Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Fifteen Tons Of Fun

Gee, I wonder what these might be for.

B-2 Bomber Gets Boeing’s New 30,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Bomb

The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of a new 30,000-pound bomb from Boeing Co. (BA) that’s capable of penetrating deeply buried enemy targets.

The huge bunker buster, dubbed the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, is built to fit the B-2 stealth bomber. The Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the bombs in September, Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said in a short statement to Bloomberg News.

The deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need,” he said.

See also:
Air Force gets super bombs to attack Iran?
Weighing in at 30,000 pounds, a new bomb for US
Pentagon’s New Bunker Busters Not for Iran or ‘Any One Country’
Pentagon Receives Massive Bunker-Busting Bombs, Denies Targeting Iran
Pentagon denies bunker-busting bomb is intended for IranPentagon: Bunker buster not intended for Iran
New bunker-busting bomb not targeted at Iran : Pentagon
B-2 Bomber Gets Boeing’s New 30,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Bomb
US reveals its new bunker-buster bombs
US stealth bombers finally get nuke-nobbling super bomb
The Solution to the Iranian Threat – Bunker Busting Bomb

If the MOP isn’t intended for Iran, what could it possibly be intended for?

/*wink wink, nudge nudge*

Operation Linda Nchi

Kenya is hardly the first country to invade Somalia and attempt to clean out the festering cesspool of Islamic criminals and terrorists and it probably won’t be the last. So far, every country that’s attempted to tame Somalia has come up empty. Based on what’s currently known of Operation Linda Nchi, I’m not particularly optimistic that Kenya will be any more successful than any other country has been in the past.

Kenyan Troops Advance in Somalia, Pursuing Al-Shabab

Kenyan forces have entered a second part of southern Somalia as part of operations against militant group al-Shabab.

Officials and witnesses confirmed to VOA Somali Service Tuesday that Kenyan troops, backed by helicopters, moved through the border town of El-Waq on Monday and are now in Somalia’s Gedo region.

Kenyan troops have also been seen near the al-Shabab-controlled town of Afmadow in the Jubba region. Residents are reported to be fleeing the town in fear of a battle.

. . .

The exact size of the Kenyan force in Somalia is not clear. Residents have reported seeing columns of 30 to 40 armored vehicles.

Al-Shabab is calling on all Somalis to defend against what it calls “the enemy.”

The last country to invade Somalia was Ethiopia, which deployed troops in 2006 to oust Islamist militants who had briefly taken over the capital. Al-Shabab emerged as the main group fighting the Ethiopians, who withdrew at the beginning of 2009.

See also:
Kenyan military crosses into Somali
Kenya Cabinet meeting backs military operation in Somalia
Kenya, Somalia Seal Pact to Hit Shabaab
Kenya cabinet backs military offensive into Somalia
Kenya troops ‘advance into Somalia near Afmadow’
Kenyan troops close in on Somali’s second key town
Kenyan forces hunt militants inside Somalia
Kenyan forces kill 75 Somali militants
Kenyan incursion into Somalia provokes threat from Islamic militants
Al-Shabaab threaten to take ‘flames of war’ into Kenya
Kenya’s security on alert following al-Shabaab threat
Zero tolerance to Al Shabab threat
Was Kenya right to enter Somalia?
Price that Kenya must pay to keep al-Shabaab at bay
Kenya
Kenya
Somalia
Somalia
Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab
Al-Shabaab

All I can say is go Kenya, good luck and happy hunting! Somalia hasn’t been subdued yet, not even by the United States, but there’s always a first time.

/oh, and while you’re in the neighborhood, could you do the world a favor and wipe out the Somali pirate safe harbors?

Calling A Spade A Spade

Outgoing Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen finally said, in public, what everybody already knows, Pakistan is the enemy, not our ally.

Mullen Blames Pakistan Intelligence for Attack

The top U.S. military officer on Thursday accused Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency of backing extremists in planning and executing the assault on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan last week and a truck bomb attack that wounded 77 American soldiers days earlier.

