous statements about America’s inability to succeed — that success will give the national security issue completely to the Republicans, even as Republicans have lost sole ownership of the less spending and smaller government issue. Democrats know that national security and the ability to successfully wage war against America’s enemies trumps everything else. If the war is won, Democrats’ prospects for victory next year are greatly diminished. The evidence of improvement in Iraq is coming with greater frequency and credibility. A trickle of good news is becoming a stream. It’s too early to predict a tide, but things are at least — and at last — beginning to flow in the right direction. On the heels of improvements in the once-chaotic Anbar province comes Fallujah, a region that once resembled our Wild West with lawlessness and disorder everywhere. While one still wouldn’t want to plan a family vacation in Fallujah just yet, U.S. Marines are now getting cooperation from the previously uncooperative Sunni sheikhs in driving out al-Qaida. Writing in The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 20), Michael Ledeen, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, quotes a Marine officer friend as saying he has been told by enlisted Marines, “There’s nobody to shoot (in Fallujah), sir. If it’s just going to be building schools and hospitals, that’s what the Army is for, isn’t it?” Basra, too, where British soldiers are pulling out, was said to be on the verge of exploding since Shiite militias backed by Iran supposedly were poised to impose a fundamentalist regime on the city. It isn’t happening. Violence in Basra has declined significantly in recent weeks. This is not to excuse the Bush administration from its serious mistakes and bad judgment in the early going in Iraq, but as Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman wrote in the Broadway musical, “Seesaw,” “It’s not where you start, but where you finish.” The last part of that lyric is: “and you’re gonna finish on top.”

If the United States and its coalition forces finish on top by achieving most, if not all, of their objectives in Iraq, what can the Democrats say? “We were secretly in support of the war all the way”? Not even Hillary Clinton could get away with such a whopper. The Republican campaign commercials would pound away with the hundreds (thousands?) of quotes from people they will label as “defeatist Democrats.” As this week’s lead editorial in The Weekly Standard asks, “Are the American people likely to elect the candidate of a party that has tried its best to lose a winnable war?” The answer is no. And the answer to Charles Gibson’s assertion that no news is not news is that no violence is news and, indeed, is very good news for Iraq and for America. It is very bad news, however, for the leadership of the Democratic Party, because their investment in defeat may be about to prove itself the political equivalent of the dot-com bubble burst earlier this decade.

V i d e o Cl i p s :
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ABC “World News” Oct. 22, 2007

Once a haven for violence, Fallujah now secure