Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wounded Artist Project

The Wounded Artist Project is a new Michigan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Project wants to create and provide, free-of-charge, a progressive series of art kits (beginner, intermediate and advanced) for war wounded recovering in military hospitals. Our beginner kits will cost approximately $25 to produce.

We believe The Project’s art kits will provide a welcome diversion from boredom for those recovering from traumatic wounds, burns, and amputations when they are in downtime from regular therapy sessions.

We believe they will keep recipients involved and encouraged to heal and develop art skills that could be useful elsewhere. We will suggest to the recipients that with some practice and hard work they may someday even go to work using their art skills as illustrators, designers, engineers, cartoonists, or art teachers. Some recipients may like the perspective drawing so much they decide to become architects; some may even become so interested in drawing the human body that they decide to study human physiology and become doctors. I would like to think we gave some hope to those self-conscious about disfiguring wounds that they may become successful, home-based, freelance artists. Personally, I would like to see one of them pair up their art skills with a creative writer and they create a bestselling gothic novel.

We are in start-up mode and need funding and/or donations. They are tax-deductible. Please contact me for a more detailed description of our org.

Thanks and best regards, we hope to hear from you,

Ramon Bakerjian

Wounded Warriors Summit Mount McKinley

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2009 - When four of the seven-member Team Denali, which included four wounded veterans, reached the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska's Denali National Park, what should have been celebratory whoops and hollers was instead a quiet, tempered satisfaction, the team's leaders said. Though the weather was perfect when Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister and Army Spc. Dave Shebib approached the highest point in North America, they enjoyed it without three of their team members.

Marine Capt. Jon Kuniholm, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Nyman, and Gayle Hoffmeister, Hoffmeister's wife and one of the team's two mentors, all had cause to return to lower altitudes during the ascent.

Kuniholm, who lost his right arm while serving in Iraq, had reached about 14,000 feet when he started showing early signs of high-altitude pulmonary edema. Based on a doctor's advice, he was taken back down the mountain.

Nyman, who lost his right leg below the knee while serving in Iraq, made it to 16,000 feet with no problem, Hoffmeister said. But when the team set up camp at 17,200 feet, his oxygen saturation plummeted. "It dropped to 50, which is dangerously low," Hoffmeister said. "We ended up putting him on oxygen."

When Nyman didn't recover overnight, he was taken back down to 14,200 feet, where he remained on oxygen for about four days.

Gayle advanced with the remaining team members as far as Denali Pass at about 18,000 feet -- some 2,300 feet shy of Mount McKinley's summit -- when Hoffmeister realized his wife was showing signs of mild hypothermia. She had a patch of frostbite spreading across her cheek, and she wasn't responding normally, he said.

They returned to the camp at 17,000 feet to get her warm again.

"She had four toes that were potentially frostbitten, so we went through a re-warming process that day and night," Hoffmeister said. "And policy is if you re-warm a frostbite injury, you go down. You don't go up."

None of the situations that kept the two veterans from ascending to the summit with the rest of the team had anything to do with their previous injuries, he noted.

"It was just altitude stuff," Hoffmeister said. "Just like I said before we even climbed: you don't know what your predisposition to altitude is until you're on [the mountain.] And frostbite, that's just a product of weather."

Hoffmeister and Shebib, along with their guide, Kirby Senden, and second mentor Bob Haines, continued, and they reached the summit June 16. The weather was perfect until just before they reached the summit, which Hoffmeister described as awesome.

"We got up on Summit Ridge and had clear skies and could see forever," he said. "Then of course, 15, 20 minutes before we hit the summit, a squall rolled in and we ... could see absolutely nothing."

Minus three of their teammates to witness the momentous occasion, they quickly did what they set out to do. They conducted Shebib's re-enlistment before heading back down to 17,000 feet.

Though he's pleased with the overall results, Hoffmeister said, it would have been a personal high for him if the whole team had made it to the summit.

"The entire trip was a high," he said. "Not having John or Matt make it, and the frustration of Gayle not being able to make it, really dampened a lot of that, but I guess it took the entire team to get to the summit."

Kuniholm was pleased with his climb, as well.

"This was one of the hardest things I've ever tried to do, and I'm still processing the fact that it remains, for me, unfinished business," he said. "I was elated to have passed what I thought would be the most technically challenging part for me, the fixed ropes [used to ascend from 14,000 feet to 16,000 feet]."

While the fixed lines may have caused him some unwarranted angst, he said, it ultimately was the tasks that he used to consider easy that were difficult on the mountain.

