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Operation Dragon Strike

21 Jul

Operation Dragon Strike was a NATO counter-insurgent mission in Kandahar province,Afghanistan, against Taliban forces, which started on September 15, 2010.

The aim of the operation was to reclaim the strategic southern province of Kandahar, which was the birthplace of the Taliban movement. The area where the operation took place has been dubbed “The Heart of Darkness” by Coalition troops.[5]

The basic concept of the coalition operation, code-named Dragon Strike, was a series of sequential, mutually reinforcing attacks across the entire district to seize control of key nodes and movement corridors in the enemy system, and destroy enemy strongholds and IED and weapons facilitation networks. By advancing simultaneously across the district, ISAF and ANSF forced the Taliban to simultaneously defend multiple positions.192 Most importantly, ISAF for the first time moved into Zhari with the intention and resources to hold key terrain and to work with the local population to prevent insurgent re-infiltration.

The first in a series of decisive attacks across the entire district began in the early morning hours of September 15, 2010.194 But in the months preceding Dragon Strike, Afghan and coalition special forces had conducted shaping operations in Zhari. Many of these were kill or capture operations against insurgent leadership in Zhari, which successfully removed numerous Taliban commanders, IEDcell leaders, and facilitators.195 Successful targeted missions continued while ISAF battle-space owners advanced through the district. In mid-October 2010, ISAF killed both of the Taliban’s field commanders for Zhari, Kaka Abdul Khaliq and his deputy Kako.[6]

The main force leading the operation were units from the 101st Airborne Division. Some of the heaviest of the fighting during the operation had been in the Zhari District, which is on the main highway to Kandahar and a major insurgent supply route into the city, the Arghandab District and the Panjwaye District.[7]

By the end of December 2010, the operation’s main objectives had been accomplished. The majority of Taliban forces in Kandahar had withdrawn from the province,[8] and much of their leadership was said to have been fractured. [9]

The operation has also drawn large criticism from the local civilian population because of claims of heavy-handed tactics by the U.S. military. During October, U.S. troops destroyed hundreds of Afghan civilian homes, farm houses, walls, trees and plowed through fields and buildings using explosives, bulldozers, aerial bombardment and rocketry in Zhari, Punjwayi and Arghandab districts. Photographs revealed one village,Tarok Kolache, to have been totally destroyed by aerial bombing, while several other villages including Khosrow Sofla, Khosrow Ulya, and Lower Babur were reported destroyed by journalists working in the area. The governor of Arghandab District reported additional villages to have been destroyed.[10] Lt. Col. David Flynn told reporters that villagers knew the locations of IEDs, and were given the option of removing them to prevent their villages from being destroyed.[11] Military officials later stated that most of the farms, orchards and buildings destroyed had been booby-trapped by the Taliban. Also, they argued that the destruction was positive in that it would force Afghan residents to go to their local government center for compensation, seeing this as a way to connect the civilian population to the Afghan government.[12]

In late December, the civilians, displaced by the fighting, had started to go back to their homes only to find them destroyed.[13] The damages caused by Coalition troops to civilian property were estimated to be more than 100 million dollars by two separate bodies within the Afghan government.[14] Of that sum, Coalition forces agreed to pay approximately 5 million.[15]

“Dragon Attack” – Queen HQ Music Video

21 Jul

The story of the dragon which killed a young man, and is destroyed by Thomas.

21 Jul

And when the apostle had thus spoken, behold, a great dragon came forth from his den, knocking his head, and brandishing his tail down to the ground, and using a loud voice, said to the apostle: I shall say before thee for what cause I have put him to death, since thou art here in order to reprove my works.

And the apostle says: Yes, say on.

And the dragon: There is a certain woman in this place exceedingly beautiful; and as she was once passing by, I saw her; and I found this young man kissing her, and he also had intercourse with her, and did with her other shameful things, and to me indeed it was pleasant to tell thee this, for I know that though art the twin brother of Christ, and always bringest our race to nought. But, not wishing to harrass her, I did not at this time put him to death; but I watched him, and killed him, and especially as he had dared to do this on the Lord’s day.

And the apostle inquires of him, saying: Tell me, of what seed and of what race art thou?

