Monday, October 31, 2011

9 Heroes Who Fought in Afghanistan and Iraq Died October 13 to October 27, 2011

October 13 - Airmen 1st Class Jerome D. Miller Jr., 23, of Washington, D.C. died due to a non-combat related incident in Parwan province, Afghanistan.

October 21 - A soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn, Pfc. Steven F. Shapiro, 29, of Hidden Valley Lake, Calif., died in Tallil, Iraq.

October 23 - Lance Cpl. Jordan S. Bastean, 19, of Pekin, Ill., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

- A soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn (Iraq), Capt. Shawn P. T. Charles, 40, of Hickory, N.C., died in San Antonio, Texas, from a non-combat illness.

- A soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Sgt. Edward S. Grace, 39, of South Dartmouth, Mass., died in Silver Spring, Md., from a non-combat illness.

October 24 - Lance Cpl. Jason N. Barfield, 22, of Ashford, Ala., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

October 25 - A soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn, Sgt. 1st Class David G. Robinson, 28, of Winthrop Harbor, Ill., died Oct. 25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

October 26 - Sgt. John A. Lyons, 26, of Seaside Park, N.J., died Oct. 26 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

October 27 - Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Dunning, 31, of Milpitas, Calif., died Oct. 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Andrew McCarthy on the Brutalization of American Foreign Policy

Andrew McCarthy eviscerates the go along-get along supporters of the current administration's "get Qaddafi" policy (especially Republican Senator Lindsey Graham). What Obama policy really means is not only imposing another brutal regime on Libya. It has also resulted in the strengthening of jihadist terrorists as well as undermined the very principles of American democracy and basic ethics of keeping one's word.

First there's the disjunction between those squeamish about waterboarding (done to get crucial information and which did no permanent harm to the three men questioned) but okay with torture and assassination.
"Qaddafi’s escape from his last holdout was thus cut off by NATO airstrikes. Trapped and hidden in a sewer, he was dragged out and brutalized — not for intelligence, but for sport. There is video here if you can stomach it. What NATO abetted was not a military capture. It was an assassination. We will be worse off that it happened. And the way it happened should sicken us."
Then there's the hypocrisy of turning on a dime in feting Qaddafi one day and making him public enemy #1 the next.
"In 'leading from behind', our government went rogue — to the evident satisfaction of the formerly antiwar Left. Obama claimed to be keeping the peace and protecting civilians while waging an unauthorized offensive war against Qaddafi’s government — a regime with which the United States was at peace; a regime with which the United States had made a great show of arriving at friendly relations; a regime to which the United States (urged on by such official emissaries as Sen. Lindsey Graham) had provided foreign aid, including assistance to prop up Qaddafi’s military; a regime to which the Obama administration, including Secretary Clinton’s State Department, had stepped up American taxpayer subsidies — including aid to Qaddafi’s military and contributions to charitable enterprises managed by Qaddafi’s children."
And for what purpose? To protect innocent civilians?
"Protecting civilians? Please. We jumped in as a partisan on the side of the Islamists, who sported violent jihadists in their ranks and among their commanders — including al-Qaeda operatives whose dossiers included a stint at Guantanamo Bay and the recruitment of jihadists to fight a terror war against American troops in Iraq. While NATO targeted Qaddafi, the rebels rounded up black Africans, savagely killing many. (See, e.g., John Rosenthal’s reporting on summary executions, lynching, and a beheading — but be forewarned that the accompanying images are deeply disturbing.)