"Getting dressed in the morning in a tent with another amputee ... was [difficult]," Kuniholm said. "Going through the necessary drills of shedding and donning layers of clothing and my pack on short breaks -- these were big challenges, and I hadn't given them a thought before the climb.

"And the challenge for the team became sitting there while I got it done," he continued, "because doing it for me doesn't help me learn to do it faster."

Kuniholm said he thought the biggest challenge for the group as a whole was dealing with everyone's individual limitations, physical and otherwise. But they did a pretty good job of keeping things on an even keel despite those differences, he said.

Even given the challenges and frustrations, the team members were positive when asked if they'd ever tackle something like this again.

"Absolutely, although I'm not sure when another opportunity like this will present itself," Kuniholm said. "Marc Hoffmeister worked very hard to make this happen, with the help of our sponsors, [Military Order of the Purple Heart], Mountain Hard Wear, and many others.

"In all honesty, that was probably the part of all of this that is least likely to happen again -- not the physical part," he added.

Hoffmeister's enthusiasm about another climb was nothing short of unbridled.

"Hell, yes!" he said. "I'd do it tomorrow. I mean, let me go!"

Hoffmeister has an offer to climb Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, in November. In February, he will attempt to climb Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro.

Gates Establishes New Cyber Subcommand

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed a memo yesterday establishing a subcommand focused on cyber security, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters today. Details about the new U.S. Cyber Command, which will report to U.S. Strategic Command, still are unfolding. But Gates reportedly plans to recommend Army Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, to receive his fourth star and take on the additional responsibility of commanding the cyber command.

Initial indications are that the cyber command will have its headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., pending results of an environmental impact statement.

"This is not some sort of new and necessarily different authorities that have been granted," Morrell told reporters today. "This is about trying to figure out how we, within this department, within the United States military, can better coordinate the day-to-day defense, protection and operation of the department's computer networks."

Morrell emphasized that the new command will focus solely on military networks.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III noted the importance of cyber security to national defense last week at the Center for International and Strategic Studies.

"Just like our national dependence, there is simply no exaggerating our military dependence on our information networks: the command and control of our forces, the intelligence and logistics on which they depend, the weapons technologies we develop and field – they all depend on our computer systems and networks," Lynn said. "Indeed, our 21st century military simply cannot function without them."

Because cyberspace is critical to joint military operations, it's critical that the Defense Department ensure they're protected, Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh, a Defense Department spokesman, told American Forces Press Service.

"To do this, the Department of Defense needs to ensure it has the right balance of integrated cyber capabilities," Butterbaugh said. "We're increasingly dependent on cyberspace, and there's a growing array of cyber threats. To effectively address this risk to its networks, the Defense Department requires a command possessing the required technical capability and which remains focused on streamlining cyberspace operations."

Morrell called the standup of Cyber Command an internal reorganization that will consolidate and streamline its cyber capabilities within a single command. The effort in no way represents any attempt by the department to "militarize" cyberspace or take over the responsibility for defending civilian networks, he said, noting that responsibility falls to the Homeland Security Department.

"This is part of a holistic, governmentwide effort to better organize and situate ourselves to deal with this very real threat," he said. "And it is a complement to efforts that are taking place elsewhere within the United States government."

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated during a June 4 address at the Center for International and Strategic Studies that a decision on the new subcommand was in the works.

"There will be a cyber capability at the tactical level, and ... we do deploy it forward," Cartwright said. "There is an operational level, which tends to be based regionally, and there is a strategic capability. And we will, over the next few days, start to roll out the organizational constructs associated with that."


The Air Force is awarding a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems Inc., of San Diego, Calif., for $276,281,235. This contract action will provide the rapid fielding and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System. The contractor will install the BACN system in three bombardier BD-700 Global Express aircraft for immediate fielding and will install the BACN system into two Global Hawk Block 20 unmanned aerial vehicles for sustained deployment through 2015. This system was developed under a Department of Defense Microelectronic Activity contract (#H94003-04-D-0005) by Northrop Grumman as part of the Interim Gateway Program. This action fills an urgent and compelling requirement for enhanced communications capability for Overseas Contingency Operations. At this time, $97,802,680 has been obligated. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8726-09-C-0010).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to University of Dayton Research Institute of Dayton, Ohio, for $9,900,000. This contract is for research on advanced nondestructive evaluation methods for materials, processes and structure. It will conduct on-site research to bridge the gaps and accelerate the initial development of selected nondestructive evaluation technology to a level of full feasibility demonstration, to conduct studies of the applicability of selected technologies to a wide variety of potential applications, or address development of new technologies to address specific needs. Research is contemplated to address current operational or maintenance needs. At this time, $80,000 has been obligated. Det 1 AFRL/PKVA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-D-5224, Task Order 0001).

