1:34 PM, Aug 24, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
President Barack Obama's July 2011 date to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan has given a morale boost to Taliban insurgents, who believe they can wait out NATO forces, the top U.S. Marine said on Tuesday.
But General James Conway, who is retiring this fall as commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believed Marines would not be in a position to withdraw from the fight in southern Afghanistan for years.
Mark Shields on the Marines.12:59 PM, Jul 23, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Columnist Mark Shields expounds the martial virtues:
I was not a great Marine. I never saw combat. I got a lot more from the Marines than the Marines got from me. But I believe fervently that this nation today needs the values of the Marine Corps as much as the nation needs the Marine Corps.
Scenes from the war in Afghanistan.6:00 AM, Jul 11, 2010 • By BILL ARDOLINO
Musa Qala District, Northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan
A dozen Marines streamed from Patrol Base Griffin about two hours after dawn on Thursday, July 1, descending a rocky gravel slope leading straight into the village of Karamanda. The Americans were joined by two Afghan police officers, two Afghan soldiers, an interpreter, and a black bomb-sniffing dog named Bandit. The men walked in rigid single-file “Ranger formation,” each mimicking the footsteps of the person to his front to minimize the chance of stepping on a pressure plate IED. They moved in relative silence broken by greetings to villagers, occasional commands, and the odd joke. “Frankie,” a young Afghan interpreter from Kabul, began to tunelessly sing a song.
“Don’t quit your day job, Frankie,” needled First Lieutenant Robert Paulus, Charlie Company Executive Officer and the patrol’s leader. Frankie grunted.
“You know what that means?” asked Paulus.
“Don’t. Quit. Your. Day. Job,” enunciated Paulus. “It means you’re a much better linguist than you are a singer.” Frankie grunted again, and resumed singing.
12:45 PM, Jul 10, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Scrapbook rounds up some of the best quotations from Marine General James Mattis, who was selected this week to head CENTCOM:
The Scrapbook applauds President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the selection of Marine General James Mattis to head Central Command. Victor Davis Hanson writes that “Mattis is a proven battlefield commander, a sophisticated student of history, and unshakable in his nerve and purpose.”
A bottom-up approach like that exercised by Marines in southern Helmand could build a sustainable foundation for success.11:30 AM, Jul 2, 2010 • By FRANK BIGGIO
One year ago today, approximately 2,000 Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade loaded into dozens of U.S. Army helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division or manned guns in a ground convoy vehicle to begin “Operation Khanjari,” moving into the heart of insurgent-controlled territory in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
From the ScrapbookMay 10, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 32 • By
11:35 AM, Apr 30, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
I saw this yesterday. It's a lot of fun, and fit to go viral, so here it is for your enjoyment. My favorite part is the info posted by Aaron Melcher, who uploaded the video: "We have more scenes to cut, and edit, however with guys always on mission it is harder to film than you think." I can imagine it is.
Two stories you can't miss.8:20 AM, Mar 2, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
On March 1, NPR's Morning Edition had an excellent story on the Marines in Marjah, which you can listen to here.
6:07 PM, Mar 1, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
Now that fighting in Marja has boiled down to minor skirmishes, here are a few points worth noting:
Operation Moshtarak constituted a new style of warfare, where several innovative COIN tactics and weapon systems finally synchronized into cohesive strategy.
10:15 AM, Feb 26, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway reminded Congress yesterday that the purpose of the Marines is to fight and win wars:
“My personal opinion is that unless we can strip away the emotion, the agendas and the politics and ask, at least in my case, do we somehow enhance the war-fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?” Conway said. “We haven't addressed it from the correct perspective. At this point, I think that the current policy works. My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary, and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is.”
7:05 PM, Feb 25, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The Hill reports:
The commandant of the Marine Corps told senators Thursday that he opposes lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.
Gen. James Conway’s position on the repeal of the controversial law known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has not been a close-held secret, but on Thursday he publicly offered his personal opinion to the Senate Armed Services Committee — becoming the most senior military officer to openly express his opposition to the change of the Clinton-era law.
“My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is,” Conway said. “At this point I think that the current policy works.”
12:39 PM, Feb 17, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The New York Times reports:
MARJA, Afghanistan — Twelve bodies — five children, five women and two men — were wrapped head to toe in woolen blankets, lying in a neat row on the floor of the only room remaining in a house that had been blasted to mud-brick rubble by at least one and possibly two 675-pound rockets.
One of the largest operations since 2001 launched in the Helmand.5:45 PM, Feb 12, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
The BBC is reporting that Operation Moshtarek has finally launched in Afghanistan's Helmand province. The principle objective will be to seize Marjah, the fortress city owned by the Taliban. Marjah is a key node for Taliban operations and resourcing, so expect the good guys to sweep it, clear it, and hold it ... permanently. The mission appears to have kicked off during the early morning hours, when NATO forces have a decisive advantage in night fighting.
A buffoonish autocrat gone wild.12:00 AM, Jan 21, 2010 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
In case you were wondering what U.S. military forces are doing in Haiti, allow Hugo Chávez to explain: “I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war,” the Venezuelan leader said Sunday on his national TV show. “They are occupying Haiti undercover.”