"When the Islamists finally began seizing territory, which they could not have done without NATO, they raided weapons depots. In Qaddafi’s Libya, his regime controlled the materiel; once the “rebels” swept in, weapons started going out — to other Islamists, like al-Qaeda in Northwest Africa and Hamas in Gaza."
[emphasis added]
Then there's the hypocritical undermining of American legal processes and protections.
"That is not to say the administration was above frivolous legal claims. President Obama overruled administration lawyers who ever so gently pointed out that his sustained war-making ran afoul of the War Powers Act — a suspect piece of legislation, but one the administration was loath to ignore given Obama’s support of it (at least until he became the president whose hands it tied). Not to worry: Obama reached outside his Justice Department to find his trusty State Department counsel Harold Koh — the former Yale Law School dean, War Powers Act enthusiast, and incessant critic of the cowboy militarism of George W. Bush (you may recall Bush as the president who used to get Congress’s blessing before attacking other countries). Presto: Koh rationalized that invading Libya, dropping bombs on it, and trying to kill its leader didn’t quite rise to the level of “hostilities” — suddenly, a very elusive concept. Party on, dudes!"
[emphasis added]
Andrew McCarthy's bottom line: Qaddafi was better than the violent thugs who are following him and threatening not only their own people but the rest of the world. Further, our complicity in facilitating mob "justice" against a former heavily lauded and supported "ally" who has engaged in no recent anti-US, let alone warlike, acts is a dangerous foreign policy precedent calling into question whether we have any principles.
"Yes, Qaddafi was a creep. If we lived in a static, zero-sum world where the killing of a single creep equaled a net decrease in global creepiness, that might be cause for cartwheels. But the world is dynamic. When one leader is ousted, another takes his place. Even if the leader happened to be a tyrant with a yellowing résumé of anti-American terrorism, it matters what his status is when the Arab Spring comes a-callin’. It matters who replaces him and how that transition comes to pass. The changing threat environment matters. The example we set, what it tells others about our principles, matters.

"To borrow Mr. Wallace’s phrase, I am not 'suggesting that we would be better off with the Qaddafi dictatorship still in effect.' I am saying it outright. If the choice is between an emerging Islamist regime and a Qaddafi dictatorship that cooperates with the United States against Islamists, then I’ll take Qaddafi. If the choice is between tolerating the Qaddafi dictatorship and disgracing ourselves by lying about the reason for initiating a war and by turning a blind eye to the atrocities of our new Islamist friends — even as we pontificate about the responsibility to protect civilians — then give me the Qaddafi dictatorship every time."
[emphasis added]

Monday, October 24, 2011

8 Heroes Who Died October 14 to October 22, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

October 14 - Spc. Michael D. Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Ariz., died in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

October 17 - Staff Sgt. James R. Leep Jr., 44, of Richmond, Va., died in Babil province, Iraq.

October 19 - Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveira, 33, of Newark, N.J., died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

- Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border, 31, of West Lafayette, Ohio, died while assessing a route in Paktika province, Afghanistan. Border, a Navy Seabee, was assigned to a provincial reconstruction team in Paktika province, Afghanistan.

October 22 - Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device:
- 1st. Lt. Ashley I. White, 24, of Alliance, Ohio.
- Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij, 29, of San Diego, Calif., and
- Pfc.Christopher A. Horns, 20, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

- Sgt. Paul A. Rivera, 26, of Round Rock, Texas, died in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered in a vehicle rollover during an attack by enemy forces.

Monday, October 17, 2011

7 Heroes Who Died October 10 to October 13, 2011

October 10 - Chief Warrant Officer James B. Wilke, 38, of Ione, Calif. died in Doha, Qatar.

- Staff Sgt. Nathan L. Wyrick, 34, of Enumclaw, Wash., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

October 12 - Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Michael R. Tatham, 33, of University Place, Wash., was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident while on rest and recuperation leave from supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Bali, Indonesia.

October 13 - Lance Cpl. Scott D. Harper, 21, of Winston, Ga., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Robert B. Cowdrey, 39, of Atwater, Ohio, died in Kunar province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered during combat operations.

Spc. Jeremiah T. Sancho, 23, of Palm Bay, Fla., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Staff Sgt. Houston M. Taylor, 25, of Hurst, Texas, died in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Portland Crony Government

Peter Korn of the Portland Tribune notes the different treatment of Occupy Portland protesters and compliant city officials with that accorded to a private downtown land owner when both were violating the same ordinance (and city officials and Occupy Portland were violating two additional ordinances as well).

After the Portland Tribune reported that the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) had sent a camping violation letter to a private land owner but not to Occupy Portland protesters, BDS finally sent the public land owner in violation of the same ordinance a letter warning the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation about changes in usage to allow camping at Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.
"On Wednesday, the bureau of development services sent a similar letter to Michael Wright, owner of the vacant lot next to the Chinatown Gate on Northwest Burnside Street. Wright has leased his property to a group that set up a Dignity Village-like camp for homeless people. A story in Thursday’s Tribune noted that the Burnside Street homeless camp had been notified of potential violations but the Occupy Portland camp had not.
[emphasis added]
Korn continues:
"The complaints about the Occupy Portland site could force the bureau to examine three primary issues, [Mike] Liefeld [BDS enforcement program manager] said. The two city parks are zoned for open space, which appears to be disrupted by the tents. Overnight camping could be a second violation, since, like the West Burnside Street property being used by homeless campers, the park is not zoned for campground use, though the city’s anti-camping ordinance is being challenged in a three-year-old lawsuit in federal court. And, one of the complaints to the bureau involved late-night drumming from the Occupy Portland campground, which potentially could violate city noise ordinances."
[emphasis added]
Korn notes that while Wright was given ten days to respond, no deadline was given to the Park Bureau.