The Air Force is awarding cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Alion Science and Technology Corp., of Chicago, Ill., for $7,826,087. This contract action will provide modeling, simulation, analysis, funding and recommendation in the radio frequency arena. The effort includes processing, collecting and analyzing information related to modeling and simulation, transferring information within the government and promoting the interoperability of existing modeling and simulation programs. The research and development data and information derived from this effort will be available to the DoD community through the Defense Technical Information Center Library. At this time, $483,092 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300, Delivery Order 0225).

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Jacobs Technology, Inc., of Tullahoma, Tenn., for $17,280,405.89. This contract action will provide Technical, Engineering and Acquisition Support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and various other tenant organizations. This contract increases the work requirement. At this time, $25,083,864.89 has been obligated. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA9200-07-C-0006, P00030).

Welch Allyn Holdings, Inc., Skaneateles Falls, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $43,650,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for medical equipment, spare parts and training. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 17 proposals solicited with nine responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is June 23, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM2D1-09-D-8350).

Ranco Construction, Inc.*, Southampton, N.J., is being awarded a $9,378,500 firm-fixed price contract for construction of an Advanced Arresting Gear Test Site at Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. The work to be performed provides for renovation of the Runway Arrested Landing Site on the test runway to accommodate pro-type advance arresting gear equipment for arresting gear load testing. There is demolition and new construction at the jet car test site including test track repairs and construction of three pre-engineered buildings. There is the addition of a new high speed aircraft turnaround on the test runway to provide a new taxiway turnaround. Work will be performed in Ocean County, N.J., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-7004).

Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $5,634,184 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-04-C-0101) to provide the development, installation, configuration and testing necessary to upgrade the existing Trusted Solaris 8 in the E6-B Block I workstations to Solaris 10 with trusted network extensions and replace the Scalable Processor Architecture Processor with an Intel Processor equivalent. Work will be performed in Richardson, Texas (95 percent) and Patuxent River, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Army Leaders Struggle to Understand Record Suicides

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 24, 2009 - Each case is as unique as the name inscribed on the dog tags. Soldiers are taking their own lives in record numbers, and Army senior leaders are struggling to understand why. "It rips your heart out," the Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, told a group of soldiers last month while on a week-long tour of Army installations to look for clues.

Last year, 143 soldiers killed themselves -- a record in the past three decades since the Army has been tallying the numbers. For 2009, the service again is headed toward a record year.

January's spike of nearly two dozen confirmed or suspected suicides prompted leaders to form a senior-level task force to try to uncover the causes and reform the systems to help suffering soldiers.

"It really drove home that the Army needed to do something now," Army Brig. Gen. Colleen L. McGuire, director of the suicide prevention task force, said in an interview here yesterday.

It's easy to point a finger at soldiers' multiple deployments, little time at home and the stress of serving in two wars as the causes. But hundreds of thousands of soldiers have deployed, and only a fraction have chosen to end their lives.

McGuire and other members of the task force accompanied Chiarelli as he visited several major Army installations to talk with leaders and troops hoping to find a common thread.

Their finding: it's complicated.

McGuire said that during the trip it became apparent that the problem is not simply suicide-related, but that many soldiers are engaging in unhealthy and risky behavior, such as binging on alcohol and mixing it with readily available prescription drugs.

In combat, soldiers are encouraged to take risks, and are rewarded for it. But at home, they are taking the wrong kinds of risks, she said.

"What we're finding ... is that there is a great deal of alcohol and [prescription] drugs available to soldiers," she said. The drugs are prescribed for their combat-related injuries. But many are using them to kill the pain of returning from war to face the realities of the home front.

Failed marriages, financial problems, military disciplinary actions and upcoming deployments all add to the stress. Any of these can serve as a trigger for someone considering suicide, McGuire said.

In combat -- a disciplined environment -- soldiers know their limits and leaders know their soldiers. But for many in today's military, the less-restricted garrison life is a foreign environment, McGuire said.

"How do we address the needs of today's soldier? It's not the same soldier from the '90s," she said.

And it's not the same leader, either.

Many of today's young leaders were brought up in the heavy deployment cycle of two wars. They have spent most of their time either in the field training for deployment, deployed, or at home on leave following a deployment.

They no longer are accustomed to the processes, paperwork and inspections that made up the preceding two decades of garrison-oriented leadership and soldiering. McGuire said she thinks some may have lost those garrison leadership skills, such as health and welfare inspections, that took care of troops in that environment.