In his last congressional testimony before he retires next week, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted that the Haqqani insurgent network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, undermining the uneasy U.S.-Pakistan relationship forged in the terror fight and endangering American troops in the nearly 10-year-old war in Afghanistan.

See also:
Mullen says Pakistani spies are tied to U.S. Embassy raid
Panetta, Mullen hammer Pakistan over Haqqani network
Mullen Accuses Pakistan’s Intel Service of Aiding Attack on Embassy in Kabul
Mullen, Panetta slam Pakistan over attacks
Mullen blames Pakistan intelligence for attack
Mullen Accuses Pakistan Of Exporting Violence To Afghanistan
Mike Mullen: Pakistan is ‘exporting’ terror
Cell phones link Pakistan to U.S. embassy attack
U.S.-Pakistan Ties Plunge to New Low After Mullen’s Testimony
Mullen’s comments about Pakistan are baseless: Mukhtar
Pakistan fires back at Mike Mullen
Pakistan’s Army Head Blasts Mullen Comments as ‘Baseless’
Pakistan army chief denies US claims of complicity with militants, calls charges ‘unfortunate’
Pakistan Outraged Over Admiral Mullen’s Accusations of Terror Link
Pakistan says US risks ‘losing an ally’
Pakistan warns U.S.: “You will lose an ally”
Is Pakistan America’s Ally?

Pakistan can deny, protest, and be outraged by the truth all they want. The evidence is overwhelming that the ISI aids and harbors terrorists that are constantly attacking, wounding, and killing U.S. forces in the region. There’s enough smoking guns to fill a National Guard armory. Need more proof that the ISI cooperates closely with terrorists? Just remember where and under what circumstances Osama bin Laden was found, ’nuff said. Pakistan is threatening to cease being our ally? Well, with allies like Pakistan, who needs enemies?

/by the way, the attack on the U.S. Embassy was a blatant act of war, the road to victory in Afghanistan clearly winds through Pakistan, do we want to win or tuck tail like the Soviets?

Operation Hemorrhage

Al Qaeda has a new asymmetric warfare strategy. Instead of plotting spectacular attacks that might take years to plan and execute, they’re now intent on carrying out cheaper, smaller, more frequent attacks with the goal of causing economic damage by making the West respond to the threat, whether the attacks succeed or not.

Al Qaeda Promises U.S. Death By A ‘Thousand Cuts’

Printer bombs planted on two cargo flights last month cost only a few thousand dollars and were intended to affect the American economy, according to a newly published Al Qaeda-affiliated magazine.

The attempt was called “Operation Hemorrhage,” boasted the magazine, and the entire plot cost al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, only $4,200.

. . .

The magazine also revealed the attack was not meant to kill more than the plane’s pilot and co-pilot, and was meant to force the U.S. government to spend billions of dollars on preventive security screening measures.

The strategy, the magazine said, was “of attacking the enemy with smaller, but more frequent operations is what some may refer to as the strategy of a thousand cuts. The aim is to bleed the enemy to death.”

See also:
Al-Qa’ida plot cost only $4261
Cargo-bomb plot cost just $4,200 : Al Qaeda
Al Qaeda claims parcel bomb plot cost $4,200
New issue of Al Qaeda magazine details failed mail bomb plot, signals shift to smaller-scale attacks
Qaeda Branch Aimed for Broad Damage at Low Cost
Al-Qaeda boasts of ‘bargain’ bomb plots
Al-Qaeda vows to continue parcel bomb attacks
Small-scale attacks to continue, Al Qaeda group says
Report: Would-be plane bombers post attack details
AQAP: Mail Plots Successful, Cost Low
AQAP Releases Special Issue of ‘Inspire’ Magazine ‘Operation Hemorrhage’ – Dedicated Entirely To Explosive Parcels Plot

So far, even though none of their attacks has been successful, AQAP is achieving its goal of causing massive economic damage by forcing the West to onerously tighten security measures, at great expense, in response to the terrorist threats. This new strategy costs al Qaeda next to nothing, while the West does all the economic damage heavy lifting against themselves, trying to defend against the perceived threat, whether the threat is real or implied.