BDS is having a hard time sorting out how to handle public officials who violate the law:
"All of those [ordinance violations on city property] represent an unusual, possibly unique mess for bureau of development staff to wade through even as [Mayor Sam] Adams has allowed the protestors to remain encamped.

“'We’re trying to figure out how the codes would apply to this situation,' Liefeld said."
[emphasis added]
How to "apply" pretty basic laws to public officials and their favorites appears to be a real head scratcher in Portland.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Portland's Crony Government

KGW reports:
"[Mayor Sam] Adams said allowing the protesters to remain was part of 'a balancing act. The city has discretion.' He likened the situation to a traffic officer handing out a warning or a ticket."
. . .
"Main St., which has been closed since the parks were occupied, is normally used by eight bus lines, as well as bicyclists and 7,500 cars. Mayor Adams gave protesters an exception from city policy that prohibits overnight stays, allowing them to camp at Chapman Park."
. . .
"What started as a march last Thursday [a week ago] resembled an encampment in the heart of downtown by Monday.

"Adams initially bent the rules against overnight stays in city parks, saying the protesters would be allowed to camp overnight in Chapman Square, something the city ordinance does not allow. By Monday, Occupy Portland had set up medical, food and supply tents. Some had even plugged in to an electric car charging station near the parks. On Tuesday, the city reportedly turned off power to the charging station."
Can the mayor give his friends and people he likes an "exemption" from following the law?

Remember when Mayor Tom Potter gave himself and Critical Mass cyclists an "exemption" from following city stop signs when other vehicles were not similarly exempted?
"But Friday night, [Mayor Tom] Potter -- a man who won by 23 percentage points without taking a donation over $100 -- once again showed that he takes his mandate as the city's new mayor seriously.

"He pedaled his Recumbent, a bike resembling a lawn chair on wheels, through a steady rain with about 250 Critical Mass demonstrators.

"At the first stop sign, Potter, 64, squeezed the brakes until he noticed the rest of the pack rolling through the intersection. 'I'll just follow you,' he told another cyclist, chuckling.

"The next three stops signs were a blur."
If those with government authority like you because you vote for them or funnel money to them, you get a pass on following the laws/ordinances/policies everyone else has to follow. Mayor Potter set a public precedent that his successor, Mayor Adams, is following. If the mayor say it's not illegal, it's not. City codes and ordinances do not apply to political friends.

Crony government is more toxic than crony capitalism.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christie's Decision

Why didn't anyone think of this before?

Apparently Governor Chris Christie didn't need the drama of playfully threatening to commit suicide or holding the big press conference last week saying he was not running. All he had to do was endorse Mitt Romney a lot earlier.

Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Heroes Who Died October 3 to October 8, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan

October 3 - Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, of New York, died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

October 6 - Lance Cpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt, 24, of San Antonio, Texas, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

October 8 - They died in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with a rocket propelled grenade. Killed were:

- Capt. Joshua S. Lawrence, 29, of Nashville, Tenn. and

- Capt. Drew E. Russell, 25, of Scotts, Mich.

Operation Counterweight

I'm in for Professor William Jacobson's Operation Counterweight:
"'Why do I have this feeling that the back-stabbing and petty politics of the Republican insiders are going to leave me completely unexcited about the presidential campaign, and more focused on electing conservatives to Congress as a counterweight to the (hoped for) new Republican President?

"'Fight for the Republican nominee we want and the defeat of Obama, but also commence preparations for Operation Counterweight.'
"That will be my strategy for 2012, focusing on critical races in which we can elect Republicans willing to stand up to the Republican President who will take the oath of office in January 2013, and keep the Republican Speaker of the House and Republican Senate Majority Leader from repeating the mistakes of the past."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Palin's Decision; Palin's Importance

In her interview with Greta Van Susteren last night, Sarah Palin said one of her considerations was:
"I would go back and forth about whether now is the time, and if I say no to the opportunity that's in front of me via running for office now will, politically speaking, will I die? Will I be ineffective? But, no, after making the decision today and making the announcement I know beyond a shadow of a doubt after great confirmation today too, Greta, personally speaking, I know that it's the right decision. And I know that I can join others in being effective in helping change what's going on in our country and helping wake up Americans to what is going on in our country." [starts about the 3:00 point]

Governor Palin dealt with the central issue: effectiveness. She did the same when resigning as governor. She said about that decision, "Politically speaking, if I die, I die."