During their installation visits, McGuire said, the task force found that many of the administrative and discipline processes in place in garrison are not being used, due either to ignorance or choice.

For example, if a unit is readying for deployment, some commanders are not sending their soldiers through military drug programs after testing positive for illegal drug use to maintain troop-strength levels. Leaders are required to refer every soldier who has tested positive for illegal drugs, or who has had an alcohol-related incident, to the Army substance abuse program. That's not happening every time, McGuire said.

"Soldiers who either have a [driving under the influence charge], engaged in domestic violence where alcohol was involved, or they tested positive in a [urinalysis] are not being referred," she said.

And disciplinary forms that are supposed to make their way to the senior installation commanders reporting soldiers' infractions are being turned in less than a third of the time on some installations.

McGuire said the problem is partly administrative and partly that many commanders are overwhelmed.

"It's just another paperwork drill. It's just more that we're putting on commanders," the general said. But also, she said, some leaders are cutting soldiers breaks, thinking they are doing them a favor, but hurting them in the end.

The task force also is honing in on how isolation factors into its suicides.

The past 30 years have seen a shift away from communal barracks, where as many as 30 single soldiers shared an open bay. Typically, the leader lived in a room at the end of the bay. Married soldiers lived on post in Army-provided housing.

Now, many single soldiers are in single or double dormitory-style rooms. Most married soldiers live off post. Some are isolated by duty assignment, such as recruiters stationed far from military installations. Other soldiers are assigned solitary late-night shifts. And some in unique job specialties may feel isolated even within a unit.

This is compounded by the fact that within a few months of returning home, most leaders and soldiers are transferred to other units. Soldiers who have problems often find themselves without their battle buddies and the leaders who watched over them in combat. Their new leaders, who don't know them as well, are pushing to prepare for the next deployment.

Many of the diagnostic programs in place now are seen simply as a block that must be checked in the pre-deployment process, precious time to be carved out of a hectic deployment schedule, McGuire said.

And then there's the institutional stigma of seeking mental health care. Soldiers think they should deal with their problems. Leaders should be strong, and they feel asking for help is a sign of weakness, McGuire said. And there still is the fear that security clearances can be revoked.

McGuire stopped short of saying the task force was looking to overhaul the system. And its members really do not want to simply create another program, she said. In fact, commanders often are overwhelmed by the number of programs the Army already has.

"We have existing programs that are designed to ensure the good order and discipline of the organization," McGuire said. "Let's just enforce what we currently have before we create more and new."

Another possible soldier suicide, this time in Iraq, was added to the numbers last week. It too, is under investigation.

Chiarelli now is immediately briefed on any suspected suicides. He committed to personally reviewing each suicide case this year. In March, he received his first briefing.

"It was the most intense two and a half hours I have ever spent, even from being in a combat zone," Chiarelli told a group of soldiers during a stop at Fort Bragg, N.C. "It was an experience I will never forget."

The task force is temporary, and will spend less than a year looking for gaps in the system. No quick fixes are expected. While senior leadership hopes to better put its finger on the pulse of the force, the sad fact is that those serving in the Pentagon are not on the front lines of stopping soldiers from taking their own lives.

That falls to the soldiers' families and friends, McGuire said.

"If we see a friend, a family member or a buddy that seems to be hurting -- needs some help -- we need to take action," she said.

And it's their leaders.

"It takes getting to know your soldiers. It takes getting to know how they live, understand their stressors, who their friends are. It's basic leadership," McGuire said.

Gun Camrea Footage for 6.24.09

Courtesy of Hot Air, and FOX News (PBUT), some amazing gun-camera footage of a US Apache gunship engageing Taliban fighters.

Plays like a video game but isn't (click link)

General, Wife Among Metro Casualties

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2009 - A former commander of the District of Columbia National Guard and his wife were among the nine people killed in the June 22 collision of two Metro subway trains here, officials announced yesterday.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr. and his wife, Ann, both 62, died in the accident. Wherley retired a year ago after leading the D.C. Guard for five years.

"We are all deeply saddened by this sudden and tragic loss of General Wherley and his wife, Ann," said Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters, District of Columbia National Guard, who succeeded Wherley in the position. "I am personally grieved by this unbelievable tragedy. David Wherley and Ann were two of the best people you could ever want to know. This community will grieve, as will the entire National Guard throughout the country who knew and loved them both."

Wherley began his military career in 1969, when he received his commission as a second lieutenant through the ROTC program at Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. After he was released from active duty, he joined the District of Columbia Air National Guard, where he commanded two flying squadrons, served in a number of staff assignments and deployed as the deputy operations group commander for fighters at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia.