/perhaps the best example of how well this new al Qaeda strategy is working is the ongoing TSA debacle

Defilade, What Defilade?

Finally, here’s a real magic bullet, not something concocted out of Arlen Specter’s imagination.

GIs testing ‘smart’ weapons that leave nowhere to hide

The combat zone just got a little more high-tech as soldiers in Afghanistan began testing and training on five prototype weapons that fire smart bullets.

Army officials are calling the XM25 Counter Defilade Targeting Engagement System revolutionary since it is the first time soldiers will have a smart weapon in their hands. Smart weapons have some form of a processing unit that allows them to be self-guided or, in this case, have self-adjusting sights and programmable rounds.

The XM25 — which is not much bigger than a standard service rifle — fires 25 mm rounds that can be programmed to explode on impact, in front of or behind an object. The weapon allows soldiers to kill enemies hiding behind walls or other cover by firing above, or to the side, of the wall from up to 700 meters away.

“We call it a game changer,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, the project manager for the XM25 with Program Executive Office Soldier. “From the dawn of direct-fire weapons, soldiers have always been taught if you’re getting shot at or something is being thrown at you, get behind cover, whether it is your shield or a wall. We are essentially taking cover away from the enemy forever with this.”

See also:
‘Nowhere to Hide’: U.S. Army Testing New ‘Smart’ Weapons in Afghanistan
‘Smart weapon’ rifle debuts on Afghanistan’s battlefields
XM-25 Goes To War
U.S. ground soldiers to test ‘smart’ rifle
U.S. army’s XM-25 soon be seen combating in Afghanistan
XM25 Airburst Weapons System
XM25 grenade launcher / air bursting assault weapon (USA)
XM25 Individual Airburst Weapon System

Afghanistan would seem to be the perfect place to test this new weapons system. I wonder how the Taliban feel about being the lab rats?

/don’t bother to duck, you’ll just die hunched over

A Veteran On Veteran’s Day

Sixty-seven years ago today and a long way from home . . .

LINDSTROM, FLOYD K.

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 11 November 1943, this soldier’s platoon was furnishing machinegun support for a rifle company attacking a hill near Mignano, Italy, when the enemy counterattacked, forcing the riflemen and half the machinegun platoon to retire to a defensive position. Pfc. Lindstrom saw that his small section was alone and outnumbered 5 to 1, yet he immediately deployed the few remaining men into position and opened fire with his single gun. The enemy centered fire on him with machinegun, machine pistols, and grenades. Unable to knock out the enemy nest from his original position, Pfc. Lindstrom picked up his own heavy machinegun and staggered 15 yards up the barren, rocky hillside to a new position, completely ignoring enemy small arms fire which was striking all around him. From this new site, only 10 yards from the enemy machinegun, he engaged it in an intense duel. Realizing that he could not hit the hostile gunners because they were behind a large rock, he charged uphill under a steady stream of fire, killed both gunners with his pistol and dragged their gun down to his own men, directing them to employ it against the enemy. Disregarding heavy rifle fire, he returned to the enemy machinegun nest for 2 boxes of ammunition, came back and resumed withering fire from his own gun. His spectacular performance completely broke up the German counterattack. Pfc. Lindstrom demonstrated aggressive spirit and complete fearlessness in the face of almost certain death.

See also:
Congressional Medal of Honor
Heroes of the Italian Campaign

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients
of the 3rd Infantry Division

Floyd K. Lindstrom
Floyd K. Lindstrom

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.

/Elmer Davis

/God bless and protect our troops, past, present, and future, so that they may protect our country and keep us safe