Well, resigning as governor didn't turn out to be the fatal move every major political commentator said it would be. And Palin became more relevant to the 2010 electoral change in American politics after resigning than she was before.

Will she remain a potent political figure? If she continues saying what is needed, yes. Her criticisms of death panels, quantitative easing and crony capitalism were not powerful because she was a possible presidential candidate. They were powerful because she was right. (see New York Times commentator Anand Giridharadas and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend)

Reagan wasn't a "has been" after losing his presidential bid in 1976.* He ran against the Republican establishment and a sitting Republican president who did not have the message the nation needed. Reagan didn't "die" in 1976 because what he was saying was needed in 1980, 1984 and beyond despite his loss in 1976 and his advanced age.

In the end, Palin said she asked for God's guidance and felt confirmed in her decision not to run. Those who have made a similar type of decision in their own lives know what that feels like. Something looks like the right thing to do, but day by day the positive interior feeling goes south rather than settling in and becoming a firm conviction.

I don't know what Sarah Palin's future holds, but I don't expect that the content of what she says will become any less relevant tomorrow than it was the day before yesterday. It's the rightness of what is said rather than if it is said by someone actively running for office.

Leadership is about giving needed direction. Unfortunately most campaigners don't lead when it requires setting a hard course for the nation. Mostly the importance of what they say for the voter is in figuring out what the candidate believes and how the candidate will act in office rather than illuminating the trail the nation needs to follow.

For me, there is no political figure on the national scene who gives better direction than Sarah Palin. Actually, she even makes it into the handful of pundits who are worth reading because they understand basic principles rather than flipping from one position to another because of shifts in the daily news.

Only when Sarah Palin stops giving needed analysis and direction will she stop being important and politically powerful.

*I should make clear that I expect Governor Palin's political influence to go down just as Ronald Reagan's badly slumped after his 1976 defeat. He had no real impact on the 1976 or 1978 elections. However, despite having to fight the issue of his age, his perceived "dangerously conservative" stance and having alienated the Republican establishment by running against Ford in the primary and weakening Ford's chances at re-election, Reagan had the answers the nation needed, and his substantive impact became clear in 1980.
I appreciate the commentary of Professor William Jacobson on Palin's decision, corruption in the media and establishment Republicans, and the dangers the political class present for the nation.
"[Palin's not running is p]robably for the better in the drive to unseat Obama, but only because of the political corruption of the media and establishment Republicans, who have been relentless in their attacks on her. It disgusts me that a candidate of such quality cannot run as a practical matter, and that we are left with second and third choices. But reality is reality, and it would have been a tough road to overcome the past three years.

"Palin had the opportunity to be a game-changer in the direction of this country; someone who really understood at a gut level how far down the road we are on the path to a country we will not recognize; someone who understands that the political class holds the country by the throat, and that removing the grip is necessary not just changing who holds the grip.

"I do not begrudge her the time she took at all. I respect that she took the time, and in the end made a sound decision, even if it is a decision which leaves me profoundly disappointed in the coming year."

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Palin: Restoring America Together

Palin Not Running for President in 2012

I agree with John Nolte's tweet:
"Of course we are disappointed @SarahPalinUSA, but thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for your country."
Governor Palin's announcement:
October 5, 2011
Wasilla, Alaska

After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for President of the United States. As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.

My decision is based upon a review of what common sense Conservatives and Independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office – from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency. We need to continue to actively and aggressively help those who will stop the “fundamental transformation” of our nation and instead seek the restoration of our greatness, our goodness and our constitutional republic based on the rule of law.

From the bottom of my heart I thank those who have supported me and defended my record throughout the years, and encouraged me to run for President. Know that by working together we can bring this country back – and as I’ve always said, one doesn’t need a title to help do it.

I will continue driving the discussion for freedom and free markets, including in the race for President where our candidates must embrace immediate action toward energy independence through domestic resource developments of conventional energy sources, along with renewables. We must reduce tax burdens and onerous regulations that kill American industry, and our candidates must always push to minimize government to strengthen the economy and allow the private sector to create jobs.