He was a Fighter Weapons Instructor Course graduate in the F-4 Phantom and had more than 5,000 hours of flying time in a multitude of missions.

Prior to appointment as commander of the D.C. Guard, he served as commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where he was responsible for two flying missions: the F-16 mission of the 121st Fighter Squadron and the 201st Airlift Squadron, with C-40 and C-38A aircraft.

"I share in the huge grief of the entire 113th Wing," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeff Johnson, commander of the 113th Wing. "Dave and Ann were an integral part of the history of the 113th Wing, and more importantly, an integral part of our family. There are no words."

U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana said she had come to know the Wherleys well over the years.

"As the recipient of more than a dozen medals and multiple honors, he served our nation with distinction," the senator said. "General Wherley was not only the quintessential citizen soldier, [but] also made valuable contributions to our community. I worked closely with General Wherley to ensure the success of the National Guard's Youth Challenge Program, which has changed the lives of thousands of at-risk children in D.C. and around the country."

Landrieu said Wherley was a role model to young people in the district, and that he and his wife will be greatly missed in the community and throughout the country.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wherley family," she said.

Under Wherley's leadership, the D.C. Guard deployed several of its units, soldiers and airman in the global war on terrorism, including the 113th Wing and 275th Military Police Command. Their successful mobilization and safe return always were his top priority, officials said, and it was his imperative that soldiers and airmen have the best training they could possibly receive before going into harm's way.

Wherley frequently said his most challenging accomplishment was the establishment of the D.C. National Guard's Youth Challenge program. This required coordination among the National Guard Bureau, the Defense Department, Congress and the District of Columbia government, resulting in a program now in its third successful year.

In addition, he strongly supported the Family Readiness Program, Youth Leaders Camp and the About Face Program, all of which focused on supporting the families of soldiers and airmen, especially during deployments, and strengthening community youth through discipline, teaching them job skills and the importance of education.

The secretary of labor appointed Wherley to serve on an advisory committee for the Job Corps in 2007. The Job Corps is the nation's largest and oldest federally funded job training and education program for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24. He was appointed to the board of directors of the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission in 2003, and served throughout his tenure as commanding general. A baseball fan himself, he participated in the return of major league baseball to the district, and was instrumental in the successful construction of Nationals Park, which was built on time and within budget.

The Wherleys are survived by a son, David, who is a noncommissioned officer in the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, and daughter, Betsy. They had one grandchild.

Funeral arrangements, when complete, will be posted on the D.C. Guard's Web site.

(From a District of Columbia National Guard news release.)

We are Winning This War

Wars have low points. 2006 was undoubtedly the low point for the west (or at least that part of the west actually fighting- US, Britain, Canada, Australia....). Iraq had descended into civil war, Israeli had been defeated in Lebanon, the al qaida supported Islamic Courts Union had seized control of Somalia and was threatening Ethiopia. Even events which should have been positive had a negative connotation; Iraq's execution of Saddam Hussein was a botched, creepy affair.

But at the end of that awful year, the tide began to turn. It started in Somalia, where the Ethiopian Army, supported by US Special Forces and CIA paramilitary units, annihilated the ICU and occupied the country inside of a month. At the same time, President Bush began the controversial surge, and emergency reinforcement of six combat brigades, all of which were sent to Baghdad. Slowly, US and Iraqi forces secured the capital and its outlying belt regions. More importantly, the Sunni's of Anbar turned on al Qaida, sending their sons to battle the Islamist terrorists and providing valuable intelligence to the United States.

The beginning of the end in Iraq was in March of 2008, when the Iraqi army went into Basra to do battle with the militia of Moqada al-Sadr. The initial offensive was stalled, but with American help, the Iraqi Army stuck it out, and killed hundreds of militia inside the city. There was a general upraising of al Sadr's followers throughout Iraq, which was crushed by Iraqi and American forces. By mid-April al Sadr had fled to Iran and was suing for peace. It was the great turning point in the battle for Iraq, akin to the fall of Atlanta and Sherman's march.

2009 has seen more progress. While the ICU's succesor, the Shabaab, is bathing Somalia in blood, it is at least in no condition to invade Ethiopia. Israel humiliated Hamas during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. The Pakistani Army, long on the sidelines, has finally decided to battle the Taliban on that country's Northwest frontier. General David Petraeus, architect of the surge, is now running Central Command. An additional six combat brigades are being sent to Afghanistan.

Now what to do about Iran....

Will's novel, A Line Through the Desert: The First Gulf War may be purchased at Amazon.