And he said to him: I am the offspring of the race of the serpent, and hurtful of the hurtful; I am son of him who hurt and struck the four brothers that stood; I am the son of him who sits on the throne of destruction, and takes his own from what he has lent; I am the son of that apostate who encircles the globe; I am the kinsman to him who is outside the ocean, whose tail lies in his mouth; I am he who went into paradise through the hedge, and spoke with Eve what my father bade me speak to her; I am he who inflamed and fired Cain to kill his brother, and through me thorns and prickles sprang up in the ground. I am he who casts down the angels from above, and bound them down by the desires of women, that earth-born children might be produced by them, and that I might work my will in them; I am he who hardened the heart of Pharoah, that he should murder the children of Israel, and keep them down by the hard yoke of slavery; I am he who caused the multitude to err in the desert when they made the calf; I am he who inflamed Herod and incited Caiaphas to the lying tales of falsehood before Pilate, for this became me; I am he who inflamed Judas, and bought him, that he should betray Christ; I am he who inhabits and holds the abyss of Tartarus, and the Son of God has wronged me against my will, and has gathered his own out of me; I am the kinsman of him who is to come from the east, to whom also power has been given to do whatever he will upon the earth.

And that dragon having thus spoken in the hearing of all the multitude, the apostle raised his voice on high, and said: Cease henceforth, O thou most unabashed, and be ashamed and altogether put to death; for the end of thy destruction is at hand, and do not dare say what thou has done through thy dependents. And I order thee, in the name of Jesus who even now makes a struggle against you for the sake of His human beings, to suck out that poison which thou hast put into this man, and to draw it forth, and take it out of him.

And the dragon said: The time of our end is by no means at hand, as thou has said. Why dost thou force me to take out what I have put into him, and to die before the time? Assuredly, when my father shall draw forth and suck out what he has put into creation, then his end will come.

And the apostle said to him: Show us therefore, now the nature of thy father. And the dragon went went up, and put his mouth upon the wound of the young man, and sucked the gall out of it. And in a short time the skin of the young man, which was purple, grew white, and the dragon swelled. And when the dragon had drawn up all the gall into himself, the young man sprang up and stood, and ran and fell at the apostle’s feet. And the dragon being swelled up, shrieked out and died, and his poison and gall were poured forth; and in the place where his poison poured forth there was made a great chasm, and that dragon was swallowed up.

And the apostle said to the king and his brother: Take workmen, and fill up the place in which the dragon has been swallowed up, and lay foundation, and build houses above it, that it may be made a dwelling-place for the strangers.

Edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., James Donaldson, LL.D.,Apochryphal Gospels, Acts and Revelations: Ante Nicene Christian Library Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to AD 325 Part Sixteen. (Edinburgh, T & T. Clark, 38, George Street, Printe by Murray and Gibb, MDCCCLXX)



Roman en Prose

21 Jul

Roman de Silence

21 Jul

In the Roman de Silence (late thirteenth century), Heldris de Cornuälle’s heroine, Silence, who was raised as a man, struggles to reconcile “natural” and constructed identities. Although distinguished by the narrator’s thorough consideration of the dichotomy between biological femaleness and cultural maleness, the Roman de Silence probably has its origins in an episode from the Merlin legend that is recorded in L’Estoire de Merlin (1230), as well as the later English prose Merlin (1450/60) and fragmentary German poem Merlin (early fourteenth century). In these tales, a woman calling herself Grisandole poses as a young man at the emperor’s court until Merlin exposes the sexual transgressions of the court, including Grisandole’s gender disguise.

Grisandole and Silence ultimately choose feminine natures.

The problem of self-perception is perhaps most acute for Silence. At three points in her life, as a child, an adolescent, and a young adult, Silence’s feminine sexuality confronts her.

Falsely charged with sexual impropriety, Silence must undertake the task of capturing Merlin to prevent her own execution. According to Merlin himself no man will ever find him. The adventure merely serves to reveal her sex.

However, because this unwanted disclosure forces Silence to accept Nature over Noreture when compelled to undress publicly, the dilemma of self-perception remains unresolved.

He (Silence) thought to himself that Nature was speaking in sophistries; because the “-us” (the masculine ending of her name, Silencius) was against natural law.

And indeed the heroine’s greatness lies in the multivalency of being silent -that is keeping her secret, “being” Silencius for most of the romance, and finally, in “becoming” Silentia (and silent when exposed as a woman.)

Yet Silence’s antepenultimate statement seems to contradict the silence imposed by her newly exposed femaleness (as well as offering another linguistic conundrum), for she says: “Ne jo n’ai soig mais de taisir.” [I no longer want to keep silent.]

“A woman’s wisdom lies in being silent.”

Valerie R. Hotchkiss, Clothes Make the Man, Female Cross Dressing in Medieval Europe (New York and London, Garland publishing, Inc.,1996).

Image 21 Jul

Image 21 Jul