Those will be our priorities so Americans can be confident that a smaller, smarter government that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people can better serve this most exceptional nation.

In the coming weeks I will help coordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House.

Thank you again for all your support. Let’s unite to restore this country!

God bless America.

– Sarah Palin
Link to Mark Levin's interview with Governor Palin about her announcement.

P.S. I just donated to SarahPAC the $100 I had been planning to initially donate to her presidential campaign.

Palin's Sanity vs. Nicolle Wallace's

UPDATE: Byron York:
"I just spoke with Charlie Black, who was McCain's top campaign adviser in the 2008 race. 'I never heard any such discussions,' Black told me. 'There were no discussions like that with McCain, or I think I would have known about them. That doesn't mean some subset of the senior staff might have talked to each other about it.'

"As for the constitutional issues involved with blocking an elected vice-president from taking the oath of office, Black said, 'Whoever was having that discussion, if there was one, didn't have a good lawyer in the group.'"
The June dump of Sarah Palin's 24,000+ pages of e-mails showed Palin to be, in Politico commentator Andy Barr's words an "effective", "attentive", "hands on", "decisive" governor in areas "ranging from small issues to very large issues".
"The e-mails (not only ?) show like how effective she is, but it shows how attentive she is as governor. She’s paying very close attention to stuff. You know, ranging from small issues to very large issues. She’s very hands on with her staff in terms of not only reaching out and soliciting advice, but offering her own. She is, like, very decisive in a lot of these things."
. . .
“Because the movie [The Undefeated] is painting her as a very serious executive . . . and there are e-mails in here that corroborate a lot of that and will be good for her.”
The e-mails cover through half of Palin's time as Vice Presidential candidate--September 30, 2008--just two days before Palin's Vice Presidential candidate debate with Joe Biden. Still Nicolle Wallace thinks she can credibly say:
"WALLACE: Well, first let me just say that the novel is by no means meant to build a case against Sarah Palin. However, to the extent that the people around [the fictional vice president] Tara watched in this troubled state of confusion, despair and helplessness as she flailed around — that was something I experienced. Palin vacillated between extraordinary highs on the campaign stage — she ignited more enthusiasm than our side had seen at any other point — to debilitating lows. She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain's running mate.

"The decision to relocate debate prep from the campaign trail, which is where McCain did his prep, to Sedona, was to isolate her and help her overcome the shock of becoming an overnight celebrity. There certainly were discussions — not for long because of the arc the campaign took — but certainly there were discussions about whether, if they were to win, it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in."
Funny that Palin's e-mails don't show any of that.

One wonders what a dump of Nicolle Wallace's e-mails at the time would show.

Desire to sell one's fiction book is understandable. But, in the face of 24,000 pages of public evidence?

Who is unbalanced?

H/T Byron York

Monday, October 03, 2011

15 Heroes Who Died September 24 to October 1, 2011, Fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

September 24 - Lance Cpl. Franklin N. Watson, 21, of Vonore, Tenn., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

September 25 - Spc. Francisco J. Briseno-Alvarez Jr., 27, of Oklahoma City, Okla., died in Laghman province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

- 1st. Lt. Andres Zermeno, 26, of San Antonio, Texas, died in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.

September 26 - Spc. Garrett A. Fant, 21, of American Canyon, Calif., died in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

September 28 - 1st Lt. Ryan K. Iannelli, 27, of Clarksboro, N.J., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

- Lance Cpl. John R. Wimpey Cagle, 19, of Tucker, Ga., died while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

- Died in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device:

- 1st Lt. Ivan D. Lechowich, 27, of Valrico, Fla.,
- Spc. Steven E. Gutowski, 24, of Plymouth, Mass., and
- Pfc. David A. Drake, 21, of Lumberton, Texas

- Staff Sgt. Nicholas A. Sprovtsoff, 28, of Davison, Mich., and
- Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

- Spc. James A. Butz, 21, of Porter, Ind., died in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

- First Sgt. Billy J. Siercks, 32, of Velda Village, Mo., died in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered Sept. 27 in Logar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire.

September 29 - Spc. Adrian G. Mills, 23, of Newnan, Ga., died in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents using indirect fire.

October 1 - Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Caleb A. Nelson, 26, of Omaha, Neb.,died after his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while conducting a combat patrol in Zabul province, Afghanistan.